This time last month, the commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings were starting to be held. I found them moving, poignant and dignified. Most memorable were the remarks of those who had taken part, whose numbers, like the tides on the Normandy beaches, are ebbing away due to their age. Yet what astonishing and remarkable men and women they were. Never forgotten.
Unlike my 95-year old mother who was a WRN stationed in Weymouth during Operation Overlord, their memories have remained pin sharp and crystal clear. The understated manner in which they spoke about their experiences of the ferocity and horror of battle was humbling. There was no 21st century scream of “Me, me, me!”. Instead, their laser-like compassionate focus was on their comrades, especially those who were killed or injured.
During the last four weeks, I have re-read many articles written about the commemorations. What struck me most powerfully was the vocabulary used to describe the behaviours, motives and values of the soldiers, sailors and pilots. (Pleasingly, due recognition is now being paid to the countless women involved, many working covertly behind enemy lines or diligently in logistical activities, such as Mum.) These words resonated strongly with me. They bear repeating, so here in a random order is a selection:
Honest Intentions 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!
The political leadership question is back on the agenda again. In June 2017 we had a General Election in the UK. I published an article at that time, ‘Leadership: Your Vote Counts’, inviting readers to decide which of our would-be political leaders best matched eleven business leader characteristics.
The winner of that Election was Theresa May of the Conservative Party, albeit it with a reduced majority. Since then she has struggled to implement the result of our 2016 National Referendum and take the UK out of the European Union. Mrs May resigned in early June and since then there has been frenzied activity in the Conservative Party to select a new leader. This person will not only be the leader of the Party, they will also be our new Prime Minister. Are you with me so far?
The initial selection process was in the hands of 313 Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs). They took ten initial candidates down to two. In the final stage the Conservative Party membership select a Leader and Prime Minister from the final two. As I write, there are estimated to be 160,000 paid up members who are participating in this final selection. Who will they select to be the new resident of that famous address: 10 Downing Street?
For this election I’ve come up with a different set of characteristics with which to judge the political leadership capability of our two candidates. I looked at research on the political leadership characteristics of two of our most notable post-war Prime Ministers: Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. This is not just a random choice on my part. A YouGov survey of the greatest Prime Ministers since 1945 conducted in May 2019 placed Margaret Thatcher number one with 21% of the votes just ahead of Winston Churchill with 19%. Read more to see what I discovered …..
Rapport 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!
The last time I blogged, I introduced you to “The 100 Year Life” a fantastic book, introducing a brave new world of longevity. Its theme being, that today’s youth can expect to live beyond 100 years of age – the key word there being expect – which in turn means our current three stage model of education, work, retire, is outdated.
The aim of my last missive was to ask how this impacts on our current leaders and what they need to do in order to flex their style and fit this new world order, focusing on an increase in empathy, the introduction of “strategic altruism” and the application of “beginners mind” to their thinking – if you missed it here’s a link.
But what about those who find themselves at the beginning of this journey? Can you imagine being an 18 year old faced with the prospect of living for another 80+ years? How do you even begin to think about planning to prepare for that?
A leadership transition may initially seem a complex and scary prospect;
but in reality, with the right planning and coaching support, it can turn into
an extremely rewarding and satisfying experience.
You knew you had to say ‘yes’ to the promotion you were offered. You
realise there are loads of variables and interconnectivities to be dealt with. Top
of your list will probably be assessing and understanding the people,
performance and leadership issues. Your aim is to have maximum impact in your
new role in the shortest possible time. Quick wins is a recurring theme for a
leadership transition. You need to understand the new culture, at the same time
remain objectively detached from how things have always been done. You will
have a whole new set of stakeholders to get to know. Who are they? What are
their issues and expectations? Most notable of course is your new boss. The
hiring manager. They have a personal stake in your leadership transition.
You may be moving to a new geographic location and away from your normal
network of contacts and support. You may be taking responsibility for
functional areas you have no previous experienced of yourself. For example,
finance, commercial, HR, etc.
During your transition you will be moving along the leadership pipeline.
For example, from leader of leaders to functional leader or from functional
leader to business leader. With this comes the need to change how you see your
role as a leader (Work Values). To reassess how you allocate your discretionary
time to new and different leadership tasks (Time Application). This will mean
stopping doing some of the leadership tasks that brought you success and made
you a hero in your last job. More of the same is not always what is needed. You
will find yourself delegating leadership tasks that may have been core to your
previous role. And there will be new leader competencies for you to adopt and
deploy (Skills). Welcome to the wonderful world of leadership transition.
Over recent years the majority of my one-to-one work has been coaching
for leadership transition. For the last half of 2018 I had the privilege of
working with James Wroe. I was supporting him in his transition from Head of
Marine Operations North Europe in Rotterdam to Head of Liner Operations Asia
Pacific in Singapore. A functional leader to a business leader role transition.
In this article I ask James to share his leadership transition experience and the role that coaching played. James has offered to write an article later in the year about his experience coaching new direct reports as they complete their leadership transitions.
Today we are celebrating 25 years of being in business. The company was formed on 1st June 1994. We’ve had a great journey over the last 25 years. We’ve met and worked with some super people. We’ve done some interesting and innovative work. Thanks to everyone who joined us and stayed with us for the journey. Here’s to the future.
I’ve been working with a lot of professional services firms recently and have been struck by the leadership demands being made on people transitioning into very senior roles. Particularly those making partner.
The step up to partner is a huge one and the pressure people
are under is immense.
Getting to partner means you’ve been a superstar on your way
up. When you get there, however, you move from being at the top of the tree, to
being back at the bottom. Like the new kid at big school, you are now having to
fight for yourself as the buck now quite literally stops with you.
This blog is three years old. Yippee. The first article – ‘Understand to be Understood‘ – was published on 19 May 2016. Three years and 160 articles later and we’re still going strong thanks to our Guest Authors, Subscribers and Regular Visitors. Thanks for your support.