So I had a great new pair of sandals that I wore just 3-4 times, but they didn’t fit right on me.
Category Archives: Change Agents
Who’s The Boss (The Good and Bad) ?
Harvard Business Review had a helpful list of 8 leadership types:
1. Strategists – (Chess game) – provide vision, strategy, enterprise architecture.
2. Change agents – (Turnaround expert) – reengineering the organization.
3. Transactors – (Deal-maker) – make deals and negotiate positive outcomes.
4. Builders – (Entrepreneur) – create something new.
5. Innovators – (Idea generator) – solve difficult problems.
6. Processors – (Efficiency expert) – run organization like a well-oiled machine.
7. Coaches – (Develop People) – get the best out of people for a high-performance culture.
8. Communicators – (Influencer) – explain clearly what (not how) needs to be done to succeed.
I would say these are the positive archetypes of leadership, but what about the negative leadership models?
Here’s a shot at the 8 types of awful leaders (and wish they throw in towel and go away):
1. Narcissists – (Self-centered) – focused on stroking their own egos and pushing their own agendas, rather than the success of mission and people.
2. Power mongers – (Domineering) – Looking to grow their piece of the corporate pie, not the pie itself.
3. Competitors – (Win-Lose) – deals with colleagues as enemies to defeat, rather than as teammates to collaborate with.
4. Micromanagers – (My way or the highway) – doesn’t delegate or people the leeway to do their jobs, rather tells them how to do it the right and only way.
5. Insecure babies – (Lacking in self-confidence) – marginalizes or gets rid of anyone who is a challenge to their “leadership,” rather than valuing and capitalizing on diversity.
6. Sadists – (Bullying) – use their leadership pulpits to make others squirm under their oppressive thumbs and they enjoy it, rather than using their position to help people.
7. Thieves (Credit grabbers) – steal other people’s ideas and recognition for their own self-promotion, rather than elevate others for their contributions.
8. Biased baddies – (Whatever I want) – manage arbitrarily by subjective management whim and playing personal favorites, rather than through objective facts and maintaining equity.
How many of you have dealt with the good as well as the bad and ugly? 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Leadership Lessons In a Pie
There is an interesting exercise that examines and trains leaders on strengths and weaknesses.
In the exercise, there are 8 primary skills written on the floor in a pie shape taped off into slices.
People are instructed to step into the slice where they think they are the strongest.
For example, some stepped into slices labeled visionaries, others into change catalysts, team building, or communication, and so on.
Then the group of people from each slice takes a turn and explains to everyone else how to become good at that particular skill, where they are the experts.
Then the exercise is reversed and the participants are asked to find and step into the slice that is the most challenging for them.
In this second part, the group of people in each slice then explain to the rest of the participants what makes that skill in their slice so challenging for them.
This is a thought-provoking and helpful leadership exercise that gives people an opportunity to examine and discuss their strengths and weakness and learn from each other.
While I wouldn’t say that they all slices had the same number of people–they didn’t, some had more and some less–each slice did some people to represent that skill.
Some thoughts on this pie exercise:
– By having to choose only one key strength (i.e. only one slice to stand in), it is humbling to realize all the other skills where you aren’t as strong, but seeing other people in spread across those slices too–let’s you know that it is possible.
– Also, by having to identify your most challenging leadership skill, the one where you need to focus the most attention on, it is comforting to see other people in the same slice–you are not alone.
– Seeing and hearing about the multiple leadership areas for people–both strengths and weaknesses–points to the importance of diversity of people and skills in the workplace–everyone can do something, but no one can do everything perfect.
– It is healthy to take a self-accounting of your strengths and weaknesses and learn where you can help others and where you can learn from others–thus, teamwork in leadership is just as critical as what is expected in the proverbial “rank and file.”
– Leadership skills are generally not something that you are born mastering–although some are labeled “born leaders” (or maybe “born with a silver spoon in their mouth” in more appropriate)–the vast majority of people learn and grow their leadership skills over a lifetime–and that is a good thing, so stick with it! 😉
Those In The Know, Sending Some Pretty Clear Warnings
There have been a number of leaders who have stepped up to tell people the real risks we are facing as a nation.
They are not playing politics–they have left the arena.
And as we know, it is much easier to be rosy and optimistic–let’s face it, this is what people want to hear.
But these leaders–national heros–sacrifice themselves to provide us an unpopular message, at their own reputational risk.
That message is that poor leadership and decision-making in the past is threatening our present and future.
Earlier this week (15 May 2011), I blogged about a documentary called I.O.U.S.A. with David Walker, the former Comptroller General of the United States for 10 years!
Walker was the head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO)–the investigative arm of Congress itself, and has testified before them and toured the country warning of the dire fiscal situation confronting us from our proclivity to spend future generation’s money today–the spiraling national deficit.
Today, I read again in Fortune (21 May 2012) an interview with another national hero, former Admiral Mike Mullen, who was chairmen of the Joint Chiefs (2007-2011).
Mullen warns bluntly of a number of “existential threats” to the United States–nukes (which he feels is more or less “under control”), cyber security, and the state of our national debt.
Similarly, General Keith Alexander, the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the head of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command has warned that DoD networks are not currently defensible and that attackers could disable our networks and critical infrastructure underpinning our national security and economic stability.
To me, these are well-respected individuals who are sending some pretty clear warning signals about cyber security and our national deficit, not to cause panic, but to inspire substantial change in our national character and strategic priorities.
In I.O.U.S.A., after one talk by Walker on his national tour, the video shows that the media does not even cover the event.
We are comfortable for now and the messages coming down risk shaking us from that comfort zone–are we ready to hear what they are saying?
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Vagawi)
Are You A Moses or A Seagull?
(Source Photo: here)
Thank You Steve Jobs
Think Different, Change The World
>Change Agents–Poisoned or promoted?
>Let’s fantasize for a moment about what it must be like to be an enterprise architect/change agent.
Here we go.
Our stereotypical organization, let’s call it ABC Company has a talented group of enterprise architects. They have worked hard, built partnerships, learnt the organization and its needs, and have done a remarkable job working with leadership, subject matter experts, and other stakeholders in identifying an accurate baseline, determining a promising target, and have helped the organization navigate a well thought out transition plan. The organization reaches its target—success—and the process continues.
Hooray for the architects. Praise and promotion be upon ABC company’s enterprise architects.
Wait. Not so fast. Let’s back up. Rewind and see what often really happens when architects or anyone else for that matter tries to change the status quo:
Research shows that change agents are often scorned by their organizations and their peers. In immature organizations that do not embrace constructive change, change agents like enterprise architects are often not looked upon favorably.
Remember what happened to Socrates more than two millennium ago (and countless others innovators, inventors, and thought leaders since)?
Strategy + Business Magazine, Issue 53, has an article called “Stand by Your Change Agent.”
The article states: “research shows that most transformation leaders go unpromoted, unrecognized, and unrewarded. And their companies suffer in the long run.”
In a study of 84 major change initiatives at Fortune 500 companies between 1995 and 2005, “some 70 percent of executives who led these major transformations went unrewarded or were sidelined, fired, or spurred to leave.”
Why are change agents treated adversely?
The research shows that “deep down, a great many people and organizations fear change. People do not like to move out of their comfort zones. Powerful institutional forces help maintain the status quo. In such companies, change simply has no constituency.”
In these change-averse organizations, change agents often “find their efforts impeded, undermined, or rejected outright. Change agents may also suffer from the delusion that others see the urgent need for action just as they do, and may be frustrated to discover how little key stakeholders care about the initiatives and outcomes they hold dear.”
What is the impact to companies that treat their change agents this way?
Both the companies and people suffer. Change initiatives remain unfinished. Investments do not see their payback. Highly talented change agents are lost. And worse, other potential leaders will think many times over before taking on a change effort that “could derail their careers.”
Well, which companies did best with change?
“Companies that scored highest in leadership development and embracing change were most likely to improve performance.”
The lesson is clear: If companies want to grow, mature, and improve performance, then they need leaders who are visionaries and change agents to step up to the plate.
Those organizations that recognize this truth will embrace their change agents—encourage, recognize, reward, promote, and retain them.
Talented and motivated change agents (like enterprise architects) are an organization’s best hope for innovation, energizing creative potential, and long-term organizational success.