Often, when aiming for breakthrough performance, leadership can miss the bridge that makes an inspiration or speculation actionable.
To bridge this gulf between the new possibility and realizing that aspiration through action, people need to see clear pathways to accomplishing it. This can be called building a conversation for opportunity—or the how, when, and where of the inspiration.
Given the strong pull to jump into immediate action, it is easy to miss this conversation.
To build the bridge, as we mentioned in a previous blog, it is most powerful to take the perspective that your company is comprised of various networks of conversations. Within that large network of conversations there are five fundamentals to manage in generating a new culture.
These are conversations that deal with:
- Building relationships
- Opening new possibilities or insights
- Seeing new opportunities
- Generating effective actions
- Uncovering and resolving breakdowns
In previous posts we highlighted the first two of these conversations: building relationships as the foundation for all accomplishment, and opening new possibilities. (link to Transformational Leadership: Conversations that Generate New Possibilities)
In this post, we highlight the third category of conversations—those that build the bridge from a new inspiring possibility to the conversations that deal with opportunities to make the inspiration real.
Effectively managing this conversation to make a possibility real can lead to a shift in the company culture and provide an avenue to breakthrough performance.
For example, at one organization employees were surveyed and expressed an interest in the possibility of committing to a long-term relationship with the company. They needed to find a way to have that possibility be met by leadership with committed action and become a real opportunity.
As they began to build that bridge, they ran into their own concern that senior leadership was so totally focused on present results that they were not interested in really making an investment in the future.
On senior leaderships’ end, when the survey was received, they realized that they needed to communicate their commitment to the employees’ future clearly, so that people could hear that their commitment was being met.
By taking on guiding the network of conversations, leadership responded and laid the foundation for breakthrough performance.
They took on managing the network of conversations that were going on around the employee’s future by:
- Clearly communicating the information about investments the company was making, and how they were building the future for employees.
- Bringing in more employees at all levels in to share in the development of the investments.
As they took these actions, the new conversation spread throughout the company.
Leadership learned that part of guiding the network of conversations involves being aware of what assumptions your teams are making. When wrong assumptions are operating, they block the bridge to making any new aspiration real.
You can then gain people’s commitment by removing assumptions and showing them a clear pathway to realizing those new possibilities.
What new aspirations does your company have? Ask your colleagues if they see bridges to making those aspirations happen.