How Nonprofit CEOs And Board Chairs Can Cultivate Justice, Equity, Diversity And Inclusion

This week’s article is provided by Dr. Christopher Washington as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series and was originally published on Forbes.com.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled JEDI SPACE Principles for CEOs and Board Chairs that aired on Tuesday, May 4th, 2021.

 

The pandemic lockdown of 2020 and 2021 presented (and continues to present) multiple sources of stress and associated symptoms in the U.S. population, leading the American Psychological Association to declare a national mental health crisis. Efforts to establish a new normal in the way we work have exposed anxieties, tensions and dividing lines in many organizations. Because nonprofits are often on the front lines in supporting the causes that matter and in adapting and responding to rapid social and technological changes, nonprofit staff are particularly vulnerable to stressful conditions.

An organization’s climate is how its members perceive “how things work around here.” However, an organization’s climate can change. This change can occur when the language, actions and intentions of board and staff members shift in response to what is stressing them. In these instances, leaders can focus on honing leadership traits like positive emotional energy, trust and stability. More enlightened CEOs and board chairs are deeply aware that their words and deeds can enable inclusive excellence, where human diversity, ingenuity and talent flourish.

Research by the Society of Human Resources Management suggests that companies that operate under these principles tap into a broader range of backgrounds and skill sets, are more likely to pursue fairness and morality, and may reduce the likelihood of staff attrition. Research conducted by McKinsey and Co. linked diversity and inclusion to organizational performance. For nonprofits, operating on principles such as justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (J.E.D.I.) should be viewed as essential for maintaining a healthy and sustainable organization.

Perhaps the analog astronaut and geoscientist Dr. Sian Proctor said it best: “J.E.D.I. space is the outer space I want to visit and the space I want to create and inhabit right here on Earth. It starts when we learn to cultivate our own individual J.E.D.I. voice as a force for positive change in order to create the collective J.E.D.I. space we envision for humanity’s future.”

Having served as the board chair for a number of nonprofit organizations over the years, I am quite familiar with the meaningful work of nonprofit organizations. With social and economic disruption likely to bedevil nonprofits for the foreseeable future, there is a need for CEOs and board chairs to develop a J.E.D.I. voice and to create a J.E.D.I. S.P.A.C.E. with just, equitable, diverse and inclusive environments, where community members engage in supportive, purposeful, accountable, collaborative and evaluative practices.

By working together, the CEO and chair can decide to dial up or dial down their shared authority to address toxic behavior and unhealthy conflicts, uplift the morale or facilitate the cohesion of individuals and groups, or foster more active engagement of board and staff members. Presented here are some suggested ways that the CEO and board chair can work together to create the S.P.A.C.E. principles that nonprofit board and staff members need in order to thrive during periods of prolonged disruption:

Supportive Practices

The CEO and board chair can support their teams by clarifying staff and director roles and emphasizing the importance of people and their contributions. For example, in clarifying roles, the board should know that it only has one employee, the CEO, and that everyone else in the organization reports to the CEO, as a way to prevent the confusion that can arise when multiple “managers” are leading staff. Additional ideas include hosting a new board member orientation, facilitating a review of a board policy manual, and periodically celebrating people and their role contributions.

Purposeful Practices

The CEO and chair can be a force for strategic clarity. To provide a sense of shared purpose, it is important for them to communicate the broader cause and J.E.D.I. principles. In addition, they can design an inclusive planning process that involves these J.E.D.I. S.P.A.C.E. principles and practices. Linking these ideas to how the organization creates value, the opportunities and threats faced by the organization, and the ways the organization will carry out its mission can lead to a deeper integration of these ideas into the culture of the organization.

Accountability Practices

Volatility and uncertainty have a way of bringing out both the best and worst in people. When incivility, dispiriting behavior and bullying emerge and are left unchecked it can create an unacceptable work climate. The CEO and chair can ensure that standards for acceptable behavior are spelled out and communicated and address behavior through feedback and other consequences. Having a code of conduct makes it easier for leaders to address inappropriate and unhealthy conduct. For some organizations, term limits for board members can prompt a board chair to pay close attention to board member performance. For extreme cases, procedures for board member removal can be spelled out in the organization’s bylaws.

Collaborative Practices

Leaders can structure interactions that connect people to the work and to each other. Cultivating a sense of connection can give the board and staff a sense of belonging and reinforce a shared purpose. Community building is especially healthy as more people are working remotely from one another. Collaborative activities can be used to share information, test understanding, foster compassion and engage in creative problem-solving. Collaborative activities can also aid in overcoming divisiveness and unhealthy cliques.

Evaluative Practices

The CEO and chair can lead efforts to assess and evaluate factors that contribute to the current climate. Both formal and informal assessment activities can enable transparency around purpose, J.E.D.I. values, S.P.A.C.E. practices and the perceived patterns of performance that exist. In formalizing this continuous improvement process, the CEO and chair can assure that the bylaws have an assessment process laid out and that a code of conduct serves as a criterion for evaluation and assessment.

Retaining and attracting the talented board and staff drawn to the work of nonprofits during more uncertain and stressful times will require more caring and compassionate leaders who are masters in developing supportive organizational climates. In working together, the CEO and chair can provide the J.E.D.I. S.P.A.C.E. principles the board and staff deserve in order to overcome the volatility and uncertainty that is likely to plague nonprofits for the foreseeable future.

 

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, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Christopher Washington is a learning ecosystem designer who serves as Executive Vice President and Provost of Franklin University

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

The Art of Managing Time

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This article was previously published on the SIYLI blog (Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.)  It is provided to supplement the interview with Peter Weng and Rich Fernandez, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  Their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Mindfulness and the Benefits in the Work Place aired on Tuesday, April 20th, 2021.

 

Peter Weng, the founder of the EWS Collective, worked in the corporate world for more than 20 years and was a director at Google before leaving to focus on a mission of helping others develop their mindfulness, well-being, and performance. Given his background in information and data, it’s remarkable that he chooses to limit his access to technology. His home internet router shuts off daily with a tightly scheduled timer, and his cell phone is often in airplane mode on the weekends. But by avoiding television, mobile internet access and even meditation apps, he’s found more time to pursue, in addition to work, the things he loves—surfing (when he was in his early twenties, he surfed about 30 hours a week), music (he’s been a gigging musician in several countries), dancing (he was a semi-professional rollerdisco dancer) and his own mindfulness practice. Ultimately, all of these habits have helped him learn how to be less reactive, become more patient, manage his time more efficiently and focus on what he values most.

Here he shares his views and practices on mindfulness:

How did you first learn about mindfulness?
Visiting Chan Buddhist monks from Taiwan were teaching weekly sessions at the University of Texas at Austin when I was living in Austin, Texas. I happened upon the sessions while waiting for a friend who was doing research there. The teachings from those monks were so practical and pragmatic—it just made sense to me. My mindfulness practice started at that time about 20 years ago.

 How has mindfulness shaped your life, both in the workplace and personally? 
It’s a bit frightening if I consider how mindfulness practice has shifted things in my personal and professional life. In my personal life, personal time has shifted to retreats and meditation groups. I previously served on the board of Insight Santa Cruz, a meditation center in the Insight/Theravada Buddhist tradition.

Professionally, I left my corporate career—and the interesting things associated with that career, such as being invited to attend economic forums at the White House—to focus on helping spread mindfulness practices. Throughout, I have striven to keep technology from dominating life, even when I worked in technology companies.

What’s your daily mindfulness practice like?
For daily practice, my preference is for breath-focused and body-scan meditations, both as seated practices and incorporated into moments and space throughout the day—on the bus, waiting in line, etc. I also journal at night. For journaling, I’ve been tracking my activities every day for about 30 years. It ‘s been incredibly helpful to review my journal each month to assess whether I’m living the way I would like to live. Reading the issues that I write about has also been interesting to see how my priorities have shifted over time.

The best way for me to make time to practice is to prevent myself from being online at night and morning. So, for this, I’ve set up my internet router on a timer that shuts off my at 9:30 p.m. and doesn’t turn on again until 8 a.m. on weekdays or 10 a.m. on weekends. On weekends, it’s also off from 12 to 5 p.m.  This prevents me from randomly clicking on things at night, so I can get to sleep at a decent hour, or wasting my weekend days online. In the morning, it prevents me from getting online right away and running out of time.

Why do you find it important to limit your exposure to technology?
I find technology addicting, and with unlimited access to technology I end up spending time in ways I don’t find the most fulfilling. Limiting my own access to technology has allowed me to devote more time to my passions.

In the mid-’90s, my colleagues found out that I didn’t watch TV—because I was always silent when discussions on TV shows happened—and convinced me to buy a television. I bought one that Friday afternoon. The next morning, I spent the entire morning mesmerized by the moving pictures on the TV and missed out on beautiful surf conditions. I was so upset to have missed the surf session that I returned the TV that afternoon and never missed out on surfing because of the TV again.

The weird social pressures, consumerism, and negative worldview that are carried through popular media also concern me. I read the news every day because I feel that it’s important and aligns with a mindfulness practice to be aware of what is happening in the world, but I try to obtain my news from sources that focus on reporting rather than sensationalism. I have a subscription to The Economist and, for leisure reading, The New Yorker.

In addition to time limits on the internet, I often leave my phone at home on weekends when I go out or put it on airplane mode to prevent me from reading email all the time. In a somewhat unplanned way, I subscribed to a terrible phone service that doesn’t offer reliable mobile internet service, so I don’t use my phone to access information online, except for Google Maps and email. Maps I find useful, so it’s really email on the phone that I am most wary about.

I feel that sheltering myself from the bombardment of ads in popular media reduces the clutter in my mind. There are certain things that I hear others talk about that I think are related to the influence of popular media—concerns about status, wealth, etc. Also, limiting technology allows me to actually do my mindfulness practices—because if I didn’t limit it, I might spend all my time online. I have a weakness for surfing videos on YouTube.

How do you feel about meditation apps? 
I stopped using meditation apps. Some of the apps are excellent and helpful in general. But the meditation app I liked the most gave me data about when I practiced, the length of practice, etc. I became obsessed with the data and would export it to a spreadsheet and look at my daily averages over time. It’s embarrassing to admit this, but I used to worry that if I meditated for a shorter time on any given day it would impact my daily average, which I’d have to make up later in the week. It was a striving mindset, which wasn’t a healthy or productive way to conduct my mindfulness practice. It’s better for me to not have that data.

How has your mindfulness practice benefited your leadership abilities?
The biggest impact has been around my reactivity. I’m impatient and react strongly to things. In my work history, I have often had challenges with being reactive when issues came up. Mindfulness practice has helped me improve on this, and I’ve been able to reduce the frequency and intensity of expressing my negative reactions. It’s an ongoing process, but this was a focus area of my practice and definitely an area from which I’ve benefited.

And on a personal level?
I notice many small rewards regularly, which are fun to observe. I mentioned my impatience, and mindfulness has made waiting more enjoyable. Delays are now a bonus because I can fit in some more mindfulness practice while I wait.

 

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, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Peter Weng is the founder of the EWS Collective. Peter is focused on supporting individuals and organizations to optimize the balance of well-being and performance. As a corporate executive (Google, Dell) and well-being/mindfulness non-profit leader (HMI, SIYLI) he has implemented systems of well-being and performance in companies, governmental organizations, and non-governmental organizations around the world.

 

Empowering Women for the Prosperity of Nations: Findings on Gender Equality by Country

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This blog is an excerpt from The Gender Equality and Governance Index.  It is the Executive Summary and is provided to supplement the interview with Amanda Ellis and Augusto Lopez-Claros, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  It is a companion to their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled GEGI: Empowering Women for the Prosperity of Nations that aired on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021.

 

Gender inequality has myriad faces: archaic laws that codify sexism, male control of joint income and household assets, exclusion from governance, trafficking and violence against women, denial of education and adequate health care, and gender segregation in the workforce, to name a few. The scope of inequality is vast and its costs to society are mounting.

COVID-19 has prompted new awareness around this topic, as the effects of the pandemic have exacerbated existing gender inequalities and revealed the importance of female inclusion in governance and decision-making. The evidence linking gender equality to economic and social well-being and prosperity is clear. Now more than ever, we must prioritize the role of women in fostering communities’ and countries’ well-being and economic health by developing policies that guard against gender discrimination.

The Gender Equality and Governance Index (GEGI; Figure 1 provides the index structure and its various components) was built with the understanding that indexes—despite their limitations—are tools to generate debate on key policy issues, to precipitate remedial actions, and to track progress. A well-designed composite indicator thus provides a useful frame of reference for evaluation, both between countries and over time. The GEGI analyzes data from a variety of international organizations and valuable survey data to achieve a broad-based and comparative understanding of gender discrimination on a global scale, using five critical “pillars”: governance, education, work, entrepreneurship, and violence. By breaking scores down into pillars, the GEGI allows policymakers to pinpoint specific areas for improvement.

The GEGI rankings for 2020 indicate a clear correlation between gender equality, economic prosperity, and inclusive leadership. Iceland ranks first in the world among the 158 countries included in the index, followed by Spain and Belgium. Canada (9) and New Zealand (16) are the only non-European countries to rank in the top 20. The highest-ranking country in East Asia is Taiwan (21), and Canada scores highest in the Americas. (See Appendix II for the rankings for the 158 countries included). Much further down the rankings, we find China (82) and India (100). Given that one out of three women on the planet lives in these two countries, gender inequality there is particularly troublesome. Sub-Saharan Africa makes up nearly one-half of the 50 lowest-ranking countries, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) comprise another one-third. Gender equality correlates strongly with higher levels of economic prosperity per capita, as 47 of the countries in the top 50 are either high or upper middle income. Rwanda (55) is the highest-scoring low-income country.

For the countries included in the index, higher levels of discrimination against women coincide with lower rates of labor force participation for women, lower rates of school enrolment for girls at the secondary level, lower numbers of women-owned businesses, and larger wage gaps between women and men. These findings should come as no surprise. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has argued that decreasing work-related gender inequalities can make “a positive contribution in adding force to women’s voice and agency,” thereby empowering women within both the public and private spheres.1 Countries that have integrated women into the workforce more rapidly have improved their international competitiveness.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, which envisioned gender equality in all dimensions of life – and yet not a single country has yet achieved it. Worse still, only eight countries have a legal framework that does not discriminate against women in some way, with a body of legislation supporting women’s economic equality, which benefits everyone. Achieving gender equality requires more than simply removing barriers to opportunity. Many decades after the women’s suffrage movement, women are still grossly underrepresented in executive and policymaking bodies. For gender equality to become a reality, with all its attendant benefits, the first step is ensuring women are equally represented at the highest levels of decision-making across a country.

Gender equality in governance requires both de jure and de facto progress. The GEGI evaluates the legal framework of a country and measures the extent of female inclusion in governance. Less than 5% of countries have gender balance in political governance. Female leadership in the justice system, the central bank, and the ministerial and executive levels of government is crucial, but notably lacking. Only 21 countries currently have a female head of state or government; only 14 have female central bank governors. Only one in four Parliamentarians is female and one in five a Minister. In the private sector, despite well-documented research on the financial benefits of the diversity dividend, a third of global boards have no women at all. To remedy this, countries have begun implementing quotas, often as temporary special measures, that reserve representation for women. For instance, after Argentina saw success with a quota requiring a minimum number of female candidates in national elections, many other Latin American countries followed suit.

While attempts to solve gender inequality through legislation, inclusion in decision-making, and quotas are necessary, they are by no means sufficient. A critical prerequisite for female leadership in governance is education. Since inequalities in education artificially reduce the pool of talent from which companies and governments can draw, a direct way to boost economic growth is to improve both the quality and quantity of human capital by expanding educational opportunities for girls. Cultural attitudes against female education continue to prevail, and investment in girls’ education is still far below that of boys. For instance, the World Bank reports that only 38 percent of girls in low-income countries enroll in secondary school, and nearly 500 million women remain illiterate. Research has conclusively proven the importance of education in expanding opportunities for women outside the home and the positive multiplier impact for families, communities and economies. The most competitive economies in the world are those where the educational system does not put women and girls at a disadvantage.

Gender inequalities in employment are also toxic to economic growth because they constrain the labor market, making it difficult for firms and businesses to scale up efficiently. Globally, only 47 percent of women are employed in the labor force, compared to over 70 percent of men. This gap is most stark in South Asia and the MENA region, where just over 20 percent of women are in formal employment. Including women in the work force requires a multifaceted approach. Incentives to work, including paid parental leave and childcare services, have proven effective in increasing female labor force participation. However, many working women remain segregated in female-dominated fields that tend to be lower paid and have fewer opportunities for advancement. Women continue to be excluded from managerial positions, and no country has succeeded in ensuring equal renumeration for work of equal value.

Given that just 7 percent of women in low income countries are employed as wage workers, entrepreneurship and self-employment is an equally important avenue for female empowerment. Women entrepreneurs could contribute significantly to economic innovation and growth if given access to the same training, capital, credit, and rights as men. Women face severe difficulty accessing financial accounts and securing credit; in fact, estimates from the International Finance Corporation suggest that women entrepreneurs face a financing deficit of $1.5 trillion. Because women tend to earn less and have fewer property rights than men, they have a harder time providing collateral to obtain a loan. Restrictions on mobility and cultural disapproval of women in business further discourage women from pursuing entrepreneurship.

Despite—and perhaps in response to—the progress that women have made in governance, education, and employment, they are experiencing violence at staggering rates. Women are most vulnerable to violence in cultures where long-held customs and fundamental prejudices place the culpability for violence on the women themselves. The cost that society incurs from violence against women is high. Gendercide has become an epidemic enacted through sex-selective abortions, female infanticide, and neglect and abuse of women throughout their lives. The result is a destabilizing gender imbalance in many countries—in India and China alone, men outnumber women by around 70 million. Furthermore, abuse of women has direct economic consequences, as it increases absenteeism and lowers productivity. Domestic violence is estimated to cost the United States $460 billion annually, more than any other crime. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this phenomenon, as reports of intimate partner violence have risen exponentially under mandatory lockdowns and quarantine.

COVID-19 has shone an uncompromising search light on global gender inequality, reminding us that gender discrimination has been undermining economic growth and wasting our human and planetary resources for far too long. The Gender Equality and Governance Index provides a scientifically evidence based, objectively verifiable diagnosis—now, action can no longer be delayed.

You can read the full report here.

1 Sen (1999), Development as Freedom, p. 191.

 

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, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Authors

Amanda Ellis leads Global Partnerships for the exciting new ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. Previously New Zealand Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva (2013-16), Ms. Ellis also served as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy, playing a key role in New Zealand’s successful UN Security Council bid. The author of two best-selling Random House business books and five research titles on gender and growth in the World Bank Directions in Development series, Ms. Ellis is a founding member of the Global Banking Alliance for Women and the recipient of the TIAW Lifetime Achievement Award for services to women’s economic empowerment. She serves on a number of boards, including the Global Governance Forum.

Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Professor of Law, graduate of Yale Law School, and Founding Head of the Rackman Center at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, is a family law expert in both the civil legal system and traditional Jewish law, and has recently completed three terms as a member (twice Vice President) of the UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). She publishes on family law in Israel, legal pluralism, feminism and halacha, and international women’s rights; is a recipient of numerous national and international grants and prizes. Professor Halperin-Kaddari serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Governance Forum.

Augusto Lopez-Claros is Executive Director of the Global Governance Forum. He is an international economist with over 30 years of experience in international organizations, including most recently at the World Bank. For the 2018-2019 academic years Augusto Lopez-Claros was on leave from the World Bank as a Senior Fellow at the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Previously he was chief economist and director of the Global Competitiveness Program at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where he was also the editor of the Global Competitiveness Report, the Forum’s flagship publication. Before joining the Forum he worked for several years in the financial sector in London, with a special focus on emerging markets. He was the IMF’s Resident Representative in Russia during the 1990s. Educated in England and the United States, he received a diploma in Mathematical Statistics from Cambridge University and a PhD in Economics from Duke University.

When Trust Is Frail: Trust-Building For Leaders

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This blog is provided by Mary Jo Burchard, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Building Trust in Uncertainty: A Personal & Professional Journey that aired on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021.

 

Trust is the decision to make something cherished vulnerable to the care of another. When you and your people trust each other – more specifically, when you trust your care for each other – everything you do together is just easier. There’s natural momentum in creativity, curiosity, innovation, and engagement, because suspicion creates drag in any authentic interaction. Building an environment where trust can flourish needs to be a key focus, as leaders and as human beings. Conscious, intentional transfer of vulnerability into each other’s care is the most crucial component of building a trust environment. This exchange creates a very special magic.

Trust is multi-dimensional, always evolving, and necessarily flows both ways. The trust experience can be observed and built-in six dimensions, as observed in the ASC-DOC Trust Model:

Authenticity – “I believe you mean what you say, and you have no hidden agenda.”

Safety – “Your speech and actions make me feel safe and protected, not threatened, defensive, or insecure.”

Consistency – “Your behaviors and responses are predictable; I know what I can expect from you.”

Dependability – “You keep your promises and honor confidentiality.”

Ownership – “You carry the weight of what happens to what I entrust to you.”

Competence – “You have the skills and experience necessary to do what’s expected.”

Upon your initial interaction, you and the other person begin to determine how much you are willing to trust each other in every dimension. The trust experience evolves, growing, or straining with each interaction. Therefore, assessing and building trust needs to be constant and intentional. Here are a few tips to keep trust progressing:

Your (in)ability to trust each other is not necessarily about character or maturity. Everyone enters the trust adventure with a history. Past disappointments, betrayals, personal failures, or lack of experience may make the trust journey more difficult. Especially as a leader, you may bear the brunt of previous leaders’ shortcomings. Resist the urge to interpret negative assumptions about your character or abilities as an attack. Become aware of your contribution to these trust challenges. Listen to each other’s stories, to learn how to mitigate fears and insecurities along the way, and discover how/why this time can be different. The most important gift you can give each other in this process is to assume that you intend good toward each other, and do not intend to cause one another harm.

Power and need do not guarantee trust. If someone needs you (whether as a parent, an employer, or leader), they will do what they must (vis: comply) to get you to meet their need. You cannot assume that their vulnerability/need and your power to address it will automatically translate into a trust relationship. If trust is not built, the best you can hope for is a consistent transactional arrangement. Building trust requires more than meeting needs; it requires letting people in. Your mutual decision to let each other in begins the trust adventure. How can you forge a relationship that brings out the highest and best in everyone, when a shared frame of reference is non-existent beyond surface transactional engagement?

  1. Be the first to model trust and vulnerability. Trust is risky, but if you have the upper hand, you can afford to risk first. When a trust connection is frail, commit in advance to be the first to trust wherever you can, based on the other person’s perceived capacity to handle it. Modeling trust and vulnerability makes room for the other person to do the same.
  2. Focus on the person. How comfortable and confident are they with you? Don’t skip to a solution or directive without pausing to really see and hear the other person. Pay attention to how they are engaging with you. Are they guarded? Distant? Confident? Emotional? Gauge your current rapport with them at this moment; don’t take it for granted.
  3. Ask for input and really listen. Don’t assume that a visible lack of trust is an accusation or assessment about you. The person in front of you has a story, and that story is the lens through which they interpret your interaction. Honor that story. What are they sensing, feeling, perceiving? How do these insights inform their behavior and responses? People respond to things impacting what’s important to them. What can you tell is important to them? How is it being impacted/at risk right now? What is happening at this moment that might explain why they are angry, scared, confused, or suspicious?
  4. Discover and validate current needs. What is making them feel vulnerable right now? Ask probing questions: “It sounds like you need [X]… how can I help?” “You seem [x]… how can I help?” Essential needs include physical and environmental dimensions, but they also transcend the obvious immediate needs. More than food, more than water or air, people need connection, to be seen and valued. Don’t forget to validate the human need to belong.
  5. Affirm trust already present. You know what they need, but what do they already trust you will deliver? How can you protect, reinforce, and continue to earn that trust?
  6. Intentionally build trust. How can you address their current needs and concerns? Get good at listening for clues about current needs. Confirm you understand what you hear and observe. Get creative at addressing these needs and keep adapting as the needs evolve.

Remember, if trust necessarily flows both ways, the other person is never the only one vulnerable. To model trust, you need to let them in. You cannot be authentic without examining your own willingness and ability to trust. Belonging, care, and trust must thrive together in you if you want to create an environment where trust is the norm.

 

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, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Dr. MaryJo Burchard (Ph.D., Organizational Leadership) is convinced that our greatest depth and meaning often emerge from seasons of disappointment, surprises, and loss. Her own leadership approach has been shaped by the healing journey of their son, Victor, who was adopted from a Ukrainian orphanage. MaryJo’s research and consulting work focus on helping leaders and organizations stay humane and cultivate trust, especially in times of serious disruption and profound change.

The Power of a Learning Culture and How It Fits Into a Competitive Sports Environment

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This blog is provided by Mark Shapiro, President & CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Disruption in America’s Favorite Pastime: MLB CEO Shares Insights that aired on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021.

 

As I reflected back on this pandemic year, I came across an email I wrote to Blue Jays staff while I was on the unexpectedly early flight home from Spring Training in March of 2020, part of which read, “If only I could just pass on some wisdom or insight from experience that would provide simple guidance for navigating this challenge. But there is no past experience for any of us. We are in uncharted waters.”

Together – players, coaches, staff alike – we were facing an entirely new situation with no playbook. And yet, the Toronto Blue Jays prepared for and attacked a season at two (now three) different home ballparks, overcoming uncertainty, external doubt, and constant change, to compete against the best in the world, going from a 95-loss team to making the expanded 2020 playoffs.

How do you prepare an organization to perform at the highest level during a once-in-a-generation crisis scenario?

There is no playbook for something no one has experienced, but by fostering an organizational culture of learning, open-mindedness, and intentional growth, leaders can lay the groundwork to make their team an unstoppable force when adversity arises. The ultimate competitive advantage.

Our leadership team has strived for many years to create a learning culture, where regardless of where we each individually show up to work – whether that is a player walking on to the field, a coach working with a hitter in the cages, a baseball operations employee looking for competitive advantages by analyzing game data, or a ticket rep fielding phone calls from fans – we listen to those around us with an open intent to learn and improve.

There have been few moments where I, or one of the many talented people I work with, have an immediate answer to a problem we are trying to solve. As issues and important decisions have arisen, we bring different people and opinions together to listen and collaborate. I take great pride in knowing and believing that no matter how many experts we contact to help us solve a problem or learn something new, I will walk into Blue Jays stadiums, offices, and fields across North and Latin America with the confidence that I am just as likely to learn from members of our organization – at any and every level – as I am from professors at elite universities.

That commitment to keeping an open mind leads us to have the ultimate competitive advantage – a learning culture.

Our Blue Jays catcher, Danny Jansen, recently told a story on a podcast about doing game recall when he was a young prospect where a coach would ask him why he called each pitch, “as soon as you stop learning from this game, and doing things to better yourself, it’s going to spit you out; as a catcher, you are always learning.”

When a pitcher is struggling to develop a new pitch, seeking out feedback and analyses from different resources might spark a tweak for success.

When a marketing employee is stuck on a concept for a fan initiative, collaboratively inviting people from other parts of the organization might bring around the next big idea.

When an amateur scout is speaking with a high school coach, their curiosity might uncover an overlooked prospect.

Our shared commitment to learn, get better, trust, and respect those around us, helps bring competitive advantage opportunities that might have been lost in a fixed mindset.

From border restrictions to COVID-testing protocol, I could spill a lot of ink sharing the unfathomable number of challenges that needed to be solved for this year. Like every other public facing organization, the list of questions was significantly longer than we had solutions for, with fans, players, families, staff, partners, media, and so many more, needing answers.

But to be a competitor, to be the best at anything you do, is to be constantly looking for ways to learn and improve. And by fostering a learning culture, our players and people already had the tools they needed without a playbook, to rise to the challenge at the highest level.

We have all been forced to live outside out of our comfort zones and to adapt to a new way of working this year. It would be easy to throw in the towel or use the overwhelming challenges as excuses for underperforming. But by taking ownership of a situation and approaching each moment as a growth opportunity, we can collaboratively find solutions and get better incrementally.

Even outside of a crisis, the competitive advantage gained by pulling together and building upon our experience, intellect, and skillsets enables us to bridge any resource gaps to compete against the best in the world.

An open mind and learning culture are better than any road map a leader can provide.

 

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, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Over a career that spans 28 seasons, Mark Shapiro is one of the rare executives in Major League Baseball that has had the opportunity to lead and impact baseball, business, and league operations. Widely considered one of MLB’s top executives, he was appointed as President & CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays in November 2015, following 24 seasons within the Cleveland Indians organization.

Following both the 2005 and 2007 seasons, Shapiro was named the Sporting News “Executive of the Year,” at the time the only active GM in MLB to win the award twice. In 2005 he was also named “Executive of the Year” by Baseball America, and after the 2006 season, the Indians organization was named “Organization of the Year” by TOPPS for the first time. In 2007, Mark was named to the elite “40 under 40” by Sports Business Journal, as well as being listed on Baseball America’s “10 to Watch” list.

Photo by Mike Bowman on Unsplash

Innovative Leadership for the Health Care Industry

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This article is from the new book Innovative Leadership for Health Care. The book was written by Maureen Metcalf of Innovative Leadership Institute and several other co-authors, to provide health care workers with frameworks and tools based on the most current research in leadership, psychology, neuroscience, and physiology to help them update or innovate how they lead and build the practices necessary to continue to update their leadership skills. It is a companion to the interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future between Dr. Neil Grunberg, one of the co-authors, and Maureen titled Innovative Leadership for the Health Care Industry that aired on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021.

 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Urban Institute reports that on an average night in the United States, around 465,000 people will go to sleep in our hospital beds. They will wear our gowns, eat food prepared in our kitchens, have their faces washed with water from our sinks. Some will undergo lifesaving procedures; some will undergo preventative observation, all will be in a state of vulnerability, unlike almost any other experience. Many will receive the care they would term as “miraculous.” Whether it is inside one of our 6,100 hospitals or in a rural office 100 miles from the nearest metro emergency room, health care is a big responsibility. It is always intimate. It is always humbling. It is often urgent.

Advances in training, education, information, public policy, and technology account for many of these daily miracles. We assert these miracles are also the result of extraordinary leadership. Leadership leveraging the strength of the team to go beyond the limitations of the individual. Leadership creating resources when and where they are needed. Leadership reaching beyond what can be touched and extending to the health care delivery system.

Just as receiving health care is intimate, humbling, and often urgent, so is leadership development. This book provides the education and tools to help you grow personally and increase your knowledge and skills. If you are not touched as well as challenged, lost as well as enlightened, and reflective as well as affirmed, then we have failed you. Leadership growth is a contact sport. Changing who you are is the real leadership growth that you seek. Creating miracles for your patients, staff, and community is your reward for risking this personal leadership journey.

Health care professionals are highly respected and valued in society. They have essential, existential roles as healers of the sick and injured and promoters of physical and mental health. Effective health care professionals apply their knowledge and skills appropriately and ethically. They respect colleagues, patients, patients’ significant others, and the limits of their knowledge and skills. They are leaders in that they are aspirational and inspirational. They influence these stakeholders and the organization’s cultures and systems in which they have a formal leadership role. They lead themselves, their people, their teams, and their organizations.

Becoming a better health care leader and optimizing innovation hinge on your ability to authentically examine your inner makeup and diligently address some challenging limitations. Leadership innovation or elevating your leadership quality can be accelerated by a structured process involving self-exploration, allowing you to enhance your leadership beyond tactical execution. While we provide a process, we want to be clear that readers should use this process to be effective for them. We each face different challenges and relate to leadership development in different ways. Each of us will use this book slightly differently. With that in mind, we tried to create a framework that is actionable and easy to follow. The process of leadership growth can be challenging, especially when it requires exploration of implicit beliefs and assumptions and potential changes to your overall worldview. Combining health care leadership with innovation requires you to transform the way you perceive yourself, others, and your role as a health care leader.

Wiley W. Souba noted, “Unless one knows how to lead one’s self, it would be presumptuous for anyone to be able to lead others effectively… Leading one’s self implies cultivating the skills and processes to experience a higher level of self-identity beyond one’s ordinary, reactive ego level… To get beyond their ‘ordinary, reactive ego,’ effective leaders relentlessly work on ‘unconcealing‘ the prevailing mental maps that they carry around in their heads. This unveiling is critical because leaders are more effective when they are not limited by their hidden frames of reference and taken-for-granted worldviews. This new way of understanding leadership requires that leaders spend more time learning about and leading themselves.”

By earnestly looking at your own experience—including motivations, inclinations, interpersonal skills, proficiencies, and worldview, and aligning them with the context in which you operate—you can optimize your effectiveness in the current dynamic environment. Through reflection, you learn to balance the hard skills you have acquired through experience with the introspection attained through in-depth examination—all the while setting the stage for further growth. In essence, you discover how to strategically and tactically innovate and elevate leadership the same way you innovate in other aspects of your profession.

We define leadership using the following chart. Leaders must attend to and align all elements of the overall system continually to respond to changes within the system and external factors within your context, such as insurers and government regulations.

This table is foundational to depict how we talk about the facets of the leader’s self and organization. When one facet changes, the leader must realign other aspects to ensure efficient and effective operation. Many leadership programs focus on leadership behaviors; this book is different in that it addresses where the leader fits within the overall system and how they are responsible for leading.

  • The upper left quadrant reflects the inner meaning-making of each leader (the personal). It contains both innate and developed capacities. This quadrant provides the foundation of self-awareness and individual development. It serves as the basis for behavior, competence, and resilience. Leaders must be aware of their inner landscape to be truly effective.
  • The upper right quadrant reflects observable behaviors, actions, competencies, and communication. This quadrant is what we see in leaders. Leadership training often focuses on checklists of behaviors because they are easier to assess and discuss. This book is different; it suggests actions, but it is not prescriptive. We acknowledge that behaviors tie to your meaning-making, culture, systems, and processes.
  • The lower left quadrant is inside the groups (interpersonal/dyads, teams, and organizations). It includes the vision, values, agreements, guiding principles, and other factors that create health care cultures.
  • The lower right quadrant reflects the visible systems, processes, physical infrastructure and equipment, facilities, technology, and reward and recognition systems

Part of what is innovative about this approach is that it requires leaders to focus on all four areas concurrently. When one area changes, others are impacted. When leaders’ beliefs change, their behaviors often change. Behavior changes impact culture and systems. The same is true when the organization changes, such as shelter in place during a pandemic. Health care leaders need to change their behaviors and face new challenges, such as telemedicine’s increasing use. One essential leadership skill is to quickly realign across all four quadrants in response to changes in any single quadrant.

Innovative health care leaders influence by equally engaging their personal intention and action with the organization’s culture and systems to move the health care organization forward to improve the lives of the people it serves. These leaders also take into consideration the rightful interests of the organizational members. Depending on the role of leaders and sphere of influence, they impact individuals, teams, and the entire organization. Health care professionals who are innovative leaders adapt and develop themselves and their organizations to optimize effectiveness with changing environments or contexts (psychological, social, physical). This book guides health care professionals in becoming Innovative Health Care Leaders.

 

To find out more about this new book, Innovative Leadership for Health Care, click here. To find out how to implement this innovative book into your health system, contact Innovative Leadership Institute here

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

About the Authors

Maureen Metcalf, M.B.A., founder and CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a highly sought-after expert in anticipating and leveraging future business trends.

Erin S. Barry, M.S. is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University.

Dukagjin M. Blajak M.D., Ph. D. is an Associate Professor and H&N Division Director in the Radiation Oncology department at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Suzanna Fitzpatrick, D.N.P., ACNP-BC, FNP-BC, is a senior nurse practitioner at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

Michael Morrow-Fox, M.B.A., ED.S., is a consultant with the Innovative Leadership Institute experienced in health care, education, banking, government, and non-profit management.

Neil Grunberg, Ph.D., is Professor of Military & Emergency Medicine, Medical & Clinical Psychology, and Neuroscience in the Uniformed Services University (USU) of the Health Sciences School of Medicine; Professor in the USU Graduate School of Nursing; and Director of Research and Development in the USU Leader and Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program, Bethesda, Maryland.

 

 

Do We Need New Competencies in the Boardroom and C-Suite? Part 2

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This article is an excerpt from the Future Boardroom Competencies 2020 Report compiled by Competent Boards and provided by Helle Bank Jorgensen, CEO and Founder.  This is the second part of a 2 part series and is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Future Boardroom Competencies that aired on Tuesday, March 9th, 2021.  If you would like to read the entire report, it can be downloaded for free here.

 

Today’s board members and business executives are traveling across a business landscape vastly different than ever seen before. The acceleration of globalization, proliferation of technology, and elevated urgency surrounding a changing climate and biodiversity loss has produced increasingly treacherous terrain for companies with rigid business models. Now in 2020, board members and other business leaders are forced to address these challenges against the backdrop of the global crisis that is the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the board of directors navigate a setting so unfamiliar, pressure mounts as all stakeholder groups are intently observing boardroom decisions with a growing list of expectations in-hand. Undoubtedly, the adverse impacts generated by these complex phenomena indicate that a great-reset in corporate governance is not only necessary but required – and business leaders must be prepared.

Our research uses qualitative analysis to evaluate survey responses from our international faculty members and reveal the quintessential competencies, qualities, and traits that are comprised within a future-ready board member.

We hope that the results of this report can be used as a road map for both current or aspiring board members to reflect and act on what it is that they need to cultivate in order to effectively lead companies through future storms, and emerge on top with a refined sense of purpose. Many are calling the unprecedented challenges a tsunami – either leaders learn to surf, or they and the companies they serve will sink.

Today, we are in a world of despair where transgressing planetary boundaries continue to create new risks for businesses such as increased resource limitations, and supply chain disruptions.

We are not only transgressing the planetary boundaries, but also social and cultural ones. Technology has provided an opportunity for people to be more connected than ever. But many are feeling left out or struggling with cyberbullying, fake news, and constant bombardment of new information and expectations that put a strain on mental health.

Human rights are under tremendous pressure as modern slavery and economic exploitation of human life, as well as nature, is on the rise. This makes the role of directors and executives even harder to navigate, as stakeholders can use their phones to ruin a company’s reputation within a few seconds. With so many moving pieces, companies and their directors may struggle to ensure that all operations can stand up to the scrutiny of stakeholders and uphold the integrity they expect.

We need to move towards a net positive impact on nature, humans, and the economy. And to do so the actions of board of directors and executives must extend beyond a nicely written report. ESG (environmental, social, and governance) integration requires leadership and an ESG transformation mindset. Therefore, board members and executives must ensure that this mindset is embedded across all levels of the organization.

With more attention being cast to the board of directors in addressing various environmental, social, and economic challenges, new initiatives will continue to alter the regulatory landscape. The European Commission recently announced a proposed intervention in the area of corporate law and governance with the general objective of establishing more robust accountability measures to improve a company’s integration of sustainability into long-term decision making.² This initiative, among other mounting pressures, underscores the responsibility of the board of directors and its power in creating meaningful action.

The board of directors is obliged to not only deliver returns to shareholders but also to clearly define the role of the company in society. A society that in return expects that elected board members bring exceptional capabilities to the boardroom.

For example, board members should have an understanding of how company resources are being utilized and be clear on how these actions impact nature and stakeholders. Furthermore, the board of directors must understand how the current and future states of nature and society will impact the company and its ability to thrive in the long-term. A task that has been considered “one of the most demanding, complex and taxing activities in the world of public life”.³ With increased public discussion on the role of corporations in times of crisis such as COVID-19, there is increasing stakeholder pressure for board members to perform on ESG-related issues.

A recent survey from Edelman found that 71% of 12,000 respondents would lose trust in a company if they perceived that the company was placing profit over people.⁴

Leading companies have certainly responded to these pressures. It was recently reported that 63 of the 100 largest public companies now have a board committee overseeing sustainability matters.⁵ However, the same study identified that only 17% of those serving on these committees had relevant training or experience when it comes to ESG and sustainability. ⁶

This dichotomy emphasizes how critical it is that board members work towards building and applying the necessary competencies in addressing ESG-related issues and adopt an approach to leadership that facilitates ongoing dialogue with shareholders and other stakeholders.

We are now in a period of awakening, where major transformations are taking place in all corners of the globe, altering the traditional context for boardroom decision making and heightening the expectations of corporate leaders and board of directors. We believe that reformulating the pre-existing definition of corporate stewardship in the 21st century will catalyze a pivot in social outlooks from one of despair to one of hope.

 

This report explores the foundational requirements board members need in order to navigate the dynamic nature of a world evolving faster than ever before.

(2) Study on directors’ duties and sustainable corporate governance (European Commission, 2020) – https://op.europa.eu/en/publicationdetail/-/ publication/e47928a2-d20b-11ea-adf7-01aa75ed71a1/language-en (3) How to Play the Board Game (The Economist, 2020) – https://www.economist.com/business/2020/11/21/how-to-play-the-board-game?src=gft (4) Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust and the Coronavirus Pandemic (Edelman 2020) – https://www.edelman.com/research/covid-19-brand-trust-report (5) The Sustainability Board Report 2020 – https://www.boardreport.org/reports-research (6) Ibid

 

Do you know of top ESG Competent Boards and Board Members?  You can nominate those you believe should be highlighted in the Competent Boards list 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, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Helle Bank Jorgensen is the CEO of Competent Boards, which offers the global online ESG Competent Boards Certificate Program with a faculty of over 95 renowned international board members; executives and experts.

A business lawyer and state-authorized public accountant by training, Helle helps global companies and investors turn sustainability into strong financial results. She was the creator of the world’s first Green Account based on lifecycle assessment, as well as the world’s first Integrated Report and the first holistic responsible supply chain program.

Helle has written numerous thought leader pieces, is a keynote speaker, and is interviewed by global media outlets.

Image by spokane1977 from Pixabay

Do We Need New Competencies in the Boardroom and C-Suite?

To receive these weekly articles, subscribe here.

This article is an excerpt from the Future Boardroom Competencies 2020 Report compiled by Competent Boards and provided by Helle Bank Jorgensen, CEO and Founder.  This is part 1 of a 2 part series and is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Future Boardroom Competencies that will air on Tuesday, March 9th, 2021.  If you would like to read the entire report, it can be downloaded for free here.

FOREWARD

There is no telling what will define the business landscape post-pandemic. However, the trend remains clear. The foundation on which our global economic systems and governance practices have been built is nearing expiry.

With a heightened sense of urgency surrounding environmental, social, and humanitarian problems, there is an elevated sense of societal pressure on leading organizations and their board of directors to take action.

The future of good corporate governance has begun to outgrow the notion of transactional thinking with respect to decision making. Serving board of directors must apply a strategic approach to meeting the growing expectations of shareholders and all other stakeholders. An approach that requires deep reflection on purpose, analysis of strategy, and consideration of all perspectives in an effort to achieve short-term profitability and long-term sustainable value creation.

As the world enters a period of reset, board members should not only equip themselves with the necessary competencies to meet new expectations but should also be willing to adapt their own outlook through a strong willingness to learn.

The findings of this report suggest that in order for board members and other executives to be future-ready, they must stay curious with a strong willingness to expand their knowledge and adapt to new conceptual interpretations. Moreover, board members should be constructively critical in challenging the status quo with respect and integrity.

Future-ready board members are highly focused on cooperative decision-making and inclusiveness. They have a demonstrated ambition to tackle systemic inequalities through actions that increase board diversity and promote a more equitable decision-making process. They are ready to apply their wisdom in making sense of complex information to effectively balance the needs of all stakeholders and adapt the strategic approach accordingly.

Any leader must understand the interconnectedness across environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues and how it relates to business strategy. Obtaining the relevant ESG and sustainability competencies is imperative for business leaders in understanding how future scenarios may expose the company to emerging risks or present further business opportunities.

I hope that you will find value in this report and use it to reflect on and further develop your competencies.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

This report provides an overview of the essential competencies, qualities, and traits the board of directors and other business professionals will need to navigate the dynamics of a global business landscape shaped by the greatest challenges of our time.

Organizations and the individuals that lead them hold the innate responsibility of delivering on a shared vision that drives long-term sustainable value creation while executing on short-term needs.

As global conditions come to normalize, we enter a period of great reset – for which the board of directors need to be prepared.

Using data collected via survey, this analysis evaluates insights from the Competent Boards global faculty and other business leaders in an effort to determine the elements comprised within a future-prepared board member.

The report uses the qualitative method to draw a comprehensive list which business leaders can use to reflect on their ability to effectively manage emergent risks and opportunities.

We asked four questions:

  • What does stewardship in the 21st century look like?
  • What does a future-prepared board member look like?
  • What new competencies are, or should be, demanded of board members?
  • What are the personal traits, qualities, and diverse perspectives needed in the boardroom?

The findings indicate that future-ready board members will need to apply a lens of curiosity that supports a culture of continual learning and strategy adaptation in order to meet growing expectations.

The survey determined that effective board leadership should be aligned with a distinct sense of purpose that is informed by a deeply-seated literacy of the material ESG challenges faced by the company.

Although an objective list of relevant skills and experience may apply to every qualified board member, the survey results indicate that the definition of a future-prepared leader may extend further.

According to the survey’s findings the personal attributes or traits within an individual’s internal value system may also play a role in defining a board member who is future-prepared.

As the COVID-19 pandemic shines a light on the many cracks within the foundations of our societal and governance structures, it becomes clear that the board of directors is expected to leverage their power and influence to take meaningful action.

The findings indicate that board members must reflect on their current outlook and set of competencies in order to identify areas for which they can develop their capacity to meet demands for extraordinary board-level stewardship in the 21st century.

 

Do you know of top ESG Competent Boards and Board Members?  You can nominate those you believe should be highlighted in the Competent Boards list 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, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Helle Bank Jorgensen is the CEO of Competent Boards, which offers the global online ESG Competent Boards Certificate Program with a faculty of over 95 renowned international board members; executives and experts.

A business lawyer and state-authorized public accountant by training, Helle helps global companies and investors turn sustainability into strong financial results. She was the creator of the world’s first Green Account based on lifecycle assessment, as well as the world’s first Integrated Report and the first holistic responsible supply chain program.

Helle has written numerous thought leader pieces, is a keynote speaker, and is interviewed by global media outlets.

 

Photo by Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash

 

 

THEORY U: LEADING FROM THE FUTURE AS IT EMERGES

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This blog is from the Presencing Institute, whose co-founder, Otto Scharmer, joined Maureen for an interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future.  It is a summary overview of Theory U and a companion to the interview titled The Essentials of Theory U  that aired on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021.

 

(Cambridge, MA: Society for Organizational Learning, SoL, 2007)

Using his experience working with some of the world’s most accomplished leaders and innovators, Otto Scharmer shows in Theory U how groups and organizations can develop seven leadership capacities in order to create a future that would not otherwise be possible.

Tapping Our Collective Capacity

We live in a time of massive institutional failure, collectively creating results that nobody wants. Climate change. AIDS. Hunger. Poverty. Violence. Terrorism. Destruction of communities, nature, life—the foundations of our social, economic, ecological, and spiritual well-being. This time calls for a new consciousness and a new collective leadership capacity to meet challenges in a more conscious, intentional, and strategic way. The development of such a capacity would allow us to create a future of greater possibilities.

Illuminating the Blind Spot

Why do our attempts to deal with the challenges of our time so often fail? Why are we stuck in so many quagmires today? The cause of our collective failure is that we are blind to the deeper dimension of leadership and transformational change. This “blind spot” exists not only in our collective leadership but also in our everyday social interactions. We are blind to the source dimension from which effective leadership and social action come into being. We know a great deal about what leaders do and how they do it. But we know very little about the inner place, the source from which they operate. And it is this source that “Theory U” attempts to explore.

The U: One Process, Five Movements

When leaders develop the capacity to come near to that source, they experience the future as if it were “wanting to be born”— an experience called “presencing.” That experience often carries with it ideas for meeting challenges and for bringing into being an otherwise impossible future. Theory U shows how that capacity for presencing can be developed.
Presencing is a journey with five movements:

As the diagram illustrates, we move down one side of the U (connecting us to the world that is outside of our institutional bubble) to the bottom of the U (connecting us to the world that emerges from within) and up the other side of the U (bringing forth the new into the world).

On that journey, at the bottom of the U, lies an inner gate that requires us to drop everything that isn’t essential. This process of letting-go (of our old ego and self) and letting-come (our highest future possibility: our Self) establishes a subtle connection to a deeper source of knowing. The essence of presencing is that these two selves—our current self and our best future Self—meet at the bottom of the U and begin to listen and resonate with each other.

Once a group crosses this threshold, nothing remains the same. Individual members and the group as a whole begin to operate with a heightened level of energy and sense of future possibility. Often they then begin to function as an intentional vehicle for an emerging future.

Seven Theory U Leadership Capacities

The journey through the U develops seven essential leadership capacities.

  1. Holding the space of listening
    The foundational capacity of the U is listening. Listening to others. Listening to oneself. And listening to what emerges from the collective. Effective listening requires the creation of open space in which others can contribute to the whole.
  2. Observing
    The capacity to suspend the “voice of judgment” is key to moving from projection to true observation.
  3. Sensing
    The preparation for the experience at the bottom of the U—presencing—requires the tuning of three instruments: the open mind, the open heart, and the open will. This opening process is not passive but an active “sensing” together as a group. While an open heart allows us to see a situation from the whole, the open will enables us to begin to act from the emerging whole.
  4. Presencing
    The capacity to connect to the deepest source of self and will allows the future to emerge from the whole rather than from a smaller part or special interest group.
  5. Crystalizing
    When a small group of key persons commits itself to the purpose and outcomes of a project, the power of their intention creates an energy field that attracts people, opportunities, and resources that make things happen. This core group functions as a vehicle for the whole to manifest.
  6. Prototyping
    Moving down the left side of the U requires the group to open up and deal with the resistance of thought, emotion, and will; moving up the right side requires the integration of thinking, feeling, and will in the context of practical applications and learning by doing.
  7. Performing
    A prominent violinist once said that he couldn’t simply play his violin in Chartres cathedral; he had to “play” the entire space, what he called the “macro violin,” in order to do justice to both the space and the music. Likewise, organizations need to perform at this macro level: they need to convene the right sets of players (frontline people who are connected through the same value chain) and to engage a social technology that allows a multi-stakeholder gathering to shift from debating to co-creating the new.

Theory U Encourages You to Step into the Emerging Future.

Examples of these seven Theory U leadership capacities can be found in a number of multi-stakeholder innovations and corporate applications. The Presencing Institute is dedicated to developing these new social technologies by integrating science, consciousness, and profound social change methodologies.

For more information: www.presencing.com

For a 17 page Executive Summary of the Theory U book, go to www.theoryU.com where you can download a pdf file and print it yourself. Or you can request a free copy, as a small printed and bound booklet, to be mailed to you.

 

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, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

This article is from the Presencing Institute. Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT and co-founder of the Presencing Institute. He introduced the concept of “presencing”—learning from the emerging future—in his bestselling books Theory U and Presence. Otto is co-author of Leading from the Emerging Future. His most recent book, The Essentials of Theory U, outlines the core principles and applications of awareness-based systems change.

CC License by the Presencing Institute – Otto Scharmer  https://www.presencing.org/resource/permission.

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

The Magnolia Moonshot 2030 Movement

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This blog was collectively written by the Magnolia Moonshot 2030 Project Founders and is provided by Darcy Winslow, one of the founders.  It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Academy for Systems Change and the Magnolia Moonshot 2030 Project that aired on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021.

 

In order to meet the challenges of our time, we need to shift our thinking as individuals and as a society. The profound changes that are necessary today require a shift in our paradigm of thought and a shift in consciousness from an ego-system to an eco-system awareness. The deeper we move into the complex, volatile, and disruptive challenges of the twenty-first century, the more this hidden dimension of leadership moves to center stage. The blind spot in the 20th century toolkit of economics and management can be summarized in a single word: consciousness.

Consciousness is a thread that connects the 3 Divides (attribution to Otto Scharmer); a shift in consciousness will illuminate the interconnections among the Spiritual, Social, and Ecological Divides thus creating the conditions for current realities to transform into our desired common futures.

We are called to live with courage and collective integrity, for our survival and ability to thrive.

Spiritual Divide

Consciousness is our fluid basis for how to proceed with kindness, listening, learning, self-reflection, connection to self, and awareness of other. We have a human crisis resulting from people thinking of self in an egoistic way rather than as a higher Self who sees the bigger picture of us as community. Our aspiration is to support the inherent value of each person and create a flourishing world for all of us. We are warriors of love, calling all like-minded people to join us in changing the paradigm from “me, we, they” to a global and universal “us”.

The Spiritual divide manifests in rapidly growing figures on burnout and depression, which represent the growing gap between our actions and who we really are:

  • 1 person dies every 40 seconds from suicide (World Health Organization). There are 800,000 deaths per year from suicide, which is the leading cause of death in developing countries for people age 15-49. (Institute For Health Metrics And Evaluation, Global Burden Of Disease 2010)
  • Depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US $1 trillion per year and people with mental health conditions often experience severe human rights violations, discrimination, stigma (WHO)
  • Most disorders classified within mental health — that is depression, anxiety, bipolar and eating disorders  — are more common in women than men. This pattern appears to hold true across most (in some cases all) countries. (org).
  • The annual cost of burnout to the global economy has been estimated to be $323.4 billion. Such costs have led to the World Health Organization predicting a global pandemic within a decade (and now here we are with COVID!).

Social Divide

Empathy is when we can enter into another’s reality without judgement to radically listen, radically see, and radically imagine. This is how we earn the right to be heard. By being witness bearers and showing empathy towards our sisters and brothers we deepen our connectedness. People everywhere will collaborate to create a future where we can heal the social divide(s) and create a world where all people have enough. Our deep connectedness and shared consciousness will guide us to create physical, social, and economic well-being where all can flourish. This can only happen if we are in tune with nature, understanding of our inescapable interconnectedness, and design our ways of living to be in balance. Our deep connectedness and shared consciousness will guide us to find the way back to each other.

Current statistics reflecting the social divide include:

  • The necessary contribution of women is difficult in a world where, despite representing close to half of the world population, women are under-represented in decision-making bodies. This lack of representativeness is significant: in 2016, just 22.8% of the total of national members of parliament and 4% of CEOs of biggest Fortune 500 companies were women. And in 2011, women occupied only 7% of ministries of the environment, energy or natural resources and represented some 3% of those responsible for science and technology.
  • Racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia are global phenomena. Each regional context is different and victims differ in language and culture. But the experience of exclusion, subordination, violence and discrimination is remarkably similar.  Racism as a worldwide phenomenon requires a worldwide response. (The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance)
  • Access to water and sanitation are recognized by the United Nations as human rights, reflecting the fundamental nature of these basics in every person’s life. Lack of access to safe, sufficient and affordable water, sanitation and hygiene facilities has a devastating effect on the health, dignity and prosperity of billions of people, and has significant consequences for the realization of other human rights.
  • There is enough food to feed 7+B people, but we have a distribution problem: over 1B people have too much food, and over 1B people have too little food.

The Ecological Divide.

The ecological divide describes the fact that humans have organized our economic and social systems largely without regard to ecological limits on a global scale. We are supporting our needs (and in many cases our wants) through degradation of the very systems we need to sustain our species and other species on earth over the long-term.

Through innovations in technology and medicine over the past several centuries, (wo)mankind has successfully extended our natural lifespan and enhanced our quality of life (in developed countries), at the expense of the natural world. We have found ourselves in a ‘negative reinforcing cycle’ and are out of balance with the natural world.

Wealthier developed countries are thriving, while those in the least developed countries struggle to survive day to day while striving for the lifestyle of the (overly) developed countries. This is a moral dilemma as well; if all countries were to achieve our (on average in the US) lifestyle, the collapse of ecosystems would accelerate beyond all scenarios.

The ecological divide relates to the socio-economic divide because the organization of our social and economic systems has a great deal to do with our transgressing the boundaries of earth’s systems; we will have to consciously re-organize these systems if all humans are to have a good life on a sustainable planet. This also requires us to pay attention to equity, inter-generational and international harm, climate justice, and public participation–all socio-economic divide issues.

Ultimately, we need to bring humans back into a consciousness of earth’s limits and how we can have a good quality of life while respecting these limits. We, as individuals and society at large, need to regain congruence between our beliefs and values and how we live and work. This requires both science–to tell us where the limits are and to understand how ecological systems function–and spirit–to value the well-being of humanity and the planet more than our own excessive material consumption. This is where the ecological divide links to the spiritual divide; consciousness, care, and simplicity–all spiritual virtues–will have to be a part of bridging this divide.

There are many examples:

  • We are depleting and degrading our natural resources on a massive scale, using up more nonrenewable precious resources every year. Although we have only one planet earth, we leave an ecological footprint of 1.75 planets; that is, we are currently using 75% more resources than our planet can regenerate to meet our current consumption needs.
  • Burning fossil fuels to generate energy, clearing natural ecosystems for human uses such as development and agriculture, and generating waste that is difficult to dispose of without harming wildlife and ecosystems all contribute to climate change.

 

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About the Author

The founders of the Magnolia Moonshot 2030 Project collectively wrote this article, which was provided by Darcy Winslow. Darcy is one of the founders of the Magnolia Moonshot 2030 Project and the President and co-founder of the Academy for Systems Change. The Academy advances the field of awareness-based systemic change to achieve economic, social, and ecological wellbeing. Darcy worked at Nike, Inc. for 21 years and held several senior management positions, most notably starting the Sustainable Business Strategies in 1999 and as Senior Advisor to the Nike Foundation. She serves on the board of The Carbon Underground and The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education.