Our current leadership paradigm divides people into two groups: leaders and followers. Now that work is primarily cognitive, as opposed to physical, only a model of leaders and leaders will optimize output and engage the passion, intellect, and creativity of all.
Pass out a bunch of 5×8 cards and markers.
1. Start with this sentence completion: When I think about the next lower level of management making decisions about [...] I worry that ....
Once you have the set of cards, post them on the wall and go on break. Let people mill around looking at what they’ve written.
2. Group the responses as issues of competence or issues of clarity.
3. Attack issues of competence with training. Attack issues of clarity with organizational alignment.
Technical competence means that the next lower level simply does not have the technical knowledge to make the decision. (Example: they don't understand the temperature pressure relationship in the nuclear reactor 6 hours after a shutdown from full power with a loss of all electrical power). This can be solved with training.
Bonus discussion: in a leader-leader organization employees want to come to training because training is linked to technical competence. Technical competence is linked to greater decision making authority.
Clarity. This is expressed by comments like "They don't really understand what we are trying to achieve here." The word perspective crops up here as well. Clarity is solved with honesty about what you are about and communicating that to all levels of the organization. The most common failure here is lack of vision at the top about what the organization is truly about.
Ultimately leader-leader organizations implement a set of mechanisms. These mechanisms can be divided roughly among the areas of control, competence, and clarity. A set of useful mechanisms follows:
The mechanisms fit under the three keys in the following way:
- Find the genetic code for control and rewrite it.
- Move authority to information, not information to authority.
- Use “I intend to…” to have people state intentions, not ask permission.
- Develop eyeball accountability.
- There is no “they” here. It's all "we" within the organization.
- Embrace the Inspectors.
- Don’t brief. Certify!
- Implement Processes that Give Ownership.
- Take Deliberate action.
- Connect training to control.
- Continuous learning.
- Build on What You Know.
- Think out loud.
- Effectiveness rather than obedience.
- Empower individuals to achieve their own success.
- Build trust and cooperation within your organization. Let the competition be with those outside.
- Achieve Excellence. Don’t just avoid errors.
- Resist the urge to provide solutions.
- Develop Real Guiding Principles with your Team.
- Continuously and consistently repeat the message.
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Use your organizational heritage for inspiration.
- Immediate recognition to reinforce desired behaviors.
- Institute leader-leader.