Organising behaviour – learning from Zappos shift to holacracy

Organising behaviour – learning from Zappos shift to holacracy

7 years ago 0 0 2065

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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Giving feedback to enhance performance

7 years ago 0 0 1445

There is a lot of commentary about the value of formalised performance reviews. Unsurprisingly, when only 37% of employees in a major survey reported that they had never received valuable feedback from their employer or manager, the majority of comment seems to suggest that feedback processes are a waste of time. Feedback is imperative to enhancing performance, however giving and receiving feedback is fraught with problems, often institutionalised in such workplace processes. Understanding the true nature of feedback, and how to use it successfully to enhance performance is a critical leadership skill. Feedback on our performance comes in many forms – from what we see happening as an outcome of what we do, how we personally feel about what we do, and what other people observe, interpret and communicate to us. Feedback is important for developing performance at an individual, team and organisational level. Without feedback, we would perform a

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Pitch perfect – get your audience to yes

7 years ago 0 0 1794

The role of the ‘pitch’ has been magnified through such TV shows as ‘Shark Tank’ or ‘Lion’s Den’. These shows put a pitch in the spotlight, with an assessment and investment depending upon the quality of the presentation as well as the product idea. They can often make the process seem as a ‘one shot for glory’. However, if we view a pitch as this, then it can lead to unnecessary stress and worry, and can negatively impact how we pitch. If, on the other hand, we considered a pitch as simply an opportunity to open a discussion and negotiation, to present our position and influence buy in, then we can use the pitch in powerful ways to create successful uptake of our ideas and secure the support that we seek. Everyone has to pitch – maybe not for a major investment, but politicians pitch their policies for your vote,

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Forecasting excellence – without the crystal ball

7 years ago 0 0 1433

I have been working with more than 30 business leaders from around Europe, the Middle East and Africa at a meeting in Barcelona. Our aim was to tackle some of the ‘big issues’ in strategy, marketing and sales, so that they could take back practical and powerful tools to their organisations. When we asked them what they wanted (or more specifically: “What could you take away from this meeting that would have a significant impact on your business”), one answer shone through strongly – most of them wanted to help their key personnel within their organisations to forecast better. I therefore created a hands-on workshop session for the attendees which focused on this topic. It reminded me that, amongst all of the important business skills that leaders and managers are taught, forecasting is often one which often gets less time, effort and attention than other topics. Following a practical case

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Who is your coach?

7 years ago 0 2 2589

Who is your coach? A great question to ask anyone who is (or who wants to be) a leader is to ask them one simple question: “Who is your coach”? The question reveals a lot about the person and their thinking on flexibility, adaptability, help-seeking and personal growth focus thinking.  All of which can be critical in the role of leader.  Sportspeople, entertainers and performers all rely on coaching to improve their performance, and keep them at the top of their games – which is exactly what we need from our business leaders. In business, we need our staff and our leaders to be able to step up and play their biggest games.  We know that the organisation that is demonstrating high performance is doing so because its people are not only surviving, but thriving on the challenges of the workplace, are deeply engaged and seeking to make a difference.

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Why most sales reps aren’t built to perform

7 years ago 1 0 1595

Our customers today have access to overwhelming volumes of information, have so many choices and are ever more discerning.  The ability for our customers to truly understand what we can offer them can simply be lost in the white noise. How we connect to customers and sell them our purpose, our values and our offerings can be critical in cutting through this white noise and drive business success.  Great sales people are therefore a prerequisite of success – and you need them right across your business. As organisations become more social and customer centric, every person within the organisation not only becomes a brand ambassador, but a ‘salesperson’ of the organisation, and for the organisation, to its customers.  The old days of salespeople on the ‘outside’ and everyone else huddled within are definitely gone. So what really makes a great salesperson? If you had to identify the profile that would

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Releasing the people potential

7 years ago 0 0 1345

I was working with a senior international business leader recently and his sense was that we are almost on another ‘tipping point’ in business – he keeps hiring great people, but most of his efforts to create synergies and really get the best of his people seem to fail.  He sees that we should be able to turn great people into great teams and drive great results, but for some reason we just can’t get there.  He envisions a new ‘world’ where people can get on and really unleash their potential to drive performance. He was expressing that there must be a ‘better way’ to lead people, and to get results.  He was also expressing a ‘frustration’ that the way forward was not apparent to him, and that everything he did just  didn’t seem to change anything. From what I experience in so many organisations, I can see what he

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Customers experience pain

7 years ago 0 0 1167

Apple announce that iPhone 6 will go on sale at Midnight next Wednesday. By Monday evening, the queue is already forming.  Apple customers are putting themselves through 36 hours of ‘pain’ to become one of the first to own a new model of something they can get today. You walk about a kilometre, have to drag items out of a warehouse and load them onto a trolley to go through check out at Ikea.  Clients accept this pain to buy furniture (that will probably cause them even more pain when they get home and get out the allen key!) You have to wait on hold for a phone operator for two minutes – and the wait is intolerable! In business, we put our clients into three different types of pain: 1: Brand-reinforcing (valued) pain.  This pain, like queuing outside Apple stores, is part of the ‘story’ and enhances the perceived

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Business Development Excellence

7 years ago 0 0 1996

How do you, and your organisation, approach business development?  That is, how do you work to grow your business? Are you a ‘shotgun marketer’?  Spray your marketing efforts in a wide arc hoping to ‘wing’ a few customers and bring them to ground? Or are you a replay marketer?  Do what you have always done? Or maybe a ‘shiny things’ marketer?  Are you the type that was the first on Facebook, Twitter and any other ‘shiny new’ marketing idea? Business Development is something that is a necessity in any business.  Whether you are a local pizza shop selling to the neighbourhood, or a major corporate selling around the globe, the way that you think about business development will have a massive impact on the success of your business. Working with many organisations across a spectrum of industries on business development, it has become clear that there are lots of areas

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