Delivery Leadership: Driving Successful Change
Delivery Leadership: Driving Successful Change
Leadership is critical to delivering successful change. However, it is hard to quantify the value strong leadership brings, and the true qualities of leadership are challenging to define. Conversely, the effects of poor leadership, or a lack of leadership, are immediately obvious and all too familiar. To be successful, complex business transformation initiatives need more than just effective management. Delivery Leadership is critical to ensure that they achieve the underlying business benefits on which they are founded.
Delivery Leadership is how the most successful change practitioners manage initiatives and deliver on commitments. Most importantly, Delivery Leaders possess years of industry expertise, management experience and true leadership credentials. They share a common ability to manage complex change initiatives effectively whilst leading delivery teams and wider organisations through the change journey.
Through our extensive shared experience of programme delivery, we have identified 7 foundational principles of Delivery Leadership:
- Purpose: Delivery Leaders go beyond formal project deliverables and maintain focus on the ultimate purpose of the initiative. By carefully arranging the structure of the change initiative around the intended outcome, and by constantly reinforcing the purpose of the initiative, Delivery Leaders drive their teams towards those intended outcomes without losing sight of the initiative’s underlying purpose. This means first understanding the initiative’s drivers, be they achieving regulatory compliance, driving efficiencies, implementing cost saving measures or increasing revenue. Delivery Leaders never lose sight of these drivers and ensure their achievement is reflected in everything the initiative delivers.
- Awareness: Delivery Leaders see the totality of what is going on inside and outside the initiative, and require a deep understanding and intuitive awareness which goes beyond a detailed factual account. This awareness incorporates a comprehensive view of stakeholders, the wider environment, possible risks and emerging issues, and how they could impact the purpose of the initiative. The ability to navigate such complexity and exercise foresight are key to success.
- Counsel: Delivery Leaders have strong guiding voices and provide clear counsel to their clients and sponsors. They frame complex challenges in simple, effective, comprehensible terms around which clients, sponsors and delivery teams can rally. This is only made possible through exercising a high degree of emotional and intellectual empathy which enables Delivery Leaders to understand the true challenges their clients and sponsors are facing. Most importantly, Delivery Leaders then take ownership of and accountability for those challenges, jointly facing them together with their sponsors, advising how best to proceed and putting that counsel into action.
- Self: Delivery Leaders place significant importance on embodying resilience, calm under pressure, authenticity, humility and approachability. The ability to carefully listen, interpret and communicate enables Delivery Leaders to build the most accurate possible picture of the health of an initiative. This, coupled with intuition and insight gained from longstanding careers as change management practitioners, allows them to properly judge situations and confidently act or advise on how best to proceed. Delivery Leaders’ empathy and emotional maturity help cultivate a sense of team harmony and foster an understanding that even when times get tough, everyone will pull together.
- Organisation: Delivery Leaders organise the appropriate team structures to respond to their client’s challenges. They set lines of reporting, assign roles, delegate authority, and implement monitoring and controls. They interpret the wider context of the change initiative and define how the initiative will interact with the organisation, holding people to account for delivery within this structure. Delivery Leaders harness this approach and aren’t afraid to intervene to protect the interests of their client.
- Culture: Delivery Leaders drive the culture of their change initiative and embody the principles of Servant Leadership. Engagement, motivation, group purpose and a sense of shared confidence and success are aspects of how Delivery Leaders foster a delivery-centric culture. As figureheads in their corporate community, Delivery Leaders value diversity and strive to ensure that everyone represents themselves authentically in the workplace. Delivery Leaders flatten conventional corporate hierarchies by working effectively with all staff and by empowering colleagues to take on new levels of responsibility. They place significant importance on their people’s professional development by supporting them to improve their knowledge, broaden their experience and enhance their performance. This means ensuring staff are in the right roles at the right time with the right support. Delivery Leaders ensure close integration with all staff who are a part of the change initiative, be they client, contractor, or external consultant.
- Work Ethic: No true Delivery Leader is above rolling up their sleeves and getting stuck in to support their team, client and sponsor in whichever way possible. Delivery Leaders embody this mentality and ensure it is also reflected in the behaviours of their team, earning the respect of their sponsors and staff members alike.
At BCS we pride ourselves on our culture of Delivery Leadership and the values of our Delivery Leadership Team. Our adherence to the principles of strong Delivery Leadership enables us to make a powerful service offering to our clients who see a material difference in the way we operate compared to our peers. This blog marks the first in a series in which we investigate the theory and practice of Delivery Leadership, and how it has formed the foundation of successful client delivery for BCS’s team of Delivery Leaders.