If you’re hungry for a future-ready workforce, it’s time to build ‘upstream’ skills, practices and sensibilities within your organisation! Consider that these are like preventative medicine. Imagine your entire leadership team equipped with the personal skills, interpersonal skills and capability to navigate the spectrum of ‘breakdowns’ that your organisation and your people face every day! ‘Breakdown’ you say? What is this? We define this as an interruption to the anticipated flow of life. This may present as ‘disruption’. The Board blocks a major initiative for fear of risk. Your leadership team quarrel, no matter the number of times you’ve intervened as CEO. You operate in silos because of relationship ‘issues’ that seem unsolvable. You’re not confident that you have the followership of your people in the future you need to create. You’re not sure how to connect everyone with the change your taking for the sake of future customers or competitive pressure – or maybe you’re not sure about the direction to take. If these kinds of issues are already presenting, read on. It is possible you’re in “Day 2”. This notion is one presented by Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. He asserts a Day 2 organisation is one already in decline. One where the leaders – for lack of insight, lack of being awake, lack of skills and lack of connectivity to markets, trends and customers have inadvertently allowed their organisation to slip. Is this a conscious or unconscious act? Perhaps a little of both, but it commands vigilance, a different kind of orientation as a leader and most of all, a willingness to exist at an uncomfortable edge. For us, that means being willing to take on a beginner’s mind, a novice, questioning persona and to ask questions of self and each other in the pursuit of not mere survival, but the chance for you and your people to thrive! Welcome Day 1. Leaders, there’s little time for interpersonal breakdowns, squabbling and small turf fights. The fight is on the streets! The trophy’s form is the customer, and the game is about mood. The mood and capability to unite your team, adopt practices that have you in every conversation required, exploring, testing, playing, navigating, and nurturing these practices in every team. Bezos suggests your game is customer obsession. This is only available through customer connectivity, the eager adoption of external trends, and this means high velocity decision making.
What might Day 1 look like for a leadership team?
- Cultivating the mood to innovate. This means making safe and constructive environments to talk about ANYTHING! A Leadership Team that can thrash out the little stuff to create a powerful space for big stuff!
- A handful of shared practices and habits that are adopted by every staff member in the pursuit of a shared goal – mission, vision. These might be behaviours but they stem from shared commitments. If these are not shared, you breed competition.
- Efficient and effective coordination of action. This means every member of your team across every generation has the capacity to use shared language to work together to meet all promises – generated within and external to your business operations. This should happen on time and to standards.
- Ultimately every organization comprises groups of people interacting with a range of business tools and other people to ‘get things done’. Leaders, your capacity to successfully navigate power, politics and people inside this system is a linguistic skill. The caliber of your internal dialogue, your capacity to listen without prejudice, notice bias and then create conditions for exploration must be masterful!
- Less doing, more coaching. Re-work your notion of leading. In all likelihood, you were born into a time where leaders were wiser, smarter and the task maker. The world has changed. Your role now is like that of a conductor. Notice and cultivate the inner genius of your musicians and orchestrate their performance as mentor and coach.
After a decade of working inside leadership teams we have figured a few things out and taken a brave and integrous leap… A great consultant is no substitute for an effective leader.
Our vision for leaders of the future:
- First and foremost, they’re willing to step into a new sense of self – and to question everything for the sake of renewing their identity in this new time.
- Leaders willing to learn and to graciously accept that mastery in certain domains of practice makes space to be a beginner in others.
- Leaders willing to identify constructive habits and moods that serve them to lead through change and disruption.
- Leaders that can balance the notion of self and collective in their evolution and growth.
- Leaders that understand the imperative of the customer and the ‘new world’ within which business takes place.
- Leaders like adventurers and explorers, who understand the notion of prevention and the power of building teams with robust awareness of self, others and the market.
- Leaders who understand the importance of prevention and are serious about retaining and cultivating great talent for a shared pursuit.
If you fear Day 2 or have an inkling your there, perhaps it’s time to do something! Did you enjoy this article? Hungry for more knowledge? Read this article about On Learning to Learn by our Leadership Coach in Australia.