Archive for November, 2009

A Global Leader Mindset

Carlos Ghosn CEO and President of Renault of France and Nissan of Japan, is credited with turning around Nissan. As an outsider in charge of one of Japan’s largest companies, Ghosn has been extremely successful. When asked recently by Charlie Rose, “what is the mindset of a global leader in the future?” he replied: “A person that is open-minded, capable of understanding different cultures, respects and loves different cultures, is able to understand and connect with people and is empathetic.”

Here are some questions to reflect on as you seek to cultivate the mindset of a global leader:

  1. What new countries and cultures have you recently explored and learned about?
  2. In what situations would you engage in a conversation with a total stranger? Can you recall a recent experience and summarize what you’ve learned?
  3. What new activities will you engage in and explore in the coming year?
  4. Where in the world will you go to observe and immerse yourself with new impressions and learning?
  5. What fascinates you? What do you want to learn about and understand?

© Aviv Shahar

High Performing Teams & Open Ended Questions

Last week I worked with a brilliant team on a strategy for the 2012-13 horizons. They are the best in the world at what they do – the undisputed world champions.  You know you are dealing with champions because of what is present at the point of engagement and also because of what is not present. Here are some of the characteristics I observed and experienced with this team. They are…

  1. Focused on goals and on realizing the intended future state.
  2. Open in communication. Ready to challenge each other’s premise and ideas.
  3. High on value. Low on ego.
  4. Present in the moment. Fully engaged.
  5. Ready to speak their mind and to try new ways.
  6. Not defensive. Not political.
  7. Agile and ready to change and adapt.
  8. Fast to reframe problems as opportunities.
  9. Capable of active listening and intense ideation and collaboration.
  10. Committed to turn setbacks to learning and growth experiences.

Developing strategy is about delineating a series of plausible future states, creating options and aligning a course of action. Our “Hot Seats Exploration” process helps us accelerate the conversation, create high engagement and rapid prototyping of ideas.  In this exercise we guide the conversation through divergence and then convergence phases as the object we explore comes into focus.  We shift from expanding the range of ideas and options (divergence) to aligning on a preferred course of action (convergence).

In the divergence phase we practice framing open-ended questions. I was asked this week: “What is the difference between HOW and WHAT questions?” Here is a simple way to think about it:

  1. HOW promotes prescriptive answers. WHAT promotes explorative responses.
  2. When you are in (A) and seeking to arrive to a KNOWN end-state (B) – use HOW questions: How do we get from A to B?
  3. When you are in (A) and are seeking to discover a new UNKNOWN end-state (B) – use WHAT questions: What opportunities are available to us in a new end state B?
  4. Language is important. Your words, your narrative invoke images. Images create feelings that impact the brain chemistry and state of mind of the people you engage. When you ask: “How can we extract value?” you invoke the image of a dentist (extract). When you reframe the question to “What value capture opportunities are available for us?” you evoke the image of a fisherman (capture). Dentists and Fishermen bring up a very different set of associations in our unconscious mind where creativity and innovation comes into the picture.

High performing teams are adaptive. They are capable of holding open-ended conversations, ready to coalesce and agree on a course of action and are committed to follow through and execute. Thank you.

© Aviv Shahar

The Next Frontier For Leadership Development – The Vitruvian Insight

Most of the currently available training methods in businesses are accented on brain learning. This is evident in the rampant usage of four-quadrant frameworks. There are dozens of strategies based on the four quadrants, the ‘important/urgent’ being one of the most popularized. Many of these are useful but are limited because they miss the insight communicated by The Vitruvian Man drawn by Leonaro da Vinci. Namely, that the human soul is five-fold as expressed by five fingers, five senses, five extensions of the body and so on. The Vitruvian insight points to the five-fold information processing and learning of the human.

By analogy, the human is a radio-set designed to process and interpret five dimensions of intelligence which is codified by the colors: Green, Yellow, Blue, Red and White. Soul learning is five-fold.  It goes beyond brain learning (four-fold) and creates faster, deeper and more sustainable results. So many of the intractable problems witnessed in organizations today and in the world at large are a symptom of brain fixation on outdated systems.  The next frontier of learning and development design is in reintegrating the five dimensions of intelligence. Together with our network of colleagues, we have been for three decades on the forefront of developing advanced coaching modalities to help professionals meet 21st century challenges and thrive. The Ten Faces of Leadership is one aspect of this body of work, which has helped create breakthrough results in Fortune 100 companies around the world.  This body of work also includes:
* The five color intelligences
* The leader coach and the five steps of coaching
* The five colors of learning and process inclinations
* The five emotions (higher and lower)
* Overcoming the five resistances
* The five elements of resilience
And more.
© Aviv Shahar

The KEY: A Decade Of Transformation – Who Will You Be?

A new decade is here, just a few weeks away. Extraordinary! Is time speeding up? Or is it just me?  This Key is about “Who will you be?” in this threshold decade. The run up to 2020 is likely to be relentless, surprising…with complex challenges and hopeful breakthroughs. Our message is twofold:

  1. Start as you intend to go on. Be in 2010 the greater person you hope to be in 2020. In wisdom, impact, generosity and more.
  2. Co-create the future you choose to live in.

Read about the Age of Transformation, including five key Transformational Strategies.

© Aviv Shahar

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