How Effective is Your Leadership Team?
Introducing you to a framework for successful change implementation
Let me take you on a journey around the Go M.A.D.® Leadership Framework. Built on the principles of the Results Framework, it gives you a thinking system for your whole leadership team.
The Leadership Framework is a powerful tool for leadership teams who are implementing change in their organisation. It can be used to understand the current reality, diagnose the issues and then develop solutions to create the desired environment, conditions and culture. The Framework is specifically useful for leadership teams to hold up as a mirror to ask questions of themselves about their effectiveness.
Although the Go M.A.D.® Leadership Framework is typically used by senior teams it can be just as useful for leadership teams wherever they sit in the organisation.
Take Leadership Responsibility
Imagine you are standing in the middle of the Leadership Framework. Leadership Responsibility is the heart linking to the other elements of the Framework. A great team who lives and breathes Leadership Responsibility will be able to drive any change.
But what does Leadership Responsibility mean to you? Is it about leaders being accountable? Or being able to make tough decisions? More often than not the focus is on individual leadership skills rather than the collective effectiveness of the whole leadership team when implementing change. Yes, leaders must take Personal Responsibility for their actions, their own development and the things they are accountable for. But, what about collective Leadership Responsibility?
A collectively responsible leadership team will be aware of the need to be thinking about all the areas of the Framework to guarantee successful change implementation. We’ll take each element in turn, consider the keys factors and how Leadership Responsibility feeds into this.
Create a Compelling Vision and Clear Goals
Whatever the size of the organisation, good leaders will create a vision. A vision that clearly describes what you want to achieve and where you want to be. Ideally it will be inspirational and give direction to everyone in your organisation. Once the vision for change is created, the responsibility of your leadership team is to own that vison, communicate it with passion, clarity and consistency to move everyone in the organisation towards it.
To ensure clarity and consistency, a helpful starting point is for the individuals in your leadership team to share what they believe the vison to be.
Working with senior teams we ask each leadership team member to write down what they believe the vision to be. Not just the standard two to three sentence vision statement but what it really means, and what the organisation will be like if the vision is achieved. It’s not unusual to see a variety of answers. From here the team can move forward to explore the issues and come to a consensus that will drive clarity and consistency.
As a leadership team you must build in time to do this thinking and planning to ensure consistent communication. True Leadership Responsibility will be calling each other out if a colleague is going off track.
Explain the Reason for Change
Everyone in the organisation will have their individual reasons to work on their personal goals and performance objectives. At the same time, the organisation will have overriding reasons why for the specific focus of organisational aims and goals.
The Leadership Framework shows how the Organisational Reason Why is linked to the Vision. This demonstrates the internal and external motivators that drive where the organisation wants to be, which is likely to involve some sort of change.
These drivers might include rising costs, poor engagement, restructuring, new processes, the need for increased innovation, new working practices, the economic climate, increased competitor activity, customer satisfaction, legislative changes, technological advances or environmental standards.
Communication about change and the vision needs to include this background information about the Organisational Reason Why. It helps people to accept and adapt to change if they understand what’s behind the change. It’s amazing how many organisations will communicate what the change is but miss out WHY the change is happening. Think about how you could possibly enhance your change communications by including this information.
Drive the Culture
Individuals will hold beliefs about themselves, others and their workplace. These beliefs will naturally underpin personal values. Beliefs may be unchallenged assumptions and not necessarily facts. Plus, they may be ingrained having been formed over many years. Regardless of the origin or validity of these beliefs, people will act in accordance with them. The Go M.A.D.® Leadership Framework demonstrates how Culture is represented by the collective beliefs of the people in the organisation.
Leaders may think they are driving the culture, but this might not be the case. The culture will also be determined by the way people are ‘doing things’. That is, their actions and behaviours, which may or may not be in line with the culture wanted. Therefore, the vision for the change needs to encapsulate what it will ‘be like working here’, to describe the future state culture.
It’s important to acknowledge that the actions and behaviours defining the culture will result from the thinking that is going on.
Therefore, it’s useful to ask if the thinking in your organisation is helpful or hindering in creating a healthy culture? Is it driving you towards the change you want? Start with changing the thinking to produce better or different actions and behaviours to influence a culture shift or move to something different.
Ensure People Come First
A thought provoker from the Go M.A.D. Thinking book, ‘How to make a difference by transforming managers into leaders’ states that ‘managers focus on system and structure; leaders focus on people’. This acknowledges that great leadership is primarily about the people.
If it’s primarily about the people, what does this mean? From a leadership team’s perspective paying attention to this principle of the Framework will widen your thinking about the range of people who could be engaged and bought into organisational goals and change implementation.
The Leadership Framework links Leadership Responsibility to the People principle. This includes thinking about who is to be engaged. Also, there’s the link from People to Vision and Objectives. How do you and the leadership team communicate the vision and organisational goals in a way that encourages involvement and buy-in. The link between People and Management Thinking & Planning recognises the role managers play in engaging with people.
When thinking about the range of people to be engaged in the change process you might consider:
- How people could be segmented to determine the type and frequency of communication
- The different strategies needed for different groups for them to be involved and feel empowered
- Aside from people inside the organisation who else needs to be engaged. This could possibly include customers, consumer groups, shareholders, supplies and other strategic partnerships or alliances
- To ensure successful change how could you and the leadership team build the vision of the future by engaging the imagination of those who will live that future
Involve and Support Managers
Management Thinking and Planning represents the desired management activity to support the achievement of the Vision and successful change implementation. The leadership team has a responsibility to make sure this activity takes place.
Leaders should be talking to managers about how much time they build into their schedules to focus on the achievement of the vison and organisational goals. This means there needs to be a way of identifying if this happens. Managers must have absolute clarity on their responsibilities and priorities in line with the organisational vision and goals
Time should be built in to support managers to help them with their thinking and personal development. This includes establishing if managers are equipped to adopt the most appropriate leadership style and have the skills to manage their teams through change. If not, who could possibly be involved to aid their development?
Good leaders will remove the obstacles that managers and people might face when developing a clear line of sight between organisational vision and individual goals. Leadership Responsibility is demonstrated by giving thought and time to how the managers are supported and developed.
I started by suggesting at the beginning that the Leadership Framework is useful for leadership teams to hold up as a mirror to ask questions of themselves about their effectiveness.
If you would like an insight into the type of questions to ask, please email us and we will send you some example questions for you and your leadership team to explore and discuss.