Building collective leadership capability in your organisation with success tracking

A recent Management Today article said that Leadership development is stuck in the dark ages. A key reason for this is a lack of flexibility in moving to a collective leadership model:

There is a transition occurring from the old paradigm in which leadership resided in a person or role, to a new one in which leadership is a collective process that is spread throughout teams and networks of people.

Collective leadership  is particularly suited to very large organisations that act more like business ecosystems than single entities.

In the technology and professional services world, collective leadership also makes sense. One person cannot be expert in everything.

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Collective leaders will need tools to influence others. Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash

 

The Kings Fund has published a paper, for example, on the need to develop collective leadership within health care. They describe collective leadership as follows:

Collective leadership entails distributing and allocating leadership power to wherever expertise, capability and motivation sit within organisations.

One of the key skills of a collective leader, someone usually without the necessary command and control clout, is to influence and persuade colleagues to act in a certain way and develop in a certain direction.

A key approach to achieve collective leadership is success tracking.

Success tracking entails helping people track their own journey to success, and at the same time influencing the definition of what success looks like – perfect for collective leaders.

One of the interesting aspects (and challenges) of collective leadership is that aspiring leaders using social media can be very influential in directing the organisation.

I’ve seen a junior partner launch a success tracking program at a top consulting firm which other partners have then signed up to. They are tracking their success according to the scoring rules set by the junior partner.  Most interestingly, this unsanctioned success tracking program has had much much higher engagement than the original formal tracking and development program. Indeed it has now been brought into the fold as part of the formal social media success tracking offered to partners.

The challenge for those looking to develop organisation leaders is then to spot those who are already leading and support their development.

What better way to do this than to introduce the success tracking approach into your leadership development curriculum?

 

Why leaders must take control of the score

As a leader, one of your jobs is to keep those you lead focused on the goals you are trying to reach.

An underused tool in every leader’s toolbox is to create and share “the score”.

“The score” is how you have decided everyone should measure success, whether as individuals or as a group.

Whether we realise it or not, we all take account of the score in our daily lives. Indeed,  if you don’t share the score, people will invent their own. This can have hideous consequences as people chase after the wrong activities. No, it’s far better for you to take control of the score by choosing which KPIs matter and communicating them clearly.

As a leader it is your job to identify the scores that matter for the objectives you are seeking.

To do this, first write out the objectives and the success criteria for those objectives. These may be fairly numerical already. Then break down those objectives into the constituent parts and identify the important signals that you can measure reliably and easily. These are the metrics that go into making your score.

Next you need to attribute the score correctly. You have several options:

  • personal scores – this is a score for each individual. This approach works best in a group setting where there isn’t really a team objective – e.g. a conference, a group of separate businesses or a very large business
  • team scores – a score for your team. This works best when you are seeking to focus the efforts of your internal team – e.g. a KPI such as number of visitors to our website each month
  • market comparison – in more mature markets it may be more useful to focus on the comparison with peers – e.g. we are the number 1 supplier of milk in our region.

Finally, as a leader it’s not only your job to identify the scores that matter but also to communicate them regularly.

This could take many forms from a weekly email to a big screen TV leaderboard in the office. Whatever you choose, you need to remember that facts don’t speak for themselves. The medium you choose is important – people will take more notice of a leaderboard engraved in stone than one hastily scrawled on a piece of paper!

The score is an essential part of leadership. We all take account of the score whether we realise it or not. As a leader you can leverage the score and its communication to achieve the goals you’ve set for your team.

A great example of the importance of leaders and ‘communicating the score’ has recently taken the world’s media by storm. The Republican Party or Grand Old Party (GOP) Presidential candidates for the 2016 US elections recently debated each other on Fox News and presented to the audience what “scores” were important to them to keep and raise for the country. From here on in, how these individuals communicate their leadership goals to the people will be paramount. The use of Social Media will be more important than ever in reaching out and speaking to the electorate. Therefore we plan to monitor the online influence of the candidates and how this correlates with their popularity in the polls. Why not follow the The GOP Candidates Social Media Power Board and see for yourself. Interested in how much influence you have online? Why not join our Online Influencer Board and see how you compare?