Over recent years, there’s no question that the mental load on managers and teams has increased. These increased requirements on the individual and on teams can be observed in the sporting world too. You could use football or golf as examples here. Challenges fall into two different “spheres” in this world too: on one hand, the requirements for athleticism, understanding of the sport, flexibility in role and game tactics, and on the other, the mental, psychological and physical ability to control the ball under high pressure.
Over many years of various transformations and changes, we have been able to establish how different managers and teams cope with increasing mental pressure and what makes successful managers and teams stand out from the rest, those who struggle with new ways and challenges. From these practice-relevant experiences, and based on the idea of sporting competition, we have developed the HMC Leadership Board. We use this in the development of managers and teams, particularly when focusing on especially challenging national and international transformations and changes.
This board clarifies that our foundation is achieving healthy top performance. To use sport as an example again: any good athlete knows how important their own physical and mental strength is. Very good performance can only be achieved in a stable, lasting way when you purposefully and regularly work on the required qualities and skills. Compared to the findings of Jim Collins (read more about him in Blog No.18), it’s now about spreading the principle of very good performers among managers as well as teams, while also pulling the performance level of all managers and teams “upwards”. Important: this is not about creating any kind of elite. On the contrary, it’s about sparking the development of the organization’s or company’s team as a whole. Sport can be used as an example here too: whether it’s football or handball, top teams all work on a team structure where there is a wider range of very good players. So they can employ rotations to reduce the strain on each individual while internal competition still encourages internal performance skill. This brings every one in the team further.
This important sporting principle is developed in the HMC Leadership Board so that today’s and tomorrow’s huge and even disruptive change-related challenges can be weathered. While the level 5 hierarchy (find more information in Blog No.18)portrays a very structured, evenly oriented set of management skills, the HMC Leadership Board presumes a fundamentally circular dynamic movement. This reflects the fact that companies and organizations usually move in very dynamic spaces today. The qualities of “flexibility” and “chaos skills”¹ are therefore two important detailed building blocks that are very important today and will continue to be important in the near future. Through increasing connectivity and globalization, “organizational life events”² suddenly have a major impact on the operational and organizational performance process. Therefore, the quality of “creative action options” has been assigned a special role on the Leadership Board. Furthermore, the Leadership Board is based on the following example content that we have established again and again in successful, competitive managers and teams:
There are “top drivers” in the team that want to bring themselves and their team forwards. They may be managers, project managers or team members. These employees have very keen intrinsic motivation alongside an instinctual view of themselves, i.e. of their own performance capacity and their team’s current performance capability.
Hierarchy plays a subordinate role in very good teams. It still exists but is not seen as key when it comes to working on certain issues/targets/projects.
A high level of consciousness of visible (objective) and invisible (subjective) success factors.
Healthy performers understand how to explore new boundaries and make the most of these in a suitable way. In doing so, it’s important to them that the teams can develop to and establish a new level of development.
The HMC Leadership Board has one key approach: promoting and developing internal self-organization energies together with managers and teams. So it’s not an external or internal assessment center or similar. It’s not about imposition, rather joining forces to dig up buried treasure.
¹ We define “chaos skills” as a conglomerate of various skills and strategies on how to tackle “chaos” in the scientific sense. We’ll take a closer look at this in Blog 26.
² Organizational life events are significant, sudden factors that considerably impact the operational performance process as well as success. For example, changes to statutory norms, market changes due to innovations or the current coronavirus pandemic.