BUZZ! e-Newsletter: January 2015
We are pleased to present the January 2015 edition of TLD Group Buzz, a free e-newsletter for our clients and consultants, distributed to subscribers quarterly. This edition includes TLD Group News, a Partner Spotlight, as well as brief summaries of cutting-edge issues and trends impacting executive assessment, development and organizational transformation.
As organization development consultants, seasoned executive coaches and academicians, TLD Group’s team strives to weave the latest trends in OD and HR into our customized client solutions.
Mindfulness has become a cultural phenomenon, appearing everywhere these days from self-help books on eating and relationships to courses for the military and Fortune 500 corporations. Time Magazine calls it the “Mindful Revolution.” Leadership training and coaching have also leveraged mindfulness for years to develop more Mindful Leaders, and recent studies in the field of neuroscience highlighting the benefits of practicing mindfulness (enhanced focus, emotion regulation, empathy, and creativity) have only accelerated this trend.
As a long-time practitioner of mindfulness meditation, I’ve integrated my mindfulness practice into my work as an executive coach: as fits with my commitment to personal growth and the growth of others, the journey of mastery. Mindfulness practice has helped me increase my ability to pay attention and be present, and has deepened my understanding and insight into myself, others, and the world around me.
Mindfulness, as I define and practice it, is a Way of Being attentive and present in the moment, a non-judging tuning in to the flow of experience as it happens. Through this “practice” of being here now, we deepen our insight and connection with ourselves and others by learning more about how we feel and think—Peter Senge calls it “seeing our seeing”—and by attuning to others’ emotions and thinking.
Mindfulness is fostered through practice—mental training, exertion, and perseverance are involved—and leaders who train their attention and are consciously present set the stage for positive behavior change. We all have this in-born capability to be more mindful versus mindless, the times when we are operating on autopilot and not in the moment. As Daniel Siegel, author of The Mindful Brain, notes, “How we pay attention promotes neural plasticity, the change of neural connections in response to experience.”
My coaching work with senior leaders and teams is grounded in everyday mindfulness. Meditation is not required, just “the simple act of actively noticing things,” states Harvard psychologist, Ellen Langer. I address the presented coaching and business goals through a mindfulness framework of three interrelated “Ways of Being:” Attention and Presence With Self, With Others, and With the System.
Attention and Presence with Self
Being mindful gives the leader a way to genuinely look at themselves, to cut through the layers of self-stories, biases, and emotional reactivity that get in the way of what is really happening. We know the critical importance of being self-aware of emotions and accompanying thoughts from over three decades of emotional intelligence studies and supporting leadership assessments from Goleman, Mayer, Salovey, and Bar-On.
Attention and Presence with Others
Being a mindful leader also opens a window into our colleagues’ world through what I like to call “professional empathy.” The discovery of mirror neurons has revealed that empathy is a biologically-based human quality, which gives us all the capacity to actually experience others’ feelings of joy and pain by being attuned to facial expressions. Developing leadership competency and mastery, according to research on effective senior leadership teams by J. Richard Hackman of Harvard, is the ability and practice of understanding the content and meaning of what a person is saying and the ability to reflect back the feelings the speaker associates with the content.
Attention and Presence with the System
Being attentive and present with the system means broadening our leadership awareness and perspective, to see ourselves and others as part of a dynamic, ever-changing system and culture. It is about paying attention to the organization cues and currents to better understand who gets what done, and how to drive successful execution and change in the organization. Leadership authors Katzenbach and Khan in Leading Outside the Lines, define leaders who are attentive and present with the system as having a high “Organizational Quotient,” which is exhibited by balancing IQ and EQ to “tap into both the formal and informal elements of an organization to accelerate behavior change and performance results.”
The mindfulness practice I introduce at the outset of every coaching engagement is Mindful Observing – Self, Others, System. I always start with a self-observation practice as it lays the foundation of the leader’s mindfulness practice and fosters leadership mastery—the discipline and practice of continuous growth and learning.
The Practice: Observing Self
Imagine you are divided into two separate persons: (1) a “Doer,” one who engages and reacts in life; and (2) an “Observer,” who watches and experiences life as it happens.
Be fully present and observe yourself objectively. Be curious, open, and accepting. Notice your internal states (thoughts and feelings) as well as how you behave. Notice how you communicate and engage with others. Simply be aware and pay attention without judgment to the physical, emotional, and thinking aspects behind how you show up as a leader.
What am I observing about myself and how I engage and interact in specific settings and situations as well as with different people?
Themes and Patterns:
What themes and patterns do I see emerging from what I am observing?
What am I learning about myself from this practice?
What actions will I commit to take from my insights and learning?
Mindful Leadership Case Example
One of my executive coaching clients, a physician leader who was newly assigned to head a clinical department in a top-rated health system, was charged by senior leadership with reorganizing his department to better align with the health system’s strategic plan. In our work together we used a mindfulness framework and practices to support his transition into the new role, which included managing former peers and reorganizing and building a new team with three new hires.
Preparing to transition into his new role, the leader first, through mindful self-observation, tuned into his purpose—“building bridges between clinicians, administrators, and patients.” This insight tapped the leader’s significant energy and intrinsic motivation to serve, and commitment to a plan of action followed. As the plan to reorganize the team took shape, it became clear that certain positions on the team would need to be repurposed and upgraded, setting the leader up for several tough conversations, which he initially avoided. By shining the light of attention on how he was feeling (conflicted and guilty) and what he was thinking (“I’ll hurt these people if I make these moves”), he was able to break free of his self-limiting mindset and execute the needed team changes. A “reality check” conversation helped him see that his overplayed strength of caring for others was holding back himself, the team, and even the long-time employees who were exited.
Building on his increased self-awareness through mindfulness, the leader turned his attention and presence to others, beginning a practice of noticing how his team members were reacting to the changes within the team and across the hospital. He learned, for example, through deep listening and observing body language that a former peer and now naysaying team member was not interested in the leader’s role as he had thought but in a different role she felt blocked from. Being there with his colleague and exhibiting understanding for what she was interested in and how she felt about the situation (professional empathy) changed the dynamic, and though the once naysaying team member did not get her desired role, she supported the leader in driving his change agenda.
Incorporating insights from his growing self-awareness and awareness of his team members, the leader broadened his awareness to take a fresh look at the health system’s evolving culture and politics. His organizational savvy and situational awareness were above average, so he knew where the landmines were planted and how to navigate in a hierarchal environment. Leveraging this strength, he incorporated his political and organizational savvy into the onboarding plans for his new hires. For example, he covered in the plan preferred communication styles for specific leaders as well as alerted his new players of those in the organization who would need a more “trust, but verify approach.” He also shared his most important learning in his years at the hospital—being transparent and inclusive even if it felt risky, because it’s the foundation of building trusting relationships.
Most Boards would agree they want wise and compassionate (Mindful) leaders, women and men who are in control yet not controlling, focused on the business and, more importantly, partnering with the people who make the business possible. A mindfulness framework that integrates self-development, relationship building, and organizational savvy leads to leadership mastery. The question is, do we have the courage and perseverance to foster mindful leadership in ourselves and those we work with? And are we willing to consistently ask, “What is happening now?”
About Ken Giglio:
Ken has a background is in financial services, where over a twenty-two year career he held several leadership positions. He transitioned to his executive coaching career in 2000.
Ken’s executive coaching and consulting are focused on “Mindful Leadership,” the courage to confront and shift the self-limiting mindsets and behaviors that undermine personal and organizational effectiveness. He develops leaders who are self-aware and agile in the moment, focused on business strategy, building effective relationships, and achieving sustainable performance. He has a degree in Psychology from Fordham University and obtained his Executive Coaching Certification from The Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara, an International Coach Federation accredited program.
TLD GROUP UPDATES
TLD Group News
TLD Group is pleased to welcome Ron Phillips to our TLD Group Advisory Board. Ron is currently the Chief Human Resources Officer at New York Presbyterian Hospital and is a unique specialist in the art of strategy, collaboration, and interpersonal skills. Ron’s innovative approach, influence, and emotional intelligence have driven him to successfully deliver human resources, change management, process improvement, and business results the last 20 years of his progressive career. TLD Group is privileged to be able to periodically seek advice and direction from our TLD Group Advisory Board make up of leaders across industries who are nationally recognized in the disciplines of marketing, research and development, industrial and organizational psychology, general management, human resources, organizational development, and leadership development. Click here to learn more about our Advisory Board members.
We are pleased to welcome our newest member of the APLA Advisory Board, Stephen Wallenhaupt, MD. Dr. Wallenhaupt has served as Novant Health’s Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, and has more than ten years of experience in leadership training and development, both for practicing physicians and physician administrative leaders. His vast experience and insights will help keep us abreast of key insights, trends and development needs as it relates to physician leadership. We are honored to have Dr. Wallenhaupt on our APLA Board. Click here to learn more about our Advisory Board members.
In honor of Thanksgiving 2014, we are proud to once again support Vital Voices Global Partnership, as an Equality Sponsor. The mission of Vital Voices is to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. On December 10th, TLD Group attended the Voices of Solidarity 2014 Awards to celebrate International Human Rights Day and to celebrate men who combat violence against women. The Vital Voices Solidarity Award was presented to four remarkable men who have shown courage and compassion in advocating on behalf of women and girls in the United States and around the world. The winners of this award included: Vice President, Joe Biden, Bafana Khumalo, co-founder of Sonke Gender Justice, Donald McPherson, athlete and educator, and Patrick Stewart, actor and activist. Click here for more information about Vital Voices.
On February 12th, TLD Group will be delivering a keynote address at the New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) in Princeton, NJ for Human Resources executives of New Jersey Hospitals. The presentation will offer insights on identifying and developing high potentials and best practices for effective talent management. NJHA is a not-for-profit trade organization committed to delivering support and services to the state’s hospitals and other healthcare providers. Click here for more information.
TLD Group will be presenting with key leaders from Palomar Health including Bob Hemker, CEO, Duane Buringrud, MD, former Chief Physician Leadership Development Officer, and Leslie Solomon, Director of Organizational Development at the 2015 American College of Healthcare Executives’ (ACHE) Congress on Healthcare Leadership, which will be held March 16–19, 2015 in Chicago, IL. The presentation will share the story of Palomar’s journey to creating collaborative clinical/administrative partnerships through its physician leadership academy. Participants will gain knowledge of innovative approaches to clinical/administrative partnerships for physician integration and discover how to organize for highly effective partnerships that positively impact organizational performance. Click here for more information about the ACHE meeting.
TLD Group co-presented a webinar on November 12th with Dr. Alan Conrad, MD from Palomar Health, a physician leader and participant of our Applied Physician Leadership Academy© (APLA), entitled “Creating Exceptional Physician-Nurse Dyads: Using Collaborative Partnerships to Raise the Standard of Care and Improve the Overall Patient Experience.” Webinar attendees learned about Palomar’s journey to create collaborative partnerships through a partnership activation process which raised the standard of care and improved the overall patient experience. The session highlighted one of the activation projects titled "No Physician Rounds Alone," which was designed for one unit and later leveraged across the organization. Please click here to view the presentation.
On November 14th , TLD Group conducted a webinar for our Community of Practice (CoP), entitled “The Art of Coaching Scientific and Medical Leaders,” led by TLD Group Senior Consultant Mark Moore-Gillon, an ICF-accredited coach with a Ph.D. in Physiology. In this interactive webinar, Mark discussed his experience with coaching scientific leaders at all levels of seniority, both medically qualified and others. His insights are based on his breadth of experience coaching medical and scientific leaders as well as his considerable experience working in operational and strategic leadership roles in a broad range of pharmaceutical companies. TLD Group’s Community of Practice is an “invitation- only” LinkedIn group for our coaches and consultants. The CoP serves as a forum for members to learn from each other, and help members grow and develop professionally by raising the level of collective expertise. For more information about the webinar and to learn more about TLD Group’s Community of Practice, please click here.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT TRENDS
In her article entitled “Find Your Focus” in the November 2014 issue of Experience Life, Maggie Fazeli Fard summarizes research by psychologist Daniel Goleman about how to build attention in his book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. Goleman’s book addresses the issue of mind-wandering and how we so easily lose our focus. With the overabundance of potential distractors in this day and age, phone calls, text messages, emails, social media, and the like – we’ve forgotten how to devote our attention to one task at a time.
Unsurprisingly, attention is a mental necessity that heavily “contributes to comprehension, memory, learning, and interacting with others, as well as self-awareness and empathy.” Without learning how to build and flex our “attention muscle”’ (as Goleman calls it) we not only miss out on much information around us, but we could be compromise our social interactions as well.
In his book, Goleman outlines three types of focus:
- Inner focus: attention to one’s internal world
- Other focus: interpersonal connection
- Outer focus: ability to attend to one’s external environment
Just like the physical muscles in our body, neglecting to build attentional focus leads to reduced concentration and poor cognitive abilities. But fear not – for there are strategies in order to “work out” your attention just as you would work on your biceps at the gym. Mindfulness is a mental state of awareness of the present moment, and training in mindfulness teaches the individual to disengage from distracting stimuli and maintain attention on the focal objective. Mindfulness training is an attentional technique that has gained great popularity in present day, and is a simple practice that can be conducted anytime, anywhere. These techniques typically instruct the practitioner to bring attention to one’s breath and notice the changing bodily sensations associated with the breath. The goal is to maintain focus on these sensations and gently dismiss distracting thoughts as they arise. With practice, mindfulness training can help us learn to maintain focus when we feel ourselves becoming overwhelmed in our thoughts or tempted by distractors.
With the unique challenges facing the healthcare industry today, it is imperative more now than ever before that the workforce remains resilient and adaptive to change. A strong and resilient workforce leads to better patient outcomes, but the stressors of the field often place roadblocks towards high-quality care. Robert J. Wicks, PsyD, professor emeritus of Loyola University Maryland offers an excellent analogy of how stress affects patients: “Physicians and nurses wash their hands before and after they see patients so they don’t contaminate themselves; it’s the same way with stress. We can get contaminated by stress, and we need to decontaminate ourselves so we don’t contaminate others.” Just as being in close quarters with someone who is ill puts us at risk of becoming ill ourselves, stress has the potential to infect those around us as well.
In his article entitled “The Resilient Leader: Mind, Body and Soul” in the Nov/Dec 2014 issue of Healthcare Executive, John M. Buell addresses the great need for healthcare leaders and organizations to develop a sense of resilience given the industry’s growing complexity. Resilience refers to the ability to adapt to a changing environment rather than becoming overwhelmed which is a crucial competency to remain adept in an evolving healthcare climate. Resilience is a quality that can be embodied in individuals, leaders, and entire organizations. However, it can be challenging to develop resilience because as humans we tend to fear the unknown. Resilient leaders focus more on the road ahead and use language centered on future possibilities rather than potential obstacles. This attitude helps to further the organization towards strength and away from uncertainty.
The question remains about how best to develop resilience in ourselves and within our organizations. The healthcare industry can extract many nuggets of wisdom from the field of positive psychology, which highlights strengths and potential growth rather than parts that need to be fixed. Furthermore, resilience can be built by practicing self-reflection and patience, which can in time teach us to identify and develop those potential areas of growth within ourselves and within the organization.
Another key ingredient to building resilience is practicing self-awareness, because an understanding of oneself and the organization allows healthcare leaders to see a well-rounded and balanced view of the existing situation. It can be challenging for an individual to see their own potential development areas. Given this, 360-degree assessments can be a useful tool to utilize to begin the process of self-awareness. Once growth areas have been identified, leaders can practice self-awareness to work to reach these development goals.
The bottom line is that in order to prosper in an uncertain healthcare industry that is consistently evolving and changing, resilience is essential to drive individuals and organizations towards success. Healthcare leaders can foster resilience through patience, reflection, and self-awareness, and thus the organization will be better positioned to adapt to the ever-changing healthcare environment.
Please contact us for more information about how TLD Group incorporates these, and other innovative strategies, in our executive coaching services.
Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck has dedicated her career to studying how the concept of a “growth mindset” has manifested itself in individuals and how this psychological principle can be applied to organizations in order to excel. The November 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review explores the work of Carol Dweck, which has made significant impact since the release of her book Mindset, published in 2006. The notion of a “growth mindset” has been contrasted with the other end of the spectrum, coined a “fixed mindset” to refer to those who believe talent is a quality that is either present or lacking. Those with a “growth mindset” view failures as opportunities, not pitfalls, and seek to learn and develop from these experiences.
Organizations as a whole can also be described as having a fixed or growth mindset depending on how well it copes in times of uncertainty, challenges, and complications. Dweck and colleagues have conducted research with Fortune 1000 companies to determine the degree to which the company fosters a growth or fixed mindset. For example, companies which generally agree with the following statement and other similar survey items are said to have a fixed mindset: “When it comes to being successful, this company seems to believe that people have a certain amount of talent, and they really can’t do much to change it.”
The researchers found consistency in the characteristics of organizations with either mindset. Dweck noted that companies with a fixed mindset agreed that only the few key employees were highly valued by managers, and this led to lower employee commitment compared to companies with a growth mindset. This low-level of commitment also led to deviant workplace behaviors including cheating and cutting corners in order to stay in the game. Employees at these companies often feared failure and thus sought out less-risky projects and were less innovative overall. On the other hand, companies with a growth mindset reported more favorable views of its employees, praising them as collaborative and innovative workers with management potential.
It still remains a question as to whether growth-mindset companies actually perform more successfully than fixed-mindset companies. However, it is clear, that the former have more engaged employees with a drive towards innovation and risk-taking, which suggests the likelihood that they may indeed be performing at a higher rate.
Please contact us for more information about how TLD Group incorporates these, and other innovative strategies, in our organizational development consulting services.
Great leaders are not those who set the coordinates for others to follow, but rather point others down the path of innovation and create conditions under which the innovative process can flourish. Nathan Furr and Jeffrey H. Dyer put it best in their article entitled “Leading Your Team into the Unknown,” in the December 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review, in which they assert that, “innovation is at heart a process of discovery.” There is much truth to this – great ideas are not sprung up overnight, but are nurtured and developed under conditions which allow individuals to let their creative minds flourish.
Traditional management methods, such as those taught in MBA programs, do not allow for the creative freedom that is crucial to the innovative process, which begins by pushing boundaries and figuratively venturing into unknown territory. The innovative leader, rather than setting standards and identifying the end goal, leads their team down the path of uncertainty, asks questions instead of making decisions, and opens the conversation up to suggestions and input from all. Through this leadership style, people will be more willing to take risks, turning unfamiliar ideas into revolutionary break-throughs. Take, for example, the experiences of Kraft when they took their beloved Oreo cookie to the Chinese market. Contrary to their expectations, the popular cookie was met with challenges in this new business environment. These challenges drove Kraft’s innovative team to rethink their strategy, and design a variety of new flavors that would appeal to the Chinese consumer. Before long, the Oreo cookie soared to the top of the market in China.
Of course, uncertainty can be frightening, and people may unsurprisingly feel skeptical to the idea of risk-taking if it may put their careers in jeopardy. The leader’s role in this situation is to communicate to team members that uncertainty and vulnerability are not to be feared, because it can lead to effective results in the end. How do you help your team remain confident when heading down an unknown path? Furr and Dyer offer a comprehensive approach to innovation, which helps to dispel concerns about risk-taking through a four-step process of innovative experimentation:
- Generate insights: Get the creative juices flowing by asking questions and engaging team members in a problem-solving mentality
- Identify an important problem: As a team, decide on an opportunity worth pursuing that can result in positive impact
- Develop the solution: Construct several prototypical ideas and conduct pilot tests, readjusting the plan according to results
- Devise the business model: Finalize your strategy and apply experimental techniques to test the business model
The team leader facilitates this process by ensuring the efficiency with which ideas are tested and that a proper timeline is being followed, but act more as the “chief experimenter” instead of the “chief decision maker.” There are no “good” or “bad” ideas in the innovative process, only those that get the wheels turning and dare to dive into risky new challenges.
Please contact us for more information about how TLD Group incorporates these, and other innovative strategies, in our team development practices.