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 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!
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?
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?
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?
We heard this many times: Change is Everywhere! We are continuously advancing, improving, tinkering and even disrupting our own products, operations and organisational models. Recent conversations, studies and experiences confirmed this again: to be successful with these initiatives, we need to bring people together and enable an effective collaboration. "We build people; and these people build our business." And, this people side of the business is the concern of Change Management.
Now, many companies have engaged in a series of different frameworks and concepts in order to bring their initiatives forward. And in recent years I have become proficient and excited about them. Here some examples.
All these concepts look at the mindset and the behaviour of people and are designed to enable the success of your projects and initiatives. They are very much concerned about the people side of doing business.
This is where I recently made the link that change management actually acts as an umbrella to all these initiatives. They can be brought together by creating a common platform and defining how they support each other (instead of stealing resources from each other). Change management can then facilitate a set of leadership qualities, creating a glue between the individuals and silos, and as a result enables longterm success through collaboration.
At Hive17 Consulting we drive people excellence through positive leadership. We assess individuals and teams with our Antifragility Score and our leadership development programs then allow these teams to strengthen their people skills and drive success for their projects.
What are the right leadership qualities? I would argue that most leaders and managers either consciously or intuitively know what leads to better results in their teams. Are we following these concepts and applying the relevant skills often enough? Most probably not. These qualities are not yet our second nature.
How do I fare in cultivating an environment that allows my team to drive change and to create lasting success? How do my peers feel about the same? Where do we align on improvement potential? At Hive17 Consulting we have started back in 2014 on a framework that measures a set of qualities that are essential in driving and facilitating change, innovation, excellence and engagement - how to become antifragile? The assessment is covering a broad set of aspects including behaviour, mindset and skills.
"Most assessments I have looked at in the past focus on me as an individual.
We at Hive17 Consulting strongly believe that success comes from collaboration, diversity, alignment, transparency, relationships,... - all elements that happen in the space between people. This is also the reason why the best value of our antifragility score is achieved with an entire team. We will run group assessments where we bring the individual scores anonymously together. This will lead to great conversations on what we can learn from the different leadership pillars; where do we excel as a team? On which qualities are we aligned? How can we further improve to create a platform for success?
Where to start? First, get your individual score with the link below; and experience the four pillars in action. Based on this, we can continue to build a group score; this will help the team to discuss areas how all together can bring the team forward and cultivate the right space for success. Starting with some concrete action points. Give it a try...
"Change Management is Pain Management"
This is how Dr Michael Loh has captivated the participants during the inaugural workshop of the ACMP Singapore Chapter (forming). Dr Loh shared with the audience that in essence, change management is all about the people. It is easy to install change and forget about the human aspects. With Mushroom Management the managers come in and create chaos and results are random. With Seagull Management, the birds are coming out from nowhere and then leave their discharge all over the place. That is how transformation projects fail.
How to do change right? Take our taxi drivers as an example: they listen, they repeat, they embellish and they gossip. Storytelling is essential for success; start with listening to the chatter from all levels and learn from that.
Dr Jens Sorg, president of the ACMP Germany Chapter, shared what the Association for Change Management Professionals (ACMP) is all about. "Lead the way change works" - with this mission at its core, the ACMP is all about being a knowledge hub, a platform for experts to exchange and bring the practice forward. Annie Chong, our Singapore president, is excited to bring this organisation and its network to our region.
Get the latest news and receive updates about the upcoming events on our LinkedIn group; join now:
ACMP Singapore Chapter (Forming) Group.
One observation I made over the past years is that there seems to be a growing gravitation towards focus on individual work. This not only establishes silo mentality and makes collaborating across departments, geographies and hierarchical levels more difficult. This also stimulates individualism within teams; a blame culture is nurtured and the spirit of working together fades away. Elements that are nudging in this direction are the way we set objectives and rewards, the mandate of individual job description, the setup of functional organisational structures, etc. They often reward individual contribution over team achievements.
At the same time, there are tons of information and concepts that praise and promote the fact that we can reach ultimate success only by collaborating with others: Google research, High Performing Teams, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, etc. While we can be efficient as an individual, the great achievements and the effectiveness of an organisation only stems from the collaborative advantage we develop in groups of people.
Why do we have this controversy between individual and collaborative efforts? Maybe it is the lack of ability and tools that nurture, cultivate and nudge towards the right behaviour and mindset. Here are some ideas from my experience.
Does this sound like a lot of work? I admit, this is not a shortcut. Still, these efforts are a worthwhile investment that leads to lasting success and extraordinary results. Benefits are that we unleash creativity, we engage and motivate the people, we establish a psychological safe work environment, we retain people and we enable the company to grow beyond the current box.
What have you recently done to stimulate cross-silo collaboration in your team?
Source: re:work - The five keys to a successful Google team
Read more about Magic Pill #1 - Reflect
After a very long time, in-person workshops are back! Last week I had the opportunity to hold a guest lecture at SMU as part of the my alma mater's HSG Asia Term program here in Singapore. It was a highly interactive session with forty students from both universities. Great to feel the energy and engagement.
The students are engaged in consulting projects with local businesses and the session was focussed around how we can work together in teams and with the different stakeholders. We started off with a fun exercise that revealed that often we want our opponents to loose - instead of winning ourselves - that was really amazing.
How can we then collaborate successfully? It takes the willingness and ability to create synergy between the different players in the group. And this requires a balance between considering the wins of the other person, and the courage to express your own win. Based on these principles, the teams then started to define their own principles which captures how the team wants to work together.
The feedback we got was wonderful; here some quotes:
How do you establish relationships at work that spark high-performing teams?
Thanks to Stefan Morkoetter and his team to make this possible! More information about the HSG Asia Term in Singapore.
A few years back, we have been engaged in a regional project to drive manufacturing excellence in 15 factories with a special focus on energy and how to create a better place for future generation. While this was a technical project with clear value targets, we also understood that this initiative will only be successful when we engage with the people, make them excited about the vision, and create opportunities to learn and progress.
Communicating was not enough - we knew that. Because we wanted to enable and facilitate the change from within, we established a group of change ambassadors who were working closely with the frontline people. We identified a cohort of 25 engineers who were driving the initiative in their respective sites. They became project ambassadors for one year in a full-time ambassador position.
How could we motivate them to join this role? How could we overcome their concerns that this assignment was hindering their career development?
We designed this ambassador program with two clear and distinct objectives in mind. First, we know that the group of ambassadors were vital to achieve the business objectives of the initiative. They were responsible in the identification of energy saving potential in their sites; and then responsible to execute this potential. With these goals we were able to save costs, reduce the environmental impact and increase the reputation of the business.
The second objective of the program was about developing future leaders. The engineers were identified talents and following a development path to potentially become plant managers. One important set of skill they had to learn for their future were leadership and people capabilities. As change facilitators they had tons of opportunities to learn, apply and experiment with different tools, skills and behaviours to engage with the frontline people and the management. As part of the program, we continuously evaluated them based on a change leadership skill framework.
In essence, while working together with human resources, the ambassador program was part of the talent management activities. And it was a huge success! All engineers improved their leadership skill scores while part of the program. And, all engineers joined back their career paths in higher positions than before. A fantastic achievement!
This is how we design our leadership programs at Hive17 Consulting. We always keep this dual objectives in mind: improving the business results and(!) improving the leadership qualities. We believe that in this way we can establish lasting success and drive the change from within.
When I recently talk to people, two things are striking: first, there is a year-end madness with huge workload; second, a big uncertainty looking forward. As a result, motivation is at an all-time low, talents are fleeing their safe jobs, and people dive even more into daily work because there seem to be no other solution.
On my side, I am a big advocate for long-term success. When we want to achieve better business results, we need the right environment, the right tools, the right mindset, and the right direction. What does 'right' mean here? To be honest, I am not the person to tell you. Every person is different, every team constellation creates a special culture. It is important for each group of people to find the answer to what is right, themselves. Let me guide you with some of my change management experience.
When I look back at the last 10-15 years at all the teams I was brining towards success, how we establish unexpected results, I can distill two essential ingredients that these teams have applied. And I want to go a bit deeper in this magic pill #1 - because of the frenzy I have described above, and because the holiday season is coming up.
When we are chasing results, when we are overwhelmed, when we are anxious, when we are under pressure, when we are simply going through our daily work routines... in these situations we are not creative, we often don't see the big picture. And, we don't answer the question, are we doing the right thing! One activity which I have been pursuing a lot in my practice, is providing a space to reflect, to look beyond the box, and to feel positive.
How to go about this? First, it is important to wind down, get the people into a different space - physical and mental. Then there are a few questions to consider:
This time off and these questions help teams to identify the friction and bottlenecks to their productivity. And sometimes they find totally new ways to deliver to their customers. More often than not, reflections are a great source of excitement, fun and motivation. And the holiday season is a good time to start with this reflection.
What do you think is the magic pill #2?
[Update] Here we go: Magic Pill #2 - Bridging Silos
Many people say that the pandemic brought a lot of change. Though, when looking at 2010s, we talked a lot about digitalisation, working from home, e-commerce, VUCA, new digital currencies, psychological safety, and many more topics. Some people argue that we are not introducing new topics, though the transformations are happening a lot faster due to a new urgency and necessity.
Here is where agility comes into play. Is it sufficient to simply run faster? This typically doesn't last long because things break and the quality suffers. We want to speed up in a smart way to create lasting success in times of transformations. And one important element here is creating value to our customers.
At Hive17 Consulting we have been evolving our four pillars for lasting success since the year 2014. We identified, validated, enhanced, applied four topics that we found helps teams to speed up by creating value:
In collaboration with Tigerhall, we have created this trail of podcasts that introduce these four pillars based on case studies and the underlying principles. This first episode is giving an overview to start of. Listen to this short introduction and enjoy how the four elements fit together.
Which of the four pillars do you experience as the biggest barrier in your organisation?
So far in this trail about agility, we talked about two major things: giving people direction based on our purpose and the value we can create to customers; and starting to experiment and continue to learn. Both are focusing on what we deliver and what we produce. All of this is only possible when one magic ingredient is present: the foundation of agility. Besides the delivery, our way of working is highly determining if we will be successful. Do you sometimes feel that your daily work feels like a constant fight, peers around you are not aligned, the processes and approvals are bottlenecks that slow you down?
In this episode, we talk about how we can create solid connections between people. Establishing alignment and transparency, and cultivating a safe environment where people can share their ideas and thoughts. A place where it feels like we are working together and pulling on the same string.
What portion of the delivery can we fully delegate to smaller teams and allow them to be self organising?
Your company sets aside a certain percentage of your work to be innovative. You and your peers are supposed to come up with the new big thing. And creativity simply doesn't strike. Improvements seem to be incremental. Your customers for a long time didn't experience that 'wow effect'. Something is wrong. And, you are not alone. Many companies come to Hive17 Consulting to seek for inspiration and creating a new spin to their operations.
Going down the same path will lead to the same destination.
One key element what we are offering is thinking out of the box. No, it is not enough that we at Hive17 are thinking out of the box. The teams we are supporting need to think out of the box! How are we facilitating this change? Three elements.
Creating a positive environment. This is important because our brain works more creatively when we are in a positive emotional state. New ideas flow and we are able to build on top of the ideas of others. Here we aim at creating a meaningful context, allow people to warm up; something that simply works better in person.
Use a new approach to problem solving. When you keep applying the same methodology, you might reach similar results. That's why we introduce new problem solving methodologies, for example design thinking. And if you are already using it, then it is a good idea to ask another person to facilitate through the journey.
Ask different people. Diversity sparks new ideas; when we open up our mind and our perspective, new solutions will flow. Important here is to put more efforts on customer centricity. Who are the groups of people you are creating value for? Going broad on this question and talking to representatives of these groups, is a good start.
How often do you feel that you and your teams are thinking out of the box?
Let's continue to talk about the principles of agility, today we look at how we can create value to our customers. I like to explain that our purpose is giving us meaning from within and is making us as a group unique. The second part that provides meaning in our work is that we are delivering exciting solutions to our customers. Both are directing us in our daily job and help us to make decisions along the journey.
Jump into this second podcast in collaboration with Tigerhall where we uncover the underlying principles of agile working. Practical examples will help you to start the transformation with your team.
Who are the groups of people you are creating value for?
Together with David Newton, we are organising a workshop series called CFOs Leading Business Intelligence. Last week, I talked about decision making in this context. The financial teams are very good at planning and analysing business data. And we need to understand that all these activities are directed at making better business decision and at the betterment of the business we are in.
When it comes to decision making, there are two main areas we aim to improve: speed & quality. How often do you experience delays in your decision making process? And, how confident are you that you are making decisions that are solid and considering all the data we have?
In my presentation and during the panel, we discuss to major elements: decision making bias and decision modelling. Please enjoy this recording.
Next week, we will conduct session for: Change Management. Please sign up with the link!
This article was originally posted in the GloCoach Blog.
Since the beginning of 2020 we learned that change can suddenly be omnipresent. Many companies struggled; some companies thrived due to the new business environment. And over the recent months there might be only a few companies that are not facing big challenges; if not from a business and financial perspective, then from an engagement and social point of view. How can we build an environment where we can thrive in all aspects of work and life?
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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.