Leadership lessons from the Royal Navy

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on januari 29th, 2013 by admin

This branch of the British armed services consciously fosters cheerfulness and nourishes its collective memory. Business executives should take note.

Britain’s Royal Navy is a disciplined command-and-control organization that moves across 140 million square miles of the world’s oceans. Although few environments are tougher than a ship or submarine, I’ve been struck, while conducting research on the Royal Navy, by the extent to which these engines of war run on “soft” leadership skills. For officers leading small teams in constrained quarters, there’s no substitute for cheerfulness and effective storytelling. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that naval training is predicated on the notion that when two groups with equal resources attempt the same thing, the successful group will be the one whose leaders better understand how to use the softer skills to maintain effort and motivate.

I believe that the same principle holds true for business. In this article, I hope to translate for business leaders—like the ones I’ve gotten to know throughout my career as a business-school professor and communications adviser—some of what I learned while writing the Royal Navy’s first new leadership handbook since 1963. That handbook,1 published last year, is based on research of unprecedented length and breadth, as well as my own direct observation of officer training and life at sea.

Among the many softer leadership skills important to the Royal Navy, I highlight here the aforementioned cheerfulness and storytelling, which to me were both unexpected and broadly applicable. While the means of applying these lessons will, of course, differ by organization and individual, reflecting on them should stimulate fresh thinking by senior executives about the relationship between soft management skills and superior performance.

Cheerfulness counts
No one follows a pessimist, and cheerfulness is a choice. It has long been understood to influence happiness at work and therefore productivity.2 The cheerful leader in any environment broadcasts confidence and capability, and the Royal Navy instinctively understands this. It is the captain, invariably, who sets the mood of a vessel; a gloomy captain means a gloomy ship. And mood travels fast. Most ships’ crews are either smaller than, or divided into, units of fewer than 150 members—near the upper end of Dunbar’s Number, suggested by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar as the extent of a fully functioning social group.3

The Royal Navy assiduously records how cheerfulness counts in operations. For example, in 2002 one of its ships ran aground, triggering the largest and most dangerous flooding incident in recent years. The Royal Navy’s investigating board of inquiry found that “morale remained high” throughout demanding hours of damage control and that “teams were cheerful and enthusiastic,” focusing on their tasks; “sailors commented that the presence, leadership, and good humor of senior officers gave reassurance and confidence that the ship would survive.”4 Turning up and being cheerful, in other words, had a practical benefit.

How do you teach cheerfulness? The Royal Navy takes every informal opportunity to demonstrate its usefulness. To fill the dead time that invariably occurs during training exercises and other routine activities, for example, navy personnel routinely hold informal games or contests. These games, known as Dogwatch Sports (after the dogwatch periods of duty in the evening, when the entire ship’s company is typically awake), are often trivial and nonsensical—passing a stick, for example, across an ever-widening divide. But besides cheerfulness, they encourage speed of thought, an outward-looking mind-set, and a willingness to talk. Cheerfulness in turn affects how people sit, stand, and gesticulate: you can see its absence when heads are buried in hands and eye contact is missing.

Royal Marine commanders understand particularly well that cheerfulness is fueled by humor: one I met required his whole company to “sing for their supper” by telling a joke—any joke—in front of their fellow marines prior to eating. That’s part of a wider navy culture that expects everyone, from the top down to the newest and rawest sailor, to be able and willing to stand up and talk, in an impromptu fashion, about what they’re doing. Such a skill is especially prized in an organization that moves people quickly and often (typically, every two years) and requires them, perhaps as a matter of life and death, to hit the ground running in their new posts.

The practice of “banter”—a peculiarly British form of playful, if gently mocking, communication—is also openly encouraged as an upbeat and informal way to regulate relationships and break down hierarchy. Banter occurs at all ranks and quite often between them. A Royal Navy driver will talk more readily to a second sea lord than the average corporate employee will engage his or her CEO in an elevator. Indeed, one CEO I know described the social awkwardness of riding one with his (clearly discomfited) colleagues by confiding: “Everyone acts as if they’re dating my eldest daughter!”

Several times, I personally experienced the social cohesion that banter helps promote, most memorably on mountaintop exercises with the Royal Marines. News of my snoring had preceded me at nightfall, but embarrassment quickly gave way to a feeling of social inclusion in a group of people I had never previously met. Banter is always tempered by respect for others.
Conversely, empty optimism or false cheer can hurt morale. As one naval captain puts it, “Being able to make the uncertain certain is the secret to leadership. You have to understand, though, that if you are always über-optimistic, then the effect of your optimism, over time, is reduced.”
The relevance of many of these techniques to the corporate workplace is obvious, not least in a world of rapid job rotation, team-based work, and short-term projects that are typically set up in response to sudden competitive challenges and require an equally fleet-footed response.

Keep spinning ‘dits’
The Royal Navy has a highly efficient informal internal network. Leadership information and stories known as dits are exchanged across it—between tiers of management, generations, practices (branches), and social groups. With the help of dits, the Royal Navy’s collective consciousness assimilates new knowledge and insights while reinforcing established ones. Visitors to naval establishments or ships are often invited for a few dits; crews are encouraged to share theirs.

These dits are one way the Royal Navy fosters what a business would call its culture, or philosophy. Writing in 1966, long-time McKinsey managing director Marvin Bower observed, “The literature on company philosophy is neither very extensive nor very satisfactory.”5 I fear that the same is true today and that many commercial organizations would benefit from thinking more deliberately about how to foster what in effect is their collective memory. A bust of a long-dead founder in a company’s entrance hall is no substitute for the way the Royal Navy meticulously charts its informal experiences of leadership and broadcasts them throughout leadership training. The experience of a special-forces commander in tackling Somali pirates—and his emphasis on the 40 separate scenarios his team contemplated ahead of the engagement—underlined to everyone listening the Royal Navy’s meticulous attention to detailed and exhaustive planning.

The Royal Navy allocates time and space for these exchanges: two examples are Stand Easy (a midmorning tea break) and ship’s company Adventurous Training (an off-site expedition in which a ship’s department—a group that could include anywhere from 12 to 100 people—participates in team and individual activities such as mountaineering, exploring caves, and kayaking). And the long-standing messes where personnel can meet and talk to colleagues have only recently been mirrored by corporations in the setting up of attractive communal spaces, dubbed village greens in one organization I know. The value of informal dits is also supported by the Royal Navy’s collective formal memory, or long-wave culture. At every naval establishment, two books are on display in the entrance, both open at the day’s date. One is a book of remembrance for those killed in action on that day; the other details past naval activities on that date. Both draw on the Royal Navy’s 400-year history.

There’s a fine line, of course, between respecting timeless values that can sustain an organization when times get tough and becoming a prisoner of the past or desensitized to changes in the forces at work on that organization. The power of the Royal Navy approach is to focus on what individuals actually did in situations big and small, thereby providing inspiration for new challenges while acknowledging that the nature of those challenges and leaders’ responses to them are an ever-changing, never-ending story.

In my experience, many organizations that lack a strong collective memory wind up ignoring their own wisdom in uncertain times. They’re also more likely to follow the latest nostrum on leadership without digging into their past, thereby deskilling themselves. One antidote is making time for storytelling: low-tech oral history or cutting-edge social-media platforms that give today’s leaders new opportunities to spin dits on a regular basis. Finally, although periodic, the process of commissioning and overseeing a corporate history can be of great benefit to the ethos of an organization—an invaluable opportunity for inviting staff members to consider what it has done, what it stands for, and how it does business.

In meetings on HMS Victory with his officers in the days leading up to the decisive Battle of Trafalgar, in 1805, Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson presented his plans to defeat the allied French and Spanish fleets off the coast of Spain. On October 9, 12 days before the battle, he outlined these plans in a secret memorandum, which encapsulated the strategy discussed with his captains. To this day, at least one senior officer in the Royal Navy carries with him at all times a laminated copy of Nelson’s memorandum—a document remarkable for the strategic and tactical novelty of its contents. Nelson broke with the conventional naval wisdom of his day by calling for his ships to attack the enemy fleet perpendicularly, in two discrete columns, rather than forming a single line of battle and attacking the enemy in a parallel formation to maximize fields of fire. This “Nelson touch” proved pivotal in dividing—and destroying—the larger enemy fleet.
The memorandum also outlined Nelson’s principles for fighting the upcoming engagement, among them a deep appreciation of the uncertainties involved: “Something must be left to chance; nothing is sure in a Sea Fight beyond all others. Shot will carry away the masts and yards of friends as well as foes.” And the memorandum communicated succinctly the idea that individual commanders are better able to master changing conditions when they are empowered with the flexibility to make strategic decisions in the heat of battle—advice as sound today as it was in 1805: “The Second in Command will in all possible things direct the movements of his Line, by keeping them as compact as the nature of the circumstances will admit. Captains are to look to their particular Line as their rallying point. But, in case Signals can neither be seen or perfectly understood, no Captain can do very wrong if he places his Ship alongside that of an Enemy.”

To reiterate, the key is focusing on what individuals did in response to their own unique circumstances, not fixating on a specific set of strategies or tactics. One senior Royal Navy chief carries with him a small laminated copy of Nelson’s Trafalgar memorandum (see sidebar, “The ‘Nelson touch’”), which summarizes the plans discussed by the Royal Navy’s Vice Admiral Nelson and his captains nearly two weeks before the battle.6 The memorandum set out Nelson’s intent, strategy, resources, contingency plans, and inspiration—the essence of mission command, a forerunner of project management and the way most military operations are still run. Much has changed in the two centuries since Nelson’s historic victory. Still, in today’s crowded sea lanes, as much as at Trafalgar, the commander’s intent must be understood by everyone, whatever his or her role. How many organizations have that degree of clarity at an operational, tactical, and strategic level?

Navy life has created a style of leadership that fosters trust, respect, and collective effort. Softer skills such as cheerfulness, storytelling, and the creation of a collective memory—all of which make indispensable contributions to the effectiveness of ships and fleets—merit serious reflection by business leaders, too.

Source: McKinsey Quaterly, January 2013
Author: Andrew St George (Andrew St. George is a senior fellow at Aberystwyth University’s School of Management and Business, in the United Kingdom. He is a corporate adviser and author of numerous publications on business and communications, including Royal Navy Way of Leadership (Cornerstone Publishing, June 2012)).

Tips för att effektivisera ert ledningsgruppsarbete

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete on januari 27th, 2013 by admin

What “Corporate Culture” really means, and why so many companies don’t get it

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on januari 26th, 2013 by admin

“How important is it for your success that you have the right corporate culture”? It is a common issue in dialogue with my clients.
Often the answer is that it is “crucial” and “very important for us.”

Then we discuss questions like: Describe culture today? How would you make it evolve over the next 3-5 years? And upon what goals do you measure progress? And if it is so “critical”, how do you target and reward your managers based upon their individual ability to truly ensure that the right, and decided upon, culture is implemented successfully?

Today, it is increasingly important to decide what company culture you want to succeed. Eg to attract and retain the right people and the right skills.
Then, it is noteworthy that most of the companies we support lack:
1. A sufficiently well-defined picture of what culture they want from a purely strategic perspective.
2. Clear objectives for culture.
3. Effective ways to measure and monitor progress.
4. Clear objectives for managers.

If today’s industry truly believe that the right corporate culture is so critical for success, it is time to take the operational consequences of this and work actively with the cultural issues!

For more information on how you can work with these important questions – please contact me here.

For more reading about company culture:

I was supposed to be an Anthropologist. Seriously. While completing my undergrad in Anthro, I was President of the students’ Anthropology Society. (Yep, I was that cool). So, you’ll understand that the topic of organizational culture is of particular interest to me.

And organizational culture is having its HR moment right now…articles, blog posts, seminars- everyone seems to be talking about culture! That’s why it’s especially unfortunate that we are so sloppy when it comes to what we mean by ‘culture’.

Prescriptions for how we can change our organization’s culture are tossed around like recipes, with barely a mention of what we mean when we say ‘culture’. This is not just about semantics. It’s actually really important: sloppy thinking leads to sloppy actions, and frankly, that’s reflected in too much of the current discourse about organizational culture. As a profession that still struggles with gaining the credibility we deserve, HR simply can’t afford to be so imprecise about something we claim is so important.

So, What is Culture?
Well, that’s a question that continues to be open to debate, but let’s not get existential. For our purposes we can draw on some key concepts from the social sciences that can be used as tools in thinking about what we mean by ‘organizational culture’:
1.Culture is enacted: that is, culture is continuously created by every member of your organization, through their day-to-day participation in the organization. It’s dynamic, shared, crowd-sourced; not static and unchanging.
2.Culture is “how we do things here”. It provides members with (largely unspoken) rules for how they should behave to gain and maintain social ‘membership’ in the organization.
3.Culture is manifested in a variety of ways, including:
Language –shared words or labels your organization uses for things.
Rituals – such as Town Hall meetings, the summer BBQ, award ceremonies etc
Dress code – how people are expected to dress in the course of doing their work
Symbols – the meaning attached to corporate symbols
Decision making – how important organizational decisions are made and communicated
Conflict resolution – how conflicts are expected to be handled- discussed or avoided?
Status- who is recognized and esteemed, both formally and informally?

So, to summarize, this is (to some degree) a circular process: culture, or “the way we do things around here”, is created collectively by an organization’s members, whose actions are then guided by the shared culture, and by acting in accordance with the culture they further legitimize and reinforce it.

What Culture is Not:
1.It’s not your employer brand: that’s a targeted, tailored message for an audience. Your organization’s culture is not necessarily what you say your organization’s culture is.
2.Culture is not monolithic. It’s dynamic, it’s crowdsourced. It’s not something you take out of a box and sell to your employees during orientation. They (and you) are creating and recreating it every day.
3.Because culture is transmitting from, to, and between the members of your organization every day (not from one central point), it’s actually quite difficult to change culture without a critical mass of people consistently ‘transmitting’ the new culture.

Why It’s REALLY Important That We Lose the Sloppy ‘Culture’ Thinking
I keep seeing blog posts, articles, webinars and presentations directed at HR people that use the word ‘culture’ to mean a whole variety of superficial, simple things that are not culture. These articles are often advancing the idea that culture can and should be changed to give an organization a competitive advantage, increase engagement, decrease turnover, etc. etc.

But this sloppy thinking about what culture is means that prescriptions based upon that thinking are at best half-baked, and sometimes total nonsense (sorry, but I don’t think that’s an exaggeration). If HR is going to claim (or be handed) yet another mantle, that of ‘Organizational Culture expert’, then we need to do much, much better at defining what culture is, what it is not, and to think critically about why, if and how organizational culture change efforts should be undertaken.

Let’s Avoid This Sloppy Thinking About Culture!
This is a handful of the sloppiest ideas that are floating around out there like bad viruses. Avoid the sloppy!

1. Culture Must be Homogenous Across the Organization
I’ve read stuff that takes as its underlying premise that an organization’s culture needs to be uniform across the entire workforce in order for leaders to effectively change, harness and use culture as an advantage.

Warning: If you are employed in a place where the culture is uniform across the entire workforce, I regret to inform you that you are not part of an organization, you are a part of a cult. Don’t drink that glass of Kool-aid! Don’t marry Tom Cruise! Just pack your bag and get out now. And then repeat after me: culture is not uniform, it is not monolithic, because organizations are made up of human beings, not robots.

Nor should you want your organization’s culture to be uniform:
“We’re an innovative technology company with a culture that rewards entrepreneurial risk-takers. Our whole finance team really embraces the culture- three of them went to jail last week!”

Internal inconsistencies and subcultures exist within any culture- and usually that’s okay. The sub-culture in a department or team encourages identification amongst members of that team, it can bind groups together, and it’s often adaptive for that particular group, given the demands and constraints of their specialized function.

2. Having a Team Building or Social Event is a Great way to Change Culture
Oh boy, where to start with this one….

Warning: Sending your employees on a team-building social event will not change your culture any more than sending the Amish to a movie will change theirs. Social events can (theoretically anyway) impact morale and team dynamics, but that is not the same thing as culture! Culture is not so superficial that a couple of events can create any kind of lasting, strategic change.
And frankly, if your CEO thinks it’s a good idea to spend a bunch of cash on social events as a strategy to produce the vaguely defined outcome of ‘culture change’ , you have bigger problems than your organizational culture…

3. HR Can Change an Organization’s Culture
I wish this one were true, but it is definitely not. Just like employee engagement, retention and a host of other initiatives that (for better or worse) get handed to HR, we cannot hope to implement culture change alone. Because culture is enacted, dynamic and crowd-sourced, culture change should be thought of less like surgery, and more like conducting an orchestra, where the players are creating something together. You can’t just unilaterally change culture; you need your ‘players’ to willingly start playing a new tune.

Come back to visit for the 2nd and 3rd installments of my holiday ‘Culture Rant’:
2.DIY Corporate Ethnology -how to assess your organization’s culture in a more systematic less sloppy way
3.To what degree is culture change possible, and how it might be accomplished

What do you think about all this Organizational Culture talk? Is it a buzz-word, or something that HR and organizations should seek to engineer?

Source: Business Insider, January 2013
Author: Jane watson, Talent Vanguard (for more information)
Read more

Föreläsningstillfälle i norrland!

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Lectures / Föreläsningar on januari 25th, 2013 by admin

Den 23 mars föreläser jag om “Snöplogen”, eller grundpelarna i ett framgångsrikt ledarskap, i Luleå. Du kommer att få dels en grundstruktur för ett framgångsrikt ledarskap, dels ett antal konkreta verktyg för att öka ditt genomslag, din effektivitet och ditt resultat som ledare. Kommer du?

Top ten mistakes managers make managing peope

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on januari 20th, 2013 by admin

Many managers lack fundamental training in managing people. But, even more importantly, managers lack the values, sensitivity, and awareness needed to interact effectively all day long with people. How important is it to help managers succeed? Beyond description. Managers and how they manage their reporting staff set the tone for your entire business operation. People leave managers, not jobs or employers.

Select Managers for Managing People
In a job description for a manager, core job functions, traits, and abilities are listed. With this as a guide, manager selection should focus on both the management skills and the candidates’ cultural fit. Within the cultural fit component of your interview and selection process, a candidate for a manager position must demonstrate that he or she has beliefs, values, and a work style that are congruent with those of your organization.

In a people-oriented, forward looking organization, you’ll want to select managers who exhibit these characteristics.
•Value people
•Believe in two-way, frequent effective communication and listening
•Want to create an environment in which employees are empowered to take charge of their jobs
•Able to hold people accountable and responsible without punitive measures
•Demonstrate leadership and clear direction
•Believe in teamwork
•Place the customer at the center of their reason for existence and regard reporting staff as customers

Mistakes Managers Make Managing
With all of this in mind about managers, preventing management mistakes and dumb decisions is paramount for a successful organization. Do you want to become a better manager? Here are the managing mistakes you most want to notice, prevent, and avoid.

•Fail to get to know employees as people: Developing a relationship with reporting employees is a key factor in managing. You don’t want to be your employees’ divorce counselor or therapist, but you do want to know what’s happening in their lives. When you know where the employee is going on vacation or that his kids play soccer, you are taking a healthy interest in your employees’ lives. Knowing that the dog died, expressing sympathy, or that her daughter won a coveted award at school make you an interested, involved boss. Knowing employees will make you a better manager, a manager who is more responsive to employee needs, moods, and life cycle events.

•Fail to provide clear direction: Managers fail to create standards and give people clear expectations so they know what they are supposed to do, and wonder why they fail. If you make every task a priority, people will soon believe that there are no priorities. More importantly, they will never feel as if they have accomplished a complete task or goal.
Within your clear expectations, if you are either too rigid or too flexible, your reporting employees will feel rudderless. You need to achieve an appropriate balance that allows you to lead employees and provide direction without dictating and destroying employee empowerment and employee engagement.

•Fail to trust: When managers don’t trust people to do their jobs, this lack of trust plays out in a number of injurious ways. Micromanaging is one example. Constant checking up is another. Treat people as if they are untrustworthy – watch them, track them, admonish them for every slight failing – because a few people are untrustworthy. Are you familiar with the old tenet that people live up to your expectations?

•Fail to listen to and help employees feel that their opinions are valued. Active listening is a critical management skill. You can train managers in listening skills but if the manager believes that listening is a way to demonstrate that he or she values people, training is usually unnecessary. Listening is providing recognition and demonstrating your values in action. When employees feel heard out and listened to, they feel important and respected. You will have much more information when you daily open the flood gates.

•Make decisions and then ask people for their input as if their feedback mattered. You can fool some of the people. but your best employees soon get the nature of your game and drop out. Along the same lines, create hierarchical permission steps and other roadblocks that teach people quickly that their ideas are subject to veto and wonder why no one has any suggestions for improvement. Enabling people to make decisions about their work is the heart of employee empowerment and the soul of employee engagement. Don’t throttle them.

•Fail to react to problems and issues that will soon fester if ignored. Managers have a habit of hoping that an uncomfortable issue, employee conflict or disagreement will just go away on its own if they don’t provoke it or try to resolve it. Trust me. It won’t. Issues, especially among people, just get worse unless something in the mix changes. Proactive intervention from the manager to coach and mentor, or to make sure employees have the skills necessary to resolve the issue, is imperative. Drama and hysteria do interrupt productivity, motivation, and employee engagement.

•Trying to be friends with employees who report to you. You can develop warm and supportive relationships with employees who report to you. But, you will have difficulty separating the reporting relationship in a friendship. Friends gossip, go out together, and complain about work and the boss. There is no room for their manager in these kinds of relationships.

•Fail to communicate effectively and withhold important information. The best communication is transparent communication. Sure, some information is company confidential. You may have been asked to keep certain information under wraps for awhile, but aside from these rare occasions, share what you know.
Being a member of the in-crowd is a goal for most employees and the in-crowd has information – all of the information needed to make good decisions. Ask for feedback, too. Ask people for their opinions, ideas, and continuous improvement suggestions, and if you fail to implement their suggestions, let them know why, or empower them to implement their ideas themselves.

•Not treating all employees equally. You don’t necessarily have to treat every employee the same, but they must feel as if they receive equal treatment. The perception that you have pet employees or that you play favorites will undermine your efforts to manage people. This goes hand-in-hand with why befriending reporting employees is a bad idea. Employees who are not in your inner circle will always believe that you favor the employees who are – whether you do or not. This perception destroys teamwork and undermines productivity and success.

•Throw employees under the bus. Rather than taking responsibility for what goes wrong in the areas that you manage, blame particular employees when asked or confronted by executive leadership. When you know the responsibility is ultimately yours if you are the boss, why not act with dignity and protect your employees? When you blame employees, you look like an idiot and your employees will disrespect and hate you.

Trust me. They will find out and they will never trust you again. They’ll always be waiting for the other shoe to fall. Worst? They’ll tell all of their employee friends about what you did. Your other staff members will then distrust you, too. Your senior managers will not respect you either. They will question whether you are capable of doing the job and leading the team. When you throw your employees under the bus, you jeopardize your career – not theirs. And, it won’t remove one iota of the blame from your shoulders.

Source: About.com, January 2013

In service cultures, “What you manage is what you get”

Posted in Aktuellt, Customer care / Kundvård, Försäljning / Sales on januari 17th, 2013 by admin

It is increasingly easy to find a supplier with good quality products and services, safe delivery, reactive support and adequate expertise. Things were different a decade ago! Then it was difficult to find even a single supplier who could live up to the “Traditional competitive factors.” Today, it’s basically anyone who can do it.

Today, customers in large part pick their suppliers based on the ability to deliver the “New competitive factors.”

Here is customer service a key and increasingly important competitive factor. Too many companies today have not a clear enough picture of what are the relatively most important competitive factors. The reason is that you do not work regularly with customer surveys. And in many cases when doing customer surveys it´s done in a very traditional and sterotypt way. Read more here about how we at 3S support our clients in getting the fact based information needed to increase customer satisfaction and sales and how help you to make sure that you have the right internal culture needed.

Talking about customer service:
How often have you experienced unfriendly or grumpy service on an airline, in a restaurant, or in another service environment? Quite a few times, I imagine. In the vast majority of cases, I would take a bet that this is not so much a result of poor hiring or training, but a reflection of a poor internal culture.

Service brands often use the vocabulary of theater to describe what good service looks like. They talk about “performance,” “scripts,” and “stages” when instructing their staff. However, they forget one crucial difference between acting and working as a service provider. On the stage, the performer has a chance to prepare, and can treat the moment as a separate experience. A sales clerk in a retail environment has to cope with unpredictable customers and shifting levels of demand — never having the opportunity to distinguish the “performance” from the rest of the job.

When brands attempt to script their service performance, but do not give equal attention to their internal culture, it should be no wonder that these organizations inevitably fail to meet consistent service standards. Companies that have combative relationships with their employees, or fail to engage staff in a respectful way, risk seeing these same negative attitudes filter into staff interactions with customers.

Famously great service brands — such as Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, and Four Seasons Hotels — go out of their way to develop respectful and positive corporate cultures that act as the foundation for great service. One of my local favorites in San Francisco is Bi-Rite Market. Owners Sam and Raph Mogannam have created a positive and inclusive culture that extends beyond employees, all the way to suppliers and the local community. A few simple behaviors guide how staff interact with customers, known as “guests.” Everything else comes down to the naturally optimistic and helpful personality of staff who work in an enjoyable and supportive culture.

Where might your corporate culture be obstructing your ability to deliver the best experiences to your customers?

Source: Linkedin.com, January 2013
Author: Tim Brown (for more information)

Svenska chefer bäst i Europa!

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on januari 15th, 2013 by admin

Svenska chefer är bäst i Europa på att ge beröm, enligt en ny undersökning.

I Sverige får 41 procent av de anställda erkännande för sina prestationer av sina chefer, vilket är den högsta siffran i Europa enligt en webbenkät som 4.400 personer svarat på. Danskarna kommer på andra plats med 38 procent och fransmännen trea med 35.

Snittet för hela Europa är 26 procent, visar undersökningen som genomförts av jobbsajten Stepstone. Hela 74 procent av de svarande i samtliga länder uppger att de sällan eller aldrig får beröm eller uppmärksamhet.

Källa: DN.se, 15 januari 2013

Tio dåliga chefsegenskaper

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on januari 14th, 2013 by admin

Den oengagerade chefen är den värsta chefen enligt en färsk analys av de amerikanska ledarskapsutvecklarna Jack Zenger och Joseph Folkman. Här är 10 dåliga chefsegenskaper.

1 Avsaknad av energi och entusiasm.
Beskrivs ständigt som oengagerade och passiva av sina kolleger. Detta är enligt undersökningen de allra vanligaste omdömena om en misslyckad chef.

2 ”Good enough” där det krävs utmärkt resultat.
Sätter lägre mål och godtar sämre prestation av medarbetarna än andra chefer.

3 Avsaknad av tydlig vision och inriktning.
Har en oklar uppfattning om målet, vet inte exakt i vilken riktning de är på väg och är, inte oväntat, ovilliga att kommunicera ut det. Medarbetarna lämnas utan tydlig väg framåt.

4 Oförmåga att vara en lagspelare.
Föredrar att agera självständigt framför att utveckla positiva relationer med sina kolleger. Ser arbetet som en tävling och kollegerna som motståndare.

5 Lever inte som de lär.
Att säga en sak och göra en annan är det snabbaste sättet att förlora andras förtroende. Chefer som agerar så kan rent av bli farliga, om omgivningen börjar bete sig likadant.

6 Ingen utveckling, inga lärdomar av misstag.
Arrogans och självgodhet kan leda till att chefen inte längre anser sig behöva utvecklas. Ser inte heller poängen med att lära sig av sina misstag.

7 Oförmåga att leda förändring.
Är rädda för förändring och det som är nytt. Hand i hand med oförmågan att leda förändring går oförmågan att ta in förslag från andra.

8 Oförmåga att utveckla ­andra.
Chefer som inte hjälper sina medarbetare att utvecklas, som inte ser sig själva som tränare eller mentorer, kommer att misslyckas. Att i första hand fokusera på sig själv är inte vägen till långsiktig framgång.

9 Bristfällig social kompetens.
Här finns cheferna som är oförskämda, som skriker och som förringar sina medarbetare, antingen som medveten strategi eller på grund av okänslighet. Raka motsatsen till sådant som förstärker bra beteende.

10 Dåligt omdöme leder till dåliga beslut.
Fattar beslut utan att tänka klart och riskerar därför att leda sin trupp utför stupet.

Källa: DN.se, 13 december 2012
Länk till artikeln på DN.se här
Vill du kartlägga hur ert ledarskap fungerar? Läs mer här

Ingenjörer blir dåliga chefer

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on januari 14th, 2013 by admin

Teknologistudenter är mindre empatiska än vårdstudenter, visar en ny studie. Problemet är att ingenjörerna sedan ofta blir företagsledare, en position som kräver både god förmåga att kommunicera och social kompetens, menar forskaren Chato Rasoal.

200 studenter inom data och fysik samt på utbildningar för läkare och sjuksköterskor ingick i studien som gjorts vid Linköpings universitet. Med hjälp av ett frågeformulär mättes graden av fantasi, förmåga att ta andras perspektiv, om man bryr sig om andra, men också egen oro och ångest.

Den här bristen hos teknologerna blir ett problem när de sedan avancerar på karriärstegen, menar Chato Rasoal, forskare inom psykologi som genomfört studien tillsammans med två kolleger. Ingenjörerna ställs då inför uppgifter som kräver andra färdigheter än de som de drillats i.
– Civilingenjörer får ofta ledande positioner i företag, där de måste kunna leda team med många medarbetare inblandade. Det kräver både god kommunikationsförmåga och social kompetens, kommenterar Rasoal i ett pressmeddelande.
– I dagens globala näringsliv krävs också interkulturell kompetens, förmåga att kommunicera och samarbeta med människor från helt andra kulturer.

Studien tyder dock på att utbildningens utformning spelar stor roll. En tydlig skillnad framkom mellan de teknologer som studerade data och de som studerade fysik. Datavetarna uppvisade en högre grad av empati. Skälet tror forskarna är att på datautbildningen används problembaserat lärande.
– I problembaserat lärande arbetar du mycket i grupp, du måste kunna lyssna på andra och acceptera andra människors tankar och känslouttryck. Det fungerar inte annars, säger Chato Rasoal.

Studien presenteras i tidskriften Journal of Engineering Education och fortsätter nu för att undersöka om teorin om pedagogikens betydelse stämmer.

Läs mer om vad som karaktäriserar dåliga chefer här.

Vill du kartlägga hur ledarskapet fungerar hos just er? Läs då mer hur vi på 3S arbetar med att hjälpa våra uppdragsgivare med dessa frågor här.

Källa: DN.se, 14 januari 2013
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How to build successful work teams: 12 tips for team building

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on januari 13th, 2013 by admin

People in every workplace talk about building the team, working as a team, and my team, but few understand how to create the experience of team work or how to develop an effective team. Belonging to a team, in the broadest sense, is a result of feeling part of something larger than yourself. It has a lot to do with your understanding of the mission or objectives of your organization.

In a team-oriented environment, you contribute to the overall success of the organization. You work with fellow members of the organization to produce these results. Even though you have a specific job function and you belong to a specific department, you are unified with other organization members to accomplish the overall objectives. The bigger picture drives your actions; your function exists to serve the bigger picture.

You need to differentiate this overall sense of teamwork from the task of developing an effective intact team that is formed to accomplish a specific goal. People confuse the two team building objectives. This is why so many team building seminars, meetings, retreats and activities are deemed failures by their participants. Leaders failed to define the team they wanted to build. Developing an overall sense of team work is different from building an effective, focused work team when you consider team building approaches.

Twelve Cs for Team Building
Executives, managers and organization staff members universally explore ways to improve business results and profitability. Many view team-based, horizontal, organization structures as the best design for involving all employees in creating business success.

No matter what you call your team-based improvement effort: continuous improvement, total quality, lean manufacturing or self-directed work teams, you are striving to improve results for customers. Few organizations, however, are totally pleased with the results their team improvement efforts produce. If your team improvement efforts are not living up to your expectations, this self-diagnosing checklist may tell you why. Successful team building, that creates effective, focused work teams, requires attention to each of the following:

Clear Expectations:
Has executive leadership clearly communicated its expectations for the team’s performance and expected outcomes? Do team members understand why the team was created? Is the organization demonstrating constancy of purpose in supporting the team with resources of people, time and money? Does the work of the team receive sufficient emphasis as a priority in terms of the time, discussion, attention and interest directed its way by executive leaders?

A lack of clear performance expectations is cited by readers as a key contributing factor to their happiness or unhappiness at work. In fact, in a poll about what makes a bad boss – bad, the majority of respondents said that their manager did not provide clear direction. This factor affected their sense of participation in a venture larger than themselves and their feelings of engagement, motivation, and teamwork.

Critical Components of Clear Performance Expectations
The process that results in employees who clearly understand and execute their performance expectations contains these components:
•A company strategic planning process that defines overall direction and objectives.
•A communication strategy that tells every employee where their job and needed outcomes fit within the bigger company strategy.
•A process for goal setting, evaluation, feedback, and accountability that lets employees know how they are doing. This process must provide opportunities for continuing employee professional and personal development.
•Overall organizational support for the importance of clear performance expectations communicated through cultural expectations, executive planning and communication, managerial responsibility and accountability, rewards and recognition, and company stories (folklore) about heroic accomplishments that define the workplace.

Communication of Clear Performance Expectations
Communication starts with the strategic planning process of executive leaders. How they communicate these plans and goals to the organization is critical to create an organization in which all components are connected and pulling in the same direction. Executive leadership must clearly communicate its expectations for the team’s performance and expected outcomes to align each area of the organization with the overall mission and vision.

At the same time, leadership needs to define the organizational culture of teamwork desired within the company. Whether a department team or a product, process, or project team, team members have to understand why the team was created and the outcomes the organization expects from the team.

Communicating Clear Performance Direction Through the PDP
The Performance Development Planning (PDP) process translates these higher level goals into the outcomes necessary for each employee’s job within the company. After the quarterly PDP meeting, employees should be clear about their expected contribution. Goal setting at these meetings should include a performance evaluation component so the employee knows how he or she has been performing.

Leading up to the PDP meeting, the employee self-evaluation guides each employee in thinking about their performance. The six-eight goals set at the meeting, or continued from the previous PDP, establish performance expectations without micromanaging the employee. Deciding how to accomplish the goals empowers, engages, and motivates the employee.

The manager maintains needed contact with the critical steps in the employee’s performance plan through weekly meetings and coaching. (No, it’s not a free-for-all when each employee’s work affects other employees and must mesh to accomplish the whole.) Additionally, this step ensures that employees are accountable for accomplishing their jobs.

Consider following this same process with each team you establish for the same sense of interconnectedness and understanding of clear performance expectations.

Continuing Support for Clear Performance Expectations
Your organization accomplishes performance expectations in three key ways.
•You need to show constancy of purpose in supporting individuals and teams with the resources of people, time and money that will enable them to accomplish their goals. When you provide the resources teams need to succeed, you ensure the development of teamwork and the team’s best chance for success. Sometimes, this requires the reshuffling of resources or the renegotiation of goals. But, the visual application of resources sends a powerful message of support.
•The work of the team needs to receive sufficient emphasis as a priority in terms of the time, discussion, attention and interest directed its way by executive leaders. Employees are watching and need to know that the organization really cares.
•Finally, the critical component in continuing organizational support for the importance of the accomplishment of clear performance expectations is your reward and recognition system. Clear performance expectations accomplished deserve both public recognition and private compensation. Publically cheering and celebrating team accomplishments enhances the team’s feeling of success. The recognition clearly communicates the behaviors and actions the company expects from its employees.

Use clear expectations to help your employees develop accountable, productive, meaningful, participatory teamwork. I trust these guidelines helped you see the role of your organization’s expectations in achieving your objectives and teamwork.

Context: Do team members understand why they are participating on the team? Do they understand how the strategy of using teams will help the organization attain its communicated business goals? Can team members define their team’s importance to the accomplishment of corporate goals? Does the team understand where its work fits in the total context of the organization’s goals, principles, vision and values?

In an effective team culture, the concept of context is addressed. Team members understand why they are participating on the team and how the team fits within their organization. In an effective team culture, team members understand where the work of their team fits in the total context of their organization’s strategic plan and success goals.

When the organization culture supports teamwork, team members understand how the strategy of using teams fits in the total context of their organization’s strategic plan and success goals. Team members understand why using teams will help their organization attain its business goals. In fact, they understand the context of a team culture so well, they are convinced that teams are the only way their organization will excel.

In a successful team culture, teams understand where their work fits in the total context of the organization’s mission, goals, principles, vision and values. Team members spend time defining their team culture by agreeing upon team norms and expectations within the company’s overall team context.

Finally, team members understand that 20% of the problems they will experience as a team will fall within the context of the task or mission the team is assigned to accomplish. The other 80% of the problems will relate to their team culture and the processes team members establish and commit to for interacting.

Commitment: Do team members want to participate on the team? Do team members feel the team mission is important? Are members committed to accomplishing the team mission and expected outcomes? Do team members perceive their service as valuable to the organization and to their own careers? Do team members anticipate recognition for their contributions? Do team members expect their skills to grow and develop on the team? Are team members excited and challenged by the team opportunity?

The depth of the commitment of team members to work together effectively to accomplish the goals of the team is a critical factor in team success. The relationships team members develop out of this commitment are key in team building and team success.

You need to answer a series of questions to assess the commitment level of team members to work on a team.
•Team Choice: Do team members want to participate on the team? Do they perceive that they had a choice about working on a particular team?

Tapping into an employee’s commitment is much easier if they are participating by choice. When possible, I recommend voluntary team participation. On all social teams and work teams that are ancillary to an employee’s core job, employees should choose to participate.

Even participation on a mandatory team garners more commitment when the employees on the team are empowered to set direction, establish goals, and make choices.
•Work Is Mission Critical: Do team members believe the team mission is important? Are members committed to accomplishing the team mission and expected outcomes?

Team members want to feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves. They need to understand where their team mission falls in the bigger organizational scheme, the overall leadership vision. Team commitment comes from team members knowing the expected outcomes and where the outcomes fit in the whole organization’s strategic plan.

•Team Members Feel Valued: Do team members perceive their service as valuable to the organization and to their own careers? A double win is accomplished if team members find themselves valued by the organization and also receiving ancillary benefits. These can include growing and developing their skills and career by participating on the team. Making new contacts and perhaps, finding new mentors who are committed to their growth is a plus, too.

•Challenge, Excitement and Opportunity: Are team members excited and challenged by the team opportunity? If so, the chances of their commitment to the process and the outcomes is magnified.

•Recognition: Does your organization have a track record of providing recognition for successful teams and their projects. Almost everyone likes some form of recognition. Make sure recognition is available at successful milestones, too.

Pay attention to these areas and to the additional recommendations in all of the components suggested for successful team building. The more you can foster the appropriate environment for team success, the better your teams will perform, and they will wallow less in dysfunctional behavior.

Source: Humanresouces.about.com, January 2013
Author: Susan M. Heatfield (for more information)