Leadership Trevolution Blog


Blog Entries by Tag: Organizational Development

Three Keys to Move Beyond Employee Engagement to Ownership

Published on: Sep 04, 2012 | Tags: Team Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Organizations, Organizational Development, Mission, Vision, Employee Motivation

I have been married for some time. I became engaged in 1977. That engagement had many implications that can only be appreciated after thirty-four years of marriage. Engagement implies connection, desire, hope, investment, and commitment. If I had not moved beyond engagement in those 35 years, you might question my intentions.Engagement

 I am aware working for a company is not a marriage, but it is a commitment that results in a quality of relationship. The relationship is influenced by connection, desire, hope, commitment, and mutual benefit of those who create the organization.

 Many employees tell me they do not experience these qualities in their organizations. That may be why we have such a difficult time defining employee engagement or determining how to measure it effectively.

 Those who do have this quality of relationship to their company have moved beyond engagement to ownership. They are connected, contributing, and finding fulfillment in being a part of the company that makes this quality of connection possible. Engagement is important because it is the path to ownership.

 What is it that moves people from engagement to ownership?

1.  Clear, Compelling Direction 

The leadership capacity of vision sets a clear compelling direction for the organization. When an organization has a vision that its members desire to be a part of and become willing to create, ownership develops. 

2.  A Shared Mission that Transforms

The leadership capacity of transformation integrates stakeholders into the mission of the organization. Mission brings meaning to work by defining why it is important and the difference it makes. Work is work. Many days it is challenging, tiring, and mundane. Mission is meaning that defines why work is important. A mission worth sharing and owning moves people beyond engagement. 

3.  Skilled Leadership 

Leaders with the capacity to engage people in a compelling vision and a transforming mission can create ownership. This occurs at the team level as that is the primary connection point for the individual. Most leaders cultivate this capacity through development over time. 

As you may have noticed, there are two leadership levels required to develop engagement that creates ownership. Leaders at the organizational level have to provide a compelling vision and transforming mission. Team leaders then have the resources to connect people to an organization in a manner that creates ownership. 

Our complimentary webinar, Creating Employee Ownership through the Five Levels of Accountability, is a resource that will equip team leaders to make that connection. This is our second and last time to offer it this year so don’t miss out. It will be on Friday, September 28 at 1 p.m. Sign up here.

Teamwork Begins as a Mindset

Published on: Mar 23, 2012 | Tags: General, Team Work, Team Leadership, Empowerment, Organizational Development, Management, Systems

As I talk with training and development professionals about leadership or management development programs, many indicate they plan to include a course on teambuilding, teamwork, or simply teams. They have a list of course topics and it is one of them. Other topics might include: 

  • Managing People
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Feedback
  • Coaching and Counseling
  • Delegation
  • Planning
  • And the list goes on…

 These courses are seen as the basics managers need, and many times, are developed from training providers’ offering list. This basic list has been used for generations. The courses on these lists have been developed over time, with occasional updates, yet they are still influenced by historic scientific management principles. The management principles that are embedded deep within our psyche.Brain

 Those principles do not address the social realities of organizational life. They fail to position a group of people in an organization with a correct understanding of the nature of what it means to be a social system within a social system, even though that accurately defines a team.

 If a team is by nature a social system within a social system, then the inherent social realities in that system need to be understood by those who lead groups of people.  For instance, it is a  reality in a social system that changing any part of the system, requires every other part of the system to adapt to that change. That means that if you take any action, or fail to act, in relation to any person in your group there is some impact on everyone else in the group. If we consider the course list above, then: 

  • Your management of each individual affects all others on the team.
  • Conflict between any two people and its resolution, or lack thereof, has an impact on the entire team.
  • Feedback, whether counseling or coaching, to a team member and his response affects everyone else on the team.
  • Each person on the team feels the effect of your delegation practices to the rest of the team.
  • Everyone that is a part of your plan influences its success, whether that person helped develop it or not.

 Consider your personal experience and you can probably validate these statements. Adding a teamwork course to the list above will surely limit the probability that the group will become a high performance, collaborative team.

 Teamwork is not a practice among other management or leadership practices. Teamwork is the lens through which all other practices must be seen. Teamwork is a leadership mindset that then becomes each person’s mindset. 

  • When you resolve conflict, you make the choices that have a positive outcome on everyone.
  • Feedback will be provided in a way that ensures the team as well as the individual is strengthened.
  • Teams rely on empowerment and not delegation (see this past blog). When you give work away, you will do so in a way that builds the team.
  •  Your planning process will be inclusive, relying on collaborative input that ensures ownership so the entire team will engage in completing the plan.

 Becoming a team is a mindset first, then if becomes practice. This begins with the leader.

The Change You May Not Make

Published on: Oct 31, 2011 | Tags: General, Change Management, Productivity, Organizational Development, Management

A revolution is change. Companies experience many areas of change. At times, multiple changes occur at the same time. A short list of potential change areas might include:

  • Technology
  • Geography
  • Restructure
  • Downsizing
  • Growth
  • Projects
  • Processes
  • Personnel
  • Customer requirements
  • Market demands

 My observation is that some organizations assume that they have the management or leadership capacity to achieve a desired change and employees should accept it while others believe the opposite. I have observed many companies and certainly most employees experience various organizational revolutions, particularly in the past few years. Most of these changes are imposed on an organization for survival, to maintain competitive advantage or ensure support of constituents. In the midst of these changes, there is a revolutionary change that may be ignored, yet presents a great opportunity.

 What would happen in your organization if the way people work together was revolutionized? Not that we are failing to get the job done, but what if we can achieve more in a work environment that has positive effects on people. I presented symptoms reflecting the need for the revolution in a previous blog. If your company decided to change the way people work together what might the results of that revolution be? 

  • Healthy conflict that results in innovation
  • People operating out of their strengths
  • Work with purpose
  • Goal attainment
  • Engagement
  • Commitment
  • Collaboration
  • Accountability
  • Empowerment
  • Healthy communication patterns
  • Clear expectations

 The revolution that results in change of this kind will grow out of an investment in leaders who create workgroups that reflect these attributes. Is it possible for an organization to develop leadership with the skills and passion to intentionally bring people together well and achieve great results? You may say yes, but it is not as easy as it sounds. If you want to move this direction, first consider what you, as a company, believe about management and leadership. That may be the first change you have to make. The second step is to ensure that your investment in development is resulting in effective leaders by your definition. This requires taking a step behind the courses and coaches you engage to determine the theory and philosophy that instructs both their approach and content. Your investment in leadership is reflected in your employees. Is it providing the return you desire?

Do you believe in evolution?

Published on: Oct 17, 2011 | Tags: General, Management, Organizations, Change Management, Organizational Development

This is a controversial question. I am not referring to the ongoing scientific debate. The question relates to your experience as a person in an organization. A little more information might help you answer the question for yourself. I am asking you to consider what you believe about organizations. Do you believe that your company is in a constant state of change? The rate of change in the companies and agencies I am aware of is constant and relentless. Seth Godin wrote about how many voicemails and emails go unanswered.  I know many of those I contact are slow to respond if they do so at all. I have spoken with people who say this is a growing problem that affects productivity in their company. Can it be the fast pace and constant change in organizations generates more work than you can get done, forcing you to leave some responsibilities undone?

 If you believe that organizational life is experienced by long periods of stability followed by predictable change, you probably don’t believe organizations are evolving. You may however, find empirical evidence for your belief hard to come by these days. If your experience is more like that of a person in an unpredictable, unstable environment (like a thunderstorm or a hurricane depending on the day) where you are constantly adapting without being sure of what the result of the change will be, you might buy my argument for evolution.

 We need a revolution in how we work together because many current management and labor practices were developed for a time that organizations were considered machines. Theory supported the belief that the machine could be controlled by the practice of scientific management principles. This belief and these practices served well in a time of less change lived at a slower pace. That day is over.

 If organizations are always changing with results that cannot be absolutely controlled or at times even predicted, then we need leaders who can deal with complexity as they navigate this environment. These leaders will be required to bring people together faster.  They need the skills that address the reality of group dynamics in a complex system. Updating old practices based on past beliefs and outdated assumptions will not suffice. These evolutionary times require a revolution in our thinking that will revolutionize our practices. Are you ready for a revolution?

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