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Mindset for Leadership: Implementing a Transformation

Naturalmente, en las organizaciones, hay líderes y líderes dirigidos.

It is the responsibility of the leaders to be forward-looking, courageous and to make the path ahead safe for those they lead.  This is especially true for a transformation.  

The ability for leaders to make it safe to succeed, stand together as change happens and to articulate the future state as vision, is critical to the success of leadership.  It is in this responsibility that the course of success for the organization is realized.

The Challenge

The challenge of a transformation, where the largest, sustained effort is culture change, is the journey of behavior change and less like a managed project of expected deliverables.

The challenge of a transformation, where the largest, sustained effort is culture change, is journey of behavior change and less like a managed project of expected deliverables.  It is more like trying to train yourself to eat properly and exercise on a diet.  You must have knowledge of what to eat and not, how to exercise, and above all have the discipline to make the change a habit so that a healthy desired state is reached.  

How long it will take to get to the desired state depends on how far you need to go, how much energy is devoted to the effort, and how desirous of the change you will be.  Once initial successes are realized, you will not want to slip back into old habits and you’ll want to maintain the healthy state.  If the organization’s culture is not supportive of the change and not aware of the maintenance requirement, attempts at change will be frustrating.  The good news is the tolerance for change can be measured at the outset and counter measures can be implemented.

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Where do leaders start on this journey in this new way of work?

The initial step to take, if not already well-established, is to build trust at the leadership team level.

The leadership team will need to come together and work as a true team versus a group of individuals with similar rank and title managing a portion of the portfolio.  Working together means choosing the good of the leadership team and organization over one’s own area.  Together the team will determine budget allocations, decide which work is more economically beneficial for the organization and prioritize when it should be implemented. 

The team will also develop outcomes and determine the best way to achieve them.  Hard decisions will be made for starting, stopping and pivoting on work toward the goal of achieving those outcomes.  The foundation of succeeding here is trust.  This trust must be built from character and competence of each individual leader.

The New Routine

Every leader is expected to provide direction even in the presence of incomplete knowledge.  In this new way to work, the leader may not always know what is six or nine months in the future and that is because the need to change comes quickly.  What brought success in the past such as 3 year plans and annual budgeting may no longer be the answer.  Being open to new ways of approaching solutions and enabling each individual leader.

The new routine Every leader is expected to provide direction even in the presence of incomplete knowledge.  In this new way to work, the leader may not always know what is six or nine months in the future and that is because the need to change comes quickly.  What brought success in the past such as 3 year plans and annual budgeting may no longer be the answer.  Being open to new ways of approaching solutions and enabling each individual as they step into their role where they are held accountable, is just a start.  What is now required is that agreement on outcomes comes via collaboration both vertically and horizontally in the organization.  The inclusion of superiors, peers and subordinates in setting direction and targets is key to building a cohesive organization that achieves superior results within shared outcomes.  

Teamwork is never more important for achieving goals and reducing waste than now.  Developing people to think in a continuous improvement mindset is the new normal.

Instead of creating solutions, leaders are now charged with removing their own egos, developing their people and learning how to become more aware of what their environment needs to be successful.  Through humility and integrity a leader stops being a doer and becomes an enabler and supporter for the portfolio environment. As the leader goes through this personal transformation a more true sense of ownership in the portfolio emerges. 

Future-State Activity With clear intent of serving their people and a strong sense of system awareness, leaders will shorten lead times between identifying the need to change, making a well-informed decision and then implementing that change.  With routine practice, using an iterative approach and a learn-first mindset, this behavior will become habit.  The effect on the organization’s culture will be and increased focus on what is important, a safe environment in which to challenge, learn and experiment and finally the ability to move and adapt quickly.  That will be an Agile environment

The Future State

Activity of the future state is with a clear intention to serve its people with a strong sense of system awareness. Leaders will shorten the waiting times between identifying the need to change, making a well-informed decision and then implementing that change. With routine practice, the use of an iterative approach and a learn-first mentality. This behavior will become a habit.

The effect on the culture of the organization will be with a greater focus on what is important- a safe environment to challenge, learn and experience. All of this is for the ability to move and adapt quickly. This will be your agile environment.