Excel in the basics: Pitching Value Based Strategies

Topic 9 from the “Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics” series – Pitching Value based strategies

transcript written by Wayne Brown

Hello again and welcome back to this the penultimate episode in our Basics series. Today’s topic is called “Pitching value based strategies”.

In the last couple of episodes we have started to focus more closely on our own Leadership and self awareness and we continue in this direction now.

Shortly we’ll be asking you to identify your values – it won’t be a complete value exploration, but it’s important for this topic that you start with an understanding of these inner unconscious guidelines, before looking to those company values for alignment.

After establishing this, we broaden our perspectives and explore how well we as Leaders can run our business by following both personal and company values whilst striving for constant growth and sustainable performance.

This journey will lead us through discussions on the role of diversity, inclusion and culture in our teams and the business as a whole.

In the end we must find a solution which enables us to couple our values with the need to achieve results.

Have you heard of the term “servant leadership”…?

It’s been around a long time, but has re-surfaced in recent times, as has the discussion around emotional intelligence – both subjects are very closely interwoven and very much on point with our topic today about Values Based leadership.

The traditional approach of top-down leadership, where we only focus on control and achieving targets is outdated and counterproductive, as explained by Dan Gable in his book “Alive at Work”.

As an alternative, he says that we need to look for leaders to demonstrate humility, courage and insights, which they should utilize in helping their teams to explore and grow.

Through servant leadership we emphasize the need for leaders to increase ownership, autonomy and the responsibility of the team. AND it can be as easy as starting with the question “How can I help you deliver excellence in your role?”

Sounds familiar with some of the feedback questions we highlighted way back in topic 5 doesn’t it.

Now, whilst this approach is appealing at least on the surface, does it really fit to everyone’s values base?

We’re guessing that the answer will be influenced by country and company cultures and for the largest percentage of leaders, it will require a shift in personal values, including perhaps their beliefs and perspectives and behaviors.

Identifying your values …

So, let’s begin with an exercise to identify your current values. Note that your values can and do change over time and at the very least the priority will fluctuate, based on the current environment you are situated in.

In addition, you will most likely be able to identify both positive and negative values.

For example,

  • if you’re training for a marathon or trying for a baby, your value of “health” may be at the top of the list.
  • But if you’re going back to school then “learning” or “curiosity” might be up top somewhere!

Your values are always moving with you. Something you loved and valued in your twenties, most likely won’t appeal in the same way in your forties and so on.

This is why we sometimes ‘outgrow’ a job, activity or role which initially suited us.

Therefore, please realize that this exercise will only provide you with your “now” values. As such, this is an exercise which you perform on a regular basis – in my case I like to review every 6 months.

Let’s start and please follow the prompts as we work through the exercise…

You will need to have pen and paper handy, and be ready to pause the recording, as we work through these 4 steps. The whole exercise will take around 30-45 mins. Are you ready….?

Step 1: Take 5 minutes and brainstorm a list of as many things as possible in answer to this question…

What’s most important to me in life?

  • Aim for a list of at least 20 items.
  • And for now, don’t worry too much about whether a word is really a “value” or not. Pause the audio now whilst you do this exercise.

For anyone interested in this whole process, we have provided below two free workbooks – one for Personal Values and the other for Career values. Please download and work through either or both of them if you want to delve deeper into this topic.

Step 2: Now look at your list and see whether you can group similar words – from each group choose the most meaningful word. Pause the audio again until you complete this step.

Step 3: Once you have completed the grouping and narrowed down your list, select the top 8 values most important to you – those ones which you feel most strongly about. Stop the audio again until you are finished.

So by now you should have your list of the top 8 values.

Step 4: Our next and final step is to put these 8 values in priority order.    

Pitching Value Based Strategies

And to do this we’ll use a diagram which you’re about to draw on a clean blank sheet of paper.

  • The diagram will consist of 4 circles starting with the smallest circle in the centre of your page – make this circle about 25mm or 1 inch diameter.
  • Draw a second larger circle, evenly spaced around the first circle. This second circle should be about 100mm or 4 inches in diameter and that will mean 35mm or 1 ½ inch clearance between the two circles.
  • Same approach now with the next two larger circles – each one evenly spaced around the previous circle – with a gap of approx. 10mm or ½ inch all around the inner circle. Meaning the 3rd circle has a 10mm gap around the 2nd circle and the 4th circle with a 10mm gap around the 3rd circle.

Whew – it’s sooo much easier to demonstrate this on video!!!!

Don’t worry if the circles don’t look perfect just at the moment, you can always re-draw this later when you have more time.

  • Now the final part of the diagram – dividing the circle into 8 equal sections. Start by drawing a vertical line from the top of the most outer circle through the centre of the smallest circle all the way down to the bottom of the outer circle.
  • The repeat the process, but this time drawing a horizontal line that cuts through the middle of the circles. In other words, if I was talking about the hours on a clock – I would say a draw line vertically from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock and horizontally from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock.
  • You should now have 4 equal quadrants. Choose the top right-hand quadrant and on the outer circle find the hallway point of the quadrant – i.e. the 1 ½ hours past the 12 o’clock position. Then draw a line from that point through the centre of the smallest circle and continue down through the middle of bottom left quadrant – or 7 ½ hours past 12 o’clock.
  • Repeat the exercise for the remaining two quadrants.

OK so hopefully you now have 8 equal sections inside the 4 circles.

If so then we are almost ready to start Step 4 and prioritizing your 8 values.

One final item before commencing. Make a large dot on the outer circle line at the 12 o’clock point.

  • Start with the largest circle – the second inner circle and write one of your 8 top values in each of the 8 sections – the order of these values isn’t important. Pause now until you complete this part.
  • Then in the smallest inner circle – state as a % (using a minimum of 0% and a highest value of 100%), the extent that you are living this value today? Whether that value relates to work or socially – how much are you experiencing and fulfilling it today. Again pause the audio whilst you do this.

So now you should have the two inner circle completed showing the 8 values in no particular order, and today’s % of fulfillment for each. And now we start to compare and prioritize those values, starting with the value in the top section to the right side of the dot (at 12 o’clock)

  • Work your way clockwise around the circle, comparing each value against the other 7 values. 
  • That means consider Value 1 against value 2, then 1 against 3, value 1 against 4 & so on. 
    • As you complete each comparison and select which is the stronger and preferred value then place a 1 in the 3rd circle above that value.
  • After completing one full round for the first value against all other 7 values, repeat the exercise for values 2 thru value 7 – each time the number of values you are comparing reduces by 1 – for instance you have already completed the comparison between value 1 and value 2 in the first round.
    • so when you move onto value 2 comparisons you do not repeat the comparison with value 1, only the remaining 6 values.
    • For value 3 only compare with the remaining 5 values.

Try not to over think the comparison in making you decision – choose your preferred value and move to the next one. Pause the audio now and complete this activity.

  • You should now determine which value scored the most votes.
  • Tally the votes and record the answer total in the most outer circle.
  • Then rank the values from the one with highest score being the #1 priority and so on until all 8 values are ranked.
  • If you have a tie between tallies on 2 or more values then decide which is the more important.

You will now have a clear picture of the priority order for your top 8 at this moment in your life or career?

  • Are there any real surprises which jump out?
  • How does the result look when you compare it to the % fulfillment you recorded earlier for those values.

Any that are high priority but low fulfillment, might warrant further thought or action to understand what can be addressed to change the situation.

If you are unsure of what might be done, then speaking with a Coach would be a great place to start.  

As mentioned earlier, this is only a brief journey into discovering your values and if you would like to do a deeper level exploration, please go to the show notes and download those two 5 step Values workbooks.

Pitching Value Based Strategies

However, for the purpose of this exercise you are now armed with the necessary knowledge to address the next portion of this Value-based leadership topic and that is to look at the alignment equation – i.e. to compare your personal or career values against those of the company.

Be aware that as you do this comparison, it’s not necessary to have an exact match – in fact this would be most unlikely as we are all individuals with our own independent thoughts and values.

Instead we are looking to see how far we are apart and whether there are any surprising similarities or conflicting values.

Most importantly therefore is whether there is anything which jumps out at you as unexpected or confronting to you. In reality, it’s more likely that the company values will compliment your own.

Understanding this process, enables you to guide your own team through a similar exercise. And whilst helping each individual get more clarity around their values, it also aids you to have a deeper level of connection with your team members, which of course is important if your looking to demonstrate empathy and become the servant leader.

During this team exercise you would also take the opportunity to explore diversity and inclusion with-in the team and company – discussing the benefits each brings to the group as a whole.

Pitching Value Based Strategies

Things such as the celebration;

  • that everyone is unique with their own strengths,
  • that diversity and inclusive teams are more efficient, competitive and innovative whilst being drivers towards a strong value-based company culture.

At the same time highlighting that with diversity comes differences inherent to a diverse mix of people – age gender, race, culture, religious and political beliefs, etc. And therefore there is a need to acknowledge these differences and to remain respectful towards each others’ differences.

And on the other hand leveraging off this diverse and inclusive working environment often leads to innovation and creative ideas which might otherwise be missed.

Current studies with the Millennial generation in particular are highlighting that they expect and look for this awareness and behavior in the company they work for whereas the Gen X and Baby Boomers seem to have a different understanding about the meaning of diversity and inclusion.

Let’s go deeper now on the importance of value-based Leadership in the formation of company culture…

Work culture is an intangible ecosystem that makes some places great to work and other places toxic. No matter how talented and smart you are, you will work to the best of your capabilities and creative skills when you are surrounded by an encouraging environment that values human resource.

Pitching Value Based Strategies

As we have highlighted in previous episodes the Leader influences this culture through their direct actions and from the structure they build for the company.

Here’s 4 outcomes of a Leadership led values-based company culture.

  • 1st – it increases loyalty at your workplace – An organization whose employees have a deep sense of loyalty and ownership towards their workplace is an organization viewed favorably and with a bright future.
  • 2nd it’s a key to retention – Whether the employee feels happy and satisfied in his/her work-space is another crucial determinant.
  • 3rd – it prompts employees to watch each others’ back – For a new employee who enters an organization and watches a culture of cohesion among workers, where all employees help each other, will automatically embody these values in his/her daily life.
  • 4th – it attracts talent – A good work culture not only helps retain organization’s human resource, it also helps attract new talent as word spreads quickly. An employee who loves his/her organization will spread the goodwill and will be instrumental in attracting good human resource to the organization.

And here’s the secret to leading the company towards success through a value-based culture – it starts with Leaders internalizing the guiding structures.

Pitching Value Based Strategies

For example a leader could ;

  • Take external guidelines such as following the procedures for feedback and formally conduct and dutifully record the session, versus the alternative  
  • A leader who implicitly and spontaneously offers genuine empathetic coaching or informal feedback to employees.

In addition, leaders need to ensure that their communications and language in general are clear, understandable and simplified so that everyone can interpret and digest accurately.

  • Remember to leave the door open for unsolicited drop ins and off the cuff questions.
  • Celebrate employee efforts and successes regularly and above all else remain consistent in your approach.

People need and want to feel that their structure is solid and they can rely on it week on week.

Make these actions a reality and reap the benefits of a strong culture organization.

And last but not least, the topic of performance versus values and culture. The simplest response to this query is that you need both.

Pitching Value Based Strategies
  • Leaders that focus purely on performance without values and culture, run the risk of triggering unacceptable behavior!
  • Leaders that focus purely on values and culture without consideration towards performance, jeopardize the company’s economic future!
  • Leaders need to strike a balance between performance, values and culture to create sustainable profitable success.

And so that’s a wrap on this topic “Pitching Value based strategies”. We hope you have enjoyed the exercises and discussion around what is an increasingly important topic, particularly among the younger generations in our workforce.

The final episode of the Basics series…

With that we now turn to the final episode in this Basics series – “Running with your game plan”. If you joined us from the beginning the intro episode and found the challenge of sticking with us as we have moved towards the 10th episode, congratulations.

Even better if you can truly identify with any of our discussions and found them useful, perhaps even feeling compelled to bring some of the suggested actions to reality with-in your business. If so well done!

Pitching Value Based Strategies

We know if you have, that you are among a rare group of people seeking out ways to enhance your skills and become better leaders.

Be sure to stayed with us until the end as we will be offering our listeners a special take-away for episode 10 – a summarized checklist covering all 10 of the topics with a step by step approach to implementing your Leadership game plan.

This is something we have developed especially for our Mastermind participants and whilst they receive deeper insight, this will contain the same information which they receive when attending our F2F session.

So episode 10, looks at of bundling everything we’ve spoken about in a structured, practical way, that you can utilize for a hugely positive impact with your stakeholders and business alike.

We’re extremely excited about the release of this next episode and hope that you will be able to join us.

Until then, keep pushing towards excellence, stay safe and we will see you again soon. Bye for now.

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Excel in the basics: Running with Your Game Plan

Topic 10 from the “Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics” series – Running with your game plan

transcript written by Wayne Brown

We’ve reached the end…

Welcome to this very special, final edition of our “Leadership Basics series”. It’s been a labor of love during these past months where we achieved (more or less) our goal of releasing a new episode every 2 weeks.

As an outcome, this program has now been running for the past 5-6 months with this the eleventh video, podcast and blog.

Please download your free Game Plan blueprint …

A mere drop in the ocean when compared with my own career spans more than 40 years, with more than half of it in a managerial or leadership capacity with multi-national, fortune 500 companies.

In parallel, I’ve started a number of businesses, the first, an electrical contracting business, registered way back in 1983 and then in 1999 I founded my first limited liability company.

And throughout this entire period I’m pleased to say that I’ve never stopped learning, developing my skills and honing my knowledge into tactics.

And a new beginning… (my own Game Plan)

Those that are following this channel or our podcast and blog, will possibly now that in the last 12 month I’ve intensified my studies, with the aim of modernizing my knowledge and skills sets in preparation for our latest venture, the registering of a new company and venture in July this year called “Skills 4 Executives”.

Our purpose is to directly address the needs for elite talent development with-in the elevator-escalator tribe but by ensuring we target specific requirements of the industry not purely generic leadership.

We plan to do this through the aid of our vast global network and an array of acclaimed experts.

Let’s have a quick look at our Skills 4 Executives (S4E) company structure;

Communications via “A Mentors Couch”…

Staring with the communications arm called amentorscouch.com which we launched approx. 9 months ago around the end of Dec 2018.

  • With-in this arm, we will continue to host our Coaches Blog, the podcast show called couchTALK and this video channel called Mentors Rant. And additionally, in the coming months we’ll be commencing a bi-monthly webinar show together with quarterly newsletters.
  • And the big news, we’re targeting by middle of 2020 to release our first eBook. More on that in the period ahead.

Aside from this communications arm, Skills 4 Executives has three core areas of focus.

Coaching via “Coaching 4 Companies” …

At the heart of everything is Coaching. In the future you will find that we launch various services through “coaching4companies.com”, where we work with corporate executives and executive teams primarily from with-in our elevator-escalator global tribe.

  • This is available via face to face or with virtually interactions and offer those being coached exposure to industry and non-industry legends as well as being supported by a huge range of quality techniques, tools and templates.

One executive group to receive special attention are those nominated by their company as “Elite Talents”. These talents are our tribe’s future leaders and require grooming to thrive in this dynamic, converging world.

As such, we are building a unique, industry specific, two Level “Elite Talents Program”. At the programs core is a fully automated, multi layered, computer-based Leadership simulation.

This will test participants ability to steer their way through real life day on day scenarios with the challenge of not only running the business but being successful in growing it in a sustainable and profitable manner.

Facilitation via “Facilitation 4 Companies” …

Supporting this will be a 2-year part time, 12 module blended program which shall be offered through 3 day bi-monthly face to face workshops via “facilitation4companies.com”.

  • Whilst these workshops offer participants the most comprehensive and fully experiential journey through hands on practice, discussions and networking opportunities, we realize that not everyone has the luxury of attending such a demanding program.

Online Self-study via “Education 4 Companies” …

Therefore, we are also preparing a modified version of the program via our online self-education platform called “education4companies.com”.

As mentioned already, scaling globally face to face will be possible through a large and diversified network of experts – all with corporate leadership backgrounds and many coming with a strong emphasis in education and development.

Overall I’m sure you can sense that I’m hugely excited about the venture as it’s one which brings with it the potential to re-shape our industry’s approach to Leadership development.

And now it’s your turn …

running with your game plan

So, there you have my GAME PLAN in a nutshell – Skills 4 Executives Limited. It continues to be a work-in-progress and pleasingly is evolving at pace.

My first goal is simple – “to move one step closer every single day to realizing the release of this industry specific Elite Talents development program”. And the great thing is that once this is goal is achieved, we will be able to fully focus on preparations for our first industry Mastermind in late 2020.

It’s now time to bring together all of the elements to help finalize your arsenal of basic skills, which we’ve covered in the past 10 episodes. And in the process, to create clarity for you so that it’s simple to understand and to apply.

If you can recall all the way back in the very first of those episodes, we outlined our reasoning for putting this series together.

We wanted to ensure that our tribal executives had the basics locked in place as a standard part of their daily practice so that they are able to free their minds and focus on the bigger picture; those changes coming around the corner in the not too distant future.

Our belief is that with-in the next 3-5 years, as a result of the unprecedented technology convergence, our industry along with most other industries will be turned on it’s head.

This will then require flexibility, agility and new skills. But that doesn’t mean total disbandment of our core principles and work ethics, nor do we stop engaging with and satisfying stakeholders, or building strong teams that can address even more complex challenges.

It simply means that these must be locked in as a solid part of your leadership package. And therefore, that you are ready and able to accommodate whatever the new world throws at you.

For the remainder of this episode we will give you a blueprint, to simplify those key learnings which need to be adopted and implemented. So here we go….

Running with Your Game Plan

Our stakeholders …

If you visit our site www.amentorscouch.com and the blog called “Running with your game plan” you will find near the top the Game Plan Blueprint, we’ve compiled for you.

Our suggestion is that you download and print it so that you can follow through and take notes as we help build your game plan together.

Do you recall our 9 stakeholder groups? And how we dissected these between internal and external, as well as those we placed in our inner and outer circle of influence and finally deciding whether they were deemed a supporter or detractor?

Step 1: You will find this as the first activity in the downloaded document. Having this stakeholder information sorted enables you to look at how you want to engage in the future with each major stakeholder – be they an “Influencer” or otherwise.

Please note here that even if you did this exercise some 5-6 months back, we would suggest now is a great time to review and update the results where necessary. It s a dynamic group and requires regular review and reflection.

Broadly speaking we would start with the Inner/Outer Circle as step 1. List all the stakeholders you can identify and then plot them into their respective quadrant – noting your relationship with them and their interest in your operations. 

From here you can ask yourself the question – “Are all Influencers sitting in your inner circle and do you have any real detractors?”

One critical stakeholder – “OUR TEAM” …

Step 2. Based on your assessment, utilise our template and plan out your engagement strategy for all those you consider critical to your success.

Running with Your Game Plan

One of the largest stakeholder groups will be your team and we discussed in video 2 how essential this group are for you and your company’s success.

Therefore, we start now to look at what concrete actions are possible to build and develop your team.

To help you communicate effectively, to show empathy and humility whilst establishing a connection of trust, which becomes empowering.

You’ll see the in the Topic 2 checklist that we outline the broad headings which represent those 7 sub-topics which we detailed during that episode, starting with;

  • the 5 leadership traits which you require and must consistently demonstrate.
  • the workplace environment, talking here about the physical surroundings, rather than anything relational
  • the healthy mind platters 7 areas of focus – working with and enabling your team to embody these in their life & work style.
  • Acknowledging that our workforce, which today spans 4 different generations – from baby boomers, through to Gen Z require interaction and communication with correctly
  • Then understanding the large range of motivational theories which might helpful for you in identifying and to maintain team engagement and empowerment.
  • working with rational & emotional strategies and identifying how to motivate by addressing inner needs through extrinsic and intrinsic means
  • And then finally to the SCARF model, looking at the 5 domains of social experience and ensuring we trigger the positive, reward response, not the negative, threat reaction.

Next, Delegation and Feedback…

Running with Your Game Plan

We now move to the beginning of a major subject which will spans multiple episodes – Delegation and Feedback. Starting with the basics behind the delegation process and establishing of the “WHY, WHAT and HOW”.

In our checklist you will find these questions under Topic 3 – Creative Delegation Techniques. Each is list as a broad headings and under that, the key items which you as the leader need to know and practice.

You may recall we kicked off with the 3 reasons behind the“WHY” question – and we said that;

  • we delegate to ensure we meet stakeholder expectations,
  • to help with team development and growth,
  • as well as to simply allow us enough time to lead.

We then introduced a couple of tools and a series of questions under the “WHAT” portion, which gave us a way of determining the tasks to delegate based on identified priorities and to which members of your team were most suitable in handling the challenge.

Then finally under the “HOW” we bought to the table a series of newer concepts. Ideas centered around what we have learnt from theoretical and practical research, which indicate people want some freedom to work on activities of their own choosing.

Additionally, they also want the see that they are making progress, hence we introduced to Activities of Choice and the weekly team meetings where individuals were able to showcase their project, discuss issues and report progress.  

Then, to establish the rules and objectives…

Running with Your Game Plan

Still under the heading of “How” and related to delegation, we introduced Topic 4 – SMART rules and reward goals.

Here traditional goal setting meets online gaming, where we took our old favorite the SMART goal setting tool and looked at how we could make the process more engaging during the task delegation.

First, we used the tool to set the expectations on both sides, ensuring clarity, together with a few do’s and don’ts to observe.

And we applied these requirements in our weekly progress reporting. But until that point there wasn’t really that much new, and we weren’t so confident that with these few steps would engage with all 4 generations.

So, we wanted to shake it up a little and see whether we could learn something from the online gaming world.

We discovered that game designers essentially work on three core elements when building their products

  • games must be goal driven,
  • challenge intense and
  • offer immediate feedback

All whilst providing a rich experience through-out their time online.

Gamers are motivated to achieve their goals by being rewarded or penalized along the way, based on their own skill and performance – the potential carrot and stick is there in the background, but it’s much more intrinsic, driven by a personal desire to do well and to receive instant gratification and feedback.

Hence, we reviewed our SMART process to ensure we captured the traditional 5 elements for clarity, but modernized our approach with our weekly meetings, ensuring transparent progress reviews, team collaboration and immediate gratification or feedback.

It was a win-win formula which bodes well with all in our workforce.

Running with Your Game Plan

The learnings didn’t stop there however, and although any leader that has applied the lessons from topics 1 – 4 will be far ahead of the pack, we wanted to ensure that these wins became the norm and were locked into our workplace practices.

You will notice how we enable you to work through & capture this practice via the checklist.

Therefore, during Topics 5 & 6, we turned our focus to different Feedback Strategies, commencing with an understanding of what happens in people’s heads when they are given feedback – be it from colleagues, their boss or even friends and family.

The amygdala hijacking triggers that threat or reward response as studied in Topic 2.

In an effort to help us manage the whole feedback topic more effectively, we provided a 4-step strategy as a guide for Leaders. This strategy commenced with;

  • the need to educate everyone involved on the value in seeking feedback and learning how to effectively receive feedback. And we explored multiple ways that we might do so.
  • Then we moved into the considerations and actions required during the preparation and planning of your feedback sessions

With both of these steps in place, it was time to dive into two types of feedback, which we again supported with some simple tools to make your life a little easier.

Our first feedback approach was the informal version. The type of thing you might expect walking down the corridor or when you see your boss whilst getting a coffee.

Remembering always, that offering guidance on improvement is critical; without it, the person will be uncertain as to how to avoid the same or similar issues in the future.

To assist we intro’d a tool called FAST which stands for Frequent, Actionable, Specific and Timely.

And finally, to the more formal feedback – the F2F sessions, where we ensure we have privacy and a number of other pre-requisites in place from the outset.

During this portion of the episode we reviewed briefly (3) three different feedback tools and suggested the two most common today are which are called BOOST and SBI.

Running with Your Game Plan

One area which has become quite controversial and somewhat dated was the annual performance review.

So, we decided to bring the entire process into the 21 century with the use of technology and a continuation of our earlier journey with regular weekly or bi-weekly reviews and feedback.

Adopting Achievement Reviews as a replacement to those dreaded Performance improvement discussions.

We looked at what current technology offered and how leading companies where starting to utilize these tools.

But we also wanted to ensure that there was some research supporting the switch and that this was not purely a gut feeling we had but that it was right direction.

And we found ample evidence that supported our direction.

Starting with our motivational theories and David McClelland’s Acquired Needs Theory and his Iceberg Model, then further through Intrinsic Motivators and with the SCARF theory.

All supported us on our quest.

And further, when we were able to couple these theories with many research papers from leading University professors and noticed that fortune 500 companies were beginning to shift in a similar direction, our confidence and belief that we were heading in the right direction skyrocketed.

To ensure we left no one behind in our transition however, we decided to offer an interim step in shifting from performance to achievement reviews – this was the humble 360 degree report which offers a buffer between the sole opinion of the immediate boss, by including feedback from colleagues, customers, suppliers, your team as well as your boss.

A nice deflection indeed and made even more attractive today due to the price decrease possible as a result of technology advances.

At the end of the day, this is a great extension along our journey – if you had applied the earlier strategies we spoke of, then the results of each employee’s successful projects will be known already to the other team members.

Therefore, these results can be made visible to the entire team, thus creating a form of competition, but also offering the opportunity for continued immediate gratitude and feedback from all.

Running with Your Game Plan

Now onto Topic 7, where it’s time to shift gear slightly, and start by assuming that “Utopia” in business seldom exists and that from time to time we are bound to find ourselves challenged with problems, be they related to people or to systems and processes.

We as managers and leaders need to be effective in working towards and identifying solutions. Enter this topic and the bundle of new skills it introduces for us.

We commenced by analysing our conflict management awareness and determining which of the 5 default styles we adopt when confronted with conflict.

You will see in the checklist the 5 styles and a link to the questionnaire which will help you make your own and or a team members assessment.

We also explored the typical reaction we can expect from our team when they are questioned about an issue or situation. Both are very useful for your preparations as well as deepening your leadership self-awareness.

But then, we move broader and deeper and ask “but what if the problem is larger and involving more than one person – what then”?

This is where we introduced you to various problem-solving techniques and tools.

Again, you will see these under Topic 7 of your Game Plan checklist.

And finally, we said that whilst few leaders today are well equipped with these skills and knowledge, we want you to have even more options in your tool kit and therefore introduced the concepts of incorporating Creative and Critical Thinking into the Problem-solving mix.

The outcome is a truly dynamic process which will help you nail 99% of the issues you encounter in your career.

Then the icing on the cake – looking at how to take some of those creative juices and apply with the problem solving equation by including group dynamics, diversity and visualization to map out the end to end process and identify gaps which enable you to strengthen the overall process design – a magic, modern day twist to the solution formula.

Running with Your Game Plan

By reaching Topic 8, we know that the skills shared so far will have placed you in great shape as a Leader among leaders, and someone that your team will follow, whilst other stakeholders are happy to collaborate with.

The final 2 topics are to further consolidate those abilities and prepare you for the advanced series which will follow soon after the conclusion of this basic series.

So, in this topic 8 we begin speaking about Change and why as a Leader you need to first understand yourself, that change is an essential component of everything in our lives – since birth through to now and beyond until you pass to the other side. And this reality is no different with-in your career and for your company.

As Steven Covey was famous for stating “The only Constant is Change”.

So in our Game Plan checklist, we help to visualize this reality and offer guidance on the typical psychological impact we all have as a consequence of any change.

Understanding this provides you the opportunity to see when a member of your team is stuck and needs support as they transition along the curve from denial and anger to acceptance and adoption.

But again this knowledge is not sufficient, we also wanted to provide you the tools, which you can utilise and make your own, when your career requires that you do so – if you haven’t already been involved in a change initiative, then it’s probably only a matter of time before this is thrust upon you. – remember “the only constant in life…”.

Armed with this knowledge and tools you have your starter kit in place and ready to test the waters.

One foundational skill set which you must possess for success with Change is the ability to communicate. We offered you an insight on how to structure your communications here, but unless you are already a natural story-teller, then this is one area where you are going to require further information and coaching.

Running with Your Game Plan

Finding the balance between values and performance…

In Topic 2 we began by providing 5 leadership traits which you must process – Trust, Listen, Accept, Share and Enable. Whilst these are 5 essentials, they are not the only hallmarks of a strong leader.

We mentioned your ability to communication just a moment ago, so I won’t list it again here, but in addition, a leader that functions with and consistently demonstrates humility, empathy, self-awareness and operates from a values base of ethics, integrity and compassion, will thrive with all generations of the workforce today.

And so, it was a logical inclusion as the final basic skill that we speak about the Values-based leader. This is someone that understands the benefits of having a diverse team and seeks opportunities for inclusion of that diversity in decision making.

But it’s also a leader that understands that a pure, values–based approach, may not foster the company culture it desires. That a pure, values-based leader may lack the drive to perform and grow.

In this regard the Leader needs to seek the perfect blend between values and performance as one with-out the other is seldom sustainable.

Finding that right balance tends to result in a company whose culture is based on fairness and compassion but also shares the desire to be successful and drives together towards profitable outcomes.

The final review topic in our checklist therefore incorporates those key considerations and sets the target for finding that harmonious blend.

Running with Your Game Plan

And so, to this last Topic 10 – Running with your Game Plan…

Until now we have summarized this Basics series with you, where we hope that you have made additional notes and highlighted lessons which you and your team might still benefit further from.

It’s now your turn to outline your blueprint for taking your team and your own performance from “Good to Great” and beyond – to borrow from Jim Collins and his best selling book.

What are the core changes which you will make next week, to drive improvements, be it with any of the 9 stakeholder groups, but most importantly with the team and yourself?

Our journey led us from Stakeholder engagement to Team Motivation and Delegation, Feedback, through Problem Solving and Change Management to leading with Values.

  • It’s a truly powerful set of core basic skills, which can only help to serve and better your career as a Leader.

As we have mentioned through-out this Basics series our plan is to now dive deeper into more advanced discussions – many of which are dear to my heart and which our brand-new company Skills 4 Executives, will be focused on providing for this industry.

I hope that you have enjoyed this series and if so, please subscribe below if you haven’t already. We really look forward to you joining us as we launch into the Leaders Advance series. 

Stay safe, perform strongly and grow daily. Bye for now.

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