Your strategy is only as powerful as it is executed well. You can only do it well with the strength of your follow-up.

Your following is the most powerful circle in your professional network and, perhaps more than anything else, enables you to influence and execute, with or without authority.

Brett Lansing, CIO of multi-billion-dollar home health care company AccentCare, has written a playbook on building a following. This experience and follow-up has landed him a key technology role multiple times and earned him the Dallas IT Manager of the Year award in 2022.

Here, Lansing shares his five-point approach to building a follower base. He explains how to apply it when you have to influence without authority, and how it will continue to elevate you as a leader.

Respect creativity wherever it comes from

Management does not have a monopoly on ideas Although many leaders act as if this were the case. Great ideas can and should come from any level of an organization. Lansing recalls a time when he called on junior staff to criticize the decision he and his senior leaders had arrived at after much deliberation, a decision that would see a key capability outsourced. Not only did the junior team report oversights; I have put forward solutions that will address driving concerns while maintaining capacity at home.

You are able to create a lot of value if you welcome ideas no matter where they come from. But the hardest part is convincing your employees that you actually welcome their ideas. This is especially true for entry-level employees, many of whom may have become wary of promises that managers’ doors are always open or that arduous idea submission processes are worth the time.

Lansing suggests some strategies to get people involved. The first and most important is: keep your promise. If you say you’re open to ideas but ignore them when they’re presented, the presenters won’t bother you again. Solicit ideas again and again. When they are presented, take time to evaluate them carefully and honestly, and provide constructive feedback where you can.

Create a quarterly ideas forum

Lansing also suggests creating a space for employees to pitch ideas or identify problems they want to solve — and doing so in a way that doesn’t need to have ideas fully developed or compiled in PowerPoint. “You need to lower the barriers to brainstorming and innovation,” he says.

The real power of these forums, Lansing says, is their ability to create momentum. “You just get people coming up with ideas, and soon after, everyone is building on it, talking about ROI and value creation models and all that stuff,” he adds. “Suddenly, you have something on the road map that you never expected.” Lansing learned this shortly after he started these meetings, about a decade ago at a previous employer, where the forums regularly attracted 30 to 45 participants.

At AccentCare, Lansing has expanded the promise of these forums through what he calls “happy hours,” part of his ongoing effort to reduce attrition. In these meetings, teams are encouraged to identify the activities or features of their work that they enjoy most, or improvements to those activities and features that, if made, would improve employees’ work lives. “Don’t lose sight of the relationship between… employee Reda W client Satisfaction,” he says.

Empower your team to lead

One of the best ways to empower your teams is to encourage them to “find opportunities in the chaos,” says Lansing.

By “chaos” Lansing means something out of order – a process, department, tool, or the like – if it is put in The system represents an opportunity to build competitive advantage. For example, reorienting your operating model around products or adopting emerging technology such as artificial intelligence. “Don’t let chaos get your team down,” Lansing says. Let it cheer them up.

It’s also an opportunity for your team to prove themselves. Clutter—and the pressure to suppress it—forces teams to strip away the unnecessary: ​​unimportant tasks, silly arguments, and destructive, unwanted criticism. In this way, chaos can focus, coordinate, and strengthen bonds of camaraderie if you allow them to embrace it rather than isolating your teams from chaos.

Focus your workforce on strategic imperatives

Focusing on key priorities not only creates business value but also boosts employee morale. People crave purpose and mission, and they don’t feel as if everyone is pulling in different directions and therefore going nowhere.

To help maintain that focus, Lansing says it’s important to celebrate small wins — progress, not perfection. “We make time to inspire and motivate our team, and recognize jobs well done every week,” he explains. “This is especially important for your larger initiatives. These can take years to finish. You can’t wait until then to celebrate. You have to Plan Milestones worth celebrating.”

Of course, staying focused requires that you have focus and know your priorities. If not, now is a good time to get to know them.

Determination to challenge the status quo

This principle depends on all the others. By encouraging your team to shake things up, you stimulate the flow of new ideas, challenge your teams to stand up for something, and train their focus on what’s important.

But this is also easier said than done. “Don’t be afraid of it,” Lansing says. “But come prepared.”

Challenging the status quo is difficult because it can become very personal and involve a lot of risks. If you need a reminder of this, maybe rewatch Moneyball. The way Billy Beane transformed the game of baseball is now part of that sport’s lore. However, what he forgets is how close he came to destroying his team and his career to do so.

IT leaders who use these principles do more than just build their follower base, Lansing says. They also fill their “treasure chest” with attitudes, knowledge, and tact that give you breadth as a leader, an essential trait for any technical leader hoping to become a business leader.

However, he points out that follow-up itself should be a priority, recalling a lesson from his father.

“Brett, it doesn’t matter how much you know,” he said to me. If you can’t get your team to follow suit, you’ll never get the ball in the end zone.’ “The more I learned, the more I realized how true that was,” Lansing says.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: