From Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), Leading Effectively
A year and a half ago, Jean Bustard was at a crossroads. A founder and president of ADA-ES, a growing environmental technologies company, she was part of the senior team looking at acquisitions, creating new structures and leading change.
“I realized I was not as effective as I used to be. It was frustrating to me — and to others,” she says. “Was I capable of growing with the company? Or should we find someone else?”
Bustard turned to CCL, attending the Leadership at the Peak (LAP) program for top-level leaders.
I didn’t want feedback sugar coated
Lorenz Gross also attended LAP at a pivotal point in his career. Gross is an international attorney and in-house EMEA corporate counsel with automotive and high-tech supplier Delphi. Last July, he was considering a career move.
“Increasingly, my interests leaned toward the business side, more than a pure legal track,” he says. “Corporate attorneys are, although part of the business, always somewhat on the periphery. I was looking at a possible job change that would put me closer to the heart of the business.”
“Leaders at the top of organizations, like Jean and Lorenz, have such a huge capacity to influence and impact the rest of the organization,” says CCL’s Rich Tallman. “Leadership at the Peak gives them a chance to examine what’s working and what isn’t, and to refocus their leadership efforts to meet their challenges.”
“Do I have what it takes to get to the next level?”
“On a personal level, LAP gives participants a venue to reflect on where they’ve been and what they want to do next,” Tallman adds. “They have permission to think about their careers and personal life and ask, do I have what it takes to get to the next level? And do I want to do what it takes?”
The in-depth and personalized assessments, reflection and coaching — as well as feedback and input from their peers — sets LAP apart from other executive education courses or workshops.
Bustard and Gross experienced clear and powerful feedback about their leadership effectiveness, as well as support and guidance for taking it all in. Along with their fellow executive leaders, they addressed communication and influence skills, the need to sustain health and energy for the work of leadership, and specific action plans for their pressing challenges.
“I certainly learned a lot about myself — how I behave, react and do things — and the impact I have on others,” Gross acknowledges. “And I realized that my career so far has been well-aligned with my interests. The time to reflect on that was very satisfying and valuable.”
“There is a big difference between my intent and my impact!”
Bustard, too, became more mindful of the impact she has on others: “I learned there can be a big difference between my intent and my impact — that was a blind spot for me. Now I pay attention to how people are receiving what I am saying and doing.”
“Another big lesson was to understand that I don’t need to be the only problem-solver,” she added. “My role is to get the rest of the company to be problem-solvers.”
Both Gross and Bustard stayed with their organizations, both have taken on new roles and/or responsibilities, and both credit LAP with providing the clarity and insight to move ahead as leaders.
As for advice to other senior leaders?
“Take time to reflect, know your value, when to step up and when to step back to let others add value,” says Gross. “And be authentic.”
Bustard suggests her peers should be more excited to try new things to improve as leaders. Drawing on her experience as a triathlete, she says:
“You’ve got to try it”
“I train to be better. I will do anything to make this 56-year-old person faster! Why wouldn’t I try to improve on the job, as a leader, where I spend most of the hours in a day?
“If I tell my runner friends, I got these new shoes and dropped 30 seconds off my time, they would be headed straight to the running store. That’s how it should be with work, too. I should say, I went to this course, I’m more effective now, here’s why — you’ve got to try it. We should talk about what we are doing to be better — and it should be exciting.”
Leadership at the Peak is for leaders of the enterprise. It is designed exclusively for C-level and senior executives in the top three tiers of the organization. To ensure participants have the optimum background to benefit from the program, admission is by application only. Sessions are offered in Colorado Springs, CO, as well as in Switzerland and Singapore.
From Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) Leading Effectively
It seems everybody is seeking innovation — at least everybody wants the results of innovation. Innovation is often viewed as a panacea or “silver bullet” for underlying organizational issues that are hard to articulate.
Innovation is about creating and implementing something new that adds value.
Innovation is not only about new products — it’s also about changing the way we work, providing new services to our clients, or changing business models to deliver products and services that are hard to replicate.
Innovation fuels new industries, markets, products and services. It allows us to handle complex challenges facing the organization, helping us transform and continually adapt in order to give us a sustainable competitive edge.
So, what gets in the way of innovation? The major challenge — even in organizations that declare the desire to become more innovative — is the full commitment of leaders to practice new ways of leading innovation while continuing to efficiently and effectively manage the core business.
Leading innovation requires new mindsets, skillsets and toolsets, according to CCL’s David Horth and Jonathan Vehar in the paper, Becoming a Leader Who Fosters Innovation. Here, they offer a few suggestions to get you thinking.
Commit. Innovation requires resources and deliberate focus. To break down the organizational barriers to innovation, ensure that people have appropriate governance, funding, resources, support and access to decision-makers.
“But don’t launch a big innovation initiative, contest or campaign,” Vehar warns. “It’s bound to backfire.”
Innovation is at its best when it has a job to do. Start with a key organizational issue assigned to a small group and give them your best leadership and support. Then get out of their way so they can find innovative resolutions to the challenge. Create simple and effective ways to reinforce the message that innovation is important for all functions in the organization. Speak in compelling and simple terms that motivate people to think and do things differently (but not just for the sake of it!).
Work on the culture. Shift away from the “management of creativity” (a control mindset) and towards “leadership for innovation,” which calls for developing a culture and climate that promotes and acknowledges the creative process. Without the supporting culture, breakthroughs and meaningful innovations that challenge the status quo rarely emerge. If radical ideas surface, they often never make it to the marketplace or get implemented as innovations. Such ideas are typically rejected before they get very far.
“Innovation leadership goes against the grain of organizations that have been built on the foundation of operational efficiency and repeatable processes,” says Horth. “Innovation and efficiency must co-exist. If this tension is embraced, it becomes a source of all it takes to transform ideas into innovations — but it takes time and deep understanding of the leadership culture so the two don’t cancel each other out.”
Accept risk — really. Innovation rarely works according to a predetermined plan. In a culture where it’s possible for people to try, make mistakes and learn from what happens, innovations can find their own path, flourish and add value. Even so, the success of a new product, service or process might not be guaranteed. What you must demand and can expect is learning — and the chance to succeed the next time around. This is the basis of de-risking by experimenting and rapid prototyping.
Hone your own creative competencies. Most business leaders have bought into the myth that people are either creative or not. This myth is probably considered fact in your organization — and, as a result, your drive for innovation is going nowhere. To change this pattern, you must first get in touch with your own innovation thinking skills, including the ability to defer judgment, tolerate ambiguity and be genuinely curious. Be a model; innovation is part of your job, too.
Finally, nothing kills innovation more than the “know-it-all leader.” A leader’s job is not to tell people how to do things, nor is it to have all the great ideas.
“Model appropriate humility, offer up your best challenge and then get out of the way,” says Vehar. “When you create the culture and step back, people will amaze you with novel, useful and potentially valuable solutions.”
Want more ideas? Download the free CCL white paper, Becoming a Leader Who Fosters Innovation. And read 7 Innovation Myths That Kill Performance on Forbes.com
From: Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), “Leading Effectively”
By Christopher Gergen
I am a runner. Like many competitive runners, I am committed to qualifying for the Boston Marathon. So for the past two years, I have trained with that goal in mind but in two concurrent marathons have missed the mark. The results have offered some important leadership lessons.
A colleague of mine at Duke, Sim Sitkin, introduced me a while ago to different types of failure. Lazy or undisciplined failure transpires largely because we aren’t adequately prepared and haven’t put the necessary preparation or work into success. “Intelligent failure” is when we fall short of our intended goal even though we have taken a strategic, disciplined, data-driven approach to succeeding. In trying to qualify for Boston, I experienced both.
Still determined to qualify I signed up for the Richmond Marathon. It’s hillier, hotter and is known as the nation’s “friendliest marathon” (not exactly a million+ people screaming encouragement). My training was good but sporadic. The week before the race, I participated in a local half-marathon designed as an easy “taper” run. My competitive spirit got the best of me and I ran a 1:31 on a relatively hilly course. I felt awesome during the race and crushed my personal record. But I was only six days away from the marathon and my legs didn’t recover in time. Strike two.
On race day, I ran with a buddy who was aiming to break three hours. Based on my half-marathon time the week before, I felt I could keep pace and we went out way too fast. I had also poorly prepared my nutrition so by the time I saw my wife at mile 17, I had a glazed look in my eyes. At mile 20 I staggered into the water station and had to stop. Eventually I stumbled the last six miles to the finish line — finishing in four hours though I had hit mile 20 two hours earlier. Strike three and an important lesson in “lazy failure” — when a disappointing result could be avoided by better decision-making.
The following year, I was determined to learn from my poor decisions in Richmond. I persisted through an arduous registration process for Chicago. I trained hard and put the necessary miles in both on the trails and track, training side-by-side with a good friend to push harder. Leading up to the race I rested, ate well, hydrated and by race day I was primed. Race morning was spectacular. Cool weather and blue skies set the stage for a record-setting day. Though my horses were ready to run, I tucked myself into the 3:15 group (the time I needed to qualify). By 13 miles I was on a true runner’s high. The crowds were awesome; I had hit stride, and the pace felt great. I blew by my previous stumbling block at mile 20 feeling strong.
Slowing down for water at mile 24, I fell off the pace group and had to work to catch up but the end was in sight and so was Boston. At mile 25, I collapsed. I don’t remember stopping. I do remember throwing up, almost passing out, not being able to move, and calling my wife to let her know that I had hit the wall again. An ambulance took me to the medical tent. Not my intended way to arrive at the finish line and enormously disappointing. Boston would have to wait.
It was a case of body over mind
So what happened? Persistence was not a problem. In fact, this was definitely the case of body over mind. I had also adapted from my mistakes in the past race. Because of my commitment to learn from “lazy” mistakes I could also start to narrow down potential culprits contributing to my crash-and-burn in Chicago. This was a case study for “intelligent failure.” Training and prep were solid as was pacing and hydration so I could rule all of those out. I am now focusing on better nutritional strategies (more protein?) as well as getting myself checked out medically.
While a painful process, the two races provide vivid leadership development lessons. Persisting and adapting are critical to achieving our goals. So is disciplined decision-making so that if and when failure happens, we can respond intelligently based on feedback loops and take a smarter approach to our goals. Building on lessons learned, I have Boston back in my sights. But right now all I am thinking about is a nice mellow run this weekend.
Christopher Gergen is CEO of Forward Impact, a fellow in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University, and author of Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives. Follow him on Twitter @cgergen.
From: Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), “Leading Effectively”
What is most challenging about leading organizations today? And do the challenges differ around the world?
CCL researchers went straight to the source for an answer to these two questions: 763 middle- and executive-level leaders in organizations from seven different places in the world (China/Hong Kong, Egypt, India, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and United States).
1. Developing Managerial Effectiveness: the challenge of developing the relevant skills — such as time-management, prioritization, strategic thinking, decision-making and getting up to speed with the job — to be more effective at work.
“Workload is very challenging at times. Lots of different critical projects and activities going on with limited resources in the group. Juggling priorities is always at the forefront.” —Manager from the U.S.
2. Inspiring Others: the challenge of inspiring or motivating others to ensure they are satisfied with their jobs and working smarter.
“To motivate a group of 70 staff who had been working with the organization for more than 10 years. Some of the staff have been in the same position without promotion for more than 6 to 8 years,” —Singaporean manager
3. Developing Employees: the challenge of developing others, including mentoring and coaching.
“Qualify my direct reports to fill in for me in the tasks previously done by myself, mainly on two fronts, 1st to develop their business knowledge and sense of perfection which will, 2nd, help them gain their team members’ trust and dedication.” —Egyptian manager
4. Leading a Team: the challenge of team-building, team development and team management. Specific challenges include how to instill pride in a team or support the team, how to lead a big team and what to do when taking over a new team.
“Creating a really collaborative team in a newly established unit.” —Spanish manager
5. Guiding Change: the challenge of managing, mobilizing, understanding and leading change. Guiding change includes knowing how to mitigate consequences, overcome resistance to change and deal with employees’ reaction to change.
“Leading the organization through a business-wide transformation program as part of the executive team. This involves the consolidation of product offerings, driving customer centricity, well-managed agendas, substantial outsourcing and headcount reduction.” —U.K. manager
6. Managing Internal Stakeholders and Politics: the challenge of managing relationships, politics and image. This challenge includes gaining managerial support and managing up and getting buy-in from other departments, groups or individuals.
“The ability to convince and influence other stakeholders to follow the regional and global direction.” —Manager from India
“How to enhance the department position in the organization to add more value to the organization in both operational and strategic perspective.” —Manager from China
Knowing that these challenges are common experiences for middle and senior managers is helpful to both the leaders and those charged with their development, according to the CCL researchers.
Individuals can benefit from knowing their experiences as leaders are more similar than different and can feel more confident in reaching out to others to help them learn and face these challenges. Learning and development professionals can more clearly tailor their efforts to meet the most pressing needs of the leadership pool they serve.
Details of the research, as well as suggestions for helping leaders develop skills to address these top challenges, are found in the new CCL white paper, “The Challenges Leaders Face Around the World: More Similar than Different.”
From: Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), Leading Effectively
Effective leadership can look different depending on where you sit in the organization. For managers of other managers — typically mid- to senior-level leaders — the view can be murky.
Functional or divisional managers, plant managers, GMs and managers with many other manager titles operate somewhere in the middle zone of organizations. They are charged with meeting the demands of top leadership and knowing the realities of frontline management. Managers of managers move up, down and across the organization as they bridge organizational strategy with everyday work.
What does it take to effectively lead in these roles?
One of CCL’s core programs — the Leadership Development Program (LDP)® — gets at the heart of the matter. LDP participants strengthen and refine their leadership fundamentals in the context of their more complex and demanding roles. They also focus on competencies that have not been essential in previous roles.
If you’re a manager of managers, or otherwise leading in the middle zone of the organization, pay particular attention to these six factors:
- Self-awareness underpins effective leadership at all levels. For managers of managers, gaining an accurate picture of who you are and how you lead allows you to adjust and learn. Seeking feedback from a range of constituents is an important part of handling the push-and-pull of competing demands and people. Be especially open to the idea that strengths which have worked well in the past may not get you where you need to go next.
- Learning agility allows you to process information and take wise action in rapidly changing conditions. Effective leaders seek out opportunities to learn and are able to learn quickly.
- Communication remains essential, with the recognition that you have multiple audiences as a middle-zone manager. Communicating and collaborating with peers — other functional or departmental managers over whom you have no direct authority — becomes increasingly important.
- Influence is about gaining cooperation to get things done and is closely tied to effective communication. The ability to influence allows you to move beyond mere compliance and, instead, gain genuine agreement, buy-in and collaboration.
- Resiliency helps you handle the stress, uncertainty and setbacks that are part of your job. These realities are not going away. The ability to stay focused on what matters most in the midst of pressure is a both a life skill and a leadership skill. Being resilient benefits your own mental and physical health while allowing you to be more effective in your management roles.
- Thinking and acting systemically requires you to act not only as an individual manager but also to lead in the midst of a system. Each of us tends to get engrossed in our own work and our own perspective. It’s important to step outside of that, look at the larger system, and ask, what is going on beyond my own level? Why is it playing out the way it is? What could I do differently?
As a manager of managers, you are pulled between priorities and people. However, it is also an exciting place to be in an organization. You are in the right place to work on interesting projects, solve problems and build relationships with a range of people. By clarifying your role, challenges and leadership skills, you and your organization will reap the benefits of your time leading in the middle zone.
From: Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), Leading Effectively
You know change is hard. But did you know that the ability to adapt to change is the No. 1 success factor for leaders?
CCL research has found that successful executives in North America and Europe:
- Adapt to the changing external pressures facing the organization
- Adjust their management style to changing situations
- Accept changes as positive
- Revise plans as necessary
- Consider other people’s concerns during change
But what do you need to do to adapt and respond well to change?
A new CCL guidebook, Adapting to Organizational Change, distills the knowledge and best practices that will help you flex and adjust during changing times.
The first thing you need to do to manage change and be adaptable is understand there is a difference between change and transition.
Change is defined as the situations and occurrences that impact organizations and individuals, such as a new boss, a move to another location or a shift in policy. Change creates the need to move from the way it used to be to the way it is now.
Transition is the internal psychological process of adapting to a new situation. Transition can happen quickly or slowly. It is the process of moving successfully from the old to the new.
Another key strategy is to identify how the changes affect your feelings and thoughts. For many leaders, change challenges their experience with being right or in control. Feelings of anger, fear, powerlessness or frustration, as well as being stressed and exhausted, are common. But if left unresolved, negative feelings and thoughts become more intense, which can lead otherwise successful people to derail.
A final strategy for navigating transition is to guide oneself through three stages. William Bridges, a leader in the field of change management, says transition involves:
An Ending. Let go of the past; honor and grieve the ending but accept it. To fully experience change as an ending, try some or all of these strategies:
- Learn all you can about the nature of the change without first judging it.
- Take stock of who is losing what.
- Define the precise details of what is over and what is not.
- Admit to yourself and others that the change has occurred.
- Actively seek information from all relevant sources about the change.
- Let others know the facts and feelings that you have about the change.
- Mark the ending in a meaningful way.
- Take note of what has been lost and what has been gained.
The Neutral Zone. This may be the most uncomfortable transition stage. This is the time of confusion, of living with a clear ending but having no clear beginning. It is also the time for clarity to develop and point you to a new beginning. Tips for this stage:
- Realize that uncertainty is an integral stage between an ending and a new beginning. Don’t expect to know everything or to be perfect.
- Set short-term goals to move through uncertainty and advance toward a new beginning. Take stock of what you need to accomplish those goals and identify opportunities that will help you move forward.
- Look backward to the ending and acknowledge what you had. Look forward to the beginning and the possibilities it could create.
- Connect to your values. When you feel uncertain and confused, your personal values provide direction.
New beginning. Utilize the clarity that developed in the neutral zone and accept the challenge of working in a changed environment. When moving through the new beginning, experience it as a fresh start. To do so:
- Imagine what the new beginning looks and feels like. Symbolize the new beginning in words, images and thoughts.
- Give everyone a part in the new beginning; find a place for all relevant parties to the change.
- Create strategies for tackling new problems and meeting new challenges.
- Re-emphasize the reason for the change and recognize that reason as why you are beginning anew.
- Find ways to mark your success.
People experience organizational change in many different ways and the process of transition will vary. As a leader, you must deal with your own personal uncertainty and resistance to change. Recognize that your process of going through endings, neutral zones and new beginnings will affect your work and the people around you. With greater awareness of the human side of transition, you will be more adaptable — and able to help others adapt to change as well.
From Center on Creative Leadership, “Leading Effectively” August 2013
The more responsibility you have and the higher up you go in your organization, the more important it is to see beyond your own functional area.
CCL has found that a broad organizational perspective is one of the most important factors in the advancement of executives. Looked at another way, having a narrow functional orientation can lead to derailment. A promotion might take you beyond your level of competence — you may be pushed out, demoted or fired.
If you are too narrow in your perspective, you can expand it, according to CCL’s Ellen Van Velsor, author of the new CCL guidebook, Broadening Your Organizational Perspective.
First, determine what is getting in your way. It may be, in part, organizational forces. But it may be your own behaviors that are holding you back. Do you tend to:
Over-rely on strengths? Too much success in one area can lead you to over-rely on what has been working for you so far. Any strength can become a weakness, leaving you with a gap or limitation when it comes to the next job opportunity.
Ignore a flaw? You probably know your weak spots, or you’ve been given feedback about something to improve. Ignoring this insight is a missed opportunity — one that can potentially derail your career.
Avoid untested areas? If you shy away from a function or area, the lack of knowledge and experience may become an obvious gap. Don’t think, “I’ve made it this far” and assume it won’t matter down the road.
Focus on one type of work? Deep expertise is not a replacement for a variety of experiences. A track record of working in different areas or on different types of work demonstrates the versatility needed to move up in an organization.
Underlying these four patterns is the inability to learn, to take a risk and to be challenged by something new. So, go after a variety of challenging experiences — but be sure you will learn from them.
To boost your ability to learn from experiences, rather than just run through the paces, pay attention to three factors:
Willingness to learn. Understand that new experiences may provoke fear or anxiety. Your performance may suffer in the short term. What is your motivation and commitment to engaging in and learning from a new experience? How will you handle the emotions that come along with it?
Ability to learn. When going through a new experience you will want to determine what is important for you to learn. This requires vulnerability. Are you able to seek and use feedback? Do you learn from mistakes? Are you open to criticism without being defensive?
Learning versatility. You also need to understand how you learn — what’s your learning style. Once you’ve identified the tactics you prefer and use most often, you can try new learning tactics to make sure you learn the most from your experiences.
With a solid understanding and commitment to learning, you can find and create experiences to broaden your organizational view. As a result you will strengthen your overall leadership abilities, enhance your opportunities for advancement and improve your ability to adapt to an uncertain and turbulent world of work.
The idea of having a succession plan is often associated with company ownership, but it really applies throughout any organization. When leaders move on-retiring, getting promoted or choosing to take their talents elsewhere-it can leave a significant void that can be problematic right away and for the long term.
Developing leaders from within is one of the best things you can do to ensure you don’t end up with a leadership deficiency.
A number of best practices exist with regard to internal leadership development, and they all have one thing in common: buy-in from the top is a critical component for success. In addition to saying the right things regarding the importance of “bench strength” and education/training, top leaders must continually espouse developing leaders as something that’s a highly regarded company value.
With that thought in mind, let’s take a look at three best practices that can be used to develop leaders within an organization:
Have a formal executive development program in place. This can be outsourced or run internally, and ideally it will be tiered, offering different tracks for senior managers, mid-level managers, supervisors, and even those who aspire to join the management ranks. With advances in online learning, leaders can tap into programs from wherever they’re located.
It’s best to supplement classroom training-which alone can end up being rather weak-with on-the-job experience in the form of stretch assignments and team projects that accelerate the learning process. However, collaboration and on-the-job reinforcement must remain a necessary component.
Employees need to be able to put concepts and ideas they’ve been learning to work, and they’ll benefit from receiving coaching and feedback along the way.
Encourage leaders to teach. Education comes in many forms; it can be as simple as having a discussion at a staff meeting about the work implications of an assigned article or case study. When leaders take the time to share their knowledge, what results can be quite powerful. Serving as a mentor or coach can ramp things up even more, since that provides line-of-sight support and a place to go with questions, and it may result in career-building opportunities for the person being taken under a leader’s wing.
Pay attention to the makeup of your leadership team. The need for diversity aside, it’s important to create an environment of inclusion, so people feel listened to, and believe they have a path to leadership. Ask whether you’ve inadvertently excluded women, people of color or those with varied cultural backgrounds-and what valuable points of view you are thus missing.
I’ve heard an analogy that diversity is being invited to the party, while inclusion is being asked to dance when you’re there. When people are challenged to stretch beyond what they know, that builds leaders.
When upper management supports these best practices, and makes sure that developing leaders from within is part of the company’s organizational values, the results will be far- reaching. Employees will understand where the company is trying to go and how they can play a role in getting it there, and those who seek to move into leadership roles will have the resources and well-defined pathways to make that happen.
Andrea Zintz, President, Strategic Leadership Resources We are trusted advisors on shaping the future through leadership development. Our business is developing current and future leaders and leadership teams to build the capability for fulfilling the strategic vision of their enterprise
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7681562
From: Center for Creative Leadership, Leading Effectively
Career paths and development strategies are increasingly self-directed. How do you gain the information and insight needed to steer your course?
One essential strategy for getting a clear view of yourself, your context and your career is to seek “sense-making” relationships.
“Other people can help us see more clearly how specific activities or behaviors or experiences fit into our career path and our development,” says Regina Eckert, co-author of a CCL white paper, Through the Looking Glass: How Relationships Shape Managerial Careers. “This process of sense-making is an important and often overlooked aspect of why relationships are valuable.”
Sense-making is simply the process of assigning meaning to a phenomenon or development. From a career perspective, a CCL study found that relationships help managers to make meaning of their work and development in three key ways:
1. To Guide. Some relationships help managers define what they want to achieve and why. Friends, colleagues, mentors, parents or other more experienced or senior people may guide informally by sharing their experiences and perspective. Guiding can also be very direct in the form of practical advice and tips.
2. To Affirm. People who know a manager’s field and/or organization are in a position to affirm, encourage and build confidence. These relationships are helpful for calibrating what’s going on in one’s own career development, as well as in the career market inside and outside his or her organization.
Affirmation is especially needed in the absence of obvious career paths and multiple (often competing) choices to make.
3. To Stretch. Another form of sense-making comes from a challenge to managers’ implicit beliefs about their potential and career goals. Some relationships push them to rethink or reframe a situation or experience.
For example, working with someone who has a very different perspective or take on an issue is a huge opportunity. This often feels uncomfortable, but it opens the door to deeper understanding and new possibilities.
“If you don’t have people to help you make sense of your career development, your context and your goals, our research shows you that you have two choices: Either you seek out relationships that give you the sense-making support you need, or you change your existing relationships to be more relevant for your career and development,” says Eckert.
“Depending on your personal circumstances and the kind of support you’re lacking in your relationships, you can decide which avenue is more promising for you.”
Help Wanted to Steer Career
Do you have relationships with people who help you make sense of your work, your organization, your career? Ask yourself:
- Who guides me? Who is a role model?
- Who affirms my own interpretations and sense-making?
- Who stretches and challenges my sense-making? Who adds perspective?
If you don’t have relationships to help you understand and navigate your work life, who can you turn to? How would you go about changing and re-vamping existing relationships so that they meet your needs?
From: Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), Learning Effectively
Changing culture is about changing minds.
Executives, leadership teams and entire organizations need more mature minds to deal with the increased complexity, uncertainty and inter-connectedness of our world.
Discovery learning — determining willingness. What is the feasibility of entering the culture-change process? This is a mutual learning phase between CCL (as facilitators) and the client (as change agents and organizational leadership). It begins with an assessment of the current level of leadership culture and a look at the capability required by the business strategy.
Players’ Readiness — developing understanding. What are the long-term implications of integrating a new culture into the organization’s work? What is senior leadership’s ability to engage in the change process? It requires a commitment to participate in public learning — practices that many conservative institutions will decline.
Game Board Planning — framing the change process. What does culture change look like? How does interdependent leadership play out in business and leadership strategies, the learning process and organizational work targets? What are the beliefs and behaviors required? As senior leaders’ understanding of the change process grows, they are better able to frame the change challenge and engage other leaders.
Playing the Game — building capability. Once senior leadership has internalized the change work and discerned the way forward, they begin to move the new culture forward into the broader the organization. The same beliefs and practices that moved the leadership culture at the top are taught, practiced and required elsewhere in the organization.
The four phases are not a list of simple steps to take, cautions CCL’s John McGuire.
“Many of the traditional serial, step-by-step change management methodologies regard human beings as things to be managed,” McGuire says. “But we’re not things. We’re complex beings with minds and imaginations and beliefs. We have to engage and participate in order to learn and change.”
“We know this work is not for everyone,” McGuire continues. “But if senior leadership is fully engaged, they become adept at their own collaborative learning. Then the senior team is able to immerse larger numbers of leaders from across the organization and develops toward a critical mass for enterprise-wide change. Our goal is to eventually involve everyone in the organization in a learning process that creates trust, ownership and increasing forms of interdependence.”
3 Types of Leadership Culture
Organizations that grow from dependent to independent to interdependent leadership cultures become increasingly capable of creative action in the face of complexity.
- Dependent: A form of leadership culture or mindset based in conformance or tradition.
- Independent: A form of leadership culture or mindset based in heroic individual achievement.
- Interdependent: A form of leadership culture or mindset based in the collaboration of otherwise independent leaders and groups.