Self-awareness. Leadership development needs to be an inside-out process that focuses less on competencies and skill acquisition and more on increasing your self-awareness and understanding how your behaviour impacts others;
Emotional self-mastery. Again, a superficial program of increasing emotional intelligence through techniques and tips of such things as listening skills or facilitation skills avoids or neglects the more important requirement to understand, manage and master your emotions and understand and respond appropriately to the emotions of others;
A personal stake in self-development. Leadership development is frequently seen as the responsibility of the organization rather than a shared responsibility with potential and current leaders. Rarely have I heard a leader say he wants to take personal responsibility to become the best person he can be and take charge of his personal growth;
Recruit potential leaders that are humble; not those driven by hubris or ego. Organizations continue to recruit leaders who fit the stereotype of a charismatic, narcissistic with little humility and a big ego.
How Whole Systems Leadership Differs from Conventional Views of Leadership
“Most of the time we use leadership as a synonym for boss or boss-ship. We confuse leadership with leadership position. Leadership is a capacity of a human community to shape its future. Leadership is a collective. Leadership is everywhere.” ~ Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization
Seven tips for co-operative leadership
1. Be knowledgeable about your partners, their structures, strategies, needs and decision making systems
2. Be flexible adjusting your individual strategies or objectives to meet the overall aim of the partnership
3. Develop clear lines of communication and decision-making between all the partners
4. Share the power equally between the parties in the partnership
5. Get agreement on the operation and benefits of the partnership
6. Consider your role in the partnership and your motives for engaging with it
7. Most important – create trust between the partners
Drawing on the work of Mourkogiannis and Menkes, it is my belief that the best leaders “discover” the purpose of their organisations through discussion and observation. Yes they can shape it – but not in isolation of the people who make up the organisation, and key stakeholders on the outside. Leaders emerge because they make sense and are able to capture and articulate what an organisation, and its people, needs to do to live its purpose.
Leaders will do stuff with others, embracing the mess of it all, frame topics that matter, share progress in little snippets, interacting with people (even those we don’t like), embrace the discomfort of real people in real context, show up as we are (as ready as we are at this moment). And remaining faithful that what each of us do may not be the fix for everything, but we work on our little patch in life.
"What that means for leadership is simple but profound: the essential relationships are no longer the vertical relationships contained within corporate silos, but the horizontal ones that link people across organizational boundaries. The New Leadership isn’t vertical, it’s horizontal.
This forces us to do a better job of defining leadership. It never was about getting people to follow; it was about getting things done. It still is. Except now you get things done less by lining up the troops, and more by generating movement around a common goal. Horizontal leadership might be defined as “persuading others over whom you have absolutely no direct control to join you in a common cause.”
The “skills” of old and new leadership certainly overlap. You can’t lead horizontally or vertically if people think you’re dull, or an ass-kisser, or hopelessly insecure. But there are differences. The skills of horizontal leadership rhyme with influence, persuasion, and trust. Particularly trust.
Because the biggest difference between vertical and horizontal leadership is reciprocity. To be a vertical leader, you don’t have to be a good follower. But to be a good horizontal leader, you must know how to be trusted – and how to trust. It is not enough to be trustworthy; you must also be a risk-taker, and know how to be vulnerable, two prerequisites of the ability to trust.
Vertical leadership, like command and control, largely goes one way – from top down. But horizontal leadership is best practiced through trust, and trust is bi-lateral; you have to be good at trusting, and at being trusted. “Leader” is not a permanent attribute – it is a mindset/skill-set/role that is played at a given time by a given person, who the next day must play, equally well, the role of follower.
Which means, in today’s world, we each have to behave as leaders, or we simply don’t succeed. This is not New Age pablum-talk; it is a meaningful statement. In a networked, connected world, the skills of playing nicely together in the sandbox – horizontal leadership – cannot be squandered on an elite “high-potential” group; they have to be broadly taught. The concept of leadership development needs democratizing.
The future of leadership is horizontal, not vertical; and the future of horizontal leadership is learning the ways of trust. That means teaching trusting, and being trusted. And it means an approach to teaching leadership that is far more broadly-based than it has been.
At work, we’re using these 6 sources as a checklist. As we try to help thousands of people work out loud (or print less, or use their own mobile phone, or contribute to any of the collective efficiency programs we have underway), we keep asking ourselves if we’re tapping into all 6 sources of influence.
☐ Personal motivation: If people don’t find the behavior appealing, how can we get them to try it (or at least have them experience the benefits vicariously) and connect it to other things they value? If someone likes doing it, how can we reinforce the behavior by recognizing their accomplishments and encouraging them to do more?
☐ Personal Ability: How can we make it simpler to start? And how can we provide people with opportunities to practice the behavior and attain achievable goals while giving them immediate feedback on ways to get even better?
☐ Social motivation: Who are influential leaders who can model the vital behavior? And can we identify relevant peer groups who are already behaving in the desired way?
☐ Social ability: How can we develop social ties – e.g., buddy systems, peer support groups, advocate programs - that can help an individual get better at the vital behavior?
☐ Structural motivation: What are extrinsic rewards we can put in place that are immediate, gratifying, and clearly tied to the vital behavior? (Only consider these rewards after intrinsic motivators and social support are in place.)
☐ Structural ability: How can we change the physical environment to make the vital behavior easier or to eliminate the things that pose a risk to that behavior?"
"Don’t spend millions of dollars to try and change your culture. Corporate culture is a natural thing that cannot be manufactured. No amount of posters, incentive programs, PowerPoint presentations or slogans on websites will affect the hearts and minds of your employees. If you want to see things change immediately, stop acting like an asshole. If you see one of your senior managers acting like an asshole, ask him to stop. If he doesn’t stop, fire him. You will be amazed at how fast the culture shifts."
"They improved their communication effectiveness. This was the most common skill that these people improved. Communication skills are highly malleable. For many of these leaders, improvement here was less about learning new skills than about using the skills they already had more often and with more people. (When we talk to groups of leaders and ask, "Who here communicates too much?" we see very few hands rise.) We have also found that when struggling leaders spend time improving presentation skills, the effort can produce an immediately payoff.
They made an effort to share their knowledge and expertise more widely. Poor leaders tend to be stingy with information and know-how. By sharing their knowledge more frequently and teaching people what they know how to do they can simultaneously impress and develop their direct reports.
They began to encourage others to do more and to be better. Some leaders believe that if they minimize challenges to their team and expect less of their people, subordinates will see them as better leaders. This is wrong! Fewer challenges is the opposite of what a work group or organization needs. When leaders challenge their direct reports to do more and be better they thought they could be, the leaders are actually perceived to be better themselves.
They developed a broader perspective. It's easy for leaders to become preoccupied with work demands and internal politics and become oblivious to what's happening in the outside world. Getting leaders to stop and look at the bigger picture can help them see potential problems sooner and focus more on strategic and less on tactical issues. This leads to constructive change and innovation.
They recognized that they were role models and needed to set a good example. It frequently happens that leaders unintentionally (or unknowingly) ask others to do things they don't do themselves. This never works. Many of our 71 leaders were surprised to discover that they were perceived as hypocritical. They learned to walk their talk (or at least to "stumble the mumble").
They began to champion their team's new ideas. Many of our 71 leaders were also surprised to learn that their teams considered them to be the "Abominable NO man (or woman)." When they shifted from discouraging new proposals to encouraging and supporting innovative ideas and thinking, positive changes occurred.
They learned to recognize when change was needed. More generally, our successful leaders were those who learned to willingly support and embrace change, and encourage others to do so, as well. How? Essentially, by becoming more proactive — that is, by doing a better job of spotting new trends, opportunities, and potential problems early.
They improved their ability to inspire and motivate others. Practically all of the actions we've already mentioned create a more inspirational environment. In addition, there were two notable things these leaders did to inspire others. First, they did a better job keeping people focused on the highest priority goals and objectives. Second, they made a special effort to stay in touch with the concerns and problems of their teams. When a leader is the last to know that an employee is having difficulties, others interpret that as a lack of concern. Providing support and assistance to an employee in difficult circumstances not only helps that employee, but also reassures others they can expect to receive the same treatment.
They began to encourage cooperation rather than competition. Many leaders come out of school believing that work is a zero-sum game that creates winners and losers, and so they compete, in an effort to get ahead. Battles are costly and consume a great deal of resources. In the long run, internal competition causes every participant to lose. When leaders look for ways to encourage cooperation and generate common goals, they become more successful."
"These elements, to a great or lesser degree, are present in the informal interaction among people doing the same work, as we saw in the copy repair example. But in a world where the community of practitioners is spread across the globe, and many practitioners work at locations out of the office, the development of judgment cannot not be left to chance and proximity. It must be designed and supported by the organization including: 1) experimentation that leads to learning, 2) treating failure as an opportunity for learning, 3) establishing a systematic process through which reflective conversation occurs about both team and individual actions, 4) and promoting communities of practice."
"To get an idea of how that “becoming” works and what it means to be “in perpetual beta” you have to look at several posts on the same general topic. I’ve selected four for you to illustrate that idea. Here are four posts on “learning in the workplace” (that’s my term, not Harold’s). The posts are listed in chronological order, with the date of each post in parenthesis after the title."
"The following 20 items point out some of the main differences between training and development:
1. Training blends to a norm – Development occurs beyond the norm.
2. Training focuses on technique/content/curriculum – Development focuses on people.
3. Training tests patience – Development tests courage.
4. Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
5. Training adheres to standards – Development focuses on maximizing potential.
6. Training is transactional – Development is transformational.
7. Training focuses on maintenance – Development focuses on growth.
8. Training focuses on the role – Development focuses on the person.
9. Training indoctrinates – Development educates.
10. Training maintains status quo – Development catalyzes innovation.
11. Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
12. Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
13. Training focuses on efficiency – Development focuses on effectiveness.
14. Training focuses on problems - Development focuses on solutions.
15. Training focuses on reporting lines – Development expands influence.
16. Training places people in a box – Development frees them from the box.
17. Training is mechanical – Development is intellectual.
18. Training focuses on the knowns – Development explores the unknowns.
19. Training places people in a comfort zone – Development moves people beyond their comfort zones.
20. Training is finite – Development is infinite."
"When examining the talent at any organization look at the culture, not the rhetoric – look at the results, not the commentary about potential. Despite some of the delusional perspective in the corner office, when we interview their employees, here’s what they tell us:
More than 30% believe they’ll be working someplace else inside of 12 months.
More than 40% don’t respect the person they report to.
More than 50% say they have different values than their employer.
More than 60% don’t feel their career goals are aligned with the plans their employers have for them.
More than 70% don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer."
"Where does culture come from? It usually comes from the founders of the group. For whatever reason, they value certain things and behave in ways that seem to help the group succeed. Success is key. So it seeps into the group’s DNA.
How does culture change? A powerful person at the top, or a large enough group from anywhere in the organization, decides the old ways are not working, figures out a change vision, starts acting differently, and enlists others to act differently. If the new actions produce better results, if the results are communicated and celebrated, and if they are not killed off by the old culture fighting its rear-guard action, new norms will form and new shared values will grow.
What does NOT work in changing a culture? Some group decides what the new culture should be. It turns a list of values over to the communications or HR departments with the order that they tell people what the new culture is. They cascade the message down the hierarchy, and little to nothing changes."
"Lakshmi Balachandra's five rules of improv
1) "Yes, and." Accept a situation and then deal with it.
2) Avoid asking questions. In business that means being conscious of how continually asking questions makes other people do all the work.
3) Listening. In conversation people are often planning ahead rather than really listening, and at work it's easy to be distracted by computers or blackberries. Focused listening is a crucial skill.
4) Add information. You have to contribute if you want things to go where you want them to.
5) Eye contact. In the workplace it's important to pay attention to body language. Even on the phone you can pick up clues as to how the other person feels. "
The division of labor reduced organizational effort and the cost of work in factory production. The division of labor also increased the quality of work through specialization. This led managers to focus on the efficiency of activities separated from other activities and organizational design seen as the planning and execution of a collection of independent, but connected jobs forming the organizational workflow system.
Connections were based on top-down command-and-control and horizontal, sequential processes. In both cases the action of one part was meant to set off the action of another. Interaction was understood as one-way signals, a system of senders and receivers, a system of causes and effects.
In the cause and effect model of communication a thought arising within one individual is translated into words, which are then transmitted to another individual. At the receiving end, the words translate into the same thought, if the formulation of the words and the transmission of those words are good enough.
A social business follows the different logic of complex causality. In this model, communication takes the form of a gesture made by an individual that evokes a response from someone else. The meaning can only be known in the gesture and response together. If I smile at you and you respond with a smile, the meaning is friendly, but if you respond with a cold stare, the meaning may be contempt. Gestures and responses cannot be separated but constitute one act. Neither side can independently choose the meaning of the words or control the conversation. Thus you can never control communication.
The cause and effect model of management presumes accordingly that leadership potential resides within the individual person, who is the cause. From a social business standpoint the individualistic view is fundamentally misleading. One cannot be inspiring or energizing alone. These qualities are co-created in an active process of mutual recognition. An inspiring person is only inspiring by virtue of others who treat her this way. A good decision is only good if there are agreeable people around. Mutually recognizing and mutually supporting relationships are the sources of vitality. Actions always emerge in a network of relationships – in co-action.
The 12 Beyond Budgeting Principles
The 12 Beyond Budgeting Principles
Governance and transparency
1. Values Bind people to a common cause; not a central plan
2. Governance Govern through shared values and sound judgement; not detailed rules and regulations
3. Transparency Make information open and transparent; don't restrict and control it
4. Teams Organize around a seamless network of accountable teams; not centralized functions
5. Trust Trust teams to regulate their performance; don't micro-manage them
6. Accountability Base accountability on holistic criteria and peer reviews; not on hierarchical relationships
Goals and rewards
7. Goals Encourage teams to set ambitious goals, don't turn goals into fixed contracts
8. Rewards Base rewards on relative performance; not on fixed targets
Planning and controls
9. Planning Make planning a continuous and inclusive process; not a top-down annual event
10. Coordination Coordinate interactions dynamically; not through annual budgets
11. Resources Make resources available just-in-time; not just-in-case
12. Controls Base controls on fast, frequent feedback; not budget variances
The story documents a company called Morning Star, the world’s largest tomato processor. They do $700 million in revenue a year, so this is not a small company. Two million tons of tomatoes annually. And they do it all without managers. As the article explains, in this company:
No one has a boss.
Employees negotiate responsibilities with their peers
Everyone can spend the company’s money.
Each individual is responsible for acquiring the tools needed to do his or her work.
There are no titles and no promotions
Compensation decisions are peer-based.
The way to become trusted is to act consistently from those principles — specifically four principles that govern trustworthy behavior:
A focus on the other (client, customer, co-worker, boss, etc.) for the other’s sake, not just as a means to one’s own ends. We often hear “client-focused” or “customer-centric”, but these terms are all too frequently framed in terms of economic benefit to the person trying to be trusted. Viewed rightly, those benefits to us are welcome outcomes of a more primary focus on the other.
A collaborative approach to relationships. Again, this is an often overused and misused term. True collaboration is a fundamental, default inclination to work together, creating both joint goals and joint approaches to getting there. True collaboration is a belief that working together will result in a better outcome.
A medium to long-term relationship perspective, not a short-term transactional focus. Focusing on relationships nurtures and ultimately generates more transactions. The opposite is not true — in fact, a focus on transactions chokes off relationships. Ultimately, the most profitable relationships are those where multiple transactions are assumed, and the goal is building long-term success for everyone involved.
A habit of being transparent in all one’s dealings. Transparency simplifies and strengthens business relationships. It increases credibility and lowers self-orientation, by one’s willingness to keep no secrets.
The case for enterprise social software is so obvious to me that I tell other CEOs their only choice is when they are going to adopt it. Nearly 800 million people in the world use social networking software. Are you going to go where your customers are, where your employees are? Or are you just going to ignore it?
One of the many reasons you don’t want to ignore it involves the problem I mentioned at the start of this post. Every organization has hidden pools of talent; people who can make important contributions that might be unrelated to their job descriptions. This hit home for me last year, when we took one of the biggest steps a company could take, and decided to change our name.
The “safe” thing to do in a situation like this is to spend a few hundred thousand dollars hiring an outside “specialist.” Well, I know my people, and I know they are every bit as creative as anyone at any other company. Besides, the high-priced naming agency would do the same thing I would do: Go around asking employees if they had any bright ideas.
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