Leaders as Organization Architect
In a resource constrained environment, achieving and sustaining high performance requires systems thinking to identify the “leverage points” that will have the greatest impact on overall enterprise performance for the least amount of effort and expense (Larson, et al., 2012). Successful leaders are “architects” of enduring organizations by designing organization systems that create sustainable high-performance for multiple stakeholders (Latham, 2012). Not only are successful leaders skilled at systems thinking, they are strongly motivated to work with systems and processes.
Design Signal Your Intent
According to Bill McDonough, design is the first signal of human intent. The corollary – management and leadership system design is the first sign of leadership intent. Many of the transformational CEOs in a recent study demonstrated the ability to understand the organization as a system. The CEOs in the study understood the causal chain of engaged employees, quality products and services, customer satisfaction and financial success. This systems thinking approach enabled them to improve individual components in ways that improved the performance of the overall system.
While the design of the leadership and management systems are the first signal of leadership intent, the ultimate goal is organization culture change. Sustainable organizational change requires the new behaviors and methods eventually become embedded in the culture of the organization. Our research suggests that the longer the new system is in place, the greater the chance the new behaviors and methods will become “habits” and result in an enduring organization.
Latham, J. R. (2012). Management system design for sustainable excellence: Framework, practices, and considerations. Quality Management Journal, 19(2), 15. | Download
Larson, M., Latham, J. R., Appleby, C. A., & Harshman, C. L. (2012). CEO attitudes and motivations: Are they different for high performing organizations? Quality Management Journal, 19(4), 15. | Download