Today we dispatched the January 2020 edition of our Leadership That Works Newsletter, a curated digest of fascinating leadership links to read right now, sent at the end of each month. In this month’s 8 fascinating leadership links: escape the identity mindtrap, questions for a new decade, get unstuck, and more. As always, we’re sharing the articles from our newsletter here in case you’re not subscribed to our mailing list. If you like what you see, you can sign up to receive our newsletter here.
Harvard Business School Professor Clayton M. Christensen, who coined the phrase “disruptive innovation,” and whose treatise titled “How Will You Measure Your Life?” inspired leaders to seek higher meaning in work and life, passed away this month. As tribute, this Forbes post celebrates some of his most inspiring insights and advice. For an even fuller picture of his depth, thoughtfulness, and expertise, explore his 19 minute TEDx talk, also entitled “How Will You Measure Your Life?” here.
Many companies have clarity about what they want to be, who they want to serve, how they want to be defined. But are they equally clear about what they don’t want to be? Insights revealed in this interesting Harvard Business Review article make a case that clearly defining what your organization isn’t—your “anti-identity”—can be just as beneficial as crystallizing what it is. Saying what you aren’t, and what you won’t do, helps people connect with core aspects of your business in ways that are equally as powerful to positive identity traits. Learn more here.
“The unpredictable future often brings uncomfortable emotions: self-doubt, fears, discomfort,” writes Henna Inam in this thoughtful LinkedIn post. One way to pierce through uncertainty and prepare for the decade to come is by reflecting on questions that can help guide you on your journey forward. Inam provides ten questions, but if that seems overwhelming, she advises you to just pick one and commit to answering it. Then try to integrate the answer into your leadership approach.
“Company values matter. Every thriving company culture has a clear set of core values that supports the organizational purpose. Values are how you expect people to behave; they bring your ‘why’ to life,” writes Gustavo Razzetti in this helpful article on his Liberationist blog. In his comprehensive coverage, Razzetti speaks to the what, why, and how of values and supports that with actionable practices, examples, and even a checklist. Explore the deep-dive here.
Former Medtronic CEO and bestselling author Bill George has identified three essential traits that “enable you to build authentic relationships” with people you lead. He calls them the three Ts. The first of the Ts is Truth. He clarifies that, contrary to some beliefs, “integrity is not the absence of lying.” If you never tell a blatant mistruth, but sometimes omit crucial details to present a rosier version of reality to constituents, you might still have some work to do on the Truth front. Explore all three Ts here.
**For more on integrity, explore our post on how leadership is ambassadorship
“Research shows that most of us tend to believe that we have changed a lot up to now but won’t change much in the years ahead. Yet we tend to express this belief at any point in our lives when we’re asked about it,” write the authors of this fascinating longform McKinsey article on the “identity mindtrap.” This mindtrap presents a danger and a challenge to a leader’s growth because when, “we don’t think of ourselves as changing in the future, we focus our energy on projecting—and protecting—the person we have become, not on growing into the person we might become next.” When we believe we are finished growing, our ego becomes resistant to feedback and other information that might help us continue to develop. Because this happens instinctively, the first step is becoming more aware of when we are in the trap and taking corrective action when possible. Engage with this deep explanation of the identity mindtrap and answer the authors checklist questions to gain greater self-awareness here.
In this exclusive article in MultiBriefs, ConantLeadership Founder Doug Conant explains that today’s leaders are stuck because they’re overwhelmed, facing “a deluge of competing priorities and unprecedented complexity; they are expected to deliver competitive results, they have an unending to-do list, they have an unceasing roster of personal commitments, and they often have a litany of unfulfilled goals and aspirations on top of everything else.” How to get unstuck? Doug says, “leaders need an approach to their leadership development that is incremental and empowers them to make small changes — a process that celebrates progress rather than perfection,” and fits realistically into people’s busy lives. Read the rest of Doug’s advice for getting unstuck here.
In a new interview with LEADERS Magazine, Doug Conant shares many insights, among which is the idea that enduring leadership is not bestowed at birth—it’s developed, learned, and practiced. Doug shares, “I believe you can have talent that you’re born with, but then it’s about what you do with that talent that defines your legacy. Those with large amounts of talent – innate or developed – must commit to a continuous improvement approach in order to keep their skills relevant and remain effective.” Read the full interview here.