Most organizations today face significant challenges in leadership development, change management, and creating and sustaining an effective organizational culture. Let me help your organization build those capabilities.
— Timothy T. Lupfer, THE ORG GUY
Don’t outsource the experiences that your organization itself should learn to be able to adjust, adapt, and transform…
Organizations have memories. The learning from key organizational events should not be outsourced to another firm, to become some other organization’s store of comparative information and case studies.
You own your big events – don’t give them away…
Today, most so-called consulting is actually the outsourcing of project management. Seasoned experts can certainly help, but the heavy lifting for critical programs should always be done by the organization itself. Most importantly, the ownership of the program and the results must belong to, and stay with, the organization. Especially in today’s fast-paced environment, organizations can only survive if they establish a habit of cumulative improvement.
Are outside eyes useful? Can’t broader and deeper experiences help?
The solutions to most organizational problems, both in concept and in execution, lie within the organization. However, many organizations have a difficult time finding them, so they shortcut the process and bring in outsiders. What I offer is the ability for you to use limited outside resources to generate the solutions within your organization, and to make those solutions part of your organizational DNA.
I can help you find the solutions within your organization.
When we consider how organizations succeed
or fail, in so many cases the crucial factor is
effective leadership, or a lack thereof…
In effective organizations, management and leadership do not clash. Management is the employment of all resources to achieve the organizational goals, while Leadership is affecting people, a specific resource, to achieve the organizational goals. Ideally, these two abilities are complementary and mutually reinforcing...
Let’s stop the confusion about Management
Leadership and Management are closely related, but they are not the same thing:
Leadership is the ability to affect a defined group of people to achieve the organizational goals, through both direct means (positional authority) and indirect means (influence). Outstanding leadership achieves success by additionally tapping into the discretionary effort, that reserve of energy, of the members of the group.
Management is the process of planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling organizational resources to achieve the organizational goals. Those resources are: time, material, financial, procedural, informational, intellectual, relationships/networks (including reputation), and human.
Leadership and Management overlap in the involvement of human beings. Management is the process of using that resource (among others), while leadership is interacting with that resource (and only the human resource) to influence its behavior.
Today, too many “experts” portray leadership as “cool” and management as bureaucratic and stifling, setting up a false dichotomy. That is not the real world. A fundamental insight, often overlooked, is that one must demonstrate managerial competence to gain credibility as a leader.
Leaders affect people through authority (direct) and influence (indirect). Authority is primarily bestowed upon the leader by the organization, while influence is accrued over time. Interestingly, I have observed that many leaders today don’t understand how to employ these two elements effectively.
seldom achieved through just Kumbaya…
My definition of leadership, unlike many in the marketplace today, is a carefully-defined, organization-centric approach. This definition does not equate leadership simply with influence. We try to influence all sorts of people every day, but that effort is not necessarily leading; leading is more specific and organizationally dependent. Leadership includes possessing the formal authority to direct others, and today too many young leaders are unpracticed in using their authority, perhaps because we tend to overemphasize influence. Informal influences can include: appearance, communications skills, moral suasion, personality, and personal reputation. But in organizations, leaders do not operate through influence alone; they must employ the authority that the organization has bestowed upon them. We humans are a very hierarchical species. We look for the indicators of status from the organization that give credibility to those who direct us. A successful leader in any organization today uses his/her formal authority and supplements it with informal influence. I can help your leaders learn the skillful use of both critical elements.
Many people search for the “magic beans” or the secret elixir that will make them great leaders (and many so-called experts peddle such magic), but Leadership is a complex mix of elements (Purpose, Capabilities, and Character), whose optimal balance depends on the specific organizational Context – which often can change. Leadership is dynamic, and it is always a work-in-progress.
Forget Jack and the Beanstalk—there are no magic beans.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin
Let’s not oversell the degree of change in today's environment…
Contrary to popular hype, people living in the West from 1800 to 1950 were subjected to more profound change than we in the West are today. Today, however, the cycle time of change has been reduced, because of the breadth of communications and the scope of global competition. One key aspect of managing successful change is to determine the degree of change required.
Should we: Adjust, Adapt, or Transform?
Why do people fear and resist change? Because we’re a contradictory mix of emotions about change…
We all have a tendency to seek a steady state, or stasis; we want predictability and control in our lives. In contrast, however, we will also sometimes gamble, and we seem to be naturally drawn to novelty. But our judgments are often very flawed when we assess the risk in these areas. The bottom line is that we are not very well equipped to handle change. So how can we successfully mange it?
The Hidden Power of Culture
Time and time again I have heard executives relate how a given organizational effort (such as an acquisition, change program, or entrance into a new market) was made very difficult by the failure to address culture.
So, what is culture, anyway?
Culture is the set of underlying values, beliefs and assumptions that determine how things actually get done. Culture is an integral part of any organization, and different parts of one large organization can have several sub-cultures, often very different.
Can an organization's culture change?
Yes, but it’s never easy. Culture is a phenomenon that is influenced both by top-down forces (mechanistic forces) and by bottom-up forces (organic forces). [Please see my blog posting on this subject.] While organizational cultures can be strongly influenced by the example of the leader, cultures do not change solely by a decree from above. Changing an organization’s culture requires a serious commitment of time and energy.
There are important variations of culture in organizations. The underlying values, beliefs, and assumptions will strongly influence organizational (and individual) behavior, and certain characteristics will emerge. Here are some important “flavors” of organizational behaviors that are driven by culture. Please note that these are not mutually exclusive:
The Ethical Culture
The High Performance Culture
The Innovative Culture
Since the tender age of 17, I’ve been part of big,
often really big, organizations….
— [Timothy T. Lupfer] THE ORG GUY
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