Are you an engaging leader?

“More than 9 in 10 Employees Are Disengaged When Organizations Don’t Implement Change Well”, the key word here being “disengaged”, which directly points to the engagement process.

Harvard Business Schools Press’s Executing Your Strategy by Morgan, Levitt & Malek points to 90% of successful strategies “on paper”, so throughout all of the ones that don’t even pass this pre-qualifier, still fail to reach successful conclusion! Success to them, and to me, is completion through transition into your operation and thus impacting the results of your company. What I’ve seen over the past 25 years as the #1 source of this breakdown, is the engagement process!

My solution to this dilemma is a rather simple process, which given the nature and emotional intelligence of humans, makes for an interesting journey. 🙂

– First; ensure that you properly cover every stage of the I.N.V.E.S.T. model by investing in your strategy!
– Second; get the right people on your bus and in the right seats by leveraging the ghSmart Top Grading methodology
– Third; get everyone literally on the same page with a One-Page Strategic Plan
– Fourth; Stop, Look, Listen & Act through rhythmic processes & incorporate behavioral kinetics to ensure sustained or increased performance as ever changing job demands affect your teams performance
– Fifth; ensure you’ve got a Continuous Improvement Cycle built into you organization to measure (1) reaction to what’s going on, (2) learning related to increased knowledge or capability, (3) behavior & capability improvement impacting (4) results, or the effect on your business.

You can encompass all of these tools and get critical key-stakeholder buy-in through a Strategic Alignment & Planning Session process. The art of execution is always more important than the brilliance of the thought, and people will do something, including changing their behavior, if only it can be demonstrated that doing so is in their own best interests as defined by their own core values. As Joel Baker so eloquently summarizes it, “vision without action is merely a dream, action without vision merely passes time, but vision with action can change the world!”

Are you ready to change your world? Are you an engaging leader?

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  1. October 13, 2009 at 12:12 AM

    Thanks for the post. A crude way of putting it is that effective leadership is “bullying with vision”. Bullying without vision is just bullying. Vision without bullying isn’t going to happen. Vision and Bullying is a crude way of saying vision, engagement, buy-in and accountability.

    • October 13, 2009 at 5:47 AM

      Hi Conor,

      I have to admit I’m rather puzzled by your use of the word “bullying”. The act of “bullying”, as defined by wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying, starts out “Bullying is repeated acts over time that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power with the more powerful child or group attacking those who are less powerful.”

      I’m not sure what type of organizations you’ve been associated with in order to come up with your perspective on “engaging or effective leadership”, but that is about the furthest of any fathomable notion I can imagine. Effective Leadership involves, as I stated in my post, “engagement”. Engagement (in my understanding) comes in many forms, is of an intimate nature, and even upon an initial challenging situation, should first follow along the lines of, as one of my favorite Buddhist quotes, “seek to understand”.

      Engagement requires empathy, and it requires a process of uncovering/understanding relevant facts, tracing relevant patterns, measuring them against one’s core values or ideology, and then determining what action is most appropriate for the health & welfare of both parties. As I think back to the “bully’s” in my grade & high school when I was younger, or even some of the professional personalities I’ve met along the way since then, I don’t see these traits reflected in their actions in what concerns “engagement” or “effective leadership”.

      The organizations I work with, and the leaders’ vision upon which I choose to execute, do engage their key-stakeholders in an open & honest discussion, reflect upon their opinions, and often even alter their own strategies based on this external/internal input. They continue the dialogue to better understand how the enterprises’ mission, vision, core values & strategies are lived and reflected by the individuals they hire, and these become the benchmark for new candidates so as to preserve the culture of an organization. These same core ideology is what holds people accountable to the ongoing commitments required for the success of the enterprise, including the individual’s personal & professional growth. That’s the type of “buy-in” framework I work with, and the results are both astounding & immediate, for all involved in the process.

      Empowered, motivated, aligned & passionate individuals who achieve their results through the momentum created is what I’ve experienced, and that is the result of “effective leadership” in my book.

      Does that sound like “bullying” to you?

      • October 15, 2009 at 1:12 AM

        I recall an old Organisational Behaviour Professor of mine at IESE, Pablo Cardona, told me that “the worst use of power is no use of power”. Bullying is an extreme word, but there comes a time for all of us as leaders where we have to impose our power or accept that we are abdicating our leadership resposibility. Bullying is the use of power in the context of unfair advantage. Bullying with vision is my phrase that covers the use of a leaders power to hold others accountable to themselves and to the group mission and vision. “Bullying” is a dangerous word, but I choose to use it to be quite direct about the inescapable requirement (and loneliness) of a leader to enforce accountablity to the vision.

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