What is your favourite question to support your clients or those you lead to connect to their agency?
Over the last six months, more and more participants in our management development programmes arrive standing in a place of concern and anxiety. When I ask “What’s it like to be you, right now, in your organisation?” I am confronted with a wide array of concerns. People speak about their perceived lack of resources, or the decline in the resilience and sustainability of the people they lead. They dwell on hygiene factors outside of their gift to influence, or a need to feed organisational systems instead of delivering service to clients, customers, and citizens.
Without a doubt they are experiencing challenges in relation to complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity. Which is one of many reasons why all management development programmes need a strong leadership subtext.
Managers unanimously want their systems to be different and claim they want to play a role in bringing about that change.
There are three things managers need to do to open themselves to becoming agents of change:
Part of this process involves raising their awareness of what they are focusing on, such as their:
Circle of concern – the things they can do nothing about
Circle of influence – the things they can do something about, often indirectly
Circle of control – the things they can directly control
Choose a focus
This is the first choice managers must make. I often ask: “What do you want to give your attention and energy to?” And that often creates a shift from being the victim of their circumstances to tapping into their agency and choice.
And there is often a need to connect and reconnect managers to their agency: the belief that they can do something about the situation, which inevitably brings them back to their circle of influence and control. Part of that process is to build the muscles of noticing when their attention has drifted back to a concern. Asking “Given that, what now?” helps build and deepen a new pattern of thought which focuses on their circle of control.
This is a simplified distillation of a way of connecting and reconnecting managers and clients to their agency.
How about you.
Where do you focus?