listenIn my last three posts, I’ve written about a recent interview in the New York Times with Sabine Heller, chief executive of A Small World, an online travel and lifestyle community. I found several parallels between Heller’s leadership approach and our affirmative leadership process. Heller talked about the importance of empowerment, self-directed learning, and motivation, all fundamental components in affirmative leadership. So how do we bring it all together? Fair Process. The new science of Fair Process tells us that when change is presented in ways that increase listeners’ dignity and self-respect, people listen more and adopt the change more quickly. Fair Process gathers input and makes decision making visible. For example, a standard Fair Process approach to changing a manufacturing system might begin with the leadership team meeting with small groups of managers, workers, and foremen to explain the conditions in the marketplace and ask for suggestions. The leadership team would make sure everyone understood that their suggestions would be compared to the suggestions of other groups and considered seriously, thereby empowering participants. Next, the comments would be compiled and presented to all of the employees with a plan based on their suggestions to implement the changes. The employees would set up teams that included workers, foremen, and managers to plan and implement the necessary changes, allowing for self-directed learning. Combining Fair Process and motivation suggests that giving people an opportunity to achieve a higher purpose, and consistently making sure that every person’s contribution to defining and achieving that purpose is highly valued, enhances people’s dignity and honor. This makes real, lasting change a reality.]]>

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