Strategy, Leadership and the Soul

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* Book: Jennifer Sertl & Koby Huberman. Strategy, Leadership & the Soul: Resilience, Responsiveness and Reflection for a Global Economy


Chapter 1 at

Key Concepts

Jennifer Sertl:

"Our definitions:

Strategy: We are convinced that in order to lead your company in the business environment of the 21st century, it is essential for you to master the ability to invent your company's future, particularly in the current rapidly changing strategic landscapes of your business. Therefore, the old ways of designing a strategy need to change--you will need to constantly rethink your strategy, not just once every few years.

Leadership: Leadership styles and challenges have dramatically changed and will continue to change from the Old World models. In order to handle successfully the age's enormous complexity and to improve your ability in the role of a leader, you will need to become highly skilled at sensing relevance in all areas of lie and business, and to create synergistic relationships between all parties.

Soul: To accomplish the alignment between strategy & leadership--we content that your values and inner beliefs should be in harmony with that of your organization and vice versa. Only in this way, we believe you can maximize your organization's power and efficiency and create a working environment that allows you and your people to find satisfaction and fulfillment in your work and your lives. We further assert that organizations--every one of them-have their own soul--the internal, intangible yet extremely present and powerful set of inner beliefs that make the organization one of a kind. We believe that recognition of this has immense value, and alignment of this "soul" factor across customers, employees and business partners is a fundamental necessity for success.

Transorganizations: Organizations that design both interpersonal awareness and business strategy synergistically are more able to see and sense the macro-environment and are more able to create relevant value.

Transleaders: Individuals who understand that their leverage comes from the coordination of getting things done through others through the use of compassion, awareness, developing conduits, acquiring and distributing meta-knowledge, coordinating multiple intelligences and being excellent collaborators. Like a body has capillary systems to exchange oxygen, blood and information, transleaders do the same to create vitality for the bio-organization which we call a Transorganization."


1. Interview by Zane Safrit [1]:

* Why is a peer-to-peer, CEO roundtable, participation so important?

2 reasons.

First in our culture, the fear of shame is so great. For those in their mid-40s to 60’s it is really a lot to to ask of them to be vulnerable . The level of ambiguity in our business today because things have changed so quickly creates a lot of fear for those not comfortable experiencing and processing that fear and uncertainty. If they can deal with their peers they will be more receptive to hearing potential points of view. Their receptor cells are going to be more available to hear and learn.

The 2nd is the acceleration of learning and knowledge. 10% of our knowledge came before the 19th century and 90% of it came after. So, how do you get ahold of all that information...The only way you can is to connect with other people giving you slices of reality and you can aggregate them.

In your book you describe 4 evolutionary stages of the corporate organizational structure. What are they? We try not to be trite with this. We have corporate organizational structure eras.

We have the F-Organization organization from 1850 to 1940 Farmers, Families, Fortunes . Patriarchy as management style and lifetime employment were the dominant themes.

Then we have in 1940 to 1970 the shift to the era of the S Organiztion. We call it the S era because it had Structure and Security. The goal was stability. The structure became hierarchical. Seniority was valued. The Drucker Method and a lot of different lean technologies came out of that.

Then we move to 1970 - 1995 where we call this era the P-Organization. Products, performance and profits. This is where the rise of the MBA came together. Systems became more important than people. There were a lot of policies and procedures.

Then came the E organization from 1995 - 2002. It’s the E organization simply because of electronic evolution. Ebusiness, ecommerce and my favorite E word: Everbody can play.

What I hope is that people in the audience are asking themselves how are they designing their world in these areas. A lot of people are still playing the product performance profit game.

It really is a changed game. We talk a lot about the I-organization and transorganizations. I can’t tell you the details on that because we are in it right now.

* We, here in the US, and likely to a greater extent everyone around the world face a turbulent future, marked by ever-increasing rates of change. And a new organizational structure has emerged you call the Transorganization. What is the significant difference in this structure? Why is it necessary? How will it help its members ride the wave of all these changes?

The transorganization is really more of a biological structure, If you think of a single cell, a single cell can replicate and clone me in my entirety. Yet it will live inside my body and decide whether it’s going to be a lung or an artery. It has a destiny.

If I burn my hand, my endocrine system will slow down, my digetive system will slow make sure I have the resources to address my burn.

If we think of a transorganization it’s an organization that has a central nervous system which is very clear on the operating design system of the business. but has these informed capillaries that have the ability to exchange information and bring information back.

* What is the the third way or third quality that transorganizations look for in an individual?

When you look at this model, there’s functions and distinct roles they play but how they communicate is very different. The soul of a business is the collective knowledge of the employee base. There’s a decentralization of power with a centralization of communication.

You hear a lot about the voice of the customer. You want to know everything my customer is doing when they’re not with me. Every interaction is a research opportunity sounds very sterile. But if you’re paying attention, and observing and caring deeply then what you bring back and transform is deeper and richer.

We talk about focus and flexibility. How do you design in a way that allows you to be adaptable and spontaneous?

What we want to do is to say the more self-aware that leader can be then the more they can understand how they see reality and the more they can make choices that represent their slice of reality and therefor align themselves with employees who share that..." (


"1) Tell us something about your book, “Strategy, Leadership and the Soul.

In 2005 I met Koby Huberman my co-author at an amazing conference called Forum 21

Koby was speaking about "open space" technology and how he was using that method to create conversation circles in his own community between Arabs & Israeliss.

I was speaking on the topic "If You Want to Change the World, Change Your Life: Micro-shifts = Macro-impact".

We each had a plan on how to share all of the information we had learned and wanted to become accountability partners. In this we scheduled a call two times a month over Skype. I know Skype is popular now but in 2005 it was innovative to use.

Because our conversations were so rich we decided to have them transcribed. Over the course of two years a pattern emerged and we noticed that everything we discussed fit either strategy, leadership or soul. We really had something and knew the message was scalable.

So we gathered information and perspectives for three years, organized the information for one year, and it took a year to find a publisher. We were so pleased that Triarchy Press published our work in 2010.

Explain ‘Agility’ and its components in simple words.

I started my own company in 2000 and it was called Customer Service Alliance. We did customer & employee satisfaction surveys and consulting regarding improving scores. I was deeply impacted by Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat.

In fact I was lucky enough to interview him

After reading his work, I decided competitive advantage had less to due with surveys and more to do with mental conditioning. I felt the greatest contribution I could make is by helping individuals & organization get better conditioned for the macro environment, globalization, and scenario planning.

It was then, I changed the name of my company to Agility3R.

I believe the most important skill today is agility and it is defined by resilience, responsiveness & reflection

  • These can be interpreted at the individual level as well as enterprise wide

Resilience has three implications

1) How well you bounce back from failure

2) How well you learn from that failure and also inform the entire eco-system of that learning so the lesson can be scaled

3) Diversity of experience--the more robust and diversified a person's experience-the higher the probability for resilience (going to how cells has so much information they had to separate into two cells)

Responsiveness: The more accurate the read on the landscape the more appropriate the interpretation. Being responsive means looking into environment and being able to assess the most appropriate way to "be" in that environment in order to create value Being able to process "just in time" informaiton and integrating that synchronistically into both behaviour and (especially) language

Reflection: Valuing quiet - no activity time in order for sense-making to accur. Creating buffers in for patterns to emerge, for retro-review of activities to assess for learning and or future adjustments Space for deepening of insights and space for "magic" to occur (theory-U jazz) in this space." (!/2011/08/interview-with-ms-jennifer-serti.html)