Thursday, October 11, 2012

Innovative Leadership: A Thoughtful Model and (free!) Online Self-Assessment from Metcalf Associates

Metcalf Associates, a management consulting and leadership coaching firm, helped to plan a recent "Creating a Marketplace of Ideas" gathering in Columbus, Ohio. The event brought together several heavyweight thinkers about creativity, innovation, and creative cities and economies: Sir Ken Robinson, Jeff Dyer, and Richard Florida shared various insights that aimed to help local individual and businesses innovate and grow. While their presentations (at least as reported in the preceding link) recapitulated some of their respectively best-known ideas, the ideas themselves not only bear repeating but seem particularly layered and substantive when considered together.

Beyond my believing in different ways in each of the speakers it mentions, I cite the posting because at the end is the requisite blurb about Metcalf Associates. The blurb references their book, the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook, and also linka to their model and a free online Innovative Leadership Assessment. An "innovative leader," for Metcalf, delivers results using the following (and I'm simplifying): "Holistic Leadership," which aligns dimensions from the individual to the systemic; "Strategic Leadership," which inspires individuals and organizations; and "Tactical Leadership," which influences individuals, processes and systems. To be successful, innovative leaders need to exercise these types of leadership along five coordinated domains. The free online Innovative Leadership Assessment is organized around these five domains.

Once you've taken the assessment, your results point to your personal tendencies (and potentially areas for attention or improvement) in each of the domains.

The results, for most, will probably reinforce existing understandings of leadership strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. But it's worth the ten minutes to take the assessment. Why?  While I can't vouch for the finer points of the model (or individual results), the idea of "innovation leadership" marked by alignment, inspiration, and influence strongly resonates with some of the priorities of creative leadership that I conduct research on, teach, and embrace.  Even more basically, though, I support any thoughtful exercise, however brief, that offers an opportunity for leaders to reflect meaningfully on their own values and practice cross multiple dimensions and domains. 

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