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'Alexa, how do you manage stakeholders?'

I wonder what Siri and Alexa might suggest? In terms of adaptive leadership, you've got your adaptive challenge, you are enjoying a bit of time on the balcony, probably starting to see things differently. But differently how? The more time you spend up there you more you'll notice that you don't need to focus your attention on the problem. More, you'll spot people's relationship with the problem or challenge you are all attempting to solve.


Watching your dancers relationship with the challenge, their behaviours, interactions and preferences will help you move from trying to convince people to true mobilisation. We've all been there, the hard sell, the convincing strategy, the case for change - and we have all thought we had won people over, change is happening - everyone's bought in and all will be well ... but will it?

Stakeholders in different directions during change

We all know that feeling of thinking change has been successful, problems have been 'solutionified' (pronounced so-loo-shon-if-eyed) ... but wait? Why is Brenda sitting at exactly the same desk everyday? And what is Tom doing with all those things on his desk. We all explicitly agreed hot desking and not personalising the hot desks...


Before you know it, your mileage budget is sky rocketing, your hotel bills are through the roof and no one is working digitally anymore, in fact there are even fax machines and cord telephones on the desks ...


The key to mobilising your stakeholders is a deep rooted relationship based method. Each and every individual have their own values base and will experience loyalties and losses (VLL) each time they are asked to make changes - even if they totally agree with solutions - values are deep rooted and change takes time - however you can mobilise people more effectively and efficiently a) from the balcony because you are taking a broader view and see more up there sipping your cocktail, and b) you spot the relationships, political structures and influences and impact of the wider issues including values, loyalties and losses people will be experiencing.


To get yourself ahead, work out who your dancers are; you can't avoid the politics, you have to fully understand. If you do ignore politics in change, it won't happen and Brenda will be firmly rooted to the same desk every day. I think the idea of VLL comes from The Practice of Adaptive Leadership (how very un-academic of me to not properly cite my sources for you to learn more, I will rectify by tomorrow!)


You essentially are looking for values from individuals' behaviours; loyalties might include teams the stakeholder feels responsible for or legacy of the organisation. Losses may include identity, job competence, skills, power, authority or money - all can present as extrinsic or intrinsic considerations.


As an adaptive leader, you can identify your dancers in 'factions' and think about influences, VLL and relationships between them to PROPERLY understand motivators and drivers behind relationships and behaviours enabling you to better 'judge the nudge' on your dance floor.


A good place to start this in practise is with yourself. In terms of your adaptive challenge, what are your values? How do you demonstrate these in your behaviours? What losses do you think you would experience - what might you need to give up or lose? Do you demonstrate loss avoidance? And what loyalties do you feel to whom? Write these down, note your feelings as you think about them.


Remember it's not just your work, its all of you working together, the solution is with all of you - and to mobilise the solution you need to understand all of the above. It will be a determining factor in the results and longevity of the solution to your challenge.


The final day of this focus week (tomorrow) looks at factions, how your dancers align and what skills and approaches might work best when linking all of the relationships for change.


If we do it well, 'hot desking' discussions won't need to be a thing ...! (Here's hoping right?!) #leadership #adaptiveleadership #losses #loyalties #values #balcony #hotdesk #coaching #change