The Bitcoin Disruption

By Melissa Swift, John Petzold, Kevin Cashman, and Leslie Gordon; originally posted on Korn Ferry Institute on December 6, 2017.

A recent headline in Barron’s announced it quite plainly: “Bitcoin Storms Wall Street.” And, no kidding, the cryptocurrency has jumped in value more than 10 times since the start of the year, making this year’s stock market gain look boring. Last week, it joined the financial world’s mainstream when US regulators approved the trading of bitcoin futures. Two of the world’s biggest exchanges, the CBOE Futures Exchange and the CME, will offer investors bitcoin-related products later this month, with other exchanges around the world likely following suit next year.

At this kind of pace, experts say, both the currency and blockchain, the technology behind it, represent a clear threat to the way many businesses may operate in the future. And yet many corporate leaders may be still be clueless about it all. “Things are moving so fast that decisions are being made with incomplete information,” says John Petzold, senior client partner, global leader, CXO Optimization at Korn Ferry.

To some degree, however, CEOs and others can rely on various formulas from the past to deal with disruptions, even on this level. Here’s a brief roadmap […]

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New Podcast with Talent10x: Why Leadership is More Important Than Ever

By Frank Kalman; originally posted on Talent Economy on December 6, 2017. 

Managing Editor of Frank Kalman interviews Kevin Cashman, senior client partner at executive recruiting firm Korn Ferry and author of the book “Leadership from the Inside Out.”  The two talk about how leadership has evolved in recent years as well as why the skill has become more important in business than ever before.

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On Transformative Leadership: Step Back to Lead Forward

The power of purpose

By Rick Lash and Peter Aceto; originally posted to The Globe and Mail on December 2, 2017. 

Having a strong purpose is a fundamental component to a happy, fulfilling life. People with a positive, engaging purpose tend to be more focused, optimistic and successful in what they do. They love going to work every day because they’re doing work that is most meaningful to them and they feel they’re working for an organization that is making a positive difference in society.

But many millennials report that they are experiencing a lack of purpose at work. Part of the reason is what Craig Ryan, director of social enterprise at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), calls pervasive short-termism. “Companies that drive too quickly to targets create an imbalanced view of what value is.” For many millennials, he says, there is a dismay with conventional businesses that only focus on driving profit to the exclusion of all else. Customer service reps are feeling pressured to sell financial products to customers who don’t have a need; people hoard work or sales opportunities to meet their own numbers instead of collaborating and supporting each other.

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The Best Companies Know How to Balance Strategy and Purpose

By Laurent Chevreaux, Jose Lopez, and Xavier Mesnard.  Originally posted on HBR.org (Harvard Business Review) on November 2, 2014. 

Most companies have articulated their purpose — the reason they exist. But very few have made that purpose a reality for their organizations.

Consider Nokia. Before the iPhone was introduced, in 2007, Nokia was the dominant mobile phone maker with a clearly stated purpose — “Connecting people” — and an aggressive strategy for sustaining market dominance. Seeking to extend its technological edge (particularly in miniaturization), it acquired more than 100 startup companies while pursuing a vast portfolio of research and product development projects. In 2006 alone, Nokia introduced 39 new mobile-device models. Few imagined that this juggernaut, brandishing vast resources with such steely determination, could be quickly brought down.

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Sponsors Play Key Role in Advancing Women to CEO Level

By Kathy Gurchiek, originally posted on SHRM.org (Society for Human Resource Management) on November 29, 2017. 

Women who are chief executive officers typically did not see themselves in that role until a supervisor, mentor or sponsor urged them to seek the position.

That is among the key findings of Women CEOs Speak, a new report from the Korn Ferry Institute based on extensive interviews with 57 current and former female chief executives in the U.S. and psychometric assessments with two-thirds of the study participants.

Korn Ferry conducted the study to learn what qualities drive the women who make up 6.4 percent of U.S. CEOs. It conducted its research from February to July 2017 with 38 current and 19 former CEOs. Among participants, 23 are or were at Fortune 500 companies, 18 are or were at Fortune 1000 companies, and 16 are or were at privately held companies.

The findings point to the importance of sponsors and mentors in preparing women for leadership positions.

Coaching Mastery: The Art and Practice of Developing Others

Guest Post by Kevin Cashman, originally posted on JulieWinkleGiulioni.com on November 29, 2017. 

I’ve been a fan of Kevin Cashman since first reading The Pause Principle nearly five years ago and have followed his work since. Kevin is a leadership luminary and Korn Ferry’s Global Leader of CEO & Executive Development. His most recent effort Leadership from the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader for Life, Third Edition, is an exploration of eight powerful ‘mastery areas’ that will support leaders at all levels of the organization. I’m delighted host this guest post from Kevin!

Leadership is more than a job. It is a sacred calling with sacred responsibility. That calling is best honored when a leader sets the highest example of personal and professional behavior and then enlists others to take this challenging path as well. To accomplish both these tasks nothing is more vital than coaching. Effective coaching to bring out the strengths and talents of all the people in the group or organization, serves a dual role. It is a generous contribution to each individual’s growth and fulfillment. At the same time, it is one of the most practical strategies for maximizing the effectiveness and success of the group. The more capable and fully developed each individual in your group, the stronger the group.

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Resilience is a Dynamic Process

By Kevin Cashman; originally posted on Thrive Global on November 27, 2017. 

Developing resilience is not a static, rigid process; it is a type of centered fluidity that lets us go in any direction with ease and agility. Being resilient means we can recover our balance even in the midst of action. Separating our career, personal, family, emotional, and spiritual lives into distinct pieces and then trying to balance the parts on a scale is impossible. Managing the entire dynamic is the key. We need to identify the dynamics that run through all the pieces and then influence our resilience at that level.

Mastery of Resilience is about practicing inner and outer behaviors that keep us grounded and centered so we can deal with all the dynamics outside. As we build more resilience, we can do more with ease. Actually, when we are resilient, we can shoulder more weight with less effort, because we are strong at our very core. We have a strong foundation to handle unforeseen crises, instead of the anxiety and constant fear that one more unexpected problem will take us down. Finding ways to build that resilient foundation from the inside out is the key to Resilience Mastery.

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3 Simple Questions to Help You Stand in Your Own Power

By Christina DesMarais; originally posted on Inc.com on November 25, 2017. 

Stress is a subjective thing. If two people are stressed the same way, one may collapse and the other may thrive on the challenge. So, if you want to be someone who’s strong and resilient, you need to be intentional with your thoughts and how you process what’s happening. That’s according to Kevin Cashman, author of Leadership from the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader for Life. Here are his words on three simple questions to help you handle stress with dignity.

1. What can I control in this situation?
When managing stress, control is best applied in our self-management versus trying to manage others.  This involves deeper awareness of our responses to stress, especially to any reactive behaviors that don’t improve the situation (or that actually make things worse). You can’t control circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. Taking charge of our well-being practices–fitness, self-care, sleep, diet, and meditation practices to build resilience is an important aspect of maintaining self-management during stress. When it comes to stress, it is best to control oneself to influence others.

2.  What can I do to influence this situation?
There is a difference between control and influence. You can’t control the circumstances or people surrounding a stressful situation, but you can influence them. Influence is the language of emotional intelligence.  It converts stressful, potentially volatile situations into opportunities for growth and collective aspiration. However, to be effective and not controlling, your influence must be both authentic and highly relevant and important to others. Take Jim, a crusty “old-school” executive, who was extremely bright and, for the most part, got exceptional results. But when stress was high and he was responsible for navigating the team through the chaos, he “bored holes” right through people. During coaching we discovered that he didn’t mean to have such a negative impact on people. He just didn’t know any other way. He was reacting as a string of role models around him had. It turns out that, despite his behavior, he was a thoughtful, caring, and character-driven person. He just needed to find congruence between who he was on the inside with  the results-oriented, intelligent leader he was on the outside. Once he started living the authentic change, he and his team were more effective.

3.  What do I have to accept here?
If control and influence are not generating the impact we hoped for, then we have to step back to discern and accept something that may be within or outside of ourselves. For most professionals this is the most challenging stress reliever because it goes counter to our ambitious action-orientation. When we sometimes admit that investing additional energy, time and other resources will not create an acceptable return, it frees us up to use all those resources to create new value-creating visions.

Distress is usually the by-product of wasting energy by trying to control things we can only influence or accept, or accepting things we could influence or control. Take action on what you can control or influence, and more clearly face what you have to accept.

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Leading with Inspiration

Originally published to Korn Ferry Institute on September 24, 2017.  

In his book, “Leadership from the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader in Life,” Senior Client Partner Kevin Cashman writes about how you have to grow yourself as a person in order to grow yourself as a leader. In this excerpt, Cashman explains how to use stories to inspire action. 

Stories elevate the mind and the heart to go beyond what is, to mobilize us and others to reach new possibilities. Annette Simmons, group process consultant, understood this dynamic when she wrote, “People do not want information. They are up to their eyeballs in information. They want faith—faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell.” Science has demonstrated that stories, especially stories that sustain our attention with a narrative arc and some tension, have the unique force to move us intellectually and emotionally at the same time.

In “Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling,” Harvard Business Review, scientist Paul Zak explains that his lab discovered more than a decade ago that the neurochemical oxytocin is necessary for humans to feel safe. Zak says, “It does this by enhancing a sense of empathy.” Our brain produces more of it each time we experience kindness and trust.

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