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Collaberation High Performing Teams Personal development

What great habits have you adopted working from home?

The last few years of working from home has been the most challenging for business. However not all of it has been bad or challenging: Walking meetings, Meditation during the day, coffee catch ups on video with the team and easier collaboration across multiple states without the people in a meeting room dominating the conversation. These are a few of the activities I intend to keep into the future of work.

When on the phone in the office, I walk the floors, as I want to be focused on the call and not be distracted sat at my PC. Walking outside and making calls is so much better, mind is clear, focused on the conversation, always exceptionally productive.

Walking 1;1s with my team and peers are a real hit. But what happens back in the office when we have smart clothes v’s activeware and we are not dressed appropriately for the weather?

Between meetings and calls, my yoga mat is near by and I sit or lay with legs up the wall and put the timer on for my next meeting (5-10 mins), where I relax and breath. My mind is processing the activities of the morning, but as I move to being present, many thoughts come to me, that help me with creating clarity on complex issues, what to do next, or what do I need to know, to gain more clarity.

Collaboration of remote employees when other team members are in a room, can be challenging. Working from home has changed all that. Each person is equal in terms of everyone is in their own homes, not some in a room. Why is this important? Its changed the dynamics and it is far more equitable in terms of contribution and inclusiveness.

Getting to know your team at a whole new level. Video calls mean you get to meet their children,pets, partners in person. I have never felt more connected to my team.

What great habits have you adopted working from home?

Categories
Personal development

Admitting mistakes

We are all wrong from time to time. We may have held incorrect opinions. There is some shame in that, but the truly shameful thing is to deny that it happened and refuse to learn from the experience.

We have to take some time to reflect on our own behaviour, and acknowledge our errors of judgement and more importantly the lessons we have learned.

Then we share with others. The more you do this the more people trust and help you. Its a critical step to move away from defensive behaviour.

Once you are open to discussing your failures or lack of judgement it becomes easier and becomes part of your everyday behaviour.

Other benefits is reduces time spent emotionally trying to process or protect the position.

When you have made a mistake, face into speaking up immediately and ensure you are clear on the implementation of the learnings .

Categories
High Performing Teams Personal development Strategy

Strategy: how do you know you are on the right track?

When do you know strategy is working? When all roles in the business can articulate the goal and how they are getting there. At Salesforce Marc Benioff used the V2MOM https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2013/04/how-to-create-alignment-within-your-company.html to align individual and team goals to strategy. This method is the best I have seen in alignment in an organisation

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With Strategy, there are four scenarios that play out in a any organisation.

1. strategy from the top is non existent or is not delivering, so teams create their own.

2. Strategy from the top is interpreted in so many ways that teams are disjointed, failing to align to deliver the outcomes.

3. As of 1, but results from one section leads to strategy formation from the top, creating alignment and delivery of results

4. Strategy set and goal clear, driving teams to work together to get the outcome.

The sad truth is that many organisations try lots of tactical activity delivering nothing, it does not need to be this way

How do you know your strategy is on the right track?

Categories
Personal development

Pray and Spray leadership

Great leadership is where their is a clear strategy, clear product lifecycle and all the programs fit the strategy for 12 months ahead.

In the absence of the clear strategy and plan, it seems to be that you just keeping coming up with ideas and execute rapidly in order to deliver the target number.

The customer needs are completely ignored as its all about what the company needs to make the numbers. The customer and employee experience is unbearable: conflicting priorities, messages, lack of clarity on how things fit together, poor lifecycle execution, no listening to the customer needs and air of desperation as one program cannibalises another. The poor customer overwhelmed looks to alternative providers to work with.

In the absence of a solid strategy, poor leaders resort to “busyness”, the Leader utilises Pray and Spray which is costly and unproductive.

How do you know if you are hiring or working for a organisation and leader that has this is their kit bag? Ask people who have worked for the leader and organisation, was their an annual plan of programs or where they created on the fly throughout the year?

As a people leader in a Pray and Spray organisation, these are the tips for protecting your team and customers from the chaos:

1. Make it clear to the leadership that your customer can only run with three key initiatives at once, when we have fired off 15, each will pick out three as they have not got the capacity to consume it all.

2. Communicate to your team that they are not expected to take on all 15 and every new initiative and get the customer onboard, just pick up to three only.

3. Hold the initiators responsible for the ongoing success, support and reporting, to prevent them having the time to create more initiatives, without execution of the ones in train. its a bit like kids on a football pitch, all chasing the ball.

4. Get the initiators in front of customers so they can hear first hand the chaos they create, and get them to listen to the customer.

Categories
Collaberation Influence Leadership Personal development Strategy

Why context is so important in delivering a message

My coach always reminded me “context equals meaning”. Without context you message is lost and we leave the audience confused.

Context is so important in conversation and in delivering a message. I observe it in others but rarely identify when I am not doing it! It struck me when seeing one of the leaders from our company talking about having the critical conversation the conversations we avoid, it was a great message to leaders, but it lacked authenticity and context as there was no personal story. 

From this I learned  what was missing from my presentations. When delivering the vision for my team for the year ahead at a recent kick off I used a story to describe a customer who has mortgaged their house to set up their business, the stress of a growing payroll and the responsibility of collecting enough cash to ensure all your staff get paid, they have a billing issue that drags on for 6 months and the stress of this large bill which is incorrect. The message: Take extra special care with your customers, get the wider team involved to resolve critical issues for the customer. The feedback from the team was incredible, they said no one has made them think about the customers perspective and what they are dealing with.

Key learning is always spend more time on the scene setting, background and why you want the audience to listen, all these give context to your message.

Categories
Coaching Influence Strategy

Why I can’t get cut through on my strategy?

strategy4This is a question I am often asked by mentees . My answer today is very different to a few years ago.

When we are attached to an outcome our strategy, we are so focused on ourselves we don’t listen to others, we don’t hear the objections and therefore don’t address the concerns head on. Ignore objections at your peril, as these are the opportunities to engage and path the way to cut through.

Here are the 5 things you need to do to sell your ideas or strategy:

1. Connect with stakeholders, build trust. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Understand their drivers and needs before sharing your strategy. As Dale Carnegie wrote in how to win friends and influence people ‘first seek to understand before you are understood’.

2. Ask questions of stakeholders, present your thoughts on the strategy, draw out their concerns, what they like and what is not clear. Collaborate to evolve the strategy. No one person can come up with a strategy on their own, its always the culmination of many inputs, experiences and knowledge

Don’t present at a Fait Accompli

3. Address every objection. Ignore objections at your peril. Objections show an interest, but never move on, without enquiring, why are you asking this question? go deep, as the objection raised often masks the real concerns.

4. Challenge your own thinking. Attachment without being open to others views can be career limiting.  Thank others for their contribution and ensure you acknowledge individuals for their valuable input and evolution of the strategy

5. If you are unsuccessful, learn and move on. I mean move on, let it go, what did you discover along the way.  Journal or share your leanings .

Success takes patience and time.  Take others on the journey, collaborate, acknowledge inputs of others into the strategy.

Categories
Coaching Influence Leadership Personal development

Great Leaders ask Great questions John Maxwell

Just finished reading this amazing book. https://www.amazon.com/Good-Leaders-Ask-Great-Questions-ebook/dp/B00I829QJ8. Thought provoking and some sage advice on Leadership. John’s curiosity in others, inspires great questions. This is a must read for anyone looking to grow in their career or find telling is their default mode or fail to influence others. Great questions are the key to influence.

The highlight: the structure of each chapter, the great questions and answers were insprirational. The latter sections on succession, how much time to spend on leaders was particaully useful and validated many on my own thoughts.

Did not agree with the section on trust with a leader, that there is no going back. Great leaders forgive and hold no grudges. It’s never personal.

Forgiveness is critical to being a great leader, there are many times when I have almost given up on someone and seen them realise what they need to do to change the future. My experience is that great leaders believe in others and allow people the room to reflect and grow. Poor leaders, see this person is not performing its reflecting on the leader and take action to remove them. Self serving leaders have a short shelf life as staff turnover is inevitable. They are also seseptable to yes men that never deliver results, because their is no diversity of thought.

Categories
Career Change Career planning Leadership

Career planning: Where are you going? What do you want from your career?

For many people not knowing what they want to be when they grow up stays with them most of their life. Women in particular find it difficult as they are waiting to be selected for their next role based on other people’s views of what they are good at,  rather than being clear about what they want. This becomes the greatest obstacle for success and greatest source of frustration and disappointment.

I was in this situation 4 years ago and breaking a habit of a lifetime of saying No to roles that don’t fit your career brief criteria is really hard.  My third start-up was behind me and I knew I had to stretch myself in a new way and my eyes were firmly set on a corporate role, yet the first five opportunities I was offered were all tech start-ups for US corporates wanted to set up operations in Australia. It was so tempting, as it was what I knew, thank goodness for Phil Crenigan my business coach who kept me focused and challenged me when he had a sniff that I was even entertaining any start-up opportunities.   I am forever grateful for his council on being clear before looking about your next move, and saying No so that when the right opportunity emerged I was ready.

In contrast having a career plan for the next 10, 20 years even if it changes allows you to plan and prepare for your next move. It also allows you to socialize with your peers, mentors, sponsors and executives and gain their input and thoughts on the best options for your future and open up projects that give you exposure where you need it.

I enjoy being on boards of tech start-ups and the businesses I have run over the last 20 years, so I am looking to become a non exec director on ASX boards in the next 10 years. To achieve this I need to be a Senior leader in an ASX business. I spoke to many Senior leaders who were doing the role I am looking to do and all advised me the following: women leave exec leadership too early, you need to remain in exec leadership in ASX businesses until your 60. Many leave in their early 50s and have insufficient experience at a senior level. When asking about education all recommended the AICD course as a must.  Seeking advice of people doing what the role you aspire too is essential for preparing for success.

Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now. Alan Lakein

 Where are you going? What do you want from your career?