Byron's Babbles

Vital Leadership Learnings

IMG_0418A couple of weeks ago we had the honor of having Will Pemble from MAP Vital Factors Solutions work with our Focused Leader Academy on being disciplined leaders. This day was set up by John Manning, author of The Disciplined Leader (2015). As you know from previous posts, our Focused Leader Academy read the book, that is set up in 52 lessons, and blogged about each lesson. We then had a discussion about what we felt were the vital few leadership focuses we needed more work on for each section of the book and overall. Really, that pre-exercise  was an incredible discussion and experience. It was very interesting to hear the individual vital few from the FLA participants and then hear the discussion of narrowing down to the group’s vital few. This allowed for a rich discussion about how individual vital leadership skills affect the vital few of an organization.FullSizeRender img_0114-2

Here are our Focused Leader Academy Vital Few (I have included the lesson number from the book, in case you want to check it out and follow along):

Part 1:
Our top 2 were…. #4 Know Yourself and #13 See Mistakes as Opportunities.  Then we were torn between #14 Listen More, Talk Less and #11 Drop Defensiveness.

Part 2:
Our top two were…. #30 Empower Employees and #37 Advocate for Your Team.  Then we settled on #31 Give Effective Performance Feedback because we knew what we were getting ready to embark on with redesigning our entire performance evaluation system.  We also had #26 Honor Your Commitments high on our list.

Part 3:
Our top three were….#39 Develop a “What’s the Goal?” Culture, #43 Put More Weight on “Why?” and #46 Avoid the Dangerous Gap Between Good Ideas and Execution.  We also had a strong feeling for #51 Keep Ethics Strong.

So then we went back and voted to come up with our TOP THREE VITAL FEW…

Part 1: #13  See Mistakes as Opportunities
Part 2: #30 Empower Employees
Part 3: #39 Develop a “What’s the Goal?” Culture

IMG_0409Will Pemble started out our workshop by have us develop a list of all the qualities of a disciplined leader. Here’s our list:

  • Runs toward a challenge
  • Decisive
  • Listener
  • Reflective
  • Active participant
  • Clear values that the leader sticks to
  • Loves what he/she does
  • Commitment
  • Communicator
  • Risk-taker
  • Willing to be uncomfortable
  • Willing to suffer (What’s your suffer score? How much are you willing to suffer for something?)
  • Willing to fail… a lot
  • Learner
  • Accepting
  • Courageous
  • Focused
  • Empowering
  • Open to feedback
  • Passionate
  • Ethical
  • In the moment
  • Asks the tough questions

Pretty awesome list, huh? Of course, if we could all be great at all those, we would be the most incredible leaders ever. Well, I’ve got some work to do…I don’t know about you. I’m guessing we all have some work to do.

IMG_0428We had a cool sheet that we kept individually during the day that was titled: “Most Vital Learnings.” I really liked having this sheet that had spaces for 10 vital learnings (see photo). In keeping with the vital few mantra of The Disciplined LeaderI have selected my vital few most vital learnings. Here they are:

  1. “Important things can’t be discussed comfortably.” Instead of dancing around issues, we  need to decide to be uncomfortable and hit the issue head on and solve it.
  2. “Pareto Principle”… 80:20 – 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the system. We need to use this to our advantage. We must focus on the vital few and ignore the trivial many.
  3. Decide, repeat, execute. Need we say more? This is definitely a vital few.

As you can see, our experience with the book, The Disciplined Leader, and Will’s great facilitation of our workshop was incredible. It was also incredible to be back together with Sita Magnusun doing our graphic facilitation for this program. I first met Sita at my first Harvard University class and have been both blown away by her work and continue to believe in graphic facilitation as a component of effective facilitation of learning. Two of her graphics are posted here.


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