JOURNAL OF The AMerican management association
George S. Everly Jr.
The Journey to Resiliency Page 12
Other highlightS Personal Insights MULTIDIMENSIONAL LEADERSHIP Page 5
AMA’s TALENT TRANSFORMATION SOLUTION Page 20
OVERCOMING THE CULTURE OF SILENCE Page 32
BALANCING TWO HATS Page 39
INsights SEEING THE FOREST and THE TREES Page 42
UARTERLY Winter 2015-16 • VOLUME 1 • NUMBER 4
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Winter 2015-16 Volume 1 • Number 4
JOURNAL OF The AMerican management association
23 Ten Action Strategies for Becoming a High-Impact Leader
The Journey to resiliency
AMA spoke with George S. Everly Jr., the co-author of Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed, about his perspectives on writing the book
32 Overcoming the Culture of Silence
and why resilience is a characteristic needed by every leader today.
Farewell to Hamburger U? Executives face a new challenge and opportunity: How can we design corporate learning that has the immediacy and muscularity which are lost in the old model—while retaining its best attributes? What role can emerging technologies, social media, and game-based learning play in the workplace? By Alan Todd
HIPOs in the Pursuit of Happiness HIPOs are the “rising stars” and “top talent”—a powerful asset that can be leveraged to fuel productivity. They are the linchpin in a company’s capacity to survive or thrive. By Sydney Savion, EdD
AMA’s Talent Transformation Solution A new talent development roadmap can provide the framework for talent assessment and cultivation in your organization—and give leaders the competencies they need for them and their companies to thrive. By Nicole Morgenstern
Ten Action Strategies for Becoming a High-Impact Leader These types of leaders can be made instead of born, using tactics that build the mindset for high-impact achievement. By Brian Braudis
How to Create a Successful Self–Brand Self-branding—also known as personal branding—has been around for almost two decades. A self-brand is much needed in today’s highly competitive environment. Creating a self-brand isn’t hard, but it is time-consuming. The outcome will be worth the energy invested. By Jennefer Witter
Overcoming the Culture of Silence As a leader, you must be able to shape and sustain a healthy culture and productive relationships and enable employees to stay fired up and committed to you and the company. By Rob Bogosian, EdD
Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s Leaders When it comes to ensuring that organizational leadership is prepared for the future, if we recognize and work to understand the key trends that are emerging in the corporate world, we can extrapolate from them to identify certain leadership skills that will be required for future success. By Jody Bradham
Balancing Two Hats As executives strive to attain critical enterprise-level business objectives through inclusion in a senior leadership team, the hard truth is that their natural inclination to satisfy the goals of their division or unit may impede the success of the whole. By Scott Weighart
Editor’S Pick The Recurring Value of Resilience
5 PERSONAL INSIGHTS
Multidimensional Leadership Today’s leadership is multidimensional. Exploring those different expressions offers a clear roadmap for leadership development. By Karen Kimsey-House
CEO INSIGHTS The High Price of Leaders’ Secrets Underneath the title, the role, or the business jacket of a leader is a human being struggling to figure it out—a leader with secrets. By AmyK Hutchens
INSIGHTS Seeing the Forest and the Trees To be the most effective, leaders need to see strategically but act tactically. By William Schulz, PhD
COMMENTARY The Power of Service as a Leadership Skill Service programs and volunteering help develop the executive abilities of Millennials. By Kimberly R. Cline, EdD
OUR VIEW Developing the Training Roadmap There are four areas that all executives need to be proficient in—professional effectiveness, relationship management, business acumen, and analytical intelligence. By Edward T. Reilly AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 1
The Recurring Value of Resilience J
ust as this issue of AMA Quarterly was being wrapped up, the world changed. On November 13, 129 people died and scores more were injured in terrorist attacks at four sites in Paris. As I wrote this editorial, my television was tuned in to the nonstop news coverage. One talking head after another gave opinions and views on the situation, but a single word kept popping up about the people of Paris and of France: resilience. The French have always shown resilience, coming back after WWII and previous terrorist attacks. And even after the recent horrors, many Parisians are vowing not to let the terrorists suppress their spirit. As the hashtag #PrayforParis sprang up on social media, there was a concurrent hashtag going around originated by Parisians (and popularized by Stephen Colbert of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert): #Parisisforlife. This issue of AMA Quarterly focuses on the traits executives need to succeed in 2016, and the cover story is an interview with George S. Everly, the co-author of Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed (AMACOM, 2015). In this time especially, resilience is more critical than ever. Everly and his co-authors, Douglas A. Strouse and Dennis K. McCormack, outline how to develop resilience in your life. “This is a formula for creating an organizational culture of resilience,” Everly says. “This is a formula for creating a familial culture of resilience. This is a formula for creating a personal culture of resilience.” There are other lessons in this issue about the skills leaders need: employee engagement, leadership flexibility, and multidimensional leadership, among others. With resilience at the forefront, however, no matter what comes, executives can get back up again—along with the people of Paris.
Christiane Truelove Guest Editor, AMA Quarterly
JOURNAL OF The AMerican management association GUEST Editor
Christiane Truelove creative Director
Lauren McNally Copy Editor
Eileen Davis Graphic Artist
Christina Parisi President & CEO
Edward T. Reilly
AMA Quarterly © (ISSN 2377-1321) is published quarterly by American
Management Association International, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-7420, WINTER 2015-16, Volume 1, Number 4. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to American Management Association, 600 AMA Way, Saranac Lake, NY 12983-5534. American Management Association is a nonprofit educational a ssociation chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York. AMA Quarterly is an independent forum for authoritative views on business and management issues. Submissions. We encourage submissions from prospective authors. For guidelines, write to The Guest Editor, AMA Quarterly, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-7420 or email CParisi@amanet.org. Unsolicited manuscripts will be returned only if accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Letters are encouraged. Mail: Letters, AMA Quarterly, 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-7420; email: CParisi@amanet.org. AMA Quarterly reserves the right to excerpt and edit letters. Names and addresses must accompany all submissions. Subscriptions. Executive and Individual Members of American Management Association receive AMA Quarterly as part of their annual dues, a nonrefundable $50 of which is allocated for the subscription to AMA Quarterly. Single copies are available at $25 plus shipping and handling. Requests should be sent to email@example.com Rights and permissions. ©2015, American Management Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission. Requests should be sent to Joe D’Amico, at firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Offices 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019-7420 Tel: 212-903-8075; Fax: 212-903-7948 Email: email@example.com Opinions expressed by the editors, contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of AMA. In addition, the appearance of advertisements, products or service information in AMA Quarterly, other than those of AMA itself, does not constitute endorsement by AMA.
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Farewell to Hamburger U? By Alan Todd
In 1956, GE president Ralph Cordiner spent $50 million to build the famed Crotonville management training center in New York. It was a big bet on GE’s leaders of tomorrow, costing nearly half a billion in today’s dollars. In Cordiner’s day, it was GE’s goal that employees who spent just a few days at Crotonville could use the skills and knowledge they gained for years to come. Six years later, Ray Kroc and Fred Turner created McDonald’s famed Hamburger University in the basement of the chain’s Elk Grove Village, IL, location. Hamburger U, like Crotonville, was a place where managers went to hone their leadership skills and marinate in company culture. Since the 1950s, corporate learning investments have accelerated. According to Deloitte, U.S. companies alone spent $70 billion in 2013—an increase of 15% from the previous year. In 2014, overall spending on learning and development rose 10% to $1,004 per employee. But today, the idea of spending millions to create a physical space for in-person training seems anachronistic. The old-school model of separating learning from work conflicts with our understanding of the science of learning in organizations and an increasingly Millennial workforce. Selecting just a few “leaders” to participate in shortterm, offsite training is not only inefficient, it flies in the face of what we know about the distribution of talent. Executives face a new challenge and opportunity: How can we design corporate learning that has the immediacy and muscularity which are lost in the old model—while retaining its best attributes? What role can emerging technologies, social media, and game-based learning play in the workplace? What works?
Today, corporate learning that drives real business outcomes has five key attributes: It is expert led, problem-based, immediate, social, and measured. Expert led. Corporate learning is at its best when it is facilitated by professionals who have expertise in their subject matter and is delivered in a way that is informed by the best of learning theory. Historically, companies could send only small numbers of executives to training centers or institutions to learn from the best. But with new technologies, experts from world-leading institutions are available virtually. Technology is democratizing corporate learning, allowing middle managers across a company to interact with experts. Through technology, companies are tapping the expertise of business leaders such as New York Times bestselling author Shawn Achor or former Charles Schwab CEO Dave Pottruck to address specific business challenges. Consider the case of specialty retailer Mattress Firm: In September 2014, the company increased its business size dramatically by 20% through the acquisition of Sleep Train. To manage the growth and successfully merge two corporate cultures, the company turned to Pottruck’s teaching on breakthrough change. Company leaders participated in Pottruck’s online course, and this learning resulted in a smooth transition and continued growth. The company later deployed Achor’s courses on happiness and positive leadership as part of its work to transform the company culture to reflect its tagline, “Sleep Happy.” AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 3
Problem-based. Both research and common sense tell us the best learning is grounded in real experience. Yet, the popular case-study approach in business learning is rarely tailored to the specific industry or challenges being faced every day. Effective corporate learning must be learner centered and learner driven. In a problem-based learning environment, employees work through industry-specific examples and engage in discussion around specific company objectives and challenges. Organizations that orient learning around real problems can bridge the chasm between theory and practice. Leadership development academy Evanta partnered with Colin Powell to launch an online professional development academy to expose IT managers to problem-based learning tools that enable them to acquire new skills quickly and put them into practice. A problem-based approach allows employee-learners to experience success and failure and reflect upon what ideas emerged and what could have been improved upon. Immediate. Gone are the days of time “off” to learn. Technology enables companies to deliver learning in small chunks so that employees can easily participate in their courses at home or at work—and immediately apply their knowledge to have a direct impact on business outcomes. Having access to cloud-based learning also allows organizations to stay on the cutting edge of their industries and address prevailing business concerns at a moment’s notice. Johnson & Johnson provides leadership development and management education courses online, allowing employees to practice anytime, anywhere. The courses include independent study and interviewing simulations and assessments that can help accelerate employees’ leadership development and assist them in reaching their full potential. By using an online approach at a fraction of the cost, businesses are able to gain greater ammunition to solve real challenges and drive sustainable change—not just for executives, but for all management levels. Social. Corporations are inherently social. Today, 60% of employees report that they must work with 10 or more people daily to accomplish their goals. This means complex corporate challenges rarely can be solved by individuals working alone. It’s no surprise that social media reaches nearly every aspect of our lives and has big implications in the workplace. Online tools enable employers to create social networks in which companies can tap the collective genius of participants to amplify professional development, contextualize learning, and improve decision making. Businesses cannot rely solely on lectures to foster the social skills that employees require to succeed in their roles. Best-in-class corporate education creates a place where colleagues can connect, form networks, and share ideas. Engaging learners socially allows them to learn as much from each other as from formal instruction. This does not mean organizations must forgo the best-in-class lectures, but rather repackage them as part of a
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Effective corporate learning must be learner centered and learner driven. In a problembased learning environment, employees work through industry-specific examples and engage in discussion around specific company objectives and challenges. broader pedagogical strategy that includes social learning as a core part of the student experience. Measured. Sixty years ago, when McDonald’s sent a mid-level manager to Elk Grove Village for weeks of training, executives could only hope that the courses would ignite understanding and translate meaningfully to the workplace. These days, it’s no longer sufficient to send a manager to a training session and assume that deep learning occurred. Social, online learning enables leaders to move beyond tracking inputs such as class attendance to measuring the skills attained and the impact of those skills on the business. Consider Bare Minerals, which directly linked its corporate learning to business outcomes. The company designed an online learning initiative with the goal of identifying new areas for cost savings within its supply chain without a sacrifice of product quality or customer service. A core group of leaders and managers across supply chain verticals—individuals who rarely had the chance to collaborate with one another—were commissioned to tackle the problem. They met virtually, and with input from experts at Penn State University’s supply chain center, worked to analyze their business challenge. By tapping into the collective genius across the organization, the company identified multimillions in savings. Corporate learning is essential to developing and keeping talent and building capacity to manage to the complex challenges of the contemporary workplace. By applying the latest in learning theory, companies can create places where workers learn on the job and training is placed in context. By employing new technologies, they can traverse great distances and measure the application of knowledge in reallife situations. And by daring to take this new path, they can build more collaborative, open, and productive workplaces. AQ A pioneer in the field of corporate learning and frequent advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs and chief learning officers, Alan Todd is the CEO and founder of CorpU, a technology firm focused on applying the science of learning in organizations.
Multidimensional Leadership Broaden your view of leadership to include its different dimensions—and you’ll expand your leadership capacity. By KAREN KIMSEY-HOUSE
ur business environment is facing unprecedented change, becoming more complex and unpredictable day by day. To be static in this highly dynamic environment is a sure road to failure. It is unreasonable to think of developing leaders today as we have in the past. Instead, we need to forge new, multidimensional approaches that offer an expanded framework for leadership development. Our current view of leadership tends to be one-dimensional, with leadership being the responsibility of one or two people at the top. In reality, leadership is multidimensional. Exploring those different expressions offers a clear roadmap for leadership development. Here are five different expressions of leadership that are critical for
effectiveness in today’s ever-changing business environment. Notice which ones feel familiar and which are somewhat uncomfortable to you. This experience will serve as a guide in expanding your leadership capacity.
LEADING FROM WITHIN
This expression of our leadership begins with the choice to lead from the inside out, rather than the outside in. It is a radical and deeply transformative shift. We tend to think of leadership as externally
focused on the objective or goal, rather than beginning with grounding in our own inner truth. When we are leading from within, we remain flexible and open to outside influences but rely most heavily on our own moral compass. We let go of performing and striving for approval and instead seek to lead according to our own values and principles. By leading from within, we remain centered in our own self-authority and strive to offer our best to the world every day. When we live our lives from our purpose and values, we lead by example through the integrity of our day-to-day activities, and our lives are a contribution to the world. We offer our whole and creative selves, and our leadership is nourishing. AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 5
LEADING FROM IN FRONT
When we think about leaders and leadership, we usually think of some variation of leading from in front. However, this expression of leadership is about much more than being in charge. Instead, true “leaders from in front” inspire those who are following by providing a clear vision and direction, while at the same time encouraging connection and collaboration. Without a connection to people, leading from in front can be isolating and burdensome. It’s important to look at leading from in front as a relational role, rather than as a transactional one. Our organizational world is filled with examples of what happens when leadership is viewed as a transactional role. All the focus is on the task, and everyone keeps trying to figure out what “the boss” is after. There is no collaboration, no connection, and not much creativity either. The most important aspect of being a “leader in front” is knowing when to sit down and move to leading from behind and encouraging others to take charge. This can foster a dynamic rather than static relationship between a leader and his or her world, and encourage shared leadership throughout the organization.
LEADING FROM BEHIND
Leading from behind focuses on evoking the brilliance in others by championing them and coaching them through deep listening and powerful questions. It is important for leaders to have the agility to shift from leading from in front to leading from behind by being able to sit down and empower others to take
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charge. Note that sitting down does not mean sitting back. Leading from behind is not about sitting back, taking a break, abdicating, or being a passenger. Leading from behind is perhaps the most misunderstood expression of leadership. In command-and-control, onedimensional leadership, we view “front” as being better than “behind” because we believe that those leading from in front have all the power and influence. Actually, leading from behind has tremendous influence and reach. By empowering others, “leaders from behind” leverage leadership throughout the organization and capture the breadth of talent and creativity available. Listening deeply to another person can be tremendously powerful. Unfortunately, listening deeply has become quite rare. We are so focused on results and outcomes that we become preoccupied with the task rather than with the person. In the pressure cooker of daily life, we are usually behind, running hard to catch up and deliver results. We rush home and try too hard to get everything done before we fall into bed exhausted. Even with our children, we often listen superficially because we are so preoccupied by the many tasks that fill our lives. Leaders from behind need to listen beyond the words into the essence of the other person. They must be present enough and receptive enough to “hear” beyond the words that are being spoken to the deeper truth that is being offered. This can be more challenging than it sounds. Our mind chatter can be loud and demanding, nattering away about all kinds of opinions, judgments, and personal concerns. It takes practice and discipline to shift our attention beyond our internal dialogue and focus it firmly on another person. It’s helpful to imagine our listening as a spotlight. When we are listening to our own internal dialogue, that’s what gets illuminated. When we discipline ourselves to point the spotlight of our listening toward another person, the impact can be tremendous. When people are the focus of deep listening, their natural resourcefulness and creativity come to the fore.
Open-ended, curious questions are another tool for calling for the creativity and brilliance in another person. So often, managers believe that their sole job is to solve problems for other people. While this is certainly an important function of managing others, solving problems all the time trains people to consistently come to their manager for answers. When asked a few open-ended questions, other people often can arrive at their own solution, which generates creative thinking in others and builds confidence in their ability to solve problems.
LEADING FROM BESIDE
One-dimensional leadership models foster the myth that it is more expedient and efficient to have just one person in each position. As we become ever-more action oriented and results driven, it appears that there isn’t time for all this relationship stuff. We tell ourselves that it is faster and more efficient to just do it ourselves without bothering too much with other people. This imbalance permeates much of our lives, with partnership and interconnectedness being sacrificed as we push ourselves to do more, produce more, and accomplish more on our own. While in the short term it might feel as if we are effective, we are shortsightedly cutting ourselves off from the creativity and synergy that are available only through partnership with other people. We are by nature communal creatures, designed to live and work in partnership with others. We are most effective when we are able to lean in fully to the resource of the other people in our lives. Leading from beside brings awareness and responsibility to these partnerships so that we can work together more effectively, creatively, and joyfully. Most of the time, co-leading consists of dividing responsibilities and a “your turn, my turn” way of doing things. Leading from beside is a true partnership,
with both people being fully responsible for every part of the initiative. Dynamic and enthusiastic disagree ment is an important aspect of leading from beside. There is no one of us (or even a group of us) that has the whole answer to the challenges we face. No matter how insightful or brilliant we are, individually we can offer just a piece of the whole. It is only through dialogue and passionate disagreement that we find our way to something larger than a singular and isolated point of view. The more we are able to engage in enthusiastic disagreement with each other, the more we will be able to uncover the best in ourselves and each other.
LEADING FROM THE ENERGETIC FIELD
There is an energetic field that is offering us information all the time. We might say that the field is “speaking” to us, even though there are no words. Leading from the energetic field is about expanding our attention beyond individual people to connect with the energetic field, using our imagination, instinct, and intuition to access a deeper resonance and knowing than is available from what has already been proven. Our one-dimensional view of leadership generally points to actions that are pragmatic and reasonable with plenty of evidentiary proof. Even when we sense that something is important, if it is not visible and provable, our world tends to treat it as if it doesn’t really exist. In leading from the energetic field, we refuse to accept that the only thing that exists is the factual, pragmatic reality right in front of us. To create new ideas that are truly innovative, we must reach into the invisible and unseen with our intuition, instinct, and imagination. As our world becomes more diverse and more complex, it will be vital to
We will not be able to resolve the challenges that face us from what is already known. To quote Albert Einstein, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” access the innovation available when we lead from the energetic field. While it is important to be aware of our past, we will not be able to resolve the challenges that face us from what is already known. To quote Albert Einstein, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” This shift can be difficult in a world where we are trained to provide concrete answers and solutions that are based on proven practices. It takes great courage to let go of what is known and expand our sensory awareness so that we can access our imagination, intuition, and instinct, and then act on what we sense in a way that is innovative and fresh. In leading from the energetic field, it can be useful to slow down and take a breath. Imagine that you are taking a helicopter ride above the situation. What are the cycles and patterns you notice? What’s the big picture? What do you understand not just with your mind but with the whole of your sensory being? Which of these expressions of leadership feel the most comfortable and familiar to you? Which one feels the most challenging? Practicing expressions that are more unfamiliar will bring agility and range to your leadership. Experimenting and embracing failure is the best leadership practice of all. While the big events of our lives create the impetus for change, it is the momentby-moment choices that mold and shape us. By choosing to experiment and try new things regularly, we develop confidence in
our ability to fail and recover in a range of different situations. Failure is a natural part of learning and developing, and it teaches us to be resolute and steadfast in our endeavors. The more we choose to experiment with the unfamiliar, the more we fortify our self-confidence and our certainty that we will be able to weather whatever life might send our way. We are conditioned to think that we are somehow all alone and that in order to lead effectively, we must have all the answers and solutions already worked out on our own. This false sense of isolation is insidious and pervasive. These different expressions of leadership help us access the resources that are available all around us. We have vast resources at our fingertips. They are within us in the depth of leading from within. These resources offer themselves through the people we connect with by leading from in front, behind, and beside. They reverberate throughout the huge field of information available when we lead from the energetic field. When we truly grasp all that is available, a whole new world becomes possible. AQ Karen Kimsey-House is co-CEO of The Coaches Training Institute (CTI), a global coaching and leadership development organization offering programs in 20 countries. Additionally, Kimsey-House is the co-author of Co-Active Coaching (Nicholas Brealey America, 2011) and Co-Active Leadership (Berrett-Koehler, 2015) and a frequent blogger for the Huffington Post. For more information on Kimsey-House’s work, go to www.coactive.com
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HIPOs in the Pursuit of
Happiness By Sydney Savion, EdD
“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization.” —Abraham Maslow The Pursuit of Happyness, based on a true story about a man named Christopher Gardner, focuses on the riveting life struggle of single parent Gardner and his young son. The two are homeless for almost a year after Gardner invests his life savings in a portable bone density scanner that offers a quantum leap over standard exams. However, the technology is only slightly better and costs much more. As Gardner tries to sort out how to make more sales, his life begins to crumble. His wife leaves him, and he loses his home, bank account, and credit cards. He is forced to live on the streets and in shelters with his son. But Gardner is extremely self-confident, quick-witted, and determined to be successful and to find a steady job. His resolve pays off, and he lands an unpaid six-month internship in a fiercely competitive Dean Witter stockbroker training program. Ultimately, he earns the coveted full-time position as a broker and prevails over his harrowing obstacles, rising to prominence as a Wall Street stockbroker, investor, entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. Gardner displayed seven incomparable qualities: true expertise, agile mindedness and continuous learning, collaboration, ambition, a career focus, an ability to earn respect, and true grit. He was unwavering in realizing his full potential.
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The Pursuit of Happyness is a film, but many high-potential employees (HIPOs) exhibit these same traits. They too are on a quest and have the desire, ability, motivation, and commitment to attain the next level.
WHAT DEFINES TRUE HIPOs All employees do not want the same thing, and therefore they should not all be developed or measured equally. Their goals, capabilities, values, attitudes, mental agility, priorities, and higher-level needs are unique. What drives one employee’s level of ambition compared with another’s? High-potential employees tend to be self-actualizing individuals. They have a desire for personal growth and seek out peak experiences to fulfill their potential. According to Abraham Maslow, self-actualization is “the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” Self-actualized people tend to be happy people, and happy people tend to be more productive. HIPOs are the “rising stars” and “top talent”—a powerful asset that can be leveraged to fuel productivity. They are the linchpin in a company’s capacity to survive or thrive. According
to recent research from CEB, HIPOs are 91% more valuable than non-HIPOs and generate up to 3.5 times their total compensation for the business. Unfortunately, today’s HIPO programs are failing: • Only one in six HR professionals is satisfied with the organization’s HIPO program • 50% of identified HIPOs will drop out of their program within five years • Less than half of HIPOs are engaged All signs point to a shrinking pool of top talent. Look at the human capital trends reports. This is a competitive market— the era of the candidate-driven marketplace. The contest for top talent is fierce, which paints a favorable landscape for unhappy HIPOs. Fostering a culture where HIPOs can grow and succeed is vital. Culture is a powerful energy source that can be harnessed to kindle or dampen a HIPO’s potential. In business, as in life, change is inevitable. For HIPOs, the natural desire is to become everything they are capable of becoming. The voluntary separation rate among average employees has solidly trended upward, from 7% in 2010 to 8.4% in 2012. Even more staggering is the turnover for HIPOs who are vital to the success of an organization. The departure of HIPOs rose from 2.4% to 2.8%, a 16.7% increase, from 2010 to 2012, according PwC Saratoga’s 2013/2014 U.S. Human Capital Effectiveness Report. As the turnover trends continue to swell, HIPOs become a flight risk. Their departure generates high replacement costs and threatens a company’s growth. This brings us to the question confronting many human resources and business leaders today: Do you have a clear,
actionable strategy for recognizing, retaining, developing, and bolstering your top talent’s pursuit of happiness and quest to reach their full potential?
SELF-ACTUALIZATION YIELDS HAPPINESS Self-actualizing people enjoy life in general and practically all its aspects. —Abraham Maslow Maslow’s theory—the hierarchy of needs—has been popularized the world over. He asserts that happiness comes from satisfying a hierarchy of needs in a systematic fashion. We exhibit his principles in our daily lives at home and at work when we: • Inhale and exhale, get hungry, thirsty, or chilly, find a place to live, or get tired (biological and physiological needs) • Install a smoke detector or security system, deposit money in the bank, or keep a weapon in the nightstand (safety needs) • Seek out relationships, spend time with friends and family, or join a professional association (love and belongingness needs) • Earn an advanced degree, get recognized as a leader, or compete for a prize (esteem needs) • Realize personal goals, feel self-satisfied, discover your plan and purpose on this earth, or imbue your life with peak experiences (self-actualization needs) Maslow stressed that self-actualization is only triggered once all the basic and mental needs (food, shelter, warmth, security, and a sense of belongingness) are essentially met, though some may reason to the contrary. However, he contended that an individual experiences happiness at each AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 9
We don’t all want the same thing; nor do HIPOs. But it is not a secret that everyone has survival needs and personal growth needs that must be satisfied to yield
happiness. of the four levels leading up to self-actualization. In shedding light on this subject, Maslow described self-actualization as: …experiencing fully, vividly, selflessly, with full concentration and total absorption…an on-going process; it means making each of the many single choices about [one thing or another] to make each of these choices as a growth choice. This is movement toward self-actualization. It is a person’s need to be and do that which the person was ‘born to do.’ A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write. The basic and mental needs are more easily detected than self-actualization needs, which are the ultimate level of psychological development.
provided with focused development as part of a succession plan and are referred to as HIPOs. The Harvard Business Review defines high-potential employees as those who: consistently and significantly outperform their peer groups in a variety of settings and circumstances. While achieving these superior levels of performance, they exhibit behaviors that reflect their companies’ culture and values in an exemplary manner. Moreover, they show a strong capacity to grow and succeed throughout their careers within an organization—more quickly and effectively than their peer groups do.
This is precisely why an intentional and balanced approach to managing HIPOs is imperative. They are the most powerful human assets driving an organization’s success. We don’t all want the same thing; nor do HIPOs. But it is not a secret that everyone has survival needs and personal growth needs that must be satisfied to yield happiness.
Given these characterizations alone, it should not be surprising that HIPOs are in high demand. They are a rare commodity in a seller’s marketplace. CEB’s research revealed that only one in seven high performers is considered “high potential.” HIPOs are in a position to assess their current organization’s culture against a prospective organizational culture to identify the best fit for them to realize happiness.
HIPOs ACCORDING TO WHOM?
Based on their global study of top talent featured in the Harvard Business Review, Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt found that:
In every season of life…we need to be committed to enlarging our personal capacity (even when it’s not comfortable). We need to refuse to be satisfied with our latest accomplishments, as what we’ve accomplished is no longer our potential because it has been realized. —Christine Caine, A Life Unleashed: Giving Birth to Your Dreams Business management research is replete with studies on HIPOs, and with that comes a variety of definitions of the term. Generally speaking, high potentials are employees who can develop into leaders, rather than those who just do the job. Research by the Harvard Business Review shows that high potentials represent the top 3% to 5% of a company’s talent. Some companies may not differentiate HIPOs from the rest of employee population. According to Deloitte, a high-potential employee is: an employee who has been identified as having the potential, ability, and aspiration for successive leadership positions within the company. Often, these employees are
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• One in three high-potential employees admits to not putting their all into their job • One in four believes they’ll be working for another employer by the end of the year • One in five believes that their personal aspirations are different from what the organization has planned for them • Four of 10 have little confidence in their co-workers and even less in the senior team Maslow’s body of work has shown that when people live lives that run counter to their nature and capabilities, the probability of achieving happiness is far less than for those with compatible goals and lived experiences. Setting up the framework that fosters peak experiences for HIPOs increases the odds of successful HIPO retention.
KEEPING YOUR EMERGING TOP TALENT According to a recent CEB report, “Organizations the world over are investing big sums in HIPO development programs
because they rightly see that developing their employees is the best and most efficient way to find their firm’s future leaders.” Organizations with strong leadership can double their revenue and profit growth. This begs another question of leaders: Can established organizational cultures be transformed to account for HIPOs’ pursuit of happiness, for the benefit of the culture’s survival? There is no preready, “change the culture” fix for driving HIPO development programs. However, the heightened awareness that HIPOs fuel productivity and are the linchpin to a company’s survival has proven to reliably lead to a culture change that provokes a call to action. You’ve already heard of the more popularized retention strategies initiated to hold on to HIPOs. They include coaching and financial and nonfinancial incentives. However, offering a blend of coaching and incentives with more intentional measures may assuage concern about the flight risk of HIPOs and safeguard your emerging C-level investment. Here are five measures of actionable practical wisdom to consider: Promote employee engagement. Create a culture that engages, empowers, and inspires your HIPOs to take calculated risks, create, and innovate to move the business ahead. According to Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report, employee engagement and culture issues are the number one challenge companies face around the world: “Culture drives many outcomes in organizations, perhaps most prominently, employee engagement and retention. That can spell bad news for a lot of companies.” As the cost of turnover increases—with current estimates ranging from 30% to 200% of an employee’s annual salary— an unengaged workforce has a global financial impact. According to a CEB finding, nearly 60% of HIPOs experiencing high engagement have a high intent to stay put; this is more than twice the level of HIPOs with little or no engagement. Offer challenging assignments. Provide assignments that HIPOs care about and that will enable them to stretch, learn, and grown. Organizations that can meet HIPOs’ need for self-actualization are likely to effectively moderate HIPO flight. This positions an organization to use the full measure of a HIPO’s inherent nature and capabilities. The upside here is the boosting of overall employee productively to drive business goals. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, HIPOs thrive when they are truly accountable for something meaningful. Foster individual time for reflection. Time is money. But sometimes the most amazing ideas, innovations, and learnings can emerge when you allow employees time to reflect and think on things. We live in a business ecosystem that is almost always in a state of change. Leaders foreign and domestic must keep up with the demands of a dynamic workforce, accelerated technology, increasing globalization, and emerging markets. Consistent, predictable, positive performance is vital to a company’s survival. Encouraging time
for self-reflection gives employees an opportunity to reset and refocus mentally. Create a needs-focused culture. Adopt a culture focused on the needs of HIPOs. Rosemary Haefner, VP of human resources at CareerBuilder, emphasizes that not focusing on the needs of employees translates into a negative experience for the employee and an unfavorable outcome for the company. Maslow stressed that organizational culture should reflect and espouse that an employee’s “basic and physiological needs are paramount.” When organizational culture is laser focused on employee needs and fosters strong learning, the company outperforms its peers. The opposite is true as well. If the culture is not needs-focused, organizational performance declines. When HIPOs believe that their organization has their best interest at heart and will help them become everything they are capable of becoming, they will reciprocate by channeling their best efforts toward the company’s goals. Specify the path to promotion. Be clear about this path. Companies are rarely transparent about who is on the list of promotions. For HIPOs, being promoted is a key ingredient toward self-actualization and happiness. This point is revealed by Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. Self-actualization culminates at the top of the pyramid, where HIPOs focus on realizing and integrating their talents, intellect, values, and physical and psychological needs. As companies remake their programs to develop and retain HIPOs, empowering employees is a step in the right direction. Maslow’s principles of human motivation can be put to good use by managers and human resources and talent management leaders to better understand and inform their decisions about HIPO development needs and motivations. This approach is far more likely to generate high productivity and job satisfaction than is leaving it up to chance. The dance between HIPOs and organizational culture is nothing new; nor is the practical wisdom drawn from existing research and best practices. Let’s face it. The survival of the fittest is a phenomenon that repeats itself. Rather than become an organizational casualty due to the flight risk of HIPOs, embrace the chance to foster an organizational culture that promotes the “pursuit of happyness.” Ultimately, culture cannot be escaped. It is a powerful energy source that surrounds us continually. Those companies that take stock of their HIPOs, assess the full measure of their capabilities, and foster an unequaled culture will be well-equipped to fuel HIPOs’ pursuit of happiness and fortify a competitive advantage in the marketplace. AQ As a global learning officer at Dell Inc. for Global Support & Deployment Services, Sydney Savion, EdD, is charged with shaping the global learning strategy and aligning the development of people with the business goals of the organization. During her tenure at Dell Inc., she has led a global team of more than 53 employees responsible for developing global learning solutions for all computer technology products to educate 50,000-plus employees across North America, Europe, Asia, and emerging countries.
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An Interview with
George S. Everly Jr.
The Journey to Resiliency By Christiane Truelove
AMA Quarterly took the opportunity to speak with George S. Everly Jr., PhD, the lead author of Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed. Everly is associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and professor of psychology at Loyola University Maryland. He has been called one of the fathers of modern stress management and has consulted with FEMA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the FBI National Academy. He shared his perspectives on why he wrote the book and why
Photo: COURTESY OF George S. Everly Jr.
resilience is a necessary skill for any leader today.
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Can you give us some background on what thoughts went into Stronger. What were the things that inspired you to write the book, and what drove the findings? GE: For about 25 years, I’ve been doing research on psychology—what makes us psychologically depressed, ill, burned out, those sorts of things. In collaboration with Dr. Ken Smith at Salisbury University, we have been actually building statistical models—almost virtual-reality models, if you will—of what makes people burn out, what makes them satisfied on the job, what affects their job performance, what causes them to want to leave the job, which can be very costly to an organization. Most recently, we even started a new analysis on what makes people consider cheating on the job. In our initial, early research, we were able to predict those things, and we were also able to predict short-term physical illnesses as well as illnesses a year later. So it was a really interesting, powerful, and, I think, important line of research. But it took me 25 years to look at this data and finally say to Ken, “What is the mirror image of the data that we have?” We had been studying pathology, but what’s the opposite of that? Well, it’s buffering, it’s prevention, it’s things that make people well. It’s things that make people immune. It’s things that make people resilient.
We had the data for 25 years [on resiliency], but we just didn’t know we had it. The beauty of being a full professor in academia is being able to do the research you always wanted to do but would never get published. What I really wanted to do was talk to resilient people, because we had all of these numbers that said things, but that’s a skeleton. You have to flesh it out. My first idea was to talk to Congressional Medal of Honor winners, but they were scattered all over the country. However, at the time a lot of movies and books on Navy SEALs had come out, and I thought, perhaps I can get access to Navy SEALs. That’s not as easy as you think, but I was successful because I am tenacious—which is one of the factors of resilience in the book—and I interviewed individual SEALs and ran a couple of focus groups of Navy SEALs. That’s when I met Dennis McCormack [one of the co-authors of Stronger]. I did not know Dennis was a psychologist, I knew him as a Navy SEAL. Dennis was one of the first Navy SEALs, the very first group. We began talking, and I told him I wanted to do this book about what allows people to bounce back from adversity, because everyone will go through problems in life.
Lessons Learned About Human Resilience BY GEORGE S. EVERLY Jr., PhD, DOUGLAS A. STROUSE, PhD, AND DENNIS K. McCORMACK, PhD
The authors’ quest to understand human resilience began as three very different journeys stretching over the course of almost 140 years of collective experience. One journey was that of a researcher and clinician seeking the “truth” to make others stronger. The second journey was that of a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, and grieving father seeking to help others so that they would never have to grieve as he did. The third was the journey of a U.S. Navy SEAL as part of a commitment to his SEAL brothers that began in Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEAL (BUD/S) training. But a fourth journey was soon to be revealed—our collective journey. One in which we analyzed our respective experiences for common elements while seeking to understand divergences. At the same time, we sought to integrate the perspectives of others, those we referred to as extraordinary people, all of whom had extraordinary stories of resilience in the face of extreme challenges, adversity, or even despair. Some enjoy varying degrees of celebrity, such as Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Craig, Ben Carson, Martin O’Malley, and Dutch Ruppersberger, but most do not.
Our respective journeys have not ended here. We’re simply pausing to reflect and share. So, what do we think are the most significant lessons learned about human resilience as taught through history, personal reflection, scientific inquiry, and case study empiricism? What are the most important things we should teach our children to prepare them for a world that will not care for them as we would? What are the most important things we should teach aspiring athletes who desire to break the records of the past, the fledgling performers who aspire to bring us to our feet in spontaneous applause, and the students whose search for knowledge is not merely an academic pursuit but a passion? What is it we would teach the researchers who dream of curing cancer, the visionaries in business and finance who want to develop more efficient and effective organizations, those in leadership who understand that their legacy will reside not in what they take but in what they leave to those who followed, and to the parents who understand that success in childrearing is defined as eventually seeing their role of parent in their children’s lives become obsolete?
Whether the message was how to prepare for, endure, or rebound from adversity, the stories were replete with lessons to be learned. Could you see how these stories might help you in your own personal journey?
The answer, we believe, is to learn to be resilient in the wake of adversity, rejection, unfairness, and failure. Develop your own variation of psychological body armor derived from the five factors of human resilience discussed within our book, Stronger:
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He said he wanted to participate and had a lot of people we could talk to. [Among the people interviewed], we have a former assistant secretary of defense, who was a SEAL, and a commander of naval warfare, special operations. And we had some law enforcement personnel in there. But we started to interview other people as well. I’m a medical officer for ATF, and we respond to any crime that uses explosives. The Boston Marathon bombing was one of them, and I was involved in the ATF response to that. Almost inadvertently, we came across a woman, Erika Brannock, who lost her leg. She was only three feet away from one of the bombs and almost died, but survived. We interviewed her about what it takes to recover from the loss of a limb and the trauma. We also interviewed the world’s only fully recovered quadriplegic [Pat Rummerfield]. The guy had a broken neck and only 72 hours to live. And he wound up running a marathon and running a triathlon. What kind of resilience does that take? We also decided to try, and this was early on, to interview people we would thought would run for president. One Democrat and one Republican. I knew Hillary [Clinton]
was outside of our range of grasp, so we got [Maryland Governor] Martin O’Malley, and Ben Carson on the other side. We wanted to know what it takes to enter the crucible of media scrutiny. And I would have been neglectful if I didn’t interview people from [Tom] Brokaw’s “greatest generation.” I interviewed one of the most famous Army Air Corps pilots, a guy named Quentin Aanenson. His plane is actually in the Smithsonian. He flew over the beaches of Normandy, where the survival rate was less than 20%. He has two airports named after him and had a four-hour PBS special done about him. He’s a fascinating guy, and I interviewed his wife as well. And then the guy I knew the most about, was my father. I was hesitant to put him in the book because I thought it would be self-serving, but I realized he was an extraordinary case, especially the issue around D-day. He didn’t tell me until 50 years after that he was part of the D-day invasion. He didn’t even want the medal. I thought there was something very different about these people, and Quentin Aanenson was the same. They seemed to understand that they were a part of something greater than themselves, and they took that responsibility very
Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed. But as you consider how these five factors are applicable to your own life, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Simplicity Matters It is our collective opinion that the essence of human resilience resides in the five factors we have presented in this volume. When we initially published our findings in a professional journal, we identified these seven characteristics of highly resilient people: • Optimism • Decisive action • Honesty • Tenacity • Interpersonal connectedness • Self-control • Présence d’esprit: calm, innovative, nondogmatic thinking In Stronger, we have focused on the first five, our five factors of personal resilience, as major chapters while integrating aspects of self-control and nondogmatic thinking throughout those chapters simply for ease of presentation. That is not to diminish the respective values of the last two. The science of human resilience can be paralyzingly granular and abstruse. Our quest was not intended to be definitive but to offer a user-friendly, heuristic, and prescriptive formulation.
Our Five Factors Are Sequential Ideally, our five factors of personal resilience are a sequential prescription.
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seriously. They understood that it is sometimes necessary to give up who you are to become something greater in the future. And most people aren’t [willing to make the sacrifice], by the way. So that’s how the trajectory evolved. [Co-author] Douglas A. Strouse is an organizational expert and psychologist, and he was with me for a previous book about leadership. I think [the book] turned out far better by blending a lot of different interviews, not just having a book where I pontificate about something.
How have you seen the lessons of this book develop? If you were to rewrite this book, what would you change or add to it? GE: Honestly, I wouldn’t change much of anything. What I would do is realize that there is something I missed, and I wouldn’t add to it, I would write a whole other book about it. In the book, we talk about resilience as being the ability to withstand or bounce back from adversity. And sadly, it wasn’t until after the book was done—and the research is ongoing and never-ending—that I realized that I should have treated “withstand” differently from “bounce back,” because
phenomenologically they are different. Withstanding is actually a sense of immunity. There really are people who are psychologically and behaviorally immune to adversity, to different degrees. It’s like a vaccination; you develop a partial immunity. Bouncing back means that you got knocked down, and the immune people never got knocked down. This came about because of a lecture I gave at the Institute of Medicine back in May. They were doing a report on what they called “The Ready and Resilient Workforce,” and they asked me to contribute to that. Last May they asked me to come back because there was some confusion about the core definition of resiliency. And I was arguing that the immunity—the psychological body armor, if you will—is different than getting back up, which is the resilience part. And they said, “Can you prove it, that they’re different?” In science, that’s a fair question. So I did a lot of research and discovered that there was a construct distinctiveness between immunity and resilience. And what I discovered is that there is a different part of the brain involved in immunity than in resilience. Some drugs foster resilience and some drugs foster resistance or immunity. That finding was actually very important. It’s something I would have clarified in the book and should
1. Active optimism. Active optimism is more than a hope or a belief. It’s a mandate to bounce back, to be successful, to avoid being a victim. Active optimism is the belief that you can be an agent of change. Optimism breeds self-confidence that can become a self-fulfilling prophecy when it is honed with a dose of realism. Optimistic people are often viewed as more attractive to others than are pessimists. But the optimistic mandate to be resilient alone is not enough. It must lead to . . .
tenaciously show up. Show up and carry with you a relentless defiance of failure (but keep in mind that success may have to be redefined occasionally). Marine General Oliver Smith is quoted in Time magazine about his change of direction during the Korean War’s Battle of Chosin Reservoir. He said, “Retreat, hell! We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction.” To find hidden opportunities and aid in physical and psychological energy, rely upon…
2. Decisive action. You must act in order to rebound. You must
5. Interpersonal support. Remember, no person is, nor ever
learn to leave behind the comfort of the status quo and make difficult decisions. To paraphrase Mark Twain, if all you do is sit on the right track and wait for something to happen, it will. You will get run over. Or, perhaps at least an opportunity will be lost. Being decisive is hard. That’s why it’s rare. But by being decisive you distinguish yourself from others, usually in a positive way. As such you may then become the beneficiary of the “halo effect,” a lasting positive regard in the eyes of others. Making hard decisions to act is made easier when based upon a. . .
3. Moral compass. There are four points to our moral compass:
honor, integrity, fidelity, and ethics. Use them to guide your decisions under challenging circumstances. Simply do what is right and just. Your actions always have consequences. Consider the consequences of your actions not just for you but for others as well. Once your decisions have been made, employ . . .
4. Relentless tenacity and determination. In 1989, Woody Allen was credited with proffering the notion that about 80% of success is showing up. We can modify that notion somewhat and say success often comes to those who not only show up but
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should be, an island. Great strength is derived from the support of others. Going through life alone means no one has your back. Surround yourself with those of a compassionate heart and supportive presence. Knowing when to rely upon others is a sign of strength and wisdom. Supportive relationships are most commonly earned, however. Give to others. Be supportive without any expectation of a return. It will be the best external investment you can ever make.
Resilience Can Be Learned at Any Age Of course, we acknowledge that some things are best learned at a young age. This is because of the enhanced neural plasticity, or malleability, of the young brain. Ironically, according to new research, extreme adversity, stress, and traumatic events can cause the release of a cascade of neurological and neuroendocrine events that mimic, if not temporarily replicate, the neural plasticity of youth and in doing so actually facilitate learning. The stress-related neurotransmitters norepinephrine and
have, but it’s such a large topic it wouldn’t have fit in the book. It deserves another book, and that would be about immunity—psychological body armor.
But Stronger is more about resilience than immunity, correct? GE: It is, and given that this is a business book, resilience is still the most important topic. Because people and businesses often find themselves in adverse market conditions, through no fault of their own. Look at the stock markets. In a previous life, I had a bachelor’s and master’s in business. Almost everything I remember about economics has been disproved at this point. So the people who are doing well are the ones thinking on their feet and who are able to adapt to volatility. But the old strategies, Warren Buffet being an exception, just aren’t as productive as some of the new strategies. So what part of “volatility” means—volatility in markets as well as in life—is that you’re going to get knocked down. There’s just no question about it. To think that you can develop an immunity that is 100% effective is just silly.
There really are people who are psychologically and behaviorally immune to adversity, to different degrees. It’s like a vaccination; you develop a partial immunity. Bouncing back means that you got knocked down, and the immune people never got knocked down.
Just take a look at last year’s flu shots—18% effective. Most of the people who got flu shots, got the flu. The immunity wasn’t that effective. What it probably did do was take some
On a more positive note, the first author still remembers the nurse who aided me after an unexpected surgery in a hospital away from home. I was afraid. She brought me ice cream. I proposed. She declined, citing an age disparity. I was 5, she was 28. I still remember her face. Resilience is often about focusing on the positive aspects of lifechanging events while minimizing the negative. Some argue that life-changing events that seem horrific at first later become a platform for subsequent growth and new opportunities.
Self-Efficacy Is a Useful FRAMEWORK for Learning the Factors of Resilience glutamate, as well as the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, a glutamate neurotransmitter receptor, are the predominant devices for controlling neuronal synaptic plasticity, which is the cellular basis for memory formation and memory function. Norepinephrine and NMDA are known to enhance memory under highly stressful conditions. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not. A key phenomenological characteristic of many life-changing events is the fact that the memories of those events are easily recalled, often in vivid detail. They reside for a lifetime just beneath consciousness, ready to surface at a moment’s notice. During our extensive work at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks, we were struck by the fact that the memories of that day were seared into the minds of those who were there, seemingly immune to the usual memorydegradation process.
Albert Bandura’s brilliant model for acquiring self-efficacy and personal agency (the optimistic belief that you can be an effective agent of change) is a useful tool for learning each of our five factors of human resilience. So let’s review. Bandura offers four learning prescriptions for the acquisition and maintenance of self-efficacy that are generically applicable to each of our five factors of personal resilience: n Seek to successfully demonstrate and repeatedly practice
each factor of personal resilience. Success is a powerful learning tool—just do it! If the challenge is too large or complex at first, start by taking small steps in the desired direction. Don’t try to achieve too much at first. And keep trying until you succeed. The first success is the hardest. n Observe resilient people. Use them as role models. Human
beings learn largely by observation. Frequent venues where you can watch people exhibiting the skills you wish to acquire.
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of the sting out of it, reduce some of the severity. Did it prevent you from getting ill? No. The question is, how quickly did you bounce back? Work with the metaphor here: When you get sick, fluids are critical. There are natural virucides, such as zinc and vitamin C. They don’t prevent you from getting sick, but they do help you bounce back. John Kennedy was quoted as saying, and it certainly wasn’t his line, that the rising tide lifts all boats. I’m also an entrepreneur. I’ve founded a United Nations-related foundation, and I founded a department of psychiatry at a hospital. I’m a businessman. I actually look forward to adverse market conditions because I always grow my business when that happens. When everything is doing well, I have competition. I have more competition because people are just riding the wave. The really skilled entrepreneurs are the ones who look forward to the adversity. And this is just not my bloviating on this particular point. I had a professorship in Hong Kong one time, and one of my students wrote on the board two symbols in Mandarin. “This word is ‘crisis,’” he said. “It consists of two symbols. One means ‘danger.’ The other means ‘possibility.’ The people who are brilliant focus on the opportunity. The rest of the world focuses on the danger.”
Most people either break even or lose money in the stock market, for the most part. The people who are willing to take the risks—and they will get knocked down—are the people who have the wherewithal to get back up.
For the executives who read this book, what is the main lesson that you would want them to take away? GE: This is largely for the person—the personal aspect of the executive—that the greatest resource the entrepreneur has is him- or herself. The second-greatest resource will be the supportive networks they build around them. What we’ve been able to do in this book is identify the five most important factors predicting resilience. And they are not listed in categorical style; they’re almost algorithmic. We’ve given the executives a formula for building personal as well as organizational resilience, because in the final analysis, organizations are people. I’ve had projects where I’ve gone into organizations and have taught this method, and if you teach this to your first-line managers, they will create a culture of resilience. This is a formula for creating an organizational culture of resilience. This is a formula for creating a familial culture of
According to Bandura’s research, during times such as these, it’s important to control your stress arousal so it doesn’t become excessive. Techniques such as breath counting or controlled deep breathing (used by snipers in the military), distraction techniques, and visual imagery have all been shown to be effective in reducing excessive stress arousal.
Read books about people who have overcome obstacles similar to those you face. Call or write them. Ask them to share their lessons learned. Their successes will be contagious. n Vigorously pursue the encouragement and support of others.
Affiliate with supportive and compassionate people who are willing to give of themselves to be supportive of you. n Practice self-control. In highly stressful times, myriad
physiological and behavioral reactions occur. Physiologically, people experience the fight-or-flight response. This cascade of hormones such as adrenaline better prepares you to fight or to
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Also, remember to take care of yourself, physically as well as psychologically. Maladaptive self-medication is a common pattern of behavior for people who find themselves in the abyss. Alcohol has long been observed as a chemical crutch. Others that have only recently emerged are the myriad energy drinks on the market. Both of these crutches have been linked to numerous physical ailments and even deaths. If you are looking for the best single physical mechanism to aid you in your ascent from the abyss, it’s establishing healthy patterns of rest and sleep.
Monitor Your Resilience In Chapters One through Five, we asked you to complete selfassessments so you might gain some insight into your resilience. These were not direct clinical assessments but subjective
Photo: COURTESY OF Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstockcom
flee a threat. They increase your heart rate, muscle strength, and tension. They dramatically improve your memory for certain things while decreasing your ability to remember others, and they cause your blood vessels to shift their priorities. This often results in headaches, cold hands and feet, and even an upset gastrointestinal system. The most significant problem, however, is that this very basic survival mechanism also tends to interfere with rational judgment and problem solving.
resilience. This is a formula for creating a personal culture of resilience.
So I have to make a plan in case I get caught?” If any of those are a yes, then it’s probably a bad decision.
You start with optimism, but it’s not the passive optimism. Optimism is a mandate for change. It’s not the passive, “I hope things will turn out well. I believe things will turn out well.” It is a mandate of, “I will make things turn out well.” But optimism alone is useless without being willing to pull the triggers, to be decisive. Have you ever worked for someone who couldn’t make a decision? It sucks the life out of you! You’ve got to be willing to make a decision.
So you have the optimism, the decisiveness governed by a moral compass, and now, the single greatest predictor of success in any human endeavor—tenacity.
That’s where resilience is critical, because invariably, you’ll make a bad decision. Rather than lament the bad decision, you’ve got to bounce back from it. So optimism, followed by decisiveness. Some people say the world is a nefarious place, it’s a tricky place, so having a formula for decision making is helpful, having a moral compass. Rather than remembering what lies you had to tell, you tell the truth. We put that in a formula in the book. If you’re in a quandary about someone, ask yourself, “Am I taking advantage of somebody? Is my goal to deceive? If someone that I love were to find out, would I be embarrassed about it?
And the greatest predictor of resilience is interpersonal support. What you give away to others will be your legacy. And they will take care of you. There are all the stories of people coming back and taking care of their mentors. When you’re young, you don’t understand that giving away is one of the best things that you can do. Cultivate your manager. Remember, as a parent, the goal is to make your job obsolete. It seems counterintuitive, but I tell managers, “That’s your goal. Train your people to take over your job.” Most managers protect themselves from someone taking their job. But usually, if you do it in a constructive, helpful, resilient environment, the person who takes your job ultimately has pushed you up. And they will protect you throughout your career. The people you step on, the people you try to hurt—they’ll remember you for a lifetime. AQ
A musician for 80 years, he once said, “Old musicians never die; their song has ended, but their melody lingers on.” Extraordinarily resilient people leave a melody that lingers. surveys that allow you to quickly and easily assess your resilience on an ongoing basis. You can use these simple tools to plot the trajectory of your resilience over time. For example, take these surveys the first of every month and see how these indirect measures of resilience vary with time. Should you see a decline, look for the cause. Ask yourself if there is something you can do to reduce or eliminate exposure to stressful events. If not, make a concerted effort to employ the tactics in Stronger to strengthen your personal resilience. While these surveys are not clinical assessments per se, we do know that the factors of resilience they measure inversely correlate with stress arousal and burnout. Simply said, it appears that the greater the resilience factors in your life, the less stress and burnout you’ll experience. So work these techniques and take the assessments monthly. The higher your scores, the better.
Study the Past: Resilience in Their Own Words Those who went before us can teach us a great deal. As philosopher and author George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George
S. Everly Sr., whom we profiled in Chapter Three, was a member of Tom Brokaw’s “greatest generation.” A musician for 80 years, he once said, “Old musicians never die; their song has ended, but their melody lingers on.” Extraordinarily resilient people leave a melody that lingers. It’s a melody that can teach us much if we are wise enough to listen. Let’s listen one last time. George S. Everly Jr. is associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and professor of psychology at Loyola University Maryland. One of the fathers of modern stress management, he has consulted with FEMA, ATF, and the FBI National Academy. Douglas A. Strouse is founder and CEO of Global Data Source. He has a doctorate in organizational psychology and is a recognized expert on business resilience. Dennis K. McCormack is one of the original Navy SEALs. A pioneer in special operations leadership, he holds doctoral degrees in leadership and clinical psychology. Adapted, with permission of the publisher, from Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed by George S. Everly Jr., PhD, Douglas A. Strouse, PhD, and Dennis K. McCormack, PhD. Copyright 2015 by George S. Everly, Douglas A. Strouse, and Dennis K. McCormack. Published by AMACOM.
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AMA’s TALENT TRANSFORMATION SOLUTION BY NICOLE MORGENSTERN
A new talent development roadmap can provide the framework for talent assessment and cultivation in your organization—and give leaders the competencies they need for them and their companies to thrive. Does your company have a strategy designed to meet changes in technology, customer demands, and competitive pressures? Do you have a clear organizational strategy? Are you meeting your strategic objectives? There can be frustration associated with making changes and implementing strategies. Setting the direction, making plans, and designing processes are hard enough, but the most significant barrier is almost always trying to get your people to implement the plan. No matter how much things change, the success of a company always comes back to the same thing: How capable are your people? Not just a few hotshots at the top, but the people who are doing the work and managing on the front lines. Are they ready to take on more responsibility? Do they know not only their own specialty, but enough about the whole system to make smart business decisions? Are they solid critical and analytical thinkers with the ability to see the big picture? Can they build and maintain strong working relationships and function effectively in a team, but also take on a leadership role so that your strategy is actually implemented? Strength in one or two areas is no longer enough. Success in a competitive environment requires a workforce of “total professionals”—individuals who can work together to deploy all of these skills in order to achieve all your strategic objectives.
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Getting this kind of bench strength depends on having robust and aligned talent management systems in place. You need a clearly articulated talent management model, and people whose skills are aligned not only with the job requirements for today but also the requirements your company will have in 2, 3, 5, or even 10 years. To achieve this, you must have tools in place to effectively assess your employees’ skills and identify strengths and gaps. And you need a plan and good partners to help further develop strengths and close the gaps. What would it take to achieve this level of success in your organization? And what would it look like? AMA’s talent transformation solution is a development roadmap that captures a broad range of professional competencies needed by most organizations and managers to be successful in today’s competitive landscape. The roadmap contains four categories that intuitively organize these professional competencies: professional effectiveness; relationship management; business acumen; and analytical intelligence. The roadmap paints skill groupings with a broad brush, but it is easy to understand and serves as a basis for assessment, development, and selection. Let’s look at each category in more detail.
How about you as an individual, progressing in your career? Do you want to be a key player in your organization? You’re probably really good at some things, but to be truly valuable and desirable, you need to be a well-rounded professional. increase over time. Relationship management includes leading and influencing others to achieve common objectives with vision, communication, and interpersonal skills. Professionals with these skills are able to influence a range of stakeholders, including peers, bosses, direct reports, groups and teams, in pursuit of shared goals.
Professional Effectiveness These are the skills professionals begin working on even before they start their first jobs. Ambitious professionals continue to polish these competencies throughout their careers. This category includes skills related to self-management, personal productivity, and the ability to achieve goals. To that end, professionals must be able to communicate and present ideas in ways that have an impact and form positive interpersonal relationships. A professional with these skills contributes to organizational objectives through refined professional skills and personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Organizations lean toward recruiting talent who already possess professional effectiveness skills. But frequently people who have technical skills needed by the organization may lack professional effectiveness skills. For example, they may have underdeveloped communication or interpersonal skills. No matter what their job in the organization, professionals are expected to develop, throughout their careers, these competencies in order to get things done effectively: • Managing emotions and resilience • Personal productivity • Confidence, personal brand, and image • Communication and presentation skills • Flexibility and comfort with ambiguity
• Drive, initiative, and accountability • Social intelligence and interpersonal skills • Stamina and energy • Networking • Assertiveness
A professional who masters the following skills can contribute to organizational objectives by influencing and motivating others to work together to achieve those objectives: • Collaboration and teamwork • Developing people • Delegating and enabling • Performance management • Inspiring and motivating • Managing performance and accountability
• Power and politics • Influence and persuasion • Negotiation and conflict resolution • Ethics and fairness • Managing and communicating across cultures
Business Acumen Professionals typically begin their careers in one of the organization’s functional areas. As they mature, they develop deep expertise in their function and an understanding of other functions and processes, and how they optimally interact. To take on higher responsibility and make better decisions, they must understand how the business works at functional, financial, and strategic levels. The skills needed to contribute to organizational objectives, using all facets of business savvy and expertise to create and add value, are: • Financial literacy • Strategy • HR for line managers • Customer focus • Deep expertise in own • Innovation function • Project management • Understanding how functions work together to create value
As professionals rise in the organization, their personal impact goes from interpersonal relationships to a broader scale. They are expected to take on leadership responsibility for groups of people, and the size and complexity of these groups tend to
Powering effectiveness in the other areas requires a sharp and disciplined mind. People are born with different aptitudes, but disciplined and organized thinking can be developed and improved in all professionals. Analytical intelligence enables a AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 21
Ask the Learning Manager How has the role of the CLO changed? are being held more accountable for adding value to their “CLOs organization and assessing the impact that learning is having on their employees, quality, and productivity. Competencybased educational courses rooted in research that links to skill building, emotional intelligence, leadership development, and engagement will be the standard that CLOs will be expected to provide.”
Caryl A. Hess, PhD, MBA, Director, Office of Leadership Development & Leadership Academy Augusta University, Medical College of Georgia, and GR Health System
role of a CLO is becoming much more about connecting “The learning opportunities with every aspect of the business. In
healthcare, as the landscape continues to evolve, learning is moving beyond the traditional delivery methods to everyday social interactions.”
Lisa Cannata, Chief Learning Officer, Orlando Health
he expectations of learning and development (L&D) teams “ Thave been changing over the past several years. The days of
managing development classes and calendars are evolving. Many companies are looking for a strategic partner that can offer employees the right mix of learning experiences to perform at a high level. CLOs are starting to develop all levels of their training organizations to align learning initiatives with strategic goals for maximum business impact.”
Mara Lawler, Strategic Training Manager, BASF
professional to think in a clear and organized fashion, analyze and create insights out of data and situations, and apply critical thinking to arrive at sound decisions and wellthought-out ideas. A professional can contribute to organizational objectives through disciplined thinking and smart decisions with these skills: • Analytical reasoning • Research and synthesis • Setting goals and prioritizing • Critical thinking • Planning and organizing • Computer and media skills • Creative thinking
• Business process design • Systems thinking • Quantitative business analysis • Judgment, decision making, and problem solving
AMA research shows that these skills are increasingly vital to the competitiveness and effectiveness of organizations and also are key to solving global challenges. When the supply of talent does not meet demand, organizations rely on training to develop these skills in their workforce. In our research, companies pointed to a particular lack of analytical skills in Generation Y. At the same time, we
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see almost every function requiring powerful analytics to run competitively. This includes functions that were not traditionally thought of as quantitative. Witness the rising importance of Big Data in sales and marketing, or talent analytics in human resource management. Finally, new hires with fresh degrees in disciplines the company needs will rarely have skills in all four competency groups. These skills are not typically offered as part of university majors. Even the most gifted and polished individual needs development to make the connection between skill sets (such as applying analytical intelligence to real-life business challenges) and to mature skills over time.
Assessing Your Organization’s Talent To help organizations assess competencies and target development initiatives, AMA has a wide range of diagnostics built around the talent transformation solution roadmap. These include: • AMA’s AT3, a self-assessment that allows an individual to reflect upon and answer a set of questions about his or her competence in the four categories, leading to an automatic scored report with development recommendations. To compare your organization’s bench strength against comparable organizations, contact 877-566-9441. Or to preview the AT3 tool, visit www.amaTalentTool.com. Given the compelling benefits and low costs, AMA’s Talent Transformation Tool is a strong self-assessment tool that organizations should be using. This diagnostic tool is especially useful for performance-enhancement opportunities such as the creation of individual development plans. • The launch in early 2016 of a trio of online, knowledgebased assessments being developed for new, midcareer, and experienced professionals. These assessments will generate both individual and aggregate results so that a training and development professional can assess organizational talent at the macro and micro levels, determine where the gaps are, and create and execute a clear talent development plan. • 360-degree assessments and more.
Driving High-Performing Organizations What capabilities do managers need to get employees to do what the company needs to achieve its goals? Managers, and the people who work for them, must be able to flex between a “people” focus and a “things” focus, and between a focus on individual or small-scale work and a focus on the group (team or wider organization) and larger scale. Even the most adept can enhance this flexing ability. Business effectiveness, analytical thinking effectiveness, personal effectiveness, and relationship effectiveness are four interlocking categories of competencies that managers need for themselves and need to cultivate in others. The AMA talent transformation solution provides an iterative roadmap that can help managers achieve more for themselves and their organization. AQ
Ten Action Strategies for Becoming a
High-Impact Leader BY BRIAN BRAUDIS
These types of leaders can be made instead of born, using tactics that build the mindset for achievement. Today’s leaders face a flat-earth information age environment of unprecedented complexity, instantaneous and continually shifting global dynamics, and hypercompetition from around the world. This scenario is turbocharged by nonexistent barriers to entry—not to mention demanding customers who have more power than ever before and ambitious employees who expect to find meaning and purpose in their work. In this environment, the most successful leaders are what I call “high-impact leaders.” They lead with finesse, personal strength, humility, and credibility. They cultivate a climate of innovation through problem solving and idea generation while superbly managing day-to-day operations. They are agile enough to recognize diversity as an organizational strength and sensitive enough to recognize the entire world as a market. There are 10 action strategies that any leader can take to become a high-impact leader. The first five action strategies focus on building the mindset and attitudes required for high-
impact leadership. The second five action strategies leverage the high-impact mindset into high-impact achievement.
Take control of your mind There’s an old saying: “It’s all in your mind.” Surprisingly, in most endeavors, this saying captures the truth. The greatest generals, corporate CEOs, and even champion athletes emphasize that success begins with and builds on the state of your mind. These first five action strategies will help aspiring high-impact leaders take control of their minds.
Be the master, not the servant, of your habits of thought. Gain control over your habits of thought, your beliefs about what is and what is possible. That’s the constructive zone— and the true meaning of strength. You want to change, and you want to evolve and grow. However, you may not realize that your behaviors and thoughts are driven by habits of thought. To put it another way, you are driving on autopilot, AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 23
When newly arrived Campbell Soup CEO Doug Conant declared that part of his recovery plan was to revive condensed soup, he was mocked and ridiculed. and you may not even know it. Awareness of your habits of thought is the first step in switching off the autopilot.
Take control of your thoughts: Mindset & perspective
Guide your actions based on a mindset of confidence. If habits of thought drive your actions, decisions, and behaviors, the first habit of thought you want to develop is a mindset of confidence. Research has shown that there is a dichotomy of mindsets. Some people have a static mindset. They believe their intelligence, energy level, and character are static. Their internal monologue is focused on judgment and the finite. Other people have an open mindset. They believe they have the ability to develop, evolve, and grow their character and intelligence. Their internal monologue is different and goes something like, “I can learn from every situation. What can I take away from this one? How can I turn this mistake into learning?”
Deliver HIGH IMPACT MPACT
Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of Spanx, attributes her success to the mindset instilled by her father that failure was to be celebrated. “My dad growing up encouraged me and my brother to fail. The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome,” Blakely told CNBC. In short, it’s better to try and fail than to accept things as unchangeable.
Recognize that perspective can change everything. Perspective refers to the broad outlook, vista, or point of view of an individual. It is the informational or explanatory “lens” through which we interpret our world, including the interpretation of meaning, experiences, people, motives, and cultures. To move from commodity leadership to unique, individualized, high-impact leadership, we must understand and be open to a wide variety of perspectives. Muhammad Yunus brought a radical new perspective to the banking industry when he showed through his Grameen Bank that banks could make money catering to the poor in the developing world.
Question assumptions. Assumptions are the knee-jerk, autopilot, unverified judgments believed to be truths. Assumptions are often wrong and, at the very least, limiting. Be aware of what you take for granted. Scrutinize the status
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Question assumptions Reframe negatives
10 Action Strategies for Becoming a High-Impact Leader
Aim higher: Ambition & purpose
Lead yourself Develop inner strengths Respond, don't react
quo, refusing to assume that it will continue to serve well. In his 1994 Harvard Business Review article, “The Theory of the Business,” Peter Drucker argued that companies were not succeeding despite their best efforts because “the assumptions on which the organization has been built and is being run no longer fit reality.”
Reframe the negative. A “frame” is a reference, an attitude, a suggested approach, an orientation, or a focus that we adopt or ascribe to an event. It is what we tell ourselves about a situation. Here’s one example of a leader’s frame: “Another round of workforce planning? I’ll never keep morale up. Productivity is going down with employees.” A “reframe” is a shift in reference, an alternate view or attitude. It is a different, more productive, and typically broader view that serves you better. The leader above could reframe the situation as follows: “Today as I give the news of more
downsizing, I’ll point to what we are doing well and how downsizing is temporary—a setback that is a setup for an even better future that we can all create together.”
AIM HIGHER Through a new mindset, the recognition of different perspectives, the questioning of assumptions, and positive reframing, the leader is now intellectually and emotionally prepared to make a major impact on his or her business, employees, communities, and the world. The last five action strategies translate mental preparedness into high-impact leadership.
Become the leader of you. Leadership is tangible energy created by you, not your organization. Embrace the idea that you are a free agent, working for yourself. You are your own business. You are your own advertisement—your own brochure. You are your brand! Your ideas, behaviors, and
in a world of complexity and uncertainty is like dry tinder just waiting for the next problem to serve as a match to light the organization ablaze. By contrast, a composed response in the face of the greatest challenges will project and instill confidence in your team. The nonverbal message is a tranquil assurance that even in rough seas, all is well. You neutralize chaos and defuse turmoil. You become the “team whisperer.”
Embrace the “high ambition” of social value. High ambition is a burning desire to serve larger and create more. It is a desire to be productive, helpful, and focused on elevating others. It is an ambition of service—an ambition to leave a legacy, the mark of true leadership. Leaders with high ambition lead in such a way as to add not just economic value but also (and perhaps most importantly) social value that elevates team members, customers, community, and society. Howard Schultz of Starbucks didn’t only have the ambition
Howard Schultz of Starbucks didn’t only have the ambition to change the way the world drinks coffee. He also had the ambition to make a difference. actions represent and “advertise” who you are, what you are about, the contribution you bring, how open you are, and how much you are willing to invest. Carefully cultivate well-being— building inner strength and nurturing and caring for yourself inside and out. Take extra care with what surrounds you and what is allowed to permeate your surface, your thoughts, and your being. Gandhi captured it best when he said, “I am the message.” Be your message. Be your enterprise.
Develop your inner strengths. When you develop your inner strengths, you no longer have the need to borrow strength from your position, authority, or education. You are fully empowered personally by an intrinsic strength that enables you to be resilient, understanding, flexible, and open to listening and learning. Inner strength is necessary to lead as a high-impact leader in the face of confrontation, uncertainty, fear, negativity, rejection, and ridicule. When newly arrived Campbell Soup CEO Doug Conant declared that part of his recovery plan was to revive condensed soup, he was mocked and ridiculed. Eventually Campbell Soup rebounded due to Conant’s efforts, but the fearless resolve was singular and his alone.
Shift from reacting to responding. Leaders must always be prepared to think, act, and perform as a leader. People are watching. If you react emotionally to challenges rather than respond rationally, soon everyone is reacting in the same way. Reacting shows that you are unprepared. An unprepared leader
to change the way the world drinks coffee. He also had the ambition to make a difference, and he has become one of the business world’s most successful agents of social change.
Define and pursue your higher purpose. A higher purpose will deepen and accelerate your leadership impact. It is your anchor in turbulent times. It’s your true north and key antidote for the anxious, uncertain, and ambiguous world of leadership. You must find, define, and articulate your higher purpose. When leaders find and connect to a higher purpose, they tap into a new energy, a new capacity, and a new ability to thrive. When you have clarity on who you are and why you are a leader, the energy, enthusiasm, and insatiable drive for high impact follows naturally. Whole Foods’ higher purpose is helping to support the health, well-being, and healing of people, customers, team members, and even the planet. Its higher purpose led to an impact on the world that most food store chains would have never envisioned. These 10 strategies do not represent a fixed model, but rather a malleable set of strategies that takes form based on what you learn and bring to this effort. More than anything else, your essence, individual input, creativity, intelligence, and drive will make you a high-impact leader. AQ Brian Braudis is an author and leadership expert. He helps organizations and executives that want to increase clarity, confidence, and control and deliver greater performance, commitment, and execution. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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How to Create a Successful
Self–Brand By Jennefer Witter
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“You too are a brand. Whether you know it or not. Whether you like it or not.” —Marc Eck¯ o, Founder and CEO, Marc Eck¯ o Enterprises Self-branding—also known as personal branding—has been around for almost two decades. It was first mentioned in a Fast Company article in the late 1990s. At the time, most people did not engage in creating their own personal brands. The ones who did were primarily in the high-tech world. Bill Gates is intrinsically linked with Microsoft, and Steve Jobs will always be associated with Apple. Today, more executives have embraced self-branding, from Sir Richard Branson and Virgin to Jessica Alba and the Honest Company.
• You need to define your objective: What do you want your brand to accomplish? Start the process once you answer that. • If you’re the chief executive and/or founder, you must create a self-brand that complements your company’s brand. Developing a self-brand that conflicts with that of your organization’s own positioning can lead to confusion and mixed messaging. That can cause more harm than good.
But not all of us are billionaire entrepreneurs. So what can self-branding do for those executives—whether they’re the head of a startup or a veteran business owner—who aren’t? In two words: a lot. Self-branding offers a multitude of benefits for the savvy user:
STEP 1: CONDUCT AN AUDIT
• It acts as an identifier as you develop or move your business to the next level • It provides you with a distinct advantage over your competition by highlighting your uniqueness • It assists in opening doors and generating revenue • It allows you to communicate who you are in a succinct, thoughtful, and cohesive manner Before we go any further, let’s make sure we are all on the same page as to what exactly self-branding is. At its most basic, it is who you are, what you do, want makes you unique. A self-brand that works is one that is nuanced and encompassing. The Wikipedia definition I have found calls self-branding “the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands…. It also involves creating an asset by defining an individual’s body, clothing, physical appearance and areas of knowledge in a way leading to a uniquely distinguishable, and ideally memorable, impression.” A self-brand is much needed in today’s highly competitive environment. According to a Forbes article in 2013, more than 500,000 small businesses are started—each month. Does this mean that half a million companies are going after your share of the pie? Absolutely not. But what it does mean is that the market is in hyperdrive. You have more competition than ever before going after your client base. Pre-2008, for many of us, business fell from the sky. After the Great Recession, the new normal is working harder to keep and get business and to protect and grow the bottom line. Hence, you need every tool to achieve that, and self-branding is the tool that can help you to get what I call your “unfair share” of business-building attention. Creating a self-brand isn’t hard, but it is time-consuming. The outcome will be worth the energy invested. Before you start to create your self-brand, there are a couple of items to note.
There are five steps in creating a brand:
An audit is a survey of your professional peers. You may be surprised by the difference between how you view yourself and how others see you. An audit will bring that difference to the forefront. This information is needed so that you can eliminate the gap between perception and reality. These are the questions traditionally asked about the audit process: What does an audit include? An audit is generally composed of seven to 10 questions. Any longer and people will hesitate to reply because it might take up more of their already tight time. What should I ask? The first question—“What do I do?”—is very basic, but you may be taken aback by the answers. This question will demonstrate how clearly you have been defining yourself—or not. Other questions to ask are: “What adjectives would you use to describe me?” “What value do I bring to the process?” and “What are my strengths?” The question that strikes the most fear in most executives’ hearts is this one: “What can I do better?” No one wants to hear what they are doing wrong. Regardless, you need to ask it. This is an exercise in constructive criticism, and the responses you receive will create a stronger self-brand. Who should I audit? Reach out to your professional network: business associates, industry colleagues, networking contacts, clients, and industry influencers whom you know and trust. Should I conduct the audit myself? No. It can be awkward. Respondents may hesitate to give their honest feedback and may be less than honest, though more flattering, in their answers. You may wish to outsource the audit or ask a colleague to conduct it on your behalf. Give respondents the option of doing the audit by phone or by email. This will encourage a greater rate of response. I prefer doing audits by phone because you get deeper answers through the conversation.
STEP 2: RESEARCH YOURSELF LinkedIn is a great analytical tool, especially in seeing how AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 27
From $50 Million to $1 Billion: Personal Branding in Action By Jennefer Witter
One of The Boreland Group’s clients was a New York City real estate broker who, at the start of the relationship in 2003, had sold approximately $50 million in residential real estate. Her clients were mainly U.S.-based buyers, sellers, and investors, and her transactions were primarily in New York City. After a New York Times profile led to a substantial increase in inquiries, she decided to focus on her personal brand to further grow her business and differentiate herself from the tens of thousands of real estate agents in Manhattan, one of the most competitive markets in the country. Among the tactics we undertook were to highlight her skills and uniqueness. Included in these were: • Her business background and acumen • Her ability to fluently speak, read, and write multiple languages • Her international background—she was born in South America, raised in the Middle East, and lived in Europe before eventually settling in the United States • Her proven ability to get the most complicated transactions done to the client’s satisfaction In addition, we created a strong positioning statement for her. All of this was threaded throughout all communication conducted
you are perceived by others in your network. Take a look at the “endorsements” section and review the top five skills for which you are endorsed. Does this match the expertise that you want to be known for? Are those skills even within the top five? If the skills are numbers 10, 11, and 12, then there is a definite need for realignment in how people think of you. Do a Google search to see what comes up about you. If anything comes up, is it positive or negative?
STEP 3: COMPILE YOUR DATA Now is the time to review the content you’ve pulled together: the audit results and the research. Look to identify the common threads, what surprises you, and what’s missing. Is everything that you feel is important adequately reflected (or is it omitted)? Is there a significant gap between reality and perception? This is one of the most critical steps in the process. My suggestion is that you first read over everything at least twice, without taking notes. Absorb and mull over the information. Give it thought. And then go back and start taking notes and analyzing the data.
STEP 4: CREATE YOUR STATEMENT With the data and notes in hand, you can now create your selfbranding statement based on the audit and research findings. The statement needs to reflect your value proposition and your uniqueness. You need to keep it attention-grabbing and short—it’s akin to an elevator pitch, in which you describe your company in the time it takes to ride in an elevator. If you have
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on her behalf, whether it was a press interview, a speaking engagement, advertising, or bylined articles. Throughout the ensuing years, we revisited her branding to ensure its relevancy and tweaked it as necessary. The result? By 2013, the broker had broken the billion-dollar sales mark. She expanded her operations beyond New York to Miami and created a global footprint, with clients now coming from South America, Russia, and Europe in addition to the United States. Her personal branding campaign, along with a strong strategic business program and a solid team of real estate professionals behind her, significantly contributed to her success. Even during the Great Recession—which had a deep impact on the real estate market—she remained a top broker and maintained her ranking as one of the country’s elite realtors. A key takeaway from this case history is that results from personal branding do not happen overnight. A successful campaign is one in which the individual is committed to the process, stays on course, and makes adjustments to keep her brand fresh and timely. The result, in the long run, will be worth the effort put against it.
a strong opening, you must have a strong follow-through. Test it with a couple of audit respondents. Based on the responses, you can leave the statement as is or tweak it.
STEP 5: LIVE IT! Don’t spend all this time and effort and then put the project in a drawer. Your branding should be threaded throughout everything you do, from how you introduce yourself at a networking event to your bio. In social media, review your LinkedIn summary and add in skills—or delete some—from your endorsements section. Look for opportunities, such as speaking engagements and bylined articles, where you can further support and showcase yourself and your brand. Self-branding is not just being able to verbally communicate who you are. You also need to create an impression, so you might want to incorporate an image into the mix. Charles Osgood, the host for CBS Sunday Morning, is known for his bow ties. You can always spot Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, at even the most crowded fashion show, thanks to her face-framing sunglasses and pageboy haircut. So take what you have, and use it to your self-brand advantage. As the CEO and founder of The Boreland Group, a boutique public relations firm specializing in corporate visibility, Jennefer Witter is ranked among the top 10 black CEOs/entrepreneurs in the country by MadameNoire magazine. She is the author of The Little Book of Big PR: 100+ Quick Tips to Get Your Small Business Noticed (AMACOM, 2014). Witter often speaks on public relations topics to groups and organizations throughout the country. For more information, visit www.theborelandgroup.com
The High Price of Leaders’ Secrets Underneath the title, the role, or the business jacket of a leader is a human being struggling to figure it out— a leader with secrets. By AmyK Hutchens
eaders keep secrets about their politics, philosophies, and perceptions. They keep secrets about their relationships, competing commitments, and learning curves. And they keep secrets about their fears, foibles, and self-perceived failures. These secrets shape who the leaders are, how they play, and why they lead in a certain way, and they often prevent them from leading more effectively. While every leader has a unique personal story, he or she harbors many of the same secrets and endures many of the same uncertainties and fears faced by a wide variety of individuals in leadership roles. Leaders often keep secrets because they believe others will find it difficult to understand the basis for their leadership success or failure. They believe others will scoff at the simplicity or complexity of their leadership style or criticize their work ethic. Many leaders find it even harder to share their secret fears, weaknesses, and self-doubts for fear of being judged harshly or being perceived as unworthy of their leadership position. Four secrets extracting a high price from modern-day leaders are the “Imposter Syndrome,” “Self-Criticism,” the “Desire for Likability,” and the “Comparison Condition.”
Imposter syndrome One common secret high-performing, overachieving leaders protect is their belief that they are smart, but not as smart as others believe them to be. Leaders who suffer from the Imposter
Syndrome worry that someday someone will discover they’re at the top of the bell curve, which is smack-dab in the middle of average. These leaders believe that they don’t have enough intelligence, skills, or talents in certain areas to warrant the position or title they hold. They worry that someday others will find out that they aren’t as talented and skilled as everyone thinks they are, and they will be ousted for being an imposter. Leaders who fear being “caught” may also avoid taking risks that could reveal their perceived inadequacies. Or they settle for less, not believing they deserve better than mediocre results or average opportunities.
Fears about failing, looking foolish, or not being worthy are fears of perfectionism, the nemesis of selfacceptance. When high achievers move back and forth between the extremes of narcissistic overconfidence and punishing self-doubt, it can prevent them from taking needed actions or cause them to sabotage their own efforts. Feelings of inadequacy are a prime example of how our hidden belief systems about ourselves can manifest in real-life mistakes or selfinduced failures. At the root of the Imposter Syndrome is a lack of self-acceptance. Leaders mistakenly believe that possession of a specific domain expertise should equal AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 29
CEO Insights mastery or perfection without a human’s understandable imperfections. When leaders replace their feelings of inadequacy and paranoia about being discovered a “fraud” with realistic assessments about their valuable contributions, they focus less on their shortcomings and failures and more on how they can best use their gifts and talents to create value.
At the root of the
Imposter Syndrome is a lack of self-acceptance.
• Where in your role do you feel like a fraud? • How might you best close this skill gap or bring in reinforcements?
Self-criticism Another common secret among highachieving leaders is self-criticism and the lack of forgiveness for their own transgressions. Many leaders let a few regrettable moments cripple their potential or truncate their ability to lead a life of purpose. Living a healthy psychological life from the inside out is directly linked to a leader’s ability to accept and respect himself so that he may better accept and respect others. When leaders forgive themselves and use early transgressions to fuel their ability to lead others with greater compassion and empathy later in life, they often garner extremely loyal followers. Leaders who practice self-compassion, without a need for restorative justice, wish themselves well and are then able to extend true compassion, understanding, and forgiveness to others. Leaders who forgive themselves do not deny their responsibility or accountability for who they are and what they do. Forgiveness and self-compassion simply pay homage to their flawed, imperfect humanness. Self-compassion also frees them to move forward more effectively, without the trappings and weight of their transgressions, so that when others experience similar circumstances, leaders show up with empathy and wisdom rather than condemnation. Choosing to live from a state of selfdoubt and self-condemnation perpetuates a selfish focus and limits leaders’ ability to lead productively. The better the care that leaders take of themselves, the more effective they will be for and with their followers. If they are consumed by their own shortcomings and faults, their own mistakes and limiting beliefs, they
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are not able to show up mentally and emotionally focused for others. Leaders must face their transgressions, accept responsibility for them, and then release these transgressions. By replacing their offenses with understanding and wisdom, they transform prior mistakes into wise, compassionate actions and responses further down life’s path. • How is your self-perception inhibiting your ability to lead? • How easily are you able to forgive— yourself and others?
Desire for likability Most individuals would rather be liked than not liked. However, when leaders focus too much on being liked, they cannot lead effectively. When leaders focus on being liked, they unconsciously attempt to please the people they are leading, and people-pleasing can lead to a lack of clarity, integrity, and truth about what
they stand for, where they’re going, and why. People-pleasing alienates followers and fractures the group, reaping the exact opposite of what leaders are trying to do—and that is, gather people together for a common cause, a common goal, a common destination. When leaders focus too much on being liked, they lose the courage to say what needs to be said or do what needs to be done. This lack of courage generates missed opportunities and yields diluted results. Often managers new to their leadership role quickly discover the need to transition their focus from being liked to leading. Focusing on leading does not require leaders to abandon kindness. Behaving in a likable manner, showing mercy, offering forgiveness, and demonstrating self-respect all convey leadership and yield results. A bonus, ironic by-product is that others often like managers more when they’re focused on leading instead of worrying about likability.
One of the boomerang effects of leaders wanting everyone to like them is that they end up not liking themselves. By compromising on their values, telling too many white lies, pretending to be something or someone they’re not, or not standing up for themselves, they sell a piece of themselves until there’s nothing left to respect in the way of self-respect. When leaders focus on connecting with others’ interests and needs instead of attempting to connect via contrived or artificial compliments, when leaders acknowledge and validate real feelings— in themselves and in others—instead of avoiding or dismissing them, and when leaders maintain integrity in their words and actions instead of trying to be everything to all people, those that follow them will do so because they believe in the leader and the ultimate mission. • To what degree do you “go along to get along” and fail to stand up for yourself? • How focused are you on being liked versus leading?
Comparison condition Looking in the mirror at the end of the day can be a painful endeavor for leaders.
It’s that raw moment when they drop the “fake it till you make it” smile. They start wondering how their competitors make success look so easy, so stress free, so simple. The Comparison Condition is one of the worst forms of self-abuse. Leaders who are so busy comparing themselves with other leaders end up living in a world of “should haves” and “should bes.” I should have accomplished more by now. I should have a better resume by now. I should be smarter about forecasting like her. I should be further along in my career like him…. Leaders who lose focus on their own path end up getting derailed, distracted, and diverted from accomplishing their goals. When they spend too much time comparing themselves with everything and everyone, they cannot charge forward with energy and excitement because they’re exhausted, burned out, and emotionally empty. When leaders compare themselves with everything and everyone, they lose their power and ultimately their mojo. When their mojo is lost, they hang on to failed situations too long and sometimes self-destruct. When leaders lose their sense of self, when they drift too far, they also lose their followers.
• When have you strayed to someone else’s path or simply stepped off your own? How did you find your way back? • Who and what are your primary sources for fueling your energy and sparking your mojo today? Might you need new sources? There are myriad motives for leaders to keep secrets, but there is one critical and compelling reason to reveal them. The price that executives pay to lead is a direct reflection of the secrets they keep. When leaders expose the fascinating secrets they keep, they shed light on the secrets that either sabotage their efforts to achieve success or the secrets that galvanize their success and happiness. And when leaders expose their secrets, even if only to themselves, and work through them—they transform the way they lead. AQ A former executive of a billion-dollar global consumer products company, AmyK Hutchens is a catalyst for producing sustainable solutions to a leader’s most pressing challenges. More than 40,000 executives in over nine countries have benefited from her keen insight and intuitive understanding of the issues leaders face. Follow Hutchens on Twitter at @AmyKInc.
DO YOU EXCEL UNDER PRESSURE – or RUN FROM IT?
he answer has nothing to do with your “natural” personal abilities, for inner strength is a learned skill. Stronger draws on decades of research, scientific analysis, and interviews with nearly 1,000 highly resilient people working in stressful professions. Springing from the unique perspectives of a standout team of authors (a stress-management expert, a skilled entrepreneur, and a former Navy SEAL), Stronger studies the heroic exploits of people who succeed against all odds, pinpoints the traits that define them, and reveals how you can develop this vital competitive advantage. “These experts on the subject of human behavior and resilience outline five key factors of personal resilience. . . . every aspiring entrepreneur should understand and develop before initiating a startup.” — Forbes “[A] powerful book that will help you not only understand resilience but learn how to build it for yourself.” — Skip Prichard, Leadership Insights
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Available online and at bookstores everywhere. Visit us at www.amacombooks.org AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 31
Creating Voice for 2016 and Beyond By Rob Bogosian, EdD
Leadership complexity is rapidly increasing. This past year was replete with corporate challenges and wreckages— the Volkswagen emissions crisis, a continuation of General Motors’ ignition defects crisis, Honda Motor Co.’s air bag crisis, and the exposure of a brutal Amazon workplace. At the root of each of these scenarios is a “Culture of Silence,” in which employees willfully withhold important work-related information for reasons that involve you, the leader. As a leader, you must be able to shape and sustain a healthy culture and productive relationships and enable employees to stay fired up and committed to you and the company. A “Culture of Voice”—the opposite of a Culture of Silence—exists when employees know that their voice has merit and that they can contribute openly and honestly in order to be successful. When your employees are silent, when you aren’t hearing any ideas
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or complaints, it might mean they are busy and content. But it might also mean that critical knowledge which could improve processes, stimulate innovation, or even prevent fatal mishaps is blocked. Worst-case scenario, employee silence could threaten your organization’s survival. The history of the Culture of Silence traces back to the Titanic. In Senate testimony given after the disaster, the Titanic’s owner, Joseph Bruce Ismay, admitted the company’s senior leaders hadn’t paid much attention to safety. The color of the first-class carpet was discussed for three hours; the lifeboat capacity issue
was discussed for 15 minutes. Some engineers long suspected the ship could sink under certain circumstances. Why hadn’t those engineers sounded a forceful warning? The Senate testimonials reveal the engineers were put off by the Titanic leaders’ attitudes and believed it would be futile to voice their concerns. The Titanic, GM, and Honda catastrophes all are the result of the phenomenon called “organizational silence.” According to Elizabeth Wolfe Morrison and Frances J. Milliken in “Organizational Silence: A Barrier to Change and Development in a Pluralistic World” (Academy of Management Review, October 2000), silent employees reflect a work environment, a culture, in which important information— relevant knowledge or an innovative idea—is willfully withheld. Although these are extreme, well-publicized examples, a Culture of Silence can exist in any organization, big or small. How is a Culture of Silence created? How do you know if you are operating in a Culture of Silence, and what can you do as a leader to eradicate it? Silence is primarily caused by leader-employee interactions, especially when the employee experiences the leader’s actions as egregious (such as berating in public or taking credit for
one’s ideas). Employees question their personal value system, experience self-doubt, and eventually give up and acquiesce due to external forces requiring them to remain on the job (“I need this job because I’m the primary breadwinner”). Discretionary effort is one area of consequence in a Culture of Silence that should concern every leader. Discretionary effort is the amount of extra performance given by employees above what their job requires for success. The amount of employee discretionary effort shrinks when there is a perception of egregious action on the part of the leader.
Causes and signs of silence Employee silence is either offensive (“I’m not going to speak up to help you. I don’t have your back because I don’t think you have mine”) or defensive (“I would be crazy to speak up. They shoot the messenger here,” or “It’s futile to speak up, so why bother?”). What’s more, if you as a leader are genuinely trying to do your best for the company, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to recognize whether you’re unwittingly sending a message, through your behaviors, that employees should keep their heads down and mouths shut.
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Ultimately, a Culture of Silence boils down to how employees receive and perceive a leader’s actions and the organizational processes and symbols that have been put in place as a result. The place to start understanding employee silence is with your own actions and the beliefs and values that drive them. Think of the perception of leadership behavior as a hierarchy of observable behaviors, values, and (underlying) beliefs, as shown in the figure below. The Perception of Leadership Behavior
Observable Behaviors (Blaming, Controlling)
Values (Family, Integrity, Achievement)
Beliefs “Give people an inch, they’ll take a mile…" "People are capable of greatness."
Your belief system explains how you see the world and what you believe to be true about it. This system drives your values, which are the basis for your observable behavior. Your behavior impacts how your associates experience, perceive, and brand your leadership. You may value control because you believe it’s your responsibility, as a leader, to keep others’ work in check to ensure the organization meets its goals. As a result, you may be less inclined to accept alternate views presented by employees. You may believe that “giving employees an inch means they will most likely take a mile,” and you are also likely to behave in ways that reflect those values. You may require frequent status reports, hold daily update meetings, or retain ultimate decisionmaking control. To carry the example further, status reports may, in this scenario, become an organizational symbol that reinforces employee silence in your workplace. The issue isn’t whether status reports are good or bad. The issue is the underlying belief that drives your need for status reports and frequent check-ins with associates. This belief, if unchecked, can drive behaviors that have undesirable and unanticipated consequences for your employees—such as feeling micromanaged. Consider the story of one senior-level manager at a global manufacturing firm who believed that driving results and controlling projects were part of her job. She often boasted about her work ethic and “drive for results.” However, her
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employees had been burning out and were resentful about the lack of autonomy and overt micromanagement. This leader discovered her beliefs, values, and behaviors actually stemmed from being the oldest child growing up in a household with two working parents. The responsibility for her siblings had rested on her shoulders, and she had worked very hard to keep everything together for them. She learned at a young age that control was her saving grace and kept her siblings safe, and she brought that (formed) perspective into her adult life and work. Within a few weeks of this realization, and without deliberate intent on her part, the manager’s behaviors began to change, and her employees (slowly) began to speak up more than they had in the past. Within a few months, productivity was improving at a faster pace than before. As soon as she understood the connection between her beliefs and her controlling behaviors, she explored ways to separate the behaviors that worked in the past from those in her present work life that had become a potential liability. This transition takes persistence, a desire for self-reflection, and openness to insights and learning. If you value structure and control, and your employees crave that direction, so much the better. But if you value structure and control, and your employees are motivated by autonomy, your desire for structure and control, left unchecked and unexamined, could create tension and unresolved conflict. You can alter your behaviors when and if you receive feedback from those with whom you work. But you’re unlikely to receive feedback if you have fostered employee silence.
Recognizing silence How can you tell if your employees are silent? Start with some heavy self-reflection and ask yourself the following questions (and have other managers throughout the organization do the same). Your responses may indicate signs of silence. • How many employees, within the past month, presented a solution to a problem when you didn’t have a solution to offer? How did you respond? How did they respond to you? • In how many staff meetings, within the past six months, did you get the “bovine stare”—a blank look—from the group when you asked people to give you their opinions and views? How did you respond? How did they respond to you? • Who were the employees, within the past week, to call you or show up at your office (unsolicited) with a new idea? How did you respond? How did they respond to you? • Within the past week, who were the employees that openly disagreed with you? What are their positions/roles in the company? How did you respond? How did they respond to you?
Your answers to these questions may indicate you are operating in a Culture of Silence. Organizations that have a Culture of Voice tend to embrace and encourage innovation and change and successfully implement ideas, products, and services. Take the third question, for example. Suppose a direct report came to you this past week with an idea for changing a procurement process. Suppose you didn’t like the idea and considered it half-baked. To be nice, you thanked the individual for his or her input and said that you would look into the idea, even though you had no intention of doing so. The good news is that your employee was willing to come to you with an idea. The bad news is that by leaving it hanging, you’ve sent an implicit message that the employee’s idea had little merit and really wasn’t worth your time. Consequently, the next time that employee has an idea, he or she may be reluctant to bring it to you. You have inadvertently seeded a Culture of Silence. Lastly, employees will voice contrary views, including open disagreement, only when they are certain there is no risk of retaliation. Research shows that a leader’s openness to different experiences is correlated to his or her attitude toward divergent thinking. Openness is a personality dimension that includes curiosity, imagination, and a tolerance for strange situations, which can foster a Culture of Voice.
Achieving a Culture of Voice For employees, a Culture of Voice means there is no risk associated with open disclosure. One significant benefit of this culture is that knowledge transfer accelerates, resulting in increased knowledge capital. When there is risk, it is usually the result of seeing or hearing that a colleague paid a price for presenting a solution or an idea upward in the organization. Unfortunately, you may be guilty by association (with the management rank). Either way, you can combat this cultural reality by removing all negative responses in your control when knowledge is presented to you. A negative response is one that reduces the likelihood that others will voice their views. Like it or not, your responses register with the associate culture and are interpreted and socialized in a nanosecond. These are the stories your employees tell about you that shape the culture and your leadership brand. Here are five ways to move to a Culture of Voice: Build up ideas rather than tear them down. Treat every idea, even the ones you perceive as half-baked, as the next best idea. Ask yourself, “What do I like about this idea?” Use that positive component to build up the idea. State your dislikes as concerns, and ask the idea generator how he or she will address each of your concerns about the idea. The build-up process signals to other employees that it is safe to offer ideas and information, even though it may not be strong yet. Embrace divergent ideas. When the minority view holder scans the group environment and determines that his view or
Openness is a personality dimension that includes curiosity, imagination, and a tolerance for strange situations, which can foster a Culture of Voice. idea is divergent, he is unlikely to express it. To make it safe for the minority view holder to disclose, ask the group, “Who sees this problem differently?” You should allow for approximately 30 seconds of silence, which will seem like an eternity. If there is a minority view within the group, this pause will help uncover it. If you make a habit of this practice, you will help your organization move closer to a Culture of Voice. Resist the temptation of comfort in conformity. As the leader, you should be in constant pursuit of nonconforming ideas and reward those who are brave enough to disclose. Create a safe environment in meetings. The next time you get the bovine stare from team members, ask, “What does the silence mean?” Wait 30 seconds before moving on. If you get no response, ask the same question in a one-on-one meeting with a direct report. Eventually you will find out how you may be contributing to the silence or the root cause of the silence issue. Listen more than you tell. Practice drawing out of others rather than telling them what and how to do things. Remember the “20/80 rule”: talk and tell approximately 20% of the time and listen and draw out 80% of the time. The amount of information you hear and learn may surprise you. Measure your culture. Silence is measurable and should be assessed annually to determine its existence in your organization. People don’t go to the doctor when they’re healthy. But most would agree that annual checkups are important to ensure there is nothing troubling under the radar. You should explicitly test the culture and how things actually work in your office. You may not need this test. But then again, you may not know how much you needed it until after you do it. In 2015, we saw a number of organizations suffer from undetected Cultures of Silence, only to realize it after it was too late. Make 2016 the year of the Culture of Voice. Start with an examination of your own leadership practices and change the ones that could contribute to a Culture of Silence. Creating a Culture of Voice for 2016 and beyond protects your department and company from the perils of silence, and it can make you a stellar leader. Demonstrate that every employee’s voice has merit, build up ideas, and embrace divergent views to achieve a Culture of Voice. AQ Rob Bogosian, co-author with Christine Mockler Casper of Breaking Corporate Silence (BCS Publishing, 2014), is the founder and principal consultant at RVB Associates, Inc.
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Essential Skills for
Tomorrow’s Leaders By Jody Bradham
Columnist and political commentator George Will once said that the future has a way of arriving unannounced. We all know this to be true, yet we still seem to be surprised by it every time. As with unannounced houseguests, when the future arrives we often find ourselves unprepared—beds are not made, dishes are in the sink, and the laundry is stacked in the corner. In our “go, go, go” world, we often find ourselves asking where the time went. One minute we’re breaking out our swim trunks, the next minute it’s turtleneck time. But with a little planning, you can be prepared to welcome the future (and unannounced houseguests) with open arms. When it comes to ensuring that organizational leadership is prepared for the future, if we recognize and work to understand the key trends that are emerging in the corporate world, we can extrapolate from them to identify certain leadership skills that will be required for future success.
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Building teams for the future According to data cited by the Pew Research Center, “Over the next two decades, it is projected that 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach retirement age every day.” If organizational leaders are not prepared, the mass exodus of these Boomers, many of whom have significant institutional knowledge in addition to their skills and experience, will leave a significant void in the organization. In a highly competitive, fast-paced, and everchanging world, this void could have dire consequences. Therefore, tomorrow’s leaders must be able to identify and articulate a well-developed talent strategy that will support and strengthen the organization through this transitional process. More specifically, they will need to
understand how to lead the development and execution of a succession management program that will support the broader talent strategy. Most leaders that I have worked with firmly believe that they naturally have strong talent recognition skills. And yet, experience ends up suggesting that this may not always be the case. In reality, while these leaders may be quite good at identifying talent for today, they tend to struggle significantly when trying to identify the leaders of tomorrow. The problem to be solved is not related to identifying today’s leaders, but rather identifying the future leaders who will be counted on to fill the void left behind by the transitioning Boomer population. Effective leaders of tomorrow will need to have a strong understanding of the difference between current performance and future potential. Above and beyond simply understanding the difference between the two, tomorrow’s leaders will need to understand how to effectively and accurately assess future potential. As it relates to filling future, yet-to-be vacated voids left by the transitioning Boomers, tomorrow’s leaders will need to have a strong ability to discern which roles are most critical. There are some positions that may remain unfilled for some time without having a significant impact on the organization. But vacancies or understaffing in other, critical positions could negatively impact the organization virtually immediately. Understanding which roles require stability and consistency will prepare tomorrow’s leaders for these inevitable staffing changes. Finally, while many organizations understand the value and longer-term return on investment of general employee training and development programs, tomorrow’s leaders will need to have keener skills around talent recognition and identification. These skills will enable them to prioritize who, when, how much, and in what direction they really need to focus their development efforts.
Engaging the workforce In 2013, research from Gallup suggested that less than 30% of employees were engaged with their work. Although this is higher than it has been at other times in recent history, it is still horribly low. When employees are not engaged, there is a direct negative impact on productivity, loyalty, and turnover. This, in turn, has a direct negative impact on the company’s bottom line. In fact, the same 2013 Gallup research estimated that low employee engagement costs approximately $400 billion annually in lost productivity alone. This does not even take into consideration the costs associated with high employee turnover to an organization. Organizations that can drive higher employee engagement will be stronger than those that cannot. Tomorrow’s leaders will have to recognize that increasing engagement isn’t simply about creating a happy workplace. Instead, it is about creating an environment such that employees want to give their full effort and commitment to the organization. We know how to
create such an environment, but the ability to execute on this knowledge will be critical to a leader’s success. For example, research on engagement tells us that employees have a need to feel that what they are doing from one day to the next actually makes a difference in some way. Leaders who are able to articulate a broad vision for the organization—while helping employees make the connection between their particular role in the organization and that broader vision—will also be more likely to have higher employee engagement. Research also has shown that highly engaged employees are more likely to believe that their managers actually listen to and value their ideas and input. People want to know that they have a voice. Effective leaders will, therefore, need to remain open to that feedback from others, sometimes even setting aside what they feel they may already know about the issue at hand. Leaders who are able to tap into the wisdom and experience of those they supervise will be more effective than those who simply try to push through their own ideas, opinions, and approaches. Effective leaders will need to know how to listen. Finally, most leaders that I have worked with have been moved into their leadership position primarily because they have strong functional or subject-matter expertise. When they assume their leadership role, they often believe the job requires that they impart that expertise onto those they manage in order to drive high performance. While there is some truth to this, the effective leaders of tomorrow will also understand that part of developing and building engagement on the team requires that they appropriately empower team members and get out of their way when it comes to getting the job done. Leaders who can balance high standards for performance with a willingness to give employees appropriate leeway with regard to how results are achieved—allowing individuals to use the skills, talents, and abilities for which they were hired—will be more likely to build an engaged, loyal, and productive workforce.
Navigating the future Benjamin Franklin said that in this world, nothing can be deemed certain except death and taxes. I’d like to amend that quote for the brave new world in which we now live: Nothing in this world can be said to be certain except death, taxes, and change. Orange is the new black and change is the new norm. And it’s happening at a lightning-fast pace (which Mr. Franklin would appreciate, no doubt). This is true in the workplace as well—markets are changing, customers are changing, and employee demographics and needs are changing, just to name a few. Tomorrow’s leaders clearly will have to be comfortable with change and the pace at which it is occurring. That’s a no-brainer. But beyond being comfortable with change, they will need to be skilled at driving change and navigating the organization effectively through change. If you are not AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 37
considering new and better ways to run your business, or evaluating new tools, partnerships and strategies to further your success, you can rest assured that someone else is. If you’re not careful, you and your organization will become obsolete before you know it. Organizational change initiatives are not easy. According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, nearly 70% of all organizational change efforts fail. But I don’t need to tell you that because more than likely you have seen—or, even worse, led or participated in—a failed organizational change initiative. Maybe you spent days in a conference room with whiteboards and flip charts, revamping your sales and marketing strategy, only to look back six months later and see things exactly as they were prior to the time you now see as wasted. Effective leaders know how to manage the deliberate process of traversing both the business and employee aspects of change initiatives, creating a greater chance of success for that initiative.
appropriate and necessary, to new ways of approaching a situation will be more effective than those who prefer to follow more tried-and-true approaches. Learning agility also includes one’s ability to be flexible as it relates to problem solving and decision making. Effective leaders will be able to recognize how prior experiences may apply to new experiences. Truly successful leaders will also be able to see how prior experiences may not apply to new experiences and will be able to think more broadly in responding to situations. Agility with regard to interpersonal relationships and general self-management will also be critical leadership skills going forward. No longer can leaders assume that there is a “right” way to interact with others, and no longer is the effective emphasis going to be on trying to create “fairness” in the workplace. Rather, effective leaders will understand that as each individual differs from another, so too must the way they interact with people be varied as needed to get the most impact.
Too few leaders have truly mastered the skills required to effectively navigate change, much less lead teams through times of change. Effective leaders of tomorrow will be skilled at understanding and managing all aspects of change management. They will possess strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as a deep understanding of the factors that impact an organization’s ability to be successful in the marketplace.
As it relates to self-management, all of this change and the need to be agile will also bring with them a need to be able to tolerate ambiguity. When the world is no longer black and white and instead full of gray, many leaders see that as threatening, uncomfortable, and confusing. Effective leaders who are willing to be agile leaders will see such a world as being full of opportunity rather than threat and will, therefore, be able to leverage those opportunities to the fullest.
Tomorrow’s leaders will have to take it a step further. They will also require strong skills around managing the “people side” of change. They’ll need to have a keen understanding of the factors that influence people’s willingness to be receptive to change. They’ll need to be able to effectively articulate the rationale behind any changes. More important, they must be able to articulate in an honest, sincere, and authentic manner what the consequences of not changing would be. They will have to be champions of change, keeping their head in the game throughout the entire change period, not just when the initiative is rolled out. Change is a process, not an event. Effective leaders will understand this and will be able to skillfully support people’s movement through the change effort. (It’s not just the rollout week, folks!)
In days past, leaders relied heavily on positional influence as the primary means for delivering desired results, which allowed them to be classified as effective leaders or not. While we have evolved well beyond that way of thinking and moved toward more of a transformational approach, tomorrow’s leaders must be able to take transformational leadership to the next level. They will have to accept and embrace the idea that for them and their organizations to be fully effective, they must be willing to commit a large part of their time to thinking about internal “people” issues.
Learning and leading with agility Speaking of change, one of the skills (which is actually a set of skills) that will be necessary for effective leaders in the coming years will be his or her general learning agility. In addition to being an ever-changing economy, today’s business environment has been described by some as a “knowledge economy”—one that is grounded more in the management and utilization of knowledge than specific products or processes. In such an economy, those who are able to learn most efficiently and most flexibly will be most likely to thrive. Leaders who can effectively apply prior learning to new situations and set aside prior learning to be open, when
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The changing worker demographic and the changing marketplace will draw heavily on a leader’s ability to see and manage to the future more than the present. This means identifying strong talent and helping them to grow, creating an environment where they will want to stay and remain fully committed, and helping others accept and move through change at a pace and scale necessary to accommodate the demands of such a dynamic climate. Finally, the ability to remain agile as it relates to learning, problem solving, interpersonal dynamics, and general selfmanagement will be the differentiating factor for the leaders of tomorrow. Leaders who are aware of this need for agility, plan for it, and practice with it in mind will find themselves better prepared when, as George Will suggested, the future arrives unannounced. AQ Jody Bradham, PsyD, is an executive consultant at TalentQuest, a human capital management firm that focuses on helping companies optimize their talent through strategic consulting and integrated software solutions.
Balancing Two Hats By Scott Weighart
The CEO of a prominent insurance company was at a crossroads. She just couldn’t understand why her team of senior technical leaders kept failing to come across as true strategic partners when calling on their internal clients. This perplexed her because her CIO had promoted people who were true subject matter experts when it came to technology. The CIO also complained that he had laid out a vision for his team: They had to get the firm to a level of “technological readiness” that would provide it with enough capacity to pursue an aggressive growth-by-acquisition strategy without even having to worry about whether the firm’s systems could handle it. Yet the team collectively struggled to move the needle on this goal, and the CEO felt they were nowhere near feeling the confidence she needed them to have to push forward with the strategy. The plot thickened when an outside consultant asked the company’s senior technology team to reflect on its leadership development goals, and the technology leaders clearly articulated that they understood the business imperatives they needed to drive over the next year. Yet when the consultant conducted an assessment of their executive presence, the AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 39
irony was unmistakable: They received their lowest score on questions relating to vision, particularly on items such as “paints a vivid and compelling picture of what could be.” On the points where the team needed to be strongest, their supervisors, peers, and direct reports were giving them relatively low ratings. Further work with these senior technology leaders revealed they were stuck between a common corporate rock and hard place: They needed to don two “hats” instead of one, but they had not fully recognized the need to do so. One hat was very familiar to them—responding to requests from the business units and acting as an admirable service provider to others. As a group, they had done this very well. Hard work, quick response times, and an ability to get “into the weeds” to solve problems had helped them become identified as highpotential leaders. But now that these division leaders had risen to the higher level of senior executive, they needed to wear another
But rather than waiting for this to happen, a better plan might be to identify, practice, and cultivate needed teamwork habits and skills as early as possible so as to contain the damage that may occur when dueling loyalties inevitably rear their ugly heads. One means of managing this process is by assessing and addressing the SLT’s “collective executive presence and influence,” which we define as the qualities of leaders that engage, inspire, align, and move people to act. Once this is established, a leader’s ability to build trust, gain credibility, and sustain execution can be enhanced. The key is connecting the business goals to behaviors and attitudes that lead to deeper levels of effectiveness and success. Just as members of an expedition team must follow a training regimen to prepare for their first climb on Mount Everest, executives have to ready themselves to undertake strategically important initiatives that promise daunting challenges brimming with novelty, complexity, and tough choices all up
Get your team members to openly acknowledge that they are wearing two hats—and that those hats might be in conflict with each other at times. hat—one representing decisions that served the interests and vision of the organization at large. They needed to adopt and articulate more of an enterprise-wide view, simplifying complex technologies for the C-suite and rallying all of their stakeholders around a “2020 Vision” of how technology could help the firm be ready to handle any acquisition over the next five years.
and down the SLT mountain. But this raises two questions: How can you measure the collective executive presence of a senior leadership team? And how can the SLT apply the results of the measurement in a way that effectively connects individual team members’ personal executive presence with the greater good of the organization so that the combination can contribute powerfully to company-wide performance?
In short, they needed to be able to take off one hat and put on another. Yet, of course, the interests of both hats would not always neatly align.
Fortunately, this kind of assessment can be done by paying attention to what my firm calls the “three dimensions of team effectiveness,” meaning three interdependent functional capabilities that SLTs must cultivate and employ to assert successful executive leadership: strategic direction and alignment, relational dynamics, and executional excellence.
Taking on dueling loyalties As executives strive to attain critical enterprise-level business objectives through inclusion in a senior leadership team (SLT), the hard truth is that their natural inclination to satisfy the goals of their division or unit may impede the success of the whole. Given this basic consideration, an SLT would be well-advised to anticipate that instances of “dueling loyalties” will have to arise.
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Strategic direction and alignment When a senior leadership team clearly understands who it is, what business it is in, who its customers are, and what its customers value, that SLT can benefit greatly from resources designed to help them articulate their direction. Often,
however, this knowledge and understanding exist only at an implicit and less fluent level. We need solid communicative leadership to focus and inspire others. Thus, clarifying “strategic direction and alignment” is crucial.
Relational dynamics The quality of the “relational dynamics” that characterize a group’s intra-communications and patterns of interaction can make or break team success. Efforts at coordination and collaboration are significantly influenced by such dynamics of interaction—for better or worse. So a focus on successful internal dynamics is mandatory.
Executional excellence Effective ongoing, iterative action demands that leaders “show up” continually. It’s the more overt, active side of communicative leadership, requiring a cadence and quality to the leader’s communications. It also requires a rich dialogue coupled with a readiness to assert leadership in a manner that keeps the whole team on track. Qualities called for include stamina, resilience, and even “self-care” to prevent burnout and keep an individual team member’s spirits up. Proper assessment of an SLT and its members must include attention to all of these dimensions of effectiveness. The SLT’s composition, individual differences, and group-as-whole characteristics must all be addressed and maximized. Take the example of a pharmaceuticals company we worked with recently to help an upper-level executive who had been heading up a cross-functional team charged with collaborating on drug discovery for the company. Several PhD-level experts comprised the team—certainly no shortage of intellectual horsepower available—but the team had been struggling mightily to work together and get much of anything done. As we helped the team identify its issues, a few themes came up, one of them being, clearly, that each of this SLT’s members hadn’t begun to think about how to balance their two hats. The dilemma was that, to be successful as a crossfunctional team, each member needed to wear his or her own hat of subject matter expertise, such as psychopharmacology or immunology, but also at times to wear the hat of a team member who was not purely loyal to his or her own discipline. At times—consciously, deliberately, and transparently—they would need to let go of their functional hat, which was fraught with implications related to territoriality, should another discipline offer a more helpful lens on a drug discovery issue. There were many executive presence themes at work here and worthy of attention. That said, the most urgent one proved to be a wrinkle on our earlier example. In both cases, the primary issue in executive presence was vision, but in this situation it was a matter of lacking one altogether. Without a clear and exciting vision, no great incentive shone the way for this group to go forth into the hard-driving work of “storming” their way through challenges to end up first “norming” and then “performing“ as a team.
So that’s what we tackled first, helping the group agree on a large-scale vision that struck everyone in the team as extremely exciting and bold. The goal specified a startling medical accomplishment that the team believed could be achieved in 10 years. Then, by working backward and asking such questions as “What would we need to achieve for our five-year milestone to be on track?” and “What about our one-year milestone?” and so on, the team members soon realized that if they didn’t show real progress within one year, they could forget about hitting that 10-year goal and ultimate victory. Now they had common cause to roll up their sleeves and go to work together—as a truly collaborative team. So what pieces of advice can I offer to get things started for you and your leadership teams? Here are three critical ones: • Get your team members to openly acknowledge that they are wearing two hats—and that those hats might be in conflict with each other at times. This is the only starting place that matters. Otherwise, the process will not be grounded in reality. • Create transparency in discussions about competing or conflicting goals. This will reduce suspicion and fear, opening doors between members and breaking down the walls of protectionism and concealment. A team member should be able to say things such as, “When I wear my hat as a member of this cross-functional team, I see why we’re considering this course of action. But if I put on my hat as the person who represents our marketing team, I can also see that there will be real pushback if we go in this direction.” Framing statements this way can make it feel safer to discuss conflicts. • Locate common causes to incentivize everyone to fully overcome the risks of letting go their more individualist first hat and thus to maximize the benefits offered by merging differing perspectives. This gives the second, loyal-to-theteam hat the room to take over. In summary, the process of instilling positive executive presence and influence in senior leadership teams can be achieved and then accelerated without guesswork and frustration. Accurate data-driven feedback gained by assessing both individual and collective executive presence and influence will enable an SLT to focus and intensify its work. From there, the yielding of useful, actionable results can occur quickly, simultaneously promoting the confidence and the resolve of the team to stay the course. This will pilot the team smoothly toward the ultimate goal via a vehicle that cannot be beat—a high-performing senior leadership team collaboration. AQ Scott Weighart is director of Learning and Development at Bates Communications, where he creates innovative tools and content to assist the firm’s clients as they work toward mastering powerful communication and leadership skills. Contact him at email@example.com
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Seeing the Forest and the Trees To be the most effective, leaders must learn how to see strategically but act tactically. By William Schulz, PhD
iyamoto Musashi, a great Japanese swordsman in the 1600s, thought carefully about the concepts of strategy and tactics in the practice of his craft. In The Book of Five Rings, he explored how effective strategic thinking can be applied at various levels of analysis, including the organizational level. While his thoughts were aimed at the warrior class, they are still studied today in a variety of settings due to his unique insights on perspective and on understanding your capabilities and environment. His concepts are essential for seeing strategically yet acting tactically. Musashi suggested that one of the critical core skills an effective strategist
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should acquire is the ability to see things far away as if they were close, and the ability to see things close as if they were far away. This is an incredibly challenging skill, however, and it requires exceptional discipline and knowledge. How does a leader learn to see both the forest and the trees, and at the same time? There are three ways to accomplish this difficult task: • Practice the skill of varying your “analytic perspective,” a hallmark of effective strategic thinking • Understand the basic elements and techniques of systems thinking, which author Peter Senge calls the “fifth discipline”
• Become familiar with the Theory of Constraints (TOC) to guide precise, high-impact, and tactical decisions that support strategy
Learning to vary your perspective One of the most interesting aspects of strategic decision making is that it occurs within a complex, ambiguous, and rapidly changing environment. It involves many different stakeholder interests—both internal and external—that have potentially divergent needs. This is why effective strategic thinking requires the ability to vary your analytical perspective on many levels, including the analysis of individuals, groups, organizations, industries, and
even global context and time—the past, present, and future. Musashi’s definition of perspective, which he called the “strategic gaze,” describes the ability to see both big and small things at the same time. This is critical to strategic thinking at any level of an organization. To be effective, you must be able to see the big picture of the organization’s mission, vision, values, and ethics—as well as its complete stakeholder environment—while also understanding specific details about the critical capabilities and weaknesses of the individual people, units, or organizations involved in a decision. Without the ability to vary our perspec tive of analysis, it is nearly impossible to
lead or manage within a complex array of systems and subsystems and do not have the ability to vary perspective or recognize the contexts and inherent properties of the systems themselves. In short, they are content-specialist “smart,” but they lack the tools to see the whole picture, which is increasingly needed at all levels of an organization. To improve organizational perfor mance at any level, you must begin to see organizations through the lenses of both strategic and systems thinking—and you must stop thinking that there is a cureall that will solve major problems. Some solutions may improve the organization temporarily, but if the underlying organizational system has fundamental
• Establish a shared vision that binds diverse, skilled, and complementary professionals into one purposeful institution of meaning • Seek personal mastery of their lives and behaviors so that each individual is aware of his or her own strengths and limitations • Contribute to team learning and achievement in support of the organization Senge suggests that systems thinking is the tool that can help you learn to move among varying levels of analysis and perspective, making it easier to see the landscape of decisions and actions that you and your organization must take. This
You must be able to see the big picture of the organization’s mission, vision, values, and ethics—as well as its complete stakeholder environment—while also understanding specific details. find the vital elements in a decision that might be strategic and high impact. While not every decision in an organization is strategic, if the majority of people in an organization are unable to think and act strategically, there will be negative repercussions. How do you learn to vary your perspective? You turn to the discipline of systems thinking.
Exercising strategic perspective Have you ever wondered why so many organizational or national decisions seem to lead to large, unintended consequences? Have you ever wondered why organizations tend to repeat the same kinds of mistakes over and over? Or why certain ineffective patterns of behavior occur monthly, quarterly, or yearly within an organization, industry, or country? These undesirable effects do not arise because leaders or managers are incompetent, but rather because many
weaknesses, the gains will be short-lived. Systems thinking is a skill that helps managers look both inside and outside the organization to better understand not only how systems interact and function, but also how to improve their knowledge and intuition about complex systems behavior. Peter Senge, whose seminal book The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization (Doubleday, 2006) brought concepts of systems thinking and the learning organization into the everyday managerial lexicon, suggests that the ability to understand and think in systemic relationships is the hub that connects the four other important learning disciplines to make an organization healthy and innovative. These disciplines include the ability of people in an organization to: • Identify and understand the implications of their personal and organizational mental models and assumptions about the world
landscape includes big-picture issues, such as which systems and subsystems your organization is a part of; what the health and culture of the organization are; and how individuals, teams, and partners can align to best achieve organizational purpose. Systems thinking is difficult because it eschews the notion that there are simple, linear chains of cause and effect that can be understood and leveraged to improve an organization or make a decision. Yet as the field of systems thinking continues to mature, it is clear that there are fundamental archetype patterns and combinations of those patterns that you can identify to simplify your understanding of specific business environments, and thus gain the ability to isolate key leverage points. By applying general system-thinking skills—in conjunction with varying your analytic perspective—you can move from the big picture (the forest) to the discrete, AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 43
Insights more tactical-level details (the trees) in order to address specific actions an organization can take. In the long run, strategy lives in the tactics and day-to-day decisions that are taken in the organization; at that discrete level of analysis, not all resources and decisions are equal.
The Theory of Constraints While all leaders aspire to improve their organization, it is likely that their best intentions could actually hurt the organization if they do not have both a strategic vision to guide the whole or an understanding of how systems work at the detail level. This is where an effective organi zational improvement process and way of thinking, like the Theory of Constraints, becomes an important discipline to master. First introduced by Eliyahu M. Goldratt as a framework for optimizing manufacturing systems, this theory is now widely used to improve organizations and projects of all kinds. The Theory of Constraints helps people at all levels of an organization find the vital leverage points of a system that can lead to sustainable improvements in performance. The TOC management framework simplifies business systems performance measurement and is rooted in systems thinking and marginal cost economic thinking. At its most basic, TOC helps leaders identify the “weakest links” in their systems and subsystems in order to improve them. An important insight from TOC is that you cannot optimize and sustainably improve the whole system by trying to maximize the performance of each local resource and activity. To be an effective leader, you must be able to shift perspective of action from big picture to local picture (and back) to see the true causal relationships between them— versus oversimplifying causation. Increased efficiency rarely increases sustainable improvement and profits. The theme of local maximization versus global optimization is important to emphasize. Traditional performance management approaches assume that if all of the individual local parts are working at
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The Theory of Constraints helps people at all levels of an organization find the vital leverage points of a system that can lead to sustainable improvements in performance. maximum efficiency, then the whole is optimized. But can this be so? When you begin to understand how systems operate, it becomes apparent that a “maximize efficiency everywhere and at all times” approach to management will never work. At a more general level, one could argue that an implication of TOC logic is that the very goal of continuously maximizing profit is wrong for capitalist organizations. If leaders are tasked with maintaining and improving the longterm health and effectiveness of an organization, the strategic perspective is seeking to optimize profit over time and resist the temptation to continuously maximize profit in the short term. Optimizing requires the ability to hit the throttle when you need to, and brake and change course when necessary. Most profit-maximization points of view and measurement assessments are too short-term and ignore the proper decision-making framework to ensure the longer-term health of the system. To be effective over time, leaders must be able to see both the forest (long-term, optimal system) and the trees (shorterterm, local), and know when to shift perspective to make progress.
Putting the Elements Together Leaders at all levels of an organization must develop skills that enable them to shift their analytic perspectives across a range of important areas and understand the relationships across those perspectives. But this is not an easy task. To be an effective strategist, you must be able to see and understand underlying systemic relationships. Then, to sort out which elements in a complex system need the most immediate attention, you must be able to identify the weakest links within the system and understand how they affect its optimal performance. Once changes in the system are made, the entire perspective/analytic application begins again in an ongoing process of improvement. Being strategic requires the ability to root out the vital few things that can truly make a difference to the organization, now and in the future. AQ William Schulz, PhD, is a core faculty member for Walden University’s Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs. He specializes in strategic management, entrepreneurship, workforce development, and building leadership capacity.
The Power of Service as a Leadership Skill Service programs and volunteering help develop the executive abilities of Millennials. By Kimberly R. Cline, EdD
Photo: COURTESY OF Kimberly R. Cline
vidence is mounting that Millennials trust established institutions more than previous generations did at a similar age, which may come as a surprise to those who associate Millennials with movements such as Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street. According to Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey, more than 90% of Millennials believe that business is capable of addressing the key issues facing societies around the world, and 74% believe that businesses have a positive impact in the communities in which they operate. Business is also seen as the most likely source of innovative solutions to societal problems, outpacing academia, government, and nongovernment organizations. Those beliefs are reflected in Millennials’ goals. They dream of developing the next high-tech solution, while aiming to “pay it forward” at the same time. In aspiring to combine commercial success with social responsibility, Millennials look to follow the examples of TOMS Shoes, Warby Parker, Lauren Bush Lauren’s FEED Projects, and numerous other highprofile companies leading the way for socially conscious businesses. Millennials are inspired by highly successful entrepreneurs who reflect their ideals. The decision of some billionaires to sign the Giving Pledge—a commitment to give more than half their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will—has heightened Millennials’ response to the likes of Elon Musk, Sara Blakely, Eric Lefkofsky, Dustin Moskovitz, and Mark Zuckerberg, as
well as legendary philanthropist and entrepreneur T. Denny Sanford. While they may not be billionaires yet themselves, college students are following the service trend by making volunteer work an integral part of their
lives, both during their college experience and in many cases even earlier. Deloitte reported in its 2014 survey that 63% of Millennials donate to charities, 43% are active volunteers and/or members of community organizations, and 52% have AMA QUARTERLY I WINTER 2015-16 I 45
Commentary advocated for causes through petitions. According to Laurie Worrall, executive director of the New York Campus Compact, “In general, these students arrive on our campuses with a substantial record of community involvement. Higher education’s job is to help them link their passion for service with an understanding of how that service should inform democratic practice.” The NYCC is a membership association of college and university presidents committed to promoting active citizenship as an aim of higher education. Recently, Long Island University joined T. Denny Sanford in launching an education initiative to advance research-based education programs. This transformational, national initiative focuses on the Sanford Harmony program, which strengthens positive peer
in a 2013 Case Foundation study, the power of service is clearly visible in the hiring process. Candidates who are able to articulate meaningful service experiences are more likely to be hired for sought-after jobs. Why is that? There are several factors: Service promotes self-confidence. When they commit themselves to a cause and perform meaningful work in support of that cause, young people gain self-esteem and undergo life-changing experiences, leading to stronger job qualifications. Hiring managers are keenly aware that humanitarian work promotes personal growth—and self-actualized workers are more valuable employees. The confidence that comes as a result of public service translates into the confidence needed to handle the pressures and challenges of the workplace.
At LIU, students perform approximately
raising more than $50,000 and earning national recognition from the American Cancer Society. While much of the fundraising inherent in Relay for Life and similar events draws on existing personal connections, the act of raising money is an exercise in goal-oriented communication that has natural application in the workplace. A candidate who has proven to be an effective fundraiser is likely to be an effective advocate for his or her employer in outward-facing roles. “Service learning” is engaged learning. LIU is recognized for its commitment to engaged learning. That commitment often takes the shape of a business venture. LIU is a national leader in student-run businesses, operates a fee-based student consultancy, and encourages students to launch their
25,000 hours of
community service annually, committing themselves to causes both in their immediate community and around the globe. relations in children from prekindergarten through sixth grade, and Sanford Inspire, which empowers teachers to create inspiring classroom experiences from prekindergarten through 12th grade. At LIU, students perform approxi mately 25,000 hours of community service annually, committing themselves to causes both in their immediate community and around the globe. While those efforts are laudable in their own right—LIU has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll—they also produce more attractive candidates for soughtafter jobs, candidates who grow to become more valuable employees.
Learning While Doing Good While less than half of Millennials (43%) cited professional development as a motivation for their social engagement
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Not every service opportunity has a direct correlation to the demands of the workplace, of course. The experience that comes from serving the poor in a soup kitchen, for example, doesn’t have a natural application in corporate offices. However, the satisfaction and sense of achievement that come from having done the work, and having done it well, are valuable resources to draw on when confronting the demands of the workplace. Service enhances communication skills. The 2013 Case Foundation study noted Millennials’ significant interest in using their personal networks to raise money on behalf of the causes that they are passionate about. This fundraising often takes the form of a run, race, or walk event, such as the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life program. LIU hosted its first Relay for Life in 2013,
own companies in on-campus startup incubators. The essential element of engaged learning is that students have an outlet for innovative and entrepreneurial thinking and an opportunity to develop the executive-level experience that employers seek. In that regard, service learning is a powerful tool, and there is a reason that the concept is gaining traction and making its way into the classroom setting. Faculty members are combining notably rigorous classroom instruction with challenging volunteer projects to add a new level of engagement. LIU’s emphasis on engaged learning is born of the recognition that while much is learned in the classroom, engaged learning brings those lessons to life. The best way to learn to lead is through actual leadership opportunities, and service learning is an avenue that
When students engage with problems that take them across borders and out of their comfort zones, they become more sophisticated and better suited to work across cultures at the professional level. allows students to gain that experience during their academic careers. They develop a resource to draw on as they go on to pursue management roles at the professional level. The result is that students are better prepared and more engaged, and bring stronger resumes to their job search upon graduation. Global service exposes young people to a global economy. Advances in technology and shifts in population continue to make our world increasingly smaller and more interconnected, while individual regions become more and more multicultural. These shifts result in an increased need for professionals who can work across cultures. When students engage with problems that take them across borders and out of their comfort zones, they become more sophisticated and better suited to work across cultures at the professional level. LIU’s Global Social Entrepreneurship Project brings together the College of Pharmacy, the School of Nursing, and the School of Business, Public Administration and Information Sciences in a humanitarian effort to provide relief in Sierra Leone, assisting and improving the West African nation’s devastated healthcare system. The value of the program in Sierra Leone is clear: Since making an initial connection in 2010, LIU’s Global Social Entrepreneurship Project has adopted two Connaught Hospital Wards and formed a partnership with the West Africa Fistula Foundation to develop a medical clinic in the city of Bo. The value of the program for LIU students is equally clear: Students
participating in the project learn to operate in a different culture, accomplishing their goals and working with stakeholders from vastly different backgrounds. The experience gained through relief efforts in Sierra Leone provides a valuable knowledge base for any number of opportunities and challenges that may arise, giving LIU students an added layer of preparation to participate in the global economy.
Embracing the Belief in Service The power of service in developing effective and desirable employees is clear. What is less clear is how employers can harness that power for the benefit of their own businesses. Companies that strike that balance will enhance the interest of this generation’s workforce. Ask about service in interviews. Millennials believe in the power of business to address the world’s problems, and employers should demonstrate that they share that belief. Asking job candidates about their service experience serves two purposes: It allows hiring managers to better evaluate the leadership skills and other competencies candidates developed through their service, and it communicates the value the company places on that service. This position makes an impression with a population that believes that the success of a business is measured by more than its financial performance. Innovate, particularly in corporate social responsibility programs. The Deloitte survey found that 78% of Millennials are influenced by how
innovative a company is when deciding if they want to work there, but most don’t feel that their current employers encourage them to think creatively. Corporate social responsibility is a lowrisk arena for testing out new ideas, and it can yield valuable innovations that benefit core businesses. Use social responsibility to develop young leadership. More than one in four of the Millennials surveyed by Deloitte are “asking for a chance” to show their leadership skills, and three in four believe their organizations can do more to develop future leaders. As with new ideas, social responsibility efforts can provide a valuable training ground for future leaders in an area that poses low risk to a company’s bottom line. Beyond its inherent virtues, humanitarian service offers a valuable opportunity for Millennials to develop skills that will serve them in the global economy. Companies that learn to harness and nurture those skills at the professional level will find that the power of service is the power of success. AQ Kimberly R. Cline, EdD, the 10th president of Long Island University, leads one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive private universities. She oversees a nearly 90-year-old institution that encompasses multiple campuses, educates more than 20,000 students, and offers over 500 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs and certificates. In her nearly two years as president, Cline has moved the university into the emerging field of engaged learning, which combines rigorous academic instruction with realworld training and entrepreneurship.
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Developing the Training Roadmap A
t AMA, we’re in a unique position to see the changes that are putting immense pressure on organizations—changes in technology, global competition, and customer expectations. The constant need to respond quickly to a volatile environment often leaves employees feeling overwhelmed, unprepared, and unproductive. We’ve done research to uncover what skills help organizations thrive in this new reality. Our new framework for leadership development lays out the four crucial areas all employees need to develop to succeed: professional effectiveness, relationship management, business acumen, and analytical intelligence. Most managers have at least some of these skills but picked them up piecemeal over the years. Perhaps they came right out of school with some of them, and received others through on-the-job training. At one company they learned how to manage relationships with subordinates and higher-ups and team members; at another company they learned how to use certain tools to manage and analyze data. At many companies, however, the emphasis of training is on only those skills needed right at that moment. There is no focus on developing all of the skills needed in all four categories, and no real thought of the future. This attitude is actually detrimental to organizations, because training that is reactive, rather than proactive, does not take into account future challenges and cannot provide the deep bench of talent needed for growth. AMA’s talent transformation solution can help any company, large or small, gain the tools required to effectively assess the competencies needed by organizations and managers, and look at employees at all levels of experience—from those straight from college to longtime executives (for a breakdown of the program, please see Nicole Morgenstern’s article on page 20). Talent development is not something to be taken for granted. AMA can provide the tools needed to generate the four categories of skills in an organization. Give us a call at 877-566-9441 and we’ll help you assess your training needs.
Edward T. Reilly President and CEO American Management Association
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