Topic 4 from the “Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics” series
transcript written by Wayne Brown
Here we are at topic 4 already – the title is “SMART rules and reward goals”…
In this 3 pack episode (meaning this blog, plus the original video and the podcast), we talk about an old favorite of many – the SMART goal setting tool. Still, we incorporate a more modern flavor, leveraging off the gaming world and what has made this phenomenon so popular with the millennials and iGen groups.
And remember that we are using this approach in the context of delegation – i.e., how to get buy-in and positive, sustainable action towards the achievement of those delegated tasks or projects.
There is much debate today about whether the SMART approach to setting goals still works with our younger generations.
So during this episode, we’ll explore that concept a little deeper and identify how we can utilize the SMART structure while modernizing the method to still be useful in today’s business.
Let’s start with a review of our target…
The aim here is to delegate our Priority 3 and 2 tasks to a motivated, capable and engaged team in a way where the effort is sustainable – every leader’s dream, right?
If you have been with us since the beginning of this series, you should be starting to realize that there isn’t one single, fast cure-all in this equation.
Rather it’s a combination of carefully coupled actions (i.e., basic leadership skills) that enables the leader to excel. And a large portion of that success revolves around your team’s performance.
So in topic 2, “Motivating your future team,” we spent time exploring7 key triggers for motivating each individual.
In topic 3, Creative Delegation Techniques, we took one step further and spoke about assessing each task’s complexity and the teams’ skills before deciding which tasks were best suited for which team member.
We wish to take this journey one step further by establishing the requirements for each and every delegated activity.
Typically this is where we introduce our SMART acronym, and we still do, but understand that it’s just the starting point.
So let’s move onto this traditional tool and take a closer look at the pros and cons.
SMART is made up of 5 words…
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound – although in peak performance, we talk about the need to stretch and challenge the individual. Therefore, we prefer to use the wordAmbitious instead of attainable. In itself, SMART forms a great guide to work through with employees as you assign their tasks..
Note, however, that we need clear determinability(meaning we must identify if the “objective is achieved or not achieved”). This is really of central importance.
There must be a criterion that allows everyone involved to clearly and unmistakably make that determination.
Remember, throughout this process, the secret lies in communicating your expectations concisely and allowing the team member to speak and express their thoughts. ” Based on the employee’s personal behavior motivators and skills, you would also include discussing the level of support and review that should take place throughout the activity.
At this moment the leader should…
Take the time to make clear that some additional rules apply as well as those just mentioned above;
If the achievement of the objective is endangered, the employee must provide early timely feedback to the leader.
The agreed objectives are documented.
The leader helps the employee to help themselves.
If you remember our earlier discussions, you will recall that we said all 4 of today’s working generationsappreciate communications, clarity, and feedback, so no real issue so far. If this part is done correctly, it should be a positive and exciting experience for everyone involved.
However, the outcome is still somewhat predictable.
Now we want you to cast your mind back to Topic 3…
Yes, we introduced delegation, but in particular, something a little extra – the weekly meeting to discuss your project and progress.
This was an important step as recent studies have confirmed that the psychological effect of “making progress” is critical to sustained motivation. It encourages even higher levels of effort and opens the window to innovation.
When coupled with the team or peer collaboration, you have the chance of unlocking epic and creative performance improvement. A simple yet effective trigger is to ensure we are showcasing the various projects and discussing each person’s progress while obtaining support and feedback from the team.
So why do we bring this up now? Simply because you have the opportunity right here and now at this stage of setting the goals, setting the rules, and setting the periods for feedback, to tap into this powerful realization – your ability to design the work to be inherently motivating
You have the foundations laid. They are solid, based on everything we have covered to date. Now it’s time to look at your progress and development of SMART rules and reward goals.
Ask yourself if you have created that environment that enables and sustains great work. Have we bridged the gap between the old ways and the future needs? The gap which academics refer to as Constructive Discontent.
Have we enabled the employee to do their work and therefore make the all-important progress? Have we designed the work to be inherently motivating?
To explore this, we will examine closely the way that game designers are thinking. How have they attracted an estimated 2.35 billion online video gamers worldwide collaborating by choice with each other?
It’s worth noting here that more than half of those are based in the Asia Pacific. In business, we know that today the rules of engagement and buy-in of our employees have changed. Therefore, we will explore what makes this gaming revolution so attractive to the millennial and iGen workforce.
How can we learn from and tap into this phenomenon to make our workplace activities equally enticing across all 4 generations?
Essentially game designers work on three elements – goal-driven, challenge intense, immediate feedback, all to provide a rich experience.
Sounds somehow familiar, right – so are we really that far from a solution. The great realization is that we are very well positioned for this next quantum leap if we have already acted on the previous steps from topics 1, 2 & 3.
The gamer’s rewards are inherent from their success, based on their own skill and performance – the potential carrot and stick are there. Still, it’s much more intrinsic in the background, driven by a personal desire to do well and receive instant gratification and feedback based on ability and performance.
By contrast, many employees have no idea how their performance is seen until the annual performance review.
Did the light bulb just come on – do you now see the connection between the weekly progress and team collaboration meetings?
So let’s summarize what we have introduced in this topic 4 episode…
You must already action the learnings from Topics 1, 2 & 3. These form the basis for building a strong and successful team and turning your leadership from good to great.
We now add to that repertoire by establishing the task framework, expectations, and ground rules – using the traditional tool called SMART – ensuring that the targets are a stretch and challenge. This is an opportunity for you to sit with each of your team and discuss the project in detail, identifying support and resource requirements.
AND then, the extra element – we introduce as part of this planning an agreement to participate in weekly meetings to “establish that clear sense of progress.” This is done in collaboration with the team as each project is reviewed – for anyone familiar with the project management technique called Agile, you will see similarities here with sprints and regular update meetings
And you probably expect it by now; there are secrets to how we need to offer this feedback. For gamers, it’s very black and white. Succeed and win, fail you lose!
Do we or should we take a similar harsh approach with our employees and their projects when they aren’t going so well – typically not! In fact, that goes against what we have already introduced. Instead, we offer feedback that doesn’t become stuck on the problem and reasons why not by turning our attention to what needs to be done to get the project back on track and completed.
More on this in our next topic, “Feedback strategies,” where we look forward to having you join us again for this vital and final step in establishing a high-performance team through genuine leadership.
These are basics skills but are coupled with the latest best practice learnings and studies in neuroscience. If you can put them in place, then you will truly separate yourself from the pack.
Remember to subscribe if you haven’t already and ;
Watch this video on our YouTube channel Mentors Rant
Welcome to topic 5 – Feedback Strategies. Upon completing this episode, you will have already reached the halfway point in our 10 topic Basics series. It’s great progress, and hopefully, by now, you are starting to see some positive results with your team’s performance and the business improvement itself.
Armed with all of the preparation steps covered during the first 4 topics, we’re now ready to launch into feedback – this can be the difficult part of the whole process and has the potential to unravel all of our hard work. Still, it can and should be highly rewarding and fruitful for both employee and you as the leader with the right planning and consideration.
As you may recall from topic 4, we have already identified that our online video gamers thrive when there is an appropriate level of challenge. They can see progress and constantly receive feedback.
This opens the door for you with all 4 workforce generations who are open and even seeking feedback, provided you learn how to deliver it correctly. So let’s get started.
Based on the advances being made in understanding the human mind through neuroscience studies, we are beginning to realize a need to re-think our traditional ways with one of the most important areas of Leadership – Feedback. Therefore, from the outset, we are going to flip this feedback topic on its head.
Numerous studies now point us in the direction of ensuring the first feedback engagement is for leaders and their teams to understand the importance of “soliciting feedback,” and that must be a pre-cursor to the leader providing employee feedback. The research suggests that there are various advantages for the employee who solicits constructive feedback – aside from these studies showing that employees tend to be more successful overall, they are also perceived by their leaders and colleagues as more approachable with a willingness to improve.
An interesting question that might arise if you’re your employee is, “Why do we need to receive feedback at all ?”
Well, the answer is that it plays a valuable role in multiple ways,
from improving self-awareness
encouraging people to want to learn
improving individual performance.
So let’s continue by digging a little deeper into the science of what happens in our brain when we receive feedback – good or bad.
Do you recall our SCARF model discussions from Topic 2 and the threat or reward reaction based on how our brains perceive the situation? The same amygdala reaction is at play here. Positive feedback is seen as a reward, while negative feedback (which we refer to as Constructive feedback) is seen as a threat.
Hence the importance of every employee to understand the feedback process and approach so that they can have an opportunity to prepare their mind ahead of the feedback.
In particular, receiving constructive feedback can be emotionally draining when taken as a personal attack. It’s hard for us to feel like we’re wrong, and it’s even harder for us to receive criticism from others. According to the studies, our brains look to protect us when we hear information that conflicts with our self-image, and our instinct is to first change the data rather than ourselves. Another unique thing about criticism is that we often don’t remember it accurately, although we seldom forget receiving it.
Professor Clifford Nass from Stanford University says that “almost everyone remembers negative things more strongly and in more detail.”
It’s called a “negativity bias.” Our brains have evolved separate, more sensitive circuits to handle negative information and events, and they process the bad stuff more thoroughly than positive things. That means receiving criticism will always have a greater, longer-term impact than receiving praise.
Hopefully, from this short intro, you can see the value of first studying our hard-wired reactions & how to cope with them.
Now to look at the way to solicit feedback as a leader, which is invaluable as we can gain powerful insights from our employees. While it might seem awkward to turn the tables, asking your team members to offer feedback on your performance as a leader can help you strengthen that performance and build a stronger bond with your team.
A couple of ways to approach this in the first instance without making anyone feel uncomfortable is to ask:
“How can I make your job easier?” or
“What type of support could I offer to help you perform your job better.”
One underlying consideration to receive genuine feedback is that trust must exist between the leader and their team.
To support that trust, here are 5 tips for ways in which to respond when receiving that feedback;
1. Be open.
2. Don’t take it personally.
3. Don’t argue.
4. Consider it a skill and practice it.
5. Thank the person who delivered it.
Talking one-on-one with your employees is a great way to collect employee feedback on engagement and satisfaction. However, there are multiple other ways to obtain this feedback. Consider the following additional methods to ensure variety and depth.
In todays’ technology-driven environment establishing a means for employees to leave anonymous comments or suggestions is common practice.
The use of larger employee surveys can be expensive but highly insightful.
One effective team tool which we use regularly is the “Johari Window” approach – it offers a great way to deepen the trust and obtain feedback. We’ll provide a link for this in our notes.
Right, so we have taken that important first step and educated everyone on why and how to receive feedback. It’s now time to look at delivering feedback.
According to a Gallup report, meaningful employee feedback increases employee engagement, and they would even prefer to receive negative feedback instead of no feedback at all.
It found that an employee who is ignored by a manager is twice as likely to be actively disengaged at work than an employee whose manager focuses on their weaknesses.
Feedback can motivate individuals and teams;
facilitate the resolution to a specific challenge;
open lines of communication;
foster employees’ professional development;
and increase employee engagement.
How you provide feedback to employees has a tremendous impact on its effect.
These strategies can help you deliver feedback that is both powerful and productive. For the remainder of this discussion, we’ll look at 4 key areas – Our preparation, Informal feedback, Formal feedback, and feedback techniques.
A favorite and famous quote from ULCA head coach John Wooden is “Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail” and provides a great opening reminder for us here about the importance of this preparation step.
Doing anything well requires effort and thought.
Consider the feedback culture of the organization,
consider the background leading to this feedback,
will it be perceived as a reward or threat discussion,
what is the best location based on whether it is going to be formal or informal?
If formal, what is the best time of day for scheduling it
– what does it relate to
– is the feedback on an individual task, team project, or broader performance review.
Depending on the situation, there are likely numerous other considerations.
Remember that great, constructive feedback requires preparation on your part. You can’t just offer someone feedback as you’re running to another meeting.
The recipient is bound to have questions for you or, at the very least, a response. Perhaps they will react defensively or want to truly understand the situation, in which case a few brief sentences or words are not going to be enough.
So consider whether you have planned the entire process and thought through the likely responses, together with how you will reply.
Here are some additional considerations regardless of formal or informal feedback…
Is the leader credible in the eyes of the recipient?
Is the leader trusted by the recipient?
Is the feedback conveyed with good intentions?
Is your feedback fair, accurate, and directly applicable to the employee’s tasks?
Do your comments focus on single behaviors that direct the employee’s attention to a few specific and important improvements?
Were any of the current development areas discussed previously?
And finally, before starting several mistakes which you should avoid…
Talking too much and not allowing time for the recipient to respond
Failing to listen to the recipient’s feedback
Providing the solution without input from the recipient
Not connecting follow-up plans to review the progress.
The key takeaway to remember is that feedback is a two-way conversation – the better you are prepared, the easier it will be to relax, listen and seek a joint solution.
Strategy # 3: Informal Feedback Opportunities…
As a manager, ongoing informal feedback can help you recognize an employee’s accomplishments or improve performance in real-time.
Informal feedback that is sincere, fair, and accurate can considerably impact performance, with one study suggesting 39% improvement.
Feedback can be positive or constructive: Give positive feedback to recognize and reinforce actions or behaviors you value and want to continue.
While we provide constructive feedback to identify actions or behaviors that weren’t effective and offer alternatives or suggestions for improvement for the next time the situation arises.
Understand that offering guidance on improvement is critical; without it, the person will be uncertain about avoiding the same or similar issues in the future.
Here’s a simple 4 letter acronym to help you remember the basics of informal feedback – It’s called FAST, which stands for Frequent, Actionable, Specific, and Timely.
I’m always reminded of the methods outlined in the book The One Minute Manager written by Ken Blanchard and Spence Johnson when we speak about informal feedback.
If you don’t know it, we will include the link in our show notes.
Strategy # 4: Formal Feedback Opportunities…
We now move onto formal feedback and note that this will exclude discussion on the annual performance review, as we cover that issue during the next video. For now, we will turn our focus to the formal settings related to face 2 face progress or completion reviews for assigned tasks.
Ensuring that you have a private location where both parties can feel relaxed and not on display is a must, and it’s also preferable to be in a neutral environment is possible.
Remember that even constructive feedback can promote growth in individuals and relationships if handled appropriately, so here’s a few behaviors to keep in mind.
Enter a situation with the desire for dialogue, be discreet, show empathy, and use active listening skills.
Understand why you are offering criticism. (Is it appropriate/constructive?)
Engage in perspective-taking or role reversal.
Offer criticism of the person’s behavior, not the person.
Focus on a particular situation rather than a general or abstract behavior
Direct your criticism to the present rather than the past
Avoid “critical overload.”
Focus criticism on behaviors that the other person can change.
And now, to wrap up this topic with a brief look at several feedback models which help provide structure for the leader during the conversation with employees.
These are not the only models available but are some of the more common. Whichever you choose to utilize, remember to be clear about the feedback and how you will introduce it, be clear about the outcome you want and changes required. Also, allow the employee time to respond, so ask for their input and practice your active listening techniques.
We start with the sandwich model, which has lost popularity in more recent years mainly because the assumption is that employees today expect constructive feedback and feel that wrapping it between praise cheapens the process.
Whether this is correct or not, we have decided to at least present the method here for your awareness, and if you feel inclined, try it out and judge for yourself.
Essentially wrap any criticism between open and closing praise.
The next model is called BOOST, an acronym standing for Balanced, Observed, Objective, Specific and Timely. The first word BALANCED relates to ensuring that you provide genuine examples of successful behavior coupled with positive praise before offering feedback related to issues or criticizing. The tool seems to work quite well and provides a simple, clear structure for the leader to follow.
The final model and perhaps most used today is called SBI – meaning Situation, Behavior, Impact and contains many similarities to BOOST. We are providing links to all three models for further exploration as you desire.
That brings us to the end of our topic 5 videos covering the basic but critical discussion on successful approaches towards feedback.
Armed with this new knowledge, there’s never been a better time to find one of your team and put the learnings into practice. As they say – Practice makes perfect. However, because this is such a crucial area for you to develop as a leader, we’ve decided to make the next topic in the series a follow-on to this one.
So next up… Topic 6 is Achievement reviews. In this episode, we continue with our feedback discussion, looking at how technology is now providing everyone with the opportunity for instant feedback in some companies. Also, we disrupt the annual performance review process with another twist in our approach by turning the focus towards the successes rather than the failures.
I’m very much looking forward to chatting with you again in a couple of weeks. Don’t forget to leave a comment below and hit the subscribe button to receive automatic notification each time we release a new topic.
Hello again, and welcome to our series called Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics – and you’ve already reached topic 3 – Creative Delegation Techniques.
We now have 2 big topics behind us “Understanding your place in the team and Motivating your future team. But I’m very happy to say that we are still just getting started, and today’s discussion is equally important and challenging…
In this 3 pack – video, podcast, and associated blog, we’re going to break down our delegation process under 3 broad questions – WHY delegate, WHAT to delegate and HOW to delegate.
With the first question, “WHY delegate,” – we’ll identify that there can be multiple reasons but explore 3 which are key;
The first is to enable us to address stakeholders’ expectations. As discussed in Topic 1, we have numerous Stakeholders with far too many expectations, which we almost certainly, don’t have the capacity or perhaps even the necessary skills to cope with.
Secondly, we have potentially 4 generations and considerable diversity in our workforce today whom we need to motivate and cultivate.
We spoke about the need and ways of motivating from a neuro-science perspective in Topic 2. We also realize that many of our team are experts in their field and capable of working under pressure and coming up with practical new ideas, leading to positive outcomes.
And finally, we simply need time to give adequate attention to doing our job as a leader. To work on those critical tasks such as strategic planning, growth, managing the business, reporting, and team/s, to name just a few areas.
Suppose you recall the conversation about work-life balance from Topic 1. In that case, you will remember that we need to find a long-term solution to managing our workload rather than coping with everything as this isn’t sustainable.
When adopting the wrong approach, we eventually give inadequate focus, time, and effort to all 3 mentioned areas and thereby fail to reach a successful result more often than not.
So, this covers our question on “WHY delegate.” Next, we turn our attention to the question of “WHAT to delegate.”
This second question starts with the realization that we can’t and shouldn’t delegate everything just for the sake of it.
Hence, before delegating we need to make a conscious decision about:
the skill and willingness of the employee to take on the task,
the complexity and urgency of the task,
the amount of support we will need or be willing to provide,
there’s even the need to avoid delegating some tasks,
So, the leader really must be aware of and consider these questions fully from the outset.
And to assist us with this we introduce two models which come with simple tools as support.
And to assist us with this, we introduce two models which come with simple tools as support.
The first is from the 34th American president. A gift to business called the Eisenhower matrix, and the second is the skill/will matrix from Blanchard and Hersey.
Before moving onto these areas or tools, we need to first explore a little on the reasons behind some managers’ reluctance to delegate.
A number of these reasons may sound trivial, or perhaps a few will even sound familiar, but most are common among managers.
Here are 10 limiting statements which we have heard and even seen being played out by various managers – you notice we don’t use the term Leader in this discussion.
Aside from the fact that we should already be clear that you don’t have sufficient time to do everything – and even in the situation where you work long hours, we know that it’s not sustainable.
And in all instances, there are actions you can take to alleviate your concerns.
As usual, you will find links throughout our blog to additional material, which will help deepen your learnings where needed.
However, if you still need more convincing, please refer back to the beginning of this topic and review 3 key reasons WHY we delegate.
With that clarity, let’s examine the Eisenhower matrix – we use it to help us group our tasks before selecting which ones to delegate.
Typically, we agree that Quadrant 1 tasks are for the leader or manager to handle due to the urgency and importance.
These pressing tasks often preclude you from having an employee do it UNLESS the employee is already an expert in this area.
However, it may be a good idea with non-confidential or sensitive tasks to have a team member work on the job with you as a means of developing their skills for the longer term.
From the Eisenhower matrix and your groupings, the best area to select tasks for delegation comes out of Quadrant 3. Besides, it will also be useful to choose from Quadrant 2 for specific items.
If you’re unsure how to use this tool, check out the link provided here to a great site, which steps you through the process.
And we’ll outline under the final category in this topic, “How to delegate” – what to do with this list and how to distribute the chosen tasks among your team.
Please be aware that there are sometimes where we agree that it’s not appropriate to delegate. The following tasks are examples where we would normally not delegate and are typically leadership and management tasks:
• Employee evaluation meetings
• Strategic planning
• Team development
• Final decisions
• Personnel selection
• Tasks that have been delegated to you explicitly
Not surprisingly, you will find most of these tasks in Quadrant 1 or perhaps Quadrant 2. And of course, as mentioned before, it does not mean that you can’t include some of your employees here to assist you and learn from you in the process for future support.
A manager needs to consider one further critical question: the level of support, focus, or control that the task and a team member would require.
For the task, we should consider the;
complexity, urgency, and consequences if it is delayed or not completed correctly.
And for the employee, we need to consider their qualification for the task and motivation to accept the assignment.
We’ll now introduce our second model to help us address some of these concerns.
Starting with the model called the Skill / Will matrix.
The matrix can be used to assess your employee’s skill and willingness to perform a specific task or project.
Based on that assessment, you can choose how to best manage the employee towards success. Note that an employee is seldom in one quadrant all the time but is likely to fall into one or more quadrants depending on the task.
Some of the supporting questions you might ask in parallel with your assessment are;
Does the employee have the necessary time and resources available?
Does the employee have the essential professional qualifications to be able to successfully accomplish the task?
Does the employee have the required overarching competencies?
Would this task entail an increase in the capability and personal development of the employee?
Does the job to be delegated accord with the employee’s motivation?
How will the team / other departments react if the employee takes on the task?
Will it be seen as fair if the employee is awarded this task?
We’ve reached the final category, “HOW to delegate,” and until now, we have given you a lot of material, but not really anything new or creative. So that’s about to change!
Let’s first do a pulse check to ensure you’re clear about the tasks you have selected for delegation – if not, these should be sitting in the Eisenhower matrix you prepared.
Also, you have considered the level of support, focus, and control needed for each task, plus determined with the aid of the skill/will matrix and your earlier work using the SCARF model which employees to delegate to which task.
If you are good with all of these, we’re now ready to go back to your Eisenhower model. Next to the quadrants, if you have not already done so, make a list of all your employees. Beside each of their names and at the top of any delegated tasks, write the words “Activity of Choice – TBC.”
For the next step – send your team a group communication and invite them to join a meeting – at a date and time of your choosing, provided it’s not too far off.
As part of the communication, you explain that this meeting will become a regular weekly or bi-weekly event. For the first meeting, each person should prepare at least one work-related activity they would be really passionate about and love to work on – they have the freedom to decide what it is. Still, they need to introduce the topic at the meeting, and it will be voted on and agreed upon by the group.
To open the meeting, you introduce the concept and purpose of this and future meetings. You advise that each team member will be allowed to develop their skills through various tasks or projects that you will be assigned to them. Also, they have their “Activity of Choice” – provided it makes the cut.
Moving forward at these future meetings, each team member will discuss the projects they are working on, the current status, and the next actions.
By doing this, everyone in the team becomes aware of each-others work and will be required to discuss or contribute ideas to those projects.
Once each new “Activity of choice” is agreed on by the group, the project leader will have the time and resources allocated (after final approval with you, of course).
During that first meeting, you will ask each person to write their desired activity on the whiteboard and briefly introduce it to the group.
As a group, you discuss the idea, the likely resources, and the time allocation needed? What value might it bring to the group and the business overall? If any other group member has a similar interest and would prefer to forgo their project to work on one of the others, they can do so.
By the end of this first meeting, there should be a decision about who is working on what activity or project.
Following this meeting, you meet with each person to detail the activities/projects / or tasks, and we’ll cover that process in our next topic – “SMART rules and reward goals.”
For all future meetings, one final step – at the beginning of each meeting and before moving into the activity reviews, you have a compulsory “check-in” session where all team members share stories about what they did during the last weekend?
This takes the degree of team connectedness to the next level and softens the relationships from being “all business, all the time.”
Do you recall our 3 whys for delegating – sharing the workload to satisfy your stakeholders, providing opportunities for team development and growth, plus freeing you up to focus on the tasks you need to do as a leader!
In addition to achieving these goals, can you envisage the power of what you have unlocked through this final step in the process?
By allowing each generation to work on something they are passionate about, rather than only working on those activities delegated to them, you empower your people and create a sense of contribution, perhaps even unlocking untapped potential.
By keeping the activities visible to the whole group, you ensure transparency, accountability, and engagement, even a sharing of learnings. This, in turn, should minimize conflict or, at worst, bring issues to the surface quickly so they can be openly discussed and resolved.
So, who would have thought that this simple act of delegation could bring so many real team benefits?
Well, we’re making great progress. Hopefully, as we conclude each topic, you find an opportunity to practice what has been discussed.
You should already start to see some fairly dramatic changes in your teams’ engagement and performance if you have been.
Our next video introduces us to the Virtual Gaming world as we tap into the secrets behind its popularity and apply this to our more traditional approach of managing by objectives.
The title is “SMART rules and reward goals” – as always, we are looking forward to having you join us. Bye for now.
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.
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
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
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.
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 ineach 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
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.
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.
Things such as the celebration;
that everyone is unique with their own
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
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.
As we have highlighted in previous episodes the Leader influences this
culture through their direct actions and from the structure they build for the
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
How do leaders excel in the basics – Intro to this 10 video “Excel in the Basics” series… (video transcript) written by Wayne Brown Hello and welcome to our latest program. This time we’re launching a new video series, focusing on the coming changes through technology and the need for …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
And now it’s your turn …
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.
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.
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….
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 circleof 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
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.
we start now to look at what concrete actions are possible to build and develop
To help you communicate effectively, to show empathy and humilitywhilst 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…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
One area which has become quite controversial and somewhat dated was the annual performance review.
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.
looked at what current technology offered and how leading companies where
starting to utilize these tools.
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.
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.
nice deflection indeed and made even more attractive today due to the price
decrease possible as a result of technology advances.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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…”.
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.
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-awarenessand 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
But it’s also a leader that understands that a pure,
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.
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.
review topic in our checklist therefore incorporates those key considerations
and sets the target for finding that harmonious blend.
And so, to this last Topic 10 – Running with your Game Plan…
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.
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
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.
perform strongly and grow daily. Bye for now.
The first epidsode in a trilogy focusing on Leadership Facilitation
transcript by Wayne Brown
Welcome to this trilogy focused on Facilitation – the title of the series is Highly effective facilitation for every leader and in this episode Part 1 – Preparation leaders need to achieve success, we focus on 5 key prep-steps.
As the previous couchTALK introduction episode mentions, the aim of this show is to bring learning opportunities to executives of our tribe, through the experiences and insights of the collective tribe members themselves. Like-minded individuals that are networked globally and offering up their experience and knowledge through discussions and interviews for the betterment of our industry.
We also ask our colleagues from outside the industry – those that are members of a different tribe but which heavily influence our own – these architects, consultants, developers, property owners and managers, even the end user who all share in-valuable insights about what they see as our challenges and opportunities, even requirements.
In this VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world we face today, we all need whatever assistance we can obtain. So in addition to the above, I will act as your host and Coach, providing those more formal learnings moments.
We kick start this trilogy on Facilitation under “Highly effective facilitation for every leader and this episode as Part 1 – Preparation leaders need to achieve success”. Why commence with facilitation – well as John Naisbitt says;
“Our new Leaders need to be facilitators, not order givers”.
Establishing your pre-event checklist – how many of you recreate the wheel every time you come to the task of facilitating?
Sure, over time your level of comfort may increase and certain routines are established, but I’m guess most of you won’t be facilitating regularly, right? Perhaps you’re still in the early stages of grounding yourself as a new or young leader and therefore the last thing you need to burden yourself with is any added pressure.
Trying to understand those key steps which we need to follow, does nothing to calm the nerves or enable you to facilitate effectively. Hence, during part 1 of this podcast we’ll run through 5 key prep-steps, which we’re quietly confident will provide you the essentials to nail this critical stage. We a sneak peek at the titles of those 5 steps;
step #1:Know your audience
step #2:Know your event and agenda
step #3:Create the venue environment
Prep step #4: Prepare your tools & questions
Prep step #5: Prepare your mind & your agility
And just to be sure, we’ll be providing you
with a copy of this “Pre-event checklist
for facilitators”, which you can download and save for use whenever a
facilitation opportunity comes your way. Who knows – rather than dread this
process, perhaps you will even start to feel so confident that you will seek
out opportunities to practice and showcase your talents. We’re hoping so anyway
and are ready to support you on that journey.