Marrying Global Leadership and Innovation

Global cc BarryThe following post is an excerpt from the recently released Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders by Maureen Metcalf, Steve Terrell Ed.D., and Ben Mitchell.

Leadership needs innovation the way innovation demands leadership, and by marrying the two, you can improve your capacity for growth and improved effectiveness. Let’s explore innovating leadership in a more tangible way by defining it in practical terms: What does innovating leadership really mean?

It is important to first understand each topic beyond its more conventional meaning. For example, most definitions of leadership alone are almost exclusively fashioned around emulating certain kinds of behaviors: leader X did “this” to achieve success, and leader Y did “that” to enhance organizational performance.

Even if initially useful, such approaches are still, essentially, formulas for imitating leadership, and are likely ineffectual over the long term. Innovating leadership cannot be applied as a monolithic theory, or as a simple prescriptive measure. It occurs through your own intellect and stems from your own unique sensibilities.

In order to enhance this unique awareness process, you will need a greater foundational basis from which to explore both topics, which means talking about them in an entirely different context.

Let’s start with a straightforward definition of global leadership:

Global leadership is a process of influencing people strategically and tactically, affecting change in intentions, actions, culture, and systems within a global context.

Leadership influences individual intentions and organizational cultural norms by inspiring purpose and creating alignment. It equally influences an individual’s actions and an organization’s efficiencies through tactical decisions.

Innovation, as an extension of leadership, refers to the novel ways in which we advance that influence personally, behaviorally, culturally, and systematically throughout the organization.

Innovation is a novel advancement that shapes organizations: personally, behaviorally, culturally, and systematically.

In addition to linking the relationship of leadership to innovation, notice that we’re also revealing them as an essential part of our individual experience. Just as with leadership and innovation, the way you uniquely experience and influence the world is defined through a mutual interplay of personal, behavioral, cultural, and systematic events. These same core dimensions that ground leadership and innovation also provide a context and mirror for your total experience in any given moment or on any given occasion.

Optimally, then, leadership is influencing through an explicit balancing of those core dimensions. Innovation naturally follows as a creative advancement of this basic alignment. In our experience, leadership and innovation are innately connected and share a deep commonality.

Therefore, marrying leadership with innovation allows you to ground and articulate both in a way that creates a context for dynamic personal development—and dynamic personal development is required to lead innovative transformative change.

Innovating global leadership means global leaders influence by equally engaging their personal intention and action with the organization’s culture and systems.

Though we are defining innovative global leadership very broadly, we are also making a distinct point: The core aspects that comprise your experience—whether it be intention, action, cultural, or systematic—are inextricably interconnected. If you affect one, you affect them all.

Innovative global leadership is based on the recognition that those four dimensions exist simultaneously in all experiences, and already influence every interactive experience we have. So if, for example, you implement a strategy to realign an organization’s value system over the next five years, you will also affect personal motivations (intentions), behavioral outcomes and organizational culture. Influencing one aspect—in this case, functional systems—affects the other aspects, since all four dimensions mutually shape each other. To deny the mutual interplay of any one of the four dimensions misses the full picture. You can only innovate leadership by comprehensively addressing all aspects.

To summarize, leadership innovation is the process of improving leadership that allows already successful leaders to raise the bar on their performance and the performance of their organizations.

An innovative leader is defined as someone who consistently delivers results using:

  • Strategic leadership that inspires individual intentions and goals and organizational vision and culture;
  • Tactical leadership that influences an individual’s actions and the organization’s systems and processes; and,
  • Holistic leadership that aligns all core dimensions: individual intention and action, along with organizational culture and systems.

To learn more about global leadership purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders.

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.

By Maureen Metcalf   photo credit:  www.flickr.com Barry creative commons license

Epic Change Makers Interview

Maureen Metcalf was interviewed by Heine Kolltveit, founder of Epic Changemakers. He works with people who want to create a better world while enjoying life on the way. He helps these change makers operate from a place of inner peace and calm and from there create an even bigger impact in the world.

Epic Changemakers is dedicated to helping change makers (entrepreneurs, visionaries, business leaders, NGOs, politicians and people who just want to contribute) create a bigger impact. It is about cultivating the greatness within each of us and harnessing the power of imitating the best.

During this 20 minute interview, Heine asks about the tools and theories that had the greatest impact on Maureen’s work.Maureen offers two amazing tools to help you change your organization and yourself – and hence the world.

The first tool is the Integral Framework – specifically the All Quadrants all levels and all lines (AQAL) model created by Ken Wilber which helps to remember and think about all the different aspects that need to be aligned with a change for it to be successful. The second tool is the adult human development framework which helps to understand a critical part of the context people are within.

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.

What other tools or frameworks have been invaluable to you? Feel free to share below!

Evaluating Big Data Projects and Success Factors – Paper Published

Situational AnalysisJames Brenza and Maureen Metcalf recently published a paper Evaluating Big Data Projects – Success and Failure Using an Integral Lens in the Integral Leadership Review, a bridging publication that links authors and readers across cultures around the world. It serves leaders, professionals and academics engaged in the practice, development and theory of leadership. It bridges multiple perspectives by drawing on integral, transdisciplinary, complexity and developmental frameworks.

Excerpt from the paper: Big data projects are becoming more common in our technology based world and our ability to implement them effectively will provide organizations a competitive advantage. If they are done poorly, organizations lose valuable resources and in many cases lose credibility among their workforce and possibly within their markets. The stakes are high to get it right and these models provide insight to increase your probability of success.

Have you ever been part of a complex technology initiative that just can’t seem to get completed? Even worse, have you ever seen a complex technology initiative that can’t seem to even get started? If you answered “yes” to either question, chances are very high that you’re not alone.

With the increasing focus on information analytics and “big data,” the risks of lagging or failing projects are rising due to the complexity of the initiatives and the lack of available skilled resources. A recent blog post summarized the broad mix of skills and focus many enterprises expect of their analytic leaders (frequently called Data Scientists):

  • Analytic skill set (mathematics, domain knowledge, technology)
  • Communication
  • Curiosity
  • Collaboration
  • Commercial acumen
  • Customer-centric
  • Problem-solving
  • Proactive
  • Strategic
  • Willingness to spend lots of time justifying your existence

Even though the last one is a bit farcical, it actually highlights part of the problem organizations encounter. A domino effect is that without these skills, initiatives are very likely to fail causing vital resources to focus on self-preservation rather than information-driven transformation. As you review the list, you’ll also discover we expect these resources to be “renaissance leaders” (i.e., resources so broadly skilled that they can fulfill all roles). A direct conclusion is the expectation that a single person carry so many roles may be a leading cause of failing initiatives or constrained progress. Many organizations have realized this and are sharing these roles across many resources. While that mitigates the individual risk, that transference assumes the organization has the processes and capabilities in place to effectively integrate the contributors. With the mix of required skills and team members, transformational initiatives will benefit from a formal structure that decomposes the initiative to phases and to specific projects. These challenging initiatives require holistic leadership that we will refer to in this paper as Innovative) Leadership to drive both the analytic and transformational outcome. An Innovative Leader is a leader who influences by equally engaging personal intentions, personal actions, culture, and systems. For this discussion, we will focus on the combination of Innovative Leadership and Data Scientist.

We believe that Innovative Leadership is actually necessary because it uses this entire range of skills to transform organizations. Our article gives two examples of transformations, one successful and one unsuccessful.  We’ll use the integral model as the basis for evaluation since it offers an effective assessment framework to improve the leader’s effectiveness and the initiative outcome. The integral model, created by Ken Wilber, looks at the intersection of four key elements, that when aligned, promote successful transformation—and when not aligned contribute to transformation failure.

The key elements of the integral model are shown in the image above and include:

  • Individual self is the leader’s values, goals, and beliefs. The leader needs traits such as curiosity, proactivity, and a belief that collaboration is important to success. These reflect some of the Innovative Leader traits in the list above.
  • Action is where the Innovative Leader acts using the skills referenced above: Analytic skill set (mathematics, domain knowledge, technology), Communication skills, Collaboration, Commercial acumen, Customer-centric, Problem-solving and Strategic skills.
  • Culture reflects the organization’s culture and the leader’s understanding of it to create alignment between himself and the culture. This understanding becomes crucial particularly when making changes that are not fully aligned with the existing culture.
  • Systems include the organizational and technical systems and processes that dictate how the organization accomplishes its work. The leader needs to understand the current systems, especially those that reward and punish employees and leaders, and ensure these are updated to reflect the new actions required to be successful.

When implementing change, the leader must attend to each of the four areas and ensure they are changing in ways that are well aligned and support one another. To further illustrate this point, the image above reflects key areas of alignment, and all actions in the system have the potential to impact all elements of the system. It is this interconnected nature of leadership and systems that makes this model so important when implementing change. Leaders must take a more comprehensive view of the environment to ensure successful change. It’s no longer sufficient to manage change only from the systems view while ignoring the other three quadrants. To help demonstrate the model’s applicability, let’s review two initiatives.

The first initiative is an example of a great opportunity that never “left the launch pad.”  Despite a very strong financial business case to save money and environmental resources, the available resources could not rally enough energy to reach critical mass (or escape velocity). The second initiative is an example of a very complex, very long business transformation to increase revenue and decrease cost. It required more resources for implementation and delivered incredibly positive results. The resources available to both initiatives were very similar, but the outcomes were startlingly different. We will explore both projects through the integral lens, considering how they performed against the four categories in the integral framework. After reviewing the two initiatives, we’ll explore the key differences and provide some insight on how the integral model can improve successful outcomes.

Click to read the full paper: Evaluating Big Data Projects – Success and Failure Using an Integral Lens

Cultivating Resilience: Developing our “Response-ability” to Stress – Part 2

ResilienceThis week’s blog post was written by one of our coaches, Lisa Iverson, innovative leadership coach & mental health counselor.  Last week we discussed resilience and how it’s helpful in the workplace by exploring the first two of four elements. This week we will discuss the remaining elements and how they can be applied.

Let’s look at an example of a client who is currently in a very tough leadership role. He has excelled his entire career, but is now facing challenges he hadn’t experienced before. His strategies are no longer working like they did in the past. Specifically, he is finding his responses to colleagues and people he respects and cares about are leaving him short tempered and agitated. This agitation comes out in his ability to respond in a supportive manner. The first step we took was for him to not only review his professional contributions and agendas for meetings, but to also prepare for the amount of emotional energy required. Now, when he is going into what is likely a challenging meeting, he takes two minutes in advance to calm himself and review his goals for the meeting. He also reflects on his appreciation for the talented team with whom he works. He appreciates his colleagues and finds that this momentary reflection helps him improve his ability to focus on the progress they are making rather than on the challenges they continually face.

3.    Be aware of and manage the way you think and speak to yourself.

Learn and practice the essence of more positive psychology. In his book A Primer in Positive Psychology, Christopher Pederson introduces positive psychology in the following manner:

Positive psychology is the scientific study of what goes right in life…It is a newly christened approach within psychology that takes seriously as subject matter those things that make life worth living…positive psychology does not deny the valleys. Its signature premise is more nuanced but nonetheless important: ‘What is good about life is as genuine as what is bad and therefore deserves equal attention.’”

Learn to focus on and recall the positive aspects or your life:

  • your experiences
  • your behaviors
  • your opportunities and potential
  • the gifts, strengths, and talents that you offer to other people
  • aspects of life you are grateful for
  • learn to reinforce these positive thoughts as opposed to dwelling on the negative
  • learn to “reframe” challenging situations and develop a wider perspective, imagining that something positive might arise from the challenge

4.    Build Emotional Intelligence: Self-Knowledge and Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is certainly not a skill that can be learned overnight nor through a weekend workshop. Developing true self-knowledge is a life-long process that must be attended to on a daily basis, and it matures and deepens as long as we value the process and give it time and guidance to develop.

Robert Wicks, in his very helpful book Bounce: Living the Resilient Life, writes,

If resilience is to be strengthened, if stress is to be limited, and if the quality of our personal and professional well-being is to be enhanced, then self-knowledge is not a nicety… Self-knowledge leads to personal discipline and self-management, which are essential to resilience. Psychologists call this ‘self-regulation.’” 

Wicks identifies eight major themes that should be considered in an on-going self-reflective process:

  • understanding our unique self and being true to that self
  • embarking on a disciplined search
  • elements of clarity
  • awareness of our own agendas
  • facing failure in a productive way
  • critical thinking
  • appreciating and overcoming our resistance to change
  • improving self-talk

Very few people will find all of these characteristics of “a resilient person” easy to cultivate. While each area of effort seems healthy and worth the pursuit, most of us are not trained or programmed to be aware of our stress level and our personal triggers, to self-regulate our emotions, or to change our self talk, nor is it easy for any of us to carve out the time for the many positive suggestions that are offered to increase our resilience. Yet, I believe that the skill sets described here are as vital to our leadership toolbox as any other, perhaps more so in the long run. These skills, once developed, are as applicable to personal life as to our work places and simply make us happier, more resilient, and more effective human beings. The skills inherent in being resilient improve our overall quality of life.

Most of us can build these skills on our own, to some degree, but the assistance and guidance of a coach can both speed up and further deepen this important area of development. If, like most of us, you are either challenged by stress or are working hard to develop some element of the skill set mentioned in this article, consider a hiring a coach to assess your current status, and to guide, encourage, and assist your progress toward greater resilience.

Cultivating resilience is an effort and a gift to yourself you won’t regret.

Lisa Iverson is a certified coach and a licensed mental health therapist. Lisa was also the founder and was the long-term Executive Director of NOVA School, an independent middle school for highly capable students. She has spent years in senior leadership roles running this and other schools. During this time she honed her skills in leadership, organization development and individual leader development. She now focuses on providing innovative leadership and organizational development coaching and consulting. Lisa coaches her clients to effectively navigate the complex terrain of transformational leadership in organizations as well as in entrepreneurial settings.

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.

Resources:

Innovative Leadership Fieldbook, Metcalf, Maureen and Palmer, Mark

Bounce: Living the Resilient Life, Wicks, Robert J.

A Primer in Positive Psychology, Peterson, Christopher

The Power of Resilience, Brooks, Robert and Goldstein, Sam

Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, Graham, Linda MFT

photo credit: www.flickr.com wetzel

Online Innovative Leadership Development Program Now Available – Free Trial Offer

Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and ManagersWe are committed to giving you leadership development programs that meet your needs, delivered in a way that is accessible and easy to use. We are delighted to announce our latest program  based on the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers – International Book Award Finalist for Best Business Career Book. This program is designed to address the needs of leaders who would like to dedicate time weekly to their development. Valuable lessons and exercises along with webinars and videos are delivered weekly by e-mail. This 10 month program takes about 15 to 45 minutes per week depending on the level of engagement the leader. Leaders read the assignments, and complete the worksheets and reflection questions weekly. They can also choose to work with a coach to support and deepen their progress.

The first two programs are now available for emerging leader and leader.

If you are interested in an 11 week trial offer, the leader version is available at no charge please signup.

We welcome your feedback to allow us to continue to create products and services that serve your leader development and organizational transformation needs. We will develop additional programs based on your interests.

Innovative Leadership Institute to be Featured on Net Worth TV

Metcal & Associates Photo shoot for Net WorthMetcalf & Associates will be featured in an upcoming segment on “Optimizing Productivity and Profitability through Effective Training and Education” as part of the show’s Today in Business series. Filming completed on June 26. We expect it to air in August.

The five-minute Net Worth television segment aims to educate viewers on the valuable role that management consulting and coaching firms like Metcalf & Associates play in supporting businesses. The segment highlights Metcalf & Associates’ innovative strategies and approaches, and features its client, the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.

Net Worth is a television series that takes viewers around the globe following interesting business, healthcare, and financial stories. Hosted by Terry Bradshaw, the program shares first-hand insights from business owners, entrepreneurs and experts in a variety of industries. Net Worth airs nationally and regionally on many popular television networks.

Using Developmental Perspective to Build Authentic Leadership

Developmental PerspectivesHow to use the five elements of innovative leadership to become a more authentic leader is the focus of this five-blog series. We will explore each element in sufficient depth and provide recommended next steps. The first component is how an understanding of developmental perspective helps you become more authentic and also create a more authentic workplace.

I had a conversation today with Colleen, a colleague, about the question of authenticity—specifically, “if I’m not transparent, am I authentic?” The basis for the question rose from Colleen’s dilemma that the more transparent she is with one of her colleagues, the greater the tension is between them. She found that with SOME people, less is more and with others more is appropriate. So, the question became: Can I be authentic and yet edit how much I share? If I edit what I say or do, how much of my authenticity is lost? Are there models to help me determine what and how much to share and in which settings?

As an analogy, we came to the easy conclusion that throughout our personal lives as we speak to children or young adults, we adjust our conversations to be age appropriate and we feel authentic adjusting our language and complexity. So, can and should we adjust our conversations in the workplace with our colleagues in the same way to match their level of development (developmental perspective) or type preferences. Adjusting conversation to match our listener’s preferences is as appropriate and authentic as adjusting conversations to match the level of development of younger or less experienced people. Not only is it appropriate, it is required to optimize our effectiveness and theirs.

Colleen and I decided that as leaders we must be authentic with ourselves. It’s not helpful to hold secrets, or be unconscious about our own inner “algorithms” or the way we make sense of the world in how we make decisions, set our ground rules, determine our goals and values, and so on. This is the lead-self component—knowing your type and the importance of introspection in getting to know ourselves more fully that we talked about in last week’s blog.

Now we turn to the lead others component. What does “authentic” look like? For this discussion we turn to the developmental perspective model for guidance.  Leading others means we need to be authentic in a way that meets others’ needs. This rule would apply whether we are talking about our stakeholders, peers, bosses, or followers.

Now let’s turn to how this applies to developmental perspecitve. We will start by defining developmental perspective/level, the term “Developmental Perspective” can be described as “meaning making,” or how you make sense of experiences. This is important because the algorithm you use to make sense of the world influences your thoughts and actions. Incorporating these perspectives as part of your interactions will inform your decisions about the blend of authentic and useful. This model of developmental perspectives can guide us in shaping our conversations with others in a way that allows us to be true to ourselves and frame conversations in a way that is helpful to others. When working with Developmental Perspective, it is important to remember there are not better or worse developmental perspectives—all are necessary to make an organization function optimally, there are, however, better and worse ways to interact based on the perspectives of those involved. People whose center of gravity is earlier (lower) tend to be more concrete, have a shorter time horizon for decision making and generally demonstrate less complex thinking. People with a later (higher) level of developmental perspective tend to be more complex thinkings, have a longer decision horizon and have more nuanced approach to leadership.

The guiding principle is that our communication must be both authentic and useful. We must be authentic and true to ourselves and communicate that is useful to the other person in order for us to collectively accomplish our desired goals. Anything we communicate that pulls us away from our goals may be authentic, but not useful. A note of caution, I’m not suggesting withholding anything that may violate ethics; rather, advocating that we share information that is helpful. In many cases, leaders I coach find that people around them struggle to understand them. In most of these cases, the leaders are expert in their fields and those around them do not share this expertise. What is most useful in these communications is to respectfully communicate to the listener at the level of detail they can understand.

The Developmental Perspective model is a complex model that allows you to augment your instincts within a structured framework, and get close enough to help us understand the communication that would be most effective. This model is quite robust and can be used in many different ways. For the purpose of this blog post, it is focused on authentic communication. For more information about this model you can refer to our brief article The Story of Jill– How an Individual Leader Developed into a “Level 5” Leader or those of leading researchers in this field, Susanne Cook-Greuter and Terri O’Fallon. Both O’Fallon and Cook-Greuter provide extensive information on their websites.

Recommendations to improve your ability to communicate authentically using the focus on developmental perspectives:

  1. Read an article on developmental perspectives to gain a general understanding of the framework and your level;
  2. Take the MAP assessment created by Susanne Cook-Greuter to determine your developmental perspective profile;
  3. Evaluate those around you and create a map of the predominate level of your key stakeholders;
  4. Create your own guidelines for how to best communicate with different levels based on the articles and links in the blog post;
  5. Experiment with tailoring communications to levels appropriate for your audience;
  6. Get feedback from others on the impact these experiments to gauge if you are communicating effectively.

As an innovative leader, developing yourself isn’t enough. You must also have an ability to understand others through the developmental lens and relate to them using Developmental Perspective as an important filter for interactions. When working with Developmental Perspective, it is important to remember there are not better or worse developmental perspectives – all are necessary to make an organization function optimally, there are, however, better and worse ways to interact based on the perspectives of those involved. The best and most authentic leaders understand that the role they play—and how effective they are in that role—is linked to everyone with whom they interact and work.

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.

Using Leader Type to Build Authentic Leadership

IntrospectionHow to use the five elements of innovative leadership to become a more authentic leader is the focus of this five-blog series. We will explore each element in sufficient depth and provide recommended next steps. The first component is how an understanding of leader type helps you become more authentic and also create a more authentic workplace.

First, understand your leadership type by taking an assessment to understand yourself; then, learn about your colleagues’ types. By knowing who you are and who they are, you can create an environment in which people are able to comfortably be themselves and create a common language where they understand one another. An environment in which people are given tacit permission to be themselves allows them to focus their energy on their skills, rather than using it to fit into an expectation and aligns individuals aligns with the culture of the overall group.

Paul, an engineering leader, is a Type six personality,(the loyalist). He is committed, reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy, and security-oriented.  .  Though he is cautious and has problems with self-doubt, he’s quite methodical and also passionate about the value his work provides to our community. He evaluates how his projects will impact his children and future generations, and is focused on building the physical infrastructure required to promote a better future. These qualities make him an exceptional engineer. He’s an excellent “troubleshooter” and can foresee problems and foster cooperation, but Paul—often running on stress—can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious.

He focuses heavily on process and has insufficient levels of empathy to be an exceptional leader of people and projects. After taking the Enneagram assessment, he was able to identify his strengths and deficiencies. By understanding his authentic type (Enneagram Type six) and building on his strengths, he has improved his leadership ability. To augment his strengths, he also needed to build the capacities where he showed limitations—one of which is the capacity to show authentic empathy. He started by trying small experiments in leading with empathy that was appropriate for his work environment. He documented these experiments in a journal that allowed him to reflect on what was blocking his success as well as what was working well.

Over time he began to receive very positive feedback that these experiments were working, and his ability to be empathetic evolved into an authentic skill. While this may never be his strongest skill, he has made great progress in understanding what others need from him and developing the skills to relate more effectively. His success is attributed to both his willingness to learn about himself and also to take corrective action to address a gap in his skills and comfort level.

Part of the challenge in building authentic leadership is learning to leverage the clarity of your introspection. You can only be authentic if you understand who you truly are. Looking inside yourself and examining the makeup of your inner being enables you to function in a highly-grounded way, rather than operating from the innate biases of uninformed decision-making.

First and foremost start by simply considering your disposition, tendencies, inclinations, and ways of being. Authentic leadership hinges on understanding the simple, native manner in which you show up in your life. One way to observe this is by examining key aspects of your inner being, often called Leader Type, which reflect a leader’s personality type. The leader personality type is an essential foundation of your personal makeup, critically influencing who you are as a leader and greatly shaping the effectiveness of your leadership. The ancient adage “know thyself” holds true as a crucial underpinning in leadership performance.

When the sixty-five member Advisory Council for the Stanford Graduate School of Business was polled several years ago on the topic of what is most important to include in the school’s curriculum, there was an overwhelming, and quite impressive, agreement that the most important thing business school graduates needed to learn was self-awareness and the resulting ability to reduce denial in their perceptions of themselves and their actions. This speaks to the emerging deep recognition that we are highlighting in authentic leaders: Leaders who are unable to manage their authentic personality quirks and biases, can derail the most progressive initiatives toward an organization’s sustainable success. The real goal is to understand who you are at your core, build on your strengths, and  manage prejudice and idiosyncrasies.

Recommendations to improve your leadership authenticity using the focus on leader type:

  1. Take a personality type assessment;
  2. Learn about your type;
  3. Get input from others on what they think is most effective and least effective about your leadership style relative to your professional goals;
  4. Do a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) assessment to evaluate how your type maps to your work;
  5. Identify the strengths on which you can build, and the weaknesses and threats that may interfere with your success;
  6. Create a development plan that includes defining  daily practices to support development, including introspective routines;
  7. Seek assistance in accomplishing your plan and getting feedback from trusted others;
  8. Make the changes you defined in your plan.

Your ability to use deep introspection relies on your development of, and a capacity for, self-understanding and self-awareness. Both allow you profound openness of personal perspective as well as a greater understanding of others. These critical traits support leaders’ abilities to self-regulate, communicate effectively with others, and encourage personal learning. Employing a deeper understanding of Leader Type for both yourself and others is a powerful tool to promote effective leadership.

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.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com h.koppdelaney

Reflecting on Creating My Vision – What do I do?

Innovative Leadership Workbook - What do I do?During the months of December 2012 – January 2013, we will be posting a blog series focused on helping leaders define their personal vision. If you plan annual goals, this series of exercises may serve as a helpful foundation. Each week you will see another post designed to guide you in identifying what is most important to you. First, you will define your future, and from that vantage point, clarify your vision and values. You will then consider what you want to do professionally, as well as the type and extent of the impact you want to have on the world. We will also provide examples from Demetrius and Jonathan, both emerging leader during this blog series. This blog series is an excerpt from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers and also part of our comprehensive leadership development program.

To help you develop your action plan, building on your vision from blog posts in December, it is time to further clarify your direction using the reflection questions, “What do I think/believe?” reflects your intentions. “What do I do?” questions reflect your actions. “What do we believe?” reflects the culture of your organization (i.e., work, school, community), and “How do we do this?” questions reflect systems and processes for your organization. This exercise is an opportunity to practice innovative leadership by considering your vision for yourself and how it will play out in the context of your life. You will define your intentions, actions, culture, and systems in a systematic manner. This week’s questions will focus entirely on how do we do this? This question helps clarify the systems and processes within your organization that impact your vision. Next week we will post questions from the one remaining category.

  • How do I gather input from key stakeholders to incorporate into my vision (family, business, self)?
  • How do I research trends that will impact my industry so I can understand my future placement and how to navigate potential transitions in my industry?
  • How do I synthesize competing goals and commitments to create a vision that works for me in the context of the communities I serve (family, friends, work, and community)?
  • How do I develop my vision taking the greater economic conditions into account?
  • What do I tell others about my vision? Do I have an “elevator speech”?  Is it something I think is inspirational?

Let’s look at how Demetrius answered two of the reflection questions. His answers served as input for his leadership development plan (see prior post for his vision statement and prior reflection questions). If you are reading this series for the first time, Demetrius is an emerging leader providing the case study for this exercise.

  • How do I gather input from key stakeholders to incorporate into my vision (family, business, self)? I recently had a conversation with my wife about my vision for my career. In particular, do I continue to work toward becoming a ‘C’ level executive within an organization, or do I turn my attention to owning my own business. I have also spoken with colleagues and previous supervisors about their assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. I have asked these groups of individuals because I trust they will provide honest feedback—whether they may or may not agree with my own assessment of myself. While I’m not looking for them to make a decision for me, I do value their opinions and their viewpoints. At the end of the day, I will take time to internalize the information that I have received from them to formulate a plan of action, but the final decision will be made after some introspection.

 

  • How do I synthesize competing goals and commitments to create a vision that works for me in the context of the communities I serve (family, friends, work and community)? For me this has been a constant dilemma. While I believe in putting my family above all else, I also know there are times that I have to put work first to create a better sense of stability for my family. The way I handle this is to envision the future I want for my family and set incremental milestones to achieve those goals. One such goal was going back to school and completing my MBA. This meant sacrifices on my wife’s part, but at the same time we knew that if I completed the program quickly it would have less of an impact on our family and a bigger reward in our future. As part of setting those milestones, my wife and I periodically revisit them to see what is still relevant and make course corrections to ensure we are still on path, or, if need be, forge a new path.

Now that you have read Demetrius’ responses, how would you respond to a few of these questions?

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.

Photo Credit: www.flickr.com thinkingbots.com

Reflecting on Creating My Vision – How Do We Do This?

Innovative Leadership - What do We Do?During the months of December 2012 – January 2013, we will be posting a blog series focused on helping leaders define their personal vision. If you plan annual goals, this series of exercises may serve as a helpful foundation. Each week you will see another post designed to guide you in identifying what is most important to you. First, you will define your future, and from that vantage point, clarify your vision and values. You will then consider what you want to do professionally, as well as the type and extent of the impact you want to have on the world. We will also provide examples from Demetrius and Jonathan, both emerging leader during this blog series. This blog series is an excerpt from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers and also part of our comprehensive leadership development program.

To help you develop your action plan, building on your vision from blog posts in December, it is time to further clarify your direction using the reflection questions, “What do I think/believe?” reflects your intentions. “What do I do?” questions reflect your actions. “What do we believe?” reflects the culture of your organization (i.e., work, school, community), and “How do we do this?” questions reflect systems and processes for your organization. This exercise is an opportunity to practice innovative leadership by considering your vision for yourself and how it will play out in the context of your life. You will define your intentions, actions, culture, and systems in a systematic manner. This week’s questions will focus entirely on how do we do this? This question helps clarify the systems and processes within your organization that impact your vision. Next week we will post questions from the one remaining category.

  • How do I monitor the organization’s impact on my vision? How do I honor my vision when helping define/refine the organizational vision?
  • What is our process for defining/refining changes to our shared vision for the organization and other systems I function within? What is our process for clarifying and documenting our values? How do I ensure that my values are aligned with our guiding principles?
  • Who gives me feedback on their perspective of my progress? How often? What form would I like this feedback to take?
  • What measures help me determine progress toward my vision and values? How do I track and report progress toward these goals? Is my behavior supporting the organizational goals? Are the organizational goals supporting my goals?

Let’s look at how Demetrius answered two of the reflection questions. His answers served as input for his leadership development plan (see prior posts for his vision statement and other answers). Check back next week for his answers to the remaining category. If you are reading this series for the first time, Demetrius is an emerging leader providing the case study for this exercise.

  • Who gives me feedback on their perspective of my progress? How often? What form would I like this feedback to take? I believe feedback comes in many forms and it comes on a daily basis. For example, when we conduct product reviews with our clients, I take a scan of the individuals to gain a general sense of the feeling within the room. Then, as the presentation comes to a close, I begin to listen to feedback. If I notice a look of concern or confusion, I make it a point to ask the individual about any concerns. This gives people an opportunity to voice any issues they have, and it gives me an opportunity to clear up any confusing points. The feedback given at these reviews is directed at the team, but it’s also an indirect indication of the job that I’m doing. I also use a more direct approach of simply asking for feedback on a regular basis. I’m a firm believer of not waiting until a yearly review to give feedback to members of my team, or to find out how I’m progressing. If you wait until the end of the year or you wait until your yearly review, it’s too late to change something that happened six months earlier. However, if I am actively seeking feedback on a regular basis, I can make course adjustments and I have a better chance to correct the behavior before my annual review.

 

  • What measures help me determine progress toward my vision and values? How do I track and report progress against these goals? Is my behavior supporting the organizational goals? Are the organizational goals supporting my goals? As a practicing project manager, I believe in periodically checking progress on my primary projects. The same is to be said about my vision, my values, and my goals. When it comes to my values, I’m constantly making sure that I’m staying true to them and take time to ensure that my values are still in line with my visions of the future. At the same time, I use my short- and long-term goals as stepping stones to the next portion of my vision of the future. I work to keep my values, short- and long term goals aligned so that as I complete one set of goals and approach the next, I can start working on generating the next set of goals that are necessary to actualize my vision.

Now that you have read Demetrius’ responses, how would you respond to a few of these questions?

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.

Photo Credit: www.flickr.com Dion Hinchcliffe