Leading in Emerging Industries

This week’s article was written by James Brenza.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Leading in Emerging Industries that aired on Tuesday, August 3rd.

 

I recently shifted my business and technology leadership skills to a new industry. It is an opportunity to help a burgeoning industry improve operational efficiency, improve patient outcomes and help operational leaders be more effective. My career focus has been technology, data, and analytics. My career took a tangential shift when I started Greenest Grow, a company that focuses on creating sensors and software to support efficient cannabis growth. After watching my brother and father suffer extreme pain during the end stages of cancer, I decided to shift my strong professional focus to an area that would help others have a better experience than my family had.

Leaders are frequently called on to step into new industry domains. Sometimes, we invite ourselves into those domains. While the reasons for the shift can be numerous (e.g., burgeoning market opportunities, industry transitions, or personal growth), there’s one constant you’ll encounter: change. While it may be obvious that you’re going to instill change in the new industry domain, you’ll also need to accept some changes yourself. For many people, that second change can be the harder one to anticipate and accept.

My shift required a great deal of soul searching and business research to ensure I was focusing on an area that would have a positive impact on the industry, be financially viable, make the impact I wanted to make for cancer patients and their families. It was also critical that I not provide a gateway drug that might exasperate our global drug addiction issues. This shift has been a bit easier by focusing on 3 key elements:

  1. Adapting and applying the lessons I’ve learned in other industries. When you step away from the details, there are nearly always parallels you can identify and solutions you can leverage.
  2. Applying domain knowledge in common areas (e.g., technology, marketing, and finance).
  3. Adjusting your interpersonal approach to adapt your knowledge to the new domain while garnering acceptance.

That last element, adjusting your interpersonal approach, may be difficult to navigate. “Leading” is getting in front and charging forward, right? While that may work for some, I’ve found it’s generally more effective to gain acceptance and facilitate change through others. While we may need to be “in the forefront”, we can also remain humble and gain perspective. One very effective method is leading with questions to facilitate mutual understanding. If you’re attempting to explain how a prior experience can help solve a challenge, you’ll likely find a very short story will help. That will help others see the parallel to their challenge, consider it differently, and adapt/adopt a new approach.

Throughout a cross-industry transition, it’s critical to remain true to yourself and your values. Consider this: if you can’t lead yourself, how can you lead others? If you can’t succinctly state your values, you may encounter unnecessary turbulence when you encounter new problems. By clarifying your values, it will be much easier to navigate the gray areas and avoid a potential abyss. More importantly, it will help you focus your value proposition and avoid conflicts with your “true north”. By being true to yourself and your values, your new team and industry peers will immediately perceive your sincerity.

The Innovative Leadership Mindset model from the Innovative Leadership Institute provides a robust perspective to help you lead more effectively. Here’s a summary of the mindsets and examples of how I applied them.

Leader 2050 Mindset Application
Be professionally humble You, your peers and your team know you have a lot of expertise. However, you’re stepping into a new domain. It’s important to remember that others have spent decades in that domain and possess a lot of industry wisdom.

 

I am a 50+ year old man who has never used drugs. I was trying to enter the cannabis industry, which is closed by necessity because of the legal challenges. I needed to observe, learn, build relationships before even stepping into a grow house. I went from being the industry expert to the new guy in this industry with extensive experience that would help solve significant challenges and improve operational efficiency. I found it helpful to spend 3-4x more time listening than speaking. I also try to introduce new approaches with a question that invites discussion rather than blunt statement or order.

Have an unwavering commitment to the right action I was an Eagle Scout growing up. I didn’t use illegal drugs. When my brother and father died from cancer, I began to explore the available options to help other cancer patients and their families. I looked at questions of ethics such as is cannabis a gateway drug. Each of us will find our own path. For me, my research made me confident that I could pursue this path and help many people by improving the growing efficiency, which will help produce consistent medicinal cannabis at a lower cost.
Be a 360-degree thinker This was certainly a new domain for me. The size of the puzzle I was facing increased dramatically. Prior to jumping into action, I had to invest time and effort into understanding the entire landscape, identify parallels I could leverage as well as blind spots I needed to question. I relied on Stephen Covey’s sage advice: “seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

 

I partnered with a broad range of people to help me solve significant business issues such as addressing the ability to retain a bank account as a business that supports the cannabis industry. I learned about running a manufacturing business and the contract manufacturing process, about all of the elements in the manufacturing value chain and the cannabis value chain. I sought a board with a range of experience and strategic partners to help in areas where they were experts.

Be intellectually versatile I was stepping into a new domain. It was disconcerting to not have all the answers immediately. I had to open my mind to new knowledge, new experiences, new information, new perspectives – before I could apply any existing mental constructs. I also realized I would never develop the skills that others have spent decades honing. I adapted my approach to ensure that I was building a team that could fill my voids while I applied my skills to help them reach a new level. Collectively, the intellectual capacity of the team increased dramatically.
Be highly authentic and reflective As I processed new information and perspectives, I needed to “double click” on my firmly held beliefs and values.  I knew that if I varied from my “true north”, I wouldn’t be able to work or lead effectively. I had to think deeply to understand my values, what they meant and how they are accomplished. I value both helping people mitigate pain AND I value laws and a focus on avoiding making illegal recreational drugs more accessible if they function as a gateway drug.  I also had to incorporate more research to validate accepted concepts. I grappled with my initial view of “drugs”, my values and the research and ultimately refined how I viewed cannabis. Lastly, it was important to ensure I was applying concise logic and not simply rationalizing to support a business model. This process was an important one. I use the word grappling because I needed to think deeply about what I support, what ventures I want to invest my energy and financial resources into. For many entrepreneurs, this is an important step to consider.
Be able to inspire followership Many individuals look to the “leaders” for the instant answer. However, many leaders know there isn’t always an easy or instant answer. I’ve found that it’s a very fine balance to be both collaborative (seeking input) as well as a visionary that can offer the team a new outcome. I’ve found it helpful to introduce a vision followed by a series of questions that invite conversation to help validate, refine and gain adoption. This “softer” approach helps me empower the team to expand the thinking, influence the adoption of new methods, and encourage collective ownership for sustainable change. We built a shared vision through a process that gave them a voice in the outcome. They also built trust in me and the leadership team through this process.
Be innately collaborative The delicate balance I mentioned above shows up in the tension between inspiring people to follow me and inviting them to collaborate. I’ve realized my first thought should always be to find a way to bring others into the thought process and solution development. Lasting change is only instilled if others are buying into the changes. I’ve observed many organizations rebounding to old behaviors due to the solution being incomplete or a lack of shared ownership. I’ve increased my focus on bringing the team together rather than trying to provide all the answers.

 

Leading through changes and transitions can be both frustrating and rewarding. As you see from the brief account of my experiences, this change in direction has been highly rewarding and also one of the more challenging endeavors I have taken on. At the end of the day, I will accomplish a goal that I am very proud of, improving the lives of people with cancer and the lives of their families. To do this, I needed to remain curious, facilitative and true to myself.

As you think about yourself as an entrepreneurial leader, what is your story? If you look at the seven mindsets, how would you describe your journey? Does this process reveal any gaps you would like to attend to?

 

 

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

James Brenza is an entrepreneur, information technology and analytics leader with 30 years of diversified experience. He is a hands-on leader who carefully balances strategic planning, business communications, and technical delivery. He has extensive experience with motivating mixed-shore teams to deliver high-quality, flexible results. James’ academic foundation includes 3 degrees: Information Technology, Finance, and an MBA. He complemented his technical skills with a Six Sigma Black Belt, Lean Qualification, and PMP certifications. He applies that foundation to solving problems in agriculture, banking, insurance, retail, distribution, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and public service. He led analytic programs that have paid for themselves upon implementation and delivered first year ROI’s in excess of 10,000%.

 

 

What Collective Leadership Is and Isn’t

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This blog is a guest post from Erica Sunarjo, it coordinates with Mark Shapiro’s interview titled Disruption in America’s Favorite Pastime: MLB CEO Shares Insights that aired on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021.

 

What does the dominant approach to leadership research assume? It assumes that a single individual embodies all aspects of the leadership role within a team.

But does this approach fit the reality of the modern business world? No, it doesn’t. The vast majority of fast-growing modern companies are led by multiple individuals (both formal and informal leaders) who make strategic decisions altogether and motivate the team.

Today, we will discuss the basic aspects of collective leadership and compare them to traditional leadership. Let’s dive into the topic.

What is collective leadership, exactly?

In a nutshell, collective leadership can be defined as a group of people with diverse talents and expertise working together toward a shared goal. Collective leadership is associated with strong external and internal motivation. Sharing the same vision, collaborative leaders work enthusiastically and focus on achieving both short-term and long-term success.

In contrast to traditional leadership, collective leadership recognizes that accomplishing ambitious goals is impossible without diverse perspectives and contributions.

View of organization

Collective leadership is viewed as a process. An organization is viewed as a living system rather than a machine.

The success of the project is defined by the relationships among the parts of the system. Working together and taking advantage of each others’ expertise, collective leaders develop unique, innovative solutions that are unattainable for traditional leaders.

Structure

Traditional leadership is based on a pyramid organizational structure. In contrast to it, collective leadership represents a connected network structure.

Collective leaders do not obey each other. They don’t have a boss. They work together toward a shared goal, discuss their ideas openly, and don’t experience excessive pressure.

Marie Fincher, a leadership book writer and editor at best essay education website, shares her thoughts about collecting leadership: “In 2020, hierarchical organizations are doomed to failure. They lack the flexibility to adapt to fast-changing markets and technologies. If you want your company to thrive in the long-run, you should create a connected network structure and promote collective leadership.”

Decision making

Traditional organizations use a “top-down” approach to decision-making. Decisions are taken at the top of the pyramid and permeate down through layers of management.

Organizations that employ collective leadership make decisions in another way. Team members discuss various solutions with each other and greatly rely on the opinions of the experts in the niche.

Imagine there are four collective leaders: web designer, product manager, marketer, and customer support expert. They need to decide on building a new landing page. Who will be responsible for decision-making? All four of them. Whose opinion will influence the final decision the most? Opinions of the web designer and marketer because the landing page design relates to their field of expertise.

Assumptions about people’s capacity

Collective leadership has such an assumption about people’s capacity: people are inherently capable and can be trusted to complete the tasks. People don’t need to be told what to do.

Qualified professionals can do their jobs without supervision and without directions from the boss. A marketer can calculate the cost of an upcoming ad campaign. A writer can choose a topic to cover in the blog. A web designer can pick a font for the home page.

Talented marketers, writers, and web designers don’t need a leader – they can be leaders by themselves and make their project a success. They have enough skills and knowledge to deliver outstanding results, and the absence of the bossy leader only boosts their internal motivation.

Beliefs of how success is created

The traditional approach to leadership teaches us that one person has the skills or talent to create success. Collective approach makes us look at the success of an organization from another angle. Collective leadership shows us that success comes from the diversity and skills of many.

Let’s face it. There is no person in the world that knows the answers to all questions and can find solutions to any emerging problems. But there are teams of experts who can find the required answers and solutions really fast if they work together.

The collective approach to leadership is growing in popularity and for a good reason. Since the modern business world is getting more complex and fast-changing, it’s important to empower experts and give them more authority to adjust strategy.

Benefits of collective leadership

Collective leadership is beneficial for modern organizations:

  • It helps to enhance the decision-making process
  • Boosts motivation
  • Allows to realize the full potential of each team member
  • Helps to increased engagement

Are you ready to revisit your business strategy and change the approach to leadership in your organization? Write a new strategy that employs collective leadership principles, and you will lead your company to success. Feel free to use ClassyEssay or SupremeDissertations if writing help is needed.

Wrapping up

In the coming years, collective leadership will become a common practice. So don’t waste your precious time.  Become an innovative leader today – take a free leadership assessment and enroll in an 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

Erica Sunarjo is a professional writer, translator, and editor with a Master’s degree in Marketing and Social Media. She writes thought-provoking articles for publications in a variety of media. She is a regular contributor writer at Subjecto. Even though she is an expert in numerous fields of business, Erica is always dedicated to learning new things. She actively visits conferences and takes online classes to keep her mind open to innovative ideas.

Photo by Kylie Haulk on Unsplash

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.

 

 

7 Must-have Qualities of Leaders to Get the Best Output from Their Teams

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This blog is a guest post from Valentina Wilson, it coordinates with Ron Riggio’s interview titled Becoming a Better Leader: Daily Leadership Development that aired on February 9, 2021.

 

“Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.” — Steve Jobs

The responsibilities of leaders have quadrupled during an era when it has become a challenge to run a business. Covid-19 has brought fresh challenges for the companies. The onus is on leaders and remote workers to keep the business running amidst all uncertainties. But the key responsibility of helping a business thrive during the pandemic rests upon the shoulders of its leaders.

Great leaders can help to inspire teams to give their 100% at work.

Leaders need to instill a sense of courage and trust in their workers. Workers look up to leaders for direction and inspiration. If the leaders are incompetent or do not have adequate leadership skills, then it is hard to get 100% productivity from the teams.

Good leaders can get the best out of their teams during a crisis period. By keeping the teams motivated, inspired, efficient, productive, and focused on work, leaders can help a business to reach the pinnacle of success at any time. Teams look up to their leaders for direction and confidence. They walk on the path that their leaders show them. They watch and observe each movement of the leaders.

Also, leaders act as a bridge between the company and the employees. A great leader can inspire his or her teams to give their best effort during a crisis time and help to bring abundant growth to the company.

What are the great qualities of great leaders that can help to get the best output from their teams? 

  1. Give powerful and inspiring messages to your team.

Employees trust leaders more than the information they get from the media or the government. Great leaders always choose their words carefully at the time of communicating with their teams. They give clear and direct messages to make workers feel safe and protected.

During a period of crisis, leaders give moral support to workers even though they don’t feel confident about the situation. They solve the queries of the workers in the best possible manner to reduce their stress.

Great leaders are always there with their workers during ups and downs. They give powerful messages to instill hope and courage in the hearts of workers and help them shine in their full glory.

  1. Great leaders bond with the team by sharing personal stories and experiences.

Sharing personal experiences helps to strengthen the bond between leaders and team members. It helps the leaders to connect with team members and help to build healthy relationships. They speak about their personal experiences and victories to their team members.

They discuss Netflix web series, sports, personal interests, TV shows, politics, and so on to uplift team spirits. All work and no play make the team members feel bored. Personal chats and sharing of hearty laughs are also equally essential for the smooth functioning of a team.

If the bond between the leader and team members is not strong, then there cannot be 100 percent success. When leaders share their experiences and personal stories, workers feel inspired. They get the strength to collaborate with other members and get the work done as soon as possible.

  1. Great leaders act as a mentor rather than an authoritative person.

Great leaders don’t instruct workers about what to do like an authoritative boss. They act as a mentor toward the employees and guide them on how to finish a task. Leaders share helpful resources with the workers so that they can work on the project in the right direction. Leaders work with employees as a team.

They give genuine feedback about the progress of workers. They converse about the challenges that workers may face while doing the project in the weekly team meetings. Leaders ask how they can help workers overcome those obstacles and challenges. They share personal experiences to encourage workers to keep on fighting to overcome all the challenges and achieve ultimate victory.

  1. Great leaders take accountability for both success and failure.

Workers look down upon leaders who love to come to the limelight when there is a grand success and put all the blame on the workers when something goes wrong. Great leaders work as a team with workers.

They set clear objectives so that employees know what they must deliver. They work alongside the members until a project is delivered. They share both success and failures with the team members.

  1. Great leaders are fair and impartial to everyone.

Great leaders are fair and impartial to all workers so that they don’t feel deprived of anything. If the leaders are not neutral, then the team will not be motivated to give their 100% at work. The relationship between the team members and the leader will suffer, and so will the work in process.

  1. Great Leaders act as a bridge between the employers and the employees.

The outbreak of COVID-19 led to the introduction of work from home policy in many companies across the globe. Millions of workers have been working from home for the last year. Now, this has created a sense of confusion among employees. It has also created a sense of disconnect between employees and employers.

Leaders have a big responsibility here. They must act as a bridge between the employer and the employees. Great leaders communicate the new work from home policy clearly and decisively so that there is no confusion. They answer all the questions of the remote workers patiently and resolve their curiosity. After all, curiosity kills the cat.

Great leaders explain the benefits and risks of the new work from the home policy so that no one feels that others are getting an undue advantage. They work with employers to develop effective strategies to motivate workers who are coming to the office and working from home during the pandemic. They relay messages from employers from time to time so that remote workers get a sense of belonging to the company.

  1. Great Leaders work hard to lead by example and inspire others to work equally hard.

Workers will not be ready to put their 100% at work if their leaders give only 10% effort on projects. If leaders are sloths, workers will also be sloths. Great leaders prefer to lead by example. They put their 300% at work so that the workers are equally motivated to put at least their 200% on the current assignments. Strong leaders don’t believe in delivering speeches only. They believe in action. And that is because action speaks a thousand times more than words.

Final note

Leadership qualities help companies and workers in achieving financial freedom during dark times. The right behavioral attitude, empathy, and effective collaboration, and great leadership skills can help both companies and workers to get financial success in the long run.

 

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

Valentina Wilson is a writer. She loves to analyze personal financial matters and help others manage their finances in a better way. Traveling is also her passion. She follows more animals on Instagram than humans and her greatest achievement is her blog. She believes that transparency and conversations about money are essential in gaining control of finances.  To connect with her, go to her LinkedIn or visit her blog bestdebtconsolidation.org

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay  

 

 

 

A Wave of Inspiration

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The following blog is provided by Anie Rouleau. It is a companion to her and Daniele Henkel’s interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on titled Certified B Corporations Seek to Improve Our World that aired on March 24th, 2020.

 

In 2003, I went on a solo adventure and traveled around the world for 18 months. In every country I visited, I sat down in the parliament to hear what the local pressing socio-economic issues were. Time after time the same challenge surfaced… the environment.

From Africa – where the concern was access to clean drinking water, to Australia – where I swam over disappearing grey coral reefs, to Chile – where I witnessed a plane flying over lakes to steal water for Argentinian vineyards.

Growing in up Canada with the abundance of freshwater lakes and rivers surrounded by two oceans, I was flabbergasted by this reality. I quickly understood the meaning of Blue Gold, a book by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke that deeply moved me.

Concerned about this reality, water became my inspiration and motivation.

A Wave of Innovation

Principal source of all life, water is vital to human health.

Paradoxically, water is the main ingredient in almost all of our products. Water is also required to use most of our products. Offering biodegradable products to limit the damage in our water sources is a good start, but we must also be aware of the harmful repercussions of single use plastic packaging. These containers and plastic particles are largely found in our oceans and today form impressive plastic islands. We are part of an industry known for its single-use packaging and products that have damaging impacts on the ecosystem.

As conscious citizens and a responsible company, it is our duty to ensure the least impact possible on our waterways throughout the lifecycle of our products. For example, our new ecodesigned dish tabs have been tested to be efficient at low temperatures from 45° Celsius and in a shorter wash cycle. Not very extraordinary for some, but highly impactful on a larger scale and a small win for the company.

A Wave of Freshness

In our collective imagination, a wave represents a strong force of nature. Sometimes calm and peaceful other times tumultuous, water occupies an intimate place in which ecological concerns come to take root. If the wave on our bottles could talk it would tell you that it symbolizes cleanliness, foam, and effectiveness. Figuratively, the wave is our source of inspiration and wealth that must be thought of every day. Its beauty is present in every room where there is a water source in our homes, from the laundry room to the kitchen.

It’s easy to forget to drink enough water every day, it’s equally easy to forget that we waste water every day. In Canada, we’re privileged by its abundance from coast to coast, from the base of the Rocky Mountains in the West to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in the East.

Let the wave on our bottles serve as a daily reminder throughout your household that water is precious and an essential part of our lives.

A Wave of Change

Just like our products, an actual ocean breeze does not smell like anything, yet it brings a sense of peace, wellness, and desire for change. Water scarcity is a worldwide challenge that is current and pressing, awakening a strong motivation for change. What if one day our entire product line contains no water and has no packaging?

 

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

Anie Rouleau, a Montrealer born to a business-oriented family, Baléco’s Founding CEO knows how to do business without compromising her values and convictions. That’s why she chose to redefine the notion of clean by creating a line of ecofriendly home and body care products designed for conscious living. Fervent defender of local sourcing, she sits on different committees, including Made in Montreal. Women leadership and ethics being causes close to her heart, she is a mentor for young women in business. She is also part of Quebec entrepreneurship promotion groups. Mother of two, Anie is driven by her desire to protect future generations. By investing in innovation and eco-design within an industry which sets his sight far from sustainable development issues, she seeks with Baléco to define tomorrow’s business as a transparent entity, respectful of its employees, the community and the environment.

 

Photo by Alexandra Côté-Durrer

Leveraging Technology To Improve Leadership Development

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

In the current Corona virus crisis, this interview may be useful to those looking to use online platforms in place of in-person instruction. The following blog is a republish of an article appearing in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf. It is a companion to the interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on titled Leveraging Online Kajabi Platform To Build Thriving Brands.

 

As a university adjunct faculty member, consultant and coach, I have been using the tagline of “Innovative Leadership” for many years. This sets the bar for how I commit to my work as well as the services I deliver. I recently started to explore how I could refresh my use of technology to teach leadership in conjunction with coaching and workshops. I am looking for options to accelerate the leader’s learning process and offer a broad range of tools for different learning styles. I want to share my experience of how I am leveraging this technology to support leaders in their development.

I researched the many robust online delivery options and selected a tool that was a solid fit for my work: Kajabi. I selected it because of the strong technology platform, strong start-up support, cost-effectiveness, integrated payment and affiliate tracking modules and the ability to communicate with participants by product.

With the support of the online platform, I am rethinking what is possible. Right now, I am using the online training for the following three applications initially and I will expand these as we use the platform.

  1. We recently launched a 10-month IT leadership development program. This program was designed to build skills in the IT community in order to build the talent pipeline for senior roles. It will be delivered through monthly in-person sessions in conjunction with our local CIO forum. The online platform allows us to deliver training that integrates structured exercises, case studies and audio interviews with local CIOs and executives. One of the key objectives of the in-person sessions is to learn content and build a network. We expect the online element to significantly accelerate the building of leadership skills for mid- to senior-level IT professionals.

The online platform allows us to track payment and engagement with the materials. As the facilitator, this lets me manage the finances easily and also identify who is highly engaged so we can offer additional resources to enrich their experience. It also tells me who is less engaged so I can reach out and troubleshoot.

  1. We often augment our leadership coaching programs with a series of exercises designed to help participants build self-awareness, knowledge and skills. Especially for emerging leaders, we deliver a hybrid of training and coaching to prepare them to step into larger roles. For this group, we created a standard curriculum with exercises, case studies, audio interviews and videos. I can monitor client progress through the platform, and in this case, they share their progress prior to coaching sessions and discuss how their learning can improve their leadership work.

The online platform offers the option to package the leadership development curriculum by leadership level. I can sell packaged offerings of coaching and online training. It also gives the option to support affiliates so the other coaches and consultants in our organization work from a single platform with consistent processes and offerings.

  1. We offer online development programs as standalone offerings for individuals and companies to provide effective (and cost-effective) training for their emerging and current leaders. These programs can be combined with other programs the companies are conducting. Because this program is comprehensive and participants work through it over time, it provides the opportunity to internalize the learning, not just attend and depart.

The online platform allows us to customize materials for specific groups and tweak other courses where appropriate to reinforce and build on the in-person development investments they are making.

Another element we will be building into the platform that we are very excited about is an assessment that will be used by those taking courses, and it is also offered as a standalone service. Because an online platform can support a range of services, we are able to create a clean and user-friendly purchasing experience.

I have struggled for years to present a simple path for clients. Our company website is highly complex and positions us as a thought leadership and executive advisory firm. While that works for some audiences, it is inappropriate for others. Using Kajabi as our online platform and linking it to our main site and our book website, we can tailor the user experience to the target audience in a manner that is cost-effective for us and easy for the user.

I talk about the most effective leaders acting like scientists. This endeavor is one of my experiments. I did my homework and selected this platform. We are implementing several modules and we will continue to test and refine our experiment as we go along. For other coaches and consultants looking to extend your offering, I encourage you to explore the broad range of options for technology to enable and even extend the strong impact you are already having on clients.

 

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

Maureen Metcalf, CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, coach, consultant, author and speaker.

Corporate Citizenship – The De Beers Group

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This blog is provided by Cynthia Cherrey, President and CEO of International Leadership Association. It is a companion to the 12-week International Leadership Association Interview Series that began with Pat Dambe’s interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, titled Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship.

 

Global corporations shape the future of business. They play a pivotal role in the communities in which they reside and in the wellbeing of our global community.

This podcast is the first in an International Leadership Association (ILA) 12-part series hosted by ILA Fellow Maureen Metcalf, creator of Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future on the VoiceAmerica Business Channel. In this episode, Metcalf interviews De Beers Vice President Pat Dambe about the partnership between the government of Botswana and the De Beers Group of companies.

It is a fascinating interview that gives us an understanding of Botswana’s way toward independence from the British in 1966, the discovery of diamonds one year later, and the leaders at the time who had the foresight to build a better future for Botswana. The leaders of De Beers and Botswana, practically from the start, entered into a joint venture committed to ensuring that every diamond found belonged to every person in Botswana, contributing towards education, healthcare, and infrastructure. That vision and commitment resulted in Botswana shifting from one of the poorest African countries 52 years ago to a prosperous African country today.

Pat Dambe, with Maureen’s insightful questions, shares that story, touching on the leadership vision, the partnership between the country and the company, and the successes and challenges of that partnership.

The interview is infused with leadership lessons. It reminds us how everything in nature is related to everything else and how companies and countries reflect these highly complex ecosystems. It reinforces the importance of cultivating relationships and optimizing the tensions to find the commonalities. It reminds us about the importance of leadership looking forward, toward a future for the greater good of all instead of the immediate good of a few. And it helps us to remember that each of us is important, and each of us has the ability and the responsibility to contribute and to give to the common good.

Helping to create a better world through our leadership work is something that we take seriously at the International Leadership Association. We hope you will listen to this thought-provoking podcast series over the coming weeks (episodes air each Tuesday at 2PM Eastern or on-demand) as Maureen explores in each interview various leadership approaches for the health and wellbeing of our future communities.

 

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

Cynthia Cherrey, President and CEO of the International Leadership Association (ILA), a global network of leadership scholars, educators, and practitioners. Previously, Cynthia served as Vice President and Lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She publishes in the areas of leadership, organizational development, and higher education including co-authoring Systemic Leadership: Enriching the Meaning of our Work, co-editing ILA’s Building Leadership Bridges book series, and her most recent publication is Women and Leadership around the World (co-editor). She is a Fellow at the World Business Academy and a recipient of a J.W. Fulbright Scholarship.

Cynthia’s interests and research explore new ways to live, work, and lead in a knowledge driven, interdependent, global society. She consults and speaks to for-profit and non-profit organizations around the world on leadership and organizational change

Accelerating Competitive Advantage with AI: How Organisations are Moving from Experimentation to Business Impact

This blog is provided by Dr. Jennifer Barth and her team, as a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview, Accelerating Competitive Advantage with Artificial Intelligence aired on 1/7/20.

Research Overview

We collaborated with Microsoft for the third year running during summer 2019, to explore the current state of AI across four specific industries, retail, manufacturing, health and financial services within the UK. We analysed how organisations within these sectors can implement AI in an ethical, cost effective and optimal way.

With rapid advancements in AI, our research answers questions around ethics, responsible innovation and the future impact of AI on our industry sectors and workforces. We gathered practical advice on how organisations can create robust and scalable AI investments.

Key Research Findings

  • 56% of organisations in the UK are using AI enabled solutions with notable advances in use of machine learning and analytics
  • Organisations already using AI at scale are performing an average of 11.5% better than those who are not – up from 5% just one year ago
  • Last year 51% of organisations did not have an AI strategy at all, a number which has decreased to 37% of organisations this year.
  • 38% of business leaders want to be leaders in AI innovation – a figure that has more than doubled since last year

Report Findings

How exactly can UK organisations scale their use of AI and secure a competitive edge while, at the same time, doing so in a way that is ethical, responsible and in line with the needs of their employees, partners and customers? Our research explores three key themes that allow organisations/leaders to truly accelerate their competitive advantage through AI enabled solutions.

  1. Moving from Experimentation to Implementation

Of all the business leaders we surveyed, only 8% classified their organisation as Advanced AI users while nearly half (48%) currently remain in the experimentation phase. Thus, over half of all British businesses using AI don’t seem to have an AI strategy at all, mainly because they lack a clear understanding about what AI can do for their business. As the people tasked with setting an organisation’s strategic direction, leaders need to quickly ascertain exactly what role AI can and should play within their organisation and provide adequate training and resources for successful AI implementation. Currently, only 21% of leaders have completed training in how they can use AI in their jobs, and only 21% are sure they can meet staffing needs related to skill changes caused by AI. Overcoming these obstacles will be crucial in enabling UK organisations to implement AI quickly and responsibly across their organisations to stay relevant in the future.

Luckily, advanced AI-organisations recognise this as those that are successfully employing the technology at an organisational level, rather than just a local or departmental one, are much more adept at evaluating the business benefits of AI investments and ensuring they have a clear objective at the outset. They are also more agile in how they operate than those that are experimenting with AI, meaning they are better equipped to respond to customer and employee needs, changes in technologies, or market conditions

  1. Create a Culture of Participation

Ensuring workers have the tools to augment their job roles with AI is critical – The change is as much about culture as it is about technology. It involves a move away from a situation in which only certain people or business functions have the tools to experiment with AI, to a democracy – where everyone has the building blocks to integrate AI into their working day and actively contribute to the development of new solutions, regardless of where they sit in the organisation

Building out your culture to equip your people will be the best competitive asset you have. Our research found AI-advanced businesses lead to stronger democratic practices, as organisations that are more advanced in their use of AI are more likely to:

  • Ensure AI is used responsibly
  • Understand and develop the skills and mindset needed to work with AI
  • Create and implement workforce diversity plans
  1. Make AI work for everyone

By establishing a clear set of developmental standards and operating principles to ensure the technology is deployed ethically, with attention to bias and in a way that actively promotes diversity and inclusion. Our research shows us that firms advanced in AI are better at tackling overall bias, as 77% of advanced organisations say they have the capability to identify bias in their organisation when it is observed (58% experimenting).

Two of the most important criteria here are the ability to accurately identify all ethical issues as they arise and understanding how to respond when they do. Crucially, the more advanced an organisation is in its AI-led digital transformation, the more likely it is to have established the operational logistics to deliver against an ethical criteria.

Take Away: Tips for Scaling AI successfully

  • Treat it as a business change programme – this needs to be something the entire organisation is involved and invested in
  • Make sure everyone is supported in knowing how the technology works – an understands how they can use AI to be more effective in their role
  • Embed a culture of integrity and ethical behaviour – it’s up to leaders to communicate internally and establish a framework for making ethical decisions – companies advanced in their AI implementation know how to operationalise solutions to these problems

Research Methodology

Our research used a mixed-method approach to analyse the current state of AI within the UK in the spring and summer of 2019. Including an in-depth literature review of academic, industry and media sources, subject matter expert interviews and case studies across a variety of academics, professionals and organisations, a social experiment on augmentation. The research also included a survey of 1000 leaders and 4000 employees in organisations with over 500 employees with focus on four industries (finance, retail, manufacturing, and healthcare). From these sources, we developed a set of dimensions as a lens through which to consider the opportunities for AI in the UK today.

More Information

To find out more about this research, click 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, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Dr Jennifer Barth is an experienced ethnographer and social researcher, with a PHD from the University of Oxford. Her work is informed by empirical research on the intersections of emerging technologies and socioeconomic change. She provides companies with thought leadership and media engagement opportunities on global issues impacting and shaping our current and future socio-cultural lives.

Her current research focuses on the human impact of artificial intelligence (AI) through fieldwork experiments with IBM Watson and other providers, leading Digital Transformation and AI implementation research for Microsoft, Reinventing Loyalty with Adobe, and more. She is skilled at research design, qualitative research and analysis, quantitative analysis, new methods using emerging technologies and working with people to bring to life the stories behind numbers.

 

Using Language to Create a Generative Culture In a Dynamic Business Environment – Huntington and Sophisticated Systems

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This is a companion blog to the interview Words Drive Actions -Changing Culture With Value Based Words with Dwight Smith and Stephen D. Steinour that aired on December 17, 2019.

 

Words can be powerful. For anyone who has spoken a harsh word to a child, a loved one, or even a colleague, we can often feel the impact in our gut when we see their faces look back at us filled with hurt or sadness. We, as busy leaders, employees, and family members, often allow our stress to seep through in our language. “My Special Word,” corporate purpose statements and guiding principles can serve as an aspirational reminder setting the tone for the environment we are committed to creating.

Does this type of statement help? Is it just window dressing that sounds good in our recruiting videos?

I believe having an aspirational statement about who we want to be as individuals and organizations AND creating an environment of accountability to encourage us to act in alignment with our aspirations creates the conditions where we are more likely to act according to our aspirations. This doesn’t mean we hit the mark every day in every action. Aspirational means that is the standard we set, we measure ourselves against it, and we measure our colleagues and organization against it. Another key is we put structures in place to help one another hit that aspirational goal. We discuss our success stories and our challenges. This aspirational culture is created by both giving deep thought to the qualities we care about and creating systems and processes that underpin the culture.

In our leadership development programs at the Innovative Leadership Institute, we take participants through a process where they explore their purpose and values. For many busy leaders, while they are highly principled, they have not taken time to write down their deepest held values and evaluate their behavior against those values. The process can be instructive and an invitation to remember the values they were raised with or aspire to in their quiet moments. One of the challenges is how do we create the conditions to “operationalize” these deeper values in business?

In a conversation with Steve Steinour, Huntington Bank CEO and Dwight Smith, Founder, My Special Word, and CEO/Founder Sophisticated Systems, they explore approaches they have used to be explicit with their values personally and organizationally. This transparency is particularly important during a time when we, as citizens, are continually disappointed by the behaviors we see from those we were raised to trust. This behavior could emanate from our business leaders, civic leaders, and, occasionally, our religious leaders. In my view, we as leaders can’t completely stop the negative behavior, but we can be visible as the positive leaders that fill our communities. There are a few bad apples that get lots of press, and there are thousands or hundreds of thousands of good people who want to be great parents, employees, leaders, and family members. Steve and Dwight are highly visible and successful men in their community who are modeling their values through their words and their actions!

In this blog and the interview series, we have been talking about the trend that successful companies are focused on both profit AND being companies that serve the broader community. Huntington’s Purpose statement and Values model that trend. Huntington’s purpose is “to look out for people,” their Purpose statement is: “We make people’s lives better, help businesses thrive, and strengthen the communities we serve.” Huntington is committed to doing the right thing for its customers, colleagues, shareholders, and communities by seeking to “Do the right thing” with the following three Values…

  • Can-Do Attitude
    “Enthusiastically work and succeed together.”
  • Service Heart
    “Inclusive spirit to put yourself in each other’s shoes—then help.”
  • Forward Thinking
    “Always look ahead for ways to be the very best.”

These values help guide Huntington in all the company does in running an effective and successful enterprise where people are treated well, and where they treat their clients and communities well. Treating people well includes civility, which means looking out for people. One way Huntington looks out for colleagues it through its business resource groups. These groups come together with common interest to share their views, which then help guide and inform others around the company. These groups drive actions in the company such as the military Business Resource Group driving benefit change for Military employees and clients. To me, a major point is Huntington sets an aspirational vision and behaviors, then it acts and measures how effectively they meet that aspiration.

Dwight talks about kindness, respect, and the ability to listen to others. These words become the foundation of a culture where values show up on how people talk and interact with others. People’s diverse values are respected. People are encouraged to share their values and aspirations – creating a safe place to succeed and also a safe place to experiment and learn and make mistakes.

Moving culture from unconscious action to deliberate choice is a complicated process and unique to every organization. Here are a few steps to consider as you look at your own culture and words to see if you are saying and acting the way that aligns with your aspirations.

  • Define/refine/revisit your purpose
  • Clarify the words that most resonate with and enable your purpose
  • Identify the processes and people (like business resource groups) that turn aspiration into action
  • Measure and refine

In an environment that is changing quickly, leaders must create positive cultures that reinforce the aspirations we have as people and as organizations. This positive culture includes qualities such as respect, civility, and supporting others in accomplishing their goals and dreams.

What are your organization’s aspirational words?

 

This online course contains the companion tools and assessments for people getting to develop become Innovative Leaders. The course is based on a proven six-step process in an interactive format that includes audio interviews with top leaders and thought leaders, videos, worksheets, articles, and reflection questions designed to support you in enhancing your practical effectiveness as an Innovative Leader.

It contains links to the online measurement platform and leadership assessments you and your coach will use.

Follow the process, and you will become more effective as a leader!

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

Maureen Metcalf – Founder, CEO, and Board Chair of the Innovative Leadership Institute  is a highly sought-after expert in anticipating and leveraging future business trends to transform organizations.