Leading in multi-tier organizations requires a specific set of skills and strategies to effectively manage teams across different levels. These skills and practices can be used by all effective leaders, but are especially important to keep in mind if you are using Ingaged Leadership.
Let’s Review the Basics
Here are some best practices to consider:
Establish clear communication channels: Create open and transparent communication channels between all levels of the organization. Ensure that information is clearly communicated up and down the chain of command and that feedback is actively encouraged.
Encourage collaboration: Foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork by encouraging cross-functional communication and shared goals. This can help break down silos and increase productivity and innovation.
Delegate effectively: Delegation is crucial in multi-tier organizations. Ensure that tasks are delegated appropriately to the right people with the necessary skills and authority to complete them. This can help reduce micromanagement and improve efficiency.
Lead by example: As a leader, it’s important to model the behaviors and values that you want to see in your team. This includes being accountable, transparent, and respectful in all interactions.
Develop leadership skills at all levels: Invest in leadership development programs to help develop the skills and abilities of leaders at all levels of the organization. This can help create a culture of leadership and foster innovation and growth.
Implement effective training through the ranks: Training is like a lubricant that makes everything work better in any organization. Don’t let training be an afterthought Make it a top priority.
In Summary . . .
Overall, ingaged leadership in multi-tier organizations requires a strategic approach that focuses on communication, collaboration, delegation, modeling behavior, and leadership development. By adopting these best practices, leaders can create a culture of success and drive the organization forward.
About Evan Hackel, Entrepreneur, Author Speaker, Podcaster
As author, speaker and Evan Hackel has been instrumental in launching more than 20 businesses and has managed a portfolio of brands with systemwide sales of more than $5 billion. He is the creator of Ingaged Leadership, is author of the book Ingaging Leadership Meets the Younger Generation, and is a thought leader in the fields of leadership and success.
First published in 1841, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is often cited as the best book ever written about market psychology.
The book covers the grand-scale madness, major schemes, and bamboozlement-and the universal human susceptibility to all three. This informative, funny collection encompasses a broad range of manias and deceptions, from witch burnings to the Great Crusades to the prophecies of Nostradamus.
#3 The Cather in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Oddly enough, the book that changed Bill Gates life the most was the Cather and the RYE. He apparently found it fascinating.
The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J. D. Salinger, partially published in serial form in 1945–1946 and as a novel in 1951. It was originally intended for adults, but is often read by adolescents for its themes of angst, alienation, and as a critique of superficiality in society.
About one million copies are sold each year, with total sales of more than 65 million books. The novel’s protagonist Holden Caulfield has become an icon for teenage rebellion. The novel also deals with complex issues of innocence, identity, belonging, loss, connection, sex, and depression.
#4 Be Here Now – Ram Dass
This was Steve Jobs most recommended book.
Be Here Now, is a 1971 book on spirituality, yoga, and meditation by the American yogi and spiritual teacher Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert). The core book was first printed in 1970 as From Bindu to Ojas and its current title comes from a statement his guide, Bhagavan Das, made during Ram Dass’s journeys in India.
Basically, Be Here Now is one of the first guides for those not born Hindu to becoming a yogi. For its influence on the hippie movement and subsequent spiritual movements, it has been described as a “countercultural bible” and “seminal” to the era. It encourages readers to let go of themselves.
#5 Life is What You Make It – Peter Buffett
James Dimon is an American billionaire businessman and banker who has been the chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase, the largest of America’s 4 biggest banks.
The book he recommends as the most influential in his readings was: Life is What You Make It. The book is a story of love, hope and how determination can overcome destiny and to find your own path to fulfillment.
From composer, musician, and philanthropist Peter Buffett comes a warm, wise, and inspirational book that asks, Which will you choose: the path of least resistance or the path of potentially greatest satisfaction?
#6 Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World – Rene Girard
Founder of Pay Pal, billionaire Peter Theil’s top book pick was Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World. Theil once claimed he was blown away by the author’s philosophy that will completely change your perspective on the world.
An astonishing work of cultural criticism, this book is widely recognized as a brilliant and devastating challenge to conventional views of literature, anthropology, religion, and psychoanalysis.
Girard’s point of departure is what he calls “mimesis,” the conflict that arises when human rivals compete to differentiate themselves from each other, yet succeed only in becoming more and more alike. At certain points in the life of a society, according to Girard, this mimetic conflict erupts into a crisis in which all difference dissolves in indiscriminate violence.
#7 My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla – Nikola Tesla
This is the favorite book by Google’s founder Larry Page. The book is a biography of the genius electrical inventor. My Invention’s is an autobiography of the reclusive, brilliant engineer who:
Invented the Niagra power system that made Edison’s obsolete. Sold Westinghouse 40 patents that broke a General Electric monopoly. He discovered the radio methods that Marconi converted into a fortune. Built a radio-guided torpedo before Ford ended the horse-and-buggy era. Tesla attempted, with J.P. Morgan’s backing, to change the earths electric charge!
#8 The Idea Factory. Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation – Jon Gertner
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is a lover of books. The one he love the most? Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation which describes the history of Bell Labs, the research and development wing of AT&T, as well as many of its eccentric personalities, such as Claude Shannon and William Shockley. The book explains how Bell Labs was influential in be the incubator for scientific innovation from the 1920’s through the 1980’s.
Their growth concepts still propel many of today’s most exciting technologies.
#9 The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done – Peter Drucker
What makes an effective executive? That’s what the whole book is about.
The measure of the executive, Drucker reminds us, is the ability to “get the right things done.” This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.
Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can and must be mastered:
Choosing what to contribute to the organization;
Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect;
Setting the right priorities;
Knitting all of them together with effective decision-making
#10 Benjamin Franklin, An American Life – Walter Isaacson
Tesla founder, Elon Musk’s favorite book is about one of the most influential men in history: Benjamin Franklin, An American Life. Musk said that the story of the humble boy who went from apprentice who self-educated himself and became a self-made philosopher and businessman had a big impact on his life.
The book outlines the life of the ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings, he seems made of flesh rather than of marble. In best-selling author Walter Isaacson’s vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin seems to turn to us from history’s stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. By bringing Franklin to life, Isaacson shows how he helped to define both his own time and ours.
These days, seemingly everyone is applying Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. I have written about disruptions in the manufacturing industry, such as Industry 4.0, while illustrating the Hard Trends that indicate where improvements will be made in the future.
The construction industry, which makes up 7% of the global workforce, should already have applied these technologies to improve productivity and revolutionize the industry. However, it has actually progressed quite slowly.
Growth in the construction industry has only been 1% over a few decades while manufacturing is growing at a rate of 3.6%. With the total worker output in construction at a standstill, it is no surprise that the areas where machine learning and AI could improve such statistics were minimal. Yet, those technologies are finally starting to emerge in the industry.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is when a computer mimics specific attributes of human cognitive function, while machine learning gives the computer the ability to learn from data, as opposed to being specifically programmed by a human. Here are ten ways that AI and machine learning will transform the construction and engineering industries into what we’ll call “smart construction.”
Cost Overrun Prevention and Improvement
Even efficient construction teams are plagued by cost overruns on larger-scale projects. AI can utilize machine learning to better schedule realistic timelines from the start, learning from data such as project or contract type, and implement elements of real-time training in order to enhance skills and improve team leadership.
Generative Design for Better Design
When a building is constructed, the sequence of architectural, engineering, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing tasks must be accounted for in order to prevent these specific teams from stepping out of sequence or clashing. Generative design is accomplished through a process called “building information modeling.” Construction companies can utilize generative design to plot out alternative designs and processes, preventing rework.
The construction process involves risk, including quality and safety risks. AI machine learning programs process large amounts of data, including the size of the project, to identify the size of each risk and help the project team pay closer attention to bigger risk factors.
More Productive Project Planning
A recent startup utilized 3D scanning, AI and neural networks to scan a project site and determine the progress of specific sub-projects in order to prevent late and over-budget work. This approach allowed management to jump in and solve problems before they got out of control. Similarly, “reinforcement learning” (machine learning based on trial and error) can help to collate small issues and improve the preparation phase of project planning.
More Productive Job Sites
Professionals often fear machines will replace them. While intelligent machines will take over first repetitive and eventually more cognitively complex positions, this does not mean a lack of jobs for people. Instead, workers will transition to new, more fulfilling and highly productive roles to save time and stay on budget, and AI will monitor human productivity on job sites to provide real-time guidance on improving each operation.
Manual labor not only has the potential to be taxing on the body, but also to be incredibly dangerous. Presently, a general contractor is developing an algorithm that analyzes safety hazards seen in imagery taken from a job site, making it possible to hold safety briefings to eliminate elevated danger and improve overall safety on construction sites.
Addressing Job Shortages
AI and machine learning have the capacity to plot out accurate distribution of labor and machinery across different job sites, again preventing budget overruns. One evaluation might reveal where a construction site has adequate coverage while another reveals where it is short staffed, thereby allowing for an efficient and cost-effective repositioning of workers.
When structures can be partially assembled off-site and then completed on-site, construction goes faster. The concept of using advanced robots and AI to accomplish this remote assembly is new. Assembly line production of something like a wall can be completed while the human workforce focuses on the finish work.
Construction Sites as Data Sources
The data gathered from construction sites and the digital lessons learned by AI and advanced machines are all tools for improving the productivity of the next project. In this way, each construction site can contribute to a virtual textbook of information helpful to the entire industry.
The Finishing Touches
Structures are always settling and shifting slightly. It would be beneficial to be able to dive back into data collated by a computer to track in real time the changes and potential problems faced by a structure — and AI and machine learning make this possible.
Given the inevitable changes on the horizon, and the potential for costs to drop up to 20% or more with increased productivity, professionals in the construction industry must pay attention to Hard Trends, become more anticipatory, and ultimately learn to turn disruption and change into opportunity and advantage.
(In this blog series on how elevating cognitive performance is a game changer for organizations, I’ve invited Neil Smith, CTO at Think Outcomes, to join me in writing on this important topic due to his expertise and the cognitive performance software his firm has created.)
Today, business performance is measured by transactional throughput and is commonly captured in a set of transactional metrics such as revenue, investor ROI, manufacturing capacity, service level performance, available to promise, etc. Commonly, the operations of a business are defined as the transactional activity. Yet, the definition of a business operation encompasses both its transactional operations and its cognitive operations. To break through current ceilings of business performance, the processes in both the transactional operations and the cognitive operations must execute with excellence.
Transactional Operations of an Organization
Commerce activities represent the transactional operations. Professionals are involved in planning and management of tasks to execute customer, supplier and employee transactions. Task-oriented processes occur before, during and after the customer journey. ERP, SCM and CRM software helps professionals responsible for transaction management execute transactional operating processes.
Examples of Transactional Responsibilities
Manage sales transactions
Manage marketing campaigns
Procure products and services
Capture accounting activity
Manage inventory turns
Plan for distribution
Forecast financial performance
Manage human resources
Executives have invested significantly to evolve the processes on the transactional side of their businesses.
Cognitive Operations of an Organization
The cognitive operations comprise teams that think and communicate perspectives for a living. These teams are internal and external to the organization:
Senior executives, senior managers and other professionals
Management consultants, board members, lenders and insurance providers in the services ecosystem
Investors, analysts, supply chain partners and business partners, who are part of the extended enterprise
Regulators and educational institutions, who are standard setters
In a cognitive operations, professionals think critically, collaborate, communicate with their stakeholders, make decisions, advise other professionals and monitor uncertainties. As professionals perform mindful work, they often experience gaps in their knowledge that lead to uncertainties. Uncertainties stall decisions. Cognitive processes represent the work that takes place in their minds.
Cognitive operations exist across industries, such as oil and gas, life sciences, private equity, management consulting, environmental management, asset management, space, insurance, banking, aerospace, defense, healthcare, government and education, etc. Below are some examples where critical thinking, stakeholder communications and performance advisory occur in life sciences for their cognitive work:
Examples of Cognitive Responsibilities in Pharma
Chief Medical Officer
Develop corporate strategy
Brainstorm with clinical key opinion leaders around clinical challenges
Create quality control measures for clinical trials
Ensure performance among clinical and regulatory teams
Collaborate with health authorities
Communicate with regulatory authorities
Perform due diligence research on business development opportunities
Monitor investment in clinical programs
Chief of Staff
Improve processes to enhance operational efficiency and effectiveness
Identify Hard Trends to strengthen the accuracy of forecasts
Prepare CEO for stakeholder meetings
Ensure innovative qualitative and quantitative measurements
VP, Drug Process Development
Apply anticipatory thinking and new tools to transform processes
Demonstrate process reliability
Verify process effectiveness
Build process control strategy
VP, Drug Manufacturing Process
Ensure a stable design environment
Assess drug degradation
Link material attributes and process parameters to CQAs
Demonstrate linkages between process and product reliability
Track outcomes for each changing state
Establish feedforward and feedback controls
Anticipate and monitor failure conditions
VP, Corporate Development
Craft risk-managed pricing
Evaluate portfolio implications
Analyze integrated due diligence
VP, Supply Chain
Use new tools to transform supply chain processes
Communicate supply chain risks and opportunities
Simulate implications of a supplier failure
Professionals in the cognitive operations either accelerate or constrain their cognitive performance based on their mind-set and the technologies they use for their mind’s work.
Professionals in the transactional operations benefit from software architectures for their responsibilities. Yet professionals in the cognitive operations don’t have the same capabilities to perform their jobs. Rather, they have their job descriptions, their experiences and their minds; they utilize multipurpose software in the form of spreadsheets, presentation software and word processing documents. Leaders and managers do not have a software architecture designed to elevate their cognitive responsibilities. Nor do they have a way to think through their uncertainties in a Socratic manner. These issues are critical for a cognitive operation to advance and gain a competitive advantage.
In working across organizations for decades, we’ve seen a theme in which leaders and managers who seldom take enough time to think through uncertainties the first time around is high. Yet there seems to be enough time to revisit the topics a second time as problems arise. Beyond time pressures, confusion persists around how to think through uncertainties. The lack of clarity regarding how to manage uncertainty has led leaders and managers to spend more time managing the crisis and less time managing new opportunities. By learning to identify the Hard Trend certainties that will happen, anticipatory leaders learn to innovate with low risk and have the confidence certainty provides to make bold moves.
What is Cognitive Excellence?
Anticipatory leaders and managers exhibit cognitive excellence through a constant flow of insights and foresights that resolve uncertainties. These professionals become a critical resource to highly effective cognitive operations. They are go-to professionals, whether they exist in an organization, in the services ecosystem or as part of the extended enterprise. Organizations need to instill these anticipatory capabilities in their professionals to achieve greater business performance.
“Past performance is not a predictor of future results.”
This performance caveat is attached to any investment in the stock market, and it applies in business too. Future performance is dependent on anticipatory skills and cognitive excellence. Professionals face change all the time. Some say change is the only constant; in fact, it’s accelerating at an exponential rate, which creates additional uncertainties as well as new certainties! It’s challenging to achieve cognitive excellence in the minds of professionals consistently today without anticipatory skills and software that:
Define the cognitive gaps
Illustrate aberrations in future performance through measurable evidence
Trigger questions of uncertainty in your mind
Move you from uncertainty to greater certainty
That’s why cognitive excellence doesn’t just come from experience. It comes from advancing the capabilities of professionals with:
Anticipatory leadership skills
A responsibility architecture for their cognitive work
An agile and anticipatory mental framework to help them address change across situations
Software spaces to perform their mind’s work
The ability to nimbly address questions of uncertainty through a repeatable Socratic process greatly enhances leaders’ and managers’ capabilities to perform at a very high level as key contributors to their organizations and their clients’ organizations. This is how professionals can transform the performance of their businesses.
As professional teams elevate their cognitive capabilities toward excellence, their organizations transform into highly performant cognitive factories. Professional teams leverage each other’s thinking through a uniform process to visualize performance patterns for their minds, where they gain insights and foresights. Anticipatory professionals not only pre-experience their own uncertainties, they also help their stakeholders pre-solve their questions of uncertainty, too.
The cognitive era is shaping the coexistence and interdependence between humans and machines. This new era demands leaders to advance the capabilities of their cognitive processes. As machines learn, humans must focus their time and attention in areas where machines are far less effective. Professionals need to redefine and reinvent their business models, markets, products, services and processes to provide the next level of value for their clients. Anticipatory leaders and managers need to focus their time on the layers of both uncertainty and certainty where future state thinking is needed and reassign current state thinking to others. That’s how they’ll continue to differentiate their personal and business brands. Professionals need to accelerate their learning and get comfortable with uncertainty through the use of higher certainty frameworks. It’s imperative for organizations to get on board with elevating their cognitive performance. Waiting will cost organizations the value of cognitive insights and foresights, while your competitors grow their knowledge.
Machine learning is causing a shift in the workforce — an emerging crowd of retrained professionals whose jobs are increasingly occupied by machines. This requires cognitive professionals in their current roles to manage the knowledge gap between themselves and their new human rivals. They accomplish this by advancing their cognitive skill sets, learning to become anticipatory leaders and through the use of technologies built the way they think about uncertainties.