The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

2 years ago 0 0 595

I was presenting on culture and leadership at a recent conference (#100millionimpacts, for B1G1), and whilst facilitating a panel discussion, a common theme that emerged was the importance of the stories in business. In response to many questions after the session, here are a few thoughts on stories in business to extend that discussion further: Stories are powerful means of communication. Often, people believe that storytelling ends when the kids grow up. However, there are stories being told within your business – and about your business – that can either take it to new heights of success or lead it to ruin. What stories are being told about your business? People communicate through stories. As people communicate, they engage each other through analogy (this is like that), metaphor (the army of sales reps) and stories. Humans are always using these processes to engage their listeners, develop shared meaning and convey

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The trust advantage (building and leveraging trust, part 2)

3 years ago 0 0 637

Trust is such a critical thing in business. Understanding what trust is, and how to develop it and leverage it is critical to success. Often an even more important question is “how do I rebuild trust when it is broken?” In part one, we looked at what trust really is (predictability of behaviour), its value and its costs. In part two, we explore the concept further, and how it can be leveraged for maximum advantage. How is trust built? We develop ‘trust’ in something or someone in highly personalised ways. In fact, many people would not be able to describe how they know who they can trust, except for a vague statement like “I get a feeling about them”. Feelings and emotions (or ‘intuition’) are often poor methods for deciding who to trust. It can mean that some people, when faced with the same situational cues, will be too trusting,

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Analytics: Big data, bad behaviour?

3 years ago 0 0 662

We exist in a world where ‘big data’ drives many decisions about what happens to us, what we are offered, and how we interact. The process of advanced business analytics is welcomed by some, who enjoy everything from customised medicine through to seamless online experiences, whilst others are afraid of what people know about them, and what they can do with this knowledge. Does ‘big data’ mean ‘bad behaviour’? So what is all the fuss about? What are people scared of with data analytics – and should they be? If companies have access to all of our data, does that mean that they can do things which we would consider unacceptable breaches of our privacy or individual identity, or make bad decisions – that is, demonstrate ‘bad behaviour’? What is ‘big data’ anyway? Data analytics is seen in business as a massive driver of competitive advantage. The more you know

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Are you making the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ mistake?

3 years ago 0 0 679

Focusing on both successful outcomes and successful behaviours is the key to building sustainable high performance in business. Caveat emptor – buyer beware. It really is true that you get what you pay for. This is absolutely true when you consider the things we focus on – and incentivise – in the workplace. Consider the following examples: • Jordan Belfort – the ‘Wolf of Wall street’ only focused on outcomes (making money), which encouraged behaviours which ended with him in prison. • Companies set their salesforce a goal, and once they achieve it, they start ‘banking’ sales for the next quarter. • The business puts out a behavioural edict to ‘manage costs’ – and misses business opportunities because it becomes more important to ‘watch the penny’ that capitalise on opportunities to deliver business results. In these examples, if we focus only upon ‘outcomes’ we may get exactly what we pay

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Are you flexible enough?

3 years ago 0 0 645

Leaders often describe a desire to have ‘better leadership flexibility’ – or they want to see it throughout their organisation. Understanding leadership flexibility and how to create it is critical in business – and it is not as hard as most people think! Leadership flexibility can be described as “The ability to lead and manage others in a non-rigid way”. The definition is important, because too often people want leadership ‘flexibility’ to mean only using a more negotiated, discussion and consensus based approach. That is, they want to rigidly adopt a more consensual decision and leadership style. The underlying belief is that this is the “best” leadership style for a leader to have. Perhaps derived from a view that such a style demonstrates high Emotional Intelligence, and therefore must be good. This, however, is faulty. Leadership flexibility is about being able to utilise a full range of leadership styles, from

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You must use IQ before EQ

3 years ago 0 0 576

A coaching client stated that a key hire they were chasing had to have ‘EQ’. So I asked a couple of refining questions, and it opened up a really interesting discussion. It turns out that the term ‘EQ’ had been thrown around so much in the executive board and no-one was really clear what anyone meant by this term. Reflecting on this conversation, I wondered about all the times EQ is used in conversations about leadership. Has it become a buzz word, or do people really understand and use the term appropriately? EQ as the big thing – or do we mean EI? EQ (Emotional quotient) is reflective of a quotient or score, that is related to the score that someone achieves on a specific test instrument measuring aspects of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Emotional Intelligence, on the other hand, is more reflective of the expression of ’emotionally intelligent’ behaviours. When

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Creating Creativity – what you can do (part 2)

3 years ago 0 0 750

In part one of this series, we explored the elements of individuals and teams that limit creativity and innovation. In the second part of the series, we will explore what organisations can do about it.  By creating a culture of innovation, designing your thinking and taking true innovative leadership in your organisation, you can move beyond the things which impede creativity, and really create something special. Create the culture for innovation For innovation and design to be a reality in an organisation, it has to move from being a peripheral activity to a culturally accepted process, central to the business. This means the culture has to be accepting of the time and effort that creativity can take, and reward ‘exploration’ rather than outcomes. Peter Murphy, design instructor in Melbourne suggests that creativity is a difficult process, and to be truly innovative, they must “roll their sleeves up, say goodbye to

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Organising behaviour – learning from Zappos shift to holacracy

3 years ago 0 0 1233

We create structure and process in a business for only one purpose – to organise behaviour so as to create efficient and effective ways of getting things done. With Zappo’s in the news for instituting a ‘holacracy’ model of organisation, it raises some interesting questions about how we can – and should – organise behaviour. How well does it work when you tell someone with depression to “Be Happy”? The paradox implied in the instruction “Be spontaneous” should be clear – how is spontaneity spontaneous if you have ordered it? This has never been better demonstrated in the corporate world than is currently happening at Zappos: “You will become a holacracy”! Forcing the organisation to become self-organising has an ironic paradox buried at its heart. However, as the organisation pursues this idealised structure, it will provide a fascinating case study over time. With it reported that one in seven employees

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Great leaders ask great questions

3 years ago 0 0 957

Too often we look to leaders and managers to ‘tell’ the staff what to do, or how to do it. This is a habit of management and leadership left over from the ‘command and control’ model of management that we left behind last century. It assumes that all of the knowledge resides in the leader or manager, and ignores what the staff member knows. It also fails to account for the collaborative potential of what may be discovered or created during a quality conversation. If we believe that individuals can bring motivation, intellect, experience and innovation to the business, then rather than simply ‘telling’ them what to do we may engage them in appropriate conversations on the topic. This allows the leader to realise the inherent potential of the person or people they are leading, and enhance overall performance. The best way to encourage such quality conversations is for the

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Leadership in the dark – leading in tough times

3 years ago 0 0 1313

When things are going well, leadership can be a joy. The conversation is mostly about enhancing performance, how to build people into their capacity and drive success. We see those we lead reach for their potential and grow personally and professionally. No wonder people aspire to leadership. But it is not always like that. There are times of crisis, tragedy and difficulty which require outstanding leadership to manage. Leadership will stop being fun, but it never stops being critically important. In leadership programs the focus is heavily upon how an individual can be a great leader, and creating extraordinary success. Often the ‘dark side’ of leadership is either glossed over or simply ignored. It is not fun, or sexy, to lead at such times, and the importance of it is rarely reflected upon. Sometimes the best that leadership can offer is just to help others cope, to get them through

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