Anyone who has invested time in renovating an older home understands surprises and conundrums emerge every time a wall or ceiling is breached. There are parallels in the world of management where the twists and turns of the marketplace demand change. Great tradespeople and great managers find a way through wicked problems using creativity and critical thinking. Here are seven lessons I was reminded of during a recent renovation project.
Not talking about the right issues at the right time closes off access to an unknown series of potentially game-changing outcomes. It's like closing the door on your future as a firm and your career as a manager.
There’s a loud ring of truth to the old saw: “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” However, sometimes, the culture needs to evolve, or everyone is at risk of ending up hungry at lunchtime.
The struggle over the big decisions is the inherent ambiguity. The unknowns are overwhelming. Fear of getting it wrong floods our minds and our brains struggle for traction in the muck. Nonetheless, these are the times when you have to stand up and cut through the fog of ambiguity.
The gravitational pull of the status quo is powerful in every organization. It takes rebels and rebellion to change. While breaking the rules always comes with risk, learning to guide others through constructive rule-breaking in pursuit of needed changes is a great way to grow your success.
In my experience, most strategy discussions go sideways. After all, they are typically about change and we're wired to fear and resist change. There are however some practices you can adopt to help strengthen the quality of these essential and sometimes existential discussions. Here are 5:
There's ample science to conclude that we're lousy at multi-tasking and alternatively, that taking time to reflect improves our self-efficacy and ability to learn. Unfortunately, most of us work in and contribute to a perpetual tornado of activities in our daily lives. It's imperative for your well-being and effectiveness to find opportunities to simply pause and think deeply.
For individuals involved in the world of design and design thinking, reframing vexing problems is a standard part of the process. For the rest of us, a bit of design thinking focused on reframing is invaluable in our daily labors. Here are some ideas to help you jump-start your reframing activities in pursuit of better solutions in the workplace:
We spend a great deal of time in our organizations striving to reduce risk and uncertainty. For some tasks that's possible, but for the big issues of strategies and market forces, it's impossible to bend behaviors and responses to fit our scripts. Effective leaders understand they must build teams that recognize uncertainty as opportunity and live to excel in those moments.
It’s no secret that top leaders and their management teams struggle with strategy. After all, choosing a direction, saying “no” to other opportunities and then creating a blueprint for organization-wide involvement is one of the most difficult challenges of organizational life. This challenge is made easier however, when leadership ensures all employees have the opportunity to internalize and develop an emotional connection to the strategy.