Category Archives: All Leadership

GOING BACK TO THE OFFICE, REALLY? (1)

Stimulating exchanges yesterday at Bits20 about the future of office work during the pandemic and beyond…
“You will go (back) to the office because you expect an added-value”

Do you know for your organisation what is this expected added-value?
Can the answer be just “the value of really (=physically) meeting each other”? or “free fruits and table soccer”. I doubt.
Find out!

an office with a desk and chair in a room

Employee Engagement Virtually Bits20

Bits20, thank you Sophie O´Donoghue for some concrete International communication to foster employment engagement virtually.
I particularly liked:
– have ONE virtual space that employees can rely on for the HIGHEST priority news, posting ONLY ONCE/DAY
– “AskMeAnything” (AMA) session, virtual space open 24/7 where people can post questions
– “STORY TIME”-session, an open virtual Qs&As session, 45min with 2 Leadership Team Executives, with the goal of getting to know the Execs better

Stop seeing the return as a destination!

“Stop seeing the return as a destination!”. It will be a transition on your path to some profound organizational transformation opportunities. This article offers many foods for thoughts and shifting perspectives, discussing which attitudes or practices businesses should stop, which they should start, and which they should accelerate.

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/leadership/from-thinking-about-the-next-normal-to-making-it-work-what-to-stop-start-and-accelerate

Crises speed up 3 key leadership transformations

Profound transformations usually take a long-time. But only a few weeks into Corona clearly confirm that crises can be powerful catalysts for changes. For businesses and leaders alike.

Here are 3 key leadership transformations we are experiencing:

1 – Shorter consultations, quick and courageous decisions

In the past, as a leader, you would aim at allowing reasonable amounts of space and time to be set aside to weigh up key decisions and their impact. But crises require leaders to make many critical decisions very quickly and implement them with courage in a very short time. Because companies have currently no other choice but to move swiftly and adapt.

Let me take a simple example: Before the crisis, some leaders were still asking: ” How much home office should I allow, what are the ramifications, and what could be the potential impacts, in terms of upsides and downsides?”.

In the early days following confinement decisions, however, this wasn’t the question anymore. The question changed to: WHAT MUST I DO so that people CAN work from home?”Entire operations had then to be digitized in an unprecedented short time, equipment had to be purchased and installed, security protocols adapted. Because what started as a theoretical possibility had turned into a practical and even critical necessity.

 2 – From process control to outcome-based trust

What I’m seeing today is that leaders who may have had a tendency to micro-manage their teams (maybe in a stress-handling mode), now have no choice but to trust more. They practically have had to make that behavioural change overnight. With no personal transition time to gradually develop new habits. If you can´t monitor every step of the process, you have to focus on its outcome. If you can´t observe what your employees are working on and how, you have no choice but to trust that they are making progress. Don´t waste time and energy by worrying and over-controlling whether people do their work. Believe me: If you have not adapted your leadership style by now, you are probably driving your employees nuts – and yourself as well 😉 – and will not positively impact any outcomes. However, what you can and must do, is to ensure goals are clear and aligned.

3 – From command chains to engaging communication

Another major observation is that internal communication and the kind of conversations teams are having are changing.

All of a sudden, the need for sound internal communication has become transparently obvious. Leaders are learning that communication in times of uncertainty and crisis can enhance their leadership presence and proximity. Leaders are used and trained to communicate about results and outcomes. In times of crisis, communication ALONG THE WAY is key. Leaders, it’s okay -yes even necessary- to inform your employees about what you are trying to implement and about progresses of unfinished processes.

In addition, I am so pleased to see that conversations are changing. Not only because they often now start with: “How are you doing?”. But also because they are much more engaging. Take the example of protective measures (e.g. protective clothing, exclusive digital access, short-time work or going on furlough) which had to be implemented: They will be only effective if accepted and implemented by the entire workforce. This is where traditional one-way management turns into engaging two-way conversations. And by the way, small things, like “seeing each other” during conference calls or virtual coffee breaks can be of high value.

If I had ONE WISH. Let us not go back to “before, how things used to be”. Let us ensure that the leadership lessons we have had to learn with courage over the past weeks, with no transition time, will last.

I am curious to hear what YOUR key leadership lesson of the past weeks has been. Let us learn from one another, please share generously here in your comments!

Here are 3 key leadership transformations we are experiencing:

1 – Shorter consultations, quick and courageous decisions

In the past, as a leader, you would aim at allowing reasonable amounts of space and time to be set aside to weigh up key decisions and their impact. But crises require leaders to make many critical decisions very quickly and implement them with courage in a very short time. Because companies have currently no other choice but to move swiftly and adapt.

Let me take a simple example: Before the crisis, some leaders were still asking: ” How much home office should I allow, what are the ramifications, and what could be the potential impacts, in terms of upsides and downsides?”.

In the early days following confinement decisions, however, this wasn’t the question anymore. The question changed to: WHAT MUST I DO so that people CAN work from home?”Entire operations had then to be digitized in an unprecedented short time, equipment had to be purchased and installed, security protocols adapted. Because what started as a theoretical possibility had turned into a practical and even critical necessity.

 2 – From process control to outcome-based trust

What I’m seeing today is that leaders who may have had a tendency to micro-manage their teams (maybe in a stress-handling mode), now have no choice but to trust more. They practically have had to make that behavioural change overnight. With no personal transition time to gradually develop new habits. If you can´t monitor every step of the process, you have to focus on its outcome. If you can´t observe what your employees are working on and how, you have no choice but to trust that they are making progress. Don´t waste time and energy by worrying and over-controlling whether people do their work. Believe me: If you have not adapted your leadership style by now, you are probably driving your employees nuts – and yourself as well 😉 – and will not positively impact any outcomes. However, what you can and must do, is to ensure goals are clear and aligned.

3 – From command chains to engaging communication

Another major observation is that internal communication and the kind of conversations teams are having are changing.

All of a sudden, the need for sound internal communication has become transparently obvious. Leaders are learning that communication in times of uncertainty and crisis can enhance their leadership presence and proximity. Leaders are used and trained to communicate about results and outcomes. In times of crisis, communication ALONG THE WAY is key. Leaders, it’s okay -yes even necessary- to inform your employees about what you are trying to implement and about progresses of unfinished processes.

In addition, I am so pleased to see that conversations are changing. Not only because they often now start with: “How are you doing?”. But also because they are much more engaging. Take the example of protective measures (e.g. protective clothing, exclusive digital access, short-time work or going on furlough) which had to be implemented: They will be only effective if accepted and implemented by the entire workforce. This is where traditional one-way management turns into engaging two-way conversations. And by the way, small things, like “seeing each other” during conference calls or virtual coffee breaks can be of high value.

If I had ONE WISH. Let us not go back to “before, how things used to be”. Let us ensure that the leadership lessons we have had to learn with courage over the past weeks, with no transition time, will last.

I am curious to hear what YOUR key leadership lesson of the past weeks has been. Let us learn from one another, please share generously here in your comments!