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Managers Struggle to Cope Well with Rapid Change

Managers Struggle to Cope Well with Rapid Change Many managers grapple to cope well with swift change. Some must work longer. Now what matters most to companies are such traits as flexibility, adaptability to change, and problem-solving capability. These changes in expectancies require a 180-degree shift in thinking.

Leaders must change themselves before they can be effective at leading change by example. The initiative achieved initial cost savings but hesitated as employees began to question the leadership team’s vision and dedication. Here’s a 6F model to describe how people respond to change.

  • The Foggies. They either work in a comparatively stable environment or they simply choose to ignore change. They are in a “fog” so to speak. The challenge for leaders is to communicate scrupulously to help everyone understand the business realities. The challenge for individuals is to stay up-to-date with trends and to take responsibility for managing their own futures. Individuals in this state mostly contemplate what is right for them individually, and they have trouble seeing the larger picture of what is right for the organization.
  • Fakers pay lip service to change management The Fakers. This group tries to convince themselves and others that they are with the “change program,” even though they have no intention of changing. They pay lip service to management and hope they can get away with just “talk” and no action. The fakers may want to change but don’t know how and are afraid to admit it. They do not internalize the change message. They may be more comfortable taking small, easy steps when faced with a change situation—first articulating how they feel about the change and what they can and will do.
  • The Faultless. They see the changes, don’t like them, complain, and see themselves as victims. They may blame their leaders. The problem with attributing blame for others to “fix” is that it doesn’t change anything. They must move to a model of shared responsibility and accept that there is no one individual or group to blame. They must assess their own situation, how they are responding, and take personal responsibility for what is in their control to change.
  • The Fearful. Downsizings, scandals, terrorism, mergers, and acquisitions cause many people in a constant state of fear. The fearful may engage in self-protectionist, cautious, even paranoid behavior as they try to avoid an undesired fate. To address problems, ask: “About what am I most afraid? What are the odds of this happening?” Often, our fears are irrational. Some say fear is: False Evidence Appearing Real. Identify the fear, then decide what to do to handle the challenges of the situation.
  • The Fighters. Those who fight for the status quo are typically long-term employees who protect tradition; those who fight for change often act as vanguards and are seen as firebrands. Status-quo fighters might say: “We have always done it this way” or “We tried that 20 years ago and it did not work.” Sometimes they use a faker approach to lead others to believe they agree with the changes; but they work behind the scenes to thwart new plans.
  • The Futurists. The futurists are adaptable, flexible, global in their thinking, experimental, and career-resilient. They have a high self-concept and believe themselves to be in control of their destinies. Futurists are not fearful because they believe in themselves and have a plan B and C when the current situation does not work out. They are ready for the unanticipated.

When external consultants are hired to fast-track change, these change agents usually encounter a resistant culture. The more they fight for change, the more the resistance. Many change fighters either bow out or get pushed out of the system. Leaders need to coach fighters.

Everybody responds to change differently. Leaders help people get in touch with their natural response to change and cope with how to go with the flow in the wake of new realities. For change to cascade down throughout the organization, groups and individuals inside the organization whose behaviors previously symbolize the desired state must be involved in the change process.

Change is tough; transformation is tougher still Change is tough; transformation is tougher still, whether it comprises an individual or an entire organization. By encountering reality and helping employees appreciate the necessity for change, leaders were able to encourage the organization to follow the new direction at the heart of the largest rationalizing in the company’s history. Communications emerge in from the bottom and out from the top, and are directed to make available to employees the appropriate information at the right time and to ask for their input and comments.

Most leaders contemplating change know that people matter. Full transparency is required. Change will come only when the people at the top look down and start insisting that others’ resources be handled like the scarce resource it is. The warnings of the urgent significances we face seem to be arriving with greater incidence and in ever more pressing rhetoric, but utilitarian progress is more objective than actuality.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

Six Attitudes of Change

To let an old identity die requires clarity about what has to change, candor about the need for change, and courage to make the change happen. When people internalize a new change, they take ownership for it. It becomes part of who they are. To make the shift from actions to patterns, from actions to individuality, or from checklists to leadership transformation, you need to learn and apply six attitudes:

  1. Focus,
  2. Explore,
  3. Claim,
  4. Decide,
  5. Act, and
  6. Learn.

Leaders observe events, see patterns, think critically and creatively about problems, are self-aware about strengths and weaknesses, try new things, and adjust and improve what they do and how they do it. These six leadership attitudes help you move from the tyranny of to-do lists, events, and programs to the absorption of a new identity.

Culture’s Critical Role in Change Management

Culture's Critical Role in Change Management In recent years, I have lost a lot of weight. People ask me how. Most assume that the weight loss, or change, is tied to a diet and that I will return to my former size. In addition, it means choosing to embark on an enormously costly venture, before a crisis makes it necessary.

Most changes, even those that we know are good and right, do not endure. Best intentions to change performance fall short when diets or programs that we depend on to cause change are not assimilated. Persistent change requires a new identity.

Leaders bow to an innumerable of short-term pressures: intense demands for quarterly earnings, risk aversion, discomfort with ambiguity, and resistance to change, linear extrapolation from experience, and leadership unwillingness to cannibalize established businesses.

We need to change the way we think about change. Sustained change may begin with actions, checklists, and tools, but must evolve to adopting a different identity and assimilating a new way of thinking and acting. Assimilation requires a shift in thoughts and behaving. It becomes a new identity where being and acting occur without thinking.

Making change, an identity shift is simple but not easy. It is simple to say “we have to lose weight” and we need to eat less, eat right, and exercise more. However, it is not easy to do it. To assure sustained change, weight loss must come from a change in identity-letting go of an old identity, admitting personal ownership for the new identity, and turning the actions into patterns, routines, and habits.

To let an old identity die requires leadership clarity about what has to change, candor about the need for change, and courage to make the change happen. When people internalize a new change, they take ownership for it. It becomes part of who they are. Identity shift means that we internalize new attitudes and associated practices so that actions come naturally. Back in 2009, Jim Collins warned in How the Mighty Fall that the greatest risk to companies was no longer complacency but overreach; frenetic, undisciplined change that goes beyond what leaders can manage effectively.

To make the shift from events to patterns, from actions to identity, or from checklists to leadership transformation, you need to learn and apply six attitudes. Each one aligns with a question you need to ask of yourself and your team:

Attitude #1: Focus—Question 1: What do I want?

Focus on Change Management Focus on the desired new identity. A focus sorts, prioritizes, and highlights what matters most. In change, not everything worth doing is worth doing well. Some things that are important to do may simply not be priorities. Some things are so important to do they are worth doing poorly. Having a focus requires that a leader may only have limited priorities that they personally champion; they can sponsor others, but can only own one or two. The key is training. The key understands how to think and look for solutions. It is better to do a few things well than try to do too many things and do them poorly. Good is the enemy of great. Leaders need to address conundrums; they will not always make hard decisions correctly. Moving up in leadership denotes moving on, trusting others to do the detail leadership work, culling the right priorities, and fixating on what distributes the most value.

To determine the focus or priority, ask the simple question, “What do I want?” Knowing what is wanted requires reflecting on what could be done, but then getting clear about what is wanted in the situation. You pass the focus test by reflecting on these questions: Do I know what matters most to: investors, customers, and employees? Can I define what matters most to me? Do I communicate the same priorities in leadership public presentations and my private conversations? Do the agendas I follow for meetings reflect those priorities? Am I clear about what I can do that no one else can do? Am I clear about what I want to be known for? What percent of my time do I spend on things that matter most? Am I easily distracted? Without focus, you try to be all things to all people. Then what matters most happens least.

Attitude #2: Explore—Question #2: What are my options?

Once you know what is wanted, you need to figure out options to get it done. Exploring options means looking for alternatives; seeking people who have counter-intuitive ideas; having forums for dialogue, innovation, and breakthrough thinking; not being locked into conventional ways; exploring what others have done; and investigating with new ideas and learning from those experiments.

Adopt the mantra: Cerebrate sizably voluminous, start minuscule, fail expeditious, learn always. Explore the options for engendering that incipient leadership identity and examining each option.

These questions will help you to explore options: Have I looked inside and outside my industry for best practices and new ideas? Have I tapped into the expertise to accomplish what I desire? Have I assigned creative and talented people to explore leadership options that might work and given them resources and support to generate ideas?

With focus and exploration, you know what you want and explore alternative paths to make it happen.

Attitude #3: Claim—Question #3: What do I think?

Some leaders get lost in the options game. They can see so many ways to do a project that they never get around to doing it. They do not claim a choice or decide on a solution. At some point, leaders need to claim the option that will achieve the focus. Leaders stake, claim, own, and are accountable for their culls. They agnize things that could be done, but claim the unique amalgamation that works best. They take a stand and become kenned for something. The way inhibiting credences kept sales clerks in one industry from engendering incipient leads. They talk publicly and privately about the direction they are headed and the path to get there; they put energy and passion into these paths; they monitor leadership progress; and they gain or lose credibility by the extent to which they accomplish their claim. With a focus, options, and ownership, leaders pass a calendar test of their time, an emotional test of their passion and energy, and a resource test of the investments required to deliver on the option.

To pass these tests, leaders should ensure that the option is congruent with personal values. They must explain not only why the company wants to do something, but also why they personally want to do it.

To claim an option requires personalizing the change and answering the question, “What do I think?” This leadership question internalizes an identity. It makes the identity something that the leader petitions and claims. Ponder these questions: Am I dear about the path I will take to reach my goals? Have I passed the calendar test? Have I dedicated 20 percent of my time in the next 90 days on the option I have chosen? Have I passed the rhetoric test? In every speech, do I find ways to talk about the option and imbue the message with new metaphors, symbols, and images? Have I passed the passion test? Do I put my energy into the path I have chosen? Is my leadership direction and path consistent with what I believe? Do I feel passion for it?

When leaders assert their desires with a focus, explore their options with insight, and claim their path with boldness, they lead. They set an agenda, define a path, and engage others. They forge a new identity for themselves and their organization.

Attitude #4: Decide—Question #4: What decisions do I need to make?

Clarity of Decisions The leader must now decide to make things happen. Clarity of decisions leads to lucent actions, while ambiguity leads to delayed or random acts.

In the absence of decision, clarity, and rigor, actions may be delayed or misguided. A pattern of decisions shapes an identity. A leader chooses how to spend time, who to spend time with, what information to process, what meetings to hold, and what issues to address. Through this pattern of decisions, she creates an identity.

Being clear about decisions and protocols enables leaders to shape an identity. Decisions protocols also turn a direction and path into a set of choices. Just as leadership is a choice, so is the identity that follows from what and how leaders make decisions.

Not all the transmutation that you estimated turned out to be great—meaning every vicissitude did not result in an ecstatic ending. Thoughtful bellwethers ask four questions:

  1. What decisions do I need to make? Leaders focus on the few key decisions they need to make.
  2. Who will make the decision—and who is accountable for the decision?
  3. When will the decision be made? Work expands to fill the time provided. Deadlines generate commitment to action.
  4. How will we make a good decision? This involves knowing the quality level the decision requires, accessing the right information, asking the right people for input, finding out what others have done, testing alternatives, and involving key people.

When people feel heard, they more likely accept the decision. When people know the why they accept the what. However, most other changes later in life had external dependencies. Discretion is an imperative.

As you follow this protocol, you pass the decisiveness and decision test. You not only know what you want, you know the options, which leadership option works best, and the key decisions that will move the change along and shape a new pattern or identity.

Attitude #5: Act—Question #5: What actions do I need to take?

An incipient identity requires incipient actions. We often judge ourselves by our intent, but others judge our identity by our actions. Make actions part of the new identity.

  • Start small. Seek small, first steps. Look for lead customers who might engage in a new project. Look for early adopters of a new idea. Seek many people making small changes.
  • Let go. New identity requires letting go of old actions consistent with an old identity. As old actions are replaced with new ones, others begin to expect the new identity and its actions. As actions accumulate, they become patterns, and a new identity is forged.
  • Involve others. Change requires a social support network. Leaders who act to sustain change will need to surround themselves with those who model the desired changes.

Sustained Change Takes Time

Sustained Change Takes Time Once new directions and opportunities make sense, have the team participate in creating or revising their vision, goals, and milestones, so everyone knows how they connect to the mission. Try this “four 3s” methodology:

  1. 3 hours: What can I do in the next three hours to make progress?
  2. 3 days: What can I do in the next three days to make progress?
  3. 3 weeks: What can I do in the next three weeks to sustain progress?
  4. 3 months: What can I do in the next three months to show progress?

In three months, old patterns may be replaced by new patterns.

Attitude #6: Learn—Question #6: How will I know and grow?

Sustained change requires follow-up, monitoring, and learning. Without indicators to track progress, learning cannot occur. You must weigh in and figure out what helps or hinders your goal. In change, you should probe for early denotements of prosperity by identifying lead designators of what is or is not working. The tracking indicators should lead to insights, improvements, and upgrades.

Leaders observe events, see patterns, think critically and creatively about problems, are self-aware about strengths and weaknesses, try new things, and adapt and improve what they do and how they do it.

Thorough cultural diagnostics can assess organizational readiness to change, bring major problems to the surface, identify conflicts, and define factors that can recognize and influence sources of leadership and resistance.

Six Attitudes of Change

Six Attitudes of Change Management These six attitudes and questions help you move from the tyranny of to-do lists, events, and programs to the leadership assimilation of a new identity.

Trying to execute faster and struggling with the reality that change takes time. Our techniques are too often informed by what worked in the engineering age. We treat humans like machines and expect things to work properly if we just engineer the change properly. The problem, of course, is that people are not machines. More of what you have suggested is necessary for helping people move through the very human process of change.

A worthwhile challenge can be prodigiously incentivizing, as long as it is a veracious description of the leadership situation.

Make use of management techniques that have been shown to reduce threats during tough times, when boardroom conflicts are more likely to arise because of differing perspectives.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

Adapting to Change and Managing the Transition Successfully

Life is about adapting to change and ever-increasing demands. William Bridges was right: “It’s not the changes that do you in. Ifs the transitions.”

Organizations must continually change. The question is “how?” The leader’s task is to make change work by helping others through transition.

A successful transition …

  • Explains what is and what isn’t over. Some things never change: You will continue to serve customers and produce products. What changes is not what you do but how you do it. Help people identify what is and is not over.
  • Respects the past. The practices that frustrate you today were someone’s innovative solutions of the past. Do not criticize widely accepted practices. Accept them as right for that time while recognizing that times change.
  • Ensures the “important stuff” continues. What is the important stuff to you? Service? Ethics? Whatever it is, it must continue. Involve others in defining the “important stuff” and ensure that the change does not disregard them. This increases support for the change.
  • Sets the stage for the future. Today’s change will open your eyes to new opportunities. As you evolve, set goals for what you want to achieve. Measure and evaluate progress. And, show others how the change will move them toward a positive future.
  • Recognizes its day will end. Don’t assume that today’s solution will work forever. And don’t think that this will be the last change.

Long-term success depends on anticipating and responding to change and making the transition.

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Posted in Management and Leadership Uncategorized

Leadership Manifesto

Leadership Manifesto

Leadership is in a state of retreat bordering on confusion, as we go from crisis to crisis, scandal to scandal, outrage to outrage. Normalcy is waiting for the other shoe to drop. More CEOs and CFOs are coming in conflict with the law. Once powerful companies are going belly up for cooking company books, creating fictitious bottom lines. Perpetrators are hauled off to jail in Armani suits. These outrages manifest the arrogance of power and greed. We are adrift in a maelstrom without a rudder.

People are partners to leadership. They control the rudder. Yet, most are passive, obedient obsequious, polite, conforming, dependent, submissive, rudderless, or clueless. They are of no service to themselves, or their leadership. This translates into learned helplessness and irresponsibility. We get the leadership we deserve. Crisis and scandal do not occur in a vacuum.

All are vulnerable. Our culture abhors a snitch, stoolie, or tattletale. We don’t “challenge authority“. We react to it.

I can’t divine what will replace CEOs and presidents, but many “leaders” no longer lead and never learned how to follow. Their eyes are guided by history, not vision, by what they know, not what they can find out, by what has worked, not what is failing now, by a sense of power, not a sense of people.

I contend that most work can be conducted much better without managers.

Leadership is often personified in a charismatic leader (political leader), a central figure (Pope) or a person that sits at the top (CEO). I find this perspective too narrow. Leadership is far more universal, pervasive, organic, and encompassing. Everyone is a leader, or no one is!

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Posted in Management and Leadership

How To Fail Successfully

How To Fail Successfully

If you’re going to be a skillful sailor, you have to weather some storms. We build and expand skills by testing them, and that means that failure is an essential ingredient of success. It’s the weight that we lift for one set of repetitions but not three that we should be tackling in the gym. After we succeed at one weight, we seek the next weight that will ensure our failure.

The key to mastery is failing successfully. We fail successfully when failure does not take us out of the game (risk management) and when failure sparks adaptation and innovation. If we want to become a world class skier, we can’t remain content with tackling small hills. But we also can’t start at the highest peaks. In conquering trading hills we prepare ourselves to master the mountains.

Source: Brett Steenbarger

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Barriers to Successful Strategy Execution

Barriers to Successful Strategy Execution

As managers, we learn the truth what Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: “Plans are useless; planning is everything.” Indeed, execution—more than planning—determines success. Planning should be a process for building clarity and alignment, and positioning for efficient and effective execution.

Each year managers spend countless hours planning, budgeting, and forecasting. Most expect significant results from their plans. Unfortunately, even seasoned managers struggle to bring together people, strategies, and operations to achieve results.

We have identified five critical barriers to successful execution.

Barrier 1: The underlying strategy is not clear.

Confusion ranges from “fuzziness” in direction to not understanding what strategy is. A strategy represents set of decisions regarding the future and how to achieve success. Without a crisp articulation of these decisions, executives must reinvent them every time a new idea, opportunity, or problem arises—resulting in endless meetings, missed opportunities, a culture of indecision, and lower returns on executives’ time. A lack of clarity and agreement regarding the direction creates a void where personalities, politics, and oneupmanship prevail. Disagreements are played out in fragments of daily conversations and emails about what initiative is the priority at that moment, resulting in diluted progress, frustration, and missed opportunities.

Solution: Invest the time to get clear. Every executive team must agree on three points: Who are we? Where are we going? How are we going to get there? The level of clarity required for execution is derived from focusing on actionable answers. For example, there may be more value in defining the basic competitive advantage of the enterprise than in wordsmithing a mission statement. We suggest using a strategic framework to unify all aspects of strategy, one important element being a Quantified Vision. In addressing where are we going, it is powerful to paint a picture of the future with numbers to depict the evolution—not just financially, but also in terms of customers, products, and locations.

Barrier 2: The plan is overly optimistic.

Most executive teams tend to take on too much. The opportunities and issues they face make it difficult to prioritize initiatives and activities. As organizations evolve, they collect initiatives, processes, and pet projects that dilute focus and soak up resources. In addition, when executives plan, they often assume a perfect world—one free of distractions and problems. Such environments don’t exist. Runaway optimism builds failure into the plan, corrupting the notion of execution in the minds of the people required to follow-through and maintain the plan.

Solution: Define priorities. Creating an executable plan requires putting as much discipline and focus on those things that are not considered a priority for execution as those that are. The Not Do’ s must be identified along with Must-Do’s. From a list of initiatives, projects, and activities underway or planned, assign each item to one of three buckets: 1) must-do this year, 2) nice-to-have this year, and 3) not-do this year. Ask which items are most critical to executing them and achieving the vision. Put nice-to-have items in a holding bin. Put not-do activities and pet projects on hold. Cease activities relating to the not-do’s.

Barrier 3: No one is accountable for results.

Accountability motivates people to follow-through on their commitments. A driver of accountability is clarity on “who is on the hook for what.” Unfortunately, most managers focus the accountabilities on activities, as opposed to results. This creates challenges. You must ask: “Does all of this activity add up to real progress against strategic objectives?” “Are people makll1g progress against their commitments?” Without a clearly defined “finish line,” accountability will be confused or diluted.

Solution: Raise the stakes. As initiatives are prioritized, tie the initiative to a time horizon. Define a specific business result associated with effective execution of that initiative. What do we expect to get out of this initiative? When? Who is on the hook to make this happen? Defining initiatives in this manner raises the stakes for execution and enables people to fully commit. These initiatives become your business commitments.

Accountability for Results

Barrier 4: The plan has not been actively deployed.

Many executives complain about the difficulty of aligning around a vision or strategy. When asked what they do to deploy the vision or strategy, they respond with puzzled looks or explanations of communications programs. Issues of strategic importance require more than a 60-minute presentation in order for people to internalize and act on them. Treating complex issues in this manner usually reaps confusion at best. At worst, the result is mismatched expectations. To do their jobs, managers need to apply the strategy to their part of the business, ideally by working shoulder-to-shoulder with the primary authors of the strategic plan.

Solution: Mobilize the troops. Leaders should articulate the new strategy or plan to groups of managers in a series of deployment workshops. Leaders and managers participate in planning exercises in which the managers make decisions regarding what they must do differently as a result of the new strategic plan. This approach aligns, motivates, and mobilizes people to execute the strategy, as it builds momentum.

Barrier 5: The plan is static.

Within many expensive but ineffective plans is an unspoken assumption that nothing can change the validity of the plan. Of course, this is not true. Today major changes in the competitive landscape, economy, and key strategic areas must assumed. Strategic plans that do not account for change are doomed.

As internal and external conditions drive changes in priorities and resource allocations, one of three things impedes the use of the strategic plan:

  1. the plan not visible—after planning, it is locked away, disconnected from decision-making;
  2. the plan is not accessible it is held in secret, restricted to a few senior executives; or
  3. the plan is not changeable—it is a dense amalgam, making it difficult to update and manage.

If any of these situations exists, the effort required to maintain the plan becomes unwieldy and the plan becomes obsolete. Executives must then do so without the benefit of the analysis encompassed in the strategic plan or an understanding of how resources are to be applied to aid quick decision-making.

Solution: Create an execution process. Use strategy as a weapon to drive progress, manage accountabilities, evaluate performance and support decision-making. Make the plan visible, accessible and changeable. Use annual planning not to develop static plans, but to create dynamic processes: single-page executive dashboards, single-page management action plans, and strategy progress meetings. A dynamic planning and execution process helps an executive team understand progress, make decisions, and take action.

Conclusions

Successful strategy execution is a dynamic process. Strategy begins as a set of agreements about markets, products, revenues, and growth. The rest is execution. Unless there is a process for evaluating execution, making decisions, and closing the loop with the original strategy, the effort dies. Execution is a process for maintaining strategic progress. Refocus your planning activities on execution of plans. Use your planning process to steer around these barriers and on to success.

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Posted in Business and Strategy Management and Leadership

Servant Leadership: See and Serve

Servant Leadership

For the past decade, we have focused primarily on the what of leadership, and only tangentially on the why of leadership. Of course, the whole concept of leadership is problematic today because modern technology has produced prosperity and a growing professional class of independence, competence, security, and self-confidence.

All of this has led to the egalitarian anti-hierarchical spirit of the age, which threatens to make traditional management unimportant and leaders dispensable. The mystical charm of “being managers” has been drastically reduced as the fulcrum of the problem-solving has shifted to professionals, of course, without the power or authority.

Servant Leadership Today

I now define leadership simply as the vision to see, the ability to serve, and the skill to design and sell and implement a strategy that meets the first two criteria.

The vision to see is to have an accurate assessment of where you are, where you want to go, and how you plan to get there. The vision to see includes manpower, methods, and motivation. Organizations, like individuals, are born, grow to maturity, establish their identity, and use this to create their niche in the marketplace, and then grow less nimble and flexible and ultimately decline.

As the individual has to reinvent himself at different stages of his life to remain competent and competitive, so also does an organization. As the individual’s vision becomes more myopic, requiring the aid of glasses, contacts, or laser surgery, so also must an organization install corrective devices to focus and see things as they are rather than as they once were or as they should be.

The organization’s culture, communications, and competence are closely tied to manpower, methods, and motivation.

Culture is the invisible hand that dictates what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. The structure of work determines the workplace culture; the culture represents the values and beliefs; these drive behaviors. The function of work determines the structure of work, the structure of work determines the workplace culture, and the culture prescribes organizational behavior. If the organization knows what it wants to achieve and is structured to accomplish that goal, behavior will be purposeful, and the goal will be achieved. The goal or objective plus the appropriate culture equals purposeful performance.

Manpower relates to having the right mix of people to do the jobs required with the appropriate training and skills. This demands an assessment of readiness of skills available, a talent bank, and a critical analysis of changing manpower needs.

Servant Leadership: Motivation and Methods

Methods involve the infrastructure of how work is done. If you design a company where there are discrete departments, work will follow territorial imperatives out of which develop pecking orders, levels of elitism, and status. Conversely, teamwork cells represent an organic approach where departments and functions are integrated into a common goal, and support each other in user-friendly terms.

Motivation is the litmus test of productivity, which is based on the perception of control and satisfaction as a function of structure. Morale and motivation are often confused. You can have high morale and low productivity. You likely won’t have high motivation and low productivity. Morale is an effect, not a cause. Motivation is a cause, and motivation is not directly tied to incentives.

Incentives are meant to put a fire under you. Motivation involves creating a fire in you. Motivation ties into the third part of my definition of leadership where selling is involved. Incentives are external stimuli in the form of rewards to workers who are dependent on the reward giver. Motivation is inner directed and represents the self-satisfaction of a job well done. Incentives are manipulative devices successful with other-directedness, while motivation is enabling or selfdirected. It is the difference between a worker going to management with a problem and a worker going to management with a solution.

Incentives work well when a passive work force is the norm, where management acts as parent to workers. Those days are gone. No organization can afford a passive and dependent work force.

Today 80 percent of the work force is white-collar and college-trained. Knowledge power beats position power. Lateral communications or horizontal integration of effort at the operating level is critical to success, not vertical directives from policy makers remotely located at the top. Timeliness is critical in decision-making, meaning most decisions must be made at the level of consequences to ensure success.

Servant Leadership: Motivation and Morale

Motivation and morale dovetail if success is to be realized. Motivation is based on the attitude of the individual. Attitude is a predisposition to act in a certain way. Morale is a corporate or group index. These have been confused, as companies have created cultures of comfort and complacency in an attempt to raise morale, thinking high morale was the key to productivity and that motivation would follow naturally. Supporters of this concept give workers everything but the kitchen sinkrecreational complexes, liberal policies, generous benefits, paid leaves-and few, if any, of these benefits are tied to productivity measures. Even performance appraisal becomes a routine exercise for incremental raises. Cultures of comfort and complacency are merely fun places to go and socialize; work is not necessarily the primary focus. What motivates people most is a culture that provides clear work objectives, the training and tools to accomplish tasks, the trust that they will perform well, the freedom and control of the work, the support needed when they fall short of the mark, and a fair economic split in company profits. These people don’t need a lot of bells and beads, slogans, or rah-rah sessions. This is the culture of contribution as opposed to that of comfort and complacency because workers own what they do and are pro-active rather than reactive.

When people are provided with challenging work and measured and rewarded fairly with regard to that work, motivation, morale, and productivity follow. The focus of morale is on the work climate; the focus of motivation is on the job. Leadership with a vision to see blends these two factors to support productive work.

The second factor in leadership is the ability to serve. Leaders must be complete followers. They must have the best interests of those they serve in mind, and know them as they know themselves—how they think, feel, believe and behave; what they value, why they value it, and what are their greatest hopes and fears. Otherwise, their ability to serve is a charade. That does not mean the leader gives people all that they want, but rather that he helps them find the way to what they need. The goals of the company and the needs of the workers are interdependent. It would be wrong to meet goals at the expense of the workers, but it would be equally counter-productive to meet the needs of the workers at the expense of company goals. The leader behaves not as a concerned parent but as an honest broker, sharing with workers his vision of where they are, where they are going, and how they might get there. This means he shares information strategically, enabling workers to make decisions appropriate to the work at hand and the company’s best interests.

Moreover, the ability to serve does not suggest that what is proposed is always necessarily supported by the majority. The majority often has a vested interest in the status quo, and the status quo may be what is derailing the operation.

Some CEOs are culpable for malfeasance, corruption, cover-up, or cooking the books, but to me their greatest crimes are lack of vision, betrayal of those they serve, and failure to create a cohesive and winning strategy in the face of bold new challenges.

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Learn to Make Paranoia Work for You

Learn to Make Paranoia Work for You

For most leaders, decision-making involves the dualities of increasing productivity but retaining quality; satisfying ecology but maintaining profitability; reducing service costs but insuring customer satisfaction. Leaders serve many constituencies: senior staffs, employees, stockholders, board members, customers.

Leaders are often unaware of their personal limits and the limits of their jobs: the job is often soul-consuming; martyrdom is a frequent refuge; and super-human responses still fall short.

In the past, leaders were encouraged to live with the demands of their jobs, reduce excesses through delegation, appreciate the achievements—the rush, respect, even admiration of those they valued. But such consolation didn’t last.

Why? It was a sane approach. It blended knowledge of both the nature of the job with that of the client. But the fears persisted: not being equal to the challenges; surrounded by untrustworthy and even back-stabbing associates; and an array of external forces and factors making success problematic. The net result was frequent and urgent callbacks in which CEOs spent all the time venting. The inevitable question then came: “Am I crazy? What’s wrong with me?”

Once I answered: “The job is crazy, and so are you. It is a mirror match. No divorce is possible. You have a tiger by the tail. Neither one of you will let go, and it will never change its stripes. Your paranoia goes with the job and with who you are. We have to bring it to the surface and accept paranoia as a norm. Then we need to find ways of making that paranoia work for you—making it protective, purposeful, and proactive.”

The executive was thoughtful. Then he said: “Clearly, I am not comfortable thinking of myself or my job in terms of paranoia. So, what’s the next step?”

I told him: “First, make a list of daunting tasks, people out to get you, and those cheering you on to failure.” As a result, this leader went from accepting to embracing the limitations of the job, from believing that there was nothing wrong with him to recognizing his paranoia.

I coach protective, purposeful, and proactive paranoia for leaders. Coaching should be situational: “If you had to deal with this situation how would you handle it?” Although coaching should focus on solutions, these should come from the mentee. But here the client was puzzled.

Three situations surfaced: threats, quandaries, and discontinuities.

Threats-protective Paranoia

I asked the CEO to make a list of threats, including: who is out to get me, who wants my job, who is undermining me or my plans, what factions are forming, what is the rumor mill saying about me, what is my standing with the rank and file, stockholders, and board members? Along with a to-do list, paranoia creates a to-worry-about list.

Heeding paranoia and making it serve protective ends, the CEO finds he has to make some changes. The first one is changing style and schedule of appointments. Meetings now need to be supplemented by information-gathering. Breaks become occasions for surprise visits. Early arrival can be coupled with buying breakfast for managers never known before. Lunches are devoted to disarming threats and spiking the guns of those who may be out to get you. Evening engagements involve inviting senior staff members and spouses for dinner or to attend a show or concert together. It’s sage advice: “Keep your enemies dose.”

The second major change is a reexamination of the CEO’s sources of information. Who tells the emperor that he has no clothes? What has been his relationship with his senior staff? Has he surrounded himself with “yes men”? Does he require constant approval with little or no dissent? Does he shoot the messenger? In short, has he inspired and developed ” followship”? Has he created a team that will protect him?

By operating from a base of paranoia, threats can be accepted as a norm not a personal leadership failing. The CEO needs to have an early warning system. Internal intelligence gathering should match the external monitoring of market and competition. Indeed, the first may feed into the second. Learning about internal capacity may directly affect market performance. Worrying about threats may save his job and his company.

Proactive Paranoia

Quandries-purposeful Paranoia

One benefit of valuing paranoia is relieving the CEO of the burden of having to be all knowing, all powerful, all successful, and indispensable. The CEO can’t be the only problem solver. The coach suggests the compilation of another list: what at work drives you crazy? What frustrates or compromises what you believe should be done? This paranoia requires a more reflective exchange. These are not direct threats as much as powerful enigmas that cause sleepless nights and undermine companies. And so the coach and the CEO seek to identify and unravel Gordian knots.

Although many will surface, the most difficult is how to persuade people to change behaviors or to alter basic attitudes and belief systems. The coach might ask the CEO: How often have you changed or resisted change? What helped or hindered you? What have you learned that can be applied? A second approach requires reconfiguring structures and roles so that change is welcomed not required, invited not coerced. In short, change the outside as a way of changing the inside.

To stimulate such thinking, the coach may introduce distributed leadership, including a leadership component in every employee’s job. Or, rotate leadership among team members. Or, shift the focus from changing people to changing environments that change people. The fear or paranoia of failure compels such actions because they facilitate thinking out of the box, and reduce attribution of failure to executive limitations. As with threats, paranoic inadequacy can be turned upon itself for insight, quandaries can become transparent enigmas; and the challenge of internal change can be converted to the challenge of external structures.

Discontinuities-proactive Paranoia

Increasingly, nothing remains constant and familiar. Twists and turns, breaks and new directions, shrinking of old markets, seeking new ones—these are the daily fluctuations leaders face.

Given such regular dislocations, the desire to hold on reinforces the resistance to change. The future then abandons the organization. Whep the coach and the CEO address the future, what surfaces is the stuff of which nightmares are made: assumptions, planning, and coherence.

  • Assumptions that good times will continue, that growth is assured, and that market share will remain secure make for happy days. But when discontinuity becomes a norm, assumptions analysis has to become the data of decision making.
  • Forecasts and strategic planning fail to serve as an early warning system, suffering from a reliance on assumptions. If the CEO asked all employees to invent the future, that would make everyone a strategic planner who would forecast how their jobs might change and what to do to prepare.
  • Coherence. The key is for the leader to find and articulate new common ground. It may be a combination of some previous beliefs that still have binding power with some new sources of coherence that await us in the future. Together these give commonality of purpose and flexibility to face discontinuity. Having graduated from the College of Paranoia, you are ready to lead others out of the wilderness of threats, quandaries, and discontinuities.
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Shared Leadership to Use Hidden Assets Around You

Shared Leadership to Use Hidden Assets Around You

Most leadership development efforts only focus on formal leaders, or persons being groomed for leadership. However, followers also need to be included in leadership development efforts to prepare them for responsible self-leadership and to effectively practice shared leadership, especially in team-based knowledge work.

To prepare for the leadership challenges of tomorrow, we need to abandon some popular myths regarding the meaning of leadership today. This mythology centers on the romantic conception of top-down “heroic leadership.” Many people are drawn to the image of a larger-than-life, charismatic, all-knowing, heroic leader who can inspire and single-handedly transform work systems and the people who work in them. This image is an oversimplification of leadership.

Self Leadership And Shared Leadership

Self-leadership and shared leadership are at the heart of the new leadership forms needed to meet our challenges.

  • Self-leadership. People are capable of leading themselves. Self-leadership goes beyond participation and empowerment. Self-leadership does involve self-management of behavior to meet existing standards and objectives, but it also includes evaluating the standards and setting or changing them. It looks at what should be done and why it should be done in addition to how to do it. And it includes internal motivation, self management of thoughts, and developing various specific self-leadership skills, including self-observation, self-goal-setting, self-reward, rehearsal, self-job redesign, self-management of internal dialogues, and mental imagery. Such self-leadership strategies hold promise for meeting the empowerment challenges posed for members in teambased knowledge work systems.
  • Shared Leadership. Shared leadership occurs when all members are fully engaged in the leadership of the team. It includes ongoing and mutual leadership from both official and unofficial leaders. It is a key characteristic of empowerment in teams, providing more robust leadership than simple reliance on top leadership. This is particularly important in knowledge work, since a formal leader is often at a significant knowledge disadvantage relative to many team members on many important issues for the team.

Here are five ways you can unleash self and shared leadership to leverage the abilities of knowledge workers:

  • Avoid authoritarian control, of knowledge workers. Empower everyone.
  • Don’t rely too much on any one individual in knowledge creation. Encourage everyone to be involved.
  • Avoid the ego trap of wanting to be the top-down heroic leader. Encourage others to step forward as leaders when they have the key skills and knowledge.
  • Avoid hoarding power and influence. Provide the training and resources that enable others to step up to the plate.
  • Don’t always offer your opinion first. Ask the four most important words in management, “What do you think?”

Shared leadership is a better predictor of team success and team performance than the leadership of a formally designated leader.

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25 Best Quotes on Managing Change

Successfully Lead in Change Management

“We are all prisoners of our past. It is hard to think of things except in the way we have always thought of them. But that solves no problems and seldom changes anything.”
Charles Handy (b. 1932), British Management Guru

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
James Baldwin (1924–1987), American Novelist

“If anything is certain, it is that change is certain. The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow.”
Philip Crosby (1926–2001), Expert on Quality Management

“Every new change forces all the companies in an industry to adapt their strategies to that change.”
Bill Gates (b. 1955), Computer Pioneer and Philanthropist

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”
John F. Kennedy (1917–63), American Head of State

'Leading Change' by John P. Kotter (ISBN 1422186431) “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”
Henri Bergson (1859–1941), French Philosopher

“Change masters are – literally – the right people in the right place at the right time. The right people are the ones with the ideas that move beyond the organization’s established practice, ideas they can form into visions. The right places are the integrative environments that support innovation, encourage the building of coalitions and teams to support and implement visions. The right times are those moments in the flow of organizational history when it is possible to reconstruct reality on the basis on accumulated innovations to shape a more productive and successful future.”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter (b. 1943), Harvard Professor of Management

“If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.”
Kurt Lewin (1890–1947), American Psychologist

“Producing major change in an organization is not just about signing up one charismatic leader. You need a group – a team – to be able to drive the change. One person, even a terrific charismatic leader, is never strong enough to make all this happen.”
John Kotter (b. 1947), American Management Consultant

“The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.”
Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947), English Mathematician and Philosopher

'Managing Change (Pocket Mentor)' by Harvard Business School Press (ISBN 1422129691) “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”
Nicolo Machiavelli (1469–1527), Italian Diplomat and Author

“Where there are changes, there are always business opportunities.”
Minoru Makihara (b. 1930), Japanese Executive and CEO of Mitsubishi Corporation

“Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.”
Robert C. Gallagher, American Humorist

Change Management is about People Management

“The new always carries with it the sense of violation, of sacrilege. What is dead is sacred; what is new, that is, different, is evil, dangerous, or subversive.”
Henry Miller (1891–1980), American writer

“The manager, in today’s world, doesn’t get paid to be a steward of resources, a favored term not so many years ago. He or she gets paid for one and only one thing: to make things better (incrementally and dramatically), to change things, to act – today.”
Tom Peters (b. 1942), American Management Guru

'Managing Change in Organizations: A Practice Guide' by Project Management Institute (ISBN 1628250151) “We cannot become what we need to be, by remaining what we are.”
Max De Pree (b. 1924), American Business Executive

“Change is scientific, progress is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy.”
Bertrand Russell (1872–1970), British Philosopher, Logician, and Mathematician

“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.”
Amy Tan (b. 1952), American Author

“There are companies which are prepared to change the way they work. They realize that nothing can be based on what used to be, that there is a better way. But, 99 percent of companies are not ready, [they are] caught in an industrial Jurassic Park.”
Ricardo Semler (b. 1959), Brazilian Business Executive and Author

“Change Management: The process of paying outsiders to create the pain that will motivate insiders to change, thereby transferring the change from the company’s coffers into those of the consultants.”
Eileen Shapiro, American Management Author

'Lean Change Managment: Innovative Practices For Managing Organizational Change' by Jason Little (ISBN 0990466507) “If an organization is to meet the challenges of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself except beliefs…. The only sacred cow in an organization should be its basic philosophy of doing business.”
Thomas Watson Jr. (1914–93), American Business Executive

“A change of heart is the essence of all other change and it is brought about by a re-education of the mind.”
Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence (1867–1954), English Women’s Rights Activist

“Organizations need employees who understand that change is the norm and employees who are prepared to learn continuously.”
Beverly Goldberg, American Management Author

“We are living through the most profound changes in the economy since the Industrial Revolution. Technology, globalization, and the accelerating pace of change have yielded chaotic markets, fierce competition, and unpredictable staff requirements.”
Bruce Tulgan (b. 1967), American Business Author

“You can’t move so fast that you try to change the [norms] faster than people can accept it. That doesn’t mean you do nothing, but it means that you do the things that need to be done according to priority.”
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), American First and Author

Recommended Books on Change Management

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