Posts filed under ‘Context’

How you respond to the economy is a CHOICE

choicesI believe there are three key measurements for today’s uncertain economic environment.

1. Accelerating pace of change.

2. Our key response is fear, anxiety, insecurity, which according to Bright Side’s research and interviews is increasing.

3. The key sustainable advantage is our expanded capacity to learn/unlearn/relearn in the moment every moment.

Today’s recession reminds me of experiences I had over 25 years ago when I developed Bright Side’s personal change-leader model to expand my own capacity and the capacity of others, their teams, their organizations to be more equipped to lead toward the future dreams and desired business outcomes. My past experiences, both my past positive experiences and my past negative experiences continue to be triggered for me today and could limit or minimize the impact that I personally can and want to have and Bright Side can and wants to have.

And how I respond to those triggers is a choice: Yes, the recession is knocking on my door and I am choosing to not answer it.

The personal leader model is as relevant today as when I lost my job in the machine tool industry during the early 1980’s. Not only did I lose my job, I watched an entire industry collapse. I, along with many other Americans, was stuck in a view of arrogance, ‘Ohio is the machine tools capitol of the world, other countries make junk.’ After traveling to Japan in 1981, working with the Father of Quality, Dr. W. Edwards Deming, I began to wonder, have an insight, that perhaps I was experiencing the early side of a trend and I could ignore it or learn about it and take action to embrace and lead from that trend. 

That failure became the impetus for the Bright Side model…

July 29, 2009 at 1:01 pm Leave a comment

Context – An Empowering Enabler

contextDisempowered people work in a vacuum.  They do what they are told and are limited to taking safe, prescribed actions and making secure, pre-approved decisions.  They have no need for understanding the context within which they take action.  Some roles require this type of standardization and control.  They are roles that eventually will be automated or disappear as systems and infrastructure mature to where the roles are no longer necessary.

For more mature roles that require independent action, problem-solvingand decision-making a more empoweringand enabling model for performance and accountability is necessary.  Leaders need to provide context for these individuals so they can act without seeking approval every time a decision is required, and so that they can take action that best serves achieving the future state desired by the organization.

One powerful technique for helping these individuals perform within the parameters and in support of the direction the organization has chosen is to share the vision for the future that executive leadership has defined for the organization.  

At the same time, a solid understanding of the current state in which the organization finds itself is important to understand such that the gap between the the present and the future is grasped and owned by those who must make independent decisions regarding how to move from where we are today to the future vision we have for the company.  The key component of engaging others is necessary at this point as well as empowering and enabling.

We call this understanding of the current state, future state and gap – CONTEXT – because it provides high level awareness that clarifies direction, and paves the way with key strategies and behaviors required to move in a straight line toward the future in an accelerated manner.  In essence, it builds a road from the current state to the future state, puts curbs on the road to keep people on the straight path, and equips them with maps, mile markers, gas, vehicles and behaviors – the resources necessary to assure the future destination is reached in a sustianable and accelerated manner, with as little resistance as possible.

Frequently, in our behavioral interviews of employees we find that people may not know the future state clearly and are operating to specific goal achievement only.  They tend to operate with blinders on and march to the beat of only one drum.

In some cases, we find employees who seem to have a grasp of the future vision and are moving very rapidly toward it and outpacing the capability of the organization to support this movement.  They seem to have no concept of the current state and are building unsustainable solutions for the future.

Lastly, we often find people who are off target completely and operating to historic precedence or taking independent actions that are in the wrong direction from the future vision, or tangential to it.  They are slowing everybody down with their misapplication of resources.

All of these people are working hard and in some cases are working harder than they ever have in the past.  Unfortunately, they are not really contributing to achieving the future state in a sustainable and accelerated way.

They need to understand the higher level context of where they are, where they are going and the key strategies and behaviors that are supported and resourced by the organization to help them get there

As a leader of leaders at all levels, context is one of the critical components when it comes to empowering and enabling others.   Keep it in mind as you lead others to a new future for your organization.

What other aspects of context would you like to share?


July 18, 2009 at 10:28 pm Leave a comment

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