Ouch! That’s an in-your-face question to ask yourself, isn’t it? And if you feel defensive, it is understandable.
After all, you feel you do all the right things. Following processes and steps outlined in guidelines and playbooks. Yet, projects go unproductively sideways. And team synergy slowly evaporates. In addition, unproductive rework and reduced efficiency remain the norm. What is going on?
I offer three perspectives to incorporate into how you show up for work each day. Regardless of your job title, pay grade, level of education, generation, or professional discipline.
Because you and I have serious work to do throughout 2021. Together. One millimeter at a time.
Instead of drilling down looking for root causes impacting how you lead teams, pick your head up. Direct your focus upward and outward.
Because the root cause of ineffective cross-functional leadership does not always reside in the details of the minutiae of each project. Instead, the root cause impacting team success often resides in ingrained cultural mindset and behaviors which remain comfortably seated at the business table with you.
What happens when you identify yourself as a root cause of professional elitism?
- First perspective: When professional elitism impacts how you lead, team members feel intimidated, marginalized and excluded. However, they will not tell you directly because they fear repercussions. What is the human capital value of teams operating under-capacity because of this scenario? You know the next steps to take.
- Second perspective: When departmental leadership reinforces professional elitism, a culture of “Our Departmental Value” versus the “Value of Other Departments” emerges. You have read plenty of articles about data kingdoms and competitive departmental fiefdoms. What is the strategic business value of continuing to work in silos as everyone pursues parallel solutions to the same problem? The next steps are up to you.
- Third perspective: When business models reinforce cultures of professional elitism, hierarchical tiers dominate decision-making and strategy. How would a more professionally inclusive culture, reflecting the voices of all employment tiers, attract and retain more employees and clients? What you do next is in your hands.
My professional mantra since 2012 remains: “Depending on where we sit around the table, we all hear stories differently. Shouldn’t our differences become our strengths and opportunities to better serve each other, first, so we better serve our clients together?”
You have a choice to make or ignore. Which will it be in 2021?
Discover the small steps forward you and your teams can choose to take. These small steps add up over time to measurably change habits, mindset, processes, and outcomes. As you continue to move one millimeter forward over time, together, small steps add up. Isn’t it time for you and your teams to have a more visible, relevant, and valuable impact on strategic business and human capital strategy? Then let’s take these next steps. Together.
Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Searching for a one-on-one catalyst to get you unstuck? Engage me to present a One Millimeter Mindset ™ program! Delivered virtually or in-person. Contact me here.
Babette Ten Haken is a refreshingly extroverted STEM professional and skeptical thinker focused on intentional innovation. She helps people, teams and organizations make hard calls when designing products, services, careers and cultures. These are not easy conversations to have. Her ability to translate cross-functional conversations between left-brain and right-brain thinkers provides different pathways for behavior, response, insight and collaboration. Think of the strategic business and human capital value of moving beyond avoidance or group-think, together. Instead, let your creativity, critical thinking, and leadership skills co-develop together, one millimeter at a time. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Contact Babette here.
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