Agile as a mindset or a methodology?

Agile as a mindset or a methodology?

2 weeks ago 0 0 45

There is so much to be gained by using positive project methodologies such as scrum or agile. It can positively change organisations when they take on modern project methodologies that turn old ways on their heads. The problem with these approaches is when they become fixed in the business as a methodology, rather than unleashing what they can being as a mindset. Let me explain. If I use an ‘agile methodology’, then I become process bound to do ‘sprints’ and all of the other specific process elements that are described in the agile process. Sure, I can get a certificate in agile process, and then become rigid around enforcing that process in my business. I have seen one sales team that used the scrum ‘daily standup meets’ with all of the hoopla, and a complete disinterest from the staff involved. However, because it was ‘in the process’, it was put

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Should they be in charge? (Assessing leadership)

3 weeks ago 0 0 49

The Australian opposition just selected as new leader, and the UK Tories are currently starting the process of finding a leader to replace Ms. May and take them forward. It is likely that the people selected for these roles are not chosen on their ‘ability to lead’, but rather may other elements.  In a ‘perfect world’, how do we go about assessing leadership, both in current leaders and leadership aspirants?  In truth, people are routinely terrible at identifying and selecting great leaders. Whilst we are desperate to identify them, install them and even emulate them, knowing what will make a great leader is fraught with human error. In our desire to find and become great leaders, we often get sucked into the myth that is the cult of leadership. Why are we suckers for the cult of leadership? Humans seem to have a need to raise onto pedestals people who

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The stories that can ruin your business (part 1)

2 years ago 0 0 738

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 0 716

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 0 779

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 0 778

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 0 761

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 0 690

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)

4 years ago 0 0 836

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

4 years ago 0 0 1417

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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