New Advisory Board Initiative for Aethos™ Performance Management and 2020 Assess Practices

Discovery starts with three little words, “I don’t know.” Yet paradoxically, one of the most difficult and humbling things for us humans is to admit that we don’t know something. Our brain has evolved over tens of thousands of years into a three-pound, organic computer with the sole task of “making things more certain.” Gaining mastery and a sense of control over our physical and psychological environments is a natural, inherent human drive. However, we found in our interviews for our book Loneliness of Leadership that leaders identified “asking for help” as one of the most important lessons they learned in their professional development; seeking the advice of others is the hallmark of a seasoned leader. In many ways, it was the secret of their leadership success. Our interviewees also stated that asking for help also was a prelude to reciprocating, the basis of any sound relationship. To be sure, when we psychometrically profiled these leaders, we found that they were strong generalists in their competency set and knowledge areas. And, they subsequently surrounded themselves with a team with specific expertise that filled the gaps in their own aptitude. The Value of a Personal Board of Advisors Many leaders even went a step further and formed a “Personal Board of Advisors (PDA),” composed of people from other walks of life and disciplines who would candidly challenge their assumptions and inform their decision-making. This need not be a large group – in fact, Loneliness of Leadership presented results of computer simulations that validated that a group of 6 to 8 people consulted in a particular sequential fashion is all it takes to make a significant and positive impact on decision-making. So, anecdotal and statistical evidence agree that “asking for help” and being vulnerable to the talents, expertise and insights of others is a show of strength and intelligence versus weakness and ineptitude. Following our Own Advice With this in mind, we are assembling our own Advisory Board to challenge and round out our thinking on performance management topics that will impact our advisory and assessment work with clients – issues like leadership, psychometric profiling, core values and workplace culture, incentives and compensation, strategic planning, and market and industry trends. We are privileged to be assembling a distinguished and eclectic mix of talent with which to consult and collaborate on theoretical and applied levels alike. We will introduce the Board as soon as all of the appointments are complete, but we can hint that their backgrounds will cover a vast array of perspectives from the latest theories in academia to the best of real-world business practices. Experts like these give us unparalleled access to new knowledge and professional relationships to keep our thinking fresh and our know-how sharp and comprehensive. Upcoming Projects Aethos™ is currently interested in many questions that have been raised by worldwide clients:
  • The “hospitality X Factor” in frontline employees. Like technological innovations, hospitality talent at the line level must adapt and evolve with ever-changing market conditions. This is especially urgent in this current era of disruption. This raises the question about what temperament and competency set thrive in today’s ambiguous and dynamic work environments, all while having strong service orientation. We are actively pursuing a psychometric profile to assist in the selection of employees with the so-called “X Factor.”
  • Game theory in performance reviews. Most sources define game theory as “the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers.” But, in the wider context of today’s game-like apps that gain and sustain interest by simultaneously leveraging visual cues, kinesthetic learning and crowd-sourced competitiveness and scoring, game theory now arguably has expanded meaning and implications. We want to explore the potential opportunities of these new engagement and learning principles for innovating the critical tasks of performance feedback and learning and development throughout the organizational chart.
  • Spirituality in leadership. The principle behind servant leadership is that leaders should care as much about their followers’ needs as their own, i.e., leadership is about service, not power. Obviously, financial metrics like ROI and growth are signs or outcomes of effective leadership in the business world, but there are strong suggestions that even business leaders are fundamentally motivated by something more intangible and esoteric than cold hard cash. In fact, the prime motivations driving the best leaders might well be more philosophical or spiritual in content than financial or economic. Spiritual here does not necessarily mean religious, but it does entail a sense of “personal calling and higher purpose.” Understanding such variables could enhance leadership development programs and perhaps help even to understand organizational structures that best exemplify and reinforce servant leadership models.
What are the best answers to such tactical or strategic questions? Simply put, “we don’t know”… at least not yet. These are the types of issues that our new Advisory Board will help us to address. Look for these topics and other original thought leadership from Aethos™ in upcoming publications, now backed by our new powerhouse Advisory Board. We also welcome your suggestions and ideas for new research or new perspectives that can advance or innovate our industry and the people we all serve. Please feel free to send your questions, comments or research ideas to us at, or