1513 – Pacific Ocean sighted by Balboa. On this day (or two days later) in 1513, Spanish conquistador and explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, standing “silent, upon a peak in Darién,” on the Isthmus of Panama, became the first European to sight the Pacific Ocean.
On Wednesday night antifa-BLM mob set off the Mother-of-All-Molotov Bombs in downtown Portland. The rioters threw what appeared to be a massive Molotov Cocktail or firebomb at police, just hours after two officers were shot during the riot in Louisville. BLM-Antifa has been rioting in Portland for over 100 straight days. The radical left has…
| “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” |
For hundreds of years, individuals known as alchemists searched in vain for the mythical Philosopher’s Stone, a substance that was imagined to have the properties essential for turning basic medals into gold or generating the elixir of immortal life.
Today’s equivalent search is for that one leadership style capable of turning crisis into survival and then prosperity.
Much like the alchemist’s search, finding the “just right” leadership style in today’s maelstrom of issues and wicked problems is elusive. Yet, for those striving to lead successfully, there is hope, and it comes in the form of a blended, adaptive model of leading. When mixed in the right proportions for the situation, the properties of leading we describe as wartime, servant and resilient prove capable of transmuting crisis into hope and progress.
Consider the leadership environment in our world
If you elevate your altitude and survey the environment, the variety and volume of problems are breathtaking in a negative way.
- People are frightened about their health, lives and their jobs.
- Many businesses — large and small — face an existential threat and must adapt or die.
- Everyone is learning to work, teach, govern and engage in new ways.
- The mirage of seamless, low-risk supply lines stretched across the globe has been exposed for everyone to see.
- Frustration and disgust over inequitable and unconscionable practices in society and our organizations have reached a fevered pitch. The bill for these past practices is due.
- The pursuit of shareholder wealth as the unimpeachable purpose of a business is being challenged with a shift to a broader stakeholder focus.
Add in the challenges posed by global terrorism, geopolitical fractures, the environment, and others, and you find a series of wicked problems where there are no single or even visible combinations of approaches that promise a positive outcome.
Leading has been challenging enough over the past two decades as the macro forces, mainly driven by technological change and globalization, created tectonic shifts in how business was conducted around the world. Now, the stakes are raised, and it’s not clear what the leadership approach is that’s “just right” for this environment.
It turns out; there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but rather a blended, adaptive model that draws upon the strengths of at least three distinct leadership styles.
Exploring 3 styles of leading
1. The wartime leader
The wartime leader in our organizations is driven by the need to fend off existential threats.
This leader generates a laser focus on the mission and draws upon the Commander’s Intent to provide clarity and acting parameters. Short-term sacrifices are made to improve the odds of success for the whole, while communication, feedback and learning operate at hyperspeed.
The wartime leader is working the clock and pushing people and teams to do the impossible with the resources available. This individual leads through purpose focused on a specific adversary.
2. The resilient leader
In my article “Toward a New Style of Leadership—Leading for Resilience” in SmartBrief on Leadership, I defined leading for resilience as “making the strategic, structural, operational, and talent decisions that enable organizations to survive a shock and sustain their mission.”
The resilient leader focuses on a longer time horizon than the wartime leader and is continually working to see around corners and identify emerging opportunities and threats.
This leader inspires individuals to think differently and experiment to find “next” for the business.
3. The servant leader
The servant leader is all about vanquishing fear and reducing the organizational friction that gets in the way of people doing their jobs. The focus is on eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks and streamlining decision-making in pursuit of a better future.
The servant leader’s hallmark is empathy, focused on meeting people where they are, and offering them the support of a healthy working environment where they are motivated to chase their potential.
While the term “servant” might connote weak leader to some, the reality is this leader is the strongest of the three types, striving to lift the organization through and with people constantly.
What’s the right leadership approach for this era?
We’re fighting a multifront war in our organizations as we strive to keep our workforces engaged, make sense out of situations, reinvent and survive. Many leaders have adopted a wartime posture, which makes sense. However, it’s not sustainable and not enough for what’s in front of us.
As some new definition of normal emerges — hopefully, driven by a vaccine — the wartime footing must give way to the effort of designing our organizations for “next.” The resilient leader is looking for new opportunities in a re-emerging but different world while simultaneously rethinking and investing in creating business models that hedge against future disruptions.
And then there are the people: the caregivers, medical providers and everyone else in every organization who are shell-shocked from the sudden, adverse changes from the familiar world to one that is, on a good day, frightening.
The same leader above, who is already leading the wartime charge and designing the organization for resilience against future challenges, must do the most important job of all: regain the creativity and ingenuity of the people. Enter the servant leader.
3 styles, 1 leader: Is this possible?
My answer to whether this blended, adaptive leadership style is possible is a qualified “Yes, but it’s not easy.” I’ve seen examples in my community: with small-business owners who transformed their businesses, as well as organizational leaders doing the same in various private and public institutions. Their success in leading during crisis while building for the future and keeping their colleagues engaged and inspired gives me hope.
However, we need to manifest this blended, adaptive leadership approach at scale across all sectors of society.
We’re playing a complex game of tridimensional chess, where pieces move horizontally and vertically on multiple levels in our world. The leaders who bring the emotional intelligence and mental acuity to adjust and adapt their style on the fly, based on the needs of the people and organization, are people we desperately need.
Unfortunately, there is no Philosopher’s Stone for developing leaders or turning crises into prosperity. This is going to be hard.
With many of us now adapting to remote working as no longer a short-term response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as the ‘new normal’ for how our organization will function for the next few years, there’s been more focus lately on how leaders and their employees are adapting to this new work reality.
Some of the leadership virtual talks I’ve given recently have focused on leading within this new reality, and one of the common themes that arose is how leaders are having to deal with unexpected challenges brought forth by the global pandemic. As I pointed out in these discussions, what’s needed here is for leaders to reframe how they view these challenges. And with that in mind, I’d like to share a simple strategy for how you can do this.
In their book “The One Thing”, Gary Keller & Jay Papasan share this idea of how we can become more effective by asking ourselves a single question, what they call a “focusing question”, which will lead us to one of three kinds of answers – doable, stretch, or possibility.
In the context of understanding what kind of challenges we should be taking on, I’d like to retool their concept of three kinds of answers as three archetypes of challenges all of us face in our professional lives:
1. Doable challenges
These are challenges that – although having a certain level of difficulty – are nonetheless ones we’re confident we can successfully overcome.
2. Stretch challenges
These are the challenges that we often talk about in the context of learning. Of pushing our current skills or abilities in order to stretch them further and therefore, gain more use or value from them.
3. Possibility challenges
These are those challenges that dare us to ponder ‘what if’. These are the challenges we often tend to categorize under wishful thinking or being where the dreamers live. Consequently, we tend to be dismissive about it not being worthwhile to expend any real effort to take them on.
If we look at our everyday lives, it’s easy for us to see that the majority of the challenges we tend to focus on are those doable challenges. These challenges fill are To-Do lists and make us feel like we’re getting things done because, well, they’re challenging, but doable.
This is also what’s behind that collective sense of busyness that so many of us before COVID-19 would refer to when we were asked “how’s it going?” Sure, this kind of challenge can make us feel productive, but it also makes us feel like we’re just going through the motions and not creating any real value or change.
That’s why so many of us begrudgingly welcome challenges that stretch us. That by taking on stretch challenges, we know we’ll grow our strengths and push ourselves in order to increase the value of what we contribute. And perhaps if pushed enough, we might also increase our relevance in a world that’s continuing to evolve and change regardless of whether we want it to.
While stretch challenges push us to re-evaluate how we view ourselves and what we can contribute – of how we can make a difference – the truth is these stretch challenges are still within that realm of what we ultimately know we’re capable of accomplishing. The only difference between the doable and stretch challenges is that we don’t have the past experience and consequently, the confidence to know that we can be successful in overcoming these challenges.
And this leads us to the third type of challenges, possibility challenges. Those challenges that bring to mind possibilities of ‘what if’. Possibility challenges push us into the realm of the change makers and innovators. It’s those kinds of challenges that if we tell people we’re thinking of taking them on, they might tell us that we’re crazy. Or they scoff at us and say they’ll be waiting on the sidelines simply to tell us “I told you so”.
But possibility challenges also give rise to that collective awe and admiration for those visionaries who are not willing to play it safe. Who push themselves outside their comfort zone because their hopeful vision of the future is far greater than any concern over fears of their inability to achieve it or worse, failing in the eyes of those around them.
The willingness to take on possibility challenges is what defines not only the best leaders, but the very best of us – those people who weren’t willing to settle for the status quo because they not only believed, but knew we could do better. And they pushed us – along with themselves – to prove it.
Given our collective tendency to focus on doable challenges with the odd stretch challenge sprinkled in, the efforts of these people might seem herculean and exceptional. And without question they are.
But the truth is each of us has the potential to be exceptional. To take on challenges that push us beyond our comfort zone in order to explore our own version of what if and what could be [Share on Twitter]. We just have to make that subtle shift of not limiting ourselves in terms of what we think we’re capable of.
And therein lies the necessary truth of finding purpose in our lives – our sense of purpose not only informs us as to why we need to do something, but also gives us that internal motivation to keep pressing ahead despite what obstacles stand in our way [Share on Twitter].
And given all the problems we’re witnessing right now – not just in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in terms of environmental disasters and growing social divisions in various countries – what your employees need more than ever is reconnecting with their why. Of why their efforts matter and how their contributions are making a difference.
By reframing how you view challenges, you can move past that tendency to play it safe with those doable challenges and focus more on those stretch challenges to ensure your organization doesn’t simply survive this global pandemic, but comes out stronger in the end.
And hopefully, you’ll be encouraged to aim for one of those possibility challenges so that your efforts move beyond incremental improvement to igniting transformative change that will lead to that better, brighter future we all so desperately need to see shining in our collective horizon.
Restless Heart is available now from Crisis Publications.
Unconscious ideas about new technology can lead to poor investment decisions.
In the same way that leaders may harbor an implicit bias about characteristics of groups of people, they may also harbor implicit biases about new technology — including new technology they might be considering investing in to improve productivity or competitiveness.
You may think that you make decisions about technology tools with an open mind and a clear process for evaluating options. But our review of hundreds of published studies on new technology adoption reveals that personal beliefs about new technology — that it’s wondrous, complex, and alien — prompt specific, unconscious biases about how and why it’s better than older options.
Implicit bias toward the dazzle of new tools can cause leaders to take unnecessary risks and ignore the advice of human experts in decision-making. Further, implicit bias toward new technology may lead to sizable investments in products and services that are unproven or even unsafe.
Beliefs and Biases About New Technology (and the Risks They Present)
We define new technology bias as automatically activated (that is, unconscious) perceptions of emerging technology. These implicit biases draw from general beliefs about technology, and they go on to influence our perceptions of everything from smartphone apps to flight instruments used to pilot an aircraft. Considering the high technological ferment companies are experiencing today, it is crucial for leaders to be aware not only of the existence of new technology bias but also of its consequences when it comes to adopting or discarding new tools. Here, we detail three general beliefs that people have about new technology, the bias that each leads to, and the risks that each bias presents.
Belief: New technology is mysterious and a “wonder.”
Bias it leads to: New technology is better than current options.
Risk: Leaders may favor a new technology even if it is unproven.
Any of us can easily conjure up thoughts of technological advances that seem miraculous — such as using nanotechnology to cure cancer — and advances that have changed our everyday lives, such as microwaves that make cooking faster, map apps on our phones that are updated by satellites in real time, and laser technology used to correct sight defects. Moreover, we tend to remember successful technological innovations and forget unsuccessful ones (can you name the earliest voice-recognition software?).
This sense of awe regarding new technology leads people to unconsciously perceive it as superior in performance compared with old technologies. This is particularly true of early adopters, who on average are more optimistically biased toward new technology. They tend to blame any failures of the technology on user error rather than on the product or service itself.
The risk for leaders is that they may unconsciously tilt toward new technology over existing systems merely because it is new, even when its newness may mask other problems or when existing technology that is tried and tested may work better.
There is danger, too, in buying into new technology that relies on an ecosystem — a collection of complementary services, standards, and regulations required for the technology to work — that is not yet mature. Think about how difficult it was to sell 100% electric vehicles before charging stations became common. One reason leaders may disregard the importance of a nascent ecosystem is that they are blinded by their implicit bias in favor of the new technology to begin with.
That’s part of what happened in the e-reader industry with Sony’s early entry, the Reader. While the product itself was solid, it needed — and didn’t have — a collection of e-books that could be read on it. This shortcoming was overlooked by executives who were wowed by the newness of the technology. When Amazon later introduced the Kindle, it solved this problem by introducing a huge collection of e-books that could be downloaded instantly and seamlessly. Amazon bulldozed together an ecosystem that would give its product a winning advantage.
Belief: New technology is complex and difficult to understand.
Bias it leads to: Leaders should follow the experts when they recommend new technology.
Risk: Leaders forgo due diligence and disregard the concerns of nonexperts.
Developments based on the latest scientific discoveries in chemistry, biology, physics, and computing — such as nanotechnology, financial technology, blockchain, and artificial intelligence — have certainly reinforced the belief that new technology is not comprehensible to the layperson. Strongly connected to this belief is a view of technology as the domain of quantitative scientists and engineers.
This sense of a new technology’s complexity leads people to view it as more legitimate and credible if experts, such as university scientists in math and science areas, recommend it. This is even true when other, less expert users disagree. (Our research shows this tendency is all the more prevalent when the expert is male — making this an area where interpersonal biases overlap with technology biases.)
The bias that new technology is credible when endorsed by experts can lead people to make decisions about technology and investments without confirming the claims around it. “Overtrusting bias” is represented dramatically by the early, unbridled support of Theranos, the now-defunct health technology company. Theranos claimed its technology could conduct many blood tests, very quickly, from a small amount of blood. The company’s affiliation with Stanford University (founder Elizabeth Holmes attended Stanford University and a prominent professor of engineering backed her idea), early partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, and star-studded board helped Theranos raise $700 million from investors — despite the company’s unwillingness to share detailed information about the blood-test technology and without providing financial statements audited by an independent public accounting firm. As Forbes wrote, investors “assumed that with all the luminaries associated with Theranos, someone must have done due diligence on its product.”
A sillier but still illustrative example is Juicero, a $400 vegetable juicer that epitomized Silicon Valley’s worst instincts. Venture capitalists threw $120 million at cold-press juice entrepreneur Doug Evans, whose technology sounded potentially impressive — a squeezer said to exert enough force to lift two Teslas, with a Wi-Fi-connected scanner to confirm the sell-by date of the veggie packs it pressed. But all Juicero did was squeeze juice from preformed $5 packages of organic vegetable matter, and soon videos emerged of people squeezing the packs manually. In the end, Juicero was tech for tech’s sake, and the low-tech alternative — putting veggies in an old-fashioned mechanical juicer (which appeared obvious to everyday consumers) — won out.
Belief: Some types of new technology are inherently alien — that is, they are not humanlike.
Bias it leads to: New technology that has humanlike features is more trustworthy.
Risk: Leaders will overtrust technology with humanlike features, despite performance shortfalls.
Most technology does not exhibit the social cues that help humans to trust one another, such as facial expressions or body language. For example, politeness and friendly chit-chat during interactions lead people to see others as sociable and warm — and ultimately trustworthy.
The sense that new technology is alien means that people tend to unconsciously overtrust new technology that does act more like a human. For instance, people are more likely to trust technology that is imbued with a human voice or social patterns, like turn-taking. This is why most interactive navigation systems are programmed with a friendly and warm human voice, rather than more robotic speech.
The risk from this bias is that leaders may be taken in by human features of technology, even though the actual performance of the technology is deficient. For example, research has shown that etiquette may overrule performance reliability. In one study, people’s trust in advice given by new information technology for diagnosing aircraft engine problems that was polite but reported to have only 60% reliability was equal to that of technology that was reported to have 80% reliability but engaged users in a rude manner.
How to Avoid New Technology Biases
Beliefs and biases can be tamped down. There are three actions leaders can take to avoid being misled by new technology bias in their decision-making:
1. Focus on a new technology’s functions, actual performance, and practical relevance. While downplaying a technology’s newness, leaders should focus on the problem they need to solve and how possible solutions compare. What does their company actually need? What are their customers really ready for?
Leaders also want to be cautious not to get caught in the bandwagon effect, another type of bias. For instance, there is an incredible amount of hype about artificial intelligence today. Businesses across the world are looking to this technology with the hopes of gaining a competitive advantage over their competitors, reducing operating costs, and improving customer experience. However, not all companies are ready to leverage AI. They need to carefully consider what specific business problems they need AI for, whether they have well-established data collection systems in place, and whether they have skilled specialists to implement and manage the algorithms.
2. Include nonexperts and everyday users on decision-making teams about new technology. We know from past research that technology geeks and scientists are more risk-seeking than nonexperts when it comes to new technology and overconfident about their ability to assess it. Many of the problems that arise with new technology become apparent only when nonexperts attempt to use it. Having them involved in decision-making makes it more likely that issues will surface that experts wouldn’t notice or would dismiss.
Consider the “antenna-gate” controversy that occurred with the Apple iPhone 4. Some consumers, when using the phone in their left hands, got a loss of signal strength and dropped calls. Their hands were apparently bridging the iPhone’s antenna. Initially, then-CEO Steve Jobs blamed users, telling them, “Just avoid holding it that way.” More testing, particularly by left-handed users, might have unearthed the problem earlier.
3. Separate the subjective “look” and “feel” of the technology from its objective performance. Because new technology that looks and acts human is likely to be overtrusted by potential adopters, decision makers must evaluate its performance in an objective manner, such as by the number of errors, time to complete tasks, time to learn the new technology, and privacy breaches. Decision makers should recognize which reactions are subjective, such as emotional reactions to the technology and even user satisfaction.
Consider personal digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. A very futuristic idea only a few years ago, voice and chat assistants have found their way inside organizations: They observe data in real time and have the capability to pull information from sources such as smart devices and cloud services and put that information into context using AI, thus contributing to lower customer service costs.
But these tools have an often underestimated dark side. Much of the data they collect and use includes personal, potentially identifiable, and possibly sensitive information. Digital assistants can be hacked remotely, resulting in serious breaches of users’ privacy. Moreover, digital assistants have their failings. Humans who see several versions of a client’s name (including misspellings and nicknames) on different pieces of data will still know that this is the same person. In contrast, the AI algorithm that runs digital assistants won’t; it will classify spelling variations as different people. When adopting digital assistants in their businesses, therefore, managers need to be aware of the potential perils of overtrusting humanlike technology.
Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents Rod Dreher (Sentinel, 2020) Hardcover, $27.00 On September 18, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87. At once, this country was filled with the sound of progressives weeping and gnashing their teeth. From what I could gather, none of them knew Ginsburg personally. Most …
Source: Living a Lie – Crisis Magazine
The official was killed during a raid of the hoodlums’ hideouts in the Shendam Local Government area of Plateau State….
Recently, two Australian journalists stationed in China were raided by the Chinese National Security Police in the middle of the night and were restricted from leaving China. The CCP did not explain the reason for such action, but after the Foreign Ministry of Australia stepped in, two journalists have returned to Australia safely. This unprecedented event accelerated the deterioration of the relationship between Australia and China. Presently, there is no Australian journalist stationed in China.
Due to the pandemic, the Australian-China relation took a turn for the worse earlier this year. The CCP is unsatisfied with Australia calling for an independent investigation into the origin of the CCP virus and thus has been repeatedly retaliating against Australia. Recently, the Australian government has raised a travel alert, warning Australian nationals in China of the risk of arbitrary arrest.
After receiving advice from the Australian Embassy about their safety last week, Bill Birtles, a journalist from Australia Broadcasting Corporation, and Michael Smith, a journalist from Australian Financial Review, were both raided at home at midnight of September 3 by Chinese National Security Police. They were interrogated by the police with bright light and were told that â€œthey have been restricted from leaving the countryâ€. The police warned that they must stay and cooperate with the “national security investigationâ€.
After being interrogated, two journalists feared being disappeared and immediately took shelter at the Australian Embassy in Beijing and Shanghai respectively. On September 7, they returned to Australia safely after the Australian Foreign Ministry stepped in. After arriving in Australia, both journalists said that it is a relief to be back to the country with a genuine rule of law. As they look back at their rush departure from China, they believe that this is a political move from Beijing.
U.S.: CCP Infiltrates K-12 Education Through Collaboration With College Board
According to a new report by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), the College Board has partnered closely with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for over a decade, allowing Beijing to influence Chinese language and culture teaching in K-12 classrooms across the United States.
On September 6, the report released found that the College Board, a New York-based nonprofit best known for administering the SAT and AP standardized exams for college admissions, worked with the CCP to develop an AP (Advanced Placement) Chinese language and culture course for high schools, helped China gain control over training for Chinese-language teaching in the country, and strongly promoted Beijing-funded Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms.
Billed as Chinese language and culture programs, Confucius Institutes and Classrooms have drawn heavy criticism over its role in spreading Chinese propaganda and suppressing free speech on college campuses and K-12 classrooms.
At the report’s online launch hosted by The Epoch Times â€œAmerican Thought Leadersâ€ program, Rachelle Peterson, the report author and NAS senior research fellow, said: â€œChina has managed to build out an entire educational system before the public caught on to what has happened.
The findings come amid heightened scrutiny over the CCP’s efforts to influence American universities, as well as its aggressive campaign to steal U.S. research and technology.
Corrupt Officials Stop Handicapped Petitioner Filing Complaint in Beijing
Zhu Jianqiang, a disabled petitioner from Yancheng City, Jiangsu Province, was stopped by more than 20 officers at Beijing Railway Station on Sept. 8 as he and his wife traveled to the nation’s capital to lodge a complaint to the National Public Complaints and Proposals Administration.
After local officials at his village forced him to sign a demolition agreement for his house eight years ago, Zhu Jianqiang was beaten, leading to lifelong paralysis. After payments for his medical and nursing expenses were suspended in May, Zhu was left helpless and decided to raise his case in Beijing.
Zhu Jianqiang told The Epoch Times, “When we left home last night, people who were watching me followed me 24/7. Wherever I went, they followed. They even grabbed my wheelchair and wouldn’t let me go. Finally, with the help of a friend, we got on the train. Today, we arrived in Beijing at 10:30 a.m, and so did a man who was watching me.”
“We’re outside the police station now. They have about 15 people following u.s.. They asked me to go back to the police station. I won’t, because I saw the police station arranging the cars from my hometown to come, to take me back by force. I said isn’t such action forbidden now? He said, ‘There’s no such thing as illegal. Money can buy everything.’”