Mindful Leadership at Every Level When Scaling Up

Like many successful entrepreneurs, Bob Whitacre grew his company—Cornerstone Companies, a 30-year-old healthcare real estate firm—from plans on the back of napkins and a handful of people to a team that could handle the challenges of managing thousands of square feet of real estate.

Now, the firm’s second generation of leaders is facing the growth paradox. As they scale by increasing their dream team, growing a pipeline of prospects, and managing more properties with millions of square feet, things should be getting easier. But they aren’t!

When I first met Tag Birge of Cornerstone, he said, “Complexity increases exponentially with every new hire, new acquisition, or new property to manage.”

As an owner who is scaling up, you don’t want the complexity to outpace the leadership development—for yourself or for anyone in your culture—even if you have a compelling strategy and the habits to execute that plan.

The acceleration of complexity as you continue to scale and the turbulent white waters of unprecedented disruptive change in the marketplace require ever-evolving leadership. Is the leadership in your culture built for scale in a disruptive environment? And not just any leadership, but mindful leadership, at every level?

Here are four resources:

  1. Lencioni’s Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team is a model and development program that guides intact teamsof leaders to be mindful of five areas that are key to productive team dynamics: Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results.
  2. The Harvard Business Review book The Mind of the Leader, based on the wisdom of more than 30,000 leaders, describes how the best way to engage your people and unleash better performance is to train them to be present in the here and now. Mindfulness is defined as “paying attention, in the present moment, with a calm, focused and clear mind.”
  3. Melissa Levin’s article in magazine—Why Google, Nike, and Apple Love Mindfulness Training, and How You Can Easily Love It Too,”—shows that mindfulness is a staple of employee development in several Fortune 500 organizations,including General Mills and Goldman Sachs. It is a tool to increase productivity and the well-being of employees through self-leadership.
  4. In his article included in this newsletter, Scaling Leadership, Bob Anderson warns: “For most of us, complexity is outpacing our development. Escalating complexity is a given and is requiring that we adapt and evolve or perish. . . . Self-leadership and personal mastery are prerequisites for leadership.”

Peter Drucker taught: “You cannot manage other people if you can’t manage yourself first.”

Mindful leadership at every level of an organization scales the capabilities and capacity of an engaged workforce to achieve what matters most and gets results from the envisioned ideal future, the only true measure of leadership effectiveness.

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