May / 2021

#010: Slingshot Leadership – Organizational Psychologist Dr. Alan Echtenkamp

TJP 10 | Authentic Leadership

We live in a world full of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. As leaders we must manage our teams and organizations, but we must first learn to manage ourselves and our responses. Fran Racioppi sits down with organizational psychologist Dr. Alan Echtencamp to understand the elements that build a strong and effective leader in times of challenge and transition. They discuss the four keys to effective communication and how leaders should approach planning with an agile and versatile attitude. They also delve into how leadership must set the conditions for a return to normalcy and how empowering employees will provide them a voice in their future and build trust across the organization.

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Leadership is never easy. It is especially difficult in times of change and transformation, when the answers to challenges are not clear, but the reactions to these answers are numerous and even more complex.

Dr. Alan Echtencamp, an organizational psychologist and former head of Leadership Development at Time Warner, discusses what makes an effective leader, especially in times of crisis and doubt. He defines crisis leadership and challenges the concept of VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity identifying the methods in which effective leaders must respond, despite the natural tendency to become “conservative, more insular, and less tolerant” in times of crisis and fear; often contradicting the behavior actually required by leaders in those moments.

Crisis communication is the first element of effective VUCA leadership. Without action and a plan, leaders and their organizations will be overcome and fail. Communication revolves around four tenants: Act with Urgency, Communicate with Transparency, Respond Productively to Missteps, and Engage in Constant Updating. Dr. Echtenkamp highlights leaders who have effectively led organizations through chaos while developing more resilient companies in the aftermath.

All crisis and challenge eventually come to an end. With COVID as an example, we break down the steps to restart and rebuild an organization that is more inclusive, more focused on their people, and more in touch with the effectiveness of their operations. This will require leaders to give employees a choice, develop a connection to a shared purpose and establish a bridge that bonds them to each other and the organization.

About Alan Echtenkamp

TJP 10 | Authentic Leadership

Alan Echtenkamp is an organizational psychologist and founder of Slingshot Leadership. He has 25 years of experience helping leaders create high-performing teams that drive growth and profitability. Prior to launching Slingshot, Alan was the head of global talent management for Time Warner Inc, where he was responsible for leading succession and development strategies for senior business and creative executives across all Time Warner businesses. Alan coaches leaders in business development, organization diagnosis, solution design and execution, and client service team management. Alan currently teaches at Columbia University in New York and has published articles and book chapters in both scholarly and mainstream press.Alan serves on the board of The Brotherhood/Sister Sol; a not-for-profit organization that provides comprehensive, holistic, and long-term support services to youth. He earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University and his B.A. from Purdue University.

About the author

Fran Racioppi
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Francis Racioppi, CPP, CBCP, most recently led Genius Fund as the Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer, a vertically integrated cannabis company in Los Angeles, CA. Prior to Genius, Fran served as the Director of Global Security for Snapchat where he was recruited to professionalize and scale the security organization across the globe and among all business units. Fran holds an MBA from New York University and graduated with honors from Boston University with a BA in Journalism and a minor in Political Science. Fran served 13 years in the United States Army as a Green Beret, deploying three times to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. A lifelong sailor, Fran volunteers teaching Veterans to sail as the Race Director for Sailahead a Veterans service organization dedicated to reducing the Veteran suicide rate. Fran has also served as the Treasurer of the United War Veterans Council, an NYC-based non-profit focused on the wellness and healing of transitioning veterans, as well as the host of the annual NYC Veterans Day Parade.

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