skydiverMany people believe that the top leadership positions go to those with a knack for building the right skills, while others believe that leaders are born, not made. And according to an article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), the mark of a great leader is contingent upon the way they make a decision, not necessarily the decision itself. The article titled “How you make decisions is as important as what you decide” describes a survey of 500 college-educated people in professional careers and found that inclusiveness in the decision-making process is the key differentiator between a mediocre leader and a great leader. The article went on to detail in-depth interviews conducted with five highly respected leaders who have been CEOs in five different industries and discovered that their leadership development happened much more naturally than those with strategic and rigid career planning. It was openness to new ideas stimulated through broad networking that helped make these leaders great. Our work with star performers very much aligns with HBR’s findings. The stars are constantly stretching their worlds through frequent communication with their peers, social media and every tool at their disposal. For the past four to five years we have been conducting transformational leadership programs that are designed to get the people in your organization to think and act like top leaders, which in turn can help your organization’s culture take on those same characteristics. We explicitly tell participants that our program is designed to push them out of their comfort zone in regard to information and other people. We also inform them, that as outsiders, we can’t begin to tell them what it will take to create the most value for them personally. They must learn to create value for themselves by discovering how to become great self-directed learners. Our programs require participants to seek out non-traditional perspectives from the Internet, through communicating with different people and anything else that will stretch them out of their comfort zone and help them to examine their mental models for biases. At first the participants give us funny looks like, what is going on here? And, do you mean I actually have to do these things you have discussed? Regardless of any apprehension, the participants do follow through with our suggestions. They also discuss our program with a support group and realize that they are beginning to develop the capabilities that define a great leader. Soon, the participants begin to realize that this is a better way to learn and lead. In the end, 95 percent say that it’s a very transformative experience. Now imagine that everyone in your company’s culture was thinking and acting like the star performers that we’ve described here. Do you want that for your organization?]]>

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