top of page

More transformation needs better leadership

When

When companies decide to start a 'digital transformation', they are often inspired by the promises that agile methods and scaling frameworks seem to be making: Better products, faster time-to-market, employees inspired by self-motivation. The promise is simple and tempting. However once an executive decision has been made, the implementation details are usually quickly delegated towards the middle management and the team leaders.


The start of a success story? It could be. But more often, executives have already made a fundamental mistake: They have failed to get managers and other leaders in their organizations onboard.


Humans are bad at dealing with uncertainty

Scrum and other frameworks see the role of a leader mostly in terms of specific tasks or domains. There is a product owner, you might call her a leader in the product space. There is a Scrum Master who is a leader when it comes to learning and mastering the art of Scrum. And there are developers, who are leaders in their disciplines. When management is a role description, it will be focused on systemic improvements without authority.


What does this mean for the managers who are supposed to drive change but don't know where they themselves might end up in the new system? In general, humans are bad at dealing with uncertainty. And we are even worse at admitting it. In most transformations, managers are sent out on a mission that will affect their own roles. There is uncertainty about their future that they are not supposed to talk about, while reassuring others and guiding their teams through the change.


Senior leaders pushing for change should listen up: Mitigating this uncertainty in your management is one of your most important tasks. If not handled well, you are setting yourselves up for failure.


Go through change yourself - and then help others

In the end, managers are just people. We all need a safe space. So as part of a transformation project, every person, every leader needs to feel that they can safely engage and push for results. Brené Brown refers to this technique simply as 'container building'. Setting up a safe container, a mental space, where people feel the psychological safety they need to open up and engage without inner reservation.


For senior teams, a good starting point is spending some time to discuss the change at hand. You will see that what you need to be successful is not that much different from what the rest of the organization needs. Not only bringing the change to others, but going through the change yourself first will not only make your effort more credible, it will also give you and your team the confidence to lead through challenges.


In a future blog post, we will talk about much of the change happening around AI also requires innovation, as opposed to only transformation. Innovation requires different approach. In transformation, leaders provide a vision, or an endpoint which they can clearly articulate to guide the transformation process. Innovation, on the other hand, requires a shift to a focus on purpose, because in innovation, the desired end point doesn’t yet exist. Instead, a leader must galvanize the team around a shared purpose, while they create the end point together.


s and scaling frameworks seem to be making: Better products, faster time-to-market, employees inspired by self-motivation. The promise is simple and tempting. However once an executive decision has been made, the implementation details are usually quickly delegated towards the middle management and the team leaders.


The start of a success story? It could be. But more often, executives will have made a fundamental mistake at this point: They have failed to make managers in their organizations part of the change.


Humans are bad at dealing with uncertainty

Scrum and other frameworks, see the role of a leader mainly on subject matter. There is a product owner, you might call her a leader in the product space. There is a ScrumMaster who is a leaders when it comes to learning and mastering the art of Scrum. And there are developers, who are leaders in their disciplines. When management is a role description, it will be focused on systemic improvements without authority.


What does this mean for the managers who are supposed to drive change but don't know where they might end up in the new system? In general, we humans are bad at dealing with uncertainty. And we are even worse at admitting it. In most transformations, managers are sent out on a mission that will affect themselves. There is uncertainty about their future that they are not supposed to talk about.


Senior leaders pushing for change should listen up: Mitigating this uncertainty in your management is one of your most import tasks. If not handled well, you are setting yourselves up for failure.


Go through change yourself - and then help others

In the end, managers are just people. We all need a safe space. So as part a transformation project, every person, every leader needs to feel that they can safely engage and push for results. Brenne Brown refers to this technique simply as 'container building'. Setting up a safe container, a mental space, where people feel the safety they need to open up and engage without inner reservation.


For senior teams, a good starting point is spending time some time to discuss the change at hand. You will see that what you need to be successful is not that much different from what the rest of the organization needs. Not only bringing the change to others, but going through the change yourself first will not only make your effort more credible, it will also give you and your team the confidence to lead through challenges.

11 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comentarios


bottom of page