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The Leadership Skills Revolution 2019


Katy Grennier, DSIL Global

The world is always changing, we need who invite change in.

In the last few decades, new concepts have emerged in the way we think about leadership. Two of them seem to be especially relevant for us at DSIL as our work challenges us to build leaders who can engage in Innovation and drive teams towards it-no matter what the work.

1. The science that human development lasts well beyond our early 20s, and we never stop learning and evolving. Leaders who do stop learning fail or hold back progress.

2. That leadership produces far better results if conducted as a shared process between individuals instead of the role of an individual. It is the relationship (the space) between two people that matters more than the two people.

Smart people are adopting new models of leadership around the globe. Action Inquiry, Adaptive Leadership, the DAC Model, Integral Leadership, and Theory U coming from MIT are just a few of these examples (McGonagill and Doerffer, 2010; Petrie, 2014; Palus, Horth, and Harrison, 2016). These models offer varying perspectives to what leadership might mean for the work, right now. The Vertical Leadership Development theories grabbed traction in the 90s and the Center for Creative Leadership simplified the ever-evolving model to make it more adaptable for corporations looking to develop their executive leaders in richer ways. Now, DSIL is evolving the Vertical Leadership model even further to increase EQ (emotional intelligence) and help established leaders develop the skills needed to be successful in the future by grappling with real- challenges in real-time and in a context foreign to participants.

Why Do Vertical Learning?

There are two development pathways in leadership: horizontal development and vertical development. Horizontal development means to build the capacity; to learn a wide breadth of different tools and skills. Vertical Development offers an opportunity to gain capability and the knowledge of how to practice these capabilities in changing circumstances. Both forms are taught effectively through practice; the DSIL course adds to the cases studies that confirm this practice as a way of learning to not only be effective but long lasting as well since the majority of our participants are still using these tools weekly in their work more than 2 years later. That is because we pair horizontal development with vertical development which gives a richer understanding of how, when, where, and who to use processes and tools with. (Petrie, 2014)

Context is everything.

Vertical development is a commitment and means leaders need more than weekend workshops to understand learning in a meaningful way! For 8 days the DSIL Course designs high-intensity environments where real challenges are tackled alongside local businesses. This nudges leaders out of their comfort zones and into practicing where things are hard! All of our participants work alongside experienced coaches through the areas where they get stuck. In the process, they develop a a highly diverse peer-support network that equally effortlessly offers new ways to see the world while building relationships that last well beyond the course.

Equally importantly, our executive program brings leaders to Southeast Asia and out of their contexts so they have a chance at staying focused in their development and not pulled away by tasks and other’s needs.

This combination of elements in the course design have powerful results. Among the 200 leaders from 60+ countries, more than 90% have stated they have had one or more pivotal mindset shifts about self. A close number state they continue to use the mindsets, process and tools they learn weekly more than 2 years after the course.

So we are on our way to building more people who can build innovation. We attract leaders who are ready to do things differently. We want to hone the ability to guide processes where many diverse perspectives are allowed at the table so the possibility for new ideas can emerge. We look for leaders who see that the same old experts sitting around and thinking in the same old silos isn’t going to cut it anymore. Our participants are ready to let go of perfectionism and the traditional processes of “control” and trade them in for “trust.”

In two months, our first-course received 400 application responses from leaders worldwide. Collaboration and co-creation are hard, but there is no shortage of individuals dedicated to learning and making it work.

Today, the DSIL Innovation Leadership Course continues to run its single signature course for 15 established leaders once a year in August. As the network grows so do the stories of alumni success, expansion of co-creation, and iteration of tools for specific contexts and goals. We continue to bring leaders from other countries to Southeast Asia to nudge them out of their comfort zones and the results have been important and transcend both culture and sector. Join us. Apply here today!

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