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Leading Through Turbulent Times

I just submitted a proposal for a workshop titled "Leading Through Turbulent Times Requires a Learning Mindset" to the 2017 International Leadership Association's 19th Annual Global Conference, to be held in Brussels, Belgium on October 12-15, 2017. While I won't know if it is accepted until some time in May, I wanted to share the proposal with you, and welcome your questions and comments. If you plan to attend the conference, please let me know! It would be great to meet you there!

Leading Through Turbulent Times Requires a Learning Mindset

Learning Mindset Model

The turbulent times leaders encounter today are characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA). The “tried and true” leadership competencies and styles that work in more predictable situations are still important, but insufficient for these new conditions. To be effective in turbulent times, today’s leaders must also develop a Learning Mindset, which involves specific behaviors and practices that maximize learning from experience.

This session will briefly introduce participants to the Learning Mindset model, and quickly engage them in assessing and developing their own Learning Mindset. It will emphasize practical application, and provide tools and resources for implementation.

Learning Outcomes

Through this workshop, participants will:

  • Understand the Learning Mindset model and gain insight into how to adopt it to enhance their learning from experience

  • Understand how to use certain specific Continuous Learning Best Practices in their day-to-day life, to maximize their learning from experience

  • Identify their current strengths and areas for development in relation to the Learning Mindset and Continuous Learning Practices, through self-assessment

  • Develop and commit to an action plan to enhance their Learning Mindset, through a “Feed Forward” experiential activity with their fellow-participants

Interactive Components

  • All presentation elements will be facilitated using an interactive style in which participants help build a narrative based on their first-hand experience

  • Participants will engage in small and large group discussion to explore the concepts and models presented, and to discover how they apply to their experience and lives

  • Participants will directly apply the Learning Mindset model and Continuous Learning Best Practices to their own experience through informal self-assessment, and small group discussion of their assessment

  • All participants will engage in a “Feed Forward” experiential activity, in which they interact with other participants to solicit and obtain ideas and recommendations on actions they could take to strengthen their Learning Mindset and implement specific Continuous Learning Best Practices in their day-to-day lives

  • All participants will develop an action plan to enhance their Learning Mindset, and will share one element of that plan with fellow-participants in the workshop, to stimulate accountability and application of learning to real-life, lived experience

Tentative Workshop Schedule

  • Introduction, Agenda Review (Presentation - 5 min)

  • Group Engagement (Facilitated group discussion - 10 min)

  • Briefly meet the participants to establish a sense of “who is in the room” and identify why they are interested in this topic

  • The Impact of Turbulent Times (Facilitated group discussion – 10 min)

  • How participants are experiencing “turbulent times” in their daily work life

  • What is turbulence and its impact on global organizations

  • Challenges/problems turbulence creates for global leaders

  • New Capabilities Required of Global Leaders (Small group discussions and report out – 15 min)

  • Whole group self-organizes into small groups of 3-4 people each

  • Groups discuss and identify the “new capabilities” they believe are needed of global leaders to be effective in turbulent times

  • Small groups report back to whole group the #1 capability they identified

  • Facilitate debrief and synthesize findings

  • Global Leaders Need a Learning Mindset (Interactive Presentation - 25 min)

  • Present research foundation of the Learning Mindset model

  • What is Learning Mindset

  • Defined

  • Linked to, but distinct from, Learning Agility (KornFerry, Center for Creative Leadership), Mindful Learning (Langer), Mindset (Dweck)

  • Participants complete Learning Mindset self-assessment

  • Participants share their self-assessment with colleagues in pairs

  • Present how Learning Mindset in practice leads one to engage in Continuous Learning Practices

  • What are Continuous Learning Practices

  • Defined

  • Continuous Learning Practices (CLP) self-assessment

  • “Feed Forward” exercise (Experiential Activity - 15 min)

  • Participants identify 1 aspect of Learning Mindset, or 1 Continuous Learning Practice they would like to engage in more consistently and effectively to learn from their experience

  • Describe this practice to randomly selected fellow participants. This is done in one-on-one dialogues. It can be done quite simply, such as, “I want to be a better listener.”

  • Ask for feedforward—for two suggestions for the future that might help them achieve a positive change in their selected behavior. If participants have worked together in the past, they are not allowed to give ANY feedback about the past. They are only allowed to give ideas for the future.

  • Listen attentively to the suggestions and take notes. Participants are not allowed to comment on the suggestions in any way. They are not allowed to critique the suggestions or even to make positive judgmental statements, such as, “That’s a good idea.”

  • Thank the other participants for their suggestions.

  • Ask the other persons what they would like to change.

  • Provide feedforward - two suggestions aimed at helping the other person change.

  • Say, “You are welcome.” when thanked for the suggestions. The entire process of both giving and receiving feedforward usually takes about two minutes.

  • Find another participant and keep repeating the process until the exercise is stopped.

  • Application and Wrap Up (Facilitated Debrief - 10 min)

  • Ask participants to quietly reflect to identify 1 valuable insight they gained from the session, and 1 action they commit to take to apply what they learned to improve their ability to learn from experience in turbulent times

  • Ask participants to share their insight and commitment to action with the whole group

  • Thank the group for their participation

See you in Brussels!

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