Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category
Posted on November 6th, 2009 by admin Comments Off
As the leaves change and the winds of November grow chillier, we are reminded that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.Â It is a good thing to take time to give thanks for the leaders, people, events and good graces in our lives.
Leaders and organizations would do well to keep this in mind when beginning a planning process or dealing with change and transition.Â It’s important for leaders to express thanks for the good people and experiences alive in the organizations they care about.Â One specific way to do this is through an approach called Appreciative Inquiry.
This approach was pioneered by David Cooperrider and his colleagues at Case Western Reserve University in the early 1980s.Â It invites leaders as well as planning consultants to appreciate what is working well, what is already bringing life to an organization.Â It contrasts with more traditional approaches to planning processes that usually begin with a focus on the problems or struggles within an organization.
Appreciative Inquiry involves four steps of group reflection:
Discover – appreciate what is
Dream – imagine what might be
Design – determine what should be
Deliver – create what will be
In her book, Appreciative Inquiry in the Catholic Church, Susan Star Paddock illustrates the differences between traditional approaches to planning and change processes and Appreciative Inquiry:
|Define the problem||Search for best practices that already exist|
|Fix what’s broken||Amplify what’s working|
|Work incrementally||Full system, fast cycle change|
|Focus on decay||Focus on life-giving forces|
|What problems are you having?||What is working well around here?|
Through using Appreciative Inquiry, leaders help to generate new energy, enthusiasm and passion.Â They build on what’s working while exploring ways of creating new possibilities that have the capacity to bring more new life to organizations and the people who work in them.
In this season of Thanksgiving, we are grateful to all of our clients and e-letter readers for bringing new life to those of us who call The Reid Group home.
The Reid Group
Posted on September 3rd, 2009 by admin Comments Off
by John Reid, Consultant, Mediator
The Reid Group
It’s generally accepted that effective teams accomplish more than Lone Rangers. And after all, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. All of us do better when we combine our work with the good work of others.
Many examples come to mind illustrating the importance of teamwork. Symphonies create beautiful music together when they create a sound as a team that no single instrument could create alone. If only the drums or violin or trumpet plays, the music is not as powerful. In baseball, no team would be successful is everyone wanted to pitch, catch or play first base. A strong baseball team needs nine good hitters and nine fielders in different positions working in harmony to succeed.
There are a few “secret ingredients” to building effective teams. Here are The Reid Group’s top five:
1. A shared understanding that an effective team is more than a collection of individuals. Rather, a team is a group of people with shared purposes, clear roles and common, mutually-agreed-upon expectations.
2. One way to enhance the success of a team is by spending regular and consistent time focusing on the success of individual team members. This requires a “both/and” perspective: both how is the team doing overall in achieving its goals and how is the team helping individuals to achieve their personal goals.
3. As organizational consultant Peter Senge has said, “A fundamental characteristic of the relatively unaligned team is wasted energy.” Effective teams evaluate their alignment with the organization’s mission and values as well as with expressed roles and expectations on a regular basis to ensure alignment and minimize wasted energy.
4. In order to maximize the team’s success, it’s important to be mindful of Stephen Covey’s conviction that there are two bottom lines to success of any team: a) promoting and enhancing relationships and b) accomplishing results. Only by paying attention to both are teams successful.
5. As with any other worthwhile endeavor, effective teams require significant commitment to work through conflicts and respond well to the inevitable struggles the arise within the team. One way to address these struggles is to recognize that the best way to access the individual’s or team’s strengths is to try to meet some of their basic needs. A useful activity involves two or more people on the team sharing their best understanding of what they need more or less of in the team relationship to develop better outcomes.
At The Reid Group, we recently spent several days on retreat to examine some of our team dynamics in order to work together more effectively. What are some of the things you do to enhance your team dynamics? Post your comments here to join the discussion.
Posted on August 6th, 2009 by admin Comments Off
Hiring the right person and achieving a good fit between the individual and the institution, the position and the work environment is not enough to ensure a successful search process. Once a qualified, excellent candidate is selected, organizationsâ€”to be successfulâ€”must spend time managing the transition processes of both the current leader and the newly-selected leader.
For current leaders, it is important that they not actâ€”or be perceivedâ€”as a lame-duck, just filling in their time until their term is up. Rather, to really serve the organization, they need to act as leaders in transition, recognizing the many significant roles they have to play as they complete their time of service. Specifically, there are four tasks that current leaders need to tackle:
1. Help their successor get off to the best start by sharing information and perspectives, and responding to questions.
2. Put their own relationships in order. Effect appropriate closure with staff, Boards and donors, and give consideration to any people in those groups from whom they are alienated. Reconcile with those people or, if that canâ€™t happen, recognize that now is not the time for reconciliation and let it go.
3. Finish the work that only they can do and make decisions about delegating other tasks to staff or to their successor.
4. Say thank you and goodbye. Leaders serve well when they say thanks, affirm the people and organization they have served, and say goodbye. This is important for themselves and also for those they leave behindâ€”we have to say goodbye to what has been before we are free to move on to what will be.
Newly-selected leaders also have four responsibilities in this transition time:
1. Take time to learn from their predecessor as well as other leaders and governing bodies in the organization.
2. Prepare their own transition plan. Identify ways they want to enter into their new position.
3. Commit themselves to listen and learn for much of the first year in the position. Honor what has been and respect the ways the organization has functioned. This â€œlistening timeâ€ may need to be adjusted, however, if the organization is experiencing significant crisis.
4. Plan to implement changes in ways that serve the organizationâ€™s needs and that respect those committed to the organization.
Too often, organizations stop their work in the search process with the hiring of a candidate, which can short-change the success of the process. This is why the last two steps of The Reid Groupâ€™s search process focus on transition and orientation in order to ensure a successful outcome for everyone involved.
What challenges does your organization face in finding qualified, excellent candidates for leadership positions?Â What has been your experience with the transition process with new leadership?Â We’d love to hear from you!
The Reid Group
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