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Four Steps Increase Your Ability To Navigate Change

September 22, 2014

Navigating Change Alice and the White RabbitI am collaborating on a chapter in a book about leadership 2050 and at the same time watching several colleagues and friends who are facing significant changes in their personal and professional lives. Interestingly, according to Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” So, how are you dealing with the change in your life? In your organization? What can you do to improve your capacity?

So what do you do when you begin to feel like Alice in Wonderland – you are Alice and you have fallen down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass and nothing make sense? When we do things that worked for us in the past, we find that they no longer work as we expected, and we do not know what will work. Basically, we just want to have the uncertainty and sense of anxiety or unease go away. For me, I want to DO something to make it stop.

I am working with a colleague who has recently made a dramatic change in her personal life and at the same time she learned last week that her job is changing significantly as her company announced a major reorganization. Her job will change, and it is possible that she will be unemployed in 6-12 months. She happens to be a beacon of resilience and positive attitude even during the most challenging of times. She may be genetically blessed on some level but on another level, she has developed really strong skills at responding to change. These skills did not happen on accident but rather she has consciously focused on developing this capacity just like she is conscious of learning other professional skills.

To build your resilience, we encourage you to take the free on-line resilience assessment to determine where to focus your energy right now. Here are four recommendations on building resilience:

  1. Attend to your physical health. During times of stress it is easy to fall into habits that are less healthy such as eating comfort food, lightening up on workouts, or having an extra drink on a tough day
  2. Focus on your self-talk. Pay particular attention to when you allow your inner voice to run on overdrive telling you what is wrong with you. If you do not have a gratitude practice, this is a good time to consider one. Do an experiment – when you are feeling down, think of one or two things you are grateful for. Even better, call someone you care about and tell them how much you care about them. Since our self-talk is connected to our feeling of wellbeing, it is important to manage it aggressively.
  3. Reconnect with your sense of purpose. What is most important to you? How does your daily work and daily life help you make an impact on the world? This could be something big or it could be small acts of kindness and being a good friend. By remembering that we make a difference and focusing on that difference, it is easier to put our setbacks in perspective and remember how we have overcome many of them over the course of our lives.
  4. Connect with supportive friends (and disconnect from unsupportive people). We all need someone to listen. Most of us probably are better at listening to others than asking others to listen to us; so chances are your friends will be happy to reciprocate when you reach out and ask for a supportive conversation.

Change is challenging, especially when the change is something we did not chose. For me, managing my emotions and inner conversations are the toughest. When I am under stress, my emotions can be out of balance, and what I feel is often much worse than the objective reality of the situation. I encourage you to take the assessment and take 1 small step today and tomorrow and the next day to build and maintain your resilience. If you are in a great place, these steps become part of a strong routine; if you are struggling with your own change, it will help you to build yourself up while you navigate challenge.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Loren Javier

How Accurate Is Our Measurement of Leadership and Leadership Traning?

September 17, 2014

Measuring LeadershipThis post is written by a guest blogger Brent Barkett Account Manager, Mountain Region at Cardinal Health, Capital MBA student, and former US Marine.

Are companies measuring to the standard of their leadership performance? For leadership training?

Like most of you, I’ve had the opportunity to experience many forms of leadership training, team building, and fostering of professional development.  Since the Great Recession in 2008, and its fall-out, why have companies not improved in their leadership more?

According to a study done by the Ethics Resource Center in 2012 (Ferrell et al) comparing an earlier study done in 2009, many metrics remain the same. For example: Discrimination, Abusive Behavior, Conflicts of Interest, Health and Safety Violations, Stealing, Sexual Harassment, and Disengagement levels have all remained the same if not elevated slightly. How are we ensuring the lessons “learned” during the Recession aren’t lost on the next generation? Every leader speaks of disengagement and turnover, but what are the real follow through actions to curb it?

Additionally, when we look at a leader’s ability to implement transformative change, studies like those conducted by McKinsey Consulting along with many others suggest that change efforts fail between 60-85% of the time depending on the study. These numbers have also not increased significantly over the last decade or more. In a time when leaders are increasingly expected to drive change, their results indicate that the training and development focused on driving transformation are not increasing their rate of success.

In the military there was a phrase “Inspect what you expect”. I think supervising and inspecting the standards that we set or expect may be falling short. Once we send our future leaders through company sponsored courses are we following up to see if the time and money for these lessons has been properly ingrained and carried out? As higher level (Director, VP, SVP, etc…) leadership how are you measuring mid-level management (the hinge pin of small unit success) to the standards you expect? I think we would all love to believe that managers and leadership should be above reproach but perhaps the data may tell a different tale?

We may also be looking at incomplete measures. If we send our leaders to training then they return to organizations that do not allow them to use their new skills, the training may be fine and the leaders may be learning. We may have created a situation that causes leaders to be even more frustrated – they learn that there is a better way but they do not get to do it because it “is not how we do things around here”

How do we get around this? Many companies make it mandatory for all leadership positions to submit or adhere to certain goals throughout the year as part of the compensation plan. Are these goals consistent with the leadership teachings that are company provided? Are these goals parallel with the standards or company credo that adorn or hang on the walls of your conference rooms? Are companies changing their systems and cultures in ways that allow their leaders to use their new knowledge to drive success?

I was having a chat with a peer that I had worked with previously. It was around the time of their Voice of the Employee Survey (VOE). Anyone who has ever taken these surveys knows they are about as secret as the launch of a new iPhone. I asked how he felt about them and his response hit a nerve. There were only four direct reports to his manager in the region. He was proud that he lied on each VOE survey so as not to rock the boat. His team always grumbled about the leadership and had misgivings to the contribution management made to the teams’ overall goal. He couldn’t say this, as he felt certain that if four less than beaming survey results surfaced in reference to one leader, the dissent would be met with retribution. The cycle of sub-par leadership would continue. Many people being promoted to a management/leadership position have probably all been in a similar position prior to the promotion. Once promoted, how do we measure the nuance, intangibles, and true leadership styles? Performance to quota? Turnover ratio? In correlation to the data above at the Ethics Resource Center it seems that no matter how we measure, it may include too many false positives. How do you find a comprehensive approach to measurement that is also cost and time effective?

On a different but related topic, how do we get around the “Peter Principal” of people getting promoted who do not have the right skills for the role? Many companies still promote the subject matter expert to leadership roles without providing management or leadership training. It is not surprising with this approach that instead of producing better leaders we keep making more of the same? When I was in the Marines they had a separate option that included high anonymity. If there was anything that didn’t seem right or any qualms you could Request Mast. You could go right to the top leadership, in private, and express your thoughts. Most corporations have a direct hotline to HR but who knows how that information is disseminated and who hears it.  Why is this powerful? Everyone knows it exists and in many cases it acts as a deterrent for mismanagement and fostering a transparent and inviting work place. If people do not know how their information will be used and if they cannot trust with certainty that it will remain anonymous, the risk of expressing concern is too high.

I ask three questions when I stand in front of groups. 1) Raise your hand if you have ever had a less than stellar boss. 2) How many people here have been promoted to management level and beyond? 3) If I asked the first question to all of your reports…how many do you think would raise their hand as you had?

It’s great that companies provide such amazing opportunity for development and we need to take it to another level and measure the stakeholders and future leaders to the standard we expect the training and opportunities to produce. We also need to measure the organization’s ability to adapt so our newly trained managers and leaders are able to implement what they are learning. If not…I’m sure we all enjoy more of the same.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Organizational Vibrancy and the Agreements that Drive It

September 16, 2014

Vibrancy This post is written by Dani Robbins, guest blogger and co-author of the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Nonprofit Executives.

Many nonprofits operate on a model of scarcity. There’s often not enough money, staff or stuff and many decisions get made through the lens of cost. What if there was another way?

Maureen Metcalf, leadership expert and co-author of the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and workbook series, which includes our book the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Nonprofit Executives, recently invited me to a Vibrancy Workshop facilitated by Jim Ritchie-Dunham from the Institute for Strategic Clarity. Maureen only invites me to transformational trainings so I was delighted to accept!

Jim started out talking about environments that are difficult, which the group defined as situations in which we don’t feel valued, in workplaces that don’t allow us to be our full selves, working for or with people that don’t allow us to thrive, or even think for ourselves. He contrasted (I just had a flash back to my HS English class) that with environments that do; workplaces where we’re excited to be, doing work that we find meaningful, surrounded by people who value our input.

How do you feel when thinking about those two environments?

Put your hands out. Using your hands as a scale, I want you to consider your left hand the difficult situations and your right hands to be the supportive environments. Raise the hand that reflects how you spend much of your time.

Is your left hand higher that your right? Jim would tell you that is because of agreements you, consciously or unconsciously, made.  If you change the agreements, you change the experience, which changes the outcome.

I can hear you out there shaking your head and saying, “I didn’t agree to that.” Some of us agree with our feet, which stay firmly planted where they are, despite our unhappiness. Some of us agree with our words. Some of us with our work, that is disengaged and below what we could do, if we were only supported the way we should. And some of us take our marbles and find another, more vibrant place to be.

Jim said that places in which we can thrive and people with whom we do thrive are described in words of light: Vibrant. Brilliant. Sunny. Bright.

Lack of Vibrancy is the price of not bringing out the best in everyone. When we do that, everyone loses. Vibrant is a long way away from the situation you were thinking about when you raised your left hand. How do we get to vibrant from darkness?

First question: Is the situation you’re in what you believe is the best situation for you?

No?

What does the next level look like?

First stop: find people and situations that are positive deviants. It means exactly what you think: people who are succeeding (positive) despite not following the rules (deviants).

None of us want to be average, right? We know someone in some organization somewhere who is breaking all the rules and, somehow, still excelling at everything they do.

Jim then said something that I loved. He said if you can see it – figuratively or actually – you can become it.  You have to step into the potential.

Abundance is the idea that if: they can, you can, and we all can. It’s creative collaboration. Change the agreement; change the experience; change the outcome.

Life doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. I don’t have to lose for you to win. You’re not competing against me anyway. You’re competing against yourself, or you should be.

We are all responsible for our own work. If we agree to that, hold people to those agreements and set up our organizations accordingly, we would be vibrant and our organizations and our world would be abundant!

This description is just a taste of a comprehensive framework to help us evaluate our agreements and create more vibrant organizations for ourselves, our colleagues, teams and clients. Vibrant organizations have happier people who produce significantly better results.

I found this material fascinating and am using it regularly as I notice what agreements are driving my actions. I am also using it with my clients. Because I now understand that I can change the agreement; change the experience; change the outcome.  And so can you.

It is simple, obvious even – and also very powerful.

If you are interested in learning more about what this can look like, take a look at this 20 minute video about Thorlo, a vibrant company. Who would guess that one of our positive deviants is a sock company that does all of its manufacturing in the US, pays its staff well above average for similar work in the same field  and is also highly profitable? Thorlo deviates from the expectation that producing off shore is required. They have a work environment that is different than most people get to experience. They are an example of positive deviants and they are thriving!

If you are interested in learning more, please visit www.harmonicvibrancy.com or contact us.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving our ongoing blog series or other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com – Bruce McKay

Franklin University Leadership Symposium

September 13, 2014

Title: Franklin University Leadership Symposium
Location: Columbus Convention Center
Link out: Click here
Description: The Symposium’s intent is to act as a catalyst for organizations and individuals to launch and sustain long term commitment toward developing leadership skills and leaders within the Central Ohio region. Maureen will be speaking in the Leader track on innovating your leadership.
Start Time: 7:30
Date: 2014-09-25
End Time: 16:00

Embed Innovation Systematically Part 3, Reflection Questions – Eric’s Story

August 27, 2014

Ziglar Success I’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. Congratulations! We have arrived at the final step in innovative leadership development. In this post, we will cover the second set of reflection questions to strengthen your understanding of embedding innovation systematically into your lifestyle. My answers are in italics for you to use as a reference to further understand the questions.

Embed change

Congratulations! This has been the final post in the innovative leadership development series for college students! Remember, innovative leadership and personal development are lifestyles. Once you have developed one skill/behavior to an ideal capacity, you must continue to focus on more areas to develop in order to strengthen your arsenal of skills as a person. Feel free to revisit my posts, or purchase the Innovative Leadership Workbook for College Students coming out in late 2014. Good luck!

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Celestine Chua

Implementing and Measuring Big Data/Embed Transformation

August 24, 2014

Big Data Art Museum ImageIn this blog series, James Brenza has been talking about implementing big data and analytics programs using a composite case study to illustrate the process. Each week James focuses on one of the seven steps giving specific examples to help illustrate how the tools can be used in a very practical manner. This is the last of the series that corresponds with the seven stage implementation model (shown below). More information on that robust model is available in the seven stage implementation model. More information on that robust model is available in the Innovative Leaders Workbook for Implementing Analytics Programs by Maureen Metcalf and James Brenza (scheduled for release in September 2014).

Leading Organizational Transformation

Embed into operations: As an analytic initiative produces transformational results, it’s the leader’s responsibility to ensure the changes are operationalized. If the sponsors, stakeholders, and extended team have been effectively engaged throughout the initiative, this could be a straightforward effort. By ensuring the extended team of system and process owners have received regular updates, they should be prepared to embrace the new methods. Ideally, they’ve been sufficiently involved to prototype and test the new processes. While existing systems may require revisions, small, incremental deliveries may help reduce the impact of the updates.

Celebrate success: As the new models are implemented, success should be celebrated with the entire team. It’s important for the leader to recognize and reward the entire team even if the change is relatively small.  The recognition should commend the use of enterprise data, the effort to validate and integrate the data, the work to build new models, and the energy required to operationalize them. Recognition should reference the business outcome and how it will be measured. It’s also a perfect time to identify which process steps or systems will be retired as a result of the new methods. If the leader includes that in the same message, it sends a much stronger signal about how firmly the enterprise espouses the new approach.

The measure of the outcome and process control cannot be taken lightly. It’s critical that the new methods are delivering the intended results. While analytic models are robust, it’s important to recognize they should be monitored and refined. The leader should guarantee that an ongoing process to monitor the results has been institutionalized. That process should include a feedback loop for ongoing model refinement and initiation of future initiatives.

Enable on-going visibility: The outcome measures initially identified and refined throughout the initiative should be documented in an executive dashboard and reviewed frequently. This will help reinforce the success and benefits of the initiative. The owner of the outcome should be encouraged to reference those measures in their regularly scheduled executive updates. This affirms they own the outcome as well as acknowledge the benefits of the initiative.

As the team celebrates the success of their outcome, they should also acknowledge their contribution to the process. This will reinforce the adoption of data and model-driven process improvements. When the models require maintenance, we recommend creating a list that will act as a reference for which team members should be re-engaged. It’s also important to recognize that model maintenance is a requirement and an expectation.  Regular or intermittent maintenance is a reality and should not be viewed as a deficiency of the team’s effort.

How is leading a big data/analytics initiative different than other projects? So let’s take a moment to reflect on what’s unique about data and analytic initiatives.

  • The leader should be certain the celebration of the implementation is not simply for the analytic effort. They need to ensure it is associated with the business outcome realized.
  • It should always be referenced by the measures that will be impacted by the outcome.
  • The leader needs to make sure the organization understands that the models will evolve as the journey continues.
  • Most significantly, the leader needs to tout that the victory is owned by the sponsors and stakeholders. Allowing them to share the celebration, helps the leader change the culture to be open to data and model driven transformations in the future.

Throughout this series, we’ve looked at the unique aspects of analytic initiatives and transformations. If treated like a system deployment or upgrade, the leader will encounter significant struggles to maintain engagement and attain the outcome. By putting strong emphasis on executive sponsorship, robust stakeholder management, broad team engagement, deep reviews of capabilities and skills, thorough planning that embraces flexibility, thorough communication planning, transparent progress reporting and strong execution, the leader can guide the organization to tangible results. By ensuring that results are measured through a financial or customer-centric lens, they’ll provide a lasting impact to their organization. Ultimately, the leader’s success will help the organization become more comfortable with analytic driven initiatives that will help guide the organization for decades.

If you are interested in reading more by James, you may want to read:  Evaluating Big Data Projects – Success and Failure Using an Integral Lens, Integral Leadership Review August – November 2013. You can also listen to the NPR interview that accompanies this paper including a dialogue between James Brenza, Maureen Metcalf, and the host Doug Dangler.

We also invite you to join the LinkedIn group Innovative Leadership for Analytics Programs on LinkedIn curated by James.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving James’ seven part blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: David J. Staley, Ph.D., The Ohio State University

Embed Innovation Systematically Reflection Questions Part 2 — Eric’s Story

August 22, 2014

DaVinci self masteryI’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. Congratulations! We have arrived at the final step in innovative leadership development. In this post, we will cover reflection questions part 1 to strengthen your understanding of embedding innovation systematically into your lifestyle. My answers are in italics for you to use as a reference to further understand the questions.

Eric's embed change reflection questions

There will only be one more post in the innovative leadership development series for college students! In the next post we will review the second half of the reflection questions.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Celestine Chua

Embed Innovation Systematically – Eric’s Story

August 20, 2014

Michael Jordan TryI’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. Congratulations! We have arrived at the final step in innovative leadership development. In this post, we will complete the beginning of a Personal Transformation Log. With this, we will know how to track our actual behaviors toward our goals, measure progress, and compare them to expected behaviors and progress. As always, my responses are in italics, which you can use to strengthen your understanding of the question. The next part of this post will give you a real-world application suggestions.

Eric Transformation Actiity Log

Real World Application: Expect the Unexpected & Fail Fast

While it’s important to focus on what’s in front of you in the present, it’s also important to consider the future. As you make progress on your current goals, and you’re in a good rhythm, take a few moments occasionally to consider what goals you could set in the future. Consider upcoming events, such as job hunting or graduate school programs. What kind of skills and behaviors would you like to develop by then? Another important thing is to take unpredictable events into account.

One thing that is guaranteed is that some completely unexpected and uncontrollable events will happen in your life, and they could greatly impact your short- and long-term goals. Due to this, it may be worth considering strengthening your resilience and problem-solving skills/behaviors when setting goals in the future.

Remember, failure is natural and no one is perfect. View mistakes and failure as an opportunity to learn. After all, the only true failure is failure to try.  Remember to think like a scientist, and use experiments, or constant trial-and-error. We like to use the term “fail fast”, meaning the faster you figure out what does not work, the faster you can figure out what does work.

In the next post, we will answer reflection questions to strengthen your understanding of embedding innovation systematically.  

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Celestine Chua

Implementing and Measuring Big Data/Analytics Programs

August 17, 2014

Big Data WordscapeIn this blog series, James Brenza has been talking about implementing big data and analytics programs using a composite case study to illustrate the process. Each week James focuses on one of the seven steps giving specific examples to help illustrate how the tools can be used in a very practical manner. This is the sixth in the series that corresponds with the seven stage implementation model. More information on that robust model is available in the Innovative Leaders Workbook for Implementing Analytics Programs by Maureen Metcalf and James Brenza (scheduled for release in September 2014).

Leading Organizational Transformation

Follow a methodology: The execution phase of an analytics initiative has some similarities to other efforts, but is also very unique. The similarity is the extensive use of systems and processes; the use of databases and servers is quite common. However, some of the types of databases or servers will be unique to analytic efforts. Due to the volume of data or use of statistical analysis, new infrastructure may be required. It is critical that the infrastructure is available and validated prior to attempting any model development. It is possible and reasonable to deploy the infrastructure while the teams assess data and build models, but concurrent development of all levels of the solution multiplies risk. Establishing core infrastructure design and the data for initial analysis contains the risk as small models are built incrementally. Additionally, the data discovery methods may be unique to many team members. The team can significantly reduce barriers by embracing an industry standard (e.g., CRISP-DM), leveraging published documents on its use and demonstrating how they align with it.

For the preparation of data for analysis, the leader should be very clear on the progress of establishing, exploring, understanding, cleansing and integrating the data. This is especially critical if new data sources are being used or if it’s the first time a well-established data source has been used for this type of initiative. Even though data may be used for business transactions, the team can’t assume the data is sufficiently standardized for analysis. The leader must ensure this clarity through collaboration with business analysts and data scientists to develop a graphical depiction of each data source going through validation and normalization processes.

Let the data guide you: Since the team should be following an iterative execution methodology, they must be prepared to demonstrate flexibility and adaptability as the results of the data analysis guide their tasks. As hypotheses are constructed, the team should embrace the possibility of proving themselves wrong. If the team focuses on data that will only prove and support their hypotheses, they are creating a potential failure. Bad models don’t age well—so the team has to attempt to break their own assumptions. They’ll also need to hold back portions of the data for model validation and training. This standard process will allow them to increase confidence in the models.

Another example of this could be when two (or more) data sources that are being mined have historically supported different operational purposes.  At first glance, data elements may appear to align across the systems. As the analysis evolves, data issues arise in which apparent logical matches are broken. With deeper analysis, the team may discover that similarly-named attributes serve unique purposes. In isolation and context, each source is 100 percent accurate. By being open to opportunities, the team may simplify the challenges being solved, or identify additional solutions based on a single model.

Embrace continuous change: At present, the pace of technology and technique innovation is faster in analytics than in nearly any other technology field.  The industry is continuously adding new capabilities that will greatly simplify solutions. Additionally, many business intelligence and visual tool vendors have enabled community development for new features faster than any single vendor can invent them. While building an initial infrastructure is required, it is critical to consider that it must have the capability to evolve quickly. Embracing this continuous state of evolution is key to maintaining team productivity as well as user satisfaction.

Keep communications flowing: Throughout the execution, the leader should constantly refine the plan and communications to transparently discuss the progress of the iterations and the stride toward the final outcome. This can be accomplished by documenting planned versus actual progress for each sprint. By ensuring each sprint completes some demonstrable progress, the leader will be equipped to maintain sponsor confidence. As each progress demonstration is completed, the leader should review the stakeholder management plan to ensure that sponsors and stakeholders are maintaining or increasing their engagement. If support is waning, the stakeholder management plan must be revisited to reactivate support.

As the models evolve, the team can assess the system and process changes necessary to implement them. At the same time, they should review the measures that will ensure use of the models. An ideal mechanism to support that is to simultaneously define and communicate the rewards associated with the model utilization. Communicating the rewards will help reinforce the new operational methods and behaviors as well as support the retirement of the outdated processes.

Focus on team health: Due to the iterative nature of the process and continuous data discovery, the team will go through many cycles of elation and challenges. The leader should focus on team resiliency to ensure team members remain committed and cohesive. It’s important to recognize that challenges in the data or models are not a reflection of the team’s ability, rather they are an artifact of reality. By focusing on celebrating successes and alleviating team stress, the leader can help the team maintain its momentum. To help reinforce that consistency, the leader should regularly engage the sponsors to provide additional support to preserve and cultivate team morale.

How is leading a big data/analytics initiative different than other projects? So let’s take a moment to sum up what’s unique about data and analytic initiatives.

  • The constant discovery of data and model strength requires vigilant and transparent updates to the sponsors. They should receive regular status reports that reinforce the notion that the initiative is not a traditional system implementation, but a process of discovery.
  • The solution infrastructure and tool use may evolve throughout solution development.
  • Referring to the initiative as a journey is an appropriate phrase.
  • The leader should be prepared to provide frequent updates on data discovery and model evolution which may include frequent bad news (which if it disproves outdated assumptions is actually good news).
  • The constant flexibility to link model effectiveness to a business outcome is very unique to these initiatives.

As the initiative progresses, the team must be prepared to incrementally implement improvements as they become available. In the next section, we’ll discuss techniques to embed the transformation.

If you are interested in reading more by James, you may want to read:  Evaluating Big Data Projects – Success and Failure Using an Integral Lens, Integral Leadership Review August – November 2013. You can also listen to the NPR interview that accompanies this paper including a dialogue between James Brenza, Maureen Metcalf, and the host Doug Dangler.

We also invite you to join the LinkedIn group Innovative Leadership for Analytics Programs on LinkedIn curated by James.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving James’ seven part blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com Marlus B.

Take Action to Develop as a Leader, Reflection Questions Part 2 – Eric’s Story

August 15, 2014

I’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In this post I will answer the second set of reflection questions involved with prepared to take action. As always, feel free to refer to my personal answers in italics to get a better sense of what we’re asking. I am answering these reflection questions to clarify my thoughts about my plan to overcome barriers and leverage enablers from my prior post.

Eric Taking Action Reflection questions

This marks the end of the Take Action part of the innovative leadership development process. In the next post, we will learn how to embed innovation systematically and maintain the mindset of an innovative leader throughout your life.

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

If you are interested in receiving Eric’s ongoing blog series or our other articles by email, please sign up in the box on the right labeled Get Email Updates From Us.