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Welcome to The Leadership Coach 2020. A new look and a new theme. Twenty Twenty means clarity and vision for the new decade. This is where we continue to meet to exchange ideas on what makes leadership at all levels in an organisation really work.
Since this is a BLOG, my Guest Authors and I post articles and you comment or ask questions. That way we all learn something and make a daily progress on that big leadership transition journey. I started the Blog in 2016 and there are now over 200 articles for you to browse and enjoy.
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I have a rant and a rail against my most hated business cliches. Here’s my Top Ten, with alternatives for you to use instead.
Business Cliches – No Thank You! I accept it could be a generational thing. Perhaps I’m turning into a Grumpy Old Man. When I started out on my business career all those years ago I remember we transacted in plain English. Language was direct, easy to understand and cliche free. I’ve spent most of my career visiting other people’s offices and places of work. My perception is that it’s only in the last twenty or so years that the business cliche has become king. I claim the right – here on this Blog that I gave birth to five years ago – to have a rant and a rail against my top ten hated business cliches. But being a generous sort of chap, I offer alternative phrases you can use instead – please!
Here we go, my top 10 business cliches and how to avoid them …..
How to support your Coachees as they implement their performance plans and focus on achieving positive business results.
Coaching for Performance is one of my Bitesize Leadership Techniques. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of leadership tips, tools, process and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your leadership professionalism. You could call it leadership in a hurry! This article is the last of three about Coaching for Performance: Reviewing and Follow Up. The previous two article were about Planning for Coaching and Carrying out the Coaching.
Carrying out the Coaching is about using purposeful questions to help your Coachee establish goals, explore their current reality, generate and select options and take responsibility for their way forward.
Coaching for Performance is one of my Bitesize Leadership Techniques. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of leadership tips, tools, process and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your leadership professionalism. You could call it leadership in a hurry! This article is the second of three about Coaching for Performance: Carrying out the Coaching. Planning for Coaching. The first article was about Planning for Coaching. The next article is about Reviewing and Follow Up.
Last week, my good friend and business colleague, Gary Winter (see the post script to Harvard Business School article, “The Great Training Robbery”, which concerns the famous turn-round at Asda during the 1990s in which Gary was deeply immersed), told me about a programme he listened to on BBC Radio 4. In this, a prominent CEO spoke about doubting the necessity for their employees to remain working from home (WFH). The CEO felt they should be “keen and willing” to return to the workplace and their fears and concerns about Covid-19 were both mis-guided and misplaced (so singing from the same song sheet as President Trump uttering, “Do not be afraid,” upon his return to the White House from hospital). To us, it sounds as though this CEO does not trust their employees’ commitment.
Planning for Coaching is about understanding the performance context for your coaching. You will then be able to select the right coaching subjects for each of your Coachees.
The first of three articles, this is about Planning for Coaching. Coaching for Performance is one of my Bitesize Leadership Techniques. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of leadership tips, tools, process and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your leadership professionalism. You could call it leadership in a hurry! This article is the first of three about Coaching for Performance: Planning for Coaching. The next article is about Carrying out the Coaching. The final article is about Reviewing and Follow Up.
Sound leadership and staff engagement must involve encouraging accountability and this means unlearning old rules and culture and learning the new rules of trust.
A Suggestion Scheme – is this really about Staff Engagement?
The MD of a client manufacturing company was concerned that the new Staff Suggestions Scheme did not appear to be generating any ideas from staff as to improving the processes.
‘It’s as if they are not interested…’ the MD complained. He was right. Most staff suggestion schemes falter in the early stages.
The reasons usually centre on staff scepticism as to whether any suggestions will be acted upon. Equally important is that employee groups are rarely involved in developing and implementing improvement ideas.
So what should he do? Let me unfold the story of what we did, starting with trust, training and accountability.
I came across this illustration on LinkedIn a few days ago. It claims to offer a fresh recipe for the mindset shifts required to transform organisations. It stimulated much thought and reflection about the practicalities of the ideas it imparted. While the best ideas are often simple, is this too simplistic? Does it ignore the realities of organisational and wider societal life? This is morphing at warp speed under the impact of Covid-19. What the end state will, no one is really sure.
Without doubt, change needs to occur. Are the alternatives so firmly locked at the opposite ends of the five linear scales? In other words, rather than “Yes, but…”, don’t we need a “Yes, and” approach? Walt Disney was alleged to answer questions by saying, “Yes, what if we did this…?”. By doing so, he responds positively to the principle of the idea while “reviewing and refining” it. This remains an organisation habit across the entertainment conglomerate.
Is the optimal case for organisational leaders to cultivate the cultural flexibility to display aspects of all the attributes of the labels? The article does not need to be read in one go. Consider each of the five “shifts” separately over their own mug of tea or coffee.
5 tips to help you gain more influence in virtual meetings.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the Leadership Coach. It won’t surprise anyone to know that, as for many others, the business model of my organisation has had to change radically in response to the pandemic. It takes up a lot of time!
I’m not the only one for whom this has been the most challenging period of their career. The myriad obstacles that we’ve had to respond to, many of which have no precedence have made it a sometimes exhausting, sometimes exhilarating experience.
As we now move away from the original crisis response and shape our businesses for the new and evolving normal, it can often seem like we know nothing. No sooner have we overcome one challenge but another rears its head.
Much is Still the Same
And yet…throughout this whole process, some things have remained the same even though we are doing them in very different ways. Most importantly we are still having to communicate. The medium might have changed but effectively showing up in front of stakeholders is as important now as it ever was. In fact, given so many businesses are having to fundamentally change their offer, it’s probably more important.
So what is the same, if the way we communicate with people is so different?
Simply put, it’s the need to influence and persuade. The irony that I’m witnessing is that, despite certain small efforts that we can take to make the experience of meeting us virtually so much more powerful and engaging for stakeholders, many people just don’t do it. The reason for this is that we’ve all been thrust into virtual/digital/remote communications without any real training or awareness of what makes the experience better for people.
I suggest a handful of things below that will immeasurably improve your ability to persuade and influence others, without even thinking about the actual content of your conversation.
The Covid-19 pandemic means supporting the basic and psychological needs of staff with a different style of leadership.
The effect of Covid-19 has invoked uncertainty over health, income, and indeed our very future. The effect of the pandemic means that normal life has been overturned. The metaphorical alligators are amongst us…
‘When you are up to your neck in alligators, it’s difficult to remember that your initial objective was to drain the swamp’
Against this backdrop, leadership in companies has also been challenged. Guiding staff through uncertainty demands a radically different approach than leading in times of relative stability.
But recent experiences with clients have highlighted outstanding examples of managers and directors, by instinct, in response to Covid-19. They have swiftly adopted a new approach in the direction of their businesses and staff.
We try our very best to arm our children with tools we know they will need to live the best life they can, but we forget that life will present them situations where those tools might not do the cut.
Being responsible of a team, listening, allowing, guiding with the tools we know are the ones they need, prepares them to execute their job as expected and some may exceed expectations.
The tools you equip your team with, do not guarantee they are covered for all and any issues they will come across on their daily duties.
As a leader, allowing others to grow and discover what they are capable of during their own journey, will also show you that it is not just following check lists, or SOPs how things can be done. They might not fit the unexpected.
Living a global situation for which we were not prepared and for which tools were not given, we learn and apply as we go.
COVID-19 forced us to adjust to a new reality were creativity also flows, giving space to new tools we can now teach to others, both professionally and personally.
People will follow a leader they can look up to, but you must be open to do things without being prepared when the circumstances call for it.
COVID-19 has open my eyes to new faces of people I thought I knew and has also hide faces of those same people. Make sure you remain the leader others looked up to and followed.