If you haven’t read it yet, read Adam Bryant’s book: Quick and Nimble – Lessons from Leading C.E.O.’s on How to Create a Culture of Innovation. His insights are important for my readers and clients because they so nicely echo several core leadership concepts I share with my clients during my programs or executive coaching sessions with them.
In his book, Bryant covers six key ideas to create a culture of innovation and nimbleness. I’ll list Bryant’s terms and then mine:
Create a Simple Plan.
I’ve been saying for years: Create clear, concise strategic plans that are not open to interpretation. They provide you and your team with the focus you need and minimize the potential for team members to guess at what is expected. Your team members will know specifically what they’re working towards and can better leverage their efforts in helping you get to your vision.
Create Rules of the Road.
I call organizational values “The House Rules.” They work the same way as do the rules of your home. If you don’t like the rules of my house, fine. Go home. If you don’t like the organization’s values, fine. Work someplace else. Keep in mind, as long as you’re taking a paycheck from the company, by default, you’re agreeing to abide by the values.
Demonstrate a Little Respect.
I tell my clients: You hired adults. Treat them as such. Your employees often have families, homes, and are active members in their communities and places of worship. Treat them as adults with skills and talents at work too.
Remember It’s About the Team.
I often share with younger management teams: You were hired for a reason and it wasn't because someone loved you. It was because you were anticipated to bring various talents and characteristics to complement the team in driving the organization toward the vision. It’s about the team and what it needs to succeed; not you.
Have Adult Conversations.
My clients know these well as I have my clients call these Necessary Conversations™. These types of conversations typically need to happen quickly and may not necessarily be about immature or unprofessional behaviors. Therefore, I don’t particularly agree with the term Adult Conversations. The need for the conversation could be because of a technical skill weakness. Not an immaturity or lack of professionalism issue. Therefore, I call them Necessary Conversations™ as they need to happen to enable the team member to correct the behavior, acquire the additional skills, or choose to work elsewhere - whatever the case may be.
Avoid the Hazards of Email.
I’m all about Leadership Accountability and not hiding from issues that leaders need to address and clear so the team can move forward. So, I encourage and have my clients practice in-person conversations. Either one-on-one or one-to-group to discuss heated or confusing issues – not hide behind a flamer of an email.
Can the above help leaders become more nimble. Sure. But they’ll also help leaders simply be better people and stronger role models for others too.