Background of our Research. Our leadership and organisational statistical analysis on leaders, teams and organisations has been undertaken by an independent consultancy. The initial sample included 547 organisational divisions and departments, over three thousand leaders and more than 20,000 participants and respondents. The conclusions presented in this post are based directly on our researched data and experience with clients in the field.
"The energy of the mind is the essence of life."
― Aristotle, The Philosophy of Aristotle
THE CHALLENGE - THE LEADERSHIP CULT
Leadership as a subject and science is in very real danger of becoming a faith based cult. With all media showering us daily with the latest proselytizing soundbites. Hot air without the action.
We have worked with thousands of managers/leaders over nearly three decades. Our focus has always been relentless. An obsession with separating the wheat from the chaff. What actions and behaviours actually work in generating new levels of energy and performance?
And most importantly, are these repeatable across organisations?
We are happy to share this below. We hope you find it useful.
Albert Einstein showed the world that energy is life - life is energy.
That all humans are connected biologically; that we are connected to the earth chemically and to the universe atomically. (Neil Degrasse Tyson.)
Let's not argue. Energy is the stuff of life - from leaders and teams to organisations and global markets.
Simplistically energy is the 'fuel needed to do work.'
Practically, and based on the essays of Nikola Tesla, we can divide human energy into two areas, based on the laws of physics. The volume of intelligence and the capability to take intelligent action, per unit of time. (It doesn't help to take a week to make a decision if your company needs it before lunch today.)
In terms of leadership energy we can take this to the next practical level.
Competent and successful leaders need a combination of personal energy, interpersonal energy and impact energy. And they need all three.
THE ENERGY TROICA
Personal energy is your skill, experience, character and native intelligence. It is what gets off the plane in New York before you interact with anyone.
Interpersonal energy is your ability to work successfully with others. To motivate and inspire - to generate organisational energy. It's the leader's playmaking skill.
Impact energy is the ability to make decisions and get results - delivering the right quality on time, at the right price.
Talk is cheap, but money buys the whiskey!
So much for the theory. How then do we raise leadership energy and performance?
Through an endless and evolutionary process of distillation and filtration we have arrived at the following three energy factors that create the magic.
FACTOR ONE - LIKABILITY
We know from our work on 360 assessments, combined with coaching work, together with many similar and research projects worldwide, that likability is the overriding factor that drives all assessments. It makes no difference whether you assess ten factors or a hundred factors - they all tend to move with likability.
Here is the paradox. Our assessment of a leader is driven primarily by our emotions and not facts.
And what drives this powerful emotion of likability? Who knows? It's largely unknowable. It's a gut instinct. Whatever that means.
FACTOR TWO - INTELLIGENCE
The first and most important step is to choose your parents carefully! Native intelligence matters. IQ and EQ. You need a solid foundation, but both can be improved with diligent practice.
We also take a broader view of intelligence and incorporate the all important game changing 'gene' of curiosity, driven by obsession and imagination.
We also recognise that this form of intellectual and practical intelligence can be developed continuously. Nothing is cast in stone.
This translates into Aristotle's "The energy of the mind is the essence of life." The constant and obsessive pursuit of finding new and better ways of doing things.
FACTOR THREE - THE ENERGY ALGORITHM THAT DRIVES LIFE THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING
Sometimes it is important to just call a spade a spade. Here is one of them.
Life is dependent on two universal forces. Energy and entropy. Energy is the 'fuel' that drives the emergence of life and complexity, and entropy is the natural loss of energy that affects every form of life. Including you, your relationships, your performance and your team or organisation.
Now here is the elephant in the room. If organisations do not evolve, they die. This means that the ability to evolve at a system's level is the only and most important leadership competence that matters.
A leader must understand how evolution works and how to apply the principles at a company level. This means having a fundamental grasp of the evolutionary algorithm, it's design, it's power, and how it really does drive life, the universe and everything. We call it 'the mind of the universe'. Those of a religious or spiritual persuasion may wish to call it 'the mind of God.'
This remarkable algorithm is effectively the software that continuously drives the miraculous emergence of a vibrant and living universe. And it drives leaders, teams and organisations.
UNDERSTANDING THE EVOLUTIONARY ALGORITHM
The mechanics behind the genius of the evolutionary algorithm is deceptively simple.
Wherever you get repetition, variation and selection you absolutely must get evolution. There is no other option. Not maybe. Not could be. But must.
This then is the secret and crux of leadership. The ability to understand the principles of evolution, and how to generate energy and performance with the universal algorithm.
It is our view that every single leadership development programme should start with an in depth course in the science and management of dynamic and complex systems and the knowledge and skill of using the evolutionary algorithm to drive system performance.
Anything less would be barking mad.