Helping leaders emerge

Blog - January 2016

Do You Lead With Only The Proven Parts Of Yourself?

Written by Stephen Parker, Chief Learning Officer and Global Head of Talent Management, consulting firm – A.T. Kearney

The senior partners of A.T. Kearney, the consulting firm where I work, are currently progressing through a learning experience we call Expanding Horizons. Much that we ask participants to do in the program strikes them as odd.

We may, for example, ask our highly respected partners to deliver a bit of improv comedy. Tell a deeply revealing story. Or work in a small group to compose and then perform an original song. Their first reaction is often: “Seriously?” It’s fascinating to watch what happens next.

In one activity we ask for a volunteer to conduct a live string quartet, whose members have just explained that it took years of practice for them to master playing together. Typically, the first volunteer steps forward only after some coaxing, then conducts the quartet rather timidly, which elicits a few self-conscious giggles from the observing co-participants. But one time, when we asked for that first volunteer, a partner immediately sprang to her feet and commenced conducting with remarkable vigor, her arms waving and long hair flying about. Her fellow participants seemed a bit startled at first (as was I), but soon the whole group became more emotive and expressive, and before long most were also moving with the music. The conductors who followed that bold first volunteer were far less inhibited than we had come to expect, and put noticeably more of themselves into conducting.

Read more >

The Right Speech of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a reminder to honor the life of a man who fought for civil rights. His vision of a world where black Americans would have the same rights as whites was a vision he paid the highest price for. In a speech he gave at New York University in 1961 he said:

"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable . . . Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."

Do You Know Your Best Self?

Written by Stephen Parker, Chief Learning Officer and Global Head of Talent Management, consulting firm – A.T. Kearney

Dan Cable, Professor of Organizational Behaviour, London Business School says we are our best selves when we are doing “what we love, what people value, and what we’re great at.” Yet our busy lives rarely bring us to this soul-sustaining juncture. Even the most successful professionals can feel trapped by what they are doing. They may be highly respected and richly rewarded, but something is missing. Deep down they sense that their work does not fully invite them to be their best self.

Some organizations get along fine operating this way, but when an organization is highly aspirational, helping people to be their best selves is imperative. I work in a highly aspirational organization. In 2013, we committed to a vision of A.T. Kearney being the most admired global full-service management consulting firm by the year 2020, while doubling in size. With those goals in mind, we build our learning efforts around this core tenet: For us to be the most admired firm, each one of us must be the most admired version of ourselves – our best self. This confluence of organizational and individual aspirations compels us to offer learning experiences that benefit the whole person, encompassing the emotional, intellectual, relational and physical domains.

Read more >

Happy New Year

You'd be suprised what you can live with and live without.