In this article our, CEO Per-Erik Persson shares his view on the connection between feedback, change and leadership. With his background as a Leadership coach, Per-Erik is familiar with both the challenges and the empty phrases being tossed around in social media. He explains how RealityCheck seeks to be better, how we help you to proactively avoid the trenches between direct reports and leaders.
“The rate of change has never been so fast and will never be as slow again.”
This quote gives little relief for companies – it has always been true that you need to evolve, it’s just that before you had more time. This inevitably increasing rate of change puts a lot of pressure on everyone in a company, and perhaps a little extra on managers since they are expected to lead the change in a way that allows alignment and adaption of strategy into new operational processes. Having to both keep operations steady and adapting them at the same time is Mission Impossible.
Most people prefer the status quo – even businesses do – consider Kodak, who preferred to stay with analogue cameras even though they had the technology for digital cameras 10 years before digital took over. Once a business has established successful operations they will inevitably relax a little. It’s inevitable because success is rewarded and you will then prefer this to the pressure of figuring new processes out.
All change is met with resistance, both inner, in terms of people preferring their old ways, and external since the world takes a little time to get used to your new ways of working. When you are met with resistance you have to rally to stay determined and to make all necessary adaptations to make your new strategy work – it’s messy, to say the least.
Learn to adapt
In order to become a sustainable leader you must constantly find new ways to do things. Don't get stuck in old habits – learn to adapt!
In our ambition to offer the most empathic 360-feedback report, we take our clients' challenges seriously. We know that there are a lot of catchy phrases being thrown around to motivate people – we want to offer something more tangible than mere words. We did some research, and found that what’s not working when things get messy is … drum roll … yes, you guessed it, communication.
More specifically, it’s hard for employees to get the support they need when coping with change. Whenever information ceases to flow, resources get misdirected. Managers fail to see where more support is needed and their direct reports start digging trenches to keep them safe, things escalate in a bad way. This is where our RealityCheck comes in (ideally before the trenches). No matter how far apart the differences have grown there is almost always a way to overcome the communication gap – a gap that is really about expectations not being met.
Overcomming the expectation gap
What’s our secret sauce? (How do we help you overcome the expectation gap?)
We focus on behaviours, very specific behaviours instead of vague concepts like "engagement" or "company vision". Don’t get us wrong, we believe in both engagement and a company vision, it’s just that the gap between vision and reality needs to be closed. What closes the gap? The right behaviours. Being able to listen to feedback, taking others' views seriously. Being able to communicate in a way that creates a clear line of site when it comes to changes and the work ahead, how does it all make sense?
When creating questions, we are fortunate to have Andreas Stephens onboard. In his research, he is used to scrutinizing, and won’t stop until all questions are clearly stated about visible behaviours that will positively impact the cognitive well-being of all employees – which ultimately is the goal for all leaders – tidying up in the mess of change that is constantly showing up at work.
In Pete Drucker’s words:
"Only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.”
Which conversations do you need to have, with whom, and based on what!?
The mess is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean we should just accept it. RealityCheck wants to provide the best report possible to identify exactly what needs to be done. Our analysis aims to provide state-of-the-art guidance in terms of how to address issues. Not only what area needs focus but why and in which way it should be adressed. That is: which conversation do you need to have, with whom and based on what?
We will even tell your leaders what they need to reflect upon, based on their own misconceptions. Remember – underperformance happens naturally in all organizations – but there is hope in leadership that listens to feedback!