Strategy – script or scripture?

“Speak English! said the Eaglet. I don’t know the meaning of half of those long words, and what’s more, I don’t believe you do either!” – Lewis Carroll

This month, I move into my 20th year of mentoring, advising and helping to develop small & medium sized organisations

It still strikes me that language can serve to confuse the fundamental business of management which is to make decisions and to take action.

“The end products of managers’ work are decisions and actions” – Peter Drucker

Of course, at a certain level those decisions and actions become more far-reaching.

As a consultant, I can provide the agenda, ideas on possible frameworks, ideas on the content, but I still remain convinced that the script needs to be written and owned by management.

The script defines the journey, provides for education & reflection and cannot afford to be misunderstood.

“The first act, it’s who are the people and what is the situation of this whole story.

The second act is the progression of that situation to a high point of conflict and great problems.

The third act is how the conflicts and problems are resolved.” – Ernest Lehman

My sense is that structure is an effective template for rewriting and strengthening the impact of the organisation’s story.

But we shouldn’t get imprisoned by it. We need to work with the characters in the senior team and with their story that ignites our passion.

You can then apply structural principles to ensure that your script will powerfully touch the widest possible audience.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

alexgallon5@gmail.com

 

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Hold on tight!

Image result for talent management

Much is offered in support of organisations and their efforts to increase employee engagement.

In my experience, I’m yet to find a universal panacea. Although there are “assessments”, “reviews”, and “surveys” purporting to be just that. These are all very well and can be useful, but it’s what you do before and after that really counts.

What seems to me to be true is that whatever the size of the organisation is, there needs to be essentially two plans:

1. An attraction plan

2. A retention plan

Whilst there is some overlap between the two, there are clearly some tangible and some non-tangible aspects of both.

At “Brand Learning”, for instance, they define an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) as: “the unique set of attributes and benefits that will motivate target candidates to join a company and current employees to stay”. What is also interesting is this can involve a combination of HR & Marketing.

What should then be considered as part of the two plans?

Attraction ………. your online presence, your efforts in terms of corporate social responsibility, your brand positioning,  career and development opportunities for your people and pay including benefits.

Retention ……….. how actual jobs fit into the organisation and add value. The communication styles and media you use. Again, under this heading, the career and development opportunities for your people. Each employee’s specific wellbeing needs. What leadership style prevails across the organisation and of course, how you recognise and reward people.

Start to make plans to manage the gaps and hold on tight!

Leadership – do you know what good looks like?

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There has always been the question, are leaders born and not made?

Early thoughts suggested that the individual is more important than the situation, so if we can identify the distinguishing characteristics of successful leaders we shall have the clues to the leadership problem. Most studies single out the following traits :

– Intelligence

– Self -assurance

– Initiative

– Big picture orientation

– Good health

– Enthusiasm

– Integrity

– Courage

– Determination

– Imagination

– Faith

Good leaders usually have some or all of these traits, however possession of them does not always make a good leader, the traits are so often ill-defined as to be difficult to relate to practice.

Further studies have suggested that employees will work harder and therefore more effectively for Managers who employ given styles of leadership. The styles usually range from authoritarian to democratic.

In the extreme authoritarian style power resides with the leader, authority for decision making, arbitration, control and reward or punishment is vested in the leader who alone exercises this authority.

In the democratic style, these powers and responsibilities are shared with the group in some way or other. It is commonly assumed that people produce more under a democratic leader than under an authoritarian one

Research suggests that style alone is not the answer to effective leadership, however a more supportive style of management will lead to a higher degree of contentment and to greater involvement with the work group.

Current thinking suggests that in any situation that confronts the leader there are 3 sets of influencing factors that he/she must take into consideration :-

1. The leader – their preferred style of operating and their personal characteristics.

2. The subordinates – their preferred style of leadership in light of the situation.

3. The situation – the job in hand, its importance, its complexity and the operating environment.

The situational approach maintains that there is no such thing as the right style of leadership, but that leadership will be most effective when the requirements of the leader, the subordinates and the situation are made to “fit together”

Finally, the leader is a role model, he/she cannot avoid the role and it is vital for us to consider what forms of behaviour, what attitudes and values we represent.

At Profile H.R.D. we have supported all sizes of organisations over many years in defining and developing, in the context of delivering their business plan, what good leadership looks like.

 

Strategy – script or scripture?

“Speak English! said the Eaglet. I don’t know the meaning of half of those long words, and what’s more, I don’t believe you do either!” – Lewis Carroll

This month, I move into my 20th year of mentoring, advising and helping to develop small & medium sized organisations

It still strikes me that language can serve to confuse the fundamental business of management which is to make decisions and to take action.

“The end products of managers’ work are decisions and actions” – Peter Drucker

Of course, at a certain level those decisions and actions become more far-reaching.

As a consultant, I can provide the agenda, ideas on possible frameworks, ideas on the content, but I still remain convinced that the script needs to be written and owned by management.

The script defines the journey, provides for education & reflection and cannot afford to be misunderstood.

“The first act, it’s who are the people and what is the situation of this whole story.

The second act is the progression of that situation to a high point of conflict and great problems.

The third act is how the conflicts and problems are resolved.” – Ernest Lehman

My sense is that structure is an effective template for rewriting and strengthening the impact of the organisation’s story.

But we shouldn’t get imprisoned by it. We need to work with the characters in the senior team and with their story that ignites our passion.

You can then apply structural principles to ensure that your script will powerfully touch the widest possible audience.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela

alexgallon5@gmail.com

 

Emerging ambition

Image result for mark twain the secret to getting ahead

We recently published an article on “Future Skills Planning – A seven step process” in which we discussed why it is essential to have a people development plan that starts with the organisation’s ambition.

In that article we suggested following a structured approach by working through our recommended series of questions.

“Global Talent 2021 – a study conducted by Oxford Economics and Towers Watson”, has also identified a top twenty of emerging skill sets for the future.

The questions and the checklist may help in constructing that development plan based upon your organisation’s ambition.

International

  • Foreign language skills
  • Ability to manage diverse employees
  • Understanding international markets
  • Ability to work in multiple overseas locations
  • Understanding international markets

Digital skills

  • Digital business skills
  • Ability to work virtually
  • Understanding of corporate IT software & systems
  • Digital design skills
  • Ability to use social media

Agile thinking

  • Ability to consider and prepare for multiple scenarios
  • Dealing with complexity and ambiguity
  • Innovation
  • Managing paradoxes, balancing opposing views
  • Ability to see the big picture

Building relationship

  • Relationship building with customers, partners, governments etc.
  • Teaming (including virtual teaming)
  • Co-creativity and brainstorming
  • Collaboration
  • Oral and written communications

In no particular order, but a really useful checklist to get started with.

 

 

Can your management team support engagement?

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Research by the Corporate Leadership Council suggests that manager-led actions that impact on employee engagement fall into two sets of development needs.

1. Performing a dual role

a) Managing employee work and their performance

b) Managing an employee’s relationship with their organisation

2. Possessing competencies that are proven to support employee engagement

a) Setting realistic performance expectations

b) Articulating organisational goals

c) Breaking work projects into manageable “chunks”

d) Encouraging and committing to innovation

e) Encouraging and working with the differences between people

f) Adapting to changing circumstances

g) Continuously connecting work and organisational goals

h) Accurately evaluating employee potential

This research can be vital when considering investment in your management team. It’s also vital to consider your business goals and any future changes in the organisation as these too have an impact on the competencies your managers will need to manage employees under these circumstances.