I recently attending a showing of the hit musical Hamilton, in which there is a scene where the lead character (Alexander Hamilton), Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison are all in a private room, having a secret dinner meeting. Out of that meeting came the decision for the capital city of the United States to be situated on the Potomac River – clearly an important and historic moment.
The musical dramatizes the event with a song called “The Room Where It Happens” which highlights how important it was to have been in that room, since those leaders were the only three people who knew exactly what occurred. This has spurred a new phrase used today: You must “be in the room” in order to be in the know.
In mid-November, I was myself fortunate enough to “be in the room where it happened” – a room of a different kind. I attended the Thinkers50 event in London, a biennial event which honors the best leadership and management thinkers in the world. I was honored and humbled to be recognized as a World Leader in Coaching, along with some of the best and brightest minds in this professional. It was truly an inspiring time.
Even though I was in the room where it happened, I don’t want to keep anything I learned “secret!” I want to share with you my key learnings from the event, which I am doing, below. For fun, I have turned my key takeaways into a “quiz” of sorts – hopefully an engaging way for you to gain some potentially eye-opening information related to today’s leadership and management practices. Have fun!
How well do YOU™ score on this inspiring leadership quiz?
Here are some of my key takeaways from the Thinkers50 2019 event, in quiz form. (Scroll to the bottom for answers.)
1. Only ____% of people make natural managers, according to Gallup.
2. What percentage of people in the UK say that they would accept less pay to get a new boss?
3. What do people want most on the job?
A. A friendly work environment
B. The ability to work independently
C. A good salary
D. A deep sense of purpose in their work
4. What percentage of transformation intentions fail?
5. What is the single biggest obstacle to transformation?
A. Employees must embrace the change.
B. Leadership of the organization
C. Lack of expertise
D. The cost involved in transformation
6. Unless ______ transforms, the organization won’t transform.
A. The workforce
B. The culture
C. Top leadership
D. The hiring process
Senior Leadership Findings
7. The higher up in the organization you are, the more ____________ you are.
A. Unhappy and deluded
B. Stressed and deluded
C. Optimistically deluded
D. Overworked and deluded
8. Ask yourself as a senior leader: True or False? “My thinking has been challenged in the last five working days.” (If not, there is a likelihood that you are not creating an open enough environment for employees to raise up issues and allow change to take place.)
9. What is the “Superiority Illusion?”
A. When you believe you are superior to other employees
B. When you are promoted to lead an organization
C. When you think you are better at something than others think you are
D. When you believe you can outperform your colleagues
A few additional comments made / learnings gained from Thinkers50 that I feel are worth sharing:
- At work, organizations try to “fix” employees who are quiet. Instead, try fixing the system so that quiet employees are heard.
- The act of speaking up is relational-you will speak up when you feel you have a relationship that supports speaking up.
From the CEO of Haier (Zhang Ruimin):
- Shareholders cannot create value, only employees can. So put employees first – focus your leadership attention there.
- Compliments about your product are in fact compliments about the “experience” of your product.
- What is the best way to avoid losing your job to artificial intelligence? Be a good human being.
Answers to the Inspiring Leadership Quiz
1.A 2.C 3.D 4.D 5.A 6.C 7.C 8.(It depends on you, as a leader.) 9.C