The funny thing about start up boot camp is that it's just a boot camp.
It simulates real-life struggles, pains, and turmoil but can barely do so without either running out of steam or funding.
Start ups who are cocooned in this type of environment believe that it will always be easy, there are answers to almost everything, and that with the right technique you can have it all in quick time.
In business and in life, there are many uncontrollable factors and under time pressure, funding pressure, and impact pressure, few entrepreneurs make it without the emotional, psychological, and physical trauma and strains of keeping with the program.
The biggest take-away that a boot camp can do is to let entrepreneurs learn on their own without the grants, supports, networks, and prized monies. What will that look like?
Strip away all the prestige and glamour attributed to entrepreneurialism, it's really about marshalling whatever you have, rather than aiming and getting to their best position.
Bird in hand....
The best organizations are constantly unlearning not just learning constantly.
There a big difference between those who are always challenging themselves versus those who are already feeling that they have reached and arrived.
A few comments I have heard through the years where external help is rejected on the basis of:
If it's not invented here, it wont work.
We are pretty good at what we do.
We have another consultant that we 're still working on.
We don't need another external person to know our problems.
The current Board or Executive will not support this intervention.
Our Request for Proposal is our vehicle for getting help.
Our priorities right now are very different from the last Executive Director.
We don't have a budget for this kind of exercise.
All these are excuses and should not be seriously considered.
The best organizations do recognize that 'if there's a will, there's a way.' Unlearning should happen before actual learning happens. Bringing a resource is a matter of strategy and an asset that can be deployed when needed, not when the organization is in a critical condition.
Past success is never a predictor for future success.
What's the relationship between creativity, innovation, change, and leadership?
Creativity: People don't stare at the unknown and wait for the 'aha' moment. They create new things out of old, and turn old things to new activities, services, or products.
Innovation: People apply their creativity as solutions to daily problems. Innovation is not just a step up, but creating new out of nothing.
Change: People have pragmatic expectations of changes in the organization and are willing to join into uncertainty which is a demonstration of commitment.
Leadership: The change process is muddier than we all imagine it to be. Even muddier in the layered context of the pandemic. Leadership without doubt, provides a good lever to buffer against resistance and cooptation.
If your organization is struggling to bring about a transition to better in the pandemic context, keep reiterating and don't stop until you get the culture right.
Without fostering the right culture, creativity, innovation, change, and leadership will remain as idealized concepts. instead of transplanting new values, consider what shared unconscious beliefs are existing and double-dip on it.
Hearts and minds follow emotions, not logic.
The majority of people in organizations will just gladly go along any changes communicated as a positive development in the right direction.
But for some, change is not an easy sell, and more processes need to happen to ensure buy-in for all important stakeholders. As an on-purpose leader, you can take these small steps:
1. Overcommunicate the positive gains and the immediate steps.
The rest of the time, it's the middle phase that's ambiguous but not necessary to be bogged down by it. Keep the focus on the high-level objectives and what they can do right away. Immediate steps take their eyes off worries and fears, and lead them to practical things they can work on.
2. Be clear about the challenges and pains that will be faced
Do not promise the moon and the stars. What is mostly likely to happen in the beginning is that there would be massive amounts of adjustments to be made and then, the 'settling' period which would be the 'in-between' moments for most people. Tell them all the pains that will have to be endured and don't gloss over critical issues for each departments to do.
3. Resist going back and staying in one place in the change continuum
Do not go back romanticizing the past ways or methods of doing things. Resist this water-cooler talks in your office and in your boardroom. The legroom of moving initially is already an achievement in itself. You have come along in this continuum.
But don't rest your laurels in one place. You have to move to the next level-whether is developing and strengthening your talent, building a pipeline of future clients and customers, building a knowledge management system, among others. It could also mean preparing your Board Trustees and executives for a robust leadership role throughout these change period.
4. Celebrate with your key team and learn ways to accelerate
Gravity pulls us down. As much as we'd like to think that all the resisting dragons are slayed. Inertia and entropy, like gravity can bring organizations out of their momentum and elide their impact. Learn ways to accelerate and defy the need to do a lot of consultations which would not add value or wait for the next greenlight from higher-ups.
Be the best believer of this transformation in your organization. When the chips are down, remember, this is a phase, not the end. Resistors are not enemies to be thrown out of the bus. You should appreciate the value they provide and how much worth the journey it is to keep them alongside with you throughout the process.
The talk about sustainability has often been centered around the triple-bottom lines: economic, environmental, and social gains.
For once, let's veer away from this construct to look at what we are doing in training, building up, and strengthening the future of the on-purpose sectors we currently inhabit.
We need to have more people working on the pipeline--- ensuring that a new provocative, insightful, and well-intuited individuals get to the next level of leadership. We have the tools in our disposal to make it happen. With the trifecta of design, data, and technology, the potentials are vast and almost limitless. We have sent humans on the moon. We can do better now than in the last 50 years.
We need our retirees to act as mentors and guides to show us what we could be working on, lessons learned, and things we can avoid if we are paying more attention to what matters most.
We need more people connecting, bridging, and sense-making our present, immediate future, and long-term futures. This means that there's enough analytics, curation, and regurgitation by everyone for everyone. Yet, we remain lost and sometimes confused, as to where these advances are leading us to and how we can invest in critical infrastructures to bring us to our desired destination.
For me, sustainable futures is all about building the next generation which is you and me and everyone that is concerned about our societies, our planet, and our economies. We can't rest on our leaders, present and future to tell us what to do and lead us boldly. Strong followership will be growing, enabling leaders to take on a symbolic and muted roles instead.
We are the strong followers.
In my work with leaders and executives with on-purpose organizations, I noticed these three issues that arise when leaders do not let go of the need to be 'in control.'
Delegate with power
A leader of a group of leaders must delegate with power or else, giving free rein without the full authority to get the job done becomes a sticking point later on. This is a case of artificial empowerment which benefits no one.
Those who get 'volun-told' need not be afraid to ask for the full authority, not a training opportunity or a practice assignment.
Are you still in control while delegating the work to others? Give them the power and authority, give them the broad strokes, and let them create the outcomes that you seek.
Detach from outcomes
Senior leaders have the habit of putting their heads on their team members' plans and targets and watching them over their shoulders.
Let go of the need to control their outcomes for them. I once had a boss who had to be in one of my meetings to ensure that our objectives are met and the he gets to see things through. Waste of manager time! If you can't ensure, you failed in training, providing capacity, and setting the high tones. When I see directors sitting in one their staff's presentations or meetings, applying primitive managerial style is insufferable!
When they face problems, get them back again to their objectives and make it a teaching moment.
Honing your own leadership style
Nowadays, with all the bad content that you need to copy the power nap of so and so, and the 5am work style of this and that is atrocious.
People are beginning to be confused about leadership style and personal habits. Leadership style is your own sense of leading others, based on your values and strategies at it relates to the needs of your followers and organizational goals. Personal habits are not something that can be applicable to everyone. Take it with a grain of salt.
Leaders are made, not born. You can be in control of something but not all things in the organization. Learn to trust your team and begin to see real and positive change in the workplace.