E85: Generative Leadership: Enabling Happy Contributing People

Kayanna:

(singing)

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

Hello and welcome, this is Dr. Dave. I guess our session now is talking about "Generative Leadership: Enabling Happy Contributing Customers". When I think of generative leadership, I think about leaders who give birth to organizations and other human behaviors to demonstrate the ability to achieve amazing things.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

So let me just give you a little bit of a background of who I am, and as a speaker, and who's spending time here with you today. One of the things that I look forward to is trying to be a servant leader. I'm an entrepreneur, a coach, trainer, delivered over about a billion dollars in customer value. I'm a founder of many things, so I'm a founder of the "Agile for Humanity Conference & Meetup".

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

I'm the "5 Saturdays STEAM Program". Most people know it as "STEAM". I'm a podcaster, I have this podcast called "KnolShare with Dr. Dave". It runs on iTunes and Spotify. The reason they call me Dr. Dave is that I did a Doctoral Dissertation and it's called "A Value of Scrum to Organization". So that's published out there. I'm a verbal... Written several books. "Elastic Minds" is probably the latest published I'm working on "Deliver Value". And one of the things that I'm really passionate about is giving back to the community. So "5 Saturdays" where we work with high school students. We do a lot of amazing things helping to change the trajectory of their lives and some of the things that they're doing.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

So let's talk about the "Challenge". The challenge that I ran into. So I was doing research for a startup company, and I found that disengaged people or teams cost about $550 billion. A half a trillion dollars in productivity loss. And when we think about the impact of that to the organization? We're talking about lost revenue, poor team performance, and oftentimes business failure that happens through this process. And the way I look at this is that I laid us firmly at the feet of the leaders. I look at leaders who are responsible for laying the groundwork to create culture, where we have values, and beliefs. Environments, where we have an innovative space to work and play. And also psychological safety, something that's really popular in the agile space. And this is the courage to speak out without fear. So this is a really important aspect for us that helps to kick off idea that there's a challenge out there. There's something that's really impacting organizations in the United States, and beyond.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

Now, I came up with this idea about "Leaderless Leader". I was doing a podcast with my friend Earl Cobbs. And I was just thinking of what should we call the podcast? And I came up with the idea that there's this concept of a "Leaderless Leader"", and the condition of a leaderless leader is there's an absence of demonstrated leadership by those individuals. Because as we said, we're responsible for creating an environment for people and the organization, deliver value to customers, and the stakeholders, the organization stakeholders, as well as the shareholders.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

So some of the common attributes that you find in leaderless leaders is that they have unclear vision. They're all always chasing after the delayed shiny pursuit. There's an absence of empathy and it's "Just get her done I don't care, just go get that stuff done, I don't give". And when we talk about delegation without accountability, and they would say, "My team failed". They wouldn't be like "We failed", or "I am partially responsible for the failure as well", It's like "My team failed". If some of the language you would hear and the expressions.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

And you look at failure in terms of it being used as a scapegoat. You think of blaming as one of the four horsemen when we think of psychological safety. And how do you build high performing teams is... The leader's going to say, "It's their fault, it has nothing to do with me." And you find that this poor execution of value delivered to our customer, and you would hear customers saying, "This is the worst experience ever". And then you have novelty as crushed. That could never work here. That could never work here. And so in Ron Westrum's cultural model, you look at these attributes are considered as pathological. It's power-oriented.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

And we've seen this play out in the media before. Where you have like the former SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson blame the firm's poor cybersecurity on an action, where it's a huge failure. And he's speaking to Congress telling him, "Hey, it's the intern's fault. It has nothing to do with me". And I think back to like Chuck Berry's song in his lyrics, "It must've been some other body, baby. It wasn't me". Or you mean you can think of Shaggy's gone, "It wasn't me". Thinking of... These are the kind of the mindset of a leaderless leader.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

Now I want to think of how could we help a leaderless leader to go on a different journey. Begin a brand new journey. And so, as part of that conversation that I had with Earl, I discovered this word "Gumbo" as a metaphor that provides the lens of how to... We can help leaderless leader find their mojo, right? Also in doing that and doing some simple research, I ran into Ken Wilber's integral model. And you look at the four quadrant of, "I", "It", "We", "Its", and I found some other agile stuff that went well together with it. That "I" as mindset. "It" is practices. "We" as relationship. And "Its" is the environment that we live in.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

And so when Ken Wilbur talks about the integral model, what he's really talking about is it helps to reveal some of the deepest patterns that run through all of our humanness, our humanity. By showing relationship that exists between our physical self. The systems that we interact with. The culture that we must survive in, and the conscious evolution that we set in. So when I think of "mindset", I'm thinking of abundance of levels of listening and psychological safety. When I think of "it" practices... Scrum, Kanban, Design-thinking, other types of systems thinking. When we think of relationships, we're talking about culture, kindness. And also in... With looking at the environment, we're thinking of, "Is it collaborative?". Or we're in the spiral space talking about these teal teams, and teal environments, when we start creating those wonderful environments for people to thrive in.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

All right. Excellent. That's really excellent to recognize that there is value in looking at some of the goodness of being in a mindset, as well as the relationship, but also situational. And I threw that in there because that's the reality of things that can happen where people will be moving into a situational context. Yeah.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

Well, it's moving into a situational context. It's an additional dimension to look at as we're dealing with leadership and dealing with the organization itself.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

So the other leadership that I think about the one that I really want to focus on is "Generative". And, and so when we think about generative leaders, they help to shape your organization to embrace a continual learning culture, a culture of learning. And one area of emphasis that we want to look at is the social intelligence based on the freedom of information that's flowing throughout the organization. So there isn't one person or one organization that's hoarding all that information. We're sharing it throughout so that everyone is aware. And the whole simple concept that we talk about let's make work visible. Well, let's make information visible as well in our context. So the common attributes that we look at in generative leaders is that we have high cooperation at work. And so that focuses on "We" an "Us". We, working together.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

When we talk about the "Messengers trained", where you have everyone that's involved, who's talking about, "What do we want to learn today?" "What's possible for us?". The risks are not just owned by one person, right? We win and lose as a team, right? So the risk is shared between the members of the team. And as we were talking about going through bridging, and we're having conversations with other people. So when we talk about "T-shaped teams" and we talk about "T-shaped organizations",

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

... Organizations, what we're encouraging is that conversation to go forward. We have this wonderful dialogue, and so that we can work well together. When we think about failure, we treat it as a learning opportunity. So, what did we learn? There's an inquiry about what happened to go forward as we're trying to create this wonderful learning environment and there's no such thing as, you know what, that would never work. The first thing we'll say, "Run the experiment and evaluate the hypothesis." What did we learn? What can we learn from running this novel idea that someone just came up with in the team? And, my favorite is the abundance mindset. See, I added this because I think it was really important that we start to think about we have the capacity to share with others. I think that was an important addition to these different attributes about this leader because where it gets us to is that we don't have to hoard information and we can create just a high environment of cooperation where we could actually all work well together across the enterprise.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

Now, there's ways of how we work with others within the organization. So, I grabbed Stephen Covey's definition of the abundance mindset and the conversation is the abundance mindset is a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources than successes to share with others. And, that's the mindset when you start treating an environment of continual learning, this is what we get. We get this wonderful opportunity to learn more between each of the organizations. So, we're talking about the four Cs that we think about here. We're talking about being committed, being connected, being courageous, and being complete. So, Peter Senge, when he was talking about the leadership because generative leadership is something that one of my co-workers found for me because I thought I had invented it and I'm laughing about that, that I thought I had invented the term generative leadership, ha ha.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

But actually, one of my co-workers found that for me. And so, Peter Senge, when he came up with this in 1990, he said just a distinction, a clear distinction between leadership that is motivated by challenges or problems, which he prefers to call as adaptive leadership. But, he said generative leadership is a higher form of leadership and if you know who Peter Senge is, he came up with a fifth discipline, systems thinking, a lot of very important topics that we hang on to and we use today in the agile space. So, what generative leaders do is they help to create a future without reacting to it. We're moving company, the organization, people from being reactionary and fragmented to where they're working more as a cohesive unit. So, when we think about committed, we're focused on continual learning through experimentation.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

And when we're talking about connected, we're engaged with our people. Courageous, we're talking about tenacity for risk and guts to be decisive, to be able to make a decision. Being complete, and I'm going to use the word use abiding love. Love it in the context that we have patience and kindness to the people that we work with to help not only ourselves, but to help others to achieve their level of awesomeness. So, the four Cs that's been defined in terms of these are the key elements to help a generative leader to connect with its people, with the people that they work with, it's really essential and you can see that there are several different authors and well-known names who have contributed to if we're committed by Einstein, we're talking about the only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true leader. So, we're just taking different elements of different leaders that we could connect with, with different attributes within the four Cs.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

When I think of the generative culture, and I'm just grabbing something from Ken Schwaber and he says agility is an organization's ability to harness its changes for its competitive advantage. And so, these competing values when we start to think about culture and how we apply culture to bring about change within the organization. As we look at the four quadrant, we could start with clockwise, we talk about transformational change, and in that creative context, we want to do things first. We have adhocracy where we're focused on innovation or we want to have fast change where we want to be super competitive, we're focused in the market and we want to do things fast. And so, we're also always prioritizing profitability in this context and the controlling, which is more hierarchical.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

We want to do things right. And so, there's incremental change that we're after here and this is more of your corporate structure. You may find organizations that are highly regulated who actually want to fit more into this mode, or at least certain part of the organization exists in this mode. As a matter of fact, even in most agile organization, you do still have some hierarchical aspects when you bring in HR and finance and different parts of the organization that's structured that way. And then, we look at the sustainable change aspect of it where we're really collaborative. We're working as a clan and we're doing things together, which is really super important. So, as we're thinking about the culture as a generative leader, what we want to bring about, there's always tension because I don't believe that we could just be in one space alone.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

Well, maybe we may start there, but we may shift and go in different areas, but I would say that if we're trying to be competitive and collaborative, there's going to be some tension there. There's going to be a give, there's going to be a pull that if we want to do things together, and we want to get things done faster, and get it to market because we're worrying about profitability, which is really important for any organization, there will be some level of tension in this context. And so, the same thing happens if you want to be creative and controlling. There will always be tension there because if I'm trying to bring about transformational change, and I want to do incremental change, doing things first, doing things right, there's going to also be tension in those two areas. So, I just want you to be cognizant that this is a reality of which one of the quadrants that you may select in terms of thinking about the culture that you want within your organization and what you want to compete with.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

And, I've kind of shifted around in terms of my definition of what agility is, which is intentionally responding to change caused by opportunities and threats to thrive and the reason I bring change and opportunities and threats is because if we really have a business context about our organization, there are opportunities for us to leverage and threats for us to really dampen, so we can actually thrive. So, when I think about change that really is satisfied by delivering measurable outcomes that can be realized and shared, and I'm thinking things that we could measure, things that feeds the customers, things that can be realized, and things that can be shared with others. So, what we're going to do... Let's see, another quick exercise, and we want to think about... If you were a generative leader and let's talk about where would you prefer to focus your culture.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

We should be able to see, do we want to be more of a collaborative culture? Do we want to be a creative culture? Do we want to be a controlling culture, competitive, or is it situational? And so as a generative leader, where would you want to go? Where do you want to focus your interests and time where people would prefer to focus their energies as they're rebuilding or shifting their organizational culture as a generative leader?

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

So, 82% want to spend most of their time as a clan, collaborative and I would expect that. Where in the agile space, I would expect that a lot actually. We have 30%, which is situational, where depending on the dynamics of the organization or what's going on in the market, things are going to be different and we understand that. And, 21% is for creative, always focused on innovation. Some people want to be controlling and some people want to be competitive. This is really excellent feedback in terms of what you would prefer for your organization, which is wonderful. So, I'm going to go back in, and now we're going to look at... All right, so we see where we would want to spend some of our energies and time

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

In terms of looking at the space that we would want to live in just often with the people that we work with. There's another very important aspect of this, right, as we're talking about leadership, is that sometimes we may want to figure out how generative is our leadership, how were they really interacting with people that they are serving in terms of the value that they're bringing in terms of creating this wonderful learning environment that we all could thrive in.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

When we look at the leadership attributes, high cooperation, messengers trained, shared risks, encourage bridging, they're learning fast, and novelty implemented, they're supportive and we have this abundance mindset, we could create a simple survey that we take it to the people, right? Ask the people, "Hey, how's this working for you? How's this helping you to really succeed?"

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

This is really amazing to figure out how can we look at the generative leader, but it's not only just for the people that they serve, but also for the generative leader where he's getting the 360 feedback of how can they get better as well, right? Because we're the space of, we're creating this culture of continual learning and so we could simply create some simple questions that are based on the Likert Scale. I highly agree or highly disagree, we could scale it with five to seven points.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

A simple example of a question that you could coin, you don't have to buy this from someone, you could use this same what I call eight or nine points and build nine questions with a Likert Scale behind of it and then plot it and give it back. So you may want to run this as a retrospective with a cohort. "Does Jane as a leader enable high cooperation within your team or within the organization?" You could even scale it more across cross-functional team and you could agree or not agree, right? And so you could create this point system and have a nice visual representation of how the leader is really impacting the individuals within that organization.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

If you have a generative leader and there's generative leadership, and just a generative culture, one thing that I've discovered is that we have happy contributing people. And so, Simon Sinek, one of the things that he says is that, "When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute." They want to give something back. So if we're building this wonderful continual learning culture, I could almost guarantee, and from my experiences, is that we start, we begin to build these high performing teams, and so we have people who are happy, happily contributing to many different dimensions of the organization.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

It's not just all the functional work that they may do, it's also maybe work that they're doing within their community. They get into purpose and autonomy and mastery. This is some of the stuff that comes from Daniel Pink, "Purpose, autonomy and mastery makes happy people." But also in research, what I've discovered is that generative leadership is a form of being a multiplier by creating this wonderful continual learning culture. And so the research shows that when we invest the right amount of energy with the right attributes and attitudes, what we begin to see is that revenue increases by 24%. As we invest into this continual learning environment for the people within the team and the organization, we start to see a 9% performance improvements against the revenue that's being made. In terms of overall performance, just 22%.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

This is really important because if you're responsible for managing people, and so, one of the things is that if you could get a 8% gain against talent management goals, an 8% gain for each person, I mean, that's tremendous for the organization. I mean, that's really amazingly good in terms of giving you space and time to do other things within the organization, in terms of working in different strategies and really building other relationship in terms of what's going on in the organization. So this is truly an outcome of the shift and change to be a generative leader is happy contributing people.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

We also want to see exactly what's going on with our happy contributing people. We're looking at their mindset, we're looking at what's going on with them. And so I've created a couple of surveys that I use today as I'm working with clients, is that, "Hey, how do we really start to understand the mindset of teams and individuals? Let's understand their happiness." So I said, "How happy are you or how happy are we?" I've using Daniel Pink's three markers of purpose, mastery and autonomy and wrap some questions around those, and I've added fun, got to have fun. If we're going to work and work hard and produce great outcomes, we want to have fun as well in the organization. So that's one of the questions that I ask.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

And then the other five are really the Scrum Values. The Scrum Values are respect, focus, openness, courage, and commitment. I wrap questions around those and also create a form of a Likert Scale to figure out, "Are we in agreement or not?" Based on your experience, because happiness itself is based on an experience. And so if people are experiencing purpose and mastery and autonomy and they're having fun, we respect each other, we're focused on the right things, we're not having this power struggle about information, we're open, we're demonstrating amazing courage to do the right things and we're really committed to each other, to me, that's happiness and that's a lot of goodness that happens within the organization. Now, the second side of that is that engagement, how engaged are we? There's a few markers that I came up with that I said that we build trust, right?

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

This is more of a 360 feedback where team members are given feedback, cross-functional team members are giving feedback to each other, and it's a random draw of someone's name that you work with and he goes like, "Does this person build trust? Yes or no." And well, that's not true. It has a Likert Scale that also gives you a range of the level of trust that you think that they provide within the team. Are they customer focused and or are they customer centric, which is a key element that's really that most organization are focused on today. And are they tech movers? Are they being super innovative with technology that's shifting and changing things? Are they willing to take initiative and take on new work? Meet, say, do, and this is more of a commitment kind of things, "I committed to doing a certain amount of work and I actually got it done."

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

So yeah, did we meet, say, do, and then we want to know, "Are they supportive? Are they supportive of each other or supportive of others, so even others who are in a cross-functional team?" So it gives us a greater dimension to really to start to understand the mindset of the people who are doing the work in the organization. They're the happy contributing people, really essential for us to be successful. In summary, I just wanted to, what we discussed here is that generative leaders equals happy people or happy contributing people. We think about general generative leaders as the ones who shape culture. And it's important for us to measure success, measure success of the generative leaders, measure success of the happy contributing people who are participating in the process as well. This is essential for us.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

So with that, I'm going to ask you as an aspiring servant leader and generative leader, I've thrown up a QR code. If you have a phone hit that and it'll take you through a survey. I just wanted to see how can I improve. I mean, if I'm in a space of continual learning, I always want to learn how I could get better. I'm also going to copy the link into the chat and just give me feedback. And with that, that's all I have. That's all I have for now. I'll be writing an article about this, every month I put on a blog. This will be available on LinkedIn and also on the knolshare.org website. Let me stop sharing, and this should give us a little bit of time for some questions, and you could go ahead and fire away and I'll do my best to respond. Yeah, chat it to me so at least I

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

I could see it and... Yeah, yeah. How can we make the dysfunctional aspects of the leaderless leader more transparent without losing your job? I guess looking at my camera here, who's getting fuzzy. There you go. Came back into focus. So the thing is, what you can do is, you could use the same metric or just the same tool that I use for measuring the generative leader. Right? You could start off with a conversation first with those leaders and say, "We're trying to build a highly transparent organization and environment. Would you be open to a 360 feedback?" Right? And this is part of the courage that we talk about, happy contributing people have. That courage to go and ask that question.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

And if the answer is yes, then you could go ahead, and perhaps run that survey. But I want to be mindful about one thing, is that you may have to tap into HR to do that as well. Just to check in with them. I've noticed that certain surveys they don't want executed, so it starts with a conversation, and having that level of courage. And also, here's a tool that we could use to ask about, do we have high cooperation? We share in risk. Are we encouraging bridging? Right? And those things, and I think that's one pathway down. That's one way. There are many other ways that you may do this, but this is just one way if we stay within the context of this presentation today.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

We have to have empathy, right? We really have to have empathy for the organization. One way to do this, and I've found to be effective is the wonderful lunch and learn. Take a presentation like this. And I don't know why my camera's is... Take a presentation like what I just provided, and do a lunch and learn. Hey, here's some things that I'm hearing out in the market space. Is it okay for us to try some of this? One context. The other thing is, if you're familiar with open space, maybe open space using an open space meeting to bring this up as part of the conversation. It's another way to start introducing this into the organization as a conversation.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

To me, it's all about empathy. It's about transparency. And it's about just having dialogues with people. I find that people, even unreasonable people sometimes are reasonable when they are informed, and you try to help them understand, where are you going with this? How is this going to benefit the organization? You may even do a comparison. Hey, here's an article that I found, this that has worked at this organization. Is it okay for us to do a limited experiment with this as well? I have one more thing. And I call it the third opinion. And the third opinion is called the consultant, or the coach.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

I've worked for many organizations, and I've told them, here's some of the things that we need to work on, and if we do this, this will help us better. Here are examples. And then I brought that third opinion in. Call them a coach or a consultant. And all of a sudden they're saying exactly the same thing that I said. And oh yeah, brilliant! Right? Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. And if we kept the Likert scale, and I'm going to go back to the measuring generative leadership. When you saw the spider graph. Right. And I could bring it up again, if need be. Yeah. Let me just bring up the spider graph of that and share again.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

Look, we could use this simple tool as a way to measure. And let's say I didn't go to 10. Let's say I went to five, right? And I said, anything above a three is good. Right? Three, four, five is good. Anything below a three, it's stuff that we really need to pay attention to. That is a simple way to approach this without it being super complex. Right? I love simplicity, so I don't want anything that's too hard, and then I have to rack my brain about this. But if I went from a zero to five, or even if I went to 10, let's call it that. In the scaling, I could say anything above a seven. Seven and above is good, and I could go like maybe six to four is somewhere in between, and I could go three below.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

Right? So I could even make it multi-dimensional in terms of high, low, medium, right? High, medium, low in terms of performance. So this is another way you could start to carve up the data, and start to have conversations. But it's also, as you're doing this, it's about getting agreement to buy in alignment in terms of, this is a good thing to do in the organization. So oftentimes when I'm having these conversations, I'll introduce a concept, but I want alignment with everyone who are... Let's say I'm working with leaders like I am today, I want alignment with those leaders that, is this okay? I have tendencies of wanting to put descriptors of a number. So if I have a nine, what does nine really mean to you? Right?

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

Let's talk about something that's really tangible, and everyone could align it in the meaning of a nine, and the meaning of one. And so that makes it a lot easier as well, as a different way of approaching, dealing with metrics, because these are qualitative type metrics that we're looking at. And so what we're really trying to understand, not just how many, but why and what, as part of that conversation. So it's not only just grabbing the numbers, but it's also having a conversation. So I love to run these type of activities as a retrospective, right? And you know retrospective have five stages. So I like to run it as a retrospective, so at the end, maybe we grab one or two things that we take away and say, "This is what we're going to work on next, as an individual or as a leader." I hope that was helpful.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

Let's see... Today's the 31st. So at least by next week, I will have my newsletter that's coming out. You would have my podcast that's available, KnolShare with Dr. Dave, it's on iTunes and Spotify. Also, like I said, I write a blog, so it would be at the knolshare.org website. And I also put it out for free on LinkedIn as well. And so the next topic is generative leadership. So it's much of this, but it's in written form. It's also in an audio form, so it's that people could listen to it, download it and listen to it. So those are the next things. And then Agile for Humanity. Let me not forget that. We're kicking off Agile for Humanity. Our meetup, it's April 17th, and I could provide that information. April 17th, we'll have a virtual meetup. And we have... I'm going to screw up her name. Sorry. Gitte Klitgaard from Germany.

Dr. Dave Cornelius:

She's going to be our speaker. And you could find Agile for Humanity as a meetup, and you could see you could register there. And so that's the next thing. So we're firing up our bi-monthly meetup again, and we're going to be inviting people from around the world to share their ideas. And don't forget, one last thing is, I don't have it here, but I think Adam shared about the 5 Saturdays program. And if you want to volunteer and really build up something amazing in your community, teaching students how to write code, to be entrepreneurs, teach them Agile, teaching about careers, this is a great place to practice your skill, especially if you're a new Scrum Master too, or product owner. This is a great place to practice your skill as a partnership that we do with the Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance. So if I could send you that information, and you can share it back out, that would be really, really amazingly awesome. Yeah.

 

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