One of the biggest challenges facing any leader is getting their people to take ownership and initiative for addressing key issues. I hear repeatedly that CEOs and managers in general, too often feel that their people keep coming to them to solve their challenges.
This issue derives from a societal culture where bosses are expected to have the answers and employees are to “follow orders”. You would think that as people move up in the corporate hierarchy this would change. Sadly, it doesn’t.
There are many programs to help address this issue, often under the flag of self-managing, self-organizing teams. Most of these programs focus on changing the structure and systems for delegating authority, but rarely do they address the underlying mindset. The mindset that locks people into the boss-employee dynamic, which effectively is a parent-child dynamic.
In The Living Organization® System (TLOS™) we take a completely different approach, one that begins to break this mindset trap and enables greater ownership and creativity.
The key to changing mindsets is our process for creating Contribution Agreement™.
We start the process by asking the head of the functional department to think as a CEO. To think of the department as a company, with one primary customer, the corporation. In this scenario, the corporation contracts with “their company” to handle all the concerns that function is meant to handle. Essentially, they are developing a contribution agreement between their company and their client.
This is a reversal of where the focus lies for setting goals. Instead of the boss defining what needs to be done and telling the executive, the executive is charged with understanding the needs of the organization and determining how they can maximize their contribution to the success of the whole, not just their department.
I think the outcomes of this approach is best described by one of our clients
“Our executive team worked with Quantum Leaders to implement the Living Organization model to set the vision and the course for our future. Today, I see more collaboration, understanding, and listening within the team. I’m also less stressed. We’re on our way to building such a mature organization. I’m excited about our future.”