Archive | Leadership

New Case Studies: How to Use Networks Strategically


Network maps make the invisible world of organizational transactions, relationships, and knowledge flows visible. But what can they actually accomplish for an organization?

We recently published two case studies based on our work with clients. Each case study shows how one client used network knowledge to advance their strategy.

Case Study #1: Using Network Mapping to Globalize an Organization

In 2013, a new leader was hired to transform the Public & Governmental Affairs (PGA) division into a truly global organization. The leader realized that PGA needed to operate as a network. She used network thinking to guide development in the organization.

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The Power of “No”: Escape From Overload and Focus on What Matters

<a href="" target="_blank">By DWRose on flickr</a>

One of the most important things a leader can do is to help people stay focused. That means having the courage to say “no.” It also means having the willingness to protect the interests of your organization when people push back.

The Slippery Slope to Overload

People can wear you down by pointing out reasons why the idea can’t work, advocating for initiatives that would be more beneficial, and finding opportunities that could be seized. All of those reasons, initiatives, and opportunities could be important. However, leaders need to weigh the possible benefits against the potential drawback of overextending the organization.

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Three Jobs of the Change Leader

3 Jobs of the Change Leader Image

The sixth in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

Three things. That’s all you really need to do to be a successful change leader.

It’s surprising to think that the job could be so easy. After all, managing people, especially during change, is complex and dynamic.

Master consultant Stephanie Nestlerode distills that complexity into three basic tasks:

  • Help team members focus on what’s important and get rid of distractions.
  • Make sure team members have everything they need to do their work.
  • Share performance expectations and progress with team members.
  • It might sound simple, but don’t be fooled.

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    Tuning Your Change Strategy

    Six Ways to Influence Change - JPG

    The fifth in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

    Improve likelihood of change success by 10%? Sounds good!

    I’m a big fan of the work done by Grenny, Maxfield, and Shimberg on what makes change initiatives successful. According to their research, initiatives are ten times more likely to succeed when the change strategy includes at least four of six approaches.

    The trick is to address both people’s motivation and their ability. It’s not enough to want to change. They also have to know how to change. And they can have all the knowledge in the world but, if they don’t want to change, they won’t.

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    Transition: The Human Side of Change

    Transition Infographic

    The fourth in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

    Why can’t people just get with the program? They question, they challenge, they complain… and it’s all perfectly predictable and normal.

    Transition is the emotional process people go through when adapting to a change in their world. It doesn’t matter if the change is positive, like having a new baby or getting promoted. People still have to let go of some parts of their life (perhaps the luxury of sleeping late!) and learn new things (how to change a diaper while half asleep).

    The process is predictable, according to the work seminal done by organizational thinker and consultant William Bridges.

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    The Employees’ Wishlist: Three Things Employees Wish Managers Would Do

    Power of networks

    Your employees need you. But not in the way you think.

    Leadership is no longer about being the center of decision-making, expertise, and problem solving. Instead, today’s leaders work in such complex, variable environments that they simply can’t be as central as they have in the past. If they take on this role, they risk becoming bottlenecks and getting in the way of progress. Today’s leaders need to do things differently.

    In the last post, I reviewed the leadership behaviors of clarify and connect. This post focuses on another important behavior that tops employees’ wishlists: caretaking.

    Caretaking isn’t mothering or patronizing.

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    Can You Trust HR?

    Can You Trust HR?

    When trouble is brewing, it is important to have a safe place to turn for support, advice, and counsel. The trouble might be your own, or you might have trouble with one of your direct reports. Sometimes, it’s not possible to turn to your own manager for such support, or you might just want to talk your thoughts and ideas through with someone before involving your manager. Your first stop is often HR—but can you trust HR?

    In this new post, recently published on the American Management Association’s Playbook, Keli Trejo and I give you the 101 on working with HR.

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    Two Leadership Rules for the Networked World

    connect and clarify

    We have a problem. Most of us are using old leadership techniques that no longer work.

    Here’s a case in point. I met Cyrus a few years back. He was a manager who insisted on being involved in every decision that concerned his department. He was still living in the old world, where one person could keep up with all the decisions concerning their department. Not surprisingly, he received horrible performance ratings and burnt out quickly.

    Leadership Rules for our Networked World

    Today, in our flattened, hyper-paced world, leadership is no longer about commanding staff and controlling work. Instead, leaders are called upon to influence people who don’t report to them, direct higher-ranking employees, and gain commitment from people with little interest in their vision.

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    The Bottleneck Effect: Are You Getting In Your Own Way

    AMA Playbook - Bottleneck

    If you’re the black hole in your department, consider how to leverage your network to get out of your way and get more done.

    Managers are responsible for product delivery, project implementation, new ideas, and service improvement. But all too often, things don’t go as planned. If you’re in this situation, you might gain feedback like this:

    • You’re not performing up to expectations
    • You need to do better
    • Brush up on your time management
    • Your staff lacks skills and knowledge
    • Your department is under-resourced

    You may have worked on this feedback without satisfying results.

    What do you do? Consider this: You might be getting in your own way.

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