“I want more innovative thinking from my organisation.” We hear this all the time from C-Suite leaders. Well, what if there were actually game-changing ideas that you simply weren’t hearing?
I was coaching the exec team of a high-growth tech firm, and had some in-depth discussions with the two co-founders, Raoul and Michael.
Raoul was an entrepreneurial, strategic and charismatic leader who had taken the CEO role, whereas Michael was a quieter, more reserved individual.
I noted that Michael was barely heard in the management meetings, drowned out by Raoul’s force of personality.
But when I dug into the company history, all the breakthroughs had come from Michael - and the lion’s share of dead-end strategies and projects had come from Raoul!
Raoul is a great leader, but those times when he didn’t listen to Michael’s holistic, long-range thinking were the times when he took the company down the wrong path, wasting time, resources and market share in the process.
I’ll tell you what I found as I coached Michael, but first let’s back-up a little…
If you are a driven, strategic leader, you might be creating unnecessary resistance, stress and drama in your organisation because you’ve unintentionally shut down a critical leadership perspective on your team. Here’s how you can avoid this common trap.
When I was at Cisco, a new leader came in to the company to merge two departments together and create a new business unit. The company went big on the announcement, wheeling said leader onto the quarterly earnings call with investors, and so on.
Two years later, the leader had left and the organisation was in tatters. There were a number of factors involved of course, but the absence of a critical leadership perspective had a major role.
We’ll pick up the story in a minute, but let’s step back and understand this absent insight.
Overload and frustration. These were the two key themes emerging from our 2018 Organisational Leadership Survey.
You might resonate with Valérie, a regional VP in an online advertising firm who I spoke to last week.
Valérie has a team to manage but also has individual goals to achieve. She’s got a couple of star players she relies on extensively, but it’s extremely hard to get autonomy and results from the rest of the team. She’s frustrated because she knows the team could be so much better, but she doesn’t have the time.
Putting it another way, here’s the manager’s dilemma:
I’m frustrated because the team could be better, but I’m overloaded myself. It would take way too much time and energy to really move them forward.
The problem is most management advice was written for another age. Nowadays most team managers are also ‘individual contributors’; everyone is distracted and overloaded; the team is distributed in many locations and its membership changes faster than ever.
The results are in from xquadrant's 2018 Organisational Leadership Survey.
In the spring and summer of 2018 xquadrant surveyed over 150 senior business leaders in order to understand their top business goals and the organisational challenges that were putting the brakes on their ability to execute.
The results are fascinating and we’ll review them in this short series:
Effectiveness is more than productivity. Whereas productivity is 'doing things right', effectiveness also includes 'doing the right things' and can be seen as a chain that links your daily activities to your deepest needs, desires and hopes for the future.
So if you want to live a successful, accomplished life, tuning up your personal effectiveness is one of the wisest investments you can make.
So for this important topic, I reached out to 60+ very accomplished experts in a number of fields, including CEOs, leadership experts, productivity gurus and ministry leaders. I asked them the following question:
What is the most surprising tip you’d give somebody looking to grow their personal impact & effectiveness?
I recently updated this post with some additional insights and updates. I hope you'll agree that the result is one of the best collections of personal effectiveness tips. This is real practical wisdom for achieving great things in your work and life.
Our partner, *GiANT Worldwide*, coined the term ‘liberating leader’ to represent the kind of leader who is truly worth following. This article describes what a Liberating Leader is, why it’s so important, and what you’re ‘signing up to’ if you aspire to being a Liberating Leader.
Sure we can talk strategy, or value propositions, or tech-sector trends or organisational development. We love that stuff at xquadrant!
But there’s a deeper heartbeat at xquadrant. It’s to help leaders build amazing teams and organisations that accomplish great things.
In fact, we can go further. It’s to help ambitious individuals like you create a legacy of positive change and success in all circles of influence: personal, professional and community.
You see, xquadrant was founded on the conviction that great leaders accomplish great things precisely because of their ability to create environments where people grow and perform at their best.
This is not blind faith. In his bestselling book Good To Great, Jim Collins reported that he was surprised when the data from a serious research project found a direct linkage between outstanding long-term business performance and the presence of humble and committed senior leaders.