Archive for the ‘Leadership Development’ Category
11 tips for starting your own business #newbusinessadvice #SME #business. I wrote this to a mate recently, thought I’d share it:
1. Business is 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration.
2. It’s not about how good you are at what you do – that’s a given. It’s all about sales & marketing & relationships & getting the message out there. You can be the best, most passionate coach/trainer/whatever you do in business, but if no-one knows about it, you won’t earn any money at it!
3. Nil bastardae carborundae – don’t let the bastards (things in general) grind you down. Trust me, there’s plenty to grind on you. Keep getting back up, keep going. It’s hard. Tomorrow may be harder. But as Winston Churchill says: “When you’re going through hell – keep going”!
4. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else, unless it is a positive driver for you. It’s your life, your business, you do what you need to do, not what someone else needs you to do.
5. Listen to others, but ultimately believe in yourself. You are the only one walking in your shoes.
6. Keep your integrity, no matter how hard it is. Clients will come back to you because of it And you can sleep at night – & man, you need all the sleep you can get running your own business!
7. Get the best people around you that you can, people you can trust. You don’t have to know it all, you just need a combination of people who do
8. Trust your gut. If you go with your gut & you’re wrong, that’s likely to be a far less damaging outcome than if you go with the decision you made when you didn’t listen to it.
9. Vision without execution is just hallucination. Taking action is what counts. Any step, no matter how small, is a step forward, it’s the only way you’ll get there. If you don’t know what to do, doing something is always better than doing nothing.
10. There is no wrong decision. If it’s wrong, as long as you learn from it & don’t make the mistake next time, that’s good! As the saying goes, a collection of mistakes is what we later call experience.
11. Keep focused on what’s important to you – health, family, etc, and make time for it. No-one, ever, laid on their death bed & said “I wish I’d spent more time in the office”.
A Hippocratic Oath for Managers?
Exert from a Harvard Business Review article:
It’s Time to Make Management a True Profession
by Rakesh Khurana and Nitin Nohria
As a manager I serve as society’s fiduciary for one of its most important institutions: enterprises that bring people and resources together to create valued products and services that no single individual could produce alone. My purpose is to serve the public’s interest by enhancing the value my enterprise creates for society. Sustainable value is created when the enterprise produces an economic, social, and environmental output that is measurably greater than the opportunity cost of all the inputs it consumes. In fulfilling my role:
I recognize that any enterprise is at the nexus of many different constituencies, whose interests can sometimes diverge. While balancing and reconciling these interests, I will seek a course that enhances the value my enterprise can create for society over the long term. This may not always mean growing or preserving the enterprise and may include such painful actions as its restructuring, discontinuation, or sale, if these actions preserve or increase value.
I pledge that considerations of personal benefit will never supersede the interests of the enterprise I am entrusted to manage. The pursuit of self-interest is the vital engine of a capitalist economy, but unbridled greed can be just as harmful. Therefore, I will guard against decisions and behaviour that advance my own narrow ambitions but harm the enterprise I manage and the societies it serves.
I promise to understand and uphold, both in letter and in spirit, the laws and contracts governing my own conduct, that of my enterprise, and that of the societies in which it operates. My personal behaviour will be an example of integrity, consistent with the values I publicly espouse. I will be equally vigilant in ensuring the integrity of others around me and bring to attention the actions of others that represent violations of this shared professional code.
I vow to represent my enterprise’s performance accurately and transparently to all relevant parties, ensuring that investors, consumers, and the public at large can make well-informed decisions. I will aim to help people understand how decisions that affect them are made, so that choices do not appear arbitrary or biased.
I will not permit considerations of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, party politics, or social status to influence my choices. I will endeavour to protect the interests of those who may not have power, but whose well-being is contingent on my decisions.
I will manage my enterprise by diligently, mindfully, and conscientiously applying judgment based on the best knowledge available. I will consult colleagues and others who can help inform my judgment and will continually invest in staying abreast of the evolving knowledge in the field, always remaining open to innovation. I will do my utmost to develop myself and the next generation of managers so that the profession continues to grow and contribute to the well-being of society.
I recognize that my stature and privileges as a professional stem from the honour and trust that the profession as a whole enjoys, and I accept my responsibility for embodying, protecting, and developing the standards of the management profession, so as to enhance that respect and honour.
Exert from a Harvard Business Review article:
It’s Time to Make Management a True Profession
by Rakesh Khurana and Nitin Nohria
In our experience, the performance management process is one of the most misunderstood concepts, and one of the most poorly used.
Performance management, unfortunately, is usually used as a blunt instrument to get rid of a long-standing low-performing staff member. People thrown into the formal performance management process are already written off – the entire aim of the process is for the person to be sacked or pushed out of the organisation.
Rarely at this stage of the game is there any real interest in the actual development of the person. And often the attitude is that there is no time for that sort of rubbish anyway.
However most of the time, this formal performance management process seems to fail – and fail everyone. People then become cynical about the process – managers feel unsupported by the process & the organisation. They think, “there’s no point putting people into the process, it doesn’t work”. Staff feel extremely threatened by the process, and it leaves a stigma on them. So the process becomes even harder, & underperformance is ignored or tolerated.
The result is underperformers keep underperforming. This means less productivity in a resources scarce environment – everyone seems to be trying to do more with less these days. But in this situation, more resources are needed because the ones there aren’t being utilised properly.
More often than not, as budget is tight, everyone else on the team gets loaded up with the work. Or more of the rare and valuable budget (taxpayers’ money!) has to be spent on more people being paid to fill the gap & do the job.
In addition, keeping on an underperformer & not addressing the situation can effect and lower the productivity of the rest of the team – they can become a cancer. It creates resentment, & breeds unhappiness – and further reduces productivity. Often, those hard-working team members who are performing well think, “why should I bust a gut when Joe Bloggs is swanning along at 50% capacity & still getting paid the same?”
Then what usually happens, what we call “The Forgotten Good Syndrome”, kicks in: the excellent performers drop down a notch to very good, the very good go to good, the good go to satisfactory, & the satisfactory become more underperformers. And productivity drops further.
So, why does this happen? And what can be done to change it?
In regards to why – well, performance management is usually seen by the organisation, managers and staff members, as a single, stand-alone step i.e. the final step…out!
Organisations and managers regularly jump straight into Step 3 (see Figure 1) & miss out on Steps 1 & 2.
A staff member gets put directly into Step 3, the formal performance management process…then, usually quite justifiably, appeals that process. The appeal is often upheld…because it comes to light that the person has never (or rarely) been told they’re doing a poor – or good – job in the first place.
They usually have not had any direct, constructive and meaningful feedback about their lack of performance, and little or no constructive feedback as to what to do to get up to the required standard. On top of that, there is often not a culture of regular, positive, constructive, enabling, motivating feedback on a day-to-day basis, so staff don’t know what they are doing right or wrong. The result is the staff member keeps doing what they think is the right thing.
Often there are no clear expectations, benchmarks & boundaries of what is expected of a person. And if there are, many managers fail to enforce these benchmarks & boundaries until they have been so badly eroded & the line is so blurred, it feels like it’s too late to do anything about it.
If a person hasn’t been told honestly, directly, constructively and respectfully by their manager that they are underperforming in the first place, is it fair that they are thrown straight into a formal performance management process? Of course not – so it fails.
If the person hasn’t been told honestly, constructively & respectfully by their supervisor what to do to improve their performance, asked what help they need to step up to the required standard & then given that help – how can they be expected to step up to the required benchmark? Is it fair that they are thrown straight into a formal performance management process? Of course not – so it fails.
If they don’t even know what the required benchmark is, if there is no clear standard of ‘satisfactory’, realistically, how can they be expected to meet that benchmark? It’s hard to justify, so the performance management process fails.
Before we go any further, let me clarify one thing – this is not to say it is all the manager’s fault. Not at all.
The individual must also take responsibility for asking for feedback on their performance. For clarifying with their manager what the required benchmarks are. They must take responsibility for asking for feedback on their performance, even if the manager isn’t giving it. That is something that rarely happens in many places – there is often an entitlement mentality, when everything is the manager’s fault. This shouldn’t be so, it is a two way street.
However, the manager must take a significant burden of the responsibility, as this is their job after all! But, many managers are not equipped to do this – few are trained in how to do any of it, and many understandably are scared of doing it and shy away as a result. This exacerbates the problem.
And when underperformance hasn’t been addressed, for whatever reason, when someone can & does step up & starts constructively addressing it, it creates a lot of tension, resentment and backlash. People can feel singled out & persecuted, and wonder why it has suddenly happened when things have been running this way for years… So complaints are often made, and so managers also feel persecuted…, then often it all becomes too difficult & quietly gets pushed aside.
So, what can be done?
Well, a good performance management process should be a performance improvement process. It should ideally encompass the steps in Figure 1. If you have Steps 1 & 2 in the organisation, then:
- Underperformance will be a lot less prevalent, if it exists at all – staff and managers will know what is required, staff will know what they are doing well & what they need to improve & will be asking for help. The Forgotten Good Syndrome will be a rare disease! And as John McGrath says, “catch people doing something right!”
- Underperformers are identified early, and given every available assistance to be successful, to improve, up-skill and step up. And they normally do. People rarely come to work to do a bad job!
- If people continue to underperform, they are put into a formal performance management system that gives them every possible chance of success in improving.
- If they haven’t stepped up to the required benchmark, given they have had all of the assistance above, is it then fair that they are asked to leave the organisation? Yes, I think most people would agree it is.
- We end up with a fair, equitable performance improvement/performance management system that works – for everyone!
Please contact us (02 9474 1005 or email email@example.com) to find out more about our Performance Management & Performance Improvement Programs and how we can assist you develop Performance Management in your team and/or organisation.
Southern Cross Coaching & Development Pty Ltd (www.southerncrosscoaching.com.au) has worked with the Public Sector for many years, so we understand the nuances of the Public Sector and can work with you to achieve what you need.
A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.
Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. “The young executives were Shocked, but the boss continued.
“I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however, he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot.
But she asked him to be honest about what happened.
Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.
When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful — in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought,
“The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed – Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives,
“Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!
His name is Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed. “How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.
Then the CEO said,
“One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow”
All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you.
Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”
The Moral of the Story
* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation
So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.
|As with all fables, there are lessons for the enlightened reader. The ideal of the heroic supervisor has arisen in part from a Harvard Business Review article published in May 1996 where Larkin and Larkin wrote “frontline supervisors – not senior managers – are the opinion leaders in your organisation”.Many managers and HR professionals hold a misleading, but surprisingly persistent belief that supervisors are the primary source of influence in organisations.
Research by Voice Project at Macquarie University, however, presents a very different story.
Using research and consulting data from over 100,000 employees across over 2000 organisations, an extremely consistent pattern of results has been found showing that senior leaders hold far more sway over employee engagement than supervisors.
It is firmly believed that senior leaders are neglecting a critical component of their jobs if they do not recognise the profound impact they personally have upon the engagement of their employees. Much of the belief in the power of supervisors stems from the level of distrust between staff and senior leaders.
Figure 1 shows results from one specific client that assessed the levels of trust between staff and four levels of managers, as well as with co-workers.
Unsurprisingly, trust in co-workers (the immediate staff in one’s own work unit) was by far the highest, at 90 per cent favourable.
There follows a clear downward trend in trust as the levels of management became further removed.
Trust in senior executives only reached 57 per cent favourable.
Benchmarked against all other organisations in our database, these results are typical of most organisations.
The other primary argument in favour of supervisors is they are in more immediate and regular contact with most staff than senior leaders. In some ways this closeness of relationship appears to provide a convenient ‘out-clause’ for senior leaders, with many CEOs and general managers happily delegating to team leaders the role of managing relationships with staff. Such a decision is dangerously misguided.
In contrast to the poverty of trust in senior executives shown in Figure 1, Figure 2 shows the strong influence of senior executives upon employee engagement, in comparison to the far lower (but still significant and practically important) influence of supervisors.
The pattern of results in Figure 2 demonstrates it is the trust between staff and senior leaders that most impacts staff satisfaction, commitment and intention to stay.
While by no means ideal, staff can put up with a poor relationship with an immediate supervisor if they trust that senior leaders are looking out for the little guys throughout the organisation.
What do these findings indicate? It is clear the biggest gap and priority for most organisations is to build trust between staff and senior leaders. The quality of relationship between most staff and their immediate co-workers and supervisors is already of a reasonable quality, and the impact of these relationships is comparatively low. In contrast, the quality of relationship with senior leaders is worse despite the impact of this relationship being much greater.
These results speak to a need for CEOs, general managers and senior executives to acknowledge and embrace the critical role of relationship manager. Time in their busy diaries must be found for regularly meeting and communicating with staff. To give credit where credit is due, Larkin and Larkin emphasised the superiority of face-to-face communication over memos and emails. The influence is achieved through in-person visits to factory floors, toolbox sessions and town hall meetings. Of course, if such behaviour is irregular and seen to be insincere staff will pull further away. But if the behaviour is repeated and genuine, staff will wholeheartedly lend their bodies and souls to the CEO’s cause.
Recently, the leadership competencies most strongly associated with employee satisfaction were investigated. Surveying staff opinions of nearly 3000 leaders, the top three drivers of satisfaction with leaders were:
1) leaders openly involving staff in cooperative decision-making
2) leaders demonstrating empathy with the experiences of employees
3) leaders managing stress well and minimising the impact of their own stress levels upon employees.
Of course, other more task-oriented behaviours have a significant impact upon the productivity of employees and the strategic positioning of organisations. Nevertheless, these three behaviours highlight some of the ways senior leaders can most effectively build trust among their staff.
It is human nature to want to trust, but it is also human nature to not hand out trust too quickly or lightly. If our supervisors have earned our trust, that’s comforting. But if our senior leaders have earned our trust, that is profound. We shouldn’t dismiss the important role played by frontline supervisors, but the true heroes are the senior leaders who are able to balance an abundance of priorities and still build trust with all employees.
|Dr Peter Langford, MAHRI is the director of Voice Project, a research and consulting company based at Macquarie University that specialises in organisational surveys and the diagnosis of culture, leadership and engagement.|
The Only Thing That Really Matters:
Reprinted from Tony Schwartz, Harvard Business Review
Think for a moment of the last time you felt triggered — pushed into negative emotions by someone or something. Here, for example, are several of my triggers: feeling taken advantage of, not getting a response to an email I’ve sent to someone, and not being acknowledged for good work I’ve done.
We move into negative emotions — what we call the “Survival Zone” in our work at The Energy Project — when we feel a sense of threat or danger.
But what is the threat exactly? Over the past decade, my colleagues and I have asked thousands of our clients to describe something that consistently triggers them and then explain why.
Remarkably, we’ve found that a trigger can almost always be traced to the same root cause: the feeling of being devalued or diminished by someone else’s words or behaviour. Consider my triggers above.
The struggle to feel valued is one of the most insidious and least acknowledged issues in organizations. Most employees are expected to check their feelings at the door when they get to work. But try as we might, we can’t.
How we’re feeling — and most especially whether or not we feel acknowledged and appreciated — influences our behaviour, consumes our energy and affects our decisions all day long, whether we’re aware of it or not.
Our core emotional need is to feel valued. Without a stable sense of value, we don’t know who we are and we don’t feel safe in the world.
From an evolutionary perspective, the need to be valued is primal and survival-based. Sociologist Elijah Anderson respect as a key to the “code of the streets” in inner cities.
“The extent to which one person can raise himself up depends on his ability to put another person down,” Anderson explains. “Many inner-city young men in particular, crave respect to such a degree that they will risk their lives to attain and maintain it.”
It’s not much different in organizations. Across more than 200 studies of the effects of stress, researchers have found that the highest rises in cortisol levels — meaning the most pernicious “fight or flight” response — are prompted by “threats to one’s social acceptance, esteem and status.”
To feel valued (and valuable) is almost as compelling a need as food. The more our value feels at risk, the more preoccupied we become with defending and restoring it, and the less value we’re capable of creating in the world.
Doug Conant, the outgoing CEO of Campbell Soup and co-author of a wonderful new book, Touchpoints, is a rare example of a CEO who truly appreciates the relationship between personal value and the bottom line.
Over the past decade, Conant has spent at least an hour a day writing between 10 and 20 handwritten notes to people in his company — welcoming new hires, thanking employees for their contributions, and congratulating leaders for specific accomplishments.
“Toughness on issues, tenderness with people,” is Conant’s mantra.
Great leaders, I’m convinced, are sensitive to people’s deep need to feel valued because they recognize the same need — and the experience of vulnerability it prompts — in themselves.
When Conant took over as Campbell’s CEO in 2001, the company’s employee engagement scores were among the worst of any Fortune 500 company Gallup had ever polled. For every two engaged employees, one was disengaged.
Gallup’s gold standard for companies is 12 engaged employees for every 1 who is disengaged. Today, Campbell’s ratio is 17 to 1. Since Conant took over, the company’s sales and earnings growth has consistently outperformed the majority of food companies in the S&P, as well as the S&P 500 itself.
Of course, there still aren’t many leaders like Conant, so what do you do if you don’t feel valued in your organization? The answer is to take the matter into your own hands. It’s not the other person’s behaviour that triggers you, after all, but rather the way you interpret that behaviour, and how it makes you feel about yourself.
That’s actually good news, because it suggests you’re not a helpless victim. Rather than focusing attention on the other person when you feel triggered, try turning your attention inward.
First quiet your body and defuse the trigger by taking a deep breath. Next, ask yourself these questions: “Why am I feeling my value is at stake here, and is it really?” Finally, consider how you can hold onto your value without attacking the value of the person you feel threatened by. Blame merely keeps the trigger and the negative emotion alive.
Our challenge is always to reconnect to our own core value — even when someone else’s criticism cuts deep. What that requires, first and foremost, is compassion for ourselves.
Are you one of the many people who have set a personal/business/work goal or a resolution, or said you’ll do something – even something small, but never actually achieved it – or even got started on it?
Well, welcome to a very, very large club! Many, many people are in the same situation! Why is that?
There are many reasons of course, and fear, lack of confidence, lack of self-belief etc all play their parts. There are many factors in the equation. However, all these things have one problem in common.
And it is a problem that can be overcome! You can get you through those fear & other factors!
The underlying problem is getting into action – taking the first steps on the journey.
People often get ‘goal shy’: it often all looks too much of an insurmountable obstacle & all too difficult, & more often than not, people don’t know where or how to start. Then, as we all know, nothing happens. We never take even the first steps to get things started. And that starts to erode that self-confidence further… it can be a vicious circle.
The old saying by Ghandi that “a journey of 1000 miles starts with one step” may be a cliché, but it’s true. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time*!
I did a fire-walk a few years ago, & the hardest thing was taking that first step – once I was on there, I most definitely got going & kept going!
Helping you take those first steps is often what it is about. Taking those first small actions – getting going with the first small steps on the journey.
Getting going & taking action can help overcome your fears, boost confidence, empower you to feel like you CAN get there! Then you can take more steps, bigger steps, & before you know it, you’re well on the way to achieving that goal without really thinking about it.
Hold yourself accountable to get into action! Use your friends or family, whoever, reward or penalty, to hold yourself accountable to DO things! Once you get going, things start to roll – for example, you want to get a pay rise, but are scared or don’t know how to go about it.
If you think about the very first steps that you need to take, then you are likely to get it happening. The first step is likely to be booking a meeting with your boss to discuss it – once that is in your – and his/her – diary you will be much more likely to get going on working out what you have to say, writing a case, etc, because there is something to hold you accountable to do something!
There is an online system that will get you going & get you holding yourself accountable: “Smifffffy – Getting things from ‘to do’ to ‘DONE’ ®” is about holding you accountable for the next actions you need to take. It is designed to get you focused on reward or penalty for the actions you need to take by you holding yourself personally accountable, or better still through getting your friends (or enemies!) involved to hold you accountable.
Most of the time, we don’t do things because there is no-one to hold us accountable, or there is not that really compelling thing to get us doing what may not be the most pleasant of tasks.
Whether you need a system to help you, or you can do it on your own, the biggest key to achieving what you want to achieve it just get started! Take that first a small step! Take some action! Get moving! And get people to hold you accountable for those actions!
You’ll be amazed how far down the road you’ll be or how much of the elephant you’ve eaten* before you even realise it!
"Positive thinking is great - combining it with practical, positive DOING is what gets results" Smifffffy
Go to www.smifffffy.com.au – log-in & get yourself going. It will get you into action & doing the little steps that will get you going to achieve what you need to achieve. You can also use it as a personal reminder system. It uses emails & SMS reminders, so you have the information & reminder on your phone wherever you go! Get your friends involved to hold you accountable to do things – and have some fun along the way!
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it" Ancient Chinese proverb
(* if your goal is to lose weight, maybe start the 1000 mile journey rather than eating an elephant !)
3 Critical Keys for Organisational Coaching Success – click here to download the pdf document
3 Critical Keys for Organisational Coaching Success
No matter what type of organization you are in, in my experience there are 3 critical things that need to happen for organisational coaching to be successful.
However, they are often the 3 things that many coaching projects miss completely, and why in many cases, coaching has sometimes been seen as a ‘cosy chat’ rather than getting the real, very powerful results it can manifest for an organisation.
These 3 critical aspects all need to happen to ensure the most successful outcome to a coaching program. None is more important than the other as such: I see them as equal sides of what I call the Triangle of Organisational Coaching Success (Figure 1).
If any one of the three is out of balance, at best the sides of the Triangle will not fit together properly and the coaching program outcomes will be adversely affected: at worst it may collapse and break down entirely.
This can result in significant damage to the organisational development culture, even the organization itself. And will almost certainly reduce the effectiveness of future coaching in the organization – even total loss of faith in the coaching process entirely.
Each of these areas is a topic in itself, which are covered in more depth in other articles, but to briefly cover each one:
1. Correct Coach/Coachee Match
In a 2008 American Management Association and the Institute for Corporate Productivity survey, participants were asked to what extent their organizations used certain criteria to match coaches with coachees. Almost three-quarters of respondents (74%) said matching decisions were either frequently or a great deal based on finding a coach with the right expertise to address specific issues.
Expertise in itself is important, of course, and must be a factor in selecting a coach match. However, to be the sole deciding factor in matching a coach & coachee is like expecting an employee to be the right match for your organization based purely on their skills & not taking into account personality, cultural fit, working methodology, values, etc. Unfortunately many organizations do this with their staff too, which explains why many hires don’t work out (but that’s a topic for another article!).
Many organizations leave the choice of coach to the coachee, which means the coachee gets the coach they want. That can be ok if the coachee is very self aware & critically self-appraised about their development… but many aren’t (which is why they often need coaching!).
To ensure maximum success from a Coaching Program, the coachee needs to have the coach they need… as opposed to want. The two may be very different. Also, the coachee must have the coach the orgnisation needs for the coachee, to ensure maximum success for the organization and hence the individual.
2. Specific Outcomes
I learnt very early on in running organisational coaching programs that without very clear outcomes for an organisational coaching program (i.e. where the organization is engaging a coach to coach an employee) things can go horribly wrong!
When I say clear outcomes, I’m not talking about goal setting here – that’s usually part of the coaching itself. What I mean is when the organization is paying for coaching to develop an individual or team.
In this case, the organization usually has a reason for engaging the coach & usually has a particular outcome or outcomes in mind they want the coachee to achieve. There are unlikely to be cases where there aren’t specific requirements: even if a coach is engaged for an Executive, say, purely as a sounding board, there are still usually outcomes required as a result.
Getting very clear on what these outcomes are is critical – for the success of the organization, for the success of the individual, and for the reputation of the coaching industry as a whole.
Otherwise the coaching can again end up as just a “cozy chat” – which anecdotal evidence I hear says many “Executive Coaching” programs seem have been. And research indicates similarly: in a 2010 Executive Coaching Survey by The Conference Board (http://www.slideshare.net/ledak/2010-exec-coaching-survey-the-conf-board) research showed on average only 37% of organizations formally evaluated the effectiveness of the coaching engagement.
Those “Executive Coaching” programs may have benefited the individual, but that benefit often may not be evident to the organization that has invested in the Executive Coaching.
In my opinion, a lot of damage has been done to the coaching industry because of the lack of clarity of organisational outcomes for the coaching, so the perceived value of the coaching has not been evident. And a lot of damage can be done to the coach and coachee too!
Calculating a bottom line return on investment in itself for any coaching is difficult – especially as a great coach will be getting the individual to “learn how to fish” rather than “give them fish” so the part a great coach plays in the development may be masked.
Getting clear on the outcomes the organization wants so there is a clear and visible outcome is therefore crucial for everyone.
3. Specific Measures of Success
I’ve already stated that getting clear on specific outcomes is critical. However, the next foundation part of the Triangle of Organisational Coaching Success is specific measures of success for those outcomes.
Clear outcomes are great, but how do you know those outcomes have been achieved without a measure?
This sounds obvious, & on the face of it, sounds quite easy. However, when it comes to the nitty gritty of it, this is probably the toughest area of all to nail down.
Ask an organisational Executive how he/she will know the coachee has achieved the agreed specific outcome, & often the answer has more wool than New Zealand!
“I’ll see that the coachee is doing it/doing well/achieving it”… Or “my customers will be happy”.
“Ok, what is the specific measure of that?” “How will you actually see/measure the coachee achieving it?” “How will you know your customers are happy?” “What is the measure of that happiness?” are usually my responses. And they can be difficult questions to answer, and often take a lot of thinking about.
Measures of success are not easy things to get out of a client in an organisational coaching situation. It often takes considerable coaching skill in itself to tease the answers out of the stakeholder engaging the coach – especially when that stakeholder isn’t expecting to be held accountable & to do a lot of thinking themselves, which is quite often the case.
However, it’s worth the effort. Once these measures have been set, the coachee, the coach & the organization know what they are aiming for, & the coaching is a lot more targeted and hence a lot more effective.
In summary, Organisational Coaching can be a real minefield for the coach, the coachee and the organisational stakeholder engaging the coach if things aren’t done properly.
There are, of course other factors the come into the equation, but the key foundation of an organisational coaching job has to be the Triangle of Organisational Coaching Success.
If any one side of that triangle is not there, then the coaching is at best likely to be more ineffective than effective, and at worst, a disaster that could undermine & damage the coachee, the reputation of & confidence in future coaching and even in learning & development support in general in the organization. Not to mention the damage done to the coach, and worst of all, the coachee, who often comes out of things very badly.
So, next time you are doing any organisational coaching, whether you represent the organization, or you are the coach or coachee, make sure you’ve built in all sides of the Triangle of Organisational Coaching Success.
Simon Smith founded & runs Southern Cross Coaching & Development Pty Ltd.
Southern Cross Coaching & Development (http://www.southerncrosscoaching.com.au ) has a rigorous process to develop clear coaching outcomes and measures of success. We also have a unique, proven Coaching Matching Matrix to match coaches to coachees – and we have never got a coach match wrong since we started business in 2006.
Southern Cross Coaching & Development has a team of 15+ qualified coaches & trainers and is one of the very few organizations that offers a 100% money-back guarantee^ around their coaching & training. And we have never had to refund any money since we started in business in 2006.
Southern Cross Coaching & Development (http://www.southerncrosscoaching.com.au ) has been coaching in Public & Private Sector organisations and SMEs since 2006, so has in-depth experience of organisational coaching (Career Coaching, Executive/Leadership Coaching, Emotional Intelligence Coaching, Resilience Coaching, Business Coaching, etc). And prior to that, the Founder, Simon Smith, was Business Development Manager for a national coaching organisation.
^ The only conditions are: providing participants attend voluntarily, our invoice is paid on time, & in-depth feedback is given if the guarantee is invoked as to what we could do better next time.
At a recent coaching session, I was talking with the client about how the new leaders in their business want – and need – to be viewed when they take over the reins of the company from the two owners (I am currently doing a succession plan for them).
One of the owners sent me this cartoon after the session (as a joke, I hasten to add, it is definitely NOT indicative of the client’s business – far from it!).
However, it IS indicative of many organizations – I’ve been in a couple of them myself!
And I’m sure many people reading this can identify with the view from both looking down from a leadership perspective and looking up as an employee. And many people in middle management can no doubt identify with the view from both directions – middle management is a tough place to be sometimes!
Whatever your situation, the one very important thing to remember is this:
Take away all the staff working in the company (or team), & what do you have? Yes, the usual “a lot less hassle!” type of jokes come to mind, but the serious point is that without the people, all you have is an empty building with a sign on the wall outside.
Without people, there is no business.
That applies both ways – for leaders, no staff = no business. But for many staff, no leaders = no business too… which = no job.
Leaders often forget their personal responsibility in the organization, & blame their staff.
Staff often forget their personal responsibility as a staff member, & absolve that responsibility and blame everyone & anyone else.
Leaders, you are personally responsible for making things happen. You are responsible for your staff. It sounds basic, but so many leaders forget their basic responsibilities. Leaders, you are responsible for forging & driving the strategy; you are responsible for delegating the work and following up to make sure it is done on time & to the required standard; you are responsible for recruiting, training, developing, motivating, inspiring & looking after your staff. If they are not performing, or if they are performing well, you are ultimately responsible. Whatever company you’re in, these things are key elements of your basic job spec as a leader.
Staff, you are personally responsible for delivering on what you say you will deliver on. You are responsible for asking questions if you don’t understand; you are responsible for asking for resources if you don’t have them; you are responsible for asking for work if you’re not getting what you want; you are responsible for saying if you can’t meet the deadline. Whatever company you’re in, these things are key elements of your basic job spec as a staff member.
Both sides – leaders and staff – are personally and equally responsible for the outcomes.
When an organization recognizes this, & both leaders and staff take on that personal responsibility, that’s when the organization flies – not just in terms of productivity & profit, but also in terms happier people, a more stable workplace with low staff turnover, knowledge sharing, etc. That is true teamwork – a place where all people feel empowered & enjoy coming to work.
That’s why the productivity & profit goes up!
So, to conclude:
Leaders – stop cr@pping on people & expecting them to like it! Take responsibility for your side of the equation & fulfill your basic job spec.
Leaders aren‘t created overnight. Strong leadership is something you need to develop every day. And remember, perception IS the reality!
Remember your staff are your organisation. You need to understand the likely impact f your decisions & behaviour on your team. You must have a full awareness of your leadership style – and continually assess what your team’s perception of you is. It really is all about them, not you.
Staff – stop whining about the a#seholes above you. Take personal responsibility for your side of the deal & fulfill your basic job spec.
And if neither of you can do those things, then maybe it’s time for you to find a new perch!