A Learning Mindset is the One “Killer App” We All Need

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This blog is provided by Steve Terrell, President of Aspire Consulting.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Learning Mindset for Leaders: Leveraging Experience to Accelerate Development that aired on September 1st, 2020.

 

In Learning Mindset for Leaders, I have attempted to distil some of the knowledge and insights I have gained over my 30+ year career in leadership development, including the deep research into global leadership development I undertook while earning my doctorate in the field. Through this research, I sought to understand how global leaders learned and developed the important competencies and skills they needed to become effective global leaders. The essence of the research results is what I now call Learning Mindset.

Learning Mindset is the “Killer App” of learning, growth, and development through experience. It is the master competency, the one competency to “rule them all.” It is especially important that global leaders have a Learning Mindset during challenging or difficult situations because those are the very experiences that offer significant risks of failure as well as opportunities for personal and organizational development.

Leaders with a Learning Mindset who encounter difficult challenges have a strong tendency to create value from the crucible of negative experiences. As a result, they create their own virtuous cycle of learning and performance, enabling them to learn more from their experiences, which in turn results in

their being more resilient and performing better in VUCA conditions. This leads to achievement of better results and reinforces the importance and value of the Learning Mindset.

A Learning Mindset is an attitude that predisposes you to be open to new experiences, to believe you can and will learn, and to intentionally grow and develop from your experience. The dimensions of a Learning Mindset form essential capabilities for global leadership and bear directly on global leaders’ efficacy in a crisis. Believing in one’s own learning and growth potential enables global leaders to face new challenges with confidence, tempered with humility. Openness to experience allows them to take in a wide variety of information and to process it with an appreciation of its potential value. Being motivated, willing, and desiring to learn focuses global leaders’ energies and attention on grasping new problems and sensing new possibilities. Curiosity about others urges global leaders to wonder how people in other cultures approach the pandemic, what they can learn from different points of view, and make new connections based on new insights. An attitude of discovery and exploration energizes global leaders to investigate the challenges presented by the coronavirus dilemma. Perhaps most important of all, global leaders with a Learning Mindset engage in experiences with an intention and willingness to gain something positive from every experience, including – and sometimes, especially – extremely difficult, thorny, and dangerous experiences.

When global leaders enact a Learning Mindset they are better able to envision and reach for stability beyond the volatility; create space to reduce uncertainty; understand and simplify the complexity; and eventually find clarity for their organizations amidst the ambiguity.

If you’d like to learn more about Learning Mindset, you can order the book Learning Mindset for Leaders: Leveraging Experience to Accelerate Development from Amazon here.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

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

 

 

About the Author

 

Steve Terrell, EdD, is the President of Aspire Consulting, a management-consulting firm that specializes in developing leadership capabilities needed for success. Aspire helps clients Turn Vision into Reality, by defining the leadership capabilities needed to successfully execute the strategy, and by designing and implementing development solutions that build the required capabilities. Steve is a leading expert on global leadership, learning from experience, and Learning Mindset. His book Learning Mindset for Leaders: Leveraging Experience to Accelerate Development is a widely-used resource for leaders and practitioners who want to expand their ability to learn from experience.

 

Photo by Abby Chung from Pexels

Ethics Violation: A Practical Example on Gathering All the Facts

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This blog is provided by Rob Chesnut and is an excerpt adapted from his latest book, Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution (St. Martin’s Press, 2020) and used with permission.  You can purchase his book here.  This blog is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution which aired on 7/28/20.

 

The primary guidance I have for those who find themselves in a position of having to work out appropriate consequences is: put on your ethics goggles and be intentional. At every stage of this process, every leader involved should strive for fairness and honesty and be able to understand how decisions come across not just to those involved but to other employees.

Let’s work through a fictional example that will ground some of these ideas. Milo has spent the last year working as a logistics manager for a family-owned furniture company with 150 employees. The company has a code of ethics that includes a $100 limit on gifts. Milo’s administrative assistant, who is the nephew of the owner, mentioned to his uncle that Milo accepted a pair of Stanley Cup playoff tickets worth $500 from a shipping partner.

Clearly, Milo broke a rule.

The owner calls Milo’s manager and learns that Milo is an excellent employee who has never had any other complaint lodged against him. Next, the owner talks to Milo, who says he realizes that he was supposed to read the ethics statement but he never got around to it. He relates that at his last company, there was no policy about gift limits, so he did not think to check when the tickets arrived. He apologizes and appears genuinely upset to learn that he violated this rule. Not only was Milo contrite, he offered to call the vendor who gave him the tickets and reimburse the value.

Milo screwed up here, no question. He was careless . . . but, far as I can tell, not devious. Based on these facts, I’d probably advise the owner to give Milo a stern verbal warning. I’d be sure to say if he did this again, there would be serious consequences. I’d reinforce that he must read the code of ethics. I would remind Milo that he should not retaliate in any way against his admin, who had every right and arguably a duty to report his violation. If he’s already used the tickets, Milo probably should reimburse the shipper and explain that he made a mistake, in part so that the furniture company is not seen as a partner where high-value gifts are expected or appropriate.

This may seem lenient. The company has every right to “throw the book” at Milo . . . but he seems like a very good employee who made a mistake. Demonstrating compassion and thoughtfulness in this case might create an opportunity for the owner to remind everyone to reread the code of ethics, and thus prevent more problems. There is no mandated confidentiality involved in a verbal warning, and so Milo and his admin can talk about what happened, and others who might have questions can raise them as well.

So, let’s call that scenario one. Now, let’s alter the facts a bit.

What if Milo gets angry and defensive when asked about the tickets? What if Milo’s admin says that this is the third or fourth time the shipper has sent Milo tickets for a sporting event or a concert and that he has warned him several times that accepting the tickets is a violation of company policy? What if Milo’s manager says that Milo suggested the company shift more business to this shipper . . . just a few days after the shipper sent him the tickets?

In the second scenario, the results of the investigation suggest that Milo has engineered a relationship with the shipping partner that is a conflict of interest. So here we have two identical offense reports, but the details elevate the second scenario to a much more serious level. They may suggest a deliberate bribe by an employee of the shipper, and they may be significant enough to warrant terminating Milo immediately.

Wow, harsh. Terminating an employee can be catastrophic for that individual, and it can hobble a work team. It should never be done lightly, but some offenses, like sexual harassment or fraud or bribery, are so serious that once you have established that they occurred, you must act decisively and signal that this is unacceptable behavior.

As Milo’s example shows, the facts and details always matter. Intentions are important. Mistakes are different from premeditated acts. Investigations must be fair and full, approached objectively.

In the corporate world, disciplining an employee for a code violation is a necessary part of the integrity process. And I’ll be honest: it’s my least favorite part. While it’s fun and energizing to write a code of ethics and feel like you are shaping a great company where everyone will be proud to work, it can be infuriating, frustrating, and sad when someone violates that code. Sometimes people, for a wide variety of reasons, can make consequential mistakes that cost them their jobs, put their families’ financial stability in jeopardy, and create a permanent stain on their reputations—and the company’s as well. But you have to respond, or your code will have no credibility. You’ll fail as a leader, and the people who follow the rules will suffer.

Adapted from Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution by Rob Chesnut (St. Martin’s Press, 2020).

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

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

 

About the Author

Rob Chesnut is the Chief Ethics Officer at Airbnb, a role he took on in late 2019 after nearly four years as the company’s General Counsel. He previously led eBay’s North America legal team, where he founded the Internet’s first ecommerce person to person platform Trust and Safety team. He was the general counsel at Chegg, Inc. for nearly 6 years, and he served 14 years with the U.S. Justice Department.

Will Technology’s Next Big Innovation Be Your Company’s Downfall?

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This blog is provided by Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com and founding chairman of Kayak.com. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Can Your Business Survive the Rapid Advance of Technology? that aired on June 9th, 2020.

 

It’s a scenario that gets played over and over in the corporate world.

One moment a company is riding high, the next it’s struggling to exist, its business model disrupted by new technology and a failure to keep up with an ever-changing competitive landscape.

Take as just one example Nokia, which at one time ruled the roost in the mobile-phone market, able to boast in the late 1990s that it was the world’s largest cellphone maker.

But when Apple introduced its iPhone in 2007, Nokia proved too slow to adapt as the market, the technology and the competition began to evolve all around it. Over the next several years, Nokia became an also-ran in an industry it previously dominated.

History is replete with similar stories, and you can expect more in the future as technology continues to advance at a head-spinning rate, says Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com, co-founder of Kayak.com, and author of the new book Disruption OFF: The Technological Disruption Coming for Your Company and What to Do About It (www.tbjones.com).

“Our constantly changing world is disrupting what many businesses do, whether it’s photography, the book industry, the music industry or many others,” Jones says. “In the business world, change is inevitable, but success is optional.”

“Technological change can come quickly. For example, 90% of hearing aids are now produced by 3D printing and that change happened in just four years. Companies that didn’t make the change are no longer with us.”

That doesn’t mean any particular company is necessarily doomed, though.

“There are a surprising number of 100-year-old companies out there,” he says. “Most of the ones I’ve talked to have mastered the ability to shed their old skin and renew themselves when required.”

Jones says a few ways businesses can avoid becoming a disruption casualty include:

  • Be willing to take risks. “Your company was probably founded on risk, but you don’t take risks anymore,” Jones says. “But you have to take risks to move forward.” He says he speaks with many corporations that are envious of the speed with which Silicon Valley startups make decisions. “These nimble companies are constantly trying, failing, changing and moving on,” Jones says. “Disruption is in their DNA. Most larger corporations are not like that. They generally are deliberative, risk averse and ponderously slow. They focus on delivery more than discovery. That approach might have worked in a time of limited disruption, but not today.”
  • Create a culture open to new ideas. “Many businesses are stuck in corporate pinball,” Jones says. By that he means this: Each time someone dreams up a new idea, that idea gets bounced from department to department, as if its hitting the bumpers of a giant pinball machine. Each department finds a reason to say “no” to the idea, which eventually ends up in the gutter. “You have to stop closing the door and saying, ‘No,’ ” Jones says. “Your job is to get the idea to the finish line. To get it over, to say, ‘Yes.’ ”
  • Become a disrupter yourself. In this world of disruption, it’s unlikely your largest competitor will be your undoing, Jones says. The problem is those 5,000 to 6,000 new startups per year that are attacking the traditional world. “You need to put their ideas to work and become a disruptor yourself,” he says. “Disruption and innovation really are two sides of the same coin. You just call it a disruption because you didn’t do it.”

“A company may currently be strong and it may be run by intelligent executives, but the question is whether it’s adaptable enough to change,” Jones says. “Even more important, is the company proactively preparing for change? If so, it’s more likely to survive and maybe even thrive.”

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

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

About the Author

Terry Jones (www.tbjones.com), founder of Travelocity.com and founding chairman of Kayak.com, is author of the new book Disruption OFF: The Technological Disruption Coming for Your Company and What to Do About It. For the last 15 years he’s been speaking and consulting with companies on innovation and disruption. Jones began his career as a travel agent, jumped to two startups and then spent 20 years at American Airlines, serving in a variety of management positions including Chief Information Officer. While at American he led the team that created Travelocity.com, served as CEO for six years, and took the company public. After Travelocity he served as Chairman of Kayak for seven years until it was sold to Priceline for $1.8 billion.

 

 

 

Rebalancing Society Across the Public, Private, Plural Sectors

This blog is provided by Dr. Henry Mintzberg. It is The Basic Point section from Dr. Mintzberg’s book, Rebalancing Society, Radical Renewal Beyond Left, Right, and Center ©2015 and used with permission. In his book, Henry shares seven observations. If you would like to find out more about each of his points, you can purchase his book here. Dr. Mintzberg is the author 20 books, including Simply Managing and Bedtime Stories for Managers, which have earned him 20 honorary degrees. This blog is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, Rebalancing Society: Radical Renewal, Beyond, Left, Center, Right which aired on 1/21/20.

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

 

Enough!

Enough of the imbalance that is destroying our democracies, our planet, and ourselves. Enough of the pendulum politics of left and right, as well as the paralysis in the political center. Enough of the visible claw of lobbying in place of the invisible hand of competing. Enough of the economic globalization that undermines sovereign states and local communities. Have we not had enough exploiting of the world’s resources, including ourselves as “human resources”? Many more people are concerned about these problems than have taken to the streets. The will of people is there; an appreciation of what is happening, and how to deal with it, is not. We are inundated with conflicting explanations and contradictory solutions. The world we live in needs a form of radical renewal unprecedented in the human experience. This book presents an integrative framework to suggest a comprehensive way forward.

The Triumph of Imbalance

When the communist regimes of Eastern Europe began to collapse in 1989, pundits in the West had a ready explanation: capitalism had triumphed. They were dead wrong, and the consequences are now proving fateful.

It was balance that triumphed in 1989. While those communist regimes were severely out of balance, with so much power concentrated in their public sectors, the successful countries of the West maintained sufficient balance across their public, private, and what can be called plural sectors. But a failure to understand this point has been throwing many countries out of balance ever since, in favor of their private sectors.

Welcome to the Plural Sector

There are three consequential sectors in society, not two. The one least understood is known by a variety of inadequate labels, including the “not-for-profit sector,” the “third sector,” and “civil society.” Calling it “plural” can help it take its place alongside the ones called public and private, while indicating that it is made up of a wide variety of human associations. Consider all those associations that are neither public nor private—owned neither by the state nor by private investors—such as foundations, places of worship, unions, cooperatives, Greenpeace, the Red Cross, and many renowned universities and hospitals. Some are owned by their members; most are owned by no one. Included here, too, are social movements that arise to protest what some people find unacceptable (as we have seen recently in the Middle East) and social initiatives, usually started by small community groups, to bring about some change they feel is necessary (for example, in renewable energy). Despite the prominence of all this activity, the plural sector remains surprisingly obscure, having been ignored for so long in the great debates over left versus right. This sector cannot be found between the other two, as if on some straight line. It is a different place, as different from the private and public sectors as these two are from each other. So picture instead a balanced society as sitting on a stool with three sturdy legs: a public sector of respected governments, to provide many of our protections (such as policing and regulating); a private sector of responsible businesses, to supply many of our goods and services; and a plural sector of robust communities, wherein we find many of our social affiliations.

Regaining Balance

How do we regain balance in our societies? Some people believe that the answer lies in the private sector—specifically, with greater corporate social responsibility. We certainly need more of this, but anyone who believes that corporate social responsibility will compensate for corporate social irresponsibility is living in a win-win wonderland. Other people expect democratic governments to act vigorously. This they must do, but they will not so long as public states continue to be dominated by private entitlements, domestic and global. This leaves but one sector, the plural, which is not made up of “them” but of you, and me, and we, acting together. We shall have to engage in many more social movements and social initiatives, to challenge destructive practices and replace them with constructive ones. We need to cease being human resources, in the service of imbalance, and instead tap our resourcefulness as human beings, in the service of our progeny and our planet.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

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

About the Author

Henry Mintzberg is a writer and educator, mostly about managing originations, developing managers, and rebalancing societies, which is his current focus. Henry sits in the Cleghorn Chair of Management Studies at the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University in Montreal.

He has authored 20 books, including Simply Managing and Bedtime Stories for Managers, which have earned him 20 honorary degrees. Henry co-founded the International Masters Program for Managers as well as a venture CoachingOurselves.com, novel initiatives for managers to learn together from their own experience, the last in their own workplace.

Henry may spend his professional life dealing with organizations, but he spends his private life escaping from them—mostly in a canoe, up mountains, and on a bicycle. You can find out more about his adventures on mintzberg.org, which includes his blog.

 

 

Influence Is All About PEOPLE

This blog is provided by Brian Ahearn, the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC, as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade aired on 9/3/19.

When it comes to influence I believe it’s all about PEOPLE. I write that because we don’t try to persuade things. Dale Carnegie had it right when he wrote, “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face, especially if you’re in business.” The more you know how to ethically influence people the better your chances are for success at the office and happiness at home.

When it comes to PEOPLE I encourage you to think about the about the Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical. Let’s take a quick look at each component of PEOPLE.

Powerful

Who says influence is powerful? Here are what a few well known people from history had to say about persuasion:

“Persuasion is often more effective than force.” Aesop, Greek Fabulist

“If I can persuade, I can move the universe.” Frederick Douglass, American social reformer, abolitionist, writer, and statesman

“The only real power available to the leader is the power of persuasion.” Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States.

In addition to those intelligent people, we have more than 70 years of research from social psychology, behavioral economics and more recently neuroscience, to tangibly prove how powerful persuasion can be.

Everyday

Unless you’re Tom Hanks in Castaway you interact with people every single day. Quite often in your communication with others you make requests hoping to hear “Yes!” Nobody goes it alone, especially the highly successful. Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO said, “Nearly everything I’ve done in my life has been accomplished through other people.”

Here’s something I love about persuasion; it applies at work and home, a 24x7x365 skill. At work you try to persuade your boss, direct reports, coworkers, vendors and customers. At home influence helps with your parents, significant other, children, neighbors and anyone else you come in contact with.

Opportunities

In virtually every communication you have there will be opportunities for you to do seemingly little things just a bit different to potentially reap big rewards. For example, wouldn’t you be interested to find out what the Cancer Society did to increase their volunteer rate 700% in one area of town or how Easter Seals doubled the number of donors? Both were accomplished by doing a few, nearly costless things differently to employ a little psychology.

The problem is, all too often people miss the opportunities that are right in front of them. However, once you begin to learn the language of persuasion you’ll be amazed at how often you spot the opportunities to engage psychology to leverage better results.

Persuade

What exactly is persuasion? The definitions I hear most often are “to change someone’s mind” or “to convince someone of something.” Those might be good starts but they’re not enough. In the end you want to see people change their behavior.

With a focus on behavior change I think Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher, put it best when he said, “Persuasion is the art of getting people to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do if you didn’t ask.”

Lasting

Sometimes your interaction with another person is “one and done” but quite often it’s an ongoing relationship. In those relationships you don’t want to go back to the drawing board time after time. No, you want to have communications that change people’s thinking and behavior for the long haul.

Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower understood the power of persuasion to create a lasting effect when he said, “I would rather persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.” Done right, persuasion can have a lasting impact on others.

Ethical

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, manipulation is, “to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner.” That’s not so bad but another definition for manipulation is, “to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage.”

Manipulation makes most of us bristle because it connotes taking advantage of someone. I’m confident in writing this next statement – no one likes to be manipulated. I’m reasonably certain the vast majority of people don’t want to be known as manipulators either.

When it comes to the difference between ethical influence and manipulation I like the following quote from The Art of WOO (Richard Shell & Mario Moussa), “An earnest and sincere lover buys flowers and candy for the object of his affections. So does the cad who succeeds to take advantage of another’s heart. But when the cad succeeds, we don’t blame the flowers and candy. We rightly question his character.”

Conclusion

Your ability to ethically influence others will be a big determinant when it comes to your professional success and personal happiness. Knowing that, and knowing how much you use this one skill each day, doesn’t it make sense to get better at it?

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 system to create a regenerative, inclusive and thriving organization that will have a positive impact in the world.

About the Author

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An international speaker, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the topic of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book – Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical – is available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and most other online sites.

His LinkedIn Learning courses Persuasive SellingPersuasive Coaching and Building a Coaching Culture: Improving Performance through Timely Feedback, have been viewed by more than 70,000 people! Keep an eye out for Advanced Persuasive Selling: Persuading Different Personalities this fall.

Check out this and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the ILI LinkedIn.

 

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, 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 system to create a regenerative, inclusive and thriving organization that will have a positive impact in the world.

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].

Spiritual Intelligence: Living as Your Higher Self

SQ21 Spiritual IntelligenceToday’s post is written by Cindy Wigglesworth. This post is a companion to the Voice America show. Cindy Wigglesworth is the author of SQ21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence, a recognized expert in the field of Spiritual Intelligence, and an experienced leadership coach and corporate consultant. Her SQ21 spiritual intelligence self-assessment is a diversity-appropriate and skills-based way of discussing powerful human motivators and success factors. After working for 20 years in a Fortune 50 company in Human Resources she formed her own company in 2000 and created her multiple intelligence approach to leadership developing. Using a combination of four intelligences (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) she coaches senior executives to overcome barriers to their own career success and helps them lead their organizations to greatness.

Who are your spiritual heroes — those people you would think of as exemplary human beings? And what characteristics do you admire in them? When I ask people these questions, they cite similar characteristics time and again. We tend to admire people who have high integrity and are courageous, loving, calm, visionary, selfless, inspiring, and making a difference. Think about this for yourself. Make your own list of those you consider to be especially noble, and why. This is a great starting point for becoming an exemplar yourself. I have found that the great majority of people want to live as their noblest self. And achieving this requires understanding and developing multiple “intelligences,” including spiritual intelligence.

Spiritual intelligence is an essential component of both personal and professional development. With SQ we access the voice of our noblest self — our higher self — and let it drive our lives.

Personal and spiritual growth can no longer be viewed as a private journey we undertake in a different sphere of life than our professional endeavors. There is, in my experience, an undeniable connection between the personal and the professional, between the inner life of the self and the outer world of effectiveness and impact. In other words, your personal development changes you. And who you are ultimately determines how you lead.

We are all leaders and role models regardless of our jobs. We are leaders to our children, to our coworkers, and to everyone we interact with. Deep, authentic leadership requires that we lead ourselves first. We do the spiritual weightlifting to develop a deep inner self-awareness and compassion for the world around us. And we put in the effort required to make a difference in the world. We build the multiple intelligences we need: cognitive or mental intelligence (IQ) and the related technical skills of our craft; emotional intelligence (EQ), or good interpersonal skills; physical intelligence (PQ), or good body management; and spiritual intelligence (SQ).

Most people are familiar with the term IQ, which is our classical mental intelligence (mathematical and verbal). And more and more have heard of EQ or emotional intelligence, thanks to the pioneering work of Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis. PQ may not be a familiar term, but it is a foundational skill we all practice every day. Put very simply, when we don’t take care of our bodies, everything else suffers. I define PQ as “body awareness and skillful use.” A simple example of poor PQ is allowing yourself to be continually sleep-deprived. Mental, emotional, and spiritual functioning diminishes along with stamina and health.

The least familiar of these four intelligences is SQ, but I believe we may come to find that it is the most critical as we navigate the choppy waters of our current times. It builds on EQ and takes us to the next level.

I define spiritual intelligence (SQ) as: The ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation. I have researched 21 measurable “skills” or “competencies” that are components of this ability. These include things like “awareness of one’s own worldview,” “complexity of inner thought,” “awareness of interconnectedness of life,” “keeping your Higher Self in charge,” and “being a wise and effective change agent.” Unlike many spiritual teachings, which can tend to seem vague or mysterious, these tangible skills can be learned through practice and developed through clearly-defined levels.

Some people argue that spirituality is innate to each one of us — something we already are, not something we develop. And I agree. We are all born as spiritual beings. But just as a child with musical ability will never be highly “musically intelligent” if she does not learn music theory and practice playing an instrument, so it is with spiritual intelligence. We must understand the basics of “spiritual theory” and practice the skills to become spiritually intelligent.

The 21 skills of SQ are not new. In fact, they are as old as the spiritual impulse in human consciousness. I arrived at this skills-based model by stepping back from the particular religious or philosophical belief systems and considering the traits that are common to spiritual exemplars yet “a step beyond” EQ or IQ.

I feel that many of us, especially leaders in organizations, have been held back by the lack of a safe, diversity-friendly way to address the skills we need to develop. We need a skills-based language to help us tap the innate drive to nobility in ourselves and then share the benefits of this growth in our workplaces and in society.

SQ development boils down to this: We move from immature ego-driven behaviors to more mature higher self-driven behaviors. How do we do that? We develop the ability to hear the voice of our higher self, to understand and transcend the voice of our ego, and to be guided by deep wisdom and compassion. IQ and EQ support us as we develop the skillful means to deploy our noblest intention. The ego matures and nuanced forms of more effective leadership develop. With more SQ comes less drama and more impact.

Here’s one quick tip you can practice right away: Learn to be quiet. In the stillness you can observe deeply. Notice when your body and mind are agitated. Hear the voice of your ego and its fears. Love your ego — it is valuable. But know that it is also a drama queen. It needs guidance and balance. Hold your noble heroes in mind and ask your higher self for guidance. What is the wise and compassionate action to take today in this situation? What is in the highest and best interest of all players — including me, my co-workers, friends, family, company, society, and the planet? From this quiet place, you can act with SQ.

Spiritual intelligence is critical for personal growth and authentic leadership. The community, family, global and business leaders of the future will be those who are quickest to recognize this fact and begin to measure and cultivate the skills of spiritual intelligence in themselves and their 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.

For more information about Cindy and her work, visit www.deepchange.com.

For more by Cindy Wigglesworth, click here.

For more on spirit, click here.

Book Excerpt: The Ten Disciplines of Leadership

The 10 disciplines of LeadershipToday’s blog is a guest post by Rich Jacobs, Principal of the Richard Jacobs Management Institute and former Vistage International Chair for sixteen years. Rich recently published a book: The Ten Disciplines of Leadership – The Ultimate Playbook for Success. (Richard A. Jacobs & Charles B. Dygert, Ph.D).

Following is an excerpt from his book. It applies to leaders at the beginning of their journey and can be used as a “review” or “check list” for experienced managers to identify areas of potential improvement. A future post will provide the remaining fundamentals.

Creating a strong foundation of management skills is critical for success of both the manager and those being managed. Jessica is a new manager in a technology firm. She is highly committed to doing a good job and proving herself. Early in her tenure she finds herself overwhelmed with the volume of work and struggles with delegation. She is worried that people will think less of her for “pushing her work off on others”. Her team is complaining that they are bored with the mundane tasks and frustrated that she is so busy that she isn’t able to meet with them. Jessica is struggling with elementary management skills like most new managers. By strengthening her ability in the fundamentals, she will quickly create an engaged team and correct the productivity slump her team experienced when she took over this role.

Four Management Fundamentals:

1: Set clear values and consequences for nonconformance. If you are a person with assigned authority in an organization and observe behavior/acts that are counter to your company’s values/culture – what do you do? You must go to the “scene” and acknowledge – in some fashion – that this is unacceptable. There are many ways to do this – select the one you feel will be the most effective and is your normal “management style”. One approach is to walk over to the area and engage each person in a probing manner by asking questions. “Is this how we do things here? If not, what should we be doing?” The objective is to point out the error in their behavior and acknowledge the correct approach. If the situation escalates, then action should be taken. This may come in the form of a formal letter of discipline in their file.

2: Set expectations and deadlines and follow-up on progress. Do not do their job for them – even though it might be easier and save time. Give an example of how you might follow-up that supports employee performance and engagement. Each week sit down with your manager and decide on the projects to be worked on for the next week. Agree on what results are expected and how they will be measured. This can be done in person or via e-mail. Coach them on how to succeed. Define the consequences if results are not met. This is how accountability becomes part of the company’s culture. It defines what is expected of each associate.

3: Set boundaries – each person in a leadership position has “limits of authority” – stated or unstated. Each person should work his/her direct reports and with the people he/she report to establish these boundaries. There are different ways to do this – here is an example.
• Items I want you to always come to me first to talk about and decide action plan
• Items I want you to come to me with your recommendation and action plan to discuss
• Items I want to know about but do not need the details
• Items you should just do and not bother me with

4: Discuss strengths and weaknesses – There are several schools of thought on this one. However, most of us do best when working with our strengths. What are your strengths? Are you using a strengths based assessment like the Gallup StrengthsFinders to identify your strengths? What additional skill training would you like to have? Make this a part of your personal strategic action goals.

We will explore the additonal fundamentals in a future blog from Rich.

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.system to a regenerative, inclusive one that can ensure the thriving of our biosphere and ourselves.

What is Required to Shift from Survival to Thriving Long Term?

Leaders Guide to ThriveAbilityThis guest blog post was written by Robin Lincoln Wood. Dr Wood is a renowned strategist, futurist, communicator and agent of transformation. He has spent 3 decades working at board level with the world’s leading organizations in 35 countries on 4 continents. He is deeply skilled in designing & catalyzing major shifts in large scale systems, & in inspiring & empowering the teams that deliver them. This post is an excerpt of a paper that will be published in the Integral Leadership Review in October 2015.

Robin will be a guest on the Voice America radio show on September 29. This post is a companion to that interview.

Earth’s 7.3 billion citizens are currently consuming 1.6 planet’s worth of resources, thereby guaranteeing runaway global warming, climate change and suffering for billions in the next few decades. Such a wicked problem needs a whole new kind of leadership, capable of thinking and acting on a planetary scale while maintaining local viability. New kinds of leadership are emerging in response, capable of working from perspectives that access the highest leverage points in human, social, natural and technical systems, while integrating multiple disciplines, methods and tools for beneficial change and transformation. This post is a primer for the book “A Leader’s Guide to ThriveAbility”, details where we are (a degenerative, exclusive economy); where we need to be (a regenerative inclusive economy); the integral framework undergirding the ThriveAbility Journey, which explains how we get from here to there; and the role and kinds of leadership needed to assure a beneficial transition.

Toward a Regenerative, Inclusive Economy

Imagine a world powered by renewable energy, where all human beings thrive in resilient habitats; where businesses operate in a circular economy that regenerates natural capital, without a particle of waste, and are led by enlightened leaders whose goal is to maximize the ThriveAbility of all their stakeholders; where each individual is empowered to pursue their passion and make a living in service to others; where governance systems are transparent, effective and wise in the ways in which they deliver their services to their communities and populations; and where intercultural appreciation and insight enriches the exchanges between the diverse worldviews and cultures embraced by humankind.

Does that sound like an impossible dream, or pie in the sky? The co-creators of ThriveAbility would point out that every single one of these “pockets of the future” is currently observable in the present, right here and right now, somewhere in the world. It is just that the future is distributed unevenly, and sometimes hard to see when one is up to one’s neck in alligators and trying to drain the swamp.

  • How would this desirable future scenario of a thriving human civilization on a thriving planet convert into practical outcomes that are measurable and manageable?
  • What would such a future look like?
  • What kinds of leadership are emerging to get us there?

We can begin by describing in very big picture terms what a desirable future scenario of a thriving human civilization on a thriving planet might look like.

The Six Desiderata of ThriveAbility

Based on the pioneering work being done by hundreds of thought and practice leaders around the world[1], we have framed six desiderata by which we can measure the endpoint of the ThriveAbility Journey toward a regenerative, inclusive economy:

Sustainability: Natural Capital; Manufactured Capital

​1. A Circular, regenerative economy 

  1. Natural and man-made materials and ecosystems are regenerated through circular economic processes
  2. All impacts are managed proportionately to the carrying capacities of the multiple capitals

2. Long term resource planning for intergenerational equity

  1. Technologies, Products, Services and Businesses designed for durability to continue serving future generations
  2. Innovations are inspired by natural systems by engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and others working with the grain of nature.

Organizational: Intellectual Capital; Financial Capital

​3. A Transparent and Level global playing field that delivers True Value 

  1. Apply true accounting principles that measure true costs including externalities, and calculate true returns with full transparency
  2. Level the playing field towards renewable and regenerative industries through true taxation and incentives

​4. Strategic Decision-Making to Scale-Up to ThriveAble Sectors 

  1. Nurture multi-stakeholder collaboration to amplify and scale up positive impacts
  2. Investment decisions based on the ThriveAbility Index

Socio-Cultural: Human Capital; Social Capital

5. Holistic Education to Develop Complex Systems Thinking & Leadership

  1. New open business models for education that integrate physical wellbeing, mental depth, emotional maturity and spiritual development.
  2. Developmental pathways based on co-working and co-creation between disciplines and sectors that are aspirational and compelling for future generations

6. Governance Systems Aligned to Inclusive Stakeholder Wellbeing

  1. Radically inclusive and transparent governance structures that serve the different priorities and needs of different developmental levels
  2. Innovative structures for and approaches to interworking between governments, NGO’s, businesses and academia that focus on Stakeholder ThriveAbility.

We believe that starting from this “end of the telescope”, what is required for regenerative, inclusive business becomes obvious fairly quickly to key decision makers and stakeholders. In this sense the ThriveAbility Approach and Index act as a powerful catalyst and producer of the aspirations and the cognitive dissonance required to make transformative changes a reality.

To put it bluntly, we have no choice whether we should move from a degenerative, exclusive economic system to a regenerative, inclusive one that can ensure the thriving of our biosphere and ourselves.

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.system to a regenerative, inclusive one that can ensure the thriving of our biosphere and ourselves.

[1] In the course of researching and writing “A Leader’s Guide to ThriveAbility” we met with and/or interviewed 83 global thought leaders, executives and investors shaping the future of business, sustainability and human flourishing during late 2014 and early 2015. Since then we have engaged with a further few hundred such leaders via ThriveAbility live gatherings, ThriveAbility Think Tanks hosted by Convetit, and videoconferencing.

How to Turn a Reorganization Into a Leadership Disaster

Lead Inside the Box Book CoverToday’s guest post is by Mike Figliuolo, co-author of Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results (you can get your copy by clicking here).  You can learn more about Mike and the book at the end of the post.  Here’s Mike:

Quite often, departments are combined, split, or a team’s purpose is redefined. Reorganizations are disquieting. Leaders in this role face several challenges the Leadership Matrix can help them overcome. First, they have to evaluate the performance of team members with whom they haven’t worked before. Second, as responsibilities change, a team member who was a high performer on one set of tasks might find themselves struggling with their new role. The Leadership Matrix makes it easier for leaders to assess these new team dynamics and apply their energy appropriately.

You can use the Leadership Matrix to assess your new team members, especially if you haven’t worked with them before. One of your primary goals when you lead a team through a reorganization is defining roles quickly and in a manner that puts everyone’s talents to best use. The Leadership Matrix can be a powerful tool for making that happen.

During your assessment of the new team, watch out for negative impacts arising from changing someone’s role. As you shift around responsibilities, be aware of situations where you might be giving someone more than they can handle. We’re not saying you shouldn’t change their roles. Such changes can be great growth opportunities. What we are advocating is being aware of the possible shift in the person’s performance that is a result of their new responsibilities. If you know this risk exists, you can take mitigating actions before it becomes a major problem.

Sally serves as a great example of what can happen if a leader isn’t mindful of a reorganization’s impact on a team’s performance. She was responsible for running the operations group in a business unit at a professional services firm. During a major reorganization, Sally’s boss, the business unit president, was moved to another role in the company. Sally then took over his role as the business unit president. Her team now consisted of the operations group she previously led, a strategy group, an infrastructure group, a finance group, and a marketing group.

Before the reorganization, Rose led both the strategy and infrastructure groups. During the year prior to the reorganization, Rose demonstrated she was a Rising Star. At the beginning of that year, her responsibility was running the strategy group. As the year progressed, Rose took on greater responsibilities every month. Eventually she ran both the strategy and infrastructure groups. Her results were fantastic. Every week she found new ways to deliver more value to the organization.

When Sally took over the business unit, she wanted to show everyone she was in charge. She felt a bit insecure in her new role and felt the best way to demonstrate competence was to exercise her newfound authority. For her, this meant unilaterally changing Rose’s role.

Sally didn’t solicit any input from Rose even though she had previously been a peer. Instead, Sally decided on her own to break Rose’s team up and reassign responsibilities for the infrastructure group. Instead of reporting to Rose, that team would now report directly to Sally. Rose’s role was reduced back to what she had a year ago – she was now only responsible for the strategy group.

Rose found these changes demoralizing. She asked Sally to reconsider the reorganization and voiced her frustration with the move. Sally’s response was “Well, I’m running the team now. I think it makes more sense this way. You go focus on strategy and leave the infrastructure to me.” Sally wasn’t going to budge on her decision.

Rose gave up any hope of succeeding in the environment Sally had created. Her career path had been derailed and there was nothing she could do about it. She went from being a Rising Star to being a Slacker. She stopped putting forth her usual tremendous efforts and instead began looking for a new job.

Sally pushed Rose to focus on the strategy group but Rose’s heart wasn’t in it. After a couple of months, Rose left the company to go pursue her own entrepreneurial venture where her growth wouldn’t be limited like it was with Sally. By failing to assess the impacts reorganizing the team would have on her high performers, Sally lost a great talent. That loss led others to leave the organization too. Sally’s team’s performance dropped precipitously as high performers fled to roles where they felt more supported by their leader.

Sally’s failure to evaluate her team members’ performance and how she should interact with them had disastrous results. After a year of running the business unit, Sally was removed from the role by senior leadership. Had she conducted a thoughtful assessment of the situation before acting, she might have realized how her changes could affect her Rising Stars which could have prevented the exodus of talent from the team.

If you’re leading a reorganization, be sure to avoid Sally’s mistake. Spend time assessing your new team using the Leadership Matrix and weigh the impacts of changing responsibilities before you take action.

– Mike Figliuolo is the co-author of Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results and the author of One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.  He’s the managing director of thoughtLEADERS, LLC – a leadership development training firm.  An Honor Graduate from West Point, he served in the U.S. Army as a combat arms officer. Before founding his own company, he was an assistant professor at Duke University, a consultant at McKinsey & Co., and an executive at Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro.  He regularly writes about leadership on the thoughtLEADERS Blog.