I realised a couple of weeks ago that I haven’t had a proper break from my work for two years. Suddenly, I felt wearied. Accordingly, I furled in my sails and allowed myself to float about on the waves of content concerning leadership, organisational design and development, culture, purpose, values, and finance that flood into my Inbox.
All the big consultancies and individual practitioner experts like myself issue so much stuff from articles to webinars to videos to memes to animations to… well, nothing new. In writing my essay, I’m conscious I risk adding to the cacophony.
However, my aim is to identify some “crotchets of note” that will scythe through the noise. Hopefully, these will provide a clear tempo for healthy organisations to create the conditions that raise rather than harm the well-being of the individuals who work there.
I’m old enough to remember the Irish entertainer Val Doonican singing about O’Rafferty’s motor car, “… used to be as black as me father’s hat, now it’s forty shades of green”. This seems to fit with all I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to. Material is cited as being distinct, discrete, and differential in its hue, yet so much appears to be another Pantone shade of grey (rather than green).
All this got me thinking about whether the principles of leadership that I first encountered in a book from 1968 called “Motivation and Organisational Climate” written by George Litwin and Robert Stringer contain the golden threads on which we should not lose our cognitive and physical grasp. Their work was informed and influenced by that of David McClelland, Kurt Lewin, and Robert Blake and Jane Mouton amongst many.
McClelland’s work on motivation identifies people having three main motivational drivers, achievement, affiliation, and power. The latter has two faces, personalised and social or institutional. Are we mistakenly celebrating some leaders’ personalised power? What risks arise from their “must win, me, me, me” drive? For instance, how much is the pandemic crisis and our world standing on the brink of climate catastrophe due to this self-centred rather than selfless leadership (see later)? As we combat the global climate challenge, what must be done to nurture and sustain healthy climates in organisations?
Continue reading “Nothing new under the sun”
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.
Continue reading “Leadership and Staff Engagement”
In part 1 of this blog, I raised some questions about the need to change our approach to leadership during and beyond this coronavirus crisis to nurture and sustain the quality of organisations’ climates. In so doing, I revisited some of organisational psychology’s foundational theories, notably the work of Kurt Lewin. In this second part, focusing on Lewin’s seminal environment formula that avers behaviour to be a function of personality and situation, I explore why understanding one’s own and your employees’ personality is so important to creating a healthy climate.
Continue reading “Knowing me, knowing you (part 2)”
Susan Hunter from APM Terminals Bahrain shares her leadership transition experience and the role that coaching played.
A leadership transition may at first seem like an onerous prospect. Especially if it involves a complete change of role, a relocation – or both. However in reality, with the right planning and coaching support, it can turn into an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience.
Over recent years the majority of my one-to-one work has been coaching for leadership transition. In 2018/19 I had the privilege of working with Susan Hunter. I was supporting her in her transition from Senior Global Director Operational Excellence to Managing Director at APM Terminals Bahrain. From a senior job at the centre of the business to a key P&L leadership role in the Khalifa Bin Salman Port in Bahrain. Quite a transformation in many ways. Most of our coaching sessions were conduction via Skype. The exception being an initial face-to-face session in London and my visit to Bahrain to meet Susan’s senior leadership team.
In this article I ask Susan to share her leadership transition coaching experience. I am most grateful to Susan for the taking the time in her busy schedule to answer my interview questions.
This is the third article in the series. Last year I wrote similar articles about Peter Drake’s and James Wroe’s leadership transition experiences, and the role that coaching played. In his article Active Leadership Onboarding James shared the six key factors that ensure a new colleague’s successful leadership transition.
Continue reading “Leadership Interview: Susan Hunter my Leadership Transition Coaching Journey”
Are you relying on the “scientific evidence”?
Social media displays countless articles about managing teams dislocated from their normal, intact work location to working from home. Many offer novel suggestions to deal with the novel virus. However, do they fall into one of three less effective categories of “science” (or research), namely popularist, puerile or pedantic, see Figure (1) below.
Continue reading “Knowing me, knowing you (part 1)”
Don’t stop coaching because you are working from home. Remote Coaching will be more important than ever during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Remote Coaching is one of my Quick Coaching Tools. They are exactly what the title suggests. Short snippets of coaching tips, tools and ideas for you to use on a just-in-time basis. Use them as an update and to refresh your coaching practice and professionalism. You could call it coaching in a hurry!
Continue reading “Quick Coaching Tools – Remote Coaching”
This is the third and final look at the ABC of Leadership and Management.
T is for training
Does training (or L&D) activity add value? Is there a return on the investment, if, indeed, the C-suite regards it as such rather than an expensive, preferably avoidable cost? An article entitled “The Great Training Robbery”, published by Harvard Business School, merits reading during the festive season, see https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/16-121_bc0f03ce-27de-4479-a90e-9d78b8da7b67.pdf. It says US firms spend something like $165 BILLION on “development” of which 90% generates NO performance uplift within 12 months.
The new vogue of e-training commoditises learning into read this, watch this, listen to this, do this tick-box exercises. This may satisfy compliance but the learning cycle of acquisition, assimilation and application of new knowledge does not complete a full cycle. The old practice of discussing expectations of performance uplift before undertaking any training, reviewing and committing to them immediately afterwards then subsequently tracking progress appears to be a redundant managerial practice. Is it all too humdrum?
Might that have something to do with the job descriptions including leading the team and growing its capability as the last in the list of objectives – see my previous blog (letter S)?
Continue reading “An ABC of Leadership and Management (part 3)”
Peter Drake from Rotterdam shares his leadership transition experience and the role that coaching played.
A leadership transition may at first seem an onerous prospect; however in reality, with the right planning and coaching support, it will turn into an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience.
Over recent years the majority of my one-to-one work has been coaching for leadership transition. In 2019 I had the privilege of working with Peter Drake. I was supporting him in his transition from General Manager to a Director role at A.P. Moller – Maersk North Europe Liner Operations Centre in Rotterdam. He certainly approached this with commitment and a great deal of enthusiasm. Most of our coaching sessions were conduction via Skype. The exception being one face-to-face session in August.
In this article I ask Peter to share his leadership transition experience and the role that coaching played. I am most grateful to Peter for the thoughtfulness and depth of his replies to my interview questions.
This is the second article in the series. Earlier this year I wrote a similar article about James Wroe’s leadership transition experience, and the role that coaching played. In his article Active Leadership Onboarding James shared the six key factors that ensure a new colleague’s successful leadership transition.
Continue reading “Leadership Interview: Peter Drake my Leadership Transition Coaching Journey”
The regular interactions between leaders and team members are what form the foundation for an engaging workplace and yet it is an area with room for improvement.
In our team we will soon receive our annual employee engagement survey results. This a regular exercise in many companies and one that sheds light on dynamics of team performance, culture and wellbeing.
It is however only providing a snapshot. A moment in time with limited scope for understanding nuance, personal differences and context. The feedback is highly important and the initial response rate also provides an interesting insight, yet this data must be used as part of a wider approach to engagement if we are to truly create aligned & high performing organisations.
Continue reading “Engaging with feedback”
Your engagement strategy isn’t working!
Your engagement strategy isn’t working…I don’t know what
that strategy is, I just know it isn’t working!
Don’t take my word for it though. Google it.
The numbers vary depending on which article you read but the
headlines are fairly similar – about 70% of the UK workforce feel disengaged,
which is costing UK Plc about £70 billion a year.
If the number of disengaged employees is that high, then
it’s not difficult to imagine that some of those people are in your business,
or your office.
Let’s be honest, if I gave you a piece of paper you could name them.
Continue reading “Stop washing fish!”