Lessons from Leadership and Innovation 2020 online conference part 2

International Institute for Learning organized its Leadership and Innovation 2020 online conference on 6 March 2020. I couldn’t attend on that date. No problem, because the keynote speeches and presentations were made available on-demand until June 7. That gives participants the opportunity to watch and learn anytime, anyplace. On 19 April I shared the first part of the lessons I took home while watching at home. Now, it’s time for part 2.

Creating Your Organization’s Business Agility Strategy
Lyssa Adkins is a coach, facilitator, teacher, and inspirer. Her Agile community focus is amplifying women’s voices, which is why she is a founder of the TENWOMENSTRONG #WomeninAgile programs. For years, Lyssa has been a passionate player in the Agile Coaching profession. In 2010, she co-founded the Agile Coaching Institute and currently serves as President Emerita as well as co-leads ACI’s competence-based coaching curriculum. She is the author of Coaching Agile Teams, which is still a top-10 Agile book years after publication. Lyssa holds an alphabet soup of certifications: Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC), ICAgile Expert in Agile Coaching (ICE-AC), Project Management Professional (PMP), Organization and Relationship Systems Certified Coach (ORSCC) and Certified Integral Facilitator (IF). She is also a trained Co-Active Coach and Leader.

An organization is only as agile as its least agile division, and that’s probably not IT anymore. Lyssa identified these four domains of business agility centered around the customer, the raison d’être for an organization:

  • relationships
    • board
    • partners
    • workforce
  • leadership
    • people management
    • one team
    • strategic agility
  • individuals
    • growth mindset
    • ownership & accountability
    • craft excellence
  • operations
    • structural agility
    • process agility
    • enterprise agility

The domains of business agility is a thinking tool to structure conversations that strengthen your overall business strategy:

  • Why are we pursuing business agility?
  • What level of agility to we need?
  • And where?
  • How much agility can the organization realistically gain?
  • How do we gain it?

Beware, there is a

  • truth force, that requires a higher power to define ‘the right way’. There is honor in doing my part. To do my duty now = reward later. The organization needs values stability and predictability.
  • strive drive, there is a world of opportunity out there. There are winners and losers. Consider predict and plan, values freedom and autonomy, be pragmatic, competitive and data-driven. Initiative + risk-taking = reward now.
  • flex-flow, everything is interconnected. We are responsible for the fulfillment of personal purpose. There is wisdom beyond rationality. Values, inner integrity, and learning need to be fostered. Uncertainty is okay, emergence works. Thrive and help thrive.

Every step of the journey is the journey.

Exploring the Underbelly of Exceptional Leadership
Cassandra Worthy is Founder & CEO of We Are Change Enthusiasts LLC, one of the nation’s top leadership development firms specializing in navigating the emotional landscape of change, creating value through consulting, services & products, and training. Cassandra and her firm are on a mission to nurture the worlds’ resiliency and adaptiveness, enhance conscious innovation, and inspire conscious leadership through change.

Change is the new constant. Change enthusiasm driven by passion has three steps towards change mastery:

  • signal
  • opportunity
  • choice

Cassandra is exciting and shows off her enthusiasm, although I would have appreciated a little less self-centered story. The next CHANGE acronym may help you too identify leadership traits:

  • Communicative
  • Hungry
  • Authentic
  • Not rigid
  • Grateful
  • Empathetic

How do you permeate change enthusiasm throughout your organization? Embrace being a practicing Change Enthusiast. Leverage CHANGE traits. Create time and space for individuals within the organization to productively emote. Celebrate and communicate wins of employing the mindset.

Leading minds, fueling innovation

M. Brandon Fargis is a technologist, innovator, mentor, and self-professed troublemaker at the helm of anything with sails, heading Fargis Consulting Group. As an advocate for Diversity, Inclusion and Equality he also speaks regularly about Neurodiversity and how allowing all minds are vital to fueling innovation. Neurodiversity is a biological fact—the normal diversity of the human brain—and data suggests up to 1 in 4 individuals are neurodivergent beyond that of a societal “norm,” commonly labeled as ADHD/ADD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Anxiety Disorders, among others.

Many brilliant writers, scientists, and artists were neurodiverse. We need all minds, therefore should welcome neurodiversity and include these people to benefit from their help in visual thinking, quality assurance, and so on.

Organize should realize that neurodiverse people are already in their existing workforce. Hiring processes and criteria may need to be revised not to exclude these talents. Companies like Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, PwC, SAP, and Deloitte did this already. Ask for help or training, if you don’t feel comfortable yet as an organization.

Create communities for those with neurological differences to contribute their best by:

  • Building a supportive community of allies.
  • Educating on the value of neurodiversity.
  • Providing development opportunities.
  • Leaving a lasting impact on the community and beyond.

Nurturing an Innovative Team

Elizabeth Frederick (Operations Officer & Senior Advisor, Criteria for Success) introduces the three actions that you must take if you are looking to nurture an innovative team:

  • Embrace diversity within your team to avoid prejudice and group-think,
  • Leverage cross-functional working groups to avoid like-minded grouping together, excluding others. Improve communication and support processes.
  • Avoid hierarchies and bottlenecks. Examine these five areas:
    • hierarchy: the manager’s ideas may be considered as the best.
    • empowerment: establish clear boundaries for risk, trust your team, and celebrate ideas and results,
    • feedback: develop a feedback culture, encourage constructive criticism, and review passive and active feedback.
    • bottlenecks: manage resource constraints, engage teams as early as possible, and develop clear guidelines.
    • environment: re-evaluate office layout, provide tools, and give your team time to innovate.

Helpful Ideas for Your Journey to True Diversity & Inclusion
Mary-Louise Angoujard (founder and Managing Director, Rapporta) states that globally, organizations are committing to Diversity and Inclusion at higher rates than ever, with 87% of respondents indicating that Diversity and Inclusion is a stated value or priority for their organization. However, for many organizations, the commitment does not extend past a statement in their annual report and allowing diversity groups the time and space to meet. Many business leaders surveyed still acknowledge that being a member of a minority group is a barrier to employee progression.

How similar to you are your ‘trusted ten’ in categories like race, gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, education, nationality, age, and neuro-physical abilities? We all have our biases. Inclusion means interacting with everyone, apologize more. We’re better together. Broaden your horizon. Two tips: