Today we are living in very dynamic, fast-paced, and stressful environment which demands rapid flexibility and fluidity in our perceptions and behaviors. Organizations are required to learn, interate, grow, and respond much more quickly than in prior years. Historic top-down models of leadership must give way to a distributive leadership model that permeates through rank and file employees of an organization. Each person then becomes a leader with unique personal capabilities, strengths, and an individual capacity to bring about change.
Times of uncertainty can cause tremendous stress. Suddenly behaviors that used to work, don't yield the results we expect and can cause us to react to our environment with rigidity, repetitive behaviors, and the desire to flee from the situation rather than manage it. The challenge for each of us is to increase our self-awareness so that we may overcome our habitual responses and shift to behaviors that embody leadership effectiveness.
Deborah Ancona, the Seley Distinguished Professor of Management at MIT Sloan School of Management, together with her colleagues at MIT has created a model for leadership called the 4-CAP Model.
“The framework begins with four key leadership capabilities: Sensemaking, Relating, Visioning, and Inventing. Added to these capabilities is the notion of a change “signature” —your own unique way of making change happen. Leaders in business settings need all of these capabilities to be successful, and cycle through them on an ongoing basis. “
This model helps individuals address:
1) What do I have to do now?
2) What is a way forward in an age of uncertainty?
3) What are some capabilities that will help me get beyond my rigidity and repetition and move to a place of innovation and possibility?
4) How can I effectively relate to my stakeholders and others?
5) How can I successfully act in an environment of change rather than be disabled by it?
Our MasterClass will provide you with a greater understanding of the 4-CAPS framework developed by MIT and how to use it as both a model for leadership and for coaching in today’s uncertain and fast-paced times.
Watch as Deborah Ancona, PhD discusses Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty:
Four obstacles for Mubarak, The Washington Post (2011) by Deborah Ancona
Question: Egypt's unfolding political crisis raises a broader question: Can an entrenched powerful leader, one who has resisted change successfully, lead a country or an organization in a different direction if circumstances suddenly demand it? Or is it necessary to bring in new leadership?
If lessons can be learned from the business world, an entrenched powerful leader who has resisted change can seldom lead an organization in a different direction. While there is the occasional leader who can do this, most often they cannot. Why? There are a number of reasons ranging from the psychological to systemic.
MIT Sloan School of Management News Briefs July 2005 X- Teams
When Deborah Ancona began to study business teams while writing her dissertation in the early 80s it didn't take long before she realized that something strange was going on. As she studied team after team it became clear that the ideal model of the tightly-focused and motivated business team taught in the textbooks was not so ideal after all. Group hugs, team T-shirts, and trust-building exercises were in. But were profits?
HBR Blog Network / Imagining the Future of Leadership: It’s Not About You
Scholarly journals and business publications are filled with accounts of organizations moving from traditional bureaucratic structures to new, flatter forms. They require new leadership practices that rely less on the individual efficacy of a few "great men" and more on the collective efficacy of formal and informal networks - a shift that, in the words of Cisco CEO John Chambers, you could almost call "as revolutionary as the assembly line."
The X-factor: six steps to leading high-performing teams by Deborah Ancona, Henrik Bresman, David Caldwell; Organizational Dynamics July-Sept 2009 Vol 38 Issue 3
Purpose: To outline the concept of X-teams which are externally-oriented teams within an organization.
Design/methodology/approach: Outlines the traditional team model and contrasts it with the X-team model. Describes a case study which contrasts the approaches of traditional and X-teams. Details six steps which lead to a distributed leadership model for X-teams.
Findings: Most work in organizations is carried out by teams rather than by the formal departments of organization charts, but teams seldom succeed in their objectives. This is partly because their focus is internal rather than external and X-teams in contrast have an external focus. The six steps for distributed leadership are: choosing team members for their networks; making external outreach the modus operandi from the start of the project; helping the team focus on scouting ambassadorship and task co-ordination; setting milestones and deliverables for exploration exploitation and exportation; using internal processes to facilitate external work; and working with top management for commitment resources and support.
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