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Leaders Building Self-awareness to Individual and Organizational Results

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Leaders Building Self-awareness to Individual and Organizational Results

Leaderview Mindset

This blog is a companion to the four-part interview series, “Leaders Building Self-awareness by Stepping Through the Worldview Membrane: Learning to Engage your Organization,” with Christopher and Sheila Cooke on the VoiceAmerica Business Leadership show “Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations,” begins July 12. The first interview is a conversation about personal freedom and flow, and how they used the online LeaderView Self-Assessment to build it. This conversation includes a discussion of how the assessment helps leaders discover their leadership strengths and biases. This blog is a companion to the interview series.

This model and approach are pulled from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders. Before moving to the assessment, I wanted to provide a post on how we use assessments in the leadership development process. The process shown below suggests that the first part of the development process involves creating a compelling vision for yourself for your future. If you don’t have one, we recommend using the information in this post as the foundation for assessment and analysis.

Development process

To validate your vision, we find that reading futurist publications in specific industries is helpful. The role of the futurist is to evaluate current trends and build possible scenarios for how the future might unfold. By building on your capacities for leadership, you can use these scenarios as part of your planning process to provide insight into overall societal trends, ensure that you are well prepared for the potential impact of ever-changing business conditions, and suggest imminent scenarios that help you navigate those trends effectively.

There are several organizations providing very effective views into the future. One that we regularly reference is The Arlington Institute (TAI), founded in 1989 by futurist John L. Petersen. It is a nonprofit research institute that specializes in thinking about global futures and creating conditions to influence rapid, positive change. They encourage systemic, non-linear approaches to planning and believe that effective thinking about the future is enhanced by applying emerging technology. TAI strives to be an effective agent of advancement by creating intellectual frameworks and toolsets for understanding the transition in which we are living.

Once you develop (or refine) your vision, it is time to examine your strengths and development opportunities. This step will help you refine and clarify those strengths and weaknesses. In the interview series, we will be walking through the assessment process using the LeaderView assessment tool set. Once you take the assessment, you will then decide which areas you would like to improve by building on what you already do well and addressing weaknesses. Your approach to development will depend on the assessment results and what you need to be and do to accomplish your vision while living your values

We recommend using a general guideline that focuses 80 percent of your effort on building your existing strengths and 20 percent on addressing weaker areas. Though this a general approximation, the 80/20 rule is a directional one stemming from the belief that you are already successful and have simply taken the opportunity to further advance and refine your capabilities. If you find serious deficiencies, it will be important to address them quickly.

It is important to combine your vision with a firm understanding of your current performance,
abilities, and personality type. The data will help you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and also clarify how others see you. By looking at your vision in conjunction with your assessment results, you should have the data required (or a solid start) to determine the gap between your current state (based on assessment data) and your vision.

Now to focus on the assessment process. One of the major values of using objective assessments is to uncover unconscious biases—our way of seeing the world that we believe is innate and shared by others is actually unique to each of us. These biases influence all that you do. Research since the late 1970’s has shown that such biases are actually the basis of your leadership strengths. Through a process of assessment and self-discovery, leaders build self-awareness, learn what it means to step through the worldview membrane, and learn how to dramatically increase engagement in their organizations.
So, now to the interview series. This four-part series that will walk you through the process of taking the LeaderView assessment, interpreting it, and getting feedback from others as the foundation to support leadership behavioral change. After explaining the assessment tool and flow of the four-part series, the Cookes introduce two participants, Carla Morelli and Jim Svagerko, both accomplished leaders who took the assessment and share their development process with listeners. This conversation includes their discovery of how “adaptive intelligences,” or how we adapt to challenges we face, influence all that they think, say, and do. Morelli and Svagerko gain insight into the leadership signature they are next naturally growing into as well as appreciating the richness of their natural leadership, learning, emotional, organizational, decision-making, relationship, creative, and motivational biases. This process allows them to “listen in” to discussions with actual leaders discussing their development process.

We are very excited to share the step-by-step process of assessment and feedback with you, our readers and listeners. You can now get the value of the expert coaching of Christopher and Sheila and also listen into two very accomplished leaders. To take the LeaderView Assessment, just log onto the site created for the show and purchase the assessment to follow along. In addition, you will get an interpretation and planning manual. The assessment cost, including two participants giving 360 feedback, is $40.80 which is a 20 percent discount off the normal rate. You can also learn more about the show layout at the website

Author Information
Maureen Metcalf, founder and CEO of Metcalf & Associates, Inc., is a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker, and coach who brings thirty years of business experience to provide high-impact, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership development and organizational transformations. She is recognized as an innovative, principled thought leader who combines intellectual rigor and discipline with an ability to translate theory into practice. Her operational skills are coupled with the strategic ability to analyze, develop, and implement successful strategies for profitability, growth, and sustainability.

In addition to working as an executive advisor, Maureen designs and teaches MBA classes in Leadership and Organizational Transformation. She is also the host of an international radio show focusing on innovative leadership, and the author of an award-winning book series on Innovative Leadership, including the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, winner of a 2014 International Book Award.

Using Brain Science to Enhance Leadership Ability by Gary Weber

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Using Brain Science to Enhance Leadership Ability by Gary Weber

Weber world on shoulders

This post, written by Gary Weber, is a companion to the July 5 VoiceAmerica interview with Gary Weber, Using Brain Science to Enhance Leadership. Gary talks about our personal mental operating systems and how to replace them with an updated one.

Replacing our current “I”-based, mental operating system (OS I) with an upgrade, largely by reducing the self-referential internal narrative (SRIN), is something I have been exploring for a while. The belief that our current OS has become “maladaptive,” was discussed in the blogpost “Does your nondual awakening benefit ‘everyone’? the world?” and in the video “dysfunctional evolution of the mind.”

OS I developed about 75,000 years ago. (see blogpost “How old is the “I”?  How/why did it come into existence?…new science”) Our predecessors split off from our nearest relatives, the chimpanzees, about 6,000,000 years ago; the “I”-based OS 1 has been in operation for about one percent of the time we have been distinct from other primates.

Our brain size increased three times after that split from the chimpanzees until when we developed OS 1. Many structural, organization, and neural modifications evolved before OS 1 could emerge.

As we know, our current OS has many limitations. It is difficult to focus on important “stuff” with the continual interference from our SRIN. “Does insufficient apoptosis cause cancer?” competes with “Why did Jane treat me the way she did?” “I’ll tell her next week what I think of her,” “I should stop eating ice cream—Greek yogurt would be better”; “What should I wear tonight?”, etc.

The persistent SRIN also consumes huge amounts of energy, wastes much bandwidth, and increases negative energy. It also results in emotionally-charged memories that lead to depression, anxiety, dis-ease, worries, craving, attachment, suffering, etc.

The recognition that SRIN was THE problem causing “my” personal unhappiness occurred when I was in grad school walking to campus. I just could not believe that this never-ending cacophony of the SRIN was how we were supposed to live “our lives.” There had to be a better way. So, I set out to see if and how SRIN could be reduced or perhaps even eliminated, while still retaining functionality in the “real” world.

As an empirical scientist “in-training,” I conducted this investigation totally empirically. Every understanding had to be personally validated. There would be no philosophy, theory, or teachings from millennia ago. To make certain that I had the best possible data, I developed some design parameters:

1. Any information had to come from sources alive now, or who were alive while I was alive.
2. There had to be movies/videos, photographs, and direct transcripts of the information from any of the sources.
3. My preference was to personally see the sources, or talk to folk who had.
4. The sources would be in first-language English to avoid misunderstandings from translations.
5. The sources must have been validated by well-known and credible “experts.”
6. Ongoing direct feedback on progress/success was critical for a DIY approach. Good news/bad news, SRIN provided continuously-available feedback…if SRIN was there, more work was needed.
7. The process must retain/enhance functional “real world” performance.
8. Happiness would increase, and suffering, stress, and anxiety would decrease.
9. The result would be a change in life, not just experiences; it would be a new OS.
10. It would be scientifically verifiable.
The source that met all of these parameters was Ramana Maharshi. I also drew upon sources who partially met these parameters, like the late Toni Packer (my iconoclastic Zen teacher), J. Krishnamurti, Amrit Desai, Swami Rama, Roshi Eido Shimano, etc.

As described in my book Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening, I did many direct empirical exercises to understand thoughts, how they were constructed, whether they were continuous or intermittent, energetic or not, linked or “stand alone,” how the “I” was constructed, etc. With that perspective, particularly “Who Am I?”, I embarked on an intensive program of self-inquiry and “I” deconstruction.

SRIN occurs when my blood sugar gets low (hypoglycemic) or I am very tired. Some early mornings, there is a short clearing out of some residual “stuff” from the day before, such as “Is this important, or should we dump it?” mode. If you don’t take advantage of the invitation to explore, it just vanishes…the brain gets its answer.

Surprisingly, a loss of self-referential desires and fears, as well as dramatically enhanced functional capability occurred with the disappearance of SRIN/”I”.

What also fell away, which was a total surprise, was “free will,” or “control”—without an “I”, there was no other logical possibility. Despite expectations of chaos and anxiety, it was incredibly sweet. Life without the illusion that one is, or can be, in control is like having the world lifted from your shoulders.

There is also much scientific validation manifesting now, for example in the value of meditation. This is described in the blogposts: “Folk who meditate decrease mind wandering”, “Do your mystical experiences fit with w/quantum physics?  neuroscience?”, “What is the Default Mode Network?”, “What is really ‘real’?  What does ‘nothing is real’ mean?”.

There is no doubt that much more will be discovered going forward; we are at the beginning of what cognitive neuroscience will find. A big question is whether it is possible to decrease SRIN without extensive meditation experience. We have evidence that it is absolutely possible based on my experience with clients.

As to why more folk don’t reach the state of a decreased SRIN:

1. They do not believe it is possible.
2. They will not let go of their attachments.
3. They will not let go of their suffering (often caused by the SRIN).

I believe we are at a tipping point. If we don’t make fundamental changes now in how we function, our egoic/”I” operating system OS 1 could well destroy us. The change from the belief that the “I” is a constant, fixed, real entity to understanding that it is an “ad hoc,” haphazardly-assembled, mental construct, needs to be as fundamental and clear as our knowledge that the earth is round. And, in my humble opinion, it needs to happen soon.

About the author

Gary Weber, PhD, is a subject/collaborator in neuroscience studies at Yale, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, the Baumann Foundation, the Center for Study of Non-Symbolic Consciousness, at Johns Hopkins, and at Penn State.

From 2000 to 2004 he was an associate vice president of research for Penn State responsible for all technology transfer operations of the University, including angel investing, venture capital, licensing, patenting and start-up support. He was also responsible for external industrial R&D contracts and interfaces with the University.
In the late 1990s, Gary was senior vice president of science and technology for PPG responsible for all corporate R&D with four research laboratories, approximately 1000 engineers, scientists, and technical folk, and a $260MM budget. He was also a member of the Executive Committee.

Since then he has been researching and writing about happiness beyond thought. He is applying his extensive research skills to helping leaders.

Strategic Leadership Lessons by Luis Vicente Garcia

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Strategic Leadership Lessons by Luis Vicente Garcia

Leadership with a Strategic Vision.

Leadership is a key factor for success in today’s business world and we all learn from different perspectives, as well as our experiences. As a Leader, you need to develop important abilities while having a clear vision of where you want to be.

Your team will follow you and your ideas if you are the best example they can follow; this is why leaders lead by example. And if Leadership is an art, all leaders need to inspire, empower and motivate constantly.

In our lives we encounter many obstacles and challenges and we are the ones that need to be determined in order to make an impact and achieve the change we aspire to happen. This is what leaders do every single day.

And former Air Force F-15 Pilot Steve Olds is now applying to small business the leadership and growth skills he has learned and developed over the years and has developed not only a clear leadership vision but also has helped many business owners and small entrepreneurs focus, grow and develop a vision of their own.

Leadership is about mentoring, guiding, about teaching others. As a result, to be an excellent leader in the business world today, Steve draws form his own personal experiences to define leadership in a different way, focusing on small and mid-sized businesses while developing international teams and ventures.

Join Luis Vicente Garcia and Steve Olds on this very interesting and inspiring episode as we discover the importance of strategic leadership.

Luis Vicente Garcia and Steve Olds

Bio: – Steve Olds; PATRIOT MISSION Founder, President & CEO

Steve Olds was a combat decorated F15 Eagle fighter pilot. Since moving into the private sector, he has served at every level of small business operations including creating and funding new ventures, building large international sales teams, product development and strategic consulting.

Steve is now leveraging more than two decades of entrepreneurial experience as a visionary, leader and communicator to execute his current role as Chief Executive Officer of PATRIOT MISSION which is a US based leadership development company. Their mission is to Rebuild America through The POWER of Small Business™.

www.patriotmission.com

Executive Perspectives – Lessons That Drive Success by Maureen Metcalf

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This post focuses on lessons learned from several senior executive interviews on VoiceAmerica Radio. I want to thank everyone who was willing to participate; I have had the honor of talking to a range of highly accomplished executives from a variety of industries and backgrounds.

Leaders
Let’s start with an example of an employee whose experience mirrors of one of our top interviews: people drive your success. Susan walked into her new job and was delighted that on her first day, her intuition about accepting the position proved correct. She left a great job (on paper) to be part of a professional organization that would be a better fit. She’d been looking for a place where the leaders understood that taking care of their people caused the organization to actually be more efficient and effective. She’d had plenty of experience with organizations that gave lip service to employee engagement and becoming a best place to work, and yet, at the end of the day, she didn’t feel engaged. She felt harassed by ongoing assessments and pressure to deliver better scores rather than inspired by a true effort to improve the organization. Now she was the VP of Talent in an organization that genuinely treated people with respect. They recruited for mindset and offered ongoing training to ensure employees could meet the changing needs of the workplace.

After doing the interviews, I wanted to see what themes emerged from the group and share with readers who may not have had the opportunity to listen to all interviews.

Themes:
1. People differentiate your business and your ability to deliver on your unique brand as well as retain customers. Treat your people well and they will treat your clients well. Treat your people badly and they will be disengaged and damage your culture, your customer relationships and your profitability. See my earlier post on bad bosses for info about what treating your people badly means.
2. Hire for fit – train for skills. You can teach skills as the environment changes. Employees who are disruptive or an otherwise poor fit will damage your environment and your business (see #1). What I have often seen is leaders who wait too long to remove disruptive employees. Universally, after the challenging employee leaves, they wish they had done it sooner.
3. Effective transformation starts with leadership change and involves culture change and process and system change. All elements must be aligned to avoid creating forces that work against one another. This alignment is a dynamic equation involving continual rebalancing.
4. Effective leaders manage across functions, considering the best interest of all stakeholders to ensure the long term success of the organization, not just their departmental interests. By managing the dynamic balance and changing needs of key stakeholders (customers, employees, owners, funders, the long-term interest of the enterprise), the enterprise is able to best respond to ongoing complex changes.
5. An effective leader actively engages employees regularly, making sure they are clear on what to do and how to do it, and that they have what they need. Employees feel supported. They know that they are free to do their best, and when they make small mistakes in service of trying new things to improve themselves and the organization, they will not be browbeaten.

Do these themes strike you as true?

As a leader, how would you score yourself on these five themes (1 = I rarely do this, 3 = I occasionally do this, 5 = I consistently do this)?

How would you score your organization using the same scale?

If you believe these are true, but you are not consistently behaving in this way, do you work in an environment that would support you acting this way? If so, what behavioral experiments can you try to begin improving your own leadership? Can you pick a theme and identify a specific behavior that will be rewarded in your organization? What is that experiment? How will you know if you are successful? When will you start?
If you work in an organization that does not demonstrate these behaviors, is there one that might be rewarded?

SO….what can you do about becoming more effective? To become a more innovative leader, please consider listening to a wide range of the Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations interviews. Additionally, Metcalf & Associates offers on-line leader development programs, leadership assessments, a leadership development workbook series, workshops, coaching and executive advisory services.

About the author:
Maureen Metcalf is the CEO of Metcalf & Associates, Inc. is a leadership development and management consulting firm that uses an integrative approach to help leaders and their organizations innovate how they lead and how they operate, helping them thrive in a rapidly changing environment. She is an acclaimed thought leader who has developed, tested and implemented emerging models that dramatically improve leaders and contribute to organizational success.

Bad Bosses: Are You One? by Maureen Metcalf & Mike Morrow-Fox

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This blog post is co-written by Mike Morrow-Fox and Maureen as a companion to the VoiceAmerica recording on Bad Bosses.
Dilbert cc arpit gupta
Bill comes into the office. He is swamped by the sheer volume of work he needs to accomplish –  preparing for a high-visibility client meeting, meeting with his executive leadership, and consolidating information to create his monthly reports. On top of this, he has seven highly competent direct reports. He’s grateful that his team is so effective, because it means he doesn’t need to spend much time with them. He really likes his team and wishes he could do more mentoring, but for now, he needs to keep his head down and get his work done. As we read in the article, his approach is actually ineffective because he is not actively engaging them.

In a January 2016 article published in the Gallup Business Journal, ‘Gallup has been tracking employee engagement in the U.S. since 2000. Though there have been some slight ebbs and flows, less than one-third of U.S. employees have been engaged in their jobs and workplaces during these 15 years. According to Gallup Daily tracking, 32% of employees in the U.S. are engaged — meaning they are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Worldwide, only 13% of employees working for an organization are engaged.’

Bosses play a major role in employee engagement and disengagement. Engaged bosses drive engagement, while disengaged bosses drive disengagement and, even, active disruption.

Let’s start with a definition. What is the difference between a leader and a boss? Leaders set the cultural tone and strategic vision; bosses are the employee’s conduit to the larger organization.

We understand that there are some obvious characteristics that would make anyone a bad boss, like throwing temper tantrums and micromanaging. We’re going to talk about subtler differences.

Bad bosses

If your manager ignores you, there is 40% chance that you will be actively disengaged or filled with hostility about your job. If your manager is at least paying attention, the chances of your being actively disengaged go down to 22%. But if your manager is primarily focusing on your strengths, the chance of your being actively disengaged is just 1%, or 1 in 100.’

The number one action great bosses take is regularly taking time to engage with their employees and focusing on employee strengths during these interactions. Great bosses also have regular conversations about employee development, again focusing on employee strengths much more than deficiencies. Going back to Bill in the opening story, if he had allocated time each week to talk to employees, discussing their projects and building on their strengths to help them continue to thrive, he would likely have dramatically improved their engagement. It seems rather easy, yet it is not common.

Most of us have had bad boss experiences and found a way to cope until we changed jobs or the bad boss rotated out. The question we pose is, what cost do you personally incur if you happen to be less involved than your employees need you to be, or if you are primarily focused on correcting and giving guidance rather than balancing guidance to improve performance with helping employees improve their strengths?

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

References:

Rath,T.,& Harter, J. (2010, July). Composite of several submissions. Servant Leadership Focus Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 7.

Mann, Annamarie, and Harter, Jim. (2016, January). Gallup.com Business Journal.

Photo credits: www.flickr.com creative commons Arpit Gupta

About the authors:

Maureen Metcalf is the Founder and CEO of Metcalf & Associates. She is an executive advisor, a speaker, coach, and the author of an award-winning book series focused on innovating how you lead. She is also on the faculty of universities in the US and Germany.

Mike Morrow-Fox, MBA, has over 20 years of experience in leading technology and human resources operations for health care, education, banking, and nonprofit organizations, as well as several years of university teaching. His bachelor’s degree focused on Industrial Psychology and Employee Counseling and his MBA focus was on Organizational Leadership. He is currently completing his Doctorate in Educational Leadership. He is a contributor and thought partner for several of the innovative leadership books.

Bad Bosses: Are You One? by Maureen Metcalf

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This blog post is co-written by Mike Morrow-Fox and Maureen as a companion to the VoiceAmerica recording on Bad Bosses.


Bill comes into the office. He is swamped by the sheer volume of work he needs to accomplish –  preparing for a high-visibility client meeting, meeting with his executive leadership, and consolidating information to create his monthly reports. On top of this, he has seven highly competent direct reports. He’s grateful that his team is so effective, because it means he doesn’t need to spend much time with them. He really likes his team and wishes he could do more mentoring, but for now, he needs to keep his head down and get his work done. As we read in the article, his approach is actually ineffective because he is not actively engaging them.

In a January 2016 article published in the Gallup Business Journal, ‘Gallup has been tracking employee engagement in the U.S. since 2000. Though there have been some slight ebbs and flows, less than one-third of U.S. employees have been engaged in their jobs and workplaces during these 15 years. According to Gallup Daily tracking, 32% of employees in the U.S. are engaged — meaning they are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Worldwide, only 13% of employees working for an organization are engaged.’

Bosses play a major role in employee engagement and disengagement. Engaged bosses drive engagement, while disengaged bosses drive disengagement and, even, active disruption.

Let’s start with a definition. What is the difference between a leader and a boss? Leaders set the cultural tone and strategic vision; bosses are the employee’s conduit to the larger organization.

We understand that there are some obvious characteristics that would make anyone a bad boss, like throwing temper tantrums and micromanaging. We’re going to talk about subtler differences.


‘If your manager ignores you, there is 40% chance that you will be actively disengaged or filled with hostility about your job. If your manager is at least paying attention, the chances of your being actively disengaged go down to 22%. But if your manager is primarily focusing on your strengths, the chance of your being actively disengaged is just 1%, or 1 in 100.’

The number one action great bosses take is regularly taking time to engage with their employees and focusing on employee strengths during these interactions. Great bosses also have regular conversations about employee development, again focusing on employee strengths much more than deficiencies. Going back to Bill in the opening story, if he had allocated time each week to talk to employees, discussing their projects and building on their strengths to help them continue to thrive, he would likely have dramatically improved their engagement. It seems rather easy, yet it is not common.

Most of us have had bad boss experiences and found a way to cope until we changed jobs or the bad boss rotated out. The question we pose is, what cost do you personally incur if you happen to be less involved than your employees need you to be, or if you are primarily focused on correcting and giving guidance rather than balancing guidance to improve performance with helping employees improve their strengths?

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

References:
Rath,T.,& Harter, J. (2010, July). Composite of several submissions. Servant Leadership Focus Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 7.

Mann, Annamarie, and Harter, Jim. (2016, January). Gallup.com Business Journal.

Photo credits: www.flickr.com caveman by lorri37

About the authors:
Maureen Metcalf is the Founder and CEO of Metcalf & Associates. She is an executive advisor, a speaker, coach, and the author of an award-winning book series focused on innovating how you lead. She is also on the faculty of universities in the US and Germany.

Mike Morrow-Fox, MBA, has over 20 years of experience in leading technology and human resources operations for health care, education, banking, and nonprofit organizations, as well as several years of university teaching. His bachelor’s degree focused on Industrial Psychology and Employee Counseling and his MBA focus was on Organizational Leadership. He is currently completing his Doctorate in Educational Leadership. He is a contributor and thought partner for several of the innovative leadership books.

What are Smart CIOs Doing?

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What are Smart CIOs Doing?

cyber security cc perspcsys

This blog is a collaboration between Angelo Mazzocco, CIO, Central Ohio Primary Care and Co-Founding Organizer of the CIO Tomorrow Conference, and Maureen Metcalf, CEO, Metcalf & Associates and host of the Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations radio program.

The world is changing dramatically, and technology is leading this global transition. As technology leaders, you will be distinguished by your ability anticipate trends and recommend changes that leverage them before your competition does. This proactive ability to read what is happening and turn it into a competitive advantage is rare and highly valuable to companies.

“Former Intel Chairman Andy Grove said that an inflection point, ‘occurs where the old strategic picture dissolves and gives way to the new.’ This seems to be happening with disconcerting regularity. Every day, contemporary executives confront a series of inflection points – situations in which received wisdom is no longer adequate or appropriate for the task at hand. Francois Hollande became the president of France on the promise of being “Mr. Normal.” His record-settingly low popularity suggests that, at least in France, there is no place for normal, as The New York Times put it. That may be true everywhere. Here’s the thing: Great leaders are able to imagine and hence control what is on the other side of the inflection point.” Thorton May, Innovative Leaders Guide to Implementing Analytics Programs

One of the most common questions Maureen hears from technology leaders is: with all of the changes, how can I manage the deluge of information, identify the critical elements and stay current? To figure this out, she interviewed Angelo about his thoughts on his personal development to understand what shaped his thinking when he invited high-profile keynote speakers to the upcoming CIO Tomorrow conference. The event, held in Columbus, Ohio, has attracted national participation. Her questions to Angelo were:  What trends are you following? What would you recommend the broader CIO community focus on? What are you focusing on, yourself, and how are you sharing it with conference attendees and the CIO group you facilitate?

Angelo believes it is all about preparing for the disruptive pressures many of us are already feeling – which will continue at an accelerating pace. As effective technology leaders, it is incumbent upon us to identify the disruptions facing our specific industry, as well as those in adjacent industries that will spill over into ours. Two of the hottest, most disruptive topics are:

1. Cloud-based computing providing opportunities to disrupt – many organizations have resisted moving to the cloud because of data privacy and security, but companies that differentiate themselves by being technology leaders will identify creative cloud-based solutions that move them ahead of their less visionary competitors. Applications offered as a service make them more cost-effective and free IT budgets to generate value in more creative ways. Uber is a hugely disruptive example. It is a computer company offering transportation services, rather than a transportation company like a cab company. If your company were to shift to a technology-driven company, what would it look like? What vision could you set to change the landscape of your industry?

2. Cybersecurity – when we think of recent cybersecurity breaches, two names come to mind: Sony and WikiLeaks. Releasing data is one side of security risk; the other is intruding into a system to do harm. Intruders take many different avenues, and for different reasons. Protecting organizations (public and private) has never been more important than now, when intrusions have such pervasive impact and can be executed from anywhere in the world. What parts of your organization are vulnerable to intrusion from either internal or external sources? What do you need to do to address this? Over what timeframe?
Of all the topics technology leaders are considering, these are among the top two that Angelo talks about. Others include how technology leaders partner with their business colleagues in industries that have not yet leveraged technology as a strategic advantage, and how those leaders continue to build the most effective organizations to attract top talent and continually adapt their processes.

One way to significantly enhance your knowledge on these topics – along with many of the top CIOs in the region – is to attend the CIO Tomorrow conference to hear and interact with thought leaders as we explore the changing norms in people, process and technologies in today’s disruptive landscape.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com perspecsys

Innovate How You Lead: Create A Business Advantage by Maureen Metcalf

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Leadership cc Olivier Carre-Delisle

What does innovating leadership really mean?
Let’s start with the definition of leadership as a uniquely human activity that is intended to move an organization forward such that it improves the lives of the people it serves and simultaneously takes into consideration the rightful interests of the organizational members.

It is important to note that each individual leader will lead in a manner that is authentic to his or her unique skills, abilities, personality, beliefs, values, and other influencing factors such as brain chemistry. Effective leadership encompasses both the science of leading and the heart of the leader. It requires heartfelt care, compassion, and authenticity to be truly effective. This does not mean leaders are soft, but rather they demonstrate compassion when taking tough action. Being a good scientist and understanding the theory is a good start but insufficient if the leader does not demonstrate deep care for the people being led and the people being served.

Innovating leadership cannot be applied as a monolithic theory, or as a simple prescriptive measure. It occurs through your own intellect and stems from your own unique sensibilities.

Let’s build a foundation from which to explore both innovation and leadership, which means talking about them in an entirely different context.

Leadership is a process of influencing people strategically and tactically, effecting change in intentions, actions, culture, and systems to move the organization forward such that it improves the lives of the people it serves and simultaneously takes into consideration the rightful interests of the organizational members.

Leadership influences individual intentions and organizational cultural norms by inspiring purpose and creating alignment. It equally influences an individual’s actions and an organization’s efficiencies through tactical decisions.

Innovation, as an extension of leadership, refers to the novel ways in which we advance that influence throughout the organization.

Innovation is a novel advancement that shapes organizations personally, behaviorally, culturally, and systematically.

In our experience, leadership and innovation are innately connected and share a deep commonality. In addition to linking the relationship of leadership to innovation, notice that we’re also revealing it as an essential part of our individual experience. Just as with leadership and innovation, the way you uniquely experience and influence the world is defined through a mutual interplay of personal, behavioral, cultural, and systematic events. These core dimensions that ground leadership and innovation also provide a context and mirror for your total experience in any given moment or on any given occasion. Optimally, then, leadership is influencing through an explicit balancing of those core dimensions. Innovation naturally follows as a creative advancement of this basic alignment.

Therefore, marrying leadership with innovation allows you to ground and articulate both in a way that creates a context for dynamic personal development—and, dynamic personal development is required to lead innovative transformative change.

Innovating leadership means leaders influence by equally engaging their personal intention and action with the organization’s culture and systems to move the organization forward such that it improves the lives of the people it serves and simultaneously takes into consideration the rightful interests of the organizational members.

Though we are defining innovative leadership very broadly, we are also making a distinct point: The core aspects that comprise your experience—whether it is Leader intention or action, organizational cultural, or systems—are inextricably interconnected. If you affect one, you affect them all.

Innovative leadership is based on the recognition that these four dimensions exist simultaneously in all experiences, and already influence every interactive experience we have. So if, for example, you implement a strategy to realign an organization’s value system over the next five years, you will also affect personal motivations (intentions), behavioral outcomes, and organizational culture. Influencing one aspect—in this case, functional systems—affects the other aspects, since all four dimensions mutually shape each other. To deny the mutual interplay of any one of the four dimensions misses the full picture. You can only innovate your leadership by comprehensively addressing all aspects.  In sum, leadership innovation is the process of improving leadership that allows already successful leaders to raise the bar on their performance and the performance of their organizations.

An innovative leader is defined as someone who consistently delivers results using:
• Strategic leadership that inspires individual intentions and goals and organizational vision and culture
• Tactical leadership that influences an individual’s actions and the organization’s systems and processes
• Holistic leadership that aligns all core dimensions: individual intention and action, along with organizational culture and systems

A balanced approach to leadership and innovation is transformative for both you and your organization, and can help you to respond more effectively to challenges within and outside the enterprise. Innovating your leadership gives you the means to successfully adapt in ways that allows optimal performance, even within the continual change and complexity of an organization.  Conceptually, it synthesizes models from developmental, communications, and systems theory, delivering better insight than singular approaches. Innovative leadership gives you the capacity to openly recognize and critically examine aspects of yourself, as well as your organization’s culture and systems, in the midst of any circumstance.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Olivier Carré-Delisle

You can tune in live every Tuesday at 11am to Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations

HOW TO LEAD WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR EMOTIONS by Hemda Mizrahi and Pat Baxter

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HOW TO LEAD WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM YOUR EMOTIONS by Hemda Mizrahi and Pat Baxter

Pat Baxter Head Shot VA

Pat Baxter, Ed.D., MS, CSA, author of “Cool Change: Turning Emotions Into Leadership Strengths,” joined me on “Turn the Page”  to discuss how emotions help us to be guided by our experiences, better manage relationships, and take productive action. Listen to our conversation about engaging the benefits, and minimizing the liabilities of expressing feelings at work.

The ability to regulate one’s emotions is an important marker of performing well in high-pressure situations. The more limber you are in responding to stress, the more access you’ll be granted to influence others.

Dr. Baxter expanded on our discussion after the show, by sharing additional tactics for constructively engaging emotions:

EMPATHY IS A CRITICAL SKILL IN BUILDING STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS.
Research shows that women are likely to have higher scores in certain Emotional Intelligence competencies (which can make them strong leaders!), especially empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to another’s feelings. Both empathy and emotional awareness are skills that can be learned. One of the most effective actions you can take to establish an empathetic relationship is to listen carefully and closely. When the person pauses or becomes quiet, repeat back what you heard (not word for word), using your own words to convey what you understood. Image Relationship Therapy, pioneered by Harville Hendrix, encourages the listener to then ask, “did I get it?” and “is there anything else?” This type of approach is foundational to coaching, counseling, and mediation given how supported, respected, and cared for the person speaking feels. It is a great strategy for deescalating a heated situation.

BEING EMOTIONALLY AWARE ENABLES YOU TO GET “UNSTUCK” IN YOUR EMOTIONS. Emotional awareness invites you to pinpoint the triggers and other factors that contribute to your emotions, and to be empowered by the insights that can liberate you from recurring traps. You also have the option to choose where you focus your attention. Instead of getting “stuck” feeling a certain way for days or longer, get unstuck by focusing on something you want to expand, like joy, peace, and confidence!

EMOTIONS ARE CONTAGIOUS.
Do you believe you can “catch” an emotion, as you would a cold? According to dictionary.com, “emotional contagion” is “the tendency to feel and express emotions similar to and influenced by those of others.” Recall a time when you were on a team or part of group that experienced a disappointment or a loss; how many of your fellow members felt the same way? Dr. Baxter suggests this tactic: Designate someone to help the group get unstuck by asking, “what good things have happened lately?” or “how can this situation help us?” This is precisely the tactic that research has shown distinguishes stress-resilient people from those who are prone to the adverse effects of stress (that is, those who view stress as helpful rather than “bad”).

KEEPING YOU ALIVE — AND FEELING ALIVE ARE THE GIFTS OF EMOTION.
Dr. Baxter advises, “Suppressing “bad” emotions, such as rage, fear, and sadness can function like a dam, and keep you from positives, like love and connection. Giving credence to your emotions can help to ensure your safety, health, and productivity.’

LEARN ABOUT THE LATEST RESEARCH ON EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.
The Society of Emotional Intelligence (SoEI) hosts its annual global conference to share the must current research and practices related to emotional intelligence. SoEI also provides training and certification, which you can implement to enhance your organization’s success in areas such as engagement, selection, leadership development, sales training, and coaching.

Listen to our conversation, and read Dr. Baxter’s book to strengthen your leadership and personal effectiveness through the guidance of your emotions.

The Brains of Leaders: Manage Your Thinking to Improve Your Effectiveness by Maureen Metcalf

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Brain cc TZA

The following post is by guest Gary Weber, Subject/collaborator in neuroscience studies at Yale, Institute Of Noetic Sciences, Baumann Institute, Center for Study of Non-Symbolic Consciousness, Johns Hopkins, Penn State. It accompanies a Voice America Interview about how leaders can manage their thinking to improve their effectiveness. I found the conversation about how the brain actually works and how we manage our thinking versus our perception of what we are doing quite fascinating. For me, the take away was that our brain functions much differently than we were taught and by updating our understanding, we have the opportunity to reduce our stress and improve our effectiveness dramatically.

From Gary’s work: One of our great, and common (mis)conceptions is that we need “thoughts” to speak – that we “think up”, consciously, what we say before we say it.  As an experiment, take a few minutes and watch carefully what you say, and see if you do think up what you say.   Go ahead, just do it… Do we know what we’re going to say before we say it?   Or do we just hear it as it is said, and then try to see if it was a “good” thing or if we might have “misspoken”?

The quieter your internal narrative is, and the closer you watch, the easier it is to see that you have no idea what is going to be coming out when speech happens.

An excellent paper was just published in “Psychological Science” entitled “Speakers’ Acceptance of Real-Time Speech Exchange Indicates That We Use Auditory Feedback to Specify the Meaning of What We Say”, by Andreas Lind, et al., from the Swedish universities at Uppsala and Lund.

What Lind and his colleagues did was to see what would happen if someone said one word, but then heard themselves apparently speaking another word.   As Lind said “If we use auditory feedback to compare what we say with a well-specified intention, then any mismatch should be quickly detected.  But if the feedback is instead a powerful factor in a dynamic, interpretative process, then the manipulation could go undetected.”

So, if the word that was said was different from what we had mentally pre-planned to say, it would be very obvious to us. However, if we routinely have no idea what is going to be said, and only know it when we hear it spoken and then interpret it, the change to a different word will not be seen.

Gary Weber 6

 

 

Thought Experiment The image to the left shows how this works. This is the famous Stroop effect/test, which shows you letters that spell a “color” word in the “wrong” color, i.e. it spells out “r-e-d”, but the word is colored “green”.  It takes a little concentration to do it correctly.

 

Then in “b”, you are shown “g-r-e-e-n” but it is colored “gray”, and you correctly say “gray”, but your recording of your saying “green” earlier is replayed in your headphone.

In “c”, you are then asked “What did you say”, and you say “green”, even though you really did say “gray”, i.e. you said what you heard, not what you actually said.
Most importantly, this did not seem “strange” to you, i.e. you really believed that you said what you heard, rather than what you actually said.  If you had premeditated and consciously said “gray”, you would have objected when you heard “green” and said “What i heard in my headphones was not what i said!”

It matters a lot exactly when the “wrong” word is heard in your headphones.  If the synchronization w/the “voice trigger” in b) was begun within 5 to 20 milliseconds after you began to speak, it was undetected more than 2/3 of the time.   The 1/3 of the “detections” are effectively less than that.  They fell into 3 categories, “certain, uncertain and possible”, with only 4% being “certain”.

For you techies, they did use a “noise cancelling” headset so that the 78 subjects wouldn’t be able to hear what they really did say.

These results were a big surprise to Lind, who put himself through the test, knowing what was going on. He felt that the speech exchanges were convincing, and said ““When you say one thing but hear yourself clearly saying something else, it’s a very powerful feeling”.

Research this compelling directly contradicts established dogma, both scientific and societal.

The question is, “However speech manifests, do we consciously pre-plan it with internal narrative?”   Speech emerges, and some functionality must be creating it, but it isn’t conscious.

Now, back to Maureen’s comments. So, what does this mean for leaders and how they work? One important take away is that as we understand the brain and how it actually works, it is important to step out of this automatic mode as much as possible and into being aware of our own thinking and actions. One way to do this is to ask yourself simple questions designed to help you gently shift from the automatic mode most leaders spend 85% of their time inhabiting and into aware mode. Imagine how much more productive you could be if you spent just 1 hour per day more aware and if you used that hour to do your highest impact work? What could you accomplish?

If you are open to an experiment, try asking yourself something like: where am I now or what am I thinking now? This is a gentle nudge to move you back to working with awareness. I tried this over the past couple of weeks and have found that I am more aware of my incessant multi-tasking in service of managing a complex role within my professional life and many family demands. My personal goal is to find the best path to accomplish my goals and make the greatest positive impact I can. If being more aware helps this process – I am all in. I wonder if it will work for you?

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills. www.metcalf-associates.com

Tune in Live every Tuesday at 11am PST to  Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations

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