As advances in technology improve processes and operations, business leaders must still deal with the prevalent issue of human behavior, especially when it is problematic and recurring. Mark Ledden shares four key steps that can change the negative habits towards the positive.
While Kenning coaches do sometimes help our clients learn how to invent and adopt entirely new behavior patterns, we often are asked to help our clients bring behaviors they already exhibit in one context to a different context. As Ishan (name changed), an SVP I recently worked with, put it, “My boss, the CIO, tells me I need to be more assertive in steering committee meetings. I feel like I am actually pretty good at being engaged and even challenging with my peers and my teams, but I know what she is talking about. When I am dealing with our CEO and Board, I feel reluctant to jump in.”
When I asked what seemed like a pretty straightforward question, “So, why don’t you act the way you do with your peers with the executive team?,” Ishan’s answer was at once surprising and predictable: “I guess I don’t want to look foolish or embarrass myself. Speaking up feels risky.”
Rationally, Ishan already knew perfectly well that it was probably much more risky for him to maintain this two-mode split than to bring more of his “working with peers” style to senior team meetings, but he was legitimately unsure why doing so seemed so hard, or at least so unsafe. Clearly there was a sense-making challenge in play that would need to be addressed for him to achieve lasting, self-generative growth as a leader. At the same time, though, while a strictly behavioral approach might not be sufficient, Ishan did have a reasonably large and straightforward opportunity to simply act more like he already did in some places.
The fundamental process for bringing a part of yourself that you show in one context into another entails the same basic four-step process we recommend for trying on new behaviors to break unhelpful habits:
Key points include:
- Identifying triggers prospectively
- Noticing habitual behavior
- Having a clearly articulated alternative in your mind
Read the full article, Grip trip: Four steps for changing problematic behaviors, on KenningAssociates.com.
Mark Ledden shares an article from his company blog on leadership and action in diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization.
This past year has caused tectonic cultural shifts. The same is certainly true within organizations. With the pandemic, many organizations have jumped feet first into remote working, flexible work schedules, and new ways of engaging their teams. At the same time, virtually every organization we’re aware of is seeking to respond to the calls for justice and equity across racial, gender, and sexual identity, both in the U.S. and globally.
This reckoning has profoundly impacted organizational thinking about culture – especially as it relates to how healthy organizational cultures can achieve optimal diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workplace.
Through our client collaborations, especially our work on culture diagnostics and development , we at Kenning have also been expanding our thinking. Below are some themes we’ve noted over the past year, and some related questions that have proved helpful for further consideration. Given our focus on development, we call out implications for how to approach DEI efforts as an opportunity to learn.
Strategy, accountability, and engagement
DEI strategy has a powerful connection to the broader organizational strategy. We have seen the value of connecting DEI into a fuller organizational strategy. Making connections between DEI and business strategy can unify an entire organization, even if there is not unanimous agreement about how to approach the specifics of DEI internally.
Questions to explore:
How can we evolve our organization’s thinking by explicitly designing with a diverse and inclusive client and customer base?
How can we create space for conversations about how to enhance that goal through internal alignment?
Momentum and empowerment go hand in hand with accountability across the entire team. As with any strategy, an organization’s approach to DEI needs engagement from top leadership. However, by definition DEI demands centering perspectives that have been previously marginalized. This means bringing an eye toward inclusivity of experiences and perspectives throughout the organization, well beyond those found in the C-suite or among leadership teams.
Key points include:
- Strategy, accountability, and engagement
- Momentum and empowerment
- Unfolding external and internal events
Read the full article, Taking a learning approach to DEI, on KenningAssociates.com.