Transforming Paradigms for 21st Century Leadership

The world is changing more rapidly, in more contexts, than ever before. Technology seems redundant or obsolete just as soon as we understand how to use it. Restaurants open and close, trends change – so often to our surprise, and who knows what television show we should be watching on what streaming service and when? There are viral challenges, new social media platforms, photo apps to age us and others to turn us into rabbits. 

As trends and new apps come and go, we are welcoming more of the world into our smartphone and encountering more diversity, more ideas, more complexity in our workplace. This requires a change in leadership that rejects many paradigms that warn us “but that’s how it’s always done!”  

Leadership strategist Dov Baron writes, “For many in ‘old school’ leadership positions who are unfamiliar with allowing people to really see them, this can, of course, be scary and may even seem threatening.” Some of it might seem daunting, but so much of it is exciting when viewed through the lens of social impact and resources for a more just and sustainable world. But how do we transition from the “old school” to a 21st-century leadership model? Baron can summarize it succinctly: “In a word—by learning.”

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The Future of Leadership Development is Now

All year long, I work with organizations, small groups, and individuals to identify their strengths and values, to forge cross-cultural connections, and to expand their conversational intelligence. So why is taking this work from the conference room to an online platform so exciting and so valuable? 

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Three Steps to Becoming a B Corp “Best for the World”

We are all familiar with the term “Best of”… Each year businesses ask us to vote for them in a specific category, “Best Taco, Best Yoga Studio, Best Chiropractor…” Then a list is published, and it is really more of a popularity contest than a true examination of how that business is the best.   Continue reading “Three Steps to Becoming a B Corp “Best for the World””

Developing the “I inside the We”

This is the sixth in a blog series on the course I am taking on Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser.

The sixth module, “Expressing Conversations,” guides us to develop the space for healthy conversation to emerge, for individuals to have a voice that can create collective next-generation thinking.   Continue reading “Developing the “I inside the We””

Celebrating Interdependence and Business as a Force for Good

When Mary Stelletello founded Vista Global Coaching & Consulting, her vision was to create a company that demonstrated her values of making a difference in the world. She knew about the B Corp certification process for businesses to measure the “triple bottom line” – social, environmental and economic impact.

In 2012, Vista Global Coaching & Consulting became Wisconsin’s first certified B Corporation. Last week, Mary attended the B Corp Champions Retreat in Toronto with more than 500 global change-makers that are running businesses as a force for good.

B Corp Champions Retreat, Toronto, Canada.  Photo credit: M. Stelletello

One of the most moving stories shared was about Roshan, the only B Corp in Afghanistan. Roshan brought telecommunications service to a country that in 2002, had only 100,000 cellular phones. By 2017 their success has been beyond anything imaginable, bringing cellular service to more than 90% of the population. However, in May 2017 their world shattered when a tanker truck explosion destroyed the Kabul offices, killing 80 staff members. The B Corp community across the globe responded to support Roshan’s rebuilding and resilience. At the closing B Inspired event in Toronto, Roshan founder, Shainoor Khoja shared this story of interdependence. They have rebuilt and there is now a fund to support the families of the employees lost in the tragedy.

Roshan Founder, Shainoor Khoja, Champions Retreat, Toronto, Canada. Photo: M. Stelletello

It was incredibly inspiring to hear the highlights of the first 10 years of the movement, including how B Corp businesses have taken up the Inclusive Economy Challenge.

The vision of an economy that is equitable and creates opportunity for all people of all backgrounds and experiences to live with dignity, to support themselves and their families and help their economies thrive.

If you are committed to being a business that is a force for good and want to learn more about B Corp certification, take the B Impact Assessment, or contact Mary today to learn about the Vista Global journey. Join the movement to create shared and durable prosperity.

Creating the Environment: Moving from Distrust to Trust

This is the third in a blog series about the course on Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser.

The third module called, “Aspiring Conversations” explores the neurochemistry of aspirations and how different conversations activate chemicals that either open or close the space for aspirations to grow.

A recent Harvard Business Review article by Paul Zak, “The Neuroscience of Trust” states that employees in high-trust cultures have 100% more energy at work, 76% more engagement, and are 50% more productivity. Zak identifies eight management behaviors that foster trust. One of those behaviors is “intentionally building relationships.”

Meetings Designed to Build Trust

One way to intentionally build relationships is the design of meetings. You can shift the outcome of a meeting by starting with a trust-building activity. This will slow down the primitive (fear-based brain) and allow other parts of the brain to actively engage and shift toward a belief that this will be a good experience.

“Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” — Laozi

I have seen many meetings start with “ground rules”. The “do’s and don’ts” checklists do not activate the prefrontal cortex-heart brain connection where we have our whole mind, heart, and body invested in the outcome of the meeting.

The heart brain is the most basic of our hardwiring. It enables us to connect to others. We are either in sync or out of sync with others. If we are in sync, we move towards the person as friends. If we are out of sync, we feel hesitation and move away, feeling the person may be a foe.

The prefrontal cortex is the youngest bring, often called the “Executive Brain”. It provides us with the ability to see the future, create scenarios, and have empathy.

How do we engage the prefrontal cortex and heart brains?

Start meetings not with “Ground Rules” but “Group Agreements”. Rules close down the brain for some people. If they see “rules” as stifling, just using that word may have them begin the meeting already in a state of opposition. Agreements create a framework for a social contract, which brings people together.

Group Agreements Move toward Trust

To begin the exploration, ask everyone to identify one practice or behavior that would give this meeting the best outcome. What do we usually hear? “Respect other’s opinions.” “Be open to other ideas”.

Here is where this approach is different… when someone using one of those frequently offered words, as a facilitator, use a skill called “double-click”. Just like a computer folder, to open up to deeper meaning, you double-click. Saying something like, “When you say ‘respect’, what does that mean for you?” This helps get to the core essence of what is important for that person.

Make sure you hear from everyone in the room. If someone is quiet, reach out to them and ask, “What behaviors are important to you?” You want everyone’s voice and therefore brain activated, moving toward the prefrontal cortex-heart connection.

Here is another important distinction from ground rules. Once you have your list, ask people to identify how they can give feedback if a group member is not honoring the agreements. This helps give agency and ownership to the team to be transparent, and supportive to guide the behaviors, that they agreed will create the successful outcomes for the meeting.

When you create group agreements using double-clicking and establish collective ownership for monitoring the practice of those agreements, your meeting is primed with the level of trust in the environment that fosters a culture of aspiration. Anything is possible!

Stay tuned for more tips to have meaningful conversations that transform leaders and organizations.

This is the third in a blog series. Read the first blog at “Listening to Connect” and the second blog at “What We Can Learn from our Worst Conversations.”

 

 

Photo credit: Rawpixel via Shutterstock.