Although no one in a leadership position wants to admit it, sometimes the best strategic plans do not really change day to day operations. The problem as Ron Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky in their book The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World (Harvard Business Press, 2009) note is the following: “The reality is that any social system [i.e. tactical operations] … is the way it is because the people in that system (at least those individuals and factions with the most leverage) want it that way.”
The reality is that most people who do day to day work do not want day to day operations to change. They like status quo just the way it is, even if it is a dysfunctional status quo. As one person shared with me a recently, “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.”
General Stanley McChrystal with Tantum Collins, David Silverman and Chris Fussell in their book called Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement For A Complex World (Portfolio/Penguin, 2015) explored the subject of transforming day to day operations when combatting Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in 2004. While it looked on the surface like a traditional insurgency, under the surface AQI operated unlike anything they had seen before. In place of a traditional hierarchy, AQI took the form of a dispersed network that proved devastatingly effective against the United States military’s objectively more qualified force. As they wrote, “To win we had to change. Surprisingly, that change was less about tactics or new technology than it was about internal architecture and culture of our force - in other words, our approach to management.”
We will be exploring this subject and many more on September 21 - 22, 2016 during the upcoming Fall 2016 From Vision to Action Executive Roundtable at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Coralville, Iowa.
Here is the overall agenda for your review:
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
- 8:30 am - Arrival & Visiting Time
- 9:00 am - 10:15 am - How do leaders transform day to day operations?
- 10:15 am - 10:30 am - Break
- 10:30 am - 12:00 pm - How do leaders know if they have the “right people on the right seats of the bus”?
- 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm - Lunch & Networking
- 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm - How do leaders create an understanding of a problem and buy-in for the solution?
- 2:45 pm - 3:00 pm - Break
- 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm - How do leaders create a team during times of high turnover?
- 4:30 pm - Adjourn
Thursday, September 22, 2016
- 9:00 am - 10:15 am - How do leaders cope with prolonged uncertainty and having too much to do?
- 10:30 am - 12:00 pm - Integration and Application
- 12:00 pm - Adjourn
If you and your team are interested in participating, here is the link to the registration form:
I hope you will join me and many other business leaders as we explore how to transform day to day operations. Given all that is happening in the world at this time period, we, as leaders, can not afford to create strategic plans that do not actually transform day to day operations.