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Personal development

Gail Kelly Live Lead Learn

Thanks to Sue Davies for the loan of this book. Read in less than a week which is totally unusual for me! What a great read. Inspiring and humble.

She is open and honest about her challenges, but more importantly her vision and clarity of what was needed to change the banks is inspirational and exceptionally perceptive. Every CEO needs to have spent time in front line customer situations, without that experience business is too inwardly focused.

Her grasp of the challenges for bank tellers led her to restructure the banks to be centred around the customer and not the internal needs of business. Trust is king and you cannot build trust with your customers if you don’t listen.

In her book Gail quoted “I really battled to have commonsense changes imbedded. I encountered lots of ‘Yes, Minister’ behaviour with the team hoping my attention would move to other things and their lives would return to normal.

In my experience too often leaders are too busy “spraying the next initiative” to follow up and employees become fatigued and realise that they are better to lie low. Persistence in the same goal is uncommon, as when there is not gratification in an outcome, execs move on. The difference with Gail was it was imbedded in her personal values, she was never going to move on, until the customer was served in the way she needed them to be.

I loved Gails honesty about dropping the ball on a number of issues, just because she did not have the bandwidth to manage. Her openness is very refreshing and for anyone who is juggling a lot of conflicting priorities it is not surprising.

Her husband Allan was a rock, but also someone who encouraged Gail to step up with every opportunity and did his fair share around the home.

This is a book that inspires, in spite of Gail’s upbringing in South Africa during apartheid, she has tremendous humility and ability to seek out the truth. She never stops learning and that is something that is important to me today. A must read, regardless of you career, there are so many important life lessons in this brilliant read.

Categories
Collaberation Collaboration Communication High Performing Teams Leadership Personal development

Contact your peers weekly

Throughout my career I have focused on my team more than my peers or other stakeholders. Connecting regularly with your peers (who work for the same leader) not just in meetings is critical for you, your team and wider teams success.

I am not advocating for scheduled sessions, but a phone call to check in and say hi and are you Ok? Is there anything you need help on?

It means a lot to show your peers you care and you are there for them. It also builds rapport and trust, which are essential to support the performance of the team.

Other opportunities to build rapport with your peers who report to the same leader:

Over the last 12 months I have been challenged with support of a certain role and each time I have called on my peers and they have been keen to help. Make sure also that you thank them publicly so they know you appreciate their support.

Your peers are great as accountability partners, helping you to stay on track with your goals. This is great way to work together and build rapport.

Catching up as a group without your boss is also a great way to build the trust and support for each other. Let your boss know, and let them know you want to take away some of the noise by landing key decisions as a team. Also run monthly people only session with your peers to talk about Vacancies, Paternity leave, Talent, bench strength across the business, training, leave and much more. Again this is something you can do without your boss and just share the minutes.

Building relationships with your peers is critical to the business success. Just looking at your own team will not demonstrate leadership, make the time for your peers.

Other sources on this topic https://workbravely.com/blog/from-our-coaches/peer-working-relationships/

Categories
Influence Personal development Sales leadership Strategy

Importance of briefing execs ahead of external meetings

Briefing execs ahead of meetings with Execs from outside your business is critical to gain the outcome you are looking for as well as preparing the execs for questions.

Recently I skipped a briefing with my boss ahead of an executive steering committee with on the grounds my boss met with the executive of the Customer regularly. I have never done this, so what processed me to make this call I don’t know! But DONT miss a briefing.

Regardless of how well the executives know each other, what they don’t know is what is happening on the ground that’s impacting the relationship, gaps in process or opportunities for greater sales and other improvement observed by the wider team that may need to be brought to the attention of the exec.

What good looks like:

  1. What is the Customer likely to raise? What’s your response

2. What you would like to ask or opportunities identified? What is their likely response?

3. What other insights can you share, that would be helpful to their business?

If the exec is meeting for the first time, also have link to linkedin profile or summary.

Make sure you send the points in advance. Use summaries for each point not chapter and verse.

Set up 15-30 mins to brief the exec and take them through the points. Help them get familiar with the topics. If a member of your team has pulled this together, get them to do the brief with you in the room or on the call.

Once the exec meeting has taken place, then set up a time for a debrief and include your team members, to ensure all the topics are followed up correctly and updates re progress on any points are given at agree intervals i.e. daily, weekly to your executive as well as agreeing updates for the customers executive, including who is sharing the updates..

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Collaberation Entrepreneurship Influence Personal development

Its above my pay grade

What does this phrase show about the person communicating?

For me it maybe a person who lacks confidence or self belief, as leadership can be demonstrated by anyone at any level. If you see an issue that needs addressing, what’s stopping you getting the right people together to discuss? Don’t be afraid to invite leaders above your grade, this applies to individual contributors and leaders at all levels. If they are interested they may attend or send a delegate.

Here is how to approach:

  1. Problem statement: Have a go at a sentence or short paragraph to frame the problem. This is the title of your invitation
  2. Also include background in the invitation: How the problem came about, what you have tried already, who have you engaged
  3. Invitation Agenda: Problem statement, background, Brainstorm of potential solutions and then pros and cons, next steps. AOB.
  4. Ensure the invite goes to all stakeholders impacted, missing someone out, may cause challenges later on, so think about all personnel impacted.
  5. On the day of the event: Ensure the attendees are comfortable that the problem statement makes sense. Tweek if needed.
  6. On the day: Brainstorming ensure that everyone contributes and that no idea is discussed or dismissed, objective is to capture all ideas.
  7. On the day: Once the brainstorm is captured, then work through pros and cons for each idea, ending with a vote on the best solution and next steps.

If you have strong views on the solution to the problem, challenge yourself to leave your attachment at the door. If you are facilitating, you need to facilitate only. If you are participating and have someone else facilitating, challenge your self to say nothing and listen. The process will take care of the outcome.

Have fun, this is how to be a leader as a individual contributor.

Categories
Personal development

Showing anger as a leader

Once a leader shows anger or aggression, there is no psychological safety. Trust is 0.

Rebuilding trust is a long road.

There is no place in modern leadership for anger or aggression. Compassion and focus on the person needing the help is essential to building high performance.

If I have feedback, I always ask the team member to think about what they will do differently? What will be the trigger?. I ask them to spend 0 time on ruminating the event as it is emotionally draining and unhelpful. Instead focus on the long term solution.

My tone is always curious, non judgemental and supportive of the learning. I also want to understand what the trigger is for the person, so I can help them in the future.

If you are angry as a leader, reflect on your ego because anger is a reflection of you.

Categories
Collaboration High Performing Teams Influence Leadership Personal development Strategy

6 tips for optimal collaboration

What does it mean to collaborate? Dictionary definition:  the action of working with someone to produce something.

Collaboration has become overused, poorly implemented. Leading to collaboration fatigue!

Here are my 6 tips for optimal collaboration.

  1. Define the problem statement as a group. Ensure everyone is aligned on the statement: we all love getting to the solution however, this is unhelpful and can limit creativity.
  2. Educate on the impacts of the problem and why its important. Data is key to presenting the facts of the impact. Don’t assume your audience understands the context, history or challenges the problem represents. The more time you spend here the better the creativity re the results.
  3. Black hatting is a great way to ensure all voices are heard especially people who are not convinced about the problem and reluctant to work on a solution. The purpose is take the role of all the internal and external stakeholders and role play their position on the matter, including any risks or opportunities
  4. Ensure all parties that are impacted are included in the collaboration. The last thing you want is having to bring someone on the journey when a recommendation is made.  
  5. Don’t be afraid to lead. I am often asked why are you doing this? In the absence of anyone owning, it is impacting my team and I therefore I am happy to lead to find a resolution. You can lead as an individual contributor. Regardless of where the process lands, leading change is critical and very fulfilling.
  6. Have fun. Get to know each other. Don’t launch into a session, socialise with each other for the first 5 mins.

Have fun Collaborating!

Categories
Book Quotes Coaching Influence Leadership Personal development

You can learn from good and bad bosses.

You can learn from good and bad bosses. None of us are perfect, everyone deserves the best support, if there are behaviours you find offensive, call it out in private.  https://angelalovegrove.com/2020/03/04/taking-responsibility-to-how-we-get-treated/

You can help your boss and they in return will help you. Judgement is the worst human trait. https://angelalovegrove.com/2018/06/04/dont-speak-ill-of-others/

Stay always true to your values. You don’t have to compromise, you need to share what is important to you, so you can build rapport and trust. In return you need to take time to understand the pressure and behaviours that result in your boss’s behaviour. Always seek to understand before being understood, one of my favourite Dale Carnegie sayings. https://angelalovegrove.com/2020/11/24/why-dale-carnegies-how-to-win-friends-and-influence-people-is-my-all-time-favourite-book/

Personal growth occurs when we push ourselves outside our comfort zone. This is the opportunity to push yourself beyond where you have operated before.

With the open honest feedback about your bosses behaviour, you also get it back in return. This has been some of the most transformative coaching I have received in my career.

You can learn from good and bad bosses

Categories
Personal development

Bullying by customers

When a customer is abusive to staff members, as a leader taking immediate action is critical to support your team.

Bullying behaviour comes in many forms, my first experience of dealing with this situation was over a decade ago where a technical team delivering a complex software project were being ridiculed on calls from a significant customer.

The team morale was very low, and a new role for me. Once I understood the language and the behaviour of the customer, armed with the evidence of the behaviour I set up a meeting with the CIO of the customer.

I explained my concerns for the mental welfare of my team and asked if he would ensure these situations did not reoccur. The conversation was a lot less challenging than I first thought it would be and the CIO was receptive and concerned.

Less than a month later I was on a escalation call on a weekend and the staff of the customer were abusive to my team on the call, I promptly said to the abuser “Please refrain from speaking to my team in this manner, we are all working together in our own time to support you and your team”. The abuser persisted and I asked my team to leave the call. A few days later the CIO called to apologise and I said its my team you need to apologise to.

The abuse stopped, but the most important lesson is the team felt supported. The team said this toxic situation had been going on for years.

Since that time I have dealt with numerous situations related to poor behaviour by customers towards staff members. I now take a harder line, I ask for the customer staff member to be removed from dealing with the team, as unfortunately some of these behaviours are entrenched.

As a leader we have a duty of care for our teams wellbeing, so if there is any poor behaviour abusive, blackmailing, and threatening behaviour no matter who it is, you need to act swiftly to protect the wellbeing of the people you work with.

Categories
Personal development

Going Native

A term that was used to describe multi year software implementation teams who now represented their client more than the software company they worked for.

It can also mean going from contract to working for a company.

What I want to address here is the former, when an employee represents the customers interests over their own employer.

As a leader this behavior can be observed in any role which works with customers over a long period of time i.e. account manager, project manager. The challenge is how to spot, call it out and then do something about it.

When an employee spends more time with their customer than the team they work in, they lose connection to the team and business, they are at risk of representing their customers needs over what makes sense to the business.

Here are the signs:

  1. The behavior shows up when the employee is continually driving their customers agenda at a cost to your company. It may be the request does not make commercial sense, only suits them and no other customer.
  2. Poor boundaries and expectation setting with the customer, as they believe their customer is right and the business needs to change even when commercially it does not make sense.
  3. Not taking the position of the employees company, behaving like they work for their customer.
  4. Not attending company team events or team get togethers

As a leader its important to jump on early and here are some of the options you have:

  1. Call it out with the individual with specific examples. Approach with seek to understand: Why do you believe this? Is this the interest of our business? Why is it? What would you do if this business was run on your investments? How would you feel?
  2. Move projects or accounts, to another opportunity. Recognize their great work and set them the next challenge. Anyone is susceptible to “going native” if they work on a account or project to long. One better get them to take a holiday between finishing and starting on the new customer or project.
  3. Plan for a eighteen month to two year changeover, make it clear no one is on a project or account for more than 2 years. This sets a framework of expectation, so no one feels like it a reflection of their ability. It is not, its a reflection of human nature and the bonds we build with people who we work closely with over a period of time.

Never approach the individual with judgement as in my career I have experienced this situation many times, what you need is understanding and a plan! When the employee is reassigned you will see the energy and commitment to the company, its incredible how quickly you can get them back on track. Never see going native as a sign a weakness. Its a sign of someone who cares deeply about what they do.

How to manage someone who has gone native!

Categories
Personal development

Preparing for skip reviews

This is a fabulous opportunity for employees to meet your boss, and if you are a leader with managers an opportunity to meet your managers teams. If you have a boss who makes the time for these sessions, that is a bonus. I am fortunate to work for someone who does and the benefits are phenomenal.

I always get asked, what do I need to prepare? What can I say?

As an employee here is what to prepare:

1. Introduce your role if you manage a team or customers who you manage. Don’t assume he/she knows what you do or who you manage? Include any targets and achievement to target.

2. Aspirations for your career. What you are doing to prepare for the next role.

3. Top 3 things need fixing

4. Insights: what’s happening. Remember your 2 up boss may have no idea of the situations you get exposed to.

My recommendation is not to go with a presentation/deck, just well prepared speaking points. Your 2 up boss sits in so many presentations, they just want to meet you and have a conversation.

The other challenge with presenting is then you have to ensure the technology works, then you don’t get to see their facial expressions if over video. So important not to have any barriers that way you can interact and if they look puzzled, you can ask, did I explain that ok? or do you need more context or more information?

As an employee seize the opportunity and if you are a leader carrying out skip reviews, they are priceless for employee engagement, understanding the morale and culture of the teams at the next level of the organization.