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Agility Masters: Alan Mulally
By Mike Richardson, Team Agility Practice Leader

W hen identifying leaders who I want to include here as masters, I look for and listen for those who have accessed the higher-order and deeper-order mindsets, skill sets and toolsets of their agile-leadership-presence, to develop the team-agility and organizational-agility required to prevail.  There is no better example than ...

We were blessed to have Alan Mulally speak at our Vistage San Diego Executive Summit, in which he outlined the principles and practices of his "Working Together" approach for building skilled and motivated teams, which he did at Boeing and then at Ford.  His session was unforgettable. 

Why Perfection Isn't Good Enough
By Ben Baran, Ph.D. , Agility Analytics Practice Leader

"I just want it to go the right way," he said, with tears starting to form at the corners of his eyes. "I'm trying and trying and trying and it's not working."

The tears began to flow, as he rapidly stamped his feet on the green artificial turf covering the mini-golf course. His knuckles turned white as he gripped his club with a surge of frustration, and he swung as hard as he could at the ball. 

He missed. It was fortunate that he did, because had his club head connected with the ball, property damage or harm to bystanders would have been probable. 

During that moment in 2014 watching my then 3-year-old son, I had a flashback. It was a moment of complete and total empathy. 

Years ago, that was me. 

When I was a kid, I loved playing board games with my family. But I hated losing. I remember swiping all of the chess pieces off the board mid-game in a fit of anger. For a few years, that was my common reaction to even a hint of things not going my way.

I once ruined a National Geographic trivia game for the entire family by spending a full day or two memorizing the answers to every single question. I quickly became unbeatable-and I became a totally annoying competitor. No one would play with me. Game over.   

The strength of one's quest for perfection is probably a function of both our environment and our genes. Regardless, perfection as a quest or even as a goal needs to be abolished-for children, for adults, for leaders, for teams, for organizations. 

In other words, perfection simply isn't good enough. In fact, it's entirely counterproductive in today's fast-paced world. Expecting perfection, either from yourself or from the people around you, is anathema to success, and
here are a few reasons why....  

The Cure for Leadership Narcosis™ in a VUCA World
by Nick Horney, Ph.D., Leadership Agility Practice Leader

Have you experienced Leadership Narcosis™?

Leadership Narcosis™ is a term I use to describe the adverse leadership behavior and associated disruptive organizational impact of a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world on leaders today and into the future.  

From my experience as a former U.S. Navy officer in special operations and as a current organizational psychologist, the behavioral reactions for divers experiencing nitrogen narcosis are quite similar to the behaviors exhibited by leaders with what I refer to as Leadership Narcosis™.  As our world gets disrupted more frequently, at a faster pace, with greater magnitude and volume,  it is appropriately characterized as a VUCA environment.   VUCA, as you are probably aware, is a term created by the Army's War College to describe the turbulent nature of today's larger geopolitical environment.  It's also a term that's being used increasingly to describe the business world. 

Nitrogen narcosis is a reversible alteration in consciousness producing a state similar to alcohol intoxication. I have personally experienced this (nitrogen narcosis, not alcohol intoxication) during diving operations with the Navy.  It occurs to some small extent at any depth, but in most cases doesn't become noticeable until deeper diving depths, usually starting around 30 to 40 meters.  Due to its perception-altering effects, the onset of nitrogen narcosis may be hard to recognize. But its severity is unpredictable, and in scuba diving, the resulting illogical behavior can be fatal.     

By Tom O'Shea, CMC , Organizational Agility Practice Leader

IT'S ABOUT YOUR PEOPLE. So, McKinsey & Company has been conducting on-going research for several years into understanding what builds differentiated advantage in creating customer value, loyalty and superior experience.  In their latest series of white papers and articles published in March 2016, McKinsey comes at this crucial question from several different angles but consistently with a common thread - the main differential is the ethos, attitude and skills of your people that make the biggest difference. The article entitled THE SECRET TO DELIGHTING YOUR CUSTOMERS: PUTTING YOUR EMPLOYEES FIRST, does a good introductory job of sharing some of the rationale for this orientation and also why we include PUTTING PEOLE FIRST in our AGILITY CORE BELIEF SYSTEM in what we call THE AGILE IMPERATIVE. 

Creating Agility in a VUCA World!


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APRIL 2016
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