Benefits to leaders

If a caterpillar doesn’t know its future has wings, it hardly experiences itself as land-bound.
—Robert Kegan, author of In Over Our Heads and Immunity to Change

Upgrade your leadership operating system

One reason why a lot of leadership development fails is that it assumes you can change behaviors without changing what lies underneath those behaviors. It’s just like placing complex new computer applications onto an outdated operating system. The operating system lacks the oomph to handle the applications’ complexity.

I help you practice new behaviors and upgrade the underlying leadership operating system. You don’t become a different person. You become a better and more versatile version of yourself.

When you make significant changes in your leadership, the people who work with you will see the behaviors change. What they may not see is the reason: the upgrading of your leadership operating system. This change, while not always visible to others, is important because it involves the big untested assumptions you make about yourself, others and the world. It’s about what “make you tick.”

Meet great complexity with mastery—in head, heart and gut

Your leadership operating system has three main elements: head, heart and gut. To upgrade the system, you’ll develop mastery in all three:

Head. The latest brain science shows that adults can rewire their brains. This is good news because when it comes to managing growing complexity (organizational, technical, cultural, political), we are all in over our heads. Yesterday’s brains aren’t big enough to master tomorrow’s complexity. This is not about intellect but the capacity to see multiple perspectives, observe new realities without distortion, take in feedback, and confront change with agility.  As detailed in the book The Leadership Pipeline, rising higher in organizations means facing greater complexity and therefore requires greater capacity in each of these areas.

Heart. 95% of the skills listed under “emotional intelligence” depend on a single change in the underlying operating system: shifting from your emotions “having” you to you having your emotions. When someone gets emotional around you, do you take responsibility for their emotions and get triggered, or do you realize that the other person generates their own emotions? Similarly, when you get upset, do you hold others responsible for them or do you realize that you generate your own emotions? This shift in your operating system takes years, not months, but once you make it, your scores in every category of emotional intelligence leap up.

Gut. The gut is in the center of the body. Using your gut means being centered, grounded and focused. It means you “own” the space around you, that you are not easily pushed off center by surprises, attacks, or your own inner turmoil. You strengthen your gut by adjusting your posture, practicing ways of staying centered, and modifying your body language.

Increase your odds of success

Every day you show up to work, you place a bet that the way you lead is going to produce success.  Wouldn’t it be nice to increase the odds of your bet paying off? That’s what working with a coach can do:

  • Your odds of succeeding in a new role are now 60%. Would you like to increase that to 85%?
  • Your odds of getting a promotion in the next two years is 35%. Would you like to increase that to 65%?
  • Your odds of bringing a new product to market, influencing a new policy or producing an organizational change are 50%. Would you like to increase that to 75%?

Find your noble purpose…and pursue it with gusto

Research shows that individuals and organizations perform at higher levels when they stand for something bigger than themselves. What do you stand for? Your answer to this question is your noble purpose. Few organizations require a noble purpose in the job application, but all organizations benefit from it because it gives you the energy to contribute your best. I help you discover your noble purpose and challenge you to think big and pursue it with gusto.

Sustain your mental, emotional and physical energy

If you’re not sleeping, eating or exercising well, nothing we do together will work because you won’t have the energy. Every part of your leadership operating system needs energy. Your head needs mental energy. Your heart needs emotional energy. And your gut needs physical energy. In fact, a large body of research shows that high performers in every field use a specific set of deliberate practices to renew their energy. We introduce you to these and suggest what will work best for you.

Consider these practices described by Tony Schwartz in his book Be Excellent at Anything:

  • Mental energy. Manage your commitments to yourself. Do one thing at a time. Enter “flow” states of creativity.
  • Emotional energy. Regularly access positive emotions. Manage negative emotions by expanding your repertoire of responses to the fight-or-flight response.
  • Physical energy. Sleep, mid-day breaks, nutrition, exercise.

Use power and influence with savvy and integrity

Whether you’re a CEO, a VP or a divisional director, one key to effective leadership is the ability to influence up, down and across the organization—not to mention other organizations. Here’s the catch: the moment you try to influence somebody else, you inevitably enter a world of interests and agendas, maneuvering and anticipating. This is what some call the “power game.” Whether you like it or not, the power game is a reality you face in even the healthiest and “least political” organizations.

So what are you going to do about it?

I encourage you to take a “high road of realism.” We help you wield power with savvy and integrity:

  • Make grounded assessments of people’s interests and agendas
  • Recognize the power of symbolic actions, yours and others
  • Time and sequence your actions
  • Understand the half dozen power plays you are most likely to face and develop creative ethical responses
  • Stay calm and grounded when under stress

Learn to be happy

I have a bigger goal for you than just being a more effective leader. I want your life to turn out. Fortunately, most leaders who upgrade their leadership operating systems finds that they are actually happier. Version 3.0 is a more enjoyable place to be than Version 2.0. That’s because you’re fully engaged in your work, know its larger purpose, regularly replenish your energy, and have a broader repertoire of responses to emotional triggers.