APRIL 2016 NEWSLETTER
Larger organisations are looking for more tailored and integrated ways of driving action. When trying to marshal large scale diverse and remote work forces the one size fits all doesn’t work. Localized, targeted and aligned programmes have a far higher chance of success.
Sometimes organisations rely on shuffling the pack to solve the organisational ills, this form of illness shows itself in dysfunctional behaviours, over competition, in fighting and empire building, which results in a lack of trust and a huge waste of resources.
Looking for a magic bullet has long since been a recipe for failure, so what is driving the lack of progress within organisations?
The same old gets the same old
Being covert instead of explicit
Following a process blindly without full examination of the risks; being a robot not a human. Allowing senior people to work by cliques and head / horns approaches; everyone must be like my own image, speak the same jargon and not be a threat to me in any way.
Organisations need to regenerate a sense of belonging and re-establish trust and integrity levels. Having open and clear conversations has an enormous pay off. Collaborative and collective forms of leadership are the key a common message in a common way with personalized emphasis
To use a football metaphor, when the team doesn’t perform there’s always another manager with a great reputation ready to step in and save the day. The boss stays for a shorter time, the MD is on the line, too, and their time may be short. Some organisations are becoming skeletal in nature; too thin to survive. Therefore, there is no room to anticipate or deal with any fluctuation of the plan.
Risks and experimentation are at a minimum. Innovation is marginalized and the same old gets the same old. Change is not getting any slower and shortages exist at all key levels, so perhaps getting the best from people is not such a costly idea and practice after all. The world is small and big at the same time; speed and flexibility are the key.
So how can these patterns be avoided? Clarity and trust are the keys; clarity about what the organisation is about and trust of the people to be involved, engaged and a part of the organisation.
Resilience is the key. Keep learning, take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. Look for the good in what’s happening and have realistic expectations. Enjoy the now.
Many of these approaches sound simple to do, but often the complexity and pressure of organisational life means that we are distracted and unable to focus because of fears, real or imagined, and in this position of weakness people are expected to give of their best? Really?
Be self reliant, self motivated and self developmental, because in some strange way this is what the organisation wants from you, and it’s what you want for yourself.
Learning is the key. Keep being open to new and different things; give the brain something to work with.
The more we express our concerns and see the reality of them, and the more we develop our dreams, the more they turn into reality.
Time is finite, most other things can be adjusted.
Let me know what other problems are holding your organisation back from within.
Five Top Tips
1. Encourage your staff to voice their opinions and thoughts.
2. Reward creativity, even if at first it seems like a mad idea.
3. When reaching consensus give time to overcome obstacles or you will only come back to them later.
4. Recognize that learning takes place every day and encourage everyone to share what they have learned this week or month.
5. Start with trusting yourself and finish with trusting the team and the organisation.
October 2015 Newsletter
What’s going on in the innovative leader’s mind?
When thinking about an Innovative Leaders mind-set, what else is going on inside the leaders mind?
I started to wonder what might be the top five characteristics for leaders with an innovative mind set, so just for a moment I thought about being innovative and some themes emerged: stillness, daydreaming, sketching for the mind, lot of questions. So for me, being curious, bouncing back and being flexible and being my true self come to the fore.
So how would you rate yourself on having a innovative leaders mindset say on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being very well? Rate yourself against some of these key indicators:
1. Curiosity the ability to explore without judgment and preconceived ideas
2. Encouragement the ability to nurture the new and small seed of an idea
3. Resilience the ability to keep going, viewing mistakes as learning
4. Flexibility the ability to be agile and adapt to the current and future demands
5. Honesty the ability to be authentic and true to yourself and others.
The Innovative Leaders mind-set – what’s at the corner of the page? What’s just within your memory but not fully formed?
When thinking about this article I became drawn to a book Time to Think: Listening to ignite the human mind by Nancy Kline ISBN-13: 978-0706377453 on my bookshelf that seemed to be summarizing many of the areas that came to mind when pondering about an innovative leadership mind-set. In particular, many of the thinking principles, for example:
1. Everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first. Our thinking depends on the quality of our attention for each other
2. Thinking at its best is not just a cool act of celebration it is also a thing of the heart
3. A thinking environment is a set of ten conditions under which human beings can think for themselves with rigour and imagination, courage and grace
4. Listening of this calibre ignites the human mind
5. Between you and a wellspring of good ideas is a limiting assumption. This assumption can be removed with incisive questions
6. Incisive questions increase the functional intelligence of human beings.
Sounds like some reflective coaching is in order to help tease out what has not quite yet been discovered, so to quote Steve Jobs, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
Vision, Mission, Ambition and Role
So, if leadership is ‘the capability to express a vision, influence others to achieve results, encourage team cooperation, and be an example’, as Robert Dilts says, then an Innovative Leader’s mind-set encourages what’s not been tried, what else is possible, and so by reviewing your biggest success and pinpointing the smallest steps that created it you can develop a model for success.
Dilts refers to these factors as:
What do you want to create in the world through you but that is beyond you? What services, benefits and contributions do you want to make to your customers, society, the environment, etc.?
What is your unique contribution to making the vision happen?
What are the special resources, capabilities and actions that you will develop, mobilize and apply to reach the vision?
What type of status and performance do you want to achieve with respect to yourself and others (stakeholders, competitors,etc.)?
What type of individual (or organization) do you need to be in order to reach the status and level of performance you want to achieve?
We can consider the mind-set aspect of the Innovative Leader’s mind-set by looking into the latest research and thinking in Neuroscience. Neuroscience is concerned with improving understanding of the brain and how it works, how we process information and the reason we make some basic cognitive mistakes (limitations), why change is so hard and how to better manage change, why we react negatively in certain situations and how emotions can be better regulated.
The brain is actually never at rest but actively processing and internalizing existing knowledge (to make sense of the world). When you stop processing external information, quality internal processing can take place. For example, daydreaming, envisioning the future, retrieving memories, and gauging others’ perspectives.
Leaders are like icebergs (learning is what lies beneath the surface and much is hidden).
What we can see (above the surface):
traditions, symbols, artifacts, behaviours, customs, and symbols.
What we can’t see (below the water line):
perceptions, world views, attitudes, motives, values, beliefs, thoughts.
With the ever evolving nature of business, leadership and the work environment that we live in, the need to be more innovative and understand how we think and improve our own thinking processes are ever present.
I hope this article has intrigued you, made you think, want to know more So if this collection of thoughts and observations has sparked your interest get in touch and share some insight and discover how to release innovation in you.
September 2015 newsletter
Innovative leadership for everyone?
When does innovative leadership start? Firstly let’s explore what it is. Having googled it a bit, asked a few leaders and experts and generally had a look around about what’s out there, what have I discovered so far?
Innovation leadership is a philosophy (thinking) and technique (acting) that combines different leadership styles to influence (leaders and followers) employees to produce creative ideas, products, and services. This leads to greater adaptability, agility and strategies for the future as well as for the now.
So where does it come from?
Having the right climate (culture, context)
Having the right drive, push / pull
Having the right people
Having some time to reflect and think.
Some of the major theories applied to innovative leadership
Innovation leadership has roots in path-goal theory and leader-member exchange theory. Wolfe (1994), Sarros, Cooper, & Santora, (2008) realized that organizational culture is crucial for success.
So, let’s focus on the practice and how to do it.
Protect the mavericks
Allow for dissent
Have patience and drive
What holds it back?
Leaders being in charge; old command style
Leaders being autocratic
Leaders being obsessed with numbers
Leaders only wanting success for themselves; the self interest is the only interest syndrome
Okay, so what makes it work?
Leaders who have a long term perspective
Having the courage to fail and learn from it
Leaders who work with the team
Leaders who motivate through coaching and mentoring
Leaders who are emotionally intelligent
Leaders wanting everyone to succeed
Leaders who have a passion for innovation
Leaders who innovate with their head (thinking) heart (feelings) and hands (actions)
Innovative leaders are able to both supply the vision and create the plan that takes the organization forward. Sometimes it’s the organization itself that is the greatest barrier to innovative thinking and acting.
From the CBI publication Excellence in Service Innovation, Fujitsu moved from technological solutions to a business based outcomes orgnaisation. The company strategy and culture focused on looking at future trends to reduce costs, including its customers in its innovation quest.
Organisations have taken very different approaches to innovation. Microsoft and Google have taken an in-house approach led from within (8 Pillars of Innovation), while My Space and You Tube (prior to its takeover) had a community driven approach.
“The best organizations understand design and do not see innovation as something happening in a laboratory on its own” Joe Heapy, Co Founder and Director of Engine.
The thinking skills for innovation are much more about the abstract, multi-screen breakthrough, diversity and the ultimate goal thinking, as outlined by Valeri Souchkov in her book “Power thinking for innovative leadership.”
So, if this collection of thoughts and observations has sparked your interest get in touch or come along to the Innovative Leadership Mind-set session in Bristol on the 28th October to gain and share some insights and discover how to release innovation in you.I am attending with some of my colleagues from Smart Coaching and Training Ltd
The Innovative Mind-set
Smart Coaching and Training Ltd. – Ross Nichols
Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Smart Coaching & Training Ltd excel at providing bespoke business support, coaching, training, mentoring and consultancy services and resources to business leaders, entrepreneurs, organisations and individuals looking to grow and transform. Business leaders we have supported have transformed their enterprises, grasped opportunities, identified success elements, developed an innovative mindset and achieved momentum in their business growth.
I hope this newsletter has provoked some thought. For those who want to be provoked further, I am very happy to help you along the way. Feel free to contact on 01793 882058 or via firstname.lastname@example.org