1. Performance Acceleration
The performance imperative today
Getting a team and organization to high-performance has never been easy — and it is particularly challenging today because of a confluence of factors.
- You need to deal with a very diverse workforce — different generations, different expectations, and different styles.
- You want to drive performance, but you also don’t want to exacerbate stress and burnout.
- The hybrid workplace might limit the opportunities for on-the-job coaching and apprenticeship.
- Employees are no longer open to one-size-fits-all prescriptions for how they behave, perform, and grow; they want to own their own development.
- And with the profusion of distractions and demands, it’s becoming increasingly hard to get employees to fully engage in learning programs.
Limitations in today’s solutions
Many performance-improvement solutions in the market today offer personalized, micro-learning content. While they are a huge step forward in putting learning in the flow of work, they have some critical limitations:
- The profusion of content employees are offered — videos, blogs, articles, tips, nudges — is leading to information overload, and a steep decline in learner engagement.
- Employees are nudged to do one thing, then another, then a third — without an integrative thread. There is no unifying framework or philosophy behind the performance advice being offered. This limits employees’ ability to transfer learnings from one situation to the next, since each situation seemingly requires its own treatment.
- Employees are pushed to perform, and then separately, are given resources to minimize stress and boost their mental health. The assumption is that work, inherently, is stressful. Mentora’s research shows that exemplary leaders create a climate where employees experience joy and fulfillment at work, even when they are working hard, rather than stress and burnout.
- Performance improvement is seen as separate from minimizing stress and boosting mental health — though performance and stress/mental health are all related.
Mentora’s approach to driving performance breakthroughs
What’s a performance breakthrough? At Mentora, we define this as follows:
Mentora can help you drive performance breakthroughs along any aspect of your business by using the following distinctive steps:
- Give employees an understanding of where high performance comes from — the inner core and the 5 core energies.
- Translate their performance challenges into a guided set of goals and the actions they can take to achieve these goals.
- Focus each employee on their high-stakes events — where they have the greatest motivation to make behavior and mindset change.
- Make them focus on one goal, and on a few actions. Aim for 20% improvement at any one event.
- Train them on core actions that will help them not just advance their performance in the current situation, but also in future situations.
- Allow them to personalize their path to performance improvement. No one-size-fits-all.
- Focus not simply on what they should do — but on what energy they should bring to the room. Help them self-soothe and shift into a positive intention state.
- Don’t hardwire the path they should follow — give them the tools through which they can sense and adapt.
- Quantify, track, and make tangible their growth and impact.
“Mentora encouraged me to utilize the anxiety, stress, and self-doubt that I was feeling to help me prepare for the event. This, in turn, helped me enter the event more confident, knowing that even if I messed up, it would be a learning moment — not a failure.”
SENIOR MANAGER | PELOTON INTERACTIVE
“The prep helped me step into each event with a clear and centered mind. The most helpful for me was the fact that I took a pause — with it I closed the door on everything except for the event and the person I was meeting with. This made me come to each event with a deep sense of caring and genuineness.”
HEAD OF PUBLIC MARKETS & PRIVATE CREDIT | MAJOR INVESTMENT FIRM
“Mentora LiFT helped me prepare for the conversations better, become better on my feet and pivot if things were not going as I expected, and allowed me to extract the most value out of my actions.”
STRATEGIC INITIATIVES DIRECTOR | SCOTIABANK
2. Leadership Development
Today’s leadership challenge
Never has the practice of leadership been as critical, and as demanding, as it is today.
- Even if you’re already a strong leader, what’s made you successful thus far cannot guarantee success going forward. Because the rules of the game are so different today — employee expectations, societal pressures, digital disruption, geopolitical dynamics.
- Conditions today are rapidly changing, highly uncertain, and very complex. You have to learn to tap collective wisdom besides your own expertise. And you have to help teams shift mindsets and change direction with agility.
- You’re being pushed to perform along three demands that compete for your attention and resources — maximize profits, be people-centered, and serve humanity. All at the same time!
- A single leadership style or a collection of some 6-10 leadership competencies just doesn’t suffice today. You need to be everything, and the complete opposite — sometimes visionary, sometimes pragmatic; open, and decisive; agreeable, and assertive.
- Every moment, every move, front-stage and back-stage, matters. Trust can be shattered in one fleeting moment.
- “CEO” now also means Chief Empathy Officer — you need to attune yourself to people’s feelings, motivations, mindsets and values. This is a whole new language for most leaders to master.
How current approaches are limited
- Many organizations today use the traditional approach of designing a competency model and then training executives on these competencies. But this model is never complete (new behaviors are added all the time) and ever complex (it’s near-impossible to get leaders to pursue mastery in all the competencies).
- Traditional leadership practices were built for a more stable, predictable world. In the complex and ever-changing conditions today, a more sense-and-adapt, fluid, open approach is needed.
- Many executives are skeptic — they don’t buy into the behaviors prescribed as the recipe for career success. They want to operate with behaviors authentic to them.
- Learning is often not transferred into practice. Even when an executive is bought in to a set of behavior prescriptions, in their day-to-day rush of work, they revert to their habitual behaviors — their comfort zone.
- It’s hard to measure the impact of learning interventions.
At Mentora, we frame leadership in a simple, mathematical way that applies to all roles, all moments — and all levels of an organization.
This makes leadership an inner choice, moment by moment, rather than an outer dispensation.
Mentora’s Approach to Developing Leaders
The seven principles below are at the core of Mentora’s intuitive, simple, and personalized approach to developing exemplary leaders:
- Focus not on cultivating new traits but on activating a high-performance state — the inner core — in yourself and others.
- Engage 5 core energies — Purpose, Wisdom, Growth, Love, and Self-realization. This is the DNA of great leadership. These energies create an inner shift in our thoughts, feelings, values, mindsets, and intentions, which then leads to an outer shift in behavior and performance.
- Use simple Actions to activate the 5 core energies in ourselves and others. These actions make leadership authentic, agile, and attainable.
- Just 25 core actions (and 25 advanced actions) can allow you to practice a diversity of leadership behaviors and styles — to be “everything, and the complete opposite” — based on what the situation demands from you.
- Many of these actions aren’t new to us. And yet, we don’t tend to use them in our leadership moments because we (a) are stressed, (b) are not centered, (c) are unable to see possibilities in turning around a situation, (d) focus on the technical/ functional — and not the human-dimension in our interactions, and (e) don’t walk into key moments adequately prepared for the people dynamics that will unfold there. This ends up limiting our performance and impact.
- People should be given simple, minimal guidance on outer behavior, and instead should be invited to pay attention to and shift their inner state to evoke the right outer behavior. They will do the right thing on the outside once they activate the right state on the inside (thoughts, feelings, mindsets, intentions).
- Leadership development should happen in the flow of work, by engaging in regular, short-burst preparations to center you and prepare you to bring out the best in yourself and others. This yields immediate performance improvements and, over time, atomic habits.
3. Organizational Transformation
The Organizational Transformation Imperative
Which, if any, of these common ailings do you see in your organization?
- Business goals are misaligned with societal concerns and needs
- Employees’ incentives are in conflict with the organization’s higher purpose
- Employees’ engagement level at work is low
- Employees do not feel psychologically safe to speak up on important matters
- Internal politics and turf wars among different groups and executives distract us from doing the right things
- There are a number of bureaucratic roadblocks and waste
- People are often quietly pursuing their personal agendas instead of what would be best for the organization
- There is pervasive stress, burnout
- Some critical decisions have been poorly thought-out
- Much of the alignment and harmony is superficial, since people don’t want to be critical
- Some of the behavior is performative — done simply to please the senior team — without depth of commitment
- There is low trust in leadership, and/or low trust across teams and functions
- People’s do-to-say ratio is low — they often do not do what they committed to doing
What is an Inspired Organization?
At Mentora, we define an Inspired Organization to be a collective of people who come together joyfully to do their life’s best work in the service of a noble cause.
An Inspired Organization actively nurtures the 5 core energies. Everyone, from senior leaders to frontline staff, strive to be:
- Committed to a noble cause
- Calm and receptive to truth
- Curious and open to growth
- Connected with each other and those they serve, and
- Centered in their joyful spirit within
Mentora’s Approach to Organizational Transformation
Mentora’s approach to supporting our clients in driving organizational transformation is based on the following 10 steps and principles. The focus of our work is on the mindsets, values, shared sentiments, trust-building, interpersonal dynamics, conflict resolution, and behaviors that drive culture and performance.
- Define a clear, inspiring vision of the end-state. You need this vision to pull people forward, because change is never easy. This is the starting point of all communication relating to the transformation.
- Establish a clear, objective view of the current-state. Establish the gap that needs to be closed.
- Start the transformation journey with the top team. To change an organization, the top team needs to be fully invested and committed to the change, speak in a unified voice, and model the change for employees.
- Cascade the change to other levels of the organization in stages, starting with the direct reports of the top team and their teams. Identify and recruit champions, but also actively engage with those critics who may be resisting change and yet have the best interest of the organization at heart.
- Identify the 5-6 key shifts in core beliefs, mental models, and mindsets that are needed across the organization, and focus on engineering these shifts. Guide managers on how to be coaches, around helping their teams make these shifts.
- Use a range of change levers — training, communication, performance management, org rituals, recognition, storytelling, and more. Identify the bright spots, where the right mindset and culture is starting to come together, and put a spotlight on these.
- Do not invalidate past practices or people just because it’s not working today. Honor the past, and embrace the future.
- Anticipate and proactively tackle potential roadblocks and risks that you’ll face along the change journey.
- Do fast low-cost experiments, track, learn, modify, and experiment again. Lots of new experiences and challenges come up in the transformation journey, so experimentation is key to learning and evolving your way to success.
- Guide people with the right pivotal behaviors — simple behaviors that strike at the heart of the change you are seeking — and with the right “what-if” guidelines that help them know how to respond in new, improved ways in different situations.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
“Mentora makes you a better leader. I had to let an employee go due to policy violations. The conversation was better and the outcome less destructive/reactive because of my approach, based on Mentora’s program and training.”
Senior Consultant | DOE Loan Programs Office
“It was so valuable to connect with other leaders and share and hear their challenges and experiences as part of the learning. In a relatively short amount of time, I’ve gained so much that will be a very valuable part of my leadership toolkit for the future.”
Director, Prism Implementation Worldpanel Division | Kantar