On your way to becoming wealthy, would you sacrifice your health? Of course not! And would you leave wisdom in the dust as you beat a path to riches? Not intentionally, to be sure. Wisdom is a jewel in the crown. Without it, our life loses its lustre.
This has been on my mind lately, because in July, I attended an inspiring presentation by my good friend, Stephen Josephs. We were at the Transformational Leadership Council in Victoria, British Colombia. In the audience were many people you know or will soon know through our website: Jack Canfield, Stewart Emory, Hale Dwoskin, Bill Harris, Mark Thompson, Lynne Twist and many other authors and speakers.
We were all intrigued to learn that, for adults, wisdom develops in a sequence of predictable stages. Does being at one stage or another make a difference? You bet! The more you develop yourself the better you become at making key decisions and involving others in the success of your projects. Others partner with you with enthusiasm. Life becomes more fulfilling, too.
These developmental stages are described in detail in a new book by Bill Joiner and Stephen Josephs called Leadership Agility. As Stephen presented the fascinating research from the book, I began to wonder: At what stage do I operate? If I keep developing myself, what benefits will I enjoy? He said that the book gives you a snapshot of the future. It provides a clear picture of the wiser person that you will become, if you continue to develop yourself.
In the book, Stephen and Bill show you how to accelerate your transformation from stage to stage. I thought, wow! This is the Cliff Notes for consciousness development and business success.
To give you a flavor of their work, here is a quick description of the first three stages. You'll recognize the first two, because 80% of the people you meet in business operate at these stages.
The Expert: At the Expert stage, people want to stand out from others by virtue of their astute opinions and their superior knowledge and skills. If you ask Expert leaders what it means to lead others, they will tell you that leaders are followed and respected for their knowledge, authority, and expertise.
Give an Expert a problem, they drill down and give you a solution. They are justifiably proud of that skill. It is their great strength. But the Expert's tendency to rely on this strength in all circumstances exposes a limitation of this stage, especially when working with others to get things done.
Experts tend to be perfectionists. To develop others by letting them make mistakes can violate an Expert's high criteria for excellence. Instead, they may exact such demanding standards from employees, they create work environments where it's actually tough to learn. It's when Experts begin to sense and acknowledge these limitations that they develop the motivation to evolve to the next stage.
The Achiever: When you grow into the Achiever level, you retain all the powerful skills of the Expert, but there's a shift. Whereas the Expert thinks in terms of the next project, or six months out, the Achiever's time horizon expands out to two or three years in the future, and their thinking becomes highly strategic.
The Achiever sees future outcomes very clearly and, like a good chess player, knows that there are multiple pathways to their achievement. If you work for an Achiever, they want to know whether you are committed to their goals, whether you're on the boat, and if so, whether you will put your oar in the water and pull hard for them. Of all the stages, Achievers are the most sure of themselves.
With 10% of managers operating at pre-Expert levels, Experts and Achievers represent 80% of the managers in the United States. Here's the key point: In order to consistently and reliably thrive in today's rapidly changing business environments, you need to be in the top 10%, the three stages beyond Achiever.
Bill and Stephen call the Expert and Achiever stages "heroic." Why? Because a person at either of these stages feels like the hero of their own drama. They assume sole responsibility for setting their organization's objectives, coordinating the activities of their direct reports, and managing their performance.
The Catalyst: As you develop into the next stage, the Catalyst, you want your work to have deeper meaning, and you become more truly visionary in your thinking. At the same time, your need to always be right begins to fade. Instead, you are genuinely interested in others' ideas, and you create partnerships that are enlivening. You still have all the knowledge of the Expert. You still have the Achiever's ability to strategize and execute. But you now sense that you can learn from others while you lead them.
There are two more stages beyond these three. The ability to move beyond the ego, partner with others, and learn from experience is refined and deepened in the Co-Creator and Synergist stages. Rather than describing them here I'll let you read about them in their book.
The main point of Leadership Agility is that being Wise and Wealthy go together. Evolving the self helps you in business. Your work is both the path to achieving your dreams and a perfect medium for developing your self. Because Stephen and Bill give you a blue print for how that evolution unfolds, that knowledge will accelerate your progress.
Leadership Agility will be in stores in October. But you can order it now. Just go to their website and check it out: www.leadershipagility.com.