by Peter A. Arthur-Smith, Leadership Solutions, Inc.®
“What is our optimum requirement; so as to increase organization performance?” Question posed by company CEO who was aiming to grow from a relatively small enterprise into a mid-sized business.
Rare occasions like this one occur when we produce two consecutive articles devoted to the same enlightened leadership phase or topic: and Decision Clarity is one of them. It seemed so natural to break our last decision-clarity topic into segments A & B. ‘A’ uncovered the primary solution to the above CEO question by means of option solving. Now ‘B’ comes into play, also using option solving, as a way of fleshing-out optimum derivatives of this CEO-executive group’s performance enhancing dilemma..
As our CEO group zeroed-in on Option D – Develop our Leadership Teams at Every Level within question ‘A’, it decided to peel-the-onion and seek an option-subset to their
earlier conclusion. Clearly the group hoped option solving would help them understand its next steps by repeating the same cycle. A fresh set of sub-options would emerge using Option D as their new issue on which to base their next rational question.
Above you can now view the group’s subsequent pictogram focusing on the question inspired by Option D:
»What is our optimum approach toward enhancing organizat-ional performance with Option D – Develop our leadership teams at every level; considering 1) their current readiness to lead, 2) our current leadership talent, 3) potential leaders at other levels, and 4) our most cost-effective approach?
Two new ‘bookends’ were now apparent – ‘Just allow natural leaders to rise to the top’ – considered too happenstance. And at the other end – ‘Clean house and bring in a fresh leader team’ – with the likely loss of critical institutional knowledge. By bringing these two bookends to bear, it stimulated this group of CEOs-executives to concur on six plausible sub-options, namely:
» Bring in an outside training firm.
» Adopt in-house ‘In-Team Discovery;’ where leaders learn from each other over a series of regular forums.
» Build compelling vision with leader team and implement.
» Make leaders aware of their distinctive role at every level.
» Monthly leadership book reading plus team discussion of content.
» Adopt the 5 phase Enlightened Leadership approach – Decision Clarity, Pathfinding, People Motivation, Team-work and Momentum Building.
Once again, with the group’s pictogram complete – pictures nudge our innovative, intuitive minds into top gear – it can now resort to emotional distancing (ED) for the second time. On this occasion, it only needed an hour to reflect and discuss other issues before returning to their pictogram and making their anonymous vote – again to avoid herd input. Pretty well across the board participants opted for Option F- Adopt the 5 phase Enlightened Leadership (EL) approach.
In light of Leadership Solutions many articles about these 5 phases, it was agreed, that, short of a future intended book, respective company leadership teams could be exposed to a selected range of existing EL articles. Those teams could then circulate them among colleagues, discuss them, and then determine how to apply the content to their own organization’s current and future intentions. Maybe they could make a game out of it by comparing EL to our traditional management approaches? Games have a wonderful way of encouraging people to absorb fresh ideas.
There is no doubt that, if they apply these EL principles, models and concepts properly, people engagement will rise quickly in some instances and more steadily in others – as determined by the caliber of their leader team. Productivity will clearly rise and their staff will more willingly contribute as much as they are able. All of this will happen without having to invest oodles of money or incentivizing people with heavy individual bonuses. Such is a form of coercion by declaring to their people, if you produce X, then we’ll give you Y; otherwise known as extrinsic motivation or carrot-and-stick.
One of OS’s many advantages is that it provides a sound framework with seven guiding principles, which will ultimately produce an actionable outcome. Hence it allows a group of CEOs or executives, or teams at any level, to observe where each other is coming from. From this they can share value and insights through common reference points.
With the EL approach, leadership teams will wait until their more highly or intrinsically motivated people have made a significant contribution in a specific key area. THEN and only then will they be recognized with a well-regarded reward or recognition…on the basis, now you have done W, we will reward you with Z. In other words, the rewards or recognition are not mentioned until after something important has been accomplished. Do-and-then-be-recognized is like a reverse on carrot-and-stick; where stick in this instance is a worthy organization or team challenge.
Intrinsic motivation is much less expensive, is much more natural, and is considerably more sustainable. Extrinsic motivation disappears the moment the carrot is paid or withdrawn, and then people wait for the next carrot – rather like Pavlov’s well-known pigeon experiment. And the carrots get ever more expensive, eating away at company profits and adding to product or service pricing – an ever-increasing pressure on the organization’s existence. Intrinsic motivation is the EL approach versus the traditional 20th-century management one.
Referring back to that well-regarded reward a couple of paragraphs ago: while money is a default reward mode, people also respond well to some extra-time off, a convivial lunch, a note of special thanks with a restaurant voucher, or a basket of food or bouquet of flowers with a sincere thank-you note. There’s everything to be gained by not repeating the exact same reward every time, otherwise it quickly becomes an expectation rather than a pleasant surprise…mix it up a little.
With option solving parts A &B, we have not only solved a CEO’s headline issue in terms of getting greater perform-ance from his organization (A), but we’ve also put him on an optimum track for doing just that (B). We have introduced him to an enlightened approach, which will get his people to maximize their efforts and therefore bring performance levels like he or she has never seen before.
To learn more about Option Solving and decision-making, talk with: