The point of yesterday's blog was that by:
- separating out the different levels of leadership and management on an operational basis,
- assigning clear roles and responsibilities for each level
- ensuring people stick to their areas of responsibility,
- keeping the lines of communication operationally relevant, and
- fostering a collective responsibility for success
We had so many incidents where commanders felt they had to go to the scene because as police officers that was what they were used to doing, rather than stay away and keep a broader and more strategic view.
Leaders and managers get promoted largely because they were good at their previous jobs. When they were promoted or given a job they are (sometimes) sent on generic training for management or leadership but do not receive training or coaching about their new role and place in the system. When we researched how leaders and managers performed under pressure we found that they tended, when things get difficult or ambiguous, to revert to what they knew or were used to doing before they were promoted. This usually means that when there is a problem or stressful issue, they start to get involved in and micromanage people. We had so many incidents of inappropriate Action Bias where commanders felt they had to go to the scene of an incident because as police officers that was what they were used to doing, rather than staying away and keeping a broader and more strategic view.
The GSB (Gold, Silver, Bronze) system works so well because it sees the different levels of responsibility as interconnected parts of one system. What we learned was that:
- training and coaching the leaders to become more disciplined and draw back, concentrating on strategic issues (not getting sucked into operational decisions and problems),
- training the managers to manage at a tactical level and not get sucked into doing and micromanaging, and
- critically, ensuring that everyone understands
- the system,
- how it works,
- what their roles, responsibilities and expectations are, and crucially
- how and what (and what not) to communicate to whom
Leaders that are rushing around doing things, fire fighting and managing are a symptom of an unhealthy system.
Leadership is one part of a living system. Like any organ in a living body, it has a purpose and a defined place within the system. Confuse the boundaries of these and the system will not function optimally. A healthy system requires that each part is healthy in itself and works in harmony with the others. Every organ is as important as the rest in the chain. Likewise leaders and managers need to work together in harmony with every other function.
Leaders that are rushing around doing things, fire fighting and managing are a symptom of an unhealthy system. They should have their finger on the pulse of the organisation and be looking after strategic issues, not solving operational problems - thats what the managers and their teams are for. Far too many leaders operate at inappropriate levels in organisations and as a result end up creating the very situations are trying to resolve.
This is all very well but does it work in profit making businesses as well as service industries?
We have worked with investment banks, engineering firms, sales companies, retail enterprises and growing transport companies. The minimum ROI we have seen in the first year has been 3350%. Yes you read that right and that does not include factors for happier and more professional staff and better decision making capabilities.
Are you too busy? Think again you may well be what is holding your organisation back.