Partnering Adaptive Leadership with Disruptive Innovation


Disruptive innovation involves creative ways to establish new markets and reshape existing ones. The result is that organizational leadership is causing us to rethink the reason they exist because companies need the ability to respond quickly when new Strategic Agility and Disruptive Innovation by Kakie Fitzsimmonsadvances are introduced internally or externally.

As I have written about in the past, the term companies have migrated to for this is called “organizational agility.

This term, “organizational agility,” is the capability of an organization to act as markets fluctuate. It was originated in alignment with the concept behind Agile Software Development, which contains primary values centered around human design.  Through agile development, teams and individuals are empowered to:

  1. Make Decisions (where managers act as advisers)
  2. Solve Problems
  3. Employees are authorized to meet customer or stakeholder needs vs. participating in contract negotiations
  4. Responding to change is more important than following a plan

Continuous change means that leaders need to learn to practice new approaches with effective guidance. Adaptive Leadership focuses on what people need in response to changing environments. It is how leaders encourage people to adopt future state changes that is critical. Success happens through consistent messaging that provides context, puts trust in the hands of team leaders to make decisions, and take risks. The context encourages competent change across many levels such as self, organization, community, and society. 

Leveraging the right tools and best practices with a knowledgeable Certified Change Management Practitioner, helps leaders and end-users to adjust and adapt the approach, which leads to the successful delivery of the desired outcomes of increased adoption, and increased ROI that is up to six times more successful. 

Below are five ways to become an adaptive leader

  1. Seek input to challenge your decisions 
  2. Focus on results, let team solve for it
  3. If it does not succeed, give praise and ask them what they learned
  4. Help them to understand why it did not
  5. Encourage them to try again

During our continual shifting transformations, please feel free to share your observations about this below. Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Waiting and Getting to the Point


I’m sitting here letting my fingers mindlessly hit the keys to help me think through the topic of this post and the accompanying photo. It may take a while to get to the point, which oddly enough, usually comes at just the right time, even when it doesn’t feel like it. We can’t quite articulate when it happens because it can leave us feeling stuck, which is never fun.

The red traffic light reflecting on the street due to rain indicates we are WAITING for something. Regardless of what we wait for, we hope the value is received (tangible or intangible) in exchange for the wait.  With the increased use of technology, we have data at our fingertips while we do some of the waiting, and it doesn’t hurt that our society is obsessed with the need to look busy. And there are different kinds of waiting depending on our mission. In the city, we wait in traffic, for elevators, in line for coffee or a meal, for a bus or a train to arrive. Another kind of waiting is when we over-complicate deciding to decide to take action on something.

Other times we may wait on more significant things to occur which we could not have predicted such as a phone call, an answer, a revelation, truth, running into or reaching out to the right person at the perfect time. Somewhere lingering, we know this waiting will validate all of the hard work we have invested because we acquired and used tools that have taught us along the way. Something just around the corner is going to come to fruition.

And after the waiting is done, we will look back and realize that it has been part of a larger plan that has needed to unfold in its own time. All we had to do is trust the process and keep pushing forward to the best of our ability.

So since we can’t always “rush” waiting, it is up to us to decide how we use our time. Waiting has a purpose, even when we hate it. It teaches us patience, reminds us of our perseverance and makes us grateful for faith in ourselves and others.

Thanks for visiting my blog, if you enjoyed this post, feel free to leave a comment below or share it with others. Have a great week!

“I AM” and “SPIRIT” In Sync With One Another #FierceForward


Fierce Forward - I AM and Spirit = Parters

I AM – two of the most powerful words you could ever declare to yourself. This is your declaration, your choice to stand in your power and allow your vision to come to reality/ #FierceForward

SPIRIT – Your truth. Freedom is found when you live your truth and let your spirit live out loud. Do not hide. Do not deny your truth. Do not let her stay quiet. Go forward, fiercely and let your SPIRIT lead the way. #FierceForward

Knowing who we are and being grounded in our truth are at the core of what teaches us to be great leaders and even better human beings.

These bracelets are handmade using African Trade Beads to support women in Africa. They are special because they support a worthy cause and they were an authentic gift from someone whose friendship means a great deal to me.

This post is inspired by The Weekly Photo Challenge themed: Partners: Whether two of a kind or ten, give us subjects that are in sync with one another – show us partnerships.

Learn more about #FierceForward at fierceforwardforlife.com

Things Change, People Transition: Change as a Process


In general, change isn’t complicated, but it is complex. In its simplest form we use terms Ways people respond to changelike; to alter, shift, adjust, move, switch, transfer, etc. Change is a transformation or transition from one phase, condition, or state, to another.

From a change management perspective, assumptions that each individual impacted by a new initiative will always experience change on time, on budget and on schedule, is flawed, because this approach lacks context and doesn’t always consider the people side of change. It may not consider outcomes and results after the change or ask what behaviors need to change and be sustained. Organizational and personal change have to be approached and measured differently . The model is not linear and no two individuals move through each phase the same.

Organizational and personal change have to be approached and measured differently because no one will embrace or resist change the same.Behavior doesn’t happen in a predictive order and as a result, it is imperative to think about change as a process, rather than a project.

Things change. People transition.

The change curve was created in the 1960s by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as a way to explain the grieving process. Over time, it has evolved as a tool to help people understand responses and reactions to significant change. The curve is a way to understand how people transition and that getting from point A to point B can be complex.

Kakie Fitzsimmons ADKAR Change ManagementSince change is a non-linear process, some people may take two steps forward and one step back along this curve for a number of reasons.

Being successful and getting to the reinforcement and sustain page requires a number of important inputs some of which could include the following.

 

  1. Leadership alignment  – Does leadership agree on the messaging and go forward plan? Is that senior leader in charge accessible and available to the change leaders?
  2. Communication – Ensuring the right messaging goes to the right people at the right time from the right leader.
  3. Integration – research demonstrates that when project and change management are successfully brought together, the changes can be up to 97% more successful.
  4. Active listening – Is there a two way flow of communication that allows the people on the front lines to be seen and heard?
  5. Involvement– Has everyone involved in the change had the opportunity to heavy input so they feel they are part of the process?

If you found this post hought-provoking, please share it with others and thank you for visiting my blog!

Circles of Meaning


Once in a while, I like participating in the “Weekly Photo Challenge” over at The Daily Post. A new meme comes out each Friday and I think about the proposed topic. I wonder what I could say about it and what my readers will be interested in as well. This week, Cheri asks us to let a shape, a circle, inspire us.

Circles Change Management Business TimeI took this picture at the James J. Hill Business Library because it had a certain old world charm that grabbed my attention. I like the concept of time as it relates to the evolution of knowledge throughout the ages.

Circles have been used metaphorically since the beginning of history. In many cultures, they represent unity, enlightenment, divinity, and protection. At first glance, a circle can seem simple, yet they are one of the most common and universal signs used throughout the history of the world.

Circles have symbolic use in divinity: For example, with Taoism, the Yin Circles of Concern Influence Change ControlYang image embodies two forces in the universe that are opposites that balance one another. Hinduism uses the Dharma Chakra to represent the wheel of law that leads to enlightenment. Artists have used halos in Christianity and Buddhism to symbolize light and holiness. Paganism circles exemplified supernatural forces, and in ancient times Celtics stood inside of circles for protection. Read more of this post

Guy Kawasaki – Challenges and Solutions for Starting a New Business


Recently I had the honor of hearing Guy Kawasaki speak at my Alma Mater, The University of St. Thomas. I was really happy I went. Among his many titles, Guy is a corporate evangelist, trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, Kakie Fitzsimmons Meets Guy Kawasaki USTexecutive fellow at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, author and speaker. He was there to discuss some of the challenges, (and solutions), faced when starting a new business. He also spoke about his newest book; “The Art of the Start 2.0” and his new business, Canva, a website that lets you design just about anything you want. We also learned was that he is an avid hockey fan, his wife is from Minnesota and in everything he does, it is important for him to inspire others. I took some notes during his talk below that summarize my key takeaway items from his talk.

Ask simple questions which include:

  • Therefore, What?
  • Isn’t that interesting?
  • Is there a better way?

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Thirteen Behaviors that Build Trust in Relationships


Building trust is a process of modeling behavior shared vision and repeating messaging

Building trust is a process of modeling behavior, a shared vision and repeating messaging

What behaviors build trust in relationships?

Think about a time you were part of a really effective team that excelled at pulling together to achieve a shared outcome. What were the attributes that made it successful?

Research shows that teams who collaborate to attain a common end goal are usually high in trust. Success often relies on a group with a sense of shared values, vision and purpose. When all stakeholders are given opportunities to have input, they are inspired to build something together, so as to change leaders, how do we work to create a culture of trust? Recently I read Stephen Covey’s book called; “The Speed of Trust,” which looks at trust from three perspectives.

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Achievement, Accomplishment, Work Ethic and Success


What is achievement really? How do we get it? Where does it come from? Is it an end goal? A process? Does it take work ethic? Does it mean success? Does it make someone “accomplished” ? Find out here: Projects, perspective, insight, success.

272 steps to forgivenessDecember of 2012 I published a successful academic paper called; “Best Buy Strategic Management Analysis” which I co-wrote with some exceptionally talented people in my cohort. During that time, the company was experiencing revolutionary change, juggling reputation management issues and more. The CEO had resigned, the company founder, Dick Schulze, had written a letter to the board with the intention to buy the company back and run it. The competitive market was rapidly changing, they pulled out of markets in China and the UK and had brought in new CEO, Huber Joly.

Recently, our paper reached 29,000 views in less than two years and we are proud of that. It is an accomplishment and for me, professionally, it highlights the kind of work I am capable of. The in-depth research of this globally expanding company, evaluation of their internal environment and external market conditions was a great learning experience. Read more of this post

Refracting Light Life | Kakie’s Corner


These pictures are from one of our first “free” nights in South East Asia, for the Global Business Systems Executive MBA Global Studies Course, Singaporecourse in the Executive MBA program. This evening four of us opted for dinner on the rooftop in Little India. I heard a calming sound of flapping water, came around the corner and this beautiful scenery, was what I encountered.

This week’s photo challenge asks that we show what “refraction” means to us. Refraction occurs when a ray of light is indirectly deflected by a wave of energy that passes from one medium to another, which causes the illumination to bend and become distorted. For example: water to light, air to glass etc.

I interpret “Refraction” as a metaphor for life. Read more of this post

Quantum Creativity and the Power of Intention


The window of intention

I’ve been thinking about intention lately. How often do we find ourselves slipping into “automatic thinking“? What does our window of aspiration look like and how do we frame it?

Doing vs. Being | Acting vs. Reacting | Ideal vs. Real |

Intention leads to quantum creativity because, for many people, creativity restores order. Some of the most important things that we do in life come from our creativity, which invokes the possibilities of new beginnings.

The human condition causes individuals to make flawed assumptions that people do not change. But those of us have done deep self-exploration, know that we get to make a choice to be even better today than the day before.

I am not who I was five or ten years ago because of my curiosity and creativity. They have shown me the excitement to learn and grow that exists around each corner. The good news is that this world is full of random variables that can help us reach and exceed our potential every day, and we have the privilege of being able to share that with others.

Intention – Creativity – Restoration

Thanks for visiting my blog, feel free to leave a comment! Below are some quotes about intention, enjoy!_

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Innovation: The Truth About Creativity


Creativity Pre Orchestra LectureIs Creativity an important component of innovation? Find out here.

I’ve been taking part two of a course based on a book called; The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. Brown has spent the past 10-15 years researching topics like courage, vulnerability, and authenticity. One of our first assignments was to think about the gifts that come to us as the result of our own creativity.

The book presents fascinating findings about creativity. Brown refers to vulnerability as the birthplace of innovation. She also makes the point that there is no such thing as people who are not creative. Instead, there are resourceful people who know how to tap into their ingenuity, while others don’t. Read more of this post

Courage is a HEART Word


Courage is a heart wordA few months back I took a six-week online class with Brené Brown based on her book; “The Gifts of Imperfection.” Early in the process we explored the meaning of courage and had a journal activity as seen in the picture. I wanted to share what Brené says about courage because I think it is profound;

“Courage, the original definition of courage when it first came into the English language – it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart – and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart…

This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, ‘Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, ‘I’m just so grateful because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.’”

-Quote by Brené Brown, speaking about The Power of Vulnerability at TED

How often do we ask ourselves the question of what it means to live wholeheartedly? It starts with having enough self-compassion to explore our stories about shame and vulnerability without judgment. Brené says that shame cannot survive being spoken, so after we have explored our fears and insecurities, it is important to find “your people” – those who have earned the right to hear your story. They are the individuals you know will just listen without judgment. They are the people who will not throw it back in your face at a later time. Next, say it out loud to them. That is a step towards healing and growth.

That my friends takes courage and is a demonstration of living with intention. Thoughts feelings and actions in alignment with our values principles and goals. I’d like to think of it as a form of servant leadership that we give as a gift to ourselves. Genuine authenticity feels good.

If there is anything you would like to share about this please feel free to comment below.

Thanks for visiting my blog and have a Happy Valentines Day!

Thought Leadership on Community


DSC00299Imagine this: Your entire community — however you define that; your hometown, neighborhood, family, colleagues — are guaranteed to read your blog tomorrow. Write the post you’d like them all to see.

If you are reading this post, that means you are part of my community. I have long held a belief that somehow, I am supposed to make differences that ripple out, affecting a lot of people, in positive ways. So hopefully something in this will resonate for you.

In Latin, the word Communitatum was a noun that meant “fellowship” and the word Unitatum meant “oneness, sameness or agreement.”  From that, the word Community is derived; Fellowship in agreement, which means different things to different people.

In life, we have a choice to go down many roads two of which could include judgment or compassion.  Read more of this post

How Will you Exceed Expectations Today?


Thought Leaders Exceeding Expectations

We recently experienced a hot spell here in Minnesota. It was the kind where the temperature creates a visual mirage of heat that radiates off of the roads. The humidity that accompanied it left many of us feeling weak and listless.

On this day, it was too hot to cook. So we dropped into a local restaurant and told the waitress we were extremely thirsty. Next, she brought us a pitcher of water with a straw in it and we all had a good laugh. Her gesture said a lot about her leadership style because she paid attention, heard what was said, empathized and delivered beyond expectations. The photo captured to commemorate the occasion says it all.

How often do we need to be reminded that we have the power to make a difference for one or many? Sometimes, what seems like the smallest gesture, can go a long way. Successful thought leaders understand that although it may not have come easy in the beginning, hard work and practicing these deeds are how they make it look so natural.

Has anyone gone out of their way recently, exceeding your expectations? How did it affect you?

More importantly, what gesture can you put forth on this day that will make a difference for someone?

Please comment below, I’d like to hear from you!

Being Rooted and Branching Out #TreeTuesday


About being rooted and branching out in leadershipWhen I was a little girl, we had a huge willow tree in our back yard that we would climb. It was so big that sometimes there were as many as 6 kids in it at once!

At #TreeTuesday on another social site, there is a community I sometimes participate in, where people share photos they have taken of trees. I love being in the outdoors, and today I selected this picture as part of #TreeTuesday. I took it in 2012 while traveling to SouthEast Asia for a Global Systems Class as we walked from our hotel to the National Museum of Singapore.

The picture and the idea of #TreeTuesday made me think about being rooted in something bigger than ourselves, which for many people is a component of personal growth and faith. A few years back in some coaching sessions I had with Doug Lennick, (he was the coach), he discussed fallibility and that we often carry 2 mindsets with us. One is our ideal self, (who we want to be), and our real self (who we are).

Doug’s consistent message was always that when we ensure our morals, values, principles, and beliefs, are in alignment with our thoughts feelings and actions, it makes us better people, which brings us closer to our ideal authentic selves. This has become an invaluable tool in my personal life and career for building relationships and credibility as a thought leader. Studies have indicated that the four most important characteristics for gaining credibility in leadership include:

  • Honesty
  • Being forward-looking
  • Inspirational
  • Competent

(Kouzes and Posner, 2010).

Alignment encompasses each of those in different ways. We all bring our experiences to the table, so how about you? Are there other traits in addition to the ones above you feel are just as important? Please share below and thanks for stopping by!