Unlearning deep patterns
Imagine that you spend your entire life perfecting your golf swing. You have spent hours on the golf course practicing your technique, hired professionals to analyze your swing and expended a LOT of emotional energy trying to improve your game. You've seen results and are proud of the golfer you've become.
Then, one day, someone invests an entirely new type of golf club requiring an entirely different type of swing. If you take time to re-perfect your swing, your game will take a giant leap forward. However, you've spent your entire life-to-date perfecting your old swing. Your old way of playing golf is familiar. You've played that way for decades, and have spent considerable amount of time and money perfecting the old way.
Would you change? How easy would it be to walk away from years of training? Thousands of dollars invested?
It might be hard. Really hard.
And so it goes for many in traditional management. Traditional managers might have spent lifetimes perfecting their management style. She or he might have invested years and large sums of money working toward an MBA. A manager might have gone through a management program decades ago, all geared toward a management style that is no longer optimal. Before the shift happened, the manager earned rewards, promotions, bonuses, praise for embracing a style of management that embraced a command and control, top-down approach.
It is hard to walk away from that kind of investment.
And yet, that is exactly what business agility asks of management. It asks that you forget the past and embrace a new reality. A reality where the person reporting to you knows more than you do about his or her subject area. A reality that acknowledges information is best when widely shared and transparency trumps secrecy. Agile requests a new style of management, based on collaboration, diversity of thought, psychological safety and openness. It asks you to forget what you learned, not just to improve your game, but in order to survive in today's business world.
Are you ready to embrace a new swing? The world is waiting.