TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP & Learn how Steve Jobs was a great leader because he let his subordinates change his mind. #HBR

“Persuading the Unpersuadable” by Adam Grant, Harvard Business Review Magazine (March–April 2021)

…The legend of Steve Jobs is that he transformed our lives with the strength of his convictions. The key to his greatness, the story goes, was his ability to bend the world to his vision. The reality is that much of Apple’s success came from his team’s pushing him to rethink his positions. If Jobs hadn’t surrounded himself with people who knew how to change his mind, he might not have changed the world.

For years Jobs insisted he would never make a phone. After his team finally persuaded him to reconsider, he banned outside apps; it took another year to get him to reverse that stance. Within nine months the App Store had a billion downloads, and a decade later the iPhone had generated more than $1 trillion in revenue.

Almost every leader has studied the genius of Jobs, but surprisingly few have studied the genius of those who managed to influence him. As an organizational psychologist, I’ve spent time with a number of people who succeeded in motivating him to think again, and I’ve analyzed the science behind their techniques. The bad news is that plenty of leaders are so sure of themselves that they reject worthy opinions and ideas from others and refuse to abandon their own bad ones. The good news is that it is possible to get even the most overconfident, stubborn, narcissistic, and disagreeable people to open their minds.

… Here are some approaches that can help you encourage a know-it-all to recognize when there’s something to be learned, a stubborn colleague to make a U-turn, a narcissist to show humility, and a disagreeable boss to agree with you.

Ask a Know-It-All to Explain How Things Work

The first barrier to changing someone’s view is arrogance. We’ve all encountered leaders who are overconfident: They don’t know what they don’t know. If you call out their ignorance directly, they may get defensive. A better approach is to let them recognize the gaps in their own understanding…

Let a Stubborn Person Seize the Reins

A second obstacle to changing people’s opinions is stubbornness. Intractable people see consistency and certainty as virtues. Once made up, their minds seem to be set in stone. But their views become more pliable if you hand them a chisel…

A solution to this problem comes from a study of Hollywood screenwriters. Those who pitched fully formed concepts to executives right out of the gate struggled to get their ideas accepted. Successful screenwriters, by contrast, understood that Hollywood executives like to shape stories. Those writers treated the pitch more like a game of catch, tossing an idea over to the suits, who would build on it and throw it back…

Find the Right Way to Praise a Narcissist

A third hurdle in the way of changing minds is narcissism. Narcissistic leaders believe they’re superior and special, and they don’t take kindly to being told they’re wrong. But with careful framing, you can coax them toward acknowledging that they’re flawed and fallible.

It’s often said that bullies and narcissists have low self-esteem. But research paints a different picture: Narcissists actually have high but unstable self-esteem. They crave status and approval and become hostile when their fragile egos are threatened—when they’re insulted, rejected, or shamed. By appealing to their desire to be admired, you can counteract their knee-jerk tendency to reject a difference of opinion as criticism. Indeed, studies in both the United States and China have shown that narcissistic leaders are capable of demonstrating humility: They can believe they’re gifted while acknowledging their imperfections. To nudge them in that direction, affirm your respect for them.

In 1997, not long after returning to Apple as CEO, Jobs was discussing a new suite of technology at the company’s global developer conference. During the audience Q&A, one man harshly criticized the software and Jobs himself. “It’s sad and clear that on several counts you’ve discussed, you don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. (Ouch.)

You might assume that Jobs went on the attack, got defensive, or maybe even threw the man out of the room. Instead he showed humility: “One of the hardest things when you’re trying to effect change is that people like this gentleman are right in some areas,” he exclaimed, adding: “I readily admit there are many things in life that I don’t have the faintest idea what I’m talking about. So I apologize for that….We’ll find the mistakes; we’ll fix them.” The crowd erupted into applause.

How did the critic elicit such a calm reaction? He kicked his comments off with a compliment: “Mr. Jobs, you’re a bright and influential man.” As the audience laughed, Jobs replied, “Here it comes.”

As this story shows, a dash of acclaim can be a powerful antidote to a narcissist’s insecurity.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2021/03/persuading-the-unpersuadable?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=hbr&utm_source=twitter&tpcc=orgsocial_edit

FREE WILL & How To Run an Organization With (Almost) No Rules & Avoid “Boarding School Aspects” of Leadership

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I’ve analyzed/advised mega-churches to micro-churches.  Among the recurring themes in healthy churches is the leader’s ability to encourage the Holy Spirit to develop in volunteers, staff and congregants.  This doesn’t mean an organization devoid of rules, but rather an environment where the Holy Spirit is encouraged to direct Christians rather than the organization directing them.

For example, I worked for an organization that dictated (but eventually only strongly urged) its employees to dress up when at work. While the outside world saw a nicely dressed and united workforce, among the employees there was almost universal contempt and disconnection with the administration.  Semler points out such policies reflect “boarding schools aspects” of leadership rather than.  Watch this insightful TED talk to understand why and then consider a more Spirit-led alternative.

Ricardo Semler, “How To Run A Company With (Almost) No Rules” (by , Forbes Magazine, 6/30/18).

  • Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler doesn’t believe in rules. At least, he doesn’t believe companies need to impose a host of strict guidelines in order to run efficiently. In fact, he thinks employees will work better if they don’t have to report their vacation days or be told what to wear. He wants to dissolve what he calls the “boarding school aspects” of business, just to see what happens. In his TED talk, Semler dives into what a company with fewer rules would look like, and how it would affect corporate and employee success.

Watch more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2018/06/30/7-ted-talks-that-will-inspire-you-to-be-a-better-leader

STYLES OF LEADERSHIP & Finding Your Preferred Leadership Style Will Make You a Better Leader. Here’s How.

by Chris McGoff, Inc. Magazine, 2/8/18

… peak performance leaders give up the right to play to their strength. They have discovered, usually painfully, the truth about leadership styles. They know that leadership styles cross a spectrum bounded on one side by “collaborative leadership” and on the other by “command and control leadership.” They know that there styles in the middle of the extremes that blend to two at different levels.

More than knowing that the spectrum exists, peak performance leaders know that to lead anything, they have to be committed to mastering the leadership styles across the spectrum. Perhaps they are more comfortable with one style than the others, but they also know that any strength taken to an extreme becomes a weakness…

How do you know which leadership style to use in which situation? Here are some leadership styles to use in the four primary decision-making processes.

Command and Control – Use this style in urgent, high-stakes situations when you need to make a quick decision.

Informed Command and Control – Use this style for lower-stakes, but still urgent decisions. An example is if your company needs a meeting venue and you have hours to make the decision. You need some input, but ultimately you need to make a decision quickly.

Limited Consensus – This style is appropriate in low-stakes strategic planning, like when you’re deciding on your company’s benefits package for the year.

Consensus – This is when collaborative leadership comes into play. Use this style for high-stakes strategic planning and visioning when you need the group to come to an agreement on a long-term idea.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/chris-mcgoff/why-you-need-to-master-multiple-leadership-styles.html

HIERARCHIES & Why It Increases the Risk of Calamitous Decisions

by Gary Hamel, Harvard Business Review, 12/11.

… the typical management hierarchy increases the risk of large, calamitous decisions.

  • As decisions get bigger, the ranks of those able to challenge the decision maker get smaller.
    • Hubris, myopia, and naïveté can lead to bad judgment at any level,
    • but the danger is greatest when the decision maker’s power is, for all purposes, uncontestable.
  • Give someone monarchlike authority, and sooner or later there will be a royal screwup.

A related problem is that the most powerful managers are the ones furthest from frontline realities. All too often, decisions made on an Olympian peak prove to be unworkable on the ground.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2011/12/first-lets-fire-all-the-managers

HOLARCHY & Why Wesley Used This Leadership-style That is Popular Again #IncMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: While studying churches that grow in times of crises, I’ve noticed that at these times leaders put authority into their small groups to do most of the ministry work. Such an example is St. Thomas’ Church in Sheffield, England when as England’s largest megachurch they lost their auditorium with three weeks notice. Read about this in the chapter I contributed to Eddie Gibbs’ festschrift titled “Gospel after Christendom” (Baker Academic, 2012). Basically what St. Thomas did was allow all the small groups to do the social-action ministries and even require them to do so. Therefore, instead of top-down organization of social action programs designed by the executive team of the church, they required each small group to look around it’s community and weekly do something to help non-churchgoers. This democratized the organizations outreach through a leadership-style called “holarchy.” storyality-theory-2014-uws-pg-conference-jt-velikovsky-61-638This is exactly what John Wesley required of the small group meetings: they were each required to go out and serve the needy. This became known as Wesley’s “method” and adherents the “Methodists.” Read this article in Inc. Magazine to become acquainted with “holarchy” and how it is much better than top-down autocratic management when managing today’s post modern young adults.

Read more about “holarchies” at … http://www.inc.com/elle-kaplan/want-to-improve-your-company-let-every-person-on-your-team-be-a-chief.html

And read more about Wesley’s holarchy leadership-style here (including a downloadable section on this from my book Cure for the Common Church …https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/small-groups-3-facets-of-well-rounded-small-groups/

Embedded is a chart (click it to enlarge) that depicts a holarchy and was retrieved from http://image.slidesharecdn.com/storyalitytheory-2014uwspgc-jtvelikovskyv2-140715075956-phpapp02/95/storyality-theory-2014-uws-pg-conference-jt-velikovsky-61-638.jpg?cb=1405411334

LEADERSHIP & Research Shows Bottom Up ‘New Power Change” Works and Leader-driven Change Doesn’t #ForbesMagazine

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel; “Much of the old church growth thinking about leadership was that it is hierarchal driven by a senior pastor (called ‘old power leadership,’ Heimams & Timms, 2014). But research has proven through study after study that top-down leaership to be ineffective (Scott Wilcher, 2001). So how do you bring about change leadership? By using transformational change leadership like Jesus did: where you ’empower’ rather than coerce employees.

Here is a quote: ‘In the past few years we’ve witnessed a major shift from old power, where control was being held by a few individuals (often characterized as inaccessible and leader-driven) to new power, held by many in an open, participatory, and peer-driven way.’

Read this helpful Forbes magazine article for more info:

CEOs and Employees Want Change. So Why Isn’t It Happening?

…A study of more than 36,000 employees by advisory services firm LRN found that 97% experience either autocratic or coercive management or, at the least, hierarchical command-and-control.

So despite a “push for change” from the top, senior leadership’s words fall on deaf ears. Employees just aren’t feeling it (as evident by stagnating engagement scores). This only causes things to get worse. When management feels they are not being heard, they assert even more command and control, forcing change, inciting fear and even the occasional “public execution”. (and there goes that vicious circle again)…

So how do we stop the madness?…

The answer may be rooted in a notion that’s been rapidly spreading around the world and has likely already impacted most of us in one way or another.

Power is shifting in our world in ways that are unimaginable. In the past few years we’ve witnessed a major shift from old power, where control was being held by a few individuals (often characterized as inaccessible and leader-driven) to new power, held by many in an open, participatory, and peer-driven way.

This drastic shift is behind many of the phenomenons that once took tremendous effort and resources to create. They are now cheap and scalable in part due to a tremendously networked society.

We see signs of new power everywhere, including major scale political protests being organized and growing in matters of minutes (Occupy Wall Street, Arab Spring, Ferguson, to name a few), to upstart businesses upending traditional industries and rapidly taking market share in a matter of months. New business models such as the ones behind Facebook, Youtube, Uber, AirBNB and Etsy are built on new power. Everyone can be a creator of content, goods, or services. Barriers to entry have been blown to bits as it is no longer just major corporations with vast resources who can run and scale global businesses.

newpower_640

Organix_final.ai(Adapted from “This is New Power” by Jeremy Heimans & Henry Timms, HBR 2014.)

This shift in power transcends right down to an employee, creating a networked and socially empowered workforce that can operate and execute change outside the borders of traditional organizational silos. More so, it can execute change organically, without seeking permission from senior management or other authorities that we would typically find in old power models.

Employees now have a new-found voice. One that was very difficult to unleash and scale before, as it would take navigating through a maze of organizational charts and gate-keepers to get to a decision-maker. Entire movements are being created from the bottom-up. These movements are not demanding change. They drive change – from the bottom up…

Read more at … http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2015/06/13/culture-hacking/

Speaking Hashtags: #BreakForth16

AUTOCRATIC LEADERSHIP & Why Collaborate Leadership is Replacing It #HarvardBusinessReview

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Directive or autocratic leadership is shown in this research to be less effective today than a teambuilding, collaborative approach to leadership. The church leadership model, where the senior pastor makes most of the major decisions and is viewed as the expert, is according to this article less effective. See several charts that depict how today leaders value ‘discovery, collaboration, acting as an equals’.”

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/07/most-managers-think-of-themselves-as-coaches/

TEAMWORK & Make Your Team Feel Powerful #HarvardBusinessReview

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Researchers at the University of Illinois found that top-down driven organizations make employees less productive. Employees in such scenarios feel that they have little input and new ideas are thrust down on them by management. Find out how researchers say you can prevent this in two easy steps in my books, ‘Staying power’ (2003) and ‘Preparing for change reaction’ (2011).”

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/05/make-your-team-feel-powerful/