Leader standard work (LSW) has been a major topic of conversation throughout the Catalysis community. It helps leaders stay focused on what matters most. Dr. Mike Conroy, Chief Medical Officer for Sutter Medical Group in Sacramento, recently joined our podcast, The Lens, to share how he uses leader standard work. It provides, in his words, “the clarity of what I need to be doing as a leader.” So how can someone get started developing their own leader standard work? Below is his advice on both creating LSW and connecting it to a management system.
Find a Coach
Dr. Conroy advises, “First, find a coach, if one is available. Even if that means it is someone who is on the journey with you and external coaching isn’t available. Partner up and learn with somebody so that you can get feedback and work with someone on things together. Like in any relationship, you can build things, you can build trust and competency if you work on things together.”
If there isn’t a formal coach available, set up time to meet with another leader to learn and practice together. Take a course, read through resources together, and help hold one another accountable to creating LSW and revising it based on feedback.
Define the Purpose of Your Position
“Don’t be afraid to define the purpose of your own position,” Dr. Conroy explained, “I’ve run into this before, we’ll hire someone for the job and they come in thinking I have to do everything the way so and so used to do it.” He recommends looking past what the other person did and to define your own priorities. It’s important to make the job your own because “you’re going to bring more value to the job doing it your own and being genuine than you will being a copycat.” Know that your leader standard work won’t be what the previous person’s was and nor should it be. Going into the new position, make sure that the period of transition is a period of reflection and taking time to define your LSW for yourself.
It’s Okay to have Fun
LSW isn’t necessarily about a rigid structure where you have to do exactly the same thing every day. Dr. Conroy adds, “Make recognition part of your leader standard work or tell a joke. Whatever that is, build that in and have fun with it. I have realized that leader standard work and the tie in to personal development, and to who you are as an individual, will help you be a better leader.” What you personally choose to make part of your routine may not be for everyone but it’s important as an individual. Try things out and use what helps you lead well and support your staff.
How do you tie LSW into a Management System?
According to Dr. Conroy, “The way I think about a management system is that it exists to drive key results and develop people. It’s not just how many widgets you make, it’s how you get there.” He added, “If I look at my document of leader standard work, where is it leading me? Where do I show up and how do I get to the places where the actual work is being done on a regular basis and how do I look for ways to remove barriers for the people who are actually problem solving?” It’s important for every leader to ask themselves, “Is my LSW leading me into places to have the opportunity to lead in that way?”
Share with us, have you developed leader standard work in your role? What are some ways you add fun and personal development into the mix?