Leadership

Leading transformation is one of the most critical roles in any organisation, as the firm seeks to evolve systems, processes, technologies and the workforce. Understanding the potential challenges and best practice opportunities to drive a successful result is critical, so in this DIGEST article we bring together recent analysis and articles from McKinsey, Forbes Magazine, INSEAD, Kellogg Northwestern and Harvard Business Review. “Transformation is perhaps the most overused term in business. Often, companies apply it loosely—too loosely—to any form of change, however minor or routine. There are organizational transformations (otherwise known as org redesigns), when businesses redraw organizational roles and accountabilities. Strategic transformations imply a change in the business model. The term transformation is also increasingly used for a digital reinvention: companies fundamentally reworking the way they’re wired and, in particular, how they go to market.” (Bucy, Hall & Yakola, McKinsey 2016) Five Areas to Focus When Leading Transformation KarthikContinue Reading

Do something purposeful

Purposeful leadership motivates individuals, empowers teams to achieve their greatest potential, provides clarity to organisational priorities and goals and connects everyone to broader societal goals. Purposeful leadership starts with clarity about your own purpose, and that can be difficult to get clear (at least at first). Pan Pan (founder of Swiss advisory firm Pantera Ventures) suggests that leaders wanting to identity their true purpose, need to start by considering the end of their careers. Consider the “end game”, where do you personally hope to be and what does success look like to you? Think about career achievements, what do you hope to have accomplished? What kind of impact will you make? What legacy, however small, would you like to leave behind? Leadership coach and author Mitchell Simon explains that one important aspect of being purposeful in leadership is to continually seek out feedback. Enabling the leader to better reflect ifContinue Reading

Decisions

Every leader faces numerous decisions every day. Some of them are small and can be decided based on a simple framework, others however need different kinds of responses. These situations need a different toolset to inform the decision making process. Effective Delegation Sometimes the very smartest decision a leader can make is to delegate that decision to someone else. Victoria Medvec (Kellogg Insight, 2017) suggests that while every decision is made somewhere along a risk continuum, before deciding if you should be the one making the call, you should first consider the following: Who is involved in making the decision?Sometimes a low risk decision gets pushed up to the leadership team rather than being dealt with locally, there are risks that when this happens not only is it wasting executive time on what should be routine decisions, but also the executive may not be as well informed and has potentialContinue Reading

Leadership capability

Leaders need to develop the employees in their teams and it is no longer enough to focus on technical job level skills, to be successful in the current environment you need grow leadership traits and build broader competence in organisational capability. Firms and leaders know that driving sustainable long-term performance requires equal emphasis on how the firm makes money (performance) and how leaders run the place (health). McKinsey have codified this into four quadrants and have been exploring how to apply this organisational capability model at both the  organization and individual level. The quadrant model builds capabilities by teaching the business, teaching management, ensuring the technical and functional skills are built and then focusing on building organisational capabilities. How we make moneyHelping employees have a solid understanding of what is driving business performance. The organisational strategic priorities and the status of critical initiatives and performance metrics. The learning objective is to ensure that everyone understandsContinue Reading

Persuasion

How do you go about convincing a boss, colleague or stakeholder that there is another way? The subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) art of persuasion is an important skill to build to ensure that the loudest voice is not the only choice. In a recent article for the Harvard Business Review, Adam Grant writes about Steve Jobs, a man legendary for his genius and for how difficult it was to influence him. The main thesis of this really excellent article is that “much of Apple’s success came from his team’s pushing him to rethink his positions. If Jobs hadn’t surrounded himself with people who knew how to change his mind, he might not have changed the world.“ Persuasion has been a successful topic for business writers and there are numerous books available on the topic. Jobs however was notoriously difficult to influence and Grant tracked down and spoke toContinue Reading

collaboration

When you start working with someone new there are ways to make the fresh collaboration super effective. As Rebecca Zucker writes in HBR, before starting a new project, step back and get to know each other a little better. The way we collaborate can foster creativity and innovation but it also has potential to slow progress with meetings and communication required to keep everyone on the same page. In 2014 a Stanford study found that working together boosted intrinsic motivation, with participants persisting up to 64% longer on challenging tasks.  “Working with others affords enormous social and personal benefits” Gregory Walton, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford 2014 The process of collaboration can lead to overload as Cross, Rebele and Grant wrote in 2016. “At many companies, people spend around 80% of their time in meetings or answering colleagues’ requests, leaving little time for all the critical work they must complete onContinue Reading

Being able to manage constantly changing priorities is an expected capability for todays leaders. Knowing how to juggle personal and business priorities and stay on top of the game requires knowing when to press pause. Pausing To Gain Focused Attention – When you are multi-tasking it is very likely that you are doing both tasks badly. By taking time to focus your attention and concentration on the task you get the best result. That requires pressing pause on something. Pausing To Improve Performance – The best way to improve is to reflect. Don’t just rush on, take time to consider what went well and what could have been improved. Learn to continually take the time to review and optimise. Pausing To Connect More Deeply – Superficial relationships are transparent and break quickly under strain. Leaders know that purposeful relationships take time and discipline. You need to invest in the otherContinue Reading

Leadership Creativity

With all of the current pressure of business leaders you could be forgiven for saying right now leadership creativity is not a priority. However as this article explains creativity is the basis of innovation. Creativity finds opportunity. Creativity enables businesses to pivot. “One doesn’t manage creativity. One manages for creativity“ Amabile and Khaire (HBR 2008) Creativity is The Most Important Leadership Quality Creative leaders see the opportunities that others don’t. Boards and executive teams recognise the need for leadership creativity to accelerate and generate innovation. But more than that creativity can drive: Problem solving Achieving growth Driving transformation Building team culture Effective mentoring of teams Identifying unique and unlikely business opportunities In 2010 IBM surveyed 1500 global company executives to understand what drives them as they lead. Creativity was ranked highest outweighing integrity, dedication and global thinking. Building Your Leadership Creativity You can change. All leaders have the potential for creativity butContinue Reading

There are times when you have to make a difficult call. It is an important part of the senior leadership role, to make big decisions that have potentially lasting ramifications. Making tough decisions is not easy, but there are some techniques that can help. Ed Gillcrist is a CEO and former marine he applies his military training to structured decision making. THINGS TO ACCEPT An obligation of the role – leadership requires tough decisions to be made. When you stepped up, you accepted the responsibility. It is not going away – hoping that the hard call, can be made by someone else. Or that it will quietly go away is not leadership. Effective leadership takes ownership. Moral courage – it is often not easy, not pleasant. But if it is the right thing to do, then summon the courage and get on with it. Experience makes the process easier –Continue Reading

Management is a leadership function but has accountability for achieving the team goals. So the more effective manager looks both at the goals and helping the team achieve them. This DIGEST is synthesising themes from Kellogg School professor of entrepreneurship and innovation Carter Cast. He starts by noting that “We talk about inspirational leadership and brave leadership, and I’m all for it .. but the power and strength of good management doesn’t always get enough attention.”  In large organisations, leaders set the vision and the strategy. Middle management however establish goals, drive performance, build team culture and free the executive from day to day operations. “the real pulse of a company is its management layer”  Carter Cast Communicate Clearly Effective communication is a critical skill for management. That requires that there is a shared common understanding. A good test might be to ask team members about key objectives and how theyContinue Reading