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Dr Mats tip of the day - 023 - Adapt your Engagement for Disruption

Previously I have written about how Disruption will affect the trust in your organisation, where trust is a key component of Leadership. Another key component of Leadership is that of Engagement - be that with staff, customers or other stakeholders - your engagement techniques will also likely need to change in Disruption.

Firstly to cover engagement - it is the process by which your stakeholders get to understand a change or a problem, where they have time to consider, have time to make suggestions that are listened to. No point in just paying lip service and having a "show and tell session" - your stakeholders will know that they have not been engaged with and will mark you down for sure.

People listen and engage differently - so yes it is not a clear or simple process. There will be people in teams that will tell you all their ideas, some may hold some ideas back, others will need time to consider, whilst others will be too shy to talk with senior people. Engagement is about gathering all of these inputs and thoughts - so be creative about how you engage, but certainly do not underestimate the effort required to gather ideas and to engage properly.

To get a real tick once you have the engagement input, you will need to show how you used those ideas, how the ideas were important to you and why not all of the ideas were acted upon. Without a doubt the stakeholders need to know what you are going to now do, what is your direction and preferred solution. Suggestion to improve the process is to build a criteria for how you will assess the engagement ideas - be clear on how the criteria will help you work through the engagement input. At the end of your engagement process show everyone how their ideas were scored using the criteria, show why they were not used, even show how the ideas are still on the list for future engagement processes.

Ok, in the above you have a first pass idea of engagement. Now consider that Disruption is occurring regularly - appearing without notice, unreliable, incomplete and uncertain. Disruptions may occur from trade wars, presidential tweets, climate change among many other sources. Imagine how staff will react when you say "thanks for your engagement points - however the world has changed and the ideas will not be used - new round of ideas will be required". Fair to say Disruption will make it far more difficult to work through past engagement processes. In this new future, staff and other stakeholders may need continual alignment and information to feel fully engaged, there may need to be faster assessment and feedback processes.

Leaders through Disruption may even need to be hired under different criteria. Leaders that do not like inclusion, feedback or speed and uncertainty may not be the leaders that you need in Disruption. The old ways of the powerful just making decisions will no longer be appropriate in Disruption as more ideas and quick responses will be required. Perhaps start hiring new leaders from new new job specs now - or train the leaders that you have now as to how they should adapt and be more responsive to any Disruption that may lie ahead.

If you are a Leader or seeking to be one in the future - you need to read, read, read about Disruption NOW ! Those that fail to understand and adjust will fall behind.

Feel free to ask Dr Mat over a chat or email on Leadership, Management or change issues, advice, consulting or mentoring that you may seek.

These and other related topics feature in Dr Mats upcoming book titled "Leading and Managing Change in the Age of Disruption and Artificial Intelligence" - written for the modern professional, student and academic wanting to be ahead on modern Leadership and Management issues. Available through Amazon and other book sellers from May 24th 2019 -

Consider your own specific situation and seek professional advice before acting directly in reaction to any of the tips on this website, they are intended as general advice only.

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