November 26, 2004
 LeadU NEWS
Vol. 1, No. 47

Published Weekly on Fridays
By Leadership University

=============================
A Message from the Founder
=============================

Identities, Boundaries and Attractors in
Leadership

One of the most exciting things I like to talk to
leaders about is the design of leadership systems.
When I discuss these design parameters, I consider
identities, boundaries and attractors. Let me see
if I can frame those in a way that makes some
sense and adds some value to your understanding of
leadership design.

Identities:

Identities can be described as the elements of
leadership which forge our assumptions and beliefs
about how the world, life, or our business works,
the vision we have that utilized the models; the
values involved in the identity and the principles
we invoke to decide about things as situations
constantly call us to action.

These identities are always in play and what's
more, they are in flux across context and that's
where boundaries come in.

Boundaries:

Boundaries are the edges of chaos that are not
definable by one identity and cause leadership
great consternation. For instance, if in one
context, I have a particular identity, say working
with my executive leadership team and then I
switch context and work with my largest customer
group, the boundary between representing my
executive leadership team and working with a
customer becomes often chaotic. It seeks to
actually "emerge" a new identity. In this boundary
emergence, I find myself not really working from
the identity of my team, nor from the identity of
a customer service representative, but forming a
new identity that takes into consideration a new
set of rules, a new way of working, a new set of
values, that may contain some of the original
identities that merged, but distinctly a different
identity.

Boundaries often keep us working from a set of
mental models that make it difficult for us to be
resilient. In other words, we may find it
difficult to either be a representative of the
customer or of the team, we feel like we're in no
person's land because neither identity works when
you cross the boundary of the identity. This
brings us to the value of attractors.

Attractors:

Before I jump into attractors, let me borrow
something from Sheldrake which has at its topic
morphic fields, which in most cases I believe to
be a meta-attractor of sorts:

http://www.dialogonleadership.org/Sheldrake-1999cp.html

[Morphic fields] are probabilistic in the way they
work, they're within and around the systems they
organize. They have attractors in them. You can
model many of their properties in terms of
attractors, things which draw the system towards a
particular form or goal or end state or end cycle
or end structure. The morphic resonance is
non-local in the sense that I'm suggesting that
some of their systems come in from another one's
cross-space or turn. The fields organize systems
in a nested hierarchical way...

Sometimes watching flocks of birds flying in the
sky and seeing the way they all turn together, it
was almost as if I could see a field around
them...

It's interesting to read Sheldrake for sure, but
let's take it back to attractors:

Attractors are things which draw the system
towards a particular form or goal or end state or
end cycle or end structure.

The reason attractors are important to leadership
is because we can't always lead out of a single
identity, no matter how strategic it is and how
much clarity we have. In fact, or what I
believe...is that leadership itself is a
morphic field or meta-attractor and what we create
through a combinatorial approach, or what I call a
concilient approach is a way to operate in
ambiguity, yet be clear about what we are there
for and what is it that attracts us and guides our
decision making as a leader.

>From this standpoint, the attractor in my example
might be "top-line growth" or "quality" or perhaps
"sustainability." I could create these as values
in my identity, in the identity of the company,
even write these on cards for employees to carry
around. However, unless these attractors were
present in everything that I did, all the
decisions I made, all the people we hired, etc.,
we would sub-optimize the leadership. The
attractors are those issues which draw on the
identity to keep it stable over time, across
boundaries and even more so, to give it appeal for
others.

Here's my final example and then I'll let you
think about it some.

Attractors often exist independent of an identity
and are without boundaries first of all. That's
why they are so important to leadership. That's
why as an outsider with your "attractor lens" on,
you can spot them in an organization, a client or
even a community. Something that provides a
gravitational field, so to speak, or creates a
morphic field as Sheldrake suggests, that compels
an end state, but not the end.

In other words, an attractor keeps on attracting,
versus a goal that is satisfied, updated and
replaced by yet another goal. It's great to have
goals, but noticing the attractors are what allow
the work to be done across identities, across
boundaries and in concert with the "field." No,
this is not a "build it and they will come type of
field"; this may represent either the best in us
or the worst in us...thinking makes it so, as
Shakespeare would explain.

So, what do you do with this "stuff?"

Discover the identities and their differences,
disclose them, accept them and then identify where
the boundaries reach chaos or the edge of
identity. Then look for attractors that can span
those forces to compel others to participate, no
matter how differently or diverse their identity
seems to be, no matter what boundaries seem to be
in place.

This ties in with Jack Welch's concept of
boundarylessness on a more practical plane, and
opens the door in my view to understanding how
leadership itself becomes a morphic field…like the
flock of birds, all seeming to turn at once, to
meet the challenges presented by conditions that
arise.

This form of leadership engagement is key to
reaching enhanced levels of resilience and
hopefully, identities, boundaries and attractors
that can become part of that equation for your
leadership over time.

To comment on this and other articles on
leadership, please visit my blog at
http://generati.typepad.com/mrj/

Mike R Jay, Founder
http://www.leadu.com

PS: Mike has a new book: "CPR for the Soul:
Creating Personal Resilience By Design" being
published soon. A pre-publishing offer for the
digital version is available here:
http://www.leadu.com/cpr


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SCHOOL OF DEVELOPMENTAL COACHING

Master Leadership Coaching System
2 Sections
Tuesdays at 7:45 p.m. ET
Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. ET

This program is open to graduates of COACH2 who
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period of 1 year. Points are earned through
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leading breakout sessions as a facilitator and
leading COACH2 classes. A retreat is required to
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NOTE:  This class is only open to participants who
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C L A S S E S : November 29 – December 5

TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO CONSIDER BEFORE Starting Up
In Business
Lead By Ben Botes with Lynne Hunt
Monday, November 29, 2004
10:00 AM EST 1 hour
$20.00

Starting and running your own business is an
exciting challenge and can be financially and
professionally rewarding.  The most successful
businesses are those run by people who have taken
the time to plan their business, rationalize their
reasons for starting it and who have conducted
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Information:
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Registration:
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THE STEP BY STEP, HOW TO, OF STARTING Out In
Business
Lead By Ben Botes with Lynne Hunt
Monday, November 29, 2004
12:00 PM EST 1 hour
$20.00

Research shows that Small Business owners and
managers who undertake a comprehensive, planned
approach to starting and building a business are
more than twice as likely to succeed as those who
don't.  This step by step 'how to' will guide you
through the major stages to enable you to start
your business professionally and grow your
business successfully.  The following points will
be covered:

1.  How to adopt a planned approach to starting
out in business
2.  How to know if you have the skills and
knowledge to make it work - and where can you get
help.
3.  How to know if your business is set up legally
4.  How to plan the money
5.  How to get the customers - and keep them!

Information:
http://www.my1stbusiness.com/live_classes.php

Registration: 
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HOW TO WRITE A GREAT BUSINESS PLAN AND the
Importance of Doing So
Lead By Lynne Hunt and Ben Botes
Monday, November 29, 2004
2:00 PM EST 1 hour
$20.00

You've had a great idea and want to turn it into a
business.  You've conducted research that says
that your idea is viable.  Now you need to bring
it all together in a clear and ordered plan that
you can use as a working
guide to the start up and future success of your
business.  Key points this class will offer
include:

1.  What are the most important reasons for
writing a business plan
2.  Is one plan enough?
3.  Who should do the Plan?
4.  What should be in the plan?
5.  How should it be presented?

Information:
http://www.my1stbusiness.com/live_classes.php

Registration: 
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C L A S S E S : December 6 – 12, 2004

USING THE SIX Most Important Internet Marketing
Tools (free)
Lead by Jinger Jarrett and Ben Botes
Monday, December 6, 2004
4:00 PM EST 1 hour

Although there are many methods for promoting your
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There are six techniques that are highly
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Using Blogs
Using Forums
Using Articles
Using Ebooks
Using Special Reports
Using Newsletters

Plus other useful resources.

Information:
http://www.my1stbusiness.com/live_classes.php

Register:
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ALEXANDER THE GREAT: LESSONS IN HEROIC LEADERSHIP
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Lead by Richard Freis
Monday December 6, 2004
7:30 PM EST 1.5 hours

Alexander the Great is again at the center of
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Information: mailto:freissr@millsaps.edu

Register: 
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