Generative Leadership Philosophy & Approach
A holistic model that leverages the Synergistic power of people working together to ACHIEVE sustainable growth.
I’ve seen many organizations struggle to develop a coherent leadership culture
just as their businesses began to rapidly grow.
When the leadership culture was effective, the business thrived. When leadership crumbled under the new pressures, the business inevitably crumbled too.
I searched for answers, reading books and attending programs, most of which focused on “disciplined execution” and developing “operational excellence”. Essentially: Do more, better, with less.
I don’t think that is the answer, at least, not the whole answer. Because when we treat that ethos as The Answer, we put even more pressure and stress on our teams and on ourselves. Even in tech, people aren’t machines (news, I know).
People are complex adaptive organisms, as are teams and organizations, just at larger scales.
Rapid growth creates both great opportunities
and great challenges
When the business is self-generating growth – adding people in tens, and hundreds as it scales – The processes and practices that once worked begin to break down.
It takes a clear commitment to cultivate a generative leadership culture to sustainably grow.
When the business grows through acquisitions, it compounds the challenges with a patchwork of different cultures, processes, practices, and systems.
The complexity increases exponentially and can trigger fears of failure, vulnerability, and mind-numbing overwhelm.
Integrating acquisitions requires cultivating generative leadership to learn from different perspectives, build on strengths, and create new capacity together.
We all get knocked off balance by change and increasing complexity.
That is why building generative leadership is crucial for success.
You can dictate change from the top down, but it rarely lasts.
When change is forced upon people and teams without cultivating the generative capacity to adapt and create with the change, new ideas will be rejected or at best half-heartedly adhered to.
Unanswered questions and unresolved concerns create greater resistance to change.
To effectively lead change, you have to develop ways of working better together with people.
When you cultivate a coherent culture, rather than try to reactively control the outcomes, you open the door for a more creative approach that increases engagement.
By developing the collective behavior of your leaders, you create the culture that helps your teams evolve and adapt.
Reactive vs. Generative Leadership
When leaders over-focus on “fixing problems” rather than
“creating better outcomes” they build reactive organizations.
Reactive leadership sees problems “in the way”
and rushes to solve them so they can go back to ‘business as usual’ as quickly as possible.
The result is a firefighting mentality that results in higher stress and less progress toward desired outcomes.
As more problems surface, the culture spirals into greater reactivity, reducing leadership capacity, and overwhelming individual efforts to generate positive change.
The downward spiral towards reactivity can be reversed into a Generative upward spiral
It requires a team of leaders focused on creating meaningful outcomes with the people around them.
This is where most leadership development programs, and even leadership coaches, fail.
They focus on developing individual leaders’ skills, not on developing a culture of conscious, generative leadership mastery to better support growth.
The opportunity is to develop our conscious capacity to catch ourselves when triggered into reactivity and return to a generative leadership state more easily each time.
This is the kind of culture I help To Create
My 3 Step approach to generate the leadership
you need to scale your thriving business.
Leaders set the stage by starting with themselves.
They co-create the development agenda and learn through practice with their leaders as they develop teams.
Develop your Team
They cultivate a culture where leaders help each other learn and grow. They catch each other when triggered into reactivity, and support consciously shifting into a generative state to create better outcomes together.
Cultivate generative leadership MASTERY
The synergy that develops as individuals learn and practice together cultivates a generative leadership culture and accelerates progress.
This is the work that is needed for companies to sustainably grow and adapt to change and increasing complexity.
Helping leaders and teams scale and thrive
Since 2013 I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders from fast-growing startups to high-performing Fortune 100 companies across North America through executive, team, and group coaching engagements and learning programs to help them refine their leadership.
Although each organization has its unique context and specific leadership challenges, they all depend on growing the capacity of their leaders and teams to scale and thrive.