The Third Turn

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

Navigating the spaces between those three turns

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Oct 1, 2020 9:00:00 AM

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We are having a lot of fun developing and recording the Third Turn Podcast.  Some spectacular conversations are coming with people who care passionately about the welfare of our grandchildren’s grandchildren, people who are working out how stewardship of their enterprises and lives can build this important future value. The podcast grows out of the Maestro-level leader initiative of Design Group International and the 2021 cohort we are forming for senior executive leaders.
On a forthcoming podcast (episode 5), we will be talking about the spaces between the Three Turns of the Executive Leader.  Those Three Turns are:
Turn One - Leadership of self (Artisan)
Turn Two - Leadership of an organization and of others (Artist)
Turn Three - Leadership toward future value (Maestro)
Each Turn can be its own ending point; we do not have to walk through a doorway if we do not wish to. What we hope is that people don’t get stuck, wishing for one thing but feeling helpless or forced to do another. Each Turn layers on to the previous as we move more deeply into leadership and determine whether a larger, broader scale of leadership is really our highest and best. Obstacles exist to getting through those doorways, some put in place by other people or systems out of our control and some self-made.  
We can move through the doorways - or we can be stuck in the spaces between.
The following are descriptions of approaching the doorways into those turns, what the stuck space might look like, and how we might know we are passing through.
Doorway into Turn One: into the organization and Artisanship
  • Approach to this door: awareness of self
    • Becoming and being an adult
    • Being able to act toward freedom and responsibility
    • Being able to function in a community and have awareness of and comfort with one’s individuality
  • What stuck looks like: inability to moderate desire
    • Not able to comprehend or discern the long-term implications of one’s decisions
    • Valuing freedom without regard for responsibility
    • Not able to treat others with dignity
    • Not comfortable with self-reflection, ongoing self-improvement, or lifelong learning
      • Some will get stuck in the doorway to Turn One and cycle endlessly through jobs.
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  • What walking through looks like: becoming an Artisan
    • Demonstrating ability to follow previous patterns in one’s vocation, doing so in a specific context and with a commitment to excellence and improvement, and doing this repeatedly
    • Choosing responsibility not just for self but for contributing one’s talent to communities of involvement
    • Engaging in ongoing civil discourse that builds teamwork, meaning, and voluntary loyalty
    • Demonstrating ongoing betterment of self and of the environments in which a contribution can be made
      • Some will stop here without moving toward the Turn Two doorway and will have full lives, incorporating elements of Turns One, Two, and Three as Artisans.
Doorway into Turn Two: into the C-Suite and Artistry 
  • Approach to this door: awareness of others in organization
    • Mastery of one’s skillset
    • Mastery of self — productive habits, communication skill, management of one’s emotional wake
    • Being offered ongoing leadership responsibility for others and the organization where they connect
    • Being able to demonstrate unconditional positive regard toward others
    • A developing sense of personal and organizational mission/vision and values
  • What stuck looks like: inability to inspire teamwork and follower-ship among one’s peers
    • Lack of curiosity
    • Casting blame and expecting praise
    • Political behaviors
    • Leadership seen as a trophy rather than increased responsibility
    • Leadership seen as arriving rather than starting in a whole new realm for learning
      • Some will get stuck in the doorway to Turn Two and cycle through a series of disappointing lateral moves, Turn One people frustrated in Turn Two roles.
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  • What walking through looks like: becoming an Artist
    • Desiring to learn leadership just as one learned previous professional skills
    • Continued mastery of self, particularly one’s use of time
    • Heightening one’s ability to be aware of people and how they can also grow into their highest and best.
    • Humble acceptance of the steward role given to an executive leader
    • Pursuit of operational excellence
      • Some will stop here without moving toward the Turn Three doorway and will have full lives, incorporating elements of Turns One, Two, and Three as Artists.
Doorway into Turn Three: from the C-Suite as a Maestro
  • Approach to this door: awareness of larger systems, with both long-term and future value
    • Developing operational excellence in the organization one leads, both the hard and soft skills
    • Mastery of the current value of the organization
    • Construction of a sustaining and renewing enterprise that gives opportunity for others in Turns One and Two
    • Deeper awareness of systems and complexity, with a growing yearning to make a difference where these connect
    • Being asked to join thought leadership and policy-making conversations
  • What stuck looks like: continued reshuffling of senior leadership and key talent
    • Isolation in the C-Suite
    • Inability to delegate
    • Focus on mid- and short-term results
    • Mission drift
    • Mid-life crises
      • Some will get stuck in the doorway to Turn Three and continue competing for their current or future role(s).
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  • What walking through looks like: becoming a Maestro
    • Focus on future and long-term value with deep awareness of larger systems and complexity
    • Continued mastery of self- particularly cultivating and dispensing wisdom
    • Renewing an entrepreneurial vision
    • Developing future executive leaders
    • Mapping, modeling and then mastering a map for a:
      • successful succession plan
      • building and cultivating legacy
      • Future value
      • Some will stop here and have a full life, incorporating elements of Turns One, Two, and Three as a Maestro
A fully-functioning Maestro does not rest in this space. We live in it with an ongoing reality of what comes next at the same time.
Doorway out of Turn Three: beyond the organization as Maestro
  • Approach to this door: long-term value, succession, and legacy are shaped
    • Continued operational excellence
    • New stepping stones toward future value are visible and engaged
    • A successfully-enacted succession plan
    • A readiness to step away from day-to-day responsibilities
  • What stuck looks like: not taking advantage of the opportunity
    • Denial that future value needs to be developed
    • Personal drift — unable to focus
    • Ongoing delay because ongoing excellence and succession are seen as luxuries rather than priorities
    • Inability to let go of control and certainty
      • Some will get stuck in their organizational leadership roles and get in the way of those coming behind them.

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  • What walking through looks like: long-term value, succession, and legacy are expressed as the stewardship of others
    • Celebration of legacy
    • Leadership voice in multiple sectors
    • Ability of successors to soar into their Third Turns
    • Signs that the world is better able to flourish
    • Greater opportunities for grandchildren’s grandchildren
As we approach any of these doorways, we can see both ways, the coming and the going - at least if our eyes are kept open. These doorways do not close behind us, although we are not likely to return once we’ve moved completely through to a next Turn.
  • Turn One leaders have many resources; it becomes a question of which resources will work best for you. Often, Turn One leaders are expected to engage them.
  • Turn Two leaders have some resources; it becomes a question of whether you will use them. This is your choice, and Turn Two leaders often don’t make one.
  • Turn Three leaders have almost no comprehensive resources; it becomes a question of whether we will build them together. Often, Third Turn Leaders languish and peter out instead of soaring.

Maestro-level leaders gathers Turn Three leaders to map their journeys and to be companions to one another. Our 2021 cohort is forming. I’d love to talk to you about it.

Topics: Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Maestro-level Leaders, The Third Turn


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