Inclusive Leadership Starts With You

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“If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time in leading yourself.”

This quote from Dee Hock, the founder and former CEO of Visa International, is a constant reminder to me that the ability to influence others hinges on what you see when you look at yourself—specifically, at the way you think.

There’s a lot of mystique around what makes leaders tick, but one thing is clear: truly effective leaders are ambidextrous in their thinking. In the early stages of solving problems or making decisions, they consider all of the available options. For them, it's not an “either option A or option B” world. It's “option A and option B.”

In other words, in Whole Brain® Thinking terms, most CEOs are multi-dominant in their thinking preferences. They have a natural mental agility that allows them to move through several different modes of thinking. During a single conversation, they might analyze the causes of a problem (A-quadrant thinking) and offer a creative solution (D quadrant) that enhances the customer experience (C quadrant). In addition, they might translate that solution into a project plan with a detailed list of next steps (B quadrant).

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5 Employee Engagement Questions Every Leader Should Be Asking

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A few months ago, Josh Bersin proclaimed that, after all the years of corporate handwringing over the war for talent, the battle is finally over. But before you exhale and move on to the next issue, it should also be noted that he declared talent the winner. 

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The Myth of the Most Effective Leadership Styles

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People always want to know what the most effective leadership style is. If you’re responsible for leadership development, you’ve probably heard or pondered the question. If you’re focused on growing your own skills and career, you’ve likely thought about whether your style fits the model of successful leadership.

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How to Help Leaders Help Others Grow

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I was excited to read about my friend and colleague Bill Treasurer’s upcoming webinar for NetSpeed Learning’s 2015 Thought Leader Webinar Series, Open Door Leadership: A Radically Simple Way to Lift People, Profits and Performance. Bill’s session will focus on how leaders can “create meaningful opportunities for challenge and growth.”

Of course, you don't have to look far in this environment to find a challenge. There’s a reason VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) has become the acronym du jour for describing today’s business world. But too often I’ve seen high potential programs and similar initiatives designed to help people stretch beyond their comfort zones so they can further their growth and careers actually backfire because the people involved weren’t set up for success.

The point is to get them to stretch, not to snap!

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How to Handle the Leadership Challenges of a Changing World

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How do I become a better leader in a changing world?

It’s a question that’s been on the minds of so many I’ve talked with recently. It was also the question that lingered in my mind this past year as I was deep in the process of putting together the second edition of The Whole Brain Business Book.

The response we hear so often is, Be more agile. Build your agility. But how? And what does that even mean?

Well, for one, I believe it means unleashing your full brainpower. The only way you can keep up with change and lead through the chaos and uncertainty and distractions and complexities and big data and on and on and on…is to get more conscious about your thinking and how you apply it.

Unleashing your full thinking potential can be uncomfortable, though, whether you’re a highly structured thinker who needs to experiment and take more risks, or a highly imaginative person who needs the discipline and organization to be more productive with your time.

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On-Demand Webinar: Developing Leadership Agility for an “All of the Above World”

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What’s your biggest leadership challenge?

Engaging employees?

Preparing emerging leaders to step up?

Building high-performance teams?

Developing a leadership mindset across the organization?

If you’re like most training leaders today, the answer is “all of the above.” The good news is, you and your leaders already have the best tool for navigating an “all of the above” world—the brain.

Even better news: Kevin Sensenig’s webinar for Training Magazine has the practical

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A Leader Learning Gap? Digging into our CEO Data

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Updating The Whole Brain Business Book has been a fascinating experience. One of the most interesting aspects has been looking at what our HBDI® data tells us today about how business people think, and in particular, how the C-Suite thinks.

As we saw when the research was conducted nearly 20 years ago for the original book, CEOs are a unique breed. What’s consistently true is that no matter what changes are occurring in the world—whether it’s the economy, demographics, market trends, technological advances and new regulations, or disruptions, catastrophic events and other factors—the data reveals that CEOs are different when it comes to thinking preferences. On average they tend to have strong preferences across all four quadrants of the Whole Brain® Model (analytical, structured, interpersonal and strategic)—more so than any other occupational group.

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4 Steps to Developing the Thinking Agility of Today’s and Tomorrow’s Leaders

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We have to be faster. We have to be more flexible. We have to constantly balance the long term and the short term, and quickly rearrange what we’re doing and how we’re structured to deal with today’s and tomorrow’s big challenges.

The question is:

How will you adapt?

Find out how thinking agility—the ability to consciously shift your thinking when the situation requires it—can provide the antidote to an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.

Whether you’re responsible for developing leaders, are a leader or aspire to be one, Ann Herrmann-Nehdi’s recent webcast for HR.com, 4 Steps to Developing the Thinking Agility of Today’s and Tomorrow’s Leaders, will give you strategies and actions you can immediately put into practice to claim the thinking space necessary to adapt and be more agile every day.

Here’s what one participant had to say about the webinar:

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Are Your Leadership Development Efforts Paying Off?

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$14 billion is a high price to pay when there’s very little to show for it in return, but that’s exactly what’s happening with many organizations’ leadership development programs, according to a new McKinsey article.

How can it be that so many companies are claiming leadership development is their number one concern and priority—and they’re investing literally billions of dollars a year into improving the capabilities of their leaders—yet a large majority of these programs are ultimately failing?

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“Thinking Managers” More Critical Than Ever

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In his groundbreaking book, The Creative Brain, Ned Herrmann wrote about the important move to Whole Brain® management as a necessity for business survival and success. The primarily left-mode thinking (A and B quadrants of the Whole Brain® Model) prevalent in most organizations’ leadership teams would hold them back, he warned, because:

The right brain (especially D quadrant) is the only part of our brains that deals effectively with change. As essential as left-modes are to business success, they spell slow death for a company when used without the right-brain modes…If change is constant, in order to compete effectively in a world characterized by change, business managers must function in all four of the brain’s different modes, right as well as left, upper as well as lower.

Today, we’re seeing this play out almost to the extreme. Managers at all levels are requiring increased agility to deal with a level and pace of change, complexity and uncertainty that’s even more intense than it was when Ned first wrote about it.

But what exactly is Whole Brain® management? Ned emphasizes that it’s not about de-emphasizing the left modes of thinking or putting the right modes into “exclusive ascendance.” It’s also not about mentally restructuring the corporation:

What I do mean is this: When designing and implementing responses to business issues and challenges, the human brain functions at its most innovative, productive best only when all four quadrants engage situationally and iteratively in the process.

In mental terms, this means no organization that restricts its mental options to A and B quadrants alone can hope to prevail over the organization that uses A, B, C and D.

For managers, in particular, that means realizing “that we function situationally—that we have equal access to all four [styles of thinking] so that when the situation calls for a given type of mental function, we can give it our best response.”

Check out our recent white paper, Navigating in an Unpredictable and Complex World: Why Thinking Agility is Critical to a Manager's Success, for tips and strategies to help today’s managers use their own—and others’— thinking in the most optimal way.

Because the more things change, the more we need Whole Brain® management!

How will you adapt? White Paper

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The Whole Brain Business Book 2nd Edition

Read the first two chapters and order your copy today!