A to Z of Cru

A to Z of Cru

by neillthew

Welcome to the Cru Leader Development website

To make your visit to the site as valuable and time-efficient as possible, we have detailed all the key things you might want to know in one place – right here.

The bullet points below will take you through the Cru approach and impact from A to Z. If you want to find out more about our approach, who we are, what we think and what clients say, please explore the other pages.  Or contact us for a no obligation conversation.

Cru exists for just one thing…

  • to support leaders in adapting and growing so they can achieve their most challenging commercial and leadership goals and add value to their organisation

Cru is particularly relevant when…

  • commercially – you are leading in a situation that is high stakes AND is a situation that you, and those around you, have not successfully faced before. You need to find a new way to approach this situation.
  • personally – you are under increasing pressure to adapt your style as a leader, but however much you try to be different, nothing seems to work. You have a leadership Achilles Heal that needs addressing through a fresh approach.
  • organisationally – you realise that unacknowledged and unexplored barriers to success may be holding your leaders back
  • developmentally – you know that the external talent pool is too small or too expensive. The best option is to grow the talent you have by focusing on the deeper developmental needs your leaders face as individuals.

Why is Cru most relevant in these specific situations?

Leaders face two types of challenges:

  • Technical challenges – where the problem is known and the solution is known. These challenges can be daunting, but leaders are equipped to address them.
  • Adaptive challenges – where the problem is not fully known and requires learning AND where the solution is not fully known and also requires learning. All the situations above require leaders to “do differently” and “think differently” from how they are used to doing and thinking. Often, the situation is more complex than the leader’s current thinking and experience and they can feel “in over their heads”.

Cru works with leaders solely on their adaptive challenges.

So, what does an “adaptive challenge” look like in practice?

Here are examples of adaptive challenges:

Individual leader:

Nine months ago, Andy moved from being a leader in his technical area of expertise into a more general leadership role.

However, his colleagues see him trying to be expert in all the areas of his new direct reports rather than leading from a more general position.

He needs to learn about what it is for him to be a generalist leader (problem) AND needs to align his sense of self as a leader to the new role (solution). Despite much encouragement to change behaviour, Andy is not managing to adapt.

Much of the learning for the problem and solution lies within Andy. Something within him needs to change. Cru’s approach to coaching focuses on addressing the unacknowledged mindset barriers that are holding Andy back so that Andy can work to challenge his current mindset and replace it with a way of seeing the situation that empowers him to make the necessary changes. Cru uses a coaching approach called Immunity to Change when working with adaptive challenges.

Executive team:

An executive team in a service company needs, for the first time, to make financial cut backs (problem) after losing a significant client.

They need to maintain a sustainable financial situation (solution). They are in turmoil because they are unwilling to face making the cutbacks and the clock is ticking.

This challenge is adaptive because the team is needing to cut costs without the experience of knowing the wider implications of this (problem is not fully known) and they, as (solution) leaders, are not pulling together and considering how they may need to think or act differently to achieve their goal.




Adaptive challenges are the new norm…

  • Adaptive challenges are the new norm for most leaders.
  • The frequency, pace and complexity of change within organisations in all sectors is unprecedented. This means that leaders are regularly asked to lead new initiatives that neither they, their bosses, colleagues or stakeholders have experience of. It’s a vulnerable place to be and places huge demands on the leader
  • So, the usual approaches of training and mentoring leaders can take you so far, but what got you here won’t get you where you need to go. Leading in the ambiguity and fluidity of unknown situations is a mind-set challenge as much as a technical challenge.

The Cru Approach

How the Cru approach provides support …

Step 1 – Improvement Goal

We work one-on-one with a leader to help them clearly define what they most need to get better at if they are to achieve their organisational or leadership challenge.

Step 2 – Uncovering the Unacknowledged Blocker to Progress

At the heart of an adaptive challenge is an unacknowledged blocker that is holding the leader back. Since progress can only be made if the blocker is addressed, we next support the leader in moving the blocker from the unconscious mind into the open, where it can be seen and worked with.

The Cru approach to surfacing the unacknowledged blocker is tried-and-tested, highly practical, tangible and focused. Having worked on our own blockers, we know that it can seem daunting and even scary but the way we work means that leaders find it a safe process and are able to fully engage.

Step 3 – Coaching to Over-Turn the Unacknowledged Blocker

Once we know what the blocker to achieving the Improvement Goal is, we can start on a journey of coaching which results in the leader becoming released from the grip of the Unacknowledged Blocker that has been holding them back. The leader goes on a journey of growth in which they

1) start to question and adapt their mind-set more effectively to the challenge

2) grow as a leader by making safe experiments and integrating what they learn about themselves and the situation

3) develop a more empowered mind-set and greater ability to process and balance the complexities of the challenge. They behave and make decisions in new and more effective ways.