Leadership & Management – the Background

Blended Skills of Leadership & Management

Visit any business today, and you’ll hear of their struggle with technology, a more challenging, better educated, informed, connected, demanding and impatient workforce, an increased pace of change, competition, globalisation and how customers are better educated, informed, connected, demanding and impatient. True?

These same businesses, when asked what it is that differentiate them from their competitors, proudly promote, their unsurpassed quality and the range of products and services, the way they manage their customer service and the calibre of their people.

Visit their competitors and they make exactly the same claims about their business’s strengths. Both are fooling themselves!

Simple Solutions for Complex Problems

For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. H. L. Mencken

In this short discussion paper that provides background to our Leadership and Management course we examine:

• Key Performance Factors; what the new blended leader/manager must achieve.

• Our People are the Best; how we can no longer rely on the skills of our employees to differentiate our offering.

• Change the People or Change the People; how a team culture can produce better performance.

• Trust Me, I’m Your Manager; the impact of the loss of trust has on teams.

• Leap-Frogging; why it’s critical to manage and lead together to maintain momentum for change.

• Insanity; how, by taking advantage of new ideas and new management techniques, businesses can break away from applying yesterday’s management practices to today’s workforce.

• Leadership & Management Sydney, July 26-27; is a two-day course that will help every participant handle these challenges with greater self-awareness, confidence and competence.

Key Performance Factors

What the new blended leader/manager must achieve.

The proposition behind this course is that the key to improving business results rests with managers and leaders who can:

• build trust,

• understand the needs of their team at different stages of development,

• nurture different personalities to enable all team members to lend their experience, their knowledge and skill to the work they need to do, and

• (with a heightened level of self-awareness) recognise their own strengths and abilities to:

o contribute to the development of a high-performance team,

o demonstrate their confidence, communication and understanding of real commercial realities (rather than simplistic statements such, “We are better due to the quality and the range of our products and our services, the way we manage our customer service and the calibre of our people”).

Our People are the Best

How we can no longer rely on the skills of our employees to differentiate our offering.

Are businesses that believe they have a superior calibre of employee really fooling themselves? Many of their own employees will have come from their competitors, or at least have similar backgrounds, experience, training and education. Why else would they hire them?

And this is exacerbated by another trend. People are more mobile than ever before. They believe that to advance in their career quickly, they need to move organisation. And as many leave one organisation to go on to work for a competitor, there is a transfer of knowledge and skill that levels the playing field even more.

Change the People or Change the People

How a team culture can produce better performance.

Is recruiting more educated employees as managers the answer? After all, shouldn’t MBA programs produce graduates that are better equipped to handle an uncertain future? Tom Wujec in his TED Talk, “Build a Tower, Build a Team” compares groups of employees charged with building a tower, armed only with spaghetti sticks, tape and a marshmallow that’s to be placed on the top of the tower.

Wujek explains in this TED Talk, that business school graduates fare worse than any group in this challenge; even worse than lawyers, and apart from groups of architects and engineers, their performance is less than those of kindergarten graduates. (See Figure 2.)

The ‘aha moment’ from this talk, germinated from the observation that, while CEOs performed well as a group, they performed better when they worked with their Executive Assistants. It reinforced how important a blend of skills, knowledge and experience is to achieving results in today’s business. In one word – ‘teamwork’.

Teams have been studied in business schools and by forward-thinking businesses for eons. Psychologist Bruce Tuckman in 1965 described team formation in distinct stages, of “forming, storming, norming, and performing.”
Yet, there is little assistance to a leader / manager in Tuckman’s analysis to prepare for the psychological and behavioural challenges of each phase, where each stage requires a different management mindset. Sometimes, it even requires a different manager, and a different blend of personalities within the team.

Trust Me, I’m Your Manager

The impact of the loss of trust has on teams.

Patrick Lencioni, who published in 2002, a book titled, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” defined the platform for an effective team culture. Trust.

Trust is critical when creating a team which is constantly looking for change and improvements. Trust establishes a work environment where team members can speak up freely (conflict), and try new things (innovate), and even ‘stuff up’ (take measured risks) without the fear of negative repercussions.

Leap-Frogging

Why it’s critical to manage and lead together to maintain momentum for change.

Some businesses really do have better products, services and so on, particularly when they’re first to market. Yet, it’s a game of leap-frog. And this game of leap-frog is in play more frequently, with more hops in a shorter time-frame than ever before. The Law of Diffusion of Innovation (Figure 1) teaches us that only sixteen percent of businesses are likely to move quickly to take up new products and services – regardless of their possible benefits.
So, being first to market isn’t necessarily the formula for success. Competition that is innovative can move quickly to innovate and achieve market penetration, before the opportunity is lost.

Insanity

How, by taking advantage of new ideas and new management techniques, businesses can break away from applying yesterday’s management practices to today’s workforce.

Are the problems thrown up by a complex business environment solvable? Sure. But not by applying traditional solutions to new situations and problems.

If you truly want to survive and thrive in business, you have to be prepared to constantly be in a state of change. This requires a cultural shift. From conservation of resources and reduced costs, to one of measured risk.
Risk avoidance, however, is a natural, human tendency. Few people are like Walt Disney who conceptualised and built his theme park at a time when its nearest competition was the ferris-wheel in the local fair. Few people were willing, as Disney was, to be bankrupted three times before he found success.

Leadership & Management Sydney, July 26-27

A two-day course that will help every participant handle these challenges with greater self-awareness, confidence and competence.

To meet these challenges, we have merged the Leadership and Management curricula into the one, two-day course. There are new topics in this course that expand participants ability to handle their role in business today. While the course covers leadership, coaching, delegating and communicating, it does so from the perspective of building the leader/manager; someone who projects self-confidence and works well in a team environment.

The premise of this course is that management aren’t dumb! They have identified an employee to lead and manage a team. They have selected the person based on the employee’s experience, expertise and some innate qualities that make them believe this person will be a good manager. The course will bring out these strengths.

Our promise is that participants will leave this program:
• with greater self-awareness, improving their self-confidence and ability to communicate,
• more able to appreciate how to get the best out of their team or business unit,
• better equipped to deal with concepts like trust, team dynamics and conflict,
• more skilled as coach and delegater for different times, situations and personalities,
• with models that help them structure the way they analyse, assess and present their solutions,
• motivated to lead change, starting with the way they themselves find time for personal growth and development.

Be sure you book onto this engaging, innovative and practical development opportunity, as soon as possible.
Leadership and Management Sydney, July 26-27.