Tag Archives: learning agility

Leadership “From the Inside Out”

Kevin Cashman

Kevin Cashman

Kevin Cashman provides a leadership development frame that complements Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence concepts and Jim Collins’s delineation of Level 5 Leadership, in his book Leadership from the Inside Out.

He is Senior Partner, Korn/Ferry International, and Leadership From the Inside Outhis research and experience indicate that leadership effectiveness originates in the individual’s personal character.

If individuals wish to develop leadership skills, they must apply “learning agility” to acquire new perspectives and skills, then deploy them under new business circumstances.

Cashman reviewed the four elements of “learning agility”:

Mental agility, characterized by questioning solutions, consulting others, demonstrating openness

Interpersonal agility, based on effective, precise listening, using questions to elicit clarification

Results agility, or developing new approaches to achieve results, incorporate new ways to resolve problems

Change agility, which includes flexibility and adaptability

Cashman found three steps in leadership development, common across many approaches, and recommended these elements in any leadership development program:

Building Awareness – Self-discovery of strengths, development areas

Building Commitment – Developing emotional engagement to act on developmental needs and to apply strengths

Building Practice – Undertaking new actions such as journaling to build awareness, commitment and reflection on learnings.

The goal of these steps is to develop three aspects of leadership:

Authenticity, characterized by integrity, alignment between words and actions that is recognized by others; continued striving toward authenticity in future potential

Influence, involving the self-expression and application of personal strengths to create value

Value creation in work and community

Leadership from the Inside Out outlines seven related pathways to leadership mastery, with related practices.
Many of these recommendations may sound spiritual, philosophical, non-specific, and difficult to translate into specific actions.
One element of self-reflection in Cashman’s process may be to operationalize these recommendations into concrete, measurable actions:

Personal Mastery, based on developing self-awareness

Purpose Mastery involves applying talents to serve values and add value through authentic self-expression in leading others

Change Mastery, incorporates acceptance of uncertainty and impermanence to learn from these changes and demonstrate agility in adapting to new circumstances

Interpersonal Mastery relates to human connection, the second element of Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence. Collaboration is a foundation to create contribution and long-term value

Being Mastery represents a spiritual dimension, however the individual defines it, to connect one’s depth of character to support effectiveness and contribution

Balance Mastery refers to building, maintaining energy to foster resilience, effectiveness, fulfillment. It moves beyond time management, a practice to manage a limited resource, to generate and regenerate energy to lead

Action Mastery practices leading by coaching others and self to create value.

-*What actions have helped develop leadership from the inside out?

Related Posts:
The Considered “Pursuit of Less”
Whom Do You Serve as a (Level 5, Level 6) Leader?  
“Contemplative Neuroscience”: Transform your Mind, Change your Brain
Developing “Big 8” Job Competencies

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds

Organizational “Learning Agility” Interventions

M.M. Lombardo and R.W. Eichinger introduced the concept of “learning agility” in organizations, and proposed its correlates to workplace performance.

They defined four elements of learning agility in employees:

·         People agility – know themselves, learn from experience, treat others with consideration, display calm and resilience under changing conditions

·         Results agility – obtain results under difficult conditions, inspire others to perform “above and beyond”, inspire confidence in other

·         Mental agility – think through problems with a fresh perspective, comfortable with complexity, ambiguity, communicating  reasoning

·         Change agility – curious about ideas, willing to experiment and develop skills.

Lombardo and Eichinger’s framework has been used by subsequent researchers to measure the impact of learning agility (“learning from experience”) on workplace performance.

De Rue, Ashford, and Myers point out that this concept “lacks conceptual clarity” in their recent article in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and  they propose that learning agility is characterized by differences in speed of learning and flexibility in incorporating new information and skills.

In addition, they suggest that learning agility  includes  both cognitive processes and behavioral processes that can be enhanced by:

·         Cognitive simulations – visualizing scenarios to forecast issues and potential solutions

·         Counterfactual thinking – imagining “what might have been” if different choices had been taken to clarify cause-and effect relations

·         Recognizing patterns – categorizing apparently dissimilar experiences into repeating patterns

·         Seeking feedback  – proactively requesting corrective recommendations and varied perspectives from others, and making it “safe” to provide this information

·         Experimenting – trying new behavioral and thought patterns

·         Reflecting – considering and consolidating “lessons learned” to guide futures behavior decisions

Peter Senge

Peter Senge

Much past research on learning agility has not fully considered the degree to which the organizational culture and climate provide a context of psychological safety and acceptance of risk-taking, but Peter Senge has called for this type of supportive context in his work on The Learning Organization.

-*How do you differentiate “learning agility” from elements of “Emotional Intelligence”?

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