Understand that trying to control people is a fool's errand. Learn the five key imperatives for the C-Suite: emotional intelligence, building, consequences, decision-making, and "balance.
- The odds are good you have higher than average emotional intelligence, also called interpersonal skills, but, to quote Marshall Goldsmith, "what got you here won't get you there." Influencing more than just your direct reports means influencing the organization. You can't depend on emotional intelligence alone, so you have to consider two strategic imperatives. First, it's your role to build strategic momentum. Your role provides a unique perspective, and you're able to see and interpret the meaningful outside in ways that best provide purpose and meaning for the organization.
Inside coupled with inspiration goes a long way to helping the entire organization engage and sustain high levels of energy and the stamina needed to stay the course. Second, methodically conducting strategic reviews to uphold standards is critical. The review provides needed consequences to reinforce or constructively provide feedback for improvement so standards are upheld and mediocrity is not tolerated.
It's about getting teams to constantly assess and improve their own performance. The best questions are sometimes the simplest. What was supposed to happen? What was the objective, and how was it supposed to occur? What actually happened? Facts only. No opinions or subjectivity here. What was the root cause? Is there a gap between what was supposed to happen and what actually happened? Ask why at least five times to get at the root cause of the issue so you're not dealing with superficial symptoms.
What did we do right? What should you sustain? Focusing on strengths and what went well. Where did we miss? This is where people need to feel safe and humble enough to give and take honest criticism. Based on what we learned, what changes are needed for moving forward? What are the changes and commitments needed moving forward? For example, adjustments to procedures, processes, systems, incentives, and people.
A disciplined and focused approach is the starting point for discussions whereby a culture is created by design and reinforced through habit. Trying to control people is a fool's errand, but when we step back and look at what only we can do, we'll focus on the imperatives identified above to artfully influence the complex adaptive system that is our organization.