After the recent post on think not do, the work of a leader. I was challenged to describe the internal and external business factors that will prompt a leader to take some time out to reflect with their team. My quick answer was that it’s always a good time (!), but on reflection (!!), there are some key triggers when leaders want to take time out with their teams and reflect together about what they have learnt and where they want to go. Here are some of the most common:
- When the external environment is changing quickly. Whether it is political uncertainty, customer or consumer demands, disruptive technology, new competitors, more and more you are simply responding to what is going on in the external environment. Whilst it is good to be responsive, if this is not done in a thoughtful manner with the organization aligning, this can cause misunderstanding, chaos and confusion leading to less than optimum performance.
- When you have been in your role for a few months. You have sized up the organisation and know what to do. This is a great time to validate with your team and ensure everyone is on the same page. What other views need to be captured?
- When the organisation has been growing rapidly. It is chaotic and processes do not exist or are being reinvented. It’s time to introduce some structure but not too much that it becomes overwhelming.Taking time to be thoughtful about this will help achieve the right balance.
- When specialists are being promoted into managers or additional management layers are being added. As this happens there is a tendency for silos and functional thinking to take over rather than the cross functional interactions you need for success.
- There are conflicting priorities and resource needs. You are acting as a referee between your team members on a frequent basis, suggesting it’s not clear what the overall priorities for the organisation are.
- Your business model is changing.Whether it’s from a single product to a multiproduct line or how you will outsource or partner with others. Or growing from a development organization to a commercial organization. Or mergers / acquisitions are changing what your organization looks like. There are many factors that can lead to thoughtful consideration of what your ideal business model should be.
If you are finding yourself in one or more of these situations it might be time to stop and take time with your team to reflect and realign.
- Kevin Cox for asking insightful questions prompting the article and continuing to challenge the content