Therese Lardner, DisruptHR Brisbane presenter and founder of Mindset Coaching and Consulting shares her thoughts on leaders using big picture thinking to get big results.
Leaders often think that creating an environment where teams and organisations thrive is complex. Decision making and problem solving needs to happen quickly for leaders to stay on top of their game, so I can understand the temptation to look at one presenting (aka the most painful) issue and work to solve it. The problem is that this often happens in complete isolation from the rest of the business system. For example, an organisation with high staff turnover who overhauls their recruitment process should be commended for taking positive action, but I question how useful that action is if it’s not taken holistically. Even the best new hires can be set up to fail if they’re not onboarded effectively or they’re embedded into a toxic culture.
‘Band-Aid’ solutions that solve the superficial problem often cover up or exacerbate the underlying, more deeply-entrenched problem.
We need to resist the temptation to make short term fixes and changes. ‘Band-Aid’ solutions that solve the superficial problem often cover up or exacerbate the underlying, more deeply-entrenched problem. For example, implementing a leadership development program may seem like a great first step, but are you hiring the right leaders to begin with? Has your business set out clear leadership pathways within the organisation? Have you clearly and consistently communicated your expectations of leadership behaviour and results? Is there adequate support and resources to guide leaders in using any new-found skills? There could be two or three necessary steps before implementing something like a leadership development program. Sound like hard work? It probably will be, but it’s a much more sustainable approach that will set your leaders up for success and ensure that you’re not fixing a much bigger problem down the track.
A simple approach to looking at the bigger ‘people’ picture will lead to more sustainable solutions, lasting change and better results. If you focus on four key areas, you can make sure that you’re seeing the bigger picture:
Culture: the ‘how things are done around here’.
Context: the operating environment of the organisation both current and future.
Vision: the ‘why’ or purpose of your organisation.
Values: the guiding truths that drive behaviour.
Don’t dismiss culture
If you are investing in clarifying your values, creating a strong vision, or implementing new technology, understand what cultural drivers will impact on your initiative.
Explore the operating environment of the organisation. What will impact on its success now and into the future in terms of customers, market conditions, political considerations and technology advances. What skills will your people need for your organisation to be successful now and the future?
Understand the ‘why’ of the business. What purpose does it hold?
Work to truly understand why the organisation exists. Focus on the core driver and what the end goal is.
Focus on values and select for them
With your vision clear, what values make your organisation unique and successful? Select new hires based on that capacity to contribute to the values and vision of the organisation.
Focusing in on these four key areas before making any investment in your people or HR processes can prove hugely beneficial in terms of productivity and engagement as well as saved time, money and energy. A holistic perspective also reduces the risk of implementing short term ‘Band-Aid’ solutions that just create more work and heartache in the end.
Therese Lardner is a Leadership and Engagement Coach and the founder of Mindset Coaching and Consulting. Therese works with leaders in the mining, engineering, technology and professional services industries to reduce staff turnover, increase productivity and build engagement.