Leadership, Vision and Steve Jobs

I’ve been looking at the biographies of Steve Jobs and Tim Cook on the Apple Website. Gosh what a contrast!

There is Steve whose picture is now, strikingly, in colour, with his background in the Imagineering world of Disney and Pixar.

While Tim looks bright, cheerful, pleasant and just a little corporate.

But let us hope Tim has learned much from the master. It really is vision, quality and understanding the market that marks out success for Apple, rather than sensitive handling of employees or the supply chain!

Steve Jobs spent 12 tumultuous, painful years of failure before returning to Apple to make it the success it is today. He learned about leadership the hard way!

Yes, leadership, because his management style still sounds unusual at best!

“Steve might be capable of reducing someone to tears,” according to former colleague Pat Crecine, “but it’s not because he’s mean-spirited; it’s because he’s absolutely single minded, almost manic, in his pursuit of quality and excellence.”

John Sculley adds: “He possessed an innate sense of knowing exactly how to extract the best from people.”

Steve’s view: “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.”

The Australian newspaper, Herald Sun, published a story about a girl from Melbourne (Hollie) with vision problems whose life was changed with iPad and its ability to zoom in on text materials. She wrote to Steve and he replied as follows;

“Thanks for sharing your experience with me. Do you mind if I read your email to a group of our top 100 leaders at Apple? Thanks, Steve”

He even asked for the picture above! Steve has had a habit of taking what he considered to be “Apple’s top 100 people” to a yearly offsite retreat and another habit of his is to read his favourite emails to an audience as inspiration.

A year ago the Telegraph described him as messianic, evangelistic and utterly devoted to the art of making beautiful products that ‘just work’!

Steve Jobs is thought of very highly not just by those within his industry, but in the wider business community.

Even Bill Gates, widely seen as Jobs’ nemesis, has a great deal of respect for his rival, and the way he revitalised Apple’s fortunes. “He’s done a fantastic job. Of all the leaders in the industry that I’ve worked with, he showed more inspiration and he saved the company.”

Rupert Murdoch rates him as the best chief executive around. “He’s got such incredible focus. He’s got such power inspiring the people around him who work for him”.

Kevin Compton, who was a senior executive at Businessland during Steve’s years in the wilderness described him after his return to Apple: “He’s the same Steve in his passion for excellence, but a new Steve in his understanding of how to empower a large company to realize his vision.”

Let us hope for Apple’s sake that he has passed on that particular gift to Tim Cook.

Aspiring Leader on holiday – something to read on the plane home

Some suggestions from me. If you want to know more click on the pictures. (Note I am an Amazon affiliate)

Leadership: Plain and Simple (Financial Times Series) [Paperback]  Steve Radcliffe

This book does what it says on the cover – it describes leadership plain and simple. On Amazon it has 112 five star reviews which is no mean feat.  It is written in a clear, easy-to-read style. It is short (170 pages).  It has a combination of models and stories with questions to explore how you personally can apply the principles both at work and in daily life. It is easy to dip in to and out of.  Steve Radcliffe made his own way in the corporate world and really does understand leadership.

How to Lead: What You Actually Need to Do to Manage, Lead and Succeed   Jo Owen

If you’re wondering how to motivate a team, how to stay positive and how to inspire,  you’ll find common sense answers here. Practical advice abounds, as does humour. It’s very honest about the challenges. “How to Lead” is a refreshing, humorous and highly practical guide.  Jo Owen has vast experience of organisations, management and leadership.  It explains things in simple language and all the advice is easy to put into practice.

Leading at a Higher Level: Blanchard on How to be a High Performing Leader Ken Blanchard

As the blurb says, the One Minute Manager guru Ken Blanchard has brought together everything that he has learned about world-class leadership. Readers can benefit from the advice that has helped thousands of organisations become more people-oriented, customer-centred, and performance-driven. He offers insightful coaching exercises that give leaders new ways to lead. Using straightforward language, there are templates, examples and guidelines. “Leading at a Higher Level” does an excellent job of integrating three decades worth of his writing into one coherent set of ideas and directions for implementation.

Hope you enjoy them and have a good break!

I am Wendy Mason. I work as a Personal Development Coach,

 Consultant and Writer.I have worked with many different kinds of people going through all kinds of personal and career change, particularly those

  • looking for promotion or newly promoted,
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • moving into retirement.

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change. I offer face to face, telephone and on-line coaching by email or Skype

Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 to find out more. 

Top Cat is Away – Will the Mice Play?

Our place
Image by gomveron via Flickr
 “I always find going on holiday an incredibly stressful experience. Not the trip itself, but finding the right time to go. There’s always something going on at work that you feel like you ought to be there for, or you worry about someone else being away at the same time, or… Well, ok, some of them are probably just feeble excuses for the fact that you just don’t want to leave your baby all on its own. But it is hard to find a good time.”

Do you recognise these words? Spoken or unspoken is this how you feel each year?

Most families take a holiday of some kind during the summer. But I’ve known leaders who don’t really join in.

Yes, the body is there but where is the mind? Oh yes, they leave the office for a week or so. They may even visit their villa abroad or a nice five star hotel somewhere. But access to a phone service and good wifi are a priority and, back at base, they know to expect a call from the boss at least twice a day.

I wonder if these “supermen” (it does tend to be men) know how silly the blackberry and the laptop look when used on a sun bed. But, of course, they are much too senior for anyone to tell them. Do you know the fable of the emperor’s new clothes?

I’m not talking here about the poor middle manager whose boss only agreed to a break, if they agreed to stay in touch. I’m taking about senior people who don’t feel they have a place in the world unless their work needs them.

In this day and age, it is a dangerous way to think, even if you are at the top of the tree. It is dangerous for you in an age of uncertainty and it throws up questions about your leadership style.

Flexible organisations that can cope with a changing economic climate require distributed leadership. If a change happens locally, you need your local managers to feel empowered to lead a response from where they are without reference to you; you need them to take quick, clever action!

Have you have established a meaningful vision and a broad strategy to achieve it? Do your people feel empowered to make good decisions?   Have you treated them decently? So, shouldn’t you be able to trust them to make good decisions on your behalf?

If you have pointed the ship in the right direction, shouldn’t they know how to keep it going?  Certainly over a one or two week break. Of course you need to be available for a real emergency.

That just leaves you with the problem of how to impress your fellow holiday makers round the pool, of course. But I’ll leave you to meditate on that one.

I am Wendy Mason. I work as a Personal Development Coach,

 Consultant and Writer.I have worked with many different kinds of people going through all kinds of personal and career change, particularly those

  • looking for promotion or newly promoted,
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • moving into retirement.

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change. I offer face to face, telephone and on-line coaching by email or Skype

Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 to find out more. 

  • Five Myths of Leadership (thinkup.waldenu.edu)
  • What kind of boss do you have? (techwag.com)

Track Your Job Search Progress

Google Docs
Image by Kinologik via Flickr

 [This post is from the very useful About.Com Job Search Pages ]

 

Guest Author Traci Pederson has spent over 10 years in various IT positions. She is now working from home and shares her suggestions and tips for tracking your job search progress.
Are you someone who has been working the Internet and other areas for telecommuting work or home-based businesses? Confused, yet not sure what you have done or where you are going with it. I have been there and still am sometimes. I have worked out some tips and suggestions that can help you navigate these waters.
I have found that one of the most useful things I started doing was to keep track of everything I am doing. I use a simple spreadsheet, like Excel. And I do mean everything. I have one file where I enter all the information from any job sites that I join. Information such as the username and password I created, what type of job site is it ­ freelance or regular or specialty. The date that I joined and whether I posted a resume to the site or filled out their own skill assessment list goes in the file too. After about the fourth or fifth one joined anyone can be forgetful!
In another file I……Read the rest of this post at the link below. 

Putting a framework round leadership in the NHS

I’ve been looking at the NHS Leadership Website .  It is a very interesting site!

It includes the NHS Leadership Framework   which was announced on the 29th June 2011 having been commissioned apparently by the NHS Leadership Council. The framework has the rather super logo shown above.

Development has been informed by analysis of existing NHS leadership data and a review of contemporary leadership literature and best practice.   (I thought most of us stopped using the term “best practice” a while ago opting instead for the more realistic “good practice”. But apparently the NHS is still creating hostages to fortune in flagging up “best practice”.)

The framework sets out a remarkable model for distributed/shared leadership.   It  is made up of seven domains“demonstrating personal qualities”, “working with others” etc. Within each domain there are four categories called elements.  For “demonstrating personal qualities”, for example, these are

  •  Developing Self Awareness
  • Managing Yourself
  • Continuing Personal Development
  • Acting with Integrity

Each of these elements is further divided into four descriptors. The descriptors are statements that describe the leadership behaviours, knowledge, skills or attitudes expected for each element.

In the example above “Developing Self Awareness” has these descriptors

  • Recognise and articulate their own values and principles, understanding how these may differ from those of other individuals and groups
  • Identify their own strengths and limitations, the impact of their behaviour on others, and the effect of stress on their own behaviour
  • Identify their own emotions and prejudices and understand how these can affect their judgment and behaviour
  • Obtain, analyse and act on feedback from a variety of sources.

The framework recognises that the opportunity to demonstrate leadership will differ depending on level and discipline.  The context in which competence can be achieved will become more complex and demanding with career progression.

So there are four stages demonstrated to help staff understand their progression and development as a leaders;  from local team to whole organization.

The NHS Leadership Framework is designed to enable staff to understand their progression as a leader and to support the NHS to foster and develop talent.   It is innovative and, as far as I know, original!  It deserves much wider recognition.

The framework has lots and lots of good things about it but, sadly, and probably,  very realistically, it does seem to have a clear political flavour.   As you read through it you cannot miss the emphasis on managing the NHS’s reputational risk.

For example, I looked at Leadership for Commissioning in which I have an interest and right up there was a course in handling the media with an emphasis on safeguarding the reputation of the NHS.   Sadly, I am sure this reflects the times and something of a siege mentality among NHS top managers.

For all that,  the framework includes lots good stuff too, for example,  it includes the following statement

“Competent leaders:

  • Listen to others and recognise different perspectives
  • Empathise and take into account the needs and feelings of others
  • Communicate effectively with individuals and groups, and act as a positive role model
  • Gain and maintain the trust and support of colleagues!”

This may be a bit of an aspiration, but isn’t this what we want really, not just for the NHS, but for all our leaders?

Anyway follow the links above and have a look at the framework for yourselves.  It would be very good to know what you think.

I am Wendy Mason. I work as a Personal Development Coach, Consultant and Writer.I have worked with many different kinds of people going through all kinds of personal and career change, particularly those

  • looking for promotion or newly promoted,
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • moving into retirement.

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change. I offer face to face, telephone and on-line coaching by email or Skype

Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 to find out more. 

Related articles

  • Becoming a Leader – Managing Your Own Energy (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Are you a good leader? Time for a Mini- Stocktake! (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Becoming a Leader Today – Manifesto for a Servant Leader (wisewolftalking.com)

Changing Job Titles On Your CV

Changing Job Titles On Your CV

Changing Job Titles On Your CV
Image via Wikipedia

Changing job titles on your CV is risky as this post from Dawn Rasmussen points out.

“True confession time: Did you ever ‘tweak’ a job title on your résumé because the title you worked under didn’t quite fit the work that you were doing?

The truth is (and I’ve seen this a lot with clients as a résumé writer), many people have done at least some ‘creative job title engineering’ at some point… the fear of being caught diminishes simply as time has worn on, and as that particular job record slides further back into history, and the inhibitions to keep to the facts sometimes wear off as job seekers try to provide a more accurate snapshot of the work that they did.

But did you know that when you change your actual job title of record to something different on your résumé, it is seen as lying by [some] human resource personnel? …”

You can read the rest of this interesting post about the dangers of  changing job titles on your CV at following link

Modifying Resume Job Titles Risky… Unless You’re Honest | The Savvy Intern by YouTern.

Dawn Rasmussen, CMP is the president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services.

Becoming a Leader – Managing Your Own Energy

Energy Arc, central electrode of a Plasma Lamp.
Image via Wikipedia

We spend a lot of time thinking about  energy.

We do this at global, national and local level – for very good reasons. It has become a daily obsession for politicians and rulers all over the world.

But I want to think about you and your personal energy? For you, it is just as precious!

Your managers will know exactly how much your organization spends on energy.  In an enlightened organization,  they will know exactly how you use what you buy.  But how often do you think about your own energy.  Because, believe me, just like the world’s fuels, your energy can run out.

What are you going to do to renew it?

We all use physical energy in our work, We use emotional energy as well.

Even with very good time management skills, you can find yourself arriving home every night exhausted and unable enjoy time away from work.  This takes a toll on family life and relationships.

The effect is cumulative because there isn’t time over night for true refreshment.

As a leader it is difficult to inspire your team, or even listen to them actively, when you are feeling worn out.

There are steps you can take to conserve your energy and to renew it!

  1. Take short breaks between tasks – you can use a simple relaxation exercise at the desk or even in the washroom if necessary.
  2. Gentle exercise is good for emotional energy – can you walk to the next meeting? How about taking the stairs rather than the lift?What about walking a couple of floors of the building each day and talking to people – – get to know your team and feel refreshed at the same time.
  3. Do have a short break for lunch – low blood sugar makes you feel tired and miserable, plus you cannot concentrate.  But eat lightly; eating a heavy meal requires more energy for digestion.
  4. When in the day are you most creative?  Use that time for your more creative tasks: do routine tasks when you feel less energetic.
  5. Be ruthless about interruptions and distractions. Having an “open door” policy can be disastrous for energy.    Make it clear when you are accessible and when not – of course you need to make yourself readily available in an emergency.
  6. Review how much you delegate.  Is there more that you can pass on to others?  It will give them experience and you more space to concentrate on what really matters.
  7. Worry drains energy!  Work through your worries with a trusted colleague or friend or with a coach or counsellor.  Fix what you can fix, look the rest in the eye, make any necessary contingency plans and then, with support, stop worrying.  Worry doesn’t put things right, it just wears you out.
  8. Sort out those unresolved conflicts, with support if necessary, you really cannot afford the energy that conflict can cost you.
  9. Last, but not least, take a step back and think about why you are doing all this.  Take timeout to remember your own dream and to refresh your personal vision.  There is nothing like it for enthusing and energizing – so take it out, polish it up and keep it close.

Try these energisers or at least some of them. You may not aspire to inspirational leadership but all leaders need the energy to inspire sometimes. Right now anyway you need to energy to see your organization through these challenging times – please don’t let your energy just drain away.

I am Wendy Mason. I work as a Personal Development Coach, Consultant and Writer.I have worked with many different kinds of people going through all kinds of personal and career change, particularly those
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted,
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • moving into retirement.

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change and I would like to work with you! I offer face to face, telephone and on-line coaching by email or Skype

Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 to find out more. 

  • Leading Change – are we there yet? (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Becoming a Leader Today – Can you have friends in the team? (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Are you a resilient leader? (wisewolftalking.com)

Vision Statement

Bushman's Paradise at Spitzkoppe
Image via Wikipedia

Your   vision;

  1. Articulates your dreams and hopes for your business.
  2. Reminds you of what you are trying to build.
  3. Captures your passion.
  4. Defines your purpose and values.
  5. Should be your inspiration.
  6. Determines your priorities.
  7. Is a long-term view.
  8. Defines the way the  organization will look in the future.
  9. Sets the direction for your business planning
  10. Influences decision making and the way you allocate resources.
  11. Is for you and the other members of your organization.

Your vision is not

  1. A map to tell you how you’re going to get to the promised land
  2. For just for one year or two
  3. For your customers or clients although it can be shared with them
  4. Owned by you alone.

Visions only work if you share them with others – spread the Power, spread the Purpose, spread the Passion.

Formal Definition – A vision statement is an aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action. See also mission statement. Courtesy of http://www.businessdictionary.com/
  • Leading Change – do you have a great vision? (wisewolftalking.com)

Becoming a leader – people you dislike

Another school photo
Image by theirhistory via Flickr

Before I trained as nurse, I worked for a while with children – boys seven to eleven – and I loved it.  They were a great bunch, full of energy and fun.  Most were very easy to work with but others were much more challenging. One day an older, wiser colleague took me to one-side to talk about the ones it was difficult to love.

The message was basically admit your feelings to yourself and then deal with them – find something good in the child and make sure that child never knows you think of them differently.  Easy to say but not always easy to do – it gets easier with practice and if you think of the child’s needs, rather than your own.

I find the same thing holds good in teams.  The reality is you may not like all people you lead.  If everyone in the team is a team player it is much easier to handle.  You’ll be working together towards a common goal and liking or not liking shouldn’t matter, if you stay focussed on the vision.

Working in a team, you learn a lot from, and about, your co-workers. Who exhibits the best leadership and how? Who drives everyone crazy and why? Who is a strong team player, who is a weak team member or, perhaps, who is not a team player at all

Of course, teamwork always works best when everyone is a team player. There is no “I” in team; this means that the team works collectively toward a common goal. If one team member is working for themselves alone, you won’t have a team. One person who is not a team player can spoil the experience and the results for everyone else.

If you are the team leader, you set the tone and are responsible for keeping the team intact.  And here is this person, who makes you want to work around them and avoid them at all costs.

Well, the first thing to do is to follow the advice I was given.  Admit to yourself you have a problem and, as leader, it is your for you to deal with.  Don’t leave it until others feel awkward and start to complain.

Now, this is where we veer away from the rest of the advice I was given.  You can’t keep quiet and just treat them all the same.  You do need to intervene and talk to the person who isn’t engaged.

Talk to them and tell them what you see, as quietly and objectively as you can; it really helps if you come prepared with examples.  Tell them about the effect on the rest of the team and on the work.

Then, give them an opportunity to tell you how they feel about the situation

See if there is a way you can work together to make a change.  If they are in the wrong role,  can they be moved? If they have the wrong skill set, can training be arranged?

What ways can you find to make them feel part of the team and draw them in?

Whatever your feelings, you must give them a chance to put things right. Remember that child?  Here again, you need to think of the other’s needs and needs of the team, rather than your own.

I would welcome your own thoughts and your experiences of leading and managing teams.  How did you handle team members you didn’t  like?  Are you honest enough to share your experience with us?  

I am Wendy Mason. I work as a Personal Development Coach, Consultant and Writer.I have worked with many different kinds of people going through all kinds of personal and career change, particularly those
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted,
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • moving into retirement.

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change and I would like to work with you! I offer face to face, telephone and on-line coaching by email or Skype

Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 to find out more. 

Becoming a Leader Today – Can you have friends in the team?

Vector image of two human figures with hands i...
Image via Wikipedia

It is remarkable that most of our metaphors for leadership seem to come from the battlefield.  Well I suppose, when you think about it, it isn’t that surprising.  After all, that is where it all started with leading the tribe and then leading the army!

Doesn’t it sound confrontational?

So what about modern leadership with its concept of servant leadership and leadership as a dialogue?  Thinking about that led me into thinking about leadership and friendship more generally (no pun intended).

Many moons ago when I started to manage people – in those days you heard little of leadership in the workplace – you were warned not to try to be friends with the people you managed.  Even at quite junior levels in the Civil Service, you were expected to forego the friendships you had already, if they were with members of the team you were to manage, on promotion.

Certainly, personal friendship can make both managing and leading more difficult.

As for closer personal relationships well that can be a minefield.  But, remember, in many small businesses, husband and wife teams work together successfully alongside other family members.

I have found myself managing and being managed by friends.  Also, I have been in teams led by friends and have had friends in teams that I have led. Honestly, I can’t remember it causing much of a problem for me and for my friends; apart from the loss of the odd lunch where we would have shared confidences.  But, in truth, I can see the potential for others to feel threatened by the relationship we had.

I looked up various dictionary definitions of friendship – one had a statement about “mutual trust and support”. Now, therein, may be a potential problem.

I wonder if relationships can be truly mutually supportive, when one party is in a position of power over the other.  Surely, even when the leader is fully committed to servant leadership, there is something of an in balance of power between the leader and the led – the degree depending on the circumstances.

In my own experience, the friendship survived the leadership experience but sometimes it did take maturity and judgment.

I suspect friendship works much better when goodwill exists between the leader and all members of the team.  In those circumstances, trust and support are part of the culture and all feel its benefits.

But, if you do find yourself with personal friends in teams you lead, I would recommend an early discussion with the friends about the ground rules.  I believe you need to be completely honest about how you intend to play it.

I believe, as well, that it is better to let other people in the team know from you that you are friends.  If you don’t tell them, you can guarantee they will find out at some point later and feel betrayed.

In any case you will need to reassure all that there will be no favouritism and, my word, you will need to make sure you don’t show it.

I hope you are blessed understanding friends and an even more understanding team!

Have you ‘led’ friends or been ‘led’ by them?  Please send me your comments on your experience.
I am Wendy Mason and I work as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger.  I have worked with many different kinds of people going through personal  and career change. If you would like my help, please email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439.  I will be very pleased to hear from you. I offer half an hour’s free telephone coaching to readers of this blog who quote WW1 – email me to arrange.

  • Becoming a Leader Today – Manifesto for a Servant Leader (wisewolftalking.com)