Leading For Impact

Organizations In Transition

Organizations In Transition

We are living in a time of global change. Organizations and institutions that were once bulwarks of society are in a transition.There is a sense of desperation showing. Is this about survival? Or, is this about the capacity of executive leaders to change?

This is the first of four posts of excerpts from my book, Circle of Impact: Taking Personal Initiative To Ignite Change. These posts are about the transition that I see taking place within organizations in particular, and global society in general. If you or your business is in transition, you may find that many of the ideas and tactics that you used to manage change are no longer effective. You need not only a different perspective, but new tools for living in the midst of a global transition of unprecedented proportions.

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“WE ARE ALL IN TRANSITION, ALL OF US, ALL THE TIME.”

“WE ARE ALL IN TRANSITION, ALL OF US, ALL THE TIME.”

“WE ARE ALL IN TRANSITION, ALL OF US, ALL THE TIME.”

This is a key principle of the Circle of Impact.  It is proven true to me every day in virtually every encounter that I have with people.

My conversations usually begin with an introduction that includes my being the author of a book for “people who are in transition.” This phrase catches their attention. It resonates as something that they are feeling. When I say the word “transition” it stands out as authentic and real.

I do believe we are all in transition. From what people tell me, it is not clear to them what this means. They know on some gut level that this feeling is different than some random interruption of their lives. Instead, it is a feeling that their world is about to change.

For many whom I meet, this feeling is new. They have never felt like their lives truly mattered. Now, something is tugging at them, telling them, “You are in transition, go find where it is taking you.” For many people, their lives were transformed because they responded to this feeling of transition. For me, there is nothing better than to see someone’s life changed when they discover how their life can matter as a person of impact.

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The Layers and Silos Problem

The Layers and Silos Problem

Power and control are established by how organizations are structured. Instead of borders, there are layers and silos to divide the territory of the organization.

The layers of an organization represent, in a very simple way, the difference between executives, managers and workers. The layer is designated by their titles and roles. It is out of this way of structuring an organization that we define leadership as a role or a title, rather than how people function within their lives and work. In doing so, we are admitting that structure is central to how we see ourselves.

Perpendicular to the layers of an organization are the silos of communication that define the social structure of accountability. Here the invisible boundaries of political power within the corporate structure are played out. The silo is how responsibility and accountability flows. Responsibility flows down and accountability rarely flows up.

An attempt to solve this problem was tried through flat structures. But corporate structures are not flat, cannot be flat and resist ever being flat. Power and authority are hierarchical in modern organizations and societies. Though most problems in corporations are caused by its structural, the solution is not.  

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“Expending energy trying to motivate people is largely a waste of time… if you have the right people on the bus, they will be self-motivated.”

―Jim Collins

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