Applying Liminal Agility

Leaders are expected to improve results, which means they are consistently challenged to drive change. Change is a disruption. Few people welcome disruption which makes it the root cause of resistance to change, and every leader’s primary obstacle to be overcome for successful implementation of needed change. In their new book, “Unleashed,” Rick and Amy Simmons, founders of the telos institute,explorea process of liminal agility that leaders may use to transform disruption into opportunity, accelerating the …

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Job Satisfaction Drives Progress

Leadership is a people business. Results are achieved by influencing and inspiring your people to ask why, take responsibility, and make a difference for customers, teammates, and the business as a whole.  During this time of unrelenting change and adaptation, it becomes clearer that your people are your most sustainable competitive advantage. They are the face of your business, doing the meaningful work and delivering the experiences that build enduring relationships. Growth relies on these relationships.  One system …

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The Value of Meetings

One client recently commented that he’s attending more meetings now than he previously did before the Covid shutdown, and it’s destroying his productivity. It’s a complaint I’m hearing more frequently.  When I asked if his concern was due to the higher number of meetings he’s being requested to attend, or because the meetings themselves were unproductive, he replied that both were issues for him. Time is an irreplaceable asset.  Deciding how much of your valuable time to …

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Choosing Agile Tactics

Strategy and tactics are complementary. Both are needed to achieve goals, and neither works well without the other. While strategies tend to remain unchanged for long periods, tactics often evolve in reaction to changing circumstances or unforeseen obstacles.  In “Good Strategy, Bad Strategy,” Richard Rumelt writes: “The most basic idea of strategy is the application of strength against weakness; or if you prefer, strength applied to the most promising opportunity. A good strategy doesn’t just draw on existing …

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Cultivating Team Accountability

Since leaders are responsible for the performance of their teams, they often assume the role of primary accountability monitor for each team member.   In team meetings, each teammate reports to the leader, in turn, on her or his activities. The result is a one-sided presentation of information between team member and leader, with little dialogue occurring among the rest of the team. This creates an environment in which team members assume that the leader is the only …

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Creating Customer Value

The marketplace is noisy, filled with commodities of all sorts, pitched to the masses, often using low price as the seductive hook. When the objective is to get orders, as many as possible, quickly and easily, then offering a low price can attract the crowd. Low price is obvious, direct and easy to evaluate for these buyers; its benefit is the same for everyone. If your growth strategy is to market your offering as a …

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Overcoming Obstacles to Improvement

Leaders are expected to improve results, which means something must change. People often see change as risky, so they resist it until they are convinced that the expected improvement will outweigh the risk of the change. Surviving in a competitive world demands that improvements continue, so motivating people to change, to improve a product or process, consumes much of a leader’s time. Leaders may launch an improvement effort by explaining why the change is necessary, …

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Relying on Feedback

All automated systems rely on feedback loops to sustain accuracy and repeatability. These loops compare results against system settings, and adjust variables to ensure alignment and expected performance.   Then, when change compels a system’s performance to improve, there’s a ready baseline of consistent data against which to measure and generate improved results. It’s a logical, unemotional process that delivers higher performance.  The performance of people is similarly subject to unrelenting change that disrupts their status quo. And because the …

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Who Are You Competing Against?

In this dynamic market, the most agile, growing businesses compete more against themselves than against any competitor. Competing companies, offering comparable solutions, struggle to differentiate themselves over time, resulting in declining prices and margins which impede sustainable growth. Your customers care only about the value you produce for them, and however you accomplished this last time, they will expect more next time. Producing more value than last time, without just reacting to what your competition is …

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Employing Empathy

Empathy, the capacity to understand another person’s perspective and feelings, is often described as the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. But don’t confuse empathy with making people happy or being nice. Empathy is a skill that enables leaders to scan large sets of data and establish priorities, sorting out what’s noise and what’s essential information by assessing signals, anomalies and novel patterns that compel their attention. For those who master it, employing …

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