For those who weren’t able to make it to the Gravitas Impact Global Interactive Leadership Summit on February 25th, I thought I’d share a brief summary of some of the key things we learned from the presenters and discussed in our CEO peer break-out groups.
The summit started with futurist Anne Ward providing guidance for leadership teams on spotting and analysing trends, followed by Keith Cupp, CEO of Gravitas Impact Premium Coaches, on the new 7 Attributes of Agile Growth monograph and the key characteristics of great CEOs, and then Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit and The Advice Trap, on how to tackle “hard change” (as opposed to “easy change”).
Futurist Anne Ward encouraged the CEOs and leadership team members in attendance to identify emerging trends by using solid data, in order to accurately inform decision-making.
One example she shared was Dominoes Pizza. With their data driven approach, they’ve driven the value of the company from $3 per share, ten years ago, to over $300 per share.
Speed of delivery had been Dominoes’ primary competitive advantage for many years...until competition caught up and customer preferences changed. Through the use of data, their executive team discovered that their customers really yearned for great tasting pizza.
Their leadership team and product development team leaned into their data to identify what their customers liked, what tastes were emerging, and then to test and experiment with different offerings.
One challenge for executive teams is bias. It’s easy, as individual leaders or as a team, to fall prey to omission bias (the tendency to avoid data or action), confirmation bias (the tendency to make data interpretations that confirm our beliefs) or loss aversion bias (the tendency to avoid loss rather than create gain, thereby avoiding change and taking risks).
One key insight is that the resulting health and strength of the organization will be limited by the clarity of mind of the weakest leader on the leadership team.
Our very own Keith Cupp, CEO of Gravitas Impact, provided an overview of the latest Gravitas Impact monograph, titled "The 7 Attributes of Agile Growth." This is the flagship monograph that provides an overview of our growth framework by the same name.
When we build a company, we can wing it, or we can implement a proven framework. The 7 Attributes of Agile Growth, which I think of as an evolution of, and improvement on, the Scaling Up system, is a framework that’s comprehensive, works regardless of industry, and is flexible and scalable – from startup to billion dollar companies.
The 7 Attributes of Agile Growth monograph provides an overview of the 7 areas every executive team needs to work on and be aligned on together: Leadership, Talent, Strategy, Execution, Customer, Systems and Profit.
My colleagues and I, certified in the 7 Attributes, facilitate, coach and advise leadership teams through building a plan collaboratively, using our version of a one page strategic plan. We then work with the team on a monthly and quarterly basis to assess progress and apply any one of the 42 tools in the framework to solve problems and make key decisions for the future.
Keith also shared his insights on the three recurring leadership characteristics that he’s found in his research over the years by studying great business thought leaders like Adam Grant, Patrick Lencioni and Jim Collins.
Those three leadership characteristics are: ambition, humility and confidence. With the humility to be curious and put others first, and the discipline of thought and action to move things forward, these CEOs learn, discover and execute with excellence. And with the support of a strong CEO and executive team coach, they can also develop great confidence to lead and grow others and their organization.
The key take-away: the CEO is either the primary enabler or the bottleneck to greatness.
Michael Bungay Stanier is the author of The Coaching Habit, a best selling book I use to complement LIz Wiseman’s Multipliers (recall she spoke at the June 2020 leadership summit). He shared some insightful tactics for tackling Hard Change as opposed to Easy Change.
Easy change is a change where we identify where we are now and where we want to be, we learn something and/or do something, we practice and we make the change happen. It’s pretty straight forward and usually successful.
Hard Change is a change that doesn’t come so easily to a person. It’s not about doing something differently, it’s about becoming someone different. It’s a fundamental rewiring of how we approach life.
What’s also interesting is that a change that is hard for one person may be easy for another, and vice versa. It’s not about the change per say, but about how substantial of a change it will be for a particular person.
One key insight is that we all struggle with Hard Change because not changing serves us in some way… even though we may not realize it.
A way around this is to identify out loud or in writing the reasons to not to take on the change (in addition to the reasons to do it). This exercise will uncover our resistance to the change - the comfort, status, power, etc. that keeps us stuck. Then we can consciously evaluate whether those benefits of not changing really outweigh the benefits of changing. And if not, we can choose to be ok with not keeping the benefits of the status quo so that we can move forward with the hard change.
Michael also shared some interesting tools for defining what he calls a “worthy goal”. A worthy goal maximizes our level of motivation and complements the reduction in resistance we’ve accomplished with the previous exercise.
Bungay Stanier will have a new book coming out early next year going into detail on tackling Hard Change. I’ll be watching out for it!
Our next Gravitas Impact Global Interactive Leadership Summit will be June 17th. Pencil it in your calendar! It’s sure to be another excellent learning experience for CEOs and their leadership team members.
How can you improve your leadership?
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