Matching two foundational truths to ensure continuous improvement of your organisation

Every organisation on this planet wants and has to improve continuously. It’s a leadership challenge CEO’s and their teams grapple with every day. It seems like a complex issue, but perhaps it’s not.

Here’s how: Marry two foundational truths.

First Foundational Truth: The essence of leadership.

Whether someone is a CEO or a junior supervisor, they will always lead on four universal levels:

  1. Self: They always lead themself. People watch with interest.
  2. Others: They always lead others, mostly in the form of a team, but also beyond, formally or informally. And how they lead the self directly impacts how they lead others. 
  3. Organisation: Every leader leads a small/larger part of the organisation, the non people stuff. 
  4. Society: Every leader leads beyond their work environment, in various capacities. Besides this, if all leaders lead themselves, their people (teams) and their part of the organisation effectively around the purpose and strategy, the entire organisation will become more successful and so lead society more effectively through its products, services, reputation, tax contribution and so on.

Second Foundational Truth: The essence of organisations.

All organisations have a purpose for why it exists, a product or service it wants to offer society, for a compensation thats lucrative enough to continue offering the product or service, because there is a need for it. And then they have plans (a strategy) they will execute to achieve it. In order to do so it requires a vehicle (organisation) with four wheels (key components) in which to drive the purpose and strategy: 

  1. Individuals with relevant skills
  2. Functional Teams made up of individuals 
  3. Structures – mostly non-people stuff, like systems, processes, procedures, budgets, machinery, buildings and more
  4. A market within society that the organisation wishes to serve or service

Do you see the clear link between the two foundational truths? It requires leadership – leading self, others, organisation and society – to drive a purpose and strategy – through the vehicle of individuals, teams, structures and a market inside society. 

If you agree with these two universal foundational truths, marry them; bring them together in the most effective way. 

Here’s how: 

You almost have to get rid of the concept of leadership development as it is too restrictive. Reintroduce it as Leadership Improvement. Then, all your leaders should improve on all four universal leadership levels and as they do, your organisation will by default improve its four key components that ultimately make the purpose and strategy succeed. So not just any improvement for the sake of doing it, but specifically focused on the four universal levels. Therefore, it’s crucial to first realise and then emphatically believe that the right Leadership Improvement (LI) = Organisational Improvement (OI). If you do it right the link couldn’t be more obvious; the investment and its return couldn’t be more worthwhile. 

However, if you catch the above vision, let’s go to the next level that’s absolutely crucial to understand in todays real-time, VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world in overdrive. Improvement is not enough. You need consistent high performance on all four levels of both foundational truths.  

The rate, speed & quality of LI will largely determine the rate, speed & quality of OI. 

  1. Slow LI = slow OI
  2. Fast LI = fast OI
  3. Real-time LI = real-time OI

Be sure not to confuse improvement on the first two levels with real-time iterative improvement on level 3. In todays real-time, VUCA world on steroids you want and need level 3, or at least start aiming towards it. 

A Real-time iterative improvement cycle:

  1. Action (what we want to improve – leadership and organisation)
  2. Real-time, proactive, relevant feedback (evaluation, assessment) – live, all the time, continuous
  3. Real-time, proactive, relevant development, adjustment, correction – live, continuous, consistently
  4. Back to definite improvement (step 1)…Return on all investment 

So the next logical step on your organisations OI journey is taking LI to a real-time level, starting with real-time feedback – step 2 above. 

Every single leader in your organisation should know at any given moment – qualitatively (comments/examples) and quantitatively (via four ratings and a fifth average rating) – how they measure up on each of these four simple yet universally relevant levels. 

Then, step 3. Every single leader must act on the real-time feedback and have the means to develop accordingly, with a measurement that they are doing so. For example real-time points as they participate and develop, adjust behaviour. 

Your Leaders and organisation are now on a real-time iterative improvement journey. There is just one piece missing, which is absolutely crucial to the full adoption of this new way. 

Visible accountability: 

What will ultimately make leaders feel accountable for taking to heart their real-time feedback and developing, and correcting their leadership real-time? Make the real-time ratings and scores (points) visible; place it on a digital leaderboard – not the personal qualitative comments and feedback – but the average rating/s and points. Let them understand that they are accountable to those who take the time to give real-time feedback and whom they lead, to improve continuously, real-time, on all four universal levels of leading. And make sure they understand the direct impact on the organisations improvement as they do so. 

Let’s place your Leaders inside a simple, Real-time Iterative Improvement Ecosystem, focussed on four universal areas that will always matter, because this is what will place your organisation on a Real-time Iterative Improvement Journey. And who doesn’t want or desperately need that? 

ThinkLead Ecosystem is at the forefront, on the fringe of this groundbreaking approach. We would love to show you more.