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Strategic Change Management

Strategic Change Management is a deliberate system of changing people processes and tools to achieve organizational goals which align well with the aspirations of the team members.

Basics of Change Management

The Conceptual Construct         Change management is based on accepting the vitality of the first  15% of effort in identify what needs to be changed in people, processes and tools in any organization. If this aspect does not have a wide acceptability and the ownership of ideas is not transferred to people, the processes will never get refined whatever tools we use.

This underscores the dynamic, participative and vibrant “energisation” of people to challenge the status quo as a tool to excite the processes. Once suitable energy is transmitted to the environment, out of the box solutions appear from nowhere to augment the staid thinking in an organization. The key word is “excitement” of the widest cross-section possible to accept change as a continuous and inevitable process.

If enough energy and time is not spent with a wide base of participants in this 15% profile, the 85% of strategy executives would be a self-defeating process in trying to follow a muddled thinking along confused road maps by a group of motley and uncommitted lot.

People, especially committed people, throw up ideas that CEO, may not be able to originate. This wider participation by the base throws up multipurpose options to energies the organization as per perceptions of the “people who run” the organization.

The Four “E”s

Enabling, exciting, educating and empowering the organization are thus the basic tools that get the people aligned to the objectives of the organization by collaborative change management processes. You don’t have to conjure pictures of grand ideas to change – change happens one baby step at a time by the entire organization remaining committed to helping the baby take those stops.

Amongst all this, there is a great need to “invert the pyramid” to get a 360 degree perspective at all times. The energy, focus and Intent of the leaders must, however, be infectious and be crystal clear in their sincerity to the followers along the pyramid at all times. The team is quick to discern ulterior motives of leaders, if any. Once detected it is a difficult task to reverse the downward slide.

A Continuous Process

Strategic change mgt is a continuous process. The big picture must be clearly seen through by leaders, from all perspectives to evolve “Blue Ocean Strategies”. Any amount of change applied along the principles of Red Ocean strategies will only yield marginal results and tire out the organization. All leaders need to constantly excite their pyramids to look for these blue Oceans and charter a path along these seas.

The acme of skills of good leadership is constantly challenging status quo and generating options for better people participation to enhance their productivity. Unfortunately, more often than not, “leaders” work towards an aim with the same organization, people and levels of thinking and expect a positional change in their bottom lines. This does not work.  No sooner has one organization created to achieve an objective, started working efficiently, leaders must look for new ways to reorganize the systems, processes and tools. This can happen when leaders do not get “emotionally attached” to demons they have created.

Inverting the Pyramid

The term “Inverting the Pyramid” applies to non bureaucratic style of functioning by the leaders. They must recognize and reward talent, if they hope to keep the people responsive to organizational aims and objectives. If there is a bull run in which leaders can not differentiate the wood from the trees, mediocrity, sycophancy and demotivation of the “excited” employees would take place to the detriment of the organization. The leaders must learn to wear all the six hats while encouraging their teams to do the same constantly. Any organizational model that does not reward creativity and originality of thought is doomed.

The 15% Theory

Then there is the “theory of application” of the 15% Theory. What needs a change is always more important than the change itself. This cannot be a once in a year ritual in board rooms. It is a mixture of continuous formal and informal dialogues amongst all “collars”(white or blue) of the organization. Leaders should be astute enough to “sniff” signs of trouble and “gauge” processes, people and tools that need to change constantly. This applies to all leadership rungs of the organization at all times.

Inevitably, informal non conformist interactions provide better options, grass root upwards. In learning to “mange and lead” by walking around, the leader must remain in constant touch with ground realities. His office needs no curtains and doors and he should be seen more on the shop floor or the market place – in touch with his people, products and the markets. This, without courting populist gimmicks, can transmit the intent, integrity and honesty of purpose of the leader to the environment. It will make him approachable and spur dialogue for change a change for the better.

The 15% theory energizes the people in an organization and challenges them to outperform themselves, not for self promotion (which the leaders must do automatically) but for the larger organizational good.

The nature of the change is secondary to the perceptions that employees have regarding the ability, competence, and credibility of the leaders

Change follows a cycle of preparing for the change, getting your hands dirty in the change process and management of the spinoffs after change. The role of the leader remains supreme and cannot be debated. What can be is the quality of leadership, its vision, perseverance and ability to carry the teams through the change with a song on their lips. Leaders energy is contagious both ways.

The Leadership

Organisations look up to the leadership for a large number of things. The foremost is the leaders supportive role in providing the overarching vision, coherence and capacity to operate seamlessly through the chaos of the work and market place. This translates into leadership’s extreme tolerance for ambiguity and capacity to absorb Ristakes (Risk plus Mistakes) in the environment around them both in and out of the organization. That develops faith which simplifies the leader led equation where teams continue to surprise the leaders by their initiative and proactive adaptation to change.

Poor leadership runs counter to this and produces archaic and staid organizations incapable of following the routine, leave aside manage change. Trust and faith in leadership is therefore essential in a team but what is more important is a trustworthy and faithful leaders who have the temerity to carry their teams through thick and thin of change

Leadership before, during and after change implementation is THE key to getting through the change. Unfortunately, if you haven’t established a track record of effective leadership, by the time you have to deal with difficult changes, it may be too late.

The Organisation

Much like healthy people, who are better able to cope with infection or disease than unhealthy people, organization that are healthy in the first place are better able to deal with change. This warrants deliberation as all bad organizations also wish to change for the better and create an environment conducive to change. But as unhealthy people need doctors it is often wiser for leadership of these organizations to get a professional third person management of the change cycle.

As a leader you need to establish credibility and a track record of effective decision making, so that there is trust in your ability to figure out what is necessary to bring the organization through. If the organization does not have such leaders there is a need for an overhaul at the top

The Slog

Leaders play a critical role during change implementation, the period from the announcement of change through the installation of the change. During this middle period the organization is the most unstable, characterized by confusion, fear, loss of direction, reduced productivity, and lack of clarity about direction and mandate. It can be a period of emotionalism, with employees grieving for what is lost, and initially unable to look to the future.

As per experts, during this period, effective leaders need to focus on two things. First, the feelings and confusion of employees must be acknowledged and validated. Second, the leader must work with employees to begin creating a new vision of the altered workplace, and helping employees to understand the direction of the future. Focusing only on feelings, may result in wallowing. The leadership has to play the role of an orchestra conductor at such times. Being able to identify each discordant or out of sync activity and apply hands on corrections. He has to lead from the front balancing the vision and employee concerns constantly. In any case if the leader follows the 15% rule the team would be on board and there would be willing participation by the team to see the change through smoothly. More often than not good change initiatives lose out to ego battles in the board rooms. Good leaders introduce the change after taking everyone on board.

After Effects

Once people begin to see positive results of the change it is far easier to see these changes materialize. The leadership and the team having committed to the change must approach it with a vigor and intensity matching that of the leader. If these fears and initial change side effects are not managed cohesively, the team is more likely to spin back into cynicism and status quo complicating the task of the leaders.

Defining Roles

Taking a cue from Three Idiots, the leadership has to develop a capability to coherently define the role of each member of the team. Having identified the right man with the right attitude for the right job, the leader must provide him adequate latitude in his sphere of influence to excel. Most important the leader MUST NOT play favorites during the process of change, more than at any other time, lest it sabotages the change process.

Conclusion

No leadership “formula” can work effectively if the leadership dimensions do not account for the employee’s interests on the foremost. It is best articulated in the Chetwode motto placed at IMA and followed by the Armed Forces.

The Safety, Honour and Welfare of your country comes first  – Always and every time.

The Honour, Welfare and Comfort of the men you command comes next.

Your own ease, comfort and safety comes last, always and every time.

                                                                                              Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode

Often all change management cycles fail when leaders invert this pyramid.

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Leading Change

Introduction

The change management cycle is congruent to what Colonel John Boyd articulated in military parlance of decision cycle or the OODA loop. Observe-Orient-Decide and Act. It is the complete range of activities which a business leader has to undertake in today’s competitive business environment to stay ahead of the change.

The OODA Loop

Observe. It implies undertaking all actions including collection processing and synthesizing of business activities to identify the exact parts of the process, people and tools that need a change to make sure optimization of effort. In this step the leader builds the intelligence picture and seeks to fill the gaps by proactive and engaging actions. It also leans partly on the 15% theory.

Orient. This step enables the leader to evaluate the complete information with the environment to generate a range of options with in the premise of its business, people, products and competition. It matches up the capabilities and capacities of each factor to analyze the various options with a view to evolve possible outcomes and courses of action. SWOT analysis is a part of this step.

Decide. Having undeniably oriented himself to the exact issues of various options, the leader then decides on the desired option to be adopted.

Act. This is the systematized and deliberate “slog” phase of the change management cycle where the leader along with team act upon the decided course of action.

Application of OODA Cycle

Now this is a dynamic cycle and needs to be performed repeatedly to outwit and outsmart the competition, innovate and improvise to enthuse the team, refine the processes and apply the right tools to achieve the intent of the leader.

It calls for continuous tempering by the leaders in the “flattened hierchy” of the system to put their shoulders to the wheel in generating and implementing “Blue Ocean Strategies”. The OODA cycle enables the leader and the team to stay one step ahead of the change always. It calls for continuous feedback and regular course corrections to invest in the right strategies by taking suitable risks, accepting mistakes and operating in an information vacuum under conditions of ambiguity and uncertainty. All this, without losing the sense of balance and fun.

Here the first two ‘O’s ie Observe and Orient are the most critical parts of the analysis to evaluate the environment and develop various courses of action. Information will rarely be complete and the quest for solving each piece of the Information Jigsaw puzzle can cause paralysis by analysis. This calls for astute judgment capabilities based on a 360 perspective of the 15% Theory. The more leaders “wide base” this 15% theory, better are the chance for generating coherent options, leading to the next step in the OODA Cycle ie to Decide.

Once a decision is taken based on the double O’ the team must pull all stops in earnest within the intent of the leader. The “Intent” thus becomes critical at this stage. Once this larger construct is absorbed by cross functional teams, they can operate in a “swarmed” manner to achieve the desired goals effortlessly. This obviates the need to referring matters up or down the chain constantly saving precious resources and time. Should there be a mismatch in comprehending this, the change management cycle would cycle at the same place, generating a lot of activity without any meaningful result.

At the cost of repetition the final takeaway of this discourse of applying continuous OODA cycles to generate possible action the leader and the team must generate clairvoyance to identify what needs to change. That is critical to the success of the change management cycle.

The next essential component during “action” stage is the ability of the leader to function under the dictates of “Directive Style of Leadership”. Having given the objectives, resources and time to the teams, the leader must provide them with adequate space to execute their mission with complete confidence. Each component of the team must have their space to innovate and operate, under an “ownership” principle. This would generate desired momentum to the team’s efforts and enable swarmed actions to achieve the goals. The term “Deadlines” would then be made redundant by these swarmed cross functional teams which would evaluate, operate and vector under their own OODA cycles within the construct of the leaders “Intent”.

Feedback

Feedback is the essence of change management and strategy execution. There should be elaborate formal and informal systems to ensure the feedback mechanism is dynamic and responsive. However, the feedback should not become an end in itself. It is just a means to enable leaders and teams to maintain direction. By no stretch of imagination should this become a barometer for “assessing” and “evaluating” leaders and teams. That would work against the principle of making “Ristakes” and lead the organisaiton to a path of mediocrity with a low appetite for risk taking an essential element of progressive change management. This alone can facilitate experimentation without challenging which it is well-nigh impossible to create out of the box solutions to complex problems.

Essential Nuances

During this entire process, a few small things with major ramifications are critical. These are “playing favorites’,“no mistake syndrome” and “shooting down dissent”. These three are the biggest enemies of organizational behavior in cross functional teams operating under the intent of the leader. Nothing de motivates and de acceleration a team more than these evils of leadership. Leaders must guard against these conscientiously.

Fun and Balance

The aspect of “fun and balance” narrated earlier may have missed the readers. These are keys to success of adaptive organizations willing to change on a continuous basis. The aspect of OODA cycle and the change management cycle work best in an environment of healthy mutual respect, “space to each other” and mature conflict resolution practices. “Fun and Balance” are great enablers which facilitate change management cycle. They grease the various moving parts in an organization and make change management worthwhile. There are no One Minute solutions to keeping teams motivated. “Fun and balance” is a very serious business for the leader. It needs just as much application of OODA cycle by the leader as the entire business process.

Once again this reinforces the role of the leader as the conductor of the organsiational orchestra.

The Maneuverist  Leaders

In war fighting philosophies, as in businesses, there is this penultimate philosophy termed “maneuvre warfare” as against “attrition warfare”. The major difference between the two philosophies is the approach to warfare in their application of “force on force” approach as compared to the maneuver or the mental faculties approach. The aim of maneuver warfare is to avoid enemy strength’s and attack his weaknesses by generating faster OODA cycles. This often repeated and continuous application & generation of OODA cycles facilitate, leaders to outsmart and finally paralyse the minds of opposite numbers and forces – leading them to despair and ultimate defeat.

As against this the attrition or the force on force approach is bloody, intense slog and results in victory at great costs in men and resources.

In business strategies too we often find direct “attritionist” approach being played out too often at the detriment of the larger aim of the organization. This translates into huge costs to achieve business objectives.

On the other hand smart leaders follow the maneuverist approach to outsmart the competition by playing on their weaknesses and steering clear of their strengths. In this approach the leaders carry out intelligence preparation of the business environment and produce ‘Blue Ocean Strategies’ by a systematic approach through generation of unambiguous and faster OODA cycles. A dynamic SWOT analysis and adoption of six sigma principles to refine the processes, people and tools remains an integral part of this philosophy. This philosophy can also be termed as “Blue Ocean”  as against the crowded “Red Ocean” strategy.

Systems Approach to Life

Thereafter, the leaders and the teams take to “systems approach” to handling their organisational aims and objectives. It entails indentifying the terminal objectives for each organsiational need and systematically approach the problem at hand be it production, marketing or training to evolve suitable “enabling” and “Learning” objectives to derive the correct course of action or approach to evolving business strategies, training plans or almost any conceivable business activity.

Conclusion

Today’s business leaders have to be armed with necessary tools of business leadership to survive and excel, The maneuver theories developed and refined overtime apply equally to leaders in any environment. Developing clairvoyance and the art of leading businesses successively by remaining one step or more ahead of the change are critical to success in businesses as they are to any situation in wars. In both the one quick on his feet wins.

Strategy Execution

Strategy takes wings with Execution

Man, so also woman, desires to work to a plan and works all along with intent and purposes by carrying out the right SWOT analysis and measuring his step towards the goal sure of success. However, despite all the right strategies, planning and boldness why do his plans often land up in a soup?

Yes, you guessed it right. It is the failure to implement the strategies with feet firmly on the ground while the head is held high. Strategy execution thus is the most critical part in any operation cycle for sound mission accomplishment.

What Does it Mean?

Strategy execution is a discipline which defines an organisation’s ability to deliver on the designed strategy.

All good strategies hinge on three basic ingredients for success..

Execution..

Execution..

Execution..

So how does one go about DOING IT?

Leadership

The Naked Fakir - An Inspirational Leader

Volumes can be written about this intangible sun in the strategy solar system. However, it would suffice to say that only a leader can make execution happen with his/her commitment, clairvoyance and perseverance to see the strategy go through. At each level, the strategy needs and begs good leaders to see it through with their commitment and personal involvement while maintaining high standards of personal motivation across teams. These are must for the leadership to succeed:-

  • Know your people and profession.
  • Be Realistic.
  • Set clear goals and priorities.
  • See plans through by constant but discreet follow up.
  • Just reward system.
  • Be a dedicated coach.
  • Lastly and most important – know yourself.

Intent

Intent Matters

It is futile to reiterate that execution’s biggest enemy is the change of focus or intent which chips away at the delivery model of execution. Incidentally studies have revealed that strategies are only optimised to about 63% due to lack of right execution plan and environment.

Howsoever complex the strategy, its execution requires matured intent at each level. Diffusion of this very critical component can create dysfunctional work environment with processes, people and resources being pulled in different directions. As long as the team is clear about the intent, and every member is aligned to this intent chances of success rise manifold.

Road Map

All roads to success need road maps. The strategy execution road map, designed to fathom intricacies or nuts and bolts of the plan, is like sharpening your axe for 6 hours and cutting it in 2 rather than chopping away with a blunt axe. So to begin with, the execution map needs an overarching game plan for the road to be traversed with – a basic blueprint with the requisite signage and resource plans integrated with pragmatic time lines. This is the primary leadership domain and needs undivided attention of the leader.

Core Execution Processes

These are the strategy process, the people process and the operational process.

  • Strategy Process.   As outlined above this process must clearly highlight the destination and the road that leads up to it. It must consider all intangible and tangible parameters which would be required to achieve the goal. Internal and external environment, milestones, capacity to execute the strategy, resource management and people leadership matrices are critical components of this process.
  • People Process.   This decides who is going to get you there and thus calls for right selection of leaders and teams. A robust people process plan merits application of right talent through various stages of execution and an effective system of rewarding achievers and mentoring under performers.
  • Operational Process.    A sound operational process links strategy and the people to the results. It provides the milestones on the road maps and links them to resources, time and goals. This process is in the realms of operational art and merits a deep commitment to various tangible and intangible activities.

 Synchronization

This is the most critical element of the strategy execution processes. Unless there is synchronization among all these processes, goals are likely to get blurred, people dis-empowered and resources frittered away. Time is the biggest casualty which snowballs into cost and credibility crunch.

Leadership Matrices

A corrupted JPEG photograph. Result of a photo...

A corrupted image hides any truth

In today’s competitive business environment people often take the short route to success by sacrificing basic leadership matrices. This may work in the short term but what about the marathon? There, they find themselves marooned, shamed and humiliated in the eyes of the ones they lead and the world at large.

Corruption, nepotism and egoistic policies are the three biggest challenges leaders face. A fall from grace along any of these three is suicidal. The recent spate of scams in the Indian market place depict the rot in standards of leadership being provided to the nation be they in the field of politics, bureaucracy, defence or the corporate culture.

To discuss the first- mother of all leadership ills – Corruption. While adorning the highest possible leadership positions where the temptation is too high – people succumb to this great devil, get caught and undermine the faith of an entire generation in the leadership matrices to be followed. Leave aside the disgrace they bring to themselves, they undermine the organisation they lead and demoralise the very fabric they had vowed to defend and be custodians of. They deserve no mercy.

The next in the cardinal sin is nepotism as a leadership matrix. A large number of so called leaders lead through the power of the pen they yield. Suffice to say that they lead sad enterprises bereft of any team spirit and deliver mediocre results.

The worst sin of the leadership matrix is ego. Leaders operating out of this paradigm of life rather than the true values and systems they are appointed to promote create leaders who are corrupt and breed mediocrity through sycophancy.They may rise in careers for a short time but their fall from grace is the worst. Leaders operating out of  these premises of ego and nepotism finally become corrupt and corrupt the organisations they are supposed to lead. This corruption may not be financial alone but one that corrupts the work environment, breeds sycophancy and marginalises talent in the organisation. The net impact is a corruption of minds and emergence of environment managers who sing the bosses tunes over integrity and loyalty to the organisation.

Good leaders thus must guard against the ills of ego subverting their people and organisation. No amount of repeating the Chetwodian Motto is enough to ensure that you excel as a leader through character borne out of an egoless state in which the credits are of your people and failings are yours.

Only then can you be called true leaders.

The Next CEO

Couldn’t help resist pasting this incredible story

 


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A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.  

 

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Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, ‘It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.’ The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued.
‘I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you.
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I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.’

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.

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Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. 


By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure. 

 

Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – He so wanted the seed to grow. 

 

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.
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When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful — in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him! When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back.

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‘My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,’ said the CEO. ‘Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!’


All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified.
He thought, ‘The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!’
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed – Jim told him the story.
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The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, ‘Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!

His name is Jim!’ Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed.

‘How could he be the new CEO?’ the others said.

Then the CEO said, ‘One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow. 

 

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it.
Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!’  

 

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Moral of the story?


 

. If you plant honesty , you will reap trust 

 

* If you plant goodness , you will reap friends 

 

* If you plant humility , you will reap greatness 

 

* If you plant perseverance , you will reap contentment 

 

* If you plant consideration , you will reap perspective 

 

* If you plant hard work, you will reap success 

 

* If you plant forgiveness , you will reap reconciliation 

 

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.




‘Whatever You Give To Life, Life Gives You Back’. Live our CORE VALUES, and Reap the returns!



 

 

 

Perceptions

And we all make our choices..

Like a blind man feels his way

Eleven Cs of Engagement

Pushing the Envelop

This term is often used in the leadership domains as a fancy burn out strategy by those attempting to prove their mettle in the leadership ladders at various levels. Translated – it means working hard beyond the call of duty.

It can be interpreted in a variety of ways depending upon who is looking. I have seen people drive themselves and their teams hard in the quest to achieve results. There is nothing wrong with that, provided the furious activity results in creating desired velocity (a product of speed and direction) in an environment conducive to learning and growth.

When organisations and leaders decide on a policy to push the envelope, which can not be a continuous process for fear of early burnout, there are few pertinent issues which merit consideration.

  • Firstly, the 15 percent theory must be applied diligently to ascertain the velocity required to be generated. The intent must be very clearly debated, designed and conceived to provide the doctrinal umbrella under which the organisation should operate.
  • Secondly, the ownership of ideas should be transferred to the people responsible to execute the desired missions. This calls for flattening of hierarchies and creating an environment of trust and faith. It should lay down the parameters of work culture reducing one up man ship in the organisation.
  • Thirdly, the empowerment module under such conditions requires adequate lattitude to each leader to operate independently with in his/her sphere of influence.
  • Fourthly, there should be a regular work audit to ensure teams maintain direction.
  • Lastly, while pushing the envelop, it should be the foremost duty of each leader to ensure that his team does not burn out doing non essential activities.

Organisations must continuously push the envelop – but this should be a fun activity aimed at bringing out the best in each team member rather than focussing on profits. Once the teams take on the ownership of ideas and gets the requisite fredom of action, profits automatically follow.

Experiment, Endure, Experiment

Rendering of human brain.

Unleash your potential

Leadership of organisations big or small can be frustrating if it is attempted in Closed User Group (CUG) environments with low appetite for risk taking. Such organisations at best break even and are no fun to be part of. The moment you find yourself in such a bind where creativity is subject to hide bound rules and regulations, I recommend it is time to pack your bags and quit.

For one, if you are a creative person with an innovative streak, these CUGs will kill it first before you realize it.

Second, they are averse to change and believe in the magic of “don’t fix what ain’t broke” – status quo rules supreme here within the ambit of their rules.

Third, they will not allow you to experiment and would want better results following the same archaic rules that govern them. If you walk on the edge here, they will be the first to push you over.

Fourth, Ideas die fastest in such environments, frustrating all your baby steps at change management. These organisations normally are happiest chasing change along well beaten paths.

Fifth, Creativity is a dirty word here..using it can muzzle you faster than you can imagine.

If you are serving in an organisation which bides its time within the status quo..time you moved on.

To be a happy and successful leader, accept lower remuneration but an environment which enables you to experiment, explore, endure and then experiment some more.

Try it…it will make leadership fun!!

Must You Have Conflict at Work?

Conflicts

Well conflict is a tough word..can we say differences?

My linkedin friend Justin Barry asked a pointed question on the discussion board

How do you approach and deal with conflict at work?!

His take is pasted below:

Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”

Another way of looking at conflict: “A good manager doesn’t try to eliminate conflict; he tries to keep it from wasting the energies of his people. If you’re the boss and your people fight you openly when they think that you are wrong – that’s healthy.”

Why is this happening?

So lets get back to basics.  Conflict occurs because people are not getting what they need or who are seeking their own self-interests.  You may say that conflict is inevitable because we are dealing with people’s jobs, pride, ego etc.

It could be that conflict arises because of :

  • Weak leadership
  • Poor communication
  • Dissatisfaction with management style (e.g lack of openness)

Does this matter, well it SURE does if

  • Affects team/organization performance
  • Affects staff morale
  • Polarizes people
  • Impacts people or team cooperation
  • In extreme cases, eads to irresponsible and harmful behavior, such as fighting, name-calling

BUT remember that conflict can also be positive if

  • Resolves and provides solutions to business problem
  • Provides open communication channels
  • releases positive emotion and deals with staff’s anxiety and stress
  • Helps build trust
  • People improve their understanding and skills of the people and the organization they work for.

The Risk of Conflict can be REDUCED

There is action you can take to reduce these incidents from happening.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Set expectations around goals and staff performances
  • Communicate frequently and honestly
  • Be open about your concerns so everyone knows where you stand.
  • Agree that it is good to disagree so people understand that healthy disagreement would build better decisions
  • Let your teams grow and learn from their mistakes.

    My Take

    Conflict Resolution

    These arguments and suggestions are well taken but these are pragmatic efforts at answering the questions from a managerial rather than leadership perspective. Good leaders take the team on board by clearly articulating the “intent” and explaining the “why” of each activity. Once these are explained and the leader has an open approach towards taking in criticism based on continuous feedbacks..conflicts begin to minimise.

    Each human has a desire to out perform the given standards. A good leader doesn’t pit one member of the team against the other to ensure better performance or does not institute individual rewards for accomplishments. Instead he sets parameters for each member to push the envelop and out perform himself. In such forgiving and enabling environments personal conflicts are minimised to a large extent as team members work to produce collaborative answers. They do not hesitate to take or give advice and suggestions to improve work in their sphere of influence. In such win win environments alone can conflicts be minimised for the larger organisational good.

    Such leadership environment can only be developed by leaders willing to learn, love, share and mentor their team mates. They multiply the power of their team members rather than adding them.

    If conflict still persists, it is time to change the leader.

    I would end it with this quote

    “Put organisation above self..it will largely help you flow like water and brush aside what obstructs your thoughts. If your thoughts are powerful enough they will erode the opposition over time. Else, you like water, again choose the path of least resistance to follow your organisational goals.