Modern people leadership – part 2: The rhythm

By Erik Korsvik Østergaard, 24. March 2019

Modern people leadership (that is, leading a team, a project, a department, or similar that involves collaboration and dialogue) requires that you know your framework, and your rhythm.

This is the second part of a two-piece blog post about modern people leadership, about the rhythm and daily mechanisms of modern people leadership. The first part described the frame for your work and collaboration.

The rhythm of modern people leadership in teams

Once you have the framework and foundation of your team (or business unit or organization) in place, you should start paying attention to the daily and weekly cadence and maintenance of the team. This includes both people and progress and products.

In contrast to the establishment and formulation of the frame (which includes four distinct and well-scoped questions), the operationalization of the frame is not at all something you can address bit-by-bit in a formula.

Instead, it’s a mindset and approach, that addresses these challenges:

  • How can we ensure, that we do the right things right?
  • How can we create shared values and norms?
  • How can we create shared and mutual responsibility?
  • How can we create frequent and useful feedback?
  • How can we create energy and engagement?

From our experiences, the solution is to create a rhythm (or cadence) in your team with a higher frequency than in the old days, and with psychological safety to discuss relationships and results.

The main point is to create CONVERSATIONS across the organization.

“I got rhythm, (…) who could ask for anything more”

Yes, a hat-tip to Ira and George Gershwin. But this is crucial to modern leadership, and a vital sign of your success: How often do you touch base with your team, your colleagues, and your leaders around you? Daily? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Rarely?

Google documented, that the five things that are key to a successful Google team are

  1. Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
  2. Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high quality work on time?
  3. Structure & clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?
  4. Meaning of work: Are we working on something that is personally important for each of us?
  5. Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we’re doing matters?

I believe it’s all about frequent touchpoints, and debating the right things, namely relationships and results (studies show, that these two things create happiness at work).

Are you doing the right things?

I’m a huge fan of introducing elements from the Agile and Scrum world into the maintenance and growth of teams, business units, and organizations. Especially on C-level it has proved unusually powerful for the transparency and alignment of activities and approaches. See the case from Danske Bank in my book “The Responsive Leader“.

  • Establish and use a Kanban board in your work, focusing both on working IN the business and ON the business
  • Meet in front of the Kanban board with a suiting frequency. I prefer and recommend weekly meetings for C-level groups.
  • Make sure, that all the activities you identify and initiate support your direction/purpose/mission of your work.
  • Make sure, that you stop or adjust those activities, that do not.
  • Make sure, that you monitor both the activities that are ON the business and IN the business, and use the innovation matrix to map the risk and identify speedboats.

Are you doing the things right? What are your norms?

Have you ever REALLY talked about expectations to your behavior? I’m not only talking about having a shared set of values, but also on agreeing on what good behavior looks like.

  • What values do you share?
  • What behavior do you expect?
  • What behavior is perfect?
  • What behavior will you not allow?
  • And how can you debate situations, where you are in conflict or in doubt?

You might get inspired by the Culture Map by Strategyzer. We use it often.

Create frequent and useful feedback loops

Once you have established what you are doing and how you expect each other to behave (feedforward), you are ready to establish feedback loops. Here are a few of our favorite mechanisms.

  • Inspired by Scrum, make sure to have (a) demo sessions, focusing on feedback on the products and services, you are delivering, and (b) retrospectives, focusing on feedback on your collaborations. From my experience, leadership teams are not used to reflecting on their internal collaboration, at all. Do that so often, that it becomes a natural habit to ask for and to give instant feedback to each other.
  • Have weekly team meetings with your team, where you focus on purpose, people, progress, and profit – in that order.
  • Have a “team temperature”-system or a smile-o-meter on all levels, aggregating results and debates upwards to the C-level. We’ve experimented with several software components as augmentation to our leadership (see here and here), and now we use the “team temperature” ourselves:
    On a scale from 1 to 5:
    How happy are you with your relationships?
    How happy are you with your results?
    How happy are you with your workload?
    We gather the data every Friday, and debate the overall result in public to share good stories and smiles, and to address things that are challenging too.
  • Have bi-weekly 1-on-1 conversations with your employees.
  • Make sure to be open and honest. Share experiences often, both successes and mistakes, to create learning. Be a responsible leader and make sure to follow-up and follow-through.
  • Make sure to have a good and delicate dialogue around what creates stress at work, and know how to handle it.
motivation autonomy mastery purpose psychological safety

Create shared and mutual responsibility

Crucial to shared responsibility is to be able do delegate in a healthy and professional manner, taking into account differences in each others experience, personal profiles, motivation, and preference in the Forming-Norming-Storming-Performing model.

You can delegate both responsibility and tasks. And make sure to have an agreement on who has the actual decision mandate, you or the employee. One tool to facilitate the debate is the Delegation Poker game by Management 3.0. We describe the tool in this podcast episode, “Distribueret lederskab, en fundamental del af fremtidens lederskab” (in Danish).

Make sure to agree on how and how often you meet and touch base with each other during the work. Daily? Weekly?

Finally, make sure that you understand, that you need each other. There is a reason for you being a part of the team, and your mutual success relies on each of your work and well-being.

delegation is a spectrum

Create energy and engagement

Creating psychological safety has a clear correlation to the characteristics of positive psychology:

  • Positive emotion
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Accomplishments

This is the ultimate argument for rhythm and cadence: By mastering the mechanisms that are suitable for you and your team – e.g. like the ones above – you have the best possibility to create energy and engagement. Engagement and motivation comes from mastery, autonomy, and purpose, according to Daniel Pink. Add to that psychological safety, and you have a culture of well-being.

From my experience, a higher frequency of conversation and touchpoints is the key to creating the right culture, and the low hanging fruit of modern leadership. As a positive side effect, you get the possibility to train and sharpen your leadership skills on everyday basis, something we address in this podcast episode too, “Hønen eller ægget“.

Looking for a thought-provoking speaker
with knowledge of the future
and how to turn it into daily life?

Our newsletter is filled with articles and tools
for the modern
future-oriented leader

Do you need input on how to get started?
Take a look at at our categorized toolbox here
– it’s all free

Curious on what we do?

Take a look under #blochøstergaard on Instagram

Spring is back 🌷🌷🎋 https://www.dancemaste Spring is back 🌷🌷🎋

#bloch #blochdance #blochpointeshoes #blocheu #blochartist #blochbooties #blochleotard #blochshoes #blochdancewear #blochartiste #blochwarszawa #blochparis #blochpointe #blochtapshoes #blochballet #blochambassador #blocheuropeanbalance #blochartiste2019 #bloch_eu #blochworld #bloch1899 #blochouse #blocheurostretch #blochserenade #blochøstergaard #blochamsterdam #bloch_warszawa #blochtap #blochinfluencer #blochgirl
Vi bruger den ufrivillige pause på at optage en s Vi bruger den ufrivillige pause på at optage en stribe podcastepisoder. Her er det @pukfalken og @erikqstergaard der taler om forandringsledelsens historie, og tidligere i dag har vi blandt andet vendt toplederens netværk og hvad der mon sker med gig-økonomien her under og efter coronakrisen. Hold øje med Fremtidens Ledelse to-go din favorit podcast-app, hvor vi sender episoderne ud, så snart de er klar! #fremtidensledelsetogo #blochoestergaard
Alt normalt i podcastland. ✌🏼👋🏼😄 #fr Alt normalt i podcastland. ✌🏼👋🏼😄 #fremtidensledelse #blochoestergaard #futureofwork #changemanagement #podcast
2020 The futures is here // Industry 4.0 conferenc 2020 The futures is here // Industry 4.0 conference // Erik Korsvik Østergaard // Five quotients to master #iq #intelligence #eq #emotional #nq #network #mq #meaningfulness #dq #decency #quotient #erikqstergaard #blochøstergaard #industry40 #industri40 #ingeniorforeningen_ida #copenhagen #denmark #scandinavia
Spottet in the wild. Med æselører og noter, og m Spottet in the wild. Med æselører og noter, og med kommentaren: "det er første gang jeg ønsker at være leder" #tealdotsinanorangeworld
Spottet i Amsterdam af stinepp (📷 : stinepp ) 😊👍 #tealdotsinanorangeworld
Kajkageselfie. 80 HR folk. Fedt! #tealdotsinanoran Kajkageselfie. 80 HR folk. Fedt! #tealdotsinanorangeworld
Årets fjerde Kajkageselfie #tealdotsinanorangewor Årets fjerde Kajkageselfie #tealdotsinanorangeworld #futureofwork #futureofleadership
Han har jo den bog med alle steder..... erikqsterg Han har jo den bog med alle steder..... erikqstergaard blochoestergaard #tealdotsinanorangeworld #futureofwork trmediadenmark #mustbereallygood
Jeg skal holde oplæg i Oxfordshire 12-Feb. Det gl Jeg skal holde oplæg i Oxfordshire 12-Feb. Det glæder jeg mig til! #futureofwork #tealdotsinanorangeworld
Sådan så min bog ud, hos en jeg besøgte sidste Sådan så min bog ud, hos en jeg besøgte sidste uge 😊 Gennemlæst og brugt, med postits, æselører og notater 💪😃👍 “Jeg har talt varmt om den mange steder og nu også læst din første bog - bravo til den også!” #tealdotsinanorangeworld
Ud af de ni mest liket billeder fra 2019, så er j Ud af de ni mest liket billeder fra 2019, så er jeg mest stolt af min første hjemmelavet pizza dej. Som I åbenbart var enige i var en stor præstation for mig. 💪🏼😂
Ellers et godt år med bestyrelsesuddannelse, rejse til Japan og umådelig meget foredrag, workshop og oplæg. 🙌🏼🙏🏼😎 #åretdergik #hjemmelavetpizza #2019 #blochoestergaard #blochøstergaard #foredrag #partnersincrime
Reading about leading and designing modern organiz Reading about leading and designing modern organizations while my youngest daughter leads the other riders in the class.  Thanks for the inspiring book erikqstergaard #tealdotsinanorangeworld #leadership #ugilic
Taking a break from all the Christmas preparations Taking a break from all the Christmas preparations... a nice glass of Port and a book I’ve been looking forward to read for a few weeks, by my very dear friend erikqstergaard He’s the shit and if you don’t know him - hurry and correct that! I’ve got like 30min. before the duck hits the oven, so here goes...
#christmas #reading #tealdotsinanorangeworld #downtime #mindthemind #merrychristmas
Det her er totalt meget "ananas i egen juice" ... Det her er totalt meget "ananas i egen juice" ... men jeg er temmeligt glad og stolt. Jeg er blevet interviewet til SCENARIO Magazine, der udgives af Instituttet for Fremtidsforskning.

SCENARIO er et magasin, jeg har abonneret på i flere år. Jeg har rost det, jeg synes det er velskrevet, og jeg læser alle artikler, fra ende til anden. Folk der har set mig til foredrag og kurser, har hørt mig rose det. 
Og nu er jeg sgu selv kommet med i det. Damn, det gør mig så glad. Og Adam Graafland Nordlund har ret præcist fanget essensen af hvad der optager mig for tiden.

Adam og jeg talte sammen mere end to timer - om jazz og kaosmatematik og ledelse og samfund, og det har han kogt ned til dette interview, i december 2019-udgaven af SCENARIO. Jeg er glad - og en smule overvældet :) #tealdotsinanorangeworld #blochoestergaard #blochøstergaard blochoestergaard
Organizing the workspace of the future with respon Organizing the workspace of the future with responsive leadership and team-oriented organisms 📚
Når man er færdig med at skrive en bog, ja, så Når man er færdig med at skrive en bog, ja, så fortsætter man med at skrive. Eller, jeg gør i hvert fald.

Jeg skriver en artikel om ugen, til et magasin, en avis eller et online medie af en slags. Typisk er det 1000 ord, der skal leveres. Og efterhånden kan jeg levere det på to timer. :) #TealDotsInAnOrangeWorld #FutureOfWork #FutureOfLeadership #OrganizationalDesign #blochoestergaard #blochøstergaard blochoestergaard
Best nine 2019 Bog bog bog Bog bog TINTIN Bog Wor Best nine 2019

Bog bog bog
Bog bog TINTIN
Bog Work bog 😃

Jeg havde årets sidste foredrag i dag hos Lederne Jeg havde årets sidste foredrag i dag hos Ledernes KompetenceCenter, om "Den moderne organisation". Det var årets 35. foredrag.

Temaet var fremtidens ledelse, fremtidens organisation - og naturligvis "Teal Dots in an Orange World". Tak til ledernedk for et godt 2019 - og tak til Helle Damsgård for at være tovholder på kurset "Future of Work", som jeg underviser på i 2020. // #tealdotsinanorangeworld #blochøstergaard #blochoestergaard blochoestergaard #futureofwork #futureofleadership
Hvilken bedre måde at slutte måneden på end bog Hvilken bedre måde at slutte måneden på end bogreception for erikqstergaard. 🎉🥳🥂 Jeg bliver så uendelig glad af at møde en masse mennesker med samme tanker om at ændre måden vi arbejder på. 🙌🏼🙏🏼 Tak for alle jer, der tænker anderledes. 🤓🙋🏻‍♀️ #blochoestergaard #futureofwork #changemangement #tænkanderledes #blochøstergaard #fremtidensledelse #tealdotsinanorangeworld #tealdots
Yay! Nedtællingen er slut. 🥳🥂Bogreception f Yay! Nedtællingen er slut. 🥳🥂Bogreception for @erikqstergaard nye bog er i dag og alt er klart. Følg med i story for hvad der kommer til at ske. 😄😎🤩 #blochoestergaard #blochøstergaard #tealdotsinanorangeworld #book #bogreception #newbook #linkibio #futureofwork #organizing #organization #tealdots #orangeworld #platform #ecosystem
Erik taler - igen. Denne gang hos ingeniorforening Erik taler - igen. Denne gang hos ingeniorforeningen_ida til deres konference “Ledelse der Styrker”. Og igen om #tealdotsinanorangeworld // blochoestergaard #futureofwork #futureofleadership #blochoestergaard #blochøstergaard
Rytmer i din organisation skal forstås som en fas Rytmer i din organisation skal forstås som en fast række touchpoints mellem mennesker og teams. Det handler om at synkronisere aktiviteter, ressourcer, erfaringer m.fl. Det fordeles ud fra to designparametre: Rhythm of Business og Rhythm of Connections. 🔄💡🙋🏼 Nysgerrig på hvor skillelinjen er mellem de to og hvordan du tager de første skridt? Tune ind og lyt til den nyeste episode af podcasten Fremtidens Ledelse to-go! 🎧🎙 ____________________
#Podcast #Blochoestergaard #blochøstergaard #fremtidensledelsetogo #fremtidensledelse #rhythmofbusiness #rhythmofconnection #ecosystem #økosystem #tealdotsinanorangeworld #tealdots #kultur #culture #leadership #ledelse #modernleadership #modernpeopleleadership #organizationalnetworkanalysis #ONA #organizing #rhythm #scrum #agile #agilerhythms #tealorganisation