Leadership at all levels

Leadership at all levels

Creating Leadership At All Levels

Leadership at all levels – leadership is about creating positive change in a group leadership at all levelsto achieve a long-term objective. It means having a vision, setting goals and knowing how to move  people towards them. The key skill is knowing how to best use your resources, mainly  your people and their talents, to get you to where you need to be.

As the leader, you should be able to show why you should have the authority to be in the leadership role. You have to understand the organization and the world in which it operates. That way you can win the confidence and trust of the people you will lead. If you are new, you need the best brief you can get. Then ask questions that will show people you are really interested in them and what they are trying to do.

If you are leading a team, you will need to develop and motivate individuals and groups. That means helping people find meaning and purpose in what they are doing. They need to see it as worthwhile. And, as a leader, you have a responsibility to create more leaders throughout your organization. You can do that by setting a positive example. Allow people to learn and develop on the job, as well as encouraging them to be proactive. Let them know they really can influence the way the organization achieves success.

If you are the leader, you will need resilience and be able to overcome obstacles that others find daunting. You should know how to find new solutions and inspire others to do the same thing. Make sure people throughout the organization know that their ideas are welcomed and will be rewarded. Help them to have confidence in you, and themselves, when times are hard.

Be prepared to recognise and reward positive leadership

Be prepared to recognise and reward positive leadership wherever you find it. Let some of your own power be passed on to those around you. Just make sure they share your vision. And that you have a way to know whether they are staying on the right track. Accept, that letting go of power means taking risks and be ready to step when things go wrong. That is part of leadership too! Support your emerging leaders and what you will win is their loyalty. They in turn will support you.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Organisational culture

Organisational culture

Organisational culture – an organisation’s culture is a complex system with a organisational culturemultitude of interrelated processes and mechanisms that keep it humming along.  Sometimes it is hard for the leadership team to really understand the culture of the organisation they lead.

This is true particularly if they follow the traditional pattern and don’t move much from the leadership floor!

The leading team may think they determine the culture when they agree a vision and define the values that go with it.

“Oh yes, we are on a mission and we have a mission statement too! It is all in the hands of our Comm’s Director, so I’m sure people understand what it means and reflect it in our culture!”

Really? Unless those vision and mission statements are truly reinforced throughout the organization, they can be meaningless in terms of the culture.

So, do you understand your organisational culture. How do you know what is happening where you are? Here are a few questions for you to think about;

  • Are your organisation’s vision and values reflected in performance reviews and training programmes?
  • What about you financial reward systems? Do they reinforce them?
  • How about memos and communications? Do they highlight what the leadership team thinks are important.
  • What about management actions? For example, are more junior promotions for people who toe the line? Or are they for people who go out on a limb to pursue your vision?

In reality, in most organisations, the culture develops unconsciously and organically. It creates a system that, while not always ideal, does work.

Changing an organisational culture is a real challenge!

It is hard to do without losing the good things you have now. Of course, that assumes that as a leadership team, you are clear about what good things you do have now!

If you are serious about your vision. And you really want to see your values in practice. Then you may have some hard work ahead!

But, of course, until you understand the culture you have now, you won’t know what you need to do. Will you?

Time to start asking some questions, I think!

Working with an executive coach really can help you get your organisation to perform well. Why not take advantage of my offer of a free half hour coaching session to find out how I can help.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organizational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Handling Resistance

Handling Resistance

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Handling resistance and fear is the fifth step in the Kotter model. This is handling resistanceabout empowering action, over coming resistance and getting rid of obstacles to change. This post is  part of a series on the Kotter approach to leading change. I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series. Links to all the earlier Kotter posts are in the next paragraph.

The Kotter model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. We have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency Step Two: Forming a Powerful CoalitionStep Three Creating a Vision for Change and Step Four: Communicate Your Vision

Now we are reaching the point where your investment in Stages 1 to 4, begins to pay dividends. Kotter himself states that when Stages 1 to 4 are skipped, resistance is inevitable and this can destroy your change.

People resist change because they fear loss.

They believe they are defending something they value which feels threatened.   This can include loss of security, power, resources and overall loss of control.  Most of us fear the unknown.

If you have followed the earlier Kotter steps when you reach this point, you will have been talking about your vision and building up buy-in from all levels of the organisation. Hopefully, your group will want to get busy and be out there achieving the benefits that you’ve been promoting.

But there may still be some resisting the change!  There may be people (individuals or groups), processes, structures and even organisations that are getting in the way? You not only need to put in place the structure for change, but check continually for barriers and blockers to it.

Handling resistance and removing obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision and it certainly helps them move the change forward.

Handling resistance! To remove obstacles you should;

  • Identify, or hire, change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change.
  • Look at your organisational structure, job descriptions and performance and compensation systems to ensure they’re in line with your vision.
  • Recognise and reward people for making change happen.
  • Identify people who are resisting the change and help them see what’s needed.
  • Take action quickly to remove barriers (human or otherwise).

When people are resistant;

  • Help them understand the logic behind the change.
  • Give them an opportunity to contribute – to help design and implement the change (e.g., ideas, task forces, committees).
  • Provide facilitation & coaching to help them adjust to the change.
  • Offer incentives to those who continue to resist change.

If all else fails, and this change is critical to the organisation, you may need to use authority to get people to accept the change or move them sideways and, sometimes, even out of the organisation. Do it with as much respect for their dignity as possible – those remaining will be marked by how your respond .

This can be one of the most challenging stages for the Change Leader but – as I’ve written here many times before – no one told you change was going to be easy!

Meanwhile …

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Leading Change – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition

Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Creating a powerful guiding coalition is perhaps the most challenging element of the Kotter model. I’ve written quite a bit here about the Kotter approach to leading change and I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series.  This post deals with that difficult Stage Two; forming a powerful coalition to lead and manage the change. Links to the other stages are in the next paragraph.

After 30 years of research, Dr John Kotter believes that most major change initiatives fail mainly because organisations don’t commit to seeing the change through and don’t take a holistic approach throughout.   He has demonstrated that his 8 step process provides the most credible way of delivering and embedding large-scale organisational change. This series of posts will consider his steps in greater detail. we have already reissued; Step One: Creating Urgency, Step Three: Creating a Vision for Change and Step Four: Communicating Your Vision.

His method elaborates and enlarges upon Lewin’s simple Freeze Phase, three stage approach – square, blob, star.  The underlying principles are the same.

In a world requiring ultimate flexibility, an organisation’s ability to deal successfully with change is a key ingredient in its overall success.

Step Two – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition

No one person, however competent, is capable single-handedly of completing all the tasks required in leading a large organisation through change. The tasks include;

  • developing the right vision,
  • communicating it to vast numbers of people,
  • eliminating all of the obstacles,
  • generating short-term wins,
  • leading and managing dozens of change projects
  • anchoring new approaches deep in an organisation’s culture.

Putting together the right people to lead and manage  the change is critical to its success. It needs visible support from key people through-out your organisation. You must find the right people, instil in them a significant level of trust and develop a shared objective.

Those people need to have the right credibility within the organisation.  Otherwise things will go limp and the change will simply go to pieces and fritter away. This will leave the organisation weaker than it was before.

Create a  team of leaders and managers that can act in concert and make productive decisions. The decisions need to be taken seriously by all the group! Managers in the team will keep the process under control, while leaders drive the change. Some times people can both lead and manage but don’t assume you will find both talents in the same people.

An effective guiding coalition

An effective guiding coalition should have;

  • Position Power:  Enough key players on board so that those left out cannot block progress.
  • Expertise:  All relevant points of view should be represented so that informed and intelligent decisions can be made.
  • Credibility:  The group should be seen and respected by all so that the group’s pronouncements will be taken seriously by others.
  • Leadership:  The group should have enough proven leaders able to drive the change process.

Creating a powerful guiding coalition means the team needs to develop trust in one another. They need a shared goal so that they can make the needed change happen, despite all of the forces of inertia and resistance they may find.

Meanwhile…

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

 

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Leader – Take A Rest!

Leader – Take A Rest!

Leader – Take A Rest! Everybody needs the chance to do nothing sometimes – even the leader.  But it is very hard for most leaders to accept that sometimes the right response from them is no action at all.

Suppose you are a very good leader and now you have a good team; they understand clearly your vision for the organization. Don’t you think they deserve the chance to show you what they can do?  Don’t they need their chance to move forward?  Oh yes, you can be around if they need you, but this could be their opportunity to make their mark.

But it is hard,  isn’t it?  You are the leader – surely you should be out there doing something all the time?

Sometimes doing nothing, letting go and letting the plans you have made just roll out is hard and it takes practice.  You don’t have to close your eyes of course – you can see still what is going on.  And you may have to grit your teeth because not everyone maybe doing things the way you would. But if they are getting there, isn’t that good enough?

Of course, you feel you should be busy – leadership is too important surely just to step back!  But maybe now is the time for reflection on what you have done so far and for you to find inspiration for the future. It is very hard to do that when you are actively engaged in leadership – sometimes you need to step out of the game to see what is really going on.

Refusing to take that step back is common among leaders.  Stepping back requires confidence in both yourself as the leader and in your team.  In addition, it requires a touch of humility and that is not something modern leaders are known for.

Leaders can begin to believe that they are so important to everything that even the idea of 24 hours of rest once during the week, feels impossible. But surely if you have built a good team and done your job in inspiring that team, they should be able to go forward without your hands-on guidance.

Try it for yourself – just take a deep breath and step back! You may be amazed at the benefits in terms of your own energy, enthusiasm and creativity – to say nothing of the positive effect it may have on those you lead.
Wendy is the Happiness Coach and author of  The Wolf Project and a new novel, Blood Brothers, to be published in Summer 2013.  As a life and career coach and blogger, she helps people reach their goals and aspirations. As a novelist she hopes to entertain. Oh and she writes poetry too! To find out more email wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

A free trial/consultation gives you an opportunity to try phone coaching without risk. Remember there are great benefits to be achieved by being coached in the comfort  of your own home by phone or Skype .

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

Leader – Stop Now And Take A Rest!

Leader – Stop Now And Take A Rest!

Everybody needs the chance to do nothing sometimes – even the leader.  But it is very hard for most leaders to accept that sometimes the right response from them is no action at all.

Suppose you are a very good leader and now you have a good team; they understand clearly your vision for the organization. Don’t you think they deserve the chance to show you what they can do?  Don’t they need their chance to move forward?  Oh yes, you can be around if they need you, but this could be their opportunity to make their mark.

But it is hard,  isn’t it?  You are the leader – surely you should be out there doing something all the time?

Sometimes doing nothing, letting go and letting the plans you have made just roll out is hard and it takes practice.  You don’t have to close your eyes of course – you can see still what is going on.  And you may have to grit your teeth because not everyone maybe doing things the way you would. But if they are getting there, isn’t that good enough?

Of course, you feel you should be busy – leadership is too important surely just to step back!  But maybe now is the time for reflection on what you have done so far and for you to find inspiration for the future. It is very hard to do that when you are actively engaged in leadership – sometimes you need to step out of the game to see what is really going on.

Refusing to take that step back is common among leaders.  Stepping back requires confidence in both yourself as the leader and in your team.  In addition, it requires a touch of humility and that is not something modern leaders are known for.

Leaders can begin to believe that they are so important to everything that even the idea of 24 hours of rest once during the week, feels impossible. But surely if you have built a good team and done your job in inspiring that team, they should be able to go forward without your hands-on guidance.

Try it for yourself – just take a deep breath and step back! You may be amazed at the benefits in terms of your own energy, enthusiasm and creativity – to say nothing of the positive effect it may have on those you lead.
Wendy is the Happiness Coach and author of  The Wolf Project and a new novel, Blood Brothers, to be published in Summer 2013.  As a life and career coach and blogger, she helps people reach their goals and aspirations. As a novelist she hopes to entertain. Oh and she writes poetry too! To find out more email wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

A free trial/consultation gives you an opportunity to try phone coaching without risk. Remember there are great benefits to be achieved by being coached in the comfort  of your own home by phone or Skype .

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

Leadership – Creating Leadership At All Levels

Leadership – Creating Leadership At All Levels

Leadership is about creating positive change in a group or organization to achieve some long-term objective. It involves having a vision, setting goals and knowing how to move  the organization and its people towards them. The key skill is know how to best use your resources including  your people and their talents to get you to where you need to be.

As the leader, you need to be able to show why you should have the authority to be in that role. You need to understand the organization and the world in which it operates – that way you can win the confidence and trust of the people you will lead. If you are new, you need the best brief you can get and then you need to ask questions that will show people you are really interested in them and what they are trying to do.

If you are leading a team, you will need to develop and motivate individuals and groups. That means helping people find meaning and purpose in what they are doing so that they can see it as worthwhile. And as a leader, you have a responsibility to create more leaders throughout you organization. You can do this by setting a positive example.  You should allow people to learn and develop on the job, as well as encouraging them to be proactive – let them know they really can influence the way the organization achieves success.

If you are the leader, you need to have resilience and be able to overcome obstacles that others would find daunting.  You need to know how to find new solutions and inspire others to do the same thing.  Make sure people throughout the organization know that their ideas are welcomed and rewarded.  Help them to have confidence in you, when times are hard.

Be prepared to recognize and reward positive leadership wherever you find it throughout the organization.  Let some of your own power be passed on to those around you.  Just make sure they share your vision and that you have a way to know whether they are staying on the right track.  Accept, as well, that letting go of power means taking risks and be ready to step when things go wrong – that is part of leadership too. Support your emerging leaders and what you will win is their loyalty – they in turn will support you.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

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Strategic Thinking – Can You Do It?

Strategic Thinking – Can You Do It?

What Is Strategic Thinking And Can You Do It?

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking means generating and applying unique business insights and opportunities to create advantage for an organization.

It can be done individually, as well as in a group. Working in a group may improve the quality of strategic thinking by creative dialogue and challenge, adding different perspectives on critical and complex issues. This kind of thinking is a distinct benefit in a highly competitive and fast-changing business landscape.

J M Liedtka

J. M. Liedtka is a professor at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia. Formerly the executive director of its Batten Institute, a foundation established to develop thought leadership in the fields of entrepreneurship and corporate innovation; she has also served as chief learning officer for the United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and as associate dean of the MBA program at Darden.

At United Technologies Corporation she was responsible for overseeing corporate learning and development for the Fortune 50 Corporation, including executive education, career development processes, employer-sponsored education and learning portal and web-based activities.

Strategic thinking competencies

J M Liedtka has observed five competencies for strategic thinking;

  1. A systems perspective; this enables understanding of the implications of strategic actions. A strategic thinker has a mental model of the complete end-to-end system of how the organization delivers value and his or her role within it, and an understanding of the competencies the organization contains already
  2. Intent focus; this means more clear determination to succeed with less willingness to be distracted by side issues – seeing the wood, despite the trees . To gain competitive advantage the organization needs more focus than others around it. Crediting Hamel and Prahalad with popularizing the concept, J M Liedtka describes strategic intent as “the focus that allows individuals within an organization to marshal and leverage their energy, to focus attention, to resist distraction, and to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal.”
  3. Thinking in time; this means being able to hold past, present and future in mind at the same time to create better decision making and speed implementation. “Strategy is not driven by future intent alone. It is the gap between today’s reality and intent for the future that is critical.” Scenario planning is a practical application for incorporating “thinking in time” into strategy making.
  4. Hypothesis driven thinking; this ensures that both creative and critical thinking are incorporated into strategy making. This competency explicitly incorporates the scientific method into strategic thinking.
  5. Intelligent opportunism; this means being able to respond positively to good opportunities for change. “The dilemma involved in using a well-articulated strategy to channel organizational efforts effectively and efficiently must always be balanced against the risks of losing sight of alternative strategies better suited to a changing environment.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

What Is Strategic Thinking And Can You Do It?

English: example of using a mindmap in a strat...

What Is Strategic Thinking And Can You Do It?

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking means generating and applying unique business insights and opportunities to create advantage for an organization.

It can be done individually, as well as in a group. Working in a group may improve the quality of strategic thinking by creative dialogue and challenge, adding different perspectives on critical and complex issues. This kind of thinking is a distinct benefit in a highly competitive and fast-changing business landscape.

J M Liedtka

J. M. Liedtka is a professor at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia. Formerly the executive director of its Batten Institute, a foundation established to develop thought leadership in the fields of entrepreneurship and corporate innovation; she has also served as chief learning officer for the United Technologies Corporation (UTC) and as associate dean of the MBA program at Darden.

At United Technologies Corporation she was responsible for overseeing corporate learning and development for the Fortune 50 Corporation, including executive education, career development processes, employer-sponsored education and learning portal and web-based activities.

Strategic thinking competencies

J M Liedtka has observed five competencies for strategic thinking;

  1. A systems perspective; this enables understanding of the implications of strategic actions. A strategic thinker has a mental model of the complete end-to-end system of how the organization delivers value and his or her role within it, and an understanding of the competencies the organization contains already
  2. Intent focus; this means more clear determination to succeed with less willingness to be distracted by side issues – seeing the wood, despite the trees . To gain competitive advantage the organization needs more focus than others around it. Crediting Hamel and Prahalad with popularizing the concept, J M Liedtka describes strategic intent as “the focus that allows individuals within an organization to marshal and leverage their energy, to focus attention, to resist distraction, and to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal.”
  3. Thinking in time; this means being able to hold past, present and future in mind at the same time to create better decision making and speed implementation. “Strategy is not driven by future intent alone. It is the gap between today’s reality and intent for the future that is critical.” Scenario planning is a practical application for incorporating “thinking in time” into strategy making.
  4. Hypothesis driven thinking; this ensures that both creative and critical thinking are incorporated into strategy making. This competency explicitly incorporates the scientific method into strategic thinking.
  5. Intelligent opportunism; this means being able to respond positively to good opportunities for change. “The dilemma involved in using a well-articulated strategy to channel organizational efforts effectively and efficiently must always be balanced against the risks of losing sight of alternative strategies better suited to a changing environment.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

CV review and interview preparation a speciality

Leadership – The Psychological Contract At Work

Work – Psychological contract

Leadership – The Psychological Contract At Work

This post discusses the theory of psychological contracts in the workplace and in the wider world outside work.

‘The Psychological Contract’ is increasingly relevant in workplace relationships.

The idea of Psychological Contract first emerged in the 1960s and it was widely discussed, particularly in the work of organizational and behavioral theorists Chris Argyris and Edgar Schein.

Many other experts have contributed ideas on the subject since then, and they continue to do so, either specifically focusing on the Psychological Contract, or approaching it from a particular or new perspective.   The Psychological Contract means many things to different people – it is open to a range of interpretations and theoretical studies.

Usually, the Psychological Contract refers to the relationship between an employer and their employees, and it relates to their concerns and their mutual expectations of that relationship, in terms of what each will put in and receive.

The Psychological Contract is usually seen from the standpoint or expectations of employees, although to understand it properly means you need to see it from both sides.

At its simplest, at work, the Psychological Contract is about fairness or balance. What can reasonably be expected! How will the employee be treated by the employer?  What will the employee put into the job? What will be the reward?

The closer you look at the real nature of the contract in any particular organization, the more complicated it becomes; there will be  unwritten “rules” and “expectations” on both sides.

The whole thing becomes more complicated when the organization is in change or when the outside environment intrudes – such as in times of recession when the employer’s ability to reward may be limited.

Of course, the theory and principles of the Psychological Contract can also be applied beyond the employment situation to human relationships, wider society and certainly in the world of politics between leaders and those led.

The concept of the Psychological Contract is still continuing to develop and it certainly is not recognized in all organizations.  It is even less well understood in the world outside work.

But respect, compassion, trust, empathy, fairness and objectivity – qualities that characterize the Psychological Contract, are worth the regard and respect of all of us, inside work and out.

contract