Härskartekniker – så bemöter du dem

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on August 31st, 2017 by admin

Du avbryts mitt i en historia eller märker hur vännen himlar med ögonen när du uttrycker en åsikt. Härskarteknikerna är många och får dig att känna dig tillplattad. Här är några av de vanligaste härskarteknikerna och tips på hur du bemöter dem.
Många av oss har utsatts för dem, härskarteknikerna som kan få oss att känna oss förminskade och obetydliga. Ofta sker de på arbetsplatsen men kan också märkas av i kompisgäng och inom familjen med syfte att subtilt förtrycka en person för att behålla sin maktposition och hävda sig själv gentemot andra människor.

Den norska professorn i socialpsykologi Berit Ås identifierade redan på 1970-talet fem härskartekniker som är de vanligaste vid diskussionen om härskartekniker än i dag. Dessa består av: Förlöjligande, osynliggörande, undanhållande av information, dubbelbestraffning samt att plantera skuld och skam hos någon annan.
Under åren har fler härskartekniker uppmärksammats men det är dessa fem som fått starkast fäste.

Heléne Thomssons utgångspunkt är att härskartekniker fungerar olika beroende på vem som utsätts för dem.
– Egentligen brukar jag säga att enskilda härskartekniker inte finns utan att allt du gör kan andra tolka som en härskarteknik. Det är det andra upplever som begränsande, men du själv kanske bara gjorde som du brukar göra, säger hon och fortsätter:
– Så på det sättet kan härskartekniker vara så mycket mer än de fem klassiska. Tekniker fastnar inte på alla så de är olika för alla, vissa tycker exempelvis inte att en hög röst är jobbig medan andra känner att det är begränsande.

Men upplever man sig tillplattad, tystad eller sårad av hur någon beter sig mot en – avsiktligt eller inte – finns det saker man kan göra för att hantera det för att motverka härskaren.
– Man ska säga till när någonting känns fel. Man kan säga ”när du sa ’men lilla Helene’ blev jag helt ställd, jag tycker inte om att du säger så”, säger Heléne Thomsson.

Samtidigt är det lätt att man blir så ställd att det är svårt att säga till i samma stund som det händer, utan att man i stället kommer på allt smart man skulle ha sagt flera timmar senare. Just därför tipsar Heléne Thomsson om att man inte ska agera i affekt. Som om någon på middagen himlar med ögonen när du berättar en historia.

– Det är ofta bättre att man i stunden backar, sätter sig en stund och funderar på vad det var som gjorde att jag gick igång på det här. Kanske jag är extra känslig för det här? Då är det bättre att jag låter det rinna av och sedan tar kontakt med personen efteråt och förklarar hur jag känner och frågar varför hon höjde ögonbrynen. Då möts man ofta av en förklaring eller i alla fall ett förlåt.

En vanlig situation är att bli avbruten när man berättar någonting. Även då är det bra att ta ett djupt andetag innan man agerar, tycker Heléne Thomsson.
– Känns det som du blir ställd och känner att du kommer att gråta om du säger någonting just nu så är det bättre att ta kontakt bara ni två i efterhand. Kom ihåg situationen och ta upp den, säg att det känns jättetrist, att du skulle vilja att ni respekterar varandra.

Tar man upp situationen direkt när det händer menar Heléne Thomsson att man inte ska förutsätta att personen avbröt för att vara elak.
– Känner man att man kan så säg ’oj nu upplevde jag att jag inte fick prata klart’. Men då måste man utgå från att den andra inte avbryter av elakhet, utan att det är ett misstag, har man den sanningen för sig kan man ofta orka säga någonting.

Det värsta man kan göra är att ge igen, då startar man ett maktspel som kan gå hur långt som helst och alla omkring kommer att må dåligt, varnar hon. Upplever du ofta härskartekniker från en person i din närhet så kan du tänka att det är schyst även för den personen om du säger ifrån på ett tydligt och underbyggt sätt.
– Prata med någon annan om det för att få råg i ryggen och ta upp det. Kasta inte en massa exempel och säg ’det är alltid så här’ utan förklara mer hur det får dig att känna. Jag menar, personen kanske går igenom livet på ett visst sätt, drar en viss sorts skämt, och ingen säger ifrån utan börjar bara undvika personen som inte förstår varför alla är så tvära.

I bästa fall leder det till att satta hierarkier i vänskapsgruppen eller personens dåliga beteende förändras.
– För de som tar tag i saken, pratar om just det här och förklarar hur de känner blir det ofta en början på någonting nytt, säger Heléne Thomsson.

De fem klassiska härskarteknikerna
1. Osynliggörande. Att till exempel viska till en annan medan du pratar eller visa med kroppsspråket att dina synpunkter är ointressanta.
2. Förlöjligande. Personen hånar eller skämtar på din bekostnad.
3. Undanhållande av information. Personen tar makt över andra genom att undanhålla kunskap eller att få någon att känna sig utanför genom att inte informera.
4. Dubbelbestraffning. Att ge någon kritik hur personen än gör, till exempel genom att den som engagerar sig får höra att den tar för mycket plats, men när den är mer tillbakadragen så får man höra att man är passiv, tråkig och oansvarig.
5. Påförande av skuld och skam. Att få någon att känna sig fel, utan anledning. Ofta hänger det ihop med någon av de fyra tidigare punkterna.

Källa: DN.se, 31 augusti 2017
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Culture for a digital age

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Digitalisering / Internet, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on August 23rd, 2017 by admin

Risk aversion, weak customer focus, and siloed mind-sets have long bedeviled organizations. In a digital world, solving these cultural problems is no longer optional.

Shortcomings in organizational culture are one of the main barriers to company success in the digital age. That is a central finding from McKinsey’s recent survey of global executives, which highlighted three digital-culture deficiencies: functional and departmental silos, a fear of taking risks, and difficulty forming and acting on a single view of the customer.

Each obstacle is a long-standing difficulty that has become more costly in the digital age. When risk aversion holds sway, underinvestment in strategic opportunities and sluggish responses to quick-changing customer needs and market dynamics can be the result. When a unified understanding of customers is lacking, companies struggle to mobilize employees around integrated touchpoints, journeys, and consistent experiences, while often failing to discern where to best place their bets as digital broadens customer choice and the actions companies can take in response. And when silos characterize the organization, responses to rapidly evolving customer needs are often too narrow, with key signals missed or acted upon too slowly, simply because they were seen by the wrong part of the company.

Can fixes to culture be made directly? Or does cultural change emerge as a matter of course as executives work to update strategy or improve processes?1 In our experience, executives who wait for organizational cultures to change organically will move too slowly as digital penetration grows, blurs the boundaries between sectors, and boosts competitive intensity. Our research, which shows that cultural obstacles correlate clearly with negative economic performance, supports this view. So do the experiences of leading players such as BBVA, GE, and Nordstrom, which have shown what it looks like when companies support their digital strategies and investments with deliberate efforts to make their cultures more responsive to customers, more willing to take risks, and better connected across functions.

Executives must be proactive in shaping and measuring culture, approaching it with the same rigor and discipline with which they tackle operational transformations. This includes changing structural and tactical elements in an organization that run counter to the culture change they are trying to achieve. The critical cultural intervention points identified by respondents to our 2016 digital survey—risk aversion, customer focus, and silos—are a valuable road map for leaders seeking to persevere in reshaping their organization’s culture. The remainder of this article discusses each of these challenges in turn, spelling out a focused set of reinforcing practices to jump-start change.

Calculated risks

Too often, management writers talk about risk in broad-brush terms, suggesting that if executives simply encourage experimentation and don’t punish failure, everything will take care of itself. But risk and failure profoundly challenge us as human beings. As Ed Catmull of Pixar said in a 2016 McKinsey Quarterly interview, “One of the things about failure is that it’s asymmetrical with respect to time. When you look back and see failure, you say, ‘It made me what I am!’ But looking forward, you think, ‘I don’t know what is going to happen and I don’t want to fail.’ The difficulty is that when you’re running an experiment, it’s forward looking. We have to try extra hard to make it safe to fail.”

The balancing act Catmull described applies to companies, perhaps even more than to individuals. Capital markets have typically been averse to investments that are hard to understand, that underperform, or that take a long time to reach fruition. And the digital era has complicated matters: On the one hand, willingness to experiment, adapt, and to invest in new, potentially risky areas has become critically important. On the other, taking risks has become more frightening because transparency is greater, competitive advantage is less durable, and the cost of failure is high, given the prevalence of winner-take-all dynamics.

Leaders hoping to strike the right balance have two critical priorities that are mutually reinforcing at a time when fast-follower strategies have become less safe. One is to embed a mind-set of risk taking and innovation through all ranks of the enterprise. The second is for executives themselves to act boldly once they have decided on a specific digital play—which may well require changing mind-sets about risk, and inspiring key executives and boards to think more like venture capitalists.

An appetite for risk
Building a culture where people feel comfortable trying things that might fail starts with senior leaders’ attitudes and role modeling. They must break the status quo of hierarchical decision making, overcome a focus on optimizing rather than innovating, and celebrate learning from failure. It helps considerably when executives make it clear through actions that they trust the front lines to make meaningful decisions. ING and several other companies have tackled this imperative head-on, providing agile coaches to help management learn how to get out of the way after setting overall direction for objectives, budgets, and timing.

However, delegating authority only works if the employees have the skills, mind-sets, and information access to make good on it. Outside hires from start-ups or established digital natives can help inject disruptive thinking that is a source of innovative energy and empowerment. Starbucks, for example, has launched a digital-ventures team, hiring vice presidents from Google, Microsoft, and Razorfish to help drive outside thinking.

Also empowering for frontline workers (and risk dampening for organizations) is information itself. For example, equipping call-center employees with real-time analysis on account profiles, or data on usage and profitability, helps them take small-scale risks as they modify offers and adjust targeting in real time. In the retail and hospitality industries, companies are giving frontline employees both the information (such as segment and purchase history) and the decision authority they need to resolve customer issues on the spot, without having to escalate to management. Such information helps connect the front line to the company’s strategic vision, which provides a compass for decision making on things such as what sort of discount or incentive to offer in resolving a conflict or what “next product to buy” to tee up. Benefits include improvements in the customer experiences (due to faster resolution) and greater consistency across the business in spotting and resolving problems. This lowers cost at the same time it improves customer satisfaction. In addition, frontline risk taking enables more rapid innovation by speeding up iterations and decision making to support nimbler, test-and-learn approaches. These same dynamics prevail in manufacturing, with new algorithms enabling predictive maintenance that no longer requires sign-off from higher-level managers.

Regardless of industry, the critical question for executives concerned with their organization’s risk appetite is whether they are trusting their employees, at all levels, to make big enough bets without subjecting them to red tape. Many CFOs have decided to shift all but the largest investment decisions into the business units to speed up the process. The CFO at one global 500 consumer-goods company now signs off only on expenditures above $250,000. Until recently, any spend decision over $1,000 required the CFO’s approval.

Making bold bets
At the same time they are letting go of some decisions, senior leaders also are responsible for driving bold, decisive actions that enable the business to pivot rapidly, sometimes at very large scale. Such moves require risk taking, including aggressive goal setting and nimble resource reallocation.

A culture of digital aspirations. Goals should reflect the pace of disruption in a company’s industry. The New York Times set the aspiration to double its digital revenues within five years, enabled in part by the launch of T Brand Studio as a new business model. In the face of Amazon, Nordstrom committed more than $1.4 billion in technology capital investments to enable rich cross-channel experiences. The Irish bank AIB decided customers should be able to open an account in under ten minutes (90 percent faster than the norm prevailing at the time). AIB invested to achieve this goal and saw a 25 percent lift in accounts opened, along with a 20 percent drop in costs. In many industries facing digital disruption, this is the pace and scale at which executives need to be willing to play.

Embracing resource reallocation. Nimble resource reallocation is typically needed to back up such goals. In many incumbents, though, M&A and capital-expenditure decisions are too slow, with too many roadblocks in the way. They need to be retooled to take on more of a venture-capitalist approach to rapid sizing, testing, investing, and disinvesting. The top teams at a large global financial-services player and an IT-services company have been reevaluating all of their businesses with a five- to ten-year time horizon, determining which ones they will need to exit, where they need to invest, and where they can stay the course. Such moves tax the risk capacity of executives; but when the moves are made, they also shake things up and move the needle on a company’s risk culture.

The financial markets are double-edged swords when it comes to bold moves. While they remain preoccupied with short-term earnings, they are also cognizant of cautionary tales such as Blockbuster’s 2010 bankruptcy, just three years after the launch of Netflix’s streaming-video business. Companies like GE have nonetheless plunged ahead with long-term, digitally oriented strategies. In aggressively shedding some of its traditional business units, investing significantly to build out its Predix platform, and launching GE Digital, its first new business unit in 75 years, with more than $1 billion invested in 2016, GE’s top team has embraced disciplined risk taking while building for the future.

Customers, customers, customers
Although companies have long declared their intention to get close to their customers, the digital age is forcing them to actually do it, as well as providing them with better means to do so. Accustomed to best-in-class user experiences both on- and off-line with companies such as Amazon and Apple, customers increasingly expect companies to respond swiftly to inquiries, to customize products and services seamlessly, and to provide easy access to the information customers need, when they need it.

A customer-centric organizational culture, in other words, is more than merely a good thing—it’s becoming a matter of survival. The good news is that getting closer to your customers can help reduce the risk of experimentation (as customers help cocreate products through open innovation) and support fast-paced change. Rather than having to guess what’s working in a given product or service before launching it—and then waiting to see if your guess is right after the launch takes place—companies can now make adjustments nearly real-time by developing product and service features with direct input from end users. This is already taking place in products from Legos to aircraft engines. The process not only helps derisk product development, it tightens the relationship between companies and their customers, often providing valuable proprietary data and insights about how customers think about and use the products or services being created.

Data and tools
Underlying the new customer-centricity are diverse tools and data. Connecting the right data to the right decisions can help build a common understanding of customer needs into an organizational culture, fostering a virtuous cycle that reinforces customer-centricity. Amazon’s ability to use customers’ previous purchases to offer them additional items in which they might be interested is a significant element in its success. The virtuous circle they’ve created includes customer reviews (to reassure and reinforce other shoppers), along with the algorithms that share “what customers who looked at this item also bought.” Of course, Amazon has also invested heavily in automated warehouses and a sophisticated distribution model. But even those were tied to the customer desire to receive merchandise faster.

A unifying force
At its best, customer-centricity extends far beyond marketing and product design to become a unifying cultural element that drives all core decisions across all areas of the business. That includes operations, where in many organizations it’s often the furthest from view, and strategy, which must be regularly refreshed if it is to serve as a reliable guide in today’s rapidly changing environment. Customer-centric cultures anticipate emerging patterns in the behavior of customers and tailor relevant interactions with them by dynamically integrating structured data, such as demographics and purchase history, with unstructured data, such as social media and voice analytics.

The insurance company Progressive illustrates the unifying role played by strong customer focus. Progressive’s ability to persuade customers to install the company’s Snapshot device to monitor driving behavior is revolutionizing the insurance space, and not just as a marketing tool. Snapshot helps attract the good drivers who are the most profitable customers, since those individuals are the ones most likely to be attracted by the offer of better discounts based on driving behavior. It also gives the company’s underwriters actual data in place of models and guesswork. This new technology is one that Progressive can monetize into a business unit to serve other insurers as well.

Busting silos
Some observers might consider organizational silos—so named for parallel parts of the org chart that don’t intersect—a structural issue rather than a cultural one. But silos are more than just lines and boxes. The narrow, parochial mentality of workers who hesitate to share information or collaborate across functions and departments can be corrosive to organizational culture.

Silos are a perennial problem that have become more costly because, in the words of Cognizant CEO Francisco D’Souza, “the interdisciplinary requirement of digital continues to grow. The possibilities created by combining data science, design, and human science underscore the importance both of working cross-functionally and of driving customer-centricity into the everyday operations of the business. Many organizations have yet to unlock that potential.”2 The executives we surveyed appeared to agree, ranking siloed thinking and behavior number one among obstacles to a healthy digital culture.

How can you tell if your own organization is too siloed? Discussions with CEOs who have led old-line companies through successful digital transformations indicate two primary symptoms: inadequate information, and insufficient accountability or coordination on enterprise-wide initiatives.

Getting informed
Digital information breakdowns echo the familiar story of the blind men and the elephant. When employees lack insight into the broader context in which a business competes, they are less likely to recognize the threat of disruption or digital opportunity when they see it and to know when the rest of the organization should be alerted. They can only interpret what they encounter through the lens of their own narrow area of endeavor.

The corollary to this is that every part of the organization reaches different conclusions about their digital priorities, based on incomplete or simply different information. This contributes to breaks in strategic and operating consistency that consumers are fast to spot. There isn’t the luxury of time in today’s digital world for each division to discover the same insight; a digital attacker or more agile incumbent is likely to swoop in before the siloed organization even knows it should be mounting a response. So the first imperative for companies looking to break out of a siloed mentality is to inspire within employees a common sense of the overall direction and purpose of the company. Data and thoughtful management rotation often play a role.

Data-driven transparency. Data can help solve the blind-men-and-the-elephant problem. A social-services company, for instance, created a customer-engagement group to better understand how customers interact with the company’s products and brands across silos—and where customers were running into difficulty. Among other things, this required close examination of how the company collected, analyzed, and distributed data across silos. The team discovered, for example, that some customers were cancelling their memberships because of the deluge of marketing outreaches they were receiving from the company. To address this, the team combined customer databases and propensity models across silos to create visibility and centralized access rights with regard to who could reach out to members and when. Among other achievements, this team:

created segment-specific trainings that offered an integrated view of each segment’s suite of needs and offerings that would meet them
drew on information from different parts of the organization to give a more developed picture on engagement, retention, and the total number of touches associated with various segments and customers
showed the net effect of the entire organization’s activities through the customer’s eyes
embedded this information into key processes to ensure information was accessible in a cross-disciplinary way—breaking siloed viewpoints and narrow understandings of the overall business model
Management rotation. Another way to achieve better alignment on the company’s direction is to rotate executives between siloed functions and business units. At the luxury retailer Nordstrom, for example, two key executives exchanged roles in 2014: Erik Nordstrom, formerly president of the company’s brick-and-mortar stores, became president of Nordstrom Direct, the company’s online store, while Jamie Nordstrom, formerly president of Nordstrom Direct, became president of the brick-and-mortar stores. This type of rotation can be done at different levels in an organization and helps create a more consistent understanding between different business units regarding the company’s aspirations and capabilities, as well as helping create informal networks as employees build relationships in different departments.

Instilling accountability
The second distinctive symptom of a siloed culture is the tendency for employees to believe a given problem or issue is someone else’s responsibility, not their own. Companies can counter this by institutionalizing mechanisms to help support cross-functional collaboration through flexibly deployed teams. That was the case at ING, which, because it identifies more as a technology company than a financial-services company, has turned to tech firms for inspiration, not banks. Spotify, in particular, has provided a much-talked-about model of multidisciplinary teams, or squads, made up of a mix of employees from diverse functions, including marketers, engineers, product developers, and commercial specialists. All are united by a shared view of the customer and a common definition of success. These squads roll up into bigger groups called tribes, which focus on end-to-end business outcomes, forcing a broader picture on all team members. The team members are also held mutually accountable for the outcome, eliminating the “not my job” mind-set that so many other organizations find themselves trapped in. While this model works best in IT functions, it is slowly making its way into other areas of the business. Key elements of the model (such as end-to-end outcome ownership) are also being mapped into more traditional teams to try to bring at least pieces of this mind-set into more traditional companies.

Start by finding mechanisms, whether digital, structural, or process, that help build a shared understanding of business priorities and why they matter. Change happens fast and from unpredictable places, and the more context you give your employees, the better they will be able to make the right decisions when it does. To achieve this, organizations must remove the barriers that keep people from collaborating, and build new mechanisms for cutting through (or eliminating altogether) the red tape and bureaucracy that many incumbents have built up over time.

Cultural changes within corporate institutions will always be slower and more complex than the technological changes that necessitate them. That makes it even more critical for executives to take a proactive stance on culture. Leaders won’t achieve the speed and agility they need unless they build organizational cultures that perform well across functions and business units, embrace risk, and focus obsessively on customers.

Source: McKinsey.com, August 2017
By Julie Goran, Laura LaBerge, and Ramesh Srinivasan
About the authors: Julie Goran is a partner in McKinsey’s New York office, where Ramesh Srinivasan is a senior partner; Laura LaBerge is a senior practice manager of Digital McKinsey and is based in the Stamford office.
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What’s missing in leadership development?

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on August 14th, 2017 by admin

Only a few actions matter, and they require the CEO’s attention.

Organizations have always needed leaders who are good at recognizing emerging challenges and inspiring organizational responses. That need is intensifying today as leaders confront, among other things, digitization, the surging power of data as a competitive weapon, and the ability of artificial intelligence to automate the workplace and enhance business performance. These technology-driven shifts create an imperative for most organizations to change, which in turn demands more and better leaders up and down the line.

Unfortunately, there is overwhelming evidence that the plethora of services, books, articles, seminars, conferences, and TED-like talks purporting to have the answers—a global industry estimated to be worth more than $50 billion—are delivering disappointing results. According to a recent Fortune survey, only 7 percent of CEOs believe their companies are building effective global leaders, and just 10 percent said that their leadership-development initiatives have a clear business impact. Our latest research has a similar message: only 11 percent of more than 500 executives we polled around the globe strongly agreed with the statement that their leadership-development interventions achieve and sustain the desired results.

In our survey, we asked executives to tell us about the circumstances in which their leadership-development programs were effective and when they were not. We found that much needs to happen for leadership development to work at scale, and there is no “silver bullet” that will singlehandedly make the difference between success and failure.

That said, statistically speaking, four sets of interventions appear to matter most: contextualizing the program based on the organization’s position and strategy, ensuring sufficient reach across the organization, designing the program for the transfer of learning, and using system reinforcement to lock in change. This is the first time we have amassed systematic data on the interventions that seem to drive effective leadership-development programs. Interestingly, the priorities identified by our research are to a large extent mirror images of the most common mistakes that businesses make when trying to improve the capabilities of their managers. Collectively, they also help emphasize the central role of technology today in necessitating and enabling strong leadership development.

Focus on the shifts that matter
In our survey, executives told us that their organizations often fail to translate their company’s strategy into a leadership model specific to their needs (whether it is, say, to support a turnaround, a program of acquisitions, or a period of organic growth). Conversely, organizations with successful leadership-development programs were eight times more likely than those with unsuccessful ones to have focused on leadership behavior that executives believed were critical drivers of business performance.1
The implications are clear for organizations seeking to master today’s environment of accelerating disruption: leadership-development efforts must be animated by those new strategic imperatives, translating them into growth priorities for individual managers, with empathy for the degree of change required. An important piece of the puzzle is enhancing the ability of leaders to adapt to different situations and adjust their behavior (something that requires a high degree of self-awareness and a learning mind-set). Leaders with these attributes are four times more prepared to lead amidst change.

Make it an organizational journey, not cohort specific
Ensuring sufficient reach across the organization has always been important to the success of leadership-development efforts. Organizations with successful programs were six to seven times more likely than their less successful peers to pursue interventions covering the whole organization, and to design programs in the context of a broader leadership-development strategy. The same went for companies whose leadership strategy and model reached all levels of the organization.

Achieving sufficient reach amidst today’s rapid change is challenging: most leadership-development programs are typically of short duration (a few weeks to several months), sporadic, and piecemeal—making it difficult for the program to keep up with changes in the organization’s priorities, much less develop a critical mass of leaders ready to pursue them.

Fortunately, technology isn’t just stimulating the need for change; it’s also enabling faster, more flexible, large-scale learning on digital platforms that can host tailored leadership development, prompt leaders to work on specific kinds of behavior, and create supportive communities of practice, among other possibilities.

Design for the transfer of learning
Technology can also help companies break out of the “teacher and classroom” (facilitator and workshop) model that so many still rely on, maximizing the value and organizational impact of what is taught and learned. Fast-paced digital learning is easier to embed in the day-to-day work flows of managers. Every successful leader tells stories of how he or she developed leadership capabilities by dealing with a real problem in a specific context, and our survey provides supporting evidence for these anecdotes: companies with successful leadership-development programs were four to five times more likely to require participants to apply their learnings in new settings over an extended period and to practice them in their job.

This is just one of several modern adult-learning principles grounded in neuroscience that companies can employ to speed the behavior and mind-set shifts leaders need to thrive in today’s fast-changing environment. Others include learning through a positive frame (successful leadership developers were around three times more likely to allow participants to build on a strength rather than correcting a development area), and providing coaching that encourages introspection and self-discovery (which also was three times more prevalent among successful leadership developers).

Embedding change
Leadership-development efforts have always foundered when participants learn new things, but then return to a rigid organization that disregards their efforts for change or even actively works against them. Given the pace of change today, adapting systems, processes, and culture that can support change-enabling leadership development is critically important. Technology can support organizational interventions that accelerate the process. For example, blogs, video messages, and social-media platforms help leaders engage with many more people as they seek to foster understanding, create conviction, and act as role models for the desired leadership behavior and competencies.

Also critical are formal mechanisms (such as the performance-management system, the talent-review system, and shifts in organizational structure) for reinforcing the required changes in competencies.2 In our latest research, we found that successful leadership-development programs were roughly five to six times more likely to involve senior leaders acting as project sponsors, mentors, and coaches and to encompass adaptations to HR systems aimed at reinforcing the new leadership model. Data-enabled talent-management systems—popularized by Google and often referred to as people analytics—can increase the number of people meaningfully evaluated against new competencies and boost the precision of that evaluation.

Most CEOs have gotten religion about the impact of accelerating disruption and the need to adapt in response. Time and again, though, we see those same CEOs forgetting about the need to translate strategy into specific organizational capabilities, paying lip service to their talent ambitions, and delegating responsibility to the head of learning with a flourish of fine words, only for that individual to complain later about lack of support from above. To be fair, CEOs are pulled in many directions, and they note that leadership development often doesn’t make an impact on performance in the short run.

At the same time, we see many heads of learning confronting CEOs with a set of complex interwoven interventions, not always focusing on what matters most.

But as the pace of change for strategies and business models increases, so does the cost of lagging leadership development. If CEOs and their top teams are serious about long-term performance, they need to commit themselves to the success of corporate leadership-development efforts now. Chief human-resource officers and heads of learning need to simplify their programs, focusing on what really matters.

Source: McKinsey.com, August 2017
By: Claudio Feser, Nicolai Nielsen and Michael Rennie
About the authors:Claudio Feser is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Zurich office; Nicolai Nielsen is an associate partner in the Dubai office, where Michael Rennie is a senior partner.
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How CEOs can work with an active board

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Coaching on August 10th, 2017 by admin

At companies of almost all sizes, across all sectors, boards are undergoing a profound transformation. Largely as a result of intensifying shareholder intolerance of mediocre or poor corporate performance, the ceremonial boards of the past are being replaced by active boards that are more demanding of managers and more intrusive in their affairs.

This change can be daunting and frustrating for CEOs. However, based on our experience of advising CEOs, operating as CEOs, and sitting on boards, we have found that executives can be effective in the new environment by revamping their interactions with their boards. It consists of four approaches.

Work with board members individually as well as in the group — and selectively seek their help. It’s remarkable how many CEOs focus mainly on formal boardroom relationships. Yet by investing the time in regular one-to-one informal interactions, a CEO will help address the new active board members’ sense of duty to get close to the business. Through a personal dialogue, the CEO can better enlist them in important initiatives and address issues before they become crises. In addition, by creating a personal bond with the individual directors, the CEO lessens the odds that they will undermine or blindside him.

It is especially important to create a bond with the lead director and/or the chair. As boards have become more active, the lead director and board chair hold the keys to setting productive agendas and managing issues with the total board or individual members. One of us served on an active board that included members who frequently threatened to derail agendas and process with counterproductive questions. The CEO quietly recruited the lead director and chair to restore order, which they did. As boards have become more active, the lead director and board chair hold the keys to setting productive agendas and managing issues with the total board or individual members.

CEOs should consider recruiting one board member as an informal advisor. This must be done with great care and an ear for political nuances. For example, as one CEO we know discovered, a prospective board advisor actually had his eye on the CEO role for himself — hardly the right confidant! By using already-scheduled one-on-ones to assess board members for this advisory role, the CEO can better identify an appropriate advisory board member. This board member can be of great value as a sounding board and a guide to working effectively with the rest of the board.

Communicate less formally, more intensively, more often. Many CEOs and their teams still deliver traditional 80-slide PowerPoint summary presentations at board meetings. But given that today’s boards increasingly want a substantive dialogue, we advise replacing the presentation with a thoughtful, verbal review and Q&A around critical updates, challenges, and opportunities. (Further background can be provided in brief pre-reading material.)

This will show that the CEO is using his or her face-to-face time with the board for serious discussion. It will focus board activism on topics where the CEO will benefit from directors’ insight and counsel. And by taking the lead in inviting the board to engage on business-critical matters, the CEO can better manage the process and avoid one of the biggest downsides of the active board: disruptive interference by board members in business operations.

It may seem obvious that CEOs should communicate with board members regularly and substantively between board meetings. But in reality, CEOs often communicate mainly when there is a problem. Many also have difficulty regularly addressing a balanced mix of important topics.

One very effective approach to this issue is regular CEO letters to the board. The management of this letter should be delegated to a top lieutenant such as the head of communications or the COO. A monthly rhythm has proven effective with many boards. To assure balanced, relevant content, the letter should routinely address a fixed set of regular topics (e.g., business-environment trends, business updates, people/talent news, and early warnings of potential upside and downside developments).

Expose Level 3 and 4 managers to the board. While boards in the past were typically focused on CEO succession planning and the talent among the CEO’s direct reports, active boards are also very interested in the levels below. They rightly see these executives as the future leaders and the operational leaders of today who should be driving performance. Active board members will therefore seek to get to know them.

Some CEOs feel this is overly intrusive or worry that the lower-level executives are not ready for board exposure. But, in fact, it’s positive to have board members engaging with deeper levels of talent. They learn more about the business and the next generation of the company’s leaders. Board members can also give the CEO valuable feedback about the people they meet and their view of the company’s overall bench strength. And for the executives, the right kind of exposure to board members is a great development opportunity.

The CEO should take the lead with the board in driving the engagement process, which will allow him or her to have greater influence over it. She can select the highest potential individuals for the interactions and organize the interactions so that they are most productive — for example, by holding them as one-to-ones over a breakfast or dinner. She can also brief the executives in advance on the style of the board member and potential question areas and brief the board members on the executives they will meet.

Handle strategic planning… strategically. Older-style boards typically become involved only at the end of the strategic-planning process — typically in a board meeting devoted to review and approval of the strategy. By contrast, active boards often push to be involved from the start because the strategy is so important to the company’s performance.

The notion of involving the board in strategic planning can make CEOs anxious and defensive. They fear that the board may undermine the planning process due to insufficient knowledge about the business. They also worry that board involvement in strategic planning will be the thin edge of a wedge and lead to board interference in day-to-day management of the company.

The key to navigating this challenge is to keep strategic planning in the hands of management but to invite the board to provide advice and feedback from the beginning. One good way to do this is to involve the board early in deciding on the right, big-picture, strategic direction for the company, without getting into the details. The CEO and her team can develop and present to the board several options to the board, explaining why each has merit. Then the executives can solicit board input on each but not ask for a vote. In this way, the CEO and her team can gain valuable board perspective that will strengthen all the choices that are developed and obtain early board buy-in for both the options and the ultimate strategic plan that’s chosen.

The CEO can then provide periodic updates on the strategic-planning process through letters to the board and board meetings. This allows the board to stay engaged and provide input but keeps the control over the actual process with the executive team, where it belongs.

Active boards are a corporate reality. How to work with them effectively should be one of the most important items on the CEO agenda. As we have outlined, the CEO has an opportunity not only to manage this new relationship but also to make the active board an asset in building long-term, high performance of the company.

Source:hbr.com (Harvard Business Review)
Authors: Ken Banta and Stephen D.Garrow
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Richard Branson’s secret to being more productive, in just two words

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt on August 7th, 2017 by admin

Peak performance starts with committing to these two words.

When it comes to inspiring entrepreneurs and business owners, Richard Branson is at the top of most lists.

After all, he’s a billionaire who has started over 400 companies and is easily in the running for the busiest individual in the world while still enjoying life.

Entrepreneurs striving to make their impact in the world look at Branson from the surface and may be tempted to think that he has some ultra-secret to credit for his success.

However, if you’re looking for a productivity hack, a morning routine, or the one book to read to change it all, you’ll be disappointed.

The secret to Richard Branson’s success and productivity is summed up in two words: “Work out.”

Simple as that. He claims that exercise is his tool that helps him double his daily productivity. Working out is often expressed as a great way to enhance your physical appearance. But working out is, more importantly, a tool that provides a huge ROI toward your productivity and overall well-being.

If you’re on the fence about investing fully into the power of exercise, here are three reasons why you should start today.

1. Improving brain power.
When you’re building a business and striving for massive amounts of career success, optimizing your brain output is an essential tool to making that desire a reality.

When you exercise, you’re going to be mentally sharper, which leads to better decision making throughout the day. This equates to delivering better presentations, better food choices, and better choices within your daily operations.

When you work out, you’re increasing the amount of oxygen flowing into your brain while releasing various other chemicals that help improve your memory and concentration.

2. Make more money.
When you get off your bottom, you increase your bottom line. There’s a correlation that benefits both men and women when it comes to prioritizing the gym and making more money.

According to associate professor Vasilios Kostas of Cleveland State, of those who head to the gym at least three times per week, men made 7 percent more while women made 12 percent more than those who don’t.

The underrated reasoning for this increase is a boost in self-confidence. Often times, we’re our own worst enemy with the things we say and think about ourselves. Working out helps reframe the perception that we have of ourselves along with the energy we radiate out into the day-to-day world.

3. Reduce stress.
Waiting in line at Starbucks, delayed trains, traffic, deadlines, proposals, friends, family, and many other things can all be a form of stress.

None of these scenarios are likely to vanish from your life. However, you can prepare yourself to handle them better through working out.

Working out provides an outlet for releasing any pent-up tension from the day. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported that seven out of 10 of adults in the U.S. deal with daily stress or anxiety.

When you work out, you’re releasing endorphins and building up yourself to respond and be resilient to upcoming stressors. Don’t overcomplicate it when it comes to exercising– even a 20-minute walk can provide a much-needed jolt of happiness.

Source: Inc.com, July 2017
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By Julian Hayes II , Founder, The Art of Fitness & Life @thejulianhayes