The following list represents the Key Service Objectives (KSO) for the Appleton Greene Soulful Leadership service.
The purpose of this service objective is to help companies reimagine the role of leaders and the goals of leadership. Today’s organizations are fascinated with leaders and leadership. So it is not surprising that the two words have become imbued with meanings and interpretations that actually distort their fundamental nature and purpose. For instance, lately, leadership has become more of a morality tale. There is excessive concern with the virtuous aspects of leaders – empowerment, authenticity and charisma – and correspondingly less concern with what leaders should be doing. There is also excessive attention paid to the personality aspects of leaders – personality tests and profiles – and less attention to how work actually gets done, and what leaders need to do to further existing histories and write new chapters for future histories of their organizations. Consequently, it is important to help attendees re-imagine leaders and leadership. Leaders are not necessarily heroes. Frequently, they are ordinary people who are asked to play a role for a finite amount of time. During this time, they are charged with moving their organizations forward toward some desired strategic destination. The personal assets that leaders bring forth to navigate these leadership journeys are critical, and will form the core of reimagining of leadership and leadership roles. In keeping with the essence of the program, this reimagining will be fueled by appropriate examples from poetry and literature. Several examples of real life leaders will be provided to help attendees acquire a different perspective on who leaders are and what their roles should be. This will set the stage for the service objectives that follow.
This service objective will help lay a foundation for clients to understand the dynamics and DNA of soulful leadership. Key concepts and ideas that give Soulful Leadership its unique character will be presented and discussed. The discussion will be concrete, not abstract. Specific examples from the day to day lives of organizations, involving routine and non-routine decisions, like job promotions, use of robots instead of human beings, and sponsoring community programs in tough economic times will be used to establish the idea and practice of soulful leadership. Specific factors enabling or inhibiting the practice of Soulful Leadership will also be discussed. These factors will be drawn from three main categories – who the leader is, how the leader thinks, and how the leader acts. Consideration will also be given to the environment comprising of communities, cultures, and the planet to illustrate how soulful leadership can be conceived and implemented. In keeping with the essence of the program, the ideas and practice concerning Soulful Leadership will be appropriately supported and illustrated with examples from poetry and literature. Examples of real life leaders who practice, or have practiced Soulful Leadership when they were active will be used to inspire and inform program attendees. Lastly, this foundation will serve as the basis for further exploring key dimensions of Soulful Leadership in the service objectives that follow.
The purpose of this service objective is to help clients focus on a vital, but neglected aspect of successful leadership. Traditional leadership training has paid scant attention to the inner aspects of leaders. It has focused instead on leaders’ heads, attempting to make them smarter and instilling in them relevant task related skills and competencies. It has also focused on designing appropriate incentives and regulations for promoting the “right” kind of behavior. But in today’s content rich world, these types of competencies can be readily purchased and don’t offer a sustainable source of competitive advantage. Neither can a focus on incentives and work processes lead to engaging and satisfying work places. What can’t be bought, and what differentiates successful leaders from the not so successful ones is what lies within them. The commitment, the caring, the passion, the discipline, the dedication to constantly learn, grow, and become a better human being, and therefore a better leader, can’t be bought. But it can be nurtured through an inner awakening, which motivates leaders to understand who they are, so they can make not just smarter, but also wiser, more enlightened choices. This inner awakening is the bedrock of Soulful Leadership. In its absence leadership would remain a vehicle for the self-serving interests of the powerful and privileged not the platform it should be for the wellbeing and prosperity of the many. Here again, as in previous service objectives – and the ones to follow – the dynamics and benefits of inner awakening will be illustrated and supported by examples from immortal poems and literature, and from case-studies of past and current leaders.
The purpose of this objective is to emphasize the importance of one of the most vital elements of soulful leadership. Leaders are appointed to act; doing nothing is not an action. The bulk of leader’s actions revolve around generating forward momentum for their organizations and themselves. This forward momentum is usually toward what leaders – and hopefully, the organization – considers a better future. But each time leaders act, they have to sacrifice something, or someone, or someone’s interests. For example, leaders can sacrifice people, resources (which includes the planet), or some aspect of themselves; usually it’s some combination of the three. It is impossible not to do so, because pleasing and satisfying everybody is not feasible. Since who to sacrifice, how much, and when are not trivial decisions, Soulful Leadership requires leaders to be guided by an inner awakening so that no one group of people or resources are sacrificed disproportionately for the gain of a privileged few. Historically, leaders have often used their power and privilege to sacrifice others – including resources – for their own wellbeing and prosperity. But Soulful Leadership sees it differently. It considers leadership as a privilege of a different kind, as a force of doing good, and a platform for increasing the wellbeing and prosperity of the greater many. The discussion on the sacrifice framework will also be illustrated and supported by examples from poetry and literature, and from case-studies of leaders who have exhibited an uncommon awareness of the sacrifices inherent in their own decisions, and modeled exemplary behaviors concerning the sacrifice framework.
New narratives and ideas benefit leaders and the organizations they lead only when they are implemented. Merely talking about them accomplishes little. Consequently, the purpose of this objective is to present and discuss a three-step framework for disseminating the idea and practice of Soulful Leadership throughout the organization, so it becomes an integral part of the organization’s operating culture. The first step in the framework is to “Think about it.” This step enables attendees to reflect individually on the various aspects of Soulful Leadership and on their own equation with it, so they can determine where they could adopt and embrace it more fully. The second step, “Talk about it,” transfers this individual assessment to a group discussion on how and where Soulful Leadership can and should be implanted. The third step, “Act on it,” translates the brainstorming from step 2 to an action agenda, with the emphasis being on exhibiting behavior that will lead to Soulful Leadership becoming an integral part of the operating culture and DNA of the organization. Collectively, the three steps should bring about a greater awareness, appreciation, and implementation of the ideas and practice of Soulful Leadership.
Technology is all pervasive and omnipresent in today’s world, and is radically reshaping all aspects of work and life from everyday essentialities of cooking, cleaning, transportation, and security to discretionary needs, such as healthcare, education, and entertainment. In the business world, technology is the backbone of the operations of virtually every business, and is also helping shape business strategy, and transforming business, revenue, and growth models. There was a time when technology was equated with the IT department and the hardware that sat on our desks and the software that helped us operate the hardware. Today, there is scarcely a department in any business that doesn’t use technology; even HR departments uses technology for managing and developing the human potential of their respective organizations. In fact, according to Gartner, marketing, not IT, will be the largest buyer of technology by 2018. Additionally, technology is also ubiquitous and essential to the day to day lives of typical customers. Cars today have more code than the computers of a few years ago…and there is no turning back. We live in an era of digital disruption, an era in which technology simultaneously creates and destroys customer value and customer experience. Consequently, it is important for companies to embrace technology and leverage it so that the value and experience they are providing to customers doesn’t become obsolete.
We use technology as if it were a common noun, it is anything but that. Cloud computing is technology, as is a common app, as is virtual reality, and as is IoT (Internet of things). However, each of them are a source of differentiated customer value and the basis of a differentiated customer experience. Which is why as the world of technology expands and dominates businesses and people’s lives, the all important question of value innovation will become even more relevant. As Steve Jobs likes to remind technology fanatics, “Smart companies don’t push technologies on unsuspecting customers, they work backwards. They begin by asking what great value and experiences they should deliver customers and then ask their engineers and designers to develop and deliver the targeted value and experience.” The number of trends that characterize technology – robotics, AI, nanotechnology, etc. – are too numerous to enumerate and discuss here. What is important to note though is that the world of technology is constantly morphing and converging, making it even more demanding for companies to stay connected with the customer and tackle issues related to value innovation.
Like education, entertainment, and a host of other industries, healthcare is in the throes of radical transformation. The industry is being asked to cater to exponentially increasing demand, which is both varied and complex, without passing on ever increasing costs to the end user. Not surprising therefore, that for several years now, the pharma companies have been urging themselves to migrate from being pill centric to becoming patient centric. Hospitals and other healthcare providers have been seriously rethinking their business models and moving away from treating diseases to championing wellness, and payers have been focused on pharmacoeconomics to balance costs and relative efficacy of alternate treatments. The number of moving parts grabbing the industry’s attention have increased dramatically in the past few years. New technologies, ranging from electronic health records, and digital tools for supporting diagnosis to telemedicine and robotics are being embraced aggressively to cater to the burgeoning demand. The changing demographics of the population, especially the needs of the elderly and the terminally ill, are posing fresh caregiving challenges, which are not easy to solve. Costs show no signs of abating, even as voices in support of individualized medicine are getting louder. Not only are new specialty drugs highly costly to produce, new viruses, like the Zika virus, and old standards like the flu, which have adapted and become more resistant to commonly available antibiotics, are stressing the system constantly, diminishing the ability of the healthcare system and industry to provide real, meaningful, timely, and tangible value at an affordable price.
Consequently, the industry is under greater public and legislative scrutiny. As more health care data, particularly financial, such as physician fees, comparison of insurance plan premiums, and payments by drug and medical device manufacturers to physicians and other care providers, becomes public, the power of the public to influence important medical policies and decisions is increasing, eroding the power and sole authority status of traditional gatekeepers, like physicians and hospitals. As the focus of the industry shifts from treatment to prevention and wellness, from individual health to social and community health, issues related to value innovation – customer value and customer experience – will become even more important. The word customer is used deliberately, because not everybody the healthcare industry will and should engage will be a patient. The system will need to experiment with new models of wellness, treatment, and payment to meet customer needs, so increasing healthcare value, which is both relevant and timely, can be delivered unaccompanied by soaring costs.
Banking & Financial Services
In the next three to five years, banking and financial services is likely to be disrupted more than any other sector. The nature of money is changing, as is the world of payments. It will not be cash, currency, and coins as we know it today. A host of innovations, like digital wallets, blockchains, cryptocurrencies, automation of cash and money flows, payment embedded in the Internet of Things, where Toyota cars pay for gas, and Nespresso machines pay for coffee, and Electrolux fridges pay for milk delivery are already beginning to rear their heads. In this fragmented environment where cash will largely be invisible and payments highly distributed, often in closed-loops, third party institutions like banks and financial services that currently handle cash and payment transactions will have to rethink their role and purpose; they won’t have an option.
Paradoxically, as the reach of technology grows and innovations radically transform the structure of banking and financial services, customers will increasingly want to be treated as unique individuals, and not as a nameless, faceless statistic in the company’s database. Customizing customer value and customer experiences will be at a premium, making value innovation even more critical. We are already getting a glimpse of this with the rise of big data and analytics. Banks and financial service companies are pursuing micro-segmentation zealously so they can convince their customers that they do care about them as individuals. Lastly, with the convergence of financial instruments, cash, credit, savings, investments, etc., customer loyalties will either be distributed across a number of players, or highly concentrated with one or two. In such an environment, value innovation will become even more critical for customer acquisition and retention, and therefore for the long term well-being of the organization.
Even though all forms and levels of education are changing, this section will focus only on higher education (bachelor’s degree and above) delivered by colleges and universities throughout the world. Several factors are turning higher education on its head. On the demand side, the demographics of students, especially in terms of age, income, and diversity has changed and is unlikely to reverse. Today’s students are likely to be older, are more likely to come from poorer families, and from ethnic backgrounds where parents may not have gone to college. They also have different attitudes and expectations, notably, they have an unrealistically high opinion of their own abilities, and are not merely interested in learning – they want a variety of entertaining experiences during their tenure at college. The changing mix and experience expectations of students will continue to pose challenges for colleges and universities. Additionally, not all students want to be full time students, or be physically present in the class room. Part-time, evening, and weekend students are definitely on the rise, as are those who want to obtain their degree in digital and online forums.
On the supply side the number of institutions offering degrees, especially those popular with recruiters, like MBA, have increased dramatically. In India, for example, in the 1980s there were only five major MBA degree granting colleges. Today, virtually every mid-to-large sized city can boast of colleges that grant an MBA degree. Privately owned colleges and universities that operate for profit, and smaller community colleges that cater to students in specific geographies has also increased. However, quality of education has not kept pace with the proliferation of institutions globally; the biggest constraints being funding, quality of trained teachers, and the nature of the curriculum. Several colleges and universities are experimenting with technology in the class room to augment and boost student and teaching experience, with the hope of raising the quality and relevance of education delivered. More students participate in MOOCs, distance learning through online courses, and hybrid formats. While the jury is still out on whether technology will help bring greater student engagement and improve the quality of learning, questions concerning relevance of current higher education to the needs and demands of the changing workplace are being asked more frequently. Employers don’t believe colleges and universities are turning out the kinds of candidates they need, which is why globally, many companies, and governments, are investing in their own training and education programs. In a scenario like this an understanding and application of value innovation with its focus on customer value and experience is critical, if the system is to create positive value and experiences for all stakeholders – students, teachers, employers, and those providing the funds.
There was a time when entertainment took place at fixed times, in fixed formats, and at fixed venues – TV, radio, movie theaters, jazz clubs, music concerts, and comedy clubs. Customers took what they were offered and if they missed their favorite show they kicked cans and tried finding solace in profanity. That was truly a long time ago, the entertainment industry unrecognizable today. It changes every time a new song is released – Uptown Funk; every time a new video is released – Gangnam Style; every time a new genre takes off – reality TV, hip hop rap. Today, entertainment is truly a multidimensional, multidirectional collaboration between content producers, content providers and content consumers. Any and every content can be entertainment; the old brick walls between information, education, and pure entertainment have crumbled. TED talks are entertainment, as are improve comedy shows, as are funny home videos on YouTube. Further, this content can be consumed anywhere, anytime, on any screen, frequently without payment. Additionally, the content is often consumed in ways the originator had not intended – Harry Potter theme parks and Lego blocks, or Star Wars light sabre toys, or a mash up of history and science fiction as video games.
The proliferation of devices and venues, traditional TV sets, smart TVs, smart phones, tablets, TV screens at airports, in bars, lounges, and waiting areas, such as hospital and hotel lobbies, accelerates the change the industry and customers are experiencing. Even buildings and walls can be a delivery channel for entertainment – a trip to the Ginza district in Japan, or to Times Square in New York can attest to that. Add to that the ability to watch anything asynchronously and you have an entertainment landscape that rarely stands still. Take the example of Hulu. It was born out of the YouTube category, where people flocked for quick snippets of video. Now, however, a whopping 73 percent of Hulu-goers use the service specifically for watching television shows. In this panoramic landscape it is equally difficult to say what competencies qualify a company to be called an entertainment company. Ostensibly, Microsoft, makers of Xbox is an entertainment company. Hallmark started off as a greeting card company, but is an entertainment company. Netflix started off as a DVD retailer, but is an entertainment company, as is Amazon. In this dynamic environment, of constantly evolving technologies and content, where entertainment is the outcome of active collaboration between content producers, device manufacturers, and delivery companies (Comcast), and the meaning and value of which is co-created with customers, who pick the time, venue, and vehicle of consumption, value innovation – creating, delivering, and innovating the right value and experience for the right customer at the right time takes on even greater importance.