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The Power of Transformational Learning

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Becoming Empty Nesters

Last week was monumental for Kerrie and me. Within the past seven days, our youngest son Ben married the woman of his dreams, and Grace, our energetic youngest daughter, began her collegiate life hundreds of miles away at Colorado State. The term 'Empty Nesters' transformed from a phrase we often heard to a reality we are now experiencing. A dear friend mentioned that having an empty house feels oddly silent, and now I resonate with those words. Time has this uncanny ability to sprint, especially during the high school years. Four years might seem long, but they pass in the blink of an eye. And yet, through all the turbulence and change, our family mantra seems apropos: “We can do hard things.”

“The days are long, but the years are short.” - Gretchen Rubin.

For three decades, our home resonated with life and energy. It wasn't just a house but a hub of laughter, dreams, hopes, and sometimes tears. From impromptu dance sessions in the living room, fort building in the family room, and football games in the backyard to the long hours of exam preparations and essay writing, our home witnessed it all. And with our tribe of six, there's never been a quiet nor dull moment, until last Friday. We were a part of the high school ecosystem for nearly two decades. And seemingly suddenly, that is all behind us.

Drawing Parallels: Parenthood and Leadership

Life's journey as a parent offers many insights that surprisingly resonate in the professional sphere. Leading teams in the business world often mirror the highs, lows, decisions, and challenges of raising a child. The endless parenting books that line our bookshelves, the parenting classes, and seminars that promise the secret to perfect parenting—all these resources can be likened to Thomas Edison's countless experiments before perfecting the electric light bulb.

While Edison had a foundational understanding and theoretical knowledge of his invention, it was only after countless trials and errors that he experienced his "light bulb moment"—the realization of his idea into a tangible invention.

Similarly, the genuine essence of parenthood unfurled only when we held our first child. No amount of theoretical knowledge can replicate the feeling, the challenges, and the transformations that come with real-life experiences.

This journey from knowing to experiencing mirrors the corporate realm. While seminars and textbooks might lay out leadership principles akin to Edison's foundational experiments, the crucible of real-world challenges molds leaders. Like real parenting, true leadership demands more than theory—it seeks active, experiential immersion. Much like the difference between Edison's knowledge of lighting and the illumination from his successful light bulb, there's a distinction between knowing the successful attributes of a leader and becoming a successful leader. How do we transition from merely understanding leadership principles to embodying leadership in its truest sense?

The Seminars vs. The Storms:

Imagine sitting in a sleek conference room, absorbing the tenets of leadership from polished presentations. While these insights arm you with strategies, can they wholly equip you for the turbulent waters of the corporate sea? Short-term leadership programs offer a snapshot—a crash course in the vast leadership syllabus. Yet, do these brief sessions suffice when storms brew, like steering a vessel through a tempest or piloting a company amidst a global health crisis?

Becoming a Leader

Leadership, much like parenthood, is a journey defined not by a destination but by the process of becoming. Both roles challenge our perceptions, push our boundaries, and require us to evolve constantly. The legendary management consultant Peter Drucker once said, "Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not 'making friends and influencing people—that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, raising a person's performance to a higher standard, and building a personality beyond its normal limitations."

This insight from Drucker underscores the essence of leadership as a transformative endeavor. Titles can be conferred; transformation must be earned. Just as you cannot become a parent by merely understanding the biology of procreation, you cannot become a leader by merely studying leadership theories.

A Shift from Being to Becoming: Leadership's real challenge and beauty lie in the journey from being to becoming.

The transition mirrors the evolution from an individual to a dedicated parent in many ways—an intrinsic and profound change. It's not the designation that defines a leader; it's the journey, the lessons, the failures, and the successes. As John Quincy Adams beautifully articulated, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." Real leadership is not about holding a position but about holding influence, inspiring transformation, and facilitating growth.

The Leadership Metamorphosis: Just as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, genuine leaders, and parents undergo a metamorphosis. This transformation is not merely cosmetic or superficial; nor is it for the faint of heart. It delves deep, altering one's core, reshaping perspectives, and anchoring values. At its heart, leadership is about this evolution—the continual refining and redefining of oneself in pursuit of a vision, much like the enduring commitment and adaptability demanded by parenthood.

"In learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn," said musician and educator Phil Collins. This symbiotic relationship between learning and imparting knowledge resonates deeply when we dive into transformational leadership.

Journey and the Horizon:

Both in personal and professional trajectories, the contention is deep-rooted: does profound transformation arise from the cumulative effect of years, or can short, intensive bursts of insight also leave indelible marks? Consider leadership as scaling a mountain. While the winding journey upward fosters resilience and offers incremental learnings, an aerial overview can provide a holistic perspective and a fresh vantage point, both of which are invaluable. As the ancient Chinese proverb reminds us, "The journey is the reward." It's not just about the years put in but the depth of engagement, both sustained and in deliberately designed, transformative moments shape our leadership attributes.

Anchors in the Shifting Business Tides: We live in a digital renaissance, a time of rapid innovation and hyper-competition. However, amid this whirlwind of change, certain tenets of leadership remain steadfast.

Qualities like effective communication, nimble decision-making, leading with empathy, fostering sustainable productivity, and the audacity to venture into unknown territories of innovation define great leaders. While typically refined over a lifetime, such traits can also be sparked in a heartbeat — in a revelatory conversation, a particularly insightful seminar, or a moment of clarity. As John F. Kennedy poignantly stated, "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." Whether gleaned over time or grasped in moments of profound engagement, these essential leadership traits, once acquired, become part of one's core, steering both their vision and actions.

By merging the essence of time and intensity, one can glean that transformational leadership is not constrained by timelines but is rather shaped by the depth and authenticity of the experiences we immerse ourselves in.

Transformative Growth Through Insights Discovery Training Courses

Amidst various training tools, Insights Discovery offers a unique and compelling journey. It's not a mere training module; it’s a voyage into the depths of human psychology and organizational dynamics.

The Insights Discovery journey begins with the Foundation training. Here, participants delve into the dynamic color model, a guide to comprehending personal and interpersonal engagement preferences. In an economy with tight budgets, someone might ask, can we afford to do this type of "team building" now? This foundational knowledge is vital for self-awareness and critical to enhancing interpersonal bonds among team members in a professional landscape marked by burnout, disengagement, and high turnover. So, the real question becomes, can an organization afford not to invest in this transformational employee experience?

Beyond Individual – The Power of Teams: Insights Discovery is not a one-and-done workshop. The experiential learning journey next delves into harnessing this knowledge for team dynamics once the groundwork is laid. It's no longer about individuals but the symphony they can create together. The team module facilitates richer collaborations, understanding of team roles, and enhancing collective output. Thus, an investment in team effectiveness significantly improves collaboration, connection, and sustainable productivity.

The Leadership Crucible: Insights Discovery presents the Transformational Leadership Model for those ready to ascend to leadership roles or refine their leadership skills. This holistic approach molds efficient, empathetic, visionary, determined, and adaptable leaders. Leaders who can inspire, direct, inquire, and nurture those they oversee.

Keeping the Flame Alive: Insights Discovery’s journey doesn’t conclude with these training courses. The “keeping it alive” content ensures that the learnings are not forgotten relics but living philosophies. These materials are invaluable for team meetings, reinforcing the principles during ongoing organizational events and ensuring that Insights Discovery’s ethos becomes an intrinsic part of the organization's culture.

A Dive into Jung's Ocean: While Insights Discovery offers a structured journey, it’s grounded in the vast ocean of Jungian psychology. This isn’t just about categorization; it’s about embracing the fluidity, the diversity, and the intricacies of personalities.

In Essence, Insights Discovery isn't just a tool or a series of modules; it's a compass for individuals and organizations. It points the way toward skill enhancement, profound understanding, and holistic growth.

Call to Action: Embark on your transformative journey. Engage deeply with Insights Discovery’s multifaceted offerings. Whether you're starting your journey, seeking to enhance team dynamics, or aiming to ascend leadership pinnacles, Insights Discovery has a roadmap for you. Let it become more than training; let it shape your organizational culture.


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