Collaborating with our international colleagues, we’ve adopted and evolved leading-edge foundational methods that build leadership and teamwork capacity.
Within a safe and trusting environment, we introduce our tools and models to you, your team or your organization. Witnessing the tangible results, you’ll build your confidence, skills and competence. You’ll deepen your understanding of yourself and your colleagues as you explore new ways of working—individually or together.
Largely without their awareness, executives and managers tap into different operating systems, which define complex rules about effective leadership mindsets and behaviours. Each higher level is sequentially more powerful for leading in times of increasing ambiguity, complexity, volatility, uncertainty and rapid change. When introduced to this model, leaders can identify their current “center of gravity” and how to progress to higher levels of development and decision-making skills.
Whether it’s simple, complicated, complex or chaotic, every problem we encounter requires a different approach, mindset and behaviour.
Many organizations waste time and energy bringing the wrong methods to the issues they face. When leaders think at higher levels, they can let go of “heroic leadership,” including acknowledging when they need to ask for help. With development, managers and executives can learn how to create an environment of rich safety and collaboration.
Recent advances in neuroscience bring vital learnings for leaders to understand and apply to their work. The brain’s inherent negativity bias has direct implications for the way a manager gives and receives appreciative comments. With the average attention span of an adult now at eight seconds, people are also more distractible today than ever. (In comparison, the average attention span of a goldfish is nine seconds. We’re losing to goldfish!) We also need to recognize when we’re in reactive, fight-or-flight mode. By honing our metacognitive abilities, we can direct our minds toward higher, productive thinking.
Most of us have been trained to think of an organization as a collection of individuals. When providing performance feedback, we evaluate and reward each person independently. But, this is a huge error, because culture actually drives most of the behaviour within an organization. And, the majority of conflict is between roles, not people. Recognizing that everyone is inextricably interdependent, higher functioning leaders provide performance feedback to both the entire team and each individual. When analyzing results in their organizations, these leaders examine their own behaviour and the context they’ve shaped.
To demonstrate the power of context, we’ve created a tool called Pond Thinking™. If a fish starts swimming erratically, we never blame the fish. We always look for the environmental factors that might be causing the problems (nutrients, toxins, etc.). But, when employees are underperforming, the first question often isn’t about how context could be impeding their success (role clarity, conflicting goals, inadequate resources, etc.). Instead, we tend to label people as underperformers. As a practical definition, we define contextual thinking as the cognitive habit of examining behavioral root causes outside of people and within the organizational context.
To truly expand our leadership skillsets while stabilizing new mindsets and behaviors, mindfulness and reflection are essential. But, without deliberate self-contemplation, most training dollars are wasted. People acquire new ideas, but awareness doesn’t create change. Moving from activation to implementation demands consistent work, over time, with ongoing iterative cycles of action and reflection.
According to modern neuroscience, most of the day, we’re operating on automatic pilot. To become more effective human beings and leaders, we must practice mindfulness, allowing us to understand situations freshly and with greater clarity.
Anderson Cooper on his experience making the Sixty Minutes episode on mindfulness
Perspective taking is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Think about how you impact others: In your interactions, do you tend to leave your colleagues more engaged and motivated, or deflated and stressed? Particularly when someone else annoys you, take a deep breath and ask yourself why a reasonable person in that context might do the same thing. Perspective taking is the foundation of deepening compassion.
While perspective taking occurs in your own head, perspective seeking is a dialogue where you ask others about their thoughts and feelings. Collaboration requires sincere perspective seeking. As a leader, it’s about summoning the courage to ask others about your strengths and challenges.
Often seen as the engines that fuel self-awareness, perspective taking and seeking are both critical to increasing leadership capacity.
Polarities are two positive values that can feel like opposites, but are both needed for higher-level leadership:
When engaged in “either/or” thinking, leaders often over-privilege one of the two polarities, while downplaying the other. Polarity thinking actively builds “both/and” thinking skills, helping leaders cope with complexity, while also stimulating higher-level conversations with their teams.
Two polarities account for most of leadership effectiveness:
With this simple yet powerful model, managers and executives can balance their leadership skills and create a multifaceted focus. Those who master this technique often rise to the top 10% of all leaders.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, your company already has a culture. Driven by the factors that leaders focus on, your work environment accounts for most of the behavior in your organization. Strong leaders consciously craft their company’s culture. We can help you determine your goals and progress toward an intentionally designed environment.
We help leaders first understand the nature of high-performing teams, and then create action plans to assist their people in becoming more collaborative, engaged and successful. High-performing teams work in cultures of safety, trust and optimal collaboration. Members know the purpose of their team, understand their roles (power, authority, accountability and responsibility), and work together regularly to align their work toward clear goals.
The average conversation with a pure business coach is 60 to 90 minutes. The average conversation with a leader-integrating-coaching-skills is three to five minutes. It’s very important to understand the distinction. We provide concrete, actionable and realistic skills for creating effective and engaging interactions with team members, including ongoing performance dialogues.
Although the basic principles of change management have existed for a long time, many (if not most) leaders lack the knowledge and ability to follow them. In times of rapid change, all leaders need to become more proficient in change management skills. One aspect of effective change management is identifying and addressing individual and organizational “immune systems,” which are forces that resist productive change.