At the point our body and our senses (eyes, ears, touch, etc.) meet
the world lies a crossroads. At this very point we experience a
constant, two-way flow from the…
- Outside in–situations, actions and events in their environment
- Inside out–how we feel, interpret, process these situations and decide on our response
Cashman talks about this intersection as it applies to leaders. On the
one hand, a leader’s environment obviously affects what goes on in the
leader’s mind and, in return, the leader’s mental processing generates
responses and actions that impact his/her environment. External and
internal, it is a dynamic whole. You cannot seriously consider
leadership development without addressing both elements.
is right on the money when he says that typical leadership development
programs in organizations concentrate pretty well exclusively on the
“outside,” the doing part: leadership actions, behaviors, competencies, techniques, and so forth. For this reason he has chosen to focus Leadership from the Inside Out on the “inside” or being
part: how you go about continually growing your inner self as a leader.
The book is about growing the whole person as the way to grow an
I like this book for several
reasons. The inner focus, around values and unconscious beliefs,
assumptions and habits of thought, form the center of attention of
recent studies in leadership. Secondly, the author lays out a road map
for developing our selves from the inside out. This map includes seven distinct practice areas:
- Personal mastery
- Purpose mastery
- Interpersonal mastery
- Change mastery
- Resilience mastery
- Being mastery
- Action mastery
at the end of each mastery area’s chapter he lists practical activities
to develop yourself in that particular area. The seven areas do not
suggest any sort of sequential plan or stages of development. Rather,
we are to see them as integrated, ongoing processes. You can be working
to get clarity around your goals and priorities (Purpose mastery) at
the same time as you are enhancing your ability to build stronger
relationships (Interpersonal mastery).
wholeheartedly when Cashman says that inner mastery work requires a
lifelong commitment. You can’t complete it with a few workshops or six
months of coaching. The best leaders never cease to engage in
self-observation, soliciting feedback from others, reflection, and
Why is there no “quick
fix” on the internal side? Because these unconscious beliefs and maps
of reality that we all carry around inside us are deeply ingrained.
They determine or at least heavily influence our external behavior. But
because they are mostly below our level of awareness, we don’t see them
operating. Furthermore, we don’t know that we don’t see them. The only
way to release ourselves from their grip on us is to bring these
limiting beliefs and thinking habits into the light of day and
consciously develop new pathways to effectiveness.
This is where this book comes in.
the balance of this review I want to shine the light on a few points
that particularly resonated with me from Kevin Cashman’s seven master
Personal Mastery and Purpose Mastery.
Some lead through the force of their character but most managers lead
more through a coping strategy. They genuinely try to get results but
divert too much of their available time and attention to maintaining
their own image, security, comfort and control. Obviously we can’t
expect people to ignore their personal concerns altogether but the best
leaders prefer their behavior be determined by their strong character
and compelling goals.
Cashman quotes a Saratoga Institute study of recently departed
employees and their respective managers. 85% of the bosses said their
employee left for greater opportunity and more money. But, 80% of the
former employees cited the reason for their departure as a poor
relationship with and lack of coaching from the manager. I wonder how
many of the “departees” were too valuable to lose. Your interpersonal
mastery level has a huge impact on your overall effectiveness as a
leader and, by extension, on the results you get.
Change Mastery. If we accept the idea that managers work with what exists and leaders go beyond to what as yet does not exist, then leadership is all about creating change.
Resilience Mastery. 92% of the 62 CEO’s interviewed for the book cited resilience as the most challenging area to master.
I was initially surprised at this but, upon reflection, it makes sense.
Resilience is both the ability to stay focused and energized amid the
turmoil and complexity of today’s environment and the capacity to
bounce back from a setback or defeat. It calls for a laundry list of
- confidence in yourself and your purpose
- strong achievement drive
- ability to learn from your mistakes
- living a balanced lifestyle
- having a close support network
- the willingness to work with what you can control or influence, while accepting what you can’t
Some form of reflective quiet time, ideally including mind-focusing
meditation, provides a way to uncover your deeper purpose and develop
that calmness under stress that people trust and are attracted to.
The performance coach needs to call for the client’s commitment to new
behavior and then hold him or her to the pledge. Zenger Folkman
research indicates that 50% of the impact of training comes from
post-workshop skills application back on the job, supported by
coaching. An ASTD study shows that post-training coaching boosts the
impact of the training by 73%. Without the will and discipline to act,
you have no leadership effectiveness.
line of recent research–and of this book–is that to achieve a
significant degree of mastery as a leader we must attend to mastering
ourselves. This book provides a lot for all of us to consider…and then
take action upon!