I speak not for myself but for those without a voice…those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated. ~ Malala Yousafzai
The following narrative is an excerpt from an unpublished article by Dr. Blanche Wallace (1).
When I was selected to help establish the Technology Transfer Program for the DOE Office in Kansas City, MO, Jack’s differentiation process (Welch, 2) was especially useful in helping identify and select talent to form high-performance teams. Our organizational mission had been altered to include the goal of ‘enhancing U.S. competitiveness.’ This new mission goal thrust the organization into a competitive arena that was new. There was no room for ‘dead weight’, or apathy. By engaging in candid communication to convey the mission and intent, only top performers applied for the coveted positions. The problem then became one of managing egos to build teams that were cohesive, productive, and successful.
The transformation of these highly intelligent individuals into winning teams required the ability to ensure each person’s voice was given the opportunity to develop and receive respect. A key responsibility in team building is to ensure every voice is given the opportunity to be heard. Sometimes, this requires helping individuals to find and cultivate their voice, while simultaneously creating an environment fused with mutual respect.
Mutual respect is one of the pillars on which great teams are erected. I used a combination of formal as well as informal team meetings to dismantle mental and behavioral silos, build rapport, and establish a connection with each team member. Year after year, my project teams were rewarded with awards, cash incentives, and intellectual property rights.
Based on the results of my DiSC profile, my leadership style is Si, a combination of Steadiness and Influence (Wiley & Sons, 3). The Si DiSC style is characterized by strengths that include enthusiasm, collaboration, and support. However and most importantly, my assessment includes one anomaly – accuracy. According to the DiSC assessment, accuracy is a common trait related to conscientiousness. It is an analytical element. I will let you in on a secret—I am ambidextrous. Ambidextrous is the ability to use the right and left hands equally well. I further extend this definition to include a balancing between left-right brain processing, thus the marrying of creativity and analysis.
Through this unique blending of attributes, I was able to create the balance necessary to facilitate the creation of a sustained environment whereby voice and dignity (Welch, 2) prevailed and undergirded team success. These successes represent the expected outcome from integrating Jack’s 8 Rules of Leadership, specifically the application of differentiation and candor to upgrade as well as demonstrating behaviors to establish a relationship of trust.
Lastly, I address the significance of mindset–beliefs, perspectives, and behavior are influenced by our mindset. One’s mindset refers to the thoughts and feelings attributed to current situations, people, things, and the capacity to transform said situations, individuals, or things into a better state. To facilitate personal, team or organizational change requires the cultivation of what is referred to as a growth mindset–an amenity to change. A growth mindset embraces the consideration and exploration of new ideas, ideologies, and [potential] impact. This thought process enabled me to motivate and inspire the positive change required to transform a rigid, hierarchal, stanch culture into one characterized by energy, innovation, and cooperation. A growth mindset undergirds the voice and dignity concept because it demonstrates respect. The cultivation of a growth mindset is a function of a process termed neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to grow new connections, also referred to as neutral pathways (Wallace, 4). These new pathways are developed when one begins to think in new ways. Lao Tzu describes the process of a growth mindset in this way, “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny” (5).
1. Dr. Blanche Wallace. 2018. The Value of Voice and Dignity. Unpublished.
2. Jack & Suzy Welch. 2005. Winning. New York, NY: HarperCollins.
3. John Wiley & Sons. 2018. Everything DiSC Workplace: Blanche Wallace. Jack Welch Management Institute. John Wiley & Sons.
4. Dr. Blanche Wallace. 2016. The Competent Coaching Leader: Enhancing the Leadership Role with Emotional Intelligence
5. Lao Tzu. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/8203490-watch-your-thoughts-they-become-your-words-watch-your-words