The Mindset Leaders Need to Grow with Customers Today

To receive the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up here.

This blog is provided by Todd Hockenberry.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Inbound Organization: How to Build and Strengthen Your Company’s Future Using Inbound Principles that aired on September 15th, 2020.  

 

To drive revenue growth in an uncertain environment, leaders need to change their thinking about how they view buyers.

The old formula of more: more marketing campaigns, more sales resources, more budget no longer assures leaders of a direct return.

Buyers, and the way they find information, evaluate options, consider vendor choices, and make decisions have changed. Yes, you say, of course the buyer has changed, and we have a better website, more content, and a social media presence.

But systemic shocks are accelerators of trends that were already underway. The rate of buyer behavior changes and buying process change is accelerating.

Has your thinking about buyers changed accordingly? What you knew about buyer behavior two years ago is probably obsolete at this point.

The companies that survive and thrive with predictable revenue engines in the new, new age of buyer control will be the ones that become inbound organizations – ones that are built for and solve for the customer, where everyone is aligned around the goals of the customer, and fully invested in the success of the customer.

“Many companies recognize the need to change marketing tactics, to use content, develop a digital marketing presence, and adapt to the ability of buyers to control the process. Few see it as fundamental to the operation, structure, and strategy of the entire organization.” *

People demand more from the companies they buy from. Companies, even those B2B companies in traditional industries, must realize that they are not just selling a product but delivering an entire customer experience from the first touch until the buyer no longer uses the product. Each step and each touch with the buyer either add to or detracts from the experience.

The goal is not the customer experience. The goal is to enable your customers to share their great experience and become your best advocates.

Customers that love the experience of working with your company will be your best marketers and best salespeople.

“The first and most important step is to shift the organization’s mindset to focus on solving for the customer. Make decisions based on what’s in their interest—because what is in the customer’s interest is in the organization’s interest too.” Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot.

But wait you say, we put the customer first. Maybe your sales team does, maybe your product team does. But does your back office? Does your accounting team? Does your service team, or do they just react when the phone rings? Do you ensure your customers are successful with your product or do you set it up, get them going, and then forget about them until they have a problem?

Look at your marketing. Is the content of your campaigns, the text on your website, or the content of your presentations about your products (features, specifications, technical info) or is it about your customers? Does your sales team act as change agents and business peers or are they product-focused order takers?

Do you really know why and how your customers buy, or do you just hope the order shows up?

 

How do you make your entire business attractive, not just your inbound marketing?

Building an inbound organization starts with a mission and culture that places the goals of the target customer as the top priority. Solving for the customer means that everyone in the organization is aligned around the mission of the company. Your mission is the agreement and expression in a brief statement of how your company’s people, resources, time, products, and services help your target customer solve their problems, do the jobs they need to be done, and achieve their goals.

Very few companies we work with have a mission framed in these terms. If they have one at all it is usually full of buzzwords like best in class, high quality, and outstanding service, none of which mean anything to your customers or to your employees.

Can you state your company’s mission statement as you read this article?

The mission is important because it serves as a guide to all employees as they make decisions every day about how to use their resources to solve for the customer.

A vision is where your company wants to go, the mission is how it is going to get there. And both involve putting the customer’s goals and outcomes at the core.

Creating a clear mission also serves to tell your customers why you exist and becomes an attractive signal that your business is focused on them and their needs. Buyers have abundant options, even for most complex purchases, and they will increasingly choose to work with businesses that state and share their values.

The same idea holds for employees – if you want the best people you need to attract them with a compelling mission that aligns with their personal goals and beliefs.

 

Building a mission and culture of helping customers first

If your business develops a clear mission, then your culture is the environment that either drives everyone towards the mission or stands in the way. Culture is the sum of the values, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of leadership applied through the entire company.

Your culture drives alignment to the mission. A customer-focused culture aligns everyone with the goals of the customer.

“An inbound organization is guided by a philosophy, a set of core beliefs, and best practices that impact every person in every department to provide value and build trust with customers, partners, and anyone they touch.” *

Why does a customer-focused mission and culture drive revenue?

As Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” A culture of customer focus, solving for the customer, with everyone aligned around the needs of the customer, and making sure customers are successful is the way to grow your business in this age of buyer control.

When leaders understand that their organizations are not as customer-focused as they think they are, they can explore how to align their mission, strategies, action plans, and tools with the way their buyers think, learn, discover, and purchase.  These inbound organization ideas will help leaders focus their business on customers and succeed at attracting and keeping them at a rate that outpaces the competition.

* Inbound Organization: How to Build and Strengthen Your Company’s Future Using Inbound Principles, Wiley (2018)

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Todd Hockenberry and Top Line Results specialize in leading top line revenue growth at small and medium-sized companies with a focus on Business-to-Business, manufacturing, technology, and capital equipment.

For over 11 years Top Line Results is a leader in educating and helping Business-to-Business companies adapt to the new realities of Internet-driven changes in buying behavior and to successfully grow their businesses.

Todd is the co-author of the book Inbound Organization: How to Build and Strengthen Your Company’s Future Using Inbound Principles.

 

Grow as a Leader with These 3 Essential Psychological Skills

To receive the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up here.

This blog is provided by Nashater Deu Solheim, Founder and CEO of Progressing Minds AS.  It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The Leadership PIN Code: Unlocking the Key to Willing and Winning Relationships that aired on September 8th, 2020.

 

We’ve all had the experience of watching someone from the sidelines and admiring their leadership ability. Their skills are not always concrete, tangible, or observable from the surface. In fact, it is the subtle arts and nuances of what leaders do that makes it look so natural.

Some, of course, are natural-born leaders who are great with people. But great persuasion, influence, and negotiation can also be learned, and there is opportunity for you to learn the nuance of effective leadership as well. How do you, in a moment of leadership, translate all your expertise and knowledge towards positive engagement with your stakeholders or employees?

In a word, PIN: Persuasion, Influence, and Negotiation. Here’s why those three psychological skills are essential to your growth as a leader.

Persuasion

Persuasion is the process by which one person achieves their goal to change another person’s viewpoint or position on a matter. Persuasion is an everyday necessity for leaders. Persuasion is about closing the gap between you and your position and the other person and his position, which makes up a good deal of leaders’ time.

An engaged leader is curious in everyday interactions, asking the other party questions to establish their interest. Armed with answers, he can then start to challenge facts. Persuasion is often about guiding others to identify the gap between what they believe to be true and actual facts or likelihoods.

Parents do it with children. For example, when a child says, “I don’t want to jump off the diving board at the swimming pool.” The parent asks what he thinks will happen. “Well, I think I’m going to bang my chin on the board,” the child responds. The parent, in turn, explores the facts in the gap, pointing out that by standing at the end of the diving board, banging his chin is nearly physically impossible. The child is persuaded to change his perspective by drilling down into facts.

The psychologist Robert Cialdini has shown that humans are persuaded to another person’s point of view not by luck but by the manner and methods by which the persuader captures our motivations, interests, and what is valuable to us, thereby either motivating us or drawing us in towards the choices they would like us to make.

Effective persuasion is at the core of good business. Focusing on the needs, interests, and feelings of the other people in the room make it much easier to create a collaborative, energetic mindset. Reaching people isn’t necessarily about changing their mind. It’s about showing them that you understand theirs.

Influence

Influence is the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways. Influence may seem ineffable, but it can often be traced to specific kinds of practices. In many cases, it’s the result of a person’s mindset, behavior, and conversation skills.

Influential people know how to ask effective questions, give clear responses, and steer conversation in a productive way. They know the power of body language and make an effort to put people at ease with their gestures and tone of voice. They also take the time to prepare, research the people they’re going to interact with, and take the time to learn about others’ cultures, interests, and goals.

Influential leaders have high-performing teams and respectful, cooperative, and collegiate rules of engagement. They have also built trust so deeply within their teams that they can challenge, handle conflict and differences of opinion, and use them to renew their agenda, goals and targets in a positive way.

There are some common errors that leaders make when it comes to cultivating influence. These errors can lead to dysfunctional work environments and can harm their relationships with clients. For example, positive influence comes from collaboration, not competition, but often, leaders focus on their own gains at the expense of others’ needs.

Another common influence error comes when leaders are reactive, not proactive. When they jump into tasks or make changes without ensuring that their key stakeholders or team members are committed, it can lead to conflict. Impulsive and unpredictable leaders will find it hard to establish trust among their employees.

Finally, rigid ways of thinking are bad for business. When leaders have a “know-it-all” attitude, adopt an “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” mantra, and hold a hierarchy-obsessed mindset, they often aren’t flexible enough to satisfy their clients and employees.

Negotiation

According to the Harvard Negotiation Project, negotiation is back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement, even though each party sometimes has conflicting interests. Negotiation is far more relevant to leadership than you might believe and not just in relation to contract, financial or commercial negotiations where there are rules to follow and margins to maintain.

In today’s world, negotiations between countries and political parties have huge business negotiations behind them with multiple aspects often related to defence, trade or access. Leaders negotiate with other people all the time.

Often, powerful leaders don’t think they should have to negotiate with their employees because people are employed to do what the leader asks. Yet negotiating is about creating the win-win in which the opportunity is framed. Yes, the employee may be obliged by virtue of their role to do the task, but creating a culture of willing collaboration rather than coerced delivery is the difference between an effective negotiating leader and an entitled one.

When looking at projects or negotiations, plan and strategize beyond reaching your goal. What potential scenarios could take place? What are the success factors versus failure factors? As in a one-minute leadership approach, make sure there’s no gap between what you want to communicate and what you’re actually doing. Much of this is anticipation and planning ahead for various scenarios.

Leaders fail at negotiating when they neglect the momentary check and balance of thinking before they speak and preparing before they act. On the fly is rarely a successful strategy unless you’ve over-rehearsed.

Great Leaders Rely on PIN Skills

As a leader, have you ever wondered why sometimes you get the traction you want with people and other times you don’t? It’s not luck—you must be able to persuade and influence those you lead to get results in a positive way.

PIN is the power of using psychology in business in order to have the positive impact and influence you need to motivate your team and peers. It also allows you to continuously negotiate with managers, stakeholders or adversaries to make real progress. Great leaders infuse PIN skills in everything they do to move their organizations forward with the willing participation of their teams, peers, and stakeholders to create the wins they need.

For more advice on persuasion, influence, and negotiation, you can find The Leadership PIN Code on Amazon.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Dr. Nashater Deu Solheim brings a new toolkit to leadership development that is backed by decades of integrated experience in the areas of business and psychology. As a former forensic psychologist with clinical research in the neuropsychology of criminal minds, she developed a deep interest in effective learning strategies for lasting success. Now, as an expert negotiator who studied at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, Dr. Solheim has combined her experience as an executive leader in international private companies and government ministries to present The Leadership PIN Code, the definitive guide for helping business leaders secure influence and impactful results.

 

A Learning Mindset is the One “Killer App” We All Need

To receive the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up here.

This blog is provided by Steve Terrell, President of Aspire Consulting.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Learning Mindset for Leaders: Leveraging Experience to Accelerate Development that aired on September 1st, 2020.

 

In Learning Mindset for Leaders, I have attempted to distil some of the knowledge and insights I have gained over my 30+ year career in leadership development, including the deep research into global leadership development I undertook while earning my doctorate in the field. Through this research, I sought to understand how global leaders learned and developed the important competencies and skills they needed to become effective global leaders. The essence of the research results is what I now call Learning Mindset.

Learning Mindset is the “Killer App” of learning, growth, and development through experience. It is the master competency, the one competency to “rule them all.” It is especially important that global leaders have a Learning Mindset during challenging or difficult situations because those are the very experiences that offer significant risks of failure as well as opportunities for personal and organizational development.

Leaders with a Learning Mindset who encounter difficult challenges have a strong tendency to create value from the crucible of negative experiences. As a result, they create their own virtuous cycle of learning and performance, enabling them to learn more from their experiences, which in turn results in

their being more resilient and performing better in VUCA conditions. This leads to achievement of better results and reinforces the importance and value of the Learning Mindset.

A Learning Mindset is an attitude that predisposes you to be open to new experiences, to believe you can and will learn, and to intentionally grow and develop from your experience. The dimensions of a Learning Mindset form essential capabilities for global leadership and bear directly on global leaders’ efficacy in a crisis. Believing in one’s own learning and growth potential enables global leaders to face new challenges with confidence, tempered with humility. Openness to experience allows them to take in a wide variety of information and to process it with an appreciation of its potential value. Being motivated, willing, and desiring to learn focuses global leaders’ energies and attention on grasping new problems and sensing new possibilities. Curiosity about others urges global leaders to wonder how people in other cultures approach the pandemic, what they can learn from different points of view, and make new connections based on new insights. An attitude of discovery and exploration energizes global leaders to investigate the challenges presented by the coronavirus dilemma. Perhaps most important of all, global leaders with a Learning Mindset engage in experiences with an intention and willingness to gain something positive from every experience, including – and sometimes, especially – extremely difficult, thorny, and dangerous experiences.

When global leaders enact a Learning Mindset they are better able to envision and reach for stability beyond the volatility; create space to reduce uncertainty; understand and simplify the complexity; and eventually find clarity for their organizations amidst the ambiguity.

If you’d like to learn more about Learning Mindset, you can order the book Learning Mindset for Leaders: Leveraging Experience to Accelerate Development from Amazon here.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

 

About the Author

 

Steve Terrell, EdD, is the President of Aspire Consulting, a management-consulting firm that specializes in developing leadership capabilities needed for success. Aspire helps clients Turn Vision into Reality, by defining the leadership capabilities needed to successfully execute the strategy, and by designing and implementing development solutions that build the required capabilities. Steve is a leading expert on global leadership, learning from experience, and Learning Mindset. His book Learning Mindset for Leaders: Leveraging Experience to Accelerate Development is a widely-used resource for leaders and practitioners who want to expand their ability to learn from experience.

 

Photo by Abby Chung from Pexels

Ethics Violation: A Practical Example on Gathering All the Facts

To receive the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up here.

This blog is provided by Rob Chesnut and is an excerpt adapted from his latest book, Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution (St. Martin’s Press, 2020) and used with permission.  You can purchase his book here.  This blog is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution which aired on 7/28/20.

 

The primary guidance I have for those who find themselves in a position of having to work out appropriate consequences is: put on your ethics goggles and be intentional. At every stage of this process, every leader involved should strive for fairness and honesty and be able to understand how decisions come across not just to those involved but to other employees.

Let’s work through a fictional example that will ground some of these ideas. Milo has spent the last year working as a logistics manager for a family-owned furniture company with 150 employees. The company has a code of ethics that includes a $100 limit on gifts. Milo’s administrative assistant, who is the nephew of the owner, mentioned to his uncle that Milo accepted a pair of Stanley Cup playoff tickets worth $500 from a shipping partner.

Clearly, Milo broke a rule.

The owner calls Milo’s manager and learns that Milo is an excellent employee who has never had any other complaint lodged against him. Next, the owner talks to Milo, who says he realizes that he was supposed to read the ethics statement but he never got around to it. He relates that at his last company, there was no policy about gift limits, so he did not think to check when the tickets arrived. He apologizes and appears genuinely upset to learn that he violated this rule. Not only was Milo contrite, he offered to call the vendor who gave him the tickets and reimburse the value.

Milo screwed up here, no question. He was careless . . . but, far as I can tell, not devious. Based on these facts, I’d probably advise the owner to give Milo a stern verbal warning. I’d be sure to say if he did this again, there would be serious consequences. I’d reinforce that he must read the code of ethics. I would remind Milo that he should not retaliate in any way against his admin, who had every right and arguably a duty to report his violation. If he’s already used the tickets, Milo probably should reimburse the shipper and explain that he made a mistake, in part so that the furniture company is not seen as a partner where high-value gifts are expected or appropriate.

This may seem lenient. The company has every right to “throw the book” at Milo . . . but he seems like a very good employee who made a mistake. Demonstrating compassion and thoughtfulness in this case might create an opportunity for the owner to remind everyone to reread the code of ethics, and thus prevent more problems. There is no mandated confidentiality involved in a verbal warning, and so Milo and his admin can talk about what happened, and others who might have questions can raise them as well.

So, let’s call that scenario one. Now, let’s alter the facts a bit.

What if Milo gets angry and defensive when asked about the tickets? What if Milo’s admin says that this is the third or fourth time the shipper has sent Milo tickets for a sporting event or a concert and that he has warned him several times that accepting the tickets is a violation of company policy? What if Milo’s manager says that Milo suggested the company shift more business to this shipper . . . just a few days after the shipper sent him the tickets?

In the second scenario, the results of the investigation suggest that Milo has engineered a relationship with the shipping partner that is a conflict of interest. So here we have two identical offense reports, but the details elevate the second scenario to a much more serious level. They may suggest a deliberate bribe by an employee of the shipper, and they may be significant enough to warrant terminating Milo immediately.

Wow, harsh. Terminating an employee can be catastrophic for that individual, and it can hobble a work team. It should never be done lightly, but some offenses, like sexual harassment or fraud or bribery, are so serious that once you have established that they occurred, you must act decisively and signal that this is unacceptable behavior.

As Milo’s example shows, the facts and details always matter. Intentions are important. Mistakes are different from premeditated acts. Investigations must be fair and full, approached objectively.

In the corporate world, disciplining an employee for a code violation is a necessary part of the integrity process. And I’ll be honest: it’s my least favorite part. While it’s fun and energizing to write a code of ethics and feel like you are shaping a great company where everyone will be proud to work, it can be infuriating, frustrating, and sad when someone violates that code. Sometimes people, for a wide variety of reasons, can make consequential mistakes that cost them their jobs, put their families’ financial stability in jeopardy, and create a permanent stain on their reputations—and the company’s as well. But you have to respond, or your code will have no credibility. You’ll fail as a leader, and the people who follow the rules will suffer.

Adapted from Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution by Rob Chesnut (St. Martin’s Press, 2020).

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Rob Chesnut is the Chief Ethics Officer at Airbnb, a role he took on in late 2019 after nearly four years as the company’s General Counsel. He previously led eBay’s North America legal team, where he founded the Internet’s first ecommerce person to person platform Trust and Safety team. He was the general counsel at Chegg, Inc. for nearly 6 years, and he served 14 years with the U.S. Justice Department.

Situational Mindsets Decoding Current Complexity

To receive the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up here.

This blog is provided by Mary Lippitt, author of Situational Mindsets: Targeting What Matters When It Matters. It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Situational Mindsets: Targeting What Matters When It Matters that aired on July 21st, 2020.

 

In our multifaceted and dynamic world, doing the right thing at the right time is difficult.  We cannot rely on our experiences to cope with new facts, realities, and challenges.  To fully understand all aspects of our situation we must practice mental agility and situational awareness.

Our extraordinary time mandates a systemic, disciplined, and rigorous analysis of current realities.  What we do not know can derail us.  Facts matter and point the way to successfully leverage change.

Situational Mindsets provide a foundation for wise decision making.  As we expand our point of view, we discover new solutions, spot potential barriers, and earn support.  Using this framework, leaders discover alternatives, weigh options, and set priorities.  The six mindsets examine all organizational drivers and prevent us from recklessly rushing into action in the name of being decisive.

As Obi-Wan Kenobi told us in Return of the Jedi, “You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”  Grappling with every aspect, prevents us from capitulating to superficial analysis and out dated assumptions.  Employing Mindsets yield creative and strategic insights essential to cope with precedent setting threats.  Each Mindset explores a key organizational aspect, including:

  • The Inventing Mindset examines opportunities for new products/services, creative designs, and new synergies.
  • The Catalyzing Mindset targets the customer, customer base, and building the organization’s brand.
  • The Developing Mindset supports seamless infrastructure, integrated systems, and effective policies.
  • The Performing Mindset improves processes, quality, workflow efficiencies, and profitability.
  • The Protecting Mindset develops talent, collaboration, agility, trust, and bench strength.
  • The Challenging Mindset evaluates challenges, trends, risks, and opportunities for sustained success.

Examining these mindsets counter our natural tendency to rely on past practice, register only confirming information, and accept limited alternatives.  While “keeping things simple” is tempting, easy answers spawn problems.  Addressing complex, interdependencies, and systemic challenges does not require an advanced degree, membership in Mensa, or a C suite title.  It merely entails adopting a proactive disciplined practice of inquiry to reveal solutions and potentially unpleasant surprises.  Consider our missteps with COVID.

The pandemic requires granular  and long term analysis.  Consider the unintended consequence of the $600 federal unemployment benefit.  The need was clear, but the problem of re-hiring furloughed lower wage workers who earned more on unemployment was unnoticed. Overlooking a mindset invites dangerous blind spots.

A Mindset approach to COVID would address:

  • Developing new treatments, medications, and vaccines. This Inventing Mindset offers innovation synergies to leverage existing resources and practices.
  • Targeting the needs of first responders and essential workers and rapidly responding to hot spots. This Catalyzing Mindset also focuses on enlisting resources, including volunteers and organizational support.
  • Improving hospital capacity, distributing PPE, preparing guidelines for government, and the public, sharing information, and setting goals. The Developing Mindset also clarifies goals, roles, and responsibilities.
  • Evaluating patient data, conducting testing, and measuring treatment effectiveness, and reallocating resources to address gaps. The Performing Mindset also examines impact, fine tunes staffing, budgetary impact, and quality.
  • Educating the public on compliance, providing for basic needs created by the virus, training contact tracers, and recognizing our essential workers. The Protecting Mindset also fosters trust, confidence, and community support.
  • Identifying emerging trends, testing assumptions, re-evaluating off-shoring of our medical equipment, and forecasting future episodes. The Challenging Mindset also examines the impact of demographic, economic, regulatory, and security challenges.

What we see on the surface is not all that counts.  We must go beyond our initial response to study complex realities, surface diverse viewpoints, and define implementable solutions. Effective leaders have shifted from thinking they have all the right answers to knowing that their role is to ask all the right questions.  Inquiry increases engagement and improves bottom-line results.

The founder of IBM, Thomas Watson, kept a sign on his desk that said: “Think.” He felt that analysis was crucial to the firm’s success and actually trademarked the word “THINK.” The connection between thinking and success continues. However, our approach to thinking must expand with a new emphasis on critical, creative, and strategic thinking.

Success is never final.  We must continually adjust to new realities.  Situational Mindsets clears the fog produced by complexity.  Mindsets reveal what has happened, what is happening, and what should happen.  It enables us to effectively leverage unprecedented change.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Dr. Mary Lippitt founded Enterprise Management Ltd. thirty years ago to help leaders navigate today’s challenges, increase collaboration, and boost critical thinking.  Her new book is Situational Mindsets: Targeting What Matters When It Matters.  You can contact her at mlippitt@enterprisemgt.com.

 

Success in Life Begins with TRUST

To receive the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up here.

This blog is provided by Mark Given, Founder of the Trust Based Philosophy. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Success Begins with Trust that aired on June 22nd, 2020.

 

In leadership, sales, relationships and in all aspects of life, success and happiness has always been built on a foundation of TRUST.

You already know that to find fulfillment, people need a life-long quest for growth and learning.

Building, maintaining, and repairing Trust are all key parts of that growth and the evidence often slaps us right in the face…nearly every day.

People (maybe even you) leave companies every day, not just because of poor products or unsafe conditions, but because of lousy untrustworthy leadership. Customer trust is regularly so low that repeat rates are consistently and dismally small. Even in human relationships lack of trust is painfully evident and cities everywhere are experiencing riots in the streets.

The concept of TRUST has been taught by many well respected and admired authors, philosophers, psychiatrists, and business experts for years. What’s lacking in their reports though is the actual science practice of establishing, building and maintaining trust.

Having been focused on the study and practice of trust for nearly four decades, I discovered what I believe to be the essence of how to build and maintain deeper levels of Trust.

I call it the Pyramid of Trust:

  1. Introduction Facet or your Grand Opening phase
  2. Rapport Facet – or the question and listening phase
  3. Maintenance Facet – or generously giving not taking phase
  4. Repair Facet – or the sincere and transparent apology phase

Speaking of the Introduction Facet, research from a recent 15-year Harvard University study showed that if adults assume their ability to discern trustworthiness in strangers is a skill honed over a lifetime, they are wrong. Even children ages 5 and 6 make the very nearly the same judgment about the trustworthiness of adults, and children ages 3 to 4 were only off by just a few percentage points from adults.

People make inferences (right or wrong) about strangers’ characters within 50 milliseconds of viewing them and a NYU study showed the results to be even less (33 milliseconds). In today’s words, we call that profiling, and while they are profiling you, YOU are profiling them too!

You can improve this negative impression someone might have of you in part by moving from a two-step greeting to a three-step greeting, making your initial introduction more about the other person than yourself. The key is to move your dialogue from the emphasis on YOU to focusing on THEM, and the results have been shown to be quite amazing.

In the Building Rapport Facet, a smart person will learn to ask more questions and really listen to the answers. Recently, in an interview Jack Canfield did with me on my Trust Based Philosophy books, Jack offered a wise thought. He said, “focus on becoming more interested than interesting”. Jack is exactly right (and he wisely gave the credit for this wisdom to his wife Inga).

The benefit is three-step greeting principle is that, when done properly, you learn much more about the other person which allows you purpose driven reasons to massage the relationship, stay in touch and serve them better (assuming they are a good match for you personally and professionally).

To succeed in the Maintenance Facet, you focus on becoming more of a giver than a taker. Read the wonderful book The Go-Giver by my friends Bob Burg and John David Mann and you will better understand the importance, relevance and success that come from being a giver. Building TRUST is maintained over a lifetime. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

And finally, assuming you are actually human…we all make mistakes. We say and do foolish things. Understanding the proper art and science of the Apology Facet is life and business changing.

You already know how hard it can be to effectively and successfully apologize and yet you also know how important it is to your happiness, profitability, and the growth of Trust.

Creating a successful life and business is hard. Maintaining valuable relationships is difficult.

The results of better understanding, creating, and maintaining deeper levels of TRUST are what will bring you the joy and success you are seeking.

Become a master of “The TRUST Based Philosophy” and life will be your oyster. I guarantee it!

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Mark Given is an Amazon #1 selling author of 8 books and has been teaching the importance of TRUST for four decades.

Because of his observation and experience both personally and professionally, he has written four top selling books under the theme The Trust Based Philosophy.

Trust Based Leadership – Proven Ways to Stop Managing and Start Leading

Trust Based Selling – Proven Ways to Stop Selling and Start Attracting

Trust Based Success – Proven Ways to Stop Stressing and Start Living

Trust Based Networking – Proven Ways to Stop Meeting and Start Connecting

 

Coming soon:

Trust Based Time Management – Proven Ways to Stop Dawdling and Start Achieving

Trust Based Entrepreneur – Proven Ways to Make the Money YOU Want without Forfeiting the Time that YOU Crave

Trust Based Referrals – Proven Ways to Stop Chasing Strangers and Start Captivating YOUR Sphere of Influence

 

You can reach Mark at: mark@markgiven.com

Photo by LisaAttractLove–2628503

 

How to Evaluate and Overcome Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace

We will be discontinuing the Feedburner ap that delivered our blog to your mailbox. If you have been getting blogs to your mailbox, please sign up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is provided by Dr. Gleb Tsipursky, author of several well-known books, including Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters, as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview How Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disaster aired on 11/5/19.

  • What percentage of projects in your workplace miss the deadline or go over budget?
  • How often do you see hiring decisions and employee assessments influenced by factors not relevant to job competency?
  • How frequently are your team’s members overconfident about their decisions?

If you didn’t answer “rare to none” for any of these, you got a problem. In fact, these questions get at only 3 out of over a 100 dangerous judgment errors that scholars in behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience call cognitive biases.

Do you regularly – over 10% of the time – see projects in your workplace go past deadline or over budget? It’s a sign that the cognitive bias known as the planning fallacy is undercutting performance. The planning fallacy refers to our intuitive belief that everything will go according to plan, resulting in us failing to plan for the many potential problems that cause projects to go over budget or past deadline. Cost overruns and delays result in serious damage to the bottom lines of our businesses.

How about assessments for hiring, performance, and promotion impacted by non-relevant factors? Well, two dangerous judgment errors play a major role in causing such problematic evaluations, the halo effect and the horns effect. The halo effect refers to the fact that if we feel a significant positive emotion toward one characteristic of someone, then we will have an overly positive evaluation of that person as a whole. That’s why taller men get promoted at higher rates into positions of authority, and both men and women perceived as physically attractive are more likely to be hired. The horns effect is the opposite: if we don’t like a characteristic that is significant to us, we will tend to have a worse evaluation of that person as a whole. For instance, overweight people are less likely to be hired.

Finally, excessive confidence in making decisions – and other work areas – is a symptom of the mental blindspot known as the overconfidence effect. Overconfidence has been associated with many problems in the workplace. For example, overconfidence leads people into financial shenanigans, such as overstating earnings. Overconfident leaders tend to resist constructive criticism and dismiss wise advice, letting their intuition drive their decision-making as opposed to making thoughtful plans.

These mental blindspots don’t only cause problems in the workplace; they harm us in other life areas as well. For instance, a survey by Top10 showed that most consumers tend to go with their gut in making shopping decisions. Such gut-based decision making results in many problematic purchases that people later regret.

So now that you know about the dangers of cognitive biases, and specifically the planning fallacy, the halo and horns effects, and the overconfidence effect, you’re safe from at least these 4 cognitive biases, right? Unfortunately, just learning about these mental blindspots will not work to assess where they occur in your workplace or to defeat them, as research shows. In fact, some techniques that would seem intuitively to help address unconscious bias caused by cognitive biases make them worse.

Fortunately, recent research shows how you can use pragmatic strategies to assess and address these dangerous judgment errors to avoid unconscious bias and make the best decisions. The first step to solving cognitive biases does involve learning about them. However, simply having knowledge doesn’t help. For instance, students who learned about mental blindspots showed the same vulnerability to these errors as students who didn’t.

What is much more helpful is making sure that people are strongly emotionally motivated to address cognitive biases. Our emotions determine 80-90 percent of our decisions, thoughts, and behaviors, and tapping our feelings is clearly effective in helping notice and address dangerous judgment errors. On a related note, it really helps for people to feel that the effort to address mental blindspots is important to them, getting them truly involved and bought into the outcome of debiasing cognitive biases.

To do so, you need to evaluate thoroughly the impact of each cognitive bias on your own professional activities, as well as more broadly in your team and organization. Then, you have to make and implement a plan to address the problems caused by such unconscious bias, again, not only for yourself but also for your team and your business.

Fortunately, you don’t have to address all the cognitive biases. Just going through the 30 most dangerous judgment errors in the workplace will get you the large majority of the benefit from such an analysis to help you avoid unconscious bias. All of these mental blindspots, along with clear next steps on what to do after the evaluation, can be found in the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace. It’s available for sale in print or digital from and you can get the digital version for free when you register for the Wise Decision Maker Course.

Assessment on Cognitive Biases in the Workplace to Address Unconscious Bias

The assessment starts with an evaluation of how frequently each of the 30 cognitive biases occurred in your workplace in the last year in the form of percentages. Don’t feel obliged to be absolutely precise, approximate numbers are fine.

If you don’t remember something occurring, give it a low percentage score, including 0 if you think it doesn’t occur. For instance, if all of your projects came under budget and within the deadline, then planning fallacy is not a problem for you.

Each of the 30 questions should take 10-15 seconds. Just put down the first number that seems to make the most sense for you. You can go back later and tweak it if needed. However, for the first run-through, do it fast. Remember, if you tend to be an optimistic person in general, temper your optimism and give a somewhat higher percentage than you intuitively feel is appropriate. Same goes for pessimism: give a lower percentage if you tend to be pessimistic.

Following this evaluation, you will score the assessment to see the current state of dangerous judgment errors in your workplace. Next, you’ll evaluate the impact of these problems on the bottom line of your personal work, your organizational unit, or the company as a whole, to the extent that you can estimate this question. After all, knowing the bottom line impact will enable you to decide how much to invest into addressing the problem. You’ll then evaluate the performance of your workplace on the four broad competencies of addressing cognitive biases: how the people in your organization do on evaluating themselves, evaluating others, strategic evaluations of risks and rewards, and tactical evaluations in project implementation.

Finally, you’ll get to the next steps. There, each dangerous judgment error is explained, focusing on its business impact. You’ll also get to decide which of the mental blindspots you’ll focus on addressing in the short term future.

The assessment will prove invaluable as you take the next steps to solve the problems you identified. You should have yourself and others in your organization do the assessment after you introduce the concept of cognitive biases but before you launch any interventions. Then, you can use your assessment results as a baseline to assess the impact of any interventions.

To develop your interventions, see the book that’s based around this assessment and provides both techniques and business case studies for how to address cognitive biases: Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters. You can also learn and use research-based strategies to make the best decisions and to avoid failure when implementing your decisions, which automatically address the large majority of dangerous judgment errors we tend to make.

While enacting the interventions, have yourself and the others in your workplace take the assessment regularly – once a week if the intervention is intense, once a month if it’s less intense – to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. Revise the intervention as needed to account for your results.

After the intervention is complete and you are satisfied, keep taking the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace every quarter. Doing so will help keep up vigilance and ensure that you keep protecting yourself from the disastrous consequences of falling into dangerous judgment errors.

Key Takeaway

To address unconscious bias caused by cognitive biases in your workplace, you need to evaluate their impact on your own professional activities and on your team and organization. Then, make and implement a plan to address these biases.

Questions to Consider

  • Which of the following biases most negatively impacts your workplace: the planning fallacy, the halo and horns effects, or the overconfidence effect? What does that negative impact look like?
  • What would be the benefit to you, your team, and your organization of addressing the 30 most dangerous judgment errors in the workplace?
  • How did you score on dangerous judgment errors in your workplace when you took the assessment? How do you feel about your score?
  • What next steps can you take to bring the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace to your team and organization?

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview to this blog and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the ILI LinkedIn.

About the Author

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky empowers you to avoid business disasters as CEO of the boutique consulting, coaching, and training firm Disaster Avoidance Experts. He is a best-selling author of several well-known books, including Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters and The Truth Seeker’s Handbook: A Science-Based Guide. Tsipursky’s cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 400 articles and 350 interviews in Fast Company, CBS News, Time, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Inc. Magazine, and elsewhere. His expertise stems from his background of over 20 years of consulting, coaching, speaking, and training experience across North America, Europe, and Australia. It also comes from his strong research and teaching background in behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience with over 15 years in academia, including 7 years as a professor at the Ohio State University, with dozens of peer-reviewed academic publications. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Most importantly, help yourself avoid disasters by getting a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace when you register for his Wise Decision Maker Course.

Influence Is All About PEOPLE

This blog is provided by Brian Ahearn, the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC, as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade aired on 9/3/19.

When it comes to influence I believe it’s all about PEOPLE. I write that because we don’t try to persuade things. Dale Carnegie had it right when he wrote, “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you’re in business.” The more you know how to ethically influence people the better your chances are for success at the office and happiness at home.

When it comes to PEOPLE I encourage you to think about the about the Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical. Let’s take a quick look at each component of PEOPLE.

Powerful

Who says influence is powerful? Here are what a few well known people from history had to say about persuasion:

“Persuasion is often more effective than force.” Aesop, Greek Fabulist

“If I can persuade, I can move the universe.” Frederick Douglass, American social reformer, abolitionist, writer, and statesman

“The only real power available to the leader is the power of persuasion.” Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States.

In addition to those intelligent people, we have more than 70 years of research from social psychology, behavioral economics and more recently neuroscience, to tangibly prove how powerful persuasion can be.

Everyday

Unless you’re Tom Hanks in Castaway you interact with people every single day. Quite often in your communication with others you make requests hoping to hear “Yes!” Nobody goes it alone, especially the highly successful. Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO said, “Nearly everything I’ve done in my life has been accomplished through other people.”

Here’s something I love about persuasion; it applies at work and home, a 24x7x365 skill. At work you try to persuade your boss, direct reports, coworkers, vendors and customers. At home influence helps with your parents, significant other, children, neighbors and anyone else you come in contact with.

Opportunities

In virtually every communication you have there will be opportunities for you to do seemingly little things just a bit different to potentially reap big rewards. For example, wouldn’t you be interested to find out what the Cancer Society did to increase their volunteer rate 700% in one area of town or how Easter Seals doubled the number of donors? Both were accomplished by doing a few, nearly costless things differently to employ a little psychology.

The problem is, all too often people miss the opportunities that are right in front of them. However, once you begin to learn the language of persuasion you’ll be amazed at how often you spot the opportunities to engage psychology to leverage better results.

Persuade

What exactly is persuasion? The definitions I hear most often are “to change someone’s mind” or “to convince someone of something.” Those might be good starts but they’re not enough. In the end you want to see people change their behavior.

With a focus on behavior change I think Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher, put it best when he said, “Persuasion is the art of getting people to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do if you didn’t ask.”

Lasting

Sometimes your interaction with another person is “one and done” but quite often it’s an ongoing relationship. In those relationships you don’t want to go back to the drawing board time after time. No, you want to have communications that change people’s thinking and behavior for the long haul.

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower understood the power of persuasion to create a lasting effect when he said, “I would rather persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.” Done right, persuasion can have a lasting impact on others.

Ethical

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, manipulation is, “to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner.” That’s not so bad but another definition for manipulation is, “to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.”

Manipulation makes most of us bristle because it connotes taking advantage of someone. I’m confident in writing this next statement – no one likes to be manipulated. I’m reasonably certain the vast majority of people don’t want to be known as manipulators either.

When it comes to the difference between ethical influence and manipulation I like the following quote from The Art of WOO (Richard Shell & Mario Moussa), “An earnest and sincere lover buys flowers and candy for the object of his affections. So does the cad who succeeds to take advantage of another’s heart. But when the cad succeeds, we don’t blame the flowers and candy. We rightly question his character.”

Conclusion

Your ability to ethically influence others will be a big determinant when it comes to your professional success and personal happiness. Knowing that, and knowing how much you use this one skill each day, doesn’t it make sense to get better at it?

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills and system to create a regenerative, inclusive and thriving organization that will have a positive impact in the world.

About the Author

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the topic of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – is available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and most other online sites.

His LinkedIn Learning courses Persuasive SellingPersuasive Coaching and Building a Coaching Culture: Improving Performance through Timely Feedback, have been viewed by more than 70,000 people! Keep an eye out for Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities this fall.

Check out this and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the ILI LinkedIn.

 

Synergise – Developing 21st Century Leaders

Turning PointThis blog was written by Dr. Robin Lincoln Wood as a companion to the VoiceAmerica Interview between Chris Cooper and Maureen Metcalf on June 6, 2017 about Robin’s book, Synergise! 21st  Century Leadership.

“As the twenty-first century unfolds, a new scientific conception is emerging. It is a unified view that integrates, for the first time, life’s biological, cognitive, social, and economic dimensions. At the forefront of contemporary science, the universe is no longer seen as a machine composed of elementary building blocks. We have discovered that the material world, ultimately, is a network of inseparable patterns of relationships; that the planet as a whole is a living, self-regulating system.

… Evolution is no longer seen as a competitive struggle for existence, but rather a cooperative dance in which creativity and constant emergence of novelty are the driving forces. And with the new emphasis on complexity, networks, and patterns of organisation, a new science of qualities is slowly emerging.”

Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi

Right now we are at one of the major turning points for our species. The decisions we make going forward, especially in the next decade, will shape the future of homo sapiens and life on earth for many centuries, if not millennia, to come.

Our beautiful blue pearl of spaceship earth is host to 7.5 billion earthlings, in the midst of at least eight major transitions through Eras 2, 3 and 4, from agricultural through modern to regenerative civilisations. Our biggest challenge is neither technological nor scientific, but psychological, organisational and social.

How can 7.5 billion human beings be aligned in order to co-create thriveable futures, and ensure a viable biosphere for us all by 2050? We humans possess tremendous adaptive capacities, grounded in our having successfully transitioned through three major evolutionary eras.

We can build on our Era 1 ability to forge strong tribal bonds to ensure our local survival and thriving. These ethnocentric bonds and expressive talents are native to all of us, enabling us to take care of each other and the places we care for and hold sacred, while also exploring and connecting with nature and each other at a local level.

We can build on our Era 2 ability to manage cities, regions and nation states in more thriveable ways, respecting the rule of law and building intelligent infrastructures and systems fit for the future, based on enlightened entrepreneurship, conscious business sense and innovation. These civic-centric and enterprise-centric talents are increasingly evident around the world, from the developed nations to what were previously termed “developing countries”.

And we can build on our Era 3 ability to evolve our global systems embodied in our global treaties, corporations, markets and flows of people, goods, information and goodwill, so that our global systems also become a driver of a thriveable future for us all. These world-centric talents are now evident in nearly one billion global citizens, who are sufficiently educated and travelled that they can appreciate the glorious diversity of our species and other species.

As we enter Era 4, we now have the capacity to rapidly accelerate the evolution of our species, based on thriveable cultures, mindsets, principles and metrics. The forces and trends shaping our world and us are creating crises that demand a momentous leap from our previously lose-lose/win-lose “us versus them” mentality, to a co-creative, collaborative win/win/win approach.

This “triple win” is fundamental to aligning the interests and mindsets of all people on the planet, whatever kind of transition they are in and whatever their era: a win for each of us as individuals and for our communities, a win for the cities/towns/nations we live in, and a win for the planet as a whole. That is the whole point of synergistic innovation: co-creating triple wins.

There is much in this new approach that will appeal only to those who are willing to embrace complexity with a degree of openness to new perspectives that might at first appear surprising and counter-intuitive. Yet at the same time, there are several frameworks designed to provide simplified interfaces to topics that are devilishly complex for the uninitiated. In particular, the following frameworks are designed to enable you to remember and work with those elements of the book that are “psychoactive” i.e. designed to activate your own potentials and capacities for action to be an agent of thriveable evolution:

· The Four Eras Model – showcases the key aspects of the past 100 000 years of human evolution, to highlight the strengths and talents we have developed as a species to adapt and innovate. The core message from the way in which we have evolved and are still evolving, is that our socio-cultural ability to learn, communicate and innovate is the key to our survival, and our thriveability, enabling us to lock-in certain features of our world to the permanent benefit of us all. Put another way, we are who we are today because of the 10 000 major innovations that have locked in over the past 100 000 years, and which make it possible for you to even read and understand these words and then go and do something beneficial based on the fresh insights you have gained;

· The Eight Transitions Model – offers insights into the current state of the 7.5 billion humans on our planet through the lens of the eight transitions our species is currently experiencing. Some of those transitions are simply linear progressions from one Era to another, while some transitions involve a leapfrogging from Era 2 to Era 4 or Era 1 to Era 3. All of these transitions can be made more thriveable through the application of appropriate methods and technologies, including socio-cultural and mindset shifting approaches;

· The Eight Capitals Model – explores the eight essential ingredients that need to be regenerated in order to have an abundant and thriving future for all life on earth. The mix of these ingredients will vary depending upon the life conditions and culture being experienced in the system-in-focus, and the nature of the socio-technical systems being applied. A way of measuring the potential for ThriveAbility in any human system at any scale is explained in the ThriveAbility Equation, providing a means by which the outcomes of different options and innovations can be measured, integrated into a single outcome variable known as “True Future Value”;

· The Six Pathways Model – maps the journey from our current degenerative, exclusive societies to a regenerative, inclusive world are illustrated with dozens of examples, known as “pockets of the future in the present”. The pathways are based on the eight capitals integrated with the natural evolutionary paths of the current major industries that power our planet and our lifestyles today. Some innovations are simply incremental extensions of current technologies; products and practices confined to a single pathway. The most powerful synergistic innovations manage to combine elements of all six pathways, leading to breakthroughs that make the impossible possible;

· The Six Ingredients of Synergistic Innovation Model – applying the “Six C’s” model to any human activity system we are engaged with provides a powerful framework that enables any participant/observer to identify synergy zones and opportunities, as well as zones of compromise and conflict. The goal of any thriveable systems designer is to help the system they are focusing on, to go into healthy “upstretch” mode rather than shifting back down to a “downshift”.

Despite an increasingly volatile and uncertain world, we can take comfort in the fact that, despite the chaotic, hyper-complex life conditions we are currently experiencing in our various transitions into Era 4, evolution is unfolding as it should. The trajectory of evolution is, in the end, toward a global synthesis of all forms of life in a harmonious whole.

Evolution is Driven by the Synergies of Diversification and Integration Creating More Complex and Conscious Wholes

As Daniel Wahl puts it:[ii]

“Modern evolutionary biology suggests that life evolves by a process of diversification and subsequent integration of diversity through collaboration. As the focus shifts from individuals and individual species as the unit of survival to the collective of life — its complex dynamic interactions and relationships — we begin to see that collaborative and symbiotic patterns and interactions are of more fundamental importance than competition as a driving force of evolution. Life’s key strategy to create conditions conducive to life is to optimize the system as a whole rather than maximizes only some parameters of the system for a few at the detriment of many.”

For those of us who seek to activate thriveable shifts in the people and systems we engage with on a daily basis, knowing this offers us a special reward – the knowledge that our lives have a purpose and meaning much higher than ourselves, and that we are called to be stewards of the greatest shift, the most momentous leap that humankind has ever made. I will leave you with these final eloquent words of Michelle Holliday to reflect upon as you being your own journey down this glorious path”

“The call of stewardship guides us toward continuous generativity – toward cultivating fertile ground and manifesting new possibilities for the future. To enable the system to take on a life of its own and to help it become truly, gloriously generative, the challenge of stewardship is to navigate a thoughtful mix of control, guidance and nurturing; to tend to both individual and collective; and to support the system’s wisdom, learning and enrichment, as well as its accomplishment of tasks and milestones. Along the way, the wise steward’s questions include:

What would bring the most life to this situation? What is the wisdom that is needed now? What seems to want to come to life here? How can I serve this unfolding, either by disturbing things, by planting a seed, by cultivating a freshly sprouted initiative, or by compassionately hospicing something that needs to die?

Throughout, stewardship embraces uncertainty and invites learning, innovation and play. It recognizes emergent collective wisdom, developing individual and shared disciplines to listen for the voice of the whole even as it honours the needs of the parts. Stewardship requires thoughtful crafting of structures and systems. It necessarily takes a holistic view – which in organizations means linking purpose with passion, brand with culture, and worker with customer and community. And it acknowledges that place, art and nature have a vital role to play in every sphere of our lives.”