New Tools and Resources for Leading Transformation Now Available

Leading Organizational Transformation

Wondering what your first step might be in enhancing your capacity to lead complex transformation? Wondering how to help someone on your leadership team build some key skills so they can be more effectively involved in key change? As part of our commitment to make the most current and effective resources available to you, we recently launched a new free on-line Leading Organization Transformation s Assessment and announced a free webinar – 7 Steps to Lead Organizational Transformation in conjunction with the Madinah Institute.

The Assessment: Leading change starts with leadership and yet in many organizations the process of leading change often omits the idea that transforming leaders is part of the overall transformation process. The assessment looks at both Innovative Leadership and your ability to potentially transform your organization. We look primarily at how you as a leader can align yourself and the organization and make changes in yourself, your organization’s culture and your organization’s systems concurrently to ensure sustainable change. During a significant transformation you will need to lead using the following approaches:

  • Integrated Leadership that aligns all key dimensions: Individual, culture, action and systems;
  • Strategic Leadership that inspires individual goals and the organization’s visions and cultures;
  • Tactical Leadership that influences an individual’s actions and the organization’s systems and processes.

For leaders to consistently deliver results, you must deliberately attend to changing yourself and your organization concurrently. The assessment gives you a tool to evaluate your competence against each of the seven steps in the transformation process. You can then use the assessment results to determine where to focus your developmental efforts and also understand your strengths and risks.

The Webinar: With the current rate of change organizations face, the ability to successfully lead complex change is becoming a core competency for leaders at many levels. There are many classes on overall leadership but few directed at leaders helping them understand the key steps to successfully lead organizational transformation and concurrently define what they themselves need to learn to model the behaviors necessary for the changing organization. This presentation provides a flexible framework you can apply to leading a broad range of changes. During this webinar we will explore:

  • Introduction to Innovative Leadership
  • 7 Steps to Lead Organizational Transformation
  • Define your next steps in building your ability to lead transformation

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

Five Steps to Nonprofit Strategic Planning

StrategyThe following post was developed by Dani Robbins, our nonprofit expert and owner of Nonprofit Evolution. She is also the coauthor of the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Nonprofit Executives winner of the 2012 USA Book Award – Best Business Reference Book.

“Strategic  planning is a process in which the board, staff, and select constituents decide the future direction of an organization and allocate resources, including people, to ensure that target goals are reached. Having a board-approved, staff-involved strategic plan that includes effective measurements and the  allocation of resources aligns the organization, provides direction to all levels of staff and board, and defines the path for the future of the organization. It also allows leadership, both board and staff, to reject divergent paths that will not lead to the organization’s intended destination.” Innovative Leadership Workbook for Nonprofit Executives

All organizations should have a strategic plan.  Strategic plans get everyone on same page as to where you are as an organization and where you are going.  They allow the group to decide the goals moving forward; create measurements to determine if you met your goals and assign responsibility and due dates for specific goals. While we often hear that in changing times it no longer makes sense to invest time in strategic planning, we believe that it is even more important to have a plan with the expectation that it will be refined regularly based on changes internally and externally.

In the absence of a plan, there are still moving parts, but they’re not aligned. The absence of a plan sets the stage for people to do what they feel is best, sometimes without enough information, which may or may not be right for the organization. It opens the door for one person’s vision to get implemented and others to feel unheard or unengaged.  The absence of a plan allows for major decisions to be made on the fly and for potentially mission driven decisions to be compromised.  As we all know, movement goes in other directions than forward.

Strategic Planning is a process that results in not only a document but also a shared understanding among key stakeholders.  The process – and the document – can be very long or very short.  (I have a new theory that the longer strategic plan is, the less likely it is to be used.)  It doesn’t have to be a huge, multi-level process that includes benchmarking and a community needs assessment, but it can be if you have the inclination and the resources. For some organizations, primarily larger ones or those just starting out, a community needs assessment may be critical.  I don’t generally recommend them for established social services agencies.  Most social service agencies are pretty clear on the need and there is ample documentation to support their assessment.  In those cases, an environmental scan, coupled with an issue exercise and/or a SWOT analysis may be sufficient.

Regardless of if you select to do benchmarking and have a needs assessment or not, Strategic Planning should include:

  1. Values, Mission and Vision setting or recommitment. I always start with values as I believe they set the tone for everything that follows.  What are your organizational values?  What words reflect the way your organization operates, and the way your team talks to and about your clients?  What words infuse and reflect your organizational culture? The mission statement answers why your organizations exist. A vision is a description of what the organization will look like at a specified time in the future. There are two minds in the field as to if a vision statements should be a utopian view such as “an end to hunger” or a more concrete view such as “to be the premier youth development organization.”  I lean toward the latter; I find it challenging to set goals to get to utopia.
  2. History  of the organization, its footprint and current services,  an environmental scan and additional information, as necessary. Planning should include some discussion of critical information regarding program and operations, organizational challenges, community landscape, technology, finances, budget, both human resource and resource development capacities and systems, and the processes and development of the Board of Directors.
  3. Set Strategies to meet the Vision. Strategies answer what we need to do to get where we want to go – to close the gap between the current reality and our vision.  Strategies are broad-based statements that define the path for the organization (rather than the ongoing work of the organization).
  4. Set Goals to meet Strategies. Discuss what has to happen to get you where you want to go.  What do you need to add, subtract or change to get there?  What has to happen to implement your strategies?
  5. Develop Goals into Work Plans with assignments and due dates. Create a plan to meet those goals by including who will do the work and by when.

Once the strategic plan is complete, create a reporting mechanism and discussion opportunities at future board meetings. Strategic planning is one of the five components of Board Governance. Board members should participate in the process and vote on the outcome.

The Board should also assign who will ensure the plan’s success. The options, in order of effectiveness, are the Strategic Planning Committee Chair, Board President, another board member or the Executive Director.  Executive Directors are traditionally tasked with implementing and stewarding the plan (and being evaluated as such) but they can’t always do it alone; it is helpful to have a board member also ensuring the plan’s implementation.

There are as many types of plan strategies, variations on those strategies and ranges of fees, as there are consultants offering the service.  You don’t have to hire a consultant, but I do recommend you have an outside objective facilitator to help you.

A strategic plan should be a living document that guides the organization and provides a point for ongoing programmatic and organizational evaluation.  It should not sit on a shelf.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

photo credit: www.flickr.com Taylor Burnes

Becoming an Authentic Leader: Using Situational Analysis

Situational Analysis How to use the five elements of innovative leadership to become a more authentic leader is the focus of this five-blog series. We’ll explore each element and provide recommended next steps. The fourth component of innovative leadership is how an understanding of situational analysis helps you become more authentic and creates a more authentic workplace.

According to a Forbes article, “What is Authentic Leadership?” most theorists agree on four points. The first is: Authentic leaders are self-aware and genuine. Authentic leaders are self-actualized individuals who are aware of their strengths, their limitations, and their emotions. They also show their real selves to their followers. They do not act one way in private and another in public; they don’t hide their mistakes or weaknesses out of fear of looking weak. They also realize that being self-actualized is an endless journey, never complete.”

I recently conducted a workshop with a client that used the situational analysis framework to address a very complex corporate issue. The company, like many, is trying to balance cutting an employee benefit to remain profitable without impacting employee morale, engagement and organizational culture. This is a private company with a very strong belief in caring for their employees and consistently providing benefits higher than the industry standard. In a highly competitive industry with very thin margins, these benefits impact overall organizational performance and—if not managed carefully—can have a negative financial impact on the organization.

During the workshop with the entire leadership team we asked a set of four questions to encourage an open discussion of the balance between their beliefs, behaviors, culture, and organizational systems.

Situational Analysis Reflection Questions

Individual self/beliefs

    1. List my top three personal values as a leader.
    2. How do my values impact this decision?
Action

    1. How will this decision impact my ability to live my values?
    2. How will this decision impact my behavior as a leader?
Culture

    1. How does this decision align with our purpose and values?
    2. How does this decision impact our ability to meet our goals
System

    1. Is this decision aligned with our systems? If we implement it, will there be conflicts that confuse people?
    2. Will making this choice cause us to miss our goals in other areas of the business?

Using these questions as the foundation, the leadership team explored the pros and cons of their possible options. In addition to addressing this specific complex issue, they also adopted this approach to addressing other issues.

So, what does this have to do with authentic leadership? Leaders must be self-aware and genuine. The first two sets of questions in the table help leaders discuss their personal values in an organizational setting and explore how those values impact current decisions. Then they talk about how to address a current challenge by taking action on their values. This approach becomes most valuable when the leadership team grapples with the balance of personal values and organizational requirements. These often come into conflict and leaders are compelled to choose between two undesirable options: violating their values, or making decisions that are opposed to the organization’s best interest.

While there is no easy solution to the complex problems organizations are facing, we believe this approach to exploring challenges candidly and discussing personal beliefs and values, individual actions, organizational culture, and organizational systems creates shared support for decisions and provides a powerful platform for open dialogue about complex issues. Because it takes into account values along with profitability, this approach builds trust among leaders that the process is ethical.

As an authentic leader in a complex environment, you will regularly be making difficult decisions. This approach to decision making can help you think through the challenges and ask yourself the questions that allow you to remain authentic and ethical, and still make the tough decisions required for your organization to survive. As others begin to understand and trust this process, they will also see you as more authentic and more readily trust your leadership.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations Awarded 2013 International Book Award – ‘Best Business Reference Book’

International Book Award 2013“Leading change starts with leadership and yet, in many organizations, the process of leading change often omits the idea that transforming leaders is an integral part of the overall transformation process,” says Metcalf. This guide to transforming organizations starts with an approach to leadership called innovative leadership. It is a comprehensive model defining five key elements required to successfully transform organizations.

Divided into sections, the first part of this guide focuses on what Innovative Leadership is and how to develop, build, and apply it. It explores the model in detail and gives examples of how an innovative leader can use these elements in transformation efforts.

The second section focuses on the process of leading transformative change. This section puts innovative leadership to action by building on exercises from Section One. It provides a change model, gives an example of how an innovative leader transforms his organization, and offers practical tools and steps to lead change.

A common reason for transformation failure is that leaders focus on the systems, rather than the larger context that includes themselves as leader and the organizational culture. Because innovative leadership influences by engaging the four dimensions of belief, action, culture, and systems equally, innovative leaders are uniquely qualified—and have a much higher success rate—to transform organizations.

During this decade of increased complexity and failed change initiatives, and amid an accelerated need for change, it is critical for organizations to identify new models that address these challenges while maintaining efficient and effective operations. This Guide provides models that increase your ability to successfully implement sustained change.

“This guide offers leaders a pragmatic set of tools to concurrently transform themselves and their organizations. Alignment is particularly important when transforming complex international organizations, and this book helps leaders align themselves their organizational culture, and their systems to ensure success. The combination of theory and practice make this a must-read leadership book!” says Willim I. Brustein, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Glogal Strategies and International Affairs, Professor of Sociology, Political Science, and History, The Ohio State University.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

Transforming Organizations Using Innovative Leadership

Change Leadership PerspectiveSarah was the Vice President of Marketing for a Fortune 100 company when we met several years ago. She was known throughout her division for the bright colors that she wore and for her equally bright disposition. Her ability to help people she feel almost instantly comfortable was a well-crafted skill. Sarah rose through the ranks in the company starting out as a sales assistant and then slowly earned her way to progressively more responsibility.  As an executive she was centered, focused, and highly successful. Having a conversation with Sarah in this setting felt that something of importance was about to transpire.

When we last met, she told a story of a senior director. “He was a top salesman when he came to us and was quickly moved into our high-achievers program. His numbers were always solid and his group was very productive when he was a manager.” At that, she looked down and paused.  “But even then” she remarked, “I would hear of incidents where people left meetings feeling demoralized—he has such strong people skills and is so bright—I thought these incidents must have been attempts to help his staff stretch. Now, in retrospect, I think I missed some warning signs. We are at the point where he has stepped on so many toes that nobody wants to work with him.”

Problems like those of this senior director are as complex as they are common. Though he had all of the technical skills, intelligence, and motivation to be a very effective leader, staff turnover, poor collaboration, and a reputation as being difficult to work with found him doing as much harm to his company as good. Part of the challenge in building innovative leadership is learning to leverage the clarity of your introspection. Looking inside yourself and examining the make-up of your inner being, enables you to function in a highly grounded way, rather than operating from the innate biases of more uninformed decision-making. This ability to reflect and consider how as a leader you need to change as part of the larger change initiative is critical to leading successful organizational transformation efforts.

Accelerating change continues to impact every facet of business. To thrive long term, business leaders must make implementing change a core competency that allows them to capitalize on our changing world instead of merely attempting to adapt to it.

Organizations clearly need innovation to successfully navigate the new economic landscape—and they are not getting it. It’s relatively rare for transformation programs to deliver the results that were projected in the original business case. Simply put, companies attempting to traverse the new economic landscape with incomplete tactics will not succeed. In addition to looking at tactics used to implement change, we also need to look at the impact leadership has on the organization’s ability to successfully implement change. An exclusive focus on systems’ performance and analytics can prove costly. Enhancing organizational capacity must extend beyond increasing system functionality.

If, in addition to developing better functional processes, you begin to clarify strategic vision, grow leadership capacity, and build a cohesive company culture, you will achieve much greater and more sustainable success.

Complex challenges illuminate deeply held beliefs and force a change in how work is done, and also in the leaders themselves and an organization’s values. What results is more than a process change or innovation translation. A complex solution not only creates changes in processes, but allows a natural progression and forum in which to explore and develop personal values and beliefs, behaviors, and interactions. The most effective solutions to complex challenges are those that change the leader and the organization’s relationship to processes, values, behaviors, and interactions. In other words, the change process works on the leader at the same time the leader works on the change.

The concept of leading change starts with leadership and yet in many organizations the process often omits the idea that transforming leaders is part of the overall transformation process.

Innovative leadership is based on the recognition that four dimensions (intention, behavior, culture, and systems) exist in all experiences, and already influence every interactive experience we have. To deny the interplay of any one of the four dimensions is missing the full picture. You can only build innovative leadership by simultaneously addressing all four dimensions.

Because innovative leadership influences by engaging the four dimensions equally, balanced leaders are uniquely qualified to implement complex change with a much higher success rate. A primary reason for transformation failure is that leaders focus primarily on the systems, rather than the larger context that includes themselves as leader and the organizational culture.

Combining innovative leadership with a comprehensive change model to solve complex problems leads to a higher success rate. This success rate is possible because this new model:

  • Addresses complex problems by analyzing them and developing comprehensive solutions beyond those found in traditional problem-solving approaches;
  • Addresses the four dimensions: a leader’s intention and behavior along with the organization’s culture and systems in a systematic manner that creates alignment between them;
  • Includes the innovative leader in the change process by expecting the leader to innovate how they lead to keep pace with the challenges they are solving.

During this era of increased complexity, an accelerated need for change, and failed change initiatives, it’s critical for organizations to identify new models which address these challenges while maintaining efficient and effective operations.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

photo credit: www.flickr.com suez92