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Are you part of the PIVOT or Perish generation of Leaders?

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

2 x 4 step principles to Win at Hybrid decision making

Making good decisions has always been a challenge for leaders in organisations. If the thinking sets off in the wrong direction, or if insufficient challenge is given as the thinking develops, poor quality or downright wrong decisions can result.

It is the cornerstone of high performing organisations, and is difficult enough under normal circumstances. But when operating in a hybrid working environment, two challenges emerge.

…the team member had only consulted with those who were in the office at the same time she was, and had only engaged remotely with those whom she felt comfortable with. So, by the time the paper reached the management meeting, it did not hit the mark.

One is about the quality of the decision, and the other is about the effectiveness of the sign-off and handover at the interface between departments in a large scale organisation. For both of these challenges it is about how you can adapt your approach to the decision making process in line with being a new generation of leader, who can PIVOT in a hybrid environment. Let’s explore each of these challenges in more detail…

Challenge 1-poorer quality decision-making

A team that has been accustomed to working face to face, used to find that their decision making happened more ‘organically’. Through informal conversations during the week, they would gain tacit approval and pick up on non-verbal cues, as they built up to a recommendation. How the decision-making approach was rolled out was still a little fuzzy, with it not always being clear who needed to be consulted and how the decision actually got made, but they went with their intuition to get the job done and on the whole it would go "ok". But when this team moves to a hybrid working environment, with only some of them in the office for some of the time, the opportunity to be together at any one time happens far less frequently and those chances for informal conversations drop off. This will start to show itself in poorer quality decisions, and/or disagreement around the decisions being made.

Challenge 2 – increased complexity at the Interface

This challenge demonstrates how location has become a bigger factor in role design. One of our clients is a good example of this; when operating face to face, three different individuals would physically meet together to handover a scheme to a partner organisation. It was a meeting that was partly to allow for some unfinished parts of the process to be completed, and partly the social feeling of connection moving towards a common purpose. These individuals had got to know each other over the years and meeting up was always a nice way to conclude their work together, as they would conduct a reflective review of their practice and make joint decisions.

However, when they had switched to a hybrid working environment, these individuals had fewer opportunities to meet and so were finding it more difficult to reach a conclusion, and to get together for hand-over which resulted in slower decision making and a dip in the customer experience. Reconfiguring and streamlining the process was very complex and had huge implications for the customers they were serving at the coal face. The leadership team were required to spend long days process mapping and adapting the roles in the business in order to minimise the number of hand-ins/interfaces so enhance the customer experience again.

Hybrid working brings a lot of efficiencies, but can also risk poorer quality decisions being made and make hand-overs between teams a lot more problematic...

To win at Hybrid Decision making use our Framework

1. Focus & Perspective - Leaders need to ‘PIVOT' with ease and then be able to give clarity around role, purpose, who is doing what and how decisions get made.

2. Autonomy - In a hybrid world, leaders need to give greater freedom to their teams with decisions pushed down the organisation to be closer to the customer. Moving away from traditional ‘command & control’ will require a shift in mindset towards a coaching style of leadership.

3. Attachment - Leaders need to work hard to keep the ‘one team’ feeling and mitigate against the formation of in-groups and out-groups.

4. Security - to help manage the mental well-being of employees, think about creating a more ‘psychologically safe’ environment and ensure people know where to get support.

The PIVOT Generation

In todays hybrid landscape the leader will need to PIVOT with resilience as soon a whiff of change is required. Making quality decisions with the right people, to deliver the right performance will rely heavily on having the right process. Leaders will be defined by their ability to make decisions and what value that has created as a result. Those who fail to make quality decisions may well perish in this new world. Balancing the issues of policy landscape, strategy, performance and organisational improvement inside the powerful context of value creation isn't easy and takes a certain level of competence. Leaders need to cause purposeful action aimed at increasing the value of their Hybrid Organisation through its financial and non-financial value proposition.

Effective PIVOT leadership is becoming increasingly important, where leaders take both an internal & external facing role in ensuring that organisations adapt quickly to changes in today’s fast moving global economy & are brave enough to take the necessary risks and decisions that enhance value.

PIVOT leadership is actually not one particular trait but a range of different personal attributes. These include the ability to anticipate, envision, maintain flexibility, think strategically, look outside your organisation to find opportunities to develop and work with others (external stakeholders) to initiate changes that will create a viable future for the organisation.

But how do PIVOT leaders achieve such results?

To facilitate this, the PIVOT leader needs to set the work climate, orchestrate the process of seeking and realising opportunities and become actively involved in identifying and developing new ideas.

However, there must also be an acceptance that not everything will work and that dealing properly with failure is as important as celebrating success of all PIVOT leaders, especially in identifying the reasons for failure, and ensuring there is learning from any errors.

The last 18 months has seen events around the world that we would never have envisaged and it is clear that there is a need for a new breed of PIVOT leader who is innovative, enthusiastic and can provide a new sense of direction in an uncertain world.

Certainly, the impact of Brexit & Covid19 bring challenges to the public and private sector in the UK and will impact on how decisions are made. They will also require different approaches that may, in some instances, be unconventional but which will reap real rewards for those organisations led by PIVOT leaders.

To read more about how to successfully lead the way to hybrid check out our white paper here, or to improve your ability to lead hybrid teams take our complimentary PIVOT scorecard test here.

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