Leading Change Positive Organisations

Leading Change: Developing a Resilient Organisation Starts at the Top

Senior leaders know the theories about resilience at work – especially in times of great change. Why don’t they put their knowledge into practice? When leaders are under enormous pressure themselves, they stop doing the things that, in fact, they know would help. 

It’s important that leaders lead by example to create a resilient organisational culture which can deliver a responsive business strategy. Perhaps it is also encouraging to know that resilience can be developed in others – but it starts at the top. 

If you are leading a change programme, developing such a ‘generative’ culture, means paying attention to how individual leaders and the leadership team as a whole is/are behaving. 

Ten questions to help leaders reflect:

  1. How do you cope with change yourself?
  2. What are you doing that is bad for your wellbeing?
  3. What stops you leading by example when rationally you know that the benefits of looking after your own and your staff’s well-being outweigh the costs?
  4. How would you describe your leadership strengths over the last months?
  5. What might be the shadow – side of your strengths and the impact on others?
  6. How can you hear what staff is telling you when you are under so much pressure yourself?
  7. How can you build a culture where people feel their views are valued and heard?
  8. What are the beliefs and assumptions in your organisation which holds back a culture of adapting?
  9. What would you notice was different in your organisation if everyone had a higher level of resilience?
  10. What support do you need to manage the weight of your responsibility?

Leaders and managers who understand that resilience in a VUCA world is no longer about ‘pushing through’, who know themselves, who know how to collaborate with others and how to motivate others are needed. They need to: keep an open mind; be solution-focused; know when to seek support; keep on learning and refresh themselves.

Resilient leaders can create organisations which are more than the sum of their parts. Systems and processes that support collaboration rather than individualism are needed and emotional intelligence to manage the human relationships well is critical.

Understanding that change will be continuous and unpredictable and leading by example will be an important part of creating resilient and positive workplaces where all the staff flourish offering the best chance of future success.

Leading Change Teams

Organisational Systems

No matter how inspiring your leadership, without attention to the systems of which your organisation is a part, you may not be able to move forward.

I recently participated in a workshop with a highly skilled senior leader working in a global business, who was looking for solutions to some difficult parts of a change management process, which were stuck. I signed a confidentiality agreement so cannot say much more about it than this: the visceral experience of looking at the complex systems of which she was a part, enabled clarity and solutions. It created the possibility of moving forward. It enabled change.

I’ve been reading a lot about inspiring leadership but this workshop  made it very clear that leaders – even those with all the skills identified for leading in a VUCA world, need to experience the sometimes surprising insights, truths and clarity that exploring their system offers.

#organisational systems #change management #coaching

Inspiration Leading Change Thriving Not Surviving

Leaders, What’s Your Mental Model?

When my father died last month aged 86, one of his ex-colleagues wrote to me saying that dad had an enormous influence on his mental model: ‘He was a very significant influence on my approach to all the work I have done in this area [organisational psychology] and, essentially, how I think about people and how they work best together.’

Since then, I’ve been reflecting upon my own mental model. My own personal development ‘journey’ has included understanding my values and reflecting upon associated behaviours, understanding the world from a systems perspective and building my confidence and resilience.

Wikipedia defines a mental model as: ‘an explanation of someone’s thought process about how something works in the real world. It is a representation of the surrounding world, the relationships between its various parts and a person’s intuitive perception about his or her own acts and their consequences.’

Having the opportunity to reflect upon and articulate one’s own mental model should be a part of leaders’ personal and professional development much earlier than it often is, (or was in business schools in the twentieth century). Professor Roger Delves of Hult Business School says: ‘At Hult we teach students from across the world. We observe the “old behaviour” leadership approach learned from and rewarded by leaders and organisations which students must unlearn if they want sustainable success in the future:

1.     Competitive, task orientated, valuing power over influence

2.     Relationship averse, avoiding values level communication

3.     Poorly developed/valued supportive skills such as EI or coaching or the ability or willingness to engage in difficult conversations.

4.     Emotionally immature approaches to relationships or situations

5.     Predominantly self-directed in their decision making. ‘

In the twenty first century, leaders need to be resilient, collaborative and able to lead in complexity. For this they need to be strong and confident in their mental model, which means:

  • Behaving to reflect intentions
  • Behaving with integrity
  • Accessing values
  • Making decisions which are congruent with this moral or ethical framework

Who has had a significant impact on your mental model?

What is your mental model?

If you would like to work with me on articulating your mental model, please message me here.

Answering the questions for myself, I find that my father also had a profound influence on my own mental model – in his understated and facilitative way. Born in 1930, he was ahead of his time in understanding how people work best together. I was lucky to have him as my father and I’m proud that some of his colleagues felt this too.