Tag Archives: Experiential Learning

Experts Discuss the Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Business and Education on The Gail Shane Show

I recently had the privilege of co-hosting The Gail Shane Show on WSRQ – Sarasota with, of course, Gail Shane.  The subject of the program explored the critical role Emotional Intelligence competencies (Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Social Awareness, Relationship Management skills and Empathy) have on creating and sustaining competitive advantage in business, education, and in our own personal lives.  We were fortunate to have on our panel neurosurgeon Dr. Ravi Rao, the author of “Emotional Business: Inspiring Human Connectedness To Grow Earnings And The Economy, Becky Canesse, CEO of Just For Girls, and Dr. Jennifer Rosenboom, the Principal of the Just For Girls Academy.

I’ve edited the podcast replay into three segments, which you can listen to by clicking the audio players below:

Segment One ~ Dr. Ravi Rao and Terry Murray discuss the neurology of human emotions, leveraging neuroscience to develop engaging and inspirational leaders, and how organizational  mastery of our emotional landscape contributes to competitive advantage, engagement, productivity and business performance (13 minutes).

Segment Two ~ Becky Cannesse and Dr. Jennifer Rosenboom discuss how they’re educating the whole child by cultivating empathy, compassion, resiliency, and Emotional Intelligence skills in young girls and how Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning, conducted by Performance Transformation, LLC™, has contributed to the girls’ development (8 minutes).

Segment Three ~ Ravi, Terry, Gail, Becky and Jennifer discuss methods for teaching emotional awareness skills, how Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning accelerates and supports the emergence of Emotional Intelligence competencies, and strategies for cultivating a positive, emotional landscape in organizations, businesses, and families (13 minutes).

Thanks again to Gail Shane, WSRQ – Sarasota, Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy (SMART), our collaborator and host for Equine programs, and Neal Communities, the sponsor, for having us on the air!

© 2013, Terry Murray, The Gail Shane Show.

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Leading in the New Economic Ecology of Ideas

I just finished re-reading Dr. Amit Goswami‘s book, “How Quantum Activism Can Save Civilization”, and if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.  Dr. Goswami is a quantum physicists that explores the societal implications of downward causality, the non-locality of consciousness, tangled hierarchy and discontinuity; all experimentally proven tenets of quantum physics.  We integrate his work into our professional development workshops and coaching programs, as it introduces novel concepts (which sparks neurogenesis, new neural connections, and creative thinking) which are critical if we are to lead and manage business from a higher place of consciousness.

This is no longer becoming a choice.  We’ve migrated out of the Industrial Age and into what can best be described as the Idea Age.  Ideas emerge from the quantum field of our minds, and when creative ideas intermingle in the right environment (i.e. organizational culture) and within the right context, innovation and subsequent value creation is not far behind.  This isn’t new information.  We can see how the change has effected nearly every aspect of our lives.  Yet many sectors of the economy still cling to outmoded models of leadership, strategic planning, and organizational culture that actually hobble the cultivation of creative ideas and innovation.

In Goswami’s book, he explores the fundamental shift that must occur in light of this new economic ecology.  As he discussed his perspective, he went into the etymology, or original meaning, of the two words.  I think it adds some poignancy to the conversation of leading in this new era as well.  The root meaning of the word economic is the management of place.  The root meaning of the word ecology is the place of knowledge.  The raw materials, or value producing inputs, of the Industrial Age were natural resources, labor and capital.  Customer demands and needs were met via mass production, where economies of scale, command-and-control hierarchy and process controls ruled the day.  Large corporations evolved to leverage these drivers of success.  The ecology, or place of knowledge, leveraged value through the scarcity of goods, services or capabilities; and the economics, or management of that place of value, evolved to suit both its opportunities and constraints.  Companies grew to guard their tacit knowledge, or know how, very carefully, as its scarcity helped firms maintain competitive advantage.

The ecology, however, has shifted dramatically with major implications as to how we lead, organize and plan for success in this Age of Ideas.  Technology, the internet and social media have combined to virtually dissolve the scarcity of knowledge.  The combination of these forces is accelerating the transformation of tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge and the resulting rate of innovation.  Economies of scale have been displaced by economies of relationships and speed of talent (adaptability) is now more important than stability and control.  One no longer needs to create a monolithic corporation to create value.  Entrepreneurs, networks of professionals and relatively small teams of knowledge workers can, and do, create value at a much faster pace.

So here’s the question I ask of us all…

If the place of knowledge (the ecology) is no longer concentrated in the hands of a few industrialists and financiers, but opening up more, everyday, to the people of the world, mustn’t the management of place (the economics) evolve as well?

Source ~ Background materials for this blog were garnered from the report “The Innovation Driven Economic Development Model” by Collaborative Economics, 2008.

© 2012, Terry Murray.

 

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Terry Murray Discusses the Strategic Imperative of Creativity in the Workplace on the CBS Radio Network

The need for creative thinking has moved well out of R&D and marketing departments.  The speed and dynamics of today’s economic world require adaptive solutions to unprecedented challenges at every touch point within the organization.  I recently had the opportunity to discuss how to go about cultivating the type of organizational agility successful companies require in the 21st century.

You can listen to the interview on the player below:

For more insights on how to cultivate creative thinking throughout your organization, please visit Igniting Creativity in Business.

© 2012, Terry Murray.

© 2012, CBS Radio Network.

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Building Competencies for Strategic Thinking

My attention was recently brought to an article written by Paul J.H. Shoemaker that was published a while back in Inc. Magazine entitled, “6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers“.  Dr. Shoemaker is the founder and Chief Executive of Decision Strategies International, a multi-national strategy firm.  As a former executive strategist who achieved consistent success in both corporate and startup settings, I found this article to be the most concise and spot-on list of the attributes that contribute to adaptive, strategic thinking I’ve ever read.

As I began reading the article, it was readily apparent Dr. Shoemaker was describing the habits and orientation of Transformational Leadership as well.  This isn’t a coincidence.  Transformational Leadership is the visionary, highly inclusive and strategic leadership necessary for successfully navigating the ambiguity and rapidly changing landscape in today’s complex business world.  The habits identified in the article are, in my opinion and extensive experience, immutable.  But how does one go about embracing a shift in perspective to cultivate the competencies necessary to ensure these habits are engrained and embodied congruently?  I’d like to take the habits one-by-one and explore how one might go about developing this modality of thought and perspective in developing both today’s and tomorrow’s leaders.

Anticipate ~ The risk of myopic vision, of being so focused on what’s directly in front of us, keeps us from seeing what may be occurring on the periphery of our awareness.  You’ll quickly catch the theme here; awareness, both of one’s authentic self and an awareness and sensitivity to the needs of others.  Dr. Shoemaker recommends peering to the periphery in search of game changing information.  He also recommends the creation of broad networks to expand your scanning range.  This speaks directly to elevating diversity and inclusion initiatives to the strategic level.  It also speaks for the need for a degree of open mindedness I call spherical thinking.  Of taking divergent thinking, a key phase of the distinctly non-linear creativity process, to a three dimensional level.  The other thing I’d add here is to follow your intuition first, then validate it with your research.  It’s always worked for me.

Think Critically ~ I know this sounds obvious, but it goes beyond challenging the conventional wisdom, industry dogma, and value assumptions of others.  It means challenging your own perspectives and beliefs in order to uncover any hidden biases or blind spots.  To do this requires a journey inward to what Carl Jung called the Shadow of our unconscious mind.  Again, it is our ability to discern between how our mindsets, beliefs and cultural orientation have been conditioned versus what truly is at play…at the crux of the matter.  Research from the field of Applied Behavioral Economics demonstrates we’re not as rational in our economic decision making as we once liked to believe.  Thinking critically also means feeling critically.  Emotions matter in business.  Seventy percent of economic decision making is emotionally based…even in B-to-B transactions!

Interpret ~ Here Shoemaker advises the leader to hold steady during times of ambiguity and not jump to a short-sighted conclusion just to alleviate insecurities.  Seek patterns from wide sources of information and research.  We do this to this day, often finding valuable insights for program development in unanticipated places (i.e. we discovered excellent materials for cultivating creativity in business from research that was intended for a program we’re developing for parents with children with autism).  He goes on to encourage the concurrent testing of multiple hypotheses.  I couldn’t agree more.  An approach I helped develop some years back, called Dynamic Parallel Targeting®, facilitates this very approach.

Encourage others to divergently explore as well and most of all, encourage lively debate!  This rarely happens in organizations that are governed by transactional leadership.  Why?  You got it…it’s about authentic self-awareness.  When we cannot differentiate how we’ve been conditioned to associate our identity with our job title, rather than knowing who we are, as well as what we do, we can have a tendency to take things personally when our professional perspectives and ideas are exchanged.  It’s why nobody wants to challenge the boss and tell the emperor he’s not wearing any clothes.  It is disengaging, and thus destroys creative thinking.  On the other hand, if you encourage people’s core emotions, of their desire for seeking, inclusion, purposefulness and acknowledgement you’ll get open, creative debate and discourse.

Decide ~ Dr. Shoemaker resonates the lessons of a favorite strategist and transformational leader I’ve long admired…Winston Churchill.  Simply put, and to paraphrase Winston, don’t let the better be the enemy of the good.  Make a decision, even under imperfect circumstances.  My military training resonates with this message as well.  Break down your options and plan for contingencies, but you’ve got to take accountability, trust in your gut and decide.  Trusting intuition, even knowing how to attune and listen for it, are skills that can be taught.  It takes a quiet mind to hear this clearly.

It also reminds me on an anecdote I read about Gen. George Patton’s thoughts on picking a leader from young officers.  Patton would issue an ambiguous order, say, to dig a ditch here, and leave.  He would then go to a spot where he could observe the young men without being seen.  Inevitably, the men would quickly toss down their shovels and begin debating what Patton wanted from them.  How deep?  How long?  Why?  Eventually, one of the men would just say, to hell with it, pick up a shovel and start digging.  That was Patton’s next leader.

Align ~ Dr. Shoemaker states, “A strategic leader must foster open dialogue, build trust and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge.”  He goes on to discuss the soft skills necessary to build trust to this level.  This speaks directly to the social awareness and relationship management competencies that are present in emotionally intelligent leaders.  It’s about how we connect, engage and motivate others congruently, with positive intention, and support.  Remember, engagement is a pre-requisite to the diverse, creative thinking needed today.  And an open dialogue is an inclusive dialogue.

Learn ~ The good doctor recommends being honest with yourself and learn from both your wins and losses.  This is key to our entire approach to Transformational Leadership development as well.  Coach, mentor, teach and continue to stretch those neural networks in our prefrontal cortex!  Learning, and what we’ve observed from the feedback from our experiential learning workshops, introduces the novelty necessary to spark spherical thought.  It opens us up, first to our selves; and only then to others.  It sparks the emotional and cognitive agility leaders require for success going forward.

Again, I just thought this was a great article and I wanted to share it with you.  I sincerely hope you take Dr. Shoemaker’s observations to heart.  I hope my thoughts are worthy of some reflection as well.  Cultivating these skills is a journey, not a destination.  Yet the journey is the accelerant, in and of itself.

Dynamic Parallel Targeting® is a registered trade mark of SalesForce4Hire®, LLC.

© 2012, Terry Murray.

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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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Transformational Thinking ~ The Power of Inclusion

While enjoying a relaxing, Sunday meander around the online news I came across a compelling presentation from TED by Susan Cain.  Ms. Cain is the author of the new book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.”  Having been working on a new approach for sparking creativity in business, we’ve been knee deep into the neuroscience exploring creativity and how it emerges.  While creativity is non-linear in its very nature, there is a creative process, phases of divergent thinking and convergent focus that are common themes in the literature.  A critical element for cultivating creativity in the workplace is inclusion.  Ms. Cain makes a remarkable case for this in her presentation and even more thoughtfully so in her book.

We’ve are very fortunate to be collaborating with a brilliant professional from the diversity and inclusion training industry.  During our conversations, she went into great detail about our own hidden biases that marginalize inclusion. Enculturated behaviors and perspectives that we’re often unaware of ourselves.  This is central to our professional development process; coaching and educating a reflective journey towards authenticity and away from conditioned behaviors and attitudes.  Enabling professionals to navigate mindfully through society’s and organizations’ turbulent and noisy emotional landscape.  Authentic self-awareness illuminates our blind spots where our biases have taken root. Acknowledging the bias is the first step in alleviating it.  Until I discovered Ms. Cain’s perspective, we had focused, for the most part, on cultural biases.

Ms. Cain’s work reveals an entirely other area of bias; one that favors extroverts and marginalizes introverts, much to the demise of organizational creativity and the benefits that emerge from reflective thought.  She makes a remarkable case for why this has happened in our culture, pointing to the rise of industrialization drawing strangers together, competing to prove their self worth and value in new working environments.  Susan points back to the 19th Century, and notes that leadership that was admired during that time was leadership of character (i.e. Abraham Lincoln).  With the rise of industrialism, we began to celebrate the personality above the character, and extroverts have engaging personalities.  Illustrating her point, Ms. Cain writes in her book about her attending a Tony Roberts seminar and makes some insightful observations on just how far this obsession with salesmanship as leadership has gone.

Susan also speaks about the need for a more balanced approach for embracing the creative thinking of people that tend more towards introversion in the workplace.  The need to not force collaboration as the only approach to working towards innovative solutions.  From my perspective, she’s not just speaking about holding the space for those that work best on their own, she’s illustrating the importance of being socially aware and respectful towards the needs of those we are charged to lead.  This is a fundamental perspective of transformational leaders.

For anyone that is interested in fostering creativity and inclusion in the workplace, I highly recommend Ms. Cain’s book.

© 2012, Terry Murray.

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The Perpetual Pendulum in Leadership Thinking

I was speaking with the vice president of training and development at a medical device company the other day about our integrative approach for professional develop.  She is an avid horse fan, and expressed the value she sees in the linking of our experiential learning workshops with horses to our Accretive Coaching Process™ to spark a shift in perspective, explore adaptive solutions, and engrain sustained, creative thinking.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been directed that all of our training and development programs be migrated to computer based training,” she commented.  “But stay in touch, everything changes every 18 to 24 months.”

Her comments brought me back to my days in corporate when I had witnesses this seemingly perpetual swinging of the pendulum of leadership’s thinking towards innovation, structure, strategy, well, in fact, pretty much everything.  It was almost binary in nature; if not this, then that.  When that would fall short, a new group would come in, and immediately begin to move the organization back in the other direction.  Sound familiar?

I’ve come to realize that this cyclical thinking, that never breaks us out of our well worn path, is rooted in our tendency, as Westerners, to continuously look out there for solutions that are in fact waiting to be discovered, quietly beneath the surface within ourselves.  If only we’d find the courage to take a hard look in the mirror of self-awareness.  This is why we built our process on the emerging research from the neurosciences, performance psychology, emotional intelligence, core emotional systems, quantum physics, and individual learning styles.  More and more, the research from these fields, especially from the neurosciences, and yes, quantum physics, supports our approach.

The latest pendulum swing is pointing its nebulous finger at stretch goals.  That’s where the fault lies, in our corporate obsession with establishing, and most often missing, organizational (and personal for that matter) goals.  The research coming out of our leading business schools, is attempting to make their case that obsessive goal setting damages organizational culture, erodes intrinsic motivation, distorts risk evaluation, drives unethical behavior, and is one of the primary reasons for the endemic associate disengagement crisis.1 Another earlier report from the American Psychology Association states  “The optimally striving individual ought to endeavor to achieve and approach goals that only slightly implicate the self; that are only moderately important, fairly easy, and moderately abstract; that do not conflict with each other, and that concern the accomplishment of something other than financial gain.”I can’t help but come away with the impression that what this study is suggesting is less accountability and lowering the bar is the key to performance.  I do agree with the fact that goals should be in alignment and should reflect positive intention that expands beyond simple financial gain.

The pop psychologists, books like “The Secret” and the self help gurus have helped push goal setting and vacuous visualization to the point of foolishness, so I can see what prompted the good intentions that I’m sure prompted much of this research into goal setting.  Please remember, research begins with a hypothesis, in this case, that goal setting in and of itself results in missed targets, bad behavior and poor performance, and then sets out to prove the theory.  This can lead to myopic perspectives that lose focus on other variables that may also be in play.

Here’s where I think this research misses the target.  Goal setting, in and of itself is essential in aligning and moving an organization forward.  Especially in these times of unprecedented volatility and the acceleration of adaptive challenges organizations will continue to face in the 21st century.  What the research didn’t take into consideration is the prevalent, transactional leadership mindset that is setting the goals.  Transactional leadership is dominant, and operates on the 20th century premise of reward and punishment.  It’s almost Pavlovian.  Hit the goal, and you’re rewarded, miss the goal and you’ll be punished.  This, and the culture of fear it cultivates, is what drives the negative outcomes, not the goal setting.

Now, what if we were to actually rethink our fundamental approach to leadership, and migrate to a transformational leadership style?  An approach that leads from a perspective of serving those we lead.  A mindset of developing and supporting the professional and personal growth of those we are charged to lead.  An inclusive, transparent, and congruent approach that is inspirational and is the key to cultivating creative thinking, discerned risk taking, and adaptability.

I’ve witnessed this firsthand while in corporate.  In the 1990s, I had P&L responsibility for a global service unit operating in the pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment market that I had been charged to launch.  I was able to start from scratch, hire my leaders, and recruit our own technicians, and create our strategy.  Even then, I was a transformational leader, doing so more out of instinct than anything else.  It just felt right, and had always served me, my associates, and the company I was working for at the time quite well.  Our entire company had a stretch goal of growing revenue by 25% that year.  Now that’s a s-t-r-e-t-c-h goal!  Ours was the only unit that hit the target.  The rest of the company did not do as well, but none of us received our bonuses, even the ones that had performed, because the entire company missed the goal.  What do you think that did to the morale of the truly engaged associates in our business unit?  This also points to the inevitable problems transformational leaders will have operating under transactional leadership paradigms.  Eventually, you’ll be undermined.

In my real-world experienced opinion, the research on goal setting is flawed because it is assuming other factors are not in play, and the fundamental environment is functional.  But nevertheless, they found the statistical information to support their hypothesis.

Here are my five key tips for setting and achieving performance goals:

1.) Before you do anything, re-evaluate your leadership philosophy.  Transformational leadership is critical to success in the 21st century.  Creativity is key, at every touch point in an organization.  Creativity cannot emerge in a transactional leadership environment.  Transaction leadership leverages our core emotion of fear rather than encouraging our core emotional desire for seeking.

2.)  Don’t start with the goal, this is metaphorically putting the cart before the horse.  Start by exploring your firm’s vision and intention.  Are they in alignment?  Is it a shared vision and do your associates feel the positive intention of that vision?  Does it resonate congruently throughout your organization and your marketplace?  Now co-create the goal with inclusive, associate participation and use these parameters as a guiding factor.

3.) Once you’ve embraced the goal, which is truly only a projection of your vision lying somewhere over the horizon, create a detailed approach to bring the steps necessary to achieve the goal into the present day.  This isn’t radical in thought, it is classic GOST planning.  Goal ~ 3 to 5 years out; Objectives ~ measurable performance gates, in terms of time and other tangible criteria, to be achieved in the current fiscal year that move you towards your Goal; Strategies ~ initiatives that will move your people towards the achievement of the Objectives; and Tactics ~ the day-to-day, week-to-week action items that will implement your Strategies.  This builds presence, focus, and engagement in the moment, the only place we can ever influence anything.

4.) Take a hard look at your organizational culture.  Is it still in its transactional state or is it pulsating with possibilities.  This is why our firm focuses on aligning and optimizing Authentic, Transformational Leadership, Mindful Strategy, and an Engaging, Creative Organizational Culture.  Miss one element and high performance is extinguished.  The best visionary seeds will fail to germinate in depleted soil.

5.) Educate, coach and empower associates to grow as they move forward.  A study published in the Harvard Business Review® cited research that indicates a dollar spent on advertising created two dollars in revenue but each dollar invested in education resulted in forty dollars in increased revenue.  In addition, a research study published in the Journal of Public Personnel Management found that training improves the productivity of management a little over 22%. The integration of training with professional coaching improves productivity 88%.

If you embrace these five elements, goals will be met and the creativity CEOs so desperately desire will emerge.  The key is to leave transactional leadership behind and embrace the new mindset of transformational leadership.  If you don’t, the next generation, the Gen X and Gen Y’s will, and you’ll find your firm falling further and further behind as we continue to emerge from the Great Recession.

1.) “Goals Gone Wild: The Systematic Side Effects of Over-Prescribing Goal Setting”, Lisa D. Ordóñez, Maurice E. Schweitzer, Adam D. Galinsky, and Max H. Bazerman, Harvard Business Review, February, 2009.

2.) “The hazards of goal pursuit. Virtue, vice, and personality: The complexity of behavior.”, L.A. King, C.M. Burton. Edward C.Chang (Ed),. xxvi, 189 pp. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, 2003.

© 2012, Terry Murray.

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