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Friday, August 22, 2014

Everything You Need to Know About the NEW Change Style Indicator



We are thrilled to announce the new Change Style Indicator, making its debut on 9/2/2014. DLI is committed to constantly reviewing and improving our products and services. Engaging with our customers, research and industry professionals for feedback and insights on how we can best serve your needs is embedded in our company culture. For over 2 decades Change Style Indicator has been helping leaders and businesses achieve their personal and organizational goals. Check out this case study to learn how a major Canadian media company used Change Style Indicator to help facilitate the organization through a company-wide, sweeping organizational change. On September 2nd Change Style Indicator will undergo a massive update and will receive a host of new features and functionality.
 
Highlights of CSI Update:

· Powerful and innovative normative data demonstrates relationships between age, gender, industry and nationality.
· Participant feedback reports and the Change Style Indicator ™ Style Guide are now an integrated document for both online and hand scored versions.
· Hand scored versions of Change Style Indicator ™ are now a single package containing the assessment, Style Guide and scoring instructions.
· The Change Style Indicator ™ Style Guide has been streamlined for ease of use and administration.  Administrators who in the past have chosen to print theirstyle guides will be delighted to find the report condensed to 10 pages resulting in a 60% reduction in printing costs. 
· Discovery Learning, Inc. has made printing Change Style Indicator's ™ StyleGuides so easy and affordable that we have eliminated the need to ship StyleGuides separately.  This results in a major savings for customers who will no longer need to pay for shipping.
· Contemporary look reflects the class leading product features.
· Change Style Indicator ™ can now be completed in less time thanks to a reduction in the number of questions (22 to 20).
· In addition to reducing the time commitment for taking the survey DLI has improved the psychometric properties of Change Style Indicator ™ through statistical analysis.  We have removed 2 questions from the battery whose relevancy has changed over time due to socioeconomic changes.  DLI is committed to constantly reviewing and improving our products and services.  Engaging with our customers, research and industry professionals for feedback and insights on how we can best serve their needs is embedded in our company culture.  For over 2 decades Change Style Indicator ™ has been helping leaders and businesses achieve their personal and organizational goals.  In August of 2014 Change Style Indicator™ will undergo a massive update and will receive a host of new features and functionality.


If you are a current CSI facilitator, thank you for your continued use. If you are interested in getting certified in the new Change Style Indicator, you can find out more about the process here. Be sure to review the CSI product page where we will post updates as they become available. If you have any questions about the new CSI, don’t hesitate to give us a call, email, tweet, facebook message, or whatever your preferred method of contact may be. We're fans of the carrier pigeon, but we also understand that things change. Stay tuned for announcements about the new Change Style Indicator, coming out on September 2nd!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Part 3: Mysteries of Leadership in the Amazon

Editor’s Note: This three-part series is based on the adventures of a small group of Kellogg National Fellows, who discovered a valuable lesson in leadership during a venture into the Amazon jungle of Brazil. The group included the author, Christopher Musselwhite, and other Group VIII Fellows Bobby Austin, Linda Hallenborg, and Oran Hesterman. The travelers were accompanied by their four sons and two Brazilian guides.


Without saying so, we all thought about the French team, what they must have felt during their wanderings, and how they must have looked upon their emergence from this jungle three weeks earlier, with clothes torn off and their minds nearly crazy.

Soares’ advice, “don’t give up hope and the good spirits will help you,” had new meaning. Linda and I sought and found dry wood in the immediate area. However, our find consisted mostly of small twigs and branches that were good for starting a fire but were not likely to last all night. With less than 15 minutes of light remaining, we then had to face the prospect of a wood-gathering trip back into the bush, where night had now arrived.

I was the first to hear the telephone tree, but the others discounted it as we continued with our tasks of calling and gathering wood. Each of our chores had become a constructive, even if somewhat neurotic, ritual to channel our anxiety. Ten minutes later we all heard three whacks from the telephone tree, far away but discernible. With Oran’s voice cracking under the strain of shouting for 30 minutes, Linda and I began to shout. Our focus now shifted to being found. Still, in the back of our minds we remembered the bad spirits and each of us scrutinized every sound.

After 10 more minutes of yelping and hooting we thought we heard a voice respond, then another, and another. It was so far away; its direction impossible to pinpoint. Pleno immediately headed into the bush, but we refused to follow. With the notion of the bad spirits fresh in our minds and the fear of losing the voice in the dense bush, if it was indeed real, we stayed put. Pleno reluctantly returned to our sanctuary.

As the voice became more distinct, we finally felt secure enough to leave our clearing and plunge into the darkness of the bush. With his machete in hand, Pleno again became useful and we gladly returned the role of leader to him. The large underground holes which are the homes for tarantulas and foot-high rodents were no longer visible in the dark. Almost at a run we followed Pleno, stopping every couple of minutes to untangle ourselves from vines and to call out and correct our course. Our focus was not on the danger around us but rather on reaching Soares.

After a 20-minute jog, we saw Soares’ face framed between banana leaves. He looked more like a savior than a jungle guide. We didn’t know how he found us. It was only later that we learned from Bobby that Soares, in the middle of building a fire, suddenly said: “they are lost.” He took off, running through the jungle with no further explanation.

We followed Soares for another 20-minute jog before we reached our camp. In his run through the jungle to find us, Soares had not marked his trail, as was his custom. Still, he was able to lead us through the darkness straight to our camp.

For two days we recounted the story to each other as if to verify that it was true and to clarify our feelings. Through the process we discovered valuable lessons about leadership, change, and ourselves.

First, we had transferred our well-earned confidence in one individual to another. Maybe because they looked alike, or talked alike, or associated with each other, we assumed Pleno had the same skills as Soares. It is an assumption that is easily made in an unfamiliar environment, a place where your past experiences appear to have no utility. This feeling is known to anyone who has experienced other environments where rapid change has yielded strange new terrain. It can be a dangerous mistake to make.

Second, we experienced how truly situational leadership can be. During our ordeal the leadership shifted three times. First, Pleno was unquestionably the leader. Next, Linda, Oran, and I shared leadership. In the end, Pleno’s skills were needed again and he readily assumed the lead.

Third, we experienced the pain of taking leadership from an individual whom we wanted to lead us, but who was no longer competent to do so. The three of us did not feel adequate to lead in this strange setting, but when our survival became threatened, we assessed our situation and competencies and worked together. This is reflective of a certain degree of risk-taking many of us find necessary to demonstrate as the conditions surrounding our personal and professional commitments and aspirations change. These changes often leave a leadership-void which we may find necessary to fill.

Fourth, we found new confidence in our own intuition and ability to respond under unfamiliar circumstances and stress.

Fifth, we experienced the doubt and anxiety of questioning authority within a context which was unfamiliar to us. We should have done it sooner. At first we each thought that we were overreacting. We kept our fears and doubts to ourselves. No one wanted to appear frightened. We all wanted to be “cool.” Finally, we acknowledged our anxiety and the realities provoking it; and we took action. We are left with the question of why this was so difficult to do.


For each of us, our jungle experience has provided rich and poignant metaphors to instruct and guide us through our own jungles of constant change, politics, personal searching, and occasional fears that the problems we strive to correct are just too big. We are now aware of the good and bad spirits which reside in our jungles. To give up hope is to surrender to the bad spirits. To maintain hope when no solution is imaginable opens the doorway to good spirits and the magic of the human spirit. Maybe, in the end, the true leader is that person who is capable of having hope before she or he can develop a scenario for success.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Part 2: Mysteries of Leadership Revealed in the Amazon

Editor’s Note: This three-part series is based on the adventures of a small group of Kellogg National Fellows, who discovered a valuable lesson in leadership during a venture into the Amazon jungle of Brazil. The group included the author, Christopher Musselwhite, and other Group VIII Fellows Bobby Austin, Linda Hallenborg, and Oran Hesterman. The travelers were accompanied by their four sons and two Brazilian guides.

Read Part 1 here

As we assessed the situation silently and individually, we reflected on our location. We had traveled 220 kilometers by bus from the city of Manaus, which sits in the center of the Amazon Rainforest at the convergence of the Salomoes River and the Rio Negro. After leaving the bus when it crossed the Rio Urubu, we had taken a boat for 30 kilometers up the river.

After five of those 30 kilometers, we had left behind all signs of human settlements. The last inhabitants of this area, the Urubu tribe, had been moved by the government 25 years earlier when they tried to kill the workers building the highway on which our bus had traveled. From our camp you could travel in almost any direction for hundreds of kilometers and encounter nobody.

We continued to follow Pleno for another 15 to 20 minutes, basically operating from a state of denial. This environment was totally alien to us; Pleno belonged there. Even if his actions conflicted with our own intuition, we continued to follow.

Once we passed a telephone tree, which Soares had demonstrated for us the previous day. When whacked with a machete, it makes a loud noise which carries through the jungle better than any other sound, including the human voice. I timidly motioned and suggested to Pleno that he stop and strike the tree. But Pleno disregarded the suggestion and in doing so, reinforced our sense of insecurity about our own instincts.

In his panic, Pleno stopped choosing the clearest passages and was no longer using his machete. At times we had to crawl through the thick bush and vines, but we continued to follow. It was after 5 p.m. and the jungle was nearly dark when we stumbled across a small, sandy clearing. This place was different from the jungle. The clearing was about 20 feet in diameter and its immediate surroundings consisted of shorter scrub trees and wild pineapple. With the cloud cover remaining from the afternoon rainstorm, there was no visible sun, but the sky still held some light. We knew there would be 30 more minutes of light here. This open area seemed like an answer to a prayer.

Pleno’s next directive resulted in mutiny. As he motioned for us to return to the dense jungle to continue our search, we refused. We could no longer deny our instincts, no matter how alien the environment. With only 20 minutes of daylight, we shifted our attention from finding our camp to preparing ourselves for the night ahead.

Other than his possession of a machete and matches, Pleno was useless at this point. He paced our clearing as if some small sign was there to show him where to go. Finally he stopped and shouted in Portuguese that he “had to clear his head.” He pulled a cigarette from his pocket, lit it, and squatted.

We assessed quickly what our resources were and what we needed for the night. Already we could hear puma crying in the distance. A fire would be essential. In my own mind I was calculating that sitting in the sand would be better than standing or squatting in the jungle. In the bush there are too many dangerous unknowns crawling around. Poisonous spiders and 18-inch blood-sucking worms emerge from the earth when it rains. Just the day before, Soares showed us a bright green poisonous spider which he claimed has never been cataloged by scientists.


We decided that Oran had the loudest voice. Rather than giving up complete hope of being found that night, he took the job of calling for Soares, who must have known by now that we were lost. One of Soares’ teachings kept returning to us: “There are good and bad spirits in the jungle. When you are lost, the worst thing to do is give up hope. The absence of hope provides an open door for the bad spirits. They will entice you farther and farther into the jungle. They may disguise themselves as the sounds of a voice, a river, or a telephone tree, and can lead you into oblivion and eventually to insanity.” We were starting to see how this could happen. The jungle is immense beyond description.

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