This summer I read 3 books from Atul Gawande : Better, Being Mortal and the Checklist Manifesto. Gawande shows how difficult it is to stay human, how humility teamwork and discipline make a big difference. He advocates for courageous conversations and for using simple things like checklists and data. His books are an excellent source of inspiration both for work & life.
He shows how performance data can be leveraged to improve results and save lives. Analyzing systematically what high performing teams do and how they do everything they do, he demonstrates that transparency on performance and sharing data allows weaker teams to improve.
Then Gawande looks at what makes the strongest teams different from other teams, what makes them better at improving and staying in the top quartile of the curve ? The answer is Team dynamics (collaboration and communication), as well as the capacity to learn and change faster and stronger than anyone else…in other words, learning agility !
With passionating examples, Gawande shows that in multiple industries, humility and the openness to challenge oneself are critical, even if those can be particularly difficult for individuals who have reached a high level of expertise. He shows that using checklists to ensure the quality of complex decisions produces the best sustainable results. Learning agility again !
Reading this, I am even more convinced about the importance of leadership assessment : learning agility is not a nice to have, just like learning is not a nice to have to get ready for the future of work. There are ways to measure an individual’s capabilities as well as his capacity to learn, and this data can be easily used to support robust people decisions. So why are we not using this type of data more often ? Why is assessment not part of the checklist for hiring talent, at least for high level leadership roles ?
Thank you Dr Gawande, your beautiful books and the examples of humanity inspired me to fight for what I believe is the right way to do things. It does make a difference. Being stubborn and rigorous on how things are done does bring better results.
As a starting point, I wrote the following checklist for leaders willing to get ready for the future of work and the digital transformation :
- 1 – Read 3 books : Better, the checklist manifesto, Employee first, customer second,
- 2 – Fix your dead angles
- 3 – Build a compelling employee experience
- 4 – Align your HR strategy (performance, talent, learning, etc.)
- 5 – Build your checklist
- 6 – Follow my blog !