Organizational Change Can Start Wherever You Are

Ripple Effect

Do you wish senior leaders would make some changes in your organization? Instead of waiting and wishing for someone from above to provide leadership, you can make a significant impact no matter what your role is.

According to Steven Covey said, “Most people think of leadership as a position and therefore don’t see themselves as leaders.”

The assumption that organizational change has to start at the top is wrong.

Peter Senge says to “give up traditional notions that visions are always announced from ‘on high’ or come from an organization’s institutionalized planning process.”

Michael Beer of Harvard Business School agrees. “Managers don’t have to wait for senior management to start a process of organizational revitalization.”

You might be wondering, “How can I change my organization . . . → Read More: Organizational Change Can Start Wherever You Are

Make Your Next Meeting as Engaging as a Video Game

Axelrod Blog pic

Guest Post by Dick Axelrod

Are meetings in your organization places where productivity goes to die? If you answered yes, you are not alone. There are 11 million meetings a day in the U.S. alone. Half are ineffective.

The problem with most meetings is that meeting leaders and participants do not think of them as places to do productive work.

An efficiency mindset prevails. How to get through the agenda as quickly and efficiently as possible becomes the driving force behind many meetings. This strategy may work to minimize the pain you associate with meetings, but it does not lead to a positive work experience.

In order to transform meetings into productive work experiences, look to two unlikely sources: the factory floor and . . . → Read More: Make Your Next Meeting as Engaging as a Video Game

My Leadership Lessons as Executive Director

Berrett-Koehler Foundation Board of Directors July 2014

Today begins my last week as executive director of the Berrett-Koehler Foundation. This is the second time I’ve done this with an organization—served as executive director during the startup phase—and I’ve learned many lessons along the way.

My involvement began two years ago when Steve Piersanti, president of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, asked me to help create a new organization that would further their mission of helping to create a world that works for all in a way that went beyond what Berrett-Koehler could do as a publisher.

I began by facilitating a design team. After research and serious consideration, we determined the focus would be to support the next generation of leaders in putting into practice the systems-changing ideas and tools that authors were writing about.

. . . → Read More: My Leadership Lessons as Executive Director

Stay Focused on Your Vision

"The path might not be clear, but stay focused on your vision and take the first step. The journey is as important as the destination." ~ Jesse Lyn Stoner

Stay focused on your vision and take the first step.

What I Learned about Vision Casting

Guest Post by Dan Rockwell @LeadershipFreak (Jedi Master of leadership lessons in less than 300 words)

I thought vision casting was about me. Jesse Lyn Stoner taught me that vision is about us.

I used to craft the vision and spring it on my team. I’d declare, “Here’s where we’re going.”

It’s the only model I ever saw.

Casting vision as a solo act reflects top-down, disconnected leadership. In the end, it isn’t leadership at all. It’s declaration.

Vision that’s about us takes

openness,

courage,

candor,

transparency, and

flexibility.

The declarative approach is easier at first, but ineffective in the long run.

I haven’t fully learned the lesson. I still . . . → Read More: What I Learned about Vision Casting

An Interview with Jake Jacobs on Real Time Strategic Change

RTSC Jake Jacobs Webinar

I was delighted to catch up with Jake Jacobs, the creator of Real Time Strategic Change (RTSC), the approach that brings hundreds of people together to make collaborative decisions about their organization in real time, which I described in Try Collaborative Change for a Change.

I had an opportunity to ask Jake about how change has changed since he first developed RTSC. Jesse: Jake, you wrote the first edition of your groundbreaking book Real Time Strategic Change twenty years ago. I’ve used RTSC many times over the years and am always impressed with what happens when you bring a large slice of an organization together to discuss issues and make decisions instead of putting them in an auditorium to be talked at by the . . . → Read More: An Interview with Jake Jacobs on Real Time Strategic Change

Tune In and Turn Off

In Balance

Just because technology makes it possible to be always available, doesn’t mean you should be.

There’s tremendous pressure on us to be “always on.” But it’s not healthy, and in the long run you will be less productive.

Even if you understand this, it can be hard to resist the pressure unless you make intentional decisions to create “off time.”

Here are 7 habits that can help.

1. Stop multi-tasking. Many people view the ability to multi-task as an admirable skill. They believe they are able to accomplish more. But studies have shown that you actually accomplish less and do it less well. The illusion of productivity comes at the expense of performance effectiveness. The less you multi-task, the less you’ll be tempted to . . . → Read More: Tune In and Turn Off

How to REALLY Listen

Mime Listening

My friend Jake said, “When someone tells me about a problem, I used to try to help them solve it. But I’ve learned that simply listening can be more helpful than the best advice I might give.”

Jake is not alone. Many of us equate listening with problem-solving, and we don’t even realize it. We believe that when someone shares a problem, the best response is to help them find a solution.

Do you know how to REALLY listen? … to listen without feeling responsible to help the person find a solution?

The REAL listening skills.

Some years ago during a YPO Forum moderators training program, one of the participants had this explanation of the power of real listening faxed from his office. I’ve . . . → Read More: How to REALLY Listen

Results Driven vs Process Driven Leadership

Results Driven vs Process Driven

During a break in the meeting, Dan pulled me aside and whispered, “No more ‘p’ words, please.”

“What are ‘p’ words?” I asked.

“You know,” he replied, “Words like process, perspective and paradigm.”

Dan is results-driven. There were way too many “p” words in this meeting for his comfort … planning … process … people … participation.

At one time or another, many of us have felt like Dan – that it is so much easier to do the work than take the time to involve others in the process of planning for the work – to just decide where you’re going and get on with it.

The problem is, when you’re a leader, you can’t just announce where you’re going and expect people . . . → Read More: Results Driven vs Process Driven Leadership