It is wonderous how adaptive we are and I as I wrote last week, adaptative leadership is key right now. Top of the list of my tips for exercising adaptive leadership is to experiment. Now I know we are all experimenting at the moment, one way or another, just to get by. However, with our incredible ability to adapt, you and your teams are adjusting at a pace that many will be surprised by. So, now that much of the mad scramble to adjust to new ways of working has happened, let’s start thinking about experimenting to stretch you and your teams.
There are three key components to experimentation:
• Drivers – The goal(s) you are seeking.
• Design – The well-established principles of sound experimentation.
• Decision – The interpretation of the results and the action you take.
First is drivers. The purpose of your experimentation will naturally be driven by your challenges right now. You have challenges of ensuring your teams are safe and well, that they are re-planning their delivery of your strategy and that they are productive. Whether it is all of these or just one of them, get very clear on the purpose of your experimentation. Then get moving, get productive and set up your online collaboration for the experiment. Here are some tips from my friend, colleague and productivity expert Dermot Crowley on working with online tools in the current environment.
Second is design. The purest and most successful form of experimentation is the scientific method. It maximises the utility of the experiment by minimising the chance the results are misleading. It requires some effort, however, these are times to lean in, not shy away. If you and your team are not skilled up on how to run reliable experiments, there are some great online resources such as Explorable and Dummies.
Finally there is decision. For this, I can’t go past my MCI Decision Model to help you here. M is for motivation, C is for clarification and I is for implementation. In short. Don’t go straight to implementation. Clarify the approach you are planning. What are the obstacles to overcome and what are the potential unintended consequences? And finally, just check that the motivation is right. Are you answering the right question? If you have done a fine job with step one, confirming the drivers that determines the purpose of your experimentation, you should be able to answer yes to this question. For more information on the MCI model, you can access a short paper on it here.
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Bryan Whitefield works with strategic leaders across all sectors to help organisations harness uncertainty – uncertainty is the strategic leader’s best friend. He is the author of DECIDE: How to Manage the Risk in Your Decision Making and Winning Conversations: How to turn red tape into blue ribbon. He is the designer of the Risk Culture: Build Your Tribe of Advocates Program for support functions and the Persuasive Adviser Program for internal advisers. Both can be booked individually or in-house. For more information about Bryan, please click here.