Making sure that everyone is clear about our leadership expectations is not simple. Communication is a two way street and how we receive messages is not always how the sender intended. Using different tools to help align our leaders on expectations helps to clear the noise in the communication channel.
We use what we call an 'altitude' chart. Effective communication will improve relationships, drive confidence, minimize rework, and improve the chances of success. Having leaders execute at the proper level ensures that complex projects, which very often have some complex problems which require resolution, continue to progress and are not derailed by inefficient problem solving.
We have five different leadership altitudes ranging from ground-level all the way up to 100,000 feet. At the highest levels, our leaders only report on status and focus on "checking the box" while focusing on the administration of the project. This results in poor quality conversations and little value. At the opposite end of that spectrum, the project leaders are on the ground floor and "in the weeds". This is a micro-management approach which negatively impacts team empowerment and generally slows progress on the effort. Neither of these extremes provide value to the executing organization.
We tell our leaders to execute between 25 and 50,000 foot level depending on the size and complexity of the project. This ensures leaders understand the interdependence of workstreams and deliverables which drives improved problem resolution, generation of recommendations, high quality conversations, and a faster path to making decisions.
Leadership begets leadership. Ensure your leaders understand your expectations and validate that they understand we expect leadership…not just management. Setting the proper expectations requires consistency and proper messaging. Use the tools at your disposal or create your own to support that consistency and you'll experience and increased level of success.
If you want to read more on the topic, you can take a look at Jason's full article by clicking here