S7E08: "What kind of leaders are you growing?"

An episode of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast

S7E08: “What kind of leaders are you growing?”

It's not about having better answers but about having better questions. In this season of The Impact Multiplier CEO podcast, Richard Medcalf and co-host Davina Stanley explore some powerful questions that every CEO, entrepreneur or senior business leader should reflect on.   Engage with them fully, and they'll provoke deeper thinking and shift you into a new realm of possibility.

What does it take to move you onto an entirely different trajectory and multiply your impact? And move from incremental improvement to a step change?

In this conversation, you’ll learn:

  • Why leadership is more than accumulating followers
  • The three main areas you can optimise for
  • Why performance is not necessarily the #1 goal

“Being a mountain-climber is one thing; being a Sherpa is another."

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Transcript

Davina Stanley
Hi everyone, Welcome back. I'm Davina Stanley and I'm here today with Richard Medcalf again, for The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast and this is the series where Richard's come up with some fabulous questions about helping us multiply our impact. Hi Richard, How are you?

Richard Medcalf
Hi Davina, I'm well, thank you. Yeah. How are you doing?

Davina Stanley
Very well, very well. Thank you. jealous of you haven't had such a lovely vacation now that you're back.

Richard Medcalf
Actually, I've got some big news yesterday, I actually had a business trip for the first time, after after COVID, sells a very big boy. I traveled to London on the Eurostar. We're recording this in the middle of September, so it probably will come out a few months later. But yeah, it was it was a new experience. It was back to school. Very interesting.

Davina Stanley
Unbelievable. Well, in Australia, we are in lockdown again. So I'm allowed out of my house. As of yesterday, I'm allowed to have a picnic with four other people if we're all vaccinated fully. So I'm really a long way from the Eurostar. So I'm very jealous, not only my jealous for you for your summer vacation, but also your freedom. So hopefully it won't be too far behind us. We're getting closer. We're 80% vaccinated with our first jab for all adult.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. today.

Davina Stanley
Not too far.

Richard Medcalf
Well..

Davina Stanley
You've got a question for us today. A really good one.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, have and the question for today is what kind of leader are you growing? What kind of leader are you growing?

Davina Stanley
I think that's a fantastic question. But I'd like you to unpack it a bit. So I understand it. What do you mean, what kind of leader? are you growing? Or leaders? are you growing?

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. So this speaks to the question of multiplication, right on any journey. The first journey, I think of the leader is the pillar of personal transformation, right, that we have to go up the mountain as a leader, and kind of become competent and a skilled leader in our in our own right. And, but leadership is not about having followers, actually, although that's first step perhaps is really about are you raising up other leaders. Because if you really think about leadership, is it compared with management, I think management is kind of telling people what to do and organizing people. And leadership is really releasing that commitment within other people to a cause, right, a desire to go above and beyond the bare minimum, in order to work on something that's, you know, a shared endeavor together. And as part of that, you know, you're going to need leaders, if you want to multiply your impact, it's not going to be just you and the eight people that you can probably manage, then you need to raise up other leaders. And as somebody once said, you know, it's one thing to climb up the mountain yourself, it's another thing to become the Sherpa who takes other people up the mountain. That's a different skill set.

Davina Stanley
Theory, I've never heard of it described that way. But I like that a lot. I like that a lot.

Richard Medcalf
And somebody said, you know, you can't teach this stuff? Well, obviously, actually, you can you can model it. You can. It's an apprenticeship journey. And, you know, we will do it when it comes to our kids in many ways, right? We need to teach them by, but yeah, they often learn by imitation. They learn by watching what we do what's important to us, and also to the things we say. And so I think this question forces us to think about our values, because the question is, what kind of leaders are you growing, because you're probably growing certain sort of leader, no matter what you're doing, just like you're raising a certain sort of kid, no matter what you're doing. And so I wouldn't think about what kind of leaders it's Well, for me, it's like what are you optimizing for? What what are you optimizing for? What's the priority? So there's short term performance, people who just driven by getting a dopamine hit of the next month results or whatever it is, are you optimizing for behavior? So are there certain principles of acting that actually take precedence even if that means you might suffer in the short term while you For example, optimizing for learning Culture, a learning mindset, which is, again, something a bit different. And so if we just perhaps, pull these apart a little bit, performance versus behavior, right? Well, that's a classic dilemma that leaders face, right? It's like, do we want to just drive the result? Or are we trying to build a healthy environment? And sometimes they're they hopefully they're compatible, many often they are compatible. But sometimes there's a choice. What do you do with a leader who's high performing, but low on standards? behavior? Right, not a value aligned? Or what do you do with somebody who is underperforming, but a great fit in terms of behaviors? So we do need to make trade off certain points.

Davina Stanley
I suspect some of those short term for is circumstantial, as well as the general longer term trend as well and then sometimes you might have a broad view on what you're optimizing for that you need to adjust for certain circumstances when you've got a crisis, for example, we need to adjust to that.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, that's right, of course but again, we're kind of looking for you know, is it? You know, is it a performance mindset is about you know, it? Was it actually, you know, is it what are you doing? Are you being? And then, how are you growing? And so performance versus learning is another interesting dynamic, because it's been shown that, actually, a high performance culture will reward, again, a certain behavior, which is not always ready to adapt and so often we think we talk about we think about performance but think about performance, that means you're measuring it against a fixed set of rules, like you have a consistent environment for performance. Like you're playing a board game, or sports game. Therefore, you can do high performance on the sports field, because it's a finite game, right? It's a specific thing with specific rules, and therefore you can measure performance but what happens if the rules are changing as you go? Right, then the pert the height most adaptive people are going to work? And therefore, actually, the experimentation that learning requires will tend to reduce short term performance? Absolutely. Right. But probably over the midterm, you're going to create a better outcome. Yeah, so what kind of leaders are you growing?

Davina Stanley
Sorry, how much risk are you going to tolerate is part of that question, isn't it?

Richard Medcalf
Yes, yeah, exactly. So for example, I people say I like to celebrate failure. Well, reality, nobody really celebrates failure. Right? And it's, people think i think i should or we should do that more? Well, I would say it's not a failure you want to celebrate, but it is learning that you want to celebrate. And therefore when somebody tries something, and they fail at something that they could risk and it doesn't work out? Well, first of all, is that actually failure? Is that just part of a learning journey towards a future success? First of all, how do you see it, but secondly, you're not going to go, hooray, your project didn't work, that's not gonna work out. But on the other hand, you will say, I really love the way that you've extracted some key learnings from this, you know, or what do we learn for next time? How are we going to change and building that learning culture is really important. So I think if you have these, imagine a triangle, you've got performance on one end, you've got behavior in the other end learning on the other, and trying to kind of a map and you can kind of say, well, where am I actually, you know, what, what, what are the order? What's the order? Which way around by putting this triangle? What's at the top? And your health that actually showing up? In the questions that I set as I have with my team? Yeah, the conversations that we have together, what we celebrate what reward or those kind of things. So what kind of leaders are you growing?

Davina Stanley
I think that's it's a really interesting question just to reflect on isn't it and perhaps, to observe what's happening? And think about what we'd like to be happening and see whether there's a gap between the two or whether we're comfortable, that they're fairly aligned, I can imagine we might have an intention in that regard. That's sometimes quite hard to actually deliver on quite precisely, so consistently, perhaps.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, that's right. And therefore, that's why it's quite good to come up with a bit of a personal charter or almost like articulate your leadership principles. What a couple of those core convictions which you really believe is the path to successful leadership to creating people who are going to make an impact and if you kind of focus on what is that what is that that I want to pass on and multiply from what I've learned is the leader or the leader they want to be and make sure that is actually coming through because people will Culture is built by people figuring out what works, and what in the current environment. And so if you're creating the culture of your team, if people basically know that to succeed in your team, they should basically shut up, just do what they're told and deliver the results. That that is that's the leaders, you're growing, you're growing leaders who are going to do that. If you actually if people start to realize that what is what is appreciated, and and valued is a commitment to experimentation. You're trying things out and and finding breakthrough results, for example, that will also be valued. So again, you're gonna need all of these performance, behavior and learning, you're not going to have any of those in your mix. But I think that's just one simple way to start thinking about what are my leadership principles? When I have to make a trade off? Where will I go? Will I sacrifice my behaviors for the performance? Will I sacrifice performance for learning, you know, which way around does it play? And so that would be what I'd recommend as a simple call to action is just try to draw out that triangle and just use that to think through just a few leadership principles that you would love to pass on to your team and that's it.

Davina Stanley
I think that's really helpful that visual of the triangle, and perhaps thinking about the way the orientation of the waiting for each it is your base case, perhaps your ideal place to have i think that's that's a really nice, helpful visual that encapsulates what you've just said, there. No, that's, that's terrific. So next time, we have another question and Richard's holding back, he's not telling me what the x means. He's got a quickie title for this one. It is WWXD. So I'm looking forward to hearing what Richard means from that, as usual, he's holding it back is rolling it out from him when we get together for our next session. So if you'd like to go and see other podcasts in this series, you can go to xquadrant.com/podcast. So unless Richard's got anything else to add there? Well..

Richard Medcalf
I've got one last thing, which is really just a summary. I reflected on this on this episode. This question is not a question that you need to ask if you just want to drive performance in the current quarter. This question is really a question about legacy and it's a question about multiplying your impact and it's a question of upscaling, right? And the question is to multiply your impact and so if you're serious about multiplying impact, this is really a key question. It's who you raising up around you.

Davina Stanley
Yeah, that's terrific. I can absolutely see that playing out. So thanks so much, and we look forward to seeing you again next time with Richard's WWXD question that has me so curious. Bye for now.

Richard Medcalf
Speak soon.

**Note: This transcript is automatically generated.
Please excuse any errors.

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