Monday, July 6, 2015

Surviving a Trough of Chaos in the midst of a Sideways Cyclone - part #2

Picking up from last Monday’s post, I want to continue to answer the question: How does a leader guide others out of a trough of chaos in the midst of a sideways cyclone?

One critical element to making this happen is to create clarity of purpose. Now, most people think this is the singular act of simply stating the mission statement over and over. However, it is really quite a complicated form of leadership.

First, creating clarity of purpose means that all involved understand why we have initiated the changes that are being made. This involves a great deal of communication about the context for change. In particular, we need to describe the key indicators and information that led people in leadership positions to conclude that change was needed in the first place. Often, the building of a strategic mindset begins by building a clear understanding of the external and internal drivers for change.

Second, all involved need to better understand the mission or core purpose of the organization. This means more than being able to recite it. Instead, leaders need to give the history of the creation of the mission statement, and then they need to unpack the mission statement so all involved understand the depth of meaning within it. This one-two punch generates a great opportunity for strategic level dialogue as people understand the mission in a holistic manner.

Third, leaders need to explain why the work we are doing matters. This is tricky at this time period because some organizations have not explored this element of purpose for a long time. This has resulted in many people feeling like their job is not that important and does not contribute to the greater good of society. And with many millennials, this is a major turn-off to long range employment. They clearly want to make a difference, and if their job is only work, they will starting seeking employment opportunities some place else.

This week, rethink what is driving change and how you are communicating it, unpack the mission statement with all key leaders, and start asking the following question: “What do you do that matters the most?” All of the answers should have direct line of sight back to the core purpose of the organization.

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

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