Why Managers struggle with leading Change

In many cases people are promoted to managers because they are good at doing their jobs - nothing wrong with that….except -  Managing is significantly different from doing.   According to recent studies by the Chartered Management Institute, proper development training and coaching is relatively rare.  Even where senior managers are well skilled in managing in the steady state, the mindset and skills required to lead a team where the final state is undefined are very different.  In particular the treatment of risk needs a whole new approach.  The need to learn from successive iterations and to really engage with key stakeholders in each process stage is not needed in the steady state.  Finally optimizing a task or process can be done largely from facts and figures (PIs).  Change relies far more on the insights of the people involved and most of this is buried in the heads of people rather than clearly visible in a dashboard.  Getting it out of their heads means working with people in a whole new way.

Managing tasks does not require much vision as decision-making is rare in a stable process.  So Vision and Mission Statements tend to sit on the shelf with little or no impact on real life.  Where the end state is unclear however decisions are more common and much harder without  the desired outcome(s) as articulated in the vision statement.  For this reason it needs to be crisp, precise and actionable, which takes a fairly specific skill set.

Banner image © Mark Neild 2013  Dolphin in Bay of islands New Zealand taken shortly before we went swimming with them.