Developing and nurturing leaders and leadership is paramount for organizations for several reasons. Two stand out – survival and prosperity. The quality and effectiveness of leadership significantly determines whether organizations will have a future, and whether that future will be more prosperous than the present. As leaders plot and chart a course to these more prosperous tomorrows, they are tested, and tested repeatedly. The challenges leaders face in the pursuit of survival, growth, and market leadership test the brilliance and smartness of their minds – their knowledge, their technical and managerial skills and competencies. But they also test something more enduring and fundamental to leadership success – they test leaders’ souls; the wisdom, humanity, and judgment leaders bring to their roles. Traditional leadership training focuses on making leaders smarter, thereby making them more adept at meeting the first type of challenge. But it bypasses the inner, more vital aspect of leaders’ humanity and character, aspects which ultimately have a greater bearing on the survival of prosperity of organizations. It is this hole that this program on “Soulful Leadership” is designed to fill.
Soulful Leadership is defined as: “Purposeful leadership journeys that are guided by an inner awakening for increasing the ongoing prosperity and wellbeing of all – the organization, people (employees, customers, communities and cultures), and the planet (health and resources), not just the leaders.” It is indispensable in today’s Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous (VUCA) world. VUCA events and challenges rarely show up as “either-or” choices; “right vs. wrong” decisions. Instead, they invariably show up as “and” decisions, demanding leaders choose between “right and right.” Today’s leaders, for example, can’t just be idealists or realists; they have to possess the capacity for both and know when to be what. Short-term thinking is not always bad, and long-term thinking is not always good, leaders have to decide when to engage in short-term thinking and when to engage in long-term thinking. Additionally, the choice is not between empower or control, the challenge is when to empower and when to control; when to negotiate when to dictate; when to take a stand and when to straddle fences.
In such an environment, what is vital and critical to help leaders keep moving forward, help them maintain their and their organization’s forward momentum, is an inner awakening, which connects them with their own humanity – who they are, what they really stand for, what they are willing to fight for – so they can make smarter and wiser choices. This program on Soulful Leadership is “unique,” because it relies on the world’s great literatures, notably immortal poems, novels, and stories, to act as a mirror in which program attendees can see themselves and learn more about themselves and their own humanity. They can then embrace what they think is working well for them and change what isn’t. An effort that will certainly result in more meaningful work, a more engaged workforce, and a more satisfied workplace.
Service methodology comprises 4 distinct steps.
The first step is a pre-consulting client engagement with key company executives to understand the key focus of leadership training and development delivered in the past, and being currently delivered. The focus of this step is to understand history, momentum, recipient satisfaction with the training received, and company aspirations in terms of fostering and nurturing current and future leaders. This step will also assess company culture and values to assess factors likely to enable, or inhibit, the delivery of the Soulful Leadership program.
The second step will use inputs from step 1, and will establish a solid foundation for understanding the dynamics and DNA of Soulful Leadership. This foundation will be culled from four areas vital for soulful leadership. First, aspects of the leader as a person. Next, how the leader thinks and views the world. Third, on how the leader acts, decides, and chooses. And lastly, how leaders relate to the world that exists beyond their own world – people, communities, and the planet. The purpose here is to hold up a mirror to the attendees, so they can look within, and connect with their own humanity – who they are, what they stand for, what they are willing to fight for. A deeper and more vibrant understanding of one’s own humanity is vital for leaders to transition from a mindset that overvalues “smart thinking,” to a mindset that also values “inner wisdom,” so leaders are more aware of the consequences of their own decision making – who wins, who loses; who is sacrificed for attaining leadership goals and who is not. This foundation will be laid with the help of world’s great literatures, notably immortal poems, novels, and stories, so that program attendees can perceive themselves in ways they haven’t before.
In the third step, participants will use a “plus-delta” framework for reflecting on, and applying the Soulful Leadership concepts and ideas discussed in step 2. The goal is to help attendees become more aware of their own equation with Soulful Leadership, so they can begin striving to become more effective soulful leaders. The “plus” effort will identify areas in which attendees perceive themselves as effective, or capable, soulful leaders, and will focus on how they can become even better. The “delta” effort will help attendees think about ways in which they can become more effective soulful leaders. Initially, attendees will work on this framework individually. This will be followed by brainstorming and group discussion.
The fourth step will focus on cultivating an organization-wide environment and culture friendly to soulful leadership, and capable of sustaining it. Attendees will use a three step framework – think about it, talk about it, act on it – to brainstorm ways in which the ideas and practice of soulful leadership can be disseminated and practiced throughout the organization.
Companies can elect whether they just require Appleton Greene for advice and support with the Bronze Client Service, for research and performance analysis with the Silver Client Service, for facilitating departmental workshops with the Gold Client Service, or for complete process planning, development, implementation, management and review, with the Platinum Client Service. Ultimately, there is a service to suit every situation and every budget and clients can elect to either upgrade or downgrade from one service to another as and when required, providing complete flexibility in order to ensure that the right level of support is available over a sustainable period of time, enabling the organization to compensate for any prescriptive or emergent changes relating to: Customer Service; E-business; Finance; Globalization; Human Resources; Information Technology; Legal; Management; Marketing; or Production.
Billions of dollars are spent globally on leadership training and development, with the US alone spending between $14 to $50 billion annually. Regrettably, these enormous investments have not resulted in glittering gains. News of leadership crises and failures involving high profile global giants like Wells Fargo, VW, and BP routinely flood the news. Within organizations the news is no better. Trust and confidence in leaders and leadership is at an all time low, and employee dissatisfaction and lack of engagement with work and the work place is at an all time high. Words like “soulless” and “dehumanizing” are used frequently by employees around the world to describe their organizations and work environment.
Difficult times demand fresh approaches, new narratives tailored to the circumstances surrounding us. This program on “Soulful Leadership” is a new narrative on leadership. It leads us away from a narrow descriptive focus on what leadership is, to a wider and broader focus on what leaders and leadership should stand for – a platform for increasing the wellbeing and prosperity of the greater many, not just a privileged few. It advocates focusing on the inner aspects of leaders, and learning from new teachers who have the ability to bring leaders face-to-face with their own humanity – who they are, what they stand for, and what they are willing to fight for. Because the greatest asset of leaders is not just the brilliance of their minds, but the wisdom of their souls – what’s within leaders that guides what’s in their minds.
Dr. Bhalla is an experienced leadership, marketing, innovation, and strategy professional with over thirty years of global experience as a multinational corporate executive, business consultant, entrepreneur, academic, and executive education specialist. During his professional tenure he has worked with companies in over thirty different countries on five different continents. His rich and varied experience working with diverse functional groups within companies operating in diverse cultures coupled with his academic and commercial credentials is a powerful asset in enabling companies innovate and implement new leadership narratives. Known as a thinker-doer, he inspires clients to adapt and improvise by listening, engaging, and responding differently to their internal and external environments than they have in the past. He uses a variety of facilitation, consulting, teaching and coaching approaches in his programs. With his passion for application of cutting edge knowledge to real life decision making, he knows how to encourage clients to ask and solve the right questions that have the potential of enhancing their future well being and prosperity.
”Dr. Bhalla designed and delivered two sessions on Leadership (Trusted Business Advisor) for our senior managers through his association with ISB. Senior Managers at Deloitte play a pivotal role in the organizational strategy, direction, and success. They form the leadership pipeline and are future Partners and Directors of the firm. Given their significant role and responsibility, their development is a strategic and critical function in the firm. Dr. Bhalla was extremely professional and easy to work with during the design and delivery of these programs. He took time to understand our context and needs in detail. This time spent upfront helped him design a very focused program for our senior managers. The program delivery was very interactive and highly effective. Dr. Bhalla was able to connect with all participants through his delivery style and relevant content. The post program survey was a testament to the program effectiveness with most participants agreeing that it will have a positive impact on their work.”
”Dr. Bhalla facilitated yet another outstanding leadership training workshop. His theme this time was “Leadership Learnings from Immortal Poems” and he once again demonstrated his passionate and captivating presentation style in bringing his subject matter to life. One of his key assertions was that “the most important asset of leaders is not their minds but their souls” and that “the immortal poems can help awaken them.” He also made the case for leaders to “bring their head and their heart into greater alignment.” Dr. Bhalla showcased his own soulful leadership and powerful facilitation skills to actively engage our group in a very stimulating dialog.”
”Dr.Bhalla is an energetic, positive speaker with a unique approach to leadership training. He leads his audience on a journey of self-discovery through inspirational poetry. He challenges leaders to bring their head and heart into alignment thereby bringing their best self and most effective solutions to the tasks of leading.”
”Dr.Bhalla invests time in open listening and observation, and quickly absorbs critical information and details. Once having formed thoughts and opinions, Dr.Bhalla is a thoroughly engaging communicator, whether addressing a large group or an individual. He effectively shares his ideas and recommendations with a personalized and customized approach that is always on target, leaving a listener inspired! A few examples follow. By leveraging Dr.Bhalla’s professional expertise at integrating qualitative and quantitative data into insightful findings, I was able to bring added value to my larger team. This greatly benefited my organization from a business perspective, and allowed me to grow personally. Dr.Bhalla also worked effectively with senior leadership, and staff at all levels, to collaborate and advise on effective solutions to problem issues as an internal advisor. His sought-after counsel was a key input in organizational decisions.”
”Our company provides recruiting services for American corporations from our internally operated offshore recruiting center in India. Our business faces a number of challenges and not just related to geography and difference in time zones. Getting our Indian managers to perform as trusted business partners to our American clients is very challenging. Yet, it is imperative we achieve that goal if we are to meet or exceed our corporation’s extremely ambitious 40 percent annual growth objective. Dr.Bhalla was able to size up our business challenges very quickly from multiple perspectives – motivational, operational, and cultural. His work with our executive team has helped us think differently about how to get our managers to align their personal goals with the company’s goals of serving our clients, and a