We asked our new partner Diederik Vincent – founder of Spring Training – to reflect on years of experience and survival in organisations.
1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Managers don’t have all the answers and solutions; problems are too complex to be solved by one person. Innovation starts with the ability to question the status quo and reflect on better ways of doing things. Only then we can begin to create alternative solutions and improve performance.
2. Collaboration Across Networks
Multinational corporations are having their teams collaborate using digital tools and networks. Understanding colleagues from radically different backgrounds and communicating effectively is what we need to be prepared for.
We live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world. Traditionally our education and mindset have been designed for routine and the following of procedures. We learned how to do something once, and then we did it over and over. Today learning means we have to be agile and adaptive to new situations of disruption. We have to master new skills "on demand" and discard the ones that are no longer required.
Business leaders are struggling to find employees who seek out new opportunities, ideas and strategies for improvement. Most organisations have not been designed to inspire doers and innovators. How do we teach employees to lead, encourage them to take the initiative and empower them to solve global challenges?
5. Leading by Influence
Future leaders will get things done by influence, not "command and control". Effective influencers are both good listeners and communicate the purpose and goals of the organisation in a clear and inspirational manner. Future leaders need to connect & communicate to create high-performance.
6. Natural curiosity
Curiosity is a powerful driver of new knowledge and innovation. Everyone is born with a ‘child-like’ sense of awe and wonder’ to explore and experiment. Later we are learned to follow the rules:"things should be done this way, not that like that!"
It takes imagination to envision breakthroughs and then go about executing them. Most organisations consistently spoon-feed information and regulations instead of empowering employees to ask questions and seek answers. Inquisitiveness and thinking "outside-the-box" need to be promoted with the same level of importance the organisation gives to processes and procedures.
Creating future success
Unfortunately, I see a stark contrast between these six survival skills and the focus of Learning & Development in many organisations. Many times L&D provides a training catalogue to prepare the organisation for future success. De danger of employees acting like the little orchestra on the Titanic arises.
It’s time to give new solutions to changing organisational development needs and to be future role models ourselves.
THE TERM ‘PSYCHOLOGICAL safety’ expresses the idea that members of a team trust each other and feel secure to give feedback, without fear of committing professional suicide.
To make sure that this feedback keeps flowing, it is the responsibility of the team leader to create and promote a "feedback-safe" environment.
Here’s how it works, using the acronym SAFE to make it easier to remember:
• Setting boundaries.
• Activating feedback.
• Failing better.
• Empowering the team.
Unfortunately, SAFE leadership styles are not all that common. In his article The Bad Influence of Aggressive Bosses Manfred Kets de Vries shares strategies how to avoid becoming victim – or even copying the bad behaviour – of a toxic manager:
1. Build a support group to share experiences and monitor your own bad behaviour.
2. Build a political network inside the organisation to influence the departure of the boss.
3. Document specific incidents to build a case.
Manfred ends the article with a quote from Marcus Aurelius: " The most complete revenge is not to imitate the aggressor".
As Sabine Hansen Peck wrote in our award winning Feedback First book : "Ken Blanchard said that "feedback is the breakfast of champions"I personally believe this is true and more importANT than ever. In a world which is changing so fast, receiving hones and constructive feedback is paramount to be able to adapt and stay relevant. At Amadeus we have been working with the CLEAR+CALM model as it sets the foundation for an agile and transparent culture".
By its very nature, hierarchy dramatically reduces the desire of those lower down to speak up and those higher up to listen. In many organisations,it is a basic survival strategy to inflate the degree to which you agree with your superiors.Managers reinforce this behaviour by, unconsciously, looking for an endorsement of their views, rather than honest questioning or critical feedback. The danger with flattery is that it cuts them off from the facts.
Our book Feedback First:Boosting Performance through CLEAR+CALM Communication won gold and bronze at the American Business Awards 2017. Listen to Sophie Evekink speak at the Award Ceremony in New York!