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The Secret to Success: Failing Forward - Mastering A Critical Life & Leadership Skill | 3Q Leadership


1.  Understand Why Failing Forward is Critical to 21st Century Life and Leadership

If YOU want to succeed you need to learn how to fail forward; and of equal importance you must model and incorporate this skill in the culture of your organization. Whether your objective is building a successful small business, professional practice, team or enterprise that art of failing forward is more than the art of the start, it is the art that will drive sustainability, the art that will teach empowerment, engagement and resiliency>>>Learning to Fail Forward it is the linchpin for 21st Century Life and Leadership.

2.  Recognize Your True Power & Use It
Failure brings us face of face with our true power and purpose; OR it leads us down a dark path of ignoring, denying or running away from that which could help us lead forward by optimizing our potential and the potential of others.

 

3.  Take Your Ego Out of the Equation-It is Energy Going Out (In the Wrong Way)
Our greatest fear is not that we will fail or succeed.  Rather, it is the fear that something will touch that human chord that tells us that we are not good enough, that we are lesser than we can be.  It is the pain of invalidation, the pain of feeling that we are not worthy of success.  Ego, as defined for the purposes of this article as the need to seek validation from external sources is

Most healthy, human beings fear invalidation.  It is the most one of the most difficult and gut wrenching parts of our human journey. Some people run and hide from the pain of invalidation by trying to command, control and dominate.  Others become the commanded, controlled and dominated.  And then, there are those who just stay safe and avoid the prospect of invalidation by doing a good job but never engage their full potential.

For all the differences between us, our desire to survive and to contribute, to feel purposeful are real.  When fear enters our minds, all human beings automatically go into a fight of flight response.  The caveat is that learning to circumvent this fight or flight response is the coachable moment, it can be coached, we can retrain our brains and reset default mechanisms/behaviours so  that those who lead and those who aspire to greater leadership can change the way they deal with challenges, crises in a way that optimizes their potential.

 

4.  Do Something Counter-Intuitive>See Failure With New Eyes-Build Constructive Discontent and Optimize Potential by Using Problems as a Positive Catalyst for Solutions
There is a power in failure that has nothing to do with the act of failure and everything to do with our ability to re-engage the moral courage that it takes to develop our greatest ability and our greatest hope; our ability to use the very challenges we face, to transform the gaps, the problems with different eyes, eyes that guide us to new solutions and ways of communicating that drive engagement, empowerment and positive results.

I believe that the ability to fail forward, the power to use our mistakes, our challenges and even the crucibles to live better, lead better, communicate better and succeed better is critical to our individual and collective success.  And, it  means building what I call constructive discontent.  What is constructive discontent? Psychologists would describe constructive discontent as the ability to stay grounded during an argument or conflict. But, to me it is much more.  I call constructive discontent our ability to feel an emotion that is not comfortable and still continue forward by not losing the ability to tap into our potential and also remain focused on our objectives.  It is an ability that once developed is a formidable tool in human relations and leadership, and it is also a pivotal skill that we can use in learning to accept our weaknesses and use our failures to build and grow our power rather than eroding the potential, imagination and purpose we need to build a better life and a better career.

 

5.  Move Forward. Get Coached>Master the Art of Failing Forward and Make a Powerful Cultural Change in Your Organization, Your Business, Your Professional Practice and YOUR Life
The power, the freedom and the breakthrough results realized by learning to use failures as catalysts for personal growth, achievement, empowerment and success by learning to build constructive discontent cannot be minimized.  The velocity of change, challenges and opportunities we face will continue to surpass anything we have experienced.  Best practices can become stale or useless in the face of change, what worked in the past can become largely irrelevant; however, the ability to see problems, challenges differently is the new linchpin for leadership, success and well-being in the age of innovation and change.

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Heineken’s CEO on leading a 150-year-old company | McKinsey & Company

Heineken’s CEO on leading a 150-year-old company | McKinsey & Company | LSI_CEOBoardroom | Scoop.it
As Heineken marks its 150th year, CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer speaks about innovation, managing for the long term, and how he aims to uphold the company’s rich legacy.
A McKinsey & Company article.


What challenges are unique to leading an iconic company deep into its second century? In this interview with McKinsey’s Rik Kirkland, Heineken NV executive board chairman and CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer discusses leadership against a backdrop of corporate tradition and changing consumer and societal demands. Since joining Heineken in 1984, van Boxmeer has worked extensively in Africa and Europe, and has held his current roles since 2005. An edited transcript of his remarks follows.

Becoming a leader
Video 

Your upbringing plays a very big part in what kind of leader you’re going to be. Then when you start your professional life, the years between 25 and 35, those are the years where you are the most prone to change, to learn. You behave more like a sponge.

And in my case, that happened in Africa. I was sent by Heineken, a little bit by accident, to Africa. I was speaking French, and there weren’t that many French-speaking guys around in Heineken, so I was sent to countries like Cameroon and Rwanda, and the former Zaire, which is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I spent ten years of my life there. Those were very exciting years where, beyond leading a commercial organization, you also had to deal with a lot of societal problems, emergency problems, all kinds of things you were unprepared for. They were extraordinary people with an extraordinary energy in very adverse conditions, and that has shaped me.

I think my experience in Africa brought very early to me the understanding of the relativity of the power positions that you are dealt when you are in a leadership position in a company. Because never forget that you can be a CEO of a company like I am today, but it is a rented position. It’s only temporary. So never forget when you climb up the stairs to tip your hat to those who climb down the stairs. One day you will do the same. So I thought it was worth three times Harvard.

Learning from acquisitions
Video 

When we acquire a company, there are always two sides to it. You have the processes that you discover in an acquired company, and you have the people. And from time to time, you see that processes in an acquired company are interesting and could be adapted for the worldwide Heineken Group. In 2010, we took over a huge Mexican brewery, Cuahautémoc Moctezuma. They had very tight processes for planning, and that inspired us to really tighten up our planning processes for the whole organization. There is a lot of benefit of blending in, for example, taking people who worked in mature, hyper-competitive, sophisticated markets in, let’s say, Europe, with very specific and delineated brand portfolios, and putting them into a growing, high-growth market.

And at the same time, putting people who were used to working in high-growth markets where lines of command are very short and simple, and very much action-oriented, and putting these kind of leaders in a mature organization to speed up that organization.

Mobilizing to innovate
Video 

Innovation is the lifeblood of the company. It has taken very different and various forms. It is not only about the process we use to brew and ferment our products, how we interact with our environment, consumption of water and energy. All these processes are constantly improved. The footprint that they leave on our planet is being reduced and improved. That’s one aspect of how we innovate.

But we also innovate on the consumer end with new products. So we introduce cider to people who didn’t know cider. We introduce Belgian brands to Brazilians. We introduce Mexican brands to the rest of the world. And then there is a third leg, which is to look at whether there are new products that don’t exist today, new ways of tapping beer or selling beer that we can introduce so as to make our business better.

So innovation has many, many faces. And you have to mobilize your organization around the innovations, not only by target-setting, but also creating a culture where innovation is encouraged across the board.

Confronting societal expectations
Video 

The company should not think that it is there to issue policy lines for society. It can issue statements about its own behavior, but not prescribe policy. You have no legitimacy to do that. You are accountable in front of tax authorities in the countries where you operate for your employees, for your shareholders, your suppliers, but in the first place, to your consumers.

And what is specific to our industry is the alcohol problem. Alcohol abuse has always been existent in the world, and we have no advantage to be promoting alcohol abuse because that makes our business unsustainable. So how can you play your part to make your business more sustainable? It is to advocate responsible consumption.

The latest addition was made by a deejay in the Netherlands. Armin van Buuren has a successful international career. And in his commercial spot he makes the point of, “Dance more, drink slow.” The ad campaign says, “When you have a good dancing party, you drink less.” And I had to explain to my people that it was better to sell less and dance more, rather than trying to sell more and having unfolding situations at the party.

Managing for the long term
Video 

Sustainability boils down to a very simple fact: If I continue to do things that I do today, will I exist tomorrow? Is what I’m doing sustainable? Don’t I use too much water and energy to make my beer? Do we not use the wrong source of water supply to grow our agricultural produce, which will lead us in 20 years’ time to problems and no supply at all in the area where we are?

In balancing the short, medium, and long term, I think you have to spot the opportunities and map them. And say, “Well, what do I have to do so that the next 3 years are going to be great years? What, from 5 to 10 years? And what could be in 20 or 30 years?”

And so when we went on the acquisition trail, as we have been doing over the past ten years, some countries we acquired business in, like Nigeria, where we added to our existing business, was on a perspective of short and medium term. When we acquired our Mexican operation, it was a short and medium term. When we acquired India, it was a long view, if you will.

When we invested recently in a country like Ethiopia, it’s a long view. It’s at the very early stage of its development, but we think that Ethiopia in 20 years’ time is going to be a force to reckon with in Africa. So we invested there. So the next ten years, returns will be minute. In the first three years, we’re going to lose money in Ethiopia. But 20 years from now, Ethiopia might be as big as Nigeria is today. That is how you have to think about geographies as well as brands.

People have to embrace a product. They take it in their body, so it’s a very intimate relationship they have with food and bev. Remember, olive oil took 25 years to make it to our kitchen tables in northern Europe. And sushi, which is raw fish—I think our grandparents would have looked in total disbelief that we eat it.

The same goes with when you go out and you’re going to sell cider on the rocks to Brazilians or Mexicans. But take a look at 20 or 30 years, and then come back. That’s what you have to do also when you lead a business which is 150 years old and still planning to go another 150 years.

About the authors

Jean-François van Boxmeer is chairman of the executive board and CEO of Heineken NV. This interview was conducted by Rik Kirkland, senior managing editor of McKinsey Publishing, who is based in McKinsey’s New York office.

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Conant: What Derails Most CEOs Is the ‘Soft Stuff’ | BloombergBusinessweek

Conant: What Derails Most CEOs Is the ‘Soft Stuff’ | BloombergBusinessweek | LSI_CEOBoardroom | Scoop.it
In a Q&A, the former Campbell CEO addresses the challenges facing today’s leaders


When Douglas Conant became chief executive in 2001, Campbell Soup (CPB) was in trouble. Over the next decade, Conant reinvigorated both the corporate culture and the company’s iconic soups. Now the former CEO and author of Touchpoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments is getting ready for a new role: As head of the new Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute at Northwestern University’s management school, he’ll help prepare executives for the challenges of leadership in the 21st century.

Conant, 62, spoke with Bloomberg Businessweek about the changing set of demands on CEOs, women in leadership roles, and the return of A.G. Lafley toProctor & Gamble (PG). What follows is an edited version of the conversation.

What are the ways that leadership today is different from 20 years ago?

A lot of the principles associated with leading a large organization are unchanged since the advent of the study of leadership. What’s changed is the environment in which people are being challenged to lead. There are two overwhelming forces that are touching everything we deal with now. The first one is the explosion of information. The speed at which business is being conducted is exponentially faster than ever before in the history of enterprise.

The other explosive change is the advent of diversity. You have gender diversity, ethnic diversity, geographic diversity, diversity of lifestyle, and probably the most profound one is the diversity of generations. We have four to five generations working right now. Those two things coming together create enormous stress. Leaders have to deal with that.

What are the most important skills today’s leaders need to cultivate?

They have to recognize that this is a tougher leadership challenge than ever before. You have to be a well-rounded leader. You can’t fly by the seat of your pants anymore. You have to be incredibly tough-minded about standards of performance, but you also have to be incredibly tenderhearted with the people you’re working with. They have to feel like you have their back. If they feel like a victim of your leadership, they’ll go elsewhere.

The second principle is that the soft stuff is the hard stuff. Most people that derail as leaders in the corporate world, it’s not because they couldn’t do the math and calculate return on investment properly. The issues are communication and understanding. All of what typically would’ve been called the “soft stuff.” You have to be authentic. You have to be dialed into the soft stuff. Your EQ {Emotional Quotient] has to keep up with your IQ.

Your successor, Denise Morrison, is one of the few women in that role. Why are so few women in leadership positions?

The reality is that there are too few. My daughter deserves the same kinds of opportunities that any young man deserves. Part of it is a pipeline issue, but that’s a cop-out. That’s a small part of it. The other part is that things change slowly. They change as boards become more enlightened, as CEOs become more enlightened, as the search committees become more enlightened. We just need to challenge ourselves to do better. I think the world is slow to change, and it isn’t acceptable.

What do you think of A.G. Lafley’s return to Proctor & Gamble?

I hope it works. [Former CEO] Bob McDonald was dealing with a challenging situation. Clearly they [the board] didn’t feel they had someone within the organization that had the capacity to lead, and A.G. was available. It’s great for P&G, but this is a challenging time. It sounds to me like A.G. was the best available option, and I give the board credit for working through it in such a thoughtful way. Bob has moved on in a way where he feels good about what he did to position the company for better days, and he’s very supportive of A.G. coming back in and leading.

Many of the best and brightest coming out of school today want to join a startup rather than a large organization. Will established companies increasingly face a talent drought?

At Campbell, we could get all the talent we needed, and we were an old soup company in Camden, N.J., which has the highest crime rate in the country. Companies just need enlightened leadership and need to make an extraordinary commitment to the people who work at those companies. This is very doable. But you have to create a culture that attracts people, and you have to have an employee value proposition: “We’re going to do extraordinary things because we have the resources, and you can be a part of it, and we will honor you along the way.” There are tradeoffs, but for every one person that goes off to a good startup, there are 10 that are floundering.

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Bill George: Resilience Through Mindful Leadership

Bill George: Resilience Through Mindful Leadership | LSI_CEOBoardroom | Scoop.it
In my experience, mindful people make much better leaders than frenetic, aggressive ones. They understand their reactions to stress and crises, and understand their impact on others. They are far better at inspiring people to take on greater responsi...


The movement to develop mindful leaders in business is at a tipping point, as interest from corporations, educational institutions and the media continues to grow. As Arianna Huffington recently pointed out on CNBC's Squawk Box: "The tipping point was very evident at the World Economic Forum in Davos this past January, with many oversold sessions on the topic and meditation being taught by leading practitioners like Matthieu Ricard, PhD (a Buddhist monk who is the Dalai Lama's scientific advisor)." I witnessed this personally by leading a sold-out Davos dinner on the topic and participating in two other sessions on "Mindful Leadership."

What's causing this dramatic shift in our consciousness about what it takes today to be an effective leader? It starts with the changes taking place in the world. We live in an era of globalization and rapid technological change that is creating volatility, uncertainty, chaos and ambiguity. (VUCA is the acronym created by the U.S. Military Academy to describe the world of the 21st century.) Its impact is compounded by the rapidly changing job market and the new 24x7 communications world.

This creates stress for executives and the institutions they lead. For institutions, the velocity of the business cycle and risks of the multi-polar global environment create instability. For individuals, the volatility creates more emotional ups and downs and can cause us to lose confidence. Amid such volatility, a reserve of mental and physical energy is required to be resilient.

As I wrote in my 2009 book, Seven Lessons for Leading in Crisis, resilience is the combination of heartiness, toughness and buoyancy of spirit. These qualities are necessary for leaders to persevere through struggling moments, bounce back from adversity and adapt to external stress.

Resilience in Action

Many leading corporations -- Google, General Mills, Aetna, Genentech, Target, and Cargill, for example -- have created mindful leadership programs to build resilience in their employees. Google's and General Mills' programs are widespread through their employee base. Aetna's research on meditation and yoga has established their benefits for health and well-being.

To develop the new military leaders needed for a VUCA world, West Point has also created multiple training programs on resilience. These include spiritual fitness as well as master resilience training programs to bolster mental toughness, cultivate strong relationships and build on one's strengths -- all qualities of mindful leaders. Martin E.P. Seligman's Harvard Business Review article, "Building Resilience," summarizes these initiatives.

Alan Mulally's turnaround at the Ford Motor Company illustrates the value of resilience. He became CEO of Ford in 2006 and faced week after week of challenging news about the business. As the financial crisis peaked, Ford's very existence was at risk. As documented in Bryce Hoffman's American Icon, Mulally maintained an upbeat, positive spirit and can-do attitude that transformed Ford. He applauded those who offered bad news and encouraged the organization to view setbacks as learning opportunities en route to success.

The Mindful Leader

The best way to become more resilient is to develop oneself into a calm, compassionate and adaptable Mindful Leader. How does one become mindful? In 2011, I presented my ideas on authentic leadership to the Dalai Lama and asked him that question. He stressed the importance of creating daily mindful practices.

Two practices have increased my resilience and shaped my leadership. The first is meditation, which I began in 1975, twenty minutes twice a day. This has been the single best thing to improve my effectiveness and sense of well-being. Meditation enables me to forget less important events and focus with clarity on significant issues. My most creative ideas come out of meditation. In addition, meditation increases my energy level and enables me to be more compassionate toward others.

Meditation certainly isn't the only way to become mindful. Other regular practices include prayer, journaling, intimate discussions and solitary exercises like jogging, hiking and swimming. The important thing is to have some form of introspective practice that enables you to slow down your mind and reflect on what is important.

Second, I have been meeting weekly since 1975 with a group of men to discuss our beliefs and life experiences. We serve as mirrors for each other, allowing us to maintain equilibrium under pressure and understand how we are perceived by others. In addition, my wife and I formed a couples group of eight people in 1983 that meets monthly for personal discussions. The format of these groups is similar to the Young President Organization's Forum and the small, intimate groups described in my book, True North Groups.

Being Mindful Makes You a Better Leader

In my experience, mindful people make much better leaders than frenetic, aggressive ones. They understand their reactions to stress and crises, and understand their impact on others. They are far better at inspiring people to take on greater responsibilities and at aligning them around common missions and values. They are better at focusing and are more effective at delegating work with closed-loop follow-up. As a result, people follow their mindful approach, and their organizations outperform others over the long-run.

There is no cost to becoming mindful, and it makes far better use of your time. That's why it's catching on so rapidly. The tipping point is indeed here.

Bill George is professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and author of True North and Authentic Leadership. He is the former chair and CEO of Medtronic. Read more at www.BillGeorge.org, or follow him on Twitter @Bill_George.

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The Secret to Success: Failing Forward - Mastering A Critical Life & Leadership Skill | 3Q Leadership


1.  Understand Why Failing Forward is Critical to 21st Century Life and Leadership

If YOU want to succeed you need to learn how to fail forward; and of equal importance you must model and incorporate this skill in the culture of your organization. Whether your objective is building a successful small business, professional practice, team or enterprise that art of failing forward is more than the art of the start, it is the art that will drive sustainability, the art that will teach empowerment, engagement and resiliency>>>Learning to Fail Forward it is the linchpin for 21st Century Life and Leadership.

2.  Recognize Your True Power & Use It
Failure brings us face of face with our true power and purpose; OR it leads us down a dark path of ignoring, denying or running away from that which could help us lead forward by optimizing our potential and the potential of others.

 

3.  Take Your Ego Out of the Equation-It is Energy Going Out (In the Wrong Way)
Our greatest fear is not that we will fail or succeed.  Rather, it is the fear that something will touch that human chord that tells us that we are not good enough, that we are lesser than we can be.  It is the pain of invalidation, the pain of feeling that we are not worthy of success.  Ego, as defined for the purposes of this article as the need to seek validation from external sources is

Most healthy, human beings fear invalidation.  It is the most one of the most difficult and gut wrenching parts of our human journey. Some people run and hide from the pain of invalidation by trying to command, control and dominate.  Others become the commanded, controlled and dominated.  And then, there are those who just stay safe and avoid the prospect of invalidation by doing a good job but never engage their full potential.

For all the differences between us, our desire to survive and to contribute, to feel purposeful are real.  When fear enters our minds, all human beings automatically go into a fight of flight response.  The caveat is that learning to circumvent this fight or flight response is the coachable moment, it can be coached, we can retrain our brains and reset default mechanisms/behaviours so  that those who lead and those who aspire to greater leadership can change the way they deal with challenges, crises in a way that optimizes their potential.

 

4.  Do Something Counter-Intuitive>See Failure With New Eyes-Build Constructive Discontent and Optimize Potential by Using Problems as a Positive Catalyst for Solutions
There is a power in failure that has nothing to do with the act of failure and everything to do with our ability to re-engage the moral courage that it takes to develop our greatest ability and our greatest hope; our ability to use the very challenges we face, to transform the gaps, the problems with different eyes, eyes that guide us to new solutions and ways of communicating that drive engagement, empowerment and positive results.

I believe that the ability to fail forward, the power to use our mistakes, our challenges and even the crucibles to live better, lead better, communicate better and succeed better is critical to our individual and collective success.  And, it  means building what I call constructive discontent.  What is constructive discontent? Psychologists would describe constructive discontent as the ability to stay grounded during an argument or conflict. But, to me it is much more.  I call constructive discontent our ability to feel an emotion that is not comfortable and still continue forward by not losing the ability to tap into our potential and also remain focused on our objectives.  It is an ability that once developed is a formidable tool in human relations and leadership, and it is also a pivotal skill that we can use in learning to accept our weaknesses and use our failures to build and grow our power rather than eroding the potential, imagination and purpose we need to build a better life and a better career.

 

5.  Move Forward. Get Coached>Master the Art of Failing Forward and Make a Powerful Cultural Change in Your Organization, Your Business, Your Professional Practice and YOUR Life
The power, the freedom and the breakthrough results realized by learning to use failures as catalysts for personal growth, achievement, empowerment and success by learning to build constructive discontent cannot be minimized.  The velocity of change, challenges and opportunities we face will continue to surpass anything we have experienced.  Best practices can become stale or useless in the face of change, what worked in the past can become largely irrelevant; however, the ability to see problems, challenges differently is the new linchpin for leadership, success and well-being in the age of innovation and change.

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