Meg’s leadership team produced acceptable results in their respective areas of accountability. But they did not have much interest in each other’s challenges, as they scrambled to meet their own KPIs. Meg knew that if they were aligned on a vision for the group, that they could produce game-changing results. She had her own vision but was reluctant to prescribe it from on high. She had seen too many change initiatives stall because leadership teams had not bought in to a predetermined vision and strategy.
This time around Meg decided to invest the time in discovering how her leadership team viewed their current effectiveness before moving forward. It was like holding up a mirror for them. They were surprised to find that they had a common view about what needed to change and the predictable future if nothing altered. They independently arrived at the conclusion that their siloed approach could only take them so far. They also discovered that they had a common desire to make a big difference. That galvanised them to create a new vision for the future of the group. They turned the vision into action by taking on a unifying project.
The stretch objective for the project, to be achieved over six months, required a breakthrough in their leadership and their ability to operate as a cohesive team. They achieved the stretch objective and continue to produce game-changing results.
Meg knew that the team’s ownership of the vision for the future of the group was the key to producing game-changing results. It went beyond anything that could have been achieved if she had simply prescribed the vision for them and asked them to buy in. Lisa B. Kwan’s research suggests that leaders often have a ‘collaboration blind spot,’ that results in a focus on logistics and processes, incentives and outcomes, but in doing so, leaders forget to consider how the groups they’re asking to work together might experience the request.
Additional research on the topic uncovered a range of reasons why managers’ alignment on company strategy cannot be assumed as a given, including being overly focused on the interests of their own business unit and not seeing the bigger picture. Meg’s groundwork with her team helped surface the issues for her team to co-create a vision and take action to achieve it.
Are you co-creating the vision with your team?
Best regards, Brian
Click here to grab your copy of Leadership Is Changing the Game – The Transition from Technical Expert to Leader.