Are You an Effective Cat Herder/Leader?

No truer leadership video has ever been made!

Alignment is a key determiner of effective leaders and organizations. Basically, the best leaders tend to be the best cat herders. They are skilled at adapting to a fluid, ever-changing situation and are able to guide their teams and organizations to their goals.

At the International Society of Performance Improvement’s (ISPI) annual conference, it was reported that research suggests that any organization that has more than five members is by definition dysfunctional. That explains a lot doesn’t it?  It’s hard to keep your team all on “the same page” when the “characters” are constantly trying to run off the margins.

When leaders assume that dysfunction is the natural and expected state of their organization, they are free to focus their time, energy and resources on minimizing the impact of chaos and dysfunction by constantly checking for and adjusting the general group’s perception of alignment.

Often leaders and managers become frustrated when Pandora’s box of issues continues to break free of the band-aids and duct tape that the leaders constantly apply. Instead of becoming frustrated and feeling like a failure, the effective leader, simply expects the fixes to be temporary, monitors constantly for signs of slippage and change, responds to the latest information, plans for future solutions and marvels that a temporary solution holds for as long as it does.

Not many leaders have discovered that the goal is alignment and become discouraged when they realize their vision and mission is not understood, and practically and uniformly applied by their field staff.  They expect perfect alignment after their webinar or e-mail that explains their vision and are surprised and alarmed when they confront dysfunction and conflicting perspectives.

One of the keynote speakers at the ISPI conference said that the best managers are best at managing messes.  I would add that the most effective leaders and managers are those that expect to have daily messes, focus on mitigating the most meaningful messes that are causing the organization to lose alignment and don’t allow the ankle-biter messes to distract them. They have an appropriate tolerance for minor messes and accept them as a natural part of the organizational chaos that they are trying to herd towards their goal.

Saddle up leaders! Your herd of felines awaits. It’s time to fire up and find your meaningful messes!

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