The IFB Leadership Model

post from Yvette Bethel:
Within each organization
exists an ecosystem that extends beyond its boundaries into the external
environment. Some workplaces are more complex than others and without a
strategy to shape their cultures the conditions within can be continuously
affected by interacting internal and external dynamics. In any organization, leaders
have a choice, they can concentrate on urgent short-term goals, or they can
equip themselves with the relationship sensing and building skills they need to
balance priority tensions.
Because we coexist in
unpredictable and ambiguous local and global environments, longevity has been a
more pronounced business imperative. One way to achieve it is to facilitate
quality relationships that can sustainably and meaningfully connect team
members and networks. At a macro level, leaders should also master the skills they
need to balance their strategic priorities with the dynamism of their
organizational ecosystem. By doing this, they can incrementally transform into an
adaptive, responsive establishment.
When leaders aim for authentic
balance, they must first become better at keeping their fingers on the pulse of
the quality of team and network relationships while simultaneously strengthening
them as they achieve corporate goals. Building balanced relationships through
trust is at the heart of the IFB Model of leadership. So, the question is, how
can leaders lead by using IFB principles?
1. Align with
the core value of trust:
to the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer “In a time marked by turbulence at home and
abroad, trust in institutions in the United States crashed, posting the
steepest, most dramatic general population decline the Trust Barometer has ever
measured.”  With an outcome of this proportion,
trust is an increasingly important brand essential. Therefore, once you assess your
trust levels, if required you can establish a robust corrective plan because
when low trust persists, internal and external stakeholders will undoubtedly
detect it.
Trust building
requires mastery of integrity, emotional intelligence, and your “we”
disposition. Therefore, any organizational core values and policies that are
counterproductive to these three trust qualities—like reward systems that
stimulate competitive behaviours—should be challenged and actively addressed by
IFB decision makers.
relationship strengthening solutions should ensure the core values of your
organization are compatible with trust. This includes your formal core values
and the ones that exist informally, being transmitted through peer pressure, action,
or inaction.
Your Interconnective Infrastructure:
your interconnective infrastructure involves building relationships with members
of your team, your internal network of teams, informal relationship clusters,
and relationships with people in your external networks. As a leaders, your vision
of how you relate should include clarification of the quality of the relationship
between your organization and the community it serves.
Each team
or network is defined by the quality of its relationships as well as the rules
of engagement imposed by policies, procedures, standards, and other less formal
cultural norms.
 When new members join
your team, normative behaviours can shift if there is no accountability to
sustainable cultural design. Therefore, as you lead, it’s important to remain
attuned to your vision of your culture and interconnective infrastructure so you
can take proactive, meaningful steps toward trust-based transformation.
3.  Facilitate
Concurrent Flows:
quality and purpose of relationships within your organization can directly affect
a variety of critical flows that impact your results. (E.g. work flows,
customer flow patterns, revenue streams, hiring, succession etc.) Unhealthy relationships
can hide sub-optimal flow dynamics because personal loyalties or low trust can conceal
low performance. Healthy relationships have the potential to build beneficial synergies.
It is
important to note that low quality relationships can yield high performing
results. In cases like this, performance is driven by tight controls, expressed
or unspoken threats, and numerous colleagues in perpetual survival mode.
Imagine the capacities leaders can unlock when trust, robust talent development
strategies, satisfactory engagement levels, and creativity are prevailing
There are
a variety of intricately linked flows within ecosystems, each with their unique
intrinsic and extrinsic drivers—like fear, ambition, purposefulness or
  When employees are
intrinsically motivated and mutual trust exists between leaders and their team
members, policies may be less necessary for healthy flow. In compliance
cultures, by their very nature policies are controls designed to limit error
making and standardize quality. These tools can have an unobserved outcome of limiting
learning opportunities and growth. While establishing policies can create a
sense of safety, a well-trained, engaged, and proactive team with increasing
capacities can feel even safer.
transforming your organization into one that operates on the principle of
change as a constant, integral part of doing business, balancing activities must
be ongoing. This means leaders should intentionally implement incremental
transformative actions as well as larger change initiatives—both sequentially
and simultaneously. At times decision-makers may consider the projected outcomes
of change as ambiguous, and this is okay. Trial and error can work if you have
the time, otherwise, you may have to take a calculated risk.
organizations where leaders are proficient at balancing multiple tensions, they
take time to identify priority, short and long-term pressures so they can
develop and implement concrete solutions before these tensions become high
risks. Mastering balancing skills requires consideration of strategic and
cultural tensions so multiple sub-competencies are necessary, like: 
1) Building
your capacity to attune to and diagnose complex ecosystems; 2) Identifying tensions
and the potential consequences and opportunities within them; and 3) Taking
measured steps to balance priority tensions while implementing strategic initiatives.
Flow, and Balance
are three dynamics that occur naturally
within active organizations. The IFBSM Model can be used by leaders to
strengthen relationship dynamics and by extension, improve performance,
creativity and organizational growth. It does this by providing leaders with a powerful
lens they can use to perceive new or vexing problems with new eyes. These
insights facilitate evolving perspectives which can enrich your decisions and lay
the foundation for sustainable success.
About the Author:
Yvette Bethel is CEO
of Organizational Soul, an IFB Consulting and Leadership Development company.
She is a Consultant, Trainer, Speaker, Coach, Author, and Simulation Producer.
She created the proprietary IFB process for transforming
organizations from the inside out. She is also a Preferred Partner at Six Seconds,
the largest emotional intelligence network in the world. For more
information you can contact Yvette at