Leadership Development: Finding Organizational Calm

July 11, 2015

What is often frustrating to leaders is energizing to this executive coach. People often ask, “Where is the most fun for you when working with a client?” I respond, “Picture a venn diagram where leading self, leading others, and leading the organization all intersect. Because of growth, it looks and feels like chaos to everyone inside the system.” It is at this intersection that defining, organizing, aligning, systematizing and deputizing happens. This is where organizational calm initiates. Interesting this aligns with the work done in applied positive psychology. They believe that you look at the subjective, individual and group level in order to make meaningful sustainable change.

It begins with the leader developing certain attributes that I will define as awareness, commitment and action. The awareness is all about understanding who they are, how they react, what they are good at and what they need help on. It is about their identity how they and others have labeled themselves in the past to create who they are today. It is knowing what are your values and in what priority rank they fall for you. And then determine if they like that person they see in the mirror and accept refund or transform. This is much deeper work than simply discovering your strengths.  Once you know who you are it is about getting committed to that way of being so that you can be authentic about your inauthenticity. Meaning that the way you behave as a leader is both consistent with your internal view of yourself and how others see you. Once you know who you are and are comfortable in your own skin and you are committed to acting in alignment with that world view then it is about acting with integrity around those belief system.

The leader need to find calm in their world to begin to stay and act consistent with their world view. The stress of drinking from a firehose is often too much for someone to maintain their will against such disruptive energy. This is truly when the leader begins to see there can be a different way. This may be accomplished by how they handle meetings, control their schedule, manage disruption, delegate work, define authority, systematize email and communications.

My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other. Great things in business are never done by one person they are done by a team.

– Steve Jobs

Next I borrow from Beckhard who developed this simple model about team effectiveness in 1972. He uses GRPI to label it. It provides a hierarchy of activities that a team can follow to create an effective team. Leaders often struggle with following the order. If someone was watching me coach there are only a few things that rattle me and trying to accomplish this change of how the leader leads others is one of them. They always have a reason (excuse) about why the timing is not quite write to do it in this order. And each time I have been told we will do it differently I simply say to myself, “here we go again.” Sometime reinventing something that works is not necessary. The model goes like this:

  1. Goal
  2. Roles and Responsibilities
  3. Process and Procedures
  4. Interpersonal Relationships

Unless you give your organization a vision, object, goal to focus on there is no need to define and act on roles and responsibilities, form and adhere to processes or build relationships. Often during this chaotic environment that has grown out of control it has happened because the goal gets sponge, porous and lacks the clarity that is needed by the team. The roles and responsibilities tend to get over lapping and entire areas get ignored. These may happen because of a lack of relationship and certainly no relationship is likely to occur with out a set of boundaries to guide the nature of these relationships. To obtain organizational calm at the greatest pace think of following this model of Beckhard.

The leader sees, hears, feels, thinks that these pain points that they are feeling may be unique to them because their “social executive friends” don’t discuss the vulnerability of leading their business. This then reinforces the idea that they are bad, wrong, or  inadequate. Verses they have grown fast this happens and their is a path to salvation just as their was a path to their rapid growth. Thermodynamics would explain that everything is always in the process of deconstruction. Because of this their is additional need to increase the energy of reconnecting the different nodes of the organization and attending to the bonds that hold them together.

Trying to fix this out of order can work, it simply takes more time, you often need to do work arounds and rework at each stage.

Once the team is focused and roles and responsibilities are define and in place, the process and procedure is installed you can finally begin to go to work on the relationship and build the organizational capacity to handle more in your scaling.

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