Adaptive Intelligence: Your Organization’s Cultural Operating System

 

Chamelion

This planet came with a set of instructions, but we seem to have misplaced them. Civilization needs a new operating system.” ~Paul Hawken

Pressure Test

Here is a quick test to help you understand both emotional and analytical thinking.

What do you normally do when your computer has a glitch and that box pops up inviting you to “report the problem?

  • Do you hit the “yes” button and dutifully wait for the computer to do its analysis and send the message?
  • Or do you hit “no” knowing this issue will rear its ugly head again soon?

There’s complex emotional and analytic thinking behind this decision that is analogous to dealing with annoyances in our working lives.

For example, if you hit “no” you’re deciding that although annoying its a small distraction compared with the important task at hand. However, if you’ll need to follow the same procedure and get the same bug you’re more likely to hit “yes”. You might also consider this to be the software provider’s responsibility; “why should I do their job for them.

(Mind you if everyone hit “no” the consequence of this global “e-silence” is the bug never gets fixed…)

We have the same basic choices with our problems at work. Do we do something about them or put up with it stoically? If enough people fail to report the problem it festers creating an invisible block to personal and organisational effectiveness, competitiveness and eventually achievement.

Sharing Important Information

The power and impact of sharing information was described eloquently by Gen. Stanley McChrystal in his TED Talk. – The military case for sharing knowledge.

Sharing is power” ~Gen. Stanley McChrystal

All organisations have limited human, financial and physical resources and must prioritise. For a problem to get over their attention threshold and trigger a response, a certain number of “complaints” must be received.

Managers decide how urgent/big the problem is and determine a response. In other words every user has 100% responsibility over error reporting and the organisation has 100% responsibility for its response.

This is a classical trust-based dynamic relationship.

When it’s working really well, a cultural operating system grows stronger iteratively from the power its crowd feeding back.

A Cultural Operating System

Microsoft’s Windows OS and Apple’s Mac OS are akin to a command and control-based management system where the end-user/staff has modest input.

Whereas, Linux, the epitome of an iterative open source process, is similar to a flat organisational system.

How would an iterative cultural operating system based on the concept of Adaptive Intelligence underpin effectiveness and success?

In “The practice of Adaptive Leadership”, Heifetz, Grashow and Linsky describe Adaptive Leadership as, “an iterative process involving three key activities:

1) Observing events and patterns around you

2) Interpreting what you observe

3) Designing interventions based on 1 & 2.”

I have added some steps to include:

4) Observation of the effects of interventions

5) Flexing interventions to give optimal positive results (Fig. 1).

Fig.1. A dynamic adaptive positive feedback cycle

AI Fig 1

 

Adaptive Intelligence

Adaptive Intelligence (AQ) is the dynamic expression of our Analytical Intelligence (AQ), Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Positive Intelligence (PQ = internal motivation).

The exact flavour of AQ we deploy needs to be flexed to fit any given changing situation we experience. Operating from imbalanced IQ, EQ or PQ creates inappropriate responses based on habit.

If you want to use more of your AQ become more authentically aware of yourself and others.

Organisations need to develop deeper and broader corporate self-awareness. As a first step you might invite everyone to hit the social equivalent of the “yes” button whenever they observe problems or they have potentially good idea. This virtuous process relies on everyone believing they have influence, will be heard and their input valued and acted on.

This resonates with our software analogy nicely (Figure 2.).

Fig. 2 Comparison of computing and organisational operating systems.

AI Fig 2

Enhanced AQ

Enhanced AQ is delivered by:

  • Raising individual and organisational awareness
  • Transparent communication
  • Authentic trust
  • Objective measurable action.

It is powered by curiosity and authentic feedback and founded on 100% personal responsibility.

Stifled AQ

Poorly functioning AQ-based cultural operating systems are recognised from symptoms including:

  • Poor recruitment
  • High staff turnover
  • Conflict
  • Absenteeism
  • Poor staff engagement
  • Missed opportunities/deadlines
  • Inability to create trends and compete effectively

Long lasting symptomatic improvement comes from paying persistent attention to your cultural operating system (AQ). You keep a healthy AQ system going by constant vigilance, bug fixes (e.g. removing stupid rules), cultural upgrades (e.g. wellbeing-based cultures) and inviting everyone to be more curious about their daily working lives (See – How To Use Your Daily Story As A Powerful Seminar For Achievement).

The essence of intelligence is skill in extracting meaning from everyday experience.” ~Unknown

Flexible Open System

An adaptive iterative cultural process equips leaders with high quality dynamic information as well as the authentic human perceptions which create exciting visions and sustain meaningful change.

Thoughts for today

  • How often do you look under the hood of your organisation’s cultural operating system?
  • Notice to what extent your organisation’s culture relies on its corporate hardware (hierarchy, IT, systems & policies) compared with software (culture & people).
  • How much attention and time do you devote to awareness raising efforts for you and your staff?
  • Do you have a flexible open system for all staff to report problems and ideas?
  • Do you have an adaptive iterative cycle (AIC)?
  • How might you incorporate staff feedback and ideas into your AIC drive to improvement?

Recommended reading

The practice of Adaptive Leadership”, Heifetz, Grashow and Linsky

 

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————– 
Gary Coulton

Dr Gary R Coulton is CEO of Adaptive Intelligence Consulting Limited
He empowers leaders to release their Adaptive Intelligence
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Management vs Innovation: Take Your Pick

I cannot help fearing that men may reach a point where they look on every new theory as a danger, every innovation as a toilsome trouble, every social advance as a first step toward revolution, and that they may absolutely refuse to move at all. ~Alexis de Tocqueville

On Innovation

Let’s look at innovation. It’s uncertain, difficult to control, diverts staff from tasks and can be expensive and is the antithesis of what tends to drive managers. Don’t get me wrong I understand organisations can’t deliver on their existing commitments without strong and clear management.

However, experience shows us that without new ideas, products, or services companies soon become irrelevant as the market and society marches on.

Remaining Relevant

Consider for a moment if you will some of the big name companies who dominated the end of the 20th Century and are no longer with us. Innovation comes in many guises and although physical inventions tend to dominate our impression of what innovation consists some of the most important innovations are in the way we do things not just the products we make.

Whist you might be sleepwalking to perfecting your management system others are wide-awake innovating – check out The Idea Connection to see what is happening out there.

Even though every leader and every company knows they must keep moving forward and support innovation even the best can end up doing a poor job of supporting it. We blame “bad luck”, ”the R&D team wasn’t strong enough” or even “government intervention”.

Remaining In Control

However, we should look closer to home for addressable levers we can control directly. Often it’s the very managerial culture we have created which interferes with innovation the most. When management system are perfect companies enlarge but when they companies innovate they grow, adapt and thrive in a changing business environment. The effect is continued resilience and profitability in a volatile world..

“Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.” ~Peter Drucker

Essentially management is all about maintaining the status quo by enforcing budget control, time efficiency and certainty. They want immediate quantifiable results they can present to the board.

Not So SMART

This behaviour is encouraged by creating limited SMART objectives rewarded by incentives. When you throw into the mix the uncertainty of a creative process which needs time and money, managers start to sweat and find ways to prevent their reports from contributing; unless it’s in their spare time. Managers will say they believe in and want innovation, but their immediate concerns prevent them backing it up with concrete resources.

As shown by Johan Fuller and his University of Innsbruck team, a major inhibitor of innovation comes from a battle between motivational rewards and barriers arising from fear of exposure and a negative benefit-effort trade-off. The balance of this equilibrium flexes our intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to innovate or to play safe. Identifying which levers stimulate innovation and which stifle it are key to growth.

“I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts.” ~Bill Gates

Effective Innovative Teams

Effective innovative teams draw their members from multiple disciplines and company sectors. When they join they take of their “management hats” and are invited to contribute based on their personal expertise, knowhow and networks. Why not create company “hacker spaces”  where playing to discover may create your next massive product or service? Even if it doesn’t the mutual trust generated will be worth the effort.

To successfully engage managers in the innovation process, concrete value-based objectives and clear yet flexible outcomes must be identified. Finite affordable resources must be allocated and an agreed time-frame adhered to. Most of all, you have to be seen to value the Innovation Team. It’s their effort which needs rewarding not just the wins. For every ten ideas maybe one makes money. It does not mean the effort invested in the other nine was wasted (see The Edison Principle).

“Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.” ~Milan Kundera

As Dale Dougherty says in his TED talk, ”Makers are in control” I would add a rider that, “Users are under control.” Do you want your company to be in control or used?

Your Actions Today

  • Were you involved directly today in your organisation’s innovative process?
  • How much resource and time have you given the innovation team?
  • Did you overtly value and affirm effort as well as wins?
  • Talk to your managers and try to sense their attitude to innovation and the pressures placed on them to resist it.
  • Reflect on your personal relationship with risk and innovation.

Recommended reading

The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge (Harvard Business Review) – Vijay Govindarajan & Chris Trimble

Gary Coulton is the author of the upcoming book “Your personal leadership book of days – avoid cookie cutter solutions by using your Adaptive Intelligence”. Get your free mini-version at HERE.

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————– 
Gary Coulton

Dr Gary R Coulton is CEO of Adaptive Intelligence Consulting Limited
He empowers leaders to release their Adaptive Intelligence
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Web | Book

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Spiritual Leaders Fight Against Intolerance

Intolerence

These days we cannot switch on the TV or web without having to confront intolerance. We see it internationally, nationally, and locally.

It even affects our relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers.

An Increasingly Intolerant World

We live in a world that is increasingly intolerant, one in which violence, untruthfulness, hate, mutual criticism abound, and people constantly and deliberately do hurtful things to others.

People’s approach to other is frequently one of:

  • Opposition
  • Confrontation
  • Rejection
  • Polarization
  • Widespread intolerance

People are paid lots of money to be intolerant, and they gather around them a large following of insecure people who delight to find their own intolerant attitudes supported by celebrities and leadership figures in politics or religion. These political, social, and religious “leaders” whip their followers into a frenzy over issues that are not central to their original vision, leading to catastrophes like ethnic cleansing, or even to the deliberate, destructive intention of labeling others to demean or destroy them.

People develop skills that foster intolerance, challenging people and especially leaders to be equally skilled in opposing it.

Ignorant and Uninterested

Intolerant OrganizationsIntolerant people are generally uninformed or ignorant, either by force of circumstances or by a deliberate closed mindedness—a desire not to learn what other people think or feel. Their deafness to others’ views and their unwillingness to search for common ground give rise to hatred for anyone who thinks differently than themselves.

Closed mindedness atrophies thought, but since knowledge is the basis of love it also stunts any ability to grow in understanding and love. Closed mindedness is not a normal characteristic of human beings who innately search for meaning, understanding, and enlightenment.

But, people are trained and initiated into closed mindedness generally by social, political, educational, or religious figures.

Some local groups or entire nations are known for their open-mindedness, and others for their closed mindedness. However, intolerant behavior is now a serious cultural problem that demands the attention of spiritual leaders who should model and teach tolerance

Rejecting a Bigger Picture

Most people do not think they are intolerant. Rather, they have false justification for their behavior. Many think they are being principled, consider their views the only acceptable ones, and see any attempt to understand others as weakness. Our society is riddled with extreme fundamentalism in politics, choice of political parties, judicial practice, approaches to foreign policy, and all sorts of issues in religion.

Litmus tests are everywhere, and any divergence from the acceptable, myopic views is rejected, and those who hold different views are despised.

Some of the most complicated contemporary issues receive simplistic answers from people who will not or cannot think things through. Such people often act like bulldozers, flattening all other ideas in their path.

Rejecting Intolerant Behavior

People who seek spiritual depth in their leadership need to reject all forms of intolerant behavior. This will mean first and foremost accepting the need to constantly learn anew, to appreciate that some change and adaptability guarantees the genuineness of values we hold. Never to change means always to live in the past.

We must have exceptional listening skills to understand others’ words, their deeper yearnings, their struggles, and their hopes.

We will need to be people of genuine dialogue, even with others who lack such skills. We can read and study with the desire to be more informed. From time to time we should rethink our own views, either to conclude in reaffirming them or to change them when we notice a loss of focus.

So many drag along behind them ideas from the past, emphasize what dedication used to be two thousand years ago. Intolerant behavior that closes the door on new ways of thinking and doing leads to myopic approaches that quickly destroy society—civic and religious. Spiritual leaders must react to this and give birth to tolerant behavior in every aspect of an organization.

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——————–
Dr. Leonard Doohand

Dr. Leonard Doohan  is an Author and Workshop Presenter
He focuses on issues of spiritual leadership
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Leading a Healthy Life After Retirement

So you’ve finally made it to the promise land of retirement, woo hoo! You’re probably ready to relax the days away with an ice cold drink by the blue pool that even the deepest blue eyes would be jealous of.

But let’s just slow down a little bit, you still need your health to enjoy all the money you have saved, right?

Here are 3 ways to get healthy and active after retirement.

1. Make a Habit of Exercise – Don’t Break the Chain!

Habits are very powerful actions that can positively or negatively affect your life. When you perform an action enough times consistently, it becomes habit. If that action is beneficial, you’ve successfully added a habit that will improve your life. So how do you make a habit out of exercise? Simple! Create something you won’t want to break, a chain.

This method was Jerry Seinfeld’s secret to productivity. All you have to do is put a big calendar on your wall, refrigerator, or whatever part of the house you walk through often. On this calendar, make a “checkmark key.”

For example, a red checkmark means you completed your daily exercise. Now for every day you successfully complete that exercise, make a checkmark on that day. Soon enough, you’ll have a streak going, a chain, and you’re gonna do everything you can to keep from breaking that chain. Eventually, exercising will become habit.

If you are new to exercising, ease yourself into it by doing light work. Some examples would be walking, jogging, or swimming in the pool.

2. Find Fun Activities that Keep You Active

There’s no better way to stay active than to combine fun with it. Regularly participating in a fun activity will keep you healthy, and you won’t even feel like you’re exercising. Some examples include golfing, playing sports with kids or grandkids, or going to dance classes with your significant other.

Not only will these activities improve your physical health, but they will improve your mental health as well. You’ve heard the saying “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” Well, it’s true! Since humans naturally tend to think about negative aspects of their life when they are idle, these fun activities will have your mind positively stimulated.

Sitting at home on the couch all day will cause you to look back on what you’ve accomplished and will make you face the fact that you are wasting your days away, which will bring about stress.

The last thing you pictured having during retirement was stress, so let’s keep it that way!

3. Quality Slumber Achieves a High Number

High number of course, means age, a longer life. As people age, the quality of their sleep tends to go down. Sleep is when all the magic happens in our bodies. Everything is shut down and the body’s sole purpose is to repair us and get us ready for the next day. Any wrench in this process is going to show when you wake up to start your day.

It can be very easy to sleep in after retirement with no more work commitments, but one of the best things you can do for your sleep is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Our bodies get used to a regular bedtime and wake up time. When you maintain a strict sleep cycle, your body knows exactly when to produce sleep and wake hormones, making for the best quality sleep.

If you are already having trouble sleeping, try maintaining a very strict sleep-wake schedule. If that doesn’t improve the quality of your sleep, it may be time to try some sleep aids following the recommendations of a doctor. But be careful, you’ll still want to regularly speak with your doctor as well as check online pharmacy reviews as time goes on.

It’s easy to overlook the power of sleep since you may be so accustomed to your current sleeping habits, but they can probably be improved. You spend about a third of your life in a bedroom sleeping those hours away, so why not make them really count?

Enjoy the Carefree Life You’ve Worked So Hard For!

Hopefully you have picked up some useful information and realized the importance of staying healthy and active after retirement. You deserve an enjoyable life for the hard work you’ve put in over these many years.

Here’s to a healthy, long, and happy retirement!

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———————
Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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On Leadership and The Value You Bring Your Followers

Value Proposition

So Leaders: What’s your value proposition to your followers?

The employee is regarded by the employer merely in the light of his value as an operative. His productive capacity alone is taken into account.” ~ Leland Stanford

Compelling Value Proposition

In the world of modern sales and marketing, providing customers and clients with a compelling value proposition is the maxim.

  • Companies strive to engage by enticing potential customers with a vision of what life might be like if their pain were removed or they could achieve their dream.
  • Every effort is expended to nurture the customer until they beg to find out how this dream can be realised.
  • Then and only then is the solution provided and heaven help the company that fails to deliver the promised value.
  • This is not an equal exchange of value because modern consumers expect value greater than the money they pay.

Why then do many employers not have the same value proposition approach to their most valuable capital, their employees?

Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.” ~ Warren G. Bennis

Making Value Choices

All organisations want to recruit and retain high potential internally motivated staff to achieve the company mission.

>>> So what’s in it for the employee and why should they choose you over other opportunities.

>>> More importantly, what is it you do for them that would make them want to stay? (It is not just about money…)

>>> What is your value proposition for them and how do you intend to deliver it persistently and consistently?

Making Monetary Choices

To paraphrase Vernon Hill at Metro Bank, how do you turn your staff into fans not just your customers?

Telefonica O2 said, “An organisation that does not enlist its own staff to its ‘fan base’ is not maximising its long-term value.

Does it make a financial difference?

Towers Perrin-ISR’s 2006 findings four:

Those companies with a highly engaged workforce improved operating income by 19.2 per cent over a period of 12 months, whilst those companies with low engagement scores saw operating income decline by 32.7 per cent over the same period.

Over a 12 month period, those companies with high engagement scores demonstrated a 13.7 per cent improvement in net income growth whilst those with low engagement saw net income growth decline by 3.8 per cent.

Making Value Propositions

You can find much more on the business benefits of a values proposition to employees in a report to the UK Government “Engaging for success: enhancing performance through employee engagement

So, let’s look at the employer/employee relationship at its most basic.

An employee offers their effort and expertise to an organisation and in turn they gain reward most usually but not always in the form of money. Balancing the equation is the hard part. The employee wants a fair reward for a certain level of input and the employer wants the maximum amount of input from the employee for as little as is reasonable to pay them.

It might be expressed as:

Motivation = Perception of benefits minus Perception of costs

The ideal situation arises when an employee invests “above and beyond the call of duty” just because they are motivated to do so by other factors outside of remuneration. Somehow their internal motivation has been triggered and they are self-sustaining. What value can you the employer give to your staff which would likely catalyse this behaviour or at least create the environment for it to develop? Peter Drucker said:

The true business of every company is to make and keep customers.” ~ Peter Drucker

But he also said:

Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

If we synthesise the two we might get:

The true business of every company (organization) is to make it easy for its staff to make and keep clients

The Tangible and Intangible Factors

The value given to followers comprises both tangible and intangible factors.

Key contributions might be:

  • Authentic listening
  • Identification of direct interferences restricting employees’ capability to achieve goals
  • Mitigating or removing such interferences

This is essentially the same thinking used daily by sales people to convert a prospect into a customer. Warm the prospect up first with sincere enquiry to identify their pains and dreams and then explain how the pain can be removed or their dreams achieved by your product or service.

You can find a compilation of the personal visions of 12 TED speakers on the subject of inspiring, values proposition-based leadership here.

Sellling The Vision

Ask yourself tehse questions:

  • So, how might your task as a leader alter if you considered your purpose was to “sell” the vision of working (and staying) with your organisation as a value proposition?
  • What value would they receive in “buying” into your offer?
  • How can you maintain, nuance and increase the value they receive in order to keep them?

This does not mean you roll over and give more than you can afford but we are not just talking about the money here. As has been proven so many times the last thing you talk about with sales prospects is the cost the first is what will change for them and by how much. Why would you expect the mindset of your staff to be different?

Your key actions for today

  • In today’s conversations with staff did you add value or take it?
  • Are your organisation’s job adverts value propositions?
  • Review one report’s job description today – on a scale of 1 to 10 is this a value proposition or a description of demands (i.e. tasks and responsibilities).

Further Reading

Drucker on Leadership: New Lessons from the Father of Modern ManagementWilliam A. Cohen PhD

For those will an interest in basic research on the psychology of business:

Harter, Hayes and Schmidt (Gallup, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and University of Iowa) Business-Unit-Level Relationship Between Employee Satisfaction, Employee Engagement, and Business Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————– 
Gary Coulton

Dr Gary R Coulton is CEO of Adaptive Intelligence Consulting Limited
He empowers leaders to release their Adaptive Intelligence
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Web | Book

Image Sources: businesslaunchpad.org.uk

Effective Leaders Are Story Doers, Not Just Story Tellers

Mountain Climber

We all learn from stories, we get to practice our emotional responses and we can test our beliefs in safe territory.

“A leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible.” ~ Mark Yarnell

Describing Your Purpose

Your story will be a narrative that describes your purpose in a way that is easily understood, is intriguing, inspiring and ultimately is sufficiently engaging to capture the imagination of your target audience.

It also will get them to spend, support or evangelise you. Without a coherent and inspiring story your organisation will have an uphill battle to influence and gain market share.

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” ~ Robert McKee

Knowing Your Audience

You have two audiences:

  • One is your workforce
  • The other is the people outside your organisation

For both groups the story is fundamental but insufficient on its own to ensure success in a competitive world. Not only must the story be told it must be seen to be lived by you and your organisation.

The Art of The Story

Alexander Mackenzie a world’s expert describes how storytelling lies at the heart of leadership. Leaders of highly successful modern organisations tell stories that:

  1. Are simple, truthful, unambiguous and based on sound ethics and core values
  2. Describe how you intend to make your workers lives, the world or society better
  3. Can be understood and cared about by anyone
  4. Are consistent aligned with workforce and clients
  5. Drive practical action underpinning a culture of wellbeing
  6. Motivate listener engagement with the story and action because of it.
  7. Underpin marketing strategies exemplifying these core values
  8. Use a full range of modern social networking platforms
  9. Create compelling and meaningful experiences

Being The Story

An authentic ”story doing” leader will claim in the company’s mission, “Triple XXX Inc is committed to developing its workforce”. They will tell this to clients and governments etc. but they will also tell the same story pro bono at high schools helping young people to understand why this principle is so crucial to business.

It’s that age old adage about “walking the talk”. If you claim to have “committed customer service,” have members of senior management shadow delivery drivers or man the telephones.

Our society is becoming more and more sceptical. Leaders who authentically embody their organisation’s story will drive success.

Do your story and not just tell it?

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams

For a great introduction to leadership and storytelling check out Lisa Bloom’s site Your Actions Today

  • Take stock of the channels you use to tell your personal and organisational story.
  • How many are you supporting with an action?
  • Look at the missions of your competitors and look how they might be story doing
  • Select one element of your story and design up to three simple actions that bring it alive – then test them.

Recommended reading The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative – Stephen Denning

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–  

Gary Coulton

Dr Gary R Coulton is CEO of Adaptive Intelligence Consulting Limited
He empowers leaders to release their Adaptive Intelligence
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Web

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Hey Leader: Become an Organizational Life Giver

Triangle

Are your goals actually YOUR goals? Since the development of organizational strategic planning became a standard operating practice, organizations have set goals toward which they strive and around which they base decision-making.

Goals serve several purposes. Goals:

  • Defines future direction
  • Provides a tool for measuring success
  • Prioritizes resources
  • Aligns the collective efforts of the organization

Goals are essential to the success of any organization. So it makes sense to have them to help teams get their jobs done. But sometimes the very best intentions around setting and implementing goals end up causing unintended problems.

Un-Goals

Does this scenario sound familiar?

The senior leadership team in your organization holds a strategic planning day, usually off site, and your Director comes back with a new set of strategic priorities and a renewed enthusiasm for the great things the organization will accomplish at the completion of this new plan.

Now the task falls to each department to come up with their departmental goals that fit within the plan. You and your colleagues spend a few sessions brainstorming, defining and prioritizing goals to set the direction for your department. The team is motivated and energized and embarks on the journey to accomplish the ambitious goals.

At some point your department hits a road block and has to compete for the resources to continue.

What started as an execution of well-intentioned, well-thought-out plans becomes a frustrating power struggle between departments with competing priorities.

The relationships between departments breakdown and silos develop.

The Shape of Organizational Health

Picture the hierarchy in your mind. What shape is it? Probably a triangle, most are.

The fewest people at the top hold the most power. All of the weight of the organization rests on the shoulders of the people at the bottom. They give life to the mission. They are the first to know when something isn’t working and they are the first to know how to fix it. Yet, getting that knowledge to the top of the triangle is like swimming upstream.

Flip the triangle on its head and it resembles a filter. Now the power is at the bottom of the triangle, supporting the people with the knowledge, the skills, and the direct access to customers. Imagine that valuable knowledge flowing easily down through the filter to inform strategic decision-making.

Then those decisions conform to the reality and the knowledge from the “life-givers”, rather than the employees fitting into a mold that may not be what’s best for the company.

How could the triangle be flipped? Who are the “make it happen” people? Has your company struggled to implement something that front line people resist? Where are the voices of the “life-givers” heard? Where are they not heard? I would love to hear your thought!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Jacqueline De Leebeeck

Jacqueline De Leebeeck is founding partner of Savvy
She facilitates leadership capacity building and team development
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