from wanting change to getting change


Full disclosure: I strongly prefer revolution to evolution. Generally speaking, events roll slower than I would like and with less drama than I would prefer. Perhaps because of this I have developed

  1. the veneer of patience
  2. effective strategies for getting change implemented.

sidebar: I do believe that evolution is the natural state of the world, that left to itself, situations evolve. The revolutionary can have an impact as a force for change that occurs more radically, fundamentally or profoundly; which is something I can’t help but be drawn to

I’ve had many conversations with colleagues who are nervous, anxious about change, even change they deeply desire but seem unable to embrace or execute. Of course, part of the problem here is that we all call for change, can think of things we wish were different but the catch comes when that change requires we change ourselves! Barak Obama famously won election to President of the USA on a “Change” ticket – and is feeling the full backlash of an expectation that stuff would therefore change, but is almost wholly unable to influence individuals to change their own behaviours.

  • Know what you want (answer this question: “What do I want?”)
  • Invest in self awareness so that you can make yourself available to what really matters to you and that you can model the change you want
  • Build followership and alliances that support and energise your change

Let’s start then with wanting change – look around you 360 degrees and boil to one theme that captures what you want to change. I’ll use something by way of example that I hope resonates; as I look around me, I want to change the level of trust that colleagues have in one another to move from ‘functional’ to ‘high’

I’ll assume you have a good baseline or metric to determine the current state – I have internal poll data that I would use.

Now for getting that change implemented, Go First! in no other aspect of the leaders practise is it so important to lead from the front and model the behaviour you desire in others yourself. In the example I have used, trust is about being predictable and reliable (see separate posting on Trust)

Make yourself available to the situations you take most energy from as a default. In the example I used here, building trust means investing in situations that have trust as a defining theme or issue and diving in to really expose difficult issues and address resistance or head-in-the-sand avoidance head on.

Don’t be shy – talk about what you want often and with passion, make clear your vulnerability. Keep your eyes and ears open, as you speak and write about trust you should spot where you can build alliances with engaged colleagues around you. Enlist! Enthuse! Energise!

References:

[The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team]

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Bruce Patton

Permalink: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/014027782X

@Yodaism: “If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are, a different game you should play.”

The bottom line on effect change is to know what it is you want to change which requires some degree of self awareness, following that go – start now!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

a theme for the week


This week I have themed my blog to focus on ‘change’ and the leadership opportunities change presents.Working titles are
1) how people and leaders embrace change (or not)
2) why change is the new normal
3) from wanting change to getting changeWatch out for these later this week – change is such an interesting thing; almost all of us want it, but in the abstract we want change from everyone else not ourselves. Obviously self improvement desires are all about change in one’s self – but change addressing poverty, war, climate change are easy to salute and yet hard to write the check for.

The dissonance here reminds me of some other but opposite examples like time travel or teleportation which turn out to be only any good if you are the only person that has it! I would be rudely interrupted to find my great great great grandchildren popping in for a chat, and the idea of my mother-in-law being able to teleport herself into my bathroom is quite alarming to say the least.

Right, back to the serious stuff…

my focus is not my priority


Focus vs. Priority : amongst the most frequently interchanged verbs of leader-speak, and by a long way the mistake that irritates me most consistently

Count the priorities you are given carefully – in my book if you have more than one then your leadership has failed you; very happy that you have multiple focus areas that support and validate your priority but please, you can really only be successful in achieving a single priority.

If you manage a team (let’s use the Sports team analogy), you may have a pretty clear priority at the start of the game. Win it.

Support your priority with focus areas:

  • focus on defence
  • focus on offence
  • focus on fair play

but the priority remains and resolves conflicts for resourcesFocus vs Priority Jamesstanbridge.wordpress.com or time – let’s say that a stakeholder has asked for more profitability. Should that become the new priority? you can’t have both “win” and “profitability” as priorities since they are clearly in conflict in many circumstances. If I allow both – should I sell my start player for a profit? If I pick just one as the priority and then the other can be a focus area in support of the priority and it all makes perfect sense. Refuse to compromise and drive for clarity in a single priority supported by focus areas.

What process should we as leaders use to boil our imperatives, goals, commitments blah blah to a priority and supporting focus areas?

Enlightened Self Interest is my favourite tool – what result is likely to see me [promoted, rewarded, respected, admired] insert what ever tickles your ego here

Test it out, if I call blah my priority, what are the focus areas I need to support that priority. Now test again, are any of these focus areas more properly the priority?

Go, start now!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

So you want to be a leader? Stop being a drone!


We’ve all become slaves to a work style that encourages us to be drones. Don’t believe me? go look at your ‘Sent Items’ in you email client and roughly estimate how much of your output in the past week are ‘replies to’ as opposed to original thought, created content on your part. Satisfied?

If you are like me, the first time you pay attention to this, you will be shocked to see that you spend most of your intellectual capital as a router, reactively responding to stimulus. This is not the way of the leader.

Here are some simple habits that can help –but they all demand that you build a self awareness that allows you to define what makes the bar for your reply. If the bar is not met – then move on! resist the itch to pitch in with your say too. Instead, focus on original thought and content creation – ADD VALUE!

For reference, here is the filter I try to apply:

1) Impact? will I have an impact in replying… if I am only contributing, don’t bother, I have more valuable things to do.
2) Passion? is this a subject I have authentic passion for? if not, get out of the way for the people that do.
3) Learning? Will I learn something if I question? (If i already know the answer… or don’t care much about the answer…. move on)

it is hard, but when I get to under 60% in a week, I know it was a good week for me.

Also helps me build a consistent profile – authenticity and predictability about who you are and what you care about.

Drone = An idle person who lives off others
American Heritage Dictionary

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine