Change and Leadership Strategy

 I recently stumbled across an interesting article by William Pasmore in Forbes titled “You Need A Leadership Strategy Now” which really got me thinking, especially his statement regarding change…

Leading in an environment that is characterized by constrained resources, an uncertain and unpredictable economic environment and where competition is constantly increasing, is extremely challenging as there is no clear direction, not clear answers and the risk of failure is high. In these times, when decision making is difficult and change has become the order of the day, having the right leadership team in place is of utmost importance. This is why having a robust leadership strategy is key.

You many be asking yourself, what exactly is a leadership strategy and how will is help in times likes these? William Pasmore describes a leadership strategy as follows.. “A leadership strategy makes explicit how many leaders you need, what kind, where, with what skills, and behaving in what fashion individually and collectively to achieve the total success you seek.”

According to William, developing your organization’s leadership strategy require that you answer the following four questions:

  1. What are the drivers of our business?
  2. What kind of leadership do we need?
  3. How am I myself leading?
  4. Who are our leaders? 

This quote also made me think about change in general.Let’s look at the changes that are needed to happen when it comes to an area that is near and dear to most of our hearts, communication and collaboration. I have been hearing from many folks that are down at the work level (no offense to management and leaders) that today things are not working well. In fact, some folks have said it is broken. My first question is how are you doing with it today? Let me phrase the answer as – I do anything and everything that works for me. Within that – you can read between the lines – some would not meet security or IP protection, some are group(s) creative solutions (that if shared, others could benefit hugely) and others are just plain – we put in the ton of hours necessary to be success. As the company continues to spread out – communication and collaboration is stretched a lot. Every knows that when you stretch a rubber band too much – it does break. Well, we are doing just that – stretching. I wonder if leaders are listening to these cries for help? I know it is being heard in pockets – usually when it is so bad (emergencies or out of compliance) – that we jump into task force mode.

The groundswell has been going on for quite awhile. What made me think about the quote and this particular passion of mine – is that we are pretty good at throwing technically at problems. Hell, we are a technically company. The answer is not how much technically that we can change the way we operate. It takes leadership and a solid change management strategy to really transform. I think many of us have seen Field of Dreams – the movie that coined that phrase – “if you build it, they will come.” I think we have built plenty and have many items that just miss the complete mark – but we don’t help transform. When someone tells me – tools need to be intuitive and easy to use – I usually have problems. My first thought is – another tool that is going to be used the same old way. Transformation takes time and effort. From the top to the bottom.. The benefits will be realized, but over time. There is more than building it. There is more than letting grass roots efforts, just become reality. Time to lead the change in the manner necessary for true success.

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