Lead to transform: How do you transform rumors into constructive conversations?

Lead to transform: How do you transform rumors into constructive conversations?

“Rumor travels faster, but it don’t stay put as long as truth. ”
― Will Rogers

Allow me to tell you a story:

Sean, responsible for quality control in a multinational company, finds out that the HR department started to plan his team’s vacation time without involving him.  

Now the story could go in two different ways:

Option 1: 

Sean vents his frustration in the next 4 calls of the day that have 20 people in attendance. He tells them how bad HR works and how little they value his opinion.  

Option 2: 

Sean mentions in his next 4 calls that he is upset about something he has to work out. That same afternoon he calls the HR team to express his disappointment and ask for an explanation on what happened and why.   

With which of the two options do you feel more identified? Do you identify which is the way to face the challenges of your peers? 

We find ourselves in situations that bother us often and decide to vent with third parties that have no influence or ability to resolve our issue. What do we achieve with this?

  • More discomfort/disappointment 
  • To create a bad reputation for yourself 
  • Fail to solve problems in the most effective way possible 

Powerful question to ask yourself:

How can I stimulate stories from a leading and constructive point of view? 

Make change happen:

The next time you find yourself in front of a person who tells you a story from limitations, impossibility, victimhood; I invite you to try some of these questions to transform their speech and conversation:  

  • What challenge did you face? 
  • How is it affecting you? 
  • How did you choose to respond? 
  • What has been the impact to you? 
  • Is there anything you can do now to be in a better situation? 
  • What can you learn from this?

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Lead to transform: What if I can’t keep my commitment?

Lead to transform: What if I can’t keep my commitment?

“Be the person who keeps their word; honors their commitments (financial and otherwise) even when it isn’t convenient”.
– Lucy McDonald

Last week something happened to me that probably happens to you often.

I had a meeting at 5pm in order to coordinate the efforts of several teams located in different countries for the launch of a project.

It was time for the meeting and one person did not show up. While trying to locate her, we started the meeting to honor the time we had set aside for all of us to talk.

We moved forward and… still no sign of her.

After a while, she connected and told us that a client had called her in the morning to ask her for a conference call at the same time for an emergency and she had accepted…

In this type of situation, we could gain or lose confidence from those we work with. When faced with such a difficulty, we can become victims or we can take responsibility and honor our commitments, even if there’s a conflict as new information transpires.

What kept you from letting us know as soon as you accepted the new commitment? What kept you from checking to see if we could move the meeting? What kept you from apologizing and checking how this could impact us?

Remember! You can always honor your commitments!

  • Make only promises you intend to deliver
  • If you have a problem that prevents you from keeping a commitment, let your stakeholders know as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute!
  • Take responsibility, apologize (even if it was not your fault) and offer an alternative time/way to move forward.

Powerful question to ask yourself:

How valuable do I consider my word about what I say I will do?

Make change happen:

Analyze the last few commitments you made at work that you were unable to keep:

  • What was the reason?
  • When did I let my stakeholders know? When I found out or at the last minute?
  • Did I take care of the impact on others?
  • Did I apologize since I was the one who changed the commitment?

NEWSLETTER: LEAD TO TRANSFORM

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter, so you can successfully lead transformation processes: inspiration to engage, a question to reflect on, and an action to try. Make change happen!

Lead to transform: Clean escalation?

Lead to transform: Clean escalation?

“Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody can get there unless everybody gets there.”  Virginia Burden

The company’s goal was to increase annual sales by 15%. Each division’s leader had to draw up a coordinated strategy. In this context, John, as a member of the German division, felt that his colleague, Anna, had made the wrong decision in this respect. He therefore decided to go directly to his boss, Bettina, to present his solution without prior notice to his direct boss. 

Can you guess what happened?

– Bettina heard John’s story and was alarmed. She called Anna and told her how angry she was.

– Anna listened to Bettina and did not understand what was going on as there was a lot of information missing.

– Anna got angry with John and told him later.

– John did not manage to change the decision, and now his relationship with Anna is more strained than before.

Did the situation get solved as a team? Are their relationships better? Do they feel better? 

Situations like this happen quite often and we have become unaware of how harmful they are. 

Below, I share with you a different way that creates a “clean” escalation, which strengthens relationships even in differences.

– We never escalate alone and without warning! When we have a difference, we “agree to disagree” and clarify who has the decision.

– If we want to share it with someone else, we always let them know and offer to do it together, where everyone shares their perspective.

– If someone else has to decide for us because we have a difference of opinion, we state our perspectives and let the new decision-maker do it and commit to the decision, no matter what it is.

Powerful question to ask yourself:

How can I take care of relationships even when we disagree about something?

Make change happen:

Next time you don’t like or agree with someone:

  • Listen and understand the other person’s argument.
  • Clarify who is the decision-maker and respect it.
  • If you are going to “escalate”, do it clean, do it together!

NEWSLETTER: LEAD TO TRANSFORM

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter, so you can successfully lead transformation processes: inspiration to engage, a question to reflect on, and an action to try. Make change happen!

Lead to transform: Who makes the decision?

Lead to transform: Who makes the decision?

“It is often said that a wrong decision taken at the right time is better than a right decision taken at the wrong time.”
― Pearl Zhu, Decision Master: The Art and Science of Decision Making

As we move up as leaders, the responsibility, and with that, the number of decisions that we need to take, are higher. Therefore, empowering our teams is particularly important to achieve 3 objectives: for things to happen on time, for people to give the best of themselves adding on their own value, and also so we don’t end up suffering from decision fatigue.

However, sometimes our own behavior stops the team’s empowerment preventing our team members to be self-sufficient, feel valued and empowered within the organization.

I invite you to find some different ways to avoid falling into these dynamics that affect the sustainability and efficiency of your organization.

Powerful question to ask yourself:

What fears and behaviors do I need to let go to empower my people and make us all more effective?

Make change happen:

Next time a person from your team consults with you about a decision, consider asking the following question:

Should I make this decision or them?

    • If the answer is you, then discuss the situation, ask for input and make a clear decision.
    • If the answer is them, clarify the situation, give input (if asked!) and show your support whatever they decide!

NEWSLETTER: LEAD TO TRANSFORM

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter, so you can successfully lead transformation processes: inspiration to engage, a question to reflect on, and an action to try. Make change happen!

Lead to transform: How can we ensure that words are not dust in the wind?

Lead to transform: How can we ensure that words are not dust in the wind?

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

MICHAEL JORDAN

The employees in upper management spend 50% of their time in meetings.

Research suggest that employees spend 4 hours per week preparing for status update meetings.

A recent survey found that 67% of employees complain that spending too much time in meetings hinders them from being productive work.

More than 35% of employees found that they waste 2 to 5 hours per day on meetings and calls. They don’t achieve anything during this time.

This happens because meetings do not have clear objectives or processes and the decisions that are made in these meetings are not executed as everyone expects.

Does this sound familiar? Let me share with you some ideas that I have successfully implemented with teams around the world.

Powerful question to ask yourself:

What is the impact of not effectively executing the solutions our clients or our people need?

Make change happen:

The next time you are going to meet to make a decision, consider checking these 5 points so that the decision really works:

  1. Defined property rights
  2. Clarity on decision-making process
  3. The right people involved
  4. Explicit understanding
  5. Commitment to action

If you are interested in going deeper into each of these points, I invite you to watch my last webinar: Making things happen: improving the way we make decisions

NEWSLETTER: LEAD TO TRANSFORM

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter, so you can successfully lead transformation processes: inspiration to engage, a question to reflect on, and an action to try. Make change happen!

Lead to transform: Why “people don’t understand”?

Lead to transform: Why “people don’t understand”?

“Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement.”
― Aldous Huxley, 

Today, “cultural transformation” (or change, adaptation, improvement, culture management) is the topic on the table in practically all organizations and what most leaders are concerned about these days. We understood that the value of new technologies is replicable in the medium term, and that the strength or weakness of a culture to sustain a new strategy, although more complex to acquire, is also much more durable and significant.

Most leaders looked at us weird when we started talking about this at Axialent about fifteen years ago. They would look at us with a condescending-looking smile before saying, “Culture? No, that’s not tangible. It’s something soft. We need to sell more, period,” or “We just need to implement this new system, we need someone to come in and turn it on.” It wouldn’t take long for them to call us back and tell us that, for some unknown reason, after pressing “on”, no one was doing what the system was asking for.

As if, from one day to the next and without explanation, a factory put in dozens of safety devices (helmets, signs to know where to go, height equipment). What are the chances that someone will use them if that is the only thing that changes? Well, if there is a culture that considers those who take care of themselves as weak, no matter how many new devices are available, no one is going to use them! A few years ago, not too many, this was not called “culture”, but simply “people don’t understand”.

It’s not difficult to guess what happened to those stories: culture became the new corporate mantra, and it is enough to see how the ranking of companies around the world evolved to realize its influence. Some succeeded because they took this variable seriously; others did it even with resistance (generating a much higher emotional and financial cost); and some did not even get to tell it.

Today, on the other hand, there is almost no one in a leadership position, who doesn’t ask themselves how to solve the great problem of individual and collective transformation. When I get those requests I always perceive the internal dilemma between why they should set themselves up to this challenge when, up to now, they have been extremely successful. Or their personal dilemma of doing it while asking me silently, but screaming with their eyes, that those who have to change are the others who do not do what they should.

Precisely, one of the great difficulties of these times of extremely high levels of disruption is to be able to recognize that the successful habits of the past will not necessarily serve us in the future. I experience this myself in my own organization. No matter how much I know about these issues, when I am at the center of the stage, my biases also play tricks on me. Very few can express it clearly without hurting our own ego. The dilemma is how to recognize that what we created and did may have been perfect to get us here, but will not be so perfect for the future we dream of. And that now, to create the most effective culture for the future, we also need to transform ourselves. So strong is that inertia, that some even convince themselves that it is better not to have that conversation, to keep moving forward, and to retire in time. Otherwise, something will forcefully pull them back.

Powerful question to ask yourself:

What old accomplishment do I need to detach from today in order to achieve a better version of myself that will allow me to be effective in the present time?

Make change happen:

The next time you intend to replicate a past accomplishment remember to ask yourself some questions beforehand, both regarding the more tangible accomplishment and the intangible that stuck in the culture of your organization and team:

– What did you learn from the previous experience?

– What did you achieve?

– What was the setting and resources?

– What did you fail to achieve?

– Where did you fail?

– How can you do better?

– What things do you take for granted now because of your previous experience?

– What do you think you can learn from the new experience?

This previous reflection will allow you to be more aware of all the factors and let go of the anchored learnings that, perhaps on this occasion, are more of a burden than a help.

NEWSLETTER: LEAD TO TRANSFORM

I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter, so you can successfully lead transformation processes: inspiration to engage, a question to reflect on, and an action to try. Make change happen!

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