That’s what Bob Anderson, Chief Development Officer of The Leadership Circle told me when I interviewed him for his recently published book, Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results.
What does Bob mean by “going in?” It all starts with what Anderson calls one’s “inner game” – the inner workings of our mind that comprise who we are and how we “show up in the world.” (Another one of Anderson’s favorite phrases.) If you’re going to be an effective leader, you’ve got to take a look deep inside, which requires “going in”, digging deep and figuring some stuff out. Only then will you perform at your best as a leader. Here’s how Anderson explained it to me:
As a leader, you need a well-honed “outer game” – your knowledge, skills, and your experience. You are not effective if you don’t develop that. When it comes to developing leaders, [most organizations] focus primarily on the outer game. Yes, that’s important. What they largely miss is developing the inner game. For most it is not business relative. At The Leadership Circle we think that extraordinary leadership is a strong outer game arising from a really mature, evolved inner game.
Bob went on to explain that this “inner game” is similar to a computer’s operation system. “It’s like when we moved from the DOS operating system to Windows,” Bob explained. Making that computer upgrade allowed computer users to do more with less, with greater creativity and speed. In much the same way, a leader who operates from a more mature internal “operating system” is also more creative and agile.
“Extraordinary leadership is a strong outer game being mediated by a higher order operating system.”
The inner game runs the outer game. Simple as that.
But just because it’s a simple premise does not mean it’s an easy fix. When you delve into “Mastering Leadership’s” chapters, you’ll see that the process of introspection isn’t for the faint of heart. Yet know this: if you decide to go on the journey, you will be richly rewarded. I personally experienced the breadth and depth of The Leadership Circle’s concepts over a decade ago. To this day, I draw upon the insights garnered during that powerful time in my personal leadership development.
Think you are ready to upgrade your own internal operating system? Pick up a copy of “Mastering Leadership” to learn more. You’ll need a coach to help sort things out. I’ve worked with many of The Leadership Circle coaches over the years. They’re all excellent. Drop me a line and I’ll give you a few names.
Disclosure: I received pre-publication copy of this book for review purposes. Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I receive a small commission. I only review materials that I think will be useful to my readers. Of course, you should draw your own conclusions and decide for yourself what is valuable.