True and lasting leadership transformation takes time.
There, I said it.
As I sat with two clients recently one who has made significant changes in their career prospects and the other right at the pointy end of a potential promotion. We discussed what it takes to become the person most likely to succeed. The leader most likely to be selected. The most obvious candidate for the job. It takes time, focus, perseverance, feedback, opportunity. It’s far more complex and difficult than rolling out a program, printing a poster and logging into an app.
Michael and I have worked together for five years, chasing and adjusting based on his goals, his circumstances, the place his company is in. In the last couple of years, we designed and ran a program to incrementally increase his confidence and skill to carry C level leadership. Right now he is stepping into that role. For David, it was our first conversation. What did he want? Really? Was he convinced this was his best pathway forward?
True transformation takes time. And all the ways we get to the next stage of our career help. Think of it this way.
- Training introduces us to new material.
- Coaching makes it personal.
- Mentoring embeds the transformation.
- Sponsorship takes is further.
- Advocacy leverages your career.
In my Leadership Accelerator and Leadership Mastermind Programs, we focus on the combined impact of our mindset and our skillset. How we think and how we act. Leveraging off Carol Dweck’s work on the Fixed and Flexible mindset and integrating cutting edge Executive Mentoring experiences we have designed a pathway for leaders to grow into the roles they want BEFORE they become ready.
The starting point to any transformation process is to know where you are and then decide on where you want to be. The journey in the middle is one of learn, do, relearn, redo. And perhaps more importantly, I have noticed that helping someone see the progress they have made is critical to them seeing they have changed, knowing they can change, and having a sense of confidence that the change will serve their goals.
It looks something like this:
Leadership Transformation – Master Model
The model explained.
We are in one of four places when it comes to our leadership growth and development:
Stuck – with a fixed mindset and skillset. You are making no progress and largely unaware of your circumstances. It is what it is and you can’t see a way forward to change it. You are unconsciously incompetent and you haven’t got the awareness or resources to know what to do next. It’s both disaster and disappointment waiting to happen.
You need to stop. Evaluate and make one significant change towards your preferred future.
Stationary – with a fixed skillset and an agile mindset. You are mentally growing but not translating that into changed action and behaviours. You intellectualise everything and have reasons (excuses) for why there is an uplift in your knowledge but nothing seems to largely change in your behaviour. You are like Newtons Second law and you continue at a state of rest. It looks busy but progress is slow or non-existent.
You need to place yourself in an accountable relationship where the motivation to change is high and the cost of not changing is great. Disciplined growth is your key to progress.
Sabotage – with a fixed mindset and an agile skillset. You have natural skills but feel like you have hit a wall. Your best option is to “do” your way through this but the real change lies deep in your head and heart. You reflect the Joseph Campbell quote “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.” This is not a matter of your competency, it’s an issue of your maturity and formation.
You need to sit with a trusted advisor or mentor and ask them to act as a mirror for you. Tell you the things you know deep down to be true but need help and support to face, challenge and change.
Sherpa’s – have an agile skillset and flexible mindset. You have taken the time to challenge your thinking and learn new attitudes and mindsets. You have also leaned into opportunities and experiences that have added to and sharpened your skills. You are self-aware yet walk with a sense of self-confidence and humility. You know you are adding value and you are now focused on adding value to others. You can read much more about this idea at the 100X Leader from Giant Worldwide. They are skilfully rolling out the idea of Sherpa as a way of leading so others are able to climb higher and go farther. I’m privileged to be able to offer a number of their services to clients here in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
In the time I spent with Michael and David we agreed that their career journey would take time and needed to be focused and purposeful. In order to move closer to the Sherpa the following steps can be actioned and revised when necessary.
- Be clear about your current reality.
- Engage a coach and/or mentor.
- Implement new thinking and skills as fast as possible.
- Practice reflections IN action. Evaluate and adjust where needed.
- Create a culture that calls UP the best in you and others.
True transformation takes time. True transformation takes discipline. True transformation is worth it. For you, your team and the organisation you are part of.
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.