Archive for the 'Leadership' Category

Conversation, Leadership, and My New Book: Read the Full Interview at The Huffington Post

Good ideas ought to be shared. And if it is a good idea, it will travel far and fast. For that reason I have recently begun to take interviews with individuals who have inquired about transformative leadership strategies, and the interviews are beginning to trickle out now. You may have seen an article last week in Forbes in which I shared my thoughts on conversation frameworks, talked about my new book Create New Futures, and more. This week, I am pleased to share my interview with Nick Hastreiter, which has been published at the Huffington Post. There will be more interviews and articles being published in the coming months that will highlight my thoughts on a variety of issues, but I hope you will take a moment to read my deep dive on the art of conversation and how leaders should apply it to guide their organizations to achieve breakthrough results:

© Aviv Shahar

My FORBES interview on leadership, conversation, and dynamic companies

Many of you know that I have invested a lot of time and thought into my recent book, Create New Futures: How Leaders Produce Breakthroughs and Transform the World Through Conversation. This book distills many of my hard won lessons in leadership, business, and relationships into what I hope is an engaging read.

While I have not seen the need for a much hyped book tour (I jest, of course), I did send the book to a few media outlets for their review, and I am pleased with the write up this work received in FORBES this week. If you care to learn a little more about it, you can find the article at this link:

© Aviv Shahar

How do transformational leaders help their people?

Transformational leaders, by definition, help their people transform the energy of fear into a forward movement, by turning an uncertainty into a positive course of action.

© Aviv Shahar

How Should Leaders Prepare for The Future?

The future never happens all at once. It unfolds progressively. Work on successive horizons.

Shanghai leadership workshop

The rewards of working with bright and passionate teams are manifold and the thrill of satisfaction in witnessing the team coming together with energy and excitement about the future they are creating is great.

Our work is to help remove the blockages that hold them back, liberate their ideas and talent and help align on a shared vision and strategy.

Miracles can be real. They occur when everyone in the organization shares a picture of the future they believe in, and converse from that future picture.

Here are two comments from the recent workshop we led in Shanghai with a global team.

Create Your Narrative

“What’s the best way to excite my team to charge forward?”

The young entrepreneur asking the question started a new project. He wanted to help students prepare for the ISEE Test. You can check it out at He felt he needed to focus his team’s attention and create enthusiasm about the opportunity ahead. The business started to pull in cash, and he recognized he was presented with a growth opportunity. To seize the opportunity he needed the team to double the effort. His dilemma was how to build focused commitment and excite rapid action. And so he asked: How can I best mobilize the team to accelerate the development of our service?

I was born to guide these kinds of conversations. This is what I do. I help executives and entrepreneurs imagine new futures and accelerate the journey to realize these futures. We engage in a series of conversations. I ask questions that build awareness, generate options and mobilize action.

“If you are wildly successful, where will you be in 12 months? What will students say about learning with the help of ISEE Practice Test? How many students will be using your service next year? What’s the total addressable market and what growth trajectory is available for you? Now that you are expanding into SSAT Practice Test, how will you apply your learning to accelerate the launch?” were some of the questions I asked.

He quickly showed me his excel calculus. The numbers were compelling. My next question was, “What must be true for you to seize this opportunity?  And, what must you accomplish in the next three months to deliver on these goals? How must your offerings evolve in order to create the momentum of traffic and revenue growth?”

As he talked through these topics, the picture came into focus. I was getting excited with him. “You are in ‘the forest’ of all that you are doing. All that your team is able to see is the individual ‘trees,’ not the forest. The ‘trees’ are the tasks and activities you lined up for them, but they don’t see the bigger picture that you see. They don’t see the forest and they don’t perceive the journey map you are leading them through. To excite them you need to tell them a story. You need to create a narrative. You need to describe a compelling picture.”

“Give me an example,” he said.

“We are at a crossroad,” is how you begin. It will get people’s attention immediately. Then proceed to describe how you got to this crossroad and what lies ahead. “First we had an idea. We discovered an unmet need. Students who wanted to prepare for the ISEE Test had very limited options. We gathered data and researched the market to validate the idea. That was phase one: an idea with potential.

We then embarked on phase two. In phase two we developed our solution and launched the service. With a minimal budget, we bootstrapped ourselves and launched our service. We hoped to test our hypotheses. We wanted to see if the market will respond and validate our idea by purchasing our offering. And guess what, the numbers surprised us. Shortly after launch purchases started to come in. I’d wake up in the morning and discover another two students and then another three found us, and so on, which is why I believe we are now at a crossroad.

Not only has the market given us a proof of concept. The purchase patterns reflect a significant interest. This means we have an opportunity. A truly great opportunity. But we must change gears. We must realize that we’ve reached a crossroad that requires us to shift from ‘testing the product’ to ‘building a complete solution.’ That’s what the next phase is about. Phase three is about delivering a complete solution with evaluation and additional improvements. If we can climb this hill in the next 60 days, we will be ready ahead of the school year and will be setting ourselves for dramatic growth. What do you say team? Do you believe we can accelerate our work to meet this date-with-destiny? Can we conquer this next hill in 60 days?”

By framing a narrative that shows the journey plot, you convey to your team your appreciation of what they’ve made possible and what you envision going forward. When your team shares the picture of the future and the journey story everything is possible.

Creating the narrative, telling the story of the future is leadership.

© Aviv Shahar

Top Pitfalls of Newly Promoted Executives

Here are 10 mistakes newly promoted executives make:

  1. Failure to realize you need to shift gears.
    You need to step back and reconfigure your world while you are accelerating to 180 miles an hour.
  2. Trying to keep your former peers as friends.
    You need to structure a series of individual and team conversations to build new ways of going forward and lead.
  3. Being too impressed with your success.
    You need to stay grounded and focused. You are in a new game. You need to win anew in new and broader ways. You need to help your people win anew.
  4. Moving too slowly. Too much deliberation to achieve consensus.
    You need to create a sense of forward movement, develop early wins and build confidence and credibility.
  5. Moving too rapidly. Ignoring the areas where you need to build coalitions and support.
    You need to identify where you can move swiftly and what requires further deliberation and cultivation of support, agreement and coalitions of willingness.
  6. Not listening.
    You need to engage, listen, and observe attentively to identify opportunities to create movement. You need to let your people know and feel that they can succeed and that their success is your success.
  7. Not delegating.
    You need to learn all over again how to let go, to delegate and to empower others. . You want to build trust and the great dividends of trust.
  8. Jumping in to fix problems.
    You need to differentiate the important from the urgent. Prioritize. Reframe problems in the context of your objectives and strategy.
  9. Relying solely or too much on what worked well for you in the past.
    You need to consciously and deliberately determine what practices you take forward and what you need to leave behind.
  10. Poor judgment on priorities and allocation of time and energy.
    You need to work on the short-term with the long-term in mind. And build the long term with practical focus on the here and now.

© Aviv Shahar

The Future of Leadership

Here are some highlights about leadership from the Davos Global Shapers panel:

The young leaders were asked: What does leadership mean for you? What leadership are you looking for?

Their comments about what Leadership is about included the following:

  • Facilitating others in achieving the best results together
  • Bringing forward wisdom and inspiration
  • Creating a culture of mutual support and generosity that allows people to flourish
  • Enabling speed of collaboration and integration
  • Listening
  • Enabling non-linear scalable solutions
  • Removing roadblocks

The Leader’s Blind Spot & The Road Less Traveled

Enjoy the podcast of The KEY: The Leader’s Blind Spot and discover the 10 questions people ask themselves when they look to find a leader they are prepared to trust and follow.

© Aviv Shahar

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

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