Defining a Refreshed and Irreplaceable Type of Organizational Leadership – The LeaderShaped Leader


“Personal Proficiency + Professional Mastery = A LeaderShaped Leader”

How do ordinary people manifest humility to achieve significant Personal Proficiencies that deliver extraordinary results? They remain on a continuum for learning to achieve greatness, become an agent of change through positive organizational behaviors and establish a leadership signature that links their leadership to their legacy.

Most importantly, when the unexpected happens and the results are less than expected, they carry the pains and burdens upon their shoulders without blame to others – relying on a Memorandum of Understanding – the collective behaviors and cultural influences from the trusted people, their teams, within their employ.

The LeaderShaped Leader

The LeaderShaped Leader sits atop a hierarchy of six significant leadership and organizational behavioral stages – and possesses the skills of all six. Individuals without these skills have gaps in their understanding of producing exceptional leadership for the 21st century and beyond. Perhaps the most important component in the transition from ordinary to extraordinary is what our faculty calls, the “Process of LeaderShaping: the ‘intellectual and emotional thought space’ for value creation.”

– Stage 1 is the “Recruit, the good-to-great highly capable individual who makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills and good work habits. This individual is the one person in the environment that understands ‘people first, then the organization;’ hence, the development and achievement of the desired effects within the expected Future Picture.”

– Stage 2 is the Experienced Manager “who is working to establish his/her ‘Leadership Signature’ to integrate their newly found skills to the achievement of team and organizational objectives (mission) and work effectively with others in a team-led environment. The Experienced Manager begins his/her growth by learning the constructs in the Memorandum of Understanding to find a voice; then, influences others to find theirs.”

– Stage 3 is the competent Fleet Leader who “understands the criticality of employing organizational behavior across environments – organizes people and resources to develop an effective strategy forward using the critical Centers of Gravity to achieve the desired effects.”

– Stage 4 is an effective Breakthrough Executor who “outlines the specific cognitive abilities that will be sought and cultivated by other leaders in the years ahead using the Five Minds for the Future: the disciplined mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind, and the ethical mind; the leader who remains committed to a vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards using team maneuvers.”

– Stage 5 is the Team/Project Leader who “employs the highest standards of customer service by achieving the five disciplines of greatness – these are the leaders who understand maneuver warfare and the disciplines within a Five Paragraph Order: SMEAC. They know an extraordinary organization is one that is driven by extraordinary people who make a distinctive impact and deliver superior performance over a long period of time – as a team unit.”

– Stage 6 is the LeaderShaped Leader “who employs organizational strategic execution tactics (The OrgSx Paradigm) to permeate enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. All successful organizations have a single component in common; they have a strategic-executor at the helm who knows the disciplines of ‘strategic agility’ and ‘flawless execution.’ These leaders are described as being tactical in their approach, ferocious and fearless, yet modest with an unwavering commitment to high standards.” This is the leader who knows how to win!

A synonym for “Fearlessness,” LeaderShaping provides the cultural influences and the collective behaviors used for facing the reality of your current situation, to recognize what you can actually achieve given the powerful organizational and relationship dynamics without thinking that you can actually achieve success through your own will, and become more powerful than you are.

And then, at the same time, while moving equal amounts of energy from the depths of your character, you decide who you want to be, so that you can stand firm on personal conviction and the practices of life that you believe most deeply in, so as to accept criticism and achieve greatness. This is the beginning stage within an expected healthy debate about the nature and effectiveness of employing transformational thinking and change across organizations that is seeking to achieve a well planned Future Picture for generations to follow – greatness requires a LeaderShaped Leader for influencing the same from others and from within the growing organizations they are a part.


In this day and time, there are some people who are willing to have the glory before the story. Let me be the first to say that this is the wrong thinking that results terrible outcomes. Nothing in life, and certainly not in leadership, comes easy. Having the story before the glory prepares anyone for the tough road ahead and allows for the proper amount of “humility” along the way. A question to ask yourself and those individuals who trust in your leadership is this: what do we do to prepare our people, our teams and our organizations for uncertainty – a plan for the future that exceeds everyone’s expectations? The answer is a complex, yet simple one; keep pace with today’s rapidly changing business environment by engaging and improving your emotional intelligence and organizational behavior skills to recognize, adopt and adapt generational expertise, to include concepts of team-building practices and high-performance perception and values that result realistic winning solutions into the future.

Are you ready to challenge yourself to a higher purpose of leadership?

Taking on a leadership role in today’s environment is like signing on for a constant race against change. You have to stay several steps ahead of the trends…strive to develop new strategies and keep ahead of the crowd. It’s up to you to ensure that your department or team is on track for success. And now you can achieve your leadership goals!

Here is your opportunity to learn how to identify and manage the challenges you face with practical and proven-in-action techniques. The following information explains what it takes to become a “LeaderShaped Leader.” In-class exercises, coupled with updates on current research and performance management assessments, allow you to practice new ideas, military stratagem, gaming/simulation and to try out shared insights. In this highly interactive executive education program, participants will have the opportunity to learn from their team associates and peers as they stretch their leadership driven minds and methods for learning to assert their role upon return to their workplace, organization and home life.

LeaderShaping as a Philosophy

In general, philosophy is the search for sense, meaning, cause and principle using logical thinking and rigorous thought. Philosophy unearths foundations and stresses being and mechanisms, discerning what things are and how they work. It is an attempt to perceive what things really are, not how they appear to be, and to discern how things really work, not how they appear to work. Philosophy seeks ultimate, irreducible truth.

Philosophy claims to be able to make sense out of any human awareness or endeavor, however massive or minuscule. Perhaps we will find interesting things about the nature of investing in humanity. But how? The answer lies within the Process of LeaderShaping’s hierarchy of six significant leadership and organizational behavior stages.

As you think about how individuals are by nature, you quickly realize how selfish people really are. They consider their own actions first: How will this affect me? At the same time, we try to disguise our selfishness with an authentic portrayal of interests that ultimately show its true face that leads to problems. This brings us to the alpha and omega on influence. It is important to acknowledge an individual’s ability to get along well with others while achieving their cooperation and shared-vision for reaching mission objectives and assigned tasks.

By defining the differences between “leadership” and “management” (this is still, to some, confusing phenomena) as the prior and “LeaderShaping” as the ladder, we can identify noteworthy differences and commonalties, clarify what LeaderShaping includes that the other omits, and identify significantly fruitful ways that a marriage of the three can engender an interesting new concept or philosophy.

Leadership is frequently defined as the ability to exercise influence across a group or team of people with the expectations of meeting the mission objectives established for the future. The ability to exert such influence can derive formally from one’s position, office, title, function, control of resources, control of rewards and punishments, or role; or informally from one’s abilities, skills, experience, expertise, behavior, style, charisma, or charm. A given leader may have at his/her disposal either or both formal and informal sources of influence, but it remains his/her potential to manage them to decide just how successful they are as a leader. Regardless of the level of influence, a social relationship exists.

There are two forms of social relationships to consider; one with people and the other with the environment. So far, we’ve spoken about the people aspect, but the relationship with the environment, also known as “Social Learning Theory: the reciprocal relationships between behaviors and environments,” focuses in the area of “Organizational Behavior: the study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, groups and teams act in organizations, while being influenced by others.” It does this by interpreting people/organizational relationships in terms of the whole person, whole group, whole team, whole organization, and whole social system. Its purpose is to build better relationships by achieving human objectives, organizational objectives, and social objectives. As you can see from the explanation above, the study of organization behavior encompasses a wide range of topics, such as human behavior, change, leadership and management, teams, execution and more.

It is important to be aware that leadership does not exist in a social vacuum, but rather is socially defined and determined in terms of one’s influence on others. Leadership only exists if there is someone to be led who accepts the leader’s influence in order to attain a goal, while management is all about managing process. Leadership, by its very nature, is an entity of influence through choice and changing environmental reality. As we think about popular culture and its belief for what leadership may be, the conclusion would bring most individuals to the conclusion (and not an assumption) that there is a greater state that achieves leadership itself. Leadership focuses on the long-term, but management places its focus on the short-term.

Leadership keeps its eye on the horizon, while management keeps its eye on the bottom-line. Leadership will tolerate failure or missteps as long as the direction provides instruction toward the goal for both the individual and the organization to learn from the failure or the lessons learned.

Failure, therefore, is viewed as a significant opportunity to learn – only when it is managed and turned into a precise process. It is therefore safe to say that when thinking about how individuals comprehend an ability to influence environments to become successful at meeting its objectives, it would be OK to acknowledge the current state of leadership does not fit into a single mold. There are six characteristics that provide a framework for people in leadership that helps them to achieve a state of understanding for its being. By gaining a thorough understanding for the framework’s place, the six characteristics define the leader’s intent and builds his/her level of trust with others – the framework is also the core discipline that increases credibility across the environments that leadership has a significant presence. The six characteristics within the framework are known as the 6Cs: Consistency, Courage, Conviction, Commitment, Contrite, and Captivating.

1. Consistency. Leaders steadily act to influence greatness. They achieve all accomplishments through collaboration by fostering a warrior culture and the ultimate obligation of a winner rather than an uninspired drive that results significant under-achievement.

2. Courage (Challenge the Established Processes). Leaders must never run from doing what is right. They must be prepared to step out on faith, removing themselves outside of popular culture, while searching for the courage and understanding to win over failure. This characteristic is where the rainmakers reside.

3. Conviction. Leaders communicate their convictions boldly.

4. Commitment (Model the Way). Leaders understand that the only thing necessary for the triumph of greatness is for the chosen to fail at not trying! Allowing your walk to mirror your talk demonstrates by example “what” should be done and “how” it must be done to execute task and responsibilities strategically and flawlessly.

5. Contrite (Encourage and Inspire the Heart of a Winner). Leaders know when to be humble and willingly demonstrate ability for being flexible in their way of thinking, hence transformational thought. Be prepared to recognize, appreciate, and celebrate the contributions from all persons involved in the winning process.

6. Captivating (Inspire a Shared-Vision). Leaders are tactical in their ability to positively influence a journey within the community that helps the stakeholders to find their voices. Individuals must envision the future picture that includes a sense of vitality and creativity that appeal to the desires of all stakeholders who act and contribute to the realization of an established vision.

The characteristics that make-up this framework for leadership helps individuals to become the maverick conformists that stimulate a community’s ability to change its perspective to current reality, using best practices, when needed. As time matriculates as a changing paradigm, so does a vision and the expected outcomes within an environment of trust. And, as this happens, an individual in a position of leadership will assert or affirm positive influence that transfers an attitudinal approach for achieving excellence to others within their community. In doing so, recognition is achieved at all levels and places individuals on a continuum for future examination of proactive change.

Here are some other things about leadership for consideration. Leadership must reinforce the values of the mission outlined by positive organizational behavior. Because all actions are based on internal and often unexpressed motivation and behavior, leaders recognize that achieving buy-in from their associates is the way to success.

In contrast, management focuses exclusively on the actions and behaviors of their associates with little or no interest in the reasons behind those actions. One of the greatest attributes for effective leaders is that they are unafraid of looking vulnerable to their peers when they don’t have the answers that others are seeking. In the same light, some managers when they don’t have the answers to the information tend to place emotional distance between themselves and those seeking the information. Leaders will listen to the people around them, knowing that they may glean lessons from their peers.

Old school managers were known to talk at the people, thinking that they can not learn from people who may not be on their level. Leaders quickly and effectively learn to openly embrace diversity and multiculturalism, while managers might try to encourage traditionalism. Effective leaders inspire the heart of a winner, while a manager may focus exclusively on the mind of a player. Leaders will courageously embrace change if they feel that change is eminent for the system to experience growth.

Managers will have a difficult time overcoming resistance to change and might hold the reins tightly to preserve the status quo. Leaders inspire and develop emotional bonds to the mission at hand, but managers will tend to create compliance issues and stick closely to the status quo that might lead to a commanding perspective. Leaders create, inspire, and support idealization within their peer groups, while managers dictate based on the inflexible approach to leading.

Leadership, therefore, is crucial in creating exceptional performance. Leadership and management skills are complementary. Leadership combined with management creates synergistic opportunities and engage the mind, body, heart, and soul of the associates influenced by the actions of a winning team of great leadership qualities and positive influence. Leadership is the successful influence of management in human behavior in and away from the environment. Those chosen to lead lay foundational structure for the leaders they develop and influence to no longer just give words to lofty, ethical values; now they are required to walk the talk and deliver at high performance levels with significant implications for effective results.

Success into the future requires not only leaders who can manage, but managers who can lead systems, people, and environments into greatness, only now, at a much higher level. The people who are able to accept “command” as the exercise of authority and “control” as feedback about the effects of the action taken. This is the outcome and most significant difference from those who are LeaderShaped and the people who are not.

A discipline of leadership that works to develop an intense, custom learning experience used to understand leadership and management to increase the leadership ability – personally and professionally – in people seeking a better tomorrow means that a process must be endured. This is a process that helps individuals to drive fundamental change and to achieve communal commitment by applying a unified framework of understanding a significant body of knowledge – the body of knowledge that encapsulates leadership, management, organizational behavior, team building and strategic execution – hence, the essential and key disciplines in LeaderShaping!

In addition to what has been explained thus far, LeaderShaping too, inspires and encourages a shared-vision of making “deposits” and “withdrawals” that both profit individuals and organizations and creates winning attitudes within the race of change. There are several questions to consider here: how would one go about creating new paradigms to current reality and norms? How do you overcome resistance to change? A third issue to examine is the outcome of the Future Picture (a state that you intend to make happen as a successful platform for forward motion or an end-state). How do you stimulate change and own it as a requirement for transitioning your life, relationships, teams, or organizational development? The answer to these questions lie in your ability to comprehend the profound implications of both the social aspects in leadership and the centurion principles that each LeaderShaped Leader possesses: a rise throughout the ranks of leadership while demonstrating exceptional mental sharpness and discipline, and physical endurance to understand and deal with the strategic and tactical thought …and it all comes at a cost; “emotional restraint, sweat and sacrifice.”

The LeaderShaped Leader’s sword is his/her ability to out think his enemy using a strategic and tactical philosophy and approach, touching the enemy first before anyone else in battle (the first to engage) to win them by leading from the front with strength, honor and unyielding integrity. The key is not to engage the enemy on their terrain, but to change their behaviors by engaging them prior to arriving to the battle – you win by changing the way they think by keeping them on the offensive with a well designed Battle plan.

An interesting state of affairs exists between leadership, management and LeaderShaping – people, both as followers and leaders themselves, and the complex dance along the way. To be an effective leader, an individual must possess certain qualities or certain sources of influence that other people do not possess. They seek to readily employ these qualities as credible resources to address various burning platforms before they flare up when required or needed.

In a sense then, a leader is someone who differs from all others. If leadership was easy, more people would be doing it and recruited for it. However, when you add the additional ingredients that are needed for the 21st century and beyond, LeaderShaping, the leader must perform a very difficult balancing act, to be like their followers, but also to behave differently than their followers. Expressing this balancing act in a somewhat different manner, a leader must be in front of followers, (no longer leading from the flanks, rear or middle) taking people from a an ordinary group to an extraordinary team, where they must want to journey or be influenced to go.

LeaderShaped Leaders must be able to do the following, much different from leaders:

1. Transform their way of thinking from simply thinking outside of the box; they must have the know-how to bury the box and be damn certain that the enemy cannot find the box and dig it up.

2. Understand that failure is the greatest teacher; “victory” instructs the simple, “failure” the wise; success teaches few lessons, but failure teaches many. Debrief for lessons learned and learn from them – the failures that is!

3. Know “how-to” use fresh ideas, hone them for efficient and effective integration, and model for reproduction using the ideas as the basis for modeling to learn, teach, and lead into the future: Instruct a shared-vision by influencing trust through balance; Demonstrate by example the benefits and features found in success; Experience the glory after executing process and procedure flawlessly; and Assess all areas of the environment to reshape and reconfigure process to ensure enduring success.

4. Understand the know-how for using the Seven “D’s” of Courage: (1) Desire: Become a champion of change; a major part of a solution; (2) Dream: Achieve a preferred future picture with just leaders; (3) Decisiveness: Recognize the process of trust, competence, and influence to encourage and inspire a journey to find your voice; (4) Dare: The courage to act outweighs the fear to not! (5) Dedication: Remain committed to fulfill the responsibility within a call; (6) Direction: Achieve a clear plan of influenced and proactive change; and (7) Dependence: Rely on achieving greatness – not effectiveness.

5. Transfer the knowledge and use of the “The Morale Constructs Strategy.” The secret to building a shared-vision across an organization is to get the associates to think less of their motives and more of the mission at hand. Achieving this measure requires trust, credibility, character, and an understanding of your situational awareness at all times. Ensure the members of the community each understands the competitive forces against the system and the potential outcome should the forces breach the talent fields of the organization. Turn the mission into a crusade that everyone is a major influence to narrow the competitions base of support and room for tactical maneuvering. Always lean on “right,” as the good guy’s white hat never hits the ground due to his convictions and disposition for righteousness.

6. Practice the skills found within the Memorandum of Understanding and ensure that everyone does the same.

Our research shows that building extraordinary people and organizations requires a process that facilitates a hierarchy of six disciplined stages with a foundation that also translates the process into increased effectiveness and efficiency to raise the overall performance value and growth – specifically within the individual and organizational life cycle. The foundation is a simple code of conduct, known as the “Memorandum of Understanding.”

Establishing Principles to Achieve Personal Proficiency and Professional Mastery

You now have before you the opportunity to take the steps that achieve a high level of personal mastery for your life. It requires the adoption of a “code” as a living organism into your life. How can you build awareness, use your experiences in implementing a new approach to deportment, and develop a strategy, which includes resolve and ethical conduct? This is the task before you.

It sounds like the normal work that we all know and do so well. But be cautioned, it is not! When we bind the code with rules and regulations, reporting and accountability to force conformity to standards, we will fail – to oppose change by way of fear is not what we want. Rather, achieving personal mastery is a continuous, yet discontinuous pursuit of ethical behavior that ultimately manifests into a quest of improving the human spirit; to pursue good, to do the right thing in our lives, work and in the workplace. The code says that who ever should adopt it into his/her life, will possess a level of courage – both physically and emotionally – to execute the necessary task that drives performance that exemplify the highest level of personal conviction.

Why establish a code to live and operate by? The answer is simple; establishing a code or set of principles ensures a level of conduct (code of conduct) for healthy lifestyle living and workplace etiquette. This code of conduct is also known as a “Memorandum of Understanding.” As a code of conduct, the Memorandum of Understanding provides a resource to assist people in their personal development, growth, guidance, and assessment in the leadership of self. The Memorandum of Understanding establishes a strict perspective for instructing successful practices, theories, and beliefs that drives people to achieve a successful future (how you intend to conduct yourself into the future for others to emulate).

The Memorandum of Understanding, followed by and inspired from the LeaderShaped Leader, is also designed for people to learn broadly; to inspire the service out of generosity for others; and to prepare them to lead courageously into the future. A Memorandum of Understanding must encourage a perspective to become firmly grounded in the potential for successful growth using the following constructs (A Portfolio Management Series):

– The Cardinal Rules
– The Guiding Precepts
– The Forms of Disposition
– The General Orders
– The Strategy Forward
– The Centers of Gravity

The Cardinal Rules. The Cardinal Rules are a set of guidelines that are invaluable for people and organizations to follow while planning and executing at the strategic or tactical level. These rules, once established by the individual(s) or teams are the rules that govern forward movement and must not change.

The Guiding Precepts. The Guiding Precepts are designed to inform people what they should and should not be doing in accordance with executing a well designed strategy to win. They also inform of the reasons “why” an action must occur and the repercussions should the individual and/or organization fail at meeting such a task.

The Forms of Disposition. The Forms of Disposition offer a substantive transformation in “thought” about how people achieve a perspective on things in life. It refers to an orchestrated, systemic and revolutionary new world-view resulting in a “change” of societies, cultures, and marketplaces due to behavioral perspective. This is today often called “systems theory,” which sees a web of relationships coalescing to become something greater than the parts. Individuals must be able to look at things from a perspective that they are always changing and evolving into new forms – thinking “out-of-the-box!” We are doomed to a slow death unless radical change occurs in the way we think. Change your way of thinking or die a slow death.

The General Orders. The General Orders are broad, community-wide “need statements,” designed to encompass a variety of related issues in a person’s life or within the life cycle of an organization. These related issues are referred to as “Guiding Objectives,” which are specific items that need to be addressed. The Guiding Strategies (developed to fit current and future circumstance) are the methods identified for addressing the Guiding Objectives, and the Guiding Policies are the specific action steps that are recommended to implement the Guiding Strategies. The General Orders, all eleven of them, offer the ability to explore implications in an open and reflective manner and reinforce each other in providing a coherency and wholeness often lacking in life cycles.

The Strategy Forward – Establishing Professional Mastery. The traditional values are the foundation of the modern day; that was yesterday. Tomorrow, you have an opportunity to create commitment and the needed momentum to establish, publish, share, and teach a different set of life’s code, values, and ethics to journey into the future. After much hard work, you are prepared to develop a strategy to move forward and plan the next steps to target critical successes for winning the Future Picture. What a legacy you will leave when executed with personal and professional bearing for others to follow. This is the way of the future. This is a new chapter!

The Centers of Gravity. Just as time changes, so does the internal and external influence in your life and in the life cycle of an organization. The Centers of Gravity are the dynamics within a process that offer the greatest impact on the overall system when change happens. They offer a high level of “value” and return on your energy “investment.” When combined with the concept of parallel deposits (creating energy from various perspectives in a short period of time), the Centers of Gravity make possible the seemingly impossible task of realizing success in changing paradigms. The Centers of Gravity places significant influence on the five established epicenters of any changing system to receive desired effects: Leadership, Processes, Infrastructure, Population, and Action Units.

In summary, this Memorandum of Understanding offers an opportunity to free up your actions as public servants (leaders responsible for influencing social relationships). It is empowering, it is enabling and it grounds you in a public way on the fundamentals that we all must share.

It is important to realize that the “new” is not a finding from what has been lost. Rather, we are like the journey of the Scarecrow in search of a brain (brain power in this context), the Tin Woodsman in search of a heart, and the Lion in search of courage in the Wizard of Oz. Your value system is intact and has been with you the entire way thus far. This Memorandum of Understanding simply articulates and reaffirms the core value and behavioral perspective that already underlie your personal and professional conduct to achieve significant growth. The key is for everyone to have the discipline of following it to ensure successful organizational behaviors in leadership and beyond.

These skills will deepen your understanding for achieving your Personal Proficiency and Professional Mastery in life – valuable and necessary changes from the status quo – what we like to call, “a long walk on a short path on becoming a LeaderShaped Leader!”

Have feedback on this article, or want to learn more about the Process of LeaderShaping and becoming a LeaderShaped Leader, email me at:

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