“A different world cannot be built...

vision-lg How are you leading differently to achieve desired results?

...by indifferent people.”

A recurring theme in our writings this year center on critical thinking and the leader’s ability to set direction for their teams in the context of operating in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) business environment. It is a recurring theme because we continue to see and hear about business leaders struggling with change they feel they have limited control over. Using the title quote attributed to Peter Marshall, former chaplain for the U.S. Senate in the late 1940s, we continue to explore effective leadership in a VUCA business environment.

Indifference is defined as a lack of interest or concern in a given situation. It is being apathetic in a situation and is a clear reflection of the leader’s attitude. This is an important distinction as part of the challenge of effectively leading change is thinking it merely involves doing different to get different results. It is a common misconception by not realizing and understanding that doing different must begin with thinking different. A leader’s attitude of indifference and apathy is a core issue in the VUCA challenge!

What does indifference look like? We see two common scenarios in our coaching practice:

  • Doing nothing different in hopes of a self-correction ~ “Hope is not a Strategy” is a mantra prominently displayed on our website homepage and heard frequently by our clients. We find this reaction is borne out of not knowing what to do combined with a risk tolerance for change that is out of alignment with the needs of the business. While it is true the business continues to be stacked with challenges, it is reality, not an anomaly. Embracing the challenge as reality forces the leader to act proactively and not falling back on hope as a strategy!
  • Being apathetic to change ~ Change, by definition, is emotional and impacts people on a deep psychological level. A term we learned many years ago in this context was “heart-count” instead of “headcount”. The term reflects the team’s emotional engagement versus their merely physical engagement. A leader’s ability to recognize and respond appropriately to the emotions in play beyond the visible behavior are critical to their effectiveness as a leader. This recognition and responsiveness applies to not only their team’s emotions, but to their own emotions as well. This heightened level of emotional intelligence allows the leader to fully lean into the critical success factors of change leadership!

So, what is a leader to do under these conditions? We’ve written previously about VUCA 2.0 (Vision, Understanding, Courage, Adaptability) introduced by Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic. From where we stand, the entire process of effectively leading change begins with vision. In our leadership and coaching practice, we spend a good deal of time helping our clients create a vision, revise their existing vision, or merely reconnecting to their existing vision as a means to center themselves on their purpose. It is nearly impossible to be indifferent as a leader when there is clarity and alignment to the core purpose of why the business exists!

We’ve all heard the familiar definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Being proactive in a VUCA business environment begins with the leader checking their own attitude to ensure they are not directly or indirectly modelling an attitude of indifference. Rather, they are consciously and courageously maintaining an attitude of understanding and adaptability centered around their organizational vision!

How are you leading differently to achieve desired results? If you are not sure, we can help!

Lead Well!

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Friday, 14 June 2024