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JWI 555 Strayer University Push vs Growth Discussion Question

JWI 555 Strayer University Push vs Growth Discussion Question

Question Description

I’m working on a business question and need guidance to help me learn.

Hello Professor and Classmates,

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“Push” vs. “Grow” approach

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All leadership requires balance. In one of my favorite leadership books, The Dichotomy of Leadership(1), Jocko Willink and Leif Babin discuss the importance of balance tolead effectively. Willink and Babin are former U.S. Navy Seals who led ahighly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War and now applytheir lessons learned as leadership consultants and authors. I gavecopies of their earlier book, Extreme Ownership (2), to my leadership team members.

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“Push”and “pull” change approaches also need to be balanced. From my civilengineering degree, I learned the fundamentals of “force” and have twokey takeaways: F=m*a and “you can’t push on a rope.” Both of thesetakeaways apply to leading change. Moving something from A to B requiresforce. The F=m*a equation says that the magnitude of a force equalsmass times acceleration.

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Kotter’s(3) urgency, vision and strategy, and communication establish theacceleration. His guiding coalition is the mass in the force.Combined, they start moving the organization from point A to point B.An initial push is needed to overcome organizational inertia (Bucy,Hall, and Yakola, 4). However, ongoing brute force does not work inleading people, similar to “trying to push on a rope.” To achieve realchange, people need to “pull” the enterprise from A to B. The “pull”comes from “growing” and empowering the organization to do the heavylifting with the ongoing support and guidance from leadership.

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Senior and local leaders empowering employees during “push” and “grow” approaches

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Duringthe initial push phase, my leadership team and I engaged employees andlistened to their input during the identification and development of thecompelling vision/ burning platform and vision/strategy. We alsocreated a guiding coalition that enlisted early adopters. Theseapproaches helped seed the organization for greater buy-in andengagement. Giving the early adopters leadership and active roles inprogressing the change efforts initiated the empowerment roll-out.Next, we will establish supporting processes, specific objectives andtimelines, data sets, training, best practice sharing, rewards andrecognition, and two-way communication structures to lay the groundworkand support the further empowerment of staff (3; 4; JWI555, 5; Welch,6).

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Duringthe growing phase, my leadership team and I will be carefully assigningaccountabilities and responsibilities (5), so staff can further rollout, develop, design, and implement the changes. We will set contextand boundaries for staff to work within, ensuring alignment with the bigpicture, ongoing business needs, and the multiple change projects.

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Formal structure as a driver of change

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Thekey is setting the appropriate balance of structure and latitude forstaff to successfully take ownership and drive the change effort . AsWillick and Babin (1) discuss, one of the dichotomies of leadership isthat with appropriate structure comes the freedom to operate during theheat of battle. Lee, Willis, and Tian (7) discuss that empoweringemployees by delegating authority and decision making, sharinginformation, and asking for input motivates certain types of people andperformance, but not all. Again, balance is required.

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Role of learning

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Weare asking people in our organization to go somewhere they have notbeen and do things they have not done before. We must train staff onboth the “what” and “how” of their new role and the path to get from Ato B. Of course, training by “telling” is only the start, so seniormanagement and the change leadership team (4) need to continue toprovide coaching and mentorship and constant reinforcement of context,practical application, WIIFM, and urgency. Ultimately, staff need to beconfident and motivated to self-learn, ask questions, offer ideas, andshare their learnings with others (Welch, 8).

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Role of personal vision, skill mastery, and intrinsic motivation when empowering employees

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Effectiveleadership starts with the leader setting the example and walking thetalk. Lee, Willis, and Tian (6) highlight that employees’ perception oftheir leader’s behavior determines the effectiveness of the empowermentefforts. Trust is a critical element, and leaders must take care inhow they roll out empowerment as some people will relish the opportunitywhile others will overstress.

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Leadersneed to be able to read their organization and individual employees.Management must find the right balance of approach and timing for eachindividual. People do what they want to do unless forced otherwise, andthen they only comply until they do not have to. Enabling employeesto internalize the company’s change vision with their personal vision,master skills they perceive as desirable and beneficial to their future,and feel great about actively helping lead a change that benefits ahigher calling and themselves personally is a winning move.

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I look forward to reading your comments.

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Cheers,

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Mark

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References

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1. Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. September 1, 2018. The Dichotomy Of Leadership

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2. Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. November 21, 2017. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

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3. John Kotter. 2015. Leading Change

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4. Michael Bucy, Stephen Hall, and Doug Yakola. November 7, 2016. Transformation with a capital T. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/rts/our-insights/transformation-with-a-capital-t

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5. JWI555. Week 6. Lecture Notes: Empowering Your Employees

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6. Jack Welch. JWI555 Week 6. Video: Many Ways to Give Employees Voice

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7.Allan Lee, Sara Willis, and Amy Wei Tian. March 2, 2018. WhenEmpowering Employees Works, and When It Doesn’t. Harvard Business Review

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8. Jack Welch. JWI555 Week 6. Video: Give Employees a Voice

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