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Passages: Leading Transformations in Organizations


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At Passages, we spend our professional lives living alongside executives in organizations pursuing profound degrees of transformative change. In those partnerships, we have learned a great deal about what it takes to lead sustainable transformation that makes the sought-after aspirations happen in the real world. If you would like to learn more about our approach to transformation on three domains - within, between and among - read on.

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Passages: Leading Transformations in Organizations

  1. 1. LeadingTRANSFOR MATION in Organizations An Owner’s Manual
  2. 2. © 2012 Passages ConsultingAll rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced inany form without written permission of the copyright owners.All images have been reproduced with permission from GettyImages and Shutterstock.Cover and text designed byBill Motzing |
  3. 3. LeadingTRANSFOR MATION in Organizations An Owner’s Manual
  4. 4. TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S 6 W HAT’S TRUE ABOUT 11 LEADING SELF— 23 LEADING WITH OTHERS— ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE TRANSFORMATION WITHIN TRANSFORMATION BETWEEN 7 Setting the Stage for Success: 12 Structures of Belief: 25 Objectification and Understanding How Complex Where Operative Narratives Utilitarianism: Poisonous Changes Interconnect Show up First Fruits of Dueling Operative Narratives 8 From Theory to Reality 13 Decoding your Operative Narrative: Key to 27 Reconciling Operative 9 A Close-In Look— Transformation Within Narratives —From Dueling to Three Domains of Blending Transformation 16 T3—Triggers, Tapes, and Transference—The Raw 29 Blending Dueling Narratives — Material of Transforming The Key to Transformation Operative Narratives Between 18 Transference: How Past Narratives Reappear in Today’s Story and Undermine4 Leadership 20 Re-scripting Your Operative Narrative: Keys to Transformation Within © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual33LEADING ORGANIZATIONS— 41 ALL THREE AT ONCE? 44 EPILOGUETRANSFORMATION AMONG 41 Realizing transformation in 34 Connecting the Social and three domains Technical Dots: Key to Transformation Among 5 © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. change Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual W H AT ’ S T R U E A B O U T O R G A N I Z AT I O N A L C H A N G E People have been talking about the importance of change in organizations as a critical management practice for nearly forty years, and probably for centuries before that in less intentional ways. No matter how many models, tools, or formulas we recycle With so many failed change attempts in their wake, businesses and rehash, one timeless truth about change returns to us trek on in pursuit of ever increasing levels of competitive again and again: performance, accelerated innovations, higher performing leaders, greater global market share, planting proverbial It is profoundly difficult and we’d prefer not to do it. flags in China, Brazil, India, and Russia with the rest of the world, and trying to adapt to the unceasing barrage of At the same time, the context of this enormously cha- technological advances intended to bolster productivity otic and complex world in which we work and compete and efficiency. suggests that if we don’t substantially improve our current abilities, we will likely perish. At Passages, we spend our professional lives living alongside executives in organizations pursuing profound degrees With the best of intentions, we set out in pursuit of sweeping of transformative change. In those partnerships, we have changes in our organizations—in our leaders’ behaviors, in learned a great deal about what it takes to lead sustainable the way our people work together, and in how our organiza- transformation that makes the sought-after aspirations tional units fit together to deliver a strategy. We pull one happen in the real world. lever here only to find we caused problems over there. A solution to one leader’s behavioral issues creates a rivalry On the pages ahead, we will share with you our foundational with another. We try to increase performance by encourag- views on what is required to realize sustainable transfor- ing new ways of working between members of a team, or mation in organizations. We are privileged to partner with between teams that must work together, only to unravel a gifted leaders who have succeeded, but who have also new compensation design just implemented last year. We try struggled, sacrificed and persevered against the odds to to grow by merging with another company and that throws do so. They entered organizations on the heels of painful6 two radically different cultures into a duel to the death. We and often unnecessary failure. As a result, we have a large redesign the mechanisms for coordinating work across the library of patterns that distinguish sustainable success enterprise only to discover that our information systems from partial success and from short-term wins to all out can’t accommodate the revamped reporting requirements failures. Given the track record of lack-luster results, it’s to support decisions in the form they must now be made. clear how easy it is to underestimate how difficult doing this really is. Change in one area—even when it goes smoothly—almost always seems to create the ripple effect of demanding change We are always humbled by how many costly failures in trans- in another. Foreseeable? Perhaps. Predicted? Sometimes. formation there are. In a survey of nearly 3,000 executives Orchestrated and executed in an integrated way so change concerning the success of their enterprise transformation sticks? Paradoxically, and painfully, almost never. efforts, McKinsey discovered the failure rate to be higher © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manualthan 60%, while Harvard Business Review conducted astudy that suggested more than 70% of transformationefforts fail.1 But it’s important to note the McKinsey studyshowed companies using proven and synchronized approachesincreased their odds of success exponentially. Companiesthat used a full suite of transformation methods increasedsuccess rates to around 80%. Regardless of which researchsource you cite, the pattern is clear—failure is a more likelydestination than success, and winging it is the surest andfastest highway to get there.This “Owner’s Manual” is intended to help reframe what Setting the Stage for Success:organizational transformation has come to mean, reveal Understanding How Complexsome of the elusive dynamics that seem to “inexplicably” Changes Interconnectderail major change efforts, and lay out a framework forincreasing your odds of realizing the sought after outcomes Frequently, clients tell us how getting change right in oneof an enterprise transformational endeavor. Ultimately, area fails to bring about the degree of change hoped for insuccessful executives leading major transformation own another. Many leaders make a faulty formulaic assumptionthat process in deep ways. Our hope in these pages is to that is based on the belief that effectively executing Change Amake vividly clear what ownership means. creates the derivative in Change B, thus resulting in collective Change C. Perplexed, many well-intentioned leaders fail toWe will not make this easy, quick, cheap, simple, formulaic, realize they are leading in systemic contexts where all changeor painless. You aren’t going to read about new techniques is interconnected in some fashion, not linear or sequential.for “communication,” the usual catch-all bucket into whichchange management gets lumped. We’re not going to recite See if any of these experiences sound familiar…the stages of grieving and we’re not going to give you greatnew ideas for your organization’s Town Hall meetings to roll •  An organization implemented an executive developmentout big change. We will expose the personal and profes- program in response to increasing demand from varioussional costs to leading this degree of transformation. They businesses which had no bench strength to fill roles neededare high and so are the stakes. But, they are offset by the for growth. The new “program”—a five-day workshop ofpossibilities to achieve, and the opportunity to inspire endur- mixed groups of leaders from across the enterprise facili-ing greatness within individuals as well as the enterprise. tated by a combination of academics and the company’s most senior executives—was at first very well received. AThe cause of leading organizational transformation is a year later, however, people complained that it had madeonce-in-a-career privilege affecting the lives of countless little impact of note. A closer look revealed the content ofthousands of people. It is a daunting undertaking that demands the program contained very little depth on the company’scareful preparation and meticulous thought. It is worthy unfolding strategy. The program also ignored an existingof your best. For that reason, we believe a new and deeper structure that contradicted what these leaders neededlook at stale approaches to transformation is warranted. We to grow and was unsupportive of both the strategy anddon’t pretend to offer a silver bullet, nor do we claim we’ve the behaviors being taught. Finally, the compensationcracked the code on ideas that never occurred to others. design—especially the bonus structure—was completely 7But we have assembled our collective century of experience disconnected from the results implied by the strategy. Theand wisdom from working with executives leading mammoth leaders in the program kept gravitating toward “innovation”transformations into what we believe is a fresh perspec- as the mantra they believed was the future, but the producttive on a perennial dilemma: How to guide a community of strategy group was planning little more than line extensionspeople in a shared human endeavor, dispersed around the over the coming three, through a unified transformative journey and havethem arrive more capable, with better performance, wiser •  A global organization redesign effort, conducted largely byfor the wear, impassioned to boldly take the new summit the CEO, CFO and CHRO, was rolled out to a less-than-enthu-they have reached, and prepared to think nimbly about siastic cadre of the top 200 leaders at an annual offsite.future adaptation when the current transformation is no Surprised by their ambivalence, the CEO touted the meritslonger sufficient to address new realities. of the new design and asked his top leaders to “give it their © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual best” to make it work. It turned out the leaders’ resistance formation, over time, that equate to lasting transforma- wasn’t lack of support at all, but more fundamental confu- tion—changes needed within individuals, between leaders sion about exactly how to lead in the new design. The old in their relationships, and among the various components governance structure of functional and product leadership of the organization being impacted—are not considered remained in force, sub-optimizing the ability of those who as an integrated and interconnected set of changes that now owned P&Ls to actually drive category performance. must be worked in concert. The regression back to the existing design took about 18 months before the CEO declared the effort a failure. From Theory to Reality •  A BU President, troubled by the behavior of a techni- In a global consumer products company we work with, one cally exceptional individual on his team whose leadership executive was leading a major transformation of a business behavior was atrocious and was causing great disruption unit whose systems and capabilities had become seriously and unwanted defections, hired a coach to “fix” the leader. outdated. He was brought in to lead an update of the organi- Though well intended, the BU President failed to recognize zation which was twenty years behind and up skill its people. the “problem child’s” behavior was, at least in part, due to He, and the CEO who recruited him, grossly underestimated a challenged peer relationship within the supply chain. The how tumultuous such dramatic change would be. The newly peer was working with antiquated processes and insuf- arrived revolutionary leader was impatient from the outset ficient resources to get products to market. The leader’s of the process, and only grew angrier as the transforma- challenges were compounded by having to work across tion fell farther behind and as he discovered just how bad organizational borders hampered by turf wars. Not recog- things really were. His anger, in turn, only served to frighten nizing the contextual realities surrounding his ineffective people in the organization, alienate his peers, and frustrate leadership and trying to fix his unwanted behaviors outside his CEO boss. The vicious cycle continued until efforts to the systemic issues that drove them, proved unsuccessful bring about meaningful change nearly ground to a stop. Our and eventually made things worse. work began by helping this leader recognize and understand the unintended consequences of his anger and impatience. •  A CEO charged with a major turnaround and finding himself We also helped him see why garnering the support of his in year six of what should have been a two year effort, was peers and boss was vital, and why making everyone in his suddenly getting pressured from the Board for results. He organization feel inadequate, terrified, and resentful was had launched every possible campaign to rally change in actually fueling his failure. After some careful exploration the organization. When polled, the organization clearly saw and difficult conversations, he revealed that much of his “growth” and “high performance” as the end goals, but they anger and impatience was more about his own feeling of had no understanding of what they meant, what was sup- inadequacy. He felt the ineffective efforts to transform his posed to happen, or what they were supposed to do. The organization were a reflection of his shortcomings. The Board’s “you have no strategy” declaration spurred further more he sensed the distance between his peers, his boss, reorganizations, values posters with colorful graphics, and and himself, the more insecure he became. His growing a three-hundred slide presentation that provided a lot of sense of isolation only increased the irrational pressure he market analysis and a laundry list of initiatives as a proxy put on his organization to accelerate the change. He was for the strategy. Sadly, the organization was no clearer pushing to replace less competent employees with better after year six than they were at the end of year five about skilled people, and to produce results far beyond what his exactly what the CEO and his team was trying to do with organization was capable of producing, or what the rest of the company. the organization was prepared to absorb. Eventually, we were8 able to re-channel his energy, make him more aware of how You likely have your own inventory of stories with similar to lead change within the context in which he was working, outsets and tragically similar outcomes. repair damaged relationships with his peers and boss, and put in place a more inclusive and comprehensive approach But, it does not have to be this way. to the transformation. One that had realistic timeframes, well-conceived plans, and a larger contingent of stakeholders All too often, well intended changes are actually ill con- vested in its success. It is unfortunate that this happened ceived or so narrowly defined that their potential impact is only after so much wasted effort, squandered resources minimized from the get go. The change itself is unsustain- and significant pain. able because the necessary linkages to other parts of the organization remain disconnected. The three domains of Orchestrating change can be difficult under the best of cir- © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. • Knowing my own strengths and shortfalls • Understanding the impact my behavior has on others • Knowing my “operative narratives” and how they influence my choices • Shaping my beliefs and character—integrity, humility, generosity, gratitude, perseverance, courage • Building dynamic stakeholder relationships • Sharing leadership and leading teams • Managing conflict and “dueling operative narratives” • Stitching the seams of the organization • Aligning strategy and organization design • Shaping culture and leadership • Integrating mutiple major changes • Linking process, governance, and technologyFigure 1.0Three Domains cumstances. The chaos and complexities inherent in today’s Our experience tells us there are three domains of trans-of Leader change stricken world often make it even tougher to determine, formation that must be simultaneously attended to if trueTransformation focus on and link all of the required efforts into one cohesive transformation is to be achieved and sustained. Change must plan. Try as they might, most leaders are neither prepared for occur within individual leaders, between the leaders and units nor have direct experience stitching together the domains at critical seams in the organization and among all compo- comprised by the organizations they lead. Leaders who are nents of the organization that must live with, or support the able to transform themselves, the critical relationships transformation being pursued. Directing transformation on between and with those they lead, and the organizational all three domains at the same time can certainly feel like components demanding change, will fare dramatically bet- performing a high-wire act without a net. When done effec- ter than those who attempt change in discrete, haphazard tively, however, the results are spectacular and set these and impulsive ways. organizations apart from those that don’t manage it well. A Close-In Look— Figure 1.0, Three Domains of Leader Transformation, briefly 9 describes the three levels of transformation. The real benefit Three Domains of Transformation of the model comes from applying it to your specific context The term “change management”, like “strategy” or “strategic,” and using it as a framework to assess the challenges you and has become so overused and clichéd that it really means your leaders will contend with when trying to realize positive very little. Increasingly, it holds little credibility as something and sustainable change. important. The required intentionality to lead transformational change is commonly lacking in most organizations. Instead, Throughout the remainder of this manual we break down most speed through change hoping that when they get to each domain in greater detail, looking closely at the vari- the other side there will be some evidence of performance ous aspects of change that must be addressed in order to benefits or reduced pain. The enormity of the effort required achieve transformation. is easily overlooked and strenuously avoided by most leaders. © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  11. 11. withinLEADING SELFT R A N S F O R M AT I O N W I T H I NExecutive leadership literature is replete with material on everythingranging from bad bosses to emotional intelligence. While there is somemerit to this material, by virtue of its being stand alone or myopic in itsview, it rarely leads to sustained transformative change within a leader.At best, it may lead to superficial, or unsustainable behav- environments. You can spot the leaders who have done theioral changes that rely on pure will power or externally necessary work to achieve intrapersonal effectiveness, orimposed discipline—the secretary who guards a leader’s transformation within. They are seasoned leaders who developcalendar, the self-help audio books in the car or practiced a career track record of successful organizational leadership,interpersonal techniques—all possibly helpful to a degree, and who have a following of loyal employees behind thembut rarely transformative. that say things like, “Best guy I ever worked for,” or “I learned a ton from her,” or “Sure, she can be hard, but she’s got highThe origins of behavior lie at far greater depths within us standards and you’ll never have a leader fight for you harderthan just our cognition or surface level emotions. Often than she will.” These leaders have done the necessary workthe counterproductive or even destructive behaviors we to achieve intrapersonal effectiveness, or transformationobserve—more likely in others than within ourselves—tend within. They are far from perfect, but they have consciouslyto originate from deep, formative moments from our past. harnessed what makes them great, and either resolved orCurrent events or situations just trigger them. Unfortunately, quarantined what makes them dangerous. They are ‘sea-most leaders fail to discover the origins of their ineffective soned’ precisely because their leadership is the compilationbehaviors, often at the peril of their careers or their orga- of many, successive formative moments. The essence ofnizations. Conversely, our greatest assets as leaders—the true transformation is just that, the combination of manyplaces from which our passion, brilliant ideas and our power formations over time. But for those who leave transforma-to influence others come — can’t be fully harnessed unless tion to chance or want it to happen organically, developmentwe understand their composition, their origins, and how we becomes an arrested process leaving one exposed to greatcan repeat and sustain them. When you hear people say consequences both professionally and personally. Typicallythings like, “why does she do that?”, “I wish he wouldn’t do “undeveloped” leaders end up jumping around from job to job,that”, “why can’t she do that more often,” you are likely hear- or staying in positions where their context requires nothinging about a behavior that the individual lacks awareness of. more of them than what they already know or are adept at. A leader’s ability to fine tune and re-invent their leadership onIn order to access the foundational places of our behavior an ongoing basis by pursuing formative moments, determinesin the service of achieving personal transformation—more to a large degree how successful they and the companies 11fully cultivating an asset, downplaying an overused strength they work for will be over the life of their career.or eliminating unwanted consequences of a flat side—lead-ers simply must go deeper. One CEO we worked with had a personal epiphany early enough in his career that he was able to pursue lastingFor leadership formation to be transformative, it must happen transformative change. Most of his career had been spentintra-personally, or “within” each individual. An individual’s in individual contributor roles—large spans of responsibilityself-perceptions, skills, aspirations, insecurities, patholo- and revenue delivery, but without the requirements of leadinggies—known and unknown—and motivations directly impact others. Not surprisingly, when he stepped into his first roletheir effectiveness. Discovering, maturing and refining those leading others, it was bumpy. He alienated people left andintrapersonal areas must become one of a leader’s most right, and couldn’t figure out why. He was a good man, whoimportant skill sets in order to effectively lead in changing cared deeply for others. However, he struggled to connect © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  12. 12. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual the dots between his leadership and its impact on those he “I am well regarded here and appreciated for my contribution” led. None of the roles he had previously held required him may reinforce a belief structure that “success is possible for to understand this cause and effect to the same degree. We me and I can achieve what I set my mind to.” A leader’s belief conducted a comprehensive 360 assessment of him, including system or values have far reaching implications for their deci- in-depth interviews of more than 25 of his direct reports and sion making. When a narrative unproductively shapes a belief colleagues. The data devastated him. His realization of the structure, or worse, is disconnected from a belief structure, disparity between his intentions and how his direct reports the ability to effectively lead is compromised. For example, experienced his behavior was almost too much for him to bear. a leader who touts trust as a foundational value for how he He proceeded to work tirelessly to repair the damage he had leads, but is driven by a narrative that says, “people here unwittingly done and to build the leadership competencies are really incompetent and for anything to get done right, I he needed to effectively connect with his directs and lead have to do it myself”, as was the case with one of the senior from his natural values and aspirations. Over the next six leaders we have worked with, tend to create a high degree years, he had a meteoric rise in the corporation and today of personal and organizational confusion and widespread is one of the most sought after leaders in his industry. He apprehension to act by others in the organization. Knowing took the data to heart, and intentionally pursued specific the influence of your operative narratives and the beliefs formation of his leadership from within. and values by which they are driven and reinforced is vital to a leader’s effective transformation within. Transformation within is a central component of every change effort in which we participate. Whether it is expanding into The moniker of “leader” can be given to anyone who by word new markets, redesigning an organization to drive greater and/or personal example, substantially influences the atti- productivity, up-skilling leaders or a combination of efforts, tudes and behaviors of others and moves them in a common our fundamental belief is that sustained change is in part due direction. Effective leaders are aware of and operate from a to an individual leader’s transformation. The challenge is that clearly articulated, constant, and self-evident belief system. many leaders want transformation to happen everywhere Unfortunately, too many leaders are like chameleons; changing but with themselves, at unrealistic speeds, or without the their hues and views to fit whatever is pressing, popular, and substantial and multi-dimensional effort it requires (often expedient. This confuses potential followers about both the all three are true). The reality is that unproductive values, aspiration and means by which that aspiration will be pursued. beliefs, and behaviors take decades to develop, and are not In these situations, leaders soon become mired in the fear, reversed by a two hour online seminar or reading about how uncertainty, and self-doubt that results from standing on an not to be a jerk of a boss. This may be contrary to many unstable foundation. Working from a constantly shifting set leaders’ hopes and leadership workshop sales pitches, but of values creates distance between leaders and followers. it’s true. In our work with leaders of varying experience levels, Fearful of what might be revealed if they allow people to we find it does not matter where they are in their career, get too close, the leader often strong arms others—keeping transformation within is required of everyone and the sooner them at a distance—to avoid being “found out” or disap- the realization happens at the top of the organization, the pointing their followers. Followers avoid getting too close better off the enterprise is. So whether you’re new and inex- for fear of an uncertain interaction or outcome. In essence, perienced or have spent 30 years learning the ins-and-outs they conclude the leader isn’t “safe” to be led by. The leaven of your industry, you can’t avoid this fundamental truth and of true leadership cannot lift or build others unless it is close hope to fully succeed. enough to work with and serve them. Structures of Belief: A belief is demonstrated confidence in a truth or in the existence12 of something that may not be immediately susceptible to Where Operative Narratives Show up First rigorous proof. The set of beliefs we come to adopt is shaped Operative narratives serve to reflect, shape, and reinforce by and accumulated over a lifetime of experiences. Significant a foundational structure of beliefs or values over time. For emotional events or turning points in particular—those experi- example, narratives that tell us a certain colleague “Is out to ences that clarify and force important choices—set and hold get my job” may reinforce a belief structure that “the world the trajectory for our lives. Key moments in our histories is a place of rivalry and to win, others must lose.” An opera- shape our perceptions and the value we place on such things tive narrative that says, “Other leaders are more effective as people, integrity, relationships, achievement, work, power, than I am and see me as inadequate” may reinforce a belief failure, competition, compassion, generosity, self-interest, structure that “I am incapable and therefore believe others commitment, individuality, community, teamwork, use of to be incapable.” Conversely, an operative narrative that says time, and the list goes on. For this reason, it is vital that a © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  13. 13. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual leader understand the principles and beliefs on which their When we ask when they have time to consider their own leadership rests, which drive their daily actions and decisions. leadership, and the futures they hope for themselves, they (For more on a leader’s belief and values structure and its are dumbfounded—it’s most often something that it never impact on leadership, see our Musing from Gate 44 entitled, occurred to them to even want, much less pursue. The Story of our Beliefs: Understanding how our Formative Story Reveals our Leadership Story and the other Musings If you’re going to lead in a way that keeps pace with the from The Character of Leadership Collection.) shifting requirements of your context, you must begin to decode and become intimately familiar with the foundational characteristics of your leadership. You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression “the voices in my head” or “what makes me tick” or “I’m not motivated that way.” At some point you’ve probably also said, “I don’t know why I do that.” Or, “That just pushes my buttons!” Underneath those superficial explana- tions for how our psyches drive our behavior, often against our will, is the fertile landscape on which transformation within takes place. We refer to a leader’s underpinning col- lection of biases, beliefs, defenses, and motivations as one’s “operative narrative”. It is the story playing out within you that shapes your choices and behaviors. Dangerously, this often happens unconsciously. We remain unaware of why we act and respond in certain ways to certain people and circumstances. Learning to decode your operative narrative, reshape it when patternistic behavior leads to unwanted consequences, and further leverage effective characteristics are all fundamental to transformation within. The running story of you has been written over time as a way to make sense of the world and your involvement in it. Operative narratives are built on formative events throughout our lives, and they are evident in nearly every aspect of it. Your currentYou can spot Decoding your Operative Narrative: actions and words provide insight about what you and yourthe leaders who organization can expect from your leadership in the future. Key to Transformation Withinhave done the Decoding your operative narrative provides insight into whywork to achieve Daniel Taylor wrote, “You are your stories. You are the product you lead the way you do and what must change within youinterpersonal of all the stories you have heard and lived - and many that to demonstrate more effective leadership going forward.effectiveness, or you have never heard. They have shaped how you see yourself,transformation the world, and your place in it…Our stories teach us that Manfred Kets de Vries, world renowned expert on leadershipwithin. there is a place for us, that we fit…the more conscious we and a brilliant clinician who has studied the clinical paradigm are about our stories, and our roles as characters in them, in the context of organizations, says in his book, The Leader the more clarity we have about who we are, and why we are on the Couch…A Clinical Approach to Changing People and here, and how we should act in the world.” 2 Organizations, “…organizations the world over are full of people who are unable to recognize repetitive behavior pat- 13 For many leaders, their story remains unknown to them. They terns that have become dysfunctional. They’re stuck in a define themselves by the role they are in, the salary they earn, vicious, self-destructive circle and don’t even know it—much the empire and people they lead. It is defined by the results less how to escape.” 3 He stresses the importance of leaders they have achieved and the failures they’ve suffered. With and organizations learning to value the clinical paradigm as a the number of problems leaders face in any given day, time lens for change to “help such people recognize their strengths for reflection, much less self-reflection is severely limited. and weaknesses, understand the causes of their resistance They spend so much time fighting fires and reacting to the to change, and recognize where and how they can become daily problems that fly at them, the opportunity to step back more effective. It can help them recognize those elements and think is a luxury they never afford themselves. We hear of their inner theater (his term for operative narrative) that constantly from executives about the dearth of time they confine rather than liberate, and help them re-script those have to “see the big picture” or think about their futures. elements. In other words, it offers choice. It is tragic that © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  14. 14. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual there is such a difference between who we are and what biases you hold and helped shaped what you believe? Which we could be. If we want things to be different, we must start relationships have been meaningful toward your formation in by being different ourselves.” Understanding the origins of those areas? Which of those events and relationships have a leader’s operative narrative, or where formative patterns had positive implications on who you are and which have began, is a critical element of decoding the meaning in that been detrimental? Most leaders only need a few minutes narrative, and ultimately reconstructing and transforming it. to reflect on questions like these to identify the meaningful events and relationships over the course of their lives. What There are two approaches you can use to pursue the re- is more difficult and often less familiar is the knowledge, scripting of your operative narrative: 1) hindsight decoding, ability, and commitment to connect the dots between the or understanding the way your past informs your present, impact of those experiences and the behavioral realities and 2) foresight encoding, or understanding the implica- present in their current leadership. Hindsight can be 20/20, tions your present leadership may have on your future and but only if you look back and do the hard work of identifying planning accordingly. Asking, “What are the beginnings of and making meaning of the formative moments that have my current leadership?” and, “What beginnings are required shaped your current leadership. for my desired leadership?” is an effective starting point. Understanding and intentionally charting a course based on Foresight Encoding: When you reflect on your present and in response to these questions is the essence of pursuing leadership strengths and challenges, what values, biases transformation within. and beliefs come to mind? Are you exceptional at making tough calls or do lots of options paralyze you? In what Figure 2.1 Decoding and Encoding Operative Narratives illus- instances is your leadership most and least effective? trates the process of understanding your operative narrative What tends to make you defensive? What kinds of people through past, present, and future lenses. It also illustrates tend to bring out your greatest passions, and what kinds of where the process of transference happens, something we people tend to trigger your greatest resistance? Encoding will discuss in more detail later. your operative narrative on behalf of your future leadership can be an effective way of realigning your leadership for Hindsight Decoding: When you look back on your career and a new context or role, reinventing how you’re perceived further back on your life, what events and relationships played by those you lead and as a way to stop repetitive, inef- a profound role in forming what you value, encouraged the fective behaviors. Figure 2.1 What are the narrative What narrative origins origins (beginnings) (beginnings) are required Decoding and of my current for my desired Encoding Operative leadership? leadership? Narratives Past Present Future Formative Hindsight Decoding Operative Foresight Encoding Transformed events & Values, Narrative Required Values, Operative relationships Biases, Beliefs Biases, Beliefs Narrative14 Self-awareness: Formative experiences Transformation: Formative experiences that shaped present leadership required for future leadership =Transference © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  15. 15. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual Behavior you might Possible underlying (unsound?) The trigger Operative narrative be drawn to belief structure Powerlessness/ • “No matter what I do, I won’t be • Victimization and blame • My own people shouldn’t be the obstacles I have able to make progress and they to overcome since I’m doing this for them Constraint • Extremism and absolute will throw up obstacles at me declarations; closed to alternative • Executives should be able to exert more con- anyway.” suggestions that may offer a way trol over their organizations forward • The self evident logic of my perspective • Severe interpretation, even should prevail hyperbole • “There comes a point where I • Rescuing behavior • Competence and self-sufficiency should be Impatience/ should be able to expect more basic and pre-existing capabilities of anyone • Venting that risks victimization Irritation than this from people at their in an executive role level!” • Pessimism and resignation • Hard effort should result in uncontested • “How many times do I have to • Anger/judgment progress explain how to do something?? • Impulsive decisions to regain • An executive shouldn’t have to fight this hard I pay them good money—are sense of control to get things done they just stupid?” • “Maybe I should have….” • Second guessing; reverting from • I am personally responsible for others Self-doubt previous declarations • “If I had only done….” • My lack of ability to influence others is a • Stewing, fixation—unable to refo- reflection of my deficiency cus on more important issues • “I deserve greater respect and • Deep defensiveness and justifica- • People commanding my level of authority Resentment/ trust, and all I get is disrespect tion have earned regard Distrust and questioning..” • Attack and counter attack • Disagreement = disloyalty and hard questions • There’s obviously something = distrust • Hyper-vigilance — intense effort else going on” to “decode” meaning of irrational • People should be straight forward and direct; • “They clearly don’t trust me” behavior I should be met with the same level of integ- rity I offer • “Well if that’s how they are • Reticence to act; fear of being going to treat me, then…” thwarted or second guessed • People shouldn’t question my integrity or my character in irrational or unfounded waysFigure 2.2Operative With a few basic prompts, most leaders are able to tell you Once recognized and understood, the greater challengeNarratives what new beginnings are required to attain their desired is often implementing the necessary new formation. Forin Action future leadership. “I need to be more articulate instead instance, “I need to be more articulate. Here are the three of always trying to work my thoughts out in front of the areas for me to work on clarity and two settings in which room.” Or, “I need to be more decisive.” Or, “I need to be I will practice on a regular basis.” To get to that place, a 15 open to others ideas.” Or, “I need to be more inclusive and leader may first need to discover, “The reason I become collaborative.” For many, the origins of these symptomatic inarticulate is because in my head I am so fearful of how challenges run far deeper than they might ever imagine. others will react to what I am saying and so anxious about Frequently we discover that years of attempts at new whether I will be perceived as competent, that I can’t focus techniques, training, and even leadership coaching have on what it is I need to say.” That takes more work than just failed to produce sustainable change. The danger in those practicing what you’re going to say in front of a mirror efforts is they produce a false sense of security and hope, before a meeting. providing an initial jolt of change, but eventually change cannot prevail in the face of deeper challenges that ulti- It is easy to articulate how others need to change, but for mately drive the unwanted behavior. many leaders planning transformation on their own behalf © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  16. 16. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual proves difficult. Good leaders can affect transformation responsiveness in your leadership. Sacrificing the opportunity within for others; great leaders can do that for themselves to learn from present experiences leaves hindsight longing for too. Foresight encoding moves beyond the simple awareness another chance and foresight expectantly unfulfilled. Figure hindsight decoding offers because it creates an actionable 2.2 Operative Narratives in Action illustrates a leader’s opera- plan for leaders to form their future leadership in advance tive narrative in action, the resulting unproductive behaviors of needing it. Moreover, it reveals the deeper patterns that that may result and illustrative underlying belief structures create positive and destructive behaviors, allowing a leader that both perpetuate and refine operative narratives. to make more sustainable choices for change. For many lead- ers, foresight encoding offers a first ever glimpse of the T3—Triggers, Tapes, and leadership they hope to achieve, yet have grown cynical of Transference—The Raw Material of ever realizing. Transforming Operative Narratives In both hindsight decoding and foresight encoding, the starting As we work with leaders toward transformation within, we place is the quality of your current leadership. In hindsight end up working to transform their triggers and tapes—the decoding you examine and make meaning from the results of external and internal stimuli that can hinder productive your current leadership through a past lens. With foresight leadership and effective responses to various situations. encoding, you begin in the present and plan for your future. Transference will be discussed at length following the section When you pay attention to the ways you’re currently leading on Triggers and Tapes as it further advances the concepts by and connect those dots with the way your past informs them specifically connecting the stimuli leaders experience with and the transformation your future requires, you’re off to a their operative narrative. good start. The present is your best learning laboratory as a leader. Unfortunately, our compressed time or desire to Figure 2.3 T3—Triggers, Tapes, and Transference illustrates avoid self-reflection—“I can’t wait to get out of this meeting!” the interplay of triggers, tapes, and transference and how “I don’t care what you do, just do something.” “I don’t care if I they connect with a leader’s operative narrative. hurt their feelings—the presentation was a piece of crap and I’m not taking it to the Board.” “They need to step up to what Understanding what triggers you provides clarity about how I asked for or I’ll get someone else to do it.”—tend to keep your external world impacts you, what you do or don’t respond us from capitalizing on these ideal contexts for decoding to, what “pushes your buttons,” and what causes you to react (building greater self-knowledge) and encoding (intentional in ways that contradict your intentions. Your tapes are the future planning) our operative narratives. In an attempt to messages you tell yourself about your participation in the dodge the pain of many situations, leaders forfeit the insight world, what you can and cannot do as a leader, what others and knowledge real-time experiences afford. There really is think of you, what you should or shouldn’t think of others, no time like the present. It provides stimulus and creates and how you categorize people and circumstances. Figure 2.3 When Triggers, Tapes become Transference Triggers, Tapes, and Transference Internal Tapes External Triggers16 External stimulus that elicits inbound responsiveness (e.g. Internal stimulus that elicits outbound responsiveness (e.g. your boss sends a project back to you for a 9th round of revi- the tapes in my head tell me I am stupid and I live as though sions indicating, “This is still unacceptable, make it better.” that were true) Yet not identifying what’s unacceptable.) Present Transference Triggers and tapes become transference when the stimulus present is a representation of a past experience and an individual’s past response is (unconsciously) repeated in the present situation. Operative Narrative © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  17. 17. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual Triggers: What does it mean when something or someone Tapes: Tapes hold the messages of one’s private thoughts“pushes your buttons?” At a minimum, that responsiveness and often shape and motivate behaviors beneath the level may be nothing more than awareness, but often the trigger of conscious thought. They are preconditioned responses to is sufficient to elicit a particular behavior. Sometimes the familiar situations shaped over a lifetime of experience. For response is positive and the individual is motivated to produc- leaders, those recorded messages are most pronounced during tive action. However, more familiar is when negative responses challenging and adverse or precedent setting situations. Like are triggered—those times when you say or do something triggers, which are externally derived, tapes are also a collection you might later regret or that is contrary to what you value. of responses and beliefs, but they are internally derived. We hit Often, individuals don’t even know that they’re being triggered. “play” in the face of difficult situations in which we fear failing, It is a knee-jerk reaction, a reflexive and nearly instantaneous become enamored with power, or want to avoid the rejection response that surfaces and feels like it is outside your control. that comes from disappointing others. We all have recurring Triggers in and of themselves are not bad. What matters is messages that replay themselves in our heads about who a leader’s awareness of and then response to the stimulus. we are and how we participate in the world. We have worked with numerous leaders who regularly “hit play” prior to walk-Triggers are external to the individual being triggered (e.g., ing into an extremely important presentation. The tape says,a curt response from a colleague, a delayed flight, a direct “This report is junk. These findings are inconclusive. You don’treport informing you the business will miss plan in Q2). We even believe its merit so why do you think you’ll convince theexperience countless triggers every day, each of which pro- senior team?” These messages run deep and often lead thevides varying degrees of stimulus and elicits varying degrees individual into their worst nightmare without their realizingof response. Exceptional leaders are those who are capable they had control to produce a different outcome. Not only doof responding effectively to the triggers they routinely face. tapes hold the messages we tell ourselves during challengingEffective in this instance refers to a leader’s ability to respond circumstances, but by their very nature, they can be playedin a manner consistent with the trigger they are presented with. over and over again. They are a self-perpetuating mechanismHow often have you seen a leader respond with an intensity that further embeds these messages into a leader’s beliefof emotion that didn’t seem to be appropriate to the situ- system and behavioral framework.ation? For example, flying off the handle in a staff meetingwhen someone is a few minutes late? Clearly, the trigger and Unfortunately, there is a relationship between the frequencyresponse are inconsistent, which means the leader has been of challenges you face and the frequency with which you aretriggered at a deeper level, some repeated narrative that has provoked to “hit play.” The repetitive messages create a compound-little to do with the tardy participant. ing effect. It’s similar to what happens with many professional boxers. Early in their careers they’re able to quickly reboundEffective response also means that the leader is able to with- from the effects of a concussion. The brain has amazing elas-hold responding when a warranted response to a given trigger ticity and can effectively rebound from such traumatic events.would be detrimental to their overall effectiveness (e.g., an However, those who experience the compounding effects ofexecutive chooses to hold his tongue in the face of an angry and many successive concussions are often unable to reboundundermining Board). The power of decoding and transforming effectively. Metaphorically, the same is true for leaders. Theyour operative narrative is that you begin to understand the destructive and debilitating messages compound over timeuniqueness of your triggers and the future requirements of and the tapes become self-fulfilling prophecies. The insidiousmanaging them effectively. Learning what your triggers are nature of these recurring messages is that they are often false,and forming appropriate responses, as well as changing the or with only small particles of truth at their core. Whether thenarrative that keeps resurfacing, takes years of intentional work. tape says, “You are magnificent” or, “You are incompetent,” the 17 extreme nature of these messages can elicit disproportion-When working to understand your triggers, you must: ately extreme behaviors from leaders who haven’t done the work to decode them and re-write the narratives that don’t•  Identify actions or circumstances that invoke behaviors that serve them well. bring out your best leadership in ways that seem “inexpli- cable” or that have deleterious and compromising effects One executive we worked with was plagued with deep seated on your leadership; tapes of inadequacy and inferiority. Despite his enormous degree of talent and affability, he constantly compared him-•  Identify the origins of the triggers—what you learned and self to his peers and in his mind, fell short. He reflexively told where you learned it, and what narrative you keep repeating himself that his work was of little value and that others would in response to such triggers. likely dismiss it. At the origin of these tapes sat a harshly © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  18. 18. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual critical and very successful father who was never satisfied often associated with traumatic experiences or extreme with anything he had done. He could always do better. Also, relational distress, transference can be far more subtle as his feeling of inadequacy was compounded by an academic well. We’ve all heard people joke, “Oh my, she reminds me of path that left him feeling he was in over his head and a series my mother!” Or, “He’s just like my first boss who was a com- of career failures that resulted from taking on more than he plete control freak.” The negative experiences of those past was capable of in hopes of proving his value. His wake up relationships that remain unresolved find their way into our call was a failed marriage that resulted from his inherited current context when we are triggered by external stimulus. perfectionism and inability to accept his or his wife’s imper- Thus, transference is set in motion, further deepening the fections. Over time, this leader was able to re-script those operative narrative. Transference can undermine a person’s harsh, destructive narratives into story lines more reflective leadership by anchoring aspects of their current response of reality. He developed an honest understanding of what his patterns to the past. talents were, a truthful inventory of those areas that he was not good at, and a compassionate acceptance of the need to In moments of transference, a leader’s behavior is shaped be more gracious to himself and others in the face of unmet and motivated more by their past experience(s) than what expectations or imperfection. is happening in the present. For instance, if early in your career you worked for a boss who regularly took credit for Replacing the destructive narratives of our tapes with pro- your work and rarely acknowledged your contributions, you ductive and realistic narratives is far more complex than just are likely to be triggered by someone, especially someone in shifting from a tape that says, “You are inadequate” to a tape authority, who even remotely appears self-confident about that says, “You are phenomenal.” It is candid, often painful, their own work, and transfer onto them your anxiety about confrontation with the origins of the messages on our tapes not getting due acknowledgement for your work. that enable is us to belie what is not true and replace them with messages of what is actually true. Sometimes you must This was the experience of one young executive we worked replace messages of superhuman greatness with tapes that with. Understandably, her early career experience of having say, “You’re good at some things, great at others, and terrible her ideas stolen was difficult, especially since she was eager at some.” Sometimes you must replace tapes that say, “You to prove her potential. Unconsciously, she stopped updat- are inferior” with tapes that enable you to embrace the truth ing her boss and only filled him in when she had to, making that, “You are good, and you are gifted.” The content of the him dig for details. For the most part, her results spoke for message is less important than its degree of truthfulness. It themselves and her boss didn’t push for more connection. is more than positive self-talk. It’s the truth that transforms, Simultaneously, she began to divert some of her time and not the talk. best thinking to some sexier, higher-profile projects. This further distanced her from her boss. She was appalled a When working to understand your recurring taped messages year later when, despite her continued high-quality results, and the moments that provoke you to “hit play,” you must: her boss promoted one of her colleagues to a newly created role instead of her. She began looking for other assignments •  Identify internal messages or “tapes” that provoke behav- within the company. After bouncing around in a few adjacent ioral responses (both positive and negative). departments for a year, she decided it was time to leave the company for a more gratifying opportunity. •  Differentiate between the messages that disable effective responses from those that produce desirable behaviors. Five years later, she had gained decent traction at the new company, yet had failed to rise to the levels she’d hoped.18 •  Identify new, truthful messages that disconfirm the Though she regularly received “exceeds expectations” in most unproductive and untruthful messages of current tapes performance categories, she also received feedback that many senior leaders didn’t want to work with her because Transference: How Past Narratives Reappear she was not perceived as a ‘team player’ and ‘was always off doing her own thing’. When we reconnected with her in the in Today’s Story and Undermine Leadership new organization, she was striving to become more involved Transference is a psychological term used to describe what on the front end of projects to ensure she was seen as both happens in an individual when they transfer a past experience participative as well as central to a given initiative. In our work onto their present situation. In essence, you transfer feel- together, she began to connect the dots in her response to ings, phrases, actions, etc. in a way that is compatible with her current boss and other senior leaders, and her feelings a past event(s) but may not fit your current context. While of being underappreciated by her previous bosses. She also © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  19. 19. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual realized that her response had been to withdraw and be Practically speaking, a leader’s ability to detect transference accessible only when absolutely necessary. Finally, a familiar and make the relevant connections—identifying how past for- narrative became apparent: When she felt her contributions mulaic responses are being elicited and lived out in their present were not valued (even though she hadn’t really defined what leadership—is a vital element of realizing transformation within. that would look like for herself), she withdrew and became isolated from the very people she wanted and needed to When addressing transference, leaders must: be connected with. Her resentment and distrust of those in authority grew, further perpetuating her reputation as not •  Understand how current responses are elicited from past collaborative and overly independent. She finally became leadership experiences despite their lack of relevance to aware of the pattern and realized that she actually had very current circumstances. little information about what her boss or other senior leaders believed about her contribution. She just drew conclusions •  Gain deeper clarification about how that past situation did or based on their lack of acknowledgement. She realized that didn’t warrant such a response.Figure 2.4 she was behaving like she used to, even though she lackedRe-scripting sufficient data to warrant the behavior. Her story is a prime •  Acquire objective data about their leadership responses inOperative example of transference in those in leadership roles. those specific situations.Narratives New underlying Which allows for a re- Which then permits the choice The trigger belief structure written operative narrative of these behaviors to employ Powerlessness/ • I can exercise influence and • I can re-articulate my viewpoint • Be curious and ask questions power in multiple ways, and the or find out what isn’t being under- Constraint • Use the power that comes with your role – effectiveness of that power and stood declare your intentions influence is not predicated on • Others’ behavior isn’t necessarily a how others respond • Demonstrate expertise and direction setting statement or judgment of my ability • Being tenacious in the face of • Those who resist are not neces- • Name the resistance or behavior you are see- Impatience/ opposition is a requirement of sarily “the enemy” ing and own your experience of it Irritation my role • I can de-personalize the unreason- • Distinguish how I interpret others’ behavior • There may be something I am able behaviors of others before from the actual behavior itself – ask “what doing that is provoking others they become “about me” story am I telling myself about what I am extreme positions experiencing and why? ” • I am just as responsible to • Others’ disagreement, self-inter- • I can choose to be grateful for the privilege of Self-doubt ensure the effective use of my est, passive aggression or other the significant talent I have and the opportu- gifts for which I am in this job behavior that counters my values nity to serve others with it as I am my development needs is not my responsibility to change, • I can limit the degree to which I am self-dep- but rather my responsibility to • When I use the word “should” recating knowing that I risk impairing others’ name when appropriate about myself, I may be levy- confidence, not necessarily conveying humility ing an unrealistic standard or • When I see behavior that disturbs judgment that leaves me with me, I can depersonalize the inter- 19 less energy and a distorted pretation and focus on the effect self-view the behavior is having on the situ- ation at hand • Behavior of others that I don’t • When others withhold trust or • Disarm any circuitous dialogue or indirect Resentment/ understand don’t always have respect from me, it doesn’t mean I innuendos with direct, non-judgmental state- meaning I project am untrustworthy or unrespectable ments or open ended questions Distrust • When I feel unsafe or off bal- • Others’ behavior that may be rooted • Return to common ground, mutual interest, ance, it’s important that I resist in a lack of understanding is more and the higher goals from which the immedi- drawing immediate conclusions likely an expression of an unmet ate conversation has departed about why that is need than an evaluation of me © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.
  20. 20. Leading Transformation in Organizations: An Owners Manual •  Determine what the appropriate responses should be to Regularly revisiting your leadership triggers, tapes and current situations and, using reliable data, formulate an transference can help you recognize your growth (e.g., appropriate response. certain triggers don’t cause the same response they once did), surface new developmental areas, and provide keen •  Determine more appropriate/fitting response(s) for future insight about how your values/biases/beliefs are in search leadership situations that will likely lead to transferring of specific outcomes (through your behaviors). Some of unproductive, past responses. which are helpful and others are not. Re-scripting Your Operative Narrative: • Be introspective versus self-involved Self-involvement isn’t hard to recognize, even within our- Keys to Transformation Within selves if we’re honest. Self-involved people constantly try Decoding your operative narratives and re-scripting them to one-up others with their experiences or reframe every for your own transformation takes arduous and persistent topic to put themselves at the center. Nobody wants to be effort, great humility and even greater courage. Figure 2.4 around a self-involved leader. It’s exhausting and it really Re-scripting Operative Narratives illustrates examples of doesn’t matter if you’re there or not because everyone else operative narratives in potentially recreated forms. is ancillary to the story. Below are some important approaches to consider as you Many leadership development approaches that focus pursue your own transformation within. excessively on the individual risk inadvertently encourag- ing self-involvement simply by inviting leaders to go well • Continually acquire insight about your leadership and beyond healthy introspection to self-obsessing. Don’t fix- its impact on others ate on your development efforts in public. Instead, make Many traditional coaching initiatives fall short because they reflection on your leadership and transformation a personal stop at self-awareness and fail to create a clear formation discipline. Ask, “Why did I do [that] again?” and work to piece plan integrally linked to a leader’s future requirements. Insight together the root causes of your leadership and ways they about why you lead the way you do is only half of the story, are further developed. and frankly, the easiest part of your work to complete. What is much more difficult is learning to position that knowledge to • Own both shortcomings & giftedness realize the changes required for future success. Transformation We frequently cross paths with leaders who are much more within is a continual process; no one gets to wear the title adept at owning their shortcomings than they are their gift- of ‘arrived.’ Leaders must seek regular feedback from critical edness. Learning to recognize and own both is necessary to stakeholders, both formal and informal. make lasting progress toward your desired leadership. In fact, research would indicate that leveraging your giftedness is • Know your pathologies and their impact on the others more effective than hedging the risks of your shortcomings. with whom you lead A leader’s inability to own his shortcomings or acknowledge Pathology is the study and diagnoses of your ingrained his giftedness is likely due to an operative narrative that unproductive behaviors. In this case, it is patternistic behavior conveys something like, “Don’t own what you are good at that impacts your effectiveness as a leader. As a discipline, or others will think you are arrogant,” or, “Nothing you do it addresses four components of problematic behavior: is that good anyway, especially in comparison to others, (1) cause, (2) mechanisms of development, (3) structural so don’t bother trying to own what you are good at.” There changes, and (4) the consequences of those changes. are many other operative narratives that inhibit a leader’s20 Developing an understanding of the cause(s) of your unpro- ability to embrace what makes them unique and influential. ductive behavior, how they have been reinforced over time, Remaining unaware of the effect your leadership has on how to support more productive behaviors, and managing others will make it extremely difficult to know the unique the rippling effects of such changes with stakeholders is or damaging impact you are having on the business. essential when accounting for and managing your leadership pathologies. Pursuing insight about the transformation within Here are a few areas to focus your attention and reflection that is needed, means you need to learn about your specific when you sit down to learn about and begin owning your leadership pathologies, and yes, every leader has them. giftedness and shortcomings. Excessive control needs, conflict-avoidance, the imposter syndrome, perfectionism, uncontrolled anger, obsessive — Take inventory—Do you have a sense for your unique gifts detail orientation, the list goes on. and abilities and your clear development opportunities? © Copyright 2012. Passages Consulting. All rights reserved.