We all know someone who always seems to have boundless energy, a drive that puts Audi to shame. Someone who seems to stuff more into a week than most can in a month – you know the type…the ones with a massively busy job, hectic family with at least 2 dogs and a rescue cat, a baking habit and a highly successful allotment (or amateur dramatics club).
Simply put they are a tour de force (that’s force not France…I won’t stray into cycling analogies). It is precisely these Tours de Force that generally won’t stand for max effort for substandard outcomes and embark upon “sorting things out” or what we like to call “improvement projects”. These are the magicians that yank their metaphorical boots up, declare very loudly that it’s time to change and generally cajole their peers, teams, colleagues to follow suit.
And if that doesn’t work they beg and plead with detractors or pull some supernanny tricks to get them to fall in line (naughty step anyone?). It can be quite a thing to witness.
Problem is that it can quickly become their pet project, their thing, their baby to drive – it is quickly evident in language used “I have to go to a meeting for Chris’ thing” or I need to record some info in Avril’s tool”.
And so for all their success, the Tour de Force worries that it hinges on them being there.
All. The. Time.
And it can. But it needn’t.
Good communication in the early days to make others believe (arghh…the data girl is banging on AGAIN about talking) or identifying another TdF in the midst is a great way of doing a double flanking manoeuvre on the less enthusiastic. It certainly shares the load.
I think great leadership for improvement is about never wavering from your core message, never swaying away from the non-negotiables. Key to the last bit is actually knowing what these are, so that the other stuff, well – let others achieve those in whichever way they choose. Your colleagues are free thinking adults, treat them as such and remember just because you have the drive doesn’t mean you have all the good ideas.
Most importantly drip feed….drip…drip…drip. Same language. Same concepts. If it’s good, it will stick – with or without your presence.
We in 1000 Lives Improvement are always on our own improvement journey, we want to make sure we are using our skills and talents to their best. We had a substantial reboot, 3 years ago heralded by the arrival of an uncompromising English man, very tall, quietly spoken and rather stubborn. He was absolutely insistent about aligning with IHI’s model for improvement and frankly OTT about measurement.
His homeland has come calling and he has answered, leaving our fair and sunny shores. I can’t tell you how many people have asked what will become of 1000 lives improvement without Aidan. Truth is, we know which bits are ingrained in us, which bits still need working on and, of course, there maybe a thing or two that we might revise/quietly let slip.
It’s an entirely backhanded compliment (but meant in the best possible way) to say “Boss, it’s okay, we don’t need your presence to carry on the great work you started, we got this”