Posted on March 28, 2012
Geoff Loftus has an entertaining article called Five Leadership Keys From Dirty Harry. Yes, that Dirty Harry! Here is a summary of the five must have Leadership Keys.
Stay Focused: In Dirty Harry, the first movie, Harry is chasing the serial killer named Scorpio. Harry stops at nothing to stay focused on catching this killer. This singular focus has also paid off handsomely for McDonald’s, as the author points out.
When we do our Leader Development Coaching one of the first things we do is find out what the CEO visualizes for his company. We then look at his organization-does it have the necessary people and processes in place to to achieve success? If not, we go to work to ensure success for the CEO and his team. Continue Reading »
Posted on March 25, 2012
Here’s an article I ran across from Simon Ashley called Develop Six Important Leadership Skills for Better Leadership. Here is a summary of the salient points:
A mark of a good leader is to be able to provide consistent motivation to his team encouraging them to attain excellence and quality in their performance. A good leader is always looking for ways to improve production and standards. Here are six management skills you can develop as a leader in working to create a quality effective team.
This is an important aspect that often gets neglected due the demands on a leader’s time and schedule. Observation and regular visits to the work environment are a priority and should be scheduled into the calendar. Observing employees at work, the procedures, interaction and work flow is foundational to implementing adjustments to improve results. To have credibility, a leader needs to be seen and be known to be up to date with what is happening in the work place.
2. Monitor Employee Performance
Employee performance needs to be monitored in mutually accepted ways. Policies and procedures need to be clear. Conferencing should be on a regular basis and not just when there is a problem. Assessments and evaluations should not be merely all formality or viewed a necessary paperwork to be done and filed away. Individual and group conferencing should be undertaken not only to monitor performance, but with the expectation of on going professional development and support. There should be frequent encouragement and clear criteria for on going goals both for the group and individual.
3. Implementation of Professional Development Programs
A good leader evaluates weaknesses and provides training and development strategies to strengthen the weaker skills in the team.
4. Demonstrates Working Knowledge and Expertise
Good leadership comes from a place of strong knowledge and experience of the production and process leading to results. If a leader does not possess all the expertise and knowledge personally, then regular consultations with experts involved in the departments should be held. This is important in order to maintain an accurate and informed overall picture.
5. Good Decision Making
Good leadership is characterized by the ability to make good decisions. A leader considers all the different factors before making a decision. Clear firm decisions, combined with the willingness and flexibility to adapt and adjust decisions when necessary, create confidence in the leadership.
6. Ability to Conduct and Evaluate Research
On going review and research is vital in order to keep on the cutting edge in business. While managing the present to ensure on going excellence in product and performance, a good leader is also able to look towards the future. Conducting and evaluating research is an important way of planning and being prepared for the future.
Excellent leadership is always pro active rather than reactive. By developing these six managerial skills builds a solid foundation for success.
All of these are critical elements of our Leader Development program. We have found that the most effective means of delivering development coaching comes from the following means:
- Self assessment
- Peer group assessment
- Co-creation of personal development plans
- Accountability and responsibility for accomplishing personal goals
Posted on March 24, 2012
Jeff Hayden wrote this article for Inc. Magazine and I feel that he is spot on! He starts by saying:
Forget about raises and better benefits. Those are important-but this is what your staff really wants.
I think we can all agree that pay is important-but pay only goes so far.This point really rung true with me:
Higher wages won’t cause employees to automatically perform at a higher level!
He goes on to say :
To truly care about your business, your employees need these eight things-and they need them from you:
1. Freedom. Best practices can create excellence, but every task does not deserve a best practice or a micro managed approach.
2. Targets. Targets create a sense of purpose and add alittle meaning to even the most repetitive tasks. Never, ever forget how competitive top producers are!
3. Mission. Don’t we all like to feel a part of something bigger? We all need to have a sense of purpose to maintain peak performance.
4. Expectations. latitude is good but, every job needs basic expectations regarding the way specific situations should be handled.
When standards change make sure you communicate those changes first. When you can’t, explain why this particular situtation is different, and why you made the decision you made.
5. Input. Everyone wants to offer suggestions and ideas. Hearing everyone out shows the ultimate degree of respect. Actions speak louder than words.
6. Connection. We don’t work for a paycheck- we want to work with and for people. Never underestimate a kind word, a short discussion about family or a brief check in to see if they need anything. These moments are more important than any meeting or formal evaluation!
7. Consistency. If you are a boss who is demanding and quick to criticize-make sure that you treat every employee the same.
8. Future. Every job should have the potential to lead to something more, either within or outside the company. Take the time to develop employees for jobs they someday hope to fill-even if those positions are outside your company.
On a very basic level every organization and leader would agree that these are core skills for Leadership Effectiveness. The trick becomes how great leaders implement these and the continued refinement of these traits for peak performance. Our Leader Development programs and Executive Coaching programs help ensure that these steps will lead to peak performance for your company.
Posted on March 20, 2012
Susan Credle is the chief creative officer of Leo Burnett USA. Susan was recently interviewed and makes some very cogent observations. She was talking about her early childhood and the effect the divorce had on her and the eventual remarrying of her parents; and the dynamics of mixing families. She was asked to talk more about how that plays into her role as a manager and leader:
Because I have a family of stepbrothers and stepsisters and a younger stepmom, I now really look at people in terms of more than just what they do at the company. They come with history. They come with outside lives. I think that trying to understand them as human beings versus workers has really helped, and understanding that different people fit in different ways. I don’t know who I would have been if I’d had the white-picket-fence upbringing. As difficult as my childhood was at times, I think that the texture it added to my life was worth it.
Another observation she made:
I was a writer, and I started getting a lot more work. Some of it, I realized, I didn’t have the talent to do as well as others, such as a certain kind of comedy where I’m not as strong as some people. But instead of being greedy and keeping the project to myself, I started going to people who were younger than I was, and I would say: “Look at this brief. I think you’re better at this. I promise I won’t take credit for your idea. I’ll protect it. I’ll get you in and you’ll start producing work if you want to.”
So the question was, do I compete with my colleagues or do I embrace them? I decided that embracing was much better. I get frustrated when people are caught up in titles. I think people who are really successful don’t ask about things like that. At least I never did. Finding the opportunities was more important to me.
She went on to say:
If you’re confident in who you are, you will be generous.
This article demonstrates a lot of the work we do with companies. It covers our work in Executive Coaching and Leader development. Many of the things Susan incorporates are talked about in my previous post of The 7 Principles of Good Leadership.
Posted on March 1, 2012
Over the weekend I came across an interview with Terry Tietzen. He shared his views on innovation andLeadership Skills-Enjoy!
Terry Tietzen is founder and C.E.O. of Edatanetworks, a developer of customer loyalty software. He suggests selling innovation in an organization gradually — in nibbles — so that all will “start liking the idea and not feel so overwhelmed.”
Q. Tell me about some early leadership lessons.
A. I started caddying at a young age. I basically interviewed the people I was caddying for, figuring how they got to where they were, and what principles guided them. I memorized everything they said, and listened to them talk about deals they were making. You can learn a lot about people by the way they play golf. The game is self-policing. You declare if your ball is out of bounds, and you penalize yourself. If you abuse the game, you’re only cheating yourself.
Q. What about other influences?
A. Certainly my parents. My mom drove my creativity and my dad told me that when you give your word, it’s your bond. When I was 14, I got my first Honda minibike. My dad brought me into his office and typed up a contract for me about where I could go on the bike, that I’d always wear a helmet and never give anyone a ride on the back of the bike.
So on the first day with my bike, I have a friend on the back, neither of us wearing a helmet. My dad takes me into the house, and said, “Hey, did you just sign this?” I said, “Yeah.” And he said: “Well, I’m going to teach you something. You need to understand that a contract is a two-way agreement. You broke your responsibilities.” So he sold the minibike back to the people we bought it from the same day. That taught me a lesson I’ll never forget.
It was like that when I worked for Arnold Palmer’s golf course design company. They taught me the ethics of a handshake. When you work for Arnold, it starts with a handshake, and then you’re on the team.
Q. Now you’re running an innovation and technology company. How do you hire? What qualities are you looking for?
A. I like a person with communication skills, first and foremost. I love a person who’s worked and volunteered in a meaningful way for a not-for-profit or community organization. They tend to be more understanding of other people’s needs, and not so self-interested. And you’ve got to guard against negativity in a creative company. Negativity will wipe out innovation. You get one guy saying, “I don’t think we can,” and then everybody starts thinking that.
Q. What other lessons have you learned about innovation?
A. Innovation doesn’t just happen at your desk. It happens in the weirdest places and times. You get ideas through watching the world, and through relationships. You get ideas from looking down the road. You have to be available to adapt on the fly. In real innovation, being comfortable isn’t good. I don’t want to be comfortable. I always want to be on edge, because that edge gives you energy and excitement. What’s new? What’s next? That’s how you stay ahead.
Q. How do you create that urgency on a team?
A. As a leader, you have to be part of the team, and you have to share the good, the bad and the ugly with everyone. They’ll rise to the challenge. When they know you’re having a bad day, they’ll want to try to help the team win. But if you don’t tell them, if you always tell them it’s just sugarplums, they’ll walk around in a fantasy land. If there’s a problem, you get the whiteboard out, people will spark some ideas, and you figure out a plan on the fly. On a small innovation team, you do quick sprints every day and learn on the fly. So part of innovation is just asking again and again, “What did we get done?”
That’s why I have every team member send me an update every day. No matter where I am in the world, I get an update.
Q. What do you want to know?
A. Simple, high-level things. What they set out to do today and what they plan to do tomorrow. That way, they can feel the progress. Part of the progress is being able to have them included in the journey, not just feeling isolated. They need to feel it like a wave. It comes up and down, and it’s never perfect. By sending me three or four bullets every day — what I did today, what I’m doing tomorrow — they see short-term goals much easier than feeling overwhelmed by a goal that might seem hard to imagine reaching. Innovation has to have short windows. A good friend in Silicon Valley taught me an expression: you have to “feed the monster a cookie.”
Q. That’s a new one on me. What does it mean?
A. Let’s say I’ve got a big idea that seems far-fetched to you, and you’re having trouble seeing how we’ll accomplish it. So I start small. You’re a monster in my mind. I have to give you a cookie so you’ll start liking the idea and not feel so overwhelmed. So you have to break it down into smaller steps. I had to realize that part of having a vision is to be able to translate to people where you want to go and how you’ll get there, but with a feed-the-monster-a-cookie approach. People need the buy-in. Give them little nibbles and then they’ll get there soon enough.
Q. What else have you learned about innovation?
A. You have to be careful about gab sessions where you ask people to give their opinions. The downside about opinions is everybody has one. You can open up a Pandora’s box. You destroy innovation sometimes by asking for too many opinions, because people can feel dejected and put their head down if their idea doesn’t get accepted right away.
Q. So how do you avoid that?
A. Easy. You say: “Listen, I have this vision right now. I’d like to share with you how I think it will work. Then can all of you do me a favor? Go work on it and tell me what you think at the end of the day.” I get their buy-in by working on it rather than asking them their opinion upfront. Otherwise, it’s a tug of war all the time.
Then they start giving me daily updates on what they got done today, and what they’re going to do tomorrow. And in the planning for tomorrow they give you the great innovation before their opinion. Because opinions can cause tension — people tend to compete over whose opinion is better — and you never get anywhere. You can actually talk yourself out of real innovation.
I think we can all agree that innovation is more important than ever in today’s business environment and Terry is a great example of leadership effectiveness. It all starts at the top! Please contact Transform Coaching if you need to implement a program on Organizational Effectiveness.
Posted on February 13, 2012
I thought you would enjoy this article by Simon Ashley called The 7 Principles of Good Leadership.
There are 7 Vital Principles that make Good Leaders Great. Knowing what they are and how to cultivate them is essential for success.
First and foremost it is necessary to appreciate that good leadership is about building positive, strong and cooperative relationships. In that light what is outlined below pertains to the building of relationship strengths.
The Seven Principles of Great Leadership are:
1. Learning to Listen:
If a leader is isolated from what is going on around them they’ll have shut themselves down to the flow of vital information about what is going on in the organization. Our feelings are that an isolated leader cannot keep a pulse on the day to day activities and does not have a good sense of the employee’s moods and overall morale. A great leader keeps tracks of these subtle vibes and can act quickly to avert bigger problems from arising.
2. Learning to Trust Your Self
Self doubt is readily perceived by one’s employees. A good leader exhibits great self confidence and employees pick up on this unwavering confidence; this in turn inspires the confidence needed by others in the workforce.
3. Learning to Empower Others
With power comes a feeling of responsibility that often makes the leader feel like they must do everything themselves. We feel that a good leader has developed their key employees and by empowering them their confidence and ability to perform at peak levels grows by quantum leaps.
4. Learning to be Resilient
Resilience is defined as the ability to not let the negativity in. Our experience has been that a great leader manages the organization in the best and worst of times without wavering emotionally.
5. Learning to Make the Difficult Emotional Decisions
All of a leader’s decisions ultimately affect many other people as well as the vitality and integrity of the organization. When we work with the leader of an organization we hone their ability to trust their their inner strength and knowing that their courage to move the organization forward will ultimately be rewarded.
6. Learning to Take Responsibility
A good leader realizes that they have been charged with significant responsibility for the vitality of the organization and ultimately for the lives of the individuals that are a part of it. We concur 100% and have found that great leaders recognize that their employees bottom line results possible and they treat these employees with the respect and responsibilities they have earned.
7. Learning to Communicate Effectively
Relationships that leave out the ability to communicate effectively are doomed to fail.This is such a critical point to the success of any organization. If employees don’t feel that their input is valued and encouraged; conflict and poor performance are often the results.
Our Leader Development Coaching practice focuses on developing, or strengthening core business skills which provide a solid platform for leader development. The emphasis is not only on the specific leadership and management skills, or hard business skills such as strategic planning, analytical thinking and root cause analysis – often referred to as transactional leadership skills, but there is an enhanced emphasis on developing the depth of leadership, or softer business skills in areas such as conflict resolution, empathetic negotiation, effective communications and delegation.
Posted on February 1, 2012
I recently came across an article in the HBR Blog Network titled Transform Your Employees into Passionate Advocates by Rob Markey. The article focuses on employee happiness, which has, once again, become a hot topic among CEOs and in boardrooms. This topic really comes and goes but for now it’s on most everyone’s radar because, in our current economic situation, it speaks directly to organizational productivity and profitability. There can be no argument that engaged employees are more productive and generate better outcomes for their companies.
But employee happiness for its own sake is not the right outcome for companies to seek. If paying employees more, giving them free lunches and providing them with employment perks like free laundry service and transportation to work were the answers; every employee in Silicon Valley would be “happy”. But, that’s not the case-employees of these firms become disgruntled and quit or move to another firm, why is that?
The author believes that happy employees are a result of a sense of fulfillment resulting from an important job well done, and is the direct result of acknowledgement and recognition from senior management. He also believes that employers should help employees achieve great things! In short, by earning our employees’ passionate advocacy for the company’s mission, organizations will reach their success goals by generating passionate advocacy with customers.
The author concedes that this is a very ambitious goal and it necessarily links employee engagement to customer outcomes, the ultimate source of a company’s success. To accomplish this, Markey believes the following is needed:
1. True ownership by line managers. Unfortunately, most large companies depend on HR to measure and manage employee engagement. Real engagement-passionate advocacy-comes from making customer’s loves richer, and there isn’t much that HR alone can do to help employees achieve that. Have you had the pleasure of going to an Apple store lately? How about dealing with the “Genius Bar”? I can tell you from personal experience that Apple is doing it right!
2. Simpler measurement. most companies gauge employee satisfaction through the time-honored annual survey, managed centrally and comprising a huge number of questions. This method is tired and really doesn’t work. The author recommends the actions taken by Net Promoter. They survey employees more often, ask just a few simple questions, and simplify the reporting. We find this to be very powerful and a great way to find out what’s really going on.
3. Direct feedback from customers. The bottom line is this: when front line employees and managers hear directly from customers-when they see how customers scored their experience, whey they hear what went right and wrong in the customer’s own words-the effect is dramatic.
In my opinion, organizations that maintain a culture of authenticity and appreciation, and inspire their employees to exceed performance expectations are ones that are able to build an environment of positive morale which results in employee loyalty. Loyal, passionate employees bring a company as much benefits as loyal, passionate customers. They stay longer, work harder, work more creatively, and find ways to the the extra mile!
What is your challenge? We at Transform Coaching look forward to working with you and discovering ways to transform your employees into passionate advocates.
Posted on June 20, 2011
Organizations that understand the need to identify and cultivate a deep talent pool tend to ensure their organization’s success by establishing performance continuity and minimal disruption during times of leadership transition. They understand that planning for succession is a cyclical, strategic initiative within the boundaries of a core set of leadership and succession management competencies, building a foundation for the implementation of strategies and the achievement of longer term goals and initiatives by identifying and developing their bench strength. Continue Reading »
Posted on June 13, 2011
No leader is perfect, and our business culture has historically placed such unrealistic demands on our leaders, many are afraid to make mistakes or admit their personal limitations. But the truly effective leaders are those who no longer try to be perfect, and instead, embrace their incompleteness; spending their energies developing and leveraging their strengths, and delegating those tasks or responsibilities to others who have the experience, capacity or competency to carry them through. In today’s business environment, an executive’s job is no longer command and control, but rather one of coordination and collaboration among many different information resources which reside in their organizations. When leaders begin to see themselves as incomplete – as having both strengths and weaknesses – they will be able to cultivate their true leadership capacity and make up for what is missing by relying on others. Only then can a transformative leadership culture take shape.
In the article, “In Praise of the Incomplete Leaders”, the authors explain their distributed model of leadership which takes the incomplete leader into account. Their framework describes leadership as a set of four capabilities; sensemaking, relating, visioning and inventing. These capabilities span the intellectual and interpersonal qualities necessary for leadership in our current business culture. They argue that rarely will any leader possess strength in all four, thus creating a clear distinction between an incomplete and an incompetent leader: incomplete leaders “understand what they’re good at and what they’re not and have good judgment about how they can work with others to build on their strengths and offset their limitations.” Continue Reading »
Posted on May 24, 2011
I ran across this article in the Wall Street Journal regarding the use of assessments in an executive selection and development capacity and found it to be very interesting. Many organizations are turning to assessments to provide an additional set of data points to better understand their executive candidates on many levels, ranging from their individual preferences to different styles and approaches for problem solving, communication – even in how they deal with and handle conflict. Continue Reading »