'Great Minds Create Great Solutions' - Part Two

Sustainable solutions to complex problems, produced through the application of tried and tested innovative processes, are rarely simple or linear.

Many leaders, sometimes those who have been on MBA management courses where they have been exposed to 21st century management theory and case study, often ask for old-style reporting procedures - reporting 'up the chain' metrics, bullet point memos on one page, informal briefings from 'trusted sources' - to the exclusion of 'maverick' or 'blue sky' ideas.

In our consultancy work we have found that a significant proportion of these blue sky concepts/ 'crazy ideas' are actually 'great ideas/concepts', from great minds, that are 'stuck' in the transference zone between a highly-engaged [research] team and a less-than-engaged [development] team, who have difficulty seeing the idea(s) as robust and practical.

One 'real time' problem is the nature of the linear approach; believing that an organizational organigram and wall-sized GANTT chart can ensure results to a well-constructed time-table. Our experience has shown that even great ideas need to be robustly presented to the next team if they are to pick up the transferred concept. It is highly likely that the next team of great minds may have a completely different set of values; so, something inspiring to one group of minds, may be 'average' or even 'boring' to another group of minds.

Historically, it has not been perceived as the job of the first group of minds to convince the next group of minds of the greatness of the concept - though with the right set of OKRs (Doerr's Objectives and Key Results) it can and should.

It is rightfully, but only partially, the job of the leader to ensure there are corporate processes in place to ensure the groups can work together in a way that suits their internal values dynamics, not just the formal work process on a GANTT chart.

(A sage Quality Manager of a major electronics organization used to say, "The purpose of planning is the avoidance of shock" - a viewpoint that acknowledges, with brutal honesty, that the GANTT chart never survives more than one progress review. There is a parallel military concept that "No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy".)

The real leader facilitates the creation of tools that create the awareness, and use of mental models outside their own personal experiences - seeing and feeling the perceptions of those whom they need to inspire. Being able to anticipate the strengths and weaknesses in the Wall of Transference and to look for threats and opportunities to inspire others, with responsibility for development, to be inspired.

As inspiration is different for each of the three Maslow Groups, the personal values of individuals within groups have an even more powerful influence within, and between, groups of people than do many formal 'corporate values', methods and processes.

What this means is that the facilitation of the creating sustainable product/service problem-solving teams within complex and turbulent industry and global environments is just one level of the complexity the modern leader has to accept.

They cannot control this environment so they will either healthily accept it, or dysfunctionally reject it. Great leaders need to embrace this environment, not just accept it.

CDSM's evidence helps leaders understand and use values research and applications that work at a values level within and between groups within the organizations. Understanding the Maslow Groups and their driving forces is the key to creating functional architectures and processes that guide their teams in the smooth transference of ideas into development and then into profit centres, with a sustainable presence in their markets.

Cultural Dynamics Strategy & Marketing Ltd.          email: mail@cultdyn.co.uk          tel: +44 (0)208 744 2546