Individualist Developmental Perspective

Individualist Developmental perspectiveThis blog seven part blog series talks about Leadership 2050 and the leadership mindset necessary for success in the future. We walk through what the future of leadership will look like then walk you through the story of Jill as she moves through the developmental perspectives. Growth through the perspectives is a linear process in that we progress through each step without skipping stages.

In the post last week we saw Jill growing through the Achiever Developmental Perspective. This week we will see her move to the Individualist Perspective as she becomes more complex in her thinking and her time horizon expands. This is the fourth of the five perspectives that we see most often in professional settings.. Our intent is to illustrate how a leader progresses through the developmental perspectives and how they “fit” in jobs aligned with their developmental perspective.

Let’s proceed further with Jill’s narrative:

At 37, Jill was out-of-work and disoriented. She had spent fifteen years with the firm that summarily cut her out. She spent the first few weeks after losing her job feeling a bit lost; she was at home all day with no immediate agenda other than figuring out what she wanted to do next. This was a question she never imagined she would be asking herself. Matthew was working even more than his usual 60 hours to attempt to ensure he did not meet a similar fate.

Jill was fortunate that her firm offered outplacement services. Her counselor helped her begin to explore what she wanted in the next phase of her career. 

In addition to considering her career, Jill started thinking about what this would mean for her life. She picked up her journal and wrote her thoughts about her motivations and choices. She started thinking about the roles she had made for herself: daughter, employee, boss, and wife.

As the months went by, Jill withdrew somewhat from her social life and became more introspective, trying to make peace with what had suddenly happened. However, filling a need to get up and move, she decided to start taking yoga classes. She recalled wanting to do yoga before but had never found the time. So, she started in and connected with a new group of people. The individuals in her yoga class were different from her other friends and she enjoyed learning more about them and their perspectives. Jill talked quite a bit with another man in the class, Randy. He was also a business professional so there were similar backgrounds. Randy was laid off several years ago so Jill was able to relate to him. Randy found another job that provided him much greater satisfaction than the one he had left and was able to provide a sounding board to Jill as she evaluated her life. Jill started to deeply value the opinions of those around her, particularly when they differed from her own. This seemed new to her as she didn’t recall input and feedback being so critically important to her before. She was experiencing many things differently as she stretched her mind.

She was less focused on her five-year plan and more on what was happening in the moment. Jill started meditating to help maintain a sense of calm and focus. She found that meditation helped keep her mind from wandering and away from her ongoing questioning of what she had done wrong to lose her job. In conversations with Randy, Jill talked about the different parts of herself and the different roles she played in life. She saw how the different roles had taken over at various points in her life. Specifically, how she had weighted the logical, analytical side so heavily during her career that she had lost the part of her that loved sports and reading books. She talked with Randy and wrote in her Journal about how to rediscover these different aspects of her personality in a meaningful way. Jill reached out to her family and spent a couple weeks with her parents asking questions about their beliefs and choices. She was amazed to hear their stories about her childhood; she learned things about herself and her parents that she hadn’t realized before. For example, as a small girl, she had loved to play in the woods and watch her dad cook. Her family had traveled around the country camping in National Parks. As a child, she had developed a deep love and reverence for the natural world but had forgotten these passions as her focus shifted during her life. In an attempt to reconnect with the passions she had as a younger person, she helped her dad in the kitchen during her visit and was surprised how much she enjoyed slowing down and delving into the different ingredients. It was a sensory, tactical experience that she had devalued during her career when she was focused on all things logical and analytical. She decided to plant a garden in her yard to grow some of her own food. This placed her outdoors allowing her to reconnect with her love of the natural world and with food.

During her time between jobs, Jill began taking time to enjoy being outside. Initially she went to local parks to hike and journal. She began to remember the joy she felt when she was alone in the woods. Over time she started going to a retreat center in the woods where she spent days with her journal and books. She was away from her computer and cell phone for the first time in over fifteen years. She and her dog, Yoda, took long hikes often. Over a period of months, she began to feel more connected to what it seems she had lost during the years of long hours of work and graduate school. She began to have a sense of peace in her life. As she re-evaluated her perspectives, Jill was becoming more environmentally conscious and beginning to think about and question long-term organizational sustainability. Living in the state capital, she had ample opportunity to join groups focused on sustainability. Her interest in environmental sustainability expanded and she began volunteering her time at a nature preserve.

During this time period, Jill’s relationship with Matthew became rocky as he was unable to relate to what Jill was going through. She spent time thinking about why she got married and what Matthew brought to her life. After much thought and frustrated discussion with Matthew about what she was doing with her life, they sought counseling to work out their differences. While they had drifted apart, they were dedicated to each other and recommitted to one another during this process. Both Jill and Matthew agreed to make changes in their relationship including discovering common activities and making time for one another. During the rekindling of their relationship, Jill began to feel the support she needed to explore options other than returning to accounting. Jill began looking at new career opportunities. She wanted to find work where she could feel satisfied and make a difference in the world. Also, she wanted to work for an organization that was socially responsible. Exploring the worlds of yoga, hiking and environmentalism were wonderfully satisfying to her but none of them would provide the paycheck she needed to survive.

Jill began exploring what she needed to live. She considered downsizing her house, if Matthew would support this choice. She did not want to return to a job that would require her to work so much. She wanted more balance. Her growing awareness of the world around her changed the meaning of things and they became just that: things. She felt weighed down by all she had accumulated and wanted to simplify. Jill’s trip to her parents stayed with her and she developed an enduring and unexpected interest in food and nature. She began trying out recipes and exploring cooking the foods she grew in her garden. She also augmented her diet with food from a local farmer’s market. She started buying organic food and cooking healthy meals. She would often invite her new friends over to taste her food. She felt a sense of joy in having another way to connect with friends beyond the fancy restaurants and trendy bars they had hung out in during her years with the accounting firm. 

As Jill explored her professional options, she began looking at different ways to combine her professional skills with her passion to make a difference in the world. She decided to take a job as the Director of Finance with a national medical supply company that was socially responsible. This job allowed her to use her financial and leadership skills and also work for a company that impacted society in a positive manner through their socially responsible initiatives as well as their focus on minimizing their environmental footprint. 

Additionally, she began teaching cooking classes in an adult learning program and she became involved in the slow food movement. She continued to have friends over to experiment with new recipes that she would share with her adult students.

People who exhibit the Individualist perspective demonstrate a much higher level of self-awareness, self-regulation, social-awareness, and relational ability than those at earlier perspectives. They are more likely to think “outside of the box” and often will try to redefine or make sense of “the box” in terms of their own personal experience. Because they are less constrained by conventional thinking, they often develop more creative or innovative solutions to challenges.

As you think about how different levels interact, consider the unique perspective of each level, such as how the Individualist is interested and focused on being out of the box while the Expert needs to use the box to help define the right terms of success. Thus, if an Individualist leader supervises Expert employees, successful outcomes will hinge upon the clear definition of tasks.

According to an HBR article, Seven Transformations of Leadership by Torbert and Rooke, 10% of leaders test at the Individualist level. Characteristics include:

  • Increased capacity for advanced complex thinking.
  • Exhibits an ability to appreciate paradox in circumstances.
  • Begins to value and use rudimentary aspects of intuition.
  • Beginning awareness that perception shapes reality, including their own.
  • Self-reflective and investigative of their own personalized assumptions, as well as others.
  • Understands mutual interdependence with others.
  • Lives personal convictions according to internal standards.
  • Style is tenacious and humble.
  • Longer time horizon: five–ten years.

In this post we saw Jill as she grew into the Individualist Developmental Perspective. Next week we will see her move into the Strategist perspective. We believe that Strategist is the perspective needed for leaders to navigate large complex change.

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.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Elsie Esq

Achiever Developmental Perspective

Achiever one-fat-man cc Developmental perspectiveThis blog seven part blog series talks about Leadership 2050 and the leadership mindset necessary for success in the future. We walk through what the future of leadership will look like then walk you through the story of Jill as she moves through the developmental perspectives. Growth through the perspectives is a linear process in that we progress through each step without skipping stages.

In the post last week we saw Jill as she grew through the Expert Developmental Perspective. This week we will see her move to the Achiever Perspective as she becomes more complex in her thinking and her time horizon expands. This is the third of the five perspectives that we see most often in professional settings.. Our intent is to illustrate how a leader progresses through the developmental perspectives and how they “fit” in jobs aligned with their developmental perspective.

At twenty-five-years old, Jill was working at the nationally known accounting firm. Her altered behavior made her more popular although she still didn’t really understand why. However, with her popularity came more invitations to join her co-workers for dinner and drinks. As she spent more time with her colleagues, she started to become aware that her style was not consistent with others.

She hired an image consultant to help her appear more professional as this would help advance her career. The restaurants and bars frequented by the group were often filled with designer clothes and adjacent to a parking lot of BMWs and Acuras.

Jill started thinking about what she wanted out of life and developed a five-year plan. This plan included her goals in several areas of life including: career, house and car, marriage and family, and savings. For the first time since she was a little girl, Jill started a journal and wrote about her life experience. She appreciated seeing the changes in herself. She started reading biographies as a way to evaluating how other people’s choices helped bring about the lives they enjoyed.

Jill decided that she would like to return to school to earn an MBA; she noticed that many of the senior executives in her company had advanced degrees. Returning to school and getting promoted were two of the key goals in Jill’s five-year plan. Once Jill returned to graduate school, it seemed all of her time was spent working or studying. Her reviews improved as she started managing her time to better accomplish her five-year plan. Her task list for each day got a little longer until she was working 60 hours a week minimum; her boss noticed this and Jill was promoted to the next level. The substantial pay increase allowed Jill to buy a house for herself and a garage for her new Audi TT. She was excited about these purchases but had little time to appreciate them. Most of her energy continued to be dedicated to work and school. Jill often attended training events to learn about the latest GAAP or FASB pronouncements.

At one of these events, she met Matthew, an accountant at another firm. As they talked, they found they both value responsibility, family and community. Their courtship was slow as they each worked significant hours but they found time to meet once a week. Jill was delighted as getting engaged was on her five-year plan and Matthew appeared to be just the right fit for her. After a few years of dating, Matthew proposed. Jill happily accepted and they set a date for another year down the road. Jill’s hours at work reduced just a bit as she planned the wedding but she was still effective enough to receive another promotion. At 31, she was making more money than she thought she ever would and was about to marry a wonderful man. Jill didn’t think that life could get much better. The wedding went off without a hitch and Jill sold her house to move into Matthew’s place as it was quite a bit bigger than hers. They settled happily into married life with both of their careers going strong. About five years went by and Jill was still quite happy with her marriage and career. However, the firm she dedicated her entire professional career and much of her life to was experiencing significant financial trouble. Unexpectedly, they laid off her whole department. Suddenly, Jill became unemployed. She was in a state of shock and confusion immediately after the layoff. 

People at the Achiever perspective are primarily concerned with accomplishing and completing tasks. Their focus has moved away from the mere perfection of each task and toward achieving as much as possible. The Achiever’s primary focus tends to be heavily aimed at delivering the desired results. These could be installing a computer system, delivering financial returns to stockholders, exceeding sales goals or raising money for charity. They are often very successful and resourceful, especially if there are clearly presented goals and measurable objectives to achieve.

According to an HBR article, Seven Transformations of Leadership by Torbert and Rooke, 30% of leaders test at the Achiever level. Characteristics include:

  • Basic ability to identify shades of gray and see conceptual complexity.
  • Focuses on causes, achievement, and effectiveness.
  • Considers others while pursuing their own individual agendas and ideas.
  • Sees themselves as part of the larger group, yet separate and responsible for their own choices.
  • Appreciates mutual expression of differences.
  • Time horizon one-five-years.

As one becomes a highly effective Achiever, further growth may move into the next developmental stage, Individualist. We will follow Jill next week as she moves to the next level. This perspective tends to be much less common among most typical organizations.

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.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com one fat man

Expert Developmental Perspective

Expert Developmental perspective

This blog seven part blog series talks about Leadership 2050 and the leadership mindset necessary for success in the future. We walk through what the future of leadership will look like then walk you through the story of Jill as she moves through the developmental perspectives. Growth through the perspectives is a linear process in that we progress through each step without skipping stages.

In the post last week we met Jill as a Diplomat Developmental Perspective. This week we will see Jill move to the Expert Perspective. This is the second of the five perspectives that we see most often in professional settings. Our intent is to illustrate how a leader progresses through the developmental perspectives and how they “fit” in jobs aligned with their developmental perspective.

Jill started moving into the Expert stage as she finished high school and entered college at a state school in a neighboring city. She moved into a dorm with some friends from high school, although her roommate was someone she never met. Late night conversations with this roommate, an international student with a very different background from Jill’s, pushed her to consider new ideas. While her old friends still held considerable influence, Jill became more aware of her individuality apart from them.

Jill learned intellectually and emotionally through her college experiences. She began seeing the many options before her as she looked at different majors. Her conversations with her roommate become more meaningful as she explored her new identity. She thought more about her role in the world and what traits would help differentiate her from others.

As Jill evaluated her skills, she cemented her belief that she was detail oriented and excellent at math. She fell in love with accounting with its many defined rules and procedures. She quickly became a standout in the department as she studied excessively and roses to the top of the class.

Jill started tutoring in accounting to make a little extra money. She became well known for her expertise in the field as well as her obsessive questioning of those working with her. She was often found asking why someone took a particular action and defending her own answer. Her professors quickly learned that any deduction on one of her papers would result in an email interrogation and explanation about how Jill’s response was correct, if not superior to the professor’s.  

As she finished up her college experience, Jill’s competence attracted the attention of recruiters and she was offered several positions. Jill created a pros and cons matrix to evaluate the opportunities, but eventually turned to her parents for help in making her decision. She took their advice and accepted the job at the Big 4 accounting office in the state capital just a couple hours away from home. 

Jill settled into her first professional job but did not make friends as easily as she did before. Her first manager seemed to be irritated by Jill’s incessant questioning and her initial annual review was not very good. Indeed, her first review was terrifying to Jill as she was told by those she respected that while her work was fine, she was too intimidating and alienating to those around her to be particularly effective. Her pleasant nature had been overtaken by her perfectionism and it was negatively impacting her life.

In response to the feedback, Jill started to pull back a bit in meetings and watch how other people interacted. She continued to receive good marks on her work and her reduced questioning appeared to be well-received. As she evaluated what this meant, she started to transition to the next stage.

According to an HBR article, Seven Transformations of Leadership by Torbert and Rooke, 38% of leaders test at the Diplomat level. Characteristics of the diplomat include:

  • Demonstrates basic abstract thinking.
  • Concerned with expressing a sense of individuality in sharp contrast to others
  • Concerned with measuring up to the “right” standards.
  • Can often appear to be a perfectionist.
  • Makes constant comparisons with others to gauge identity.
  • Can often be critical and blame-oriented.
  • Adept at developing multiple new solutions to problems but not able to determine the best fit solution.
  • Can begin envisioning short-term time horizons: three months to one year.

Next week we will follow Jill as she moves from Expert Developmental Perspective to Achiever.

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.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

photo credit: www.flickr.com Rapheal Marquez

Diplomat Developmental Perspective

Diplomat Developmental Perspective

This blog seven part blog series talks about Leadership 2050 and the leadership mindset necessary for success in the future. We walk through what the future of leadership will look like then walk you through the story of Jill as she moves through the developmental perspectives. Growth through the perspectives is a linear process in that we progress through each step without skipping stages.

In the post last week we reviewed developmental basics. This week we will review the first of five developmental levels seen most office in organizational settings. In this series we will give an example of a person, Jill, who is a composite of multiple people we have worked with as they developed through developmental perspectives. Our intent is to illustrate how a leader progresses through the developmental perspectives and how they “fit” in jobs aligned with their developmental perspective.

This week we will focus on the level called the Diplomat.

Jill is the first child of a young couple. Her mother finished law school when Jill was still a baby and became an attorney at a local law firm. At the time, her father was a chef at a mid-priced restaurant in town. Between the two of them, they made a nice living for Jill and her younger sister, Beth.

A normal child growing up in the Midwest, Jill grew up in quite the typical fashion. Her parents encouraged education and values-oriented life experiences, so she took piano lessons and played sports. She discovered her talent for athletics, particularly soccer, but was also a good pupil who was well-liked by her teachers and fellow students.

Around age 14, as she entered high school, Jill began to develop around the Diplomat perspective. She began focusing on issues such as the different groups at school (nerds, athletes, musicians, etc.), what clothes other kids were wearing, and what accessories were important.

Jill also began identifying more closely with her peers, specifically the athletes. As such, she pushed her parents to buy her the clothing, accessories and status symbols to match her circle of friends.
She began joining her friends in the teasing of those who were of lower ranked status according to the consensus of other students, specifically the nerds. Jill focused on enforcing that those around her and her group know their status and importance. She kept her own behavior and language within the bounds created by her circle of friends.

Personal appearance became very important to Jill as she came to believe that a significant part of her value was in her appearance. Having the right clothes, hair style, make up and accessories were critical to her and occasionally this created conflict with her parents who apparently failed to recognize their importance.

Jill loved to give advice to those around her about how to fit into their world. Her sister enjoyed Jill’s help as she tried to navigate junior high school.

Anytime Jill broke a rule, she felt disappointed in herself as though she was letting down her friends. She was often concerned with what other people thought about her and those thoughts generally dictated her own self-image.

As we’ll see in Jill’s development, the Expert perspective is concerned with doing a good job as defined by a specific organization’s standards. Experts appreciate hierarchy, command and control because these structures allow them to easily understand who is setting the standards they need to follow to be successful.

According to an HBR article by Torbert and Rooke, about 12% of business leaders test at the Diplomat level. Characteristics include:
• Demonstrates predominately concrete thinking style.
• Hyper-concerned with social acceptance.
• Emphasis on conforming to the rules and norms of the desired group.
• Imagines that others think and feel the same as they do.

Diplomat is the first level often seen in organizations. Next week we will follow Jill as she transitions from Diplomat to Expert Developmental Perspective.

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.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com mikecoch

How Does Developmental Perspective Connect with Level 5 Leadership?

Innovative Leadership Developmental PerspectivesIn the previous blog post Leadership 2050 – What Does the Future of Leadership Look Like? we referred to Strategist also known as Level 5 Leadership as referenced by Jim Collins in his best selling book Good to Great. In this post, we will present the foundation of developmental perspective (one of the five key elements of the innovative leadership framework). We will start with the basics then during the next five weeks we will explore the five most common developmental perspectives. Since people grow through perspectives or levels, we will walk you through the levels ending with strategist.

 The Importance of Developmental Level/Perspective

We believe that a solid understanding of developmental levels and perspectives is an important foundation for leadership development. Developmental perspectives significantly influence how you see your role and function in the workplace, how you interact with other people and how you solve problems. The term developmental perspective can be described as “meaning making” or how you make meaning or 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 inner exploration is critical to shaping innovative leadership. We will look at the five most common of those meaning-making approaches in greater detail in this blog series.

Leadership research strongly suggests that although inherent leader type determines your tendency to lead, good leaders develop over time. Therefore, it is often the case that leaders are perhaps both born and made. How leaders are made is best described using an approach that considers developmental perspective.

The Leadership Maturity Model and Developmental Levels/Perspectives 

Innovative Leadership Hierarchy of NeedsThe developmental perspective approach is based on research and observation that, over time, people tend to grow and progress through a number of very distinct stages of awareness and ability.   One of the most well-known and tested developmental models is Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs.” A visual aid Maslow created to help explain his Hierarchy of Needs is a pyramid showing levels of human needs, both psychological and physical. As you ascend the steps of the pyramid you can eventually reach a level of self-actualization.

Developmental growth occurs much like other capabilities grow in your life. We call this “transcend and include” in that you transcend the prior level/perspective and still maintain the ability to function at that perspective. Let us use the example of learning how to run to illustrate the process of development. You must first learn to stand and walk before you can run. And yet, as you eventually master running, you still effortlessly retain the earlier, foundational skill that allowed you to stand and walk. In other words, you can develop your capacity to build beyond the basic skills you have now by moving through more progressive stages.

People develop through stages at vastly differing rates, often influenced by significant events or “disorienting dilemmas.” Those events or dilemmas provide opportunities to begin experiencing your world from a completely different point-of-view. The nature of those influential events can vary greatly, ranging from positive social occasions like marriage, a new job or the birth of a child to negative experiences, such as job loss, an accident or death of a loved one. These situations may often trigger more lasting changes in your way of thinking and feeling altogether. New developmental perspectives can develop very gradually over time or, in some cases, emerge quite abruptly.

Some developmentally advanced people may be relatively young and yet others may experiencing very little developmental nuance over the course of their life. Adding to the complexity of developmental growth is the fact that the unfolding of developmental perspectives is not predictably evident along the lines of age, gender, nationality or affluence. We can only experientially sense indicators that help us identify developmental perspective when we listen and exchange ideas with others, employ introspection, and display openness to learning. In fact, most people very naturally intuit and discern what motivates others as well as what causes some of their greatest challenges.

To further examine developmental perspectives we will talk about the assessment tool we use, the Maturity Assessment Profile (MAP) and its conceptual support, the Leadership Maturity Framework (LMF). This developmental toolset was created by Susann Cook-Greuter as part of her doctoral dissertation at Harvard. We will use the MAP and the Leadership Maturity Framework as the foundation for our developmental discussion. The MAP evaluates three primary dimensions to determine developmental perspective: cognitive complexity, emotional competence and behavior.

3 Dimensions of Developmental Level/Perspective

  • Cognitive complexity describes your capacity to take multiple perspectives and think through increasingly more complex problems. This is akin to solving an algebra problem with multiple variables. For example, a complex thinker is able to balance competing interests like employees’ desire for higher pay, with customers’ desire to pay low prices and receive good service.
  • Emotional competence describes your self-awareness, self-management, awareness of others and your ability to build and maintain effective relationships, along with your capacity for empathetic response.
  • Behavior describes how you act; this dimension generally describes the actions you take.

A sense of time, or time horizon, is another essential feature in the development of perspective. For example, if a leader is limited by their developmental perspective to thinking about the completion of tasks within a timeline of three months or less, then optimally this leader should only be leading a part of the organization that requires short-term tasks. On the other hand, if a leader has the capacity to think and implement tasks with three-year time horizons, then that leader can and likely should be taking on a role that includes longer term tasks. This could be a leader responsible for overseeing the implementation of an enterprise-wide computer system, where the migration may take substantially more time and the process is more complex. 

Elaborating on this example, there will be components of the team primarily responsible for the more tactical, hands-on part of the installation and who demonstrate shorter time horizon thinking. Obviously, they are held accountable for certain tasks within the plan but will not be responsible for designing the more strategic portions, nor be charged with the daily decisions that impact the overall budget. 

Further still, imagine that one year into the project a key member of the team takes another job and the Project Manager (PM) becomes responsible for finding a suitable replacement. The PM must consider all options when selecting a replacement. The most effective staffing solution for the project will need to account for potential changes over the next 2 years, and how they will impact overall project cost, quality of the final outcome, and team cohesiveness. Time horizons, along with developmental complexity, are directly applicable to innovative organizational decisions.

Next week we will begin exploring the five developmental levels we see most often in organizations.

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.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Assessing your Strengths – Eric’s Story

Enneagram DiagramI’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates.

Now that you’ve created a compelling vision of your future, it is time to move to the next step in becoming an innovative leader and successful college student – analyzing your situation and strengths.

In this section you will take several assessments to identify what you do well and where you can improve. As you discover your strengths and weaknesses, it is important that you focus 80% of your effort on maximizing your strengths and 20% of your effort on improving weaknesses.

By combining your vision with an understanding of current abilities, performance, and personality type, you will become more aware of strengths, weaknesses and how others see you. The assessment data should help you determine the space between your current state and your vision. Some of them will require you to spend money,

Assessment Tools

You will be using a combination of assessment tools to get a broad range of knowledge about how you see yourself and how others see you. You will be assessing your personality type, developmental perspective, resilience, competency, and organizational vibrancy. All of these assessments are scientifically designed and validated. I’ve taken all of these and I can assure you that they are helpful.

Personality Type: Enneagram

Once you understand your personality type, it will be easier to take the other assessments. For this, we recommend the Enneagram assessment. Their website has a free version of the assessment, but I used the $10 version for maximum results.

  • My top personality type was Type 9 – the Peacemaker: easy-going, receptive, reassuring, agreeable and complacent. I scored a 24 for this type.
  • I also scored 20 for both the Achiever and Individualist types.

Developmental Perspective: DEV:Q

The DEV:Q assessment is an objective summary of how you will most likely perform in a group/organization settings (helping you define where you will best fit right now). The first part of your score shows how you approach decision-making and the second part of your score shows the current role you are likely to play in a group culture. The assessment can be found at www.devqscore.com. When coming across a new job, task, or group assignment, the DEV:Q score is a great predictor of how you can maximize success based on your skills and values. After you take the assessment, take a really close look at your score, because the scoring scale is probably unlike anything you’ve ever used.

  • I scored a 34:5. The 34 means I am a “technician”, or that I like to take a methodical approach to decision-making, meaning that I try to be 100% sure of what I want to do before I make a final decision. The 5 in my score shows I’m a “collaborator”, meaning that I prefer job roles that involve group partnership, or sharing responsibility.

Resilience: Metcalf & Associates’ Assessment Tool

Resilience is a highly underestimated factor in becoming successful. Mental toughness is what prevents you from quitting. Metcalf & Associates developed an assessment tool to help determine and increase your resilience. It considers physical, mental, emotional, and interpersonal behaviors. It is free, and you can find it by clicking here.

  • My scores for Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Interpersonal were 28/35, 42/50, 36/40 and 33/35.

Competency Assessment: Clifton StrengthsFinder

Further identifying your strengths is important for becoming successful. The Clifton StrengthsFinder assesses your top five “themes” and puts them into four domains of leadership strength (executing, influencing, relationship building and strategic thinking). You must purchase the Strengths-Based Leadership book to get the access code to take the assessment. The assessment provides you with an in-depth analysis of your top five “themes”, or strengths. I received pages and pages of information about how to effectively work with my strengths.

  • My top five themes are: Strategic, Achiever, Competition, Learner and Focus

Organizational Vibrancy: ISC Experience of Relational Abundance Survey

Vibrancy refers to the positive feelings associated with places we love to go, conversations we love to have, and people whose presence we enjoy. This assessment will allow you to describe the vibrancy you feel in any group or organization you choose. It really looks at both the organizations in which you work and your preferences. Click here to access the free vibrancy assessment. By identifying how vibrant your group is, you see where you are strong and where you can improve. For my survey, I chose the Ohio State varsity fencing team, of which I am a member.

  • After the assessment, my experience of this group was described as “an experience of your own fullest potential, being seen and supported by another, in a group that collaborates together, where the source of creativity is everywhere, and you are able to translate what you imagine into reality.” It says that our group has the ability to accomplish any task we imagine within our field. “You might ask yourself and the group, ‘is this the best we can do?’”
  • The assessment provided me with much more detailed advice about how my group can improve.

This marks the end of my assessment scores. In the next post I will synthesize all of these scores using an analysis tool called a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis. This tool will help me put all of the scores together and begin to figure out how to use this information.

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.

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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.

aqal_quadrantsThe 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.

If you’d like more here’s where to go.

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

Notes from the Field: Using Developmental Perspectives in Job Transition

Leadership Point of ViewWelcome to Notes from the Field! In the first set of posts in this series, Alice shows how she used the five elements of innovative leadership to onboard in a new job. In her posts she will explore the elements and provide examples of how she applied each one of them.

The second component (or layer) of innovative leadership highlights the importance of developmental perspective, as outlined in the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook by Maureen Metcalf and Mark Palmer. Essentially, this is the foundation for how leaders view their role in the workplace and how they interact with others in order to accomplish work. Otherwise stated, it is the “meaning making” or making sense of one’s experiences.

While leadership type sheds light on personality characteristics—and may not change dramatically throughout one’s career or lifetime—developmental perspective has the ability to expand capacity with increased growth. This is encouraging to me as I am focused on increasing my perspective taking and developmental level. It’s important to me to have a means to evaluate where I am in order to benchmark toward the level of leader I aim to be. It’s equally as important to have the ability to understand others’ perspectives when leading or participating in teams.

Most common developmental perspectives:

Most commonly, there are six developmental perspectives found in the setting of an organization. More information on the specifics of each perspective can be found in the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook. Recommendations on how to improve your developmental perspective capacity can also be found in the blog post, Using Developmental Perspective to Build Authentic Leadership. Essentially, the six most common developmental perspectives are listed below in order of increasing capacity:

  • Diplomat
  • Expert
  • Achiever
  • Individualist
  • Strategist
  • Magician

I would currently classify my perspective to be between the individualist and strategist. My goal is to break the barriers holding me back from becoming a strategist over the next five years. Some of these characteristics I most identify with include:

  • A beginning awareness that perception shapes reality
  • Understanding the mutual interdependence with others
  • Long term focus is on the next  15-20 years
  • Pursues actualizing personal convictions according to internal standards

Take time to assess those on your team:

This developmental level is helping me during the onboarding of my new position in that I am able to understand systematic patterns of our processes without being given much detail, and I am able to piece together an assumptive viewpoint of the members on my team and their strengths. From my assumptions, my team currently consists of an expert, two achievers, me (who is mostly an individualist), and our leader is likely a strategist.

Understanding my team’s objectives and what is important to them will make for more effective communication. For example, understanding that the expert has a tendency to be more critical and blame-oriented is important during interactions with him. I may feel that it is unnecessary to point out a small mistake that had little impact because in the big scheme of things it does not matter. However, for the expert, it is critical to clear his name and distance himself from the issue; so, he publicly identifies the mistake and the responsible party. To the “guilty” party, this can feel like an attack, but, in reality, the expert’s objective is to clear his name, not tear someone down.

The achievers on my team are important to recognize because their objective is to get things done. The day is not over until the objectives are accomplished even though, due to unexpected events, tasks may take longer to complete—which pushes for a longer than planned day. I must realize the achiever’s perspective when I am expected to stay later than planned even when it puts me in a state of crisis in order to get to class, or to my next planned function. These situations can easily become emotionally charged situation if I am not careful.

There is no better/worse developmental perspective:

Also from the blog post, Using Developmental Perspective to Build Authentic Leadership,” it is important to remember there are no 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. All perspectives play a unique and important role, with distinct strengths if managed properly. Additionally, each perspective/level has a place within the organization where it is most effective.

Insert a pause:

For me, it’s not always easy or natural to communicate with someone who has a different developmental perspective. Typically, in the heat of the moment, or in an intense, fast-paced environment is where I struggle. I’m learning its necessary discipline for me to pause before communicating or responding to ground myself emotionally, and to evaluate the other person’s perspective on the situation. It will also allow for further information gathering, by picking up on body language, or other signals I may have missed. This discipline is especially important as I am learning to communicate with my new team. Building authentic relationships with my team the right way will pay dividends down the road, and is great practice for difficult situations that are inevitable in the future.

To learn more about becoming a more effective leader using Innovative Leadership we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations and participating in the online innovative leadership program with coaching. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com sigma

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 learn more about becoming a more authentic leader using Innovative Leadership we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills

Innovative Leadership Fieldbook Reviewed by Harvard Professor, Jim Ritchie-Duham

Maureen Metcalf & Mark Palmer. . Innovative Leadership Fieldbook. Tucson, AZ: Integral Publishers.  Reviewed by James L. Ritchie-Dunham

What is interesting about this book?  One of my favorite papers on “interesting” suggests that showing what seems to be complicated and disparate is actually straightforward and connected is interesting (Davis, 1971).  The world of leadership development is definitely ready for a “straightforward and connected” contribution, and Metcalf and Palmer make it with the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook (ILF).

As a reviewer, I believe it is my responsibility to show you why I think this book makes a contribution, and is worth your investment of time.  To evaluate what a framework contributes, I will use the CRISP criteria (Ritchie-Dunham, 2008), which basically suggest that if we want to understand something through any given framework, the framework should support our understanding of how Comprehensive, Rigorous, Integrative, Simple, and Purposeful it is.  This book scores high on all five.

Using Wilber’s integral AQAL lens (Wilber, 2000), ILF defines a comprehensive leadership development framework as one that meets the inner and outer perspectives of the individual and the collective, at different levels for different types:  “An Innovative Leader influences by engaging self, culture and systems equally.” (p. 14)

  • On Comprehensiveness ILF scores high.
  • ILF defines rigor as a framework that is proven to deliver strong results and based on solid science.  The authors bring in very credible, often peer-reviewed tools that they have themselves tested with many leaders over many years.  ILF scores high on rigor.
  • Integrative means that the framework makes clear how the different elements fit together.  Using the AQAL framing and a pyramid structure, ILF is very explicit about how the inner, outer, developmental, and type perspectives fit together.  On Integrative ILF scores high.
  • Perhaps the authors’ most significant contribution is the Simple criteria.  Simple means understandable to intelligent leaders, in this case, not dumbed down.  Metcalf and Palmer provide an elegantly simple and, thus, very accessible entry to material that is often presented in very complicated and overly complex ways.  ILF excels on the Simple criteria.
  • The book also defines the Purposeful criteria for leadership development as one that enables leaders to critically self-assess and authentically engage in their own development, so that they can influence AQAL alignment and movement, directionally and tactically.  If it does not meet that purpose, it should not be in the framework.  On the Purpose criteria, the book does well, providing tools for critical assessment, examples of how others worked with the tools, and processes for implementing the insights from the tools.

These are five major contributions to a literature on leadership development that usually scores low on all five CRISP criteria.

Now that it is clear that ILF makes a contribution, what does the journey look like?  This is the content question.  ILF proposes a design for a multi-month journey into one’s own leadership.  The design comes in two segments: lenses and processes.  The first segment describes five different lenses into one’s own leadership, keying on different AQAL dimensions.  The second segment suggests a six-step process that uses the lenses to critically assess and re-define one’s own leadership.

  • The first segment looks at leadership development from the integral lenses of type, stages, resilience, all-quadrants, and behaviors.
  • For types, ILFuses the Enneagram to explore types of individuals and teams, providing a simple language, tables, examples, and reflections for using this lens.
  • For stages of ego development, ILF uses the well tested Maturity Assessment Profile developed by Susanne Cook-Greuter, providing brief, rich profiles of leaders at different developmental stages. 
  • Resilience is explored using a physical well-being, thinking, emotional intelligence, and connection framework presented earlier in this journal (Metcalf & Gore, 2011).
  • Building on leadership type, stage, and resilience, an all-quadrants perspective is used to analyze any leadership situation.
  • Finally, the lens that rests on top is the Leadership Circle Profile of a leader’s creative and reactive people and task behaviors.  Each lens is presented simply, with clear leadership examples from the authors’ experience, ending with reflection questions for the reader.

The authors then walk the reader through a six-step process for living into what is seen through the integral lenses of innovative leadership.  Each step is broken down into a series of straightforward and insightful questions that uses the insights from the integral lenses.  The six steps are: (1) create a compelling vision of your future; (2) analyze your situation & strengths; (3) plan your journey; (4) build your team & communicate; (5) take action; and (6) embed innovation systematically.  The brilliance of the book is how CRISPly these traditional areas are presented, making the deep, transformative use of the material relatively easy, engaging, and useful.  That is a lot to accomplish in 263 pages.  I highly recommend the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook to anyone who is ready to take on the transformation of their own leadership.

Click here for more information about Innovative Leadership Fieldbook or to purchase the book.

About the Reviewer

Jim Ritchie-Dunham is a student of the agreements that guide human interaction.  He explores these agreements through practice, research, and teaching.  Jim is president of the Institute for Strategic Clarity, a trustee of THORLO, and an adjunct faculty member at the EGADE Business School and at Harvard.

Jim’s work has focused primarily on understanding human agreements as integral systems, developing strategy from a systems-resource perspective, and fostering large-scale social-change as a collaborative, holistic inquiry. He has developed conceptual frameworks in his work with executive teams in corporate, government, civil society, inter-sectoral, and global-action-network settings for twenty years in seventeen countries. Jim co-authored the book Managing from Clarity: Identifying, Aligning and Leveraging Strategic Resources, and has written many articles on integral, systemic strategy for academic and practitioner journals.

Institute for Strategic Clarity, 108 High Street, Amherst, MA 01002 (603) 620-4472

jimrd@instituteforstrategicclarity.org   

References

Davis, M. F. (1971). That’s Interesting: Towards a Phenomenology of Sociology and a Sociology of Phenomenology. Philosophy of Social Science, 1, 309-344.

Metcalf, M., & Gore, B. (2011). Resilience Through The Integral Lens – A Case Study. Integral Leadership Review, 11(2).

Ritchie-Dunham, J. L. (2008). A Collaborative-Systemic Strategy Addressing the Dynamics of Poverty in Guatemala:  Converting Seeming Impossibilities into Strategic Probabilities. In C. Wankel (Ed.), Alleviating Poverty through Business Strategy(pp. 73-98). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Wilber, K. (2000). A Theory of Everything. Boston: Shambhala.