What It Takes to 'Walk the Talk'

A headline in the international news last week bodes well for more leaders moving toward "walking the talk" when it comes to reinforcing a 21st-century model of Integrated Leadership. Canada's new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a gender-balanced cabinet of 15 women and 15 men, with his stated rationale simply being, "Because it's 2015."

That's a great reason, because as discussed in my latest book Make Room for Her, 20th-century leadership models will no longer effectively solve 21st-century problems. In SHAMBAUGH's leadership development and executive coaching practice, we see many organizations that have achieved measurable success, yet suddenly find themselves falling behind their competition. When I take a closer look to determine the reason for this shift, I consistently find that the leaders of these companies continue to rely on a leadership approach that worked for them in the past, but clearly no longer is working.

While many of the current leadership models aren't necessarily "broken," the fact is that what helped organizations build success in the past won't do so in the future. The world has changed drastically from just a decade ago, and the business environment now presents a completely different playing field.

This is why we need a different leadership model -- one that gives organizations a better chance of not only surviving, but actually thriving for years to come. I call this model Integrated Leadership. The premise of the model is that the successful companies of the future won't be led primarily by one gender or the other, but by balanced teams of men and women working together synergistically, leveraging the broad spectrum of human intelligence. Tomorrow's competitive advantage is simply an intentionally gender-balanced Integrated Leadership team.

As I reviewed the list of new cabinet members that Trudeau swore in, including Chystia Freeland as the new Minister of International Trade, I felt a surge of hope. Will the PM's actions set the tone for others -- whether in government, corporations, or institutions -- to follow along the same path to Integrated Leadership?

You can start now in your own organization to build on Trudeau's example. When creating your leadership team, work toward bringing in new leaders who possess a diversity of perspectives, styles, and traits that represent both left-brain and right-brain thinking. By doing so, you'll be helping to move the needle toward the development of more high-performing organizations that get lasting results.