4 Industries That Need Strong Leaders to Guide Them Through the 4th Industrial Revolution

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This guest blog is provided by Ashley Wilson as a companion to the Mark Sims interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview Delivering for the End to End Customer as a Strategic Leader aired on 6/4/2019.

The impending 4th Industrial Revolution promises to bring radical technological transformations to enable faster, more flexible, and more efficient business processes.

source: pixabay.com

Technology is already part and parcel of many industries, but Industry 4.0 takes the meaning of digital transformation to a whole new level by completely changing how suppliers, producers, and customers interact with each other.

What are its impacts on industries and how do leaders play a role in enabling its success?

What Is the 4th Industrial Revolution?

The 4th Industrial Revolution (also known as Industry 4.0) boosts business performance by linking the best of physical and digital worlds.

This is achieved through a mix of innovative technologies such as AI, robotics, cloud computing, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Industry 4.0 is sometimes deemed as the age of the smart factory, where digital systems monitor and make automated decisions for businesses with the help of the technologies mentioned earlier.

Industry 4.0 is paving the way for transformative changes at breakneck speed in every industry, from changing the face of manufacturing to revamping construction works, to enabling fintech services in needy areas all over the world.

How Will the 4th Industrial Revolution Affect Industries?

The question is, what are the industries most impacted by the 4th Industrial Revolution—and what can business leaders do to ease this change?

Manufacturing

Many manufacturing companies are behind the tech curve as their operations remain the same as how they were 30, 40 years ago.

Machine operators come into work, attend routine daily meetings with their superiors, then proceed to operate machines manually for the rest of the workday. This is nowhere near efficient for enterprises that want to embrace digital transformation.

With Industry 4.0, many of the repetitive, inefficient processes in manufacturing are automated by smart machines.

This allows employees to focus more on higher-level work which gives organizations leeway in pursuing valuable organizational, operational and digital transformation efforts.

For example, instead of relying on daily meetings to distribute tasks, manufacturers can utilize smart whiteboards to automatically display work metrics in real-time and assign tasks.

Questions like “what are the important tasks to complete today?” and “who should work on them?” are managed automatically without the need for human interference.

Smart monitoring is another avenue manufacturing companies are pursuing to improve work efficiency. In smart monitoring, digital tools assess the conditions of machines in real-time which allows factories to predict potential machine failures with the data at hand.

With this technology, factory owners can identify machine errors before they happen, increasing the long-term quality of their inventory while improving output immensely.

Some smart machines even have the ability to automatically fix itself and optimize processes, further reducing the burden of human workers.

All these advancements will see a shift in the manufacturing field from favoring labor-heavy companies to those who can adapt to Industry 4.0 the fastest—a shift that is already taking effect today.

Logistics and Supply Chains

Modern supply chains do benefit from technology by leveraging big data to coordinate processes within the supply chain.

For example, logistics companies use data analytics to help them make informed business decisions like predicting traffic, improving global collaboration, and manage container risks.

Physical platforms (e.g. logistics) also utilize technology in smoothing the flow of physical products, bringing inventory handling performance to an all-time high while keeping costs low.

Despite these improvements, supply chains still lack the capabilities needed to keep up with the unpredictable expectations placed on companies. Simply put, traditional supply chains are too slow for today’s fast-moving markets.

Industry 4.0 aims to put an end to this obstacle by enabling automation with digitized and robotic supply chain processes.

As a result, more and more logistics processes will be handled by AI and robots, leaving behind the time and cost-intensive human labor of old.

Logistics companies that have the resources to implement these technologies in their supply chains will benefit massively, as wide-scale automation saves a lot of time and effort that can be funneled towards more valuable and strategic work.

Construction

Same as the logistics and manufacturing fields, the construction industry is far behind in terms of technology adoption. Many construction companies still use manual labor, outdated machines, and outdated operating and business models.

The 4th Industrial Revolution, however, changes how construction companies are going about in designing, constructing, operating and maintaining assets.

Innovative technologies like 3D printing, robotic machinery, and prefabrication are impacting the construction field positively by reducing excess budgets and inefficient work.

Experts believe that within 10 years, Industry 4.0 could help the industry overcome its growth issues by cutting down on $1.7 trillion of wasted spending, a figure equivalent to 20% in annual cost savings.

The 4th Industrial Revolution will also help companies attract new talent which is vital considering the “boring” nature of the field.

Construction jobs are typically associated with hard work and labor, but that is set to change as future scenarios require a different set of modern skills to navigate.

Finance

Technology is crucial to financial institutions as they catalyze the innovation of solutions that help fuel economic growth, mainly through enabling global financial access in less developed areas.

Technology in finance also promotes the greater knowledge of financial tools to the needy, while also increasing transparency—a much-needed solution considering the discrete nature of financial institutions.

The biggest benefit of the 4th Industrial Revolution to the finance industry is its role in simplifying customer-facing technology (e.g. mobile banking), which promotes user engagements, eventually leading to the growth of financial markets.

Most of today’s banking operations will be automated in Industry 4.0. Thus, financial institutions would shift their business model towards offering business insights and higher-level services (e.g. consulting) with the use of data analytics, bringing an end to basic bank teller services.

New financial service models are also expected to appear for operational, business, and specialized finance, with tasks being done by a combination of humans, robots, and AI.

This forces banks and other financial institutions to rethink their business strategy to pull through the 4th Industrial revolution.

Why These Industries Need Strong Leaders to Navigate Through the 4th Industrial Revolution

The ever-changing environment of the 4th Industrial Revolution creates a level of uncertainty and expectation that requires businesses to be agile and flexible—a task that falls on the shoulders of business leaders.

source: pixabay.com

In a Deloitte study, 86% of business leaders said they were “business-ready” in terms of embracing Industry 4.0 and were doing “all they could” to make the transition as seamless as possible.

The same study was repeated six months later and surprisingly, only 47% said they were prepared for Industry 4.0—less than half the previous figure in just under a year.

While this figure may seem worrying at first sight, it represents a welcome change in the attitude of leaders towards the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Instead, this mindset shift suggests that key executives are now more aware of the effort it takes to overcome Industry 4.0’s biggest challenges.

 

The Skills Every Top Leader Needs to Embrace Industry 4.0

Leaders play an important role as they’re the ones responsible for easing digital transformation in the workspace.

That role begins by putting people first and empowering them with the tools and skills needed to adapt to change.

Agile and Flexible

The rapid speed of change in the 4th Industrial Revolution means that leaders need to be agile and flexible in embracing change.

More importantly, strong leaders see change as an opening for organizations to innovate, not as a liability.

This skill, along with the flexibility to cater to the changing demands of employees, working environments, and business tools, is crucial as strategies that work today may not work in the future.

Hence, leaders need to be on their toes in keeping up with change and making the best out of it.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is an important skill to have in the future as leaders are expected to manage employee sentiment well as well as their own emotions.

As machines and smart systems enter the workforce, leaders will need to be even more empathetic to maintain their team members’ wellbeing.

A good leader in the 4th Industrial Revolution is someone who is willing to have honest, open conversations with their team not only about work but also on personal topics outside of work.

Responsibility

Leaders can only earn the respect of their team if they’re responsible and accountable.

Industry 4.0 preaches a transparent workplace, leaving no room for irresponsible employees including leaders themselves.

It’s crucial for leaders to take responsibility for the outcomes of business decisions while ensuring that team members are protected from criticism should any unwanted events occur.

Tech Literate

Industry 4.0 is driven mainly by advanced technology.

As a result of this change, future leaders must be tech-savvy to understand rapidly changing tech landscapes.

This allows them to identify the right technology for their organization rather than blindly following what’s in trend.

Teamwork and Collaboration

In contrast to today’s offices, future leaders won’t have their own exclusive workspace—they’ll be working with the team instead.

Leaders will still have executive powers but collaboration will be the number one factor that separates strong leaders from mediocre ones.

The importance of collaboration is further amplified by the diversity of future workspaces.

With employees coming from different backgrounds and parts of the world, they need strong leaders to appreciate and leverage the differences of every individual to benefit the team and the organization.

 

Industry 4.0 Needs Equally Transformative Leaders

As the 4th Industrial Revolution changes how we work in the future, business leaders must prepare their teams by leading by example.

No matter how much AI and smart machines impact the workforce, excellent leadership will—and always will be—the driver of organizational success.

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

Ashley Wilson is writing about business and tech, and the intersection of the two. Personally, she has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and she enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. If you need a new writer, get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.

Managing Organizational Headwinds in Digital Transformation

Managing Organizational Headwinds in Digital Transformation

August 19th, 2019 by Maureen Metcalf

This blog is provided by Tony Saldanha, extracted and exclusively adapted from his book “Why Digital Transformations Fail,” as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview aired on 8/20/19.

Organizational change management is treated as an afterthought for digital transformation as opposed to being proactively planned for. That’s troubling because based on my research, more digital transformations fail due to organizational change related reasons than technology. Most reliable process systems, such as say aircraft flights, plan for headwinds. Digital transformation can learn from them. Unfortunately, organizational headwinds are often dismissed in simplistic terms like change resistance or the frozen middle. That’s a mistake when planning for success in digital transformation.

The Science of Immune System Management

A corporate immune system is not necessarily a bad thing. Like its counterpart in the human body, it plays a vital role. In our bodies, the immune system protects us from disease and keeps us healthy. It is true that immune system disorders can be problematic (i.e., an immune system deficiency leaves the body susceptible to constant infections, while an overactive immune system will fight healthy tissues). However, on balance, a healthy immune system is desirable.

If that’s true, then why do so many change leaders blame the corporate immune system when things go south? Shouldn’t disciplined change leaders understand the strength of the immune system within their own organizations and prepare for appropriate handling?

At Procter & Gamble, when leading the industry disruption ecosystem, which included the biggest five IT companies and startups from the top ten venture capitalist firms, we took a different approach. For each of the twenty-five experiments (projects) that the ecosystem, called Next Generation Services (NGS) executed during my three years, there was always a proactive immune system conversation and plan. It made a huge difference versus historical trends on disruptive change acceptance.

There were three key truths that drove our approach:

–        The immune system is not necessarily a bad thing. Anticipate and prepare for immune system responses.

–        Immune system responses can originate at all levels in the organization, but the toughest ones occur at middle management.

–        The bigger the change, the harder the immune system response (i.e., digital transformation will be tough).

Having covered the first item, let’s zero in on the issue of middle management reaction. In most organizations, it is easy to get senior executive leadership excited about change. Similarly, the younger generation gets quickly on board. It is the middle management layer that’s on the critical path and has the potential to slow down or even block change. The term “frozen middle” has been associated with this phenomenon. This concept was published in a Harvard Business Review article in 2005 by Jonathan Bynes.[i] Bynes’s point was that the most important thing a CEO could do to boost company performance was to build the capabilities of middle management.

For corporate immune system disorders at the middle management level, the term “frozen middle” is accurate, but it comes with the risk of being pejorative for seeming to blame middle management for recalcitrance and inertia. In reality, the responsibility to bring middle management along on the journey resides with the change leaders and their sponsors. Consider this—the so-called frozen middle protects the enterprise from unnecessary distractions and change, just like the human immune system protects the body from harmful change. Middle managers are rewarded mostly for running stable operations. Is it fair to criticize them as a whole for doing what their reward system dictates? We must separate immune system disorders from normal immune system responses.

At NGS, we paid special attention to identifying, by name, the middle management leader for each affected project. We identified the middle management leaders affected by each project, involved them in the initial “fun” of designing the disruption, and jointly designed the risky roll-out of disruptive projects that could destabilize ongoing operations.

In the worst case, where despite the enrolling of the leadership the change resistance continued to be high, the project was quickly killed. That idea of selectively killing a few projects worked well because of the portfolio effect of having several other projects available in the pipeline.

Though the concept of a frozen middle is applicable broadly, overcoming it has never been as critical as it is with digital disruption. The amount of change necessitated by a systemic and sustainable digital transformation is massive. This isn’t just a technology or product or process change but also an organizational culture change. The middle management will need to lead the rest of the organization in learning new capabilities (i.e., digital) as well as new ways of working in the digital era, including encouraging agility, taking risk, and re-creating entire new business models and internal processes. Retraining middle management on digital possibilities is not sufficient. Entirely new reward systems and organizational processes will be called for.

Planning for headwinds during digital transformation isn’t just prudent, it’s a necessity given the high stakes of digital disruption. Emphasizing on “transformation”, more than on “digital” is a strategic imperative for success. For this, understanding and acting on the three truths of immune system management is critical i.e. it isn’t willful bad behavior but a rewards issue, it can happen at all levels in the organization but is toughest in the middle layers, and digital transformation by nature needs solving the toughest immune system challenges.

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

Tony Saldanha is a globally recognized expert in Global Business Services (GBS) and Information Technology. He ran Procter & Gamble’s famed multi-billion dollar GBS and IT operations in every region across the world during a 27 year career there. Tony has over three decades of international business expertise in the US, Europe, and Asia. He was named on Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Professionals list in 2013. Tony’s experiences include GBS design and operations, CIO positions, acquisitions and divestitures, outsourcing, disruptive innovation, and creation of new business models. Tony is currently President of Transformant, a consulting organization that advises top companies around the world in digital transformation and global business services. He is also a founder of two blockchain and AI companies, and an adviser to venture capital companies.

[i] Jonathan L. S. Byrnes, “Middle Management Excellence,” jlbyrnes.com, December 5, 2005, http://jlbyrnes.com/uploads/Main/Middle Management Excellence HBSWK 12-05.pdf [accessed December 19, 2018].

A Brain Is a Terrible Thing To Waste: Understanding the Inner Workings of Your Brain

A Brain Is a Terrible Thing To Waste: Understanding the Inner Workings of Your Brain

August 12th, 2019 by Maureen Metcalf

Leadership Resilience Includes Managing ThinkingThis is a guest blog provided by Ann Steele.  It is a companion blog for the Jon Wortmann interview on September 11, 2018, titled “How Does the Brain Impact Leadership Resilience?”  The article was previously published on PsyDPrograms.org.

Through the work of billions of cells housed within our brains, humans are the most advanced form of life in the known universe. Highly intelligent animals like dolphins, elephants, whales may have bigger brains than people, but the evolution of the human mind is far greater.

Only now is science beginning to understand the complexities of the gray matter resting just above our shoulders. A mix of protein and fat that combine to create one of the most advanced individual systems known to humankind – organic or machine, earthbound or cosmic.

The Brain Makes Us Who We Are

While at first glance, the brain itself may appear to be a singular mass, it consists of a number of highly unique parts and separate regions that control practically every aspect of human existence.

Four of the most vital components include:

·        The brain stem which aides with breathing and sleep.

·        The basal ganglia that monitors the sending and receiving of messages between different areas of the brain.

·        The cerebellum that keeps us upright – balanced and well-coordinated.

·        The cerebral cortex which helps us to think and move, achieve greater reasoning and imaginative skills and is what provides human consciousness.

In addition, the four regions include:

·        The frontal lobe that links to our motor skills and how we think, reason, and acquire knowledge.

·        At the crown of the brain, the middle parietal lobe controls sensation – our sense of touch, taste, and manipulation of the physical world around us – as well as spatial awareness.

·        Occupying the base of the brain, the temporal lobe is central to our ability to hear and helps us distinguish language and sound. Within the temporal lobe is the hippocampus – critical to our ability to learn, emote, and create memories.

·        At the rear of the brain, you’ll find the occipital lobe, critical to our visual capabilities and processing of colors, words, or any other objects that we see.

Even with all of our current knowledge, it is a testament to the brain’s advanced and complicated design that researchers and scientists have yet to fully solve the puzzle of the human mind.

One area though where there has been much discovery, and where we continue to expand our expertise, is what stimulates the brain. Factors that are both helpful and harmful and what is required to maintain a healthy mind.

Why Brain Health is So Important

While the brain itself may still hold many secrets, there is little mystery to the need for us to keep our minds healthy and functioning at their highest possible level.

As we’ve shown, the brain is central to our survival – controlling our breathing and cognitive skills, our consciousness and perception, and our ability to think, feel, and remember.

However, all of the brain’s functions do not operate independently of one another – it’s the reason we can, in fact, walk and chew gum at the same time. If you neglect one aspect of your brain’s health, other areas suffer.

But we’re not just talking about a run of the mill headache brought on by stress.

There are numerous neurological disorders that prove debilitating to both the brain and an individual’s overall well-being.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), approximately 50 million Americans – that’s one out of every five – suffer from some form of brain-related disorder. The list of conditions is exhaustive and includes:

·        Brain tumors

·        Cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke-related conditions or vascular dementia

·        Convulsive disorders like epilepsy

·        Degenerative diseases of adult life which include Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

·        Developmental disorders including cerebral palsy

·        Infectious disease complications like AIDS-related dementia

·        Metabolic syndromes including Gaucher’s disease

·        Neurogenetic diseases such as Huntington’s disease or muscular dystrophy

·        Trauma injuries that occur in the spinal cord or with a head injury (concussions)

These represent many of the major disorders. Far more common however are the conditions that fall under the broad (and sometimes misleading) category of mental illness.

For many years mental illness carried with it a stigma, resulting in people being mistreated or receiving none at all.

While the numbers for the latter still remain low, modern medicine has better shaped our understanding of more common psychological conditions, improving diagnosis and treatment.

This segment of neurological disorders include:

·        Anxiety

·        Attention-deficit and/or hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

·        Autism Spectrum Disorder

·        Depression

Given the brain’s importance and complexity, how then do you give yourself the best chance for lasting brain health? You might be surprised by the most effective methods.

Maintaining Your Brain’s Health

While not every brain-related condition is treatable or avoidable due to factors such as age, heredity, genetics, or other non-lifestyle factors, there are plenty of ways to keep your mind sharp.

To assist with improving your brain’s health and function, as well as producing the happy side effect of giving you a far more positive outlook on life, consider the following methods to boosting your brainpower:

Exercise

You already know what exercise means for your body. Proven time and again, regular exercise has lasting, positive effects on our well-being. The impact, though, is both physical and mental.

Exercise, through its stimulation of chemicals in the brain, promotes the growth and health of blood cells. Regular physical activity also helps to clear your mind, enabling you to think more clearly, reduce anxiety and stress, and improve memory and cognitive functions.

Sleep

A good night’s rest is as critical to an individual’s health as breathing.

Lack of sleep impedes the brain’s ability to perform daily tasks vital to keeping it healthy – clearing out toxins, maintaining healthy neurological connections among the brain’s many pathways, and recharging your body so it can maintain its focus, create new memories and be alert and ready to take on the next day when you wake up.

Quality sleep also builds up your immune system, which helps to keep diseases and illnesses at bay. You will also avoid the common condition of brain fog by following a strict sleep routine – commit to at least seven hours of sleep and steering clear of blue-light emitting devices at least two to three hours before bedtime.

Eat the Right Foods

As with everything else health-related, there are specific foods that will support the development and performance of your brain.

Green vegetables, certain types of berries and nuts, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are cornerstones of a brain-boosting diet. Just remember to work these into a diet that aides to promote greater health for you overall – physically and mentally.

The Power of Positive Thinking

You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “the power of positive thinking” many times before. So much so, that’s it’s probably etched itself into your permanent memory.

That’s very much a good thing.

Studies show that a positive mindset is more than just a cliché – it can have a beneficial and lasting impact on your brains overall health and function.

While that research focused on children, a positive outlook works for adults too.

Maintaining an optimistic mindset promotes better physical skills, social interaction, and creativity, all of which broaden your mind’s horizons and help you build skills and more comprehensive life-servicing resources.

Meditation

More than a way to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life, meditation proves transformative in building up an individual’s positive emotions. Research also suggests that it has a lasting effect on your health – improving your mind and your sense of purpose and reducing the chances for illness.

Engage Your Brain in Activities You Enjoy

Do you like to read novels or biographies? Diary or write about experiences you’ve enjoyed? Or do you dream about just getting out, having fun, and spending time with individuals you care about?

Pick one, or all three, because making time to enjoy the people and endeavors that make you happy can stimulate your brain towards better health. There are even health benefits to finding work or a career that you genuinely enjoy versus something that you slog through day after day.

Smile

Yep, turn that frown upside down. Seriously.

Though it may be hard to believe, science actually shows that a simple smile, even if it’s initially a forced effort (or a side effect of a cosmetic procedure), can reduce stress, improve your mood, strengthen your immune system, and help add a few years to your life.

According to Dr. Murray Grossan, an ENT-otolaryngologist with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Torrance Memorial in Los Angeles, CA:  “What’s crazy is that just the physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your immunity. When you smile, the brain sees the muscle [activity] and assumes that humor is happening.”

Which basically means the brain doesn’t care why you’re smiling – as evidenced by the botox research – it processes the benefits of the smile regardless of its purpose.

Practice Good Health to Get the Most from Your Mind

One of the most astonishing aspects of the brain is that in all of its complexity, preserving its health requires a basic, common-sense approach.

When it comes to getting the most from your mind, keep it simple – and positive. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and plenty of constructive, optimistic thoughts and activities will nourish your brain and ensure it functions at its highest possible level – and provide you one less worry to think about.

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

Ann Steele, Ph.D., is Editor-In-Chief of PsydPrograms.org. Ann has training as a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst who has worked with adults, couples, adolescents, and preteens throughout San Diego county.

Top Ten on Demand Episodes on Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future

Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future is celebrating the completion of its 4th year!!  In honor of that milestone, we are sharing the countdown of the most listened to shows on-demand.  These shows can be listened to via the internet or via the Business channel on the Voice America app. Use the links to access the episodes and the guest bios.  Thanks for 4 great years of listening!

  1. How Does the Brain Impact Leadership Resilience? with John Wortmann aired on 9/11/2018

Resilience is a key factor in leadership success during times of stress. Our ability to manage our own energy and thinking have a significant impact on our ability to deliver personally and on our ability to inspire our followers. By building our resilience and creating a culture where others are expected to build theirs, we can make a significant impact on driving and sustaining our success as individuals and as organizations. Jon and Maureen start with defining resilience then move to the critical aspects of personal resilience. They include a focus on how brains and bodies react to stress and practices that will reduce the impact events have on leaders. discuss their areas of expertise in brain functioning. This interview includes a discussion of specific tools that allow leaders to build more resilient brains and reduce emotional reactivity. These tools help leaders manage feelings thereby also reducing stress. Equipped with these tools, leaders need to build practices.

  1. Winning In The Face of Adversity with Joyce Beatty, Congresswoman and Doug McCollough aired on 10/23/18

In a time when people are sharing more of their personal struggles, we talk to Congress Woman Beatty and Doug McCollough about their struggle and more importantly how they navigated those struggles so that she could make their greatest impact on the world. Congresswoman Beatty not only overcame, she changed the people’s view of what it was to be a successful black woman and she mentored women to make sure the pipeline behind her was strong and the country was better because of all facets of her service! She talks about how helping women succeed helps America succeed. She serves as a role model for inclusion globally by serving with grace and decorum! Doug shares how his focus on inclusion is expanding the field of employees working in technology in central Ohio. Through his board work as well as his work as CIO, he is creating a pipeline that allows unemployed people to get trained and find technology jobs. He is helping build the system that will close this gap long term!

  1. Position Success Indicator: Identify Where You Fit with Mark Palmer and Warner Moore aired on 11/13/18

According to a McKinsey study in 2018 focusing on the future of work: “technologies will transform the nature of work and the workplace itself. Machines will be able to carry out more of the tasks done by humans, complement the work that humans do, and even perform some tasks that go beyond what humans can do. As a result, some occupations will decline, others will grow, and many more will change. While we believe there will be enough work to go around (barring extreme scenarios), society will need to grapple with significant workforce transitions and dislocation. Workers will need to acquire new skills and adapt to the increasingly capable machines alongside them in the workplace. They may have to move from declining occupations to growing and, in some cases, new occupations.” The interview explores how the Position Success Indicator assessment identifies “job DNA” based on occupational traits that help people determine their best role fit to support workforce transitions.

  1. Sustainability: Why Hasn’t It Been Embraced? with Christoph Hinske, Michelle Thatcher, and Khoo Hock Aun aired on 6/25/19

Business as usual” can no longer be the leader thought pattern in regard to environmental impacts made by businesses. We are at a critical point where sustainability and impacts on the environment by business practices must be considered. What as leaders can we do to make a difference in these highly sensitive decisions? Christoph Hinske, Michelle Thatcher and Khoo Hock Aun discuss the options leaders have to encourage favorable corporate behavior and what leaders can do to make a difference.

  1. How Developmental Maturity Aligns with Organizational Maturity with Terri O’Fallon and Kim Barta aired on 9/25/18

During this show, Terri, Kim and Maureen talk about the interconnection between organizational issues and levels of developmental maturity. The conversation focuses on three types of issues and how they map to maturity as well as approaches to address them: 1. Existential, the group is moving to a new developmental level. How does it look for the organization? How do you see individuals? Do you have recommended course of action to help move forward? 2. Breadth, the group has the necessary philosophy and capacities at the level they are at, but they don’t have the skills they need. How does it look for the organization? How do you see individuals? Do you have recommended course of action to help move forward? 3. Shadow, the group has an adequate developmental level and skills but they have group shadow material that is holding them back. Let’s revisit what is shadow material? How should the team work to address it?

  1. Leadership Happy Hour: Aspirations – Fuel for Results with Greg Moran and Terri Bettinger aired on 9/4/18

This is the kick-off of our leadership happy hour series. During this conversation, Greg, Terri and Maureen discuss the topic of aspirations over the courses of their leadership careers. Aspiration has the power to expand our limits and potential by motivating us to test our capabilities and competencies further and in new ways. It has a completely different effect on us than its evil twin – desperation. Not that aspiration is inherently good or desperation is inherently bad, but when people believe, the paths they follow look very different than when they do not. The conversation will touch on the following among many others topics: 1. The power of aspiration as a means of creating opportunity where it is desired 2. Aspiration is necessary filtered through our values and priorities – and that’s okay! How do we remove the limits of aspiration when they have been indoctrinated into leaders for reasons that have nothing to do with their potential (i.e. race, gender, etc.).

  1. Ron Heifetz on Adaptive Learning and His Journey with Ron Heifetz, PhD aired on 12/6/16

During the Interview, we discuss Ron’s thoughts on leadership and his journey. Here is a preview: In times of change, people often try to hold onto the values of their culture that have had personal meaning and significance to them. When dominant cultures are confronted with stresses such as immigrants, they are called to examine their values and often required to take on very difficult integrative work. The leadership required must point out values such as: We stand for freedom and respect for all people, and our policy does not align with what we say we stand for. How do we make space for this evolution? What are the “gives” and “gets” required to evolve cultures? How can we hold steady to our cultural DNA and still evolve? In nature, when an organism adapts, it builds on its old capacity and generates radically new functionality. Ron suggested that “God didn’t do zero-based budgeting in evolution”. We honor our past and at the same time determine what can we release.

  1. 3. Top Leadership Trends in 2018 and Beyond with Christopher Washington aired on 8/21/18

Each year Maureen publishes a synthesis of the interviews she hosted and discuss the main themes she is hearing in the past year as well as in her consulting work with senior executives around the world. She has now completed more than 150 interviews. This interview is a synthesis of what she is taking away as key themes for leaders and executives to focus on for 2018 – 2022. This is a rolling synthesis, she will update it again in 2019 with new themes. Christopher Washington, PhD, hosts this show and discusses what he is seeing as a board member of Global Ties and EVP/CEO of Urbana University. The goal of this conversation is that listeners have a clearer understanding of the global leadership trends and what they might do personally to prepare themselves and their organizations to respond.

  1. A Case Study of Doing Well By Doing Good: The Internet Backpack with Dr. Dale Meyerrose aired 10/2/18

We have been hearing about the topic of doing well by doing good for a few years. Should tech leaders take adopt this concept to reevaluate how they do business? If so, why would they? How would they? To take the question further, what accountability (if any) do leaders have for the uses of their products and services? During this conversation, Dale and Maureen will discuss the questions posed above and a project Dale has been involved with where Imcon International Inc., the developer of the Internet Backpack, a remote connectivity solution that allows users to communicate from almost every location on the planet, the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University and the Republic of Liberia will collaborate on a far reaching project that will digitally transform Liberia by increasing the nation’s current internet penetration of about 7% to 40% by 2021. This project is a strong example to illustrate how technology leaders can solve global challenges.

  1. A CIO Story of Leadership: Maria Urani – NetJets with Maria Urani aired on 8/14/18

Leaders follow many paths to success – in a time of varying role models for exceptional leadership, Maria talks about how she developed over her career. She shares her values, her path to CIO, role models and the art of leadership. Many people develop visions but living them is the art. Maria talks about how she puts her values into action to create a positive workplace, great results and strong successors. She shares: 1. Her passion and how it connects to her work 2. the art of leadership 3. her path to leadership – career is lattice more than a ladder 4. her role models – actual and virtual 5. the value of inverted mentoring 6. the role of empowerment in IT transformation at NetJets She shares her insights and career journey with passion and wisdom.

Thanks for listening!

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.

Compiled by Susan Harper

Six Ways To Prepare Your Team For A Digital Transformation

The following blog is a republish of an article appearing in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf. It is the companion to an interview conducted with Mike Kritzman, Founder and CEO of SkillNet on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on Tuesday, July 23rd titled SkillNet: Personalized Learning Framework for Your Company.

Experts have been discussing technological changes, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, for a while now. I believe many professionals have accepted that this is how the world is unfolding, but they don’t necessarily have a clear view of what it means for their employees.

Many of the leaders I work with are curious about digital transformation and would like to be proactive, but they aren’t sure where to start. My role is to help them with a range of activities, including understanding opportunities and connecting them with our expert partners who can help them accomplish their goals.

I predict that many (if not all) industries will feel the effects of these technological advances, some at different rates and with different specifics. According to the 2018 jobs report by the World Economic Forum, at least half of the U.S. workforce will require significant reskilling by 2022.

I’ve developed a few ways leaders can become proactive and stay on top of these changes in the workplace:

  1. Continually update your mindset to demystify changes.

I’ve observed that many of the changes we are facing involve the automation of tasks in our lives. In my experience, keeping up with these changes can be as simple as taking the time to read articles from credible sources that explain the adoption of more technology. Make a conscious effort to understand more about what this tech is and how it could impact your organization.

Forbes Insights

  1. Take a look at what could be automated.

Ask yourself which aspects of your role or company can be automated by technology. As you explore the landscape of current and future software, do you see routine parts of your organization’s work that can be more effectively done by technology? I’ve found that this frees people to process the difficult cases that require more unique analysis. Plan any future changes in your company over time so you can schedule skill-building exercises that intersect with when these changes will occur.

  1. Determine a strategic approach to reskilling.

The World Economic Forum’s job survey also reported that the time it takes to reskill workers can vary among organizations. So, define and enable a plan for continuous reskilling. One plan, for example, might include using software that offers a range of content that is aligned with your development goals. Or, you could consider using a combination of online training and mentoring with coaching. I’ve found this can help provide more flexibility for busy employees, as well as combat the cost of in-person training so that you still receive hands-on guidance and strong learning outcomes.

  1. Address new job requirements with innovative hiring practices.

In my experience, it can be difficult to find good matches for open positions that cannot be filled via reskilling. I’ve observed a number of companies that are beginning to implement more digital practices of hiring to help save themselves some time. My own company, for example, uses a digital tool that allows job candidates to fill out an assessment before they’re ever interviewed, and we can then see if they are a match for the roles that need to be filled. This allows us to save time and find the best person for the job. So take a look at your current hiring process, and if you find there is room for improvement, brainstorm a few ways your hiring methods could be more effective and efficient — it might even help you in the long run.

  1. Consider utilizing microlearning tools.

I’ve found microlearning tools — content that is provided in a broken-up, easy-to-digest way — can help employees and organizations share the responsibility of upskilling. This way, you can enable an ongoing conversation and focus on reskilling, as well as ensure your team has the tools to recognize any gaps in their knowledge and can continue to improve. Find and utilize the tools that fit the needs of your business and team so they can set milestones and achieve development goals.

  1. Build a culture that supports ongoing skill evolution.

Beyond addressing one-time skill gaps, companies now need to create systems and cultures that ensure learning is easy to access and ongoing. In a business sense, I believe this will need to become as common as personal hygiene. Most of us would not imagine showing up in the office without brushing our teeth. In my opinion, as we go forward, the most innovative companies and employees will develop a similar view about learning: It’s a necessity.

I believe one of the simplest steps to encourage ongoing learning and skill-building is to choose one of the aforementioned recommendations to pilot. Experiment with these tools, and identify which ones fill your immediate needs. Then, expand on this exploration item by item.

As we step into what I like to call the “Wild West” of emerging technologies, I believe all leaders and employees will need to understand new trends and manage them to their advantage. An ongoing theme I’ve observed is that we as leaders must find ways to understand the changes our organizations need to make to meet our missions and ensure our teams are able to develop their skills. As leaders, you are uniquely positioned to invest in defining a comprehensive approach to identify and fill gaps on a regular basis and create work that is fulfilling for your team and your company.

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

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

The Inauthentics — Ignoring The Value Of Values

This guest blog is provided by Soon Yu.  Soon was a guest on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on June 26, 2018.  His interview can be heard here:  ICONIC ADVANTAGE: Don’t Chase the New, Innovate the Old .

Just last month Facebook’s VP for Product Policy and Counterterrorism, Monika Bickert, appeared on CNN to be grilled by Anderson Cooper. The company was being criticized for keeping up a fake video of an apparently drunk Nancy Pelosi, albeit with a disclaimer saying that it had been identified as untrustworthy content. In her defense, Bickert said, “Our job is to make sure we are getting them accurate information.” Yet the company still allowed the distribution of this inaccurate information, generating millions of views and helping the company earn money off the back of it.

This isn’t about politics. This is about hypocrisy. Facebook’s mission statement is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” Yet this behavior has the opposite effect. Allowing such polarizing content on their platform is fueling the divide that’s pulling America apart. And although they claim to be protecting people from misinformation, they’re actually allowing this particular misinformation to spread.

But let’s not single Facebook out as the sole offender.

In 2017 State Street Global Advisors installed the Fearless Girl statue in Wall Street. It’s a four-foot high image of a young girl defiantly standing up to the iconic charging bull. A message below it read, “Know the power of women in leadership. SHE makes a difference.” This was a brilliant piece of marketing for a fund they had launched featuring companies with a higher percentage of women in leadership. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? However, about six months later, the company was the subject of a lawsuit for discrimination. They were found to be privately underpaying women and ethnic minorities while publicly championing them.

And it doesn’t stop there. Many organizations appear to state one thing and do another. In a business world that harps on about the importance of “authenticity,” these companies are The Inauthentics.

 

Values Are Actually Valuable

The Inauthentics are companies whose words differ from their actions. They may have a wonderful-sounding mission statement and a set of lofty values, but when push comes to shove, they go where the dollars are. The advertising legend Bill Bernbach once said, “It’s not a principle until it costs you money.”

However, values are worth protecting because they will earn you money in the long term. Research conducted by CEB Inc. found that out of all the people who said they had a relationship with a brand, 64% claimed that “shared values” was the primary reason. If a company undermines those values, it betrays these customers and damages that relationship. That impacts sales. And once you’ve lost people’s trust, it’s really hard to regain it.

Values Aren’t Just For Show

This is not just an external problem. Purpose and values are the very things that unify and motivate employees. And when employees’ values clash with the actions of the company, it creates problems. Uber has seen the brunt of that with strikes and protests from its drivers. The company says that its mission is “to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.” But with drivers having to work long hours without receiving basic benefits – within a company that aims for a market value of $100 billion – the opportunity seems to be pretty one-sided.

Values are what drives your employees’ behavior. It’s the company’s values that guide their decision-making when they’re faced with tricky situations or ethical dilemmas. And that’s the behavior that really defines a brand. It’s the soul of brand authenticity.

Is Your Company One of The Inauthentics?

The Inauthentics is a large and growing group that you don’t want to belong to. So how can you avoid this?

First of all, make sure you actually have values. And that these values are useful, believable and achievable. Interrogate each of the values to see if there are situations it wouldn’t apply to. If there are exceptions, you probably have to revisit the value or rethink your business.

Next, make sure they resonate with your employees. Ask your employees what’s important to them and what they expect from their colleagues. Pressure test these values with employee groups and teams. And once they resonate, make these values visible and share them frequently.

Finally, you need to show employees how they should apply the values in real life situations. Share examples of ethical dilemmas that the company has faced and how the right decisions, even though there may have been some short term sacrifice, helped define the company in the long run. Everyone needs to understand that you’re serious about them, and you expect employees to act on them.

If you do those things, you’ll succeed in staying out of the least exclusive group in business. And you’ll have immediately improved your chances of becoming a brand that customers will be proud to have a relationship with for years to come.

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.

 

Soon Yu

Soon Yu is an international speaker and award winning author on innovation and design. His book, Iconic Advantage, challenges businesses, from Fortune 500 to venture-backed startups, to refocus their innovation priorities on building greater iconicity, and offers deeper insights on establishing timeless distinction and relevance. He regularly consults business leaders on developing meaningful Iconic Signature Elements, Iconic Brand Language (TM), Signature Moments and Signature Communication. He most recently served as the Global VP of Innovation and Officer at VF Corporation, parent organization to over 30 global apparel companies, including The North Face, Vans, Timberland, Nautica and Wrangler, where he created a $2 billion innovation pipeline, established three global innovation centers, and initiated industry-leading design best practices. Prior to this, he worked at The Clorox Company, Chiquita Brands and Bain & Company. As a former CEO/founder for numerous venture-backed startups, he was recognized as the Northern California finalist for the prestigious Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award.

This is a republishing of a Forbes article that can be found here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/soonyu/2019/06/06/the-inauthentics-ignoring-value-of-values/

Co-creating Our Future with Robots

This is a guest blog by Susan Harper as a companion to the Voice America interview with Dale Meyerrose, PhD, Redefining the Workforce: When Robots Pay Union Dues and Learn Too

 

Many of us have seen the futuristic movies so popular in our culture for decades like Star Wars, Star Trek, even the time traveling series Back to the Future.  In Back to the Future II, made in 1985, they predict what they believe the advances of technology will be in 30 years.  That was 2015 and is now 4 years in our rearview mirror.  Some advances we still haven’t managed, like the levitating car, but some we have so far outpaced that the movie producers never could have imagined the advances we have made in technology, such as the capabilities of the smart phone.

How do we harness that technology to reinvent our workforce and make our companies that much more efficient?  RPAs, Robotic Process Automation, give leaders the opportunity to approach their work force and identify the tedious tasks and then work to remove those tasks from their human work force and automate it.  This frees up the human work force to do the complex and meaningful work.

What does this look like? The challenge for leaders is to identify the highly cognitive and highly valued tasks that humans need to do and allowing technology to be used as a solution that can make up for gaps in the human workforce.

 

The benefits of implementing RPAs to complete work force tasks include:

  • they can work 24×7—continually perform without taking a rest,
  • they can be taught a myriad of tasks,
  • they can always be on call,
  • they work faster, longer, and make less errors than people on routine,
  • repetitive tasks and every action can be fully audited.

 

While implementing the RPAs leaders need to be mindful of the human workforce who are fearful of these digital workers.  Often human work force will believe that they’ll be replaced and lose their job, they are fearful of having to train and upskill in order to remain employable, they don’t understand how to leverage the bots and have a reluctance to learn.

 

How is this technology already being employed in our companies?  One of the biggest sectors is in the financial industry.  Credit card companies would never be able to use humans to process the millions of transactions that occur each day.  The RPAs are trained to look for inconsistencies in the charges and flag them for things like location, amount, or unusual patterns.

Another large sector utilizing the RPA technology is the health care industry.  They are being used in almost every aspect of the patient’s care. RPAs begin by assisting in scheduling appointments.  They can assist in finding treatments once a doctor has made a diagnosis.  They can ensure a schedule for a treatment plan is closely followed by setting up future appointments.  They are involved in the claims and billing process.  They can direct patient questions to the appropriate person.  They can manage and forward patient records.  This automation of tasks frees up the medical staff to do the tasks that require a human intervention.

The age of automation is here and how our companies use these technologies and innovate their businesses will determine the success of their businesses.

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.

 

 

Relax. It’s Not a Problem with Your Virtual Team

This blog is provided by Jean Brittain Leslie as a companion to her interview for Voice America. This interview, Improving Virtual Team Success by Focusing on Paradox airs on 4/30/19.

A lot goes unresolved in virtual teamwork: issues that would take a few minutes to address in person end up wasting hours of time due to miscommunications; individuals hammer away at their tasks, while team bonding stagnates; you struggle with continued technological glitches and wonder if connectivity issues are really a sign team members lack engagement.

The bad news is that there are no solutions to these problems.

The good news is that these aren’t problems. These are polarities.

Unlike a problem, a polarity is ongoing, unsolvable, and contains a pair that need each other—neither is sufficient alone. In the example above, virtual teams need to be both task-focused and relationship-oriented. It’s easy to say these alternatives are in opposition to each other, but in truth, they’re complementary and interdependent. The trick isn’t solving a polarity (that’s problem-speak sneaking back in); the trick is recognizing the polarity for what it is and leveraging it effectively.

Recent research by the Center for Creative Leadership with 140 virtual teams from 56 organizations showed leveraged polarities are positively associated with virtual team effectiveness. What this means (back to our example) is that teams that were able to have sufficient focus on the tasks of the team and focus on building relationships to facilitate working together as a team have higher levels of performance, commitment, satisfaction and informal learning.

Here are a few common examples of virtual team polarities:

  • Verify & Trust
  • Advocacy & Inquiry
  • Formal Communication & Informal Communication
  • Unified Team & Diverse Individuals
  • Create New Processes & Use Existing Processes

Again, you might feel the urge to replace the ampersand with “versus,” but resist. Each of these pairs are needed in order to thrive. The goal isn’t for each pair to battle until the winner emerges. However, the pair may not always be in balance. There will be times when a given pair must take priority over its counterpart.

Central to effective virtual team leadership is the ability to leverage polarities, and the first step is to identify them. Here are a few questions to ask when trying to determine if you’re facing a problem or a polarity:

  • Is it ongoing?
  • Are there two alternatives? Does your success depend on the alternatives?
  • Can you only focus on one alternative for so long before needing to focus on the other?

If you answer “yes” to all of these questions, you’ve identified a polarity. If you answer “no” to any of the above, you probably have a good old-fashioned problem on your hands. If the latter, don’t worry, it’s solvable.  If the former, just keep telling yourself, “this is not a problem.”

To learn more about polarities, please visit the blog and radio show posted by Barry Johnson Balancing Competing Perspectives: Some Challenges Require Solutions and Others Balance.

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

Jean Brittain Leslie is senior fellow and director of Strategic Initiatives in Research, Innovation, and Product Development at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®). With 26 years of experience working at CCL, Jean has made numerous contributions in the areas of research, publication, product development, and training. She has published more than 90 pieces on leadership, assessment, and feedback—in the form of peer-reviewed and popular-press articles, book chapters, and books. Jean also has presented over 50 papers at professional conferences such as the Academy of Management and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists.

The Soulful Leader: Learning How Empathy, Compassion and Ethical Values Improve Well-Being and Creative Productivity.

This post is a guest blog by Arthur P. Ciaramicoli, Ed.D.,Ph.D. It is an excerpt from his book The Soulful Leader: Learning How Empathy, Compassion and Ethical Values Improve Well-Being and Creative Productivity. It is the companion to a Voice America Interview about the book.

Resume virtue vs. eulogy virtues

Our society emphasizes achievement, appearance, and possessions to the exclusion of developing character, integrity, and service to others. Research studies indicate that one out of every five leaders is toxic; some studies indicate it is closer to three out of every ten. The Workplace Bullying Institute indicates that 65.6 million U.S. workers were affected by bullying. Of those affected, 61% left their jobs. 75% of American workers have been affected by bullying either as bystanders or directly. Partly due to this environment many corporate leaders we have treated and consulted with have come to believe they need to make a choice between health, ethics, and success. It is a myth that wealth and success must exclude fine character and exceptional interpersonal skills. Love and achievement are not opposites. When we know how to love, how to express compassion and kindness we establish the most powerful foundation for achievement. We go into the work world with a neurochemical balance that makes us more resilient, more creative and more able to negotiate our way through conflict to resolution. A simple human interaction can change our brain chemistry for the better. When we know how to produce calming neurochemicals we automatically reduce stress in our lives while increasing happiness. Happy people, filled with the positive neurochemicals positive relating releases, perform better and more creatively. My goal is to teach personnel and clients to produce these positive brain changes naturally.

The Harvard Business school studies have indicated that EQ is three times more valuable than IQ for success in the business world. Other studies conducted at UC Berkeley found that compassion and empathy decrease as feelings of entitlement and self-absorption increase. Households that earned $50,000 to $75,000 gave 7.6% of their income; those who made $100,000 or more gave 4.2% to charity, in zip codes where more than 40% of people made $200,000 or more a year, the average rate of giving was a paltry 2.8%. (6 studies on how money affects the mind, 12/20/13, TEDBlog). Brain scans have shown that the wealthy consistently display less empathy; poor people are more attuned to the nuances of relationships out of necessity.

So if empathic leaders are most effective in the corporate world empathy should be correlated with wealth and more importantly empathy has also been proven to be correlated with good health. When we receive and give empathy we produce the near miracle neurochemical oxytocin, which reduces anxiety and the stress hormone cortisol. It also helps us live longer, aids in recovery from illness and injury, promotes a sense of calm and well-being, increases generosity and empathy, protects against heart disease, modulates inflammation, reduces cravings for addictive substances, creates bonding and an increase in trust of others (critical to establishing confidence with clients), decreases fear and creates a feeling of security and makes people open to give and receive love. The wealthy apparently are unaware of the physiological benefits of empathy or they just don’t value empathy or know how to develop and express this innate capacity.

Eulogy Virtues

Years ago empathy, compassion, and high-level interpersonal skills were viewed as soft skills not necessary for personal and professional success. If wealth alone made people happy I would be out of business as we encounter wealthy, unhappy, unhealthy individuals daily. In our consultations with corporations, we consistently encounter depleted personnel who are excelling financially but have little idea as to what is interfering with experiencing happiness and their ability to sustain intimacy in their marriages, with their children, and with friends. We often ask individuals to contemplate what people will say at their funeral and how those comments relate to what is stated in their resumes. Many accomplished, wealthy individuals can describe what they have done in their lives but when it comes to describing who they are, and what they have meant to other people the responses typically become more vague. Regardless of our societal emphasis on status and image in the end if we are not comfortable in our own skin, if we have not learned how to gain the respect of others, not just for what we provide but for who we are. we have failed in life. If we fail at love of self and others we fail at life.

Changing the Culture to Integrative Success

Cohen (2008) estimates the timeframe for changing a culture in an organization and “making it stick” to be 3 to 5 years of “relentless efforts”. “In order to achieve lasting integration of the change, leaders must model the new behavior themselves, and reward and recognize others who also demonstrate the new behavior” (Cohen, 2008). This requires an ongoing investment of the time of a key member of the executive.

Effective organizational change requires an inside out process. For instance, if the financial advisors in a wealth management company are increasing their interpersonal skills along with executives they will feel happier and more confident to establish relationships with a diverse group of clients. Clients will sense this change; our nervous systems talk to each other, we intuitively sense authenticity, which results in trust and faith in an ongoing relationship with a firm when present. FA’s will find it easier to create trusting relationships, and with our services they will be able to offer clients and their family’s unique opportunities to learn interpersonal skills that will enhance their lives in very significant ways. Clients will be more willing to participate when their advisors believe in the process, inward-outward change.

A study published this year examining the long-term stock performance of companies that had won the Corporate Health Achievement Award, an annual prize that the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine has bestowed since 1996. In each case portfolios of winning companies substantially outperformed the returns of the S&P from 2001 to 2014—often by 200 percentage points or more.

Companies with very healthful cultures accumulated many quantifiable benefits as well. A significant amount of evidence gathered by professor John Quelch of the Harvard Business School suggests that they may have lower healthcare costs overall, less absenteeism, better employee retention, fewer workplace injuries, stronger growth, improved corporate reputations, and greater stock performance.

Lady Geek, a consulting company based in London rates companies across the globe for the degree of empathy present in their corporate culture. There is a clear correlation between empathy and financial success.

Interestingly U.S. banks are capitalizing on the benefits of empathy with their clients, scoring 50% higher than banks in the UK.

Research by the London group indicates that businesses are more productive and profitable when leaders act ethically and interact with staff and clients in considerate ways. The top 10 companies in the most recent Lady Geek Global Empathy Index 2015 increased their value more than twice as those companies rated in the bottom 10. They also generated 50% more earnings. The top 10 companies increased 6% this year, while the bottom 10 companies dropped 9%.  Harvard Review, 11/27/15, Belinda Parmar

The Soulful Leader

What makes up the soul? Soul, is that intangible, invisible part of every human being that yearns for attachment to something deeper and broader than ourselves. A person who is soulful lives with purpose and a desire to be of service. He or she is not primarily motivated by status or image but has a natural interest in teasing out the potential of a family, community, corporation, community and nation. Soulful people lead with great passion, they are intimately aware of the structure of their organization. They are interested in motivating from the bottom up, not from the top down. They know who cleans their office, who mows the lawn, who fixes their computers, who serves the food, who are the secretaries and the receptionists. They speak to everyone, no one person is seen as less valuable in the larger sphere than anyone else. Soulful people tend to lead balanced lives, they work with intensity, they play with intensity, but they know how to turn the dial down and enjoy life. They have an inherent love of young people, they love to educate, to witness the blossoming of young talent, whether it be their own children or the beginners in their businesses. They are the voice of reason in the face of conflict; they are not quick reactors but thoughtful contributors. They know how to listen as they are genuinely interested in understanding not only those like them but also those who on the surface seem different, they are known for finding the common ground.

They take in information from diverse sources. They expect to continue to gain information about themselves, their world and the human condition throughout life. They expect to revise theories and change perspectives as new learning takes place. They are not wedded to one way of thinking, one way of being or one way of leading. They realize and willingly accept that in order to live a healthy, high-achieving life they must adapt to change, as they will be constantly faced with new situations that require that they adjust and change.

They live their lives with an open heart and an open mind.

Authenticity, Wealth and Performance

As we|I mentioned earlier many in the corporate world have come to believe that they have to sacrifice ethics and integrity for wealth and status. However credible research has proven that when we live authentically we create an inner calm that is sensed by others, allowing us to actualize our potential by freeing up energy from the stress of pretending. Leaders who are authentic are attractive to others, they relax those who work for their and their clients as the need to be on guard lessens, freeing people up to make mistakes and participate without the worry of being graded punitively. Authentic leaders cause positive brain changes in themselves and others, creating a high spirited atmosphere that leads to higher production, more creative performance and revenues rise accordingly.

Authenticity relaxes clients as it breeds’ trust and lessens the idea that FA’s have ulterior motives and simply want to make money at their expense.  Rather than anticipating a sales process, they experience a competent individual who is also humble and willing to listen to the needs and concerns of the clients before him or her.

The Inspired Actions of a Soulful Leader

A leader who thinks, acts and behaves in a soulful manner inspires others to do the same. Our nervous systems talk to each other, a simple human interaction changes brain chemistry, and several empathic interactions change the brain chemistry of an organization. We all remember how the negative of one parent could dominate the feelings of everyone in our homes. A leader has the attention of everyone; he or she is watched closely. As people sense arrogance, dismissal, poor interpersonal skills, lack of compassion, and most importantly lack of integrity the spirit of an organization suffers dramatically. Soulful act from the inside out, they touch a special within that exudes a purity of intention and genuine concern for the mission statement of the business they run.

When I have consulted to corporations I notice as leaders adopt this perspective, not only through understanding but through actions employees follow in suit. Why? Because all human feel better when we relate in compassionate, mindful ways. We change our brains, which makes us happier and more creative. Creativity as a part of successful strategizing increases as the behavior becomes more authentic and growth promoting.  We become change agents, teasing out the potential of an entire group or organization.

Sustaining Soulful Leadership 

What I am highlighting in this paper is not, as indicated by the research of Cohen, a short-term proposition. I propose that it will only become an integral part of an organization if there are qualified clinical psychologists in-house to provide on-going coaching of the highest caliber to engage corporate members in the process outlined. My goal is to develop an organization of soulful leaders. This could never be attained by periodic workshops or lectures. The change of the soul is an in-depth change, thus a long term strategy is essential for creating a genuine, lasting positive re-organization of the heart that will translate to increased contentment and financial success of the companies that employ these well-researched methods.

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

About the Author

Arthur P. Ciaramicoli, Ed.D., Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been treating clients for more than 35 years. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Massachusetts Psychological Association. Dr. Ciaramicoli is the co-director of Integrated Success Strategies, was formerly the Chief Medical Officer of Soundmindz.org and is also in private practice, Dr. Ciaramicoli has been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for several years, lecturer for the American Cancer Society, Chief Psychologist at Metrowest Medical Center, and director of the Metrowest Counseling Center and of the Alternative Medicine division of Metrowest Wellness Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. In addition to treating patients, Dr. Ciaramicoli has lectured at Harvard Health Services, Boston College Counseling Center, the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore as well as being a consultant to several major corporations in the Boston area.

 

Others Write Our Leadership Legacy

This guest blog is written Mark Matson as a companion to the Voice America interview with Mike Moran and Nicholas Papanicolaou Making the Pivot: Leveraging Opportunities.

I have led in many ways in my life so far – as a people leader in multiple organizations and non-profits. Whether you are a teacher, a pastor or a business leader, you are bound to wonder if you are making a difference.  We all want our work to leave a legacy we will be remembered for.  I have sought leadership roles since 8th grade.  Why?

  1.  I wanted to advance a cause and mission I believed in and rally people around it.
  2.  I wanted to be known for leaving things better than when I found them.
  3.  If not me, who?

I was fortunate to be able to see the Broadway musical, Hamilton recently.   It is a brilliant retelling of the personal story of Alexander Hamilton – one of the founding fathers of the United States. An immigrant and orphan, he wanted so badly to become somebody.  He wanted a legacy! His life, as presented on stage, was driven by the arrogance that comes with unbridled ambition, and, with passion for a cause.  He stepped up to the challenge and lived his life fully.  Not flawlessly.  Fully.  He made some serious mistakes he lived to regret.  What struck me most was a theme that runs through the dialogue of the show, which is, as leaders we don’t get to write our story in the end.  We contribute to it certainly, with our actions, values, and deeds.   But in the end, we don’t write the story that sums up the whole of our life.  Others do.

One of my biggest influences as a leader was my father, Clifford.  He was a high school graduate and appliance repairman who, with his wife Mary Jane, raised three boys in the 50’s and 60’s.  My father was a modest, quiet man.  Kind, loving, gentle.  But he had the grip of a python.  From what I can tell, the legacy he wanted was one of respect to his parents, fidelity to his wife, good parent to his sons, kind to others.  That’s it.

Dad was felled by a massive heart attack at about age 70.  His funeral Mass was held at 2 pm on a Thursday.  I expected a small crowd.  When my brothers and I opened the door to the church, it was nearly full!  I wondered “who are all of these people”?  You see, I am the youngest of the three and there are ten years between me and my brother Rick, thirteen to Gary.  There was a lot to my father’s life before I ever came along.  During the receiving line following the service, my brothers and I heard story after story of how my father impacted people enough that they came to his funeral.  We heard from a man who led a Boy Scouts troop with dad; a woman who dad transported to Church every Sunday following a surgery that left her unable to drive;  neighbors he shoveled the snow for; second cousins he used to work on cars with;  men he worked with for over thirty years – and their kids and grandkids.  My father left a legacy of respect, fidelity, fatherhood, and kindness to all.  “Love one another as I have loved you.”   He was a simple man with no titles other than Service Man.  How appropriate.

I have far more titles for my obit than Dad.  In some senses, I accomplished much more.  I have more ambition or ego.   I want a positive legacy.  But, like my dad, my story will be written by far more objective people than myself.   All leaders do well to keep that in mind.  Ultimately leadership is about service to others and not to self.   In fact, when leadership becomes about self, the leader is already in failure mode.

As leaders, it is important to consider the following:

  1. How do you picture an organization being better as a result of your having led?  What is your personal sense of vision and values?
  2.  What story would you like your survivors to tell about you after you have passed about what you accomplished?  How would you hope they describe the person, the family member, the parent, the neighbor and the leader you were?
  3.  Do your values inform HOW you live your life as well as what you want to accomplish? Will you be remembered for the arrogance of Hamilton or the loving kindness of my father?
  4.  Once you know what you would like your legacy to be, how will you check in to see if what you are doing each month and year is moving you closer to what you say you want?

As humans in this era, life is tough, and it is unlikely that we will consistently stay the path unless we have a clearly defined the path we want to leave behind for others.

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

Mark Matson, MLHR, SPHR, MDiv is a highly experienced executive leader and HR Professional. He is a proven professional with high integrity and self-awareness, broad professional experience, extensive community contributions, and notable professional recognition. He focuses on serving the people of a creative enterprise providing a valued service to the community.