No organization or leader can be complacent because none are too big to fail; the characteristics of great leadership and how to develop them are known; individual transformation, growth, and development follows a predictable model; and leaders must speak to followers using the appropriate cultural language to foster change.
That’s a pretty fair summary of the four speakers at last weekend’s Transformational Leadership Symposium: Staying Ahead of the Curve, sponsored by the Wright Foundation for Transformational Leadership. It doesn’t at all do the weekend justice in terms of the excitement of the crowd, the quality of the attendees, or the depth of the content. It’s only a taste.
For the entire experience was a feast. One of our clients went home after the Friday night dinner and told his wife it was the best symposium and conference he had attended. This was before the Saturday presentations. He had heard a short, pointed talk from Dr. Judith Wright about the need for transformation in our challenging times and an inspirational story of surviving to thriving in retail electronics as a result of multiple organizational transformations from Best Buy Vice Chairman and former CEO Brad Anderson.
In the interest of time, here are a few quotes and ideas that struck us over the weekend:
“We all have transformational qualities.” Dr. Ron Riggio presenting the four primary components of transformational leadership, based on decades of leadership research. They are:
1. Idealized Influence–bring a positive role model.
2. Inspirational Motivation–inspire, envision, energize.
3. Intellectual Stimulation–challenge, think, innovate.
4. Individualized Consideration–empathize, care, mentor, coach.
“All leaders live a great life. . . . Transformational does not take place without building new neuropathways.” Dr. Judith Wright explaining the neuroscience of learning and how the brain must physically change. Her Theory of Evolating breaks the process of individual transformation into six phases, each of which is supported by recent advances in neuroscience research.
“One of the most critical jobs of a transformational leader is keeping people engaged throughout the entire process of transformation and change, especially in the middle when you can no longer see the beginning and aren’t close enough to see the end.” Dr. Bob Wright discussing the engagement phase of evolating.
“Time to stop whining and start designing. . . . You need to see what life conditions produce the behavioral patterns you want to change. . . . All problems are a response to the life conditions that have to be met. . . . The big challenge today is meaning and purpose.” Dr. Don Beck talking about the dynamics, systems, processes, and cultures of humanity.
“If you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.” Brad Anderson quoting Best Buy founder Dick Schultz. The company has been successful because they have persevered and always invested in their people, allowing them to fail in order to innovate and achieve success.