Change is easy – really?

This week I have a tale of two client transformation projects.  Both are very conventional businesses that have been around for over 30 years.  Both manufacture a product that is then retailed to consumers.  One is the retail end of a vertically integrated business, the other retails through third party outlets.  Both have an inspiring vision for their future.  One has a visionary CEO, the other has a caring CEO.

Only one of them is finding change easy – which one?

The distinction I am going to make is that the one with the caring CEO is leading change with authentic leadership.  The one with the visionary CEO is managing change.

Before their  transformations started both organisations were operating as conventional businesses.  The skill that they employed was management and their objective was to be reliable at doing what they do.  Leadership, with its desire to create change was regarded as annoying and was discouraged at all levels of the business.   In order to be reliable both businesses had developed cultures that were obedient and conformist, risk averse and with low levels of psychological safety.  There was a strong belief that failure would result in blame and embarrassment or actual consequences.  In the conventional world both businesses were successful.

At some point both businesses realised that their conventional business model was not sustainable, due to disruption caused by Megatrends and to their huge credit they both embarked on a transformation before it became a crisis.  This was an act of great leadership in both cases, they had understood that their context was changing, they articulated a new cause for the organisation to pursue, the challenge was to change the culture in the organisation to adapt to the new conditions.

With the managing change model a centrally created strategy was distributed to senior people along with a set of cultural requirements and a role out of specific training and coaching to move people from being obedient and conforming to the old culture to being obedient and conforming to the new culture.  Change is happening, but it is slow.

With the leading change model we have worked with them to transform the culture of the top 70 people over the last year, starting with the top 6.  They have gone from being heavy on management and reliability to embracing authenticity, vulnerability and experimentation.  They have created an environment of psychological safety where people are excited about the transformation.  If anything the challenge is not to go too fast.

The crucial difference is in the understanding of authentic leadership.  The need for senior people to be the best version of themselves as much of the time as possible and their ability to enable their colleagues to do the same.  The willingness to be vulnerable, to do things that they have never done before and where they don’t really know what the outcome will be.  When things don’t work out, to have the emotional regulation to stay calm and share the benefit of the learning.  To have the ability to effectively lead and inspire everyone, including those they find a bit annoying and those who are harder to lead. The ability to build a culture of psychological safety where it is safe to ask stupid questions, to raise concerns and to try stuff out.  Above all to be motivated by purpose rather than status and inspire high quality followership in the organisation.

It is our view that conventional organisations, those that focus on reliability of an established business model, will not survive at scale in the post conventional world that is arriving at speed all around us.  The only organisations that will achieve sustained success will be those that are able to be reliable AND transform their business models at the same time.  The most successful companies in the world are already post conventional – Apple, Google and Amazon for example.

It is also our view that Post Conventional businesses require Authentic Leadership to remain successful.  Management which prioritises reliability is not sufficient and Boss Style leadership which prioritises status over purpose and loyalty over competence will also fail because although Boss Style leadership can deliver results, it only delivers results by stealing from the future.

If you are intrigued by this topic and would like to participate in a big conversation about it why not come to our conference and join in.

If you are a facilitator and would like to increase your skills in post conventional facilitation take a look at our course –  Post Conventional Facilitation for the Disrupted Age

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

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Posted in authenticity, Business | Leave a comment

Can humans transform when faced with existential threats?

Humans have faced dark times before: Black Death, war, the 1918 flu pandemic, nuclear destruction and probably more.  So far the threats have been small enough and we have survived and learned enough for us to continue to thrive.

This time we have decided to really ramp up the pressure and test ourselves.  We are damaging our climate, destroying plants and animals at an alarming rate and clogging up natural systems with plastics and radiation reducing their ability to self regulate.  At the same time as these combined threats reach a critical point, in many parts of the world we are distracting ourselves from this existential threat with political psychodrama.

Is the political psychodrama a coincidence or is it some sort of coping mechanism to help some of us deal with the existential angst?  There is no doubt that there can be relative comfort in creating a drama to avoid making meaningful changes to our lives.  Maybe the psychodrama is a sort of mass displacement activity?  A sort of mass deck chair rearrangement.

However, there is also a great deal of evidence of our ability to transform ourselves in the face of crisis, both individually and collectively.  Many of our favourite stories and myths revolve around personal or group transformation.  We love the good triumphing over evil narrative.  The Black Death lead to the end of serfdom, the forces of liberalism eventually won over totalitarianism, at least in the west, after WW2 and humans eventually showed the wisdom to de-escalate the Cold War.  None of these recoveries were inevitable.

What seems to make the difference, very often is our choice of leadership.  In times of abundance we can afford to indulge a casual attitude to choosing leadership, such as heredity.  In a crisis we tend to be more intentional, but we can go one of two ways, we can choose leaders who are wise and honest about the challenge or we can choose leaders who let us off the hook by indulging in conspiracy theories and allowing blame to drive the agenda.  It is this choice that very often determines the outcome.

Populism is very specifically about avoiding the reality of the situation and creating a narrative that distracts from the real issues by blaming some other group.

Whenever we indulge the impulse to blame others we lose our ability to solve the problem.

Whenever we ignore the real problem the situation gets worse.

The real problems we are facing today are:

1 – The climate crisis

2 – The ways technology is changing society

3 – The ageing population in the global North

All of these problems require collective effort, where people, organisations and countries come together to agree real solutions and take combined action.

However, much of our airtime now is swamped with narratives about migrants, nationalism and our apparently very poor choice of leaders.

It is vital that we start electing, selecting, promoting and above all listening to leaders who avoid blaming others, appreciate the value of experts, seek to work collaboratively with others and (interestingly) are capable of having healthy relationships.

At Holos, we see our role in this being to use our skills to coach, train and develop leaders and teams to work towards sustained success for everybody.  Our vision is Universal Authentic Leadership – where every leader in politics, business, education and healthcare prioritises purpose over status and seeks to be the very best version of themselves as much of the time as possible, whilst at the same time supporting those around them to be the best version of themselves.

We believe that authentic leadership is a crucial response to the Post-Conventional world, to dealing with the challenges and the existential crisis we have created for ourselves.  It is the only form of leadership that will enable conventional businesses to flourish in the post conventional world and is equally applicable in all other forms of organisation.

We are looking for coaches and facilitators to collaborate with us in this project and we are convening two events to explore and discuss the tools, techniques and approaches we can use.

The first is called Post Conventional Facilitation for the Disrupted Age, it is a course for experienced coaches and facilitators to learn the techniques that we have found to be essential in working with teams and organisations facing the Post Conventional Disruption.  Find out more by following the link above.

The second is the Holos Faculty Conference which is for coaches, facilitators and other change agents and will explore the theme of Post Conventional and Beyond.  Find out more here.

We very much look forward to working with you.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Post Conventional and beyond

Conventional businesses will not survive at scale.

In this case Conventional means businesses that pursue a fundamentally unchanging business model and rely in incremental improvements over time.

The future belongs to Post Conventional businesses.

Post Conventional businesses being those that are able to be both reliable in pursuing a business model and transform to new business models at the same time.

Medium and large Conventional businesses that want to survive must become Post Conventional.

The dizzying rate of change created by the three Megatrends of Digitisation (everything that can be digital, will be), Decarbonisation (everything that can be electric will be) and Ageing (the global north and south are already old. The only young places are around the middle), mean that if all you are doing is managing reliability, you are managing decline.

Two of our clients, for example:

A fuel retailer with hundreds of petrol stations in a part of the world that has committed to banning the sale of combustion vehicles in 10 years time.

A global FMCG manufacturer, who have sold the same product for well over 150 years  whose category sales are declining at 19% per year to a game changing product.

Any organisation that has enjoyed success for a generation with the same business model will have developed a culture, philosophy and capability focussed on reliability and cranking the handle.  Management will be the key skill and leadership will be discouraged.  Because, leadership is fundamentally about change and if you are focussed on reliably cranking the handle, people who insist on change are annoying.

These organisations have extremely limited capability for change, let alone transformation, and have tremendous cultural and structural resistance to it.

So, what can be done?  How can a Conventional organisation become Post Conventional?

The first thing is to be honest around the context.  What are the threats to our business model?  What are our capabilities around change?

The second is to explore the cause (vision, mission and purpose) that can create opportunity for the organisation. (Conventional organisations don’t need a vision, because they are not going anywhere).

The third is to define, create and curate the conditions (culture,  habits and systems) that will enable the cause to be achieved.

The precondition for any of this to actually happen is leadership.  Someone or a number of individuals who have the combination of skill, courage and vulnerability to engage a wider group of people with the idea that things have to change.

In the two cases above it was an individual, relatively new to the business and relatively senior who had the courage to say the unthinkable.  To articulate that the current game is over and it is time for a new one.  In both cases this leader worked with their senior team and with specialists to articulate a vision and a case for change.

In both cases the leadership team chose to transform the existing organisation culture and systems rather than create a new organisation to pursue the vision and run down the old.

The transformation involves the changing of many systems – both in an HR sense, the systems of reward and recognition, reporting lines, structures, recruitment etc and the operational systems, because what the company does is fundamentally changing.

And the culture, typically the culture has to shift from obedience, competition, conformity and deference to creativity, collaboration, autonomy and experimentation.

And yet, at the same time, the existing business model is not done yet.  First it has to be optimised still further in order to continue to generate the cash that can pay for the transformation.

There is a truth about such transformations, which is that, on the whole those who are less than 10 years from retirement are rarely the best suited to leading it.  They have more invested in the old and less incentive to change personally than younger colleagues.  Therefore it is often wise for the longest serving team members to focus on optimising the old and delegate the task of transformation to the next generation.

There is a further truth that such transformations are best led by visionary and authentic style leadership, which is primarily motivated by purpose and is committed to delivering sustained success by supporting a diversity of colleagues to be the very best version of themselves most of the time.

Boss and Ruler style leadership, primarily motivated by their own status finds articulating a cause that is inspiring to all stakeholders very difficult.  The inability to deliver results without stealing from the future and the preference for loyalty over competence makes long term success unlikely.

If you are in a medium to large conventional organisation and facing existential threat, the first step is to find the authentic and visionary leaders who are already there and get to work.

Holos specialises in the enabling the cultural shift from Conventional to Post Conventional.  If you are interested in this area you may also be interested in two events we have coming up.

Post Conventional Facilitation – is a course for those already working as coaches and facilitators to take their practice to the next level and enhance their ability deal with the complex and ambiguous requirements involved in helping clients on their transformation journey.  Contact us for details at info@holoschange.com

Holos Faculty Conference – Post Conventional and Beyond – 22 and 23 January, London.  A gathering of coaches, facilitators and change agents exploring the challenges and opportunities presented by the shift to Post Conventional.  More information here

At Holos our vision is Universal Authentic Leadership.  We specialise in enabling authentic leadership in organisations and even in organisations in crisis.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

Posted in authenticity, Business, innovation, Leadership | Leave a comment

From Boss to Authentic – it’s official

In 1997 the influential US Business Round Table groups of corporate CEOs issued a statement of purpose for corporations:  “The paramount duty of management and of boards of directors is to the corporation’s stockholders. The interests of other stakeholders are relevant as a derivative of the duty to stockholders.”

The perhaps unintended consequences of this statement and the influence of Milton Friedman include many of the socially negative outcomes of capitalism – such as short termism, the externalising of costs onto the environment and communities and the pursuit of narrow self interest.  The style of leadership best suited to this form of capitalism is what we would call “Boss Style” leadership.

Boss style leaders succeed in delivering short term success by stealing from the future and prioritising loyalty over competence in their teams.

The consequences include many corporate disasters, a great deal of environmental damage, health problems and social inequality. (It is worth saying also that corporations have also contributed to huge benefits including technical advances, reductions in global poverty and high living standards for many.)

As a result of these negatives social attitudes to corporations have shifted with increasing numbers of people seeing corporations and capitalism as a bad thing and corporations becoming increasingly sensitive to their social “licence to operate” – especially in relation to the hiring of young and increasingly ethically minded talent.

In August 2019 the Business Round Table, after a years work by the CEOs of IBM, JP Morgan, Johnson & Johnson and others, issued an updated statement of purpose for corporations.  This new statement puts the interests of shareholders into a much wider social and environmental context and reads:

“Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation

Published by the Business Roundtable, Aug. 19, 2019

Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity. We believe the free-market system is the best means of generating good jobs, a strong and sustainable economy, innovation, a healthy environment, and economic opportunity for all.

Businesses play a vital role in the economy by creating jobs, fostering innovation, and providing essential goods and services. Businesses make and sell consumer products; manufacture equipment and vehicles; support the national defense; grow and produce food; provide health care; generate and deliver energy; and offer financial, communications, and other services that underpin economic growth.

While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders. We commit to:

Delivering value to our customers. We will further the tradition of American companies leading the way in meeting or ­exceeding customer expectations.

Investing in our employees. This starts with compensating them fairly and providing important benefits. It also includes supporting them through training and education that help develop new skills for a rapidly changing world. We foster diversity and inclusion, dignity, and respect.

Dealing fairly and ethically with our suppliers. We are dedicated to serving as good partners to the other companies, large and small, that help us meet our missions.

Supporting the communities in which we work. We respect the people in our communities and protect the environment by embracing sustainable practices across our businesses.

Generating long-term value for shareholders. [They] provide the capital that allows companies to invest, grow, and innovate. We are ­committed to trans­parency and effective engagement with shareholders.

Each of our stake­holders is essential. W­e commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities, and our country.

If this is anything like as influential as the Milton Friedman and the previous purpose statement, this is highly significant.  It shifts the corporate mantra from “independent” to “interdependent” and it shifts the leadership philosophy from “Boss” to “Authentic”.

When we operate as Boss style leaders we are primarily motivated by status and the needs of customers, employees, suppliers, communities, shareholders and the environment are only relevant insofar as they can contribute to enhancing that status.

When we operate as Authentic leaders we are primarily motivated by purpose and we are far better placed to successfully balance the needs of a variety of stakeholders and deliver sustained success.

So, in order for corporations to deliver on their new purpose they will have to make specific efforts to enable authentic leadership in their organisations.

There are two important catches in the relationships between authentic and boss style:

1 – Boss style leaders don’t recognise authentic leaders as leaders at all.  So if there is a lot of boss style leadership in your organisation authentic style leaders will struggle for traction.

2 – Very few boss style leaders are authentically boss style leaders.  Most are uncomfortable with it and only operate that way because they don’t know anything else and/or they are triggered by the culture and the stress to operating at that level.

At Holos our vision is Universal Authentic Leadership.  We specialise in enabling authentic leadership in organisations and even in organisations in crisis.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

 

 

Posted in authenticity, Business, Leadership | Leave a comment

European Elections – the simplified version

The principle difference that allowed humans to become the dominant species on our planet is our ability to collaborate at scale. This is closely intertwined with our story telling abilities, something no other animal can do (as far as we know). For the majority of human history this collaboration was applied only to small family based tribes.

As we moved from hunter gathering tribes to farming, a broader collaboration became necessary. Food growing could be delegated to farmers and protection could be handled by soldiers. Tribes merged into cities and new roles and collaborations evolved. Gradually as our communication and storytelling abilities improved the scale on which we were able to collaborate also expanded from tribes, to cities, to city states, to religions, to nations, to unions between nations. In each case greater interdependence ultimately won, creating the society we have today.

However this evolution has always been uneven. There have always been those motivated to greater interdependence and equally, always those motivated to greater independence. Each of these motivations have generated their own stories and their own story tellers who often ended up as leaders inspiring their followers typically to collaborate to work for greater interdependence or to collaborate to fight for greater independence.

Most wars in history can be seen through the lens of either two independent groups fighting each other for control or independent groups fighting the interdependent group that they are part of to get out. Warring city states, religions and nations in the case of the former and independence from empires the latter case.

The tension between those wanting greater independence and those wanting greater interdependence has been a defining feature of human history.

That tension continues today in the tension between nationalists, seeking greater independence, and internationalists, seeking greater interdependence. The difference today is that a by-product of the arms race between these factions, is an existential threat to humanity and many other species; the global climate, air and ocean crisis.

About 40% of the adult population operate from each of independent and interdependent levels, with a further 17% operating at a dependent level. Those at a dependent level avoid taking responsibility or initiative and they like structure and rules. They are extremely vulnerable to authoritarians who are often also narcissistic or psychopathic and tend to come from the 2% who operate from a “self” level, believing that the world exists to serve them.

At an independent level we are very strongly located in our team, tribe, nation or religion. We believe strongly in our exceptionalism and like the stories that support it. We will find it easy to trust those in our tribe and will be suspicious of those outside it. We are competing with outsiders and believe that they never act in good faith. When we are independent we see life as a competition between “us” and “them”, where the winners end up destroying the losers.

At an interdependent level we believe in collaboration, we see others as equals and are ready to enrol them or to be enrolled, whatever boundaries exist are porous and we believe in the benefits of a flow or people and ideas. The default is to trust others, even those different from ourselves to the point of vulnerability. Competition can be a win, win where both parties end up improving. Compromise and collaboration are the default starting point.

The remaining 1% operate at an integral level and take interdependence, trust and vulnerability to the next level seeing it crossing species and encompassing past and future.

The European elections this week and other elections going on around the world turn out to be a contest largely between independent and Interdependent with those at a dependent level making a difference too.

The 17% who are dependent (probably fewer than that in Europe these days) are looking to vote for a “strong man” (usually specifically a man), they want someone who will act as a father figure and save them from having to take responsibility. If there is a strong man available they will vote for him, if not they will probably not vote at all and just nurse their anger that the world is against them. Some might be taken by the independent narrative and vote for that.

The 40% who are independent (probably more than that in Europe) are intoxicated by the simplistic, nationalist solutions of the populists. They love the narrative that the blame for their woes lies with whichever out group the populist leader has selected to blame. Global problems are dismissed or denied, precisely because they cannot be solved at the national level. They do not see or comprehend interdependence at all – seeing interdependent people simply as weak because they allow others to win. They will vote for the nationalist and anti interdependence leaders and parties.

The 40% who are interdependent (probably more than that in Europe ) are horrified that the so many of the people they had sought to enrol and include reject them and their values. They are frighted of global challenges – specifically the climate crisis – and are desperately searching for ways to include everyone in the solutions. They also tend to look down on those at an independent and dependent level and fail to understand why their invitations to collaborate are so firmly rejected. They will vote for the inclusive, integrationist parties and leaders.

This election might well be a turning point which decides whether our society is to be sustained or not. Given the state of the climate crisis and the eleven years that we have to make radical changes to the way that we operate, a rebalancing of Europe towards independence and the likely reduction in progress towards climate solutions, might just turn out to be terminal, not just for Europeans but for much of human society.

By contrast a renewal of our commitment to interdependence and decisive and determined climate action and leadership in Europe, might just save us.

If you have the opportunity to vote for or to encourage others to vote for progressive and interdependent parties in the European elections please do. It might turn out to be important.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

Posted in society | 1 Comment

High performance teams in organisations

In the world of elite professional sport athletes and teams look for every opportunity to improve physical and psychological performance. Not just for the athletes themselves but for management and operations support as well. Top Formula One teams and Pro Cycling teams expect back office staff and management to pay attention to: Sleep rest and recovery, nutrition, hydration, exercise and mindfulness. These teams provide psychological and physiological coaching and training to team members so that everyone can be at their most effective most of the time.

In business by contrast we often expect our most senior executives to be able to perform on a solid diet of long haul flights, disrupted sleep, late nights, alcohol, complexity and stress. Quite apart from exhaustion, low energy, forgetfulness and burnout, one of the daily consequences of this is psychological triggering. The more physiologically and psychologically stressed we are the more vulnerable we are to being triggered. When we are triggered we go from being the best version of ourselves to a lesser version. Usually this means going from being interdependent and collaborative, willing to trust and be vulnerable to Independent, siloed and mistrusting or even dependent, waiting to be told what to do and unable to take the initiative.

Following on from the fascinating work on triggering and emotional regulation we have been doing with some clients, we have been keen to explore ways in which we could measure stress and it’s impact on behaviour through triggering. We were fortunate to connect with https://www.adeki.me who do this work in a sporting context and use sophisticated tools to measure micro changes in heart rate which gives an accurate picture of the bio reaction to psychological (and other) stress. Using this we can get a window into the biology of stress, moment by moment, in a challenging meeting for example and therefore the qualities and demands of the emotional regulation required to stay calm and avoid triggering under such circumstances. The measurements give us a route into deeper mental health and habits that impact psychological fitness such as nutrition, hydration, sleep/rest, mindfulness and exercise. This is deep stuff and will be most suitable for coaching or executive team situations where managing stress, emotional regulation or achieving really high performance are key issues.

Kieran Blay the founder of Adeki Performance….

At Adeki we believe in performance-through-wellness, that your true potential can only be unlocked by first building a solid foundation of wellness. Athletes, executives and everyone in between, are human – made up of the same internal systems – we just shape our lives differently. Everyone deals with stress and has to recover from it. These two elements are managed internally by the autonomic nervous system, which is split into the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches.

The sympathetic branch deals with our ‘fight or flight’ reactions, our stress response, which evolved our as an alarm system when animals or our ancestors were under attack. Triggering this response readies the body to take action and inhibits many internal processes, to channel energy into immediate survival. After the threat passed, they revert to ‘normal’ and recover before the next threat comes along. Essentially, this response helps keep all animals, including humans, alive in order to increase the chances to pass on their genes.

The parasympathetic nervous system mediates our ‘rest and digest’ response. It is the yang to the fight and flight yin. Connected to many of the same organs and processes as the sympathetic nervous system it promotes the opposite effect: recovery, rest, digestion and procreation. We need both systems to function but modern, fast paced lives have a tendency to become sympathetic dominant. We struggle to release and resolve threats from our minds. This shifts balance and prevents us fully recovering before the next threat or stressful situation presents itself. Unfortunately for us our systems do not distinguish between physical and psychological stress and the long term effects of an overload of either can have negative and, in some cases, life-limiting effects.

A good balance between stress and recovery is needed to live optimally and, thankfully, recent advancements in technology now allow us monitor this balance around the clock. Using clever wearable tech and the science of heart rate variability we can add an objective measure to help assess our lifestyle (it’s a long story… but effectively the gaps between each of our heart beats are influenced second-by-second by the balance of our nervous systems and we can now measure this).

At Adeki we take a holistic approach and our lifestyle assessment focuses on stress, recovery, sleep and exercise. Many people say they sleep enough but it is not the hours you spend with your eyes shut that count but how well you have recovered in that time. Our own studies have shown that in athletes, training and competition were often not the biggest factors of fatigue. Travel, work stress, domestic stress, nutrition and sleep were often bigger contributors. All of us can picture one or more of these affecting our daily performance over the years, but do you know which is the biggest influencer or threat to your performance?

If not, it’s time to find out.

Holos and Adeki are looking for individuals or teams in stressful jobs and challenging situations who are interested in maximising their individual and collective performance and in working at both a psychological and physiological level. Participants will need to be interested to review their lifestyles and potentially to make changes to habits in the areas of rest and recovery, nutrition, hydration, exercise and leadership in ways that improve both performance and wellbeing.

If you are leading or part of a team that might be interested in treating your working performance like that of an elite professional sports team, let’s have a chat and explore how we might collaborate.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

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Authentic Leadership, Vulnerability and Procrastination

Holos is a leadership and change consultancy with no employees and no offices.  We have 160 brilliant faculty members around the world and 20 Agents who work closely together to help transform organisational cultures so that they enjoy sustained success even in a disrupted environment. 

One of our Holos Agents is Dr Fiona Beddoes-Jones, a Chartered Occupational Psychologist.  She is the originator of five psychometric tools and the author of four books, all of which have been written to assist people in understand themselves and others and become the best that they can be.  Her doctoral research explored authentic leadership and how to develop it

“Getting stuff done” is a crucial aspect of leadership. Critically when we deploy the skill of leadership the stuff we get done is stuff that we have not done before, because leadership is fundamentally about change.  That change will only happen if followers follow the lead offered and therefore leadership and vulnerability go hand in hand.  When we take a step into the unknown, doing something we have not done before and with an unknown outcome, we don’t know if anyone will follow us,  This uncertainty makes us feel vulnerable and the very natural reaction to that emotion is to step back.  It is only when we lean in to that emotion of vulnerability that we choose leadership.

Understandably in the context of that vulnerability and uncertainty, it can take us a little time to fully step in to that leadership space.  It can take time to evaluate options and also to convince ourselves that we are OK with the vulnerability that will create for us.  Vulnerability – both an emotion and an action. 

We asked Fiona to write a blog post about Authentic Leadership, it turned into a post about the relationship between Authentic Leadership, vulnerability and why Authentic Leaders can end up delivering results more slowly, but more reliably than Boss Style Leaders.

Blog for Holos

This isn’t the blog post I meant to write.  I had meant to write something noble and inspiring, but instead, I kept putting it off, managing to make myself feel worse about letting Neil down as the weeks passed.   Then I came across a TED talk by Adam Grant about procrastination.  Apparently highly original thinkers do five things in particular that other people don’t do, and procrastination tops the list.  So I immediately felt better – obviously I must be one of these original thinkers!   But then I thought about it some more and I started to ponder two things: firstly, what ‘allowable weaknesses’ might authentic leaders have? (Obviously I was hoping that procrastination might be one of them), and secondly, from a different perspective, what would a truly authentic leader do in a situation where they had promised someone something but hadn’t yet been able to deliver?

Before we explore the answers to these two questions let’s consider what Adam Grant has to say about original thinkers.  What he calls procrastination I prefer to call ‘incubation’.  Once we’ve formulated an idea we look at it from every perspective and add to it over time.  Whilst this stops us from shutting ideas down or acting too soon, it does lead to delays which can be frustrating, for both us and others.  Secondly, original thinkers often doubt their ideas.  Paradoxically, rather than paralysing us as self-doubt can do, doubting our ideas gives us the energy to research them further, to test and refine them until we’re certain that they’re robust and can stand up to scrutiny.

The third thing original thinkers do is avoid taking the first option that presents itself, but rather, we look for the best option from all areas of our lives.  For example, if we want some heavy duty rope for the garden to make a wood and rope trellis, we don’t limit our search to the garden centre, we also go and investigate the boat chandlers where they will have other kinds of rope.  Vuja de is the opposite of déjà vu.  Original thinkers somehow seem to have the ability to look at things in ways which allows them to make connections and see things that no-one else has identified before.  I experienced this with Thinking Styles, the first cognitive and behavioural measurement tool I designed, it was the trigger for my doctoral research into authentic leadership and also for Leadership Temperament Types, a new concept which takes a psychobiological approach to considering how the four hormones of testosterone, oestrogen, dopamine and serotonin influence management and leadership style.  Vuja de was also one of the drivers for Neil and his business partner Mark when they conceptualised Holos as a challenger consultancy to support the development of authentic leadership within organisations today. 

Finally, the fifth thing that original thinkers do is practise.  Their creative output is much higher than other peoples’.  At 18 I went to Cordwainer’s College in Hackney, London and studied handbag manufacture and design.  I would always make two bags to everyone else’s one.  I worked more quickly than other people and I liked to use my time in class productively.  Rather than standing around chatting and waiting for a sewing machine to become available I would use the time to design a slightly different bag and cut out the pieces for it fitting in its assembly in otherwise wasted minutes.  So I got twice as much practise compared to the other students, which consolidated my learning and helped me to become quicker, more creative and more confident.  I learnt to trust myself and my abilities; life skills which I’ve been able to transfer to my roles as an organisational development consultant and psychologist.       

So back to our two questions about authentic leaders.  How would an authentic leader handle procrastination and can we consider it an ‘allowable weaknesses’?  I’m going to suggest that it depends on the situation.  Is it procrastination or is it incubation?  Is the output required by someone else so that they can achieve their objectives and if so, is there a deadline and how urgent and important is it?  Is the task something only the leader can do or can it be delegated?  Are they putting it off because they are scared of getting it wrong or of not being good enough, or have other things simply taken priority?  Authentic leaders do their utmost to be their best selves.  They always deliver unless circumstances change and they are unable to.  They are however, only human, and like all of us, sometimes it can take them longer to do something than they might have hoped.  I believe that they are worth the wait.            

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.holoschange.com,

Best

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

 

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