Leadership is an everyday activity

154890642In reading the leadership post “6 Ways Leaders Step Back But Don’t Step Away“, I was left to reflect once again on how a One Page Execution Plan (OPP) can be vital for you to effectively lead across an entire enterprise on an ongoing basis.

To borrow on the words of my colleagues at ThoughtLeaders, the objective is to “step back” but not “step away.” This is called working ON-your-business vs. working IN-your-business. It’s the balcony view of the dance floor, required for one to understand what’s really going on & how to best keep it growing in harmony. Once this “space” is created, a great leader supports the organization through the following actions:

– Future Domain: Sustain ongoing conversations with employees and others in the organization about the future. Don’t get stuck in the past or present. The rhythmic retrospect & forward planning cycle facilitates you to constantly launch conversations into possibilities, and see them as living entities that create the future for the organization.

– Interrogate Reality: Do not fall prey to existing mental models. The Agile Workforce & Lean Start-up practices of the OPP encourage the views of others in order to challenge mental models and paradigms. It helps you naturally interact with employees by making proposals, checking for understanding, and checking for agreement. Avoid directing; that is not the leader’s job—managers do that. The cascade planning methodology of the OPP leaves the invitation open for people to speak about the ever-changing environments in which they operate. That’s why it’s effective, and that why it’s the engaging predecessor to accountability.

– Behavior: The OPP is read left to right, values being purposefully positioned to filter activities, so that you model the behaviors that others will adopt. A leader’s behavior is contagious in the organization. It is either a turbo charger or a short circuit. It can ignite passion, evoke trust, and inspire success. But, it can also be like a rock followers cannot get out of their shoe if the right behaviors are not adopted. Actively manage behavior throughout each day. Courage, integrity, and tolerance are paramount. Be seen as self-aware, calm, in control of emotions, passionate about the organization, and one who treats people with special care relative to their needs. Look for common ground.

– Messaging: Never lose sight that the leader’s relationship with the organization is driven by the messages inferred from what they say and do. Congruent messages about direction, performance, and boundaries must exist from the top to the bottom of the organization. Your messages will not be believed if your credibility is impaired. You must always be diligent about managing integrity, with no gaps between where you stand and where you aspire to be. Leaders do not have all of the information for all situations, but they generously share content and context to help employees deal with the situations they encounter. Through the reverse hierarchy practices of the OPP, you will be open, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and establish the trust through which success is created.

– Monitor Performance: Maintain a system of regular performance conversations with key delivery managers. This is the opportunity to test for emerging interferences and help people with interventions. Course corrections are often required due to changes in the environment, complexities, and new uncertainties. Conversations are key to unlocking new potential and protecting what exists. OPP’s Agile practices require varying degrees of tactical & strategic conversations on a daily, weekly, monthly & quarterly basis throughout the entire organization. It’s how everyone stays on the same page, and does away with the outdated, ineffective & antiquated system of formal (as we currently know them) performance reviews.

– Support: 99% of the leader’s conversations involve an opportunity for coaching. Through these conversations support is created and emulated throughout the organization. Always meet people where they are emotionally, with attentive eyes, giving freedom, engaging through questions, co-creating development possibilities, and acknowledging an employee’s effort and inner character. View everyone as a “high-potential.”

Disclaimer: The original text / post is re-represented above almost within it’s entirety. I have simply interjected references to the OPP & it’s methodology / practices for clarity & context.

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