Ignorance is bliss! or not!


Although I work predominantly in the construction industry...my work takes me into other sectors.So I hope you don’t mind my leading construction example. 

"Traditionally, managers in the construction industry are used to focusing on project delivery, where the end of the project brings the conclusion of a particular set of tasks or a defined output. In contrast, departmental (functional) managers think tactically, by focusing on delivering their part of the business or project, in line with a strategy that in most cases has been defined by someone else. Business leaders, on the other hand, need to think more strategically in order to deliver a successful organisation – the responsibility for defining and setting the strategy lies with them“. Extract from a book I was writing! 

Here lies the problem.

Most leaders that I have worked with have arrived at their position of influence because of their technical knowledge of a function or discipline, not because of their business or leadership training. Caveat...not all leaders but about 80%

He was a great programmer...now he is the CEO of a large software company; or she was a great Architect and now she is principle of a large Architectural firm; or they were experienced builders who now run a £50m turnover construction company (real examples).

These leaders have spent most of their lives delivering STUFF! Delivering a product or service. Now they need to make a mental switch because they are now responsible for delivering business (strategy, leadership, development, clients and customers, culture, processes. etc.). When it come to delivering strategy or leadership you can't always touch, taste, see, hear or smell what you are trying to deliver; it's intangible and sometime qualitative.

The problem is that they have had no formal training in organisational development and leadership. Some try to run the business like a project...because this is the management style the have developed.

My role and skill as a facilitator is to create an environment of awareness, learning and change. To help the make that paradigm shift. They don’t actually know what they don’t know (about organisational development and leadership)...and because of this, they are often blinded by the fact that their rise to the top was as a result of their technical skills.

Pareto 80:20…now 20% of enlightened leaders embrace change and are sometimes way ahead of their contemporaries. In this situation they and I become a team…we try and bring the rest of the organisation with us on a journey…these leaders turn to me because they are not necessarily workshop facilitators and skilled at engaging people …they look for help to make it happen in practice!