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The 7 Key Transformations in Leadership Capacity

There are seven key transformations in executive leadership capacity in the world today. They form the progressive stages in adult maturity or Vertical Learning, in contrast to horizontal learning that takes place within a stage. The seven transformations are:

  1. Opportunist
  2. Conformist
  3. Specialist
  4. Achiever
  5. Catalyst
  6. Strategist
  7. Alchemist

As we progress through these stages of development we take the positive attributes of each with us and gradually release our shadow or personal reactive patterns based on the ego’s sense of insecurity and feeling “not good enough”. The stages of development form a holarchy where each stage is included in the following stage. As we develop our leadership capacity, we grow in consciousness and gradually embrace all of who we are with awareness, understanding, kindness and compassion.

Let’s look at each stage in turn.

The Opportunist

The Opportunist is concerned with survival and security, Maslow’s first two needs. They are self-interested, relatively isolated and will get away with whatever they can. They operate on a day-by-day or minute-by-minute basis without a care for consequences. Their view of the world is that it is unsafe and everyone else is assumed to be an enemy. They play only to their own advantage.

The Opportunist is also deceptive and manipulative. They are the executives who steal your ideas without recognizing their source, who always blame others when things go wrong, and seem to be unavailable when immediate help is needed. They will also attack first in order to defend themselves when feeling threatened. They are completely averse to feedback.

The Opportunist lives in fear, trusts no one and largely operates in fight, flight or freeze mode. Some 4% of the Executive population are anchored at Opportunist. This view of the world is their Autopilot. Whenever our safety and security is threatened in the succeeding stages, it is relatively easy to regress back to the level of the Opportunist and resolve our situation based on self-interest alone.

The Conformist

The Conformist decides to play it safe. While they still view the world as a very challenging place to be, they believe that if they abide by all the rules and do what people in higher authority ask or tell them to do, they will be safe. They conform. They are risk averse and will only take action if instructed to do so. Most will also need a step-by-step approach mapped out for them. Their level of voluntary participation is relatively low.

In complying, Conformists give away their personal authentic power to positional authority. This leads to a sense of personal ineptitude that moves them to complain. In other words, when we give our personal power away to comply with others, we address this imbalance by complaining about others. If you know anyone in your workplace who complains a lot, they will be operating from aConformist mindset. Some 9% of the Executive population are anchored atConformist and it is a common fallback position for succeeding levels in times of stress.

Conformists use reactive emotional strategies to get what they want. The three key strategies are appeasing others by being nice and bending over backwards to fit in – usually towards more senior people; controlling others by criticizing, berating and offending others – usually towards more junior people; or otherwise withdrawing from people by avoiding all communication and even eye contact.

All are unconscious emotionally manipulative techniques that produce workplace drama in the form of passive-aggressive behaviour manifesting in bullies and victims. We subconsciously base our boss-subordinate and peer-based interpersonal strategies on those we employed to get what we want as a child within the comparable context of parent-child and sibling dynamics.

The Specialist

The Specialist devotes themselves to their work. They wish to develop their skills, perfect their craft and focus on the details to get everything absolutely right. They switch their primary focus from being compliant and fitting in, to standing out through the course of their work. They are experts in their field and strong contributors dotting i’s and crossing t’s for as long as it takes to get something perfect. They make up some 38% of the Executive population.

Specialists largely work individually and are focused on the quality of their work and mastery of their craft. They will drill down to the detail and ensure complete accuracy taking a comprehensive rather than pragmatic approach. A micro-manager is typically operating at the Specialist mindset. Their personal identity merges with their work so they take feedback very personally. They tend to be emotionally reactive on the receiving end of constructive feedback and emotionally responsive to recognition and praise.

While the reactive behaviours are still present, they are now more associated with their work than trapped within the power struggle of the endemic parent-child and sibling dynamics. They are driven by the need to perfect their work, which is a quantum step up the spiral from Conformist. Focusing on increasing the quality of our own work based on our own albeit critical view of self and others, leads to continuous improvement.

The Achiever

The Achiever is a pragmatist rather than a perfectionist. Their goal is “fit for purpose” rather than perfect. The Achiever begins to consider how their work meets the needs of colleagues, customers and clients. Their focus extends to the impact of their work rather than just the work itself. They are open to feedback on their work, can manage change, drive projects, meet deadlines, produce results and heed the customer. They make up some 33% of the Executive population.

Achievers also shift from working individually to working effectively with others as team players. They enjoy being in the driving seat and driving initiatives forward. They are competitive, strong performers, will do what it takes to win and enjoy the glow of success. Achievers can also be very black and white. This enables them to be decisive and proactive albeit somewhat shortsighted compared to more advanced stages of development when life becomes shades of grey.

Customer-centric organizations try to adopt an Achiever mindset to create feedback loops and generate accountability for customer interactions and the customer experience. The introduction of scorecards to drive results and address the gap supports the Achiever’s competitive worldview.

The world is made up of winners and losers and theAchiever’s primary focus is to strive for more. This keeps them on the treadmill of doing more, wanting more and getting more. What they have is never enough. This vicious circle is extremely stressful!

 

The Conventional World

Opportunists, Conformists, Specialists and Achievers are all mindsets in the conventional world. They operate within conventional organizational norms. Altogether they make up 84% of the Executive population. Specialists andAchievers who account for 71% work extremely well in the world. These percentages are based on the work of Bill Torbert, co-developer of the Global Leadership Profile.

However at these stages of leadership development or conscious awareness, we are not able to work on the world. We are not able to introduce and sustain transformational change that will create a better world. To do this we must make the shift to post-conventional leadership. While this “new” world is uncertain and ambiguous, by developing our conscious capacity to navigate it, we are able to redeem peace of mind and restore personal wellbeing.

The following three transformations in leadership development operate within post-conventional norms. The Achiever tends to be very hesitant before they make the leap into what appears to them to be the great unknown. They must make the shift from the external world to their inner world. It is often at this point that the guidance and encouragement of a later stage Coach is invaluable to them.

The Catalyst

The Catalyst is the first post-conventional stage. It represents a step into a new growth zone and an unfamiliar world. At the individuation phase of the Specialistwe were focused on perfecting our work. At the individuation phase of theCatalyst we are focused on understanding ourselves: our thoughts and feelings, motives and fears, reactions and responses, and our deepest desires and aspirations. We ask the questions: “Why?” “Why am I here?” “What is the meaning of life?”

At this stage, we move into our personal growth zone where growing and evolving becomes 
our natural way of being. Even though the challenges we encounter along the way may be unfamiliar and disconcerting, for the participant, life is forever enriched. We shift from being satisfied with a life based on cause and effect to feeling our way forward in the world despite uncertainty to lead a purposeful and fulfilling life based on conscious intention and committed action.

Executives anchored at Catalyst number just 9% of the Executive population.Catalysts are focused on engaging others, igniting change and working across boundaries. Their focus turns from the impact of their work on customers and clients to the input into the design and nature of the work itself through active early genuine engagement with all stakeholders. They are attuned to leveraging strengths, fuelling personal growth and collaborating with others in order to exercise mutual power to co-create the best possible outcomes for the whole community.

The capacity to genuinely innovate and collaborate is initiated at Catalyst. At this mindset the inner world of the individual becomes more important than the external world within which they operate. In other words they heed their intuition and feelings to make decisions and generate new insights and ideas. They also listen from a much deeper place of inquiry and can therefore create a deeper connection with others and develop the ability to build real trust with others.

Many words beginning with “in” are associated with the Catalyst worldview: insight, innovation, intrinsic, innate, inquiry, introspection, intricate, inclusive, inquisitive, interest, intimacy, intuition and inspiration.

The Strategist

Executives anchored at Strategists number just 6%. At this point in their leadership development they have become self-aware and other-aware and have the ability to be discerning and self-validating. They do not seek approval or permission from others. They have developed strength of character.

Strategists have the vision, courage and presence to generate and sustain transformational change. They have adopted the mantle of personal authentic power in the interests of serving their whole community and not just selected interest groups. This represents a shift from ‘not good enough’ atConformist, looking good at Specialist, doing well atAchiever, doing good at Catalyst and onto focusing on the greater good for all concerned at theStrategist stage.

When led by a Strategist, the organization shifts from being customer-centric to community-centric. It succeeds in achieving medium-to-long term sustainable outcomes that make a real, significant and beneficial impact on the people they serve and affect now and in the future. They generate a new world through their convictions and intentions, living by their principles and in tune with their life purpose while embracing others with compassion and enthusiasm.

The mature Strategist is an authentic, inspiring and strategic leader. They lead confidently from the ‘inside-out’. They are able to consistently stand and hold their ground while holding and nurturing the space for the emergence of a transformed world. They are extremely mindful, highly considered and passionately articulate in their advocacy for a better world and are able to take purposeful action in the moment to keep everyone on course.

The Alchemist

The final stage that can be observed and calibrated in the post-conventional world is the Alchemist. They number 1%. The Alchemist can have a far-reaching impact on their world. They are the iconic leaders who ignite and generate social evolution as well as transform global industries. Illustrious figures such as Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Anita Roddick and Bill Gates would appear to have realized their potential as Alchemists. However there are alsoAlchemists who are amazingly effective behind the scenes in niche markets and uniquely tailored roles.

The Alchemist embodies their own intuitive guidance and employs mutually collaborative power to generate transformational shifts in the world that respect common humanity and all of life. They are able to hold and embrace wonderful future possibilities while standing firmly in the present and being cognizant of all that has preceded and led to the current situation. They look at events symbolically and value both the shadow and the light in the psychodynamics of common human interactions.

The Alchemist has released the shadow of the ego through grief and forgiveness, and surrendered their personal will to be an instrument in the divine orchestra on earth. They live to evolve in tune with the cosmos listening into the dark and the deep recesses of their soul’s voyage in life. They feel free to be uniquely themselves, liberated from any social or cultural conventions, and can feel both delighted and tormented as they perceive, attend to and process the vast cacophony of thought and emotion that swirls around them. They are able to be fully vulnerable yet vitally alive and vigorous as they give their conscious, compassionate attention to the dynamic interplay in each and every moment to exercise wisdom in action.

The Post-Conventional World

In order to shape a better world, we need more Executives to shift to the post-conventional stages of Catalyst and Strategist and indeed, Alchemist.

In my recent PhD Research Study 100% of the participants surprisingly all shifted a full stage in leadership development in a single year, most from Achiever toCatalyst. One shifted two full stages to Strategist with another knocking on its door. This is in direct contrast to the commonly held view that it takes several years to make a vertical shift in Stage Leadership Development.

The participants were all engaged in an Executive Coaching Program with me focused on strategic and holistic leadership development. In future posts I will explain how the blend of “outside-in” and“inside-out” coaching transcended conventional organizational operating norms and cultivated their latent, emergent potential as inspiring strategic leaders.

My single most significant finding is the extent to which conventional operating norms are stunting our leadership development. To my mind there is not a dearth of leadership in most organizations today, there is simply a very tight lid on the container for growth. Instead of providing the opportunity for executives to become more aware of their role in the interplay of life and the freedom to express themselves more fully and make decisions that will create a more sustainable world, organizations have become pressure cookers.

Thus the value of later stage executive coaching for senior executives and aspiring future leaders to transform their perspective on life and become fluent co-creators in shaping their organization and the communities they serve is enormous. Post-conventional leadership development enables us to realize our potential to generate transformational results, redeem peace of mind and restore personal wellbeing.

The higher our self-expression and the deeper our self-awareness, the richer our life experience and the greater our soul evolution. ~ Antoinette Braks

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All the very best,

Antoinette

Email me for more information at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com

The Seven Steps to Uplift Your Life Experience

Our Life Experience

I’ve always been intrigued by our life experience. How we create it, how it comes at us and what we do with it. How decisions have ripple effects and implications beyond what we could know at the time … and how we can uplift our life by developing a better understanding of why it is the way it is.

By better appreciating our life experience in terms of our own decisions, words and actions, surely we have the opportunity to create a better life? To fulfil our own potential to develop our talents, realize our aspirations and create a more meaningful and purposeful life while advancing the greater good of all. After all Aristotle said that to know yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.

Born to Evolve

blossom-radiantI’ve concluded that we were born to evolve. To allow life to inform us, in order that we might become a better person, more enlightened in the way life works, and thus realize our personal power to create a better life, not only for ourselves but for all the people who are closely connected to us and those we encounter and affect on the way.

Some years ago after reflecting on my own life experience and coaching many leaders in the corporate world and thus getting a close-up look at how they were thinking and behaving, making decisions and relating to others, I realized that we travel through a series of stages. I named these steps from work to play, grow to flow, calm to care and free to love.

Change the way you look at things

I saw that there was a direct connection between our predominant thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, intentions and behaviours at each stage, and our life experience. As Wayne Dyer said: “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

For instance, I had a particularly challenging time with my eldest daughter during her late teens. She was a stalwart member of my single parent family of four, strong and powerful yet angry and confrontational. After a session throwing rolglassesled up paper balls at each other across the living room, I realized I needed to change my approach. I was the mature adult after all. I decided to love her just as she was. The dynamic of our relationship transformed as a result and we’ve gradually become great friends on a deep authentic level.

However to change the way we look at things is simple but not easy. It requires deep self-awareness. We need to become conscious of our attitudes and intentions, thoughts and beliefs, in order to change them. I realized there were emotional patterns that pervaded our self-expression and only with deepening self-awareness of our own reactive themes could we change our approach in substance.

To illuminate the evolutionary pathway to a higher version of who we could become, I connected the seven steps, from work to play, grow to flow, calm to care and free to love, with our human faculties. This reflected eastern philosophy in terms of the chakra energy system we embody on an esoteric level.

At work we are tied to our ego, and then we come out to play with our will. To grow requires the heart to release the past and move into flow with our intuition. To arrive at calm requires a clear, open mind, which leads to divine guidance when we exercise reverent care for ourselves and others. At this stage we can access our free spirit and embrace the soul as oneness with all in love.

vertical-with-faculties

Developmental Psychology

In learning more about developmental psychology I realized that these steps correlated with the series of stages or action logics in adult human development. At work, we comply with others, we are a Conformist. At play, we play to our strengths and become a Specialist. At grow, we are an Achiever focused on results. In flow, we become a genuine change Catalyst. At calm, we are able to lead transformational change as a Strategist. At care we don the mantle of the Alchemist with the capacity to lead social evolution. The Ironist feels free to be uniquely themselves and the Holist embodies pure love.

vertical-with-stages

It turns out that over 80% of the general executive population is anchored in the stages up to and including the Achiever. These are known as conventional stages of leadership development. Some 10% are anchored at Catalyst, and just 5% at Strategist and 1% at Alchemist. We need many more executives to step up into these post-conventional stages of leadership capacity in order to generate transformational outcomes that transcend our VUCA world, one that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

I learnt that the stages formed couplets comprising an individuation phase and a consolidation phase. In other words to evolve from being anchored in our ego at work, we need to individuate by moving into play and then would gradually consolidate our new worldview in the heart at grow. This enables us to become a high performing Achiever.

From grow we can individuate into flow and gradually come to rest in the mind at calm. In this way we could continue to evolve into progressively higher versions of our intrinsic potential. These steps represent the current shift in the world to realize post-conventional transformational leadership capacity. In this way we continue to evolve into progressively higher versions of our intrinsic potential.

Figure-8 Energy Operating System

figure-8-energy-fields-horizontal

I suggest that our life experience is like a figure-8 energy operating system around our anchoring point. For instance when we are anchored in the ego at work as a Conformist, our life experience is largely comprised of Reactive Patterns and Creative Stretch – where the past holds us to ransom and the future beckons with infinite yet far-off possibilities. When we are anchored in our heart at grow as an Achiever, our life experience incorporates Creative Stretch, the future, and the Emergent Future – paradoxically the present, with the past losing its hold on us. And when we are anchored in a state of clear open mindfulness at calm as a Strategist, we can access a life experience combining the Emergent Future with Ease and Grace.

I developed a navigational pathway whereby we lift our anchor to our next anchoring point by committing to a higher set of goals, intentions and aspirations, while simultaneously releasing the pull at the bottom of our figure-8 operating system with deepening self-awareness, resolution of past issues and genuine healing. In other words by reaching for the light shifting towards mindfulness and spiritual congruence while becoming heart-centred to release the pain and wounds of the past held in the shadow of our ego, we can and will evolve.

In this way we can realize our own intrinsic potential to create a better life for all as transformational leaders.

Life happens through us not just to us

butterfly

Every issue, situation and person turning up in our life experience is designed to facilitate and enable this growth. By continuously looking at life as a projection of our conscious thoughts and intentions, goals and aspirations, and a reflection of our subconscious beliefs, fears, concerns and anxieties, we can take active steps to evolve.

Life happens through us, not just to us. By interpreting life’s events in this empowering way we can progressively realize greater self-mastery.

By becoming clearer on the Movie we are projecting, and appreciating the Mirror we are also creating albeit subconsciously, we can navigate our way up the evolutionary spiral of increasing consciousness. Indeed as we reach higher planes of potential and plumb the depths of our self-awareness still further, life can indeed become a magical experience.

Life is progressive Mastery through unfolding Mystery.
Life is a Movie. Life is a Mirror. Life is Magical.

The Leadership Platform offered by Holistic Leadership is designed to provide you and your organization with a proven pathway to realize your own intrinsic and unique potential to evolve as leaders. To shift into a more empowering and enlightening life experience by evolving through the steps from work to play, grow to flow, calm to care and free to love.

The higher our self-expression and the deeper our self-awareness, the richer our life experience and the greater our soul evolution. ~ Antoinette Braks

Join the SHIFT! to create a more empowering and fulfilling life!

The Holistic Leadership Platform can be leveraged as

  • A series of one-day Values-based Transformational Leadership Events focused on our Movie, our Mirror, a Main Engagement Activity and its Business Application
  • A Join the SHIFT! Transformational Leadership Program integrating a volunteer network instigating strategic change with holistic leadership development to foster innovation and build a talent pipeline with transformational leadership capacity
  • Strategic Offsites for Senior Executive Teams to create an aspirational and purposeful view of the future together with the strategic scaffolding to realize their vision through the course of identified transformational shifts in the fullness of time
  • One-to-one Executive Coaching for leaders wishing to realize their potential to take their leadership capacity to the next level and become transformational leaders

Please email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com to set up a time to meet. I’d be delighted to understand your aspirations and challenges to see if we’re able to help.

Antoinette

Brexit and Austuck: Uncertainty Paves the Way for the New

Brexit – The Surprise? Result

The Brexit outcome came as a huge surprise with a very close 52% vote to exit. The Leave Campaign was highly successful given that the incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron advocated staying. It was only six months ago that David Cameron was recognized globally as the third most popular political figure after Barack Obama and Angela Merkel!

Following the Brexit vote the political scene has been stark. The PM David Cameron resigned; the face of Brexit, Boris Johnson, was torpedoed out of his assumed leadership role as heir apparent of the Conservative Party by Justice Minister and perceived Brexit architect, Michael Gove; and the pro-Brexit congenial right wing leader of the Independent Party, Nigel Farage, has also resigned believing that his work towards independence is now done.

While this has had significant political and economic repercussions, this uncertainty is essential to pave the way for the new. It seems that finally people have an appetite for change and are no longer satisfied with the status quo or business as usual. While the exit was a surprise, change and a certain degree of chaos is essential to cause a rethink from a broader more strategic perspective.

Brexit brings into play a number of opportunities. First the EU will undoubtedly review its bureaucratic processes and costs of membership. Substantial reform will be expedited by the possibility of other referendums. Second, I cannot see the UK ever giving up its own currency, so without the UK the EU may well find new ground to forge ahead and create a more sustainable and synergistic interdependent community of nations. And third, the UK is now primed for new leadership to transcend the previous white male elite.

We will have to wait and see who emerges as the next Prime Minister although my money’s on Home Secretary Theresa May as a voice of reason and person of purpose with a solid track record resolving issues in the EU. She’s received just over half of the votes cast in the first round. I also favour her as someone who has been outside the Brexit propaganda yet supportive of staying, and yes, she’s a woman, so that’s a +1 for me too. Any woman in the 50+ generation who has braved politics, corporate or federal, to realize a position of authority while retaining their personal authenticity, has well and truly earned their place.

The Power of Language

One other thought on Brexit that I think is important to note is the power of language. First, Brexit, the name given by the media to the referendum, assumes an exit. Second, the use of the word “Remain”, notwithstanding its incorporation of the word “in” accented in some promotional material, is weak. It implies staying behind when others are leaving. It carries an unconvincing, negative energy. And the associated word “remains” has an even less palatable taste. The choice to “stay” would’ve been emotionally much stronger attuning people to the principles of integrity, loyalty and community.

Further, the words on the voting paper to either “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union” would also tend to push any fence sitter to tick the second option. Why were the explicit words “to be a member of” deemed necessary? It sounds much more complicated than the second choice which is just to “leave”. The vote would have been fairer from a language perspective if both options had been stated in simple terms – “Leave the EU” or “Stay in the EU”.

The Australian Federal Election

In Australia there is a similar level of post-election uncertainty with neither main party yet realizing a majority of seats. The end result of a hung parliament is almost a logical outcome of two unimpressive boring campaigns. There was little in the way of aspiration or activism, purpose or principles. Just a trade in attacks, denial and defence, and the usual name-calling and bickering. Medicare might have brought a bit of life to the debate but still without any advocacy of substantive policy. In my view, where there’s smoke there’s fire and a belligerent denial is always suspicious.

It seems that the people in Australia are also over business as usual. Instead of stability we want change including new parties and independents, left, right, up and out, to help create the shift to a new and better society. While a round of negotiations to arrive at a new government may succeed, it’s bound to be an uncomfortable compromise of sorts that will only see us through the short to medium term.

I’ve had Katy Perry’s song “Hot N Cold” playing in my mind …

“You’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out
You’re up then you’re down”

In decades past, the two main parties have sought control of Parliament and Senate, like a seesaw shifting from one side to the other and back again. Arriving at a balancing point where neither has the majority represents the opportunity to move beyond polarizing politics between capitalism and socialism, and finding a new path to more conscious purposeful and principled leadership where shared economic growth and stronger community wellbeing are held together as parts of a whole.

We need new political leaders with a broader, more expansive integral perspective based on universal principles so that everyone in society rises together in terms of health, wealth, education and wellbeing. Isn’t this much more rewarding than celebrating the building of more prisons, hospitals and casinos to cater for the ever-growing populations of prisoners, patients and punters?

Hanging in the Balance

With the US election also in train, it seems that the world is hanging in the balance as we shift from 20th century conventional thinking focused on control, competition and compliance, to post-conventional 21st century thinking embracing uncertainty to stimulate creativity, collaboration and the cultivation of our higher selves and a better future for us all. Activating and navigating the VUCA world that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous, is essential to making this shift from one age to the next. Out of chaos comes a new order.

Transcending and transforming the 20th century conventional corporate norms and oppositional politics requires the transformational leadership capacity that only becomes available at the level of Strategist, attained by only 5% of leaders today! It’s essential for more leaders with positional authority who are high Achievers, the final conventional stage in leadership development, to take the Hero’s Journey and get to know their own intrinsic worth in terms of personal authenticity and purposeful endeavour that unites people to realize higher aspirations for all.

As Gandhi said, “We must become the change we wish to see in the world” and, in the words of Einstein, “Problems can’t be solved at the level they were created!” If we stick with taking sides, oppositional confrontation and competing agendas, our society simply cannot evolve. Instead we must embrace the unknown and take full advantage of this vital opportunity to create anew.

It’s time to Join the SHIFT! If you’re a senior executive or political leader who wishes to develop their intrinsic leadership capacity to rise above the noise, break free of conventional thinking and co-create a better world, take a moment to consider joining the SHIFT! It’s a proven pathway for Senior Executives to become more inspiring, strategic leaders at the post-conventional stages of Catalyst and Strategist.

Here is an outline of the Join the SHIFT! Program. Please email me if you’d like to find out more about Stage Leadership Development or Vertical Learning – it’s the fastest growing trend in leadership development today! antoinette@antoinettebraks.com

And if you’re a Senior Executive Coach and would like to be accredited in the proven SHIFT methodology to build your coaching practice, accelerate your own leadership journey and your clients’, please email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com

Please Like, leave a Comment and Share this post if you found it added something to your perspective. It would make my day! To keep up to date on posts related to advanced leadership development, please join the Strategic Holistic Leadership LinkedIn Group. And please do connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on Twitter

Click here to read my most popular post yet on the Stages in Leadership Development.

All the best,

Antoinette

About Antoinette Braks

Antoinette Braks is a Transformational Executive Coach in Strategic and Holistic Leadership with more than 2,500 hours executive coaching experience. In recent years she has coached more than 50 Senior Executives, led many Strategic Offsites for Executive Teams, presented at workshops and Conference events, and led Leadership Development Programs in organizations with outstanding results.

Her coaching capacity builds on 25+ years global corporate experience  leading Leadership Capital Solutions with Korn Ferry Asia Pacific, People and Culture with Shell in Latin America and Africa, the Culture Transformation of Businesslink NSW and as the GM People and Culture with energy infrastructure company Vector in New Zealand.

Antoinette holds an MBA from London Business School and is currently completing her PhD at the MGSM in Leadership Transformation. She also has an MA in Management Research, a Dip Intl Mktg(Hons) and graduated LLB(Hons) BA (Political Science) from the University of Auckland.

She is the bestselling author of Executive SOS outlining the 7 Proven Steps to Set Up Your Own Strategic Operating System. This book shows you how to rise above the noise, get off the treadmill and lead your division and stakeholders as an Inspiring Strategic Leader, showcasing a number of success stories from her executive clients.

Click here to read the first chapter for free and receive her Top Ten Tips on implementation.

Strategic Offsites that Ignite a Profound SHIFT!

Strategic Offsites have the power to

  1. Direct attention to the underlying pressures of a potentially obsolete business model or strategic focus
  2. Set aspirational goals that are intrinsically meaningful and collaboratively possible, and
  3. Ignite a transformational organizational operating system to transcend VUCA and generate social evolution.

Strategic Offsites are essential to allow for personal reflection and authentic conversation. These elements are at the heart of collaborative inquiry and strategic insight. Unless you’re invited to think and speak, you often don’t know what you know, what you understand the situation to be. It’s not a question of analytics, it’s a question of insight, hindsight and foresight – thinking, seeing and perceiving from within.

Is it all about Strategic ALIGNMENT?

Yes and No. The executive leadership team needs to leave aligned, but not at the lowest common denominator where people are forced into holding others’ views. This will only last five minutes. However if there is an emergence of collaborative mutual inquiry and authentic genuinely respectful dialogue, they have the opportunity to become aligned according to the highest aspirations they can conceive and perceive.

The great danger is not that our hopes are too high, and we fail to reach them. It’s that they are too low, and we do. ~ Michelangelo

 

HOW STRATEGIC OFFSITES FAIL TO ENGAGE

1. Presentations from Others

There is nothing more numbing than just listening to others tell you what you already know. Instead a great Strategic Offsite starts with doing the personal research to get new information beforehand based on a request to develop responses to a set of distinctive strategic questions. Then each person brings their unique perspective to the meeting, along with more enlightening questions.

2. Networking with Others

Networking is valuable but this is not a tea-party. Networking can take place in and around the business throughout the year. If this is the only time it happens, then that’s a problem. Networking is also largely transactional – what can I do for you and what can you do for me. It’s not transformational.

3. Breakout Activities

Breakout activities can be fun, and sometimes they have a subtle purpose, but really, if the business engagement is so boring that the breakout activities are necessary to make the event enjoyable, then the business conversations are inadequate. Better to have Intermissions for reflection, retreat and time-out in nature where there is silence for mental processing and opportunity for new ideas and perspectives to germinate.

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action. ~ Peter Drucker

 

HOW STRATEGIC OFFSITES INHIBIT GROWTH

A Strategic Offsite pitched within the conventional world of what are we going to achieve this year in the context of market competition and industry trends, and how we will go about it, is insufficient at the level of the executive leadership team. This is not strategic leadership.

Questions that are confined and constrained by the market context or are focused on efficient and effective implementation of each activity emerge from the conventional 20th century mindset. While these questions are useful, they may not lead to continuing success due to the speed of VUCA and do not have the power to lead to transformational outcomes. Here are a few examples:

  1. What does success for the organization look like in 3-5 years and how will it be measured?
  2. How will the industry be different 3-5 years from now? What trends are driving the change?
  3. What actions are competitors taking today and likely to take in the future?
  4. What opportunities can be pursued to capitalise on changes in the market and/or to improve the core business?
  5. What new capabilities and assets will be needed to realize those opportunities?

Objectives such as prioritising initiatives, allocating resources, solving a challenging cross-functional problem and identifying new opportunities are subsequent conversations. Without an overarching transformational strategic agenda, the decisions made may be short-sighted and misaligned.

A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

HOW STRATEGIC OFFSITES CREATE A TURNING POINT

A Strategic Offsite needs to be pitched at post-conventional levels of conscious leadership – Catalyst | Strategist | Alchemist – where the team takes absolute responsibility for their ripple effect in the world they interconnect with and the event is, in and of itself, a consciousness raising exercise in Integral Leadership Development.

The conversations need to be held in a space that is a number of octaves wider than usual with an openness to emergence following mutual appreciation of diverse views, an openness to synthesis following insightful analysis of different datasets, and an openness to greatness following heartfelt consideration of personal purpose and universal principles.

This type of Strategic Offsite has the power to generate a turning point that leads to a greater sense of responsibility for customer and community outcomes, a greater sense of understanding of all stakeholders, and a greater sense of aspiration in terms of generating a better more sustainable world through the instrumentality of business. It must complete with a message that is purposeful and holistic, that answers the “why?” and will inspire all people to learn, grow and contribute to their highest evolving potential.

TRANSCEND THE VUCA WORLD WITH INTRINSIC QUESTIONS

We can transcend the transitional VUCA world with a 21st century post-conventional mindset. Make your Strategic Offsite a Critical Turning Point for your organization with a SHIFT Offsite – The Strategic Holistic Integral Forum for Transformation! Find out more here.

“To lead profound change is to shift the inner place from which a system operates.” Otto Scharmer in Theory U advocates a process of co-initiating ~ co-sensing ~ co-presencing ~ co-creating ~ co-evolving

PRE-WORK

1. PERCEPTION

What is life calling to you to do in the world? What are we creating in the world that resonates deeply with you and where do you feel dissonant with the organization’s activities, outcomes and our stakeholders?

2. ATTENTION

What are key stakeholders and itinerant messengers sharing with you about their perspective? Who do you need to ask open questions of in order to get a sense of what’s happening within and wishing to emerge? What messages have you received that seem to encourage or challenge your current sense of what’s possible or needed? [Deep dive journey]

3. SCANNING

What is emerging in the world at large? What are the issues that are receiving the most attention? What are the pioneers in the industry and beyond doing differently and why? What’s happening out there?

4. RESPONSE

What’s at stake? For our people, our customers, our community, out society? What are my initial thoughts on this? What is our contribution to the good and not so good, and how could we best serve the evolution of the whole?

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

OFF-SITE

During the Strategic Offsite we discover more from ourselves and each other, reach to our horizons to decide on a new adventure and generate a systematic flight path to continue the dialogue and ignite implementation.

5. DISCOVERY

Uncover common and diverse ground; listen to understand (not judge) and expand one’s perspective with a sense of wonder and compassion so that the conversation can shift from a reflective discourse to a deeper flow of essential emergence and profound presence (dormant capacities awakened)

6. ASPIRE

Spark inspiration on new possibilities and connect to the future that wants to emerge within and through you, create a Transformational Strategic Agenda over 5-10 years to cultivate germinating seeds over time

7. INQUIRE

Acknowledge the inner resistance that arises simultaneously to let go and let come, delve into Holistic Leadership Development of each participant and their team dynamic to lift higher self and group awareness

8. EVOLVE

Agree on a Strategic Operating System that will cascade throughout the organization to provide an integral incubator for empowered decision-making, innovative thinking and increasing self-awareness to foster evolution

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. ~ Walt Disney

POST-WORK

9. ENGAGE

Responsibilities for communication, implementation and engagement organization-wide and with diverse stakeholders to lead to an orchestrated shared effort that builds momentum and coherency over time

10. ADVANCE

Open Forums augmented by Circles of Influence to foster organic cross-boundary engagement by activists and champions on system change initiatives that will have a pervasive effect on the whole

11. PILOT

Ideation of prototypes to get the ball rolling and learn through doing through the course of new key strategic initiatives that will lead to the transformation and evolution of business-as-usual activities

12. ADJUST

Quarterly gatherings to monitor and reflect on outcomes and engagement, resistance and transference, impact on customers and implications for communities affected, to adjust the navigational pathway.

Make your Strategic Offsite a Critical Turning Point for your organization with a SHIFT Offsite – The Strategic Holistic Integral Forum for Transformation!Find out more here.

I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive. ~ Joseph Campbell

 

TRANSFORM THE SYSTEM AND OUTCOMES IT GENERATES

Generating a quantum SHIFT in performance and contribution demands an ongoing strategic conversation in a cascading fashion throughout the organization to mobilize everyone’s intrinsic alignment with the core purpose and aspirational outcomes.

This is not a matter of bottom-up and top-down decision-making, this is 20th century thinking. It’s a matter of empowering everyone at their particular level of contribution to make aligned decisions that are also intrinsically purposeful in relation to their own heightening level of awareness and potential contribution.

The organization must of course focus on leadership development and empowering liberating operating structures for this trust and collaboration to emerge. Team Charters replace a decision-making hierarchy where the next level up decides what is to be done, with an empowering holarchy where each business unit and team decides what they can best do to realize the aspirational goals and agreed outcomes.

People are more inclined to be drawn in if their leader has a compelling vision. Great leaders help people get in touch with their own aspirations and then will help them forge those aspirations into a personal vision. ~ John Kotter

High aspirations generate purpose and meaning. By realizing these aspirations, we’re creating a better world. A set of cascading strategic KPIs with associated targets help us to monitor our contribution and performance as well as make visible and transparent the outcomes that we are seeking to improve.

Investment in vertical leadership development supports people on an individual and team level to rise to their highest selves, release sabotaging reactive cognitive, emotional and behavioral patterns, and develop the conscious self-awareness that creates a greater sense of personal authenticity and community wellbeing.

A systems approach to implementation takes people off the treadmill and above the noise to focus on genuine engagement and mutual collaboration. Programs of work, projects and initiatives still get done, but not in a frenzied, pressured way. This is too stressful and inhibits the development of organic holistic adult maturity beyond the conventional high performing Achiever. An integrated system creates the opportunity for people to tap into their best potential to co-create the future change.

Make your Strategic Offsite a Critical Turning Point for your organization with a SHIFT Offsite – The Strategic Holistic Integral Forum for Transformation!Find out more here.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness. ~ Victor Frankl

 

Forming, holding and maintaining a space for mutual collaborative inquiry, an incubator for our hopes and dreams, is only possible at the post-conventional action logic of a Strategist.Catalysts will navigate with an open mind, butStrategists can hold the space for others with a clear expansive mind. When our mind is clear, the sky is blue and the space is open and reverential to all perspectives, insights and ideas.

Achievers, while high performers in the conventional sense, do not appreciate space; they appreciate being busy so that there is no space. Space would dictate taking perspective of what they were busy doing – and that is a courageous inquiry that generally requires support and guidance from those who have navigated the emergent space of the future before them – Catalysts | Strategists | Alchemists.

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? ~ Henry David Thoreau

Now is the time of year to re-ignite your organization with Purpose and Vision through Collaborative Inquiry and Discovery Dialogue.

Make your Strategic Offsite a Critical Turning Point for your organization with a SHIFT Offsite – The Strategic Holistic Integral Forum for Transformation!Find out more here.

If you’d like to know more about the Make the SHIFT! Leadership Coaching and Strategic Offsite Programs, please email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com

About Antoinette Braks

Antoinette Braks is a Transformational Integral Executive Coach in Strategic and Holistic Leadership with 25+ years global experience. In recent years she has coached more than 50 Senior Executives, led many Strategic Offsites for Executive Teams, and Leadership Development Programs in organizations with outstanding results.

Antoinette has an MBA from London Business School and is currently completing her PhD at the MGSM in Leadership Transformation. She graduated with Honours in Law and Political Science from the University of Auckland and has also completed a Dip Intl Mktg (Hons) and MA in Management Research.

Previously she has led Leadership Capital Solutions with Korn Ferry Asia Pacific, People and Culture with Shell in Latin America and Africa, and was GM People and Culture with Vector in New Zealand. She has led Transformational Strategic Culture Initiatives throughout her career.


Antoinette is also the bestselling author of Executive SOSoutlining the 7 Proven Steps to Set Up Your Own Strategic Operating System. This book shows you how to rise above the noise, get off the treadmill and lead your division and stakeholders as an Inspiring Strategic Leader, showcasing a number of success stories from her executive clients.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this post and hope you gained something really valuable from it. If you did, please Like, leave a Comment and Share it with your network. It would make my day!

Do connect with me and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. To see all my posts and keep up to date, please join the Strategic Holistic Leadership Group. You can also check out my website www.antoinettebraks.com here.

If you’d like to know more about the Make the SHIFT! Leadership Coaching and Strategic Offsite Programs, please email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com

Learn to “C” the world anew: The 5 C’s of VUCA Leadership

The VUCA world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity is the emergent norm of the post-conventional world. It demands that we develop post-conventional leadership capacity. As Einstein said, we can’t solve problems at the level they were created.

We need to transcend VUCA, which most interestingly means “to wake up” in the Zulu language, with Visionary intentions, deeper Understanding, Clarity and creativity, and Agility in navigation.

This involves a number of shifts in mindset from a fixed mindset, to a growth mindset (Carol Dweck), to an open mindset (Otto Scharmer) and a clear mindset (empty Buddha’s mind). This will enable us to shift from surviving and striving, to thriving and inspiring!

This is the journey from being a conventional leader, a high performing Achiever who make up 30% of the majority of executive leaders anchored in conventional mindsets (85%), to becoming Catalysts (Individualists | Redefining) and Strategists (Transforming) who comprise just 10% and 5% of leaders respectively.

This is the shift from reactive to creative and from scared to sacred. We must learn to “c” the world anew and take the Hero’s Journey from being entrenched in the 20th century material, industrial world focused on things to a 21st century wise and compassionate world focused on life.

There are five key practices, five C’s, in making the shift to become a transforming, strategic, holistic, integral, VUCA leader.

1. CURIOSITY

Curiosity enables you to abandon current paradigms of how the world works, and instead open yourself up to the enormous possibility that life flows through you as you. If you see everything in life as a Movie or a Mirror, you will soon wake up to (VUCA!) the life force that flows through you.

Life happens through us, not just to us. Through the arrival of lessons and blessings, life is designed to teach us self-mastery so we can evolve to become the best person we are capable of becoming and be instrumental in the co-creation of a better world.

Life is a Movie! It is a projection of our conscious thoughts and intentions. Start to consider the thoughts that appear in your mind in relation to life experiences that are showing up. Are you receiving new opportunities, taking new adventures, leading an enriching life? What’s on your mind?

Life is also a Mirror! It is a reflection of our subconscious beliefs and attitudes. Start to consider how you feel about things and why. Are you learning about power dynamics by exercising authentic personal power and allowing others the same freedom?

Once you decide that everything happens for a reason and that nothing is an accident, you can start to take better directions by becoming more open to inner guidance. The universe wants us to make the shift to a more sustainable, nourishing world. We’re instruments on earth helping this be so. You just need to put your hand up to help!

2. COMPASSION

Compassion is developed through self-awareness and self-acceptance. By realizing that our emotions are a signalling system of past hurts, we can learn to heal ourselves. Emotional reactions based on past trauma impair our cognitive agility.

When our emotions are triggered, it is a sign that a past hurt is ready to heal. This hurt is usually the result of abuse, betrayal, abandonment, rejection, neglect, deceit or derision. By finding the source of the original emotional wound, we can heal it through understanding and forgiveness with our hearts. Once healed, our mind clears and we become calm and develop peace of mind.

This process enables us to develop compassion for others and approach everyone from the point of view that we are all trying to do our best in the world, however it might appear to us at first glance. This is the shift from judging to understanding.

3. CONVICTION

We must use our minds with focused intentional attention in the present moment to tune into the most aspirational outcomes we can imagine in order to set our radar to the highest possibilities. Clarifying an aspirational purpose for our lives and our organizations fuels our conviction of leading a purposeful and meaningful life.

Once our radar is set, we will receive intuitive and later embodied guidance to realize visionary outcomes. Daily habits of mind fire new neurons that wire new networks in our brain. The parts of our brain associated with self-awareness, self-mastery and higher mental processing actually increase in size and texture (Joel and Michelle Levey), and the amygdala diminishes in size with meditation (Matthieu Ricard).

The key is also to delete automatic negative and worrisome thoughts from our inner vocabulary. This also demands a high degree of mindfulness and an open clear mind. External turbulence cannot upset a peaceful mind.

4. COURAGE

It takes courage to follow an uncertain ambiguous pathway and navigate it as best you can. It takes courage to speak up and be a whistle-blower when behaviour around you is less than you believe is respectful to others. It takes courage to implement a new approach that is contrary to conventional processes.

It takes courage to truly listen from the heart and to speak up with your own vulnerable truth. It takes courage to point out that the outcomes are not quite as they have been presented in the false hope that what is not spoken of will not be real.

Courage is supported by inner spiritual strength. Courage is emboldened by kindness and enthusiasm. Courage is to feel the fear and do it anyway because it’s attuned to your highest purpose and best person you can be. Are you showing self-respect by standing up for your standards, boundaries and priorities?

5. COLLABORATION

Collaboration requires both time and space. Collaboration is not cooperation, accommodation nor consultation. Collaboration is an emergent process of mutual developmental inquiry in relation to a challenge or aspiration where there are multiple diverse perspectives in the room fully representative of all stakeholders and a great respect and reverence for the views expressed by each person.

True collaboration also requires vulnerability. We must be open to our own truth about ourselves, our motives, needs, desires and aspirations, to be authentically present. Collaboration is based on the universal principles of community, equality and liberty.

Collaboration is also an iterative revelatory process. We arrive at a collaborative engagement with questions rather than answers. With a desire to better understand others and gain a greater appreciation of the intricacies and implications of options and choices. It is a process that involves the discerning mind and the listening heart.

Build CHARACTER and CAPACITY

These five C’s enable us to develop our character and capacity rather than just our capabilities and competencies.

In making the shift to post-conventional VUCA leadership we must first reinvent the structures within which we work as conventional processes and systems inhibit our organic growth as post-conventional leaders. By implementing an uplifting structure such as the Executive Strategic Operating System, we create the expansive space for growth from the “outside-in”. Please see my book below.

Secondly we must view life as a movie and a mirror so that we learn from life’s lessons and blessings in order to heal emotional triggers, become consciously mindful of our intentions, and be discerning, authentic and compassionate in the midst of power dynamics going on around us. As Gandhi said, we must become the change we wish to see in the world. This is a process of reflection, discernment, learning and healing from the “inside-out”.

Here are 7 tips that you can put into play today.

  1. Invest in developing self and others – get a later stage action logic coach! – become curious and inquisitive in relation to what life is teaching you
  2. Approach everyone from the point of view that everyone’s doing the best they can regardless of what you might first think – builds compassion
  3. Be a courageous caring whistle-blower on substandard behaviour – this enables people to feel safe and secure in your presence and builds trust
  4. Decide on the personal values and holistic principles that you stand for – such as equality, liberty and community – and rather than comply with conventional norms and processes, only take action in alignment with your own values and principles – builds integrity
  5. Aspirational goals are essential to turn on your intuitive radar to the best possible outcomes – builds optimism and enthusiasm for new possibilities
  6. Explore each emotional trigger in terms of self-mastery, find its source, and develop a new understanding and appreciation of the past to heal emotional wounds – builds acceptance compassion for self and others
  7. Appreciate all blessings and lessons in life with profound gratitude and joyful reverence as you learn and evolve

To find out more about the Join the SHIFT! advanced leadership development online program so you can become a more inspiring, strategic and transforming VUCA leader, click here.

About Antoinette Braks

Antoinette Braks is a Transformational Executive Coach in Strategic and Holistic Leadership with 25+ years global experience. In recent years she has coached more than 50 Senior Executives, led many Strategic Off-sites for Executive Teams, and Leadership Development Programs in organizations with outstanding results.

Antoinette has an MBA from London Business School and is currently completing her PhD at the MGSM in Leadership Transformation. Previously she has led Leadership Capital Solutions with Korn Ferry Asia Pacific, People and Culture with Shell in Latin America and Africa, and was GM People and Culture with Vector in New Zealand.

Antoinette is also the bestselling author of Executive SOS outlining the 7 Proven Steps to Set Up Your Own Strategic Operating System. This book shows you how to rise above the noise, get off the treadmill and lead your division and stakeholders as an Inspiring Strategic Leader, showcasing a number of success stories from her executive clients.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this post and hope you gained something really valuable from it. If so, please Like, leave a Comment and Share it with your network. I’m really grateful for your involvement!

Do connect with me and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. To see all my posts and keep up to date, please join the Strategic Holistic Leadership Group on LinkedIn.

Find out more about the Join the SHIFT! advanced leadership program – a blend of online resources and webinars, and/or group forums and individual coaching programs. To inquire into an individually customized executive coaching program for you, email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com

All the best, Antoinette

4 Data Points, 4 Dilemmas and 4 Deal-Changers in Diversity

4 Data Points

  1. The 2016 Peterson Report found that the 20% of firms from amongst 22,000 surveyed in 91 countries that had 30% or more female executives in upper management enjoyed an increased net revenue margin of 15%
  2. The Global Gender Gap in Economic Participation surveyed by the World Economic Forum in 2015 is enormous at 40%. A lower gap leads to greater productivity and more sustainable long-term economic growth.
  3. The Talent Pipeline within corporations reduces progressively from 1 in 50 at Entry-level Professional to 1 in 5 at C-suite (McKinsey Research: 118 US firms) despite educational parity.
  4. The aspirations to reach top management and the top job are shared by women and men equally with a variation of only 2 percentage points: 79 | 81% (McKinsey 2014) and 55 | 57% (Catalyst 2004) respectively.

4 Dilemmas

  1. Most women (93%) and the majority of men (58%) recognise that “even with equal skills and qualifications, women have much more difficulty reaching top management positions” (McKinsey Diversity Research). It is well documented that the ruling majority of straight, white men largely recruit, mentor, sponsor and promote in their own likeness, unaware of their unconscious bias.  For instance, when the top 10 orchestras in the US started to recruit based on blind auditions, the chance of hiring a woman increased by 50% and the percentage of women gradually increased from 5% to 25% (American Economic Review 2000).
  2. Appointments are generally made based on directly relevant experience, projected contribution and time served disadvantaging women at 30 potentially intending to have children and at 40 as a result of having taken primary childcare responsibilities. Indeed when a couple gets pregnant, men instantly think “I must earn more income to provide for my family” whereas women think “I must have more work/life balance to care for my family”. These are our cultural defaults. This rational bias leads to men being twice as successful twice during the critical decades when we rise first to general management positions and then to senior executive group leadership positions! It’s through this two staged approach where men outnumber women by 2:1 in promotions that we shift from 50/50 to occupying 1 in 5 senior leadership roles! It’s little wonder that women earn 24% less than men in Full Time Remuneration!
  3. The predominant early leadership style for men is to be assertive, while the predominant early leadership style for women is to be empathetic. However, the integration of these two styles is essential to become authentic collaborative leaders. Because the assertive style is perceived as the norm, the female empathetic style is discounted. While men are generally mentored in business strategy assuming they are already on the right track, women are commonly mentored on their leadership style because it does not conform with the high assertive/low empathy dominant approach of their male peers. Yet, when given a case study describing a senior executive as a Captain of Industry, in one version called Heidi and the other Howard, class members almost unanimously preferred to work for Howard. Conventional success and likability are positively correlated for men, and negatively so for women. Women must be authentic to win respect. We must evolve our own leadership style rather than adopt the early male norm and raise conscious awareness of the value of style differences and the integration of both to be effective in senior executive group leadership roles.
  4. The unconscious rivalry that underlies organizational dynamics during our 30’s and 40’s is also challenging for many women, and indeed for sensitive men too. Being snubbed, misunderstood, bullied and ridiculed as part of theAchiever rat-race is something many people find too high a personal cost to persist with career aspirations. Competition is the norm. Conventional operating norms do not generally respect differences nor demand respectful behaviour. It is only at Catalyst, the first post-conventional stage of leadership leading to integration at Strategist, that we become authentic whistle-blowers on inappropriate behaviours and biased decisions. Download my most popular and valuable formula to hold a Courageous Caring Conversation with ease and grace.

4 Deal-changers

  1. Parental Leave Parity. The offer of equal leave to each parent rather than a total period to either parent legislated in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Japan and Norway, is having the biggest impact on closing the gender gap (Peterson Report 2016). This represents a breakthrough on policy from supporting the woman to be the primary caregiver to mandating that both parents take equal responsibility for caregiving. This is a major deal-changer.
  2. Replacing the primary breadwinner and primary caregiver with a sharedpartnership based on optimising whole of life instead of income leads to enhanced personal growth, mutual wellbeing and shared prosperity. It is known that once we reach a certain level of income, more income does not lead to greater happiness in life. Many men are highly stressed as a result of their unbalanced working lives. Shifting to advancing both careers notwithstanding income potential leads to greater happiness. A primary focus on mutual personal and professional growth rather than chasing the money is another significant deal-changer.
  3. More organizations are tracking talent and engagement data by gender to monitor achievement of parity and meritocracy today. However Affirmative Action is a double-edged sword leading to accusations that women don’t actually merit their appointments. While it is true to say that women have been disqualified in the past as a result of unconscious and rational bias, quotas challenging men’s perception of entitlement to senior roles, has the potential to become an emotionally charged gender battle royale! The situation can be overcome by expanding the size and scope of senior executive teams. By flattening hierarchies to create wider peer-based governance structures, adding roles focused on sustainability, community footprint and business innovation to create a better future, and decreasing work weeks to 3-4 days/week, we can promote many more women without disentitling men to realize the value of diverse perspectives. Uplifting employment options so that there are more empowering choices on weight of work, where to work, when to work and with whom to work, will advance diversity. Another fantastic deal-changer!
  4. The interesting thing from a Stage Leadership Development perspective, is that the final stage in the conventional world is the Achiever, resembling the male archetype of the warrior, hunter and breadwinner. The first stage in the post-conventional world of interdependence, the Catalyst (Individualist, Redefining) reflects the feminine archetype of nurturer, listener and caregiver. When we realize the next stage of Strategist, we integrate our masculine and feminine sides. The shift from building leadership capabilities to developing leadership capacity, from lateral learning to vertical learning, is the fourth massive deal-changer. By advancing and accelerating the opportunity for men and women to appreciate and leverage our differences across the masculine-feminine spectrum while expanding our view, vision, values and voice in the world, we can all learn to genuinely collaborate and innovate to generate a more sustainable, peaceful world.

Stage Leadership Development

Achievers make up around half the executive population. They see life as a competition. They are positive, pragmatic and proactive, focused on achieving goals and creating value for customers. While they are high performers, their shadow is being hyperactively “busy” and always wanting “more”.

Catalysts only account for 10% in most organizations. They see life as a journey. They are change agents, genuinely consultative, reflective and insightful, and tune into their intuition while engaging across diverse stakeholders. They create enormous value in bringing people together to foster mutual understanding and shared aspirations in order to move forward in a united way.

  • Only at Catalyst do we become whistle-blowers of behaviours that do not meet the standards indicated by espoused Values. My coaching clients find they use this most often: How to hold a Courageous Caring Conversation with ease and grace.
  • Only at Catalyst do we begin to form transformational relationships beyond the transactional mindset focused on achieving desired short-term results.
  • Only at Catalyst does the genuine engagement of diverse stakeholders to develop a shared solution become the new way of operating instead of simply achieving buy-in to implement a preconceived course of action.

As leaders, we individuate, move into our growth zone, from Achiever to Catalyst, and then we consolidate, or create a new comfort zone, as Strategists. Strategistsnumber less than 5% today and still only 8% in deliberately developmental organizations. They integrate the masculine and feminine archetypes while retaining their personal preferences. They use mutual inquiry and praxis power to develop strategic, systemic and sustainable solutions to resolve the VUCA problems that we face in the world today. Strategists are able to uphold universal principles through their thoughts, words and actions, and thereby transform organizational culture. At the next stage of Alchemist we develop the capacity to lead social evolution.

Developing as a Catalyst and Strategist

In my PhD Research Study exploring the developmental drivers from Achiever toStrategist, I discovered that the blend of uplifting the strategic operating context, the structures within which we work or the “outside-in”, and developing our holistic leadership capacity in terms of emotional awareness, psychological insight and conscious mindfulness or the “inside-out”, accelerates our leadership development to the post-conventional interdependent level.

In fact, surprisingly and inspiringly, each participant in the research study shifted a whole stage in a single year instead of what is commonly thought to take several, most to Catalyst, and one to Strategist with another knocking on its door.

In my view the Strategic Operating System is essential to accelerate leadership growth up the spiral. It transcends conventional operating norms to create the strategic scaffolding and expansive space for aspiration, empowerment and collaboration. Hierarchical structures inhibit natural leadership growth and therefore limit the opportunity to generate systemic, sustainable solutions to deal with the endemic issues of our VUCA world. The 7 steps to set up an Executive Strategic Operating System are documented in my book: Executive SOS.

Heart-based holistic healing of the ego’s reactive fear-based patterns is essential to resolve emotional triggers and develop mindful conscious awareness. Instead of just pressing the “pause” button, we need to appreciate that emotional triggers signal that our childhood wounds are ready to heal. Life is both a movie and a mirror. While it is a projection of our conscious intentions and attention, it is also a reflection of our subconscious beliefs and attitudes.

By becoming more psychologically aware and exercising heart-based open mindfulness in the presence of emotionally challenging, conflicting or confusing situations, we can become wiser and more compassionate leaders. By opening the heart to heal the fears and anxieties held by our ego, and using our intuition to find our way in complex ambiguous situations to allow new ideas and innovative shared solutions to emerge, we naturally shift to the post-conventional leadership capacity of Catalyst and then Strategist.

The shift from Achiever to Strategist is a shift from:

  • Our comfort zone of command, control, cause and effect, to our growth zone of uncertainty, mutual inquiry and emergence
  • The prevalence of the male preference for agency to the embrace of the female preference for community
  • Realizing that life doesn’t just happen to us, but through us. Stepping into our power to realizing the teaching gifts of our life experience in order to master our co-creative power to manifest our aspirations is at the heart of stage leadership development.
  • Asserting and defending our standards, boundaries and prioritiesbased on universal principles and sustainable outcomes, enables us to become self-validating and hold a safe space for others to live up to their highest potential. You need to become a whistle-blower. Here is my most popular and valuable 3-step process to hold a Courageous Caring Conversation with ease and grace!

“Become the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Consider Joining the SHIFT! Program

The SHIFT! ~ the Strategic Holistic Integral Forum for Transformation ~ is the distillation of all I have learned from my studies and coaching experience of more than 50 senior executives in recent years.

12 Modules are set out within the four dimensions of VIEW | VISION | VALUES | VOICE integrating the Executive Strategic Operating System with Holistic Leadership to develop your leadership capacity up an octave to post-conventional interdependent leadership where masculine and feminine perspectives are integrated.

It is a 12-month Leadership Program that you can access through 121 Executive Coaching, Group Coaching Forums, and/or comprehensive online resources together with monthly Q&A webinars. Here is a pdf outlining the program and you can also find out more here.

And if you haven’t already done so, download my most popular and valuable 3-step process to hold a Courageous Caring Conversation with ease and grace!

About Antoinette Braks

Antoinette Braks is a Transformational Executive Coach in Strategic and Holistic Leadership with 25+ years global experience. In recent years she has coached more than 50 Senior Executives, led Strategic Off-sites for Executive Teams, and Leadership Development Programs in organizations with outstanding results. Her track record includes increasing leadership effectiveness for a group of 75 senior leaders by 20% in one year and lifting people engagement by 30% within 6 months.

Antoinette has an MBA from London Business School and is currently completing her PhD at the MGSM in Leadership Transformation. She originally graduated with Honours in Law and Political Science from the University of Auckland.

Previously Antoinette was the Director of Culture Transformation at Businesslink NSW, GM People and Culture with energy infrastructure company Vector in New Zealand, led Leadership Capital Solutions with Korn Ferry Asia Pacific, and was a Regional HR Policy Manager with Shell for Latin America and Africa.

Antoinette is the bestselling author of Executive SOS outlining the 7 Proven Steps to Set Up Your Own Strategic Operating System. This book shows you how to rise above the noise, get off the treadmill and lead your division and stakeholders as an Inspiring Strategic Leader, showcasing a number of success stories from her executive clients.

 

Stage Leadership Development is a Spiral not a Ladder

To shift a stage in leadership development expands your leadership perspective and presence in the world. It increases your ability to influence, coach and mentor others and generate transformational results. However this is not the result of simply increasing self and social awareness. These elements provide us with insight into our character and the challenges that thwart us so we can better navigate our life, but do not in and of themselves take us up the spiral of leadership to become more strategic, inspiring leaders.

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is the difference we make in the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead. ~ Nelson Mandela

Lateral vs. Vertical Development

There is a marked distinction between lateral learning and vertical learning. Most leadership development programs focus on lateral skills-based learning that enable us to become more effective within the conventional world. They help us to perform better, achieve more, focus on customers, build strong, cohesive teams and engage effectively with others.

However to shift to the post-conventional world and become an inspiring strategic leader who has the capacity to work on the world rather than in it and make a significant difference, requires a higher and deeper perspective of the systemic processes and psychological dynamics that underpin current outcomes and persistent challenges. We need to get below the water-line and rise above the noise to make the unique and significant difference we were born to make during this evolutionary time of increasing consciousness in the world!

Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Step Up and Out to Make the Shift!

To make this shift into the post-conventional world is not an incremental step up the ladder, but a significant step outward onto another circular sweep of the spiral. Because this step out is beyond the conventional world of theSpecialist/Achiever by definition, it requires much courage and fortitude to negotiate! Yet it is within our grasp! We have the latent potential. We simply need to shift into our intrinsic growth zone to unleash our personal power.

Susanne Cook-Greuter, global thought leader in the assessment of leadership stages or action logics, defines the phases of leadership growth in self-actualization as a two-part process of individuation – stepping out into new territory, and consolidation – setting up home there. Similarly it is a combination of introspection or self-orientation, followed by the outward manifestation or other-orientation. By developing new gifts, talents and strengths within us, we can then share these with the world around us.

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? ~ Henry David Thoreau

Proven Pathway to Post-Conventional Leadership

Through an analysis of my coaching transcripts over two-three years, I have distilled a proven pathway to accelerate this developmental continuum from the last conventional stage of Achiever, to the following post-conventional stages ofCatalyst (individuation) and Strategist (consolidation).

While self-awareness, mindfulness and the ability to interpret interpersonal dynamics and emotionally reactive responses in a personally empowering way are essential, I have found that this represents only one half of the picture – the “inside-out”. We are all a masterpiece-in-progress and can continue this journey delving into ourselves ad infinitum, a layer at a time.

To consolidate the broader perspective of the Strategist, we must lift our view of the world and implement a new and transformational operating structure to support our growth as inspiring, strategic executive leaders. Conventional operating norms inhibit our ability to consolidate at the post-conventional action logic of a Strategist. We need to take the lid off the pressure cooker environment most of us work in to realize our potential.

When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. ~ Patanjali

Less than 10% of Executive Leaders are Strategists

It is interesting to note that the number of executive leaders with the post-conventional action logic of a Catalyst, the first post-conventional stage, has been increasing by 10% per decade in what Robert Kegan would call deliberately developmental organizations, over the last 20 years. However the percentage ofStrategists has barely increased during this time accounting for less than 10% of executive leaders in organizations today already investing in vertical learning.

As a result of the unanimous stage shift of all nine participants in my doctoral research study, most from Achiever to Catalyst, and one to Strategist with another knocking on its door after just one year, I have developed a comprehensive proven approach to activating, accelerating and consolidating post-conventional executive leadership development.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain

We Must Transcend Conventional Operating Norms

We can transcend conventional operating norms by creating an overarching Strategic Operating System© that is by its very nature transformational, in order to complete the journey from Catalyst to Strategist. Conventional business planning mechanisms, meeting agendas and decision-making processes do not make the grade. They do not provide and hold the space for the outward manifestation of inner leadership growth.

By focusing on both the “outside-in” (Exterior of the Group: Structure) and “inside-out” (Interior of the Individual: Intention), coaching clients have made significant advances in vertical learning (AQAL Integral Theory Model). They have not only become authentic leaders but influential advocates!

They have become thought leaders in their industry applauded for their visionary presentations, won industry awards for their strategic contributions, led $1billion programs of work meeting every deadline in collaboration with global suppliers and engaged multiple diverse stakeholders community-wide to lead and generate social reform.

If you put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. ~ Bruce Lee

Make the SHIFT! Program Launch

I hope you will forgive me for concluding this post with an announcement. Today I am launching the Make the SHIFT! Program for senior executive leaders. The SHIFT stands for the Strategic Holistic Integral Forum for Transformation. It has been proven to enable executive leaders make the shift from being high performing Achievers to the post-conventional action logics of Catalyst andStrategist in one year, with the growing capacity to make a significant difference by working on the world despite its VUCA nature!

You can create your own customized combination of leadership assessments, online resources with 50+ “how-to” videos, associated templates and monthly Q&A Webinars, 2-day quarterly implementation workshops in Sydney, and/or 121 executive coaching quarterly or monthly. The Make the SHIFT! Program is now open for registration for executive leaders beginning in July 2016. Numbers are limited for both the Group Forums and One-on-one Executive Coaching.

You can also bring the Make the SHIFT! Leadership Program in-house to your organization to uplift leadership effectiveness across your senior ranks, transform your organization’s culture and generate an exponential shift in triple bottom line performance. The world is evolving. By becoming a consciously developmental organization and raising your VIEW, VISION, VALUES and VOICE to a higher octave, you too can co-create an aspirational and expansionary future for your organization and its people.

The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. ~ Marcel Proust

Accreditation Program For Coaches

Simultaneously I am offering an Accreditation Make the SHIFT! Program to Executive Coaches who would like to bring this proven approach to their one-on-one and group coaching programs with their clients. Taking the Program will lift your own perspective to the post-conventional action logics of Catalyst andStrategist resulting in an expansion of your coaching practice, and lift your clients’ leadership capacity too. They will also be able to access the online resources and you will share in this income.

Online Bonuses expand the Program beyond VIEW | VISION | VALUES | VOICE to include VOCATION & VERSE. With Vocation you will receive all the online resources you need to Transform Your Career, and the Inspirational Verse will open your heart and ignite your spirit each step along the way.

If you would like to find out more, please go to my website www.antoinettebraks.com, or click here to take a look at the Make the SHIFT! Program. Please schedule a meeting with me by clicking on this link or email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this post and hope you gained something really valuable from it. If you did, please Like, leave a Comment and Share it with your network. It would make my day!

Do connect with me and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. To see all my posts and keep up to date, please join the Strategic Holistic Leadership Group. 

Click here for FREE reports or to book a complimentary meeting with me. If you’d like to know more, please email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com  

To find out more about the fastest growing trend in executive development: Stage Leadership Development, vertical learning or advanced action logics, please click here.

All the best,

Antoinette

About Antoinette Braks

Antoinette Braks is a Transformational Executive Coach in Strategic and Holistic Leadership with 25+ years global experience. In recent years she has coached more than 50 Senior Executives, led Strategic Planning Workshops for Executive Teams, and Leadership Development Programs in organizations with outstanding results.

Antoinette has an MBA from London Business School and is currently completing her PhD at the MGSM in Leadership Transformation. Previously she has led Leadership Capital Solutions with Korn Ferry Asia Pacific, People and Culture with Shell in Latin America and Africa, and as GM People with Vector in New Zealand.

Antoinette is also the bestselling author of Executive SOS outlining the 7 Proven Steps to Set Up Your Own Strategic Operating System. This book shows you how to rise above the noise, get off the treadmill and lead your division and stakeholders as an Inspiring Strategic Leader, showcasing a number of success stories from her executive clients.

7 Limitations of 360 Assessments and Feedback

360 Assessments were intended to be more “objective” by including a larger range of “subjective” assessments by peers, team members and external stakeholders in addition to the single assessment by a person’s business unit manager. However the 360 process also has significant limitations and the potential to inhibit rather than promote leadership development.

1. 360 Assessments are largely “Conventional”

Most 360s cover capabilities that only go as far as the final conventional leadership stage of an Achiever focusing on the customer, results, teamwork, pragmatic solutions and effective project management. They are anchored in Business-As-Usual whereas at senior levels it is essential to shift to the post-conventional leadership capacity of Catalysts and Strategists.

The emergent capabilities at Catalyst which consolidate at Strategist extend leadership capacity from customers to broader responsibility for the whole community, from positional authority to personal authenticity, from a 3-year time horizon to 10-years, from cause-effect to wider known and unknown implications and repercussions, from transactional relationships to transformational leadership, and from negotiating challenges and constraints to navigating volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (our VUCA world).

The new strategic and holistic qualities of Catalysts and Strategists emerge through trial and error before they manifest as embodied character. This requires a shift into the post-conventional growth zone, something that many executives avoid and particularly if their leadership effectiveness is measured by confidently demonstrated capabilities. We must unlearn before we can develop, and experiment with increasing conscious awareness in order to grow as transformational leaders.

Developing qualities such as compassion, personal ingenuity, resilience, courage and visionary purpose, is more conducive to post-conventional leadership development at senior executive levels. It is these qualities that enable us to become more inspiring, strategic leaders with the capacity to innovate, collaborate, persist despite immense personal challenges and ignite the aspirations of others.

2. The top end of the scale is not necessarily “best”

In most instruments landing at the top of the scale is the presumed goal. For instance, to be “strategic” often requires an “analytical” approach rather than an “instinctive” one. But what if we were taking the emergent intuitive approach of a postconventional leader? How would we score?

Being “persuasive” is generally described as “convincing others” and “selling ideas”. But what of the multiple stakeholder engagement process where ideas and feelings are sought out within a strategically framed context in order to emerge with a shared transformational solution? How would this type of person operating at Catalyst or Strategist score?

And what of being “controlled” rather than “spontaneous”? Again, at post-conventional levels highly effective transformational leaders are spontaneous within a broader strategic aspirational framework and invite others to be the same. This lends itself to ingenuity and inclusiveness, innovation and collaboration.

3. The time many people put into making the assessments

A 360 takes up the time of many people. It is a task that must be accomplished quickly given the “busy” nature of most organizations. Little considered thought is often given.

A much-preferred approach would be an in-depth confidential conversation with an executive leadership coach on a person’s perceptions and attitudes, feelings and concerns, challenges and opportunities, doubts and aspirations.

Rather than focusing on the capabilities of an assessment tool, the focus is the holistic nature of the person that underlies those capabilities, leading to new insights and new approaches to their development as more inspiring, strategic leaders.

4. The psychological transference involved in assessments

Transference is a psychological term that refers to the unconscious projection of feelings or desires from one person to another. The longer I’ve been working as an Executive Leadership Coach, the more I see this in the situations clients face.

What we perceive, judge and express is often a lot more about us, than the other person. When we take things personally, it’s about our own emotional wellbeing, and not necessarily the effectiveness of others. What we focus on, give attention and expression to, is also largely geared to our own self-awareness. 360 Assessments mask this.

5. The politics in making “appropriate” assessments

360 Assessments are also situated amidst the interpersonal dynamics of relationships. In most organizations where there is rivalry and competition rather than transparency and trust, the 360 becomes yet another political tool.

A more objective assessment such as the Global Leadership Profile and Mature Adult Profile, both based on the Washington University Sentence Completion Test, is significantly more insightful and avoids any political dynamics. It is a projective test that a person completes independently of others to reveal their perspective.

6. The focus is on the gap instead of leveraging strengths

A gap fits into the same folly as most academic examinations. The focus is on what we don’t know, don’t get right rather than what we do.

I prefer to consider a person’s leadership profile in terms of strengths, stretches and stressors. Awareness and recognition of our strengths increases our self-esteem, while a focus on our stretches to extend our strengths and on our stressors to resolve emotional blocks facilitates our leadership development.

7. A focus on the role rather than the whole person

The final aspect of 360s is that often the results are compared to current role performance. Again this carries an inhibiting energy rather than a developmental one.

To grow beyond conventional leadership it’s essential to expand the strategic context of your role so you have the space within which to expand your own leadership presence. Development then becomes person-oriented in terms of realizing our potential rather than being limited by our current role.

This is the nature of initial post-conventional leadership development. It’s all about understanding ourselves, why we do what we do, and learning to develop self and social awareness to release reactive patterns and aspire to becoming our best self in our own personally authentic way.

We cannot inspire others if we are not personally inspired by what we do and what we wish to accomplish. It’s also essential to develop a strategic focus on how we invest our time with whom to realize mutually beneficial bold aspirations that will lead to a more sustainable, enlightened world.

For your senior executive leaders, I highly recommend moving away from 360s and turning towards executive leadership development individual and group coaching programs, so they have a real opportunity to make the shift to transformational leadership capacity that only emerges at Strategist.

To find out more about the fast track to developing post-conventional leadership capacity, download my new Make the SHIFT! Leadership Program. 

If you enjoyed my post, please Like, leave a Comment and Share it with your network. It would make my day!

Please connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter and join the Strategic Holistic Leadership Group to keep up to date with all my posts on leadership development, OD and executive coaching. 

Click here for FREE reports or to book a business or complimentary coaching meeting with me. You can email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com

And click here to find out more about the Stages in Leadership Development.

All the best,

Antoinette

About Antoinette Braks

Antoinette Braks is a Transformational Executive Coach in Strategic and Holistic Leadership with 25+ years global experience. In recent years she has coached more than 50 Senior Executives, led many Strategic Offsites for Executive Teams, and Leadership Development Programs in organizations with outstanding results.

Antoinette has an MBA from London Business School and is currently completing her PhD at the MGSM in Leadership Transformation. Previously she has led Leadership Capital Solutions with Korn Ferry Asia Pacific, People and Culture with Shell in Latin America and Africa, and as GM People with Vector in New Zealand.

Antoinette is also the bestselling author of Executive SOS outlining the 7 Proven Steps to Set Up Your Own Strategic Operating System. This book shows you how to rise above the noise, get off the treadmill and lead your division and stakeholders as an Inspiring Strategic Leader, showcasing a number of success stories from her executive clients.

The breakthrough Make the SHIFT! Leadership Development Program for Senior Executives!

Why we need more Women at the Top

More Women at the Top?

Given our preoccupation to have more women at the top of organizations, it’s curious to realize how gender archetypes underlie the shift from transactional to transformational leadership.

The “Achiever”, the final stage of conventional leadership is a highly masculine archetype – the warrior, the hunter, the breadwinner, creating transactional relationships to achieve the results and receive accolades from customers. Recent research shows that over 50% of Executives are anchored at this action logic albeit this is a niche executive population benefiting from investment in stage leadership development. This graph is from the PwC Report The Hidden Talent 2015 based on research by Harthill Consulting UK.

The consequences of our over-Achieving world, always wanting “more” and putting our heads in the sand by being continuously “busy”, are costly. It has led to depleted resources, profit before people causing financial loss and personal disaster, high levels of stress leading to increased ill-health in terms of obesity, diabetes and cancer not to mention Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s as we age … Achievers are not inclusive, they are exclusive; short term thinkers, not long term. They are motivated to keep the spoils of the hunt for themselves.

The first step into the post-conventional world is a “Catalyst” (called Individualist in the table above) where 33% of executives are anchored (Harthill) although earlier research suggests only half this number (Torbert, Cook-Greuter). Significantly the archetype of the Catalyst carries largely feminine attributes. Catalysts are intuitive, introspective, the caregiver who engages authentically with all stakeholders (not just “buy-in” which is the Achiever’s model), the person who looks for intrinsic good, welcomes intimacy and appreciates the importance of genuinely listening into the intricate open space of relationships.

The New Post-Conventional World is Upon Us

The simultaneous emergence of new technology that enables 24/7 interconnectedness, increasing automation and relatively free access to knowledge provides us with the platform to make the shift into this new post-conventional world. It is the ideal platform for Catalysts to engage widely and generate collaborative efforts. Ideal roles for Catalysts cross borders and focus on building momentum to endorse a shared inspiring agenda that breaks through the current mold of thinking. Catalysts in standard Achiever roles will feel stymied and unappreciated for who they are and what they can do.

The culmination of leadership development from Achiever to Catalyst is represented by the next consolidation stage of the “Strategist”. Just 8% of leaders are stationed here (Harthill), other researchers suggest 5%. At this stage transformational leadership blossoms in terms of the capacity to lead, build and sustain transformational change. Strategists integrate masculine and feminine attributes with a focus on realizing sustainable outcomes over and above immediate results (the Achiever) embracing all stakeholders en route (the Catalyst) to generate a visionary transformation that leads to greater wellbeing and a more sustainable world (the Strategist).

Thus, while the world needs more women at the top to reflect a just society, we do not need more female Achievers at the top. Rather we need more Strategists at the helm, women and men.


Given that women arguably naturally demonstrate more feminine archetypal qualities, the participation of women in senior executive levels will actually help to facilitate the emergence of more people operating as Strategists, provided that top leadership is not besieged by the Achiever mentality. Executives will be more able to integrate both masculine and feminine attributes if they have an ongoing interaction with both through shared decision-making to realize broader perspectives, higher aspirations and visionary intentions.

We need people with strong feminine traits (high on I and P in Myers Briggs) to integrate Achiever attributes while transcending the need for short-term success. And we need people with strong masculine traits (high on J and E) to integrate Catalyst attributes in order to foster a greater sense of community based on shared values. By integrating the masculine and feminine gender archetypes, as well as developing our perspective in other ways, we can grow to become transformational leaders with the perspicacity, wisdom and compassion to create a more sustainable world.

Develop Strategists in Your Organization

The following 9 Steps will lead to the development of more Strategists in your organization.

  1. Assess your leaders in Stage Leadership Development. I use the Global Leadership Profile, a sophisticated and rigorous personal questionnaire based on the University of Washington Sentence Completion Test that has been used by thousands of executives and generates an invaluable 20+ page report followed by in-depth feedback and goal setting with a post-conventional coach (Strategist/Alchemist).
  2. Diagnose the aggregate results in terms of strategic organizational talent needs integrated with the emergent growth zones of senior leaders.
  3. Bring in post-conventional Executive Coaching (Strategist/ Alchemist) to coach your CEO and C-suite Leaders, one-on-one and as a team, and give them a year to make a genuine shift in action logic to post-conventional if they are not there already – some will resist and they will need to get off the bus.
  4. Engage your senior leaders to expand their roles or adapt the design of the organization to accommodate the development of post-conventional action logics.
  5. Bring in Group Leadership Coachingfor all Senior Leaders so they engage across peers (not immediate team members) to build bridges and drive overall org performance through advanced leadership development as described by Kegan in his recent Harvard Business Review article on deliberately developmental organizations.
  6. Review your organizational structures and management systems relative to the Specialist/Achiever/Catalyst/Strategist action logics that ideally cascade top-down throughout your organization. Open space liberating structures are essential to stimulate post-conventional mindsets while the feedback loop of team scorecards enables Specialists to become empowered Achievers.
  7. Utilize action logic analysis based on objective assessments when recruiting and promoting – even panel interviews are notoriously ineffective due to unconscious bias – just knowing about unconscious bias doesn’t have the effect of lifting one’s mindset or action logic.
  8. Introduce innovative talent strategies where the place, weight, style and type of work is as flexible as possible to meet the work/life balance needs of both men and women as joint parents of their family.
  9. Create a more democratic workplace where views and voices are invited and heard up, down and across the organization.

If this resonates with you, take up the opportunity to complete the Global Leadership Profile Assessment to determine your current, fallback (under stress) and emergent (with support) action logics and develop personalised leadership development goals. You can extend this to your executive team and put into place post-conventional executive coaching (Strategist/Alchemist) to build a strong leadership culture.

I am keen to work with a CEO leading between 500 and 1,500 people who wants to be a truly inspiring leader, transform their organization and create a performance breakthrough by actively developing their people and culture. See the results achievable below. If this resonates with you, please complete the Global Leadership Profile Assessment, set up a time to talk by clicking here or email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com or.

Culture & Engagement and Leadership Gaps are Widening

According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2015 Report, the two biggest concerns that CEOs have are Culture & Engagement and Leadership, and the gap to meet current needs and goals has widened to over 30%! Standard leadership development and organizational interventions are no longer as useful as they do not breakthrough conventional paradigms to ignite and advance post-conventional leadership capacity. Here is Robert Kegan’s account of deliberately developmental organizations which also win awards for outstanding business performance (HBR, 2014).

The sorts of results you can expect are: the shift from an Achiever/Catalyst action logic to Catalyst/Strategist in one year; a 20% increase in leadership effectiveness across senior leaders in one year; and a 30% increase in People Engagement in six months. It might sound incredible but with a post-conventional Strategist mindset this is eminently possible and has been done before. Here is my report on the Special Findings from my PhD Research documenting the stage shift made by >80% Achievers to Catalyst/Strategist – it also outlines the stages of development in more detail.

The Fastest Growing Trend in Leadership Development Today

You can also check out the Centre for Creative Leadership’s White Paper by Nick Petrie on Vertical Learning, the fastest growing trend in leadership development today. And here is the PwC report on Strategists in organizations including Harthill’s research but please note that this was published by their London office. While they quote Qantas as an organization who is doing this well, a Senior Executive at Qantas has told me that they are not actually taking the Stage Leadership Developmental journey there!

Click here for a comprehensive outline on Developing Transformational Leadership and a Highly Engaging Leadership Culture with proven methodologies. This outline includes the above research findings. Given Aon’s research that higher People Engagement leads to significantly improved financial performance, the ROI is significant and substantial.

If you’d like to make 2016 a breakthrough year and lift yourself, your Executive Team, your Senior Leaders and your people up a level to realize higher aspirations, increase productivity and generate transformational and sustainable triple bottom line business results, please get in touch with me atantoinette@antoinettebraks.com or set up a time to talk. Your first step will be your own Global Leadership Profile. Click here to get started.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this post and hope you gained something really valuable from it. If you did, please Like, leave a Comment and Share it with your network. It would make my day!

Do connect with me and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. To see all my posts and keep up to date, please join the Strategic Holistic Leadership GroupClick here to find out more about the Stages in Leadership Development.

Click here for FREE reports or to book a complimentary coaching meeting with me if you’re interested in Executive Coaching to take you to the next level. If you’d like to know more about Group Coaching or Leadership Coaching Programs for your organization, please email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com

All the best,

Antoinette

About Antoinette Braks

Antoinette Braks is a Transformational Executive Coach in Strategic and Holistic Leadership with 25+ years global experience. In recent years she has coached more than 50 Senior Executives, led many Strategic Offsites for Executive Teams, and Leadership Development Programs in organizations with outstanding results.

Antoinette graduated with an Honours degree in Law and Political Science, has an MBA from London Business School and is currently completing her PhD at the MGSM in Leadership Transformation. Previously she was the Head of Leadership Capital Solutions with Korn Ferry Asia Pacific, GM People and Culture with Vector in New Zealand and Strategic HR Manager for Shell across Latin America and Africa.

Antoinette is also the bestselling author ofExecutive SOS outlining the 7 Proven Steps to Set Up Your Own Strategic Operating System. This book shows you how to rise above the noise, get off the treadmill and lead your division and stakeholders as an Inspiring Strategic Leader, showcasing a number of success stories from executive clients.

Click here to read the First Chapter.

The 7 Advantages of Small Group Coaching in Leadership

The Main Goals of Leadership Coaching are:

  • To better know yourself: strengths, stretches, stressors and shadow
  • To develop a more confident, authentic and inspiring leadership presence
  • To build stronger relationships with others by communicating articulately
  • To exercise co-creative power aligned to your purpose with ease and grace, and
  • To create a more fulfilling quality of life and balance across life’s dimensions.
To undertake developmental coaching within a Group adds significantly to the dynamic! According to Manfred Kets de Vries, Professor of Leadership Development and Director of the Global Leadership Centre at INSEAD, in his 2014 article “The Group Coaching Conundrum”

“Group work is demonstrated to be empirically effective and especially when combined with one-to-one work.”

The 7 Advantages of Small Group Work

1. Program Content

It carries Program Content within a proven methodology to generate a series of gateways and pathways to instigate and sustain leadership development across multiple personal and professional dimensions

2. Vicarious Learning

Vicarious learning is multiplied through the diversity of perspectives, group dynamics, mutual identification with specific challenges, constructive conflict resolution and open-ended questions that confront, explore and enable the discovery of new choices and possibilities

3. Sharing Aloud Amongst Others

By speaking out openly within a small group in a safe confidential space held by the Coach, you learn to articulate your thoughts, feelings and point of view amongst others in an authentic, gracious and succinct way – to be vulnerable and real while feeling safe to do so

4. Opportunity to Deep Dive

Your opportunity to deep-dive is exponentially increased through the course of buddy conversations followed by sharing of key insights and revelations to know more about your fears, conflicts, desires, wishes, biases and blind spots.

5. A Trusted Tribe

You get to know fellow travellers well and develop trust with them leading to an extended network of relationships that enrich your life. Bonding amongst peers who offer mutual support and encouragement can act as a powerful catalyst for change.

 6. Developing Compassion

When listening to others deeply in a heartfelt way, you will learn to develop understanding, compassion and the personal acuity to lead intimate conversations with others in order to build more meaningful relationships.

7. Mindful Conscious Awareness

Being mindful of self and others over the course of the coaching period, you will learn how unconscious behaviours and patterns play out in life and develop a greater sense of personal presence, and conscious self and social awareness to co-create a fulfilling, rewarding life.

You might be curious about Executive Coaching in Leadership because you want to:

  • Create an inflection point in your life’s journey – There must be more to life!
  • Really see what you haven’t seen into or through before – Not this again!
  • Activate your personal opportunity for transformation – Others are doing it! Why not me?!

You cannot teach a person anything. You can only help them discover it within themselves. ~ Galileo

If you’re a freelance consultant, facilitator or coach in Sydney, curious about Leadership Coaching and want to unleash your genius, please click here to find out more about Antoinette’s new Group Coaching offer now. Here’s a summary pdf of what it’s all about.
If you’d like to bring proven Group Leadership Coaching Programs into your organization to build bridges across silos and advance the development of leadership capacity, please email Antoinette atantoinette@antoinettebraks.com

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this post and hope you gained something really valuable from it. If you did, please Like, leave a Comment and Share it with your network. It would make my day!

Do connect with me and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter. To see all my posts and keep up to date, please join the Strategic Holistic Leadership Group. 

Click here for FREE reports or to book a complimentary coaching meeting with me. I’d be delighted to help!

About Antoinette Braks

Antoinette Braks is a Transformational Post-conventional Executive Coach in Strategic and Holistic Leadership with 25+ years global experience. In recent years she has coached more than 50 Senior Executives, led many Strategic Off-sites for Executive Teams, and Leadership Development Programs for senior leaders with outstanding results.

Antoinette holds an MBA from London Business School and is currently completing her PhD in Leadership Transformation at the MGSM. Previously she has led Leadership Capital Solutions with Korn Ferry Asia Pacific, People and Culture with Shell in Latin America and Africa, and was GM People with Vector in New Zealand.

Antoinette is also the bestselling author of Executive SOS outlining the 7 Proven Steps to Set Up Your Own Strategic Operating System. This book shows you how to rise above the noise, get off the treadmill and lead your division and stakeholders as an Inspiring Strategic Leader, showcasing a number of success stories from her executive clients.

The 6 Key Benefits of Executive Leadership Coaching

Aspirational

First, it’s aspirational. While standard Executive Coaching is about improving your performance at work in more senior executive roles, Executive Leadership Coaching is this and more. It invites you to tap into your career aspirations and personal purpose in relation to how you can make a bigger difference and leave a lasting legacy as a result of your progressively increasing leadership capacity.

“The greater danger is not that our hopes are too high, and we fail to reach them. It’s that they are too low, and we do.” Michelangelo

Strategic Leadership Coaching elevates your goals and expands the dimensions of your role so that it becomes a platform for you to realize your potential. A Strategic Leadership Coach will help you to harness your signature strengths and developing talents to lead others and generate sustainable community outcomes that benefit everyone.

uncertain futureYou’ll learn how to rise above the noise and get off the treadmill to engage in the expanse of the emergent future. Conventional operating systems suit Specialists and Achievers but they inhibit the growth of our capacity as Catalysts and Strategists. We need to transcend them to extend our leadership presence. You can find out more about these stages of leadership development here.

“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations; your consciousness expands in every direction; and you find yourself in a great new and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” Patanjali

Strategic

Second it’s strategic. While this may be self-evident to some, let’s take a moment to consider what this really means. It doesn’t mean to develop strategic initiatives to be more competitive and win more market share. This is the 20th century game of increasing sales and profits to meet shareholder demands for ever-increasing returns. It’s not about strategic marketing or business strategy.

Instead it means increased strategic thinking to make decisions that trade off short and long-term gains in the pursuit of sustainable outcomes and benefits for all stakeholders – including those implicated by the results and their ripple effect, now and in the future. It’s about exercising strategic leadership based on the strategic development of you as a leader up to the level of Strategist, only occupied by 5% of leaders worldwide.

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew”. Einstein

Adult Stage Development or Vertical Learning provides a pathway to demonstrating more conscious expansive leadership presence. It is the fastest growing trend in leadership development. Advanced Leadership Coaches in this burgeoning field have proven methodologies albeit often unique approaches to enabling their clients to become visionary inspiring strategic leaders.

Personal

Third it gets personal. When you wish to be a more strategic leader leading transformational change, it’s essential to review personal reactive patterns and emotional responses to challenging life events and stressful situations. Otherwise the personal blocks in your subconscious will continue to hold yourself and others back.

“We must become the change we want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

When we look at life personally, we take total responsibility for everything that is appearing in our life experience that carries an emotional signature for us. Life is both a movie created by our conscious mind and a mirror reflection of our subconscious mind. When we realize our intentions by stepping forward into a clear path that lies before us, we can jump for joy! At least figuratively.

However when we face issues that trigger negative emotions, it’s important to realize that they are an expression of our subconscious. Recurring patterns in terms of interpersonal dynamics once deciphered and understood, will lead to new insights and revelations. We can then resolve the underlying issues in our hearts in order to prevent similar struggles from recurring.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
  Carl Jung

Important

Remember the Covey framework in relation to attending to what is Important rather than Urgent? The Covey Institute undertook a great deal of research where they compared how people spent their time in most organizations compared to those who won the Baldridge TQM Awards for Excellence.

The difference was not in the 25% of time spent on Important/Non-Urgent matters (red) and the 5% on Non-Important/Non-Urgent matters (green).

The difference was in the time divided between the Important/Non-Urgent (blue) and Non-Important/Urgent (orange) categories. The winning organizations divided their time 55%/15% (blue/orange) whereas the rest did the reverse. The end result was that  conventional organizations spent 80% of their time on Urgent (red + orange) being Reactive and Responsive whereas TQM Award Winning Organizations invested a total of 80% of time being Proactive and Creative on Important (red + blue) matters.

“It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau

Executive Coaching in Leadership is Important. It fits into Quadrant II, the Important/Non-Urgent Zone that is often overlooked by ordinary performers. It sets you up for success in the future by investing just a small period of time albeit regularly in personal self-development. It takes just 90-minutes every 4 weeks with an Executive Leadership Coach assuming they are able to equip you with sufficient insight, clarity and direction to enable you to “sharpen the saw” in the ensuing 4-week period.

Reflective

Combating stress and exercising greater awareness through reflective and meditative practices is growing in popularity today. They lead us into a field of greater mindfulness and resilience enabling us to be more objective and detached during moments of doubt, fear, frustration, betrayal, uncertainty and panic.

 

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leadership Coaching embraces the power of reflection before, during and after coaching conversations. One of the most powerful elements of Leadership Coaching is the client’s opportunity to then talk freely, to give expression to their most embarrassing, upsetting and disappointing moments, in the company of a professional friend who is there to listen with a warm heart and open mind offering unconditional understanding and thoughtful mutual inquiry.

Often it’s not until we articulate what’s going on in the company of a trusted confidante that we can get into, behind, under and past our emotional dilemmas and old childhood hurts. They just stay with us. We keep them hidden suppressing our associated feelings until we have an avenue where we feel its okay to be vulnerable. Total confidentiality and a leadership coach’s genuine compassion permits us to voyage deeper and unveil the multiple layers of protection we have built up in the past.

“Anyone who has insight into his own actions and has thus found access to the unconscious, involuntarily exercises an influence on his environment.” Carl Jung

Encouraging

As we take up more senior roles, our managers tend to spend less and less time on our development. Performance challenges, strategic decisions and corporate politics override our conversations with them. Developing executives in their thirties is one thing, but to do so for executives in their forties and fifties is less common. Even the most senior executives find themselves out of their depth.

However an Executive Leadership Coach with a sage strategic seasoned perspective on corporate affairs, business performance, global trends, local reforms, interpersonal dynamics, emotional resilience, neuroscience, mindfulness, adult psychological development, spiritual intelligence and community wellbeing, alongside substantial life experience, can bring a significant portfolio of knowledge, wisdom and discernment to the journey of adult development into our third age of maturity.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Best of all, your Executive Leadership Coach is in your corner. They’re totally committed to your growth and success over the long run. They’ll both challenge and encourage you as you stretch out of your comfort zone into your growth zone where the territory is unfamiliar to you but known to them. Having an awesome Leadership Coach at your back while you face into the future creating a courageous and lasting legacy is a highly valuable career asset. They can make all the difference to you realizing your aspirations and leaving your latent potential on the bench. We all need someone in our corner.

The 6 Main Benefits of Executive Leadership Coaching? It’s:

  1. Aspirational
  2. Strategic
  3. Personal
  4. Important
  5. Reflective
  6. Encouraging

 

Does this form of Executive Coaching appeal to you?

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this post and hope you gained something really valuable from it. If you did, please Like, leave a Comment and Share it with your network. It would make my day!

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Click here for FREE reports or to book a complimentary coaching meeting with me. If you’d like to know more about my Leadership Coaching Programs, please email me at antoinette@antoinettebraks.com

All the best,

Antoinette

About Antoinette

Antoinette Braks is a Transforming Executive Coach in Strategic and Holistic Leadership with 25+ years global experience. In recent years she has coached more than 50 Senior Executives, led many Strategic Off-sites and run Leadership Development Programs in organizations with outstanding results.

Antoinette has an MBA from London Business School and is currently completing her PhD in Leadership Transformation at the MGSM. Previously she led Leadership Capital Solutions with Korn Ferry Asia Pacific, Strategic HR with Shell in Latin America and Africa, and was GM People and Culture with Vector in New Zealand.

Her transformational leadership has led to quantum leaps of 30% in People Engagement within 6 months, 20% in Leadership Effectiveness for a group of 75+ senior leaders to the 80th percentile in 12 months, and a full stage shift for all Senior Executives in her PhD Study, most to Catalyst, in just one year.

Antoinette is also the bestselling author of Executive SOS outlining the 7 Proven Steps to Set Up Your Own Strategic Operating System. This book shows you how to rise above the noise, get off the treadmill and lead your people and stakeholders as an Inspiring Strategic Leader, showcasing a number of success stories from her executive clients.

Email me antoinette@antoinettebraks.com to talk.