The minute you bring any group of people together, let alone the hard charging, high achieving, super innovative types we all want in our organizations, you are bound to ignite tensions. The human dynamic provides for an endless number of psychological variables that even the very best leader can find challenging.
High-performance organizational effectiveness can inevitably end up twisted and distorted by underlying tensions that impact performance, harmony and survival. First, there are the cognitive tensions, which arise from inequities in the distribution of mental fire power and the resulting inability to reach shared, common understanding because of basic differences in the way people process information. Second, there are the emotional tensions, embedded deeply in the character, motives, intentions and fears of the various members of the team.
Ultimately, the emotional and behavioural foundation of an organization is what shapes the culture and is reflected in the habits, preferences, methods, approaches and styles of the people. Culture is a powerful force that can act for the good, but equally for the bad.
Leading an organization is never easy, let alone in times of uncertainty and chaos. The only way to help ease the mental pressure and the emotional stress of the ambiguity is to accelerate and ensure each stage of the journey adds layers of additional coherence to the situation. In order to provide coherence and confidence, the leader must dramatically turn down the noise level, eliminate unnecessary distractions and banish the fear of uncertainty. This is best accomplished by committing to a narrow, sharp set of aligned strategic imperatives, rather than making things overwhelmingly complex. Things will be complex enough without adding more to the mix. In other words, the leader must jettison all of the extraneous activities, pet projects and non-essential activities that might exist, in order to help focus the organization on a singular set of interrelated objectives.
As a leader your job is to get your organization properly coordinated. You will need to hone the focus such that no matter how far into the future you look, the picture is still clear and unclouded by the frivolous or the unimportant. It is amazing the lack of clear-headedness you can find in some leaders. It is shocking how often organizations allow themselves to become trapped by adding unnecessary layers of complexity on top of far too many priorities, and then mixing them together with countless trivial diversions. It’s a sure recipe for underachievement.