In Chapter 7 the author continues by providing a new proposed way of looking at leadership - they are not judged by how far up they sit (e.g. - the authority they have), but by how well they utilize the resources at their disposal. He says instead of looking at leadership as a decision making process, we can look at it more in a design framework of emphasizing "pragmatic experimentation." It focuses more on how each person can make meaningful contributions to the organization and helping them rise to that potential.
He says that this design approach takes "creating space, sufficient support, and challenge so that people will be tempted to grow on their own or to create provocative competence." This demands people to stretch beyond their comfort level while enlivening activity and arousing the mind. He says that successful companies and leaders can sometimes get stuck in the "competency trap" of the strengths and capabilities that made them successful eventually becoming rigidities that block adaptation.
He continues by saying that provocative competence helps to push the organization through the competency trap. It is an affirmative move as the leaders sees the potential in their people and play to those strengths. They also provide enough of a safe culture for the employees to venture out and try something new. It is introduced by creating small disruptions to the routine so as to not overwhelm the employees, while demanding activity in order to ensure that people leap into action. The fourth element is to encourage repetition in order to create a new habit and finally it is linking the new with the old familiar ways of doing things in order to reframe the new concepts. In essence provocative competence is seeing the best in your team and your organization even if they are not working that way right now. He ends by saying "change isn't about blowing everything up; that chaos and headlines. Change that endures is about designing organizational structures to sustain successful existing procedures while simultaneously triggering improvisation and creativity beyond existing capabilities."
What are you doing to create provocative competence in your organization? Where are you stuck and need to challenge the competency trap?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.