Slow Leadership

EARCOS Leadership Conference
Bangkok, Thailand
November 2, 2013
Kirsten Olson, Ed.D, PCC
Old Sow Coaching...
How I Came
To Slow
•
•
•
•

Work as an organizational consultant and leadership coach for 20 years

•

Culturally create c...
“Don’t just do something,
stand there.”
Fast may be inversely
correlated with quality?

Monday, October 28, 2013

3
Developmental
growth requires
pauses
• Teams and leaders require reflection on
practice to grow developmentally

• Moving f...
Cognitively-overloaded
brain
"E-mails, meetings, texts, tweets, phone calls, news—the unstructured, continuous, fractured ...
New leadership
requires complex
cross-system ‘knowing’
People are most comfortable working within one way of knowing, but ...
“Work Devotion Schema”
•

•

“Working long hours is a way of signaling youʼre really committed, that
youʼre really devoted...
Long hours
prove worth
•
•

•

Particularly for white collar men
“The work of Joseph Vandello, who wrote a very important ...
Work with
leaders and
teams
• Just a few practices
• Creating the conditions for ‘going slow’
• Demonstrate how this is at...
Slow Leadership At
Work
• Begin meetings with silence, “taking a good
minute”

• Find your body and create a mini-release
...
Basic Premise of
Leadership Coaching

“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we
fail to notice.
And because...
What’s your typical
day?

Monday, October 28, 2013

12
What’s the traffic in
your head?

Monday, October 28, 2013

13
Monday, October 28, 2013

14
Make a list of what’s
typical...

Monday, October 28, 2013

15
Pause.
Breathe.

Monday, October 28, 2013

16
Creating An Island of
Calm:
3 Minute Body Scan

Monday, October 28, 2013

17
What’s the difference
between those two
experiences?

Monday, October 28, 2013

18
Big Ideas
• “Leadership is too important to
rush” (Adrian Savage)

• Paradox: What made you successful may
hold you back

...
Technician To Manager
•

Specialist who likes to
work narrow and deep

•

Technicians do one thing
and do it well

•

Key ...
Manager...
•
•

Key actions: listen, discern,
coordinate other’s actions,
support and coach, direct,
orchestrate

•

Monda...
“Managers get paid to
help other people do
things, not DO things.”
Monday, October 28, 2013

22
Blessing/Curse
What’s Yours?

Monday, October 28, 2013

23
Monday, October 28, 2013

24
What’s yours?

Monday, October 28, 2013

25
Monday, October 28, 2013

26
What did you hear?

Monday, October 28, 2013

27
Self Evaluation:
In your leadership life now, where are you
putting out fires vs. slow cooking?

Monday, October 28, 2013

...
Why?

Monday, October 28, 2013

29
What do you want to
slow down?

Monday, October 28, 2013

30
Monday, October 28, 2013

31
What are the ingredients of slow cooking
for you?
Monday, October 28, 2013

32
Share Out

Monday, October 28, 2013

33
What can you start
noticing today?
New practice for
tomorrow?

Monday, October 28, 2013

34
“The story is told of a South American tribe that went
on a long march, when all of a sudden they would stop
walking, sit ...
Resources
• Adrian Savage, Slow Leadership: Civilizing The
Organization (2006)

• Mary Blair-Loy, Competing Devotions: Car...
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Slow Leadership

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Breakout session for The East Asia Regional Council of Schools Leadership Conference 2013

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Slow Leadership

  1. 1. Slow Leadership EARCOS Leadership Conference Bangkok, Thailand November 2, 2013 Kirsten Olson, Ed.D, PCC Old Sow Coaching and Consulting Boston, MA-USA @olsonkirsten Monday, October 28, 2013 1
  2. 2. How I Came To Slow • • • • Work as an organizational consultant and leadership coach for 20 years • Culturally create contrast to ‘old, slow’ hierarchies of existing systems/educational monopolies • To be fast is to be new, right Adrian Savage Paradox: Movement for slow leadership as information worlds speed up Charter school movement in the US: incredible prizing of speed, efficiency, tangible results based on data Monday, October 28, 2013 2
  3. 3. “Don’t just do something, stand there.” Fast may be inversely correlated with quality? Monday, October 28, 2013 3
  4. 4. Developmental growth requires pauses • Teams and leaders require reflection on practice to grow developmentally • Moving from Kegan’s Stage 3 to Stage 4 • Expert to Achiever (Torbert, Loevinger, Cook-Greuter) Monday, October 28, 2013 4
  5. 5. Cognitively-overloaded brain "E-mails, meetings, texts, tweets, phone calls, news—the unstructured, continuous, fractured nature of modern work is a tremendous burden on the brain's control network and consumes a huge amount of the brain’s energy. The resulting mental fatigue takes its toll in the form of mistakes, shallow thinking, and impaired self-regulation. When overwhelmed, the control network loses the proverbial reins, and our behavior is driven by immediate, situational cues instead of shaped with our priorities in mind. We go on autopilot, and our brains fall back to simply responding to whatever is in front of us, regardless of its importance.Success as a leader requires, first and foremost, creating just a few clear priorities and gathering the courage to eliminate or outsource less important tasks and goals. Executives must also reset their expectations for what constitutes a viable workload, basing them on a realistic understanding of what their brains can handle. It’s less than what most of us try to accomplish." Cognitive scientists Adam Waytz and Malia Mason (2013) “Your Brain At Work” http://hbr.org/2013/07/your-brain-at-work/ar/1 Monday, October 28, 2013 5
  6. 6. New leadership requires complex cross-system ‘knowing’ People are most comfortable working within one way of knowing, but real change in complex systems requires more than one way of knowing. Monday, October 28, 2013 6
  7. 7. “Work Devotion Schema” • • “Working long hours is a way of signaling youʼre really committed, that youʼre really devoted to your job. Itʼs a way of displaying what the sociologist Mary Blair-Loy has called the work devotion schema. The work devotion schema–communicates that work should be the central focus of your life, unencumbered by family responsibilities; that it entails deep emotional ties with your work. Work is the chief place that you get your sense of identity, the chief place you get your sense of moral worth. “I would do anything for my clients [or students]” is a very common thing to hear. For example, lawyers say, “Iʼm always available when my clients need me.” -Joan C. Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law at University of California (2013) http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/08/working-fathers-need-balance-t/ Monday, October 28, 2013 7
  8. 8. Long hours prove worth • • • Particularly for white collar men “The work of Joseph Vandello, who wrote a very important article called “Precarious Masculinity,”– showing that although femininity is something that happens to women automatically as they mature, masculinity is seen as something that not only has to be earned, it has to be earned over and over and over again. One of the key places that it’s earned, for more privileged men, is on the job.” Joan C. Williams So to prove your worth as a man, you ‘need’ to work very long hours and be overly busy Monday, October 28, 2013 8
  9. 9. Work with leaders and teams • Just a few practices • Creating the conditions for ‘going slow’ • Demonstrate how this is attached to positive outcomes for the organization • Work with a high-performing team whose work is ‘stuck’ due to rushing, over-emphasis on efficiency Monday, October 28, 2013 9
  10. 10. Slow Leadership At Work • Begin meetings with silence, “taking a good minute” • Find your body and create a mini-release • Bring attention to your back body for listening, creativity Monday, October 28, 2013 10
  11. 11. Basic Premise of Leadership Coaching “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice what we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.” -R.D. Laing, 1954 Monday, October 28, 2013 11
  12. 12. What’s your typical day? Monday, October 28, 2013 12
  13. 13. What’s the traffic in your head? Monday, October 28, 2013 13
  14. 14. Monday, October 28, 2013 14
  15. 15. Make a list of what’s typical... Monday, October 28, 2013 15
  16. 16. Pause. Breathe. Monday, October 28, 2013 16
  17. 17. Creating An Island of Calm: 3 Minute Body Scan Monday, October 28, 2013 17
  18. 18. What’s the difference between those two experiences? Monday, October 28, 2013 18
  19. 19. Big Ideas • “Leadership is too important to rush” (Adrian Savage) • Paradox: What made you successful may hold you back • Technician to Manager • What needs slow cooking? Monday, October 28, 2013 19
  20. 20. Technician To Manager • Specialist who likes to work narrow and deep • Technicians do one thing and do it well • Key actions: deliver on area of expertise, build expertise • At school: administrator, librarian, custodian, nurse, AP teacher Monday, October 28, 2013 20
  21. 21. Manager... • • Key actions: listen, discern, coordinate other’s actions, support and coach, direct, orchestrate • Monday, October 28, 2013 Gets things done THROUGH other people At school: superintendent, principal, teacher leader 21
  22. 22. “Managers get paid to help other people do things, not DO things.” Monday, October 28, 2013 22
  23. 23. Blessing/Curse What’s Yours? Monday, October 28, 2013 23
  24. 24. Monday, October 28, 2013 24
  25. 25. What’s yours? Monday, October 28, 2013 25
  26. 26. Monday, October 28, 2013 26
  27. 27. What did you hear? Monday, October 28, 2013 27
  28. 28. Self Evaluation: In your leadership life now, where are you putting out fires vs. slow cooking? Monday, October 28, 2013 28
  29. 29. Why? Monday, October 28, 2013 29
  30. 30. What do you want to slow down? Monday, October 28, 2013 30
  31. 31. Monday, October 28, 2013 31
  32. 32. What are the ingredients of slow cooking for you? Monday, October 28, 2013 32
  33. 33. Share Out Monday, October 28, 2013 33
  34. 34. What can you start noticing today? New practice for tomorrow? Monday, October 28, 2013 34
  35. 35. “The story is told of a South American tribe that went on a long march, when all of a sudden they would stop walking, sit down to rest for awhile, and then make camp for a couple of days before going any farther. They explained that they needed the time of rest so that their souls could catch up with them.” -Wayne Muller, Sabbath Monday, October 28, 2013 35
  36. 36. Resources • Adrian Savage, Slow Leadership: Civilizing The Organization (2006) • Mary Blair-Loy, Competing Devotions: Career and Family Among Women Executives (2003) • Robert Kegan developmental theory: In Over Our Heads (1998) and http:// www.slideshare.net/JessicaTraylor/keganconstructive-developmental-theory Monday, October 28, 2013 36

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