Leadership in Flux:
Our world, organizations, systems, and people are overstressed as we confront unprecedented challenges and search for yet to be discovered opportunities. Tomorrow’s leaders must potently sense and seize opportunities, manage threats, and advance a thriving future amid complexity and risk. They must also avoid producing a harmful wake and repair and regenerate what we have broken and lost.
Cooperative Advantage calls us to recreate leadership to develop and amplify the co-creative power of people, organizations and systems and advance a thriving future
Cooperative Advantage builds on empirical evidence and multidisciplinary scientific insights. It also helps leaders advance toward the inspiring vision, offered in our book, Flourishing Enterprise. Cooperative Advantage characterizes leading, following, and the dance of integrating differences.
Leading: connecting, coordinating, and co-creating to advance a desired future. Leading is enacted through leadership elements, processes, mindsets, and competencies.
Following: executing and reciprocally influencing.
Integrating: a dynamic dance that harnesses combined capacity and turns differences into higher unity. People shift between leading and following to best meet each situation. Power-over and power-through dynamics are replaced by integrative power-with practices. Power-with harnesses reciprocal influence to creatively leverage strengths, transform conflict, and unify action to serve the whole and each part. This increases combined capability to sense, create, execute, anticipate problems, reduce rework, and minimize harmful side effects.
Cooperative Advantage employs a congruent, integrative, and adaptive set of leadership Elements, Processes, Mindsets,Competencies, and Dimensions to deliver these advantages and advance a thriving future.
90% of the business value for the S&P 500 is from intangible assets, up from 17% in 1975. Intangible value is created by transforming and aligning intangible and tangible elements. Historically, leaders focused on tangible elements (structures, processes, technology etc.). Today our greatest leverage is from intangible elements which we influence through our neurological states. With practice we can regulate our nervous systems and fine-tune intangible elements to more effectively connect and co-create.
We are most effective when physical, relational and inspirational elements are aligned and mutually supportive. This is particularly challenging when facing complexity, uncertainty and stress. Hence, it is imperative for leaders to develop the nervous system awareness and agility to connect and co-create under pressure.
These are sequences of leadership actions that include: 1) informal interactions; 2) efforts to design, adapt, and align tangible and intangible elements; and 3) strategic leadership processes that unify and advance people, organizations, and systems toward a desired future.
Mindsets frame our internal dialogs. We interpret the situations we face through our mindsets and these drive our actions. The 4 Leadership Mindsets that enable Cooperative Advantage are listed below.
- Care: I care deeply and act from my care
- Opportunity: I face reality and see every problem as an opportunity in disguise
- Cooperation: I value potent cooperation that integrates differences, innovates, and unifies action
- Mastery: I am committed to learning, growing and mastering leadership competencies
We identify four fundamental leadership competencies and four dimensions for Leadership Mastery. Our 4C x 4D model can guide you toward a world class level of performance.
Leadership Mastery = 4 Competencies x 4 Dimensions
Cooperative Advantage encourages each of us to increase our ability to lead, follow, and care for the whole. As in sports and the performing arts, participants practice and work together to grow and learn. Leadership mastery requires a growth mindset and deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is incorporated into work activities to help people and groups develop nervous system awareness and master the 4 Competencies. In this way the snowballing benefits of compound learning are embedded within the workplace and culture.
You should adapt and apply the four competencies to each of the four dimensions; self, group, organization and system.
“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, raising performance to a higher standard, building personality beyond its normal limitations. Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help orchestrate the energy of those around you.” – Peter Drucker
As Peter Drucker suggests, Leading Self is the foundation for leading others. Leading Groups recognizes that most activities include multiple people. Leading Organizations integrates and unifies both internal and external activity. Leading Systems recognizes the need to engage webs of interdependent stakeholders.
Progress toward Cooperative Advantage typically requires organizational and personal transformation. Such transformation must address and align both tangible and intangible elements as well as leadership processes, mindsets and competencies. You can introduce Cooperative Advantage by applying the following four steps:
- Assess your leadership effectiveness. Assess effectiveness and congruence of leadership Elements, Process, Mindsets, and Competencies relative to the principles of Cooperative Advantage.
- Establish priorities. Consider a) your strategic priorities, b) your assessment of leadership effectiveness, and c) each of the four dimensions to identify your most important priorities.
- Begin with a small group pilot. Chose a specific area to pilot; start with a small and committed group.
- Design and launch a broader effort. Use the 4C x 4D and lessons from the pilot to inform your efforts.