An experience that delivers true value, embedded transformation and establishes an influential future is what makes the difference in leadership development.
- It’s not information. Motivated leaders can get that anywhere.
- It’s not inspiration. Great leaders have that on the inside.
- It’s not direction. Smart leaders know where they’re going.
The difference is the transformative framework. A way to make sense of the problems you are facing and the aspirations you have. A framework clearly communicates what’s in and what’s out. Smart leaders need less motivation and inspiration and more collaboration and context these days. The framework is the gift.
- The Fit – Is there trust, rapport and energy between us?
- The Frame – Is there a clear process for lasting and embedded growth?
If there is no connection the program simply doesn’t matter. If there is no process the activity is futile.
“It’s like you’re running down the sideline with white line fever IN the field of play,” I told Deborah. “And I’m running down the same sideline just as fast OUTSIDE the field of play, my role is to keep you focused on delivering at your best for as long as possible.” I help technical experts become people leaders using my Four Stage Growth Framework. A focused and proven framework to embed real and lasting change in leaders, teams and organisations. You can watch the outline here in less than sixty seconds.
Growth Framework Master Model
There are four pieces to the growth framework, they are:
Sense Making – What’s really going on?
GOAL: Gaining Clarity
THINK: Like a Scientist
OBSTACLE: Lack of Focus
Sense making is a leadership skill for the 21st Century. Interestingly, it was introduced as part of organisational studies in the 1970’s by Dr Karl E Weick and is formally defined as “the ongoing retrospective development of plausible images that rationalise what people are doing.” In other words how people give meaning to what they have experienced. Laura McNamara says what it’s about is ‘making sense’ (She acknowledges the tautology and stands by it too) as a tool to see not just what’s happening in leadership and organisations but also what that means.
Making sense and getting clarity are critical foundations for all and any leadership development. It provides a clear place to start. Not perfect, but clear. When you know where you ARE you can better define who you want to BE and where you want to GO. Be forensic about what your reality is and focus your thinking to gain a clear understanding.
Story Telling – What narrative would empower you?
THINK: Like a Movie Director
OBSTACLE: Lack of Imagination
Leadership has a poetic way of inviting us into our own Hero’s Journey. We leave with the anticipation of an epic mission ahead of us only to run headlong into unscheduled imperfections. Our own imperfections, the imperfections of others, and parts of the life and business that we can’t control. At that point, we face our limitations or run from them. They make us stronger or pursue us until we stand and face them. Relationships, learning, experiences, battles, victories and losses are added to our ’story’ and we emerge, victorious, to face our new world as a new person. Leadership will make something of you, you never considered possible when you navigate the future well.
This second stage of the framework invites us to ‘vision’ what is possible and what we could become. It invites us to dream of an alternate future, free from the tyranny and constraints of reality. To think like a Movie Director, a master storyteller. It’s a heady, imaginative, visionary time where we consider the possibilities without the reality that surrounds it. We lean into the possibility of Maximus Decimus Meridius where he inspires his troops to battle with “what we do in life, echoes in eternity.” Story Telling is exciting, colourful, imaginative, and full of possibility and hope. It focuses on what could be and who you can become in the process.
Skills Creation – What capability deficit can we fill?
THINK: Like an Apprentice
OBSTACLE: Lack of Discipline
Stage three adds up the clarity of sense making and the possibility of storytelling and asks the coaching question “Who do you need to BE to see this become a reality?” Be careful not to run ahead to action here (See stage four) this stage is about focusing on areas of growth and learning that will reflect your responsibilities and aspirations from earlier.
This stage subtly shifts towards being accountable and clear about what capability deficits there are for you as a leader. We all have them. We must think like an Apprentice and ask “What must I learn to really leverage my responsibilities and my vision?”
Path Finding – What does your next step look like?
THINK: Like an Athlete
OBSTACLE: Lack of Accountability
Path Finding is action orientated, pragmatic and immediate. It seeks to make the reality, possibility and growth a reality by doing the next and most important actions. It’s measurable behaviour for which we are accountable. It makes specific ‘what by when’ commitments and invites accountability and feedback. Think like an Athlete and build a training and executing rhythm into your world. Learn and Do. Learn and DO. Learn and Do. Over and over. Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent (Attribution: John Maxwell.) Use it as an opportunity to grow and assess yourself against your own goals and adjust as and when necessary.
Perfect practice makes perfect. When you get your framework working you get your leadership growing.
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.