Chapter 2 – Leading with action

Shaping the organization by turning sense into common sense

Shaping - Leading with actionIn Chapter 2 we examine some common sense approaches to leadership which, as it turns out, aren’t really that common. As leaders turn their attention from sense-making to sense-giving, we think about how they influence and shape their organizations.

We’ll see what a world-famous, classical musician, busking anonymously in a Washington subway station, can teach us about influencing.  And we’ll see how leaders turn sense into common sense, as when Richard Branson thought he could provide a better airline service and in so doing change an industry.

Or through bricolage leadership, introduced in the story of the Apollo 13 near-disaster.  The world of bricolage leadership – where resourceful leaders find ways through, even in the toughest times – is untidy and fraught.  It’s a world of scarce resources and of competing demands.

So how do you cope with such a world?  To answer that question we’ll help you challenge some conventional views on how to get your organization into shape.  For example, we’ll suggest some practical ways to apply bricolage leadership.  Then we’ll consider the most powerful way for leaders to shape culture, according to leadership expert Edgar Schein.

Chapter 2 contents

  • Umbrellas and the secret to success
  • Uncommon common sense
  • Common sense is not always common practice
  • From sense-making to sense-giving
  • Ethos, logos and pathos
  • Two ways of thinking
  • Do you need to be eloquent to be persuasive?
  • Argue as if you’re right, listen as if you’re wrong
  • Sense giving a two-way conversation
  • Shaping context
  • Shaping by bricolage
  • Bricolage leadership
  • “Houston we have a problem…”
  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast
  • Shaping culture
  • Webs, icebergs and onions
  • Thinking about culture
  • Changing culture
  • Shaping strategy
  • The essentials of strategy
  • The strategy – leadership divide
  • Is strategy being developed too slowly?
  • How to start a strategy? Don’t start with a strategy!
  • Getting into shape
  • Bricolage and being resourceful
  • Conveying what you care about
  • Questioning culture
  • An elephant never forgets…
  • Head, hand and heart

Leaders get organizations into shape in order to improve performance but they also need to help organizations do the common things uncommonly well. Which is what we discuss in the next chapter: Leading with purpose.

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