Leading 10x Bigger

October 25, 2012 — 7 Comments

You’re probably familiar with the phrase “what got you here won’t get you there.” This means that the perspectives, skill sets, relational networks and time management practices that helped you become successful in your former role are probably inadequate to meet the new demands you now face.

This week the executive team on which I serve is hosting a New Global Leader Orientation for 30 men and women who are experiencing their first year of global leadership in our organization. For example, John went from highly fruitful decade in one country to being responsible for an additional 19 countries. That’s 20x. And that’s fairly normal for most people in the room. And they still have the same 168 hours each week to get the job done.

Andrea, our VP for Leadership Development, highlighted a number of the tensions we face when we accept the challenge to greater scope of responsibility.

If you’re making such a move, here are some tensions that you may deal with:

  • Moving from “we” to a “they”
  • Scope vs. Focus
  • Immediate impact vs. Intentional change over time
  • Unity vs. Diversity
  • Simplicity vs. Complexity
  • One culture vs. Many Cultures
  • Face to face meetings vs. Online meetings
  • Single language vs. Multilingual work environment
  • Global standards vs. Local flexibility
  • Trust built through personal presence vs. Leading over distance
  • Controlling my schedule vs. Serving others in their time zones
  • Being the expert vs. Relying on others’ local expertise
  • Leading alone vs. Sharing leadership

If you’ve made the leap to greater scope, what got you here probably won’t be sufficient to take you to the next level of success.

What has helped you learn to lead 10x bigger?

 

7 responses to Leading 10x Bigger

  1. Awesome! Thank you so much Ken for simplifying things through this! Just reposted this to my CCC family and churchmates. It’s so timely and helpful to think and act on this. Thank you so much! May God bless you more!

  2. I think this is a great list, food for thought as well as many a long conversation!
    I think that possibly the hardest personal challenge in this list is “Trust built through personal presence vs. Leading over distance”

    Leading locally/even nationally we become accustomed to the immediate feedback we get when we are physically in a person’s world, this immediately feedback helps us to know how we are influencing them and as leaders need to know we have followers.
    However the feedback loop on our leadership when leading from a distance it is very different and this challenges the heart of the leader with the question ” Am I really changing anything?”
    Any insecurity in the heart and mind of the leading from a distance leader is quickly revealed by this question

    • Paul, I like the way you connect the question: “Am I really changing anything?” with the issue of insecurity and feedback loops. Thanks for lending your experience to this conversation.

  3. General Stanley McChrystal, in a TED talk last year, addressed some of these challenges and how he and his team worked through them as he led the US Army’s efforts in Afghanistan. Really enjoyed the post!

    http://www.ted.com/talks/stanley_mcchrystal.html

  4. I have learned that leading at higher levels means that my effectiveness becomes much more dependent on the focused productivity of others. This means that I need to help set a clear direction, rally the needed resources and then empower the right people with the direction and resources. I also need to give them the authority and space to really go for it. Measure, evaluate, affirm and correct their work and progress, but don’t micromanage (so hard for me not to do that!).

    Leading 10x bigger or more requires me to focus much more on building capacity (sometimes called critical mass) for the mission and vision I’m going after. Recruiting the right people, getting adequate funding, finding the right tools and information. These are all the “important but not urgent” tasks that I’ve learned a leader needs to focus on. I heard someone say once that at least 70% of a leader’s time should be focused on building capacity. The best leaders I’ve seen live that out and I feel like I’ve been most effective when I have lived that out as well.

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