Again and again, senior executives fall into four behaviour traps that frustrate organizational change. The behaviours are hard to recognise and reverse because they serve to protect egos and forestall anxietybut company executives can triumph over them.

First, chiefs fail to set proper expectancies. When they announce major directional changes or new goals, they do not spell out credible plans or indicate whos responsible. 2nd, they excuse subordinates from the pursuit of overall goals, permitting folk to stay engrossed with their own units. Third, Company management fundamentally conspire with staff experts and advisors by going along with a deeply flawed contract : The professionals agree to deliver and implement a product ( a new system, for instance ) but dont include quantifiable gains as part of the deal. Fourth, bosses wait while associates overprepare. After challenging their employees to make needed enhancements, they accept the reply Yes, but first we need to Finish the sentence : Train our folk. Set up focus groups. And the like.

The best way to confront the traps is to conduct tiny personal experiments that rapidly produce discernible results, sustain tiny likelihood of failure, and are confined enough to show a clear link between trial and result. For instance, one iron plant addressed quality issues by targeting 5 areas for improvement, setting clear and quantifiable goals for each, and holding team leaders responsible for outcomes. All five experiments succeeded and were extended to the remainder of the plant. Quality issues eased up within 100 days and virtually vanished 1 or 2 months later .

The Boss as Human Shield
As employees endeavor to do their roles, they are facing threats to productiveness from all quartersdisruptive technology, meddlesome highers, senseless organizational practices, and violent clients and purchasers. Effective business leaders remind us that the best bosses identify and slay those dragons, so protecting the time and the dignity of their people and enabling them to focus on real work. Self-awareness is the key to defending workers effectively . Good leaders resist their own disposition to exercise power : They keep meetings short, hear their supporters, and make it safe to disagree with the director. They also work to reduce outside diversions by, for example, champing mornings freed from email or streamlining performance review processes. When their own bosses are the difficulty, they occasionally defy orders. Once in a while, they encourage their people to explicitly go along with badly judged demands from on high without really taking a position in them. Good bosses fight enemies. They take the heat for their teams. They have their employees backs. Standing on to this battlefield requires leadership skills, mildness, intelligence, and bravado. In leading the charge to make the office safe and productive nevertheless , you may risk martyrdom. Do not lose sight of the necessity to keep your own political power as you defend against the academic forces that threaten your workers. And remember that saving your own contentment will make sure you have the energy to battle the good fight.

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