New frontiers of leadership
Next Generation Leaders: Extend your responsibility limitlessly, if you are willing, you can respond to everything; install a triumphant feeling in your team, and make them deliver courageous and amazing results.
New frontiers: Pave the way for a limitless leadership practice, that takes teams to victory the first time every time. A practice which helps people achieving their goal – creating the best possible value added. A practice which supports people improve their lives, and make them reach a mastery work standard so high, that it creates an edge for them and a monopoly for the company.
The Next Generation Leaders
Let me make one thing clear: The managers and leaders of today’s businesses, raise the next generation leaders and managers unconsciously, regardless of what they think or believe or what they do.
My observation in that respect is that the leaders and managers of today have spent more time reading the user’s manual of their smart phone than they have devoted to reading the user’s manual of “Developing High Potentials,” not to forget the user’s manual of “Developing a Team.”
It is also my observation that the vast majority of leaders and managers act like believers, convinced that they have innate abilities to develop the next-generation leaders, and when it comes to teams, they believe they know how to grow any team into a world-class team, all with a “no problem” attitude.
It is a scientifically proven fact, that a young person’s first leader/mentor is likely to be the most influential, in his/her future practice of leadership/ management in that person’s entire career. What you chose to do or not, will mainly find its expression whether you, as a mentor, is aware of it or not.
The outcome of virtue and quality of the young high-potential depends solely on the result expectations, greatness and quality that you, as a mentor, is willing or unwilling to expect/demand from the young high potential.
Humans are highly responsive to the environment they are a part of but whether this is a good or bad thing, depends on the environment. If the environment is one, where overachievement is the norm, then they will adapt to that, and vice-versa.
When you encourage high-potentials and give them the permission to shine, demanding very idealistic outcomes, the high-potentials will unconsciously take their capability to the zenith of their potential and exceed expectations. But the executives have to create that environment – business culture – in the first place.
If you are less demanding – this is what you get, and you might end up making them worse, because you treat as a believer, knowing what is possible and what is not, based on your convictions formed by your own, may be less demanding, background. The high-potentials will set lower standards than they are capable of achieving, and their self-efficacy will be impaired, and they will take a wrong path, developing negative results expectations, towards you as their mentor, the job, the company, career e.g.
Therefore, I suggest that you, make a clear and conscious development process with highly demanding result expectations, and with very idealistic intentions, attitudes, and behaviors, and commit yourself 100% to that plan. The high-potentials will throughout the training, develop a triumphant feeling, and the vision and confidence for success will raises, which often brings success along with it.
A believer has an unconscious mind process going on, recycling what he/she already knows. There is no room for ideas, change, and innovation. A believer holds a concept that guides his/her vision and judgment – what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, what convictions, attitudes, values, behaviors, a young woman/man ought to have or shouldn’t have, etc. All you need, being a believer, is a conviction, your intellect will frame your identity, and your willpower does the rest. Being a disbeliever – not believing what you just read – will not bring you any closer to the positive result for the high-potential.
The alternative is a conscious process “learning by doing.” Means the mentor being a seeker, train the high potentials with an open-ended approach, giving the liberty to contribute using their full capability, where they can make the greatest contribution. You have a “don’t know” attitude, and initiate a sensemaking process – an adaptive behavior in which understanding and experience shape each other. You deliver data and facts and let the high-potentials think by themselves. You ask high-quality questions. The better questions, the better answers, the better insight, the better high-potential training process.
Developing high-potentials is a demanding training process that takes a lot of effort, energy, human understanding, and regular check-in meetings every week over a period – years, if not decades.
Reality is different
To drive a car, you need a driver’s license, which includes theory and 20 – 30 hours of practical training driving a car. A medical doctor studies medicine at a university for six to eight years and adds another five years of experience as a trainee before having the license to deliver a diagnosis to a patient. An airline captain has 12 – 15 years of experience and a big five-digit number of training hours to obtain a license to fly an Airbus 320-800, and a master, sailing one of the big container ships, the same. Even a carpenter need professional acumen and training to do his job.
By the way, a diploma from any business school is not a license to lead a team, a medium size, or big organization. It is a certificate that proves you have an all-around administrative business acumen. But one thing is your ability to read a sea-chart, another thing is, the capacity to master, sailing a ship. The exact difference is the difference between an administrative Staff Officer and a Combat Officer at the front. Means you need practical training leading people from where they are, to a place where they have never been before – means literally into the unknown, either physically mentally or both.
The greatest challenge in business today, and into the near future, also turns out to be the biggest weakness among all, and it is; a “spotted talent” who gets promoted overnight. That applies to any leadership and management position, including becoming a CEO, all with poor or no preparation at all, not to mention a license to lead people. This situation happens every day, every hour, and probably every minute – globally, which is doomed to fail.
I am sorry to admit, that reality proves me right. Regarding 80% of the largest 3.000 companies worldwide failed more or less miserable, according to a McKinsey article published in October 2013 (http://www.mckinsey.com/ business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/the-strategic-yardstick-you-can’t-afford-to-ignore).
Among the biggest 3.000 companies, globally, 20% added value to the GGP – global gross product. The next 60% did not add anything significant. The last 20% had not only a dramatic deficit but a traumatic one, business misery in its ultimate expression.
I am surprised, bewildered, perplexed, and confused. Who spotted the talent in these leaders and managers? Who evaluated them as able to take the right decisions and execute wisely and with high awareness? Who consequently detected them as competent and talented managers and leaders? Who did that? Can you imagine one of these executives, SVP or VP’s being your first mentor? What a scary scenario. How do you know, that this is not the case? Don’t waste your life.
Everyone who recalls the professional business history and those who have a minor insight into UCR Professor Robert Rosenthal’s 40 years of research knows that assessing someone’s skills, performance, and personality traits, with the aim to spot an individual’s talent, produces inconsistent data. Despite how skilled you are as a rater, opinions from your social background, are projected into the assessment of anyone you are about to rate. Period.
Turning up the power on your desk lamp will increase clarity working at your desk. Turning up your awareness will create clarity in your mind; direct your awareness to the McKinsey article one more time; 2400 top-executive teams, probably most of them with an adult education in business, lost their way in the business world. Add to them, all the SVP’s and VP’s, and what have you. The numbers of leaders and managers involved in the misery are devastating. The fact that all of them decided to keep quiet and stay on for years is unbelievably surreal; not even Salvador Dali could have painted a more surreal event. These situations count for a change and is a not-so-easy-challenge for the next generation of high-potential leaders.
The solution is a not-so-easy challenge
Times are changing, and so are the things that happen in our digital world. Through this, business opportunities in the future will be very different from what is common sense today, leading and managing a business. Today’s high-potentials must, therefore, be able to identify the untapped opportunities, their companies will pursue, and mobilize the entire organization’s awareness and collective business consciousness around that future scenario.
It will probably also call for the next step organizational evolution. When we organize jobs in a network of floating teams, we need to experiment to gain new insights and knowledge. The next generation high-potential leaders, must test and figure out how this is functioning in practice, and what it demands of the people involved, and especially how the digitalization will be able to support the next step forward.
Every human being has potential to grow, but not everyone, not even every person with leadership capabilities, has the potential to lead an organization in the near and distant future, based on the observations above. That is not an easy task. An organization is probably the most sophisticated organism ever created by man.
It is by now clear that enterprises might need to be transformed more than once in the tenures of successful leaders. All executives, managers, and leaders shall exhibit new characteristics, which the current generations obviously did not have or did not feel that they needed.
What makes an organization survive for centuries is the quality and gravity of leadership. Leaders who have a laser sharp focus and who use high-quality thinking pave the way in the right direction, but thinking does not deliver results; only execution does – experiment and learn by doing. Do not make more plans; they just sugarcoat any other’s assumptions, and nothing will happen. Involve the high-potentials next to engineers and statistics – Gallup might be a good idea. Do not engage “believers,” engage “seekers.” Otherwise, you get stuck and lose your conscious intention one more time.
We need high-level awareness
We need a rating system that spots high-potential leaders based on valid and reliable data, facts, metrics, and verifiable information.
We need a new generation of leaders with a higher perspective on a wider map of human understanding. Please, no more assumption books or reports; only facts, data, metrics, and information based on insight from real business and life experiences.
We need a new generation of leaders, with a perceptual acuity and with an intensive awareness, a leader who apparently “sees” how the industry is evolving for at least a decade ahead or better – 20 years.
We need a new generation of leaders, who are seekers, not believers; leaders who seek solutions and find what they need to make things happen for the company, the teams, and the people to evolve.
We need a new generation of leaders, who understands the concept of the ecosystem wherein the company operates, and who can make a profit for everyone involved everywhere. We need leaders with a “change the world” mentality.
What the Next Generation Leaders ought to be like
We want the next generation of high-potential leaders to act like humans with real exceptional knowledge obtained through experiments, experiences, and learning from all aspects of life, remarkably energized, and physically, mentally, and emotionally in balance.
- Who can position people with amplified mastery strengths, where they will make the greatest contribution for everyone involved.
- Who recognize, see, fuel, and innovate people’s lives through liberty, which is both the right and the obligation to contribute where they can make the greatest contribution.
- Who effortless overcome significant challenges releasing every ounce of energy with the intent to turn any team into a World-Class team.
- Who enjoys working in a network, together with other professionals, in a kind of team of teams’ organization, where authority, power, and influence, are based on insight, real knowledge, essential achievements, professional competencies, and results.
- Who gives liberty to people to check-in and check-out of tasks, using their strengths only, working in a team that delivers high-quality work only, with the attitude that their best performance ever, will be the next.
- Who take the initiative, “by running towards the fire,” gaining ideas, new insights, and innovate everything and everyone everywhere.
- Who in cohesion with their team, rate team performance with high precision, fuel individuals, and the team encouraging the team to continue to deliver significant achievements continuously.
- Who install, a complete synchronizes business culture, where everyone with enthusiasm sing from the same hymn sheet in unison.
We want the next generation of high-potential leaders to become those who deliberately and sharply stand out as people grounded in professional skills and human capabilities that surprise the right people and inspire the rest.
We want the next generation of high-potential leaders who effortlessly overcome any workload and go beyond the possible, limitless in attitudes and behaviors.
We want the next generation of high-potential leaders to be able to set up the big picture and, at the same time, hold a laser-sharp focus on details.
We want the next generation of high-potential leaders to be utterly obsessed with creating a monopoly based on an extreme work standard and, therefore, only compete with themselves and rarely with someone else.
We want the next generation of high-potential leaders to behave like seekers who can say, “I don’t know,” who are focused, humble and modest, who operate with high ethics, strong morals, and elegance.
The KF Andersen’s way developing a robust practice of personal-leadership, team-leadership, and business-leadership
The aim, the tasks, and development processes are different and depend very much if you are developing a high-potential personality, a high-potential team-leader, or a high-potential business-leader.
I have over the last 35 years, been in front of more than 16.000 people, in one-to-one interviews, discussions, mentorship situations, and training sessions with teams from anything between 6 and 50 people at a time. My high-potential human understanding evolved exponentially, and so did my team- and business acumen.
High-potential business acumen is all about intactness.
Companies don’t die of starvation; they die from indigestion. Therefore, it is within the responsibility of the CEO is to make visible the reason why does the company exists, turn peoples focus in that direction and make the entire organization stick to that. My biggest eye-openers in the last ten years were three particular moments of truth.
First, my awareness revealed, that every business has an ecosystem which has an impact everywhere, even on a global scale.
Second, when it became very apparent to me, that the profit a company generates belongs to all stakeholders involved in keeping the business running, not only the shareholders but every stakeholder.
Third, when I suddenly realized that the task of a CEO is to maintain the business. It is not to take care of the executive team; they have to take care of themselves. If they cannot figure out how to do that, it is a different discussion.
The task of the CEO is to make sure that the business continues perpetuity. It means that a CEO has to be revenue focused, including anything that correlates increasing the revenue – marketing, sales, innovation, M&A, and stakeholder relationship responsibility to everyone around the company.
Regarding high-potential team leaders, it is all about inclusiveness.
Teams fell apart caused by ignorance, not by practicing integrity, too much relationship responsibility, involvement, and compassion.
First. A team leader has to set up a vision and set up a shared responsibility structure where everyone knows the commitments from others, understands the “game,” and next turn the team into a World-Class team.
It is intentional that I use the word team, because leaders who have a group of people running around them and treat teammates as individuals, they are not team leaders. They don’t take the responsibility to turn the bunch of individuals into a team where every job depends on each other, and the final result is a mutual responsibility executed in cohesion.
Based on my observations, the vast majority of so-called team-leaders are big egos. When you get married, and when you have kids, you have to give up your identity for the well-being and the pleasantness of your family. It is never about you anymore. You have to surrender for a higher purpose outside yourself – your family – and re-evaluate your old beliefs assumptions, and opinions. Everything is now about your family, and it is never again about you. The same applies to being responsible for a team, your intentions and interaction are only for that team. You have to take up your human understanding. Begin with yourself.
Second, you have to turn up your awareness and gain clarity. In reality, in how many teams do you play an active role? OK, your team – right. Next, you are a member of your peer’s team – got it? Furthermore, you are a team member of the department-team together with your boss and colleagues. That is three teams where you are supposed to play an active role. Surprised? You got three jobs for the benefit of one – what a bonus! So, you are obviously meant to benefit yourself by adding value to the company, benefitting everyone in the three teams. That is probably a surprise for you, but never the less the reality.
This kind of high-quality thinking and the demanded correlated actions will turn you into a team player. What is the consequence of this insight – for you? Please remember. As a team leader, you are a company-man/woman, and not a Boss or colleague hater.
Now you probably better understand why I wrote above, that the executive team has to take care of themselves? It is not the job of the CEO he/she is busy with his/her “own” revenue business.
One insight is crucial; if you are not the best member of your three teams, then logically, none of the three teams can be the best team in the company. You don’t need to ask for, what comes next, you are already deep into it – far above your head.
Being a high-potential individual is all about integrity, prosperity, and well-being.
There is a balance between physical and economic results on the one side, and on the other hand, mental enrichment, pleasantness, earning the love of your family members and earning the respect of your friends and colleagues, not to forget the respect from the local society.
Individuals, who have high potential, are people who can lead themselves toward whatever they need and want, involving their will, are emotionally engaged and fully compassionate about what they do. All this to an extent where they are willing to make personal sacrifices to overcome significant challenges, and finally touch the zenith of their potential. Sacrifices are necessary when executing self-imposed restrictions on one’s behavior, attitudes, and commitments.
Furthermore, there is a significant correlation between the background of the high potential and their intellect, their personality, emotions, creativity, and their innovative entrepreneurial attitude toward everything and everyone everywhere.
These high-potential individuals develop their mind. They have an extreme energy that energizes everyone; they use their emotions intelligently, are mentally reliable, and with good health.
When you experience your life as it is, without any distortions, then you are at YOUR-BEST-SELF, then you will experience the leadership practice as effortlessly. As long as you don’t feel the effortlessness, you still have a way to go to reach YOUR-BEST-SELF at the zenith of your potential.
Being tired and feel exhausted, means your vision is blurred and your judgment distorted, you don’t see the picture of how things are in sync around you. Like it or not, is not an issue. There is only one direction out, and it is to raise your awareness, expand your inclusiveness, and gain insight through personal experiences. Awareness is your accelerator for more clarity.
You are one of these high-potentials – right?
Or do you want to become one? The layout of KF Andersen´s effective training programs, are designed for you who want to make a difference, benefiting yourself by adding value benefitting others. People who don’t add value to life, are undermining the well-being for everyone everywhere.
I do look forward to welcoming you at one of the most engaging training programs – globally. When you walk away from any of our training programs, you will have a plan how to create value for everyone everywhere from now on to perpetuity.
Italy, July 2017
Siegfried W Andersen
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