Thank you for inspiring me to document musings and learnings from the field of leadership, team performance and conscious change. I trust you'll find the exercises, resources and insights useful whether you are a leader, team player, coach/consultant or change agent.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Unspoken Rules?

Teams tend to implicitly follow the rules of a dominant operating system but rarely discuss what that structure is and if it is serves their goal achievement. David Kantor's research illuminates the structural dynamics in human systems. One element he asks us to consider is the unspoken rules (or ways of operating) that influence team performance. They are:

Closed: Prescriptive. Stability through control. Clearly defined roles. Strong, formal leadership. Emphasis on planning & execution. Top-driven decision making. Policy-oriented. Leader centric. Think Military.
Open: Freedom within Structure. Egalitarian participation. Everyone making a contribution. Shared leadership. Emphasis on collaboration. Process-oriented. Self-Directed. Think Montessori. 
Random: Generative. Exploration through improvisation. Lack of formal structure/process. Autonomy & individuality. Spontaneous bursts of energy. Emphasis on innovation. Transformation-oriented. Think Chaos Theory.

Which operating system do you prefer? What is the dominate system on your team? In your organization? Does each align or clash? How do these archetypes help or hinder results delivery?

Try not to judge or make one structure better than the other, as each has a time and place. Seek first to understand then consciously choose what system is optimal!

Source: Kantor Institute, Natarsha Hearn

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Change vs. Transition

The pace of change is accelerating. Doing more with less is the norm. Teams must learn to welcome change and work with constraints to deliver winning results. One of the key differences in successful companies is the ability to anticipate and execute team changes as quickly and efficiently as possible.
How can you remain competitive when team membership constantly changes, new leaders come and go, initiatives change daily, mergers are on the horizon, revenue pressures are persistent, etc. etc.?
Transition expert William Bridges states, "It isn't the changes that can do you in, it's the transitions. Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational: the new boss, the changing team members, the new policy, the new law, the layoff. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external. Transition is internal" 
We tend to spend our time on what's next and miss the opportunity to close out the past consciously and address the 4 D's of an ending; Disengagement, Dis-identification, Disenchantment, and Disorientation. 

Next time your team is in the midst of a transition (large or small), start with these questions to move from an ending, to the neutral zone and your new beginning:

1. What is changing?
2. What will actually be different because of the change?
3. What are you going to lose (or believe you will lose)?
4. What do you need to grieve, resolve, thank or let go of to move into the neutral zone?

5. What do you believe is possible now?