Even if you’re already pretty strategic – I’d encourage you to try some of them out. Why you aren’t looking for another job. Or, that many people are actually straining to talk to each other over the music. They aren’t always great ‘dancers’ but they are generally pretty comfortable with understanding the concept. I still remember the day in front of 200 people Hiefetz challenged me after I shared something in class.  As I recall, he said to me, “Well, Debby will always be Debby and take things too personally.”  Ahhh, and 20 years later I still have to practice to see reactions for what they represent for the system and not take them personally. Any military officer, for example, knows the importance of maintaining the capacity for reflection, even in the “fog of war.” And, if this concept of dance floor and balconies are entirely new to you, read on! Tips for an effective briefing, Early career development: Advice to guide your career journey. What action/intervention can you take to move things forward? Doing so helps to distance you from the chaos that is going on around you. If your team didn’t exist, what would happen? We only discovered this when we started seeing requisitions back up. Does that change depending on what meeting they are in? The book gives a good image of the dance floor concept. Your email address will not be published. This book would be valuable even if you’re already a pretty good ‘dancer’ because communication is always harder than we think it is. You place yourself on the line when you tell people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. Anyone who regularly gets spoken over? For instance, do they take more of a passive role in some meeting? We are experts in climate resiliency, sustainability, ecosystem protection, employee engagement, and urban greening. Harvard University Business School Press: Cambridge, MA. Take notice of who does most of the talking in a meeting. ... get on the balcony. But it doesn't have to be that way say renowned leadership authorities Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky. One of the highlights from my year at the Harvard Kennedy School was studying leadership with Ronald Heiftetz.  Yes, this was over 20 year ago!  But his book Leadership Without Easy Answers  still sits on my bookshelf.  Imagine my pleasant surprise at the last sustainability conference I attended when several presenters mentioned Heiftetz’s concept of adaptive leadership.  The class itself is highly experiential, impossible to capture in a 500-word blog post, but two concepts still stand out to me that I think all sustainability projects would benefit from incorporating:  adaptive challenge and get on the balcony. Do nothing more with your observations. You’re enjoying the music and those around you seem to be as well. With equal footing between research and actual government experience - I offer actionable career advice that works in the government environment. So, everyone must be having a good time. This chapter is excerpted from ‘Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading'. And, you might now be thinking – so now what? Your email address will not be published. Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress, Let's talk about leadership: This week's career advice from Fedability -, Let's talk about customer service: This week's career advice from Fedability -. Who regularly sits next to whom? Resist your urgency to get back onto the dance floor. Required fields are marked *. Get on the Balcony “Get off of the dance floor and go up to the balcony” When you observe from the balcony, you must see yourself as well as the other participants. GET ON THE BALCONY  Observing from the balcony is the critical first step in exercising (and safeguarding) adaptive leadership. Who are you talking to? Further, there are some people that are better at details where others are better at seeing the larger system. This can be a sobering question to answer. In their fine book, "Leadership on the Line," authors Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky offer a practical and wise solution: get off the dance floor (daily operations), and … It is assumed that no one can step-up to fill your shoes or that you are not willing to nurture leaders from within, resulting in a shaky succession plan for the organization. A second activity that I challenge you to try is an examination of your team’s purpose. Green Impact is a Bay Area communications consultancy that supports nonprofits, universities, and businesses ready to reframe, design, fund, or promote their green initiatives. And so should you, according to Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky in their classic book Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading (Harvard Business Review Press, 2002). What is your organization’s tolerance for discomfort? A final task is to observe who has influence, and in what situations. A stakeholder, as defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI), is anyone actively involved in the project, who can mobilize (or withhold) resources to support an initiative, and/or whose interests might be positively (or negatively) impacted as a result of the initiative. Getting answers to the following questions can assist the leader in … We illustrate those principles with an example of adaptive change at KPMG Nether-lands, a professional-services firm. Because it’s possible that the answer is that nothing would happen if your team didn’t exist. Who determines your budget? Leadership becomes dangerous, then, when it must confront people with loss. 1. Many managers who prefer to be on the dance floor are given a bad rap. Tasks to safeguard against common traps Find out where people are at Listen to the song beneath the … I’d like to challenge you to do some activities to practice this skill. Think about them. So in answer to the question, “Which is better – the dance floor or on the balcony?” is: neither. It’s possible that your team has been so busy ‘dancing’ that no one noticed that everyone else had left the dance floor. Are you someone who prefers to be on the dance floor, or in the balcony? Who has the ability to increase or decrease it? We used the numbers given to us by Human Resources (HR). You don’t need to get certified in project management – but it’s a good idea to take a class on it. Leadership on the line is a long list of examples on where leadership has gone well and where it failed, extracted from various other sources that are listed in th and notes section. Technical challenges bound in the world of sustainability–for example, retrofitting a plant with energy efficient lighting.  It is applying current knowledge, has a clear ROI and a facilities manager (an authority) can easily implement this task.  In comparison, an adaptive challenge requires employees and stakeholders (people with the problem) to learn new ways of working together. The more uncommon skill, in my experience, is the ability to leave the dance floor and get onto the balcony. The leaders CRE is privileged to work with are often leading in challenging environments. Leadership on the Line is for serious leaders and significant change. It’s hard-core leadership in action – driving the big, hairy changes and challenges. Getting on the balcony: Why Leadership Development programs are important November 11, 2016. Observe body language. For the next couple meetings, I’d encourage you to take more of a balcony role to let you observe. Learn how your comment data is processed. But, then it allows you to start thinking about what activities your team performs currently – and what you can start doing that will allow you to have an impact. Leadership on the Line is truly a book for leaders who want to take their game to the next level. Search. I’m definitely sharing with my peer. But, the truth is that being a really good leader means that you do both. There are always a couple classes on the topic through Coursera. Leadership is Dangerous You appear dangerous to people when you question their values, beliefs, or habits of a lifetime. Sit with them. Those who choose to lead plunge in, take the risks, and sometimes get burned. As explained in Leadership on the Line,”…you know you are dealing with something more than a technical issue when people’s hearts and minds need to change, not just their preferences or routine behaviors.”  It continues, “If you throw all the technical fixes you can imagine at the problem and the problem persists, it’s a pretty clear signal that an underlying adaptive challenge still needs to be addressed.  Other signs of an adaptive challenge include  the need to shift values and behaviors, the need for change across organizational boundaries, conflict and crisis. As a learning cohort, we covered a lot of ground but my biggest "aha" came from digging into the adaptive leadership tools and skills, based on the work of Heifetz, Grashow and Linsky's The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World. Is there some people who sit at the edges of the room, away from the table? To solve an adaptive challenge, the first step is to “get off the dance floor and gain perspective from the balcony,” what I refer to as See the Big Picture.  It is so easy and compelling to get caught up in the action.  “Seeing the whole picture requires standing back and watching even as you take part in the action being observed.”  A key element to holistic sustainability incorporates this concept and encourages organizations to step back and assess the system they are part of, yet at the same time not get stuck in simply creating a strategy that sits on the shelf. This teaches you to think through tactically all the parts and pieces of executing an initiative. It starts to get you thinking about why your team exists at all. The fact that one is not planning to be on the balcony at any point in the year gives an indication of weak leadership skills—it reflects negatively on the team. Prior to that situation, we’d never really thought of the other office as a stakeholder. If you’re someone who wants to improve your ‘dancing’ skills, I highly recommend looking into project management. Who do you and your team depend on to be able to do your work? Who would be impacted? You’ll notice that I asked you to do a lot of observing in the three activities. They may go through a period of feeling incompetent or disloyal. It’s no wonder they resist the change or try to eliminate its visibl… I’d also recommend a Kindle book called: The Persuasive Project Manager: Communicating for Understanding. However, it starts to get even broader than just your stakeholders. Very timely to what I’m observing with our new BU head. Listen to the song beneath the words.  For example, look at body language, eye contact, emotion and. Observe where people sit in a room. Dr. Dana — Like this one a lot. Heifetz, R. A., Linsky, M. (2002) Leadership on the line. What was the impact/reaction to your intervention. Or, if you have a Lynda.com account, you could consider those classes too. 7 . Watch those in side conversations – do they seem to agree or disagree with the main discussions? Get on the Balcony Few practical ideas are more obvious or more critical than the need to get perspective in the midst of action. Learn from Eric Martin, Manager Partner at Adaptive Change Advisors, as he describes this leadership practice you can put into action today. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. As a leader you need to ask yourself—honestly—what you did to get everyone into a bad spot to begin with. In an unexpected turn of events, the approver in another office went on extended leave with no one to back up the responsibility. The teaching purpose is to introduce the key practice of 'going to the balcony', or gaining perspective on a challenging situation. What wouldn’t get done? Learn how your comment data is processed.  Distinguish technical from adaptive challenges. My mission is to help people think about things differently. Do some people seem to focus on their phones through most of the meeting? Think of employees, other offices/departments, leaders up your chain of command, other government agencies, and even (in some cases) the American taxpayers.
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