Saturday, 12 December 2015
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
Developing leadership is the most effective investment any enterprise can make in its people. It is the most effective investment any organisation can invest in, but it is also one of the most misunderstood investments organisations often make.
For organisations to achieve success across the complete basket of performance measures, from top-line sales growth, operations through to shareholder returns, developing the current and next generation of leadership is the core driver of tangible and intangible success.
The challenge for organizations is to understand the context of the leadership they need which varies over time. This is one of the key challenges I face when working with organizations, what type of skills do they need to develop within their organization; all depend upon where they are today and where they are trying to get to tomorrow. That context defines organizations immediate and foreseeable skill needs in its leadership, which once delivered, will open up the next set of leadership skills, which an organization then needs to deploy.
There are a huge number of leadership skills which leaders will need and use at differing times, these can be broken into three main groups.
Strategic Leadership Skills
The traditional skills leaders are most often selected for by shareholders to deliver and therefore need to develop are in defining the vision of the organization and in shaping the organization to achieve that vision. These primary role of the leader as a strategic business developer are often the most challenging to leaders as it is the most difficult role to deliver, mainly because it is the one undertaken the least and the most high risk to undertake.
Operational Leadership Skills
The second set of leadership skills based around day-to-day operational skills include acting as a role modeling, decision maker, situational leadership, and shaper create leaders who are good at adapting to changing circumstances.
Advanced Leadership Skills
The third set of leadership skills often defined as the soft skills, which always include communication at there core, are have been defined under skill sets such as emotional intelligence, motivation skills and succession planning. These skills, often seen as higher skill sets are often the defining ones in what makes leaders stand out in their field and why some organizations become benchmarks of success.
By redefining leadership skills into these three sets of strategic, operational and advanced skills, it helps leaders see what skills they need to develop to be effective in context to their needs and the organisations requirements. Leaders are not only real people, but they operate in real time within their organizations business cycles. Where the business is in that cycle drives the types of key performance characteristics, which the leadership skills need to deliver. That makes the definition of what skills a leader needs to deliver harder to define; it all depends of where the organization is in terms of performance results.
Too many leadership support programs are sheep dip sessions of theoretical skills rather than bespoke packages focused around defined needs at stages of organizational and person needs. This is often why leadership and development programs don’t deliver the anticipated results. The second reason why many leadership programs not deliver results is because they are theoretical in nature, rather than practical in application. So leaders don’t get to apply what they have learnt relative to their precise situation. This is compounded by a third failure of leadership development programs is that too many are in reality mutual support clinics, piling leaders into a mixed group of leaders and potential leaders all with differing skill development needs.
In constructing leadership development programs it is therefore important to put the context of where the organization is within the business cycle as well as the individual needs to the leaders themselves. The range of skills which leaders need across the three types of skill sets are significant, and while all are important, recent studies by McKinsey and others show that the most effective four skills that ultimately define leadership effectiveness are:-
1. Diverse Network Perspectives
Successful effective leadership relies upon being outward looking by establishing effective networks with other leaders in differing sectors, differing cycles, sectors, and personality types, this provides leaders with the ability to base their decisions on sound outward viewing analysis and avoid the many biases to which inwards decisions are often prone.
2. Being Results focused
Nothing succeeds like success in business; successful leaders follow through their plans with a passion and determination, by being results orientated leaders drive their people forward improving other aspects of their organization to support results through efficiency and productivity towards those results.
3. Effective Problem Solving
The skill in in gathering relevant information from the tidal wave of data and converting it into intelligence necessary through effective analysis to be able to solve problems effectively is a vitally effective skill. This skill set enables effective leaders to take control of situations with one touch decision making.
4. Supportive Leaders
Giving time to listen to others, with an open mindedness to understand others challenges builds trust and is seen to inspire subordinates in their performance. Investing time in people and teams providing them with ideas to overcome blocks and supporting progress, is the final vital skill leaders need to have to be effective.
These four core skills make the biggest impact upon leadership effectiveness, but do not distract for the need to focus on the context in which the leadership operates. Different business situations require different styles of leadership, but the four core leadership behaviours above are a constant across all leadership situations and transcend the three sets of leadership skills which all leaders face in their role, strategic, operational and advanced.
By developing diverse networks leaders build core skills in understanding strategic perspectives. While both being results focused and effective in problem solving leaders drive their operational skill sets and through being supportive as a leader, they enable themselves to develop their advanced leadership skills in getting the most out of their people at every level. So these four core skills drive the top-line behaviours of leaders under which all other skills can be developed and delivered. Without these four core skills todays and future leaders will struggle to be truly effective leaders.
If you are looking to develop leadership skills then click here
Thursday, 31 January 2013
Richard Gourlay's recommended TED talks to make you think.
If you want to develop strategy you need to step out of where you are at this moment to work ON your business not IN your business, one of the best ways to do this is to step away from the here and now and to think of something different, for just a few minutes.
TED Talks Worth ReadingSo if you are looking for great ideas to motivate your creative thought from some of the world's current leading thinkers, each for just a few minutes long and are my selection from recent TED talks:-
A. Steve Jobs – Stanford Address click to see
The unique Steve Jobs speaking at his Stanford University graduation ceremony, (not TED). He recounts three different parts of his life each offering at least one important message but beyond that these episodes provide a fascinating insight into what made the great man tick. One of the most memorable talks you'll ever see and one I recommend to everyone.
B. Seth Godin - How to get ideas to spread
Seth Godin, one of the greatest thinkers of our age explains how ideas spread, which ones do it well and why. Starting with Bread he explains how the paradigm shift of what makes some ideas successful and which ones don't. Sell to people who are listening is the answer we are all looking for, he explains how and why to stand out and why.
C. Kevin Slavin - How algorithms shape the world
Kevin Slavin argues that we're living in a world designed for, and increasingly controlled by algorithms. He shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture. Where are we going because we are writing code we can't understand, with implications we can't control.
D. Simon Sinek – why do people buy from you
Simon Sinek, a great thinker, recounts some real-life examples of how people buy what you believe above all else. If you have to persuade people or sell to them as part of your job this brief clip WILL make a difference. I changed the way I present what I do after I watched it.
E. Sir Ken Robinson – Killing creativity click to see
Sir Ken Robinson, always entertaining, educational and informative thought provoking. Here he is talking about creativity and how education is killing it. With personal and real-life examples that will touch you he explains how to see the talent and find creativity in people.
F. Derek Sivers – Starting a movement click to see
Derek Sivers narrates a video clip of somebody who starts an extraordinary movement at a pop festival, of all places, and then draws lessons that anybody who wants to be a wow on the internet will want to learn. Want to grow a community? Well check this out. Also it really is fascinating to watch the community form before your eyes.
G. Malcom Gladwell Explaining why Spaghetti Sauce
Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and Tipping Point etc, one of the world's great observers explains why some people prefer one product over another? Could this help you to promote your offering to better effect? I think so and the way Gladwell achieves it is by recounting how the perfect spaghetti sauce was developed; or not as the case may be.
H. Sheena Iyengar – How to make choices easier click to see
When I watched this clip for the first time I was struck by the simplicity of Iyengar’s argument: put some effort into the way you build features and choices into your offerings and the way you present them to your clients. Love it!
I. Niall Ferguson – the 6 killer apps of prosperity - http://bit.ly/s2vd9z
You may have seen the TV programme but either way this is a great talk which explores a) why the west was so successful in growing powerful and rich nations even though it started later than the east and b) why the east is now overtaking the west. Very thought-provoking and ingeniously presented by using the modern concept of Apps but for nations.
J. Nigel Marsh – how to make work-life balance work click to see
One of the biggest challenges we face in the modern world is getting balance in our lives: how much time for work; how much for our friends and families and how much special time do we need for ourselves? A relatively easy question to answer you’d think but if you can’t seem to get there (you’re definitely not alone if you can’t) then try this talk by Nigel Marsh for size.
K. Paul Gilding – the Earth is Full click to see
I don’t want to get into the whole green debate but wherever you stand on the subject this talk will certainly make you think. Gilding avoids the easy targets of lonely polar bears, shrinking icecaps and unusual weather patterns and comes from an angle that even made me sit up and think. If you watch it do so with an open mind – the logic behind his arguments is sound and irrefutable.
So here's some thinking, just 10 ideas from TED in video format, short high impact thought provoking learning, if you have others let me know?
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Posted by Richard Gourlay strategist consultant for Business entrepreneurs
Friday, 7 January 2011
One of the most important pieces of any good business plan is to define what you do and where you are going as a business. If you do not define what you do and where you are going then why should people work with you or for you? Defining your purpose as a business is the clearest statement of intent any director or owner of a business can make, and yet one of the most misunderstood and avoided pieces of any business plan.
Why is it avoided? In my experience directors are most often frightened of making a commitment of what they stand for so as not to alienate any existing or potential customers who may not fit the proposed mission statement. This contradiction, not wanting to say what the primary goal of a business or organization is, means that many companies try to be everything to everyone, ending up being meaningless to everyone.
This failure to define a mission is also one of the biggest limitations companies and organizations have in creating clear blue water between them and other players in their market. It is why so many companies struggle to stand out and then expect someone in marketing to try to answer that question sometime later. It is not up to marketing to define the purpose of any business or organization, they must influence it but it takes leadership from the top for a mission statement to be successful. It may also be why so many companies have to spend so much on marketing to define them.
A good mission statement is clear, unambiguous, engaging and relevant to all its key audiences: namely its leadership, senior management, employees, shareholders and customers. A mission and a vision (but more of that later) provides a central definition of what a business or organization delivers.
Here’s a quick-step guide to creating a mission statement. Creating a Successful Mission Statement
1. First identify your organization's "strategic advantage" what makes you successful. This is the idea or approach that makes your organization stand out from its competitors; the reason that customers prefer you and not your competitors, what makes you unique, what are your core competencies?
2. Secondly, identify the key measures of your success. Key success measures by which you can measure, Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), typically pick 3 to 5 headline measures of performance.
3. Thirdly combine your strategic advantage and success measures (KPI's) into tangible and measurable goal.
4. Define the wording, using clear language, until you have a concise and precise statement of your mission, which expresses your ideas, measures, and desired result.
5. Now communicate it effectively so everyone owns the mission statement within the company, make it public and ensure it is owned from the top with passion.
Communicating mission statements effectively to everyone is a defining piece of making the mission live. After all the hard work in having one so often they are filed away, or framed and stuck on the wall and forgotten. Instead successful Mission statements are launched to everyone and owned.
I’ve run embedding program within companies to ensure that everyone inside businesses and organizations “own” the Mission and build it into their everyday activity.
If you don’t follow through then all the effort is wasted and the opportunity is lost, so remember to focus on making your mission statement memorable and relevant. The leadership also needs to own the mission statement and make it live throughout the company.
If you do this businesses and companies can achieve significant improvements which can include: building higher loyalty from staff, higher levels of customer service; improved stakeholder and channel support and lower costs for winning new higher value customers. These are just some examples of the benefits from having and using a mission statement successfully at the front end, one other major advantage is that you have a foundation upon which to build your business plan.
Good Luck: Want to develop your growth plan, use my business planning tool kit, click here to Take the guess work out of your business success
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