I love the Balcony and Dancefloor concept of Ron Heifetz of Harvard Business School (a prolific leadership authorand expert from Harvard - check his work out here). It has revolutionised many a leader's approach to leading. The metaphor exquisitely helps us to remember to either get out of the reactive and focussed nature of the dancefloor to see a bigger picture perspective, or to ensure that we are not making decisions from a far off and disconnected balcony.
In complex organisations, where there is often a lack of understanding of what is happening on the floor or what direction needs to be taken to move forward from a strategic perspective, it's the staircase that needs the work.
When the staircase is activated:
Hierarchy fades - positional power is put to the side to enable open and transparent discussion
Curiosity leads - our questioning skill about how we might do things differently creates a space of exploration rather than judgement
Listening deepens - we seek to understand perspectives and insights at a much deeper and informed level from each other
Trust and connection emerge - our understanding leads to seeing the situation with both empathy and a clearer lens, and the relationships strengthen as an outcome
Possibility appears - we are able to make decisions about future steps from a much richer and informed platform
At the end of Term 3, I worked with all the educational system leaders in Tasmania. It was a conference with all early learning leaders, school leaders, adult learning leaders and department leaders. A real meeting of collaboration and learning from each other. We investigated the ways that they could increase the collective mindset for deeper collective efficacy in their settings and across the system. There was a definite buzz in the room, with people sharing their thoughts and listening deeply to work out ways forward… together.