Leadership: Are You a REAL Leader?
Updated: Apr 18, 2018
What is REAL Leadership?
Are you be a REAL leader? As you encourage others to commit to your bold vision for the new year, there are four questions to ask yourself, and them:
R = Am I READY to make and enforce hard decisions?
E = Am I personally ENGAGED?
A = Is the organization ALIGNED around a strategy that I have communicated?
L = Am I willing to make a LASTING COMMITMENT to a successful outcome?
READY: Are you ready to make and enforce hard decisions?
What necessary changes must be made? Innovation, in the organizational development sense, can be remembered by the acronym IDEA:
INSIGHTS: What do I need to know to inform key strategic decisions?
DECISIONS: What are those key decisions?
ENGAGEMENT: Who has the data? Who is affected? What buy-in do we need?
ALIGNMENT: How do we gain support of the larger organization?
There WILL be moments of truth. A time will come (several probably) when you must confront those who are resistant to change and move quickly resolve this resistance. A decision made but not enforced sends the worst possible message. CEOs must persuade why the journey is necessary by presenting and enforcing "The Three Essentials of Change:"
A Shared Vision that overrides individual interests;
The "Burning Platform" (threat, missed opportunity or competition), and;
An Executive Mandate communicating the path forward, expectations and consequences of failure.
ENGAGED: Are you personally engaged?
The best change agent and project champion I know had two very effective habits. As a senior executive, he personally introduced our small team to the CEO and made the case for change so important to the CEO that he insisted we use his personal conference room as our headquarters. It sent a message to the organization.
"Those who delegate and abdicate make their lack of commitment clear."
It was not unusual to find the CEO reviewing our white papers affixed to the walls as he monitored progress. He also held executive meetings in that room and he would reference those worksheets to make a point. He asked others why they didn't have, "Stuff on the walls?" At one point, red-faced angry, he rebuked member of the senior team who made a dismissive comment by barking, "Why is it these guys are telling me things about this organization in two months that you've not been able to tell me in 15 years?"
Our champion's second effective habit was to drop by the conference room at 7:00am to set the tone for the day (and we were always there, laptops open) or after 5:00pm when the office was quiet to find out how things went. He would ask what we needed to be effective. He was personally engaged.
Conversely, those who delegate and abdicate make their lack of commitment clear.
ALIGNED: Is there alignment around a strategy that you have communicated?
Have you communicated strategy? Developing an Executive Mandate document, Strategy Map and Program of Work complete with objectives, goals and initiatives aligns the organization. The process gives your team the opportunity to question, challenge and refine the course of action, then own the results.
Managing the activities and implementation requires governance on three levels:
At the top is a Champion backed by a Guiding Coalition who set strategy.
These are supported by a Functional Steering Team of mid-level executives who own the program of work.
"Solutions Teams" execute as part of a leadership development program.
LASTING COMMITMENT: Are you committed to resourcing the program and staying the course to achieve a successful outcome?
Strategy execution is a predictable process that can be grueling. Project fatigue is a real threat. A critical piece is a dedicated program manager who is a competent change agent, having full access to the CEO and senior team. This person also coordinates the mentoring program linking high-potential associates to senior management as the body of work unfolds.
"Success has many friends, but failure is an orphaned child."
"Are you a REAL Leader?"
As you roll out bold initiatives and leadership development programs for the new year, how do you feel your team(s) might respond? "Success has many friends, but failure is an orphaned child." The key ingredient is leadership. What will it take to refine your own skills and develop them in others? The answer is found in the next article, "The LEAN Innovation Process(sm)."
Continue on to "The LEAN Innovation Process(sm)...
Organizational Health: "Creating The Learning Organization"
Leadership: "Are you a REAL Leader?"
Strategy: "The LEAN Innovation Process(sm)"