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Building organisational resilience

Building organisational resilience

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  • 1. A M P“Trust  Me  –  I’m  your  Leader”         B     u s Building  resilient  organisations  with  a  sense  of  purpose   i nThe  two  fundamental  challenges  a  leader  faces  when  developing  a  resilient  and   esustainable  organisation  are  that  of  building  trust  and  addressing  tensions.  A  leader  needs  to  adopt  a  way  of  working  that  concurrently:   s s demonstrates  authentic  and  effective  leadership   identifies  and  shares  the  common  purpose  of  the  team   D coaches  and  mentors  at  both  an  individual  and  team  level   e identifies  and  resolves  tensions  at  an  interpersonal,  operational  and   v organisational  level   e   lTrust   o p“…  firm  belief  in  the  reliability,  truth,  or  ability  of  someone  or  something”.  –  Oxford   mDictionary   e   n tFrom  the  point  of  view  of  the  incoming  leader  there  are  huge  issues  around  who  and  what  to  trust.  Do  you  challenge  everything  and  anything  from  day  one?   Lwhich  data  is  reliable  -­‐  are  there  omissions  or  misrepresentation,  deliberate  or  otherwise?  What  level  of  due  diligence  is  required  or  do  you  accept  information   tat  face  value?   d  Who  in  your  team  can  you  rely  on?  What  alliances  and  relationships  are  at  play?  Who  is  coming  to  terms  with  not  getting  the  very  job  to  which  you  have  been  appointed?  What  is  the  history  of  honest  and  open  discussion  and  debate?  What  are  the  cultural  norms  both  within  and  outside  of  the  organisation?    We  have  all  heard  about  the  people  who  say  yes  and  do  no  –  the  ambitious  political  players.  But  how  to  recognise  them  from  the  genuine  and  committed  team  members  who  may  well  be  more  openly  challenging,  yet  have  the  best  interests  of  the  organisation  at  heart.    From  the  point  of  view  of  individuals  within  the  organisation,  can  you  be  trusted  at  all.  Why  are  you  here,  who  is  at  risk,  what  is  your  own  agenda?  Are  you  here  to  build  a  career  and  move  on,  deliver  short-­‐term  results  without  consideration  of  the  longer-­‐term  goals?  What  is  your  personal  style  and  how  best  to  work  with  you?    Trusting  and  being  trustworthy  are  behaviours  driven  by  the  beliefs  that  we  hold,  which  in  turn  are  shaped  by  the  previous  experiences  we  have  had.         ©  Andrew  Porter  2010  –  All  rights  reserved    
  • 2. A M P“Trust  Me  –  I’m  your  Leader”         B     u s   iTension   n  “a  relationship  between  ideas  or  qualities  with  conflicting  de emands  or  implications” – Oxford Dictionary   s   sExplicit  or  implicit,  there  will  be  tensions  prevalent  throughout  the  individuals,   Dteams  and  organisation.  There  will  be  tension  between  organisational  and   eindividual  values,  between  individuals  and  teams  competing  for  power  and   vscarce  resources.  Tension  between  priorities  for  actions  on  a  day-­‐to-­‐day  basis  –  too  much  to  do,  to  little  time  to  do  it.   e   lBuilding  Resilience   o   p mTranscending  these  inherent  issues  around  trust  and  resolving  tensions  starts   ewith  the  clear  and  unambiguous  definition  of  purpose.  This  provides  the  defining  point  of  reference  and  a  “clear  line  of  sight”  for  each  of  the  component  teams  and   nindividuals  within  the  organisation.  Sharing  a  common  purpose  allows  dialogue   tto  move  beyond  the  individual  egos  and  provide  a  framework  for  supportive  challenge.   L   tSecondly,  there  is  a  requirement  for  a  well-­‐defined  and  structured  means  to   dsurface  and  resolve  the  inherent  tensions.  This,  plus  the  ability  to  respond  and  react  in  real  time  (dynamic  steering),  creates  the  framework  to  build  and  sustain  organisational  resilience.      Alignment  with  Purpose  We  live  in  rapidly  changing  times  and  may  need  to  recognise  that  setting  long-­‐term  strategic  goals  at  this  time  may  not  be  productive–  there  are  too  many  unknowns.  However,  setting  strategic  direction  that  accurately  reflects  the  organisational  purpose  is  absolutely  vital  to  the  survival  and  sustainability  of  any  organisation.    There  is  an  absolute  need  for  this  defined,  congruent  and  pervasive  Purpose.  It  plays  out  at  an  organisational  level,  defining  the  very  reason  why  the  organisation  exists  in  the  first  place  -­‐  what  is  it  actually  for,  what  purpose  does  it  serve?  It  plays  out  at  team  and  individual  levels  in  a  way  that  allows  and  encourages  engagement  and  individuality  within  a  clearly  defined  governance  framework.  Identifying  the  fundamental  purpose  for  any  team  or  organisation  subsequently  allows  implicit  organisational  and  individual  tensions  to  surface  and  to  be  resolved.       ©  Andrew  Porter  2010  –  All  rights  reserved    
  • 3. A M P“Trust  Me  –  I’m  your  Leader”         B     u sDevelopment  of  Organisational  Architecture   iIn  this  current  environment  we  seem  to  have  fallen  into  the  usual  trap  of  moving   ndeckchairs.  There  is  a  focus  quite  rightly  on  efficiency  -­‐  doing  more  with  less  and   eutilising  many  of  the  principles  of  ‘Lean’  (pulling  through  the  system  rather  than  pushing).   s sOne  of  the  issues  working  with  ‘Lean’  in  an  organisational  context  is  the  level  of   Dambiguity,  complexity  and  conflicting  priorities  that  occur.  We  also  need  to  allow  the  ‘humanity’  of  organisations  to  flourish  and  this  in  itself  creates  an  inherent   etension  between  process  and  people.  Ideally,  we  need  an  operating  framework   vthat  allows  the  best  of  all  worlds  to  emerge.     e lThe  danger  is  that  we  utilise  scarce  resources  to  force  yet  another  ‘initiative’  into   oplace.  Unless  we  address  the  fundamental  operating  system  of  the  business,  this   pmakes  as  much  sense  as  trying  to  run  a  desktop  publishing  programme  on  DOS.   mWe  need  to  upgrade  to  Windows  –  at  a  very  minimum.  We  cannot  continue  to   erun  businesses  using  outmoded  and  outdated  frameworks  that  do  not  meet  the   nchanging  needs  of  society  and  employees.  ‘Trust  me  I’m  your  leader’  somehow   tdoesn’t  ring  quite  as  true  as  it  used  to  -­‐  we  seem  to  have  lost  our  way  and  need  to  re-­‐energise  and  renew.  We  need  a  framework  that  transcends  the  focus  on  process  and/or  people  with  a  focus  on  purpose.   L tPractices  are  emerging  that  allow  this  focus  on  purpose,  whilst  combine  it  with   dthe  ability  for  individuals  to  flourish  and  a  rigour  of  process  that  ensure  adequate  governance  and  mitigation  of  risk.  They  ensure  that  individuals  within  the  team  have  the  following:   permission  to  express  opinions  -­‐  a  safe  environment   an  effective  governance  framework  that  allows  and  encourages  dissent  whilst   retaining  respect  and  focus   feedback    -­‐  immediate  and  inspirational  feedback  that  is  depersonalised  and   constructive   motivation  –  the  support  and  awareness  that  they  too  and  listened  to  and  can   make  a  difference    Development  of  Protective  Processes  Assuming  that  we  have  an  overarching  sense  of  purpose  that  flows  throughout  the  organisation,  plus  an  organisational  architecture  that  allows  empowerment  and  rapid  decision-­‐making,  we  need  to  consider  how  this  drives  sustainability.  Many  of  the  definitions  of  resilience  refer  to  the  development  of  ‘protective  processes’  –  the  development  of  the  organisation’s  own  immune  system  that  allows  the  maintenance  of  homeostasis  (steady  state).  These  processes  allow  a  response  to  an  immediate  situation  followed  by  organisational  learning  and  the  embedding  of  this  learning  for  future  reference.  So  Organisational  Resilience  can  be  defined  as:   ©  Andrew  Porter  2010  –  All  rights  reserved    
  • 4. A M P“Trust  Me  –  I’m  your  Leader”         B     u s   i   n“Organisational  Resilience  is  a  function  of  the  protective  processes  that  are  in  place   eto  respond  to  external  inputs  from  the  environment  in  a  way  that  is  learned  (past),  reactive  (present)  and  that  promotes  learning    (future)  in  os to  flex  and   rder   sstrengthen  the  protective  “muscle”  and  ensure  the  sustainability  of  the  organisation.”     D   eThese  same  processes  are  required  throughout  at  an  individual,  team  or   vorganisational  level.  They  are:   e   l the  ability  to  notice  (awareness  based  on  feedback)   o the  ability  to  respond  (flexibility  of  response)   p the  ability  to  adapt  (learning  new  ways  of  operating)   the  ability  to  evolve  (integration  and  synergy)     m   eConclusion   n tSo  it’s  really  all  about  addressing  and  resolving  tension.  There  is  a  fundamental  tension  between  process/systems/structures,  the  inherent  architecture  that   Lenables  organisations  to  run  efficiently  and  the  freedom/trust/engagement  and   tability  to  innovate  and  take  risk.  All  of  this  is  within  the  context  of  sustainability,   dminimising  impact  on  the  planet  and  the  overall  green  agenda.  In  fact  we  need  all  of  these  aspects  –  but  working  together  for  a  common  purpose.  We  can  transcend  the  inherent  tension  between  process  and  people  by  moving  to  a  level  of  purpose.    Holding  true  to  this  defining  sense  of  purpose  allows  alignment  and  congruence  between  the  fundamental  architecture  of  the  organisation,  the  landscape  in  which  it  operates,  and  the  engagement  of  people  (within,  peripheral  to  and  outside  of  the  organisation  itself).    Appointment  to  a  senior  position  brings  explicit  positional  power.    You  can  be  the  most  senior  manager  in  the  team  by  virtue  of  that  appointment.  However,  you  are  in  fact  only  a  leader  if  your  followers  say  that  you  are!      Leadership  is  therefore  a  choice  of  how  you  behave  and  the  demonstration  of  the  values  that  you  hold  and  not  an  inherent  right  by  appointment.  We  earn  the  right  to  be  called  a  leader  by  our  actions  and  not  by  our  status.  The  real  role  of  the  leader  is  to:      define  the  overarching  purpose  of  the  organisation    design  an  organisational  architecture  that  allows  the  ability  to  flex  and   respond  to  change    build  trust  through  the  explicit  resolution  of  tension    model  the  core  values  that  are  expected  in  others   ©  Andrew  Porter  2010  –  All  rights  reserved    
  • 5. A M P“Trust  Me  –  I’m  your  Leader”         B     u s“To  be  motivated  by  your  mission,  not  your  money.     iTo  tap  into  your  values,  not  your  ego.     nTo  connect  with  others  through  your  heart,  not  your  persona.     eTo  live  your  life  with  such  discipline  that  you  would  be  proud  to  read  about  your  behaviour  on  the  front  page  of  the  New  York  Times.”   s   s  -­‐  from  the  Bryant  University  Commencement  Address  by  William  W.  George,   DProfessor  of  Management  Practice,  Harvard  Business  School,  Smithfield,  May  2005   e   v   eWhat  Next?   l oCommitment  to  radically  change  the  core  operating  practice  of  an  organisation  is   pa  big  step  in  any  environment.  In  today’s  economic  climate,  risk  aversion,  or  at   mbest  risk  mitigation  is  a  given.  So  the  consideration  starts  with  a  dialogue  to   eanswer  some  of  these  fundamental  questions:   n  Why  are  we  doing  this?   t  Do  we  really  know  our  organisational  purpose?    L What  is  already  working  well  that  we  can  build  on?    t Where  would  we  see  maximum  benefit/fastest  return  from  making   changes?   d  What  aspect  will  be  of  most  immediate  benefit  e.g.  strategic  review,   governance  &  decision  making,  amending  current  organisational   structure    Who  will  be  up  for  piloting  this?    How  do  we  communicate  what  we  are  doing  and  differentiate  it  from  yet   another  change  programme  –  just  do  it?    What  is  the  smallest  decision  we  can  take  right  now  to  get  things  going?  Demonstrating  learning  in  real  time  and  focusing  on  solving  live  business  issues  provides  an  ideal  opportunity  to  model  the  fundamental  ethos  of  this  approach.    It  catalyses  the  move  from  control  and  command  to  sense  and  respond,  allowing  the  changes  to  be  “pulled”  though  the  organisation  based  on  response  to  need,  rather  than  “pushed”  into  the  organisation  as  yet  one  more  external  intervention.       ©  Andrew  Porter  2010  –  All  rights  reserved