I hear that with many of my clients: I feel like they are only ticking the box and they are waiting to be told what to do. It feels like we have a blame culture which is slowing things down. How can we change them and stop this complacency? How can I enable my people to be more proactive?
And why bother, I can simply do the job myself and delegate the important stuff to 'my guy'. The answer is productivity - productivity based on more action & results, and based on a more energetic & focused culture. Once we bring the people out of their inertia, then they will also be able to grow personally, master new skills and feel more confident and excited. Which impacts the productivity of the entire team and the people around them.
What does it take to enable this change? Ownership! We want to create an environment which allows the people to identify themselves with the overall objective and feel engaged to reach that with their best effort. They own their part of the business.
From my experience, here are the key ingredients to develop ownership:
The underlying topic is: becoming a High-performing Team! This is when a team can deliver excellence effortlessly. Everything falls in place and as a team we flow towards success.
Image credit: ©Eloi Stichelbaut - polaRYSE / Holcim-PRB
As a change management practitioner, I believe a core to success are the leadership qualities of people - the people side of doing business. When talking about these leadership qualities, I often experience that the leaders know the concepts and tools to become a great leader. Though, they often admit that they are not able to apply these on a consistent, daily basis. Why is this an issue? Because if you are not consistent with your messages and behaviour, people around you loose trust.
Let me share an example which is quite typical. I recently talked to a CEO who mentioned that their coaching background and wider experience show them, what the right leadership style is: a strong focus on engagement, encouragement, letting go of control and be more the guiding hand than the directive boss. Then, the CEO shared, they often land in situations where they need to be more firm and switch to the more directive behaviour. It feels wrong though they don't see another way.
There are two things which are important here in order to change the concepts into practice. First, a deep conviction of the end goal: creating ownership and motivation to drive excellence among peers. This comes with a good understanding of what are the barriers to achieving this goal?
The second is practice practice practice. Find the cue that pulls you to fall back to the wrong leadership behaviours. Draw a few simple steps illustrating the right behaviour. Find an agreement among the leadership team on these right behaviours. And then, practice them together by peer coaching, creating awareness and encouraging each other.
What are some of these simple steps? Imagine a situation where you might get high blood pressure and pulse when you hear bad news. The first important step is to calm emotions and then ask the person open questions: what was the situation and the intention? What actions did you take and which results did you expect? And finally, what can we learn out of this?
At Hive17 Consulting, we work with leadership teams to identify these barriers and develop the right routines. And then provide an environment - daily work - where these routines can become a second nature.
A new year often comes with new goals and new dreams - yes, we do have that habit of creating new year's resolutions; who is following a healthy January? From a change management perspective, the problem with these resolutions is that they are often forgotten by February. Why is that? They aim at a change that is too big and doesn't fit into our daily routines.
Let's look at creating new habits that last, make you happy, and have a positive impact on our planet!
Reduce Meat - Establish a veggie day, for example Tuesdays. This means one day enjoying the meat-free options on the menu; for the entire day! That is yummy, healthy and has a huge impact on our carbon emissions.
Public Transport - Commute to work with metro and bus. With a bit of planning you can easily ditch the traffic jams, reduce the stress of driving and stop the hassle with taxi-ing. As a result, you connect more and are able to slow-down a bit.
Ditch Fast Fashion - buy clothes of higher quality and wear them longer. This will also allow you to save money on clothing; plus, you can give your clothes a second chance on second-hand clothes markets. Quality clothing simply feels better and we can avoid huge rubbish piles.
No Single-Use Plastic - bring your own water bottle and stop visiting restaurants that serve single-use plates and cutlery. And yes, that probably also includes your take-away and food delivery. Having a meal at the restaurant and cooking are great ways to connect and energise.
Reduce shipping - switch to options that reduce transporting things around unnecessarily. Do we need strawberries from France? Do we need to order that dress in 3 sizes and send two of them back? One surprising suggestion is canned fish; they don't require a cool-chain for transport, plus it is more nutritious - I didn't know that.
Ask for green energy and electrification - ask wherever you can for an option that doesn't rely on burning fossil fuels. This can be your electricity at home, the transport options (push your local community to invest in electric buses), your stove and heating systems, etc.
These small steps are easy to embed in your daily life. Explore the links below for more ideas and details. And in my experience, you will soon see that you will go beyond these initial changes, you will feel more energetic and content. And you will become an ambassador for sustainability in larger contexts.
This is indeed a fantastic journey ahead - enjoy!
16 Ideas for Greener Living, Bloomberg, Dec 2022
Forget New Year’s Resolutions, Here Are 5 Green Resolutions for Anytime of the Year, Green is the New Black, Jan 2023
Single-use plastic cutlery and plates to be banned in England, BBC, Jan 2023
The New Year is coming! The year of 2023. And when we are reading the news, we hear about a number of dark clouds: armed conflicts, recessions, political unrest, food scarcity. And one of the biggest clouds - environmental destruction; and this is also one of the biggest star!
I have been saying this to a number of friends: sustainability and climate technology might bring an economic upturn in 2023, despite a negative, general outlook. While companies might be careful with spending and investments in most categories, they will not be able to afford to cut corners when it comes to their sustainability efforts. Significant change around sustainability is coming up for a broad number of companies and industries.
On the one hand, many companies will be asked to provide sustainability reports and pay environmental taxes. Though, this is only one perspective. Companies will quickly realise, they will have the competitive edge when they focus on sustainability. Here are some examples:
Another report from Pressetext highlights that green tech is trending significantly across various applications. Listed are
"I am scared and I'm angry that the previous generation created this mess" - for me this statement of John Doerr's daughter has a significant meaning. Not only because she was only 15 years old when she said it; also because it was expressed in 2006! Now, almost 20 years later, it feels like we haven't changed enough. What are we waiting for? Let's get started with stopping greenhouse emissions, creating highly efficient solutions, and restoring our nature!
Speed & Scale, John Doerr, 2021
Rückblick 22: "Grüne Technik" wird zum Trend, Pressetext, December 2022
The end of the year is a time for reflection and in many ways, 2022 was an extraordinary year. In the first quarter we started to see in Singapore and in many other regions a rapid easing of pandemic restrictions and a new dynamic accelerated across many elements of life. In the summer period, travel has resumed for almost everyone. Then, in the second half of the year the business activities seemed to never stop! Indeed, a year full of change!
When I reflect back especially to the last six months, I was surprised that the same topics popped up across my clients at the same time. This gave me a feeling that these are critical concerns for business owners and leaders in the region. Let me briefly describe three themes.
Target Setting - in a number of engagements we started to look at how we can become better at setting goals. The exercise of defining objectives often felt unsatisfactory because the goals were vague and no process in place to regularly review them. One key question to ask: what is the purpose of setting targets?! We need this clarity so we can create a journey that adds value and is effective. In my interactions the biggest benefit is when teams have frequent reminders and conversations about their objectives and key results.
Toxic People - the second theme arose in many conversations and this seems to be an experience in many organisations: a tiny group of people that are creating a negative atmosphere. Two interesting observations: sometimes people are not aware that this is happening in their organisation; and, even seasoned leaders feel overwhelmed by toxic people. Why is this important? The negative vibes are creating stress, blocking creativity, and are dragging down the performance of the entire team. What can we do? In my eyes, three things: a) highlight what are toxic behaviours; b) agree that we don't tolerate this; c) jointly work towards a high-performing team.
From Inertia to Ownership - a last - almost evergreen - theme is that business owners struggle with people that are very comfortable with where they are, happy to follow instructions, hide their ideas and opinions, and don't feel excited about the company's ambitions. And often this is not a small group within an organisation. I like to call this inertia and address it with the concept of impermanence; the world is continuously changing and if we don't follow the change, we will eventually become irrelevant. What is the antidote to this? Develop ownership! Create small spaces (job scope, physical areas, etc.) and give teams the responsibility to improve them with their own ideas and efforts. This is a great way to develop leaders on all levels in your organisation.
Could we solve these themes this year? How will they appear again in 2023? As with any change, it is important to take the first steps and continuously move forward on this journey. Let's increase our focus on the right leadership qualities and strengthen our focus on people.
Wish all my friends, clients, partners, community members and
everyone on this beautiful planet
a joyful holiday season and a strong start into 2023!
Not so long ago, I was called by my friends "Mr Gadget". And still today, I am looking at the latest laptops and mobile phones - I really would love to buy them. They seem to be so much better than what I am using today! Really?
Here some interesting figures from the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum:
So, the big question is: is your current electronic device still useful? Can you repair it? When you must replace it, can you buy a second hand device (many people try it once and then sell it)? These are important questions to ask. Not only for gadgets.
Here is what you can do:
So, I am still happily using my three year old laptop and four year old smartphone - they are actually great devices!
Source: 5.3 billion discarded smartphones this year are 120x higher than international space stationwww.designboom.com/technology/5-3-billion-discarded-smartphones-this-year-10-14-2022/
Inspirational speeches, heart-warming performances and great conversations on our table and across the room! This was this years EuroCham Sustainability Awards Gala.
As with any change, climate action seems to be daunting. Though every small step counts. Let's get inspired; let's inspire others with our stories!
Thank you, SwissCham Singapore, for your support and engagement. Looking forward to more and deeper collaboration in the New Year!
Find here the official summary from SwissCham:
Today I was invited to participate in the Greentech Festival and it is always refreshing to see that the sustainability topic is promoted from various angles via a diverse group of people. For me, it was also a time to catch-up with friends and engage in many insightful discussions. One theme popped up which I want to share here. We need to be more honest. Especially when it comes to sustainability and our impact on the planet. And, we need to be honest with understanding and with respect.
And in this phrase, we can also bring the Asian and the European culture together and combine the best of the two worlds. The factful honesty which is often assigned as an European quality. And the tactful expression of thoughts which can be observed in many Asian cultures. Let's bring these together. Let's be honest that we are still far away from where we should be in terms of sustainability.
Let's be respectful and encouraging that we have started with the first important steps.
Last Wednesday, the Climate Tech Subcommittee event was all about Carbon Tracing & Offsetting. We as co-chairs of the subcommittee feel that this is an important topic which needs a solid conversation. We wish we achieved that last week.
We started off with an insightful keynote by Karina Cady with three key messages below. Reach out to us to receive the slides which are kindly provided by the Fuller Academy.
The panellists also agreed that a net-zero strategy starts with the reduction of energy consumption and waste and only as a supplement, we add carbon offsetting to our strategy. A final key insight was that if we start now with carbon reduction and offsetting, it is an asset in our balance sheet; if we wait it will very soon become a liability. Feel free to connect and reach out to the four speakers for more information.
Learn more about the Climate Tech Subcommittee of the SwissCham and follow SwissCham on LinkedIn to receive news about our latest events! Looking forward to talking to you soon.
Carbon Capture is in everybody's mind and ears. From new technologies capturing CO2 from the atmosphere (Climeworks) to crazy markets for carbon credits, solutions to offset our carbon footprint are in high demand. Corporates and governments need to comply with their ambitious net-zero sustainability targets!
Though, how effective are these carbon off-setting projects? What are the best ways to create transparency and build trust? How do carbon offsetting fit into a wider net-zero strategy that aim at the decarbonisation of our planet? Let's initiate the change!
Join us at our event organised by SwissCham Sub-committee Climate Tech on Wednesday, 9 November at 6 PM, where they will be discussing the ins and outs of Carbon Tracing & Offsetting with our panel of experts from SGS Testing & Control Services, Nandina Partners, IHH Healthcare and Carbon Impact Capital. The panel will be followed by an apéro to network for all participants.
We all heard that we need to celebrate success in order to motivate our people. And companies are getting creative: employee of the month, best idea of the month, people awards in endless categories; or they are sticking to the established tools like bonus and commission. And yes, celebrating is great and it gives all of us a short kick. The big question: what happens if we stop with these stimuli? Performance might very well dwindle away. That's the nature of "if-this-then-that" rewards, of extrinsic motivation.
How can we celebrate to strengthen lasting success? Great business outcomes are typically the result of hard work. Let's focus on that! This hard work is in my experience always the result of how well people work together; within teams, across teams and beyond organisational borders. Lasting success comes from high-performing teams which will be able to bring solid and sustainable change to your organisation.
What are the typical barriers to high-performing teams? These can be summarised as dependency on the leader, lack of structure, risk aversion, and lack of safety & inclusion. This means, when we want to increase the collaborative performance in and across teams, then we need to look at building a solid structure and principles for the way of working. We need to find ways to manage risk by experimentation. We need to provide a work environment where we leverage diversity and people feel safe. And most importantly, all team members need to become leaders and contribute to the direction of the crew.
So, let's celebrate the collaborative success! And this means we focus on the why and what - we celebrate permission and direction. The permission and ownership we are delegating in order to enable leaders across the board; the direction that we build together and provides us with a meaningful team glue. This will be the foundation to manage great change and transform your company forward.
How are you strengthening your team to thrive in a volatile and chaotic environment?
To get this out at the start: this is a book review. A review of a climate-fiction book called 'The Ministry for the Future'. And there are two things I think about this book: a) it is a must read for everyone!; b) the the book is very disturbing, at least the first half; towards the end it turns out to be revealing and exciting. Let me explain why and how.
There seems to be no denial: we are heading into a climate crisis and we already observe many disasters across the globe, across all the continents. Are we doing enough today?
While Ministry for the Future is fictional, it is very well researched (and has great story telling). And if one point is clear in the book, we need to make drastic changes. Today, we are using a number of legacy technologies - for example in transport, food production, and energy generation - which are obviously bad solutions for the environment and human health. There is no way around - we need to stop them! We need to find a way to manage this change.
One element that made me feel frustrated is that many exciting, obvious solutions simply don't work. While some less obvious solutions, surprisingly, might work. This means we need to become more creative and experiment with a lot of different approaches to find the solutions to our key issues.
Some of the solutions described in the book are around slowing down our lives. What if transport takes double or triple the time? How can we consume half of the energy we are using today? Is this so difficult? Or can we simply take these new realities into our planning? This means we need to shift our focus to long-term goals; this also means to consider our future generations.
Happiness comes from the relationships in our lives - and not from money. This leads to another stream of solutions which includes the creation of communities and new ways to connect with people. This also leads to new ways how we can allow everyone in the society to benefit and make a living from reversing climate change. And with that, reducing the wealth gap.
Ok, what does that look like in practice? So, here comes one spoiler of the book... Jet air planes are emitting a great amount of carbon dioxide and are known for their negative impact on the climate - we need to stop them. And how? What about airships?! Floating vehicles that generate electricity via the exposure to the sun and wind. They can stay in the air almost unlimited and are energy self-sufficient. They might only travel 200 km/h which is still fast enough to reach many destinations in a day or two. And as a benefit, you will have less jet lag, enjoy a more comfortable journey, can explore the nature around you, and connect with other passengers. How does that sound to you?
As with any book, you need to create your own opinion. And I am very curious to hear from you what do you get out of Ministry for the Future?
Sources: The Ministry for the Future
In the last five weeks, a team of 10 people of AMKFSC Community Services went through the certification program to become Certified Associates in Change Management. In five highly interactive sessions, the participants discussed and applied the concepts of the CPC Change Management methodology.
"I learned a lot because we spend a lot of time in our groups applying the concepts and tools on our real-work project" - Certification program participant of AMKFSC.
During the workshops the teams were able to create exciting change stories, pondered how to staff the change team, and elaborated how to define and plan the various activities to bring the adopters to the desired future state.
The group of 10 people, who work in different departments and with a diverse background, had a lot of fun during the sessions and feel confident now to bring their projects towards success.
When are you joining our certification programs?
Last week I had the great opportunity to hold a lecture at SMU with the Asia Terms students of the University of St.Gallen. A group of 60 exchange students are joining 60 students from SMU and working together on consulting projects from a wide range of corporate partners. This is an excellent opportunity for the students to get exposed to the work environment and to collaborate with their peers in cross-cultural teams.
In my experience, a critical leadership skill to deliver successful projects is to facilitate great collaboration. A group of highly skilled people do not guarantee success; especially if they focus on their own benefits and are not supporting the overall team. When teamwork is smooth and 'oiled', then the team can be high-performing and deliver any change they are set out to.
Where to start with collaborative success? There are four simple areas.
First, my favourite, is creating win-win situations. Starting with considering the other party's situation and win before having the courage to share our own win. In a small team it is important to keep this balance right. It is a mindset to stay curious about the diverse thoughts and experiences each team member can bring to the team. With the students we had a great discussion about how they can leverage the diversity in their teams and stay open and courageous when working together with their corporate partners.
The teams then worked on their team principles. What do we value in how we are working together? What are the killers for collaboration? The initial conversation in the team about their principles is so important to get to know each other and set some ground rules. When in conflict, the principles help to bring the conversation back on track. And for sure, the team principles are continuously improved and polished.
Lastly, it is important to regularly reflect not only on what the team is delivering; it is equally important to review the way of working. What are the things we need to stop doing, doing more of, or start doing? This contributes to a better understanding within the team and hence it is better to create win-win situations. In this context, teams should also connect on a social level - leave work behind for a while and simply enjoy time together.
Thanks to Stefan Morkoetter and his team for making this possible! More information about the HSG Asia Term in Singapore.
Last week, we engaged with a client in an inspiration workshop. The company is starting a digitalisation and automation transformation in a highly conservative environment. Before we start with the design of the concrete steps we wanted to inspire the team for the journey ahead. The objective was to create excitement for a better future and get them involved from the very start.
The end result was great. The senior leadership members expressed that the entire team was extremely open and engaged during the two days - something they have rarely seen before. The workshop indeed created a stepping stone for change where we will be able to achieve significant improvements to the way the team is operating today. How did we do that?
During the workshop we were focusing on four elements that made this event successful:
For sure, the teams also expressed a number of worries: will we get enough resources; how can I deal with the additional workload; after the automation, will I still have my job; how will this initiative benefit my own career? A lot of great questions which are important to address. Therefore it is vital that these concerns are expressed early in the project. Only thanks to the openness and safety the team felt during the workshop, these topics could surface.
And as you can see, the entire event was embedded in a cosy, relaxing place; away from the regular work environment. Plus with excellent food that kept the energy high.
For a few months I observed a certain notion; a change that is forming and starting to emerge. And last week, a friend of mine shared a story that greatly describes my notion. Here is the story.
My friend is regularly working in two different sites which are not far from each other and yet are very distinct. One day he met a colleague at the northern site, which has recently moved jobs from the southern site to here. My friend asked her, how is she experiencing her new job? She replied that she has only been here for 2-3 weeks and has observed one big difference: the people are much more open, the people are collaborating with a closer knit, and as a result, decisions are made much faster. When asked, what she thinks makes the difference, the answer was astonishingly simple. She expressed that she also observed that the lunch routine is different. At the southern site, most people organise their individual lunch from home or delivery, because there is no cantine that everyone can use. At the northern site, the company is providing a nice canteen and everyone is having their lunch there together. The managing director of the site is a regular visitor. As a result, the MD and everyone else is easier to approach and the people simply feel closer to each other.
I love this story! A great example of how culture is defined and influenced. Hofstede has defined four elements: values, stories, routines and artefacts. And here we clearly have the latter two present: routines as in going to have lunch with your colleagues on a regular basis; and artefacts in form of the canteen itself, a place to gather as a community.
I can feel that we are starting a period where people are longing for a community feel.
Why is that? In my observation, over the last 2-3 decades many companies and manager have created the routine to talk about individual performance, paying out individual bonuses, developing talents in their individual careers, defining individual role descriptions, etc. All this has fostered a strong individual thinking. We went away from achieving results in teams, focusing on the success of the company, and caring for all people in our different communities.
The recent pandemic then created a stronger awareness of this situation - hey, it is actually not so fun to do everything by ourselves; it makes us insecure. Let's come together again! In a community, we feel more protected, we have more fun, we can leverage more skills and experiences - we can be strong.
How can we bring this community feel back into our organisations? Here some ideas:
How do you think we can bring the community feel back?
Friends often come to me and say, 'Hey Tim, you are so positive all the time - how are you doing that?'. One could say, oh, that is simply my character. It might be, though for me it is a deep conviction that positivity is the better approach to life. What led me to this conviction? There are a few elements which I would like to elaborate on here.
First is simply neuroscience: when people are exposed to negative emotional situations then the reptilian brain reacts with freeze, fight or flight. When we are in a positive emotional state, we can thrive; we are good at heuristic tasks, more curious and as a result more productive.
Based on this and what I have seen in multiple workshops and real life situations, when we enjoy the situation and are in a good mood, creativity rises, brainstorming sessions work better, we easily solve problems and are overall the engagement and motivation is getting high.
Further, I discovered that nothing is simply good or bad. People, processes, systems, situations always have positive and(!) and negative sides. Even a specific action typically leads to advantages and disadvantages. Life in general is nuanced. Are there really errors, mistakes, burning platforms, issues, problems? Or shall we rather say that something has led to an outcome we didn't expect and anticipated. As a result, we always have the possibility of finding something positive about any situation. And yes, that doesn't mean we naively ignore the negative impacts.
We have all been in situations where we ourselves get annoyed with something or our counterparts are fuming. With these emotions we are getting defensive, losing the ability to think critically. Positivity allows us to reduce limiting emotions. Prepare a foundation where we can work together towards a better outcome.
Then there is trust; an essential element for good collaboration. In order to allow people to open up to each other, a positive environment helps a lot.
And, in my experience in change management, positivity makes transformation much much easier. Allows the adaptors to become more receptive and reduces the negative impact any change is creating.
How can you become a positive person? First, human- and data-centric approaches like design thinking and lean management allow us to be more considerate, curious and nuanced. Mindfulness helped me a lot to become more balanced and view things in a more down-to-earth way. I love the principles of appreciative inquiry. And I can only encourage practicing more positive leadership.
What are your experiences with positivity?
It never seems to stop - people around me are rushing deadlines, month-end closures and are stuck in one "burning platform" after another. I feel many people are stuck in immediate return, the quick buck and focus on financial returns (of the month, the day, the minute?). How does this lead to long-term success? Apparently not.
In my observation, this short-term focus is getting more ingrained in many company and economic structures. When is the last time that you saw a financial report that shows the trend of the last 3 years? Even country GDPs are simply compared to the previous quarter and the same quarter the previous year. And in today's volatile world, that doesn't say much. Further, is GDP (or EBITDA) even the best leading indicator for success?
A key question here: how can we become more sensitive about the long-term impact of our actions? Can we justify short-term results that jeopardize long-term objectives?
Our world is a complex and interwoven ecosystem; a simplification in financial figures will only lead into wrong directions and actions. What we want is lasting success: for our company, for our employees, for our customers, for our planet and for the society around us. Best explained is this with the Exponential Age, where innovative companies are spending a significant amount on R&D - tinkering to find the best solution knowing that this approach will not lead to short-term return but rather building the ramp to an exponential success in the future! This is based on the capability to change oneself and drive change in a rapid, sustainable way!
How to do that? First important step, work on an inspirational Leitbild - an imagination of a future state that guides your business! This is focusing on making your customers successful - and any partner in your business ecosystem is in the end sort of a customer, right? And this success is build on your people, on business success, on technology, and considers the planet and society we are embedded in.
Based on this, we can seek short-term results that are aligned with our long-term Leitbild. Any shortcut will jeopardize your long-term success.
To answer the initial question: try to imagine what your company will look like in 20 or 30 years. Take a step back and focus on doing the right things. Then you will find ways to catapult your business forward; instead of taking that shortcut.
"If we stopped investing we would be out of business in 10-15 years", Werner Vogel, CTO Amazon
Change Management is undoubtedly one of the key skills for leaders on all levels in the organisation. Change is THE constant in our business life and without looking at the people side of doing business, we will fail to achieve the results we are expecting. How are you structuring your change engagements? Where do you start your journey to become a change master?
CPC Consulting and Hive17 Consulting are offering the Certified Associate in Change Management program here in Singapore and in the region. And now, we also provide you with an easy entry to the topic: two modules as self-paced online learning modules.
These modules give you a quick start based on a holistic and practical change management methodology. And this will be the foundation for the next level where you will apply the concepts hands-on. Find out more with the link below!
We all make mistakes - they simply happen. One apparent place are our text messages - we make numerous typos, right? Although, these errors happen everywhere - big and small. And most of the time, our intention was doing the right thing. It is important to keep in mind that these errors are part of being human. Don't blame others.
In this context, I often like to mention that errors depend on the perspective. Switching to a mindset to take mistakes as a learning opportunity is highly useful. Today, I want to talk about how we can minimise these errors that happen despite our good intentions. I want to share a tactic, a routine that will help you to reduce these mistakes from happening.
David Marquet in his book Turn the Ship Around mentions this in several chapters: Deliberate Actions. This tactic is helping to break the flow between intention and action. So, we have the intention to send good morning wishes to our friend. We take our phone and type the message and often the word 'mooring' appears - a small error. Hit send, and your friend is puzzled. Deliberate Action suggests to install a small pause: before hitting send, read your message again. A successful tactic and routine I have created for myself to avoid misunderstandings and embarrassments. And this only takes a few seconds!
This can also be implemented with our peers, friends and colleagues at work. Before you hit action, pause and re-state your intention. Here a verbal example: "Hey, let's send out this invite for Friday, 12 July" - "Oh, do you mean Tuesday, 12 July or Friday, 15 July?" - "Thanks! Yes, I mean Friday 15 July". These small actions help to make work more efficient, effective and improve collaboration in the team. On top of that, the practice of deliberate actions will help to cultivate transparency - a fantastic way to change your team's collaborative success!
How do you intend to implement deliberate actions?
Source: Turn the Ship Around, David Marquet
Since a decade or so, it has been a good measure to involve people, ask for their opinion, and get them engaged in most company decisions and initiatives. This is intended to cultivate intrinsic motivation and a more enjoyable workplace. Now, we look back and think: what went wrong?
The employees don't see how their contributions have been considered in the decision making process, coordination efforts are getting bigger and complex, and managers are fighting with inertia and resistance. On top of that, everything seems to be a crisis today and we are involved in daily firefighting. As a result, we fall back to micromanagement, forget about being transparent, and all previous good intentions are thrown out of the window.
It appears that we are schlepping a huge rock behind us. Who feels like this today?
Is there a different, alternative way? Instead of being a truck driver with an ever increasing load, imagine you are a conductor of an orchestra. The load is distributed to the musicians in your ecosystem; you are providing a platform for the group of people to collaborate together on the output and the manage the change in their environment independently. This will create motivation in your team and it will make your job easier. How does that look like?
What are the key ingredients to transform into a director's kind of leader? In my experience, it takes a few, simple steps:
I know it is so easy to fall back to the old way of doing things in times of stress. It is important to practice this leadership style and establish routines. Lasting change will come very soon.
How does it feel to make this switch to an orchestra conductor?
People often see me as an evangelist for letting go of control. What I mean by this is a leadership style that is focusing on creating a platform and an environment for the organisation to be successful. Basically that is less of 'command & control' and more of 'facilitate & guide. In practical terms, this is delegating the relevant decision making power to the front.
Ok, nice. "I agree with the principles but it is so hard." - that is what I often hear from leaders. And yes, this requires a mindset shift from everyone in the organisation and that a bit of an effort to establish new routines. So, why should I invest in change? Through my change management practice, I have collected evidence from four different sources that illustrate why delegating power and providing self-control leads towards success.
Drive, Dan Pink - As a change manager I believe in motivating people intrinsically and Dan Pink describes this with simple principles in his book 'Drive'. Purpose, Autonomy and Mastery are the key ingredients to intrinsic motivation. The element autonomy is then about giving the people and the team to freedom to decide on their priorities and to design their way of working by themselves. In the end, autonomy removes a lot of frustration and is key to engagement.
Turn the Ship Around, David Marquet - If delegating power works as a leadership principle in a submarine of the US Army, then this can work anywhere! David Marquet has transformed Santa Fe into a leadership development campus where leaders are leading leaders. In his book he describes why bringing control to the front is so important and explores the two support pillars: capability and clarity.
Scrum.org - agile software development has taken over the business world and it is all about delivering results fast. The key principles here are understanding the customers, experimenting fast in short iterations and establishing a self-organising team. The scrum teams take ownership of their priorities, their roles, their way of working.
Lean Management - when managing change in operations, teams often rely on lean management. We have all heard of the 7 wastes of lean and how the goal is to create flow. All of this though, is only possible if this can happen directly within the operations, removing hierarchical bottlenecks and allowing the frontline teams to make decisions; this is called shared leadership in lean.
In simple terms, I believe if you want to reach your targets faster, and you want that your outcome is creating more value, then letting go of control is a great recipe; the changes in your organisation will happen smoother and with more success.
What are your routines and behaviours that are supporting this new leadership style?
Drive, Dan Pink
Turn the Ship Around, David Marquet
So What is Agile Really About?
What Is Shared Leadership For Lean?
At the end of last year, I have decided to follow my interest and take a deeper look at Climate Tech. I started this out of three simple beliefs: climate change is an essential global topic; creating business opportunities will accelerate the solutions; change management practitioners can enable to achieve impact.
Today, I am proud that the announcement went out that we have launched a SwissCham Climate Tech Subcommittee! Together with Regula Schegg, Marco Preisig and Jérémy Lovey, we have launched this community with the goals to
We are looking forward to organising a series of workshops and networking events. In small working groups we will collaborate on concrete projects. In larger groups we will network and share case studies.
What makes you excited about Climate Tech?
Earth Week - As a change manager I am interested in many different forms of change. One particular one is nature, our planet earth. It is inspiring to observe what happens and discover similarities to the changes we intend to create in our work and life.
Our planet has evolved over millions of years and created spectacular lifeforms. Humans evolved over thousands of years to reach its current sophistication. And we did experience a tremendous change over the last 100 years of how mankind has impacted the natural cycles. These are the big changes we can observe, discover and be inspired by.
And on the other side, we can experience how nature changes around us every single day. The video below shows this cycle with the colours we can experience from dawn to dust. This is a great reminder how we are embedded in constant change; embedded in nature and embedded in the people network we are living and working.
And these daily, small changes then also lead eventually to the larger changes we desire to achieve. Keep the big vision and start with small steps that lead us in the right direction.
Wish you an enjoyable day on planet Earth.
Introducing new products is vital for any company to stay ahead of the curve and strengthen the future business. This was also the case for this regional organisation in the chemicals industry; and they struggled with delays in the development of these new products. The accountability was with the marketing, commercial and R&D directors and they identified that the collaboration within these cross-functional teams was an area of concern.
Together with the project leads, we assessed the current situation and what blocked the team members to work smoothly together. We decided to introduce two changes in the way the people are working. First, we introduced a consolidated action log stored in a collaborative file accessible in a central location; all team members could access and edit it and we avoided copies and sending files via e-mail. Second, we increased the frequency of the team status meetings from three weeks to one week and introduced a simple structure: achievements, issues, action log.
Despite these simple changes, the regional leadership team recognised visible improvements within only 2 months. Besides spending less time in meetings and reducing the stream of e-mails, here are the major enhancements:
This project showed that change management helped to ensure all adopters are involved in understanding the pain points, defining the goals and starting to experiment with different ideas to reach the key objectives. This led to excitement and motivation - smiles instead of frowns.
How do you see that collaborative success is crucial in your business?
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Tim is a change practitioner in the area of innovation and excellence. He is working with teams to accelerate innovation, collaboration and agility.