Hybridized leadership teams do the heavy lifting. They lead their companies forward, towards Tomorrow. These teams are comprised of individuals who are comfortable collaborating. They are respected internal leaders open to innovation. They are committed to driving growth, expansion and sustainability.
These folks don’t hang out and watch. They are engaged participants.
While this concept looks good on paper, its success rests on the willingness of hybridized leadership teams to walk their hybridized talk.
Take your own leadership team’s pulse first. Are you are playing it safe? Are you engaged in “important projects” whose results are issued as workplace edicts for your employees to implement? If so, your leadership team is sequestering themselves within their traditional leadership silo.
You hope your employees won’t notice this disconnect. What you say and what you do are two different things. Don’t worry. They noticed. A while back.
When you hang out and watch, your “hybridized” leadership team strategy looks something like this.
Your leadership team mandates hiring a few hybridized sellers. These folks cross departmental lines. They identify and collaborate with like-minded resources. They create and implement solutions, providing valuable business outcomes. Hybridized sellers:
- Are continuously curious
- Take risks
- Invest in their professional development
- Rock the sales boat
Your leadership team creates a few internal teams with hybridized skill sets. If it worked for sales… You experiment. You create a few hybridized internal teams. Team members are thrilled they don’t have to execute workarounds to get things done. They work across departmental silos and collaborate. They create remarkable business outcomes. They:
- Have startup mindset
- Are multi-generational and multi-disciplinary
- Leverage collaboration
- Spread the word around your organization
Since the hybridized internal team experiment went well, your leadership team becomes bolder. Perhaps it might be worthwhile to start hiring professionals who have hybridized skillsets and mindset? HR (Human Resources) becomes uncomfortable. You already have a bunch of these folks in your current organization: they are underutilized, undervalued and marginalized by their order-taker peers. These hybridized professionals are super-smart. They comprehend what is going on strategically as well as tactically. Your leadership team figures that by hiring more “smart” people, your company will grow expertise in one big leap. You hire more of the type of folks who:
- Are intimidating (and know it!)
- Are the smartest people in the room (including your clients’ rooms)
- View the world cross-functionally, non-linearly
- Are frustrated at work and frustrating to work with
- Catalyze confusion among the majority of your workforce, who were hired as order takers
Charging ahead, your leadership team makes another bold move, creating a hybridized workforce for your organization. You tell HR (Human Resources) to hire for combined key attributes from your hybridized sellers, internal teams and hybridized professionals models. Now everyone is hired for those qualities, from the front door to the loading dock, from the factory floor to the management team. HR is really uncomfortable now: they are hiring more rapidly without supporting processes developed and in place. The hybridized workforce:
- Encourages multi-generational flexible leadership
- Works across pay grades, job functions and titles
- Selects internal resources to work with solving operational, IT and business process management problems
- Is empowered to make decisions, collaborating with key decision makers
- Focuses on developing everyone’s collaboration skill set
- Provides opportunities for continuing education and certification opportunities
- Injects chaos into your orderly, siloed business model
What your First Step should be. Really. Let’s turn this process around. How about, as a leadership team, you turn yourselves into a hybridized leadership team first? Before you throw it out there into your workforce?
If your leadership team does not reflect your organization’s hybridized workforce strategy, there will be a huge credibility gap between what your leadership team says and what they do. That’s not hybridized leadership at all. You know that. I know that.
- You assess your leadership team composition, Can it survive actively engaging in hybridizing your workforce to execute strategy using smarter, more agile, more nimble and more competitive processes and practices? People living in organizational silos won’t be comfortable poking holes in what’s comfortable to them.
- Acknowledge the quality and quantity of your leadership team dysfunction. One place to start is by reading Patrick Lencioni’s book: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. Then act upon what you realized.
- Decide whether your current leadership team can weather membership fallout when moving towards a hybridized model of professionals, teams and workforce execution of strategy.
It is your leadership team’s choice: be leaders or spectators. Taking positive steps to correct the composition and dynamics of your current leadership team is the first step towards building a hybridized team leadership model.
Something to ponder. Leading within the comfortable confines of corporate silos and legacy mindset is one choice. That choice is not as productive, profitable and innovative as leveraging your hybridized leadership team to grow, expand and sustain your organization.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a strategist, analyst, author and blogger. Her focus: the interrelationship between teams, leadership and culture in technology and manufacturing. Her Workshops target excellence in the execution of strategy. Babette began her career in clinical research where she was asked to bring clarity to stalemated cross-functional conversations. Her Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.
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