Some More Ways to Help People Develop (Vertical Development) (cont. 2)

3. Elevated Sensemaking (development moving from informational to transformational)

There are 3 key ingredients here

i) time (need to create time for reflection and sense making as an opportunity to solidify development; too often development is jampacked with content and there is not enough time for reflection)

ii) map (develop a mind map (see elsewhere in the Knowledge Base) which shows how their thinking is progressing over time, eg


The How-To of Vertical Leadership Development–Part 2 30 Experts, 3  Conditions, and 15 Approaches

(source: Nick Petrie, 2015 or

 The How-To of Vertical Leadership Development–Part 2 30 Experts, 3  Conditions, and 15 Approaches

(source: Nick Petrie, 2015 or

iii) guide (need an experienced coach or mentor to guide you through the process)

3.1 Learn from the Gurus (use stage maps - see above)

You can reflect upon your journey of development over the years. However, anticipating what is next needs the help of experts, ie people who have been there and done it. They will help you to see and understand the beliefs, values and mental maps required in your next stage of development, so that you understand which ones to discard or keep, ie

"...they can also help you start to create new maps of reality that are more suited to where your career and life might be heading..."

Nick Petrie, 2015

3.2 Vertical Development of the Executive Team

The most effective way to develop an organisation is to shift the mindsets of the executive team (ET), ie

"...the beliefs and decisions of the ET create a vertical ceiling in the organisation that is hard for others to advance beyond. When you elevate the thinking of the ET you raise the ceiling for everyone else, unleashing a previously locked up potential..."

Nick Petrie, 2015

This can involve 4 steps, ie

i) Review business strategy (including mapping the leadership culture required to execute the strategy, ie answer the question 'what state of vertical development does your strategy require?')

ii) Role model (members of the ET must role model, in words and deeds, the appropriate leadership culture)

iii) Review (choosing 3 difficult business challenges, use techniques to identify the beliefs and mental models that are at play in these challenges)

iv) Implement (

"...Once they uncover the belief and thinking driving their behaviour, the execs begin to discard, maintain or update their mindsets to align it with the required leadership culture of their business strategy..."

Nick Petrie, 2015

Then The appropriate mindset and tools are cascaded through the organisation.

"...when an executive team transforms itself, it reverberates throughout the organisation......start with business strategy. Once leaders see that they can't achieve their business strategy with their current leadership culture, eg siloed, risk averse, non-collaborative) they become open to new solutions..."

Nick Petrie, 2015

NB Generally this involves hard work

3.3 Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation can produce many benefits at different levels, ie physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc

"...the regular practice of turning inward and observing one's thoughts helps leaders observe the process of their own meaning and making..."

Nick Petrie, 2015

It is important to develop a habit rather than to chase a special experience.

It is a way of calming the mind

3.4 Body Intelligence (beyond the mind)

Most traditional leadership development focuses on the brain but other parts of the body like a heart (emotions), gut (intuition), etc are important. Research has found powerful neuro-networks that form 'information centres' or 'intelligence centres' in our chest and abdomen areas in addition to the brain. This is further supported by evidence about the role of the vagus nerve with branches reaching throughout the body; it plays an important role in human responses and preferences.

"...80% of messages transmitted by the vagus nerve go from the body to the brain, so the body tells the brain what is happening, not the other way round..."

Leadership Coefficient, 2019

Research has also shown that your memories, fears, ambitions, etc are not only stored in our brain but are carried elsewhere in your body.

"...chronic postural and movement tendencies serve to sustain certain beliefs and cognitive distortions, and the physical patterns, in turn, contribute to the same beliefs..."

Kate Ogden as quoted by Nick Petrie, 2015.

There are 9 dimensions, or body power centres, to understand in the body intelligence (see below diagram)

This assessment methodology is entitled Embodied Leadership Strength Profiles (ELSP) or Leaders Being Strength Indicator (LBSI). It uses chakras of Indian spiritual thinking and martial art of Aikido to identify the strengths of each 9 dimensions of your body.


(source: Alison Maitland et al, 2017 or

It is a profiling methodology to help you understand yourself and others

"... A unique method of assessing people strengths, talents and preferences by connecting people to their full body intelligence in head, heart and guts......identifies people's strengths by testing how much physical pressure they can absorb, standing in different postures......It gives people deep insights into their personal strength and impact..... provides immediate revelations about people's preferred leadership styles and how to work better together..."

Leadership Coefficient, 2019

The procedure involves

"...practitioner and candidate stand facing each other, with their feet apart and one foot in front of the other to ensure they are both well grounded and balanced. The practitioner asks the candidate to concentrate all their attention on one part of their body at a time; for example, the solar plexus or the top of the head. Candidates are also asked to focus their eyes in a particular way for each posture, eg soft focus, direct eye contact, or looking into the distance. Placing hands on the candidate's shoulders, the practitioner starts to push, gradually increasing pressure, until either the candidate gives way..."

Leadership Coefficient, 2019

It is more than just physical strength. It is about being centred and grounded.

"...the posture in which the candidate is able to absorb the force of the practitioner while remaining solid and balanced represents his or her centre - and greatest areas of talent. Those in which he or she quickly gives way are the lesser talents..."

Leadership Coefficient, 2019


(source: Leadership Coefficient, 2019 or

This assessment gives a person an immediate sense of where in their body they are strongest, relative to the 9 body power centres.

It explains the dynamics and characteristics of the talents that people naturally contribute, the challenges that an individual may need to overcome, or work hard to keep under control, in order to contribute positively. For example,

"...potential challenges for a strong Perfectionist (LBSI 1)......are a desire for control and a fear of failure, which can lead to underperformance. A strong Energiser LBSI 3) needs to be actively aware that it is a small step from deep insight to manipulation. An urge for results may lead a strong Manifester (LSBI 8) to become over rigid and dominating......discovered a preferred pace and rhythm to reach profile dimension, eg working in a rapid, short burst of activity, or working at a slower, steady pace......that each dimension was associated with a preferred 'operating energy' - anticipating, driving, or holding energy..."

Alison Maitland et al, 2017

"...different types of energy complement each other in working relationships. For example, a person with a high driving energy will predominantly mobilise people for action and results. Another person more anticipating or holding energy will be good at picking up signals and connecting people or bringing clarity and harmony to a team. These different energies, or talents, provide an effective counter balance......for example, energy of the driver, is focussed on execution, is well complemented by the calm and creativity of the holding energy, delivering problem-solving and insights..."

Leadership Coefficient, 2019

This technique can be used for individuals or teams to help them perform better; it provides assessments of your whole body intelligence, other people's profiles so that the right dynamics are determined to support better performance in areas like strategy, change and innovation.

Some general comments

- it is about integrating head, heart and gut intelligence and how your different strengths can be used to meet changing circumstances. People become aware of how to intervene to improve performance.

- it is thought that if you want to help adults develop, it may be better to go through the body than the head!!!!

- body intelligence works faster than the head plus has a better memory

- body-based assessment is more accurate, faster, reliable and consistent over time than answering questionnaires

- more likely to discover unused talents and strengths, ie self-discovery. This can contribute to greater empowerment and confidence plus greater leverage

- a greater appreciation of diversity, ie people become aware that they need people with profiles different from, and complementary with, your own in order to accomplish various tasks

"...success is derived from having people with different talents/profiles working together to accomplish the various tasks..."

Leadership Coefficient, 2019

- understand contextual situation - when to use particular strengths or talents, eg

" individual with a strong Perfector (ELSP 1) and Thinker (ELSP 5) would use ELSP 1 to make fast business decisions, then switch into ELSP 5 for deep exploration and learning, depending on what is needed in a certain situation..."

Leadership Coefficient, 2019

- you need more than to develop skills and knowledge; you need to think in more complex, systemic, strategic and independent ways. This means moving away from the focus of adult learning on the brain

"...For many people, it is challenging to show vulnerability and accept turbulent emotions. But ignoring or avoiding these unsettling emotions prevents us from actively sensing things, so we don't pick up signals from human dynamics and the broader environment as well as we should. This is essential in order to be attuned to the collective we are part of and our emerging future..."

Leadership Coefficient, 2019

- with developments in technology like AI dramatically changing the landscape you work and live in, interpersonal skills become more important, especially as machines take over more complex tasks. These skills include creativity, empathy, sensing group dynamics, inspiring others, etc

"...however smart you are, your emotional intelligence and adaptability are of greater determinants of your effectiveness than your cognitive intelligence..."

Leadership Coefficient, 2019

- body intelligence allows people to cope better with complexity

"...They would be more intuitive, open to different perspectives, and better at empowering others to step into leadership to achieve collective goals. This provides exciting new levels of awareness and insight..."

Jane Weber as quoted in Leadership Coefficient, 2019

- can be used to defuse tension and build trust as you have a better understanding of your people and the environment you are working in.


Search For Answers