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How did I do?

The story of a Global Leadership Profile (GLP) debriefing session by Amara co-founder Jane Allen, leading to the desire to let go of old stories to make room for new thinking and the possibilities of multiple perspectives.

In Amara Collaboration Our approach to development relies on the use of the GLP as a framework for understanding leadership development and is the underpinning way of thinking about how we develop maturity in adult life. The GLP locates our individual stage of leadership maturity and our ‘centre of gravity’ action logic. The action logics encapsulate and describe the eight most characteristic leadership styles of acting and inquiring that adult’s typically utilise. These are named: Opportunist, Diplomat, Expert, Achiever, Redefining, Transforming, Alchemical, and Ironic.

This is the story of a meeting to go through a completed GLP (Global Leadership Profile) with Michael, a young man in his late 30’s. He wanted to understand the underpinning idea and then point to his own development as a senior leader in his College to be more rounded corporate leader beyond his prescribed role and perspective as the Finance Director.

After summarising the Profile’s source within the sphere of adult cognitive development we reached the juicy part of the conversation focusing on his leadership and the development opportunities the profile opens up. We steered predominantly in the area of Expert, Achiever and Redefining action logics – the Expert and Achiever are the most commonly found in profiling leaders, and the transition to the later stages of Redefining and Transforming involves a big shift in our thinking and adopting the behaviours opening up to us at these later stages. His opening remark was “I think I completed the Sentences wrong” which is a very Expert comment perhaps spoken with some anxiety and wish to achieve whatever is seen to be the ‘best’.

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This remark opened the door to a part of the discussion about the significant presence in his profile of Expert action logic thinking and acting. There was also an emerging Redefining action logic showing up in his profile and so the question about the best focus for development was raised.  We agreed there are two (at least two) areas to consider  – firstly what are the old stories he has in his mind about what is right and wrong and the desire to be perfect? A development question was posed around what is the source and significance of these stories? Where do they come from? Are they old stories that have become habitual?  One possibility is that the beautiful process of inquiry, that is characteristic of the Redefining stage, might address whether he really believes these assumptions or is it time to review and literally redefine them? A significant shift that Michael could develop by liberating himself from a way of thinking that colours so much and weighs him down daily.

The mythical creature resembling a llama with a head at both ends the ‘pushmi pullyu’ comes to mind here! Development conventionally looks ahead with the impetus to get somewhere new – this story illustrates that maybe we can face two ways – so looking to the origin of the stories we tell ourselves in order to have the opportunity to choose our future path freeing us up and letting go of the baggage of our old ways of thinking and being – the ‘pullyu’.

So we moved to the ‘pushmi’ and how to nurture a more inquiring stance that can be central to generating Michael’s own development and nourish the capacity to open up to wider possibilities and interpretations when facing leadership challenges and dilemmas. This is the territory of the Redefining action logic when uncertainty becomes an impetus for both vulnerability and excitement, where the unknown becomes the attraction for curiosity and self-absorption becomes self-reflection as one side of our dance with others.

To make sense of the insights the profile offers and how the action logics offer themselves as sign posts for our development often means bringing it closer to home in our the personal developmental journey where leadership draws on who you are as much as what you do. This calls upon us to find a searing honesty with ourselves and embrace our vulnerability as a friend for generating learning and development. It’s not enough just to think about it and wonder – we need the conditions and environment to do this.

Michael has a trusted line manager with whom to discuss his profile and the learning it offers. He also is part of a senior team committed to giving time to explore their leadership development as individuals and collectively – investing in each other’s learning edges and at the same time reflecting on the overall action logics present across the team.  They see that this will help to develop their widening approach to leading the direction of the College in a very uncertain and volatile context.

I am personally always humbled and delighted that the richness of a conversation about the framework and how the insights that an individual’s profile can herald the steps for new actions with an inquiring ethos. The question of ‘how did I do?’ becomes quickly transformed to the question ‘so how does this help me and my team with our leadership development and dealing with the challenges we face more wisely?’


The Global Leadership Profile (GLP) is a both a self-assessment procedure and a professionally-scored profile tool that identifies a person’s developmental leadership action-logic. Each of us is enacting our life at work and at home through a certain characteristic way of interacting and inquiring with others.

Amara Collaboration with it’s co-founder and author of the Global Leadership Profile Bill Torbert, in collaboration with Global Leadership Associates (GLA) offer this unique 3-day workshop for business leaders, consultants, coaches and researchers…

Amara co-founder, Bill Torbert is talking about the seven transformations of leadership and how the stages, called ‘action logics’, impact the way in which we lead and interact in the world. The Global Leadership Profile (GLP) is a both a self-assessment procedure and a professionally-scored profile tool that identifies a person’s developmental leadership action-logic. “Most … Continued