We have phoned up a significant amount new leaders and asked them three questions. What are your priorities for the next 12 months? What does success look like in 12 months time? What do you need to achieve this? This blog will take you into some of the results.
Growth - Quality improvement - Redundancies - People Development
1. The economic winter seems to be on its way out. The words crisis, downsizing, restructuring, cost cutting were hardly mentioned. Instead you all talked about growth. Fragile top line and bottom line growth plus quality improvements are the key words. Some of you immediately made the connection with the workforce in general and and your own team. All of you named the fact that you will have to do more with less people. The implication of that is that the workforce has to have a larger skill set, has to be more agile, eager to learn and able to do different things. The next quote says it all: "In our production process we always needed a left hand and a right hand. The left hand was made redundant during the crisis. Now that growth is emerging it becomes clear the right hand can't do the things the left hand used to do. Will I be able to develop the right hand? Do I need a new crew? Will it be a combination of the two?" None of you were very keen on hiring permanent staff. It became clear to us that the fragile growth will have three connected effects at the same time: lean processes and smart outsourcing will kick of a lot off the enhancements, we have not seen the end of lay offs and people development of the existing and new workforce will be key.
Give us something to believe in - Building High Performing Team
2. A significant amount of priorities are around vision and teamwork at the top. Create a compelling, integrated vision for the next couple of years. Vision is clearly no longer something that aims at the long future. Give us 'something to believe in' is what some of you said. The years of downsizing have left its marks. Interlinked with this one are all your statements around teamwork at the top: 'We work in silo's', 'We have become top experts in managing our own backyard', 'Trust is unknown in this place', 'Evil has become our comfort zone'. It may sound strange but for New Leaders this a perfect moment to re install trust and start building a high performing team. A burning platform, a team that wants something to believe in, an opportunity to work together under a new regime with yourself at the head of the table. What can be better? It also tells us - and we got this one confirmed by significant amount of you - that we need to have the whole Team Development suite (team assessment, team development, mission and vision building, governance) available for you to call upon.
Well Being - Health - Work Smarter
3. 'How do I keep my relationship with my wife going', 'I hardly see my children', 'I broke my promise not to work more than 60 hours a week'. These are some of the quotes we have taken from you. Ouch! In any onboarding there will be a moment where there is a gap in expectations. Putting in a lot of hours at the start is to be expected and usually the adrenaline will keep you going and keep you in a flow. But adrenaline will not stay for ever and energy will run out. We are human beings, not machines. Your call is to provide professional support to be able to see the wood from the trees, prioritise the moments of reflections and more and foremost: help me to work smarter! Not harder.
For the New Leader we see a couple of implications. Work Smarter has a lot to do with your approach towards the people dynamics in the system. How can you manoeuver yourself from the position of the first violin towards being the conductor of the orchestra. And still remain credible, reliable and trustworthy. Another implication is around your own behavior when you have to step out of your comfort zone. When the heat is on and the stress levels go up all your old patterns of behavior will become very active. Some will protect you but and some will be extremely ineffective. Different behavior to create success will be required. That takes courage, is scary and drains energy. Organise your support system is the key message!
Share your best practices
In the next blogs will cover these topics more in depth. Clearly they are the topics close to your heart. We have decided to continue the blogs in English as a significant amount in our community lives in Europe and don't read Dutch.
We invite you to share your experiences and best practices as well. That will create an unbeatable knowledge base for all of you. May I invite you to share your insighst via comments on the blog? If you prefer you can also send them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org