I am fascinated by people, confused and bemused as well! A key focus in learning is developing people and I am delving into leaders, the impact one can make and how organizations grow and evolve. Fairly recently a leader in an organization was defined by their department or division and this role had relatively clear expectations. As organizations grew flatter and moved to be faster the view of the business has moved from silo to ecosystem and everyone involved is impacted. This change has created opportunities for every one of us to become a “leader” as we work and engage with others across the enterprise.
Robert Warwick recently posted on his blog, Metis Exploration, results of research focused on health policy as it impacts leadership and engagement. The key points noted below seem to me to be relevant for any leader, indeed for anyone who wants to make a difference. His research identified “seven essential criteria that are important to consider in an increasingly complex world, these were:
- Go out of your way to make new connections.
- Adopt an open, enquiring mind-set, refusing to be constrained by current horizons.
- Embrace uncertainty and be positive about change – adopt an entrepreneurial attitude.
- Draw on as many different perspectives as possible; diversity is non-optional.
- Ensure leadership and decision-making are distributed throughout all levels and functions.
- Establish a compelling vision which is shared by all partners in the whole system.
- Promote the importance of values – invest as much energy into relationships and behaviors as into delivering tasks.”
I do not believe he intended these points to be used as a step-action procedure, as I reviewed them I found them to be more of how I try to live and interact with those around me daily. On a personal level I find the points focus on my relationships promoting a common understanding of living together as spouse, as parent, as friend. Professionally I would bring these points to a team to provoke a conversation on how we, as a team of leaders, can create a community filled with respect, creativity, common purpose, shared values and a vision to grow to.
There is a downside however that Harold Jarche identified in a post titled “Critical Thinking in the organization” that flatter organizations can foster open communications and employees can take on increased responsibility however the benefits are based on effective critical thinking skills. This point is highlighted in a video from the American Management Association titled “Critical Thinking: Not just a C-suite skill” with the key need one of a continuous dialogue between all parties involved in the enterprise, leader/follower. While the video follows a vendor’s toolset, Jarche speaks of breaking the mold of traditional hierarchy with wirearchy encouraging new interactions, new relationships, and fostering new resources to identify problems and create efficient and effective solutions. In an effort to be more responsive to the marketplace we are asking employees to do more and take on more responsibility however “asking employees to engage in real critical thinking, and accepting the resulting actions, will not work unless there is a two-way flow of power and authority.”
So coming full circle now, let’s review the points Warwick made above once again. Can you see how they can help you have a discussion with your team? This is where the trust begins, where active dialogue will happen, and where we can learn and grow from each other, “we” really is smarter than just “me”! So share the points with your team and see how you can change your culture, how you can transform each person to move from their potential to where their performance will shine and where they will lead.