Have you ever embarked on a journey into uncharted waters, feeling both inspired and daunted by the path ahead? It’s a common experience for those who venture towards self-management, a path that challenges traditional hierarchies and seeks to redefine how organizations operate. In this blog post, we’ll explore the transformative power of peer influence and the importance of a supportive community when treading the uncharted territory of self-management.
Recently, I spoke with the CEO of an organization dedicated to bringing mindfulness and meditation to schoolchildren. They had secured grants from prestigious organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and had bravely adopted a flatter organizational structure, opting for Holacracy–a system of distributing decision-making widely. While Holacracy is a well-known model in the US, it wasn’t without its challenges.
As they approached the one- or two-year mark in their journey, they realized that the top-down, dictatorial approach to business might allow short-term speed but hinder long-term success. They had chosen Holacracy to escape these constraints. But they found themselves ensnared in different complex patterns. Some of their most senior leaders were feeling isolated and unsure of how to navigate these new waters. It was akin to sailing into the unknown without a compass. The CEO was feeling adrift.
This CEO’s experience mirrors what many encounter when embracing self-management. Few precedents exist, and the path is largely uncharted. While books and some well-known success stories provide hope and inspiration, the journey comes with rough seas. When the waves get turbulent, and you’re uncertain whether to persevere or revert to the old ways of working, what do you do?
The Power of Positive Peer Pressure
This is where the power of influence and supportive relationships come into play. Human beings often become the average of the five people we spend the most time with or whose opinions we value the most. We ask ourselves, “What would they do?” Our peers influence us in profound ways we may not even be conscious of. This concept holds in the world of self-management.
Consider a story from a tax law firm founder who decided to embrace self-management. When the business of a significant client was on the line, the CEO’s instinct was to jump in, solve the problem, and ensure the client’s satisfaction. This is the conventional response advised by many business books and advisors.
However, this founder was part of a network of other leaders exploring self-management. Those leaders gained knowledge from their peers in the networking group about how to manage differently. This included the importance of practicing self-awareness and showing up with courage and trust in difficult situations. This group of leaders could channel the alternative approaches, which were often quite distinct from their natural tendencies.
The network of leaders interested in self-management influenced the tax law founder. In the case of the significant client, the founder did not jump in to save the day. Instead, the founder held space for the team. The founder challenged the team to reflect on the situation, its consequences, and what it meant for the business.
This marked the beginning of a meaningful transformation, where self-management wasn’t just a theoretical concept but a way of stepping up and embracing challenges. This new practice wasn’t without growing pains. The firm lost that client. But positive developments outweighed that loss.
The team eventually took ownership of the failure in a way they hadn’t for the previous few years. The team realized they needed to embody the energy and passion for making things right that the founder brought. And they found healthier ways to do it with systems and processes that didn’t rely on the hero-lifting of one individual. This was a deep learning. When a similar client crisis presented itself again, there were many more leaders to step up.
As a result, the founder believes the initial client problem was a pivotal moment in the organization’s transition. The founder’s willingness to let go and let the team try, fail, and learn has helped the company ever since. None of this probably would have occurred if not for the founder’s involvement in the leadership network focused on self-management. Call if positive peer pressure.
Whose voices and opinions do you rely on when you have hard decisions to make? Whose influence shapes your tough calls? Do those people share your values and beliefs in what you are trying to create?
The CEO Circle: Charting uncharted Waters Together
Inspired by stories like the ones above, and mindful of the power of influence, we are introducing the TLC (the Teal Leaders Circle). It’s a community designed for CEOs on the daunting journey of self-management. We believe that the path is easier and more rewarding when traveling with like-minded and like-hearted colleagues.
This leadership peer advisory group is founded on the idea that shared experiences and supportive relationships are essential for success in self-management. It’s about being more than just trained and thoughtful about where you’re headed; it’s about being equipped and ready for the journey. It’s about sharing the trek toward self-management, and trailblazing together.
When you set out on the path of redefining organizational hierarchies and embracing self-management, remember that you’re not alone. Seek out a community that shares your goals and values. Tap the power of peer influence to build confidence when making unconventional choices. Find the right supportive peers to navigate the challenges and uncertainties ahead. Together, we can chart uncharted waters and transform the way organizations operate.