A New Leadership Approach for a New Economy

The Human Economy has arrived. A new economy is upon us,one
that has quietly emerged with as much fanfare as the gradual temperature
changes connected to global warming.  If you are in the busyness of your
life you may have missed it! The Human Economy is built on the human
experience, and performance outcomes are only as good as the interactions and co-created innovations that powered them.  Leaders who are successful at enrolling the human heart and mind are those will thrive and win in this new economy. Those who don’t will be part of the four in every ten organizations predicted by J.P. Morgan to fail in the coming decade. 

Learn more about the Human Economy, see quantitative evidence that it is
here and learn why Interdependent Leadership is the critical competency for all leaders wishing to thrive and add to the bottomline. Download this ebook today.



Three Simple Ways to Position Yourself for Rapid Post-COVID Acceleration

COVID-19 can feel like a harsh teacher. Painful, new lessons are emerging from the ashes of this experience – including this one: there is no return to normal. The post-COVID world will be a world with an entirely new normal, one that gets created right now by intentional people who are positioned for future acceleration.

If you are hoping to be one of them, here are three simple ways that top business leaders around the globe are preparing for a rapid post-COVID acceleration.

Exchange Your Mantra from Go Faster to Slow is Fast

The idea of slowing down seems counter-intuitive when you think about ramping up for a surge forward.  Yet, this time allows for a different kind of preparation, one that starts with deep rest.

A great metaphor for the importance of this comes in the life of Secretariat, the greatest racehorse in history.  Just as he was making his push to become a Triple Crown winner, an infection interfered with his performance. Yet, it proved to be a strange gift to him because it required that he stopped for deep rest. When he came back afterward, he came back stronger and faster than any horse ever before him.

True, you are not a racehorse, but if you’re like most people, sometimes you push yourself like you are. And, right now, pushing yourself to do more will not necessarily help you perform faster later.  The wisdom of Alice Walton seems appropriate here: “Learn to sit with that feeling [of uncertainty] (through mindfulness and meditation) and let yourself navigate through it without coming apart … this is probably about the best thing we can do right now.”[1]

Rebalance Your Life

Many people were out of balance before the pandemic started. The stress of this time has amplified this imbalance, particularly if you continue to foster the same patterns you had before. Like the tires of your car when they are out of balance, your imbalance will ultimately affect your ability to function effectively. If you want to perform better when this is over, one of the best ways to prepare is to bring your life into balance.

There is a simple way to do this. Each week, begin by listing your most important roles, including family, community/church, and work. Don’t forget to add Self to this list, as it is essential for you to nurture your physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual sides to stay in balance going forward. Stephen Covey called this Sharpen the Saw.

Next, list one thing you can do to nourish and grow each role this week. Then, put these important things first in your life. Voila! You will see your balance increase in new, positive ways as energy begins to pour back into your sometimes world-weary soul.

Be Still to Be More.

This time offers a gift – not to “do” more, but to “be” more. It can be a gift for practicing “being” by responding in new positive ways to people in your life and the situations that frustrate you – including COVID-19. This means taking time without frenetic activity to be still so you can see differently and be different. You can’t pick up the gift of deeper peace and connected relationships as you speed by people going 60 mph. You can only receive these gifts when you slow down and allow yourself to see things you haven’t seen in a long time.

This is the time be still to be more, especially to be more to those who matter most. This is the time to rebalance your life and roles. It is the time to go slow so you can go fast later.

As you apply these three practices, you’ll find that on the other side of this pandemic, you’ll be ready for the race that lies ahead.

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2016/03/29/uncertainty-about-the-future-is-more-stressful-than-knowing-that-the-future-is-going-to-suck/#49e5578b646a

This article has been written by DeAnna Murphy – the founder and CEO of People Acuity and principal author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living and Choose to See You – in collaboration with co-thought leaders, Lisa Gregory and Steve Jeffs. It includes information about Interdependent Leadership, which starts with helping leaders lead themselves more effectively.  DeAnna is a Top 100 Global Coaching Leader who has provided keynotes and leadership development experiences in 32 countries. To learn more about how to self-lead during this time (and beyond) with a COVID-19 special virtual program CLICK HERE.

The One Thing That “Your People” Need from You During COVID-19

Photo credit: https://bit.ly/3cDqVeE

You want to help. You NEED to help, but how? You can’t walk within 15 feet of anyone. Conversations with co-workers in the halls, hanging out with friends and extended family, even seeing strangers together with you in a restaurant are off limits. For “doers”, “helpers”, “get-it-done” people, these times are very stressful. There is a way to help. One that is meaningful, impactful and doesn’t violate the “rules” of social distancing. Here it is…

Pick up the phone.

Call someone. Connect live. Doing so is powerful for you and for others. “Your people” (family, direct reports, friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc.) need it. You need it.

During this stressful and uncertain time, people (including you) need some control, to take action, a sense of normalcy and connection. Connection in person is the most powerful but given the global choices we are making to practice physical distancing and stay at home, how can we meet this need?  

Maybe what is needed most is to simply pick up the phone and reach out. Talk to your colleagues. Pause the texting, social media posting, and emailing and actually have a live, personal conversation. Doing so relieves stress and pressure.

What do you talk about? If they are a direct report, don’t ask about work. There is a time and place for those conversations, but they tend to raise stress, not relieve it. Simply ask, “how are you doing?” or “how are you/your family coping with the COVID situation?” and then listen.

Eva Stubits, PhD is a Houston-based clinical psychologist who specializes in stress management. She shares how important it is to provide talking opportunities for others, especially during stressful times like these.

“[Venting] helps take the feelings out from inside of yourself, it helps you to process them,” she says. “It’s kind of like the pressure cooker analogy: If you don’t open a lid periodically, the steam can build up and cause you to feel even more stressed. If you let it out, it can help you process whatever it is you’re worried about.”[1]

You aren’t a therapist nor do you have to “fix” their challenges. Just express confidence that they (and you) can get through this. Let them know you care. We all need to talk more, especially now. Even the most reticent of people benefit.

Take for example a conversation I had the other day. I am a leader in our church’s youth group. I called one of the 16 year old girls, one who normally doesn’t communicate much. I told her I was simply calling to check in and see how she was doing. She talked for 10 minutes straight and then, at the end, she said with all sincerity, “thanks for calling me.” Even highly, digitally-connected Generation Z kids benefit from real, live, vocal conversations. That personal connection can help everyone from going a little stir-crazy.

So pick up the phone and call someone today. No agenda, no goals. Just connect and listen. You’ll be surprised by the positive benefits for yourself and them. And then, do it again. It’s the one thing people are needing the most from you.

[1] https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/venting-talking-to-someone-benefits

This article has been written by Lisa C Gregory – Chief Product Officer of People Acuity, The Interdependent Leadership Company, and co-author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living.  It has been written in collaboration with People Acuity co-thought leaders, DeAnna Murphy and Steve Jeffs.  Lisa has lead teams of 2 people to teams of 242 people,reaching people on five continents. Learn more about how to self-lead during this time (and beyond) with a COVID-19 special virtual program. Learn more HERE.

Moving from Powerlessness to Possibility

If you’re feeling powerless and just a little helpless right now, join the crowd!  It’s a normal human response to a globally impacting, life-altering situation you have never before encountered.  Especially one that involves so much loss of life and so many unknowns.

The good news, however, is that just because you’re feeling powerless, it doesn’t mean you are.  You can shift from powerlessness to possibility.  Here is the simplest way to make such a monumental shift.

The Grand Canyon leap starts the moment you realize that focusing on what’s happening will only get you more frustrated and more stuck.  That’s because what you see creates your feelings, actions, and outcomes, including your way of being.  As you can see from the figure shown here, blaming your negativity on what’s happening means giving away the biggest power you have available to you: to choose the vantage point from which you will respond. 

Psychologists call this “framing.” It’s is a fancy way of saying that you can change the way you look at something.  After all, whatever you look for you will find.

Paul Dunn puts it another way.  He says:

“Only the view from where you sit will make you fear defeat –

Life is full of many aisles, why don’t you change your seat?”

His words are amusing, but you might appreciate a little help translating them to something a bit more concrete.  To this end, here are three possible frames you might consider as you search for a new “seat” from which to take in this COVID-19 crisis:

  1. Gratitude frame.  Rather than being worried about what is happening, every day look for one or two things to be appreciative of: “I’m so inspired by the way people of all backgrounds are coming together to try to make a difference.”  Or, “What are the gifts that seem to be coming from this?”
  2. Learning frame.  Instead of getting caught up with what isn’t happening, or what someone else should do, ask yourself: “What can I learn from what’s happening?”  Or, “How might this help me in the future?”
  3. Service frame.  When you get wrapped up in yourself, you just get more uptight and anxious.  However, the moment you find someone else to serve, your feelings, actions and outcomes turn on a dime.  Start with: “Who can I encourage today?”  Or, “What needs am I aware of and can help with?”

When you shift your attention from what’s wrong to what’s possible you will turn powerlessness into possibility, and frustration into fulfillment.  Even when the situation hasn’t changed, you will have. 

This article has been written by DeAnna Murphy – the founder and CEO of People Acuity and principal author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living and Choose to See You – in collaboration with co-thought leaders, Lisa Gregory and Steve Jeffs. It includes information about Interdependent Leadership, which starts with helping leaders lead themselves more effectively.  DeAnna is a Top 100 Global Coaching Leader who has provided keynotes and leadership development experiences in 32 countries.  For more information about how you can lead yourself (and others) out of powerlessness and into proactive possibilities, click here.

Seven Surprising Reasons You Go Toxic (Even When You Know Better!)

A recent study of more than 30,000 people revealed that harping on negative life events can be the prime predictor of some of today’s most common health problems.  In fact, this pattern unknowingly can create a toxic relationship with situations and people that can actually cause as much harm to your health as having the coronavirus!  Toxicity, as you may know causes mental health issues and even life-threatening physical challenges. 

Surely, there must be a way to not become toxic, even when everything around you is falling apart.

A study by the Cornell School of Industrial and Labour Relations (2010) found self-awareness to be the strongest predictor of overall success of leaders, and a key to getting out of toxicity.   “Self-awareness is the beginning of all wisdom,” Aristotle taught long before anyone ever made statistically significant findings about it.  This means that if you can understand how you got into toxicity, you have taken the first step toward changing it.   Check out these reasons why you might get stuck in toxic feelings and find your typical patterns. Toxicity can happen when:

  1. Other people around you are toxic.  If toxicity becomes a part of the normal social behavior of others, you are more likely to engage in it.  You may often find yourself unknowingly mirroring others’ negative behavior when this happens. 
  2. You are under pressure, making mistakes, or caught in uncertainty.  The ability to wisely respond to situations and people using your strengths is the hallmark of mature self-leadership.  If you don’t understand your strengths and how to wisely use them, you can get caught in toxicity pretty easily  because your strengths are flipped into weakness when you become triggered or have unmet needs.
  3. You are trying to manipulate, control, or shape other’s behavior or situations.  While this is not a particularly effective strategy, you might get stuck trying to use contempt, criticism, or blame as a backward way to make other people behave.  Most people avoid the unpleasantness of being singled out in negative ways, and you might use this to get others to conform to your expectations.
  4. You are not at your best.  Scientists describe something called the “fundamental attribution error,” which means you blame others for the very things that you, yourself, are guilty of when you are not behaving appropriately.  You become toxic and criticize others, show contempt, or stonewall, as a way of deflecting your self-judgment on to others.
  5. Your identity or sense of value feels threatened.  Society’s tendency to make your value equal to your performance, popularity, and external indicators of success can be one reason you go toxic.  For example, defensiveness toward others or criticism of yourself is a natural response when your value or self-identity seems compromised.
  6. You experience weakness, mistakes, and failures.  The belief that weakness, mistakes, and failures are bad often triggers shame, and that can quickly flip into toxicity toward yourself or others
  7. You were let down because you thought someone “should” do or be something.  If you are like most people, when the situation or interaction with someone doesn’t align with your view of the world, you might judge and blame others.

If you identified with any of these patterns, and you’re not proud of it, you can change starting today.  New insights can mean new choices!  Here is one quick trick you can use.

Think of a time when you were caught up in negativity and toxicity – and you got out of it.  What did you do then?  How did you escape?  More than likely your story will you tell something about a success pattern that is available to you the next time toxicity threatens to choke the life out of you.

If you take the time right now to make a proactive decision about how you’ll choose to respond to the next toxic opportunity, you’ve taken the first step to re-programming your brain.  This means that when toxicity comes to call, it will be met by a “No Solicitors Allowed” sign.  Not only will this redirect energy to be used productively, but it also offers a new trend for others to follow.  You can model a higher way for others who go toxic even when they know better.  Who knows?  Maybe your choice will be the first step toward a whole new culture trend for you and others around you.

This article has been written by DeAnna Murphy – the founder and CEO of People Acuity and principal author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living and Choose to See You – in collaboration with co-thought leaders, Lisa Gregory and Steve Jeffs. It includes information about Interdependent Leadership, which redefines the task-relationship dynamic and helps leaders balance people and performance effectively.  DeAnna is a Top 100 Global Coaching Leader who has provided keynotes and leadership development experiences in 32 countries.  For a free coaching conversation around your leadership, or to learn more about Interdependent Leadership, sign up for 30 minutes with DeAnna here.

5 Keys to Make Virtual Meetings Engaging for Team Members

With COVID-19 driving social distancing and causing teleworking and virtual work to take the stage, many leaders new to the arena of virtual meetings are at a loss as to how to make them effective, productive, engaging and “real”. Even leaders who have used virtual meetings in the past are experiencing unprecedented levels of frequency.

For at least the short-term future, this increased pace will remain. As a team of 100% virtual leaders doing business and training globally through technology tools, we thought it might be valuable to share our collective learning gathered over thousands of hours of virtual meetings.

Here are our top 5 keys for leaders on how to engage your teams and colleagues virtually through online meetings. Virtual meetings CAN be productive, effective and even fun. Here is how.

First, Key #1Define the Purpose.

Be clear on why you are holding the meeting. Make sure you should call the meeting to begin with. Ask yourself: What is the benefit that can only be gained by meeting together and talking live? If you can’t find a compelling reason, don’t hold the meeting. If you do hold it, be clear with everyone as to the purpose. Is it to gather input, solve a problem, brainstorm? State the intent so people know how to engage in the meeting and what you want from them.

Key #2 – Make agreements.

If you decide to hold the meeting, start it off right with some best practice ground rules. Use good virtual meeting etiquette and share some ground rules around how you will be together as a group. Our People Acuity meetings all start with reviewing these three ground rules:

  • No Judgment Zone (this is a place of curiosity and learning together, not judgment of self and others)
  • Bring Your Puzzle Piece (meaning everyone contribute)
  • Confident Vulnerability (you don’t have to pretend to be perfect or have all the answers).

As a result, people feel safe contributing and are more engaged. Meetings fly by rather than drag on.

Key #3 – Invite multi-tasking.

Yes, you read that right. People are going to multi-task during the meeting so invite them to do it IN the meeting. This is about giving permission to multi-task in ways that serve the purpose of the meeting. Invite them to use the chat box liberally to respond to each other and to the topics being discussed. Invite them to add their questions, thoughts, encouragements and ideas. This allows people to connect with each other, and for ideas and thoughts to develop as the meeting progresses. It is engaging for participants and works best if followed by Key #4.

Key #4 – Pay attention to the chat box.

Designate someone to pay particular attention to the chat box and bring to your attention anything that might need to be addressed in the meeting – questions, suggestions, etc. Pause and scan the chat box yourself, and read comments out loud for those who may have missed them. People like to hear their own words even if they didn’t want to say them out loud, which allows you to ask for elaboration on comments as needed. Just make sure you aren’t challenging people when you ask for clarification or more information. Remember Key #2: Agreements! You’ve got to be curious, not combative otherwise you’ll shut down people’s motivation to comment, and you will kill engagement.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Don’t scan the chat box when someone is commenting live. Look at the screen and LISTEN to that person. If you’re leading the meeting, briefly summarize what you heard after someone speaks, as this will convey your value of each person and encourage more interaction.

Key #5 – Use the technology.

Use the technology to make interacting in the meeting smooth and easy. An online meeting is different to an in-person meeting, and it can be difficult to organically notice when someone else wants to contribute. Online, you can set some technology signals to alert the meeting leader that someone would like to contribute. Here are some ways we do it:  

  • If everyone has their video up, have people simply unmute when they want to speak. Or, invite them to wave and wait to be called on.
  • If videos are off and someone wants to make a comment, have them turn their video on to send a signal that they are prepared to share.
  • Some platforms have a “raise hand” icon, which can also be effective if you are watching for it.

Whatever you choose, share the plan at the beginning of the meeting when you set ground rules so that everyone knows how to signal when they want to contribute verbally.

Virtual meetings are only effective when people are engaged and there are agreements about how to be together. As the leader, let go of 100% control and 100% responsibility. Let the group contribute to the meeting and co-lead it with you. With intentional practice around these keys, you and they will make virtual meetings engaging, productive and fun. We promise.

This article has been written by Lisa C Gregory – Chief Product Officer of People Acuity, The Interdependent Leadership Company, and co-author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living.  It has been written in collaboration with People Acuity co-thought leaders, DeAnna Murphy and Steve Jeffs.  Lisa leads virtual meetings and training sessions weekly – reaching people on five continents. She holds nearly 100 certifications and is an expert in instructional design, facilitation, and engineering client solutions. Learn more about Interdependent Leadership, People Acuity and its cutting edge virtual or live programs at www.peopleacuity.com.

The One Thing Great Leaders Always Do in Times of Crisis

Two months ago as the coronavirus raged across China, Belinda Wong, Chairman and CEO of Starbucks China was faced with a painful decision to close the doors to 4,300 Starbucks stores.  This is exactly the decision that many U.S.-based companies are presently facing, as you well know.  “There was no playbook for this,” she said. “It was nothing we’d dealt with … and we had limited facts. There was a lot of uncertainty and the situation was evolving every minute. We had to quickly decide how we were going to lead.” 

Notice the words she used here as you consider your own decisions as a leader.  They are an important clue to the most important lesson we can learn from great leaders and how they lead in times of crisis. 

Just so you have a reference point for understanding how amazing Belinda Wong truly is as a leader, you might want to know that she was recently named to Fortune’s international list of the Most Powerful Women in Business.  She is also the leader of the fastest growing market for Starbucks, opening new stores at the unprecedented rate of one every fifteen hours. In fact, under her leadership, Starbucks China is on track to open 6,000 new stores in 230 different cities within the next 18-20 months.  No wonder she has been recognized among the top 50 people most shaping the future of USA/China relations, and among the most influential women in China by Forbes!

While these things are all commendable, and represent enviable fruits of her leadership, they are not the things that make her a great leader, however. Of all the things that Belinda Wong does well, there is one thing that sets her apart, one thing that most leaders simply miss because they are so caught up in the thick of thin things.  This one thing makes her more than just a regional hero.  It inspires deep loyalty, even love, from the 58,000 people that she has day-to-day responsibility for.

Belinda rigorously holds the balance between people and performance – and she never forgets which of those two things comes first in the equation, even when the business is on the line.  The order matters to her.  After all, it’s people who grow the business, and her Interdependent Leadership approach/results attest to the power of putting people first in order to consistently get high performance.  She gets this truth better than most leaders ever will!

Belinda describes her leadership in simple terms: “I’m here to take care of my people — the 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 Starbucks partners — and to do what I can to help. … And it’s not just them, it’s their families.”  She is clear about what leadership truly means – and she is not afraid to put her money where her mouth is.

Because of this, it was a no-brainer for her to close the doors of all Starbucks stores so as to keep employees and customers safe.  It was equally obvious that they needed to continue to pay employees even while the business was shut down.  And, as if these things were not enough to convey caring, she also extended insurance benefits to employees’ families, including their parents. She did this even though these choices would affect the business’ bottom line to the tune of an estimated $275 million.  Not easy decisions! If you’re having a heart attack as a leader just thinking about making such staggering choices, you might be interested to know that it is exactly decisions like these that have made Starbucks’ employees among the most engaged in the industry.  This means that Starbucks China will likely outperform its competitors by 202% when this all shakes out.  It also means that what appears to be a short-term loss may set Starbucks China up to be the clear market leader for years to come.

If you’d like to see your business outperform its competitors and recover quickly from this crisis, you need the same kind of clarity that Belinda Wong demonstrated.  It starts by asking yourself the tough question, the one that most leaders are too busy chasing performance to ask.  Simply stated, it is this: “What is truly important here?”

If you don’t answer “people,” maybe you’ve forgotten why you’re in business.

This article has been written by DeAnna Murphy – the founder and CEO of People Acuity and principal author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living and Choose to See You – in collaboration with co-thought leaders, Lisa Gregory and Steve Jeffs. It includes information about Interdependent Leadership, which redefines the task-relationship dynamic and helps leaders balance people and performance effectively.  DeAnna is a Top 100 Global Coaching Leader who has provided keynotes and leadership development experiences in 32 countries.  For a free coaching conversation around your leadership, or to learn more about Interdependent Leadership, sign up for 30 minutes with DeAnna here.

Military Secrets About Igniting Millennial Engagement

Millennials are the least engaged generation in the workplace today – and if you’re like most people, your experience tells you that this is not new news.  After all, ninety-one percent of Millennials don’t expect to be in their same job in three years, and 67% of them are looking for work right now.  You might even find this to be anxiety-producing when you consider that 75% of your workforce will soon be made up of Millennials, and that every employee turnover costs you 90-200% of his/her salary. Ouch!

Ironically, Millennial disengagement holds true virtually everywhere except for the military.  There, you’ll find that the Millennial engagement rate is a whopping 90%!  This feels significant given that Millennials constitute 75% of the military today – and that our national security is in the hands of the generation most prone to quit their jobs. 

It is good news that military Millennials are not leaving.  They’re not just staying and getting by either.  They love what they do, and they feel ignited and driven by their work.  Maybe it’s possible the military’s secrets go beyond warfare.

According to Doug Wortham this is true.  He was a Command Sergeant Major and the Minnesota National Guard command senior enlisted leader.  He would know.  He suggests there are three military secrets to Millennial engagement:

  1. Clear Purpose Alignment.  First and foremost, a crucial part of initiation into the military is to help soldiers identify and align with a clear, compelling why – something bigger than self, something that matters enough to die for.  Military Millennials know their why!  They believe in it.
  2. Valuing the Individual.  Every single soldier understands his or her unique contribution and the difference that he/she individually brings to the whole.  They know they matter – and exactly how they matter.
  3. Solid relationships.  Up and down the ranks and peer-to-peer, there has been an increased emphasis on building solid relationships of trust.  The emphasis on relationship is equally important to mastering and executing the tasks associated with their role.

Interestingly, Doug identified one final secret that is the key to all the others.  He described it as Interdependent Leadership – which he suggested is the complete opposite of the command-and-control style that was once popular in the military.  In case you’re wondering what Interdependent Leadership is, and how it might help you, you may want to check out this brief video explanation where you can learn more.  Don’t be surprised when you discover that this innovation in leadership, Interdependent Leadership, is described as the ability to effectively balance the task/relationship dynamic.  Easier said than done, by the way.

The military has it right.  Interdependent Leadership is the only way you can truly win the hearts and minds of your people.  There are no shortcuts and no way around that fact.  What if your Millennials were as enthusiastically ignited as military Millennials?  What might be different in your organization?

This article has been written by DeAnna Murphy – the founder and CEO of People Acuity and principal author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living and Choose to See You – in collaboration with People Acuity co-thought leaders, Lisa Gregory and Steve Jeffs. It includes information from their soon-to-be released book on Interdependent Leadership.  DeAnna is a Top 100 Global Coaching Leader who has provided keynotes and leadership development experiences in 32 countries.  Learn more about Interdependent Leadership and download the new Interdependent Leadership eBook – at www.peopleacuity.com.

Innovation Will Implode Unless One Thing Happens

When you think of innovation what comes to mind? Artificial Intelligence? Machine Learning? Flying Cars? Space Flights to Mars? 5G?

What about leadership?  Where does that fall on your list?  

I’m guessing that if you are like most people, leadership probably doesn’t land on your list at all. After all, most people think of technology or business when discussing innovation, and yet, there is plenty of evidence that leadership desperately needs innovation.  If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always got!

If you look at what we’re getting today, you can see plenty of evidence that there is a huge need for innovation in leadership.  Case in point, consider three indications that innovation in leadership is not just nice, but critical in today’s new economy. 

First, 68% of all individuals feel under-valued by leaders at work.  This is significant given that the number one reason people leave is they don’t feel valued (Kahn, 2010). Additionally, the Quit Rate is now 23% and growing (Gallup) – therefore, you could easily conclude that too many leaders are guilty of under-valuing their people.

Second, 72% of employees don’t think leaders care about their growth (Monster).  This is important since Millennials, who are soon to be 75% of the work force, won’t stay if they don’t believe leaders want to grow them.  Since 67% of them are looking to quit their jobs (Forbes), you might think leadership is not quite where it needs to be in growing people.

Finally, 85% of all employees across the globe experience high work disengagement and, according to Gallup, employee engagement is a direct reflection of supervisor engagement.  Frighteningly, only 35% of managers are engaged in their jobs at work! When this is true, employees are 59% less likely to be engaged (Gallup).  They “catch” their boss’s negative energy like it’s the coronavirus.

As you look at these evidences, you might conclude that business innovation is impossible if we don’t innovate leadership first. If organizations are going to survive today, they must have strong leaders to break them out of toxicity and take them into this newly emerging Human Economy where the rules of engagement have changed. 

This is the biggest reason why it was so significant that Dr. Steve Jeffs had the chance to bring his doctoral work around Interdependent Leadership, and his insight from ten years on the People Acuity psychometrics team to the 2020 World Innovation Congress in Mumbai. Steve was awarded the global Innovation Leadership Award and spoke about innovating leadership and its relationship to business innovation.  He taught that innovation follows synergy.  It feeds on it.  Innovation needs the energy that comes as leaders break through the toxic barriers that hold people back from multiplying their brilliance.

For a new idea to be implemented, change is inevitable and cannot thrive in the environment of toxicity. Innovation requires change and a shift out of negativity. This means that people must do things different.  They must think different and be different. Trying to innovate within a toxic organization provides limited, if any results at all.  This is one of the biggest reasons why leadership must innovate before the task of business innovation can be successful.

As Dr. Jeffs taught a standing-room-only crowd, if we want more innovation inside organizations then we need to Shift Up! leadership to be more interdependent.  Steve Jeffs and his team at People Acuity bring leadership innovation to guide leaders to think differently, interact differently and thereby shift human interactions to the next generation of experience and results.  Interdependent Leadership, the cutting-edge innovation in leadership, creates fertile soil for optimal innovation and results.

To learn more about Dr. Steve Jeffs’ presentation topic, of Innovating Leadership, download the eBook he co-authored on the subject, “Interdependent Leadership: A New Approach for a New Economy.” https://peopleacuity.com/download-il-ebook/ 

This article has been written by Lisa Gregory – Chief Product Officer of People Acuity and co-author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living – in collaboration with People Acuity co-thought leaders, DeAnna Murphy and Steve Jeffs. Lisa holds nearly 100 certifications and is an expert in instructional design, facilitation, and engineering client solutions. She has coached and trained organizations on five continents and makes learning relevant and applicable. Learn more about Interdependent Leadership and download the new Interdependent Leadership eBook – at www.peopleacuity.com.

Photo credit: https://www.marketingweek.com/the-death-of-innovation/

Is Vulnerability the New Confidence?

To be more authentically confident, what you really need is to be more authentically vulnerable. You might think that sounds crazy, but it really works!  Here’s how.

If you are like most people, you want to be more confident.  There are many ways to be more confident, but there’s one you’ve likely not considered: choose authentic vulnerability and multiply it with whatever confidence you have.  When you create synergy between these amazing opposing forces you find a new power source, one that awakens energy, deeper connections, and increased ability to call on your unknown potential.  In other words, Confident Vulnerability™, one of the lead indicators of Interdependent Leadership (the most effective leadership approach of our day).

Mareo McCracken, the renown revenue leader at Movemedical is an Interdependent Leader, and he describes operating with both confidence and vulnerability together like this:

“Trying to be more confident doesn’t work, especially in the moment. Confidence is not something you turn off and on. Being the most confident person in the room is not about never showing weakness. Confidence is something you feel because you are at peace with the person you have become. Confidence is knowing your actions are aligned with your beliefs and you control your reaction to every situation. True confidence is evident when your faults are open for everyone to see… yet you still take action.”   

This is not just true confidence.  It is true Confident Vulnerability.

There is a big difference between appearing confident and having authentic confidence, between feeling vulnerable and having authentic vulnerability.  The mountain-top power-poser, the one who appears to be so invulnerable, is often just a poser.  But authentic confidence paired with authentic vulnerability is courageous, risk-taking, and involves Unconditional Curiosity™ without judgment. It isn’t afraid of uncertainty and knows the probability of failure yet tries anyway.  Confident Vulnerability recognizes that you make mistakes and are flawed but also holds that you are amazing, capable, and worthy just the same.  It is anchored in knowing that your value is not tied to any external condition, scorecard, or validation.  It just is – and this knowledge is one reason you can be comfortable and confident as you also stand in authentic vulnerability.

Confident Vulnerability allows you to say to yourself: “I know what I am.  I know what I’m not.  Both are okay.”   It moors you in the quiet confidence felt through your strengths, while simultaneously holding weakness, mistakes, and failures as part of your beautiful humanness.  It reframes weakness as a different way to serve others (every bit as valuably as you can through your strengths), as long as you’re not afraid of your weakness, you open yourself, and let others inform your perspectives and support you where you are less strong.  Confident Vulnerability lifts others to feel their value as they serve you, and lets you stop judging yourself by the presence of weakness.  It also sends out a powerful sonar-like signal, one that reflects acceptance of whatever messy humanness you might encounter, one that deepens others’ trust in you and in themselves. 

It’s entirely possible that you might find a beautiful combination found in the tension of these opposites, one that leads directly to releasing the untapped potential within you and those around you.  It bypasses all negatively-conditioned neural networks because the compelling draw of this Confident Vulnerability is that it gives rise to the very best possible that is available to you.  It is a view that offers hope that the very vulnerability you are afraid of revealing also exposes your deepest capability and most brilliant untapped possibilities.  What if this were true?  What if you let yourself operate from this belief?  How would things be different?

You might find the simple miracle that Mitch Albom described in Tuesdays with Morrie:

“Have I told you about the tension of opposites? he says.

The tension of opposites?

Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you, yet you know it shouldn’t. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you should never take anything for granted.  A tension of opposites is like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle.

Sounds like a wrestling match, I say.

A wrestling match?  He laughs. Yes, you could describe life that way.

So which side wins, I ask?

Which side wins? He smiles at me, the crinkled eyes, the crooked teeth. Love wins. Love always wins.”

Morrie is right.  Love is the best ways to describe how Confident Vulnerability feels when you finally find it.

This article has been written by DeAnna Murphy – the founder and CEO of People Acuity and principal author of Shift Up! Strengths Strategies for Optimal Living and Choose to See You – in collaboration with People Acuity co-thought leaders, Lisa Gregory and Steve Jeffs. It includes excerpts from their soon-to-be released book on Interdependent Leadership.  DeAnna is a Top 100 Global Coaching Leader who has provided keynotes and leadership development experiences in 32 countries.  Learn more about Interdependent Leadership and download the new Interdependent Leadership eBook – at www.peopleacuity.com.