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Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership


Ten skills for agile leadership

Complex challenges are all around us—they impact our companies, our communities, and our planet. This complexity and the emergence of networks is changing the practice of strategic management. Today’s leaders need to understand how to design and guide complex collaborations to accelerate innovation and change—collaborations that cross boundaries both inside and outside organizations.

Strategic Doing introduces you to the new disciplines of agile strategy and collaborative leadership. You’ll learn how to design and guide complex collaborations by following a discipline of simple rules that you won’t find anywhere else.

 •   Unleash the power of true collaboration

•    Learn and master the 10 skills of agile leadership

•    Apply individual skills to targeted situations

•    Introduces a new discipline of leadership strategy

Filled with compelling case studies, Strategic Doing outlines a new discipline of leadership strategy specifically designed for open, loosely-connected networks.

Foreword xv

Introduction xvii

Our Promise xix

Why Are We Confident? The Backstory of Our Work xx

Our Current Work xxiii

Your Guides for This Book xxv

Why This Book? xxvii

Our Credo xxix

Postscript xxix

Note xxx

Chapter 1 You Are Here 1

The Challenges We Face 3

What, Exactly, Has Changed? 7

The S-Curve 15

The Changes We Need to Make 17

Notes 25

Chapter 2 Create and Maintain a Safe Space for Deep, Focused Conversation (Skill 1) 27

Deep Conversations 29

Focused Conversations 30

Deep, Focused Group Conversations 31

Putting the Skill to Work: The Agile Leader as Conversation Guide 35

Case Study: Setting the Stage for Deep Conversations in Flint 36

Note 37

Chapter 3 Frame the Conversation with the Right Question (Skill 2) 39

Adaptive Leadership: One Question, Many Answers 42

Appreciative Questions 44

Developing Questions to Frame Conversations 46

Putting the Skill to Work: The Agile Leader as Questioner 48

Case Study: Reframing the Question at a Community Institution in Rockford 49

Note 51

Chapter 4 Identify Your Assets, Including the Hidden Ones (Skill 3) 53

Assets 56

Guidelines for Identifying Assets 58

Hidden Assets 59

Assets Are Starting Points 59

Putting the Skill to Work: The Agile Leader as Inventory Taker 60

Case Study: Reimagining an IT Department 61

Note 63

Chapter 5 Link and Leverage Assets to Identify New Opportunities (Skill 4) 65

Linking and Leveraging Assets to Innovate 67

Linking and Leveraging Assets Force Us to Think Horizontally 70

Developing Your Ability to Think Horizontally 71

Guiding a Group to Think Horizontally 73

Putting the Skill to Work: The Agile Leader as Connector 74

Case Study: Linking and Leveraging Assets to Build a Cutting-Edge Industry Cluster 75

Note 76

Chapter 6 Look for the “Big Easy” (Skill 5) 77

Decision-Making Methodologies 79

The 2×2 Matrix 81

Dealing with Doubts and Doubters 85

Putting the Skill to Work: The Agile Leader as Prioritizer 86

Case Study: Finding a Way to Jump-Start New Economic Activity 87

Chapter 7 Convert Your Ideas to Outcomes with Measurable Characteristics (Skill 6) 89

Great Ideas Lie Below the Surface 92

Three Questions to Ask 93

Measuring 96

Putting the Skill to Work: The Agile Leader as Dreamcatcher 98

Case Study: Using Metrics to Spur New Workforce Development Strategies in Kokomo 99

Chapter 8 Start Slowly to Go Fast – But Start (Skill 7) 103

Launching Your Learning 106

Qualities of a Good Starting Project 108

Keeping the Team on Track 109

What Next? 110

Putting the Skill to Work: The Agile Leader as Experimenter 111

Case Study: Overcoming the Academic Bureaucracy with Small Wins 112

Chapter 9 Draft Short-Term Action Plans That Include Everyone (Skill 8) 115

Shared Leadership 117

Action Plans for Shared Leadership 119

Micro-Commitments Build Trust 119

Putting the Skill to Work: The Agile Leader as Deal-Closer 121

Case Study: Taking Collective Action to Develop a Hub for Community Health 123

Chapter 10 Set 30/30 Meetings to Review, Learn, and Adjust (Skill 9) 125

Learning Loops 127

Building New Habits 128

Putting the Skill to Work: The Agile Leader as Convener 130

Case Study: Helping a Music Capital Pen Its Next Hits 131

Chapter 11 Nudge, Connect, and Promote to Reinforce New Habits (Skill 10) 133

Nudging 136

Connecting 138

Promoting 140

Putting the Skill to Work: The Agile Leader as Chief Doing Officer 141

Case Study: Turning Micro-Commitments into Larger Innovations 143

Chapter 12 Ten Skills. Got It. Now What? 147

Putting It All Together: Strategic Doing 153

Using Strategic Doing as an Individual 156

Using Strategic Doing in a Small Group 157

Using Strategic Doing with a Large Initiative 159

Final Thoughts 162

Learn More 163

Bibliography 179

Acknowledgments 185

About the Authors 187

Index 189