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Dr. James Calvin, Johns Hopkins U

Dr. James Calvin of Carey Business School @ Johns Hopkins University spoke @ the SLA Leadership Summit on Friday afternoon. on Exercising JamesCalvinLeadership Influence for an Empowering Culture in Organizations: Outreach Empowerment.  Having just returned 2 days ago from Lima, Peru he remarked on Lima’s incredible size and how farmers come to the huge metropolis for livelihood.  Two plans have been developed to engage these people in moving forward; an organization has been recognized as an NGO; 8 organizations have spawned another 8 organizations, with a trimestrial meeting to begin building soft skills such as leadership.  Leadership takes time, passion and work.

A Peruvian cancer society serves the poorest children with cancer; their goal is to expand their capacity — they started by serving 70 kids/year, and are building a facility to serve 200 kids/year.  They keep their eye on the ball and on their goal. Leadership is about real people, about where they are, and where they want to go.

His points:

Leaders are responsible for setting and maintaining progress towards objectives – and building and managing teams that are collaborative and globally diverse to attain results and unleash talent & ideas.

Edgar Schein –  identifies 3 levels of culture : artifacts (visible), espoused beliefs and values(may appear through surveys) and basic underlying assumptions (unconscious taken for granted beliefs and values : these are not visible). The latest being the more important since as Schein puts it “Human minds needs cognitive stability and any challenge of a basic assumption will release anxiety and defensiveness”. Many change programs fails for that very reason.

Geer Hostede – Hofstede’s research shows that organisational cultures differ mainly at the level of practices. These are more superficial and more easily learned and unlearned than values forming the core of national cultures. As a consequence, the Hofstede dimensions of national cultures cannot be used by comparing cultures of organisations within the same country. The two models describe different layers of our reality. 

In Academy of Business Research September 2014, Calvin proposes five connected dimensions of leadership: Demonstrated purpose, presents ideas and vision, ability to navigate complexity, consistency of path, and future view for managing change.

Adam Grant’s “Give & Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success”, he says “You see fundamental differences in their  worldview. Takers basically tend to assume that everybody is all about me — that life is nasty, brutish, and short.

That’s how most takers justify being a taker.  They don’t mean to screw you over necessarily. But they think that because everybody else at their core is a taker, then they’re going to end up getting stepped on  if they’re not a taker, too . Oftentimes, they can point out personal experiences that solidify that worldview.

Givers, on the other hand, are more socially optimistic. Not necessarily optimistic in general, but an optimist when it comes to what people are capable of. They say, “Look, there is some good in everyone. People are capable of altruism even though it’s extremely rare, but they will often act for the benefit of others without thinking in the moment about what’s going to come out of it for me.”

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