Sunday, August 12, 2012

Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs): Leading Change

  1. Leading Change: This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to achieve organizational goals. Inherent in this ECQ is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment. Competencies: Creativity and Innovation, External Awareness, Flexibility, Resilience, Strategic Thinking, Vision.

August 12th, 2012
For anyone that who might be interested, here was my answer(s).  I wrote this at the end of last May.

Creativity and Innovation – While not always outwardly apparent to others, I challenge every undertaking pursued by every stakeholder in any given business endeavor.  My review of business processes and endeavors are always relevant to the organization’s mission and vision.  I always look to tweak processes to allow for greater returns.  However, I do not meddle in affairs merely for the sake of meddling; any interjections are to ensure that all efforts are moving the organization towards its goals.  Efficiency, improvement, and the interests of the Administration and the taxpayers are paramount. I am always interested in suggestions from others – for even if a proposed alternative is not preferred, such challenged efforts help to illuminate the best course to achieve goals in light of the risks – apparent, mitigated, or otherwise.  Moreover, I am not afraid to undertake new approaches and programs so long as efforts are monitored and reviewed for constant reassessment to illuminate the worthwhile business process improvements.  During my efforts at ____, I was often given the non-standard assignments as it seemed that my fellow engineers were often unable to ‘think outside the box’ to develop innovative approaches to problems.  While at ____ and during graduate studies, I have typically been the one to whom others turn to ask for innovative approaches to difficult issues. 

External Awareness – I pride myself upon my ability to maintain a keen awareness of what is occurring in the organization’s internal and external environments.  The strategic approach to developing any feasible solution to difficulties is often revealed through the value chain.  However, if one has no external awareness, they have no idea where value is being added.  Additionally, I believe that I possess a talent to ascertain the baseline truth of any circumstance, regardless of what is being claimed by others.  I am adept at identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to any business plan.  I stay abreast of local and national issues and always attempt to translate how such happenings affect the workplace effort at hand.  For instance, during the BRAC cost-cutting efforts of the Dept. of ____ in the 1990s, many of my ____ coworkers would often become agitated with the constant state of flux that was the reality of being a government DoD employee at that time.  But such cost-cutting rhetoric never bothered me in the slightest as I knew ____-Philadelphia was safe, as the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard had already been closed and it was very unlikely that another such base closure would be levied against the local economy.    

Flexibility – While it is somewhat natural to be resistant to change, I tend to thrive on opportunities presented by altered circumstances.  So I consider myself excessively flexible on any given front.  While it typically may not be necessary to fix what is not broken, less than satisfactory circumstance nearly always demand change.  So, to be overly resistant to change makes one like a modern dinosaur – doomed to extinction.  Also, unexpected circumstances and demands can make for interesting challenges, but unexpected and adverse conditions can be mitigated with proper planning and adaptability.  Reassessment seems the apropos word, when confronted with unexpected results.  I believe I can productively adapt to any change.  Moreover, I often seek changed environments so that I can reassess my ability to adapt to changes.  To this end and for example, I continually seek to reinvent myself by continuing academic studies in new and challenging disciplines. 

Resilience – When a goal is being pursued, perseverance is the preferred method of choice for this applicant.  I never give up on anything without overwhelming reasons to do so.  While no prima donna, I can identify a losing effort and subsequently implement alternative or contingency plans.  In general I don’t give up or quit anything.  Moreover, I view adversity as merely allowing for new learning opportunities.   To this end, when faced with the challenging economic times during much of the last decade, I sought to increase my knowledge, skills, and abilities by earning an M.B.A and then to enroll in law school.

Strategic Thinking – I formulate plans which are aligned to the vision, mission, and goals of the organization.  Even statements pertaining to vision, mission, and goals themselves are often scrutinized to determine if the proper meaning is being relayed and to see if such is clearly understood or appropriate.  While attempting to best leverage circumstances to provide for beneficial results, one must always beware of any inherent risks.  I believe risks can always be mitigated if properly qualified or quantified.  However while displaying proper restraint, one should always be ready to capitalize on opportunities as well.  I view most efforts undertaken as a variation of a game of chess.  Every initiated move is taken to allow for the envisioned reward to subsequently follow.  But to achieve such a reward, one must typically anticipate countering forces which are ultimately beyond one’s control.  

Vision – A team or organization would find it difficult to meet its goals if the team members did not know or understand the sought-after ends.  Furthermore, an agreed-upon organizational goal can become motivating to others also in pursuit of such ends, assuming the others also subscribe to the same vision.  Ultimately, anything worth having is worth working to obtain.  As such, any actions taken by the members of the organization should be in support of the organization’s vision.  For myself, I typically set goals throughout any given day while also looking at the bigger picture of how my efforts will contribute to the mission and vision of the organization as well as the personal image I seek to put forth.  While this may sound somewhat silly or obvious, if one does not set goals, goals cannot be achieved.

Adam Trotter

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