Managing in uncertainty for high performance

Managing in uncertainty for high performance

3 years ago 0 0 969

What is uncertainty? If we listen to the famous Chinese proverb: “May you live in interesting times”, we can see it as both a blessing and a curse. We are certainly living in interesting – if not uncertain – times. With Brexit, the extended time for Australian election to be decided, the rise of Donald Trump, the disagreements in the South China Sea, we can feel that there is uncertainty all around us. These uncertain times drive very specific responses. Often, these responses are not the best possible responses for the individual or the society in which they exist. How do people respond to uncertainty? When people experience uncertainty, it can mean that the person is out of their comfort zone. When there is uncertainty, people struggle to decide on what to do moving forward. They get stuck, and often have a lack of skill or strategy in deciding how

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Leadership in the dark – leading in tough times

4 years ago 0 0 1534

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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The 8 things which will create a perfect storm in your business

4 years ago 0 0 1564

So you have done the company survey, or listened by the coffee machine.  It seems like the jungle drums are beating, and the natives are restless.  The executive team gets together and asks themselves “How did we get like this?”, and wonder at the emerging signs that the culture and engagement strategies have failed. What organisations often find is that the company is not living its stated values, the staff are hardly engaged and the culture has devolved to something just more civil than a cage fight.  And you wondered where your performance had gone? Does this sound familiar?  Too often issues with engagement and culture are identified after these problems are having a real impact on the business and its results.  So many organisations find themselves in trouble and wonder both how they got there, and how to get themselves out. Unfortunately, many organisations find themselves in the perfect

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Crisis communication -surviving the crash

4 years ago 0 0 1339

The recent tragic Air Asia crash is yet to be fully understood, and there are many who are directly and indirectly affected by this terrible event. At times like this, organisations need to respond to what has happened, and how they do this will earn them sympathy or support, or else turn the anger of those suffering, the media and the general public against them. So far, Tony Fernandes, the group CEO of Air Asia, has done an outstanding job.  His communication has been thoughtful, timely and well delivered.  It reminds me of Richard Branson, who was an outstanding crisis communicator during the Midlands train crash a few years back, as well as during the space plane test flight crash in 2014. The truth is that a leader and organisation without a crisis plan, and without a good crisis communication approach, will more than likely be out of business two

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Neuropsychology of a killing

4 years ago 0 0 810

In the United States a man stood on a street corner, breaking the law.  He was selling cigarettes. He had a large physical stature.  And he was African American. The police arrived, and shortly thereafter Mr Garner, the father of 6, was dead. Mr Garner did not pull a gun. He did not attack with a knife.  Yet, he was killed. After the events in Ferguson, the tragedy of this circumstance is magnified. Leaving aside a series of very important issues (race, inequality, justice in society, etc, etc), there are some critical issues that need to be discussed. For example, what must be happening for police officers so that killing this person was the best, or only, option?  Why is 30 times more dangerous to be a person of colour approached by an Anglo-descendant police officer than if you are white? Regardless of claims of inherent ‘racist’ attitudes on behalf

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Melbourne’s Chief Resilience Officer: A big step and big challenges

4 years ago 0 0 2265

We can build resilience at a personal level, in teams, organisations and communities.  I applaud the City of Melbourne for seeing the importance of resilience, and implementing the role of ‘Chief Resilience Officer’, supported as part of the 100 Resilient Cities Project of the Rockerfeller Foundation. I therefore read with interest the article in the Age (http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/four-big-problems-for-melbournes-478088-chief-resilience-officer-20140730-zyf3p.html) talking about the challenges that Melbourne’s incoming ‘Chief Resilience Officer’ will face. In fact, the challenges are at least three times bigger than what is mentioned in the article. Firstly, the article really only covers preparation and management of crisis scenarios that impact upon the city.  Of course, the role of the Chief Resilience officer must encourage proper planning and preparation for crisis and stress events, but this is just the start. For Melbourne as a city, as a community, and a network of businesses and organisations, the new Chief Resilience Officer will

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Building resilience in our communities

5 years ago 0 0 1260

Our world seems to be getting faster and faster, with more and more stress and pressure being applied to us all.  With so much stress – and the continuing emergence of crisis – how do we build resilience in our communities, so that together we can face the bigger pressures and help each other?  How do we help our communities to ‘spring back’ or ‘spring forward’ with resilience in response to stress or change? In previous posts, I have discussed resilience in individuals, teams and organisations.  However, resilience spreads beyond the ‘working world’ into the broader communities in which we exist.  We can read in the newspapers about how we are constantly under threat – weather, fire, floods, changes in economic conditions, unemployment, food, water and climate issues, war, terrorism, economic downturn and technological change. Our circumstances are always changing, and it seems that are always under constant stress (and

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Building Organisational Resilience

5 years ago 0 0 1091

Is your organisation resilient?  How have you build adaptability, and even the power to transform under stress, into the fabric of your business operations? In my first post on resilience, I covered the concept of personal resilience and the core skills that someone would need to be resilient.  In the second part of the series, we looked at how a resilient leader can create resilient teams. In this third part of the series, I want to take the idea of resilience into the context of organisations. Commonly, resilience in organisations is often equated to risk mitigation and continuance.  This forms a significant part of what resilience can be in organisations – and yet this is not the end of it. Risk mitigation and management forms a ‘context specific resilience’.  Generalised resilience is a deeper concept, where resilience forms part of the fabric of the organisation and is the standard way

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Resilient teams – thriving in crisis

5 years ago 0 1 3394

In a previous post I looked at resilience in individuals and the core skills that a leader needs if they are going to be resilient.  All teams, organisations and communities are made up of people, and a ‘utopia’ would be where every person had the coping and adaptation skills, so that their resilience would reflect in the teams, organisations and communities that male them up. However, it is true that even in teams with resilient individuals, this does not translate into the team being resilient with them coping and adapting in productive ways.  In this post, I would like to take a look at teams and how they can become resilient. Often the stress or change leads to the team  ‘breaking down’ into smaller cliques or into its individuals, that pull back from the greater group concept in attempt to personally cope.  Whilst this defensive strategy may appear appealing for

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Crisis – Are you ready for the inevitable?

5 years ago 0 0 770

If you are in business, you should expect a crisis. Whether your organisation survives depends on how you manage it. Is your business in crisis, or have you ever suffered one? Often, businesses don’t know exactly when a crisis begins. A crisis can emerge because of competitive factors, external market factors and change in context, or even from internal actions. A crisis can either make or break an organisation. The way the crisis is handled and managed says a lot about the underlying culture, the underlying values and standards, the resilience of the leadership and the preparedness of the organisation to deal openly and directly with issues as they emerge. A crisis well managed has the opportunity to build massive trust with the communities it serves. It allows the organisation to demonstrate its core values to its target prospects and customers. A crisis badly managed is a recipe for disaster,

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