Our firm, Cortex Leadership Consulting, has analyzed some research based on data collected from an assessment we provide our clients and participants of our workshops that I thought you might find interesting and perhaps, helpful. The study we conducted included 850 leaders, managers and executives in Virginia and North Carolina over the last 3 years. The study found that:
- 66% Dislike or outright avoid Visionary-like work
- 70% Dislike or outright avoid Ideation-like work
- 73% Like or actively pursue Planner-like work
- 59% Like or actively pursue Execution-like work
To explain what we have been studying: There are four phases to achieving an effective outcome based on a system known commonly referred to as a project work cycle. The first is to have a vision of where you want to go and the outcome you want to have. The second is to create ideas around how to get there. The third is to develop a plan based on your resources and capabilities, and the fourth is to execute on your plan. Nothing earth shattering about the system or the theory behind it.
What we found from studying leaders, though, is quite fascinating and perhaps telling. This data we collected suggests that leaders may be doing a solid job of planning and executing, but their forward progress may be limited by the fact that they haven’t taken time to create a clear vision, communicate that vision to their team, or gather different perspectives and ideas before they go into the planning phase. It would indicate that they can get things done, but are they always getting the right things done? With 70% avoiding the idea phase, which is popularly known as “brain storming”, are leaders taking enough time to create and consider enough ideas before they choose one to pursue?
What we need to do is to help leaders slow down and make time to think about the outcomes they want based on the information they have collected, and be open to seeking new perspectives and ideas on how to get there.
Our team at Cortex has discovered some things that appear to be helping.
Through our research we are finding that leaders spend the majority of their time in Quadrant I – Urgent and very important tasks and don’t schedule time for things that are very important but aren’t immediately on fire. Leaders need to learn to operate in Quadrant II. What is that? That’s what is known as Eisenhower’s quadrant of “Not urgent but very important”.
Leaders like you are running at 7.0 mph on a treadmill of activity, and to get you to slow that puppy down and make room for the not urgent but extremely important things is no easy task. Training in the skills of designing your time properly and gathering data to pin point where your team is effective and where it isn’t requires the proper assessments and analysis.
The key areas we have found that leaders don’t slow down long enough for are:
- Creating a vision for their organization, their divisions and their teams, based on core values, and communicating that vision and key accountabilities to get there, on a consistent basis
- Hiring the right employees for the right roles at the right time
- On boarding team members properly to ensure assimilation into their culture
- Coaching and developing team members, consistently, to reach their potential
- Adjusting plans when obstacles arise by circling back around and developing fresh, new, ideas for possible pathways to innovation.
Leaders, from our research, benefit greatly from learning techniques on how to listen more effectively and strategically think about the task and people before they take action.
To determine your strengths when working on a team project, contact us for a FREE ASSESSMENT at [email protected].