Prospective clients come to us seeking leadership training, speaking of the technical skills their leaders need. And there is a place for that: Time management, difficult conversations, enrolling others in change are just three of the baffling challenges most organisations face continuously. And in our first conversation we try to understand the lasting change they would like to accomplish with the leadership training.
Skills training can last, but more often than not it doesn’t
The truth is that most leaders fall back into their old patterns only days after skills trainings. They have the tools, but they don’t apply them. The desired shift doesn’t happen, although they really want it. And they are puzzled by it, like I’m puzzled when I keep trying to change an unproductive behaviour pattern of mine and watch myself failing again and again. When this happens, you know that strategy won’t do the trick. In other words, your problem won’t solve itself by accumulating more knowledge and skills. And when clients see that they are at this point, they become invested in figuring out what’s behind this repeated failure to shift.
One way of looking at what’s happening is the image of an iceberg: The peak represents undesired results, highly visible to everyone and the cause for seeking change. In the middle are behaviours that everyone can see, though often you see other’s behaviours more clearly then they do, and vice versa. This is a bit of a messy middle, for everyone behaves differently and cause and effect for dysfunctionalities are not as clear cut as everyone might think from their own perspective. Where it gets really interesting is to look at the majority of the iceberg which remains hidden under water. Here in the opaque lies the key to lasting change: The beliefs and the mindsets of every person in the leadership team.
Making the invisible visible
Our work gets really exciting when an executive team figures out how they co-create the results they don’t want. The point of no return is the moment they see how their own beliefs trigger inconsistent and counterproductive behaviour which in turn creates a lack of commitment to lead with clarity. You cannot unsee what you’ve seen.
Their beliefs might hold back some or all of them from communicating their vision with clarity. It might hold them back from making clear asks of those they lead. It might hold them back from necessary feedback conversations, or even from publicly praising someone for their good work in front of others. Leaders are often unaware of how they hold themselves and thus the whole organisation back from creating the changes they want most.
Awareness is power
There is no lasting change without inner work.
We can support your executive team to co-create the change your organisation needs to not just succeed, but to thrive.