#LeadingAge15 The Leadership Deep Dive at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting in Boston focused on The Challenge of Change. Jeffrey Lawrence from Cambridge Leadership Associates (and formerly Vice President of Training at MassMutual Insurance) facilitated a great program on change leadership. He asked the participants five progressively harder questions and introduced three shifts in language to force change with the revealed insight.
Leadership Deep Dive — Why is change so difficult?
1. What sorts of things if they were to happen more or less would help you perform at your peak? These are your barriers or complaints. (Complaints)
2. Given these “complaints” what are your underlying values? What’s important to you? Need to shift from the language of complaint to the language of commitment or principles. (Public Face)
3. What are you doing or not doing that is keeping you from more fully realizing your commitments or principles? (Behaviors) Need to shift from the language of blame to the language of personal responsibility.
4. I may also be committed to the importance of other less noble things like making money or being liked. What are your competing priorities to your noble principles? (Self-Protection) Need to shift from the language of Big Assumptions to the language of assumptions that we hold. (Once identified assumptions can be tested and managed.)
5. What big assumptions am I taking as true without testing? These assumptions are forms of self-limitation or a boundary on what you think you can afford to lose. (Big Assumption)
This was a great exercise for self-diagnosis in how we each individually respond to change. We see leadership in changing circumstances as one of the essential features for a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). If you are depending on an organization to serve you over ten or fifteen years (or more, given increasing longevity), that community’s management will have to be good at change to keep on top.
Resident boards and boards of directors have a big role to play in leading strategic direction that sees change coming and takes proactive steps to respond.