E111a: Focus on WE (Willing & Enabled) – Building Resilient Teams FIN

E111a: Focus on WE (Willing & Enabled) – Building Resilient Teams FIN

Welcome to the 'KnolShare with Dr. Dave' podcast, your one-stop resource for impactful leadership practices, agile transformation, and effective team collaboration. I'm your host, Dr. Dave Cornelius, a practitioner and thought leader in delivering value through conversations about business agility practices.


Greetings, everyone, and thank you for joining us. Today's episode is 'Focus on WE: Willing and Enabled.' We'll discuss how the most significant outcomes arise from working collectively, co-creating strategies for building resilient teams, and fostering collaboration. And we'll dive deep into how generative leaders prioritize their team's collective success and empower them to perform at their peak.


I want to start with operational definitions of what WE mean (Willing and enabled).


Willing: The intrinsic motivation and commitment of team members. It signifies that members are not merely following instructions because they must but because they genuinely want to. They believe in the mission, share the team's values, and are committed to the vision.


Enabled: This is about capacity. An enabled team has the resources, tools, training, knowledge, and supportive environment to execute its tasks effectively. Enablement also refers to removing systemic impediments, whether bureaucratic, technological, or otherwise, that might impede a team's progress.


Let me explain how WE (Willing & Enabled) is realized in Generative Leadership.


Software Development Team:

    • Willing: The team is enthusiastic about a new project because they believe in its potential to make a significant impact on users. They're involved in goal setting and have a sense of ownership over the product.
    • Enabled: They have the latest software tools, regular training sessions, clear documentation, and supportive management that addresses concerns promptly.

Customer Support Team:

    • Willing: Team members take pride in providing excellent customer service. They see their role not as mere problem-solvers but as brand ambassadors.
    • Enabled: They have efficient CRM tools, access to a comprehensive knowledge base, empowerment to make certain decisions, and regular feedback sessions to voice challenges.



Let's explore what may limit leaders to operate effectively in the Generative Leadership context.  We may ask the question: What might create limiting beliefs for leaders to resist becoming generative leaders? Leadership is often perceived through the lens of control and authority, leading to certain limiting beliefs.


The first limiting belief is 'I'm the expert.' Many leaders believe that as the team's most knowledgeable or experienced person, they must provide solutions to all problems. However, this mindset can limit the creativity and input of team members.


The second limiting belief is 'Losing control.' Leaders often fear that they'll lose control by sharing power. This can hinder their willingness to become generative leaders and foster an environment of shared decision-making and responsibility.


The third limiting belief is 'Perceived weakness.' Some leaders may resist becoming generative because they equate their role with being strong and decisive. They worry that involving their team in decision-making will make them appear weak or indecisive.


Overcoming these limiting beliefs is crucial. Generative leaders understand that the collective intelligence of their teams often outperforms the heroics of the lone genius. They value the idea of 'WE: Willing and Enabled,' seeing their role as enabling their teams to work effectively and make meaningful contributions.


Co-creating resilient teams, where every member's perspective is valued and everyone shares responsibility for success, fosters an environment conducive to visionary thinking. When individuals feel safe to share their ideas, you end up with a wide variety of innovative solutions that you might not get from a more hierarchical structure.


In a co-creation environment, ideas are free to flow from all team members, encouraging the presentation of different perspectives and solutions. This creates a culture of learning and adaptability, both critical for visionary thinking. The more ideas and views you have, the better you can anticipate future trends and innovate to meet those challenges.


Moreover, resilience plays a crucial role in future orientation. Resilient teams are more comfortable with change and uncertainty because they've developed the ability to adapt and overcome challenges. This adaptability is crucial for a future-oriented mindset because the future is inherently uncertain.


A resilient team is prepared to deal with present challenges and adapt and grow with future ones. They are skilled in understanding that setbacks are an opportunity for learning and growth, not an endpoint. This makes them more likely to embrace a future-oriented mindset, continuously looking ahead and innovating to stay relevant and successful.


In essence, co-creating resilient teams results in a melting pot of ideas and a collective ability to bounce back from challenges, both essential for visionary thinking and a future-oriented perspective.


The Apollo 13 Story about the Focus on WE


The story of the Apollo 13 mission - the successful failure - represents the essence of 'Focus on WE: Willing and Enabled.'


In April 1970, NASA launched the Apollo 13 mission. It was intended as the third mission to land humans on the moon but has yet to make it. An oxygen tank exploded fifty-six hours into the mission, causing a critical failure of the spacecraft's systems.


Here's where the 'Focus on WE: Willing and Enabled' comes into play. Back on Earth, hundreds of engineers, scientists, and astronauts at NASA sprang into action. Despite the unprecedented challenge, everyone was willing to do whatever it took to bring the astronauts home safely, and their skills and knowledge enabled them and the team's collective strength.


Leaders at NASA did not dictate solutions. Instead, they trusted in the collective intelligence of their teams. They empowered all team members to share ideas, no matter how out of the box they might have seemed. This level of collaboration led to the successful design of a carbon dioxide filter from available spacecraft parts, a crucial step in saving the astronauts' lives.


Ultimately, the focus on 'WE,' the whole team, saved the Apollo 13 astronauts. Every individual, willing and enabled, working together, problem-solving, and innovating under pressure, played a part in this success. Initially deemed a failure, this mission was one of NASA's most celebrated achievements.


The story of Apollo 13 is a powerful illustration of how focusing on 'WE' generates immense value. We can overcome even the most formidable challenges when we empower everyone in the team and leverage collective intelligence. Remember, we can achieve much more than we can alone.


Let's discuss how generative leaders build resilient teams. First, they foster a culture of trust and transparency. This is the foundation of any resilient team. Second, they encourage open communication, allowing team members to share ideas and express concerns freely.


They promote collaboration by empowering their team members to contribute to decision-making and problem-solving processes. The focus is on collective success rather than individual triumph.


In conclusion, generative leadership focuses on the 'WE,' the willing and enabled team members. It's about recognizing that each individual brings unique strengths and perspectives and leveraging this diversity for collective success.


Remember, being a leader doesn't mean having all the answers; it means being able to ask the right questions and facilitating the conditions for your team to excel. Break those limiting beliefs and embrace the power of WE.


That wraps up another insightful episode of 'KnolShare with Dr. Dave.' Remember, your agility journey is a series of learning opportunities, and leadership is a continuous process of growth and adaptation. Thanks for tuning in, and until next time, continue to be your best self.


Stay tuned for our next episode, where we will dive into the importance of the We trust you to achieve our goals: Trust is essential to effective leadership. Build trust with your team and encourage them to take ownership of their work.


Until next time, keep leading with a focus on WE (Willing & Enabled), and may your leadership journey be filled with inspiration and positive impact.