Leadership is about inspiring and enabling others to do their absolute best, together, to realize a meaningful and rewarding shared purpose.
While a strongly shared purpose remains constant over time, any organization’s context and culture are continually evolving. Because of this, no leader and no team’s next 100-days are going to be anything like their previous 100-days. This is why we’re all new leaders all the time and why we continually need to strengthen our leadership skills in dealing with transition management.
The Red Cross’s Charley Shimanski tells the story of people in a restaurant who hear a nearby car accident. As he tells it,
- Some will keep eating and ignore what happened;
- Some will go to the window to see what happened;
- Some will go outside to see what happens next;
- Some will go to help at the accident itself and be what happens next.
As a leader, you need to inspire and enable others to be what happens next.
If you’re moving into a new role, then it’s worth doing a full assessment of the context in terms of business environment, organizational history, and recent business performance. In other cases, you’ll want to keep your eyes open for things that change in any of those, figuring out if those changes are major or minor with temporary or enduring impact. You can’t adapt to a change you don’t notice.
Next, assess the organization’s cultural readiness and ability to adapt to changing circumstances. Readiness to change requires a combination of will and skill. So look hard at its Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, and work Environment. Members of the organization must want to change and be able to change.
The Way Forward
Putting the need for change and readiness to change together gives you some good direction on how assertive you need to be, assimilating in, converging and evolving or shocking the organization. There’s more on this in the post on Onboarding Context and Culture.
This is a critical step in leading the way forward as described in The New Leader’s Playbook. Those steps are designed to help you get a head start, manage the message, and build the team – the keys to delivering better results faster.