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ABC for Leaders: a book by Anna Dvornikova (preview)

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26 ABC Metaphors That Helped Shape My Leadership.
True leadership stories lived in AIESEC.
Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova
Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH

Official website: http://abcleadership.tilda.ws/
Official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/abcleadership/

Veröffentlicht in: Leadership & Management
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ABC for Leaders: a book by Anna Dvornikova (preview)

  1. 1. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH Table of Contents [INTRO] 26 ABC METAPHORS THAT HELPED SHAPE MY LEADERSHIP HOW TO USE THIS BOOK A — APPLE: AIESEC ARITHMETIC FOR KIDS B — BLANK PAPER: POWER OF IMAGINATION C — COCOON: THE UNDERESTIMATED STATE OF A LEADER D — DIVE: LEADER IS A SOUL DIVER E — ELEPHANT: TWO OLD STORIES FOREVER RELEVANT F — FLAME: WHEN IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON G — GRAVITATION: WHY YOU HAVE TO GAIN WEIGHT H — HELICOPTER: A KEY FEATURE OF A LEADER I — INCEPTION: LEADERSHIP BEYOND REALITY J — JEWELRY: HOW MUCH DO TITLES MATTER? K — KERNEL: THE SHORTEST LEADERSHIP LESSON L — LANTERN: THE QUALITY OF “OUTSIDE” COMES FROM THE INSIDE M — MEAT SOUP: DON’T BE AFRAID TO ADD MORE FIRE N — NIGHT: NOT ALWAYS DO YOU NEED TO SHINE O — ORCHESTRA: TRUE SYNERGY AND THE ROLE OF A LEADER P — PEARL: POLISH YOUR IDEAS Q — QUEST: ADVENTURE SPIRIT IN FULFILLING THE GOAL R — RECHARGE: WHY MOTIVATION ISN’T ALWAYS THE ANSWER S — SUN: A SIMPLE IDEA THAT SHAPED MY LEADERSHIP T — TRAVEL: A WISE MAN READS, A WISER MAN TRAVELS U — UNWRITTEN: NO ONE ELSE CAN FEEL IT FOR YOU V — VIRUS: MAKE YOUR IDEA CONTAGIOUS W — WAKE UP: PHYSICALLY AND NOT ONLY X — EXCHANGE: ALTERNATIVE THINKING WORTH TRYING Y — YOGURT: IT TAKES TIME Z — ZOOM: IN AND OUT SPECIAL THANKS TO THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THESE STORIES HAPPEN ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  2. 2. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH [intro] 26 ABC metaphors that helped shape my leadership Everything in leadership starts with a BIG IDEA. Some people call it vision or ambition; some have read fancy words such as mission, BHAG,1 and value proposition in business schoolbooks. To quote Simon Sinek, it is “your Why”, the core of a leadership model, which he explains in his famous TED Talk.2 Ultimately, it is all about the BIG IDEA behind everything what you do. I am lucky to be part of the global youth network called AIESEC, a not-for-profit independent, youth-driven organization that proudly claims to make the world a better place. It has always been hard to explain to others what AIESEC does day to day, and what “peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential” 1 BHAG — Big Hairy Audacious Goal, a strategic business statement similar to a vision statement which is created to focus an organization on a single medium-long term organization-wide goal which is audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Hairy_Audacious_Goal) 2 Watch the TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action actually mean. Therefore, I’ve been constantly searching for some different metaphorical explanations. You don’t explain math to children with integrals and trigonometric functions, do you? You start by explaining basic arithmetic with apples and oranges. The same logic applies to abstract concepts such as leadership, impact on society, cultural diversity, global youth voice, and sustainable behavior — why complicate things if we can explain them with “apples and oranges”? A BIG IDEA doesn’t need to be complex. A SIMPLE BIG IDEA is usually one that spreads quickly and makes a difference. When I was working on upgrading the AIESEC Global Competency Model, my supervisor from AIESEC International, Vishal Jodhani asked me, “How can we make it so simple, that even if a 9-year-old kid finds an A4 sheet of paper with a picture of our Model, he could understand it without needing any further explanation?” A BIG IDEA can be simple — that was the lesson. It should be, if you want people to really use it. This is how the idea of “Leadership ABC” was born. Little discoveries made on my journey of experiential leadership development resulted in the book you are now reading. This book is about 26 metaphorical explanations, describing different sides of my leadership findings made over the course of seven years, represented by 26 letters of the English alphabet, like an ABC for children.
  3. 3. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH Throughout those seven years, I was actively involved with AIESEC. Later, when I started working in the business sector, I tried out and tested most of these metaphors. I used them in different places, with diverse audiences, and came to the conclusion that some of them are culture-specific, but most of them seem to be universal. I believe this book will be interesting and useful to everyone who wants to become a better leader, to those who seek inspiration, and everyone who works with people and ideas. Have fun! AIESECly yours, Anya Dvornikova Alumni of AIESEC in Russia and Macedonia Coordinator of AIESEC in Central & Eastern Europe 2011–2012 President of AIESEC in Macedonia 2010–2011 Vice-President for Local Committees Development of AIESEC in Macedonia 2009–2010 Regional Director for East Region (Ural & Siberia) of AIESEC in Russia 2008–2009 Joined AIESEC in Novosibirsk State University in 2004 How to use this book The letters and articles are independent of each other. You can read the book in any order you like. Each letter represents one metaphor about leadership, supported by my personal story from my AIESEC life. I did my best to explain all the internal terms and abbreviations, so it does not matter whether you are familiar with AIESEC or this is the first time that you’re seeing the word. You will also find some general thoughts and conclusions on how this metaphorical story will help you to be a better leader. I hope my AIESEC stories will make these 26 tips on leadership more real and personal to help you understand how it feels to be a leader. There is a saying: “Stories are data with a soul.” Let’s bring to life a bit of emotion. Sometimes we really lack it in our rational and logical business world.
  4. 4. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH Aa APPLE: AIESEC arithmetic for kids Imagine you’ve never seen apples in your life. Moreover, you’ve never heard about apples, never touched one, and this moment is the first time you’re going to come into contact with an apple! So, imagine you see an apple for the first time in your life: The only thing you know about it is its name: “apple”. You look at it, holding it in your hands, and realize that apples are intriguing things. Your fingers touch its sleek skin, your eyes notice different
  5. 5. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH shades of green, and you feel its weight and get an impression that it shouldn’t be empty inside. It probably looks like a ball or something similar — so you can play with it. Yet after a while, you become bored with it, just like any other old useless toy. Here is the tricky part: you could throw it away or you could use a bit of CURIOSITY, and try to cut the apple in half and look at it from the inside. You open up new possibilities of the same apple, and it gets transformed from a boring toy into something interesting again. Previously, you only looked at it and touched it. Now you see how it looks like from the inside, and you can smell it. You can take another small step forward and taste this apple. You might like it or not — either is fine. Some people prefer pears or bananas. But if you really like the taste of the apple, eat it! Eat as much as you want. Well, if you’ve eaten the whole apple, you finally get to the CORE, to the small seed inside. You can put it in the soil, give a little bit of your warmth, and care after the seedling. If you care enough, it will grow into a beautiful tree that gives new and even more delicious apples… Smile at that tree and leave it for others: you’ve given everything one could give to another, admit that life goes on and that it’s time to move on. Now, imagine that apple is AIESEC. A huge, international apple. It is in your hands and you’re looking at it with curiosity. What’s next? Whatever you choose to do, remember: you will never know if you like apples or not if you never try it. I’ve used this story to demonstrate students the reason to join a global organization and it has worked perfectly. In AIESEC, we’ve always struggled with university presentations, because it is difficult to explain everything about global vision and value-based management model to a bunch of 20-year-olds using just a few words. This simple metaphor takes ten minutes to present but it captures audience’s attention and helps create a fruitful atmosphere for all further explanations about AIESEC and its exchange programs, its learning opportunities and team projects. It activates CURIOSITY and desire to TRY. I refer to this metaphor as “AIESEC and apples.” However, personally, I prefer oranges, and later I started to tell exactly the same story about oranges. You can use both metaphors with the same logic. The best is if you can share this story holding a real apple or orange in your hands, this way the metaphor becomes truly powerful. No matter what you choose, apples or oranges, the idea is more or less the same: how to explain something new to a big group of people in an interactive and engaging manner in the simplest way possible. Just like arithmetic for kids!
  6. 6. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH Bb BLANK PAPER: power of imagination If you had the power to change anything, what would it be? Most of the leadership roles in AIESEC last no longer than one year. It means that all the main executive teams of this global organization constantly rotate, people come and go, and generations are changing very fast. It happens at all levels of the organization. For instance, even the President of AIESEC International serves for just one year. Usually, in the spring comes the “election fever”, the time when people from all over the world apply to different positions, filling out questionnaires, writing endorsement letters for each other, living in a friendly competitive environment, all in order to select leaders for the next year’s term. In my time, the AIESEC International team application pack consisted of several documents: your professional CV, bio, general and position-related questionnaires, a video presentation, a summary of your proposal, and (most interestingly) the Blank Paper Challenge, also known as the “Big Idea” file. What’s that, you may ask?
  7. 7. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH Basically the Blank Paper Challenge is a one page document in which you should share what matters to you most. “You have one page and all your creativity to propose, what is the biggest question that lies in front of AIESEC today and give an answer to it. You have the license to change the system, to challenge any paradigms and unleash the potential of the organization” — says the candidate’s guide. I know it sounds too abstract, but just imagine: A BLANK PAGE. A white paper without a single marking. What would you do with it? You can do literally WHATEVER you like: you can draw or write anything. You can even cut it or fold it to make an origami. BLANK means ANYTHING. The only limit is your imagination. The instructions to that part of the AIESEC International application pack also contain the following opening quote: “The questions which one asks oneself begin, at least, to illuminate the world, and become one’s key to the experience of others”. (James A. Baldwin) What I’ve learned from the blank paper metaphor is that if you work with people, especially if you attempt to lead, you need to ask questions. Question yourself — and you will shape your leadership stand; it brings more integrity to your thoughts, words, and actions. Question others — and you will initiate a dialogue; in a dialogue, opportunities are born, and similarities build up the basis of cooperation. Question the world, the way it lives — and you will spark innovation. Just think: most of the things you use every day never existed for our grandparents.
  8. 8. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH Question your own limits — as George Bernard Shaw said, “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not”. An inspiring leader can visualize things, can fill an empty sheet of paper with questions and ideas that were never put that way and help people imagine the same. People who start to see the same things become followers and then an imaginary picture might turn into reality… The paradox is that your imagination is more powerful than you can ever imagine. Can you dream of things that never were? What can you imagine if you set your mind free? What would be your answer to the Blank Paper Challenge?
  9. 9. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH Cc COCOON: the underestimated state of a leader Before you start your leadership journey, cut yourself off the world. The best way to illustrate that is a personal letter to my successor, next President of AIESEC in Macedonia. I wrote it when it was time to leave my position and to pass my responsibilities to him. In AIESEC, it is commonly known as “transition process.” With slight modifications, I’m including this letter here and developing it further into a leadership advice that anyone could use: “So, you’ve got a leadership position? Congratulations! I can easily imagine how much anticipation and how many questions fill up your mind right now. However, before you start thinking of strategies and plans, just lean back for couple of minutes, relax, close your eyes and imagine yourself as a butterfly. Actually, wait, don’t imagine that. It’s a bit too early to become a butterfly — you are now just about to start this transformation
  10. 10. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH journey and this letter is just one small piece of support for you. Small, but useful :) So, imagine… You are a big, fat, green CATERPILLAR. Yeah, sounds weird! But look: you live by constantly eating. Eating, growing, and consuming as many resources as possible. Imagine these resources are knowledge, information, and different perspectives — all that you need for your leadership term. And when you’ve got all the resources you need, it is time to sit down, wrap yourself up into a cocoon of self-reflection, think over everything you’ve got… and start TRANSFORMING. Transforming from a big, green, fat caterpillar into an amazing beautiful butterfly that is able to FLY.” The metaphor itself looks quite obvious: every newly elected leader needs a proper transition process to prepare them for their new role. In AIESEC, we had transition practice hardwired into the year plan, but in the outside world, I rarely met examples of a well-structured and comprehensive process of passing on leadership responsibilities from a predecessor to a successor. Business definitely has something to learn from a non-for-profit organization that has been in operation for over sixty years. But wait, the letter was “C — Cocoon” and there isn’t anything about cocoons yet! Here comes the point. A couple of years later after completing my term as the President, I found that letter and realized that something was missing in that transformational story. Everybody knows how exciting this transformation process is because the distinction between a caterpillar and a butterfly is visible, but one KEY thing, which is usually missing, is recognizing the true importance of the COCOON stage. What does it mean to be in a COCOON? To hide from everyone. To stay one-on-one with yourself. To be silent and invisible. To stop acting.
  11. 11. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH This is one of the first challenges of a leader: you are accustomed to being visible, heard, and followed. You like to be in the limelight and surrounded by people, you like to share your vision, to give directions, to inspire for action… even if you consider yourself an introvert, you still prefer to act, plan, and visualize your strategies. And how can you refuse all of this? How can you admit that your time, your precious time, which you usually spend on actually leading the process, should be dedicated to staying in a cocoon?! Cut off from the world?! Not even checking your emails and Facebook? NO WAY. Usual reaction, that is. But a caterpillar doesn’t turn into a butterfly by doing everything it was doing before. You cannot eat, crawl from a leaf to leaf, and transform into a butterfly all simultaneously. The same thing happens to you as a person — you need to collect all the wisdom of previous generations, reflect on it, and apply it to your personality in order to be able to become the best version of yourself, to become a true leader. Otherwise you won’t become a butterfly. You will become “a caterpillar-which-thinks-that-it’s-a-butterfly.” Such a mockery. Take your time: ! The best thing to do is spend some time by yourself: no internet, no mobile phone, no other distractions. ! Reflect on what you are going through: fix in your mind that state of becoming a leader. ! Imagine being the best version of yourself: how would you act? How would you talk? What would you look like? ! Put together all the pieces of knowledge and experience you gained while being a “caterpillar.” You might even miss the exact moment of change. You might discover it post-factum or your friends will tell you: “something is different.” This is the key role of the cocoon stage: the actual transformation happens here. Once the transformation is over, the world will be delighted to witness your colorful new wings, taking you higher than any tree that
  12. 12. Copyright © 2016 by Anna Dvornikova Read the full book: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH the old green caterpillar could even dream to climb — especially a caterpillar that still thinks it’s a butterfly and continues to crawl up and down and just eat, eat, and eat. Buy the book ABC for Leaders on Amazon for special price: http://amzn.to/22zf5YH

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