Four Steps Increase Your Ability To Navigate Change

Navigating Change Alice and the White RabbitI am collaborating on a chapter in a book about leadership 2050 and at the same time watching several colleagues and friends who are facing significant changes in their personal and professional lives. Interestingly, according to Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” So, how are you dealing with the change in your life? In your organization? What can you do to improve your capacity?

So what do you do when you begin to feel like Alice in Wonderland – you are Alice and you have fallen down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass and nothing make sense? When we do things that worked for us in the past, we find that they no longer work as we expected, and we do not know what will work. Basically, we just want to have the uncertainty and sense of anxiety or unease go away. For me, I want to DO something to make it stop.

I am working with a colleague who has recently made a dramatic change in her personal life and at the same time she learned last week that her job is changing significantly as her company announced a major reorganization. Her job will change, and it is possible that she will be unemployed in 6-12 months. She happens to be a beacon of resilience and positive attitude even during the most challenging of times. She may be genetically blessed on some level but on another level, she has developed really strong skills at responding to change. These skills did not happen on accident but rather she has consciously focused on developing this capacity just like she is conscious of learning other professional skills.

To build your resilience, we encourage you to take the free on-line resilience assessment to determine where to focus your energy right now. Here are four recommendations on building resilience:

  1. Attend to your physical health. During times of stress it is easy to fall into habits that are less healthy such as eating comfort food, lightening up on workouts, or having an extra drink on a tough day
  2. Focus on your self-talk. Pay particular attention to when you allow your inner voice to run on overdrive telling you what is wrong with you. If you do not have a gratitude practice, this is a good time to consider one. Do an experiment – when you are feeling down, think of one or two things you are grateful for. Even better, call someone you care about and tell them how much you care about them. Since our self-talk is connected to our feeling of wellbeing, it is important to manage it aggressively.
  3. Reconnect with your sense of purpose. What is most important to you? How does your daily work and daily life help you make an impact on the world? This could be something big or it could be small acts of kindness and being a good friend. By remembering that we make a difference and focusing on that difference, it is easier to put our setbacks in perspective and remember how we have overcome many of them over the course of our lives.
  4. Connect with supportive friends (and disconnect from unsupportive people). We all need someone to listen. Most of us probably are better at listening to others than asking others to listen to us; so chances are your friends will be happy to reciprocate when you reach out and ask for a supportive conversation.

Change is challenging, especially when the change is something we did not chose. For me, managing my emotions and inner conversations are the toughest. When I am under stress, my emotions can be out of balance, and what I feel is often much worse than the objective reality of the situation. I encourage you to take the assessment and take 1 small step today and tomorrow and the next day to build and maintain your resilience. If you are in a great place, these steps become part of a strong routine; if you are struggling with your own change, it will help you to build yourself up while you navigate challenge.

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 Loren Javier

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.

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

Building Individual and Organizational Resilience

Dominos of ResilienceIn leadership terms, we define resilience as the ability to adapt in the face of multiple changes while continuing to persevere toward strategic goals. In the current environment where change is the norm and time to bounce back between stressors is minimal at best, we, as leaders, need to think about how we manage our personal resilience and also how we support our organization in adapting to the changes it is facing.

We break resilience into four primary categories (link to resilience assessment):

  1. Maintain physical well-being
  2. Manage thinking
  3. Fulfill life purpose using emotional intelligence
  4. Harness the power of human connection

Each of these categories is interlinked with the others and has a domino effect. It’s hard to think clearly if you are physically exhausted and so on. Resilience is an essential element of leadership that becomes increasingly important during times of change when uncertainty can cause high-performing people to become distracted and uncertain.

I’m working with a client whose organization is navigating a major transition. Her boss has just taken a significant promotion and, as of this writing, the impact on her and her team is uncertain. It’s likely his promotion will mean a promotion for her. To support her personal transition into an even more stressful job than she already holds, she has been taking steps using a fitbittm to manage, track, and maintain her physical well-being. Her efforts are paying off; she’s moving toward consistently meeting her personal goals and finding that she has more energy and is more able to navigate with ease during highly stressful situations.

In addition to building her personal resilience, she also brought her direct reports together to discuss resilience and explore how they can become a more resilient team in advance of the next round of changes. This discussion focused not only on managing thinking and how individuals respond to challenges, but also on physical habits that support healthy sleep and exercise.

“What was most fascinating to me about this conversation,” wrote my client, “was the impact that it had on our entire team. We have a very open, supportive culture, but when one team member spoke up during our monthly leadership meeting with Maureen, and said that nighttime emails gave her a sense of pressure to respond immediately, several other people spoke up and said they felt the same way. Although I often say that there is no expectation of work outside of business hours – and I encourage the entire team to focus on self-care and work-life balance – my own nighttime emails were having the exact opposite effect. What I said and what I did were not in sync and this was creating unspoken tension on the team. As soon as one person brought it up, we all realized that few of us wanted to be on email regularly outside of work.”

“We are a diverse group with a wide range of interests and passions outside of work. I have seen again and again that the most creative and passionate employees on my team are also extremely creative and passionate in their lives outside of the office. By taking time outside of our regular work routines to check in, not just about what the work is that we do, but how we do it, and how we can work as a team to be successful, we were able to make a small but vital shift to our practices. Now the people who want to work through email at night or on weekends simply write messages and save them in draft form till morning. This lets each of us work at the time and in the ways that are most comfortable for us, but our inboxes have a chance to settle down outside of work, so we can too.”

“I was surprised to realize that just talking about a few ways to increase resilience has led to a very broad set of changes for our team and for all of us as individuals too. Once we started talking about the ways that we are already taking care of ourselves, and also articulated a personal goal for resilience that we’d like to move towards, the team’s culture started moving more towards practices that support resilience. I regularly hold walking meetings, in particular for one-on-ones or small group conversations. We have started bringing healthier snacks to our team meetings, people check in about opportunities to de-stress or support each other in our personal and collective goals to take better care of ourselves. What I love most is that this leads to healthier, happier individuals and healthier, happier (and more productive) professionals too.”

Many leaders struggle to find a balance in life, maintaining physical well-being, managing the stress of high impact jobs, finding the quality and quantity of time for family and meaningful supportive friendships, and even time to volunteer. As careers progress, the demands generally increase, so creating agreements that support fun work environments and group resilience become an important foundation for work groups to perform at their best.

To learn more about resilience, we encourage you to take the Resilience Assessment, watch a resilience webinar, or take our course: Building Resilience.

To become a more innovative leader please sign up for the online leader development program or purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders – coming April 2014. For additional tools, 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.

By Maureen Metcalf

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Louish Pixel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To 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.

Resources:

Innovative Leadership Fieldbook, Metcalf, Maureen and Palmer, Mark

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

A Primer in Positive Psychology, Peterson, Christopher

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

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

photo credit: www.flickr.com wetzel

Cultivating Resilience: Developing our “Response-ability” to Stress – Part 1

Resilience Bouncing Back This week’s blog post was written by one of our coaches, Lisa Iverson, innovative leadership coach & mental health counselor.

Recently in a conversation with colleagues, I brought up the concept of the value of “cultivating resilience,” and one of them asked me to define my understanding of the term and explain its significance in the work place.

After collecting and considering numerous definitions of “resilience,” I have centered on my own definition: “Resilience is the human capacity to deal with, overcome, learn from, or even be transformed by the inevitable adversities of life, and to ‘bounce back’ from a stressful situation, returning relatively quickly to the original state of well-being.”

The definition of the term “resilience” in physics adds to our understanding of the concept: “The property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed.”

Resilience can be seen as our degree of “response-ability” to both short-term stress and chronic stress. Our degree of resilience could be indicated by how we quickly our nervous systems can bounce back and regain equilibrium from specific emotional triggers and from acute, single stressors—and also how we navigate long-term chronic stress that has built up over time. Both types of stress are common and inherent in our life experience at home and in the work place, and our ability to respond effectively and regain equilibrium relatively quickly is increasingly important in both our professional and personal lives.

It is undeniable that in our fast-paced lives in the 21st century, with rapid change such a constant companion, that resilience to stress has become one of the most valuable sets of skills one can develop. This set of skills has become recognized as so significant that resilience is often considered one of the top five traits necessary to being a successful and innovative leader.

Brain research over the past decade has brought us a new understanding of our ability to change the ways we think and react, much more than we were originally taught. This understanding of the “neuro-plasticity” of the human brain sheds light on ways we can cultivate and develop our own resilience over time by actually re-training our minds to react differently.  While we may have a natural resilience set-point influenced by our genetics, upbringing, knowledge, and past experiences, recent studies in brain research have made it very clear that we all have the power to make a conscious decision to maximize our resilience. It is good news that we all have the ability to employ specific attitudes, practices, and habits of mind that lead to greater resilience, and it is in our best interests and for those around us, to make an effort to do so.

The following four “Keys to Building and Retaining Personal Resilience” have been identified by Metcalf and Palmer in their Innovative Leadership Fieldbook (2011.)  I have expanded upon them to further explore these strategies to develop increased resilience. (We are splitting this discussion in to two blog posts so we will cover the first two this week and the remaining items next week)

 

1.    Be aware of your own level of stress and take active steps to address your stress before it gets the better of you. Build daily routines that help your body recover from stress.

  • Learn to be increasingly aware of your personal stress level through recognizing key signs and symptoms of stress at any given point in time and making a consistent effort to take steps to face the stress constructively before the stress level gets too high.
  • Take responsibility for yourself. Design and practice your own Self Care or Personal Renewal program, without considering it self-indulgent.
  • Take the time and effort necessary to surround yourself with a personal support system, get sufficient physical exercise and sleep, create down time and internal time to reflect, pursue hobbies that rejuvenate you, spend time in nature, and seriously consider learning to meditate.
  • Do not make the mistake  of thinking that the time spent rebuilding is self-indulgent. On the contrary, it will assist you in being more productive, in making better decisions, in increasing the effectiveness of your immune system, in making you less likely to be unnecessarily reactive, and, generally, will make you more effective and easier to work with.

2.    Harness the Power of Connection at work and in your personal life.

Invest time in building key relationships with colleagues and build your skills of honest, direct, and skillful communication, and empathy with everyone in the workplace. At the same time, make an effort to surround yourself with a personal support system outside of work. We need relationships most when our stress is highest. We need to reach out and know that we can trust those around us with our most challenging situations.

  • Create solid friendships at work. According to research by Gallup, “Those without a best friend in the workplace have just a 1 in 12 chance of being engaged. Social relationships at work have also been shown to boost employee retention, safety, work quality, and customer engagement.”
  • Do things for others. Again, according to Gallup, “When we surveyed more than 23,000 people, we found that nearly 9 in 10 report ‘getting an emotional boost’ from doing kind things for others.”
  • Create a solid foundation of family and friends outside of work whose key focus is on providing support regardless of the challenges you face—those who support you as a person they care about.

This week we reviewed two of the key elements in building resilience. Next week we’ll turn to the remaining elements.

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 mariachily

Becoming An Authentic Leader: Six Questions to Build Resilience

Resilience and HealthHow 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 depth and provide recommended next steps. The second component of innovative leadership is how an understanding of resilience helps you become more authentic and also create a more authentic workplace.

According to the Forbes article, “Authenticity: Your Greatest Leadership Asset,” leadership guru, Warren Bennis, says: “…letting the self emerge is the essential task of leaders. Indeed, leadership is, first and foremost, all about you. People often have a misguided notion that leadership is about everyone else. But if a leader hasn’t journeyed inside first to get clear on his or her values, strengths, passion and vision, their lack of authentic grounding will cause them to behave in inconsistent ways, eroding trust and undermining their leadership effectiveness.”

The other day I met with a client who is struggling with health challenges for the first time in his life. At forty-one years old, he has been blessed with great health until back problems forced him to take a leave of absence from work He was given surgical and non-surgical treatment options to address his back condition. The non-surgical choices involved managing his stress and lifestyle as well as a daily routine of exercise and stretching. While the non-surgical option may seem easier compared to the surgical option, the underlying dilemma is facing the fact that he cannot live up to his own expectations of himself. He is young and suffering stress-related physical problems that, if he does not get under control, will likely result in chronic pain for years to come.

This week we are examining how resilience impacts authentic leadership. We define resilience as the ability to remain flexible and focused in the face of ongoing change. In my client’s case, he quite literally cannot physically remain flexible and focused.

So, what does this have to do with authentic leadership? To be a resilient leader, we need to attend to several personal elements of ourselves: our physical wellbeing, our thinking, our emotional intelligence, our sense of purpose, and our connections and support system. As an authentic leader, we must be honest with ourselves and others about what allows us to be resilient as individuals and as an organization.

As you read the Forbes reference above, it seems so simple: be true to yourself. For our leader, a major part of him being authentic is facing his physical limitations and being authentic with others about what he can and would be willing to do with regard to work schedule that will balance with his personal health needs. This man works for a large consulting firm where leaders pride themselves on their stamina, persistence, and always achieving results beyond what others could deliver—which may be part of the root of the problem. Now he must rethink who he can authentically be and face the reality of his physical limitations. Although we will all will face this at some point in our lives and careers, most of us never really think about it until a dramatic event such as taking medical leave forces us to reassess the choices we make and how we’re living. Now, my client is coming to terms with his humanness, and facing his limitations for the first time, and needing to figure out what it even means to be true to himself. Does he retain his stressful job as a consultant—the only professional job he has known? What other avenue does he have to pursue his passion and make an impact on the world?

How you can put resilience to work for you to become more authentic? Here are six questions to consider as indicators of your resilience as a leader:

  1. Am I taking the actions I need to take to remain physically healthy over the longer term?
  2. Do I manage my thinking throughout the day, every day (minimize negative self-talk, be gentle and kind in how I think about myself, express gratitude regularly, have reasonable expectations of myself and others, etc.)?
  3. Do I demonstrate strong emotional self-awareness and self-management?
  4. Do I have a sense of life purpose that inspires daily and helps me keep the less important annoyances in perspective?
  5. Do I have a spiritual practice that supports my well-being?
  6. Do I have a support system that supports and encourages me during good times and bad?

If you’ve answered no to any question on the list, my challenge to you is that you be honest with yourself first. If you’ve answered no, what changes can you make in the short term to move toward greater resilience? If you’ve answered no, are you honestly willing to be honest with yourself and others to move toward resilience?

As a resilient leader, you are more able to respond to the ongoing challenges of your role with clear thinking and presence. This, in turn, allows you to continue to be authentic with yourself and others around you. It also allows you to promote resilience in your workgroup so that you can ensure others are also able to perform at their highest capacity.

Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet—thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing—consistently. This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.

— Lance Secretan

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.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Army Medicine

Resilience Webinar Recording & Assessment Available

Building ResilienceMaureen Metcalf, CEO and Founder of Metcalf & Associates, Inc., presented a webinar for the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce on how to move business forward by enhancing leader and employee ability to respond to continual changes and remain focused on their goals. For those interested, we are offering the presentation and the resiliency test online at no cost.

Resilience is one of the five leadership components of Innovative Leadership as described in the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook, winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Best Business Reference Book.

In leadership terms, we define Resilience as the ability to adapt in the face of ongoing change while continuing to be both fluid in approach and driven toward attaining strategic goals. In our very dynamic work environment, leaders, their employees and their organizations must be resilient to accommodate swift and continual change. The underlying premise is this: as a leader or employee, you need to be physically and emotionally healthy to do a good job. In addition to be physically and emotional health, the resilient person also has a clear sense of life purpose and strong supportive relationships. Organizations need to consist of healthy people – and that happens when leaders, culture, systems, and processes promote health during times of stress. For people and organizations, enhancing resilience requires a personal change.

Resilience is a hot topic these days as people try to figure out how to bend with the winds of economic change without breaking. The challenge is how to develop resilience or rebuild it when it gets low. This webinar provides some suggestions and basic practices of how to begin on the path of building resilience and to cultivate the ability to deal with today’s frantic pace of change and stress. If you are interested in more indepth information, we offer a half day workshop that includes comprehensive exercises to help participants build resilience.

The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions to help area businesses thrive. Leveraging a customized, consultative approach to support members that range from small businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises, the Chamber assists in the growth of the Columbus Region economy one business at a time.

Founded nearly 130 years ago, the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce has evolved to become the largest business services organization and primary
advocate for the Columbus Region business community.

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.

Deep Living By Roxanne-Howe Murphy To Be Released March 27, 2013

Deep LivingMany of you know that I was certified through The Deep Coaching Institute whose Founder wrote this exciting book.  It takes the Deep Coaching work into a profound and meaningful guide for everyone to use.  I highly recommend it!

In Deep Living, Roxanne Howe-Murphy, EdD, offers a radically compassionate, rare, and mature approach to personal change. She integrates the ancient wisdom of the Enneagram with presence-based practices for everyday living, revealing unexpected healing processes that will transform how you see and experience yourself—and the world around you.

If you yearn to live with ease, to move toward your soul’s true purpose, to feel at home in your own skin and to live at ease in the world, this new book will guide you along the path

  • from inner inadequacy to real inner authority;
  • from struggle to real inner peace; and
  • from Self-limiting ideas and stories to real inner liberation and authenticity.

You have an innate and evolutionary capacity for the deep intelligence of direct, in-the-moment experiences, and the Enneagram—used consciously—is a map of nine profound journeys from separateness to wholeness and love.

Find the reflection of your particular true nature with Deep Living.

Roxanne’s personal style, breakthrough methods for sustainable transformation, and her deep honoring of the soul’s journey have inspired people around the world. A pioneer and global expert in integrating the Enneagram with executive and spiritual coaching, Roxanne authored the internationally acclaimed book, Deep Coaching: Using the Enneagram as a Catalyst for Profound Change, and founded the Deep Coaching Institute, which offers accredited training programs to growth-oriented professionals. Now, through the Deep Living Institute, the same expert guidance and compassionate, presence-based approaches for true Self-deepening are available to the lay public.

With a doctorate in education, Roxanne served on the faculty at Boston, San Francisco State, and San Jose State Universities for over twenty years. Her professional life also encompasses three decades of work in rehabilitation, consulting, and coaching.

Five Keys to Building Tenacity and Humility in the Face of Chaos

In his bestselling business book Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about the importance of tenacity and humility in Level 5 Leaders—two qualities that help anyone survive in the face of chaos. We all know how our lives can turn upside down with no warning, leaving us confused and doubting a positive outcome. During chaotic times how do you stay focused on critical priorities and keep moving forward?  Can you maintain focus when the world seems out of control and you see your plans disintegrate in front of you?

I recently worked with an executive who lost his job when the organization changed direction.  As if that unexpected transition wasn’t enough, his wife of 24 years told him she wanted a divorce and out of the house immediately.  In a relatively short time, his world was upended. He felt defeated and that everything he had worked so hard for was lost. At the time, he couldn’t imagine what he could possibly do to make it through each day, and wondered if he would ever regain a sense of control and success in his life.

While most people do not watch their lives fall apart frame by frame as if they had stepped into a horror or science fiction film, each of us has had to face a situation that changed the path we’d been on.  What can you do to keep focused when life’s distractions want to pull you off course?  Whether you’re currently caught in a transition or not, the following steps are important to staying grounded.

  1. Take care of your physical well-being.  Are you eating, sleeping and working out?
  2. Manage your thinking!  It is easy to get caught up in what’s wrong—how will you build the discipline to stop the negativity and remind yourself of the good in your life even if it seems very small or distant at the moment?
  3. Return to basics.  Remember what your reasons are for getting you up in the morning and keep you going even on the toughest day.  Do you have a clear sense of purpose in your life that expands beyond your job?
  4. Identify the top 2-3 people you can trust and ask for their support.  How do you ensure you are getting the emotional and mental support from people you trust and who care about you?
  5. If you are a person of faith, recommit yourself.  What do you do that keeps you feeling spiritually connected?

By tending to these five key areas, you’ll build the foundation to navigate the toughest of situations and come out of your challenge a stronger and more compassionate person.

My client is now successfully working in a new company with a much greater appreciation for the challenges others face. He has more confidence in his ability—and a better perspective when little things go wrong.  As a result of his own experience, he developed greater humility and appreciation for others that he didn’t possess before his life began to unravel.  He is also better at leading people because he has lost some of his judgmental attitude toward others. His chaos provided an opportunity for personal growth has made him a better leader—and one who is certainly more tenacious and more humble.

Are you considering improving your ability to be an innovative and effective leader? If so, take this free online Innovative Leadership assessment to determine where you fall on the innovative leadership scale. If you are looking for tools to help develop your ability to be an innovative leader, check out the 2012 International Book Award winning Innovative Leadership Fieldbook. Metcalf & Associates, Inc., offers assessments, coaching, and workshops to help you and your leadership team become more innovative and effective leaders and improve your organizational success.

photocredit:  abode of chaos  www.flickr.com

Fall With Grace

June 11 was the Columbus 2012 CEO Bike to Work Challenge, an event that started at the Grange Audubon Park and ended at City Hall. I rode from my house early in the morning and participated in a wonderful event demonstrating to the community our collective commitment as leaders. There are times that we, as leaders, tell others something is important yet we do not take the lead through our behavior. I value physical health as part of building my personal resilience and enjoy biking, so it was important for me to not only talk about the importance of being physically healthy, but to act as a role model for maintaining health by riding despite the predicted rain. The ride was followed by a meeting and discussion about joining the board of Consider Biking—an organization that promotes biking as a way to improve the health of Central Ohio citizens.

I was riding back to my office in the rain accompanied by the board president of Consider Biking, Doug Morgan. I hit my brakes at a yellow light and my bike went down—I skidded along the pavement losing skin from my ankle to my elbow. I was grateful that I was wearing a helmet, as my head, though not injured, bounced on the pavement. I got up a bit embarrassed, but knowing that I now had the scrapes to show that I am a real biker who is engaged actively in life and willing to risk the falls that come along the way. This is important to me because I tend to be cautious and to avoid major physical risks. It felt good to know I could actually fall and get back up and keep going—it was a real confidence builder in some ways.

Over the course of the day I had several meetings and managed to get through them. I even rode my bike to a lunch meeting.  Although some leaders may have responded to this differently with something perceived as acting more “dignified,” throughout the day —though a bit uncomfortable and achy—I told the story of my fall rather than wrapping myself in long pants, a long sleeve shirt, and denial.  This mishap got me thinking about how we view ourselves when we stumble or fall.

As a leader, are you willing to fall in front of others and get up and go on, or are you a leader who tries to cover up a fall at any cost?

In our very dynamic world, as leaders we continually do things we have not done before. We will most certainly be in positions where we fall, and these falls may be more public than we would like. So, in leadership roles that are subject to high visibility, how do we handle falls that show vulnerability or missteps? Do we choose to respond as though our blunder is humiliating, humbling, humorous or exhilarating? If we want our teams to be willing to take risks, how do we model this behavior and at the same time remain composed and appear to be in charge enough that people trust our judgment?  It is a delicate balance.

As the story continues, the day after my biking calamity was much harder.  The bruises started to appear, my head and neck really hurt, and I felt “under the weather.” This is not unlike times in leadership when we have taken a risk and successfully navigated the situation (even if success is bumpy), yet, well after the event in the privacy of our own homes or thoughts, we feel or see the after-effects.   We could be questioning our ability to make solid decisions (why did I brake at that moment?) or to manage the challenges that ensure success (how could I have fallen off my bike?). The damage we do to ourselves by questioning too much can derail us professionally. If you begin to doubt your judgment, your team will sense it eventually and will not trust in your ability to lead them through challenges. Once trust is eroded, you will not be effective as a leader.  Another way to derail is trying to cover up your mistakes: discovery of a cover-up can be more damaging than the mistake itself.

How do you manage your thinking in a way that allows you to review a situation enough to learn from it and yet not question so much that you lose confidence in your ability?

One of the developmental recommendations we make to help leaders develop is to take on stretch opportunities—those that allow you to see your work from a different perspective—to develop additional skills. These stretch opportunities are most effective when you have controlled falls (trying new things in ways that will not damage your career or the business) and opportunities to learn.

What practices do you have that allow you to build the skill of taking on opportunities that may result in a fall?  How do you build the muscles that allow you to fall and recover with grace?

Effective leaders build practices that allow them to fall and get back up, acknowledging their challenges and learning from them.

Are you happy with your ability to fall?  What was the last activity you took on that really provided an opportunity to stretch enough to fall? Should you be doing more?

Are you considering improving your ability to be an innovative and effective leader? If so, take this free online Innovative Leadership assessment to determine where you fall on the innovative leadership scale. If you are looking for tools to help develop your ability to be an innovative leader, check out the 2012 International Book Award winning Innovative Leadership Fieldbook. Metcalf & Associates, Inc., offers assessments, coaching, and workshops to help you and your leadership team become more innovative and effective leaders and improve your organizational success.