Monday, August 22, 2011

Removing Roadblocks

For every failure, there's an alternative course of action. You just have to find it. When you come to a roadblock, take a detour. 
Mary Kay Ash

One of the primary responsibilities of a leader is to remove roadblocks so that people can innovate and move the mission forward.  Change is a difficult process without roadblocks in place.  Unfortunately, leaders often unknowingly put additional roadblocks in the way.  Here are a few of the roadblocks that I have seen put in place by leaders with great intentions.
  1. FORMS - People are required to fill out a form for absolutely everything.  These forms could be filled out to document that a meeting took place, a meeting will take place, planning occurred, etc.  If you put a box on a piece of paper it will be filled out. That doesn't mean that anything different will ever take place.  Take a close look at what you are asking people to complete.  Does it match what you say you are about?  What would be different if nobody filled in a form?
  2. COMMITTEES - It seems like there is a committee for absolutely everything these days.  That is not the true essence of shared leadership.  Always start with your priorities.  If it isn't a strategic priority, there shouldn't be a group of people meeting about it.  
  3. MEETINGS - I successfully led a building without ever having a staff meeting.  It truly can be done.  Technology can be utilized to convey the messages of traditional staff meetings.  Your schedule tells people what is truly important to you.  Every time you gather a group of individuals, it has to be focused on the mission of the organization. How much time do you currently spend in meetings?  Is there a better, more effective and efficient way to accomplish the task?
These are just a few of the most common roadblocks disguised as organizational improvement structures.  I'm quite sure you can find more at your workplace.

As a leader, keep the following three questions in front of you as you embark on a new year?

What is preventing the necessary changes that need to take place?

How are you contributing to these roadblocks as a leader?

What roadblocks can you move out of the way for your stakeholders this year?