LEADERS rise to the occasion when something they care for is threatened. Consider the great leaders we have come to admire — they cared for freedom, equality, peace and justice. Among them are Mahatma Gandhi, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.
While we see examples of great leadership and we feel its effects, what is not visible to us is the leadership process these leaders use.
These great leaders led from within. They were first led by their own ideas about what is important and they were clear about the purpose of their leadership. These leaders were holistic leaders. They lead from their head, hearts and hands.
The PEARL model for leadership is a metacognitive leadership model that great leaders use to lead from within. The model is based on the acronym PEARL to highlight the processes of leadership thinking:
P is for purpose, process and plan. The seminal step of leadership is defining purpose. Good leaders know their purpose, great leaders frequently evaluate their purpose against the backdrop of a continually changing environment.
When faced with strong opposition, Gandhi kept going. When the opposition used force, he refrained from violence. His followers grew to such a large number that it would have been possible to topple the British with force, but he stayed true to his purpose.
P is also for process and plan. Good leaders follow a process, great leaders create the process. They look for and examine processes and are willing and open-minded to change it.
Good leaders plan, great leaders plan to plan. They do meta-planning, which means thinking about what needs to be done before the planning meeting. This includes deciding who needs to be consulted before the meeting, what information or events need to take place and what is the best process to use during the planning meeting.
E is for execution and experience. Good leaders execute their plan; great leaders use an additional “E” — experience. Indeed while they execute their plans, they also gather new experiences.
Great leaders often keep in mind what was planned and revisit these items frequently to check if the plan still makes sense as the environment continually changes around them. Great leaders are conscious of their plan and how it is panning out.
A is for assessment. Good leaders assess their execution, great leaders plan for the assessment before the execution. They think about and design their assessment to focus on accuracy and authenticity.
They ask themselves what success looks like and they set up the monitoring systems to capture the relevant data. They trust their data and allow it to speak to them. They do not make excuses for what the data reveals to them. They distance themselves emotionally from their data, so that they can exercise good judgment.
R is for revision. Great leaders make time to review so that they can revise and make changes based on data collected from their assessment. Revisions can be made at any or all of the stages of purpose, process, planning, execution or assessment. Great leaders make revisions without letting their egos and emotions get in the way. They truly have a learner’s heart.
L is for learn. Great leaders learn, unlearn and relearn.
Let the PEARL model transform your leadership from good to great.
Article by Dr Henry Toi, one of only four Buzan master trainers in the world. He was appointed an affiliate director for the Institute for The Habits of Mind, based in New York. For more information, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.braincapitalgroup.com.