Monthly Archives: March 2012

“The Transformational Entrepreneur” Cited in the Academic Journal of Economic Literature

For Immediate Release – March 28, 2012 –

Terry Murray’s groundbreaking book, “The Transformational Entrepreneur ~ Engaging The Mind, Heart & Spirit For Business Breakthrough Success” was recognized and cited in the peer-reviewed, academic Journal of Economic Literature’s March 2012 issue.

Performance Transformation, LLC™ (Venice, FL) announced today that their founder and Managing Partner’s book, “The Transformational Entrepreneur”was recognized and cited in the academic Journal of Economic Literature for its contribution to professional business literature and thought leadership.

“We received the unsolicited notification letter from the Journal last week,” responded Mr. Murray. “It was both humbling and exciting at the same time.  I’ve been working on the business side of the life sciences, medical technology and health care sectors since 1988, so I have an enormous appreciation for the diligence of peer-reviewed, academic journals.  As a business executive, and not an academic, this is a distinct honor for my book to be recognized for its contribution to the field of business and economic professional literature.”

The Journal of Economic Literature is published by the American Economic Association (AEA), a professional organization of economists, academics, and business thought leaders with more than 22,000 members.

“My executive career has spanned some truly remarkable changes in the global business landscape,” added Terry.  “Historically, there’s always been a lag in leadership, strategy and organizational philosophy in response to market shifts in value creation.  I entered the biotechnology world during its infancy.  This was the beginning of the knowledge-based economy and coincided with the boom in personal computing.  Yet the methods, perspectives, and philosophies we were trained for in business school all emerged out of the Industrial Age.  We literally had to discover a new approach to business as usual along the way, but it is only today, some 25 years later, that the strategic imperative of human creativity in business is beginning to move into the mainstream.”

“The Transformational Entrepreneur” will also be indexed in the American Economic Association’s internet database, EconLit, which is accessible at libraries and universities around the world, as well as to licensed institutions and AEA members.  The electronic bibliography indexes over 120 years of economics literature from around the world.  The database complies professional journal articles, collective volume articles, working papers, dissertations, and books of note on the subject of economics and business practice.

“The shift in the source of value creation truly began in the 1980s, but information technology bridged the productivity gap for thirty years, masking the need for a change in the approach to  leadership, strategy and organizational development.  By the turn of the century it was already beginning to hit a point of diminishing returns, right at the time the explosively disruptive power of the internet began to take off.  Even old world industries are doing business in ways they never could have anticipated ten years ago,” commented Terry.

Mr. Murray went on to say, “Perhaps because I was immersed in the knowledge-based economy for so long I saw the need for a more human-centric approach to business.  Research scientists, physicians and engineers, and their creative talents, are the raw material for value creation and competitive advantage in this new era of business.  You cannot lead creatives the same way we once managed assembly line workers.  Two years after I began writing my book, the IBM Global CEO Survey exemplified the perspective and approach I was writing about at the time, reporting that creativity and the ability to cultivate creativity throughout the workplace was the single most important attribute CEOs are looking for in future leaders.”

Terry’s book was published two months after IBM released the results of their bi-annual survey in December of 2010.

About the author ~ Terry Murray is an author, speaker, entrepreneur, and professional business advisor/coach with twenty-five years of progressive experience in strategic development, executive leadership, and the deployment of highly profitable business teams. His work with Fortune 1000 and startup companies has directly contributed more than $1 billion in market capitalization growth throughout his career.

He is the founder and Managing Partner of Performance Transformation, LLC™, a professional and strategic development firm focused on igniting breakthrough performance by optimizing and aligning authentic leadership, mindful strategy, and an engaging, creative organizational culture.

The company’s evidence-based programs and pragmatic approach employs their proprietary Accretive Coaching Process℠.  This innovative, developmental process integrates concepts from published research in the neurosciences, emotional intelligence, performance psychology, quantum physics and Applied Behavioral Economics with Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning.

Learn more at

© 2012, Performance Transformation, LLC™.


Filed under Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Team Building

Seven Reasons Military Veterans Are Great Employees and Exceptional Leadership Candidates

There’s been a flurry of reports in the news lately about our veterans struggling to find meaningful employment after serving our nation.  Not only is this a shame, but it also represents a lost opportunity for employers.  As a veteran of Naval Intelligence myself, I do have a bit of a bias.  Throughout my corporate career I hired many veterans and was never disappointed in the decision once.  At one point, when I was charged with launching a global, technical service business in support of pharmaceutical manufacturing environments, I worked almost exclusively with the service branches’ transition placement teams to fill my ranks.  The people I hired were dependable, trustworthy, and meticulous in their approach to the work, which was mission-critical in this highly regulated market.  Within 18 months we had a team of nearly two hundred field technicians and were generating in excess of $35 million in annual revenue.  Highly profitable revenue.  The presence and bearing of these remarkable young people also pulled through capital equipment sales.  Sales of our specialized manufacturing equipment jumped from 9% annual growth to 17% annual growth in that same timeframe.  Many of those professionals I hired are now in leadership positions in various companies around the country.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the differentiating attributes our military veterans possess, I’d like to share seven key reasons you should hire veterans and strongly consider them as potential candidates for future leadership positions.

1.)  Accountability.  When teenagers and young military personnel are trained and placed in a position of being accountable for the lives of their sisters and brothers in arms it leaves an indelible mark on their character.  This moral obligation of accountability, in the most serious of scenarios, never leaves you.  At the ripe old age of 19 years, while aboard a Navy carrier and working in mission planning, I was responsible for the lives of pilots and their crews whenever I created a strike mission plan.  I had to find a way to get them in through the enemy defenses, guide them to their target, and get them home safely.  How many civilian 19 year olds would you trust with that level of responsibility?  Being responsible and fully accountable for the lives and success of my shipmates carried over seamlessly in my rise through corporate to the senior leadership level.  Couldn’t we use a few more CEOs that are thoroughly accountable for their actions?

2.)  Obligation of Service.  Our returning veterans made a conscious choice at a very young age; to give something forward to our great nation before they asked anything in return.  They’ve earned a leg up on the American Dream.  While we’ve been home, going about our everyday lives for the past decade, these brave souls have been sacrificing at a level most civilians will never understand.  Leading, fighting, and surviving from a grounded sense of service; to our nation, to our communities, to each other and to our ideals as Americans, sets the foundation for Transformational Leadership to emerge.  These are the types of leaders that inspire and transform companies and entire industries.

3.)  Grace Under Fire.  Things getting stressful at work?  Imagine what a bad day at the office means to a combat veteran.  Someone didn’t come home that day.  When we civilians are subjected to stressful situations our cognitive performance suffers.  What we perceive as threats, even in our comparatively acquiescent world, triggers what is called an amygdala hijack in us.  Our flight, fight or freeze response is triggered as part of our primary survival mechanisms.  This creates a biochemical cascade of stress hormones that can disrupt rational, creative thinking for up to four hours.  How do combat veterans respond?  They maintain their focus on the mission-at-hand, protect each other, and continue to engage in critical, high-speed thinking and the life-endangering action necessary to accomplish their shared goal.

4.)  Highly Adaptive.  Contrary to common belief, military personnel are not trained to be automatons.  They are trained to think fast, think right, adapt and improvise in unprecedented circumstances.  They are encouraged to seize the initiative whenever an opening affords itself to them.  To take it upon themselves, as a unit, to call upon all of their training, experience and intuitive insight to execute their mission while operating under clear, often constraining, rules of engagement.  Throughout history, brief moments of individual creative thinking have turned entire battles, campaigns, and wars.  It is reported that there was a three minute period during the Battle of Midway, shortly after Pearl Harbor, that a handful of aviators seized the moment at their own peril, and not only turned the tide of the battle in favor of the Americans, but many historians concur that if these men hadn’t taken the initiative the United States could have very likely lost the War in the Pacific during WWII.  I don’t know about you, but I want people like that on my team, not working for the competition.

5.)  Team Cohesion.  No other group of professionals understand the mission-critical nature of team work and team cohesion better than veterans.  Our lives literally hinged on the professional execution and attention to detail of our comrades.  We were TEAM.  It became part of our identity, engrained into the marrow of our being.  Our firm conducts pro bono Warrior in Transition workshops around the country and I have continuously seen how deeply engrained this sense of unit esteem is in returning personnel.  Veterans understand their role on the team, check their ego at the door, and work together to surmount inexplicable odds and volatile, rapidly changing challenges.  A few well placed veterans in your organization can shift the entire dynamics and productivity of business teams.

6.)  Diversity & Inclusion.  When you place your life into the hands of another person, the issue of race, cultural background, or gender dissipate in an instant.  Military units are highly multi-cultural and rapidly becoming gender neutral.  When I was in the Navy, everyone pretty much knew there were gay men serving with us.  Did it matter?  Did we care?  Not one, little bit.  First and foremost, they were shipmates, plain and simple.  We all depended on each other and that’s all that mattered.  While the military is a command-and-control environment, we continuously drew upon each other for insights, ideas, and eclectic perspectives when facing a challenge.  Superficial differences evaporated immediately…and it was the inclusion of various perspectives that could be the difference between life and death.  No opinion or insight was overlooked, regardless of the source.

7.)  Authentic Empathy.  During my service we were all, quite literally, in the same boat.  Living aboard an aircraft carrier is in no way a Carnival Cruise.  During my deployment we had a major fire in one of our main machinery rooms, one of four massive propulsion plants for the ship.  We burned for 12 hours that day and nearly every one of us rotated down into the blaze, fighting for our collective lives.  Six of my shipmates died that day at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.  One’s perspective towards survival is altered when the closest land is straight down.  We cared deeply for each other, and we weren’t ashamed to express our esprit de corps.  We felt what our shipmates experienced as if it was our own experience.  We learned to relate to each other as human beings.  How important is this in business leadership?  The Center for Creative Leadership conducted an eight year study in which they found the only competency that differentiated mediocre management from inspirational leadership was empathy.

I ask of you only one thing.  The next time you’re looking to hire a new employee or promote someone into a leadership position, roll through this list of attributes and ask yourself if these competencies would contribute to your business success?  The only favor you are doing in hiring a veteran is a favor to yourself and your company.  They’ve earned it.

© 2012, Terry Murray.

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Signs Health Care Needs to Transform Before it Can Reform

While organizational culture and leadership varies from organization to organization, industry sectors often evolve to display cumulative similarities. Shared competitive pressures, market-driven resource constraints, cross-pollination of leadership ideals, generational and cultural influences, and government regulations are contributing factors.  Shared market drivers create sector-related confluences of leadership styles, structural similarities and strikingly familiar challenges when it comes to cultivating and sustaining engaging, adaptive organizational cultures.  Perhaps no other industry shares such similar market drivers as health care.  The common mission, environment, and economic constraints, from one system to another, align closely.  A canvasing of the recent health care leadership surveys, industry reports, and management research, when taken together, paint a sobering picture of staid mindsets, cultural artifacts, and an industry barely functioning in survival mode.  The research strongly suggests that even before health care can even begin to come to grips with reform, the sector needs to transform many of its prevailing perspectives, perceptions and practices.

Here’s a sobering reality; across all industries, 70% of change management initiatives fail.  Why?  The reason for failure can be traced to a disconnect somewhere along the leadership, strategy, and organizational culture continuum.  In my experience, where you find one disconnect, you’ll find others.  If change management initiatives fail in companies with far fewer moving parts operating in less stressful, less complex environments, we can begin to appreciate the monumental challenges our health care providers are facing in the very near future.  Health care reform will place even more focus on the coordination of care, intra and inter-organizationally, and on the patient’s experience; meaning connection, engagement, communication, and inspiring, transformational leadership will become more important than ever.

Change, on both an individual level and organizational level, has a pre-requisite condition in order for it to emerge; self-awareness.  Research from Applied Behavioral Economics clearly demonstrates we often perceive value and make economic decisions from our conditioned, often unconscious, emotional biases.  This disconnect between rational thought and conditioned, emotional bias reveals itself in incongruent leadership which then leads to flawed strategies, inaction, and results in creating a disengaging, often toxic organizational culture.

Here are some of what could be seen as early warning disconnects in health care that will need to be authentically addressed for transformation to occur:

When hospital and health care system leaders were asked about the current state of the health care industry 25% stated it’s on the right track.  When asked the same question about their own organization, 66% believed they were on the right track.  Correspondingly, 46% said the industry is on the wrong track but only 12% thought their organization is on the wrong track1.  When nurse leaders were asked the same question 47% thought the industry was on the wrong track, but only 17% thought they’re organization was on the wrong track2.  Do these perceptions have implications for strategic planning, and specifically, what is the potential impact on the Self-Assessment process?

Clear, open, concise communication is a critical element for delivering positive patient outcomes.  Breakdowns in communication can lead to medication errors, poor patient experiences, and adverse events.  A recent report issued by the Department of Health and Human Services discovered upwards of seven out of eight adverse events in hospitals are not properly reported.  This should be a major communicative and cultural red flag for leadership.

Another indicator of disconnected communication and dysfunctional culture is the rate of physician abuse and disrespect reported towards nurses.  The fact that this is even warrants reporting in 2012 is a cultural statement in and of itself.  When nurse leaders were asked if physician abuse and disrespect towards nurses was common in their institution 42% stated it was common and 58% stated it was uncommon.  When physicians from the same institutions were asked the same question 13% said it was common and 88% stated it was uncommon3.  That’s a remarkable disparity of perception for people working so closely together and under such demanding circumstances!

When hospital leaders were asked what the single greatest strategic challenges their organizations’ face 62% ranked care coordination/continuum of care, improving patent experience (including patient flow), and reducing avoidable readmissions and complications, in that order4.  What’s at immediate odds with this last strategic challenge is, depending on the demographics a hospital serves, any where from 15% to 25% of their gross revenues are derived by readmissions.  In addition, 71% of leaders stated their organization will be migrating to a collaborative care model such as an accountable care organization (ACO) within the next three to five years5.

When hospital leaders were asked what were the inhibiting factors they were facing to move towards a collaborative model, 51% stated physicians’ perceived value of relationships were a significant hinderance.  In addition, 59% of hospital leaders said self-interests among stakeholders keeps the industry from solving its problems6.  Sixty-six percent of nurse leaders thought self-interests were hindering progress as well7.  The research on on physician alignment goes on to report that 77% of independent physicians are only partially engaged or actually disengaged with the hospital in which they have privileges8.

These strategic challenges and the migration to participating in a collaborative care model will all require substantial engagement, a highly inclusive attitude, diversity of creative thinking, and measurable improvements in cross-functional, cross-organizational communication.  Operational goals that, from the research, appear to be a long ways off from the current state of affairs.

Health care reform will also apply performance metrics to the patient’s experience.  In response, health care systems and hospitals are exploring patient experience strategies, but report they face stumbling blocks in doing so.  Here’s how they ranked the stumbling blocks to creating patient experience strategies:

  •   22% – Abundance of higher priorities
  •   22% – Lack of cultural fit or employee buy-in
  •   12% – Lack of an overall game plan or actionable ideas
  •   12% – Lack of management consensus and alignment
  •   11% – Lack of funding or budgetary priority
  •     5% – Lack of justification for return on investment
  •     4% – Lack of appropriate structure.

Only 12% of leaders reported they were encountering no stumbling blocks in creating new patient-centric strategies9.

Let’s take a look at these impediments for a moment and ask ourselves, “What is the source of these challenges?”

The first thing I notice is the only thing in abundance is higher priorities, but to be fair, hospitals are dynamic and unique in their mission.  Hospitals are not factories or software companies.  What I find especially interesting is what is revealed following the term Lack:  of cultural fit, of employee engagement, of clarity of communication, of actionable ideas, of vision, of leaderships’ consensus and alignment, of misalignment of structure.  It reads like a case study of why 70% of  change management initiatives fail!

While 62% of hospital leaders blame the government and insurance companies for “the healthcare industry mess”10 (both parties do contribute remarkable constraints and costs to the industry) I struggle to see how these strategic challenges are the fault of outside parties.  These strategic impediments indicate severe disconnects exist between leadership, strategy and organizational culture.

Witt/Kieffer, one of the nation’s leading recruiting firm specializing in health care, issued a report in January of 2012 entitled, “Diversity As A Business Builder In Healthcare” (Advancing Diversity in Health Care – Witt:Kieffer 2012) identifying additional disconnects in perceptions.  John Combes, senior vice president of the American Hospital Association (AHA) and president of AHA’s Center for Healthcare Governance, recently reflected their findings in his statement, “The boardroom doesn’t reflect the community.”

He’s right.  Ninety percent of board members for hospitals and health systems are caucasians.  But the disconnect in perceptions revealed in this study goes deeper.  The study revealed 60% of caucasian health care leaders believed their cultural diversity programs are effective while only 33% of minority health care professionals agree.  The inclusion of diverse perspectives (and the creative thinking that it sparks) that align with the customer base an organization serves is critical for any business, but even more so in health care where cultural perspectives impact adherence to prescribed care and the cost of re-admittance of under-insured demographics.

Taken cumulatively, these systemic disconnects reveal a lack of organizational and leadership self-awareness that is the hallmark of failed change management initiatives.  Before our health care system can even begin to effectively explore how their going to functionally respond and comply with health care reform they need to address some deep, fundamental issues.  Health care leaders would be well served to take a step back and review how they’re going to train and groom mindful leadership as the first step in repairing and cultivating  diverse, inclusive, and  engaging organizational cultures that will be essential for creating and implementing the adaptive strategies they will inevitably have to deploy.

1 “Reform’s Impact: Staff and Service Cuts Expected”, HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Report, December, 2012.

2 “Nurse Leaders Report”, HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Report, Industry Survey 2112.

3 Ibid.

4 “Overall Cross-Sector Report”, HealthLeaders Media Intelligence, Industry Survey, 2012.

5 “Physician Alignment: The Collaborative Care Disconnection” HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Report, September, 2011.

6 Op. Cit., “Overall Cross-Sector Report”.

7 Op. Cit., “Nurse Leaders Report”.

8 Op. Cit., “Physician Alignment”.

9 “The New Patient Experience Imperative”, HealthLeaders Media Intelligence Report, August, 2011.

10 Op. Cit., “Overall Cross-Sector Report”

© 2012, Terry Murray

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Terry Murray Discusses The Strategic Imperative of Creativity in Business on AM Ocala Program

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Larry Whitler and Robin MacBlane on WOCA’s AM Ocala radio show yesterday.  Larry and Robin are always lively conversationalists and we discussed a broad range of subjects exploring how companies create and sustain competitive advantage in the today’s global economy.

Some highlights from the interview include:

~ The strategic imperative of cultivating creative thinking throughout businesses, especially at every customer touch point.

~ The generational shift of 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring daily (a trend that will continue for 17 years) and its impact on the workplace.

~ The cross-generational challenges that can emerge between Baby Boomer leaders and Gen Y and Gen X associates with technical expertise.

~ The neurological foundations of people’s resistance to change.

~ The plasticity of the brain and the neurological research into Emotional Intelligence and creativity.

~ How to promote creativity in the workplace through the use of novel stimuli, education, and coaching.

~ How Performance Transformation employs Equine Facilitate Experiential Learning to cultivate Emotional Intelligence, leadership competencies, team cohesion, adaptability and creative thinking with leaders and knowledge workers.

You’re welcome to listen to the podcast replay of yesterday’s live interview here:

To learn more about our approach to cultivating creativity in the workplace please visit Igniting Creativity in Business.

© 2012, Performance Transformation, LLC™.

© 2012, WOCA.

Photograph courtesy of Precision Photography of Honolulu.

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Filed under Experiential Learning, Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture

Goldman Sacked ~ How Transactional Leadership Creates Toxic Organizational Cultures

There was an old saying, any publicity is good publicity, as long as you spell my name right.  I wonder if Mr. Blankfein and Mr. Cohn, the leaders at Goldman Sachs would agree?  After reading this morning’s Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, written by resigning high potential Greg Smith, I highly doubt it.  In case you may have missed it, Mr. Smith, a twelve year veteran at the company and now former executive director of Goldman’s U.S. equity derivatives business in Europe and the Middle East, tended his resignation via the media today.  In a scathing letter, the Stanford graduate and Rhodes Scholar finalist stated, “I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.”

Any of us that witnessed Mr. Blankfein’s testimony, or lack thereof, at the Congressional hearings following the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, that Goldman Sachs, to a great degree, was part and parcel to, are not at all surprised by what Mr. Smith revealed in his Op-Ed letter today.  Mr. Smith comments, “…that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.”

He makes an interesting point.  Culture happens.  Whether or not leadership decides to get out in front of it and tends to it with mindful care.  It is why we emphasize the triumvirate of Leadership, Strategy, and Culture.  It’s embedded in our logo.  Take away or misalign a single element and your on the road to ruin.  Even tacit leadership can enable this type of miscreant behavior to emerge and take root.  I know, I’ve witnessed it first-hand.  I once worked for a company that, at the end of the fiscal quarter, would send fraudulently invoiced equipment to go for a short little ride on delivery trucks heading nowhere but back to the warehouse once the quarterly books were closed.  Thankfully, I wasn’t complicit or a part of the sales organization in that particular company at the time.  But tacit corporate leadership turned their eyes away from the corrupt Vice President of Sales as long as he hit his numbers.

I immediately recalled those terrible days, early in my career, while working for that corporation when I read Mr. Smith’s statement, “How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.”  That particular V.P. that I reference above was finally flushed out of the company, but not before he cashed in several million dollars worth of stockholder equity he helped to fraudulently create.

The fact of the matter is, integrity matters.  Leadership is a sacred trust, not an opportunity to perform one’s best Jack Sparrow imitation.  One need not be a Stanford graduate or a Rhodes Scholar to know how to lead a business the right way and for the right reasons.  Capitalism can, and should, be a powerful social institution that builds wealth, the quality of life of our fellow global citizens, and elevate humanity to the next level of consciousness we will need if we are to survive.  This was the driving impetus for spending three years writing my book, “The Transformational Entrepreneur“.  I have every confidence that, going forward, mindful leadership will outcompete the corrupt, transactional model of the last century.

I’ll defer to Mr. Smith for a closing comment, “Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm — or the trust of its clients — for very much longer.”

From your lips, Mr. Smith…to God’s ear.

© 2012, Terry Murray.

© 2012, Bloomberg.

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The Competitive Correlations Between Leadership Development, Globalization, and Retention

For the past several years we’ve been diligently following the published research on the current state of leadership performance, the endemic employee disengagement crisis, and growing disconnect between Baby Boomer executives and their Gen X and Gen Y associates.  In just the past two years we’ve identified more than a dozen reports from highly respected global consultancies, leading universities, and prestigious institutions that paint a very gloomy picture (you are welcome to view some of the key take-aways from the research in slide format on the pages of our recently launched blog site, Igniting Creativity in Business).  Taken in succession, each new study validates the findings of the previous studies.  If one point of information is incidental, two points of information are an indicator, and three points of information are a trend, then twelve points of aligned information identifies a an irrefutable crisis.  Thankfully, it appears leadership is beginning to embrace the crisis at hand; and more importantly, beginning to act.

In January, Deloitte published a report as part of their Talent Edge 2020 series called “Redrafting Talent Strategies for the Uneven Recovery” that indicates senior leadership in many corporations are not just coming to clarity on leadership development issues for the 21st Century, but are starting to take action to maintain and improve their competitive standing.  This comes as a breath of fresh air.  The executives surveyed identified their organizations’ top three most pressing talent concerns as:

1.) Developing Leaders and Succession Planning.

2.) Recruiting Scarce Skill Sets.

3.) Sustaining Employee Engagement/Morale.

Developing a vibrant, strategically aligned, leadership development pipeline has never been more crucial for organizational success; both in the short and long-term.  The report indicated this is not only true for the younger generation, but for Baby Boomers as well.  Employees stated the single most important retention initiative in their eyes was promotion/job advancement.  The survey identified 41% of Gen Y employees, 64% of Gen X employees and 50% of Baby Boomers stated opportunities for advancement as their top priority for staying with their current employer.  While leaderships’ perspective aligned with the thoughts of the Gen Y and Gen X employees, promotion and job advancement for Baby Boomers wasn’t even in leaderships’ top three areas of concern for retaining seasoned talent.  This misalignment of worker expectations and leaderships’ perspective is a forecast for future turnover of highly experienced associates that will leave a void in mid to upper tier leadership in the coming years.

The survey went on to identify the fact that executives themselves have embraced the shortcomings of their organizations’ leadership development initiatives.  Only 17% of executives surveyed believed their leadership development programs were world-class across the board.  The other 83% of executives acknowledged significant improvements need to occur.  Interestingly, executives that state their leadership development programs are world-class also indicated, by margins of 20% or more, that their organizations were investing in professional development at a high rate.

The issues surrounding scarcity of skill sets is driven in great part by the globalization of business in general and the regional disparities that arise in leadership capabilities.  Being able to effectively lead in multi-cultural settings can be a challenge, especially for American-born associates who are typically far less traveled than their European counterparts (only 38% of Americans have a valid passport).  I learned these lessons first-hand during my early years of leading multi-national teams in global markets.  Cultural perspectives, attitudes towards inclusion, the assimilation of new ideas and strategies, and career expectations vary considerably; not only country-to-country, but often within national boundaries as well (i.e. the Iberian peninsula has five distinct cultural identities).  A strong multi-cultural educational element is a must have in today’s leadership development programs (i.e. Performance Transformation employs lessons from comparative mythology and Geert Hofstede’s research into the Dimensions of Culture to create a foundation of insight and sensitivity to cultural variations).

The need for multi-cultural leadership competencies will continue to accelerate.  The report identifies the second most critical strategy for future growth was accessing global, developing markets.   Cultivating multi-cultural awareness, diversity and inclusion are no longer about compliance but clearly centered as a strategic imperatives for growth.

When it comes to sustaining employee engagement/morale the proverbial horse has already left the barn.  When we consider multiple sources of employee engagement data (research from Gallup, RogenSi, Maritz Research, SixSeconds and the Chartered Management Institute) the term sustaining is a bit pollyanna.  According to the research, 70% of employees are neither cognitively, emotionally, or psychologically engaged with their employer.  In fact, additional research from Deloitte identified 65% of employees are either actively or passively looking for career opportunities outside of their current company.  Those figures closely correlate.  Before companies can sustain employee engagement they’re going to need to rekindle it.  The need to rapidly develop progressive, inclusive leaders; truly transformational leaders, is already lagging behind the competitive needs of businesses, the explicit desires of employees, and the growing demands of shareholders and institutional investors.  A study published by McKinsey & Co. last June identified only 1% of 5,560 “C” level and one-step-down executives scored excellent in eight key leadership competencies.  Ninety percent scored below average.  Even more unsettling is the fact that the leadership competencies they measured are no longer fully aligned with the new economic, generational and cultural landscape.

Fortunately, research published by Kaisen Consulting, Ltd. has identified and validated four critical attributes associated with the high potentials of the new economy.  Future leaders that are capable of embracing and employing accelerated leadership development programs.  The four attributes are:

Change Potential ~ Associates capable of not only adapting to change, but initiating change.  They see opportunity in uncertainty.

Intellectual Potential ~ Associates that think quickly, are flexible and open minded.  I would add the ability to think differently to this attribute as well.

People Potential ~ Associates capable of adapting to changing and complex interpersonal demands.  This speaks to Emotional Intelligence competencies (self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness and relationship management skills).

Motivational Potential ~ Associates capable of sustaining intrinsic motivation and high performance in rapidly changing, challenging environments.

Associates with theses attributes should be the primary candidates for investments in leadership development.  They’re also very likely to be your organization’s most creative and restless employees…the two often go hand-in-hand.  If they cannot find opportunities for advancement in your company, they will in somebody else’s.  Keep in mind, the average length of employment for individuals at a company today is four years.  People that embody these attributes are indeed rather scarce, and if you have them, you’d be very well served to keep them, nurture them, and clear a path for their creative capabilities for driving growth well into the 21st century.

To learn more about Performance Transformation’s customized, intensive six month programs for Accelerated Transformational Leadership Development, please contact us and we’d be more than happy to explore our approach, discuss our curriculum, and help you assess your developmental needs.

© 2012, Terry Murray.

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Filed under Health Care, Leadership Development

Performance Transformation Launches Igniting Creativity in Business


Performance Transformation, LLC™ (Venice, FL) announced today the launch of their new professional development programs and workshops designed to cultivate creativity in the workplace.

“We’re very excited to bring our innovative approach into the marketplace,” said Terry Murray, Founder and Managing Partner of Performance Transformation.  “Regardless of your industry, creativity thinking is now a strategic imperative for cultivating and sustaining competitive advantage in the 21st Century.”

In fact, the 2010 IBM Global CEO survey identified the single most important attribute CEOs are looking for in future leaders is creativity and their ability to cultivate creativity throughout the organization.  However, a peer-reviewed research study conducted by Cornell University  and published in The Journal For Experimental Social Psychology identifies a disconnect.  The research identified a heretofore unseen bias in business.  High potentials that display creativity are often sidetracked on their way up the corporate ladder.

“The accelerating complexity of the global marketplace we’re currently experiencing is unprecedented,” adds Mr. Murray.  “Creative thinking can no longer be relegated to the R&D or marketing functions.  It needs to be present at every touchpoint throughout the organization.”

More than four years in development and validation, the Igniting Creativity In Business series of professional development programs and workshops are entirely based upon peer-reviewed research from diverse, scientific disciplines.  Research findings from the neurosciences, emotional intelligence, biochemistry, Applied Behavioral Economics, Core Mammalian Emotional Systems, performance psychology, creativity research, Kolb’s Adult Learning Style Inventory, and quantum physics have been integrated into a multi-dimensional, innovative approach for sparking creativity and innovative thinking.

“For the past four years we’ve been focused on developing and delivering programs and workshops that align and optimize leadership, strategy, and organizational culture,” states Terry.  “Our baseline programs, first released in 2010, Transformational Leadership, Adaptive Team Building, Igniting Breakthrough Sales, The Emotionally Resilient Nurse, and Warriors in Transition set the foundation for the next evolution in professional development.  When we saw the results from the IBM Global CEO Survey a year and a half ago we realized we had identified the fundamental elements necessary for promulgating creativity in business.”

In the past two years, more than a dozen research studies and surveys have been released by global consultancies, universities, and leading institutions all pointing to the growing disconnect between leadership and employees.  Economic volatility and the global recession contributed to this issue. On a macro level, more than 70% of employees are disengaged with their company.  Trust in leadership is at an all time low (10%) and fear dominates many organizational cultures.

Terry goes on to state, “Fear kills creativity.  It is part of our Core Mammalian Emotional System.  When we promote fear as a motivating factor, we get a predictable response; disengagement.  When we promote another of our part of our Core Mammalian Emotional System, seeking, we also get a predictable response; engagement and creativity.”

Today’s multi-cultural and multi-generational workplace provides significant opportunities for devising and implementing creative solutions to challenges and opportunities alike.  It does, however, require a fresh approach to leading, planning, and delivering a culture capable of engaging every human perspective in the business.

“Creative thinking requires both divergent thinking and convergent focus,” added Terry.  “Diversity of perspectives, coming from diverse people is key.  Inclusion of diverse perspectives has never been more strategically important for companies than it is today.  The other key element for creative thinking that is often overlooked in business is novel stimuli.”

Performance Transformation delivers novel cognitive, emotional, and psychological stimuli through their proprietary Accretive Coaching Process℠, which can include Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning workshops.  The carefully crafted, ground-based exercises with horses introduces a novel, neurological response triggering the development of new neural pathways.  This approach, followed up with a rigorous educational and coaching process helps professionals shift their response to new challenges away from conditioned thinking into an exploratory, neurological response.

Terry concludes, “The challenge is to first promote the formation of new neural pathways in the individual through the introduction of emotionally, cognitively, and psychologically novel stimuli.  To break out of the wheel worn paths of conditioned thinking.  The brain is very conservative with energy, so it has a tendency to follow the path of least resistance.  Developing new neural pathways takes more energy than following established ones.  The more practiced we are in developing new ways of thinking, the easier it becomes to respond to unprecedented challenges in creative ways.  We then work to help client organizations connect and amplify the nodes of though throughout their company.  This approach to cross-pollinating organizational thinking is the key to success going forward.”

© 2012, Performance Transformation, LLC™.

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Filed under Experiential Learning, Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Sales Training, Strategic Planning, Team Building