The Clearing has focused on meeting the needs of modern leaders since day one. Our founders envisioned a metaphorical clearing as a place where busy leaders could escape distractions and the demands on their time to think critically and clearly on solutions to drive their organizations forward.
Today, we still focus on helping leaders focus on the fewest, most important priorities where they can drive the biggest organizational impact. What’s changed is the scope of our capabilities to help leaders and the fluidity our Solution Area operating model offers in tailoring leadership solutions.
Leadership Isn’t Static
Our primary clients are leaders in their organization – and many hold a c-level title or lead an enterprise-wide program. Working with them has helped us discover the true challenge with leadership: it’s not static. The environment in which a given leader operates is always changing, as are the people they manage.
Adding complexity is that “good leadership” doesn’t always translate across organizations. Different leadership styles may work in some circumstances and fall flat in others. That changing nature means many of the challenges our clients face center on how to best support their teams to drive peak performance and organizational effectiveness in specific environments.
Building a Deep Bench
We believe an organization is only as effective as its leadership “reserve.” Having the right leader in today’s environment is critical; however, having talent ready to step up if that person(s) leaves is often make or break. And as noted above, each situation is environment-specific. That’s why our team focuses on the self in our leadership development program – it’s the one variable you can always control.
We recognize that focusing on yourself might be intimidating; however, stepping into vulnerability is inevitable as a leader. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that there is fear in saying “I’m not good at this” or “I thought I was good at this, but I’m not.” We have a tendency as humans to want to be perfect and when we’re not good at something it can be difficult to ask for help.
This is especially true for people newly installed in leadership positions. Imagine being promoted (likely for doing great work) and then being asked to change (possibly because your leadership style isn’t working in your new role). We work with leaders (new and experienced) on how to take that step, adapt, and maximize potential. It’s this self-aware leadership team that becomes the foundation of your organization’s leadership reserve.
A Part of the Whole
That leadership reserve becomes even more important during transformation efforts. At The Clearing, we specialize in transforming organizations, cultures, and customer experiences. We speak from experience when we say these facets cannot be achieved without strong leadership. That’s because leadership is foundational. It’s often a key component when culture, strategy, or customer experience problems come to light.
I work with my fellow Solution Designers to integrate leadership work into many of our client solutions. Bringing leadership focus into the fold benefits employees, customers, and of course, leaders themselves.
- Our leadership coaching program features one-on-one work with our clients to provide them a better understanding of the hows, whys, and whens of being an effective leader. This includes sessions on different leadership styles and when to employ them.
- Leadership development programs improve the modeling of desired organizational behaviors. This empowers and encourages employees to focus on their own personal growth based on how their leader acts.
- Those desired behaviors trickle down to customers, too. They’re more likely to receive the quality of service they were expecting (or above and beyond) based on positive behavior changes that manifest in service delivery.
In short, leadership is connected to the very idea of transforming or creating a culture where employees can thrive and serve their customers how they want to be served. Even better, The Clearing’s Solution Area-based service model allows for the fluidity required to address leadership challenges as part of a holistic organizational solution.
The Only Thing Predictable is Unpredictability
I wrote earlier that leadership isn’t static. In fact, it’s becoming less so by the day. Today’s federal leaders knew unpredictability before the pandemic; however, now change is happening at a pace that is truly challenging to keep up with. Like the trickle-down effect of good leadership, unpredictability also has run-on consequences.
The average leader is navigating an unprecedented amount of societal change. How they deal with it affects how their employees deal with it, which has an impact on end customers. That means leadership development must take in a different set of considerations. The same things won’t keep working because the volume and the pressure have increased. Leaders will need to continue to focus on “leading self” while incorporating how to get comfortable leading through uncertainty. The trickle-down effect means modeling the right behaviors and mindsets can be the difference between successfully navigating uncertainty and getting mired in it.
Keep an eye out for my fellow Solution Designer’s deep dives into their respective Solution Areas: Jason Miller on Culture and Yasmeen Burns on Customer Experience. And if you want to chat about leadership in any capacity, reach out to me at Sonya.Patel@theclearing.com.