Leveraging lean thinking and leadership to delivery products built with software.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Executive Guide to Transformation Coaching
is one of the hardest skills for an executive to learn.
The answer I
believe is revealing. Most executives are convinced they know what they are
doing. In his or her mind, it is the rest of organization that needs to change.
executives excel at building relationships and managing perceptions perhaps
most executives believe their own spin.
This state of
denial is a blind spot that blocks many an agile and lean transformation. Isn’t
the first step to change, recognition of the problems?
By believing it is
“their” problem, the executive overlooks an important part of the
transformation, the transformation of oneself.Subsequently, such an executive also ignores
the transformation of one’s peers.
Think of the
discontinuity that will arise. You are asking your staff to change their
behavior. Not only will this impact your organization, it will impact
culture that is in place, the one you are trying to transform, was put in place
by the leaders (i.e., you or your predecessors).The current system (i.e., the way work is
done) is primarily responsible for the organizations struggles. It is the
leaders that are primarily responsible for the state of the current system.
and lean leads one to understand the importance continuous improvement via root
cause analysis. Too many organizations are driven by a culture of blame. If
something goes wrong, someone is to blame. An executive must recognize it is
the current system that is the root cause of most of the current dysfunction. To
move from a culture of blame to a culture of continuous improvement requires
the elimination of fear. Removing the fear from ones organization does not
happen overnight and will not happen at all if the executive does not change.
OK, so you are an
executive and you have come to understand that the current system is the main
contributor to poor productivity and or quality. What next? You need to coach
Too many executives
attempt transformation and look to their subordinates to drive the change. When
their staff hits against the existing corporate system, the executive is
nowhere to be found. When an executive from a neighboring organization complains
or blames any person attempting to drive transformation the executive’s backing
is critical. Backing your people as they execute the transformation shows you
have skin in the game. Not to support your people is to bring the
transformation to a screeching halt.
Your role as coach
is to first coach your peers. This is essential if the transformation is to succeed.
Your peers need to be educated about the transformation. They need to know what
to expect, why the change is necessary and the results and benefits the
transformation will bring. Collectively, you can determine the impact to the neighboring
organizations and what if any coaching is required. When things go wrong, the
leadership needs to bring an end to blame. Instead the leadership needs to
coach how to drive continuous improvement via root cause analysis.
As you can see the
best transformation starts from the head. The executive educates oneself then
learns to coach one’s peers. Collectively, the leaders of the organization can
then begin to coach their organizations.
It is a rare
executive that has the insight and courage to first transform oneself then
become an agent of change by coaching one’s peers. Transformation is hard.
Transformation without support from the top is impossible. It will have limited
success at best and any progress made is likely to be short lived.
the top brings about sustainable transformation. What kind of executive are