Turbulent Waters in the Organization. Can we still make headway when our emotions turn to survival? image (c) 2014 Amberwood Media Group
CHARLOTTE, NC. Leadership and organizational learning are hard enough on a good day, when things are calm.
When our surroundings become turbulent the situation can worsen quickly, as we begin facing new obstacles. The rules change. Challenges arrive more rapidly. Problem definitions morph before our eyes. Goals begin to shift in real time. Team members may end up in different roles, and the opportunity to communicate with them may be limited.
Whether its new management, new competitors, or even new regulatory presures, leading in times of change places considerable demands on us (ref: 21st century Kotter; see also: Collaboration DNA). Learning focus can move to the back burner.
Out of fear, do we simply latch onto survival instincts?
Or do we manage to focus, somehow, on the challenges flowing toward us?
Too often, fear consumes us. When we most need our thinking and perception skills, the flood of rapid change can cause paralysis or panic.
I love the metaphor of turbulent water (think flood waters, river rapids, or heavy surf) because the notion of rough water demands attention, skills that favor balance, and a clear ability to react in the moment. In short, turbulent change requires all of our energy. If we apply the metaphor in the organizational learning context, what may leaders take away? Let’s discuss it:
- Q1. What are some secrets for change and learning leaders seeking to function in turbulent situations?
- Q2. Can an organization still learn when rough waters distract us?
- Q3. Are there good arguments to suspend learning when focus shifts to survival?
- Q4. As the world grows more connected and accelerated, the rate of flow can only increase; will we ever see smooth sailing again?
I hope you will join us MON May 12th at 8pET using hashtag #cdna. Water metaphors or no, we always have in-depth conversations. Bring an extra paddle, and let’s see where we might go.
See you online.
1 Comment | tags: #cdna, attention, change, collaboration, flow, learning, metaphor | posted in flow, leadership, learning
In the game of chess, every move brings important decisions. Is it best to advance, and stake a claim to new ground? Or to retreat, consolidating gains? Taking the lead, or letting the person across the game board set the pace?
Collaboration is fraught with decisions like these, where we must decide how to engage, and then revisit those decisions again and again, making adjustments.
Much depends, of course on our intentions and the context of the situation at hand. Are we there to share and inform, or to learn? Ultimately, isn’t it some of both?
In the context of effective team dynamics, I believe we need a balanced strategy, finding the optimal place between extremes, sharing and learning in useful ways. It’s about letting the circumstance of your knowledge, the topic, and the chemistry of the group tap new, “emergent” possibilities.
As we continue to explore the dynamics of effective collaboration in The DNA of Collaboration, “Balanced Objectives” (Ch.17) asks us to consider the importance of a balanced approach, and to understand how to get there.
In our chat SAT Nov 17 11aET (click here to join), let’s unpack it like this:
- Q1. Explore the shifting dynamic of teacher v. learner in a collaborative context.
- Q2. As in chess, collaborators balance opportunities to advance v. consolidating gains. Can we switch often and be productive?
- Q3. To achieve collaborative balance, must our roles keep shifting between leading and following?
- Q4. Is there an optimal balance between structured process and a more open, creative flow?
Hope this helps bring the balancing act of collaboration a bit more into focus. It’s critical thinking at the micro level, making decisions in the moment. When it comes to solving problems in teams, paying attention to dynamics like these pays huge rewards.
Challenge me with your thoughts and ideas .. we’re all here to learn! I’ll see you online!
– Chris Jones, author, aka @sourcepov
1 Comment | tags: #cdna, adapting, attention, balance, collaboration, decisions, flow, learning, problem solving, structure, teacher | posted in balance, booktour, critical thinking, flow, learning
Collaboration starts with the ability to listen. That’s also where it often stops.
Amid a deluge of information and a proliferation of ways to get it, it’s no wonder that we tune out to so much of what is happening around us. But it spells trouble when we try to solve problems together.
I’ve addressed active listening as a core, foundational element in The DNA of Collaboration because so often it’s where we run off the rails. For years we’re programmed to speak up, take a stand, and broadcast our ideas. So what do we do in meetings? We wait for our turn to broadcast. If there’s spare time in between soliloquies? We use it to polish up the next one.
Collaboration doesn’t work that way. True communication requires give and take, focus, and our full awareness of others around the table (virtual or otherwise). It’s amazing how many f2f meetings and virtual chats I attend regularly where people don’t listen in the slightest. They might as well be wearing headphones. Some of them actually are. And there’s that whole fiddling with email on the smartphone routine.
For true engagement that leads to valuable collaborative outcomes, we need to change our approach.
Let’s look at some key CDNA discussion points our next Virtual Book Tour conversation, SAT 9/8 11aET:
- Q1. Bias for Respect. Do you value the input of others? How do you show it?
- Q2. Bias for Trust, aka ‘benefit of the doubt’ means leaning into new interactions. Do you do this? Have you been burned, and if so, did you bounce back?
- Q3. Active Listening. What steps can you take to be present, in the moment?
- Q4. Empathy. Is this a natural trait, or a skill that can be learned?
- Q5. Positive Outlook. Do we come poised to win the debate, or to learn? What are the signs? How can we influence mindset?
- Q6. Goal Orientation. We’ve said our intent is key. Why does it impact our ability to listen in the moment?
To me, collaborators must be willing to listen. It seems so intuitive. But how often do we try to do it? How often are we successful? Join us, as we discuss this important thread. To join the conversation, click here.
– Chris Jones, author, @sourcepov
Leave a comment | tags: active listening, attention, collaboration, empathy, focus, goals, intention, listening, respect, trust | posted in active listening, booktour, intention