PACE: Another Ben Franklin Invention

Disruptive times call for transformational leaders with a knack for addressing complex problems. To navigate effectively, we must learn to let go—and become more complex ourselves.

How to qualify and receive PACE financing

 

Disruptive times call for transformational leaders with a knack for addressing complex problems. To navigate effectively, we must learn to let go—and become more complex ourselves.

We live in an age of accelerating disruption. Every company is facing up to the profound changes wrought by digitization. Industry boundaries have become permeable. Data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence are changing the nature of forecasting, decision making, and the workplace itself. All this is happening at once, and established companies are responding by rethinking their business models, redesigning their organizations, adopting novel agile-management practices, and embracing design thinking.

In our experience, five personal practices can meaningfully contribute to the mind-set needed for leadership effectiveness during transformative times. They are extensions of timeless principles of centered leadership; taken together, they can be the building blocks of your personal inner agility:

1. Simpler than a mortgage or business loan

Anticipating tough questions at an upcoming board meeting, the CEO and CFO of a global manufacturer met to review the status of a substantial merger they had engineered about twelve months earlier. It wasn’t a pretty picture. Despite following the integration plan closely, despite intensive scenario planning, and despite clear, achievable targets, productivity was falling. The more the two dug into the results of their grand plan, the more heated the discussion. The CFO wanted to shutter a dozen factories in the company’s expanded portfolio. The CEO, who had promised that the merger would lead to bold innovation, wanted to increase funding of those very plants, since they were making the ambitious products the company would need in the long run. Despite having worked together for quite a while, the two men had such differing views that neither knew how to move forward together.

Claiming this space is hard, and there are no silver bullets. Some CEOs like daily meditation. We know one CEO who takes a ten-minute walk through the neighborhood around his office—leaving his cell phone on his desk. Others regularly catch a minute’s worth of deep breathing between meetings. The repetition of such practices helps them pause in the moment, interrupt well-grooved habits that get triggered under duress, and create space to practice something different.

Pausing requires substantial self-awareness, and you may not get immediate results. Every bit of benefit counts, though, and if you don’t start the journey of learning how to decouple from your context and the immediate response it provokes, you’ll find it harder and harder to be open to new ideas, or to become a better listener—both traits that are critical at moments where your own vision is clouded.

 

  1. Landlord consent. Pausing while remaining engaged in action is a counterintuitive step that leaders can use to create space for clear judgment, original thinking, and speedy, purposeful action.

Pausing while remaining engaged in action is a counterintuitive step that leaders can use to create space for clear judgment, original thinking, and speedy, purposeful action.

Pausing while remaining engaged in action is a counterintuitive step that leaders can use to create space for clear judgment, original thinking, and speedy, purposeful action.

  1. Lender consent. Good new ideas can come from anywhere, competitors can emerge from neighboring industries, and a single technology product can reshape your business. In such a world, listening—and thinking—from a place of not knowing is a critical means of encouraging the discovery of original, unexpected, breakthrough ideas.

Pausing while remaining engaged in action is a counterintuitive step that leaders can use to create space for clear judgment, original thinking, and speedy, purposeful action.

Pausing while remaining engaged in action is a counterintuitive step that leaders can use to create space for clear judgment, original thinking, and speedy, purposeful action.

  1. Technical review. One way to discern the complex patterns that give rise to both problems and windows of emergent possibilities is to change the nature of the questions we ask ourselves. Asking yourself challenging questions may help unblock your existing mental model.

Pausing while remaining engaged in action is a counterintuitive step that leaders can use to create space for clear judgment, original thinking, and speedy, purposeful action.

Pausing while remaining engaged in action is a counterintuitive step that leaders can use to create space for clear judgment, original thinking, and speedy, purposeful action.

 

Claiming this space is hard, and there are no silver bullets. Some CEOs like daily meditation. We know one CEO who takes a ten-minute walk through the neighborhood around his office—leaving his cell phone on his desk. Others regularly catch a minute’s worth of deep breathing between meetings. The repetition of such practices helps them pause in the moment, interrupt well-grooved habits that get triggered under duress, and create space to practice something different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Meeting program requirements

The information was interesting. But the CEO and CFO agreed that they were still largely in the dark. They decided that they would next meet with all the members of the executive team. They needed the help of many voices.

Claiming this space is hard, and there are no silver bullets. Some CEOs like daily meditation. We know one CEO who takes a ten-minute walk through the neighborhood around his office—leaving his cell phone on his desk. Others regularly catch a minute’s worth of deep breathing between meetings. The repetition of such practices helps them pause in the moment, interrupt well-grooved habits that get triggered under duress, and create space to practice something different.

With the whole team gathered, the CEO and the CFO listed their assumptions about what might have caused the productivity slump. Then they went around the room, asking questions: How may we be wrong? What else is happening? Who sees this differently? The chief human-resources officer, a quiet fellow during most discussions about operations, spoke up to say that absenteeism was at an all-time high. The vice president of marketing mentioned that the company’s largest customer had complained recently about the call center. As more managers weighed in, patterns started to emerge, patterns that had nothing to do with numbers. The vice president of strategy, who was in the process of moving into a new house with her new husband and children, said, “This reminds me of my kids. Joe and I were so focused on making the move happen efficiently that we completely missed the fact that our kids were anxious. They needed to be reassured, not told they were moving into the perfect room! I wonder if fears and anxieties in our employee base could be driving this.” Together, the managers came to a jarring realization: they had failed to reassure employees about this massive change in their lives.

But embracing your ignorance is hard. Letting go of your need to know means challenging your own identity as exceptionally competent. One CEO we know pretends to have a long dinosaur tail that represents all her life experience. In meetings, she imagines that she tucks it away beneath her. It’s comforting that it’s there. It allows her to lean back and access a sense of self-sufficiency that can be summed up by the thought, “I am enough.” That comfort shifts her into a deeper listening mode, where she’s unencumbered by the urge to provide a quick answer. She feels that she’s able to hear not just the words and ideas of others, but the subtext of conversations. Since adopting this practice, she’s received feedback that people feel more empowered and creative when meeting with her.

Location Many lenders favor some states over others, but most lenders are active in DC, MD, and VA
Location Many lenders favor some states over others, but most lenders are active in DC, MD, and VA
Location Many lenders favor some states over others, but most lenders are active in DC, MD, and VA
Location Many lenders favor some states over others, but most lenders are active in DC, MD, and VA
Location Many lenders favor some states over others, but most lenders are active in DC, MD, and VA
Location Many lenders favor some states over others, but most lenders are active in DC, MD, and VA

 

About PACE How to qualify and receive PACE financing