Since 1995, Jeremy Tozer and Tozer Consulting have been the pioneer in building integrated leadership in businesses —integrated enterprise-wide leadership as the enabler of change, agility, innovation, continuous business performance improvement, effective strategy development and execution, and employee engagement.  

In simple terms, we enable leaders to lead through distributed leaders and shared leadership in a team of teams.

This ends reliance on celebrity CEO heroes, and transcends the movement of people into, around and out of the organization. The approach reduces the individual’s reliance on ‘force of personality’ and the organization’s reliance on ‘personalities’.

The Challenge of Execution: Overcoming Fog and Friction

The external operating environment —global and national economies, the market , competitors, demographics, and so on creates the ‘VUCA’ environment we all work within  (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity —a term business writers have borrowed from military thinking).  This is often described colloquially as ‘the fog of war’.  Internally, organizations are  often full of the ‘friction’ which makes getting things done difficult. 

The causes of fiction include:

  • Imperfect decision-making and planning practices
    • imperfect design resulting in leadership practices lacking clarity and precision of thought, methods which fail to ask the right questions or which make false assumptions rather than valid deductions from the information that is available, or methods which fail to adapt plans to actual progress and changed circumstances;
    • leadership practices lacking the ‘social process’ which engages people, secures their emotional commitment and exploits their expertise and innovative ideas.
  • Imperfect communication practices
    • imperfect design or ‘structure’ of the message;
    • failure to reach the people who need to be reached;
    • unclear use of language;
    • wrongly interpreted information, and failure by the sender  to check for mutual understanding.
  • Stress —fear, worry, anxiety, mental and physical exertion, and emotion (which research shows is the basis of up to 70% of decisions!).
  • A working environment which hinders —research shows that environment is responsible for up to 70% of behaviour in organizations.

The combination of ‘fog and friction’ results in a gap between actions on the front-line as desired by executives, and the actual actions of people on the front line.  In turn, this leads to a gap between expected (or potential) business performance and actual business performance.  

The challenge of leadership then, is to create ‘clarity’ and 'emotional engagement' at all levels - systemically and dynamically. 

Clarity = Alignment to Higher Intent + Effective Understanding

Emotional Engagement = Willing Accountability + Commitment + Discretionary Effort

Clarity means creating an effective understanding of context and  'higher intent' —the higher level mission, or desired 'end state' and its purpose, the intentions and plans of your boss and your boss's boss— and what this means for the priority of work and resource allocation; and alignment of thought and activity to that higher intent.  The approach to create clarity needs to be dynamic to adapt plans to actual progress and changed context, and systemic to ensure alignment throughout the enterprise.  This is what makes organizations agile.

Emotional engagement with the 'plan' and one's role in that plan means creating ownership and accountability, commitment to the organization, and commitment to follow-up and follow-through in your work and release the discretionary effort that makes the difference.

An effective approach (let’s call it a 'leadership philosophy') must therefore:

  • Be durable over time and scalable for growth
  • Break strategy into smaller, more manageable objectives with clear priorities, which when achieved, aggregate to realize the whole
  • Limit the impact of fog through the use of “intelligence” (targeted information gathering and processing) and systematic, evidence-led dialogue
  • Exploit technology and real time information
  • Be dynamic to adapt plans in light of changed context and actual progress made
  • Maximize agility and alignment —marry decentralised execution through distributed leaders, with centralised intent
  • Balance control and alignment, with freedom and autonomy
  • Minimize internal friction and secure emotional engagement
  • Ensure that that which is strategically essential is tactically possible
  • Build mutual trust and confidence. 
  • Deliver sustainable competitive advantage and superior business performance

Additionally, our approach must deliver that which research shows is sought by people, especially clever people, at work: purpose (meaning), autonomy, mastery (expertise), and trust.

Ask us about Tozer Consulting's well proven mission-focused leadership philosophy.  In essence, it is a dynamic and engaging suite of iterating and recurring leadership practices which simultaneously create clarity and emotional engagement.  Our case study results are proof it works.



© Tozer Consulting Limited 2012  Leadership - Strategy - Execution - Change