Becoming a Resonant Leader - Part 2

We hope you enjoy Part 2 of our book summary of McKee and Boyatzis work, 'Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope, and Compassion'. You can purchase their book here:

Becoming a Resonant Leader - Part 1

We love the work of McKee and Boyatzis and we think you will too. We have included below oPart 1 of our summary below of their work, 'Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope, and Compassion'. You can purchase their book here:

Why Stories are Vital to Strategy

Stephen Bracken

All businesses are faced with a major dilemma.

Customers have disengaged. The latest Gallup research shows that only 19% of people have confidence in big business. That's the lowest number since 1970. That probably means many of your customers have stopped listening.

Staff are disengaged as well. Again, Gallup research shows us that over 70% of staff are not connected to their firm's purpose, don't know what their brand stands for, and don't believe they impact its success or failure. Your people have stopped believing in the cause.

And strategy can't help.

All organisations need a well thought through strategy to direct their efforts and resources to best effect. Strategy sets out the 'game plan' - it's vital. But people don't engage with strategy. It doesn't lift the heart or connect with passion. It ignores the fact that we are rationalising beings, driven by belief, purpose and emotion much more than rational thought.

That's where story comes in.

Story transforms strategy, bringing it to life in a compelling narrative that engages, aligns and empowers. It creates a framework into which people can invest their purpose, beliefs and support. It connects an organisation's vision with its mission and its strategy. Its much more than brand or culture. It is the opportunity to create a single, powerful narrative that aligns and drives customer experience, organisational culture and brand promise. And that makes for very powerful engagement with your customers and your people.

Why story?

Stories help us make meaning of the world and bring order to the chaos around us. They provide structure and direction. Our brains are wired to respond best to narrative that frames and connects cause and effect.

And stories based on ideals are the secret to effective enaggement. They unlock the discretionary power that is powering growth at the world's leading companies. In a study of over 50,000 brands, those focused on the ideal ofn improving people's lives outgrew and outperformed their competitors. That's the sort of 'stare you in the face' data you just can't ignore.

Story is the new art of winning. But of course it is much more than just story telling ...

Leading, Serving, Leaving

The topic of leadership in times of rapidly changing contexts was the theme of George Savvides' presentation to the Christian Schools National Business Conference in Melbourne. Principals and Registrars of schools find themselves leading large and complex organisations with high touch stakeholder environments including students, parents and community. The vortex of administrative, staff and commercial pressures leaves little time for Principals to devote the necessary time to be the visible, passionate voice of the mission and purpose of their school. Leaders with their lead team play an important role in shaping the identity and character of their institution, which now more than ever needs a strong articulation of WHY they exit and the quality and depth of character they seek to influence the lives of the pupils placed under their instruction. 

In this presentation, George tackled the methodology that he used in his own leadership transformation assignments, pointing out the parallels that organisations face and the role that leaders have in shaping their organisational destiny.  

Click to download George Savvides' Christian Schools presentation

The Trust Equation: What it means for your Organisation

Brian Gardner

I was recently asked the question - how does one sell a new idea to a Board of Directors?

Well, as a start, I would suggest we do it carefully!

But, in reality, there are many nuances to this question, and, irrespective of the nuances, it's not an easy question to answer.

Why? Well, it really does depend on what we're trying to sell, why, what the risk implications are combined with the risk appetite of the company and the Board, the familiarity of the Directors with the 'new idea', and, perhaps most importantly, how much 'we', as the person / people selling the 'new idea', are trusted.

My assertion is that, while you can tick the boxes on all of the above, and even have an impeccably argued and persuasive business case, if it's new, unknown, but a decision is needed quickly, it really comes down to whether you are trusted or not.

 Which brings us to the Trust Equation (as developed by David Maister, Charles Green and Robert Galford). Have you seen it? Have you considered it as part of the selling process? Have you thought how you stack up in this equation?

Maister, Green and Galford proposed this equation primarily in the context of a Consultant / client relationship – but I think the equation is appropriate wherever there is an element of 'selling' and whether or not the 'seller' is heard primarily based on the perception of whether they can be trusted.

n essence the Trust Equation determines that the level of 'Trustworthyness' (T) of a person is equal to the sum of Credibility (C = it speaks to words and credentials), Reliability (R = how others perceive the consistency of our actions, and our actions' connection with our words (integrity)) and Initimacy (I= how secure or safe someone feels feels sharing with us, a reflection of how well you are able to build a meaningful connection with people, irrespective of whether you see yourself as an extrovert, introvert, or a combination of the two), divided by Self-Orientation (S = relates to our caring, and is revealed in our focus – is it about myself or others?).

 Most of us lead with the first two factors - credibility and reliability. These are quantifiable, and "rational", but tend to be overrated. Potential clients aren't comfortable "confessing" that they have feelings, intuitions, instincts and chemistry. They don't want to reject someone based on "we just didn't have a good feeling for you". But most humans buy from the heart, and justify it from the head.

That means the Intimacy and the Self-Orientation factors are very powerful in selling.

Rational thinking (including C and R) are about defining benefits and payoffs. But any expected value must be discounted by the client's confidence that they'll get the results promised. The I and S factors speak to this. Can I collaborate and be honest with this person - and he with me? Do they actually care about myself and this organisation, or are we just means to their ends? 

The trust equation reflects the human balance of mind and heart. Together, it creates powerful economics. 

Many con-men are credible, and sharks are reliably shark-like. But if we get a sense that the 'seller' understands and appreciates us - and that they seem to have our better interests at heart - then we allow their intelligence and dependability to be of service to us. A mis-matched motive will undo ALL of the previously hard won trust earned by building a reputation of credibility, reliability and intimacy.

 If the Board sees you as having your own agenda, your own self-interest at heart, and the motive is not clear and transparent, then you are unlikely to get the idea sold.

So what can you do to increase the above-line factors – reliability, credibility and intimacy?

And the below-the line factor of self-orientation?

Simplicity on the other side of complexity

Stephanie Brien

We are taught from a young age to demonstrate our intelligence through complex writing, on the assumption that this reflects complex thought. Extensive vocabulary is highly regarded, and the insertion of jargonistic language scores you the best grades.

I remember writing essays through high school with the thesaurus open looking for better words, with the single aim of making myself appear “smarter”. This continued through university, writing marketing essays which lead with “There is current disparity in the literature regarding both…”.
Introducing jargon is the way of showing you know your stuff, and its rewarded again and again.

But when should this change?

The world of business is proliferated full of jargon, where it seems the goal is to confuse the reader so much that they assume your intelligence is greater and therefore they should just trust you.  In linking to Brian’s article on the Trust Equatio, the use of complex language is a great way to build credibility. However if your goal is to prove you are more intelligent than your reader, you are failing to build trust because you are being undermined by your own self interest.
But is there an alternative, a way to communicate that draws the reader in and takes them on the journey with you?

Simplicity. The art of elegance. Perfect word selection. Poignant moments of clarity. (Is that starting to get too wordy again?). No one says simplicity is simple - rather, it is achieved by wrestling through the complexity of what you want to say, and producing something at the end… Simplicity is not about “dumbing down” what you are trying to say. It’s about communicating in a way that respects the reader’s intelligence, delivering a clear and concise message that uses just the right choice of words.

What still remains a question is how can we shift from rewarding complex thought and language, to celebrating the achievement of simplicity rather than “simple”.