Event Date: 09/02/2015 (2:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT)
SARAH: Hello everyone and welcome to today’s webinar, Mastering the Intangibles of Great Leadership, hosted by HRDQ and presented by Dr. William Seidman and Rick Grbavac. Today’s webinar last around one hour. If you have any questions you can always type them into the questions box. We will be answering these questions as they come in live at the end of the presentation or as a follow-up by email if we do happen to run out of time. My name is Sarah Shafer and I will moderate today’s webinar.
Dr. William Seidman is the CEO of Cerebyte Inc., a company focusing on creating high-performing organizational cultures. He has worked as a manager or consultant with many large and small organizations including Hewlett-Packard, Jack-in-the-Box, Intel, Tektronix, CVS pharmacy and Sears. Rick joined Cerebyte as vice president in 2002. Since that time he has worked in a wide variety of clients including Fortune 100 companies in the retailing, financial, high-tech, construction, manufacturing, and health sectors. Welcome, and thank you for joining us today.
BILL: Thank you very much for having us here. A special thanks to Sarah for all the great work you’ve done at HRDQ, for sponsoring it and welcome to everyone else who is on the call. To build on what Sarah said about questioning, we’re certainly going to pause at the end for questions, but we are going to pause a couple of times during the webinar, so, if some question comes to your mind in process, please log it and a couple of breaks during the webinar will try to answer them going forward. Today we’re going to talk about the work we have done that focuses on the intangibles of leadership. We’re going to talk a little bit about how we discovered those in what the underlying process was because it’s really different from what you see supporting most leadership books and methodologies and we are also then going to talk about the specific seven intangibles that emerge from this process and finally were going to talk about the methodology that we developed so that we had very, very high impact leadership programs where you had many, many people then displaying these intangibles of great leadership.
So, a little background on how we came to this. We actually were founded in a conference room at Intel 17 years ago. And the specific problem that Intel had was they were doing a very large project that was called the Merced and they were struggling a little bit. It was very complex; there were about 650 people working on it and asked us to come in as consultants to examine what was going on with the project. And what we discovered was that they had six guru chip designers who were incredibly overloaded and there were about 640 other people sitting around waiting for the six. And they said to us we’d like you to reverse engineer what makes these six so extraordinary and figure out a methodology for it to get dispersed out to others so we don’t have this bottleneck as we are going forward. And we said okay we are interested in pursuing it. And they then put in an interesting caveat. They said to us Bill, Rick, we like you as people but we actually don’t like consultants. So you can’t do this in standard consulting way. We love methodologies, we love processes, we love software, so we want you to create a robust repeatable methodology ideally grounded in software that allows us to reverse engineer what makes somebody extraordinary and to distribute the content. And so that was the charge they gave us. And as we started to dig into this we found out that there was very little literature on what made somebody truly a star performer and so we kind of had to invent a process for reverse engineering them and that took us 2 ½ years. And then it took much longer to invent a process, another five years we can take that knowledge and distributed to people in a very consistent and robust way.
And it was really the development of MRI-based images learning and PET scans about how people process information that led us to develop a learning methodology where we could launch a learning program for leaders and have this tremendous buy-in and tremendous energy and have this guided practice where people would actually practice the attitudes and behaviors for a number of months until it became a very deeply internalized. And this then proliferated out through multiple roles in organizations from individual contributors who were customer service reps in call centers on phones to middle managers and first-line supervisors to executives, senior managers who are being groomed for executive responsibility, executives being developed for greater strategic responsibility. It was done in many, many reverse roles and across many, many different industries, high-tech, fast food, many types of insurance, healthcare consulting. And so it really started to develop this very diverse kind of and deep foundation for what we started to see these patterns of the intangibles of leadership. And when we talked about it, it was leadership certainly in the formal sense of the org chart for senior managers, but it was also leadership at every level of the organization including highly influential individual contributors and followed the same kind of patterns.
Now, there’s the typical question of human resource and learning folks is it measurable? Does it have an impact and part of my doctoral work at Stanford was in an area that helped me understand how to measure these attitudes and behaviors. And so we were able to apply this and so as we talk about this an important element is number one, it can be measured, and number two, the results are really quite staggeringly phenomenal much more than we had seen previously. Typically in formal and informal certification programs 90 to 95% of the people demonstrate the attitudes and behaviors of the stars. That means they are actually demonstrating these leadership intangibles where we could correlate to business outcome measures. The average return on investment was 20X, not 20%, that’s 20 times. The measured high in a very experimentally kind of pure controlled environment with test groups and multiple control groups, was 39 times. So, we’re talking about very. very substantive measured impacts on the performance of the organization. And so this deep foundation this deep kind of results that we are going to now share with you what we found as going through the program.
RICK: Hi, I’m Rick Grbavac. So, how did we find these intangibles? So, these intangibles came out as a result of actually digging in to the wisdom and knowledge of the top performers in organizations. So the first thing you have to do is identify who these people are. And what we came to after multiple kinds of ways to find performers in organizations, it actually came down to something as simple as this. There is a respect criteria in organizations. There are people that are respected for some or all of their abilities in any given role. And when you ask people who are those people who are most respected for what they do in the organization, they can come up with that list. I mean think about it in your own organization. Who are the people most respected for what they do? And you will come up with a very short list and I think if you ask around other people will come up with that same list. And we have tested that doing other kinds of statistical analysis on performance, etc. And it usually comes down to this kind of a list of people that have this secret sauce, so to speak. So, first thing is discover the star performers and then you need to discover their wisdom. It’s more than just their knowledge. If it was just their knowledge, then we could all just make a nice checklist of all the things that they need to do and hand it to everybody and say, here do this list and you will be great. But, it’s more than that. It really taps into their passion for their higher purpose for what they do. And it’s in that passion that people actually do different things. In the discovery methodology that we use, we actually role-play in that methodology a person in that position but lacking the things in order to be great. So we actually talk about what does it take to be great in the role. We capture the higher purpose, we capture the operational excellence, and the combination of those two things actually comes together and when we organize that content in a way that people actually think and can absorb in three days we can capture all of their expertise and passion for what they do.
And, this is the discovery process and it takes more than a couple of minutes to talk about it, but, in any given leadership role in any industry, any country we have ever done this in, we end up capturing that wisdom of that star group, star performers. And they seem to organize their thoughts and ideas in a certain way. And it’s all very consistent. And, because of that, we come up with this secret sauce of the star performers. And so what that allowed us to do is it allowed us to observe some qualities, some of these intangibles of the people across 17 years of doing this. So across 17 years of talking to top performers, we see a couple of things that they all do. They all have this kind of quality. They own their own learning, meaning they take responsibility for it and they also use reflection. And I know that in the literature out there there is a lot of talk about reflective learning. But we’re going to talk to each of these things separately
So, the two tangibles that we observed, the first one, star leaders own their own learning. They are very proactive and inquisitive. They take responsibility for learning things and sharing it with others. It’s funny, but they integrate this idea of learning with the process of leading people. That’s an interesting concept when you think about it. They don’t wait for somebody else to tell them what they need to know. And we have run across numerous people in leadership roles that are waiting around for other people to tell them what to do. And I know in a learning organization, HR organizations, a lot of times you are in fact telling people what they need to know. Well, great leaders don’t wait. Great leaders step out of the box and go out and find out what they need to know. And the other part is they keep learning as part of this. Now think about your own organization. What would happen if everyone in the organization took responsibility for learning a little bit each day and then sharing it with others. What kind of organization would you have? That’s what we see in star leaders. So, that’s number one. They own their own learning.
Number two is that they use reflection. Now, they not only gain power from this, but I think more importantly they gain confidence. This is actually a little different than mindfulness and I think if you have all been reading a lot of stuff about mindfulness lately on blogs and journal articles and stuff, this is very different. This is actually thinking about is reflecting on what they did during the day, what they learned during the day, and, what we have found is that it’s very powerful when people write stuff down. So if they spend just five minutes a day writing down what happened during the day, what they learned, how they might improve things, five minutes a day, research shows they gain an hour’s worth of productivity. So, it’s a formal allocation of time to reflect. And these great leaders they focus on what they are learning. I think in any training kind of program if you ever had a really successful one where people really took time and at the end of that process and reflected on what they just learned and how they were going to apply it and, boy, when you get people to start doing that and start reflecting on it that’s when reflection really becomes a powerful tool for any leader.
So those are the two, it’s really the foundation for all of these aspects of leadership. Taking responsibility for learning things and then reflecting on how it can improve things in their work life. Those are the two things we observed. Now Bill is going to talk about the five other intangibles that the great leaders told us about and, so, Bill, why don’t you carry on with that?
BILL: This is one of the places where we are going to pause for questions so if you have questions now is the time to log them in. There is a question in here that came in are there other intangibles? And the answer is yes we’re going to be doing five more. I want to emphasize a couple of things about this before we move on. First of all, the next set of intangibles we’re going to talk about are actually things that people described to us. They had basically described their own sense of greatness in the discovery process. These two are things that we observed and they were kind of unconsciously competent. This is how they were behaving and they got to the more articulated information because they did own their learning because they were very reflective and thoughtful about their process. And one of the questions that we often get in this moment is can you teach people these things? And we are going to get a little bit into how we teach it later on, but the answer is absolutely. One of the bigger things that we get engaged with is people are so educated to be passive in their learning, to sit at the back of the class and look at PowerPoint slides and decide whether they want to pay attention to it. And they are so pressured by daily pressures to not be reflective and things like that that we have to consciously set out to teach people these capabilities. But once they do own their learning, once they really start to think in terms of this notion of reflection, literally the essence of working smarter rather than just harder, they don’t go back and they just have this burst of neurochemicals, they have this burst of energy, and it’s really quite powerful. We kind of call it, as Rick said before, it is a fusion of learning and leading. In order to be a great leader you’ve got to be a great learner. And, so, that is part of what we focus in on.
So, going beyond what we’ve observed we ran discovery sessions for probably over the years thousands of people who are designated as star performers in their roles. And star performers isn’t just metrics. It is that they achieve business outcomes in a way that is consistent with the best values of the company. So this isn’t star in the celebrity sense, this is star in the deeply grounded sort of intrinsic quality sense. And, as we asked them to coach us, they followed this very, very consistent pattern. They said focus here, focus here, focus there. So, ultimately what comes out is they were passionately committed to a greater purpose. They’re all about creating a greater social good. If you are familiar with Dan Pink’s work on motivation and drive, this is his notion of purpose and the primary motivator. And these people displayed it. And, as an example, we worked for instance with a pharmacy chain where the top performing pharmacy managers thought of themselves, and this is their words, as a critical part of the family emergency response system. So they were all about helping families in distress. Everybody else was about doing 120 prescriptions a day, so, everybody else was very transactional, very narrowly focused. The star performers are very broadly focused on the intangibles of having this greater purpose that they are trying to achieve. And now here is an interesting and important part for human resource organizations is that those people who were much more transformational in their thinking, the stars, far outperformed the more transactional people on the transactional metrics. So, it’s almost counterintuitive that you would go ahead and focus on the larger picture, focus on creating transformation, but the result of that was actually being better than the narrowly focused and meeting the metrics. So, the driving force of this was the sense of passion and commitment to purpose.
The next thing they did is they built consensus around the purpose. They were very conscious that they were operating in a highly connected world and that it was it together we are better mentality where they would very consciously and very systematically worked to engage others in participation in the purpose. And we will get a little bit into this later on, but one of the things that were actually doing by engaging people in this purpose is creating certain types of neural engagement, where they actually would cause what’s called the dopamine squirt, because people saw themselves as contributing to this greater good. And, in this greater good it turns out they started to become very reflective and start to display some of these other behaviors. So, they built this broad consensus around the purpose. And, by the way, it was built in the messy real-world. And what I mean by that is people have different agendas, people had budget constraints, people were under incredible time pressure, and yet they very much focused on getting everybody aligned so people were very successful and effective in that way.
The next thing they did is a step that is odd in that it sort of has two flavors to it. They really focused on how to get ready to execute. We found the less effective leaders would often jump to execution. That they would do a ready, fire, aim and they would just plunge into stuff and they really weren’t prepared to execute, they didn’t have the infrastructure of purpose driven behaviors. We also had some people who would kind of skip a step and just say oh we are all aligned on purpose, let’s just go do stuff. And, what you found is the star performers doing is they took the time to plan. They took the time to be thoughtful. They would calibrate their planning to the nature of the direction they wanted to go in to the nature of their purpose so sometimes they would do very thorough planning, sometimes they would do back of the napkin planning, but there was no question that did a very conscious purpose process in preparing people to be thoughtful about execution and preparing the skills, the alignment, all that stuff to thoroughly execute what they were planning to do.
And, by the way, they did these in sequence every time they went through the cycle of basically driving a new set of initiatives and a new set of energy through the organization. So start with passion, build consensus and prepare to execute. Then, interestingly enough they would almost decouple from the more immediate tangible events and they would look at it at a change in performance and improvement from a cultural perspective. They would say how do we actually build the deeper value that is change resilient. Resilience was one of the big things they talked about a lot both for themselves personally and for their organization. How do we get everybody seeing change as opportunity rather than as a burden? How do we build a highly collaborative environment even though we are highly organized by silos? And they started to look at these deeper elements of the world around them and very consciously set out to create an environment where people felt empowered, where there is a sense of prosperity, where they were aligned with the purpose and, were thinking in a much more strategic more broad terms than the purely well what do we actually get done today?
But, then, they actually did bring it to the let’s bring it all together, let’s get it done today. And they started to think and act in what we came to call a flow state. Some of you may know the work of this psychologist whose name is absolutely unpronounceable, it’s a Czech name that’s like 35 characters long, but basically he’s done a lot of work on the notion of flow. In athletics it’s called being in the zone. And what we saw happening was, these star leaders would do this kind of background work, first four steps and created such a rich context to them that they were unconsciously confident in the way they led their organization and through that unconscious competence it was just fluid, it was just easy. And they in their organizations would say things like oh, this is just so easy, we’re just making it happen. And they had this just incredible release of energy and they felt great. And coming out of that they would then start the cycle again with some new level of capability. So these were the actual observed behaviors and impacts that we saw from the stars to become just these astounding leaders. And, when we actually then tried to research does this exist in the literature in general, they were bits and pieces of it, there is a book on execution that’s pretty good; there is a lot of stuff on culture. There is stuff on the flow state. But this was the only place we found and it was actually their description of what constituted what was just be extraordinary as leaders whether it was leadership as an individual contributor in a technical role or leadership as the CEO on the org chart. So these were the intangibles. So I’m going to pause here, Rick you got some questions?
RICK: Yes, before we get into each one of these things, Stephanie sends a question. So, what you do when you don’t know what you don’t know as a new leader?
BILL: This is great, so, one of the things that we find happening with leaders is because they follow this process they are very comfortable with themselves and confident of themselves and they see this as important for what they came to call the messy real-world. The messy real-world doesn’t have certainty. It doesn’t have complete information, it has conflict. It has all these things. Now, it turned out that the foundation for this confidence was owning your own learning and reflection. So they would just assume that they didn’t know everything. Interestingly enough, by the way, these folks were incredibly humble. This is not the egotism of sort of celebrity stars. This is people saying hey I don’t know what I now, but I’m confident that I can learn it, I am confident that if we built a transformative culture everybody can learn it. I’m confident that if we have a compelling collective purpose will do the things necessary to build mastery to be successful. And, so, interestingly enough, the star leaders really do start from the perspective of they don’t know much at all. And they are very humble about it and they say, so, what are the processes we need to go through for individually and collectively to know more? And so, the fact that they don’t know anything actually can turn into an opportunity and strength. It’s always based on the messy real-world. Rick, do you want to add anything to that?
RICK: No, I just really like those comments, get a coach, get a mentor, read, network.
BILL: We are going to go beyond that, though, because we’re going to say hey, look, there are all sorts of problems with mentoring there are all sorts of problems with traditional views of coaching, reading, we are going to put this into a more structured process that says, hey look, you can actually follow what we did and kind of reverse engineer the star pattern and you can create very, very proactive programs where you could lead people into all of these things really rather rapidly. I mean a typical program we run runs 4 to 5 months and at the end of it everybody is displaying all seven of these intangibles, the two that we observe plus the five that they articulate.
So, it’s far more structured, proactive, and it’s also by the way scientific. It’s really based on deep science that has come out of the MRIs and PET scans about how our brains actually process these intangibles including things like uncertainty and purpose driven-behaviors and so forth. We are going to go even beyond that, leverage those things but do more.
So, the first one is passionate purpose, and I mentioned that this is about creating a greater social good. And that greater social good can be for your immediate teammates, for your organization, for your company, for society, it can be defined in lots of different ways. But it is always about making the other more successful. It is that in a sense it is very humble, it is very giving, and it is just a tremendously powerful feeling when you are in that space. But, it must be authentic. And this is also where it ties into the notion of reflection. People sense in an instant whether you are authentic or you’re just going through the motions. And the way you get to be authentic is you do the self-awareness, you do the reflection that enables you to think, hey, this is something that is just incredibly important to me personally, incredibly important to the organization, and you create this sense of greater good. So you start to see how the observed behaviors and the specific definition of purpose come together. And you have the correct mental model of self and business. Literally you think about the business correctly, you think about the environment correctly, and an element of this is you start to write all this down. Because the act of writing forces you to be much more specific and much more complete in how you do it. And you develop confidence then about your ability to make judgments. Let’s go back to that question about uncertainty and not knowing what you don’t know. Because you have done reflection, because you have thought about am I thinking about this correctly, do I have the right model of myself, right model of what our business is people develop the confidence for making good business judgment. But there is a homework element. You do have to study for instance, your market. You have to study your strategy. You have to study your colleagues. You have to study your competition. You have to look at disruptive trends in the market. For instance, we are working in healthcare a lot right now and the disruption in the market is astounding. We work in technology. Disruption is astounding. Most of that disruption is coming from unexpected alternative sources, and so you have to be looking at the world of the messiness of this uncertainty and doing your homework about it and synthesizing all this into here’s the greater good we’re going to try to create.
So, the first part is purpose. But once you have purpose, you then have to have something meaningful to talk to people about. And so you consciously and systematically start to build a mutually beneficial network. And when I say mutually beneficial I mean that people perceive that you are adding value to their lives and in turn they are adding value to your life in what you are doing. And one of the exercises for instance is stars actually sit and they say well, how do I add value to the network? What are the things I could contribute to others? How can I make their lives better? And they designate basically hubs in networks that they are going to proactively and consciously contact. And they then have discussions and there’s an interesting balancing act here between when is somebody in the role a driver of a purpose versus when is somebody a listener and responsive? And the star leaders and their intangibles know way to be proactive and pushy and when to be responsive and supportive. And through these processes in managing these things, they start to build this collective strength. It is literally everybody pulling on the rope in the same direction.
And from this you get this profound sense of alignment where hidden agendas drop away, resource conflicts are minimized, you just have this sense of sort of collective wellness that drives people forward. So we now have two things and you can see how they start to build on. Purpose drives your ability to interact with and build alignment and consensus for your network. And that then creates the resource allocation, the commitment that is necessary. So then, it’s a fairly small step for these folks to move into okay, how do we make this meaningful? How do we actually prepare ourselves to execute in a way? And there are some well-known basics. There is getting the right amount of planning. There is managing the resource allocation, which is almost always where you get into the big rub where people say, hey, we are all for your purpose, we really supported, we are aligned. And you say to them, okay, I need three full-time equivalents to work on these from your organization. And they say, well, I didn’t actually think you meant give me resources. And so part of what they do is the messy real world comes into play and they actually get to the point where they have allocated focused resources that are aligned on trying to do the work required to create the greater purpose. So this one is very much more tangible and pragmatic. The people who are very much analytics in their sort of learning style tend to like to jump to this step and jump the first one, jumped the first couple of steps. Those who are very emotionally driven and sort of broadly strategic, they don’t like this step in general, but the real star performers do this all and again you can teach it all going forward.
The fourth step is getting into the culture and the thing that really is important here is they recognize that this deeper notion of culture which is you know is a very abstract notion, really does drive performance. And you know they’re really all sorts of literature about that. When we actually talked to most managers they don’t they say what are you talking about here? And what it means is that they think about what are our values? What are our motivations? How are we aligned? How are we working? How do we make this a great place to work? And they proactively set out to change themselves, One of the key things that we see is part of the self-directed learning is they model the cultural transformation. One of the questions that Rick loves to ask folks is he says to people, how are you going to lead differently in order to lead change? And most of the time they give him this look of what he talking about? The star leaders recognize that change performance improvement, great leadership starts with themselves as the role model and they function and act that way. So they model these transformational behaviors, they think culture, they think depth, and they really work to share not just a collective purpose but to build a collective sense on how it’s going to be accomplished, and they really do focus in on how are we going to get this done and get everybody to think about how we are going to get this done. So this is now, oddly enough, coming back to some of the earlier things that are less tangible but, between preparing for execution and preparing sort of this deep ability to execute through culture they moved to a whole different level.
And finally, all this comes together in a state of flow. And here is the definition of what flow is, many of you have probably experienced flow in different ways and what it does is it has this deep sense of rhythm, this just profound confidence, in the face of uncertainty, this ongoing self awareness, and it’s just based on doing the personal development work, doing the personal homework that puts you in a state of flow, put your organization in the state of flow and then you just see this massive improvement in the productivity and effectiveness of the organization. So again I’ve never seen this particularly described in terms of how you got to this but this has tremendous amount of power to it. Rick, I see we have many more questions. You want to answer a few questions here?
RICK: Here’s one for Randy, and he was asking about identifying these top performers. It’s kind of an interesting idea, by whose standards, what are the leading characteristics of these top performers in an organization and why are they respected? That’s a good question.
BILL: So, respect is always within a cultural context. And it doesn’t particularly jump boundaries in organizations so it’s within that context. And so we say to people like the senior management team who are the people your most respect for a particular function? But let’s say you have, to go back to the very first question, you have tremendous uncertainty. You are entering into a market where there’s tremendous amount of disruption in the market. The notion of respect then goes to the criteria of who are the people we most respect for their ability to accommodate disruptive change? Or who are the people we most respect for their insights into the disruption in the market? And so you then look at it in the context of where you want your organization to go. And, we thought there would be a certain bias toward people picking their friends, but it turned out that these highly respected people are almost universally respected. They are respected by their peers, they are respected by people who report to them, they are almost mythological in the way they are seen because again it isn’t just driving the metrics, it’s that they exemplify the best in people and the best in organization. And, you just don’t find that people who are nasty or curmudgeons, they just aren’t respected, so they just never get nominated.
RICK: The other thing that comes to mind is it’s rare that anyone has, any one person has all of the qualities that you’re looking for. So what you try to get when you pull together a group to this wisdom discovery is you want people who exemplify some or many of the qualities that you are looking for and then the process of having them talk about their greatness, they come to consensus on what the best-known way to be great is. And what we find is that every wisdom discovery we have ever done is that the people in the wisdom discovery increase their own abilities by 10 or 20% because it either reawakened things that they had forgotten about or it actually sparked them to think about new ways to be great.
SOUND GOES OUT
BILL: … Some of these intangibles it seems to be built on the notion that extraversion, what about introverts? And we are very concerned about that when we first got into it. And we found out that that actually wasn’t an important variable. To a degree to which somebody was an extrovert or an introvert was more about an information processing style where people would either take information in and kind of process it internally and then speak versus somebody you kind of thought out loud. So we find that in the reflection stage people would sometimes reflect internally, sometimes they would reflect externally, but, when it came to for instance building a sense of purpose no difference from where came to building a network, no difference.
The fact that somebody was an introvert meant that they would go into the sessions typically more highly processed than the extrovert. And that was fine. It produced the same results so this is actually something we tested for and we were very concerned about but it turned out to be an absolute non-issue. This is independent of those characteristics. And let me in fact say, too, for those of you who might be multinationals, it is independent of culture, it is independent of language. This type of stuff has come from Japan, although the notion of self respect in Japan, I mean reflection took an interesting wrinkle where they said their recommendation was that every senior manager spend a day in a Buddhist temple meditating. We didn’t see that translated very clearly into the US culture, but, so you start to see that it is actually about the best in us as humans, as leaders, the neuroscience supports it this kind of mindfulness comes into play, other research supports it and we have done this in many different countries with many different operating languages and we get the same patterns.
Rick let’s finish up the discussion about how do you convert this into program into developing people and then we will try to answer a few more questions.
RICK: So the question is do you really want many great leaders in the organization? Many organizations focus on hi-pos, if you have read some of our articles that are out there about hi-pos and we tend to think that the organization is better if you have more great leaders at every level of the organization and that’s from individual contributors all the way to the top. The science now creates this opportunity so that we can actually get these kinds of intangibles into many, many people in the organization at all different levels. It’s going to be a better organization as a result. So, the idea of focusing your attentions on a select few to become the leaders of an organization is very limiting. And, those great leaders will always come to the top of a larger pool, but let’s take the larger pool and move them into having great leadership qualities. So to do that, to create this deep bench, if you start with the stars’ wisdom and you can combine it with the latest in how people think and learn. To get them to open up the door so they aren’t rejecting. I know one of the questions talked about telling people stuff. Well, this isn’t about telling people stuff, this is about engaging people so that they want to learn what the top people are doing. And, you need a learning platform to kind of hold this together so that people have a place to reflect and you can see their reflection. The social learning process, this is where you are opening up the door with things like fair process, again, this is another whole discussion at another time, but, it’s a group learning. These are things that we have kind of tapped into. Motivation science, practical application of learning, being reflective learners, and the ability to scale this, you can create the practical guided, we actually call it a practicum approach. And when you do this, when you put these four kinds of things together, you can actually get a very sustained and predictable change in your organization that sticks. It’s not a two-day seminar, it requires time and practice. It’s a drip methodology versus a fire hose’s methodology and you guys know what I’m talking about. The drip methodology allows people to actually become great. So Bill is always kidding me about my rant about competent versus greatness. Do you want people that are competent or do you want people working to be great? I personally, I want people working for me that want to be great leaders. You can change the conversation. You can change the language by focusing on greatness. All organizations today, you can’t afford to be average. We need people working to be great. And that’s what we are facing conditions today that require great leadership. So, the focus on these intangibles are things that are going to make the difference between someone who is just average as a leader and someone who is truly great. And that’s where we are heading. So, with that, Bill?
BILL: So, again, almost all organizations are facing conditions that truly require great leadership right now. And, what you have in front of you is an opportunity to build these intangibles to get it so that you just have these awesome organizations going forward. And now I’m going to turn it back over to Sarah, and Sarah you had some other questions you wanted to ask or to summarize it here.
SARAH: All right, perfect, yes, thank you so much. We do have some time for more of those questions so attendees go ahead and submit those to us now, and while we wait for a little bit for those questions to come in let me share a little bit about how to keep in touch. Bill and Rick’s contact information is on that slide right there, so, go ahead and connect with them after the session. And, as always, you can connect with us, HRDQU, through our regular social media channels and also register for our weekly webinar Wednesdays go to hrdqu.com.
And we do have a number of questions coming in so, I’m going to go ahead and get started. Our first one is coming from Dave: What makes this different from other leadership models?
BILL: I think they are a couple of things that make it different. First of all this is mostly how the star leaders describe themselves. So, instead of it being really an external consultant looking at things academic, theoreticians saying it should be this way, this really derives from them. And while certainly bits and pieces of the whole thing are reflected in the general literature we’ve never seen anyplace that pulled it all together in the way these folks do and pull it together in the perspective of that very first question about the uncertainty in the conditions and how you build things. And when you listen to them there is this kind of gritty reality to it that is just very, very different from what we see in any other place. And, I think the other part about it is when we go in and talk to a lot of folks, one of the things we actually find is a very broad-based disillusionment with leadership programs. Most of them will give you okay, and smile sheets, but there is really relatively little sense that they have impact and when people are then actually consciously focusing on these intangibles and doing the learning program in a way that is based on this new neuroscience of learning in the social learning processes and so on, it is actually a visible observable phenomenon that people change their attitudes and behaviors and that the culture itself becomes highly and visibly energized. So I would say it’s two things: One is, three things, it derives from the stars themselves not from somebody external. Two is it’s much more holistic in that all these things play together. And three is it actually produce substantive measurable change in the environment that other programs we just haven’t seen any other programs similar to this.
SARAH: All right, great, thank you. Our next question is coming from Michelle: Was there any form of reflection that was used more than any other form?
BILL: Actually, I never really thought about the question that way. But I think the, first of all let’s take a step back and think about what we mean by reflection. Reflection is really simply taking time out to be thoughtful. I think the question is that it isn’t used more. People tended to just take time out. There’s a lot of verbalization, a lot of inner talking and interaction as reflection. But our perception is that one that was probably used more, it was less impactful than literally taking time to think, literally putting a time in your schedule to be thoughtful, and also in particular writing down your thoughts. I mean we know again from the neuroscience that the act of writing is much more demanding on the brain than talking. And that it suppresses with the portions of the brain associated with fear and resistance to change and stimulates portions of the brain associated with sense of empowerment. So, I would say that, and I’m talking a little bit off the top of my head here, and Rick, you can jump in on this, that verbalization is used most commonly, but is one of the weakest forms. Secondly pure timeout is used to think, and third the most powerful one is really writing down your thoughts as you are doing it in some form of journal.
RICK: Yeah, and our approach actually trains people to be reflective. Because we give them a stimulus, an activity, they go do that activity then they are forced to sit back and think about what did I learn in doing this activity and how can I apply it? And then they journal it. They write it down. So they get in the habit of seeing something, talking about it, discussing what they learned with others, writing it down. They actually get in the habit of being that kind of reflective. It’s a little more proactive reflection than it is when you just think about somebody sitting at a desk with their eyes gazing upward. It’s not that, it’s much more active in its approach, I think.
BILL: We joked with people all the time, we will go into places and we will say hey can anybody actually work harder? Is your physical capability working harder. And everybody said no we are working at the limits of what we can do. So, your only alternative is to work smarter, right? And they say yeah, yeah, but here is the paradox: In order to work smarter you have to actually stop working harder for a little bit to be thoughtful to reflect. So, the first element of working smarter is a discipline of working smarter that says I’m going to defer other things in the interest of working smarter. People said oh that is really kind of convoluted stuff, but they kind of get the idea that in order to be reflective you have to carve out time to be reflective. And, as we can get into it a little bit more, but what you think about matters to focus in on what that I learned and how can I share what I’ve learned to focus in on what is my purpose and how can I get better at my purpose. The general view of mindfulness is just take time out from the pressures and we don’t really agree with that. We think that the stars were much more directed and proactive as they applied reflection.
SARAH: All right, perfect, thank you. We probably just have time for one more question and that one is coming from Allison: how did you measure the impact?
BILL: So, my doctoral dissertation at Stanford was a study of how management training influenced the attitudes cognitive patterns and behavioral patterns of various people in different management roles. And, in order to do that, I had to actually craft an instrument that would measure down to the single word or single acts in a statistically valid and reliable way attitudes and behaviors. And, what we were able to do is to first of all take the description from the stars and use that instrument to actually measure whether other people were in fact behaving that way. And that became the basis for either formal observational guides where third parties would observe people or less formal, let’s say 360 surveys where there were sort of round feedback on things where you could actually quantitatively assess, and again in a statistically and legally reliable and valid way whether people were demonstrating those attitudes and behaviors. In addition in environments where you can actually get a decent outcome measure, which is hard, not many environments where we are really talking about leadership have good measures, but in places like sales environment and customer service environments and call centers, you could. But we were able to run formal correlations of people progressing through the intangibles and basically building their skills against performance on the outcome measures. So this is pretty thoroughly documented both in terms of the demonstration and capability and where possible in terms of outcome measures.
SARAH: All right, great, those were some great questions. And, we are out of time, but I know there are a few questions that we did not get to. So, I’m going to go ahead and craft that email and send it over to Bill and Rick and they will be more than happy to answer those. And then we will send those out probably about mid next week so, Bill and Rick would you just like to add any final thoughts before I go ahead and wrap of the session for today?
RICK: I’m just pleased to be with you today. I hope you got something out of this presentation and I would love to help anyone who needs help in this area.
BILL: And I would just conclude that if you think about the intangibles around you, your own intangibles and what you can do to develop them, you’ll find that this will give you just a personal opportunity to improve your life, to improve the lives of those around you and I just strongly encourage you to seize it and if you want to chat about that we are here anytime. So, have a great day everybody.
SARAH: All right, great, thank you so much guys. And, again, we will we will receive those email responses probably mid next week so, we appreciate your time and we hope you found today’s webinar informative. Thank you.
Great leaders focus more on developing the intangibles of leadership than on the tangible attributes found in most lists of competencies or in most leadership books.
This hour-long webinar presents the results of thousands of top performing leaders articulating their best practices for what makes someone a transformational leader. These best practices focus primarily on factors like self-directed learning, systematic individual and group reflection, influencing others, confidence, personal authenticity, building trust, living with passion and commitment. Top performers have the ability to utilize these intangibles under the pressures of limited resources, time pressures and considerable uncertainty.
Join experts William Seidman and Richard Grbavac as they present practical, proven methodologies based on the newest neuroscience of learning that have successfully developed these leadership intangibles in thousands of leadership candidates. As a result of this webinar, the participant will know both the intangibles of greatness in a leader and excellent methodologies for developing their own leadership capabilities and the leadership of their organization.
Participants Will Learn
- Understand the importance of the intangibles of great leadership
- Be able to define the intangibles of great leadership
- Understand advances in the neuroscience of learning and how they apply to developing great leaders
- Be able to apply a methodology for developing their own and other’s leadership intangibles
- Be able to access resources to further the development of their organization’s leadership intangibles
Who Should Attend
- Human Resources Professionals
- Organizational Development Professionals
Dr. William Seidman
Dr. William Seidman is the CEO of Cerebyte, Inc., a company focusing on creating high performing organizational cultures. He has worked as a manager or consultant with many large and small organizations including Hewlett-Packard, Jack in the Box, Intel, Tektronix, CVS Pharmacies, and Sears. As a recognized thought leader and expert on leadership in high-performing organizations, he contributes an in-depth understanding of the processes required to discover and use expert wisdom to create extraordinary organizational performance. He is co-founder and chief executive officer of Cerebyte, Inc., co-author (with Rick Grbavac) of award winning, The Star Factor. Dr. Seidman earned his doctorate at Stanford University.
Rick Grbavac joined Cerebyte as Vice President in 2002. Since that time, he has worked with a wide variety of clients including Fortune 100 companies in the retailing, financial, high-tech, construction, manufacturing and health sectors. Grbavac has more than 25 years of experience in sales, marketing and organizational development, and he was involved in managing sales groups and re-engineering corporate structure and culture at industry-leading organizations such as Jantzen and VF Corporation. He holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BS in Business Administration from the University of Oregon.