Growing a Bigger Mind

The world is more volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and urgent than ever before and research shows that less than 5% of leaders globally are functioning from their highest cognitive potential. Robert Kegan describes it as being “in over our heads!”  While we can be aware of this, how do we actually grow a bigger mind? We grow a bigger mind by putting ourselves in situations that clearly, and often uncomfortably, stretch us to think in new and more complex and perspectived ways.


As you might be aware from my previous newsletters, I have recently been involved in a challenging situation which has required me to reflect and choose how to best navigate the situation to get the very best outcome. It absolutely caused me to grow, and I am very happy to report that I am finally out the other side and the best result was achieved (YAY!).  While the details of the situation are not relevant I thought I would share some of my learnings with you.


What did I learn through the process?

I learnt that people in positions of power operating from much earlier action–logic stages default to even earlier action-logic stages under challenge or when they are out of their depth and this can have absolutely dire consequences.

I learnt that being able to see the complexities and dynamics comes from later stage action-logic stages and that because I could see this I had to muster courage to speak up and ensure I was listened to and heard to manage risk and influence positive outcomes.

I learnt that people generally have good intentions and often have poor skill levels to handle complexity, and that often their ego’s get in the way to thinking wisely.

I learnt that working with people with strong egos from earlier action-logic stages requires compassion, wisdom and patience.

I learnt that to ensure continued collaboration you need to manage adversarial approaches when people are trying to maintain power and the upper hand (which they default to as their modus operandi).

I learnt to listen to my heart and intuition.

I learnt that that I have courage to speak my truth, even if people don’t want to hear it or they don’t like what I have to say.

I learnt that I am a work in progress and these challenges are gifts that enable me to grow.


Throughout the process of the past few months I have been very conscious that the action-logic framework is a truly insightful model to understand and manage differences in values, thinking and behaviours. I kept coming back to it time and time to make sense of nonsensical behaviours.  If more people who were involved in this past situation I described above had an awareness of action-logics we would have had an excellent framework for dialogue and the problems we encountered could have been avoided or mitigated early.


If you would like to know more about how to manage these types of situations more artfully and insightfully, I will be running my 1 day Introduction to Vertical Leadership about navigating action-logic stages, in February 2016. As part of this 1 day program each participant will also get a 1-1 coaching session with me which will debrief their personal Action-logic Global Leadership Profile test.


The program will begin to grow participants levels of awareness and consciousness to better manage complex, uncertain and ambiguous and urgent situations that we are constantly confronted with in our daily lives.


If you are interested in your own personal development and want to be more conscious and skilful to deal with challenges you might be faced with then I highly recommend this one day program to you. I will be running it on 12th February 2016 and there is an early bird rate for people registering and paying before the end of the year.  For more information please contact me at or call 0438 255510.

Posted in On Running Your Brain