It's no secret that the world is changing at an unprecedented pace. From blockchain to artificial intelligence, robotics to 3-D Printing, there’s lots to be excited about.
At the same time, climate change, political upheaval and economic disruption threaten to upend the world as we know it. There's lots to be uncertain about. And the trouble with uncertainty is that it leads to fear. And fear puts us in a contractive, reactive, entrenched state. We become stuck. And that ain’t good.
Stuckness leads to reduced adaptability and competitiveness, decreased employee engagement and effectiveness, less ability to attract great talent, and of course, decreased creativity, productivity and profit.
Above all, it leads to creating results and situations that no one wants.
The new challenges we face are too great for our old organizational structures and methodology. And I’m not talking solely about traditional, old-economy businesses. “Move fast and break things” is not leadership either. It’s what 2-year-olds do. And I’d argue it’s had similar results to what a 2-year-old might produce – complete chaos.
I believe on some level, we all sense the need for a new way of doing things. Some of us are forced into the gig economy, but a lot of us choose it. We want to go it on our own because the old corporate structures and behaviours simply don't work for us.
In their book Leading from the Emerging Future, Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer state that “Our inherited leadership vocabulary is no longer fit to meet the challenges of our time.”
We are experiencing a massive failure of leadership.
And we’re experiencing it just at the time when we need leaders the most.
My goal is to help great leaders become exceptional leaders.
Because the world needs nothing less.
What makes an exceptional leader?
Exceptional leaders are first and foremost connected, both inside and outside their organization. They don’t see themselves as singular heroes, they see themselves as part of a system. They influence the system. They don’t rule it.
Exceptional leaders are expansive in nature. They have strong core values and an open heart. (Coach Taylor was right – Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose.) Being in an expansive state allows leaders to shift from reactive problem solving, to co-creating the future. Inter-organizational polarization and inertia decrease.
Exceptional leaders are (obviously) highly effective. They are makers of high-quality, timely decisions. They balance advocacy with inquiry. They challenge assumptions, see data for what it really is, acknowledge difficult truths and find opportunity in constraint. And, they deliver exceptional results.
Exceptional leaders are watery. They are not attached to particular outcomes or situations. They are in a perpetual state of exploration. They follow the energy of discovery and are willing to discard old plans and strategies when new and unexpected paths and opportunities emerge. They know where they want to go, but they aren’t attached to how they get there, or even if they get there. You can learn more about “watery-ness” here.
Exceptional leaders are capable, inspiring storytellers. They use the tension between vision and reality to motivate and inspire their teams.
Exceptional leaders know how to let go. They let go of their own egos. This frees them to ask (stupid) questions and allows for their team’s collective wisdom to emerge. They let go of old business models, ideas and structures. This frees them to create something new. They let go of their need for certainty. This frees them to create the conditions for change.
In the field of System Leadership, it’s frequently mentioned that the Indo-European root of “to lead” is “leith”. It means to “go forth”, to “cross a threshold” or “to die”.
We must let the old ways of doing things die.
And that takes courage.
And a level of commitment that few people are willing to make.
The Unstuck Leader: Program Elements
You will work with me for 6 months. No more. No less.
I will work with no more than 10 clients at a time.
We will have 26 formal, 1-hour sessions together, plus up to 1 hour per week of informal updates, strategy sessions and how’d-ya-do’s by phone or email. Sometimes, there will be homework. Always, I’ll customize the program in real time to your specific needs and challenges.
The Unstuck Leader program brings together elements of three disciplines: Strategic Intervention Theory, System Leadership Theory and Life Design Theory along with my own research conducted through the Unstuck Project.
At its core, my coaching is about stepping out of ego and into a greater awareness.
We do that together, by focussing on 4 Pillars.
Enter a state of expansiveness, calm and clarity.
The first 8 (or so) weeks of the program are focused on understanding and mastering the art of self-renewal. Identify your core values and align your purpose, mission and vision with them. Through the process of alignment, you will build long-term capacity to change, adapt and thrive by significantly increasing your tolerance for uncertainty. We’ll also examine the limiting patterns of belief and behaviour (misalignments) that are holding you back in life and in business.
Develop the ability to operate effectively despite being in a state of uncertainty and ambiguity.
Change your relationship with constraints – from something negative to something positive that drives ingenuity. Create systems for achieving goals. Learn to set boundaries. Overcome perfectionism. Double down on commitment. Learn to become "watery".
Understand human motivation both as it applies to customers and employees. Understand your own biases and get real with your data.
Use deep listening and exploration to understand your organization as a system and to understand the system within which your organization exists. Learn to bring the best out of your employees and co-workers. Understand and cultivate feedback loops. Make better decisions. Learn the art and science of influence, storytelling and narration.
Commit to your own learning and growth.
Learn to build and cultivate a support network of like-minded people that is based in trust and collaboration. Learn to not take anything personally (it’s possible!). Learn to let go of being the expert or authority in the room.
A good coach must be two things: Curious and Compassionate. I think I fit the bill.
The truth is, I find you fascinating. I know that it’s a deep honor when you invite me into your life, and there’s nothing I love more than watching you create your own transformation during our time together.
Above all, I’m deeply committed to helping to create exceptional leaders capable of thriving in the emerging future.
You can be one of those leaders.
Are you ready?
Let's do this.