What’s Next From Next Element In 2016?

From our circle to yours, we wish you a drama-free new year, inspiration to change the world, and connections with other passionate people around the globe!

We are bursting with excitement and enthusiasm about what’s coming in 2016.


The second generation of our Leading Out of Drama assessment, training, and coaching system. With resources for everyone from HR leaders, to full-time training and development professionals, to coaches and consultants, LOD has an entry point for anyone seeking to transform negative drama into compassionate accountability.

ATD Association for Training and Development International Expo

As a platinum sponsor and presenter, we are looking forward to introducing LOD to the world in Denver, May 23-25. Come visit our booth.

The Immersion

A life-changing leadership bootcamp designed to make the most impact in the shortest period of time. Start your year with our February event in Kansas City.

A global trainer network with world-class support

From the United States to Netherlands, Austria to Australia, we are training certifying trainers worldwide and supporting them with our world-class network.

Executive Leadership Treks

An intensive journey for high-level change-agents committed to making a lasting difference.

Where will your journey with Next Element take you in 2016? Give us a call today!

Boot Camp

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The Authentic Leader’s Secret Weapon: Emotional Motives

In the last month I’ve taught a graduate course on the psychology of conflict communication at Pepperdine University’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and facilitated an intensive confab with pastors from the Great Plains United Methodist Church on better ways to engage healthy dialogue around thorny issues like homosexuality.

The common theme in both contexts has been the power of emotional motives and the necessity of leaders to master the art of uncovering and dealing with them in a healthy way.

What is Disclosure?

A while back I first considered this concept in a post called “All Problems Are Emotional Problems.” Here’s what we’ve discovered more recently:

Openness is one of the trio of Skills necessary to practice compassionate accountability. Openness has three strategies (Empathy, Validation, and Disclosure). Learn about all three, and download a free chapter from my book. They all have nuance, they all require practice, yet disclosure might be the most tricky of all.

Most people mistake disclosure for sharing information, letting you know what’s on their mind.” In my last post on this topic I suggested that open disclosure is about emotions, not ideas or thoughts or plans, or even goals – these are more akin to resourcefulness.

The Root of Conflict

Taking it one step further, we’ve discovered the the root of most conflict arises from failure to be aware of, and disclose emotional motives. Most, if not all, efforts on which we spend energy are driven by emotional motives.

An emotional motive is a “feeling end-state”, an emotion towards which you are driving. It is often ignited by it’s opposite emotion.

  • Leaders may think they are motivated by clearly defined goals, but beneath the surface, this achievement gains them a feeling of control to avoid the fear of loss.
  • Leaders may tell people their goal in researching every possible scenario is simply to cover their bases, but deep down they are afraid of being surprised or scared by their inability to protect the people for whom they are responsible.
  • Leaders may tell their teams that they just want to “work it out and get along” but inside they are angry because personal boundaries have been crossed.

Emotional Motives & Authenticity

Dr Taibi Kahler, an internationally acclaimed behavioral psychologist, has identified six core emotional drivers which he calls Phase Issues. Different personality types have unique issues that are especially difficult for them to handle well.

Persons who identify, disclose, and experience these emotional motives can engage in healthy problem-solving, transparent relationships, and effective resolution of problems. Leaders who master this art can develop deeper levels of authenticity.

Avoiding or covering up our emotional motives is an invitation into drama. This is why drama-based problem-solving is so draining; because energy is spent on symptom-management instead of the real issue. When the emotional motive is disclosed, it may seem vulnerable, but it also allows your community to be most helpful. It is one of the most powerful leadership behaviors to practice authenticity.

Tune in to my next post to learn about Dr. Kahler’s six phase issues, the six core emotional motives, and how they impact leadership effectiveness. (more…)

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Locus Of Motivation And Leadership: What Kind of President Do You Want?

With less than 100 days before the presidential primaries begin and another debate gone by, the candidate race is really heating up. Will it come down to Trump vs. Carson for the GOP? Will Jeb Bush make a run or it is too late? Does Sanders stand a chance against Clinton?

How will you decide? Is your mind made up already? What are you looking for in a candidate? Although the candidates are working hard to contrast their positions from those of their opponents, consider a different distinction that is just as important; how they are motivated towards their goals.


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What Do Fiorina And Sanders Have In Common? My Analysis of Presidential Candidates – Round 1

In my previous post I described the four personality types characterizing the fleet of United States presidential candidates. Using the Process Communication Model (PCM®) as a framework for analysis and prediction, here’s my take on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Bernie Sanders, and Marco Rubio. I’ll tackle the remainder in my next post.

If you are looking for recommendations on who to vote for or an analysis of their platforms, look somewhere else. Instead, I’ll reveal a powerful and often overlooked factor in who captures our attention and votes.

Hint: It has nothing to do with what they have to say, and everything to do with how they say it.


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Politics Week! What Personality Types are Running for President?

I love politics! I care about what the candidates are talking about because I will vote for one of them to be the POTUS. Meanwhile I’m analyzing their personality.

The way a politician packages their message reveals a lot about their personality, how they view the world, what motivates them and how they will act in various situations. (more…)

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I Want My Life Back! How to Deal With an Impossible Boss

Your boss assigned you a project. You’ve put your heart and soul into it, and deliver what you think is a great work product.

Barely stopping long enough read the first paragraph of your report, your boss says, “That’s not quite what I wanted. Make this change and that change, and bring it back to me.”

Are you kidding!?  Why didn’t he tell you that up front? It would have saved you a ton of extra work.

Are you tired of trying to meet your boss’s unrealistic, unclear, and constantly changing performance expectations? It’s as if he’s trying to hold you hostage and never give you the satisfaction of doing a good job.

The solution may be as simple as (more…)

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When Goals are Negotiable, Obstacles are Excuses

Have you ever gone through a day dodging accountability, finding ways to avoid the hard work of delighting a customer, or looking for reasons why you can’t accomplish your responsibilities? Then, that same evening with tenacious focus and resourcefulness you figure out how to get the lawn mowed, find a babysitter, prepare for tomorrow’s webinar, and still make it to the poker party with your friends?

Funny thing about desire. “Want to” will empower almost anyone to find a way. (more…)

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Pixar’s Secret Weapon all Leaders Should Know About

Pixar Studios has created some of the biggest blockbuster animated motion pictures in history. From The Incredibles, to Nemo, to Cars, their movies resonate with all ages and keep us coming back for more.

Pixar has a secret weapon. They use a language-based personality and communication model called Process Communication to help design their characters and storylines. (more…)

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Leadership Quotient: Can it be measured?

What if you could assess a person’s Leadership Quotient and predict how they will function in a range of leadership situations? What would you assess? How would you measure it?

At Next Element we’ve been working on this for nearly a decade. And we’ve discovered some answers. In our quest we’ve avoided any hard content measures of leadership (e.g. credentials, experience, degrees, promotions, successful projects). Not that these aren’t important – they most definitely are. We leave this for the industry experts. Our big question is what process factors underly all successful leadership, regardless of industry, position, or technical expertise?

Along with our experience assessing and training hundreds of leaders, we’ve studied Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence, Multiple Intelligences, top leadership competencies desired by C-level executives, and leadership skills most associated with success. We’ve distilled it down to these four process skills that make up leadership quotient. (more…)

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