One of the #SixBlockersofChange: Leadership Team Cohesion
A close client of Innovisor assesses its organizational networks every 18 months.
A key consideration is always the leadership team. How well is the leadership team connected to each other? – Are they working as ONE?
They know that a disconnected leadership team is one of the #SixBlockersofChange.
HOW THE COHESION OF A LEADER NETWORK CHANGED DUE TO COVID-19?
Right before the pandemic their leadership team was beating the benchmarks in its ability to work as ONE. They role modeled the behavior, they wanted to see throughout the whole organization.
There was no room for people not integrated in the organization as this caused the risk of loneliness for the individual and an employee flight risk for the organization.
Well-being and connectivity were key.
The COVID-19 pandemic required the leadership to stay close to their employees. Now that all employees were working from home, it was important to touch-base with them to understand how they were doing and supporting them as much as possible.
In May 2022, they then finally reran an assessment of their networks again.
It turned out that the fragmentation of their collaborative network was more frightening than expected. And more importantly: not role modeling the behavior that was required by the rest of the organization: one company for everyone.
COVID-19 REACTION OF BEING CLOSE TO THE TEAM DOES NOT FIT YOUR HYBRID WORKING STRATEGY
The difference of how the leaders were connected before and after the COVID-19 pandemic makes sense. The leaders needed to be close to the people ensuring they were not left alone. And with a company-wide policy in the making to promote hybrid working, this was still a big issue.
But this reactive activity to bring the leaders closer to the employees while they work from home did not avoid the increase of loneliness.
In this company, the people were working from home on average 2,5 days – almost equally split between the leaders and employees. Having the leaders more connected to the employees did not make the people more included. A staggering 15% of the workforce was not included in the informal networks of others. They were not sought out by others for help, they were not perceived as energizers, or were part of the collaborative networks. So, the company became a very lonely place to be in for a big group.
“15% of the workforce was not included in the informal networks of others”
The root of the cause was one of the blockers for change success: the fragmentation of the leader’s network.
WHAT WERE THE ACTIONS TAKEN BASED ON THIS?
The leader’s network got priority in the implementation of targeted interventions. If they did not walk the talk, why should others follow.
One of the outputs of this organizational network diagnostic was the identification of five leaders – excluding top management – who were not yet connected but could strengthen the connectivity of the whole leader team. They were highly connected in their respectively silos inside the leader team and together as a group they increased the agility with 16%.
They were brought together and were left with a group exercise: what is needed to bring the leader team together, and what skills and capabilities are needed to strengthen collaboration?
They obviously did something right in their silos, so what could others learn from them.
This helped the company to collaborate around quality, not quantity. It is not about increasing collaboration as this can result in a collaboration burnout or overload. It is about purposeful collaboration.