For context on this, read the previous post: AIESEC Norway CEO's failure 1 out of ?? - New Financial Model: rejected.
Just after the rejection (one full day) I was completly in shut down mode: blaming everyone, bad mooded and just plain disapointed with me, with others and with the organization as a whole. Then, at the end of this terrible day which I thought a lot, I just decided this is not a true leader reaction and I had to change it. I "fired" my old self for being so incompetent and "hired" the new me, which would turn the tide.
And we did turn it.
Looking back, I can see most mistakes were mine (because I was leading the project):
- No dialogue seeking - I didn't proactively approach the local presidents to discuss their views on the model and gather feedback. I thought that silence meant they didn't have any problem with it. So silly of me, sometimes I can't understand how I miss so much the obvious: silence doesn't mean agreement, means only that people think something you have no idea about.
- Argue against feedback - instead of acting upon the few received feedback, I argued and fought against them. (see the post "Communication technique: never fight people if you want them to do something to you" to see why I failed by doing that).
- No allies help - I steped into the room me against the world. No wonder it failed, I didn't have any one to advocate pro the new financial model. I didn't even spoke to my board collegues what kind of help I needed from them.
- Lack of hope dealing - "Leaders are dealers in hope": everyone was scared they would go bankrupt and I didn't address their fear and gave them hope.
The result of all this you know from previous post, I failed.
But them I acted upon them, I learned and that's what I did:
- Seek dialogue and feedback - I proacvelly schedule chats with the presidents and the board members interested. I also had an open door policy: whoever and whenever someone needed to talk to me about the model, I stoped everything to talk to them and trully listen their voices, ideas, feedback and negotiated agreed solutions.
- Incorporate feedback - by negotiating and reaching agreement of what should be changed on the new financial model, we addressed most of the problems and fears of everyone. Whoever gave feedback, I always made sure I would end up the conversation telling what I would do with the feedback and got the agreement of the other person. (And, of course, I fulfilled my word).
- Deal in hope - I made sure everyone understood how the new financial model would make AIESEC Norway grow and why. I also made it quite clear that in case things went wrong, we would push the stop button and rethink an approach together.
- Have a strong process to take the decision - thanks to the dialogue I created inside my own team this time, we worked together to create a very good process to facilitate the discussion during the legislation. So it would go in an orderly manner, addressing all the remaining doubts one by one and that everyone could speak their minds in an organized way.
- Have allies - I identified the key people that would be more keen on the model and took time to ally with them, to discuss their ideas. When I entered the room, this time I didn't need to sell the model for everyone, they already bought it, it was just about delivery.
The result is that the model was approved, almost all of it by full consensus. And, to be really sincere, the proposal in the model was not that different: the pillars of the model were still there. The only difference is that I dealed with the human aspect much differently than before.
Of course I couldn't have done anything if I didn't have the support of the local presidents, which were able to take a bold step towards own accountability. I am very proud of them, they are showing a level of maturity and engagement only dreamt in past terms. I have no doubt these people will strive for their goals and we will take, together, AIESEC Norway to a new level - where we, one of the countries that founded AIESEC 61 years ago, should always be.
Thanks a lot for the valuable leadership lesson, AIESEC Norway.