Unfolding plans 56 – leaders struggle the most with teams.

The most important piece of work that I am involved in at the moment is trying to organise the service so that it can survive.  By this I don’t mean hang on by the skin of its teeth or slip into some catatonic state hoping for the better times to come.  I have already described that the main purpose of any organisation is to be around next year and the one after that yet in today’s climate it is not just a question of being here.

The ICT market is changing so rapidly and there is such a continued downward pressure on the resources within the public sector that being what you are today, only smaller is not an option. We need to make sure that we become something that is able to thrive in the new environment.  That means we have to reinvent ourselves, take the best bits from what we do, shed the superfluous, rework the outdated and challenge our assumptions about what will and will not work.

The future will be very different from today.

So, the most important piece of work that I am involved in at the moment is working with the management of the service to make sure it is fit and ready for the changes to come.  What is difficult though is finding the time to invest in such preparation while still maintaining the flow of work that comes our way.  We talk about balancing change with our business as usual yet change is as much our normality as the fixing, maintaining and supplying that we consider to be the core of our business.

Our future managers are going to need to be much less siloed, much less hierarchical, much less precious about their own issues or resources and much more focussed on collaboration both within the service and especially with our customers.  We need to act as one team that provides strategic leadership and operational management for all of our stakeholders.

We are back again talking about teams.  We’re forming storming norming and all that jazz.  We keep coming back to the same theme because it’s important.  According to Earnest and Young most business leaders view high-performance teams as essential to success.  Yet, very often it is the leaders themselves that struggle the most with teams.

Patty McManus says that leaders come together from very different professional and business perspectives, such as functions, product, or lines of business. They often need to vie for resources, influence, and sometimes even their boss’ job. This is all part of the deal, to put forward their unique perspectives, to have a say about their beliefs, and ultimately to run the place if they get the nod.  Getting to be in a position of influence and being a team player are not always compatible skills

That is us in many ways.  Each of us has arrived in management from a different route but not by accident.  Each of us has skills to offer, experiences to draw on and relationships to build on.

Our challenge is nothing if not interesting.

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