How do organizations embrace life-long learning that creates a differentiated workplace?  Much of what we know about work is being turned upside down.  Our friend, executive, researcher and author, Sunnie Giles, has created a 6-point model that helps leaders disrupt themselves and their functions—or risk being disrupted.  In this short excerpt from her newest book, Sunnie highlights 3 important qualities of what it means to manage ourselves so that we can lead with excellence.


Quantum Leaders are open-minded, flexible, and not opinionated. They accept that radical innovation requires elements of unchoreographed, accidental reconstitution of ideas and situations. They are open to new ideas and approaches, and can change views when presented with evidence. They are completely transparent, which expedites decision making. Quantum Leaders courageously open themselves up to others. It takes equal measures of confidence and humility to be vulnerable. Vulnerability in turn creates safety, liberating the organization from battles for survival, and helping everyone unleash innate creativity, drive, and self-organization. Quantum Leaders refuse to hide behind polite discomfort, instead creating safety for others to openly offer differing views. They are courageous with their authenticity. Being open means being curious instead of judgmental. They don’t make snap judgments about people, or snap decisions. When things get heated, they slow the process down and try to see the big picture of where each person is coming from, instead of getting caught up in the heat of the moment.

When communicating with others, Quantum Leaders are open to and curious about all possibilities. If a colleague comes across as irrational, ridiculous, or overreacting, they become curious, carefully exploring what might be behind his or her reality that they are perceiving as irrational, all the while suspending judgment. They know that judgment shuts off avenues of important discovery and learning. During this discovery, they can put aside their own emotions and pay focused attention. They can empathically imagine what must have happened for someone to create the reality that comes across as irrational, and can validate that reality for that person.

Quantum Leaders tolerate ambiguity and are comfortable with many shades of gray, instead of automatically closing their minds to other possible scenarios. Their flexibility and openness stems from their understanding that one’s perception is one’s reality, allowing others to own a different version of reality than one’s own. They understand that exposures to previous experiences in cumulative life experiences lead to different experiences of the same reality. As a result, they show humility, knowing what they think they know might not be the only or full representation of reality.

Many studies have shown that the amygdala response compromises the higher functions of insight, rationality, and innovative thinking. Fear shuts the body down in defense instead of opening the mind to possibilities beyond one’s perception of threatened safety. This state of openness and flexibility is also important because it facilitates healthy debate over diverse points of views, inviting the power of collective intelligence, which is critical for innovation. Research has repeatedly shown that collective intelligence yields better outcomes than even the most intelligent experts.


About Dr. Sunnie Giles:

Dr. Sunnie Giles is a new generation expert who catalyzes organizations to produce radical innovation by harnessing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA).

Her research reveals that applying concepts from neuroscience, complex systems approach, and quantum mechanics can produce radical innovation consistently. Her expertise is based on years as an executive with Accenture, IBM and Samsung. Her profound, science-backed insight is encapsulated in her leadership development program, Quantum Leadership.

An advisor to the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, she also is a sought-after speaker and expert source, having been quoted in Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Forbes, and Inc.

Dr. Giles’ latest book, The New Science of Radical Innovation, provides a clear process for radical innovation that produces 10x improvements and has been endorsed prominent industry leaders such as Jonathan Rosenberg, Daniel Pink, Marshall Goldsmith and Sean Covey.