Posted: July 17, 2014
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Reframing as a Leadership Skill

As a practitioner whose purpose for being is to help individuals develop their leadership skills, I am always looking for new ways to build leadership competency that are simultaneously sophisticated and simple. To be useful, leadership tools and frameworks need to meet the leadership demands of organizations that are becoming more complex—as Gary Hamel puts it, leaders need to “manage seemingly irreconcilable trade-offs”—and new tools need to be easy to master and usable right away.

At Chelsea C-Suite Solutions, we are currently working with an organization that is transitioning from a regional profit-centric structure to a borderless, matrix structure. There are dynamics and issues new to many leaders, and no surprise, their instinct is to use traditionally effective approaches to solving problems. The result has been frustration, inefficiency, resistance to change, feelings of being overwhelmed, and in darker moments, fears of inadequacy in meeting these new challenges.

NEOHere’s an approach to help leaders that is incredibly simple—learn the art of reframing. What is often perceived as a “problem”—a situation with a unique right answer, might actually not be a problem at all. Maybe the organizational challenge is really an old “paradigm” that is no longer relevant or useful. Or maybe the situation is a “polarity”—a situation with two equally right answers that are interdependent—that needs to be “managed” by the leader, not solved. When leaders try to solve polarities, they (and everyone else) will get frustrated. When leaders try to solve a situation using an irrelevant paradigm, the result will be the same. Looked at another way, reframing actually frees up time by reducing the number of problems leaders are trying to “fix.”

The concept of a paradigm has been around a long time. Put simply, it is a way of seeing based on a shared set of assumptions. All mature organizations are full of paradigms. After all, they are extremely useful! They help us process a situation quickly in the moment, and consistently (e.g., the customer is always right). But when a paradigm is no longer useful, or irrelevant, we might be interpreting a situation as a problem incorrectly, and we could even be doing damage to the organization without realizing.

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Posted: August 27, 2013
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Harnessing the Power of Cinema to Create Employee Engagement

 

quoteI have two distinct passions that I am fortunate and blessed to explore and share with the world. For the last 20 years, I have helped leadership teams disseminate strategy, evolve culture, and develop their leadership capability. Concurrently for the last 14 years, I have directed, produced, shot and edited independent films. These two worlds seemed separate and distinct to me for many years, and because of my own limited paradigm, I operated contentedly in these two creative silos.  It is only the last few years that I have discovered the unique power of the medium of the moving image as a powerful business communication tool.

Using video as a tool for training is certainly nothing new. Animation and video make an otherwise dry PowerPoint presentation more dynamic. Leaders of large, global organizations use streaming video to make company-wide announcements, bringing a personal immediacy to a strategic communication. What I believe to be sorely under-utilized in the business arena is the power of cinema—the marriage of sound and the moving image—to transport the viewer to another place, reaching not only their mind, but also their heart and soul.

I witnessed the power of cinema first-hand a few months ago at the Annual Leadership Retreat of one of my clients. This particular client is in the process of rebranding themselves as a pioneer in a new market space, and the senior leadership team, and more specifically the marketing team, was ready to share the new direction and the new brand promise with their top managers. They did this in a brilliant way…they used the tools of cinema to lure the top 150 leaders to the emotional core of the new brand, through imagery, music, and narration. It was effectively group hypnosis. The combination of these artistic elements put these leaders into a meditative state. The audience was feeling the powerful effect of this new brand, taking it in at a deep level. Read More

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