Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Ideal BAS

In the book "The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World" (2009), authors Heifetz, Linsky, & Grashow identify five characteristics of adaptive organizations. If I was to answer the question "what are the characteristics of my ideal BAS", they would be the same as those referenced by the authors:
  1. Elephants in the room are named
  2. Responsibility for the organization’s future is shared
  3. Independent judgment is expected
  4. Leadership capacity is developed
  5. Reflection and continuous learning are institutionalized
Naming elephants: This describes a culture where individual team members can share their perspectives openly and honestly. We do not have to avoid tough topics or hard wire around situations. This environment is only possible if we strengthen trust across our organization and we strengthen the skills needed to engage in conflict that is healthy and not combative, hurtful or unproductive.

Sharing the responsibility for BAS's future: This describes a culture where every single team member understands that they play a critical role in developing a shared vision and then advancing our team toward it. Responsibility does not just lie with managers and supervisors. We ALL have a role to play in our BAS success.

Expecting independent judgement: This describes a culture where we are able to empower each team member to exercise their judgement as they carry out their work. This can only happen if we have a shared vision for our team, shared principles for how we engage in our work and engage with each other, and accountability mechanisms to ensure we are rowing in the same direction. 

Developing leadership capacity: This describes a culture where we understand that every team member in BAS is a leader. Being a leader has nothing to do with what your job title is. This requires investing in the professional development of our team and allowing individuals to take on leadership roles that stretch their capabilities. 

Institutionalizing reflection and continuous learning: This describes a culture where we are not stagnant and we do not become complacent. We work in a dynamic organization that is continually adapting to meet the needs of our students and position them to solve the greatest challenges facing our society. We must adapt with them and examine how we go about our BAS work and how we support the mission of the campus.

We already exhibit many of the elements required to advance these five organizational characteristics in our division. There are units within BAS that are more advanced than others in some of these areas, and I hope we can learn from each other. Many of the concerns, issues and struggles our units face can be directly tied to gaps in one of the five characteristics listed above. In 2015, these five characteristics will frame our BAS work. They will be the guiding principles of our strategic plan and we will engage every team member as we work to institutionalize these values across our division.

I look forward to partnering with you as we serve the UCSC mission and become as adaptive organization.

A slug I am,

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