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Everyone’s Actions Matter – How Will You Participate in Positive Change?

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Everyone’s Actions Matter – How Will You Participate in Positive Change?

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This blog is provided by Dan Mushalko, as a companion to the interview with Jack Modzelewski and his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Leadership, Communication and Credibility in a High-Stakes World that aired on April 14, 2020.

 

Humanity sits unquestionably in transition. This is particularly true in the United States, which faces three simultaneous and intertwined crises:  a wounded economy, a blistering pandemic, and dynamic social upheaval from racial inequality.

There simply is no going back to the old normal. This tumultuous trio weighs heavily on realities we’ve hidden and ignored for too long.

Change, then, is inevitable.  Whether that change advances us or mires us in the past depends firmly on our leadership. Successful change depends on everyone participating in the change process. This has never been more true. We each get to take an active role and, more than ever before, our voice impacts the success or failure of the changes we are seeing. The phrase, “many hands make quick work” applies here. Where a group of people are working together, toward a common cause, the change effort is much easier.

From individual Facebook posts to mass-appeal pulpits of TV pundits, too many of us are reacting to that change with fear. Poor leaders divide us to amplify our fear, wielding it for power at the polls.

Fortunately, there’s a science to change. Change is inevitable, so of course it’s been studied. Biology and chemistry, chaos theory and game theory – much of science rests squarely on the universe’s need for change.  In business, this has resulted in the field of change management.  From a broader organizational perspective, change is a vital part of survival. In biology, we see evolution and survival of the fittest. In business, similar principles apply. We hear them expressed as change or die. The same would be true of non-profits and political organizations.

If science and organizations thrive on change, where does all this angst come from?

Bluntly, fear of change is, in part, the result of bad leadership.

Short of Charles Dickens sending three ghosts to them in one night, our current crop of bad leaders won’t improve.  That means it’s up to you to lead us through this change. We are in a time where the actions of each individual matter more than ever. Just calm one person.  Allay their fear.  All you need is one person helped to make a difference. It starts with you leading yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are a college student or a CEO, leadership always starts with yourself before you can effectively lead others.

How?

Try these steps:

  • Ask “why.” Why is change happening? Why is it needed? How will it impact me?
  • Remember that (videos of throngs aside) real change is individual; it happens person by person. Your reaction matters.
  • Change is a choice. Ask them – What future would you choose? How can you help bring about a more positive, sustainable, and just future?
  • Keep in mind that much of the fear arises when people see change coming, but don’t know how to deal with it in their personal lives or within their organizations.
  • Help them. From COVID to racism, explore why change is needed. Conflict feeds fear, so be calm and seek to understand. Compassion and empathy begin with you. You don’t need to agree or disagree, you can just listen and learn and reflect on what you are hearing before expressing your point of view.
  • Recalling how you have been successful at making personal and/or organizational change in the past can boost your self-confidence about your personal change journey.
  • Once you have managed your own concerns, share your personal success with others. How have YOU embraced change? How did you overcome the challenges you faced? Are you helping build personal or societal infrastructure so the change will be lasting and positive?

I believe in a positive future, one in which society helps every one of us become the best versions of ourselves. Understanding that change — especially revolutionary change as we’re undergoing now — isn’t intuitive. Positive change needs guidance from you.

 

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

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

About the Author

Dan Mushalko’s professional life combined a short stint at NASA to a long ride in radio…with experiences often overlapping. Dan merges leadership, creativity, and science for people and organizations. The thread through it all: mixing creativity and leadership. Dan is a creative and innovative leader specializing in media management/leadership, creative concepts in audio, new communications technology, media analytics, creativity fostering and consulting, teaching, writing, and science.

Photo by Ian Panelo

 

Learning to Be Human – Taking Steps to Remove Racism from My Thinking

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Learning to Be Human – Taking Steps to Remove Racism from My Thinking

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This blog is provided by April Blaine and is a reflection on a past experience and how it shaped her.  It is a companion to the interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future with Joyce Beatty, Congresswoman, and Doug McCollough titled Winning in the Face of Adversity: Overcoming Challenge with Grace which aired on 10/13/18.

One of the first steps to remove racism in the world is to remove it from our thinking. It is essential to take a critical look at our lives and see where we can update our own story about who we are and how we have benefited from systemic racism. This critical view of our stories is an integral part of our healing and allows us to make sense of what we experience now through a lens that is less biased, fairer, and more just. April Blaine, one of the ILI certified facilitators shares her experience with this process.

 

I’m Sorry Mrs. Skull…

I began the first grade at Fulbright Elementary School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1983.  More than twenty-five years after the city’s infamous and violent path toward desegregation at Central High School, the district continued to struggle with integration, particularly in the elementary schools.    While I lived less than a mile from the school, most of my classmates were bused from across town.  All of them were African-American except myself and one other girl.  The remaining children on my block,  who swam with me at the pool went to  local private schools.

My teacher, Mrs. Skull, made it clear on day one that she meant business.  She was tall, thin, dignified, and serious.  One of only a handful of black teachers in the school, she always dressed smartly, her hair pulled back in a bun, accentuating her beautifully defined cheekbones and smooth, clear complexion. My six-year-old memories would place her anywhere between the ages of 25 and 55… something about her felt ageless.

As adults, we can reflect on these moments in our childhood and how we made sense of what was happening around us.  We can review the stories that we were told with a more critical lens… examining them with an ability to ask – was that really true?

But back in 1983, in my all-white neighborhood and nearly all-black school – with the only black teacher I would ever have in my public school experience…  I didn’t have the gift yet of perspective.

My mother had started reading with me from a very young age.  She is an educator by vocation, and I took to reading quickly… spending my preschool and kindergarten years never far from a book.   I’m not sure who was more excited on my first day of school.  My mother dressed me in a hand made purple smocked dress, both of us filled with high expectations for all that I would learn and discover in this new season of life.

In the early part of the year, Mrs. Skull began placing us into reading groups.  I remember reading the book she gave me and thinking to myself, “This is easy.  This is too easy.”  As I looked around the room at other groups, I recognized that others were reading books that were harder.  I wanted to read those.  I was told no.

I don’t remember feeling angry about this… just confused.  Why wasn’t I able to read the books the other children were reading?  At some point, I vocalized this concern to my mother.

There are lots of words you could use to describe my mother.  Strong, intelligent, generous, and loyal would be some of the first to come to mind.  But close behind them would be pushy, aggressive, convinced she is right and unwilling to take no for an answer.

I can only imagine how the conversation went with Mrs. Skull.

All I know is that a battle ensued between my mother and this teacher.  I wasn’t privy to all the details, but I could hear the muttering at home on my mother’s end.  Mrs. Skull was not appreciative of a parent questioning her judgment.  She refused to change the reading groups based on my mother’s demands.

More phone calls and visits to the principal’s office ensued.  The saga ended with me being removed from Mrs. Skull’s class and placed in a 3rd-grade classroom for most of instruction for the remainder of the year.

And so the triumphant story was told throughout my childhood of our victory over prejudice and hate.  In my version of the story, my mother was the hero standing up against racially motivated discrimination directed at her daughter.    I was, of course, the victim in the story.  Mrs. Skull was the black teacher who gave preferential treatment to her black students and discriminatory treatment to the white student.  And in this story, my departure from the classroom was a picture of poetic justice.

Woven into the narrative were all the cultural stereotypes of angry black females.  My serious and dignified teacher became a stern, cold, and hateful woman in the story we were writing.  Even her name seemed to connect to a more primitive, dark, and negative side of the human race.  Mrs. SKULL…

This story left its marks on the identity I built for myself over time, one in which, as a “victim of racism,” I could not possibly be racist or prejudiced.  I even went so far as to align myself with people on the margins in solidarity.  After all, I had been one of the only white girls in the class.  I “clearly knew” what it was like to be discriminated against.

This story gave me a lot of permission.  It gave me permission to excuse myself from anti-racism work, permission to claim the status as someone who understood racism and discrimination. Still, most of all, it permitted me never to ask any questions about the real truth of the story itself.

At least, until now.

It’s pretty embarrassing how long it took me to realize that this story had some real problems.

At 42, I’m starting to come to terms with ways that white supremacy was and is woven into my life. I’m a real beginner at this, and most days, all I’m learning is how much I don’t understand and how complicit I have been for so long.

But the work has finally helped me to start asking new questions.  I’ve started to wonder about how this story might have played out from the perspective of my 1st-grade teacher.

As a child, I was bossy, outspoken, and slipped quickly into roles of leadership… whether I was invited to or not.  I wonder what Mrs. Skull thought as she assessed her class and tried to create the right learning environment for each one of us.

  • Did she see my early reading skills and place me in the reading group with other students so that I could be helpful to the others?
  • Did she recognize that experience in a group that wasn’t the highest achieving would turn out to be valuable for me?
  • Did I somehow misunderstand the nature of the reading assessment and test at a lower level than I actually was?

As a black woman of color, Mrs. Skull had probably worked twice as hard as her white colleagues to prove her worth and aptitude in the profession.  She hadn’t crossed enormous racial boundaries and systemic hurdles to secure a position in the suburbs by accident.

  • What must it have been like to come all this way to have your integrity challenged so directly?
  • What was she thinking when this white mother was relentlessly demanding that she submit to her expectations?

I’m sure it wasn’t the first time she had encountered this kind of treatment by a white parent.  I’m certain it wasn’t the last.

What did it take for her to walk into school every day with her head held high and keep doing what she intended to do… teach these children with dignity?

The stories we tell ourselves matter.  They shape a reality for us that we then live in, often far into adulthood.

This is normal, human stuff.  We all do it.

AND

We need to examining our stories.  They need to be taken out and explored and reconfigured and understood with the new information that we have as adults who are waking up and beginning to see things more clearly.

I don’t know exactly what happened at this moment in 1983.  I don’t know what motivated Mrs. Skull’s actions.

But I do know that if there was a victim in this story, it wasn’t me.

The system of white supremacy that supported my mother’s demands and moved me to an advanced class was operating as it always had… in the interest of white people.

And in the process, a hardworking, intelligent, dignified black teacher, who might have had the opportunity to make a real impact on my life, and teach me things from a new perspective, perhaps throw a wrench into some of the ideals that would be further cemented in my mind when I moved 2 years later to an all white community… was disgraced, disrespected, and overruled by her white superiors.

And I participated in it.  I participated in it at the age of 6.

Unknowingly.  Unintentionally, yes.

And yet, I participated in powerful ways that made an impact on the life of my teacher.

I’m sorry, Mrs. Skull.

I’m sorry for making you the villain all these years.

I’m so sorry for not doing the work I needed to see the truth.

I’m sorry I couldn’t see you as a human being…

I’m sorry I took my power and privilege for granted.

And I’m so sorry that you had to suffer because of it.

It’s not OK.

And it’s time to start telling the truth.

The real stories.

Thank you for being my teacher…  36 years later, I’m just beginning to learn.

 

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

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

About the Author

Rev. April Blaine is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church.  She currently serves as the Lead Pastor at Hilliard UMC in Columbus, OH.  April and her partner Martin have 2 children, Eugene and Marcus.  April is passionate about helping others to make their home in a sense of love and acceptance so they can discover within a spiritual depth, honesty, and courage previously unseen.  She teaches prayer and meditation courses online at Hilliard UMC and is working with the Innovative Leadership Institute to develop a course on the importance of Spirituality and Inner Depth as an Innovative Leader.

 

 

Ethics Violation: A Practical Example on Gathering All the Facts

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Ethics Violation: A Practical Example on Gathering All the Facts

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

 

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

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

Clearly, Milo broke a rule.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

About the Author

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

Situational Mindsets Decoding Current Complexity

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Situational Mindsets Decoding Current Complexity

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This blog is provided by Mary Lippitt, author of Situational Mindsets: Targeting What Matters When It Matters. It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Situational Mindsets: Targeting What Matters When It Matters that aired on July 21st, 2020.

 

In our multifaceted and dynamic world, doing the right thing at the right time is difficult.  We cannot rely on our experiences to cope with new facts, realities, and challenges.  To fully understand all aspects of our situation we must practice mental agility and situational awareness.

Our extraordinary time mandates a systemic, disciplined, and rigorous analysis of current realities.  What we do not know can derail us.  Facts matter and point the way to successfully leverage change.

Situational Mindsets provide a foundation for wise decision making.  As we expand our point of view, we discover new solutions, spot potential barriers, and earn support.  Using this framework, leaders discover alternatives, weigh options, and set priorities.  The six mindsets examine all organizational drivers and prevent us from recklessly rushing into action in the name of being decisive.

As Obi-Wan Kenobi told us in Return of the Jedi, “You’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”  Grappling with every aspect, prevents us from capitulating to superficial analysis and out dated assumptions.  Employing Mindsets yield creative and strategic insights essential to cope with precedent setting threats.  Each Mindset explores a key organizational aspect, including:

  • The Inventing Mindset examines opportunities for new products/services, creative designs, and new synergies.
  • The Catalyzing Mindset targets the customer, customer base, and building the organization’s brand.
  • The Developing Mindset supports seamless infrastructure, integrated systems, and effective policies.
  • The Performing Mindset improves processes, quality, workflow efficiencies, and profitability.
  • The Protecting Mindset develops talent, collaboration, agility, trust, and bench strength.
  • The Challenging Mindset evaluates challenges, trends, risks, and opportunities for sustained success.

Examining these mindsets counter our natural tendency to rely on past practice, register only confirming information, and accept limited alternatives.  While “keeping things simple” is tempting, easy answers spawn problems.  Addressing complex, interdependencies, and systemic challenges does not require an advanced degree, membership in Mensa, or a C suite title.  It merely entails adopting a proactive disciplined practice of inquiry to reveal solutions and potentially unpleasant surprises.  Consider our missteps with COVID.

The pandemic requires granular  and long term analysis.  Consider the unintended consequence of the $600 federal unemployment benefit.  The need was clear, but the problem of re-hiring furloughed lower wage workers who earned more on unemployment was unnoticed. Overlooking a mindset invites dangerous blind spots.

A Mindset approach to COVID would address:

  • Developing new treatments, medications, and vaccines. This Inventing Mindset offers innovation synergies to leverage existing resources and practices.
  • Targeting the needs of first responders and essential workers and rapidly responding to hot spots. This Catalyzing Mindset also focuses on enlisting resources, including volunteers and organizational support.
  • Improving hospital capacity, distributing PPE, preparing guidelines for government, and the public, sharing information, and setting goals. The Developing Mindset also clarifies goals, roles, and responsibilities.
  • Evaluating patient data, conducting testing, and measuring treatment effectiveness, and reallocating resources to address gaps. The Performing Mindset also examines impact, fine tunes staffing, budgetary impact, and quality.
  • Educating the public on compliance, providing for basic needs created by the virus, training contact tracers, and recognizing our essential workers. The Protecting Mindset also fosters trust, confidence, and community support.
  • Identifying emerging trends, testing assumptions, re-evaluating off-shoring of our medical equipment, and forecasting future episodes. The Challenging Mindset also examines the impact of demographic, economic, regulatory, and security challenges.

What we see on the surface is not all that counts.  We must go beyond our initial response to study complex realities, surface diverse viewpoints, and define implementable solutions. Effective leaders have shifted from thinking they have all the right answers to knowing that their role is to ask all the right questions.  Inquiry increases engagement and improves bottom-line results.

The founder of IBM, Thomas Watson, kept a sign on his desk that said: “Think.” He felt that analysis was crucial to the firm’s success and actually trademarked the word “THINK.” The connection between thinking and success continues. However, our approach to thinking must expand with a new emphasis on critical, creative, and strategic thinking.

Success is never final.  We must continually adjust to new realities.  Situational Mindsets clears the fog produced by complexity.  Mindsets reveal what has happened, what is happening, and what should happen.  It enables us to effectively leverage unprecedented change.

 

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

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

About the Author

Dr. Mary Lippitt founded Enterprise Management Ltd. thirty years ago to help leaders navigate today’s challenges, increase collaboration, and boost critical thinking.  Her new book is Situational Mindsets: Targeting What Matters When It Matters.  You can contact her at mlippitt@enterprisemgt.com.

 

Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future Celebrates 5 Years!!

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Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future Celebrates 5 Years!!

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Five years…what can happen in five years?  In a human, we go from our first breath and utterly dependent on our parents to walking, talking, feeding, and dressing ourselves and ready to begin our educational journey.  In later years, most people complete an academic degree in less than five years.  In cell phone terms, in five years Apple released five new generations of iPhones.  A lot can happen in five years.

To look back on the last five years and remember all the interviews conducted on our Voice America show takes us on a journey of much reflection and gratitude.  The show has been blessed by so many wonderful guests, those who are inspired speakers, brilliant academics, talented authors, and passionate leaders.  We are grateful that every one of them took the time to share their message for our listeners!  And to our listeners, thank you for supporting the show!  We understand your lives are busy, and you expect the highest quality conversation and insight from our host, Maureen, and our guests. We have now reached over half a million listens!  What a milestone! Only made possible by you trusting us with your time and interest.  Thank you! Together we hope to work with leaders to co-create a thriving future and elevate the quality of leadership across the world.

In honor of that five-year anniversary, this week’s blog is a recap of the top 10 all-time shows.

All-Time Top Ten Shows List:

  1. THE MIND OF THE LEADER: Driving Extraordinary Results with Jacqueline Carter, an International Partner and North American Director for Potential Project aired on 05/28/2018.

$46 billion a year is spent on leadership training, but a recent Gallup survey showed that 82 percent of employees find their leaders “uninspiring.” Why the gap? Because most leadership development focuses on outward skills like strategy, people management, and finance. Instead, new research shows that leadership should start inward with the mind. THE MIND OF THE LEADER: How to Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter reveals how leaders can lead themselves, their people, and their organizations by training their minds. The authors found that three mental qualities are essential to becoming effective leaders. Leaders must be mindful (being present and attentive to their people’s needs), selfless (to model cultures based on growth and learning instead of ego), and compassionate (show their people they have their back).

  1. Is There Such a Thing as a ‘Level 5″/Teal Organization? with Terri O’Fallon, co-founder of STAGES International, aired on 5/2/2017.

In complex adaptive systems, those required to meet many of the challenges we currently face, leaders and organizations need to co-evolve to ensure their ability to respond to the opportunities and challenges. During this conversation, Terri and Maureen explore how individuals and organizations evolve. It starts with the question of how individuals “grow up” as leaders. They then map this same framework to exploring how organizations evolve. Terri presents a brief overview of the STAGES model, using it to frame to conversation about how a developmental model can be used to better understand the idea of organizational evolution. This is particularly useful when individuals use the developmental tools they employ for their development to help the organization mature. While this sounds like even more work for busy leaders, this is the focus that enables them to create truly adaptive systems.

  1. Why Digital Transformations Fail? with Tony Saldanha, former Procter & Gamble VP of Global Business Services, aired on 8/20/2019.

Digital transformations can be made routinely successful and are more important than ever now that we’re in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The lines between the physical, digital, and biological worlds are becoming more blurred. This however, does not eliminate the fact that 70% of digital transformations fail. That failure is not due to technology or innovation itself but comes down to the details. The lack of clear goals and having a disciplined process for achieving them is what leads to the failure of digital transformations. Tony Saldanha joined Maureen to discuss his new book, “Why Digital Transformations Fail.”

  1. A Case Study of Doing Well by Doing Good: The Internet Backpack with Dr. Dale Meyerrose, President and Board Chairman of Imcon International and a retired Major General in the United States Air Force, aired on 10/2/2018.

We have been hearing about the topic of doing well by doing good for a few years. Should tech leaders adopt this concept to reevaluate how they do business? If so, why would they? How would they? To take the question further, what accountability (if any) do leaders have for the uses of their products and services? During this conversation, Dale and Maureen will discuss the questions posed above and a project Dale has been involved with where Imcon International Inc., the developer of the Internet Backpack, a remote connectivity solution that allows users to communicate from almost every location on the planet, the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University and the Republic of Liberia will collaborate on a far reaching project that will digitally transform Liberia by increasing the nation’s current internet penetration of about 7% to 40% by 2021. This project is a strong example to illustrate how technology leaders can solve global challenges.

  1. Leveraging Technology to Deepen Human Performance with Brian Ferguson, founder and CEO at Arena Labs, aired 6/12/2018.

The greatest story of the 21st century is not technology, but how technology will be used as a tool for deepening the levels of human potential. Brian talks about his work leveraging the most proven performers, time-honored principles, and cutting-edge technology to develop unique performance solutions for a wide range of “arenas”  – from medicine to agriculture. He discusses the following questions? 1. Why has “innovation” become such a buzzword in recent years? 2. What trends are you focusing on, and how do they impact organizations and leaders? 3. What is the archetype of a leader who is effective in a world of dramatic change and dynamism? 4. Why is “human potential” such a powerful concept in today’s global environment? 5. What challenges do all modern leaders face? 6. What is the most important trait of today’s leaders? 7. What are “The First Principles of High Performance” 8. How does technology serve leaders and make for more high performing teams? What is singularity?

  1. Nationwide’s Journey to Build a Culture of Innovation and Continuous Learning with Guru Vasudeva, CIO of Nationwide Insurance, aired on 4/18/2017.

As a CIO with Nationwide Insurance, Guru shares his experience changing the culture of IT to accomplish its mission. He discusses what they are doing to build a culture of continuous learning and innovation as they continue to expand the scale of their agile and lean roll-out. Guru shares how the implementation has evolved since it was initiated in 2009. He compares how they began their journey and what they are doing now to continue to expand the scale as well as continue to evolve the leadership behaviors, mindset, and organizational culture. He will discuss specific examples of how they have shifted how leaders behave and think about their work as leaders. Additionally, he explores several specific steps they have taken to expand their culture of learning, including what is taught, who teaches, and how the team self manages their own learning choices.

  1. CIO Perspective – Building Toward the “C” Suite with Angelo Mazzocco, President, and CEO at 3SG Plus, aired on 11/24/2015.

Angelo Mazzocco joins Maureen to talk about his keys to success. He has the rare distinction of being both CEO and CIO, so he has a perspective on leadership from both roles. He is also a true thought leader in our community. He has been a university adjunct faculty and facilitates a large CIO forum and CIO Tomorrow conference. He is the go to guy for many leaders in our community and beyond. He shares his insights and growth path very candidly. He talks about his fears and motivations for growth in a manner executives rarely share.

3. A CIO Story of Leadership: Maria Urani – NetJets with Maria Urani, former CIO of NetJets, aired on 8/14/2018.

Leaders follow many paths to success – in a time of varying role models for exceptional leadership, Maria talks about how she developed over her career. She shares her values, her path to CIO, role models and the art of leadership. Many people develop visions but living them is the art. Maria talks about how she puts her values into action to create a positive workplace, excellent results, and strong successors.

  1. Should IT Executive Share Their “Soft Side?” with David White, CIO at Battelle, aired on 7/17/2018.

As an IT Leader and someone who works in technology, David White talks about why the soft side of what we do is a significant contributor to success. As technology leaders, we need a diverse set of skills, including a heavy dose of soft skills to be highly successful business leaders beyond our technical skills. These skills range from awareness and management or our mood, an ability to be present and focused, and skilled in establishing and managing a positive culture where a broad range of perspectives can be explored and synthesized. This is a new type of management and requires new skills. Battelle is working to ensure their culture and their leaders are prepared with the soft skills and culture to thrive and maintain agility as they lead in integrating new technology into companies and the US government. David also shares his perspective on his career path and the importance of seeking mentoring and being a mentor.

  1. Ron Heifetz on Adaptive Leadership and His Journey with Ron Heifetz, founder of the Center for Public Leadership and is the King Hussein bin Talal Senior Lecturer in Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, aired on 12/6/2016.

In times of change, people often try to hold onto the values of their culture that have had personal meaning and significance to them. When dominant cultures are confronted with stresses such as immigrants, they are called to examine their values and often required to take on very difficult integrative work. The leadership required must point out values such as we stand for freedom and respect for all people, and our policy does not align with what we say we stand for. How do we make space for this evolution? What are the “gives” and “gets” required to evolve cultures? How can we hold steady to our cultural DNA and still evolve? In nature, when an organism adapts, it builds on its old capacity and generates radically new functionality. Ron suggested that “God didn’t do zero-based budgeting in evolution.” We honor our past and, at the same time, determine what can we release.

Thank you again, to our guests and our listeners!  We hope as we journey together, we can make this world a better place by equipping leaders and co-creating our 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, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Susan Harper is the Business Manager at Innovative Leadership Institute and sometimes a travel blogger.

Photo by StockSnap–894430

Continued Innovation During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Experian DataLabs

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Continued Innovation During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Experian DataLabs

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This blog is provided by Eric Haller, Executive Vice President of Experian DataLabs. Eric shares the programs and resources Experian is innovating to make a difference in the fight against the pandemic.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Disruption and Innovation in the Credit Industry that aired on July 7th, 2020.

 

At Experian, we’re dedicated to innovation and the COVID-19 pandemic has been an impetus for further innovation. Our driving force of successful innovation is our employees. We foster a culture of continuous innovation, from the way we work to the solutions we create.

Global Hackathon 

As part of our effort to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, we’re launching Experian’s first-ever Global Hackathon. Taking place between June 1 and 5, we’ve invited all our employees to get involved and connect, share knowledge and find new ways to help our clients and consumers on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mitigating COVID-19 Crisis Through Our Innovations 

In addition to the Global Hackathon, we’ve committed vast resources to develop innovative technologies and new sources of data and analytics to drive solutions that help people, businesses and society at large.

For example, to aid in the United States re-opening efforts, Experian has made available a free interactive U.S. map showing populations at-risk of being most susceptible to developing severe cases of COVID-19. The Experian COVID-19 Outlook and Response Evaluator (CORE) tool is intended to help guide healthcare organizations and government agencies as they plan for COVID-19 recovery in the months ahead. The map leverages de-identified data such as pre-existing conditions and social determinants of health to form a comprehensive picture that predicts possible pandemic impact on communities.

To help essential organizations during the pandemic, Experian also created At-Risk Audiences, which leverage our data assets to identify groups of individuals that are most likely to be impacted. These new privacy-compliant segments, offered free of charge, are designed to help these organizations find and communicate with at-risk populations, enabling them to deliver essential services as quickly as possible.

In the UK, we’re working side–by–side with the government. As part of this, we’re building models to help predict how this disease will spread in local populations and predict the effectiveness of various treatment therapies.

In Brazil, we’ve organized a coalition of universities, data companies and technology leaders to launch Covid Radar with the purpose of working together to minimize the impacts generated by the COVID-19 pandemic and contribute to the recovery of Brazil’s economy. The Covid Radar integrates companies to the hospitals and communities that need donations of ventilators, personal protection equipment, or other supplies.  In addition to providing case monitoring and disease forecasting.

The COVID-19 crisis has forced innovation and change on a scale and pace we wouldn’t normally see. We remain relentlessly focused on helping vulnerable communities, strengthening the resilience of businesses, and playing an important role in helping consumers and the world economy get back to strength. As part of our global innovation program, we’re hosting a global hackathon to help our employees create new ways to help our clients and consumers on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As one of the world’s most innovative companies, we’re doing everything at Experian we can to provide our unique insights back to key stakeholders so they can prioritize help those who need it most urgently.

 

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

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

About the Author

Eric Haller is the Executive Vice President and Global Head of Experian DataLabs. Experian DataLabs is responsible for developing innovative products generated from break-through experimentation leveraging artificial intelligence and data assets from a variety of sources.  He led the creation of labs in the US, UK & Brazil that support research & development initiatives across the Experian enterprise.  Prior to Experian, Eric was responsible for new products with Sequoia Capital backed Green Dot.  Eric also co-founded identity fraud detection business iDawg which was later renamed ID Analytics.  ID Analytics was acquired by LifeLock which is now part of Symantec.  Other roles held by Eric includes Chief Marketing Officer of the first publicly traded machine learning company and executive roles with Visa & MasterCard.

Photo by Kaique Rocha

5 Tips for Effective Leadership During a Crisis

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5 Tips for Effective Leadership During a Crisis

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This blog is provided by Lisa Michaels, as a companion to the interview with Melissa Lamson and her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Managing Effectively in a Complex Global Business Environment that aired on June 30, 2020.

 

When a crisis hits, some companies survive and thrive afterward, while some perish. Often, what distinguishes these two is good leadership.

As a leader, your role is critical during a crisis. Everyone will look to you to help them make sense of the situation and lead the way out.

Below are some critical steps you should take to reduce the impact of the crisis and emerge stronger.

#1 Communicate with Transparency and Immediacy

Once an incident happens, be quick to communicate and provide much-needed details. Be transparent, no matter how dire the situation is. Transparency allows you to reestablish trust, while immediacy ensures people hear the unbiased news from you, not from others.

This type of communication is important for both your employees and people outside your organization. You will need to repeatedly keep people informed about developments.

Communicating the bad news early to employees is important as people need to be aware of the gravity of the situation to act accordingly.

A good example of effective crisis communication is when one Virgin Group spacecraft crashed, leading to the death of one pilot and the injury of another. The founder and head of the company, Richard Branson, quickly went to the scene of the incident and posted ample updates.

The company showed true concern for the pilots’ families. They then continued to work towards successfully achieving its mission in honor of the pilot’s life. These steps prevented reputational damage to the company.

#2 Lead by Example

You will be the one who sets the tone during a crisis. Your employees will often respond in the same way as you do. If you respond calmly and responsibly, your employees will follow suit. If you live in denial, then others will not likely feel any sense of urgency.

A study conducted by the University of Georgia found that self-discipline, or lack thereof, is contagious. If you find that someone on your team is panicking, it is better to talk to them privately and ask them to stay away from others until they can contain themselves.

It is also essential to maintain a hopeful attitude and not show despair in front of your team. Your team morale is your responsibility, and your behavior has a significant impact on it.

#3 Provide Support to Employees

Crises are said to hit organizations, but in fact, they hit people. As a leader, you need to genuinely empathize with your employees and mitigate the damage.

One German company showed wisdom in its approach to cutting costs in the face of the global financial crisis in 2008 without hurting the wellbeing of its employees.

The company offered its employees to work half time or less based on the actual demand for their services, instead of being laid off. The employees took it well and trusted the management team more.

Once the economy recovered, the company rehired the employees on a full-time basis. The lesson is that you should think about the well-being of people, and people will take care of your company.

Moreover, good leaders show responsibility and concern even if the crisis is not their fault.

An example is Johnson and Johnson’s response to the death of seven people who consumed Tylenol. The company knew Tylenol was not the cause, but it chose to recall the capsules, communicate actively, and establish a hotline to answer queries from worried consumers.

While the recall cost the company a lot of money, it kept the company in good standing. As a leader, you should act responsibly and do what is good for the majority of people involved. It will reflect well on your organization.

#4 Think Ahead to Maintain Operations During the Crisis

A crisis subjects your company to a harsh test. When this happens, people wonder whether the company will still exist after the crisis is over. This is why it’s important to conduct a business continuity planning exercise in advance.

The scope of business continuity planning includes steps to improve business resiliency in case a potential threat is materialized to ensure that operations continue during a crisis.

This involves all major systems which should continue to run in case of a major disruption. In today’s environment, the most vital system in most organizations is the IT system. Therefore, response plans for disruptions to the IT system should be established, and you should be able to migrate your databases if needed.

A good business plan usually includes a disaster recovery plan, but the two should not be confused. A continuity plan ensures that operations continue (or endure), whereas a recovery plan is a plan to come back from a major disaster, such as recovering a large dataset after it is lost.

The high failure rates of business following disasters, such as a fire or major hacking, show that both plans are critical for the organization’s resilience. Proper execution of those plans ensures that companies survive and people maintain their jobs.

#5 Develop Other Leaders

Good leaders empower other people to become leaders themselves, rather than gather followers around them. Good leaders request honest feedback and hear criticism. They are humble and realize that they are imperfect and can benefit from people’s views and opinions.

Moreover, true leaders democratize their organizations. They make others feel valued and empower them to become leaders themselves.

Unfortunately, those qualities are rare, but you can stand out as a leader and build a flatter and more resilient organization.

Final Thoughts

Crises are there to test what you are made of as a leader. You need to rise to the occasion, come up with solutions quickly, and lead your team through implementing them while staying compassionate.

You will also need to pay attention to people’s morale. You can be honest with your employees about the situation, while still offering hope at the same time.

It is often this honesty and hope that will empower the team to endure, and possibly offer lessons to other teams 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, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

 

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor, and a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in business and tech. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.

 

Photo source: Pexels

Success in Life Begins with TRUST

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Success in Life Begins with TRUST

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This blog is provided by Mark Given, Founder of the Trust Based Philosophy. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Success Begins with Trust that aired on June 22nd, 2020.

 

In leadership, sales, relationships and in all aspects of life, success and happiness has always been built on a foundation of TRUST.

You already know that to find fulfillment, people need a life-long quest for growth and learning.

Building, maintaining, and repairing Trust are all key parts of that growth and the evidence often slaps us right in the face…nearly every day.

People (maybe even you) leave companies every day, not just because of poor products or unsafe conditions, but because of lousy untrustworthy leadership. Customer trust is regularly so low that repeat rates are consistently and dismally small. Even in human relationships lack of trust is painfully evident and cities everywhere are experiencing riots in the streets.

The concept of TRUST has been taught by many well respected and admired authors, philosophers, psychiatrists, and business experts for years. What’s lacking in their reports though is the actual science practice of establishing, building and maintaining trust.

Having been focused on the study and practice of trust for nearly four decades, I discovered what I believe to be the essence of how to build and maintain deeper levels of Trust.

I call it the Pyramid of Trust:

  1. Introduction Facet or your Grand Opening phase
  2. Rapport Facet – or the question and listening phase
  3. Maintenance Facet – or generously giving not taking phase
  4. Repair Facet – or the sincere and transparent apology phase

Speaking of the Introduction Facet, research from a recent 15-year Harvard University study showed that if adults assume their ability to discern trustworthiness in strangers is a skill honed over a lifetime, they are wrong. Even children ages 5 and 6 make the very nearly the same judgment about the trustworthiness of adults, and children ages 3 to 4 were only off by just a few percentage points from adults.

People make inferences (right or wrong) about strangers’ characters within 50 milliseconds of viewing them and a NYU study showed the results to be even less (33 milliseconds). In today’s words, we call that profiling, and while they are profiling you, YOU are profiling them too!

You can improve this negative impression someone might have of you in part by moving from a two-step greeting to a three-step greeting, making your initial introduction more about the other person than yourself. The key is to move your dialogue from the emphasis on YOU to focusing on THEM, and the results have been shown to be quite amazing.

In the Building Rapport Facet, a smart person will learn to ask more questions and really listen to the answers. Recently, in an interview Jack Canfield did with me on my Trust Based Philosophy books, Jack offered a wise thought. He said, “focus on becoming more interested than interesting”. Jack is exactly right (and he wisely gave the credit for this wisdom to his wife Inga).

The benefit is three-step greeting principle is that, when done properly, you learn much more about the other person which allows you purpose driven reasons to massage the relationship, stay in touch and serve them better (assuming they are a good match for you personally and professionally).

To succeed in the Maintenance Facet, you focus on becoming more of a giver than a taker. Read the wonderful book The Go-Giver by my friends Bob Burg and John David Mann and you will better understand the importance, relevance and success that come from being a giver. Building TRUST is maintained over a lifetime. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

And finally, assuming you are actually human…we all make mistakes. We say and do foolish things. Understanding the proper art and science of the Apology Facet is life and business changing.

You already know how hard it can be to effectively and successfully apologize and yet you also know how important it is to your happiness, profitability, and the growth of Trust.

Creating a successful life and business is hard. Maintaining valuable relationships is difficult.

The results of better understanding, creating, and maintaining deeper levels of TRUST are what will bring you the joy and success you are seeking.

Become a master of “The TRUST Based Philosophy” and life will be your oyster. I guarantee it!

 

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

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

About the Author

Mark Given is an Amazon #1 selling author of 8 books and has been teaching the importance of TRUST for four decades.

Because of his observation and experience both personally and professionally, he has written four top selling books under the theme The Trust Based Philosophy.

Trust Based Leadership – Proven Ways to Stop Managing and Start Leading

Trust Based Selling – Proven Ways to Stop Selling and Start Attracting

Trust Based Success – Proven Ways to Stop Stressing and Start Living

Trust Based Networking – Proven Ways to Stop Meeting and Start Connecting

 

Coming soon:

Trust Based Time Management – Proven Ways to Stop Dawdling and Start Achieving

Trust Based Entrepreneur – Proven Ways to Make the Money YOU Want without Forfeiting the Time that YOU Crave

Trust Based Referrals – Proven Ways to Stop Chasing Strangers and Start Captivating YOUR Sphere of Influence

 

You can reach Mark at: mark@markgiven.com

Photo by LisaAttractLove–2628503

Being An Ally Against Racism

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Being An Ally Against Racism

As we watch the Black Lives Matter movement unfold in the wake of George Floyd’s death and that of others, some in the press and others whose names will not be remembered by the masses, we want to offer a blog that provides actions we can each take to be an ally against racism. Each of us has a role to play to eliminate systemic racism. No step is too small when we are touching the lives of our neighbors, friends, and the precious people who are hurt and hurting. Again, no constructive action is too small. Maureen Metcalf, Founder of the Innovative Leadership Institute, is the author of this post. The Institute and all of its team members and partners are personally committed to making an impact.

Earlier this month, we joined many in the local community by signing a letter urging Columbus City Council to support a now-passed resolution declaring racism to be a public health crisis in our city.

As leaders, we play a pivotal role in many organizations. We are responsible for the culture and systems that define our companies and inform our employees’ actions.

Educate Yourself – Listen to podcasts and research systemic racism to learn more about bias and how successful leaders overcome the impact it causes.

  1. Understand key terminology and activities:
    1. The protests are not about looting and rioting; it’s a global movement to bring awareness to systemic racism, police brutality, disproportionate murders of ethnicities in handcuffs while in police custody, and societal discriminations that impact the mental and emotional health for people of color.
    2. Supporting the movement does not mean that a person condones violence against cops, it means that ‘someone’ has an awareness of societal issues that are meaningful for humanity and people within society.
    3. Defunding the Police does not mean eliminating all police forces, it supports divesting some funds from police departments and reallocating them to non-police forms of public safety, such as social services and other community resources. At its best, it will look at the issues our communities face through a holistic lens and determine which organizations are best able to address the issues and how to collaborate to improve outcomes for all members of the community such as providing mental health and rehabilitation support where this is a more effective approach than incarceration. These are complex issues that will not be solved quickly. The current protests are shining a light on the opportunity and a mandate to do better.
  2. Listen to the Voice America show – Implicit Bias – What You Don’t See Hurts You! (1-hour radio show) Dr. Rebecca Heiss discusses how Implicit bias creates a disadvantage for leaders and their organizations. We would like listeners to have a clearer understanding of what implicit bias is and how it impacts each of us. As leaders, we need to understand and manage implicit biases because it impacts our hiring choices, promotion and succession decisions, and our policies. To hire and retain top talent, we need to remove bias from the decision-making process as much as possible.
  3. Listen to Voice America show – Winning In The Face of Adversity: Overcoming Challenge with Grace. (1-hour radio show) In a time when people are sharing more of their struggles, we talk to Congress Woman Beatty and Doug McCollough about their struggle and, more importantly, how they navigated those struggles so that she could make their most significant impact on the world. Congresswoman Beatty not only overcame, but she also changed the people’s view of what it was to be a successful black woman, and she mentored women to make sure the pipeline behind her was strong. The country was better because of all facets of her service! She talks about how helping women succeed helps America succeed. She serves as a role model for inclusion globally by serving with grace and decorum! Doug shares how his focus on inclusion is expanding the field of employees working in technology in central Ohio. Through his board work as well as his work as CIO, he is creating a pipeline that allows unemployed people to get trained and find technology jobs. He is helping build the system that will close this gap long term!
  4. Listen to Increasing Inclusion To Drive Results and Build a Better World (1-hour radio show) Troy Mosley discussed his newly released book: Unwritten Truce: The Armed Forces and American Social Justice. Inclusion is an excellent organizational practice. The global market is diverse. Having a diverse workforce is a strategic advantage because it provides a greater ability to understand various segments of their consumer base and develop products and services that will better resonate with these segments, therefore, driving better results and higher impact. In for-profit businesses – it drives higher and more sustainable profits. Troy talks about his journey as a man of African American heritage and his recommendations to increase inclusion and results. In addition to his story, Troy and Maureen discuss the challenges and recommendations to increase inclusion and address the recent challenges surfacing as the “Me Too” movement and many others. Leaders must create an environment that promotes a healthy environment!
  5. Systemic racism explained (4.53 min video)
  6. Gratefulness.org Resources for Unlearning and Transforming Racism

Manage Yourself – once you listen to the interview about bias, ask yourself:

  1. Where am I bias?
  2. How is that bias hurting others?
  3. What can I change?
  4. Who will be my change accountability partner?

Discuss with colleagues – begin having the real discussion about your experience and the choices you would like to make going forward:

  1. How do I feel about my life experience?
  2. How have I participated in the current system?
  3. How do I feel about my involvement? (This is a complex question for many people who understand they have benefited from the current system of inequity)
  4. What is my commitment going forward to be part of the changes?
  5. Who will hold me to account for this commitment?

Support Others – take action that reduces the problem. We each have a role to play. While we certainly need policy changes and significant shifts, all of us also need to take small steps – we must do what is “ours to do”.

  1. Mentor – identify a person who is interested in being mentored and offer to provide that mentoring. Mentoring works both ways, as a mentor, you have the opportunity to learn about the life experience of people who have traveled a different journey than you. Use the opportunity to understand and advocate!
  2. Volunteer – identify needs that you can uniquely fill. The beauty of volunteering is you don’t need money or education, you can help a neighbor or a stranger. You can engage in a structured program like those advocated by Black Tech 614 or volunteer for Meals On Wheels or other programs that support people who need support (the point is to help others in times of need). Studies show that volunteering gives the volunteer a health boost and increases resilience.
  3. Research how you spend – support minority-owned businesses.  While most of us will continue to shop for staples from big box stores, we can also allocate some of our spending to local businesses, black-owned businesses, and minority businesses. We proudly partner with Hire-Direction and strongly recommend their services. HIRE DIRECTION is a data-driven career, talent, and workforce solutions provider dedicated to helping both organizations and aspiring professionals solve the job fit equation and optimize career development. The breakthrough map of the Talent Genome and next-generation talent DNA mapping technology connects people, talent, and careers to the right jobs in a brand-new way.  The Hire-Directions system helps individuals find, maintain, and advance along the best career path, while helping organizations acquire, develop, and retain the best talent with the least risk. Just as doing what is yours to do means making choices within your sphere of control, we at ILI are making partnering decisions with Mark Palmer because his assessment is the best we have seen in the market! I am not making a recommendation because it is politically correct, I have recommended this assessment for years. My recommendation is to know who does the best work and buy from minority and black-owned businesses when possible.
  4. Hire black employees. It can be harder to identify and hire black and minority employees. When people have been systematically overlooked, they do not show up in the standard search. Go the extra step to ensure you are identifying a diverse slate of interview candidates. I realize this takes additional effort.
  5. Create support systems to allow you to retain candidates after you hire them. Support could mean data-driven appraisal systems to ensure everyone is rated fairly and bias is minimized. It could include creating employee resource groups. Each organization will differ as will each group of employees. There is no prescription. When in doubt, ask, communicate, demonstrate care for your team.

 

Here are more actionable items that were shared on LinkedIn by BlackTech614 – Columbus, Ohio:

A Call to Action

For organizations and individuals who are motivated to act in the interest of Black People and their communities through technology-based skills and opportunities, we offer these positive, peaceful, and proactive commitments.

Help Us Adopt a School

The gaps that slow economic progress show up in schools first. Greater access to high-quality teacher training, technology devices, broadband, mentors, and skill development activities will help our schools close the digital divide for students and their families. With your financial support and organizational partnership, we will work with TECH CORPS to bring much-needed resources into a school in Columbus.

Help Black Founders Get Access to Capital

Black founders are disproportionately creating employment and wealth opportunities in historically Black communities and with Black Men and Women. Many struggle to access traditional venture capital, private equity, and loans due to systemic barriers and biases. We will work with The Columbus Minority Business Assistance Center at the Columbus Urban League Huntington Empowerment Center as well as BLK hack, to connect innovators with capital.

Help Black Men and Women Get Second Chances to Build a Stable Income

A significant number of productive years are wasted from the lives of some Black Men and Women due to an inability to secure job opportunities after a misdemeanor or felony conviction. Increasing the number of adults with stable incomes raises community stability, lowers crime, and increases opportunities to build wealth. We will work with Honest Jobs to sponsor, promote, and participate in a series of events to aid Columbus companies in changing their hiring practices so that Black Men and Women, who are disproportionately affected by criminal justice inspired barriers to full employment, gain new opportunities to build stable incomes.

Help Adults From Underserved Communities Get Access to Marketable Tech Skills    

In the context of wealth creation and economic justice, the ability to acquire an accredited undergraduate college degree is not an indicator of hard work, discipline, or future performance. It is a reflection of privilege, opportunity, and luck. Some of the most tenacious, resilient, and productive adults are those with a nontraditional path. Yet, the college degree remains a career barrier to otherwise qualified and motivated people, that often divides our society along old lines of race and class. We will work with nonprofits like Per Scholas and Jewish Family Services, and for profit bootcamps, to extend training opportunities to members of deserving communities for in-demand tech skills and connect them to the jobs they become qualified to fill.

Help Deserving People Get Interim Opportunities to Gain Great New Careers Through Apprenticeships

You can’t get the job without experience. You can’t get the experience without the job. This used to be a problem that enterprising young people had to think their way through. However, in an age of rapidly shifting skill sets, the devastation of whole industries from automation, and the extraordinary economic opportunity presented to many companies if they can just find the skilled workforce, this is no laughing matter. We will work with Apprenti, and other facilitated apprenticeship organizations, to match candidates to paid apprenticeships in technology organizations to dramatically shift the workforce disruption equation in our region.

Since its founding, Black Tech Columbus has become a nexus of relationships in the Central Ohio technology community, especially among diverse technology interests. We are in a unique position to connect corporate resources to higher education to nonprofits to startups to government. We can make an impact in each of these areas with strong allies and your generous financial support. As our community eventually emerges from the pain of processing our collective anger over recent events that have laid bare the reality of the gaps we are experiencing, we will need to apply ourselves to building a better reality than the one we are rejecting.

Black Tech Columbus is seeking to lead and partner in these areas: coalescing around education, wealth creation, restoring income opportunity, accessing training, and bridging experience building.

For those organizations who are motivated to make an impact among Black Men, Women, their Families, and their Communities, this is our agenda.

We’re Here.

 

Beyond the Black Tech 614 call to action, The Innovative Leadership Institute would like to recommend resources to educate yourself as well as sharing the information about one of our ILI Team Members and his Business, Hire-Direction.

For all those people taking an active role in learning, discussing, peacefully protesting, and making changes, we applaud you. For those ready to act but unsure what to do, we invite you to take action on one or more of the recommendations in this blog. We encourage you to share what you are doing with us and we will post some of your comments.

 

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

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

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The 7 Transformations in Vertical Leadership Development

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The 7 Transformations in Vertical Leadership Development

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This blog is provided by Antoinette Braks, Thought Leader in Vertical Leadership Development and Author of Executive Coaching in Strategic Holistic Leadership. It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Transformative Executive Coaching in Strategic Holistic Leadership on June 16th, 2020.

 

There are seven key transformations in executive leadership capacity in the world today. They form the progressive stages in adult maturity or Vertical Development, in contrast to horizontal learning that takes place within a stage. The seven transformations are:

  1. Opportunist
  2. Conformist (Diplomat)
  3. Specialist (Expert)
  4. Achievist (Achiever)
  5. Catalyst (Individualist)
  6. Synergist (Strategist)
  7. Alchemist (Constructivist – Alchemist)   

The stages of development form a holarchy where the strengths of each stage are incorporated in the following stage. As we progress through these stages of development we gradually release our shadow or personal reactive patterns based on the ego’s sense of insecurity and feeling “not good enough.”  As we develop our leadership capacity, we grow in terms of perception, consciousness and perspective, and gradually embrace all of who we are with awareness, understanding, kindness, compassion and wisdom.

The stages of vertical leadership development were successively developed by three pioneering scientists: Jane Loevinger, Susanne Cook-Greuter and Terri O’Fallon. The descriptions of the stages is based on my studies with Susanne and Terri and Bill Torbert, and my decade of coaching experience explicitly focused on later stage vertical development for strategic divisional leaders. Let’s look at each stage in turn.

The Opportunist

The Opportunist is concerned with survival and security, Maslow’s first two needs. They are self-interested, relatively isolated and will get away with whatever they can. They operate on a day-by-day or minute-by-minute basis without a care for consequences. Their view of the world is that it is unsafe and everyone else is assumed to be an enemy. They play only to their own advantage.

The Opportunist is deceptive and manipulative. They are the executives who steal your ideas without recognizing their source, who always blame others when things go wrong, and seem to be unavailable when immediate help is needed. They will also attack first in order to defend themselves when feeling threatened and are completely adverse to feedback.

The Opportunist lives in fear, trusts no one and operates largely in fight, flight or freeze mode. This view of the world is their Autopilot. In 1995 some 4% of the Executive population were anchored at Opportunist, although this proportion has since reduced to 0%. Whenever our safety and security is threatened in the succeeding stages, it is relatively easy to regress back to the level of the Opportunist and resolve our situation based on self-interest alone.

The Conformist

The Conformist decides to play it safe. While they still view the world as a very challenging place to be, they believe that if they abide by all the rules and do what people in higher authority ask or tell them to do, they will be safe. They conform. They are risk averse and will only take action if instructed to do so. Most will also need a step-by-step approach mapped out for them. Their level of voluntary participation is relatively low.

In complying, Conformists give away their personal authentic power to positional authority. This leads to a sense of personal ineptitude that moves them to complain. In other words, when we give our personal power away to comply with others, we address this imbalance by complaining about others. If you know anyone in your workplace who complains a lot, they will be operating from a Conformist mindset. Around 10% of the Executive population are anchored at Conformist although there are very few anchored at this stage in organisations that invest in leadership development. It is a common fallback position for succeeding levels when under stress.

Conformists use reactive emotional strategies to get what they want. The three key strategies are appeasing others by being nice and bending over backwards to fit in – usually towards more senior people; controlling others by criticising, berating and offending others – usually towards more junior people; or otherwise withdrawing from people altogether by avoiding all communication and even eye contact.

All are unconscious emotionally manipulative techniques that produce workplace drama in the form of passive-aggressive behaviour manifesting in bullies and victims. We subconsciously base our boss-subordinate and peer-based interpersonal strategies on those we employed to get what we wanted as a child within the comparable context of parent-child and sibling dynamics.

The Specialist

The Specialist devotes themselves to their work. They wish to develop their skills, perfect their craft and focus on the details to get everything absolutely right. They switch their primary focus from being compliant and fitting in, to standing out through the course of their work. They are experts in their field and strong contributors dotting i’s and crossing t’s for as long as it takes to get something perfect. They can make up some 38% of the Executive population (1995) but this proportion too has dropped to under 10% in deliberately developmental organisations.

Specialists largely work individually and are focused on the quality of their work and mastery of their craft. They will drill down to the detail and ensure complete accuracy taking a perfectionist rather than pragmatic approach. A micro-manager is typically operating at the Specialist mindset. Their personal identity merges with their work so they take feedback very personally. They tend to be emotionally reactive on the receiving end of constructive feedback and emotionally responsive to recognition and praise.

While the reactive behaviours are still present, they are now more associated with their work than trapped within the power struggle of the endemic parent-child and sibling dynamics. They are driven by the need to perfect their work, which is a quantum step up the spiral from Conformist. Focusing on increasing the quality of our own work based on our own albeit critical view of self and others, leads to continuous improvement.

The Achiever

The Achiever is a pragmatist rather than a perfectionist. Their goal is “fit for purpose” rather than perfect. The Achiever begins to consider how their work meets the needs of colleagues, customers and clients. Their focus extends to the impact of their work rather than just the work itself. They are open to feedback on their work, can manage change, drive projects, meet deadlines, produce results and heed the customer.

Achievers also shift from working individually to working effectively with others as team players. They enjoy being in the driving seat and driving initiatives forward. They are competitive, strong performers, will do what it takes to win and enjoy the glow of success. Achievers can also be very black and white. This enables them to be decisive and proactive albeit somewhat shortsighted compared to more advanced stages of development when life becomes shades of grey.

Customer-centric organisations adopt an Achiever mindset by creating feedback loops and generating team accountability for customer interactions and the customer experience. The introduction of scorecards to drive results and address gaps in performance supports the Achiever’s competitive, capitalist worldview.

In the mind of the Achiever, the world is made up of winners and losers and their primary focus is to strive for more. This keeps them on the treadmill of doing more, wanting more and getting more. What they have is never enough. This vicious cycle is extremely stressful!

In 1995 they made up some 33% of the Executive population. The proportion peaked at 60% in organisations investing in stage development (2005) and is now dropping as more executives develop their leadership capacity at the later post-conventional level of Catalyst.

The Conventional World

Opportunists, Conformists, Specialists and Achievers are all mindsets in the conventional world. In 1995, 78% of a sample of 4,510 adults in the US held a conventional mindset (Cook-Greuter); in 2005 this was down to 70%, and in 2015, at 59% (Harthill Consulting, PwC) albeit their population sample is drawn from organisations actively investing in stage leadership development. Achievers work extremely well in the world.

However at these stages of leadership development or conscious awareness, we are not able to work on the world. We are not able to introduce and sustain transformational change that will create a better world. To do this we must make the shift to post-conventional later stages of leadership capacity. While this “new” world is uncertain and ambiguous, by developing our conscious capacity to navigate and transcend the chaos, we are able to redeem peace of mind, restore personal wellbeing and build the world anew.

The percentage of Catalysts is growing at the rate of approximately 10% in each of the last two decades. At this stage, we begin to navigate our world with a view to creating change but this novel capacity does not manifest fully until the following stage of Synergist. Only Synergists have been found to have the capacity to lead sustainable transformation in an organisation (Rooke and Torbert) and their numbers have only inched up slowly from 5% to 8% in the last 20 years.

It would seem that the container of the organisation can support the Catalyst mode of diverse open engagement, yet still inhibits the presence of Synergist leadership that can bring about real transformational and sustainable change. Thus a greater investment in leadership development that liberates Synergist capacity is essential to reinvent the organisation, the collective, at the corresponding evolutionary levels of green and teal (Laloux).

The Achiever tends to be very hesitant before they make the leap into what appears to them to be the great unknown. They must make the shift from the external world to their inner world. At this point the guidance and encouragement of a later stage Coach is invaluable to them. Indeed I would go as far as to say that Executive Coaching in Leadership Development with a Strategist or Alchemist Coach is essential to ease this shift and also a powerful investment by organisations that genuinely wish to foster global sustainable shared prosperity and community wellbeing.

The Catalyst

The Catalyst is the first post-conventional stage. It represents a leap into a new growth zone and an unfamiliar world. At the individuation phase of the Specialist we were focused on perfecting our work. At the individuation phase of the Catalyst we are focused on understanding ourselves: our thoughts and feelings, motives and fears, reactions and responses, and our deepest desires and aspirations. We ask existential questions: “Why?” “Why am I here?” and “What is the meaning of life?”

At Catalyst, we move into our personal growth zone where growing and evolving becomes our natural way of being. Even though the challenges we encounter along the way may be unfamiliar and disconcerting, for the participant, life is forever enriched. We shift from being satisfied with a life based on cause and effect to feeling our way forward in the world despite uncertainty in order to lead a more purposeful and fulfilling life based on conscious intention and committed action.

Catalysts are focused on engaging others, igniting change and working across boundaries. Their focus turns from the impact of their work on customers and clients to the input into the design and nature of the work itself through active early genuine engagement with all stakeholders. They are attuned to leveraging strengths, fueling personal growth and collaborating with others in order to exercise mutual power to co-create the best possible outcomes for the whole community.

The capacity to genuinely innovate and collaborate is initiated at Catalyst. At this mindset the inner world of the individual becomes more important than the external world within which they operate. In other words they heed their intuition and feelings to make decisions and generate new insights and ideas. They also listen from a much deeper place of inquiry and can therefore create a deeper connection with others and develop the ability to build real trust with others.

Many words beginning with “in” are associated with the Catalyst worldview: insight, innovation, intrinsic, innate, inquiry, introspection, intricate, inclusive, inquisitive, interest, intimacy, intuition and inspiration.

The Synergist

Executives anchored at Synergist still number just 8% today, even in organisations investing significantly in leadership development. At this point in their journey of increasing expanding consciousness, they have become self-aware and other-aware and have the ability to be discerning and self-validating. They do not seek approval or permission from others. They have developed strength of character and their integrity is evident.

Synergists have the vision, courage and presence to generate and sustain transformational change (Torbert, 1998). They have adopted the mantle of personal authentic power in the interests of serving their whole community and not just selected interest groups. This represents a shift from ‘not good enough’ at Conformist, looking good at Specialist, doing well at Achiever, doing good at Catalyst and onto focusing on the greater good for all concerned at Synergist, now and in the longer-term future.

When led by a Synergist, the organisation shifts from being customer-centric to community-centric. It succeeds in achieving medium-to-long term sustainable outcomes that make a real, significant and beneficial impact on the people they serve and affect now and in the future. They generate a new world through their convictions and intentions, living by their principles and in tune with their life purpose while embracing others with compassion and enthusiasm.

The mature Synergist is an authentic, inspiring and strategic leader. They lead confidently from the ‘inside-out’. They are able to consistently stand and hold their ground while holding a nurturing space for the emergence of a transformed world. They are extremely mindful, highly considered and passionately articulate in their advocacy for a better world and are able to take purposeful action in the moment to raise conscious awareness and liberate the emergence of latent potential across the organisation and amongst all stakeholders.

The Alchemist

The final stage that can be observed and calibrated in the post-conventional world is the Alchemist. They number 1%. The Alchemist can have a far-reaching impact on their world. They are the iconic leaders who ignite and generate social evolution as well as transform global industries. Illustrious figures such as Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and Anita Roddick would appear to have realised their potential as Alchemists. However there are also Alchemists who are amazingly effective behind the scenes in niche markets and uniquely tailored roles such as executive coaching!

The Alchemist embodies their own intuitive guidance and employs mutually collaborative power to generate transformational shifts in the world that respect common humanity and all of life. They are able to hold and embrace wonderful future possibilities while standing firmly in the present and being cognisant of all that has preceded and led to the current situation. They look at events symbolically and value both the shadow and the light in the psychodynamics of common human interactions.

The Alchemist has released the shadow of the ego through grief and forgiveness, and surrendered their personal will to be an instrument in the divine orchestra on earth. They live to evolve in tune with the cosmos listening into the dark and the deep recesses of their soul’s voyage in life. They feel free to be uniquely themselves, liberated from any social or cultural conventions, and can feel both delighted and tormented as they perceive, attend to and process the vast cacophony of thought and emotion that swirls around them. They are able to be fully vulnerable yet vitally alive and vigorous as they give their conscious, compassionate attention to the dynamic interplay in each and every moment to exercise wisdom in action.

The Post-Conventional World

We need the perspective of the Synergist and Alchemist to navigate our way through the interconnected global crises we face today. Only at these levels can leaders transcend the turmoil, cut through complexity, trust in emergence and transform and evolve the economic, education, health and environmental foundations of society today. We are being invited to generate a more sustainable, healthy and equitable world.

Until recently we thought it took 5 years of focused development to shift to later stages. However, we now know that an executive coaching program explicitly focused on vertical development to Synergist can expedite this vertical growth in just one year.

In my recent PhD Research Study 100% of the participants surprisingly and inspiringly all shifted a full stage in leadership development in a single year, most from Achiever to Catalyst. Two shifted two full stages to Synergist, and five went on to land at Synergist a little later. This is in direct contrast to the commonly held view that it takes several years to make a vertical shift to later stages of development.

The participants were all engaged in an Executive Coaching Program focused on strategic and holistic leadership development. In other posts I explain how 8 key drivers reflecting a blend of “outside-in” and“inside-out” coaching transcending conventional organisational operating norms and cultivated their latent, emergent potential as authentic, inspiring, strategic transformational, quantum leaders (Zohar).

The implication is the extent to which conventional operating norms are stunting our leadership development. To my mind there is not a dearth of leadership potential in most organisations today, there is simply a very tight lid on the container for growth. Instead of providing the opportunity for executives to become more aware of their role in the interplay of life and the freedom to express themselves more fully and make conscious decisions that will create a more sustainable, healthy and equitable world, organisations have become pressure cookers.

Organisations and political parties can make substantial gains from later stage executive coaching from the Synergist/Alchemist perspective. It is essential for senior executives and aspiring future leaders to transform their perspective on life and become fluent co-creators in shaping their organisation and the communities they serve. Post-conventional vertical leadership development enables us to realize our potential to generate an economic and social transformation, redeem peace of mind, restore shared wellbeing and renew our world so that we all thrive and flourish.

The higher our self-expression and the deeper our self-awareness, the richer our life experience and the greater our soul evolution. ~ Antoinette Braks

 

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

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

 

About the Author

Antoinette Braks is a thought leader in Vertical Leadership Development and a Master Certified Executive Coach with greater than 3,500 coaching hours with over 250 strategic leaders from across the private and public sectors. She has a proven track record in expediting rapid shifts to later stages enabling strategic leaders and executive coaches to realise transformative outcomes. She is renowned for enabling executives to transcend the turmoil and cut through complexity, trust emergence and navigate uncertainty, and transform their world to spark ingenuity.

Antoinette’s expansive StageSHIFT coaching approach incorporates strategic systemic organisational leadership, evolution and transformation, and personal holistic leadership based on psychodynamics, reframing narrative and shadow resolution, while realising the highest aspirations in life, career and business.

Her corporate background includes C-suite leadership of People and Culture with Vector NZ during the merger integration of their gas and electricity businesses, Director of Strategic Culture Transformation at Businesslink NSW Australia and Regional Strategic HR Management with Shell International Latin America and Africa. Antoinette also led Leadership Capital Solutions for Korn Ferry Asia Pacific and consulted with Hudson Talent.

As well as a Master Executive Coach, Antoinette is a strategic facilitator, leadership consultant, coaching supervisor, and conference presenter. She presents at Coaching, Leadership and Integral Conferences to share her unique insights into the non-linear spiral nature of vertical leadership development to later stages e.g. the Spectrum Stage Shift, the 2-Step Square Dance and Vertical Development Theory based on her PhD research.

Her new book, Executive Coaching in Strategic Holistic Leadership: The Drivers and Dynamics in Vertical Development, will be published by McGraw Hill in May 2020.

Antoinette has an MBA from London Business School, has submitted her PhD thesis in Vertical Leadership Transformation, and studied the Oxford Brookes Professional Certificate of Advanced Study in Coaching Supervision.

Antoinette.Braks@Join-the-SHIFT.com

www.stageshift.coach

Photo by Markus Spiske

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