It was a simple idea that brought in the Reboot Toolbox. An idea about how to support our own-selves (as well as others) to remain relevant in a world with a new normal?
As part of the Reboot Toolbox initiative, a Webinar titled “Pandemic and how to plug-in to the future” has been showcased over the last couple of weeks to alumni associations, students and employees of Leading B Schools and organisations. The Webinar underlined the premise that different skill sets and way of looking at situations would be needed in the new normal. The webinar introduced to the participants practices using the 4 Action Stage initiatives framework and a Resilience Tool.
The Reboot Toolbox is about a vision to upgrade Leadership and Performance in a world with a new normal. A world in which Uncertainty and Volatility would be the norm. The Reboot Toolbox would strive to bring new thoughts and practices aligned to the new normal.
As part of the vision, I invite you to join the Cause. You could do that in the following manner.
(1) Engage in discussions on the forum.
(2) Contribute thoughts, articles and tools to support others in the journey.
(3) Spread the word about the Reboot Toolbox Webinars within your organisation as also to others. They come Free of Cost!
Should the Reboot Toolbox and its vision resonate for you, do reply back to me Offline on : firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you maximise your influence and impact in a fast changing environment?
A Do-it-yourself plan.
Some years back in my work life I came across an individual who for anonymity’s sake we will call Shib.
Shib was insecure and hankered for a leadership role as a way to get out of insecurity. At every opportunity he would showcase and ‘beat his drum’ about his past experience. He refused to accept that in the disruptive environment that the business was facing, experiential learning was ill suited to handle the situations being confronted.. More significantly the ‘All knowing, All doing’ defensive shield that had become his second nature prevented Shib from acknowledging that he might be lacking competences needed to engage with the situations. These two over time became a dangerous mix for an increasingly inauthentic and damaging behaviour with the guy resorting to his positional ‘Command and Control’ power more and more as the organisational performance nosedived.
What does use of positional power lead to? Like termite it starts to eat into the existing credibility and trust structure of an organisation which takes a long time to build. Once credibility starts getting lost, influence gets diminished and impact gets diluted.
The Shib Case study made me recall what Malcolm Forbes, the publisher of Forbes magazine, had once remarked:
“Those who enjoy responsibility usually get it, those who merely like exercising authority usually lose it”
In the increasingly uncertain and fast-changing business world of today, many of us may be falling into the ‘Shib trap’ of over- reliance on positional power without even realising it. We thus need to do a periodic dip-stick test to review our sphere of influence and efficacy of our impact. Should we notice operational zones exhibiting uncertain influence and impact, it could be time to take action.
So what could you do to enhance your influence and increase your impact?
To create a coordinated effort, you and your team members need to be accountable to each other in terms of tasks, actions and time lines. Ask this question of yourself:
‘Are you willing to be accountable to your team members about your performance as you would like them to be about their performance?’
Do you have a Learner mindset? Are you willing to discuss with your team the skills and behaviours you are developing for your own self? Are you willing to be vulnerable about yourself and your own need and efforts to improve yourself?
Do you personally invest in others? When things go wrong, are you willing to take a deep breath, desist from fault-finding but rather say to the team, “I know how stressed you guys must be feeling at this juncture!”
Are you willing to align ‘Who you are’ with what your team members perceive about you? To gain an insight into the extent of this alignment (or not), you may wish to see how many of these questions you answer as “YES”:
When you give space to others, do they see you as passive?
When you are compassionate, do your team mates see it as weakness?
When you display energy, do others see you as being pushy?
When you take a decision, do your team members see that as controlling?
Be willing to become vulnerable by asking your team members to tell you about what they perceive as your top three ‘bad’ areas. These could be aspects like Arrogance, Passive, Self-opinionated, Impulsive, Indecisive, Untrustworthy, Close minded, Impatience etc. In case they feel uncomfortable to tell you these on your face, it is okay to get this feedback anonymously.
Identify the top three negative characteristics that you embody in the eyes of team members and stakeholders. Then ask them these two questions for each of these characteristics.
“What is that one thing I could do that would stop me showing up as arrogant ( or impatient, untrustworthy etc) ?”
“What is that which I should stop doing that makes me show up as arrogant (or impatient, untrustworthy etc.) ?”
What is that which blocks you from achieving professional success? What practices could you adopt to remove such blocks and maximise your potential?
‘Your limitation – it’s only your imagination’
Are you aware of what professional success would look like for you in terms of your performance, career and life ? What is that which blocks you from achieving professional success? What practices could you adopt to remove such blocks and maximise your potential?
Maximising our professional success is never about what impacts us but our response to that. We never see the world as it is, we see it and respond to it as it occurs for us.
We remain unaware that our listening ( or for that matter seeing, understanding, interpreting) is not an empty vessel, not a blank slate. We assume that whatever someone says to us (that is, what enters our ears) registers in our listening (lands for us) exactly as it was said. This is never so and this is what constrains and distorts our perceptions and actions.
Professional Success is thus really about creating a context that could empower you towards a future that you would like to achieve. What could be the elements of such a context?
Professional Success is also about moving up the effectiveness ladder in terms of how you contribute viz. Doing it under supervision to doing it independently to doing it through others to setting a strategic direction. As you move up in this manner, your contribution expands in terms of your influence, perspective,complexity and impact.
To maximise your professional success I invite you to deliberate and try and answer the following.
What mental attitude and skills would you need to develop to be able toprogress through the above stages?
What kind of a risk-taking style do you have and how does it support your development? How could you change your risk-taking style in order to further increase your effectiveness?
What patterns do you see among those with whom you have the strongest relationships? What patterns do you see among those with whom you do not have the strongest relationships, or any at all?
Think about a person in your network with whom you have a strong relationship. What can you leverage in your relationship with this person to help you build or strengthen your relationship with others?
Choose one key person inside your network who, if you had a stronger relationship, could better support your effectiveness. What is the benefit of improving this relationship? What is the cost if you don’t? What if anything is getting in the way?
Choose one key person outside your network who, if you had a stronger relationship, could better support your effectiveness. What is the benefit of improving this relationship? What is the cost if you don’t? What if anything is getting in the way?
“An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage.”
— Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO
In today’s disruptive and hyper competitive world, the need for learning new skills and competences come in continuous waves. Such learning becomes more and more transitory as the skills and competences get replaced by new requirements and technology. There is widespread realisation that it is this increased capacity and hunger for such learning that provides Leadership with its “last frontier of business advantage”.
Because of the disruptive and accelerating changes all around, the capacity for self driven learning within a‘learning organisation’ culture could be the key differentiator. In the book‘The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning’ its authors outline a process which they claim would add significant value to businesses through creation of such a ‘Learning culture’.
The 6D process goes through these stages.
Define Business outcomes rather than falling into the trap ofdefining Learning outcomes.
Design the Complete Experience rather than merely a learning event.
Deliver for application, which essentially means the learning in itself should motivate its application.
Drive Learning transfer. Possibly the most critical stage. This is when ‘Can I?’ shifts to ‘Will I?’
Deploy performance support to overcome the resistance mindset to change as one gets down to ‘doing it the new way’.
Document results. Did it achieve the results? Was it worth it?
As I read the book, I am left pondering about what is it that stops organisations from adopting and applying the six disciplines as outlined.
Is it :
The absence of a link between what is learnt to how it would support one to personally succeed and get recognised?
The law of fast forgetting one’s new learning as one gets back into the comfortable rut of old ways?
The failure to shift from ‘Can I?’ to ‘Will I?’And the underlying reason for that?
The plethora of disparate factors about one’s own motivation, existing workflows and processes, the work place culture, the political, economic and social aspects?
If indeed there exist such a large number of factors which come in the way of learning transfer,what could be done to optimise performance? In such a situation, how could we shift people from being disengaged to be innovative, how could we transform an organisation to imbibe a learning mindset and be a leading edge innovator?
To be able to do the above Leadership too needs to Learn. Learn how to use future based generative language to articulate a future which addresses the concerns of all the above disparate stakeholders. A future into which everyone concerned comes to live into with learning and actions in the present to make the future happen.
Acknowledgement: “THE SIX DISCIPLINES OF BREAKTHROUGH LEARNING” How to Turn Training and Development Into Business Results by Calhoun W. Wick, Roy V. H. Pollock, Andrew Mc K. Jefferson, and Richard D. Flanagan. Published by John Wiley &Sons Inc., Hobokern, New Jersey 2015.