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Build Your Team & Communicate, Part One – Eric’s Story

Everyone teachesI’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In this step, you will create a strong support group to provide insight and feedback as you pursue short-term and/or long-term goals. In this post (part of the overall step), we will review selection criteria for your support team and do a worksheet to help connect goals with potential support team members.

Support Team Selection Criteria

 When establishing selection criteria, consider that each goal may call for a different type of team member. You might use someone with lots of experience as a mentorship, or you might use someone with equal experience with whom you work together in a partnership role. Before getting into specific criteria, it is important to keep in mind that some seemingly great candidates are people who always tell you what you want to hear, and are afraid to offer constructive criticism because they think they might offend you somehow. Either avoid choosing them, or, if possible, tell them that you will need constructive criticism to grow, and that you will not be offended if they communicate feedback/criticism in a respectful way. Also consider this list of factors as a starting point to developing your support team:

  • Performance: Consider selecting people who have mastery in concepts, skills or behaviors that you would like to develop. These people may have expertise in your field or a field you would like to explore. On the other hand, these people may have strong internal abilities (EQ/resilience, motivation, etc.) or external abilities (“hard skills” such as health, fitness, productivity, time management skills, etc.). They may also be just overall good, caring and respected people.
  • Friends, Family and Roommates: People very close to you in your personal life are effective candidates because they already know about you and your past, and you have a firmly established sense of trust. You may see them on a fairly regular basis, so communication would not be an issue. They might also help you balance your goal with other commitments, such as academic, professional and family commitments, since they might already have an understanding of these aspects of your life.
  • Professors, Advisors, Consultants or Therapists: These people are independent experts in the processes of development and providing helpful feedback. They lack natural biases that some friends, family and roommates may have. These people exist in any personal and professional field that you can imagine.
  • Willingness and Ability to Commit Time to Your Development: It’s critical to understand the mutual needs of you and your support team members. Consider how a candidate can benefit from helping you and to make time for them to provide the feedback you desire. Prepare to be flexible when making plans with support team candidates. Consider volunteering in an organization that your candidate is in to establish the mutual benefit, or helping them with some task in order to expedite its completion, giving them time to provide the feedback you desire. A good example of this is an internship – you help an experienced professional with some work, and in return you get feedback and knowledge.

Support Team Worksheet

Considering the factors listed above, and your plans and goals from the previous innovative leadership steps, replicate the Support Team Worksheet in Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheet, and then fill in your answers. Save it on a cloud storage program for more convenience. My answers are in italics.

Eric Support Worksheet

Now you have an idea of what type of support you need based on your goals, and criteria to help you select the ideal support team. The next part in the Build Your Team & Communicate process is the communication part. Communication is vital to effective leadership. In the next post, you’ll learn how to effectively communicate with each support team member, no matter how diverse your support team is.

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.

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.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Celestine Chua

Implementing Big Data Programs – Building Your Team

Big Data and AnalyticsThis blog series is written by guest blogger and co-author James Brenza. James is the Chief Data Officer for Labor Genome. He is also Vice President, Data and Analytics Practice at Pillar Technology.  He provides over 20 years of technology leadership to drive the use of data and analytics for sustainable competitive advantage.

In this series James has been talking about implementing big data and analytics programs using a composite case study to illustrate the process. Each week he will focus on one of the seven steps giving specific examples to help illustrate how the tools can be used in a very practical manner. This is the second of the series that corresponds with the seven stage implementation model (shown below). More information on that robust model is available in the Innovative Leaders Workbook for  Implementing Analytics Programs by Maureen Metcalf and James Brenza (scheduled for release in August 2014).

Leading Organizational Transformation

Define the teams: When leading an analytic initiative, you can start to build your team after you’ve defined the vision and scope, and gained sponsor and stakeholder support. It’s actually more appropriate to say you can start building your teams (plural). Unlike more definitive initiatives, it’s critical to build teams that include the sponsors, steering committee, project team, extended team members, and subject matter experts. To help identify the necessary teams, you can review the data sources previously identified, the type of analytics to produce, the outcomes to be produced, and the measurements identified.

The different teams identified will serve very distinct purposes. The sponsors will be required to meet monthly to help ensure you remain aligned with the organization mission and the initiative vision. They will also be very effective at breaking down high-level barriers. The steering committee should be prepared to meet on, at least, a biweekly basis. Steering committee members that meet frequently will be uniquely positioned to more deeply understand your progress as well as help remove barriers. Another key role for the steering committee members is to provide ongoing communications and updates to sponsors and stakeholders.

The core project team must absolutely embrace all of the core functions necessary to implement the initiative.  This will include ingesting large volumes of data, integrating data, establishing data quality, formalizing data definitions, building analytic models, assessing the strength of the models, tuning the models, training the models, and creating the new business processes so the business value can be realized.  To be successful, the core team will also need to have extended team members. The extended team members will need to include subject matter experts for the data, the IT infrastructure, the statistical models, and the business processes.

Select team members: When selecting your team members, it will help significantly to create a selection matrix. The rows of the matrix should list specifically identified team member candidates, and the columns represent key selection criteria that the members must exhibit. The selection criteria can include areas of expertise, communication, teamwork, credibility, trust, culture, commitment and developmental perspective. As you assess each team member across the selection criteria, it’s important to make sure you have adequate coverage over all columns. If a candidate has many gaps across the columns, it’s appropriate to select a different team member, or find a second representative to help augment that team member.  For any gaps in the coverage for either team members or columns, the leader should consider adding or substituting team members to ensure complete coverage.

For analytic initiatives, the selection of the data scientist is critical. You need to make sure you’re embracing strategic focus, data management, quantitative analysis, business acumen, communication, and problem-solving skills. Attempting to find all of these skills in one individual can be nearly impossible. So rather than hunt for unicorns, the leader can be more successful by focusing on building a small, highly cohesive team—of at least three individuals—to cover all of these areas.

Define the sponsor management plan: After the core project team has been assembled, they can create the sponsor management plan. The sponsor management plan will augment the detailed implementation plan with a list of activities for every sponsor and stakeholder, when an activity should occur, the outcome expected from that activity, and the specific messages that need to be delivered. This will be a precursor to the communication plan that will be developed in subsequent steps. After the plan has been drafted it can be compared to the original list of data sources, analytics, desired outcomes and measures to ensure all aspects of the initiative have been addressed.

How is leading a big data/analytics initiative different than other projects? So let’s take a moment to focus on what’s unique about data and analytic initiatives.

  • Due to the analytic nature of the initiative, the team requires extensive balance far beyond traditional teams. These dynamic elements can include:
    • Broad diversity of talents that must incorporate technology, analytics and business acumen
    • Flexibility to collaborate and respond rapidly to opportunities and challenges
    • Ability to simultaneously manage and be managed by multiple organizations.
  • That balance needs to include the vision, technical and business acumen, communication, and extensive subject matter expert involvement. Many other initiatives do not need to encompass this many dimensions.
  • This will create a unique challenge for the leader to make sure they’re keeping this in mind at all times and ensuring all team members stay fully engaged throughout the initiative.

Defining the team is one of the first challenges. In our next section, we’ll discuss how to assess the situation and strengths to help the team succeed throughout implementation.

Click to purchase the Innovative Leaders Workbook to Implementing Analytics Programs.

If you are interested in reading more by James, you may want to read:  Evaluating Big Data Projects – Success and Failure Using an Integral Lens, Integral Leadership Review August – November 2013. You can also listen to the NPR interview that accompanies this paper including a dialogue between James Brenza, Maureen Metcalf, and the host Doug Dangler.

We also invite you to join the LinkedIn group Innovative Leadership for Analytics Programs on LinkedIn curated by James.

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.

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

Photo credit: www.flickr.com by Mike Pluta

Plan Your Journey

Plan Your FutureThis  is the third in a six-part series of “Notes from the Field” in which Holly, an analyst in an HR department at a major university, talks about her experience using the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers to plan her next career step. Last week Holly shared a personal self-assessment of her strength and opportunities.  This week she focuses on defining a development plan that helps connect her vision with her self-assessment results.  (For a more complete case study, please either refer to the workbook or one of the online leadership development programs for emerging leaders or leaders).

In order to create a development plan, it’s important for leaders to have both strong external capacity and internal capacity.  After completing my self-assessment and identifying my strengths and weaknesses, I feel I have a strong balance of both external capacity and internal capacity, but recognize there are areas that can be enhanced and improved.

To accomplish my vision and build further capacity, I have two development targets.  These two foci will help identify behaviors or skills I can enhance through planning and goal setting:

Build on your current strengths – This focuses on enhancing current strengths and helps provide clear indicators of what changes are required for continued growth and success.

I identified one of my greatest strengths as the combination of my ambition to succeed and a trusting nature personality trait. I have a goal to progress further in my career.  To accomplish this I need to enhance my visibility through greater committee involvement and expanded networking activities, in addition to completing my MBA program and surfacing ideas to enhance the organization.  I’d like to accomplish this goal within the next three years and will measure the success by a promotion or new employment opportunity.

Minimize your weaknesses – This focuses on identifying behaviors that may impede further growth, and understanding how a behavior may interfere with future success.

A weakness I identified is the need to put myself and overall well-being first. I have a goal to have improved mental-health (less stress) and physical health.  I plan to accomplish this goal through meditation, exercise, and taking more time for myself.  My goal is to accomplish this over the next six months.  I will be able to measure the success of the goal by lowering my blood pressure, running my first 5K race, and incorporating these action items into my lifestyle.

As a part of the workbook I was able to review additional reflection questions that helped create my development plan and create my action goals.  One of the reflection questions that stood out to me was:

What are my priorities for development?  Are they reflected in the plan I created?

My priorities for development are reflected in the plan I created. My personal values and future vision highlight the importance of maintaining a strong work-life balance.  In order to try to meet these expectations, I made it a priority to complete my education and develop my career at an early age—before planning to start a family with my husband.  After reflecting on these questions and actions, I also recognized that not putting myself and health first will directly interfere with my future vision.  In order to have a successful work-life balance, I need to implement action steps now to improve my health and well-being to help prepare me as I progress in my journey.

Next week I’ll focus on building a team and communication plan to help support the changes in my goals for personal and professional 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.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com stargardner

Analyze Strengths for Job Change – Notes From The Field

Balancing ActThis post is the second in a six part series of Notes from the Field where Holly,  an analyst in an HR department at a major university, talks about her experience using the  Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers to plan her next career step.  Holly shares a small part of her overall exploration, for a more complete case study; please either refer to the workbook or the online leadership development program for either emerging leaders or leaders.  Last week, in her own words, Holly shared her vision and values. This week she will share part of her self-assessment information.

After developing my personal vision, one of the next steps was to analyze my situation and strengths. I learned of a variety of assessment tools to help me understand my current performance.

The first tool I used was the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator, a leader personality type assessment. I was not too surprised by the results, and was pleased to see that they closely aligned with my personal values. The results, listed from highest to the lowest score, indicated that I associate most closely with the following personality traits/characteristics as described by the Enneagram:

  • The Helper: Caring, empathetic, sincere, sentimental, people-pleasing.   Typically have problems acknowledging their own needs. At their best, they have unconditional love for others.
  • The Achiever: Success-oriented, competent, energetic, poised. Typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their best: self-accepting, role models who inspire others.
  • The Peacemaker: Easy-going, self-effacing, trusting, supportive. Typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their best: indomitable and all-embracing, bring people together and heal conflicts

The results helped affirm that my personality traits are aligned with my values. The assessment allowed me to look more closely at other personality types and highlight the importance of understanding how to interact with other personality types.

The second tool I used was the Resilience Assessment —available free online through Metcalf & Associates—that highlighted the importance of increasing internal capacity for high performance. This assessment measured my physical, mental, and emotional well-being as well as the strength of supportive relationships.  Resilience is critical for everyone in order to be able to adapt to changes and move toward strategic goals. I was able to identify my score in each of the areas and identify those areas that need improvement.  During my vision process, I mentioned the importance of creating a work-life balance, and realize how critical it is that I maintain my strengths in these areas as I continue on my career path and goals.

After reviewing both assessments, I identified the following Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT):

Holly Innovative Leader SWOT

I also reviewed and analyzed a variety of reflection questions:

  • What do I think/believe? Am I able to balance professional and personal commitments?
  • What do I do? How do you play to your strengths?
  • What do we believe? Notice the various people and groups in your life (family, colleagues, boss, community, friends, etc.) and what they report as “urgent.”
  • How do we do this?  What systems and processes will impact my development?

Overall, after reflecting on these series of assessment and tools, I have better clarity of my current state as well as what is needed to fulfill my vision.

Next week I’ll focus on defining a development plan that helps connect my vision and assessment results. The plan will allow me to close the gaps I identified in the SWOT analysis and also build on my opportunities.

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.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Richardstep.com

 

Create a Compelling Vision For Career Development – Notes From The Field

Link to the future This post is the first of a six part series of Notes from the Field where Holly,  an analyst in an HR department at a major university, talks about her experience using the  Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers to plan her next career step.  Holly will share a small part of her overall exploration, for a more complete case study, please either refer to the workbook or the online leadership development program for either emerging leaders or leaders.

I have always been a driven person, striving to reach goals and interested in progressing. Although my passion for improvement has continuously pushed me forward, I had never attempted to define my personal vision. The steps outlined in the Innovative Leadership Workbook forced me to fast-forward through my life and imagine looking back at I accomplished. I had to hypothetically examine what I would have been most proud of, what others would have said about me, who would have helped me along the way, and more. This process helped me to put my personal values into perspective in order to ensure I am doing all that I can to successfully create my personal vision.

Personally, I found this exercise gratifying and, to an extent, emotional. It is usually only in hindsight that we consider changes or make an effort do things differently in the future, but this process really helped me evaluate my values and align them my expectations, and gave me the insight  about what I need to do differently to more accurately align my values with my personal vision as I move forward.

Throughout the exercise my vision continued to be refined as I put forth more thought in exploring what is most important to me. It was also important for me to realize that my vision will continue to evolve over time, but will provide me with some navigation tools to keep me on track.

After writing a story about my life and identifying my top personal values, I was able to form a personal vision.

Holly’s Overall Life Vision: To always see the goodness in people and support their life goals.

Additional thoughts supporting my life vision are that I will be understanding of the needs of others and do my best to help provide support through listening, opening my heart, volunteering, mentoring, and treating others with compassion. I hope to lead by example.

I was able to determine an overall vision, but I found that there was a slight overlap as well as a void when combining my professional vision with my individual vision and my family. The earlier steps in the process of defining my personal vision helped craft an overall vision and, also, to further evaluate it based on what is most important to me.

My family is the most important feature of my life. The relationships are strong and have helped shape me into the person I am today. Many of my successes are a result of the guidance—and qualities of the influence—from family members and close friends. I continue to embrace my family and hope to carry on their values.

Personal Values: My top three personal values are family, compassion, and helping other people and animals. There are several other close categories that are important to me not reflected in the top three. To meet my overall vision while also succeeding with my family and work, I will have to strive to maintain a work-life balance my family’s needs and practice taking the time to reflect on my individual needs. Currently, much of my time is devoted to my education, work, and family. In the future, I plan to find dedicated time to volunteer and mentor others. I find helping others and influencing others to be closely intertwined and critically important. If those who are passionate about this cannot find the time, how can we continue to pass it forward?

After evaluating my top three values, I believe I have chosen the correct career path. I was fortunate throughout my education to have had strong mentors who helped guide me toward a career in Human Resources. I cannot say that it has always been “easy-breezy,” but, ultimately, I think they helped me identify my values and strengths early on. I have been able to use my compassion to succeed and desire to help others mitigate difficult situations. In many cases, I have brought a “reality-check” that views both sides of a situation: the business side and personal side.

As part of the workbook, I also answered several reflection questions. These helped me clarify my initial vision and values, and how they play out in my life. I expect to revisit and refine my vision during this process as I learn more about myself and what is realistic.

Next week I will share my personal analysis of my strengths and opportunities for growth based on my vision.

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.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com BLMOregon

 

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 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.

photo credit: www.flickr.com mariachily

Online Innovative Leadership Development Program Now Available – Free Trial Offer

Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and ManagersWe are committed to giving you leadership development programs that meet your needs, delivered in a way that is accessible and easy to use. We are delighted to announce our latest program  based on the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers – International Book Award Finalist for Best Business Career Book. This program is designed to address the needs of leaders who would like to dedicate time weekly to their development. Valuable lessons and exercises along with webinars and videos are delivered weekly by e-mail. This 10 month program takes about 15 to 45 minutes per week depending on the level of engagement the leader. Leaders read the assignments, and complete the worksheets and reflection questions weekly. They can also choose to work with a coach to support and deepen their progress.

The first two programs are now available for emerging leader and leader.

If you are interested in an 11 week trial offer, the leader version is available at no charge please signup.

We welcome your feedback to allow us to continue to create products and services that serve your leader development and organizational transformation needs. We will develop additional programs based on your interests.

Notes from the Field: Using Developmental Perspectives in Job Transition

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

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

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

Most common developmental perspectives:

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

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

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

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

Take time to assess those on your team:

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

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

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

There is no better/worse developmental perspective:

Also from the blog post, Using Developmental Perspective to Build Authentic Leadership,” it is important to remember there are no better or worse developmental perspectives—all are necessary to make an organization function optimally; there are, however, better and worse ways to interact based on the perspectives of those involved. All perspectives play a unique and important role, with distinct strengths if managed properly. Additionally, each perspective/level has a place within the organization where it is most effective.

Insert a pause:

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

To 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.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com sigma

Reflecting on Creating My Vision – What do I do?

Innovative Leadership Workbook - What do I do?During the months of December 2012 – January 2013, we will be posting a blog series focused on helping leaders define their personal vision. If you plan annual goals, this series of exercises may serve as a helpful foundation. Each week you will see another post designed to guide you in identifying what is most important to you. First, you will define your future, and from that vantage point, clarify your vision and values. You will then consider what you want to do professionally, as well as the type and extent of the impact you want to have on the world. We will also provide examples from Demetrius and Jonathan, both emerging leader during this blog series. This blog series is an excerpt from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers and also part of our comprehensive leadership development program.

To help you develop your action plan, building on your vision from blog posts in December, it is time to further clarify your direction using the reflection questions, “What do I think/believe?” reflects your intentions. “What do I do?” questions reflect your actions. “What do we believe?” reflects the culture of your organization (i.e., work, school, community), and “How do we do this?” questions reflect systems and processes for your organization. This exercise is an opportunity to practice innovative leadership by considering your vision for yourself and how it will play out in the context of your life. You will define your intentions, actions, culture, and systems in a systematic manner. This week’s questions will focus entirely on how do we do this? This question helps clarify the systems and processes within your organization that impact your vision. Next week we will post questions from the one remaining category.

  • How do I gather input from key stakeholders to incorporate into my vision (family, business, self)?
  • How do I research trends that will impact my industry so I can understand my future placement and how to navigate potential transitions in my industry?
  • How do I synthesize competing goals and commitments to create a vision that works for me in the context of the communities I serve (family, friends, work, and community)?
  • How do I develop my vision taking the greater economic conditions into account?
  • What do I tell others about my vision? Do I have an “elevator speech”?  Is it something I think is inspirational?

Let’s look at how Demetrius answered two of the reflection questions. His answers served as input for his leadership development plan (see prior post for his vision statement and prior reflection questions). If you are reading this series for the first time, Demetrius is an emerging leader providing the case study for this exercise.

  • How do I gather input from key stakeholders to incorporate into my vision (family, business, self)? I recently had a conversation with my wife about my vision for my career. In particular, do I continue to work toward becoming a ‘C’ level executive within an organization, or do I turn my attention to owning my own business. I have also spoken with colleagues and previous supervisors about their assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. I have asked these groups of individuals because I trust they will provide honest feedback—whether they may or may not agree with my own assessment of myself. While I’m not looking for them to make a decision for me, I do value their opinions and their viewpoints. At the end of the day, I will take time to internalize the information that I have received from them to formulate a plan of action, but the final decision will be made after some introspection.

 

  • How do I synthesize competing goals and commitments to create a vision that works for me in the context of the communities I serve (family, friends, work and community)? For me this has been a constant dilemma. While I believe in putting my family above all else, I also know there are times that I have to put work first to create a better sense of stability for my family. The way I handle this is to envision the future I want for my family and set incremental milestones to achieve those goals. One such goal was going back to school and completing my MBA. This meant sacrifices on my wife’s part, but at the same time we knew that if I completed the program quickly it would have less of an impact on our family and a bigger reward in our future. As part of setting those milestones, my wife and I periodically revisit them to see what is still relevant and make course corrections to ensure we are still on path, or, if need be, forge a new path.

Now that you have read Demetrius’ responses, how would you respond to a few of these questions?

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.

Photo Credit: www.flickr.com thinkingbots.com

Reflections on Creating My Vision – What Do We Believe?

Innovative Leadership Team ValuesDuring the months of December 2012 – January 2013, we will be posting a blog series focused on helping leaders define their personal vision. If you plan annual goals, this series of exercises may serve as a helpful foundation. Each week you will see another post designed to guide you in identifying what is most important to you. First, you will define your future, and from that vantage point, clarify your vision and values. You will then consider what you want to do professionally, as well as the type and extent of the impact you want to have on the world. We will also provide examples from Demetrius and Jonathan, both emerging leader during this blog series. This blog series is an excerpt from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers and also part of our comprehensive leadership development program.

To help you develop your action plan, building on your vision from blog posts in December, it is time to further clarify your direction using the reflection questions, “What do I think/believe?” reflects your intentions. “What do I do?” questions reflect your actions. “What do we believe?” reflects the culture of your organization (i.e., work, school, community), and “How do we do this?” questions reflect systems and processes for your organization. This exercise is an opportunity to practice innovative leadership by considering your vision for yourself and how it will play out in the context of your life. You will define your intentions, actions, culture, and systems in a systematic manner. This week’s questions will focus entirely on What do we think/believe. In the coming weeks we will post questions from the two remaining categories.

  • How does my personal vision fit within the larger context of my family, my community, my industry or my job?
  • How do I create a shared belief that my vision will help the organization succeed within the larger community, and also help the community succeed?
  • What do we believe we stand for as an organization? How should we behave to accomplish what we stand for (guiding principles/values)? Do my values align with the organizational values?
  • How do I reconcile differences between my values and those of my organization? How will these differences impact my ability to develop toward my vision and goals?

Let’s look at how Demetrius answered two of the reflection questions. His answers served as input for his leadership development plan (see last weeks post for his vision statement). Check back next week for his answers to the two remaining categories.

  • How does my personal vision fit within the larger context—my family, my community, my industry, my job?  When I look at my industry, I begin to feel more and more confident that my personal vision is aligned with the visions of my industry. We have begun the transformation from managing people to leading people. The time has passed from command and control, to lead and learn. There is more power in thinking and working as a group, as opposed to any one person feeling as if he needs to have all the answers. This is the vision I have working for an organization and leading an organization into the future.   My wife and I also share a vision as we move forward with our careers and our lives. The sharing of the vision is an important concept. Of course we are two different individuals with different goals, but the vision we share is in the support that we show each other. It’s really important to each of us that we are each other’s biggest supporter. Therefore, we make it a point to help each other to grow and to help each other to achieve individual personal goals.

 

  •  What do we believe we stand for as an organization?  As an organization we stand for providing the best in value to our customer while maintaining integrity in the work that we produce. For me, there is a lot to be said about doing the “right thing.” As an organization of course we are concerned about the bottom line, but not at the expense of doing something that our customers would deem unethical or not in their best interests. This is a type of organization that I can stand behind and I believe that we are headed in the right direction. At this point, I believe my values are becoming more closely aligned with our organizational values and this is a positive sign.

Now that you have read Demetrius’ responses, how would you repsond to a few of these questions?

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.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Ron Sombilon Art, Media and Photography