Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At a recent company retreat we shared success stories that described how we partnered with our clients to solve the business problems they faced. You see, at Thought Ensemble, we take pride in the relationships we build with our clients. We don’t swoop in, collect data, then plop a deck on your desk and disappear. Instead, we take an “Ensemble” approach by teaming up with the client through the entire process and co-creating a plan that can be executed and that won’t just collect dust on a shelf.

The thing that struck me was that our biggest successes were with clients that you could call “Transformational Leaders.” Transformational Leadership is a term that was coined and developed in the late 1970’s and 1980’s by James MacGregor Burns and Bernard M. Bass. Leaders of this type believe in developing and motivating their employees, particularly through times of change. They promote innovation and creativity by challenging the status quo and encouraging others to do the same. They are change makers.

Sadly, it’s been my observation that Transformational Leaders can feel isolated and frustrated by the organization around them, particularly when they enter a new organization that is resistant to change. These companies may be held back by any number of factors, such as culture, organizational design, misaligned incentives, or weak strategy. Making progress in organizations like this can seem like a Sisyphean task and has led to many, “What have I gotten myself into?” moments.

So, what do you, a Transformational Leader with the vision and will to create change, do when you find yourself unable to budge the organization around you? You find allies. Whether they are in your organization or not, you’ll need these partners to analyze and plan the change you envision. That’s what our clients found in Thought Ensemble when they brought us in to partner with them. These are the engagements that create the success stories that make us, and our clients, proud.