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Jan Byars

Jan Byars

Jan Byars is the founder and president of LeadSync, LLC. After years of study and research, she believes an organization leader’s internal state is critical to leadership ability and ultimately affects the organization’s success. The philosophy that Leadership is Being and then Doing drives LeadSync’s unique approach to leadership development which can be applied across all levels, organizations and industries.

Learn more here.

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The Practice of Mindful Transformation (AKA Leading Change)

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 16:31 Published in The Blog

Individual and organizational change starts in the same place: daily choices, daily behaviors.

How do you actually do this? Daily attention- a process of directing attention, until the change ‘catches,’ integrates into daily work.

Understand, this is not change management.  Change management is actually an oxymoron.  Management means the opposite of change. Managing change means to deal with the external ripples created by change but does not really engage, educate and empower transformation.

Management is about efficiency and the streamlining process. 

Change is about upsetting the status quo, resetting the processes and procedures.  

Leading change is not efficient, but it is necessary for growth, development, and survival. 

Leadership is change. Leadership directs attention to engagement, education, and empowerment -- the qualities that enact lasting improvement.

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


Watching for the Critical Moment

Friday, 31 July 2015 21:10 Published in The Blog

What does it take to sit in Ambiguity and Paradox?

It requires the ability to suspend, what you think and what you feel.  Suspending allows you to see what else might be true. This is the painful part.  This is where the pieces we don’t want to see, the ones pushed away, are waiting. Denial seems easier and faster.  Unfortunately, blocking out the parts we don’t want to deal with ties up our energy, reducing our creativity and resiliency. (They can also turn into the proverbial cosmic 2 x 4s).

For the big decisions, we need to suspend the quick and dirty decision and watch and wait.  Let the hidden aspects emerge. We may need to breathe through a few emotions. Yes, sitting in ambiguity and paradox brings up our emotions. This is where most of us struggle.  We have stuffed for so long, it can be overwhelming. 

But if we wait . . . . When clarity finally emerges, we know it’s worth it.  We can see the patterns in what's happening. We can answer the tough questions.

How do you develop this strength?  Here is a beginning training exercise for you.

 Pick a problem, (not your biggest to start) and allow it to have your full attention.  Really, your full attention . . . . . . no multitasking, let your body and your mind actually stop. 

 Focus . . . . . Sit with it.  Write down a few notes about your thoughts and feelings.  Make sure you include the ones you just tried to push away.  

Allow all the pieces to come. They are all OK. Expand your perception.  We almost always narrow when we are stressed, it is a survival response.  The clarity comes from expanding our perception and ourselves.  Ask yourself,

What else is there to learn here? 

What else do you need to consider?  Do you need to talk to someone, include a broader perspective? 

There is always more to a situation than you can be aware.  Often the solution lies in a broader perspective.

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


Paradox and Ambiguity are Keys to Transformation

Tuesday, 21 July 2015 14:49 Published in The Blog

Leadership requires the ability to sit in ambiguity.  It requires the ability to see paradox.  To be able to show up in these situations requires the ability for self-reflection; the ability to sit quietly and watch the dynamics of the system – to simultaneously acknowledge ambiguity and paradox.

Of course, this is where many people become confused – thinking leadership is simply a set of skills (or traits).  There are skills and it is fortunate if you are born with specific traits. But, leadership is actually based on your capacity –  built on your psychological and cognitive development

Think of playing a sport but refusing to do any weight training.  You may be a savant with your skills, but you will not be strong enough to stay in the game.

Ambiguity and paradox reside at the threshold of transformation.  To lead a transformational shift in your organization, you must be willing and able to self-reflect and watch the patterns in the dynamics.  The bigger the organization, the stronger and more capable you need to be.

The problem is, most people hate ambiguity -- especially in business.  Our instinct is to want things to be clean and clear so we can drive faster and faster toward the goal.  Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?  It depends on the level of organization you choose to lead.  If it is a values-based business, it will be up to you to make sure your decisions are aligned with the values, that the outcomes add a benefit to those you serve.

It’s a tough job. 

It is so much easier to give in to whomever is making the most noise.  Sitting in the ambiguity often needs to be done when someone is yelling at you for a decision. It’s part of the paradox -- everyone is telling you to go faster when, in fact, you need to sit and observe, and wait for the most critical point to emerge.  And then you act.

How do you deal with ambiguity? 

Do you push through, taking the fastest most expedient path? 

Or are you able to sit and watch and wait for that critical moment of intervention?

 - Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


What We Share Multiplies

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 17:43 Published in The Blog

Mental Models are a critical aspect of leadership. 

It is the frame we place around our thinking, a short cut to help us move through our day faster. It shapes our world/lives/work. Embedded within our culture (all cultures) are these core beliefs/structures that go unseen.  So unseen in fact that we will sometimes fight to the death before we will let them go. 

One of these blinds spots is the scarcity model onwhich we base business.  We believe if I give something to you, I will  have less for myself.  This is sometimes true, but many times it is not.  Did you ever have a cold and give it to someone else?  Did you get less sick?  Have you ever loved someone?  Did giving your love result in less love?  In both cases it created more.

In the book Abundance, Diamandis and Kotler use the example about the extreme abundance of sunshine. There is more solar energy, than we can imagine using!

Their point, when we choose to use this source of energy, instead of fossil fuels, we change our world.  Think about the impact of that?  No more wars over oil; a truly abundant source of energy. More and more often, paradigm shifts create vast new resources. 

How do we break out of our mental models that limit our daily lives? How do we even begin to see enough to change them?

It is possible.

How is the scarcity model inherently affecting your decisions, your thinking.  Are the core beliefs we hold even true, when we look closer? Is there a way to shift into a truly abundant state?

A principle driven leader needs to look in themselves for areas that contradict the overall vision and values.  It is in our blind spots where we fail to see our possibilities. 

“Our most valuable possessions are those which can be shared without lessening; those which when shared multiply. Our least valuable possessions are those which when divided are diminished.”                      William Danforth.

Something to think about.

-  Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.

 


Really, Do I have too?!

Thursday, 11 June 2015 14:27 Published in The Blog

Open Mind,  Open Heart,  Open Will

Otto Scharmer’s quantum theory of change, Theory U, centers on these capacities.  Leaning into the emergent future requires these abilities; it requires the openness to see what is emerging, not what has been.  Yet, when we live in "real" life we are put in situations which are unfair, irritating maybe even hateful. 

 Why would you stay open to that????

 It is so much easier to defend, judge and retaliate.  But that is the very nature of a closed mind, a closed heart, and a closed will.  I have seen people move into some "more evolved" viewpoint, whether that be "green" (environmentally conscious) or… only to become very judgmental of those who have not grown in the same direction.  The self-righteousness is suffocating. Don’t you just hate people who do that? 

 Oops! That is close minded, closed-hearted, judgmental … you get the idea. 

 How do we step out of these normal feelings in the midst of the turmoil?

It’s simple (not easy). It’s a choice; an everyday choice: to live and lead by the values you have chosen.  Not to move into a closed will that means I can act a certain way to those people because they irritate me. 

Conscious leadership doesn’t allow for long lapses of being closed off.  Being conscious is me feeling the emotions, even if I don’t like them.  Being conscious is making the choice to open my heart and mind, even if I don’t want to.  It’s about looking to see what is RIGHT about the situation… and yes, maybe even learn something.  It’s about acknowledging all of this, and acting in line with WHO I have CHOSEN to be.

 Conscious Leadership requires the capacity to do all of this.

- Jan

Find LeadSync on Facebook, and drjanbyars on Twitter and Instagram.


You have to be Conscious to Lead a Conscious Company

Tuesday, 12 May 2015 16:01 Published in The Blog

Benefit Corporation, B-Corporation and many other organizational designations (Values-Driven, etc.) are a huge growing trend. We have seen greed at work, organizations whose only criterion for success is shareholder value.  We have often worked for these organizations and seen ‘the crazy.’

Fortunately, this is changing, and changing fast!

Values-Base leadership has been around for decades; really, since the 1970’s with Servant Leadership. However, there was no legal structure to require this level of leadership, so little attention has been paid. 

The game has changed in leadership and in business! 

27 states have Benefit Corporation status, 14 more states have it in the works.  This means that the operating agreement of these organizations have broader criteria, some social benefit, to which they are required to operate.   

Whether you are operating a formal Benefit Corporation or choosing to be a Certified B Corporation you are choosing to be a conscious leader.  Conscious leadership is not done from frantic, short-term thinking.  It requires higher functioning.  It requires presence, and expanded awareness.

Are you ready? Is your organization, leading from this expanded awareness?

Join me on these exercises, to deepen you awareness and run a conscious company.

-  Jan


You have to be Conscious to Lead a Conscious Company

Tuesday, 12 May 2015 16:01 Published in The Blog

Benefit Corporation, B-Corporation and many other organizational designations (Values-Driven, etc.) are a huge growing trend. We have seen greed at work, organizations whose only criterion for success is shareholder value.  We have often worked for these organizations and seen ‘the crazy.’

Fortunately, this is changing, and changing fast!

Values-Base leadership has been around for decades; really, since the 1970’s with Servant Leadership. However, there was no legal structure to require this level of leadership, so little attention has been paid. 

The game has changed in leadership and in business! 

27 states have Benefit Corporation status, 14 more states have it in the works.  This means that the operating agreement of these organizations have broader criteria, some social benefit, to which they are required to operate.   

Whether you are operating a formal Benefit Corporation or choosing to be a Certified B Corporation you are choosing to be a conscious leader.  Conscious leadership is not done from frantic, short-term thinking.  It requires higher functioning.  It requires presence, and expanded awareness.

Are you ready? Is your organization, leading from this expanded awareness?

Join me on these exercises, to deepen you awareness and run a conscious company.

-  Jan


Simply practice being aware.

Thursday, 07 May 2015 17:09 Published in The Blog

Simply practice being aware. 
Look, and be still. Feel, and be still. Listen, and be still.
Give the practice of awareness time, time when you are alone.                                           

This quote from Robert Greenleaf is 45 years old.  Servant Leadership has always included Mindfulness, calling it Deep Presence.  It is also the basis of a highly effective, profitable (proven) form of leadership.  It begins with you the leader and emerges throughout an organization.  Presence is a requirement of all of the Values-Based Leadership theories.  Aligning with values requires present attention.

Here is a simple exercise:
Create pockets of silence in your day.  Yes, real silence, no music or other background distractions.  Simply be.  Allow yourself to focus on your breath.  Do this for 2 min a day.  It doesn’t even need to be 120 consecutive seconds.  45 sec, 45 sec and 30 seconds are good too. Start from where you are.

When you are done ask yourself. . . . What are you feeling in your body?

What are you resisting?

What shifted?

This is a great practice!   Give it a try  . . . .Yes, right now! . . .  Stop and be still.

- Jan

Resilience

Friday, 03 April 2015 15:04 Published in The Blog

I have officially completed my recertification as a HeartMath coach!

In case you aren't familiar with the term, HeartMath provides tools that connect us with the heart of “who we truly are” and greater resilience for living healthier, fulfilling lives and building a brighter future.

Since 1991, the HeartMath Institute has researched and developed reliable, scientifically based tools to help people bridge the connection between their hearts and minds, and deepen their connection with the hearts of others.

I'm pleased to be able to continue to offer this excellent resource to my clients and friends.  Here is the link to my HeartMath profile. http://bit.ly/1MLdpXH

- Jan


Are you caught in the crazy?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015 15:27 Published in The Blog

I can see the crazy. . . . .

I just realized this is a gift of mine.  It has often felt like a curse.  Seeing the dynamics of a group and then asking why they are doing things this way.  It usually ends with them thinking I am the crazy one.  Somehow, I managed to not drink the Cool-Aid.  We live in a soup of chaos and overwhelm.  This creates the crazy.  But we are so deep in it that we think it is the truth. 

It isn’t. 

There is a way out . . . . . but then others will think you are the crazy one.  There is always a consequence to our choices. 

Do you have an idea of something you would like to change?  It can be a small something, a ‘practice’ change.  Give that some thought and then we can begin to play together.  Follow me on LeadSync's Facebook page and join the discussion.

- Jan 


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