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Building Individual and Organizational Resilience

April 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To become a more innovative leader please sign up for the online leader development program or purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders – coming April 2014. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations and participating in the online innovative leadership program with coaching. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

By Maureen Metcalf

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Louish Pixel

Critical Leadership Skills for Global Leaders

March 24, 2014

Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global LeadersThe following post is an excerpt from the recently released Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders by Maureen Metcalf, Steve Terrell Ed.D., and Ben Mitchell.

Confronted with a world that is strikingly different from what it was just a decade ago, we face rapidly shifting economic, political, and national security realities and challenges. To respond to these changes, it is essential that our universities and companies build globally competent leaders—that is, leaders possessing a combination of critical thinking skills, technical expertise, and global awareness allowing them to comprehend, analyze, and perform efficiently and effectively in the context of an increasingly globalized world.

Cultural awareness and sensitivity is one of the critical leadership skills for global leaders. It is reflected in awareness and understanding of, sensitivity and adapting to cultural differences. It includes being open to differences in various cultures, and having a commitment to learn about other cultures. One global leader described the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity in terms of understanding “how people in other cultures make decisions, or how they think in terms of the whole process. I found some cultures not straightforward on the decision process.” He used Brazil as an example: “People would move around the bushes, but they don’t get to the straightforward, logical thinking to make a decision. As I learned the particularities of each culture, it gave me a much better understanding, I think, of how to deal with its people.”

Some of the behaviors associated with a high degree of cultural awareness and sensitivity include:
• ability to see different perspectives
• capacity for introspection and self-awareness
• interest and excitement for working across multiple cultures and locations
• desire to explore

Having a global mindset or perspective goes hand-in-hand with cultural awareness and sensitivity in that it concerns the ability to deal with different perspectives. Each of these different human perspectives is an important reflection of its own cultural context. A global mindset gives one the ability to align and integrate multiple perspectives, and deal with ambiguity and the complexity endemic in global business. One global leader described a global mindset as:

…having an appreciation for all differences and the value of diversity… recognizing those that you’re impacting around the globe…thinking about the value that you can bring when you take in different ideas, instead of focusing on what may be traditionally viewed within one venue. This doesn’t only apply to a country or region; it might be within a function because you could have a shallow mindset based on a functional view as well. And I think for me, it’s just being very open to others and being able to connect with their ideas—not set aside or dismiss them—you know, giving their ideas value and hearing them out.

Some of the behaviors and characteristics associated with global mindset or perspective include:
• ability to see different perspectives
• ability to align multiple perspectives
• dealing with ambiguity
• dealing with complexity
• being flexible and adaptable
• learning about different ways of doing business
• living outside a comfort zone
• managing multiple priorities
• thinking beyond the borders of one’s home country
• understanding the impact of one’s decisions on the rest of the world

To learn more about global leadership purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders.

To become a more innovative leader please sign up for the online leader development program or purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders – coming April 2014. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations and participating in the online innovative leadership program with coaching. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

By Maureen Metcalf

Eight Behaviors That Differentiate An Innovative Global Leader?

March 19, 2014

Global LeadershipThe following blog post is an excerpt from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders by Maureen Metcalf, Steve Terrell and Ben Mitchell – Coming April 2014.

Globalization has so rapidly developed over the past 25 years to the point that a significant number of organizations operate today as if the entire world were a single market or entity, comprising many different, interconnected sub-markets, and crossing borders, cultures, time zones, and language differences. This high degree of interconnectedness, brought about through the impact and use of technology, melds with the chaos and continuous change of today’s business environment to create a highly dynamic, complex, borderless, multicultural context within which businesses must learn to operate or suffer the undesirable consequences of being left behind. Organizations must find constructive ways to adapt in order to survive, and the most adaptable organizations will be best positioned to explore all possibilities and to respond with innovative solutions to the complex challenges they face.

Organizations are discovering that globalization demands that leaders master different skills than were required in the past. The world is increasingly characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA), and global leaders need new competencies that enable them to respond accordingly. Global leaders deal with intricacies that differ significantly from non-global contexts and must demonstrate cultural adaptability and sensitivity. Yet, many organizations are finding that their supply of global leaders, or even individuals with the potential to become global leaders, does not match the demand. In today’s world, the race doesn’t go to the swift, strong, or smart—the race goes to the most adaptable, who learn from experience and co-evolve with the complex adaptive systems within which they work and live.

What are specific behaviors that differentiate an innovative leader from a traditional leader? A successful innovative global leader is one who can continually:

  1. Clarify and effectively articulate vision, and link that vision to attainable strategic initiatives
  2. Develop himself and influence the development of other leaders
  3. Build effective teams by helping colleagues engage their own leadership strengths
  4. Cultivate alliances and partnerships
  5. Anticipate and aggressively respond to both challenges and opportunities
  6. Develop robust and resilient solutions
  7. Develop and test hypotheses like a scientist
  8. Measure, learn, and refine on an ongoing basis

To further illustrate some of the qualities of global innovative leadership, we offer this comparison between traditional leadership and innovative leadership:

Comparison Traditional and Innovative Leadership

To become a more innovative leader please sign up for the online leader development program or purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Global Leaders – coming April 2014. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations and participating in the online innovative leadership program with coaching. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

photo credit: www.flickr.com tellytom

Transforming a Public Radio Station – Defining Vision and Creating Urgency

February 6, 2014

WCBEWe’re very excited to announce a new blog series that will chronicle the transformation of public radio station WCBE – 90.5 FM Columbus, Ohio. We’ll share the journey they are taking as a response to the Columbus City Schools reshaping. The Columbus Board of Education holds the license for the station (that’s why its call letters, WCBE, are an acronym for the board). The station’s journey will be co-written with Dan Mushalko, general manager of the station.

To give context, the Columbus City Schools employees—and perhaps others in schools throughout the state—are accused of falsifying students’ records to improve their schools’ standing on state report cards. The context matters because it helps to explain why WCBE is transforming now, and sets the sense of urgency the station faces. Why our story about WCBE is interesting is that the station is using this crisis as an opportunity to become more efficient, more effective, and a better partner with the school district.

Our series starts with a note Dan Mushalko sent to the radio station staff.

“First, a declaration: WCBE is changing. No matter whether we’re a department in the larger Columbus City Schools, or a standalone broadcaster, our old ways will continue to lose effectiveness as the rest of the world changes. Within the District, changes are coming. Dr. Dan Good is a visionary leader with a hard-driving will dedicated to the CCS (Columbus City Schools) mission. To make this District what it must be to serve the community, he’s instituting changes: some fast, some slow, some specific, some across the District. Some will be easy, some will hurt. Some will no doubt hurt me personally. But I’m behind them 100 percent because, like Dr. Good, I’m dedicated to the District’s mission of serving the greater community. In the final analysis, our mission at WCBE is just a permutation of the District’s own goals.”

WCBE will follow the transformation process illustrated below and described in the award winning book:  Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations.

Leading Organizational Transformation

The first step in the transformation process involves clearly defining the vision for the change, as well as why the change is now urgent. We’re including WCBE’s updated organizational mission so you gain a better understanding of the station and what it’s committed to creating in the community and beyond:

  • Support Columbus and neighboring areas in being a thriving and sustainable community through our operations as a radio station,  and as a responsible community member
  • Offer listeners the opportunity to connect with the broader community through local programming, creating opportunities for local musicians, and promoting local organizations
  • Providing the most reliable source for local, national, and international news—and producing engaging music programming featuring local, national and international talent
  • Create opportunities that promote a vibrant and engaged community by leveraging our role as a radio station, to facilitate bringing together local music talent, local businesses/NPOs, and community members
  • Partner with like-minded organizations to accomplish our vision

In his message, Mushalko clearly states that WCBE is changing—and we’ll continue to hear about the changes on a regular basis. Mushalko posted a change process flow in the hall at the station in the form of a wall chart and asked each staff member for their input on the process which will be incorporated into his final change process plan. He has also created a scorecard to establish clear goals and timelines for the change and is tracking progress with his coach, Maureen Metcalf, every other week.

Return soon to learn how the station overcomes the inevitable complications and obstacles of any change process to transform and forge its future.

To become a more innovative leader please sign up for the online leader development program or purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations and participating in the online innovative leadership program with coaching. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

Entrepreneurship Institute – Presidents’ Forum of Columbus

February 5, 2014

Title: Entrepreneurship Institute – Presidents’ Forum of Columbus
Location: Fawcett Center
Link out: Click here
Description: Panelist in the morning breakout session on the topic: Culture & EQ Issues: Differentiating Through People
Start Time: 8:00
Date: 2014-02-19
End Time: 17:00

ASQ-Columbus 2014 Spring Conference

February 5, 2014

Title: ASQ-Columbus 2014 Spring Conference
Location: Crown Plaza Columbus North
Link out: Click here
Description: Innovative Leadership – Applying Situational Analysis
- Refresher on Innovative Leadership framework
- Introduce Situational Analysis
- Apply Situational Analysis to align your individual change efforts
- Identify take-away’s

Start Time: 8:30
Date: 2014-03-18
End Time: 16:15

Embed Innovation Systematically – Notes From The Field

January 13, 2014

Innovative Leadership Embed ChangeThis post is the sixth in a six-part series of “Notes from the Field” in which Holly, an analyst in an HR department at a major university, shares a small part of her overall exploration and talks about her experience using the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers to plan her next career step.  Last week, Holly shared how she plans to identify barriers and respond to them accordingly.  During her final week, she will focus on how she will integrate these changes into her lifestyle moving forward.  (For a more complete case study, please either refer to the workbook or one of the online leadership development programs for emerging leaders or leaders).

As I am reaching the end of the workbook, I can honestly say I have a different perspective on how I plan to achieve my goals.  Throughout this process, I have put forth more thought in what it will take and what behaviors I need to change to be successful.  In the past, I thought I had SMART goals, but I can now see the impact I will have if I continue to communicate my goals and needs with others and actually have a detailed plan on how to achieve them.  A small example I can share is in the past, I planned to run a 5K and set a date I wanted to complete the race by.  Let’s just say it didn’t happen.  This time around, I have actually started a training program, communicated my goals with others, recruited my husband to run with me for support, and registered for an upcoming race in the spring.  That may seem like a long time frame for a goal, but through reflecting on my values, I realized there is no need to put more pressure on myself to have this accomplished right away.  I will already be busy and overwhelmed with traveling and upcoming holiday season; by delaying the date, I can still take steps towards reaching my goal, be held accountable and, enjoy everything else in-between.

I can apply these techniques into a variety of areas of my professional and personal life as well.  Moving forward, I need to focus on the importance that this is an ongoing process.  Over time, I will need to re-evaluate and re-define my goals and continue to focus on my overall development.   This final week, the workbook provided a transformation activity/practice log that will help me prioritize my goals, record the performance, measure the progress, and record feedback.  This template will be a helpful ongoing tool that will help me stay on track and be held accountable for my behaviors.  There are also a variety of reflection questions that help gauge individual progress and pose several questions to help validate if I’m reaching my goals.

Overall, this process from start to finish has certainly made me reflect on my beliefs, behaviors, actions, and personal goals.  In many ways, it also helped me re-shape my vision and see how I could benefit by changing some of my actions.  It will be interesting to open up this book in the future to review the responses I’ve had these past several weeks and see if I reached my desired goals and if they changed.  The ending of the workbook, is really just the beginning of the work, but I have a great tool I can use along the way of my journey!

To become a more innovative leader please sign up for the online leader development program or purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations and participating in the online innovative leadership program with coaching. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

Taking Action – Notes From The Field

January 6, 2014

This post is the fifth in a six-part series of “Notes from the Field” in which Holly, an analyst in an HR department at a major university, shares a small part of her overall exploration and talks about her experience using the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers to plan her next career step.  Last week, Holly shared how she action plans for leadership development.  After putting together my development plan and forming my support team and needs, I have reached the point where it is time to take action.

At first, I could not help but think of the cliché, a task is easier said than done, but I am more optimistic at this point.  I have put forth effort in trying to envision my future, what actions I can take to get there, and what support will be needed along the way.  The next key step is trying to identify barriers to my success and trying to eliminate or modify my course of action.  (For a more complete case study, please either refer to the workbook or one of the online leadership development programs for emerging leaders or leaders).The workbook provides a helpful action tool to accomplish just that:

Innovative Leadership Barrier Table

I also completed several of the reflection questions to help clarify my direction.  There were several meaningful questions that made me analyze my behaviors and how I needed to align them with my overall vision.  One question I found:

How do I manage my transformation over time?  How do I focus on accomplishing my daily tasks while concurrently focusing sufficient time on my vision and goals?

One of my biggest barriers is focusing too much on my long-term goals.  In order to work on my transformation, I need to spend time appreciating what I have and what I am able to do now.  I look back and see how far I have come, and I am not able to recall as much the steps I took to get to this point.  Moving forward, I want to slow things down.  If I put forth greater effort to align my actions with my values, then over time, I will be more successful at reaching my goals.

This week’s exercise made me realize the significant challenge these barriers have caused in the past.  Reflecting on these past and ongoing challenges helped me recognize that my development plan is a starting point.  Things will happen along the way and in order to be successful I will need to find ways to respond positively or find workarounds.

Next week, I will focus on how to integrate these changes into my lifestyle moving forward.

To become a more innovative leader please sign up for the online leader development program or purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations and participating in the online innovative leadership program with coaching. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

Build Your Team and Communicate – Notes From the Field

December 16, 2013

This post is the fourth in a six-part series of “Notes from the Field” in which Holly, an analyst in an HR department at a major university, shares a small part of her overall exploration and talks about her experience using the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders and Managers to plan her next career step.  Last week Holly started defining a development plan to connect her vision with her self-assessment results. This week she’ll focus on building a support team and a communication plan to support her development plan and desired changes. (For a more complete case study, please either refer to the workbook or one of the online leadership development programs for emerging leaders or leaders).

Over the past several weeks, I have learned of several actions and behaviors that I need to work on individually; but, as I think of the “big picture,” I need to determine who I want on my support team and how I’ll communicate the level of and what type of support I must have to help me reach my goals.

I feel very fortunate to have a supportive husband and a network of wonderful family, friends, colleagues, and mentors. Many of these people have helped me to recognize my personal strengths and values. I have to acknowledge that even with a great support team, the exercises in the interactive workbook made me grasp the importance of communicating my goals and what role they will play in my desired future. There is a distinct difference in having someone listen to my goals compared to knowing there is an expectation to keep me accountable and to receive ongoing feedback. I will be much more successful by defining the type of support that will be needed.

While deciding who I to be on my team I also had to ensure that I was choosing the right people to be on my team—those who have the right knowledge and expertise, availability, and who can give me honest feedback. Below are a few examples of who I determined I need:

Communication Goal Table

This next table looks at the communication plan for each member of my team to ensure that I stay on track by giving them the information they need to continue providing support to me.

Communication Plan

What is the best combination of approaches for me to meet my support needs? Does this include hiring a coach or scheduling regular lunches with a trusted colleague?

In order to achieve my goals, I need to have regular monthly meetings with my mentor to focus on my professional goals. I also need to communicate my personal health goals and behaviors to my husband and family members. Regular communication will help keep me on target.

Overall this question made me realize the importance of implementing a combination of approaches to support my needs. I have both professional and personal goals that will require different types of support for me to be successful.  If I’m able to accomplish my short-term goals, they will inevitably contribute to the success of my long-term needs and vision.

Next week I will focus on how I will take action, identifying barriers to my success and how I will plan to manage or remove them.

To become a more innovative leader please sign up for the online leader development program or purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Emerging Leaders. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations and participating in the online innovative leadership program with coaching. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

Plan Your Journey

December 9, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To learn more about becoming a more effective leader using Innovative Leadership we recommend taking leadership assessments, reading the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations and participating in the online innovative leadership program with coaching. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com stargardner