As a leader in today’s collaborative, specialized, multi-disciplinary world, you recognize that to achieve results, people must understand, buy into and accept new directions and solutions.
You know that when people have a say in answering the questions that matter to them, they will bring their discretionary energy, time and commitment to ensure solutions are successfully implemented.
Theold style leader imposed answers from the top. Your approach as a facilitative leader is to engage the right people at the right time, by asking good questions and facilitating focused, interactive and productive group process to gain their input and ownership.
“What if the act of believing in others was part of the trajectory, the catalyst even, to fuel others to live the best version of themselves?” —Ted Egly, in Believing In Others.
As a leader, supervisor, coach, facilitator, team lead, or change agent, your role is to help “grow” people to be the best they can be. One practical framework to help you do just that is Appreciative Inquiry (AI*); it is a strength-based approach to growing people for inspired change.
Starting from an AI stance, people, teams, organizations and communities are not viewed as “problems to be solved”, but rather as complex systems whose positive core is to be embraced and amplified.
A fundamental competency of leaders is to guide the direction-setting process for their business, organization or group, typically through strategic planning. A good strategic plan provides clarity, focus, consensus and alignment at all levels to priority goals and results.
Key Process Questions
In this blog series, we will cover key process questions around which the process of strategic planning is facilitated:
Who are we?
What do we do?
Where are we now?
Where do we want to be?
How will we get there?
Along the way, as we unpack these high level questions, we will emphasize when to answer Peter Drucker’s five most important questions to ask your organization:
“In this day and age, when problems are increasingly complex and there are no simple answers, and no simple cause and effect – how stressful for leaders to pretend that they have the answer. A life-affirming leader is one who knows how to rely on and use the intelligence that exists everywhere in the community, the company, school, or organization. Such leaders act as stewards of other people’s creativity and intelligence. Today’s leader needs to be one who convenes people, who convenes diversity, who convenes all viewpoints in processes where our intelligence can come forth. These kinds of leaders do not give us the answers; rather they help gather us so that we can discover the answers together.”
“Whosoever wishes to know about the world must learn about it in its particular details. Knowledge is not intelligence. In searching for the truth be ready for the unexpected. Change alone is unchanging. The same road goes both up and down. The beginning of a circle is also its end. Not I, but the world says it: all is one. And yet everything comes in season.”
“My eyes already touch the sunny hill, going far ahead of the road I have begun. So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp; it has its inner light, even from a distance. and changes us, even if we do not reach it, into something else, which, hardly sensing it, we already are; a gesture waves us on, answering our own wave… but what we feel is the wind in our faces.”
On the other side of the door I can be a different me, As smart and as brave and as funny or strong As a person could want to be. There’s nothing too hard for me to do, There’s no place I can’t explore Because everything can happen On the other side of the door.
On the other side of the door I don’t have to go alone. If you come, too, we can sail tall ships And fly where the wind has flown. And wherever we go, it is almost sure We’ll find what we’re looking for Because everything can happen On the other side of the door.
by Jeff Moss, found in Teaching With Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach
I love technology! I had been taking Otto Scharmer’s online Presencing course with some 125+ folks from all over the world (a most worthwhile course by the way that I highly recommend!), and had not been able to complete the last couple of classes. So I just signed in yesterday, and there was Otto, as vital and interesting as the morning he originally taped the lectures live.
The fourth class topic is about the right-hand side of the U-curve, and prototyping, or how to put vision and intention on its feet with experiments that would allow an exploration of the future by doing. Otto shared seven great questions to ask in order to sort out which of the many possible ideas/solutions to prototype. I share them here, because I believe they have applicability not only in this type of situation, but also for just about any type of implementation planning. Here they are, with the source fully acknowledged as: Otto Scharmer, Presencing Global Classroom, Session No. 4, Prototyping, Weekly Thursday Sessions, March 20-April 17, 2008.
Relevant: Does it matter to the key stakeholders involved?
Revolutionary: can it change the system – the structure that created the problem in the first place?
Rapid: can you do it quickly?
Rough: can you do it small scale? Is it doable and doesn’t cost millions? Can you pull off in a couple of weeks or months?
Right: have you got the right dimensions? Does the microcosm mirror the whole? Do you see in the experiment the core issue that really underlies the fundamental situation you are wishing to address?
Relationally effective: are you leveraging the existing networks and competencies? When you deal with a number of other organizations and players, you want to come up with something where you can leverage the existing competencies in the network, and doing so will give you a jumpstart in addressing the challenge.
Replicable: can you scale it up? Could this go viral?