Leveraging Technology To Improve Leadership Development

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In the current Corona virus crisis, this interview may be useful to those looking to use online platforms in place of in-person instruction. The following blog is a republish of an article appearing in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf. It is a companion to the interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on titled Leveraging Online Kajabi Platform To Build Thriving Brands.

 

As a university adjunct faculty member, consultant and coach, I have been using the tagline of “Innovative Leadership” for many years. This sets the bar for how I commit to my work as well as the services I deliver. I recently started to explore how I could refresh my use of technology to teach leadership in conjunction with coaching and workshops. I am looking for options to accelerate the leader’s learning process and offer a broad range of tools for different learning styles. I want to share my experience of how I am leveraging this technology to support leaders in their development.

I researched the many robust online delivery options and selected a tool that was a solid fit for my work: Kajabi. I selected it because of the strong technology platform, strong start-up support, cost-effectiveness, integrated payment and affiliate tracking modules and the ability to communicate with participants by product.

With the support of the online platform, I am rethinking what is possible. Right now, I am using the online training for the following three applications initially and I will expand these as we use the platform.

  1. We recently launched a 10-month IT leadership development program. This program was designed to build skills in the IT community in order to build the talent pipeline for senior roles. It will be delivered through monthly in-person sessions in conjunction with our local CIO forum. The online platform allows us to deliver training that integrates structured exercises, case studies and audio interviews with local CIOs and executives. One of the key objectives of the in-person sessions is to learn content and build a network. We expect the online element to significantly accelerate the building of leadership skills for mid- to senior-level IT professionals.

The online platform allows us to track payment and engagement with the materials. As the facilitator, this lets me manage the finances easily and also identify who is highly engaged so we can offer additional resources to enrich their experience. It also tells me who is less engaged so I can reach out and troubleshoot.

  1. We often augment our leadership coaching programs with a series of exercises designed to help participants build self-awareness, knowledge and skills. Especially for emerging leaders, we deliver a hybrid of training and coaching to prepare them to step into larger roles. For this group, we created a standard curriculum with exercises, case studies, audio interviews and videos. I can monitor client progress through the platform, and in this case, they share their progress prior to coaching sessions and discuss how their learning can improve their leadership work.

The online platform offers the option to package the leadership development curriculum by leadership level. I can sell packaged offerings of coaching and online training. It also gives the option to support affiliates so the other coaches and consultants in our organization work from a single platform with consistent processes and offerings.

  1. We offer online development programs as standalone offerings for individuals and companies to provide effective (and cost-effective) training for their emerging and current leaders. These programs can be combined with other programs the companies are conducting. Because this program is comprehensive and participants work through it over time, it provides the opportunity to internalize the learning, not just attend and depart.

The online platform allows us to customize materials for specific groups and tweak other courses where appropriate to reinforce and build on the in-person development investments they are making.

Another element we will be building into the platform that we are very excited about is an assessment that will be used by those taking courses, and it is also offered as a standalone service. Because an online platform can support a range of services, we are able to create a clean and user-friendly purchasing experience.

I have struggled for years to present a simple path for clients. Our company website is highly complex and positions us as a thought leadership and executive advisory firm. While that works for some audiences, it is inappropriate for others. Using Kajabi as our online platform and linking it to our main site and our book website, we can tailor the user experience to the target audience in a manner that is cost-effective for us and easy for the user.

I talk about the most effective leaders acting like scientists. This endeavor is one of my experiments. I did my homework and selected this platform. We are implementing several modules and we will continue to test and refine our experiment as we go along. For other coaches and consultants looking to extend your offering, I encourage you to explore the broad range of options for technology to enable and even extend the strong impact you are already having on clients.

 

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

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

About the Author

Maureen Metcalf, CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, coach, consultant, author and speaker.

Key Findings from a U.S. National Survey About Leadership

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This blog is provided by Lynn Shollen and Elizabeth Gagnon of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. It is a description of the top line findings of a survey about leadership that they conducted last year. You can read much more about the project on their website. The blog is a companion to the interview with Sam Wilson and Lynn Shollen that aired as part of the 12-week International Leadership Association Interview Series on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. The interview aired on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 titled Research Findings on Attitudes About Leadership.

  

A new, annual national survey of attitudes about leadership in the United States uncovered widespread and increasing dissatisfaction with U.S. leaders, along with skepticism about the preparedness of younger generations to lead into the future.

Key findings from our scientific online survey of more than 1,800 people include:

  • Only 28 percent of those surveyed believe leaders in the U.S. are effective
  • Leaders are seen as less effective now than compared to 20 years ago (60 percent)
  • Leaders are regarded as too removed from the experiences of ordinary people (74 percent)
  • Many believe it is too risky in today’s social climate to be a leader (46 percent)
  • Many believe that unless they are at the top of an organization, they may not be able to be influential even if they try to lead, because leaders at the top are so powerful (49 percent)
  • Younger generations are not widely seen as being equipped to lead (57 percent)

These results are discouraging because we know that effective leadership is crucial if we’re to thrive socially, politically and economically. We do detect a few reasons for optimism, but overall, our findings have to be worrisome for our country’s leaders, for leadership educators and for all who care about the quality of leadership now and into the future.

The 1,849 respondents comprise a nationally representative sample based on gender, ethnicity, age, income and other factors. They were asked to think broadly of leaders and leadership rather than focusing on specific leaders or situations. We are not seeking opinions about Donald Trump or Bill Gates. The survey isn’t intended to examine perceptions of how specific leaders are performing, rather how people view the effectiveness of leaders and leadership generally within the U.S.

The survey defined leadership as the process of influencing people toward achieving a common goal, and leaders were defined as people who achieve that goal. Regardless of whether you have a formal title, you can be a leader. Leadership happens everywhere, not just in the most obvious places, such as government or business.

But in many places that leadership happens, it is seen as lacking. Fewer than 25 percent of the respondents say leaders in education, religion, national politics or the environment are effective.

Even as they criticize current leaders, survey participants say they are reluctant to step forward. Only 15 percent of the respondents claim they are involved in leading their community (although they may indeed be leading and not identifying their contributions as leadership). Further, it appears they don’t have high hopes for future generations. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents say younger Americans are not ready to lead and only 33 percent voiced confidence that young people will be able to steer the nation through the challenges ahead.

There is another cause for concern. When the morality of the leader is considered, half (50 percent) claim it is more important that a leader works for major issues that align with those the respondent supports than whether the leader adheres to high moral standards. Thus, half of the sample does not value leaders upholding morality as much as leaders supporting particular issues and agendas.

In terms of what respondents are looking for in leaders, 74 percent believe that the best leaders understand the experiences of ordinary people. About two-thirds believe leaders at the national and local levels should create an environment that supports diversity, considers perspectives of diverse people when making decisions and seeks to take care of the natural environment.

About half also say they’re comfortable with a leader who is different than them in gender/sex (56 percent), race/ethnicity (56 percent), sexual orientation (49 percent) or income level (48 percent). Fewer say the same about religious beliefs (43 percent). Political differences are a bigger sticking point, as only 28 percent say they are comfortable with a leader who holds opposing views, and only 34 percent would follow such a leader.

Participants were also asked where they went for information about leaders and how reliable those sources are for evaluating leaders. Television is the number one source sought for information (55 percent), trailed by non-social media online sources (44 percent). Half (50 percent) of respondents claim that social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) does not provide them with adequate resources to make accurate evaluations of public leaders, whereas, just over half (53 percent) claim that traditional media (e.g., newspaper, television, radio) does provide them with adequate resources.

The results of the survey were first discussed at the 2019 annual conference of the International Leadership Association in Ottawa, Canada. The researchers received helpful feedback there and plan to delve into the nuances of the data by examining the results by demographics such as gender/sex, race/ethnicity, geographic location, religious beliefs, political affiliation, sexual orientation and income level. These results will be released as they become available. The survey will be conducted annually to track trends and to add questions relevant to contemporary issues.

 

For additional survey results and information, please visit or contact the researchers at ldsp-survey@cnu.edu

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

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

 

About the Authors

Dr. Lynn Shollen is Associate Professor of Leadership Studies and Department Chair in the Department of Leadership and American Studies at Christopher Newport University. She earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy and Administration at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests include the faculty to administrator transition, identity and perceptions of leadership, leadership identities construction, and teaching about women and leadership. In addition to numerous journal articles, she co-authored the book Faculty Success Through Mentoring: A Guide for Mentors, Mentees, and Leaders.

Dr. Elizabeth Gagnon earned her PhD at Old Dominion University. She is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Leadership and American Studies at Christopher Newport University. She teaches courses in civic engagement, social entrepreneurship, leadership theory and ethics and values in leadership. Journals publishing her research articles include the International Journal of Leadership Studies and the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement.

 

 

The Australian Leadership Index: A New Measure of Leadership for the Greater Good in the Public, Private and Plural Sectors

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This blog is provided by Sam Wilson, co-creator of the Australian Leadership Index. It is a companion to the interview with him and Lynn Shollen that aired as part of the 12-week International Leadership Association Interview Series on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. The interview aired on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 titled Research Findings on Attitudes About Leadership.

 

Against a backdrop of unethical conduct and irresponsible leadership in our organizations and distrust of institutions in the public, private and plural sectors, there is a pervasive sense in the community that we are not well served by authorities and the institutions that they lead. As a result, there is a yearning for leadership that serves, and is seen to serve, the greater good.

However, what is the greater good? What is leadership for the greater good? What are the collective responsibilities of those who collectively manage, govern and lead the organizations and institutions in the public, private and plural sectors, and what should they be, in order to show leadership for the greater good?

Obviously, these questions are not especially new to scholars of leadership, as evidenced by the attention given to the ideas of social responsibility and shared value, in the domain of business leadership, and integrative leadership and public value, in the domain of public leadership.

It is, however, less clear what the community thinks about the notions of the greater good and leadership for the greater good. It is not obvious whether community expectations of leadership for the greater good are invariant across the public, private and plural sectors, or whether public opinion is alive to and reflective of the different purposes, goals and functions of these sectors.

Notwithstanding the great difficulty of defining the greater good, in general, and leadership for the greater good, in particular, it behoves us to think and talk about these concepts and practices in the public domain as clearly as we possibly can if we are to imagine, practice and sustain the leadership and followership needed to ensure the long-term welfare and well-being of the general population.

How should we think about the greater good?

The concept of the ‘greater good’, and its synonyms the ‘public good’ and ‘common good’, as well as related ideas like ‘public value’, has the quality of being familiar and commonplace. And yet, these concepts are difficult to articulate in a precise or comprehensive way.

Moreover, as observed by the philosopher Hans Sluga, the diverse conceptions of the good—such as justice, happiness, security—and the variety of tribal, local, national and global communities for which the ‘good’ is sought militates against the identification of a single, determinate good.

However, a promising candidate for the greater good, apt in the context of our grand challenges of unsustainability and diminished human and nonhuman flourishing, is the well-being of the whole.

Understood in this way, the greater good is less about justice or happiness or security and more a gestalt or umbrella term for a number of interlocking concepts pertaining to the conditions that undergird and sustain the survival and flourishing of human and nonhuman life.

To render these ideas less abstract and more actionable, it is helpful to frame the greater good, as well as the conditions and social actions that sustain it, in terms of value creation—specifically, the types of value that are created, the ways in which value are created, and for whom value is created.

Understood in this way, the value-relevant outcomes of institutional behavior enable inferences to be made about their apparent concern for the greater good, as well as about the concern for and practice of leadership for the greater good by those collectively responsible for the management, governance and leadership of these institutions.

The Australian Leadership Index

This construal and operationalization of leadership for the greater good underpins the Australian Leadership Index, which is a new measure of community beliefs about leadership for the greater good in the public, private and plural sectors.

Grounded in community and expert conceptions of the greater good and leadership for the greater good, and drawing on scholarly research into ethical, responsible and integrative leadership, as well as research into public value, the ALI offers a new model of leadership for the greater good that is germane to institutions in the public, private and plural sectors.

From a community perspective, leadership for the greater good occurs when these institutions create social, environmental and economic value for the people they serve and the wider community in a manner that is transparent, accountable and ethical.

The purpose of the Australian Leadership Index is threefold. First, it is to measure community perceptions of the state of leadership for the greater good across different sectors and institutions. Second, it is to measure community expectations of the practice of leadership for the greater good by these sectors and institutions. Third, it is to provide insight into what different types of institutions should do in order to improve their practice of leadership for the greater good.

The Australian Leadership Index provides powerful new insights into community beliefs about leadership and reveals what leaders in the public, private and plural sector institutions can do to show leadership for the greater good.

By making all our results freely available via an innovative, highly interactive data portal (www.australianleadershipindex.org), the Australian Leadership Index makes an important contribution to a community dialogue about the leadership we need for the future we want.

 

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

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

 

About the Author

 

Sam Wilson is a social psychologist whose research spans studies of the nature and drivers of voluntary humanitarian behaviour to national studies of community beliefs about leadership for the greater good in the public, private and plural sectors. He is Co-Creator of the Australian Leadership Index, sectors, Co-Director of the Thriving in Society 4.0 research program of the Social Innovation Research Institute, and Deputy Director of the Social Psychology of Innovation Research Group at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

 

Building Leader Character

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This blog was written by Maureen Metcalf, based on the article, Developing Leadership Character by Mary Crossan, Gerard Seijts, Jeffrey Gandz, published in the Ivey Business Journal Issues: January / February 2012. It is a companion to the International Leadership Association Interview Series on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future that aired on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, titled Leader Character.

 

In our rapidly changing world, that is filled with disruption and ethical challenges, leadership character is critical.  According to the article, Developing Leadership Character, “When it comes to leadership, competencies determine what a person can do. Commitment determines what they want to do, and character determines what they will do.”

“Character fundamentally shapes how we engage the world around us, what we notice, what we reinforce, who we engage in conversation, what we value, what we choose to act on, how we decide…and the list goes on.” While there is no generally accepted definition of character, Mary Crossan and her co-authors focus on personality traits, values, and virtues as the focus of virtue-based character in their article, Developing Leader Character. They also highlight the importance of Judgment which is at the centre of their leader character framework shown in Figure 1.”

 

All of the behaviors associated with character are virtuous, meaning that they have been vetted by research as being desirable by cultures throughout history. And because only a few of the behaviors are trait based, character can be developed. Some of the behaviors can be viewed as values, but it is important to recognize that they are not just any values, but only ones that satisfy the criteria of being virtuous. The Developing Leadership Character article provides an in-depth analysis of eleven leadership virtues and what happens when they are either lacking or over weighted. Aristotle noted any virtue will operate like a vice when not supported by the other virtues. Thus, Courage becomes recklessness when not supported by Temperance. Integrity that is not supported by Humanity and Humility runs the risk of a person being dogmatic and egotistic. The aim is for individuals to develop strength in all dimensions of character. The following example from their article describes how a virtue can strengthen an individual’s performance and, when not supported by other dimensions of character, becomes a vice.

  • Accountability ensures that leaders own and commit to the decisions they make and encourages the same in others
  • Without Accountability, leaders don’t commit to or own the decisions they make and cannot get others to do so. They blame others for poor outcomes and, in doing so, create a culture of fear and disengagement.  People stop caring, with potentially disastrous consequences.

How do we develop character?

Because character is habit, the question to ask is “who am I becoming while I am busy doing?” advises Crossan. We are always becoming something – more courageous, or less courageous, more humble or less humble. Developing character requires understanding what it is, and in particular, how virtues could operate like a vice. Many people are proud of their candor, their modesty, their calm, etc. but if these behaviors and the dimensions of character they support are not part of a strong network of behaviors, there is every possibility that they are counterproductive – operating like a vice. Consider, something like “grit,” which has been widely touted as important. There are many behaviors within Courage and Drive that are grit-like, but research around grit has shown that it can lead to burnout. Why? Because you need the other dimensions of character, and in particular Judgment, to know when to exercise grit and when not to.

Developing character flies in the face of many approaches to leadership that suggest we should focus on our strengths and rely on other people to complement our weaknesses. Complementarity makes sense for personality traits like introversion or extroversion, but when it comes to character, weaknesses compromise individual judgment.

From another article co-authored by Mary Crossan, Elevating Leader Character Alongside Competence in Selection, “Character is constantly evolving, both personally and professionally. Thus, a person’s work and life experiences fundamentally shape character, and the story about who someone is and why they have become the person they are is unique to each person.” It will be important for the individual and the organization to attend to the virtues they want to see and understand how different virtues complement one another and how they complement one another.

For each of the items referenced above, if we are not conscious and motivated, we are unlikely to change elements of character. Self-awareness, conscious choice, rewarding context, aligning complementary virtues, practicing virtuous behaviors, and motivation all impact the choice and outcome of the work to build character.

As we wrap up the discussion, I would like to return to the article written by Mary Crossan and her colleagues, “Character is not something that you have or don’t have.  All of us have character, but the key is the depth of development of each facet of character that enables us to lead holistically.  Character is not a light switch that can be turned on and off.  There are degrees, and every situation presents a different experience and opportunity to learn and deepen character.  In particular, and for better or for worse, character comes to the fore when managing a crisis.  No one is perfect when it comes to character, and given that its development is a lifelong journey, we will rise to the occasion in some situations and disappoint ourselves and those around us in others.”

In our current, fast-changing environment, we need leaders who demonstrate character, informed by leadership virtues. Organizations must understand how to build character and also the contexts that inhibit character development.

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

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

About the Author

Maureen Metcalf, CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, coach, consultant, author and speaker.

 

Corporate Citizenship – The De Beers Group

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This blog is provided by Cynthia Cherrey, President and CEO of International Leadership Association. It is a companion to the 12-week International Leadership Association Interview Series that began with Pat Dambe’s interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, titled Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship.

 

Global corporations shape the future of business. They play a pivotal role in the communities in which they reside and in the wellbeing of our global community.

This podcast is the first in an International Leadership Association (ILA) 12-part series hosted by ILA Fellow Maureen Metcalf, creator of Innovating Leadership, Co-Creating Our Future on the VoiceAmerica Business Channel. In this episode, Metcalf interviews De Beers Vice President Pat Dambe about the partnership between the government of Botswana and the De Beers Group of companies.

It is a fascinating interview that gives us an understanding of Botswana’s way toward independence from the British in 1966, the discovery of diamonds one year later, and the leaders at the time who had the foresight to build a better future for Botswana. The leaders of De Beers and Botswana, practically from the start, entered into a joint venture committed to ensuring that every diamond found belonged to every person in Botswana, contributing towards education, healthcare, and infrastructure. That vision and commitment resulted in Botswana shifting from one of the poorest African countries 52 years ago to a prosperous African country today.

Pat Dambe, with Maureen’s insightful questions, shares that story, touching on the leadership vision, the partnership between the country and the company, and the successes and challenges of that partnership.

The interview is infused with leadership lessons. It reminds us how everything in nature is related to everything else and how companies and countries reflect these highly complex ecosystems. It reinforces the importance of cultivating relationships and optimizing the tensions to find the commonalities. It reminds us about the importance of leadership looking forward, toward a future for the greater good of all instead of the immediate good of a few. And it helps us to remember that each of us is important, and each of us has the ability and the responsibility to contribute and to give to the common good.

Helping to create a better world through our leadership work is something that we take seriously at the International Leadership Association. We hope you will listen to this thought-provoking podcast series over the coming weeks (episodes air each Tuesday at 2PM Eastern or on-demand) as Maureen explores in each interview various leadership approaches for the health and wellbeing of our future communities.

 

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

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

About the Author

Cynthia Cherrey, President and CEO of the International Leadership Association (ILA), a global network of leadership scholars, educators, and practitioners. Previously, Cynthia served as Vice President and Lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She publishes in the areas of leadership, organizational development, and higher education including co-authoring Systemic Leadership: Enriching the Meaning of our Work, co-editing ILA’s Building Leadership Bridges book series, and her most recent publication is Women and Leadership around the World (co-editor). She is a Fellow at the World Business Academy and a recipient of a J.W. Fulbright Scholarship.

Cynthia’s interests and research explore new ways to live, work, and lead in a knowledge driven, interdependent, global society. She consults and speaks to for-profit and non-profit organizations around the world on leadership and organizational change

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, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

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.

 

 

6 Key Recommendations To Address Current Business And Social Challenges

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

The following blog is a republish of an article appearing in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf. It is a companion to the International Leadership Association Interview Series that is beginning this week with Pat Dambe’s interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, titled Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship.

 

For the last five years, I have attended the International Leadership Association (ILA) annual conference and written about what I’ve learned during this experience. The twenty-first conference was held in Ottawa, Canada. The theme was “Leadership: Courage Required.”

I was named a fellow of the ILA in 2019. This article reflects my experience with the presenters and participants at the conference. I share this experience with you because I value the insights I gain, and I believe that we, as leaders, need to come together in our thinking and actions to influence our organizations. To do this, we need to learn from the best models, frameworks and people who are already making a significant impact. We need to cocreate the future we want to leave for generations that follow.

The conference opened with a reception at the Canadian Museum of History. Considering the entire arc of history, we are walking the planet at a time when our actions have a disproportionate impact on the future. Early people impacted us, and what we do will have a larger legacy. The principle among many indigenous peoples that this consideration should extend to the next seven generations reminds us our actions matter in the long term.

  1. We are continually hearing about polarization, the strengthening of the extremes and subsequent weakening of the “middle” or more balanced ideas. I left the conference reenergized because of the research and the actions I saw to reduce polarization and rebalance our companies, communities and countries. This can be done by bringing constituents from for-profits, governments, co-ops, nonprofits, nongovernment agencies and others together to address our biggest challenges. I recommend continually seeking out people with different points of view when you are making difficult decisions and actively working to understand what smart people who perceive the world differently see that you may have overlooked. Below are lessons from people who are solving these problems in their contexts.

A great example of this model playing out is the partnership between a large jewelry company and the government of an African nation, as discussed by a conference panelist. Diamond mining is funding a major investment in the country’s ability to build infrastructure, educate the population and grow 21st century business ventures. This case study illustrates that the theoretical framework is transforming a country in Africa. If it can work at this scale, it can certainly work on a smaller scale in our communities and companies.

  1. Another example of bridging significant societal differences is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The commission documented the historic abuse of indigenous children in residential schools and offered 94 Calls to Action for all levels of government to take to repair the harm done to indigenous peoples and create space to move forward with reconciliation. Answering these calls requires a great deal of work to build trust and take the best interests of the overall country into consideration along with the interests of individual constituent groups. While most of us aren’t involved in redress for abuses, I recommend we take to heart the spirit of truth, respect and fairness to all people. Different people with different perspectives create stronger solutions to complex problems.
  2. Innovation happens when we are curious about difference, yet research indicates that about half of those surveyed don’t want to follow a leader who was a different gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. The unwillingness to follow a leader of a different political party goes up to about two-thirds. To me, this data is a call to action — we need to see differences as the opportunity to build a more innovative and holistic future. If we discount people or don’t understand their perspectives, we create less robust solutions. We all lose!
  3. Women in leadership are an integral part of business and society. In addition to numerous panels, presentations and workshops led by women, we heard from the first female prime minister of Canada and several successful female leaders and businesswomen, two of whom received lifetime achievement awards.

These women were the first in their organizations and have worked tirelessly for decades to continue to impact their fields. They serve as advocates, role models and people who break stereotypes. They exemplify what is possible when we stay committed to our purpose and work together to ensure we can create a better world. We have read for years now that the inclusion of women is required to deliver innovative and robust solutions to challenges and bottom-line results. We have many female role models to inspire us with their experiences.

  1. Peace starts from within. It is contagious. We can build peaceful organizations when we start small, with how we manage our own feelings, as well as starting big with significant research about what creates peace in our evolving world. The process of being self-aware, managing our emotions and meeting anger with curiosity is key.
  2. Character can be defined and measured. During a time when many of us are disappointed in the leaders and institutions we have trusted, there are robust frameworks and models that offer organizations a way to talk about leadership character, hire for it, test it and develop it. If the saying “What gets measured gets delivered” is true, it is important to have these measurement tools to provide us a path to elevate the conversation about character.

If we want to tackle the issues in front of us and act purposefully so future generations prosper, creative destruction is required. We need to disrupt ourselves, our mindsets, our behaviors, our cultures and our systems if we are to cocreate the future that is possible for all of us. The inspiring news is that we have thought leaders, academics, business leaders, public sector and nonprofit institutions and political leaders aligned with solving issues. Who is serving as a model in your life to move forward?

 

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

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

About the Author

Maureen Metcalf, CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, coach, consultant, author and speaker.

Leadership Trends: Lead The Disruption 2020

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The following blog is a republish of an article appearing in Forbes written by Maureen Metcalf. It is a companion to Trends interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future on Tuesday, December 31st, 2019, titled Leadership Trends: Lead the Disruption 2020.

To learn more about the 2020 Trends, click here.

During a time of ongoing organizational disruption, I encourage leaders to explore how the rapid change can serve as a pointer and inspiration to help them envision futures that were not possible as recently as last year. Each disruption opens another door to opportunity across a broad range of industries.

This annual trend summary looks at what I think are the most important business drivers to consider over the next three to five years.

  1. Disruption is accelerating. Organizations must continue to monitor trends and disruptions and look for ways to leverage them for strategic advantage. It’s often noted that businesses must recognize the importance of disrupting or get disrupted. The question for organizations and their leaders is how to monitor these trends and create an advantage.

One essential tool is the strategic planning process. This process itself looks different now than it did in the past. It provides a necessary structure for leaders to use as they consider current and potential disruptions. The planning process allows leaders to envision the future and develop a business strategy to turn disruption into business advantage.

  1. Adaptive leadership is required. As companies evolve to respond to disruption, leaders need to elevate the quality of their leadership. The challenges businesses face are adaptive: leaders need to change themselves and their organizations. We are facing problems that we can’t solve with our current thinking. Dr. Ron Heifetz, Harvard, talks about adaptive leadership as a practical leadership framework that helps individuals and organizations adapt to changing environments so they can effectively respond to recurring problems. This research has been considered in the 10 Must-Reads by the Harvard Business Review. I recommend leaders elevate the quality of their leadership rather than build skills.
  2. Organizations need to innovate who they are — and what they offer. Organizations need to build innovation into their DNA. This means they need to get comfortable updating what they do and how they do it to meet evolving strategic goals. In addition to elevating their leadership, leaders must update the overall systems, processes and cultural beliefs that underpin their organizations.

According to Bloomberg (paywall), “Leaders at some of the world’s largest companies said they plan to abandon the long-held view that shareholders’ interests should come first amid growing public discontent over income inequality and the burgeoning cost of health care and higher education.”

This level of change could mean a significant overhaul of how companies operate. Innovation must be a priority to transform organizations. Effective innovation requires creating clear accountability, assigning people, measuring results and allocating financial resources.

Attracting and retaining the right people will become increasingly difficult with changing job requirements and growing skill gaps. According to IBM Institute for Business Value’s Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap: “Arguably, one of the greatest threats facing organizations today is the talent shortage. Executives recognize the skills gap. They know it’s both real and problematic. But most of their organizations don’t appear to be actively or effectively tackling the issue.”

It goes on to say, “Compounding the issue, new skills requirements continue to emerge, while other skills are becoming obsolete. And it’s all happening quite rapidly.” Organizations must elevate their focus on the impact disruption will have on their workforce. This includes focusing on topics like creating real diversity and inclusion. We can no longer ignore or give minimal effort to the levers that are proven to drive success.

  1. Digital transformation drives and destroys value. Organizations must become more effective at leveraging digital tools. The lines between the physical, digital and biological worlds are becoming more blurred. Many organizations are now using some form of robotic process automation (RPA), business analytics or artificial intelligence.

Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all aspects of a business. It is a trillion-dollar industry, but 70% of all digital transformations fail. The most successful organizations will break the code on implementing these tools effectively and efficiently.

  1. Human resilience remains critical. As organizations accelerate the pace of change, people are often overloaded with current work and transformation work. The people who make change possible hit a point of diminishing performance that impacts their ability to deliver. Employers must provide work environments that maximize employee performance.

One important factor is creating an environment that ensures employees connect the work they do to their values. Even better, when possible, create opportunities for employees who don’t routinely interact with clients/customers to interact and see their impact. Employees also need to own their personal resilience. They can build resilience by ensuring they are taking care of their physical health, engaging in a mindfulness practice that allows them to observe and manage their thinking and building healthy connections inside and outside of work.

  1. Sustainability and the human/planet interface are critical. We continue to see an acceleration in climate volatility, high costs to businesses from weather events, lost biodiversity and environmental damage. According to the Associated Press, July 2019 was the hottest month in recorded history. Many parts of South America are burning in unprecedented forest fires. Glacial melt is accelerating, “Over 30 years, suddenly almost all regions started losing mass at the same time,” said researcher Michael Zemp of the University of Zurich. “That’s climate change if you look at the global picture.”

Addressing this trend will require everyone to act. In 2015, the UN created the Sustainable Development Goals, “the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” They address global challenges, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity and peace and justice. The goals interconnect and are designed to leave no one behind. These goals were signed by 193 countries.

Many organizations are making progress. The World Green Building Council is supporting efforts to convert buildings to energy-efficient standards on a large scale. We see changes like the move toward more local foods across the U.S. and expanding solar power in Nigeria. These actions are a start. As we envision the future, we can elevate the quality of our organizations’ leaders.

To learn more about the 2020 Trends, click 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, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Maureen Metcalf, CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, coach, consultant, author and speaker.

 

Using Language to Create a Generative Culture In a Dynamic Business Environment – Huntington and Sophisticated Systems

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This is a companion blog to the interview Words Drive Actions -Changing Culture With Value Based Words with Dwight Smith and Stephen D. Steinour that aired on December 17, 2019.

 

Words can be powerful. For anyone who has spoken a harsh word to a child, a loved one, or even a colleague, we can often feel the impact in our gut when we see their faces look back at us filled with hurt or sadness. We, as busy leaders, employees, and family members, often allow our stress to seep through in our language. “My Special Word,” corporate purpose statements and guiding principles can serve as an aspirational reminder setting the tone for the environment we are committed to creating.

Does this type of statement help? Is it just window dressing that sounds good in our recruiting videos?

I believe having an aspirational statement about who we want to be as individuals and organizations AND creating an environment of accountability to encourage us to act in alignment with our aspirations creates the conditions where we are more likely to act according to our aspirations. This doesn’t mean we hit the mark every day in every action. Aspirational means that is the standard we set, we measure ourselves against it, and we measure our colleagues and organization against it. Another key is we put structures in place to help one another hit that aspirational goal. We discuss our success stories and our challenges. This aspirational culture is created by both giving deep thought to the qualities we care about and creating systems and processes that underpin the culture.

In our leadership development programs at the Innovative Leadership Institute, we take participants through a process where they explore their purpose and values. For many busy leaders, while they are highly principled, they have not taken time to write down their deepest held values and evaluate their behavior against those values. The process can be instructive and an invitation to remember the values they were raised with or aspire to in their quiet moments. One of the challenges is how do we create the conditions to “operationalize” these deeper values in business?

In a conversation with Steve Steinour, Huntington Bank CEO and Dwight Smith, Founder, My Special Word, and CEO/Founder Sophisticated Systems, they explore approaches they have used to be explicit with their values personally and organizationally. This transparency is particularly important during a time when we, as citizens, are continually disappointed by the behaviors we see from those we were raised to trust. This behavior could emanate from our business leaders, civic leaders, and, occasionally, our religious leaders. In my view, we as leaders can’t completely stop the negative behavior, but we can be visible as the positive leaders that fill our communities. There are a few bad apples that get lots of press, and there are thousands or hundreds of thousands of good people who want to be great parents, employees, leaders, and family members. Steve and Dwight are highly visible and successful men in their community who are modeling their values through their words and their actions!

In this blog and the interview series, we have been talking about the trend that successful companies are focused on both profit AND being companies that serve the broader community. Huntington’s Purpose statement and Values model that trend. Huntington’s purpose is “to look out for people,” their Purpose statement is: “We make people’s lives better, help businesses thrive, and strengthen the communities we serve.” Huntington is committed to doing the right thing for its customers, colleagues, shareholders, and communities by seeking to “Do the right thing” with the following three Values…

  • Can-Do Attitude
    “Enthusiastically work and succeed together.”
  • Service Heart
    “Inclusive spirit to put yourself in each other’s shoes—then help.”
  • Forward Thinking
    “Always look ahead for ways to be the very best.”

These values help guide Huntington in all the company does in running an effective and successful enterprise where people are treated well, and where they treat their clients and communities well. Treating people well includes civility, which means looking out for people. One way Huntington looks out for colleagues it through its business resource groups. These groups come together with common interest to share their views, which then help guide and inform others around the company. These groups drive actions in the company such as the military Business Resource Group driving benefit change for Military employees and clients. To me, a major point is Huntington sets an aspirational vision and behaviors, then it acts and measures how effectively they meet that aspiration.

Dwight talks about kindness, respect, and the ability to listen to others. These words become the foundation of a culture where values show up on how people talk and interact with others. People’s diverse values are respected. People are encouraged to share their values and aspirations – creating a safe place to succeed and also a safe place to experiment and learn and make mistakes.

Moving culture from unconscious action to deliberate choice is a complicated process and unique to every organization. Here are a few steps to consider as you look at your own culture and words to see if you are saying and acting the way that aligns with your aspirations.

  • Define/refine/revisit your purpose
  • Clarify the words that most resonate with and enable your purpose
  • Identify the processes and people (like business resource groups) that turn aspiration into action
  • Measure and refine

In an environment that is changing quickly, leaders must create positive cultures that reinforce the aspirations we have as people and as organizations. This positive culture includes qualities such as respect, civility, and supporting others in accomplishing their goals and dreams.

What are your organization’s aspirational words?

 

This online course contains the companion tools and assessments for people getting to develop become Innovative Leaders. The course is based on a proven six-step process in an interactive format that includes audio interviews with top leaders and thought leaders, videos, worksheets, articles, and reflection questions designed to support you in enhancing your practical effectiveness as an Innovative Leader.

It contains links to the online measurement platform and leadership assessments you and your coach will use.

Follow the process, and you will become more effective as a leader!

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

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

About the Author

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

Gratitude Improves Health and Resilience: A Time for Thanksgiving

We want to thank all our listeners, readers, radio guests, guest bloggers and the team of people who engage with the Innovative Leadership Institute! We are committed to elevating the quality of leadership around the world and your involvement makes that possible. Whether large or small, each of us acts daily and those acts ripple through the world to make an impact.

As a companion to this blog, we are happy to share an interview with Maryanna Klatt, Mindfulness: Manage Stress and Improve Performance. To understand and build your resilience Take our free online resilience assessment.

As we enter the holiday season at the end of 2019, we are ending a decade and beginning the next. I invite everyone to consider what they have accomplished during this decade. Who and what are you most grateful for?

According to Psychology Today, we know that gratitude boosts our mental and physical health, boosts empathy, reduces aggression, improves sleep, improves self-esteem, and boosts mental health. The best part about gratitude is you can do it any place, any time, with no special training.

Beyond periodic moments of gratitude, I encourage my clients to develop a regular gratitude practice. This can take many forms ranging from setting a time to reflect, talking to others about what we are grateful for to writing a journal about what brings you joy, what you have overcome, or the small things you appreciate. The benefit of a practice is it becomes part of your routine or habit. It is the regular practice of gratitude that creates long lasting impact. Over time I have maintained a gratitude journal. It is a practice I have come to value greatly and with changing life circumstances, I ebb and flow in my commitment. With this post, I am recommitting to rekindle this practice starting the week of Thanksgiving 2019 by writing 1 journal entry per week. I am very fortunate to have a partner who has mastered the practice of gratitude and we communicate our gratitude for parts of our lives multiple times each day.

I subscribe to gratefulness.org. They send SHORT daily gratitude messages that take less than 30 seconds to read and for me, they serve as a nice reminder to reset. I am also building the mental habit of taking time to be grateful for what is working well when I run into challenges. It is easy to be grateful sitting at home while drinking a cup of hot coffee first thing in the morning. It can be much harder to be grateful after something goes wrong during the day. Yet, it is the difficult moments when we most benefit from shifting away from the problem to what is working. An important benefit of gratitude is that it releases hormones into the body that build resilience that serve as the antidote for the stress and anxiety that happen during the course of a normal day.

Tips for Keeping A Gratitude Journal from gratefulness.org.

Robert Emmons, arguably the world’s leading expert on the science of gratitude, and an author of some of the seminal studies of gratitude journals, shared these research-based tips for reaping the greatest psychological rewards from keeping a gratitude journal:

  • Don’t just go through the motions. Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky and others suggests that journaling is more effective if you first make the conscious decision to become happier and more grateful. “Motivation to become happier plays a role in the efficacy of journaling,” says Emmons.
  • Go for depth over breadth. Elaborating in detail about a particular thing for which you’re grateful carries more benefits than a superficial list of many things.
  • Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful has more of an impact than focusing on things for which you are grateful.
  • Try subtraction, not just addition. One effective way of stimulating gratitude is to reflect on what your life would be like without certain blessings, rather than just tallying up all those good things.
  • Savor surprises. Try to record events that were unexpected or surprising, as these tend to elicit stronger levels of gratitude.
  • Don’t overdo it. Writing occasionally (once or twice per week) is more beneficial than daily journaling. In fact, one study by Lyubomirsky and her colleagues found that people who wrote in their gratitude journals once a week for six weeks reported boosts in happiness afterward; people who wrote three times per week didn’t. “We adapt to positive events quickly, especially if we constantly focus on them,” says Emmons. “It seems counterintuitive, but it is how the mind works.”

Learn more at “Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal,” by Jason Marsh, at the Greater Good Science Center. This excerpt is from an article that originally appeared on Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. For more, visit greatergood.berkeley.edu.

The Innovative Leadership Institute wishes you a happy and resilient Thanksgiving holiday and joyful end of 2019!

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

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

About the Author

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