Are you curious who Power Calimero is and what this little black bird has to do with personal leadership and organizational change? Read this article to find out, but watch out, maybe it inspires you to step up and make things happen!

I love Power Calimero. Power Calimero is the empowered version of Calimero, the little black bird with an eggshell on its head. Power Calimero has a strong belief that it’s a leader and that it can make a change. Power Calimero is my symbol for personal leadership and it reminds me to step up and make it happen. I use it also to inspire other people to play a leading role in the transformation to an adaptive organization.

What is your role?

Everyone in the organization can ensure that the organization gets a little better by setting a good example and inspiring others to do the same. Together you make it a nice place to work, a place where you feel at home, feel inspired and motivated. Where you want to work together on the mission of the organization. Where you are proud of the service or product you deliver to your customers. Where you can grow and develop in your profession. Where you can keep getting better and learn from each other. Where you go with pleasure every day. The great thing is, it starts with you. The moment you start believing that you can contribute to that, that you can make a difference and that you can take others with you, then it will happen. Many small steps together form a big step forward.

Step up and be a leader

The transformation of the organization should not only be expected from the management or a transformation leader. We all have to do it together. Every employee will have to do his bit and that requires personal leadership. That is easier said than done. We have placed leadership and authority far too often outside of us and placed it with our managers. By putting the responsibility there we could keep ourselves small. Did we not have to be afraid of wrong choices, could we just do what was required of us and hide behind others if things go wrong. We scare back to raise our heads above ground level. We are afraid of not being able to meet expectations. So we prefer to stay small, which is the easiest way. It is time that we leave that behind and that we become great. Not to show off, but to make the contribution needed to create a working environment in which happy employees and happy customers are central.

We can all do this. We do not have to appear larger than we are. We can just stay with ourselves, we have more in us and are more unique than we think. We don’t have to change to be who we are. We don’t have to become more powerful, smarter, braver, faster or whatever to be ourselves. Let us start from our own strength, our pride, our self-worth, our passion and our pleasure. And from there we show leadership to make the environment in which we work better for everyone. We thereby serve the other and at the same time become free and autonomous again.

“Be a leader, stand up and do what is needed, not what is easy. Do not remain cautious but be courageous, face your fears, learn from your mistakes and bravely step up”.

What is your motivation?

Why should you be a leader and step up? What is in it for you? Why do you want your organization to be a better place? Do you want to move away from a (painful) situation or do you want to move towards an attractive perspective? Or both? Find out what motivates you by asking yourself some questions, like: What is frustrating me or what am I  complaining about? How does my ideal job and/or working environment looks like? What are my possibilities in the new organizational design?  And how can you connect your role in the transformation of the organization with your values? Values are your core criteria, what drives you, what is important to you? Why you are you doing the things you do? What makes you tick? Examples of values are: safety, integrity, honesty, love, status, relations, personal growth, acceptance, freedom, autonomy, power, structure, adventure, curiosity, wisdom, achievement, purpose, respect,  etc.  By connecting with your most important values it gives you the intrinsic motivation to contribute to the transformation of the organization. For example; if  Freedom is your most important value, how will the transformation of the new organizational structure gives you more freedom in your job?

Use a small card to write down everything what is motivating you to become a leader or play a leading role in the transformation of your organization. Keep it with you. It reminds you to keep on doing what you are doing.

What is holding you back?

Sometimes we know what we want and why we want it, but still find it difficult to take action. Something is holding us back and if you like it or not, mostly it is your own mind. Your own thoughts preventing you from doing or achieving something and from being great. Maybe you recognize them as voices saying things to you like: “I don’t believe that I can change anything”, “I just do what management dictates me”, “It doesn’t matter what I say, nothing will change anyway” , “We tried this before, it doesn’t work here”, “Why me? it is not my responsibility”, “Who am I that I can do this?”, “I am not good, important, smart etc. enough to do this”.

When you have the same thoughts over and over again, they become patterns. A kind of automatic response to a similar action or event. It pops up without conscious thought. Patterns can be beneficial for example you are driving and it starts raining very heavily. Automatically you think ‘I need to be careful!’ which leads to feelings of anxiety that cause you to drive more cautiously. But patterns can also limit our thinking in options and possibilities. For example if someone comes with a new idea and you automatically think “nothing will change here anyway” you probably developed a pattern of coming up with reasons why it will not work. It prevents you of doing new things and potential failure, but it doesn’t make you very adaptive to change and also demotivates others of bringing in new ideas in the future. Another example is when you have an idea how to solve a situation, but you automatically think “it doesn’t matter what I say, nobody is listening to me anyway”. With this pattern, you stop taking action and nothing will change anyway. So these thinking patterns could be helpful but also very limiting. It limits your thinking in options and possibilities, and also limits you in what you want to achieve. They keep you in your comfort zone, and we know for shore that outside our comfort zone is where all magic happens!

Calimero vs Power Calimero

The examples I gave are examples of victim behavior. And that’s is where Calimero comes into the picture. Calimero sits in the back of the bus and let other people decide where they are going to. Calimero is not happy with the situation but doesn’t belief it can change it, so starts complaining about the bus, the bus driver and the bumpy road. Calimero starts to become angry, because it wanted to another destination, but nobody is listening. It thinks “Its not fair, they are tall and I am small, so I can do nothing about it”. The result is that Calimero ends up frustrated and nothing will change anyway.

Most of us will recognize victim behavior with others, but barely see it from themselves. We all have our moments of Calimero behavior. It happens when we complain about what happens to us, but don’t take action. If you are not happy with a situation it is up to you how you deal with it. In stead of complaining and doing nothing, you have two options: accept it and stop complaining or if you can’t accept it, than stop complaining and do something about it. Act as Power Calimero, show responsible behavior, and belief you have influence, can change the situation and make it better. Step out your comfort zone, choose to take the driver seat,  grab the steering wheel and decide where you are going to. Lead the bus and lead others to take action too.

To support you in what you want to achieve replace your limiting thoughts by a new set of empowering thoughts like: “I am good enough to make a change”, “I can do everything”, “I can make a difference”, “Every change start with a small step”, “for every problem is a solution”, “I do what is needed, not was is easy”, “together we are strong”, “I am unstoppable”  

Power Calimero feels responsible for the situation. This means you try to do everything you can within your possibilities. This doesn’t mean you have to solve every situation, but you can also choose to look at it in another way. Turn it in new possibilities, chances, choices, options. For example your director choose for Agile as the new Way of working, you don’t like it but you don’t have the position to decide differently. What you can do is have a look at how you can deal with the situation. If Agile is the new policy, how can Agile help you in your work, what kind of new opportunities does it bring? maybe is being a Scrum Master something for you? Be pro-active and take action in that direction. It’s all up to you. You are the designer of your own (working) live.

I invite you to become a Power Calimero. It will cost energy, you need to have courage, be creative, ask for help. It can go wrong, you can fail, you will not feel safe. But that’s ok, that’s how we learn new stuff. Become good in stepping out of your comfort zone by doing it more often. Do something what scares you off every day and you will discover that you can achieve much more than you think. And remember, if you do what you always do, you will have the same results you always have.

Do you want to know more?

Together with Jasper Lamers I have set up the Continuous Improvement in your DNA workshop in which Power Calimero plays a central role. This 2 to 4 hour workshop helps you and your team to become a leader and help changing your organization to a place where you love to work.

Please contact me to talk about a workshop specific for your team or organisation about personal leadership.