While it may appear productive during your workday to focus on replying to emails and attending meetings, the flip-side is that the quality of your assessment or decisions may suffer. In moments of deep reflection, a person can examine assumptions and knowledge, drawing connections between disparate pieces of information. Daniel Kahneman demonstrated that slow reflective thinking is actually the opposite of fast reactive thinking. Here are four ways to improve your ability to reflect in a hectic work environment:
- Block out unstructured thinking time
- Seek a coach to get structured feedback
- Develop a list of questions to challenge beliefs
- Watch out for information overload
Natural curiosity is about a genuine drive to understand the unknown. Curiosity may also involve rethinking the status quo, reviewing and throwing away long-held assumptions proven false by the world we live and work in.
A curious leader is someone who does not accept everything at face value, but is driven to delve beneath the surface to gain a deep level of understanding. This trait should not be confused with skepticism. Being a curious leader implies that you don’t know the answers but is willing to explore with your followers. Many in leadership roles still perceive they must be seen as having all of the answers. Yet, possessing a healthy sense of curiosity can let a leader pursue new, different, or even previously-thought impossible initiatives. In the right business environment, this curiosity leads to experimentation which becomes the foundation of innovation.
Developing curiosity can always start with asking “Why…”, “How might…” and “What if…”.
Source: Art Pretty
No matter what specific changes a change management program is intending to bring, those aims necessarily involve a sustained changed in the employee’s behavior. Unfortunately, change programs of many firms usually fail to bring about those new behaviours due to four errors that undermine the change efforts. These errors take the forms of neglecting employee’s individual interests, under-engaging the extended leadership team, failure to sufficiently empower the Change Management Unit, and allocating ‘fire and forget’ targets. In order to minimise the occurrence of these errors, the management should strive to make participation in the program individually rewarding. The company should closely engage the extended leadership teams in encouraging change, and empower the Change Management Unit to drive the program. Lastly, the company should also define effective metrics to track progress.
50 years since its founding, Southwest Airlines is still flying high. Despite not being the best in terms of airline performance, the company is ranked second to last on customer complaints. For an airline that many believed would not have succeeded, the CEO credits the competitive advantage to its people. And the company is so zealous about its people that it has a Culture Committee.
The Culture Committee overseas the orientation for new employees. That’s not all of course, the Committee ensures that the right – in this case fun-loving – people get hired into the company in the first place. The belief goes that if the employees are having fun, they will have a happier time serving customers, and ultimately passengers are going to get a better flying experience. In reflecting its people-centric ethos, the company has also created multiple galleries where employees contribute pets photos or even military medals to make all feel at home.
The Culture Committee eventually morphed into the Culture Services Committee, which till today takes it role very seriously. A case in point is the handling of compliments about specific employees: they not only get highlighted to the employee’s manager, but also get highlighted to the manager’s manager. What’s fun if there are no parties? Lots in fact – career milestones with the company or even wedding anniversaries all get celebrated with pomp and fun. The company believes it ultimately pays off to invest in culture through budgeting, resources, and time. If the airline’s expansion plans are any indication, Southwest Airlines may well have a very profitable intangible asset that sustains its competitive advantage.
In reality, most leaders do not have the luxury of building up a new team from scratch. Instead they are put in charge of an existing team, which could be the one that created the situation that the leaders needed to fix. When replacing members in the short term is not an option, they should broadly speaking assess, reshape and accelerate team development.
The new manager should quickly size up the dynamics of the team that is inherited, gathering information from preferably one-on-one chats, team meetings, and stakeholders. At the same time, reflect on the business challenges facing the firm, and the kinds of people needed in various roles, and the degree to which they collaborate.
Having that understanding, adjust the composition of the team by moving people to new positions where there is a better fit, redefining their job scope or responsibilities, or replacing them as a last resort. Ensure that everyone’s goals and incentives are aligned by changing the team’s direction if necessary. Also think about how changes can be made to the way the team operates (e.g. creating new sub-teams, frequency of meetings or running meetings differently to focus on strategic or operational issues) to improve team performance. Further, establishing ground rules and processes to sustain desired behaviors or eliminate destructive behaviors, and revisit those periodically especially when there is a change in membership.
Above all, set the team up for early wins. With the initial successes, they will boost everyone’s confidence and reinforce the value of the new operating model, paving the way for ongoing growth.
Source: Havard Business Review
Leaders may sometimes equate strategy execution to strategy communication, but the latter alone is not enough to drive the entire execution. While it is hard to come up with a good strategy, it’s typically harder to get people to execute on that strategy. People in the organization are misaligned in terms of objectives, and may be entrenched in their set way of doing things. Identifying the people who are essential to driving the strategy is critical to successful execution. The question then becomes: How can we align the efforts of key staff and enable them to move the organization in tune with the strategy?
Source: Havard Business Review