The Berlin Philharmonics consist of more than one hundred twenty musicians, who are led by Sir Simon Rattle. This is an enormous manager-to-staff span compared to business managers. Even if you divide the symphony orchestra in 16 instrument groups with the respective concertmasters, still the conductor has to lead each and every musician directly within the rehearsals and concerts. At the latest, when we think about Igor Stravinsky, we will recognize that the conductor makes more, than setting the beat.
Executives should also not only be limited to the beat. The following aspects have an important role in leadership, independently of the leadership style that one exerts.
- Self management
The largest task before you lead others is to steer yourself. A natural bias makes the neutral look at the own mental states and actions difficult. Only considering the own roles and the associated aspects, like convictions, abilities and actions, enable you to demand and promote the employees.
The idea that leadership is a task independent of contents does not fit any longer into current times. The leader has to take care of the development of new approaches. The efficacy of the employees is determined by the basic conditions, like consistent goals and the clear description of the tasks. For this purpose it is critical that the executives have a content-related mental map of their field.
Leadership that reduces itself to practicing a given power does not fit any longer into today’s business reality. The actual control of organizations takes place through a positive harmonization of the interests of the involved people. Besides the applied mechanisms (e.g. agreements, result orientation, Linking pin) a structured change management and a lean control system (Governance) determine success or failure of the initiatives. Coordination works best at eye level.
The dissemination and the mutual exchange of information within the nervous system of the organization are the basis for a viable and flexible business. This is where you can experience the real communication culture – the speed and preciseness of the information flow. Knowledge that is power, does not exist any more in an open information society, since the employees can get more information, than bosses could ever stockpile for their personal advantage.
The biggest effect leaders achieve with the design of the internal and cross-functional cooperation. It becomes especially crucial, when the dedication of many people is needed, in order to achieve a joint target. Workshops are the framework for developing integrated strategies and business models as well as improving the culture of the enterprise. Without an appropriate infrastructure (e.g. meeting corners, beamers, whiteboards, on-line forums, video conferences) the breeding area for the work is missing.
The additional aspects of leadership, like the performance review, the employee interview, and the job description also have to be fulfilled. The classical HR instruments set the beat. However, effective leadership needs more (see above).
Bottom line: The current dynamics and the fast pace require more than the application of the classical controls. The appropriate self-awareness, paired with a level of conceptual imagination, the employment of the right coordination mechanisms and a reasonable openness in communications create the perfect place for business. It is crucial that the conductor does not only set the beat.
The way into the future is a daring venture that requires constantly decisions, because it is full of unforeseeable bifurcations. Some decisions are easy. People can also let themselves be drifted. There are also moments, which provide alternatives that are not sufficient for them. As soon as the change pressure cannot be taken any longer, they actively care to get off the predefined path. Financial and personnel resources will be planned and the commitment for change will be announced. Actually it looks like they want change. Or not?
It is an extreme adventure, if one dares a leap from an outdated state into an uncertain future. The insecurity about the result creates a high risk. In order to make that leap, a defined precondition is the will for change. At the same time such projects offer the opportunity for a large career jump – potentially upward or downward. The consequence is to be torn between the reachable success and the deep abyss that opens up after a failure. Is it surprising that the responsible executives lack a certain continuity and consequence? What do the change leaders need, in order to be successful?
- A clear conception of the future
Change without a target is evolutionary shift, which is determined by the context and can only be affected indirectly. To pull off you need a vision that conveys the destination in such a way, as if it is already reached. Packed into a plausible story the way becomes visible that leads towards the goal.
- The enthusiasm for the future
Responsible executives must burn for this future in order to ignite the other people. The enthusiasm does not only show up in a positive snapshot of the future, but also in the congruent example that the pioneers show in their role model function.
- The way into the future
The responsible people must be ahead of all others on the way into the future, not standing indifferently beside and only propel. They lose their reliability, if they do not create the impression to believe in it. It must be clear to everyone that the way into the future will be stony and full of obstacles. The price for keeping up is the brave new world.
- Decisiveness for the necessary measures
In order to make progress with the change, it needs decisiveness and consequence. Particularly in the beginning the momentum is determined that will be needed during the realization to be able to get over larger difficulties. The necessary measures go beyond the content-related solutions. There are special tools available in change management that make the changes possible – convincing and engaging publications as well as the open discourses with the target groups.
- The willingness to change oneself
The personal willingness to change of all responsible people them is crucial for the success of the initiatives. They must leave their personal comfort zone and take risks, so that the others develop the confidence that allows them to admit the changes. If the responsible persons do not show this readiness, the project fails rather earlier than later.
So that room is available for innovation, you also have to let go things, which are actually completely pleasing. Change makers, who do not achieve to convey the change, to act respectively and to let those pleasant advantages go cause
- continuous delay of the change projects,
- lack of concrete results,
- confusion through permanent micro management,
- uncertainty due to repetitive goal changes and
- demotivation with unjustified accusations.
Change management begins in the mind of all involved and concerned people. Those, who are part of the problem, have difficulties to stick to these changes. For this reason, one needs neutral third views, which are free of personal involvement, who have the look for the substantial aspects and effective tools for change, so that the transition succeeds.
Bottom line: Change processes only work as well, as the responsible people, who perform them. The pre-conditions are the inspiring vision, the predefined way into the future, the decisiveness and the readiness to change of the responsible people. Who is not ready to admit is doomed to failure. They actually want change. Or not?