Posts categorized “global leaders”
Teaching leadership to executives around the world, sometimes the curriculum and principles can get so theoretical that it’s nice to hear what leadership sounds like in the real world. I heard it on American Airlines Flight 2276 from Curaçao to Miami, December 27.
My work has made me an American Airlines Executive Platinum member and also a Global 1K on United Airlines. Between the two airlines, I travel over 300,000 miles/year. Other than flight delays and cancellations I have the typical day-in day-out experiences of most long haul business customers when I am traveling. Except on December 27.
After a winter vacation on the balmy Dutch island, our flight was off the gate on time, actually about a minute or two early. Flying as much as I do, I’ve gotten into the flow of getting on the plane, the announcements (yes, I listen), the taxi and run up, being cleared for takeoff, building speed for rotation and wheels up.
Somewhere about 4000 ft down the runway one of the turbines started making a groaning sound.
“Gosh, I’ve not heard that before.”
And then we were off on a fairly steep climb. After executing a left turn we were out over the water and suddenly we could feel the plane throttle back. This can’t be good, I thought.
In a second, a very calming voice on the PA, that of Captain Edge, says something about this not being someone’s day and although not in anyone’s plans we needed to head back because we have experienced a bird strike and the right engine is damaged. He explained he wasn’t sure how badly it was damaged but we are alright and they are expecting us back at the airport.
Very calmly he explained, “We will execute two left turns and be back in the pattern to land. All questions will be answered after we land. Just sit tight, we are all fine.”
I have consulted to leaders and organizations on leadership characteristics and potential for over 30 years. I was impressed by the Captain’s evenness as he made the announcement, as though this was just a short walk in the park. The number of training and simulation hours and his leadership were obvious. Captain Edge, his first officer and the entire cabin crew were extremely professional, calm and well trained. American Airlines should be very proud.
This was this gist of my e-mail to American Airlines as soon as we were safely back in the terminal. I concluded my grateful correspondence, thusly:
“By the way, do you get copies of incidents like this? I never thought about it before but I figured that you must get reports of situations like this, so I am sure I am not informing you of something that you are not already aware. The reason I am writing you is to tell you of the professionalism of the crew and to tell you how well we were treated in getting back to Raleigh-Durham. We did reach Miami that evening, about four hours late. We thanked Captain Edge and the first officer (name, unknown). We never thanked the cabin crew.
“Is there a way to give an appreciation award to this entire crew? I know there are ways to give appreciation to individuals on my American Airlines App–but how about for the ground staff in both Curaçao and Miami? They were actually waiting for us with vouchers and onward journey information! Most importantly, I want Captain Edge and his entire crew to be appreciated for their skill, professionalism and leadership.”
American Airlines, if you’re reading this, thanks for the leadership!
Randy White and Sandy Shullman feature the stories of three clients of the Executive Development Group in their article, “Build Leadership’s Tolerance for Ambiguity.” Read it all in this month’s CLO Magazine
We have a serious problem at the Food and Drug Administration and the President would like to know if you’d take over,” came the request in an after-hours phone call to cancer surgeon Andrew von Eschenbach in 2005.
Cathy Nash, had an enviable resume in banking when she was promoted by Citizens Republic Bank to CEO. A nice gig, but the only problem was the year: 2008. Citizens was under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and had acquired a less-than-stable real estate oriented thrift. Nash said yes to the promotion and TARP dropped in her lap.
Accepting ambiguity is tantamount to failure when your job is calculating the strength of vulcanized rubber at high speed on a freeway. But engineer Hervé Coyco had to accept the complexity, irrationality and emotionality of human organizations and, more so, consumers, when he advanced from leading a team of about 60 engineers to heading 60,000 for Michelin. Coyco took on—among other things—changing Michelin’s Car Tires business strategy worldwide.
What did they do? Read the full story, here.
For more information, contact the Executive Development Group..
Sandra L. Shullman, PhD.
The Executive Development Group is delighted to announce that our partner, Sandra L. Shullman, PhD, has been recognized by the American Psychological Association for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Independent Practice.
Sandy received the award and presented her invited address, “An Independent View of Independent Practice,” during the Association’s Annual Convention, August 2-5, 2012 in Orlando.
The APA award citation reads, in part, “For her outstanding contributions and leadership as an independent practitioner n the fields of counseling and consulting psychology. Through her national scholarship on sexual harassment in the workplace, her development of the practice of organizational counseling psychology, her management of a leading behavioral health care practice and her pioneering leadership development initiatives for national and international clients, Sandra L. Shullman has greatly enhanced the public’s recognition of psychology.”
Earlier this year, Sandy and the Executive Development Group partner Lily Kelly-Radford led the first executive MBA program in Qatar.
Sandy is currently a senior lecturer for HEC School of Business in Paris and a member of the Duke University Corporate Education academic and global learning network. She is an adjunct faculty member for the Cleveland State University Diversity Institute and lectures in executive education at the John Glenn School of Public Policy and the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University. She received her master’s degree from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Ohio State University. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and chairs the APA Workgroup on Executive Coaching.
Frank Kalman writes in this month’s edition of Chief Learning Officer about learning from failure:
…Aside from the psychological distaste associated with human failure, one of the larger barriers keeping more corporations from embracing it as an engine for learning is rooted in organizational culture. Creating a culture where failure isn’t the goal but is treated as a learning driver remains an uphill battle for many, said Amy C. Edmondson, professor of leadership and management at the Harvard Business School. The most frequent gaffe organizations make is equating perfection with good performance.
“The biggest mistake we make is thinking we’re not supposed to make mistakes,” said Edmondson, who wrote an April 2011 research article on the topic for the Harvard Business Review. Read the article here.
In our work on ambiguity, the ability to learn from failure is a requisite for overcoming the fear of uncertainty.
Kalman’s source, Amy C. Edmondson offers a 12-minute video presentation on the subject here.
Executive Development Group partners Lily Kelly-Radford and Sandra L. Shullman write in this month’s Chief Learning Officer Magazine about their teaching experience in Qatar’s first executive MBA program:
Late in 2010, The International Federation of Association Football announced that Qatar will host its World Cup tournament in 2022. Soccer fans were stunned. It’s not an understatement to say Qatar has not been a powerhouse in the sport. A few months later, Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales de Paris (HEC Paris), a business school ranked first in 2011 by the Financial Times, launched Qatar’s first executive MBA program, including a module on executive leadership. Learning executives were excited, but not surprised. Qatar is striving to become a leader in the region for global learning initiatives…
…How can learning executives help make corporate education an example for greater society? Consider:
Embracing diversity: Being mindful at all times of gender, ethnicity and culture isn’t about being politically correct; it’s related to the curriculum. It also can be a way to lead by example. It can help to be open and ask for feedback from a local resident to learn how to “show up” or participate respectfully in his or her culture.
Learning from students: Schedule time for students to share how their personal experiences relate to their goals in the learning process. This can be as important as course evaluations in any efforts to enhance or improve the program. It is also a way to improve teaching agility and examine or focus on a topic from multiple perspectives.
Being immersed in the local society: Become an active learner by making a point to master regional protocol and local news to be better informed and more sensitive to student experiences in the classroom.
Including topical issues in the coursework: Don’t hesitate to address world politics and current events as they relate to business leadership and strategies. Encourage ethics-based decisions and conscientious solutions.
Read the article here.
Our global business continues to keep us busy in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.
The February 2012 issue of Chief Learning Officer offers a special report on leadership development that makes an effective and topical preamble for The Ambiguity Architect and our work in understanding the importance of managing uncertainty as it relates to leadership.
“Now you’ve got to work with huge amounts of ambiguity, help other people do that too, and manage risk,” she said. “You’re always trying new things, pushing the edge of the envelope — and you have to enable your teams to experience and also let them fail. That’s a whole set of leadership capability that we really didn’t have a huge dose of to start with.”—Diane Gherson, vice president of talent at IBM, CLO Magazine
That’s pretty specific to our work, but the report also describes an environment in which leadership is “granted” and subjective and harder to teach. All of this points to the value of ambiguity tolerance as a leadership trait.
For instance, globalization has forced GE’s leaders to think and manage in multiple layers, making critical thinking a top skill. They must have an acute sense of how these complex layers relate, and be able to assimilate business strategies across cultures. That is the framework in which executive leadership — across all global organizations — now operates.
“The information age has changed the world of leaders,” said Jeff Barnes, senior manager of global learning at GE. “Information is so quick. You don’t have time to really stop and think about it … your job [as a leader] has gotten so much more complicated.”
Read it all here.
Randy was interviewed while in Brisbane by Research News, the publication of the Australian Market and Social Research Society.
Glass ceiling author still waiting for more diversity among leaders
During his visit to Australia this year, Dr Randall White argued leaders need to be able to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity, rather than just take a command and control approach.
As an international thought leader in the field of executive coaching and leadership development – and the ‘token guy’ in the team that wrote the 1987 hit Breaking the Glass Ceiling – Dr Randall White was invited to Brisbane to deliver a keynote address at the 2011 Organisational Psychology Conference.
At the same conference, Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) CEO Serge Sardo argued that Australian businesses needed to move on from the concept of ‘the leader’ to the concept of ‘leadership’ and building a culture within an organisation that nurtures new leaders. READ MORE.
White cites Joe Rost, who claimed that there are more than 300 definitions of leadership in the West alone, but when asked to define a good leader, he says, ‘Effective leaders create an environment where everybody can maximise their potential, whatever that is. I think effective leaders aren’t afraid to surround themselves with people who are better than them. They are open to asking for, receiving and giving feedback about their performance. They aren’t afraid to be confronted by people around them who are faster, quicker, brighter and more prescient. You start to see the best in leaders when they come to understand that it’s about the legacy that they leave behind them.’ READ MORE.
Diversity in leadership:
He says it’s also important to acknowledge that one of the best breeding grounds for leaders is a start-up.
‘Across a wide variety of industries, we see excluded classes of people – women, those who might be termed minorities – starting up their own businesses because they get to write their own rules and create their own culture. They bring different kinds of behaviour to the leadership enterprise. Start-ups give people the opportunity to try their hand at leadership whereas, if they were in a larger organisation, they might not experience as big a stretch.’…
Leaders don’t just come packaged as white, male and 6’1 ”
White says organisational psychology could be potentially very helpful in helping those in the market and social research industry develop leaders, because it encourages people to try out different ideas.
‘For example, let’s have more diverse teams because the greater heterogeneity the more likely the business is to achieve its objectives.’READ MORE.
I’ve been a surgeon for eight years. For the past couple of them, my performance in the operating room has reached a plateau. I’d like to think it’s a good thing—I’ve arrived at my professional peak. But mainly it seems as if I’ve just stopped getting better. —Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/10/03/111003fa_fact_gawande#ixzz1Zvwelyd2
Gawande writes compellingly and authoritatively about his own decision to innovate and consider a surgical coach, but he also describes the process as one of potentially mutual fulfillment for he and his coach.
Improving our performance can be as emotionally refreshing as it is career-advancing.
Randy White’s keynote address at the Australian Psychological Society got the attention of the Australian Financial Review and netted a feature article by Fiona Smith. Read “When being unsure is a strength” here.
Soon after, Australian blogger, Dwight Towers picked up on the theme with some of his own commentary, calling it “Kinda good.” Hey, that’s high praise in this age of managed expectations. Read it here.
The Hobart-based employee assistance firm of Newport and Wildman felt the message is meaningful to their mission to include it on their home page.
Dr. Randall P. White describes India as an emerging meritocracy in a side bar to the cover story, “How Indian Firms Beat the World,” this month in Talent Management.
Executive Development Group is currently providing executive education in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
“…India is a fascinating crucible for what could become a true meritocracy.
Perhaps what the West can most effectively learn, in an immediately practical way, is:
• People who live in emerging economies see learning—and learning fast—as a primary competitive advantage.
• Knowledge-based reward and advancement may improve the work environment by diminishing the cult of personality.
• A corporation that believes in its learning initiatives can become a true meritocracy.
• The West needs to reevaluate and invest in education at every level long before graduates arrive at the corporation.
• For the near term, US corporations need to take on a retraining role, taking on people who come of age in an era of educational mediocrity. In the longer term, corporations will need to help any number of stakeholders revamp the US educational system.”
Read the entire article here.