Converging and evolving is always the right approach for a new leader. Yes, sometimes you can stretch out the converging piece so long that the approach looks a lot more like assimilating. And sometimes you need to evolve so fast that it's a shock to the system. But both assimilation and shock are really just extreme cases of converge and evolve.
The main steps are
- Converge into the organization and team
- Pivot between converging and evolvin
- Evolve the team
Converge: "You" and "Me"
Converging is all about building relationships. It's about bringing yourself (the new leader) closer to the existing members of the team. You are still you at this point. Any idea you have will likely be perceived as something you brought to the table. Focus on listening and learning. (The flat line to the left of the pivot above)
This is the hardest part for a new leader. Leaders spend most of their time leading. They are trying to set a new direction and get people to follow them. This converging stuff uses different skills than they normally use. At best leaders can steel themselves to be consciously competent at this. Often they are consciously incompetent. When they are unconsciously incompetent, disaster waits around every turn.
Pivot - Imperative Workshop
The more we do this, the more convinced I become in the power of an imperative workshop to serve as a pivot between converging and evolving. It's a time to get everyone together in the same place at the same time to work through the mission, priorities, and actions - the imperative. (The green dot above)
After the imperative workshop, "you" and "me" have become "we". Where before you would have had to say, "Let me tell you what I think", now you can say "Here's what we agreed" It's a different game, producing different results. (The accelerated line to the right of the pivot above)