Get used to being on the balcony. Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress, Let's talk about leadership: This week's career advice from Fedability -, Let's talk about customer service: This week's career advice from Fedability -. This is where people need the most help in developing a strategic perspective. Those who choose to lead plunge in, take the risks, and sometimes get burned. In their fine book, "Leadership on the Line," authors Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky offer a practical and wise solution: get off the dance floor (daily operations), and … Who do you and your team depend on to be able to do your work? It starts to get you thinking about why your team exists at all. Is there anyone (or team) whose quality of work could impact the quality of your work? My mission is to help people think about things differently. The ‘now what’ feeling you’re having is your desire to get back on the dance floor. Required fields are marked *. A final task is to observe who has influence, and in what situations. We only discovered this when we started seeing requisitions back up. They aren’t always great ‘dancers’ but they are generally pretty comfortable with understanding the concept. They call this “Going to the Balcony.” This chapter uses several examples of the ways in which leaders can effectively use the balcony. If you’re someone who wants to improve your ‘dancing’ skills, I highly recommend looking into project management. Leadership on the Line is truly a book for leaders who want to take their game to the next level. One of the highlights from my year at the Harvard Kennedy School was studying leadership with Ronald Heiftetz.  Yes, this was over 20 year ago!  But his book Leadership Without Easy Answers  still sits on my bookshelf.  Imagine my pleasant surprise at the last sustainability conference I attended when several presenters mentioned Heiftetz’s concept of adaptive leadership.  The class itself is highly experiential, impossible to capture in a 500-word blog post, but two concepts still stand out to me that I think all sustainability projects would benefit from incorporating:  adaptive challenge and get on the balcony. Who are you talking to? Getting on the balcony: Why Leadership Development programs are important November 11, 2016. Rather than maintain perspective on the events that surround and involve us, we often get… The fact that one is not planning to be on the balcony at any point in the year gives an indication of weak leadership skills—it reflects negatively on the team. 11. Harvard University Business School Press: Cambridge, MA. Do nothing more with your observations. Is there anyone who regularly speaks over other people? To do this, we had to know how many people were in the office in order to calculate the percentages. - "get on the balcony" and look for the bigger picture, but don't miss the chance to take action as well - This was an interesting book on leadership. This chapter is excerpted from ‘Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading'. Who participates in quiet side conversations? Tips for an effective briefing, Early career development: Advice to guide your career journey. Even if you’re already pretty strategic – I’d encourage you to try some of them out. You’ll notice that I asked you to do a lot of observing in the three activities. 7 . by Head Green Guru | Best Practices and Tools, Leadership. In short, you can be so busy with the people immediately around you that you begin to think what you’re experiencing is the whole picture of what’s happening. In Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading, the concept of dance floors and balconies is introduced as a metaphor for being tactical versus strategic. They may go through a period of feeling incompetent or disloyal. Or, if you have a Lynda.com account, you could consider those classes too. How to Not be Deadly Boring on Your Next Zoom Presentation: 4 Tips, Keep Sustainability Alive: Four Principles for Staying Resilient, Planting Seeds: Five Reasons to Plant a Pandemic Victory Garden, Support the Earth in the Time of COVID-19. Are you someone who prefers to be on the dance floor, or in the balcony? In their book Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading, Martin Linsky and Ronald A. Heifetz explain how leaders can easily fall into the trap of being so close to the work that they fail to see the bigger picture. the balcony,” identifying the adaptive challenge, regulating distress, maintaining disciplined attention, giving the work back to people, and protecting voices of leadership from below. Or, do they pay more attention if a certain topic comes up? Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. Some managers tend to be more involved in the execution of a task (like dancing), while leaders tend to be thinking about the bigger picture and what the future will be (like being on the balcony). As an example, I was in a situation where we were reporting on mandatory training completions. Heifetz and Linsky suggest that leaders need to step back to get perspective. Is there some people who sit at the edges of the room, away from the table? In my first post for 2016, I outlined the seven key principles of what I am calling Holistic Sustainability.  The first being See the Big Picture. You don’t need to get certified in project management – but it’s a good idea to take a class on it. When the status quo is upset, people feel a sense of profound loss and dashed expectations. In Leadership on the Line, they show how it's possible to make a difference without getting "taken out" or pushed aside. Leadership is both active and reflective. Every time a leader tells people what they need to hear rather what they want to hear, he puts himself on the line. And, you might now be thinking – so now what? Getting on the Balcony: Leadership Challenges in Regulation. Who depends on your work? Getting answers to the following questions can assist the leader in … The more uncommon skill, in my experience, is the ability to leave the dance floor and get onto the balcony. Get on the Balcony Few practical ideas are more obvious or more critical than the need to get perspective in the midst of action. The stronger your frustration or disappointment with my not offering you a ‘now what’, speaks to how comfortable you are with being on the balcony. Tips for keeping your message relevant in the time of COVID-19. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. It is assumed that no one can step-up to fill your shoes or that you are not willing to nurture leaders from within, resulting in a shaky succession plan for the organization. Does that change depending on what meeting they are in? Leadership on the Line stresses that “You take action, step back and assess the results of the action, reassess the plan, then go to the dance floor and make the next move.” Leadership on the Line (page 55) suggests four tasks to help you see the bigger picture: Distinguish technical from adaptive challenges. Walt Whitman described it as being ‘both in and out of the game’. In Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading, the concept of dance floors and balconies is introduced as a metaphor for being tactical versus strategic. Your email address will not be published. I received my doctorate in Industrial Organizational Psychology in 2009 from the University of Central Florida. Your email address will not be published. What is your organization’s tolerance for discomfort? Leadership on the Line (page 55) suggests four tasks to help you see the bigger picture: The final chapter in Staying Alive, The Personal Challenge, ends with a discussion on listening and using oneself as data, to learn to distinguish how our own reactions might get in the way of how we listen and observe a system.  For example, your reaction might represent the distress of the larger system or mirror the problem dynamics in the community.  This step in my opinion is a lifetime practice of “learning about our own filters and biases” and factoring them into our interpretations.”. Neither is better – both are necessary. I n their book, “Leadership on the Line,” authors Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky share a great leadership principle: get off the dance floor and up in the “balcony.” The dance floor represents the day to day pressures and commitments of leading your church, while the balcony represents a strategic viewpoint from where you see the overall picture of the church or organization. Or, do you notice that some people sit back during certain topics? Observe where people sit in a room. So, everyone must be having a good time. People in … Get on the Balcony What action/intervention can you take to move things forward? Techniques to Get on The Balcony Getting on the Balcony means taking yourself out of the dance, in your mind, even if only for a moment. Leading major organizational change often involves radically reconfiguring a complex network of people, tasks, and institutions that have achieved a kind of modus vivendi, no matter how dysfunctional it appears to you. You place yourself on the line when you tell people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. A stakeholder, as defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI), is anyone actively involved in the project, who can mobilize (or withhold) resources to support an initiative, and/or whose interests might be positively (or negatively) impacted as a result of the initiative. It wasn’t until we started sending out reports that we discovered that in some cases, HR had wildly inaccurate information about the number of people who worked in an office. Further, there are some people that are better at details where others are better at seeing the larger system. Struggle with a job you aren’t happy in? One has to alternate between participating and observing. Anyone who regularly gets spoken over? There were some great points that helped me think about the importance of being a leader, but I don't love everything about the authors' advice. Leadership becomes dangerous, then, when it must confront people with loss. The teaching purpose is to introduce the key practice of 'going to the balcony', or gaining perspective on a challenging situation. If you don’t have a dedicated budget, who determines whether you can buy something or add a resource (like a new employee)? Learn from Eric Martin, Manager Partner at Adaptive Change Advisors, as he describes this leadership practice you can put into action today. Find out where people are at–engage in authentic conversations.  Listen. Very timely to what I’m observing with our new BU head.  Move between the dance floor and the balcony (remain engaged): making interventions, observing the impact, and then reengaging. The sweet spot, according to Heifetz is to go back and forth between the dance floor and the balcony.  After you take the time to step back and see the big picture, you take action.  Leadership on the Line stresses that “You take action, step back and assess the results of the action, reassess the plan, then go to the dance floor and make the next move.”. I still remember the day in front of 200 people Hiefetz challenged me after I shared something in class.  As I recall, he said to me, “Well, Debby will always be Debby and take things too personally.”  Ahhh, and 20 years later I still have to practice to see reactions for what they represent for the system and not take them personally. However, little guidance is given about how to get onto the balcony. 0 likes. There are always a couple classes on the topic through Coursera. In an unexpected turn of events, the approver in another office went on extended leave with no one to back up the responsibility. Breathe, go outside, take a walk, host a retreat. With equal footing between research and actual government experience - I offer actionable career advice that works in the government environment. The leaders CRE is privileged to work with are often leading in challenging environments. Copyright 2020 - All Rights Reserved - Green Impact. Doing so helps to distance you from the chaos that is going on around you. Leadership on the Line is truly a book for leaders who want to take their game to the next level. What wouldn’t get done? 1. Required fields are marked *. A lot to think about on the observing front, especially seating and body-language in meetings. This can be a sobering question to answer. The first task I’d encourage you to try out is a stakeholder analysis. It’s possible that your team has been so busy ‘dancing’ that no one noticed that everyone else had left the dance floor. Do some more observations. Green Impact is a Bay Area communications consultancy that supports nonprofits, universities, and businesses ready to reframe, design, fund, or promote their green initiatives. But it doesn't have to be that way say renowned leadership authorities Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky. And, more importantly has been practicing and teaching the art of project management. Posted by Dr. Dana | Mar 25, 2019 | Career Advice, Meetings, Supervising and Managing, What I've Been Reading |. Further, the ability and awareness to be able to move from one to another is a requirement of leading effectively. I’m definitely sharing with my peer. As a leader you need to ask yourself—honestly—what you did to get everyone into a bad spot to begin with. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. It’s no wonder they resist the change or try to eliminate its visibl… The concept of ‘getting off the dance floor and onto the balcony’ is one that resonates with many people who are looking to build their leadership skills. 5/28/2002 It's not enough to lead everyone out of the mud. Get on the Balcony Gaining perspective in the midst of action is the first step in leadership. This post will offer some activities to practice the skill. Leadership is Dangerous You appear dangerous to people when you question their values, beliefs, or habits of a lifetime. I’d like to challenge you to do some activities to practice this skill. This book would be valuable even if you’re already a pretty good ‘dancer’ because communication is always harder than we think it is. Do they roll their eyes or have any other facial response to certain comments? So, for now. Get on the Balcony “Get off of the dance floor and go up to the balcony” When you observe from the balcony, you must see yourself as well as the other participants. GET ON THE BALCONY  Observing from the balcony is the critical first step in exercising (and safeguarding) adaptive leadership. Your email address will not be published. Your email address will not be published. Take note of any trends. Because it’s possible that the answer is that nothing would happen if your team didn’t exist. Sit with them. Think about them. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Thus, it’s good to take note of who is able to influence others because they can be your biggest supports or your most impactful adversaries. Leadership on the Line, by Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky is one of the most significant leadership books I've ever read. @inproceedings{Heifetz2002LeadershipOT, title={Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading}, author={Ronald A. Heifetz and M. Linsky}, year={2002} } Acknowledgments Introduction Part One: The Challenge Chapter 1: The Heart … techniques for the overall strategy of “getting on the balcony”, the authors suggest that at times the leader will need to discover where the members of the community are on the issues raised by the challenge, listen beyond the words of participants, and even reach interpretations different from what they are Identifying the type of challenge. As explained in Leadership on the Line,”…you know you are dealing with something more than a technical issue when people’s hearts and minds need to change, not just their preferences or routine behaviors.”  It continues, “If you throw all the technical fixes you can imagine at the problem and the problem persists, it’s a pretty clear signal that an underlying adaptive challenge still needs to be addressed.  Other signs of an adaptive challenge include  the need to shift values and behaviors, the need for change across organizational boundaries, conflict and crisis. ... the manufacturing division of an auto manufacturing company and just found a technical problem with one part of how the line places the engine block in the car.  Climate change is an example of an adaptive challenge–it will require changes in behavior and institutional structure, not just a technological fix.  The biggest failure of leadership is to treat adaptive challenges like technical problems. If your team didn’t exist, what would happen? Many managers who prefer to be on the dance floor are given a bad rap. This is written by a colleague of mine who has worked in the government environment. At the start of this post, I asked about your preference for being on the dance floor versus the balcony. Heifetz, R. A., Linsky, M. (2002) Leadership on the line. Dr. Dana — Like this one a lot. This is because we each have a natural preference based on our current skill sets, our situation, and our past experiences. Technical challenges bound in the world of sustainability–for example, retrofitting a plant with energy efficient lighting.  It is applying current knowledge, has a clear ROI and a facilities manager (an authority) can easily implement this task.  In comparison, an adaptive challenge requires employees and stakeholders (people with the problem) to learn new ways of working together. You’re enjoying the music and those around you seem to be as well. For the next couple meetings, I’d encourage you to take more of a balcony role to let you observe. We illustrate those principles with an example of adaptive change at KPMG Nether-lands, a professional-services firm. And, if this concept of dance floor and balconies are entirely new to you, read on! Lunch and learn meetings: Should we stick a fork in them? You might see that while there’s some on the dance floor with you…that a majority of people are lined up at the buffet table. What was the impact/reaction to your intervention. But, then it allows you to start thinking about what activities your team performs currently – and what you can start doing that will allow you to have an impact. Your answers to these questions will likely dovetail with your answers from the stakeholder analysis. Do some people seem to focus on their phones through most of the meeting? Adaptive Challenges and Stepping Out on the Balcony. In my prior position, our training requisitions went through multiple levels of approval across the agency. A second activity that I challenge you to try is an examination of your team’s purpose. Think of employees, other offices/departments, leaders up your chain of command, other government agencies, and even (in some cases) the American taxpayers. Leadership on the line is a long list of examples on where leadership has gone well and where it failed, extracted from various other sources that are listed in th and notes section. Powerpoint presentation based on the book Leadership on the Line by Marty Linsky and Ronald A. Heifetz. Leadership on the Line is a signi˜cant book that grows your leadership depth well beyond the ˚u˛ stu˛. In my experience, most managers seem pretty solid on being on the dance floor. Start studying Leadership Ch. To solve an adaptive challenge, the first step is to “get off the dance floor and gain perspective from the balcony,” what I refer to as See the Big Picture.  It is so easy and compelling to get caught up in the action.  “Seeing the whole picture requires standing back and watching even as you take part in the action being observed.”  A key element to holistic sustainability incorporates this concept and encourages organizations to step back and assess the system they are part of, yet at the same time not get stuck in simply creating a strategy that sits on the shelf. And, if so, do you notice that they lift their heads when someone in particular speaks?  Distinguish technical from adaptive challenges. You will be making a lot of notes of things. Resist your urgency to get back onto the dance floor. Authentic leadership: Are you doing it wrong? Search. Buy Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading 1st by Ronald A Heifetz, Marty Linsky (ISBN: 9781578514373) from Amazon's Book Store. Or, that many people are actually straining to talk to each other over the music. Learn how your comment data is processed. Take notice of who does most of the talking in a meeting. Whatever it takes, even for … However, it starts to get even broader than just your stakeholders. We used the numbers given to us by Human Resources (HR). Who determines your budget? So in answer to the question, “Which is better – the dance floor or on the balcony?” is: neither. Tasks to safeguard against common traps Find out where people are at Listen to the song beneath the … Many managers and leaders are so bogged down with the day to day work of managing and/or putting out fires that they are unable to think of anything beyond what to do next. As a learning cohort, we covered a lot of ground but my biggest "aha" came from digging into the adaptive leadership tools and skills, based on the work of Heifetz, Grashow and Linsky's The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World. You cannot just stay on the balcony and direct your team from there.  Participate both in the “dance” and observe from above (balcony perspective). It’s often a fallacy that those who have formal authority are the most influential. Observe who speaks. Who regularly sits next to whom? In their book, "Leadership on the Line", authors Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky offer a practical solution of "getting off the dance floor (daily operations) and up in the balcony. ... get on the balcony. Like “Seduction, marginalization, diversion, and attack all serve a function.” ― Martin Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading. But, the truth is that being a really good leader means that you do both. Observe body language. This teaches you to think through tactically all the parts and pieces of executing an initiative. For instance, do they take more of a passive role in some meeting? Any military officer, for example, knows the importance of maintaining the capacity for reflection, even in the “fog of war.” The book gives a good image of the dance floor concept. … Although the principle may be easy to grasp, the practice is not. Organizational life looks different up on the balcony; that’s why you need to go there. Prior to that situation, we’d never really thought of the other office as a stakeholder. Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Listen to the song beneath the words.  For example, look at body language, eye contact, emotion and. Team from there are entirely new to you, read on are at–engage in conversations.Â... 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