Different approaches are being deployed; some organisations believing any further change is dangerously destabilising, others who believe that developmental rather than remedial change is always required if opportunities are to be taken and competitors kept at bay.
In our work we see an interesting coloration that identifies this more pro-active change capability. The quality of leadership focus in the Senior Management Team* (SMT) determines the degree of competitive advantage development present in the organisations’ change agenda.
We developed a summary checklist to help identify this change – leadership symbiosis:
- How much of a defined and effectively prosecuted Vision is there for the organisation?
- How values driven is the organisation?
- Is the majority of SMT meeting time focused on customers and market opportunities rather than internal (and seemingly intractable) problems?
- Is the SMT a functional, integrated, value adding entity?
- Is the SMT visible around the whole business?
- Is leadership demonstrated more by this group than talked about?
- Is there an articulated strategy that the whole management population understand?
- Are structures viewed as servants to the strategy rather than the other way round?
- Are projects managed effectively, creating real differences in the business?
- Are people working on development activities as well as ‘business as usual’ stuff, rather than being ‘too busy’ for anything other than the day job?
There is obviously a lot going on behind these headline questions, with significant dependencies between all of the 10 points, but the conclusions are clear. If an organisation scores poorly on the above then its ability to change is severely restricted.
The notion that change is a remedial, difficult and extraordinary activity, rather than an exciting, developmental opportunity rich activity is a very dangerous one and a totally alien concept to leadership focused Senior Management Teams.
*Senior Management Team is the Directors plus all their direct reports.