Quote of the week
“Look both inward and outward.”
— McKinsey Quarterly
Leaders in government are focused on transformative change – or at least they should be. A recent report from McKinsey suggests that organizational and personal change are inextricably linked.
In other words, leaders need to develop self-understanding if they are going to force real organizational transformation.
The report suggests that organizations going through change fall into two traps. First, they focus on outcomes, forgetting to consider how the workplace and it’s people will need to change in order to meet new demands.
Government organizations are doing this all the time: putting tremendous effort into determining what their outcomes should be – laudable, no doubt – but not going the extra step and linking them to the management of the workplace.
The second common mistake is to focus too much on basic skills development rather than self-understanding.
All this means, McKinsey says, that leaders need to examine their “own modes of operating to learn what makes (them) tick”.
Self-understand matters, I would argue, because we are products of many things, including the organizations in which we work. How many of you have known individuals who have been with an organizational “box” so long that they almost seem to be embedded into its processes and activities – its very DNA?
Self-knowledge is all about forcing yourself to step out of that box and learn both how you respond to specific situations and how you work with people. People with certain innate qualities will respond positively to a certain type of situation and negatively to another. Self-awareness will allow them to be aware of this fact and take measures to respond.
This knowledge will increase a leader’s ability to step outside the box, respond effectively to situations, and lead teams through transformative change.