I came across a discussion on twitter which alluded to the fact that the world was becoming more complex. This discussion was based on the ideas of General Stanley McChrystal, author of ‘Team of Teams, New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World’.
“Efficiency remains important, but the ability to adapt to complexity and continual change has become an imperative.”
I remember feeling irked about this statement and the reason for this response, (apart from having man-flu at the time) is that people are acting as if VUCA (the US military term to represent volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) is a new phenomenon. That’s not correct, the world has always been subject to volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Ask poor people.
Read more: Here
Anticipating and planning for a world which not even the experts know will look like yet, will bring fresh challenges – probably daily – for leaders, teams and the coaches who support them.
Here is a white paper on a new model of coaching suited to Modern Day Leadership Coaching. It’s aimed at leaders and coaches wanting to leverage more potential and unlock the opportunities within the chaos of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Download here.
When I ask business owners the above question, they’ll often ask me what I mean. So I qualify the question with another one. I ask them:
“Could you go on holiday for four weeks, have no contact with your team whilst you’re away and know that the organisation can still thrive?”
Mostly the answer is a resounding “NO!” READ More
Competitive advantage is primarily seen as the ability to produce a product or service at a lower cost – aka comparative advantage – or in a more desirable fashion -aka differential advantage. Gaining a competitive advantage can be the result of several factors but the main idea is that you’re doing something in such a way as to outperform your competitors.
In the complex world we live in, there is a shift happening. Leaders have relied on one or two types of leadership intelligence to drive business performance. But that style of operating is coming to its zenith. Now enlightened leaders realise there are other ways to gain a more comprehensive advantage. READ More:
In the previous article in this series I explained the CREATE model. If you’re going to unleash the creative brilliance in your team, you’ll need to foster some of the conditions which allow that to happen. These were the freedom to challenge existing paradigms, developing deep relationships amongst the team, exposure to novel experiences, creating associations between disparate ideas and subjects, training and experimentation. These foundations of creativity then need a process and some tools to harvest new ideas that emanate from the team.
TREAD vs SOAR Thinking… Read More
In the past I’ve noticed that I like working with some clients on projects and then there were others, that didn’t leave me with such a good feeling. For various reasons the relationship with the client or project wasn’t one I’d like to repeat.
Similarly, I’ve noticed when coaching in organisations, there are certain things that need to be in place before the people I’m working with, judge themselves to be in a great job. Having these variables nailed means that people feel inspired to excel and are not purely motivated by the money (although it’s still an important component). With 70% of work forces being disengaged –according to Gallup- it seems like it would be a good idea to understand what’s going on here.
After a period of research and reflection, I came up with a few key factors that lead to higher project engagement and job satisfaction both for me personally and in the teams I’m working with. When these factors are understood and the conditions created to make these factors accessible, I believe leaders will see a rise in overall performance. There are four motivational ones which are at the ego level and one that is at a level of contribution. Altogether they instil a sense of PRIDE in the workplace:
Paid: As the career analyst Dan Pink recognised, expecting people to be intrinsically motivated to work on your project when they don’t know when the next meal is coming from is “comical”. Some people might even tell you money isn’t everything, but try not paying them. Actually don’t, take my word for it!
Some personalities value material things highly, so they love to be paid handsomely. Others will say money isn’t as important to them, but that’s only because they’ve disowned that side of their personality. As a leader you want to raise people up from the level of survival to a place where they can become more conscious instead of activity driven in work.
Starbuck’s recent media announcement regarding a pay rise was probably hoping to tap into some valuable PR. But as time went on, seasoned baristas noted that the pay rise was aimed at attracting new employees. As a result a lot of the baristas signed a petition on Coworker.org in frustration at not being paid enough to live on. You’ve got to pay people a reasonable wage, if you can’t afford to pay them, then you’ve not got a viable business model. Starbucks and Wal-Mart cannot be classed as great businesses if the state has to support their workforces. It’s exploitation because if those employees could secure another position and earn more elsewhere, they would leave those companies. Paying more money past a certain point doesn’t’ get better performance, especially if they have to think creatively, but you’ve got to pay people enough so they don’t spend time worrying about money and just as importantly you don’t want them complaining aloud to the world.
Recognised: It might seem intuitive to appreciate people for their efforts, but actually it doesn’t happen an awful lot in the workplace. People are too busy and don’t realise the importance recognition and appreciation play in motivation. People begin yearning for validation at childhood because it makes us feel good. Leon Seltzer PhD. concluded that recognition is important because:
“such recognition assists you in perceiving yourself as desirable, valuable, and esteemable. In a word, special.”
A useful exercise is to write each team member’s name on a sheet of paper and pass it around. Everybody else has to write something positive about each person. Even if they don’t like other attributes about that person, just focus on the positive ones and record them. Everybody gets a list of their positive qualities and behaviours. What gets recognised gets repeated and as Mark Twain noted:
“I can live for two months on a compliment”
Inspired: Being inspired at work allows people to transcend their ordinary experiences and limitations. This works because when team members are contributing to something out there, their own self disappears. It plays a significant role in enabling states of flow to arise; when time flies in a state of pleasurable effort when more potential and creativity is accessed.
Psychologist Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot uncovered three core aspects to inspiration which are transcendence, evocation and approach motivation. These elements give us the ability to rise above animalistic self-concerns so we can actualise a vision of something meaningful and reach what the researchers concluded were the heights of human motivation which:
“…spring from the beauty and goodness that precede us and awaken us to better possibilities.”
Developmental: People are learning animals. In the workplace, people will be learning regardless of whether it’s conscious or not. I explain to clients that the team will either be spending time learning who won X-Factor or the football or something more productive. That’s the leader’s choice. As such it’s a great idea to make that learning rewarding and profitable for both organisation and the individuals.
According to the Campaign for Learning:
92% of people finding learning enjoyable
71% of learners believe learning increases quality of life
72% of people believe more time should be spent on personal development
I prefer my work experiences to be learning and growth experiences. I want to benefit in some way by developing as I work.
Great companies nurture the urge in team members to become more. A mind expanded by new ideas cannot shrink back. The ability to learn is something which supports organisational transformation. Not developing people leads to sclerosis of attitudes which is a killer when an organisation enters new territory. Agile learners, according to researchers from Columbia University, stand out in particular for their resilience, calm, and ability to remain at ease and are:
“continually able to jettison skills, perspectives and ideas that are no longer relevant, and learn new ones that are,”
Ecology: Ecology is about relationships. Relationships are the most important survival factor to human existence both on a personal level and with the world at large. Close, supportive relationships are a source of great joy and they’re very beneficial when life is not so great. Gallup considers close and supportive relationships at work key to significantly boosting engagement. Tom Rath, Gallup’s Global Practice Leader says:
“Our favourite moments, jobs, groups, and teams revolve around friendships with other people.”
As effectiveness author, Dr Stephen Covey believed:
“Interdependence is ten times more challenging than independence, but it the only viable long-term solution for effectiveness in our relationships at work and at home”
Strategist Max McKeown supports this view believing that corporate strategy is only useful when people support the company in its efforts. So without great relationships, a leader’s effectiveness in influencing the team and the organisation’s performance and productivity is greatly stifled.
I prefer to work with a client in a collaborative fashion. I find if potential clients don’t, then the work will not be as fulfilling and they won’t get the best of me.
Developing a company’s DNA profile helps with many different aspects of running and scaling a successful business.
An entrepreneur might start a business because they spotted an opportunity in the marketplace and exploited it. That’s innovation.
The fact that the entrepreneur has been successful means that the universe has decided their venture was useful so kept the fledgling business alive. That’s evolution.
Everything has inherent meaning in the universe even if the entrepreneur didn’t know or care at that point. That changes.
To scale the business it becomes important to describe the business in a way that piques people’s interest and attracts a loyal following. The best way to do that is to educate, entertain and engage people, whilst they communicate to the world what they do, how they achieve their results and why it’s a good idea to be clients, collaborate with and serve this organisation.
In the post-recession world, people are also interested in knowing what the company’s philosophy is, what’s important to them in the way they do business and what the vision for the company in the future is.
The mission is the next big step the leader wants to achieve and doesn’t necessarily need to be communicated to the outside world because it will change over time. The mission is chunked down into the strategy, what will be produced, with performance goals (habitual behaviours) and achievement goals (milestones) along the way. One might never completely achieve the purpose, and that’s okay. It’s a legacy.
The challenge is that there is a lot of confusion about what each aspect actually is. If leaders or entrepreneurs don’t fully understand their organisation’s DNA, they will be running an operation that hasn’t fully tapped into the passion and potential of its people. This negatively affects its customers and the bottom line. It can also lead to a lot confusion in decision making. You can find your top talent spending time on less than optimum behaviours.
The benefits of spending time on creating your organisation’s DNA profile include:
• It creates a buzz
• Attracts the top talent
• Enhances your pitching process
• Boosts engagement
• Develops an effective culture
• Empowers people to make decisions
• Builds equity in the business
• Unleashes passion and unlocks potential
• Increases creativity and innovation
• Creates brand loyalty… and much more…