Så blir du mer effektiv på jobbet

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Coaching on December 9th, 2019 by admin

Sex tips. Lycka till!

1. Fokusera!
Välj ett område som du vill förbättra. Det allra viktigaste är att området är avgränsat. Tänk litet och konkret. På så sätt blir det enklare att identifiera vad som är kärnan av problemet. Till exempel varför du lägger ner mycket tid på något som sällan tar dig framåt.

2. Identifiera!
Undersök vilka faktorer som påverkar flödet och utmaningarna som följer med det. Till exempel: vilka personer påverkar dig och din förmåga att styra området? Dessutom är det bra om området existerar på en specifik plats, såsom i hemmet eller på arbetsplatsen.


3. Eliminera!
Vid det här laget är det dags att stryka saker som tar upp din tid utan att det ger resultat. Kan du uppnå ett bra resultat på ett annat sätt än hur du gör nu?

Ett exempel: Ett varuhus säljer möbler. Företaget har väldigt många skruvar för varje möbel. Då kan de minska variationen på olika skruvar till sina möbler. Det gör det enklare att ha reservdelar i alla varuhusen – utan att det tar upp mycket plats.

4. Separera!
I bland kan det vara bäst att dela upp och organisera olika flöden. Ett sådant exempel är gatukorsningar med trafikljus. Bilar, cyklister och fotgängare går över gatan vid olika tillfällen. Alternativet hade varit att bara bilarna fick köra, vilket är mindre effektivt. Syftet med att separera flöden är att styra resurserna på ett sätt som gör att de kan användas så smidigt som möjligt.

5. Titta på andra!
Hitta inspiration bland personer i din omgivning. Du kan även studera hur framgångsrika personer på ditt område arbetar. Dock finns det en risk att du blir besviken om du inte når samma resultat som ”de bästa”.

6. Addera!
Känns det omöjligt att genomföra alla stegen? I vissa fall kan det vara svårt att hitta inspiration eller kunna separera flöden. En lösning är att öppna plånboken och kalendern. För att uppnå resultatet du hoppas på kan det behövas fler resurser. Om du arbetar i en fabrik kan det innebära att du behöver köpa en ny maskin.

Källa: Civilingenjören Nina Modig.

Conflict, lack of clarity, and decision making: The 3 biggest derailers of work teams

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on December 3rd, 2019 by admin

Conflict—and the inability to deal with it effectively—is one of the three biggest derailers of work teams, says Lael Good, director of consulting services for The Ken Blanchard Companies and coauthor of the company’s new Team Leadership program.

“In the absence of training, people won’t naturally seek out conflict solutions where others can be seen and heard. Instead, they will resort to their own strategies for dealing with conflict,” says Good. “One of the things we teach in the Team Leadership program is how to understand if you have a fight or flight approach to conflict—because neither of those options is necessarily the best way for a team to work together. Our goal is to create an environment within a team where people share their opinions and discuss conflict openly—because that’s the only way it is going to become a high performance team.”

Good explains that team members may have different personality styles that need to be considered. For example, some may be battlers—very open about announcing their opinions to the team, and some may be avoiders—careful about bringing up their concerns or even trying to avoid talking about them.

“Each person’s approach to conflict has a lot to do with their personality preferences. Diversity within teams is important because it creates more opportunities to find solutions. It also opens the possibility of discrepancies between people who see things differently and act differently. But if conflicting viewpoints are not brought out in the open and discussed, the team could fall apart.”

The team leader plays an important role, says Good. “Some leaders run for the woods when conflict arises. Others say ‘Knock it off and get back to work.’ It’s difficult for a team to progress with either of those approaches. Leaders need to embrace conflict in a way that opens a door rather than closes it.”

Lack of Clarity is number 2
A lack of clarity is the second big derailer of a high performance team, says Good. “Lack of clarity causes problems at many levels. Clarity and alignment must exist between goals of the team and those of the organization. There must also be clarity among team members about what they are doing and how they are doing it. And finally, it is necessary to have clarity around decisions that are made and the impact the team will have on other teams and individuals in the organization.

“Unless all of these areas of clarity are sorted out, we often find that teams step into other territories without meaning to. Questions may come from others regarding the purpose of the team and how the team’s actions link to what the organization is trying to achieve.”

Decision Making is number 3
The third big derailer of successful teams is decision making. “Most teams strive to make key decisions by consensus. But in the midst of the challenges and pressures brought on by conflict, the leader or subject matter expert makes the decision or it is reached through a majority vote. If the decision making process isn’t defined at the outset, these and other difficulties can result in no decisions being reached.”

To fix these three major derailers of teams, Good recommends using a common language and process to launch and accelerate the growth of a team through the four stages of development: Orientation, when a team is just starting out; Dissatisfaction, when conflict inevitably arises; Integration, as the team begins to learn how to work with each other; and Production, when the fine-tuned team is achieving its purpose and goals.

“At the Orientation stage, a team needs clarity and alignment. Team members are excited but they also have a lot of questions. The team leader’s role is to not only ensure the team is aligned on its purpose, goals, and roles, but also provide clear objectives and norms around communication, accountability, and decision making.

“At the Dissatisfaction stage, the team begins to experience conflict as team members present different ideas about how the team should work together. Many teams never progress to a level of high performance because they can’t manage or communicate through that conflict.

“At the Integration stage, things are beginning to improve, but the team needs to keep talking. We teach team members to voice their concerns and share their thoughts and observations with the team. This is where having clear agreements about objectives and norms at the front end helps. Now people can ask “How are we doing with our norms?” This check-in process gives the team a way to openly discuss what’s happening and what might be getting in the way of the team’s ability to deliver results on time.

“At the Production stage, the challenge is how to sustain high performance. This is about keeping the team nourished and growing. Don’t take the team for granted. The team leader needs to ask ‘Are we demonstrating our team’s contribution to overall organizational goals? Have we recognized and appreciated each team member’s efforts? What’s next for our team?’”

Good offers some encouragement. “If leaders are meeting the team’s needs at each stage, the team is going to accelerate through all four stages of development. The more broadly this is understood by both team members and team leaders in the organization, the more likely the organization will be a high performance organization. And if that means going a little bit slower in the beginning, rest assured it will pay off with additional speed and better results in the long run.

“The speed of change in organizations today is such that no one person can go it alone. We simply can’t accomplish everything that needs to be done, or gain enough skill or expertise to do it, by ourselves. Well-structured teams with a common language and process allow organizations to leverage diverse skill sets and approaches when they bring together a group of people to address common goals.”

Source: KenBlanchard.com, September 2019
Link

Varför alla företagare borde ha en mentor

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on November 26th, 2019 by admin

En mentor bidrar till att du får tillgång till mer kunskaper och mer information som kan hjälpa dig med ditt företagande

Är du helt ny som företagare? Då borde du ha en mentor. Har du drivit företag ett tag eller rent utav flera år? Ja, då borde du också ha en mentor. Vill du exempelvis utöka till nya marknader? Skapa nya produkter eller tjänster? Digitalisera din verksamhet? Växa eller tjäna mer? Oavsett vilket läge du befinner dig i kan en mentor hjälpa dig på traven. Mentorskap är ett fenomen som lär ha funnits sedan antikens Grekland och innebär att du har en personlig rådgivare som du kan tala förtroendefullt med om din affärsverksamhet och få hjälp med tips och råd. Idag är det minst lika aktuellt och anledningarna till att alla egenföretagare borde ha en mentor är flera, här är några av dem!

Ensam är inte starkast
Ensam kan absolut vara stark men tillsammans blir vi starkare. Som egenföretagare har du bara dig själv och det blir lätt både ensamt och sårbart i längden om du inte omger dig med personer som stöttar dig på din resa. Ensam är inte starkast utan det är tillsammans som vi blir verkligt starka.
Det sociala nätverkets kraft
Ungefär 70 procent av alla arbeten tillsätts idag genom nätverkskontakter. Hur den statistiken ser ut för egenföretagare förtäljer inte denna svenska studie men rekommendationer och kontakter är A och O för alla företagare. Oavsett om det gäller att få in nya affärer, leverantörer, medarbetare eller något annat du kan tänkas behöva. Genom en mentor kommer du att nå ut till ännu fler personer via hens nätverk och bara det kan vara ovärderligt för din framtida verksamhet.

Lär av andras misstag
Alla gör vi misstag, det är knappast något nytt. Det är inte heller nytt att det en lär sig bäst genom sina egna misstag. Men varför nöja sig med det om du också kan lära dig av andras misstag och därmed undvika att trampa i fler företagarfällor än de du redan har upptäckt? Ju tidigare du kan få hjälp med att upptäcka vilka risker du står inför desto bättre kan du förhindra dem.

Möjligheten till att kunna fråga allt du undrar över
Alla har vi saker som vi undrar över. Stora som små. Så, varför gå och undra när det finns erfarna människor som antingen har svaren eller kan hjälpa dig finna dem? En bra mentor fungerar som din mentala PT och hen kommer att kunna hjälpa dig och ditt företag att må bättre och bli starkare.

Du kommer kunna lyckas snabbare
Goda råd sägs vara dyra men är det verkligen dyrt om de goda råden kan få din företagsverksamhet att växa både mer, tidigare och snabbare jämfört med om du skulle ha kommit på allting själv? Njä. Det tar mellan ett och fem år att etablera en affärsverksamhet beroende på vad det är för typ av företag, förutsättningar och marknader som det gäller. Att ha en mentor som kan hjälpa dig att navigera både inför och under tiden som du startar upp eller implementerar något nytt kommer att hjälpa dig spara både tid, kraft och därmed hjälpa dig att lyckas snabbare.

Källa:Mynewsdesk.com, september 2019
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De vanligaste anledningarna till att inte ha en mentor och varför de är fel

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on September 18th, 2019 by admin

Missförstånd nummer 1: Är mitt lilla problem något denna erfarna mentor verkligen bryr sig om?
En sak är säker, som företagare har du problem. Nästan jämt. Vissa är stora och vissa är små. Och inget av dem kommer att vara för litet eller för stort för din mentor eftersom hen bryr sig om dig och din verksamhet och vill att du ska lyckas. Inte nog med det – din mentor kommer också veta hur du kan lösa några av dem och stötta dig med problemlösningen så att den går snabbare och enklare än om du skulle behöva komma på allting själv.

Missförstånd nummer 2: Kan jag verkligen lita på att det stannar mellan oss två?
En annan vanlig fråga vi möter är om man vågar anförtro sig åt en helt främmande människa? Och om man kan lita på att det som sägs stannar mellan dig och din mentor? Ja, det kan du självklart göra. Som mentor är det vår skyldighet att skydda och hjälpa dig och din affärsverksamhet och vår relation bygger på att vi litar på varandra och respekterar att det vi berättar för varandra inte förs vidare. En mentor har inget egenintresse av er relation mer än att hjälpa dig lyckas med det du gör.

Missförstånd nummer 3: Jag vet inte vad jag kan förvänta mig av en mentor?
Vi vet, om du köper en pryl kan du känna på den innan du köper den. Gällande tjänster ser du i stället priset men vet inte vad du får. Men vet du vad den vanligaste feedbacken är som vi får från våra kunder? Ett citat i stil med: ”Varför jag har inte gjort detta tidigare?”. Det behöver inte vara svårt att hitta en mentor och 98 procent av våra kunder är jättenöjda med att deras mentorer lyssnar, ställer frågor och delar med sig av sina erfarenheter och hjälper dig med tips och råd.

Missförstånd nummer 4: Det för tidigt att skaffa en mentor
Sist men inte minst så är det ett vanligt missförstånd att det är för tidigt att skaffa en mentor. Att man måste ha drivit företag i X antal år för att ha nytta av att ha en mentor. Men det är fel. Ju tidigare du får en mentor, desto enklare och bättre kommer ditt företagande att bli eftersom du kommer att få rådgivning och stöd i hur du ska arbeta vilket kommer att leda till att ditt företag lyckas ännu snabbare än om du ensam ska komma på och utföra allting. Utnyttja i stället chansen att få lyssna på, ställa frågor och bolla dina idéer med en person som gjort en liknande resa förut och som kan ge dig tips och stöd på din företagsresa.

Källa:Mentorerna.se
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Making time management the organization’s priority

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on September 16th, 2019 by admin

To stop wasting a finite resource, companies should tackle time problems systematically rather than leave them to individuals.

When a critical strategic initiative at a major multinational stalled recently, company leaders targeted a talented, up-and-coming executive to take over the project. There was just one problem: she was already working 18-hour days, five days a week. When the leaders put this to the CEO, he matter-of-factly remarked that by his count she still had “30 more hours Monday to Friday, plus 48 more on the weekend.”
Extreme as this case may seem, the perennial time-scarcity problem that underlies it has become more acute in recent years. The impact of always-on communications, the growing complexity of global organizations,1 and the pressures imposed by profound economic uncertainty have all added to a feeling among executives that there are simply not enough hours in the day to get things done.

Our research and experience suggest that leaders who are serious about addressing this challenge must stop thinking about time management as primarily an individual problem and start addressing it institutionally. Time management isn’t just a personal-productivity issue over which companies have no control; it has increasingly become an organizational issue whose root causes are deeply embedded in corporate structures and cultures.
Fortunately, this also means that the problem can be tackled systematically. Senior teams can create time budgets and formal processes for allocating their time. Leaders can pay more attention to time when they address organizational-design matters such as spans of control, roles, and decision rights. Companies can ensure that individual leaders have the tools and incentives to manage their time effectively. And they can provide institutional support, including best-in-class administrative assistance—a frequent casualty of recent cost-cutting efforts.
Approaches like these aren’t just valuable in their own right. They also represent powerful levers for executives faced with talent shortages, particularly if companies find their most skilled people so overloaded that they lack the capacity to lead crucial new programs. In this article, we’ll explore institutional solutions—after first reviewing in more detail the nature of today’s time-management challenge, including the results of a recent survey.

Time: The ‘infinite’ resource
When we asked nearly 1,500 executives across the globe2 to tell us how they spent their time, we found that only 9 percent of the respondents deemed themselves “very satisfied” with their current allocation. Less than half were “somewhat satisfied,” and about one-third were “actively dissatisfied.” What’s more, only 52 percent said that the way they spent their time largely matched their organizations’ strategic priorities. Nearly half admitted that they were not concentrating sufficiently on guiding the strategic direction of the business. These last two data points suggest that time challenges are influencing the well-being of companies, not just individuals.
The survey results, while disquieting, are arguably a natural consequence of the fact that few organizations treat executive time as the finite and measurable resource it is. Consider the contrast with capital. Say that a company has $2 billion of good capital-investment opportunities, all with positive net present value and reasonably quick payback, but just $1 billion of capital readily available for investment. The only options are either to prioritize the most important possibilities and figure out which should be deferred or to find ways of raising more capital.
Leadership time, by contrast, too often gets treated as though it were limitless, with all good opportunities receiving high priority regardless of the leadership capacity to drive them forward. No wonder that so few leaders feel they are using their time well or that a segmentation analysis of the survey data revealed the existence not only of dissatisfied executives but of four distinct groups of dissatisfied executives—“online junkies,” “schmoozers,” “cheerleaders,” and “firefighters”—whose pain points, as we’ll see, reflect the ways organizations ignore time (for a full description of each group, see the narrated slideshow, “Time management: Four flavors of frustration”).

Initiative overload
The myth of infinite time is most painfully experienced through the proliferation of big strategic initiatives and special projects common to so many modern organizations. The result is initiative overload: projects get heaped on top of “day jobs,” with a variety of unintended consequences, including failed initiatives, missed opportunities, and leaders who don’t have time to engage the people whose cooperation and commitment they need. Organizations often get “change fatigue” and eventually lack energy for even the most basic and rewarding initiatives.
Many dissatisfied executives, particularly firefighters and online junkies, struggle to devote time and energy to the personal conversations and team interactions that drive successful initiatives. The online junkies spend the least time motivating employees or being with their direct reports, either one on one or in a group; face-to-face encounters take up less than 20 percent of their working day. The communication channels they most favor are e-mail, other forms of asynchronous messaging, and the telephone—all useful tools, but often inadequate substitutes for real conversations.

Muddling through
Another unintended consequence of our cavalier attitude toward this supposedly infinite resource is a lack of organizational time-management guidance for individual managers.
Imagine someone on day one of a new job: she’s been through the training and onboarding, arrives at the office, sits down at her desk, and then . . . ? What determines the things she does, her schedule, the decisions she gets involved with, where she goes, whom she talks with, the information she reviews (and for how long), and the meetings she attends? Nine out of ten times, we find, the top two drivers are e-mails that appear in the inbox and meeting invites, albeit sometimes in reverse order.
Diary analyses of how different people spend their time in the same role—sales rep, trader, store manager, regional vice president—often provoke astonishment at the sharply contrasting ways different individuals perform the same job. The not-so-good performers are often highly fragmented, spending time on the wrong things in the wrong places while ignoring tasks core to their strategic objectives.
Our survey suggests that a laissez-faire approach to time management is a challenge for all four types of dissatisfied executives, but particularly for the schmoozers (CEOs are well represented) and cheerleaders (often C-suite executives one level down). These individuals seem to be doing valuable things: schmoozers spend most of their time meeting face to face with important (often external) stakeholders, while cheerleaders spend over 20 percent of theirs (more than any other dissatisfied group) interacting with, encouraging, and motivating employees.
But consider the things these people are not doing. Cheerleaders spend less time than other executives with a company’s external stakeholders. For schmoozers, more than 80 percent of interaction time takes place face to face or on the phone. They say they have difficulty connecting with a broad cross-section of the workforce or spending enough time thinking and strategizing. The same challenge confronts cheerleaders, who spend less than 10 percent of their time focused on long-term strategy. The bottom line: muddling through and devoting time to activities that seem important doesn’t always cut it, even for a company’s most senior leaders.

Troublesome trade-offs
When new initiatives proliferate without explicit attention to the allocation of time and roles, organizations inadvertently make trade-offs that render their leaders less effective (see sidebar, “Drowning in managerial minutiae”).
Companies often exacerbate time problems through the blunt application of “delayering” principles. One organization we know applied “the rule of seven” (no more than seven direct reports for managers) to all parts of the organization. It forgot that different types of managerial work require varying amounts of time to oversee, manage, and apprentice people. In some cases (such as jobs involving highly complicated international tax work in finance organizations), a leader has the bandwidth for only two or three direct reports. In others (such as very simple call-center operations, where employees are well trained and largely self-managing), it is fine to have 20 or more.
While the average span of control might still work out at seven, applying simple rules in an overly simplistic way can be costly: managers with too few direct reports often micromanage them or initiate unnecessary meetings, reports, or projects that make the organization more complex. Conversely, when managers don’t have enough time to supervise their people, they tend to manage by exception (acting only where there’s a significant deviation from what’s planned) and often end up constantly firefighting.
We saw these dynamics most at work among our survey’s firefighters. General managers accounted for the largest number of people in this category, which is characterized by the amount of time those in it spend alone in their offices, micromanaging and responding to supposed emergencies via e-mail and telephone (40 percent, as opposed to 13 percent for the schmoozers). Such executives also complained about focusing largely on short-term issues and near-term operational decisions and having little time to set strategy and organizational direction.

Respecting time
The deep organizational roots of these time challenges help explain their persistence despite several decades of research, training, and popular self-help books, all building on Peter Drucker’s famous dictum: “Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”
So where should leaders hoping to make real progress for their organizations—and themselves—start the journey? We don’t believe there’s one particular breakdown of time that works for all executives. But the responses of the relatively small group of satisfied executives in our survey (fewer than one in ten) provide some useful clues to what works.
Overall, the key seems to be balance (exhibit). On average, executives in the satisfied group spend 34 percent of their time interacting with external stakeholders (including boards, customers, and investors), 39 percent in internal meetings (evenly split between one on ones with direct reports, leadership-team gatherings, and other meetings with employees), and 24 percent working alone.

Of the time executives in the satisfied group spend interacting with others (externally and internally), 40 percent involves face-to-face meetings, 25 percent video- or teleconferences, and around 10 percent some other form of real-time communication. Less than a third involves e-mail or other asynchronous communications, such as voice mail.
The satisfied executives identified four key activities that take up (in roughly equal proportions) two-thirds of their time: making key business or operational decisions, managing and motivating people, setting direction and strategy, and managing external stakeholders. None of these, interestingly, is the sort of transactional and administrative activity their dissatisfied counterparts cited as a major time sink.
In our experience, all of those dissatisfied leaders stand to benefit from the remedies described below. That said, just as the principles of a good diet plan are suitable for all unhealthy eaters but the application of those principles may vary, depending on individual vices (desserts for some, between-meal snacks for others), so too these remedies will play out differently, depending on which time problems are most prevalent in a given organization.

1. Have a ‘time leadership’ budget—and a proper process for allocating it
Rather than add haphazardly to projects and initiatives, companies should routinely analyze how much leadership attention, guidance, and intervention each of them will need. What is the oversight required? What level of focus should the top team or the steering committee provide? In other words, how much leadership capacity does the company really have to “finance” its great ideas?

Establishing a time budget for priority initiatives might sound radical, but it’s the best way to move toward the goal of treating leadership capacity as companies treat financial capital and to stop financing new initiatives when the human capital runs out. One large health system we know has established a formal governance committee, with a remit to oversee the time budget, for enterprise-wide initiatives. The committee approves and monitors all of them, including demands on the system’s leadership capacity. Initial proposals must include time commitments required from the leadership and an explicit demonstration that each leader has the required capacity. If not, the system takes deliberate steps to lighten that leader’s other responsibilities.

2. Think about time when you introduce organizational change
Companies typically look at managerial spans of control from a structural point of view: the broader they are, the fewer managers and the lower the overhead they need. Augmenting that structural frame of reference with the time required to achieve goals is critical to the long-term success of any organizational change. The hours needed to manage, lead, or supervise an employee represent a real constraint that, if unmanaged, can make structures unstable or ineffective.
Getting this right is a delicate balancing act. Excessively lean organizations leave managers overwhelmed with more direct reports than they can manage productively. Yet delayering can be a time saver because it strips out redundant managerial roles that add complexity and unnecessary tasks. One major health-products company we know recently made dramatic progress toward eliminating unnecessary work and taming a notorious “meeting culture” just by restructuring its finance organization, which had twice as many managers as its peers did.
Likewise, when another company—this one in the technology sector—reset its internal governance structures, it saved more than 4,000 person-hours of executive time annually while enhancing its strategic focus, increasing its accountability, and speeding up decision making. In particular, the company revamped complex decision-making structures involving multiple boards and committees that typically included the same people and had similar agendas and unnecessarily detailed discussions.

3. Ensure that individuals routinely measure and manage their time
At one leading professional-services firm, a recent analysis revealed that the senior partners were spending a disproportionate amount of time on current engagements, to the exclusion of equally important strategic priorities, such as external networking, internal coaching, and building expertise. Today individual partners have a data-backed baseline as a starting point to measure how well their time allocation meets their individual strategic objectives.
Executives are usually surprised to see the output from time-analysis exercises, for it generally reveals how little of their activity is aligned with the company’s stated priorities. If intimacy with customers is a goal, for example, how much time are the organization’s leaders devoting to activities that encourage it? Most can’t answer this question: they can tell you the portion of the budget that’s dedicated to the organization’s priorities but usually not how much time the leadership devotes to them. Once leaders start tracking the hours, even informally, they often find that they devote a shockingly low percentage of their overall time to these priorities.
Of course, if you measure and manage something, it becomes a priority regardless of its importance. At one industrial company, a frontline supervisor spent almost all his time firefighting and doing unproductive administrative work, though his real value was managing, coaching, and developing people on the shop floor. The reason for the misallocation was that shop-floor time was neither structured nor measured—no one minded if he didn’t show up—but he got into trouble by not attending meetings and producing reports. The same issue exists for senior executives: if their formal and informal incentives don’t map closely to strategic priorities, their time will naturally be misallocated.
The inclusion in performance reviews of explicit, time-related metrics or targets, such as time spent with frontline employees (for a plant manager) or networking (for senior partners at a professional-services firm), is a powerful means of changing behavior. So is friendly competition among team members and verbal recognition of people who spend their time wisely. And consider borrowing a page from lean manufacturing, which emphasizes “standard work” as a way to reduce variability. We’ve seen companies define, measure, and reward leader-standard work, including easy-to-overlook priorities from “walking the halls” to spending time with critical stakeholders.

4. Refine the master calendar
To create time and space for critical priorities, business leaders must first of all be clear about what they and their teams will stop doing. Organizationally, that might mean reviewing calendars and meeting schedules to make an honest assessment of which meetings support strategic goals, as opposed to update meetings slotted into the agenda out of habit or in deference to corporate tradition.
While many large companies create a master calendar for key meetings involving members of the senior team, few take the next step and use that calendar as a tool to root out corporate time wasting. There are exceptions, though: one global manufacturer, for example, avoids the duplication of travel time by always arranging key visits with foreign customers to coincide with quarterly business meetings held overseas.
In our experience, companies can make even more progress by identifying which meetings are for information only (reporting), for cross-unit collaboration (problem solving and coordination at the interfaces), for managing performance (course-correcting actions must be adopted at such meetings, or they are really just for reporting), or for making decisions (meetings where everything is approved 99 percent of the time don’t count, since they too are really for reporting). Executives at the highest-performing organizations we’ve seen typically spend at least 50 percent of their time in decision meetings and less than 10 percent in reporting or information meetings. But most companies allocate their leadership time in exactly the reverse order, often without knowing it: the way people spend their time can be taken for granted, like furniture that nobody notices anymore.

5. Provide high-quality administrative support
One of the biggest differences we saw in the survey involved the quality of support. Of those who deemed themselves effective time managers, 85 percent reported that they received strong support in scheduling and allocating time. Only 7 percent of ineffective time allocators said the same.
The most effective support we’ve seen is provided by a global chemical company, where the CEO’s administrative assistant takes it upon herself to ensure that the organization’s strategic objectives are reflected in the way she allocates the time of the CEO and the top team to specific issues and stakeholders. She regularly checks to ensure that calendared time matches the stated priorities. If it doesn’t, during priority-setting meetings (every two weeks) she’ll highlight gaps by asking questions such as, “We haven’t been to Latin America yet this year—is that an issue? Do you need to schedule a visit before the end of the year?” Or, “Are these the right things to focus on? Since you’re already going to Eastern Europe, what else should we schedule while you’re out there? Do we need to clear the decks to make more time for strategic priorities?”
In addition, the CEO’s administrative assistant “owns” the master calendar for corporate officers and uses it to ensure that the executive team meets on important topics, avoids redundant meetings, and capitalizes on occasions when key leaders are in the same place. Finally, to give senior leaders time to reflect on the big picture, she creates “quiet zones” of minimal activity two or three days ahead of significant events, such as quarterly earnings reports, strategy reviews with business units, and board meetings. Such approaches, which make the executives’ allocation of time dramatically more effective, underscore the importance of not being “penny-wise and pound-foolish” in providing administrative support.

The time pressures on senior leaders are intensifying, and the vast majority of them are frustrated by the difficulty of responding effectively. While executives cannot easily combat the external forces at work, they can treat time as a precious and increasingly scarce resource and tackle the institutional barriers to managing it well. The starting point is to get clear on organizational priorities—and to approach the challenge of aligning them with the way executives spend their time as a systemic organizational problem, not merely a personal one.

Source: McKinsey.com
Authors: Frankki Bevins is a consultant in McKinsey’s Washington, DC, office, and Aaron De Smet is a principal in the Houston office.
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Making a culture transformation stick with symbolic actions

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on August 15th, 2019 by admin

Elephant in the room: making a culture transformation stick with symbolic actions

Leaders are familiar with the challenge of making a cultural transformation. To signal changing expectations, execute carefully considered symbolic actions.

Why did a leading global agriculture player order small rubber elephants adorned with the company’s logo for its meeting rooms? Far from being mere props, these elephants were symbols to facilitate desired behavior shifts in employees.

The organization was undergoing a cultural transformation to become a higher-performing, more innovative company. Leadership realized that to achieve this goal, employees needed to become more open and comfortable having the candid conversations required to move ideas forward—they needed to be able to put the elephant on the table. To encourage this change, leadership sought a way to signal the beginning of the transformation and role model the new behaviors.

Leaders across industries are familiar with the challenge of making—and sustaining—a cultural transformation. To signal that cultural expectations are changing, leadership should execute one or two carefully considered symbolic actions.

Make expectations clear through role modeling
“Beyond Performance 2.0” discusses the importance of senior leaders employing symbolic actions—highly visible acts or decisions that indicate change in the organization—to demonstrate their commitment to the transformation. Symbolic actions can augment critical, but often less visible, day-to-day behavior shifts among leaders, addressing a common frustration: “I’m doing things differently but no one is noticing.”

Our research shows that transformations are 5.3 times more likely to succeed when leaders model the behavior they want employees to adopt. We also found that nearly 50 percent of employees cite the CEO’s visible engagement and commitment to transformation as the most effective action for engaging frontline employees.

Symbolic actions are most successful when employees connect the dots between the act and the broader change message, facilitating both a mindset and behavioral shift. For example, employees at the agriculture company were initially confused when they discovered the rubber elephants. But their confusion subsided when they saw leaders pick them up and put them on the table as they raised difficult topics others might have felt uncomfortable surfacing. The practice was eventually adopted by other employees when they too needed to call out the elephant in the room.

Develop a portfolio of symbolic actions
Leaders can identify the right symbolic actions for their organization and evolve their approaches by undertaking three key activities:

1. Define the purpose of and audience for potential symbolic actions.
Leaders should identify what specific changes they want to facilitate and which group should be part of the symbolic action. Being clear on what is being symbolized and for what purpose will focus energy on the ideas that will have the greatest impact.

2. Brainstorm symbolic actions.
Go for quantity over quality when generating ideas. Use external examples for inspiration and adopt design-thinking tactics, such as empathy mapping, to better understand the audience. Categorizing the ideas according to design dimensions such as who will execute the action and the frequency of the action (one-time, periodic or ongoing) helps the group iterate.

3. Review and prioritize ideas.
Evaluate the list as a team and identify options that you feel will be the most effective, shifting the focus to quality over quantity. Prioritized actions should be consistent with broader transformation messaging and should be designed to appeal to the different sources of meaning that motivate and inspire employees, such as doing good for society, supporting their working team, or enabling personal gain.

The behavior change and the broader culture change transformation catalyzed by the elephant on the table ultimately paid off for the agriculture company. Its employees now have more open, candid conversations, enabling improved performance and health of the organization. The company climbed to the top decile of organizational health in McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index database—an achievement that our analysis indicates correlates with clear improvements in financial performance. For shareholders, there is nothing symbolic about those returns.

For more on leading successful large-scale change programs, see our book, “Beyond Performance 2.0.”

Source: McKinsey.com, July 2019
Authors: By Jessica Cohen, Matt Schrimper and Emily Taylor
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How leaders kill meaning at work

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 8th, 2019 by admin

Senior executives routinely undermine creativity, productivity, and commitment by damaging the inner work lives of their employees in four avoidable ways.

As a senior executive, you may think you know what Job Number 1 is: developing a killer strategy. In fact, this is only Job 1a. You have a second, equally important task. Call it Job 1b: enabling the ongoing engagement and everyday progress of the people in the trenches of your organization who strive to execute that strategy. A multiyear research project whose results we described in our recent book, The Progress Principle, found that of all the events that can deeply engage people in their jobs, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.

Even incremental steps forward—small wins—boost what we call “inner work life”: the constant flow of emotions, motivations, and perceptions that constitute a person’s reactions to the events of the work day. Beyond affecting the well-being of employees, inner work life affects the bottom line. People are more creative, productive, committed, and collegial in their jobs when they have positive inner work lives. But it’s not just any sort of progress in work that matters. The first, and fundamental, requirement is that the work be meaningful to the people doing it.

In our book and a recent Harvard Business Review article, we argue that managers at all levels routinely—and unwittingly—undermine the meaningfulness of work for their direct subordinates through everyday words and actions. These include dismissing the importance of subordinates’ work or ideas, destroying a sense of ownership by switching people off project teams before work is finalized, shifting goals so frequently that people despair that their work will ever see the light of day, and neglecting to keep subordinates up to date on changing priorities for customers.

But what about a company’s most senior leaders? What is their role in making—or killing—meaning at work? To be sure, as a high-level leader, you have fewer opportunities to directly affect the inner work lives of employees than do frontline supervisors. Yet your smallest actions pack a wallop because what you say and do is intensely observed by people down the line. A sense of purpose in the work, and consistent action to reinforce it, has to come from the top.

Four traps

To better understand the role of upper-level managers, we recently dug back into our data: nearly 12,000 daily electronic diaries from dozens of professionals working on important innovation projects at seven North American companies. We selected those entries in which diarists mentioned upper- or top-level managers—868 narratives in all.

Qualitative analysis of the narratives highlighted four traps that lie in wait for senior executives. Most of these pitfalls showed up in several companies. Six of the seven suffered from one or more of the traps, and in only a single company did leaders avoid them. The existence of this outlier suggests that it is possible for senior executives to sustain meaning consistently, but that’s difficult and requires vigilance.

This article should help you determine whether you risk falling into some of these traps yourself—and unknowingly dragging your organization into the abyss with you. We also offer a few thoughts on avoiding the problems, advice inspired by the actions and words of a senior leader at the one company that did so.

We don’t claim to have all the answers. But we are convinced that executives who sidestep these traps reduce their risk of inadvertently draining meaning from the work of the people in their organizations. Those leaders also will boost the odds of tapping into the motivational power of progress—something surprisingly few do.

We surveyed 669 managers at all levels of management, from dozens of companies and various industries around the world. We asked them to rank the importance of five employee motivators: incentives, recognition, clear goals, interpersonal support, and progress in the work. Only 8 percent of senior executives ranked progress as the most important motivator. Had they chosen randomly, 20 percent would have done so. In short, our survey showed that most executives don’t understand the power of progress in meaningful work.4 And the traps revealed by the diaries suggest that most executives don’t act as though progress matters. You can do better.

Trap 1: Mediocrity signals

Most likely, your company aspires to greatness, articulating a high purpose for the organization in its corporate mission statement. But are you inadvertently signaling the opposite through your words and actions?

We saw this dynamic repeatedly at a well-known consumer products company we’ll call Karpenter Corporation, which was experiencing a rapid deterioration in the inner work lives of its employees as a result of the actions of a new top-management team. Within three years of our studying Karpenter, it had become unprofitable and was acquired by a smaller rival.

Karpenter’s top-management team espoused a vision of entrepreneurial cross-functional business teams. In theory, each team would operate autonomously, managing its share of the company’s resources to back its own new-product innovations. During the year we collected data from Karpenter teams, the annual report was full of references to the company’s innovation focus; in the first five sentences, “innovation” appeared three times.

In practice, however, those top managers were so focused on cost savings that they repeatedly negated the teams’ autonomy, dictated cost reduction goals that had to be met before any other priorities were, and—as a result—drove new-product innovation into the ground. This unintended, de facto hypocrisy took its toll, as a diary excerpt from a longtime Karpenter product engineer emphasizes:

Today I found out that our team will be concentrating on [cost savings] for the next several months instead of any new products. . . . It is getting very difficult to concentrate on removing pennies from the standard cost of an item. That is the only place that we have control over. Most of the time, quality suffers. It seems that our competition is putting out new products at a faster rate. . . . We are no longer the leader in innovation. We are the followers.

This employee’s work had begun to lose its meaning, and he wasn’t alone. Many of the other 65 Karpenter professionals in our study felt that they were doing mediocre work for a mediocre company—one for which they had previously felt fierce pride. By the end of our time collecting data at Karpenter, many of these employees were completely disengaged. Some of the very best had left.

The mediocrity trap was not unique to Karpenter. We saw it revealed in different guises in several of the companies we studied. At a chemicals firm, it stemmed from the top managers’ risk aversion. Consider these words from one researcher there:

A proposal for liquid/medical filtration using our new technology was tabled for the second time by the Gate 1 committee (five directors that screen new ideas). Although we had plenty of info for this stage of the game, the committee is uncomfortable with the risk and liability. The team, and myself, are frustrated about hurdles that we don’t know how to answer.

This company’s leaders also inadvertently signaled that, despite their rhetoric about being innovative and cutting edge, they were really more comfortable being ordinary.

Trap 2: Strategic ‘attention deficit disorder’

As an experienced leader, you probably scan your company’s external environment constantly for guidance in making your next strategic moves. What are competitors planning? Where are new ones popping up? What’s happening in the global economy, and what might the implications be for financing or future market priorities? You are probably brimming with ideas on where you’d like to take the company next. All of that is good, in theory.

In practice, we see too many top managers start and abandon initiatives so frequently that they appear to display a kind of attention deficit disorder (ADD) when it comes to strategy and tactics. They don’t allow sufficient time to discover whether initiatives are working, and they communicate insufficient rationales to their employees when they make strategic shifts.

Karpenter’s strategic ADD seemed to stem from its leaders’ short attention span, perhaps fueled by the CEO’s desire to embrace the latest management trends. The problem was evident in decisions at the level of product lines and extended all the way up to corporate strategy. If you blinked, you could miss the next strategic shift. In one employee’s words:

A quarterly product review was held with members of the [top team] and the general manager and president. Primary outcome from the meeting was a change in direction away from spray jet mops to revitalization of existing window squeegees. Four priorities were defined for product development, none of which were identified as priorities at our last quarterly update. The needle still points north, but we’ve turned the compass again.

At another company we studied, strategic ADD appeared to stem from a top team warring with itself. Corporate executives spent many months trying to nail down a new market strategy. Meanwhile, different vice presidents were pushing in different directions, rendering each of the leaders incapable of giving consistent direction to their people. This wreaked havoc in the trenches. One diarist, a project manager, felt that rather than committing herself to doing something great for particular customers, she needed to hedge her bets:

The VP gave us his opinion of which target candidates [for new products] may fit with overall company strategy—but, in reality, neither he nor anyone in our management structure knows what the strategy is. It makes this project a real balancing act—we need to go forward, but need to weigh commitments very carefully.

If high-level leaders don’t appear to have their act together on exactly where the organization should be heading, it’s awfully difficult for the troops to maintain a strong sense of purpose.

Trap 3: Corporate Keystone Kops

In the early decades of cinema, a popular series of silent-film comedies featured the Keystone Kops—fictional policemen so incompetent that they ran around in circles, mistakenly bashed each other on the head, and fumbled one case after another. The title of that series became synonymous with miscoordination. Our research found that many executives who think everything is going smoothly in the everyday workings of their organizations are blithely unaware that they preside over their own corporate version of the Keystone Kops. Some contribute to the farce through their actions, others by failing to act. At Karpenter, for example, top managers set up overly complex matrix reporting structures, repeatedly failed to hold support functions (such as purchasing and sales) accountable for coordinated action, and displayed a chronic indecisiveness that bred rushed analyses. In the words of one diarist:

Last-minute changes continue on [an important customer’s] assortments. Rather than think through the whole process and logically decide which assortments we want to show [the customer], we are instead using a shotgun approach of trying multiple assortments until we find one that works. In the meantime, we are expending a lot of time and effort on potential assortments only to find out later that an assortment has been dropped.

Although Karpenter’s example was egregious, the company was far from alone in creating chaotic situations for its workers. In one high-tech company we studied, for example, Keystone Kop–like scenarios played out around the actions of a rogue marketing function. As described in one engineer’s diary, the attempts of many teams to move forward with their projects were continually thwarted by signals from marketing that conflicted with those coming from R&D and other key functions. Marketers even failed to show up for many key meetings:

At a meeting with Pierce, Clay, and Joseph, I was told that someone from marketing would be attending our team meetings (finally). The meeting also gave me a chance to demonstrate to Joseph that we were getting mixed signals from marketing.

When coordination and support are absent within an organization, people stop believing that they can produce something of high quality. This makes it extremely difficult to maintain a sense of purpose.

Trap 4: Misbegotten ‘big, hairy, audacious goals’

Management gurus Jim Collins and Jerry Porras encourage organizations to develop a “big, hairy, audacious goal” (BHAG, pronounced bee-hag)—a bold strategic vision statement that has powerful emotional appeal.5 BHAGs help infuse work with meaning by articulating the goals of the organization in a way that connects emotionally with peoples’ values. (Think of Google’s stated mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”)

At some companies, however, such statements are grandiose, containing little relevance or meaning for people in the trenches. They can be so extreme as to seem unattainable and so vague as to seem empty. The result is a meaning vacuum. Cynicism rises and drive plummets. Although we saw this trap clearly in only one of the seven companies we studied, we think it is sufficiently seductive and dangerous to warrant consideration.

That company, a chemicals firm, set a BHAG that all projects had to be innovative blockbusters that would yield a minimum of $100 million in revenue annually, within five years of a project’s initiation. This goal did not infuse the work with meaning, because it had little to do with the day-to-day activities of people in the organization. It did not articulate milestones toward the goal; it did not provide for a range of experiments and outcomes to meet it; worst of all, it did not connect with anything the employees valued. Most of them wanted to provide something of value to their customers; an aggressive revenue target told them only about the value to the organization, not to the customer. Far from what Collins and Porras intended, this misbegotten BHAG was helping to destroy the employees’ sense of purpose.

Avoiding the traps

Spotting the traps from the executive suite is difficult enough; sidestepping them is harder still—and wasn’t the focus of our research. Nonetheless, it’s instructive to look at the one company in our study that avoided the traps, a creator of coated fabrics for weatherproof clothing and other applications. We recently interviewed its head, whom we’ll call Mark Hamilton. That conversation generated a few ideas that we hope will spark a lively discussion in your own C-suite. For example:

When you communicate with employees, do you provide strategic clarity that’s consistent with your organization’s capabilities and an understanding of where it can add the most value? Hamilton and his top team believed that innovating in processes, rather than products, was the key to creating the right combination of quality and value for customers. So he talked about process innovation at every all-company meeting, and he steadfastly supported it throughout the organization. This consistency helped everyone understand the strategy and even become jazzed about it.

Can you keep sight of the individual employee’s perspective? The best executives we studied internalize their early experiences and use them as reference points for gauging the signals that their own behavior will send to the troops. “Try hard to remember when you were working in the trenches,” Hamilton says. “If somebody asked you to do a bunch of work on something they hadn’t thought through, how meaningful could it be for you? How committed could you be?”

Do you have any early-warning systems that indicate when your view from the top doesn’t match the reality on the ground? Regular audits to gauge the effectiveness of coordination and support processes in areas such as marketing, sales, and purchasing can highlight pain points that demand senior management’s attention because they are starting to sap meaning from your people’s work. In Hamilton’s view, senior executives bear the responsibility for identifying and clearing away systemic impediments that prevent quality work from getting done.

Hamilton’s company was doing very well. But we believe that senior executives can provide a sense of purpose and progress even in bad economic times. Consider the situation that then–newly appointed Xerox head Anne Mulcahy faced in 2000, when the company verged on bankruptcy. Mulcahy refused her advisers’ recommendation to file for bankruptcy (unless all other options were exhausted) because of the demoralizing signal it would send to frontline employees. “What we have going for us,” she said, “is that our people believe we are in a war that we can win.”6 She was right, and her conviction helped carry Xerox through four years of arduous struggle to later success.


As an executive, you are in a better position than anyone to identify and articulate the higher purpose of what people do within your organization. Make that purpose real, support its achievement through consistent everyday actions, and you will create the meaning that motivates people toward greatness. Along the way, you may find greater meaning in your own work as a leader.

Source: McKinsey.com
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About the authors: Teresa Amabile is the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Steven Kramer is an independent researcher and writer.

Så minskar du stressen på jobbet

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on May 27th, 2019 by admin

För mycket mejl, för många möten, för lite tid. Känns det bekant? I dag är besvär orsakat av stress och andra psykiska påfrestningar på jobbet vanligt. 

Struktören David Stiernholm har de senaste 15 åren hjälpt olika verksamheter att strukturera upp. Här är hans tips för att minska stressen på jobbet.

Pappershögarna är lägre, kontorslandskapen öppnare och mötena slukar allt mer arbetstid. Under åren som David Stiernholm varit verksam som struktör har han besökt hundratals arbetsplaster och lagt märke till ett antal saker som förändrats. Att vi i dag jobbar mer och mer digitalt är självklart men konsekvenserna är att inflödena blivit många fler än tidigare. 

– Det är inte bara inflöden av information utan även att kommunikation sker i många olika kanaler. Många jag träffar uttrycker att de behöver hjälp med att reda ut det här, hur ofta ska jag titta vad som skrivs och vad ska jag fokusera på? Många upplever att de blir avbrutna hela tiden, säger David Stiernholm.

David Stiernholm har lyckats strukturera upp sin egen arbetssituation så att han kan leva efter 37-15-4-metoden. Han jobbar 37 veckor om året, är ledig 15 veckor och jobbar bara fyra effektiva dagar i veckan för att kunna vara ledig på fredagar.
David Stiernholm har lyckats strukturera upp sin egen arbetssituation så att han kan leva efter 37-15-4-metoden. Han jobbar 37 veckor om året, är ledig 15 veckor och jobbar bara fyra effektiva dagar i veckan för att kunna vara ledig på fredagar. Foto: Nicklas Thegerström

Boken ”Förenkla på jobbet” riktar sig framför allt till verksamheter där anställda eller egenföretagare själva lägger upp sitt arbete. Det kan till exempel vara experter, forskare, skribenter och chefer. 

– I dag är folk mer hänvisade till sig själva. Många förväntas själva lägga upp sitt arbete och lära sig nya system utan att kanske riktigt fått förklarat för sig vad man ska ha det till. Det skapar stress.

I dag tar också möten allt mer tid av arbetsdagen. Så pass mycket att många inte riktigt hinner det de ska göra på sin övriga arbetstid. Det kan medföra att man får jobba över eller småjobbar hemma på kvällarna. Att planen för dagen spricker är också vanligt, liksom otydliga mål. Ambitiösa personer utför fler arbetsuppgifter än de förväntas. Det är mycket till dem boken riktar sig åt. 

– Men också personer i chefspositioner som är utsatta då många assistentjobb och andra stödfunktioner försvunnit. Det är klassiskt att mellanchefer blir klämda. De ska vara operativa och tillgängliga för sina medarbetare och samtidigt hålla huvudet ovanför vattenytan, arbeta strategiskt och genomföra det som kommer ovanifrån. Det är lika vanligt i näringsliv som i offentlig sektor. 

Lösningarna då? Det viktigaste menar David Stiernholm är att hitta roten till problemen för att kunna svara på frågan om varför någonting är så krångligt. 

– Idén är att om man hittar själva grundproblemet så löser man många fler aspekter och symptom än de man först tänkte att man skulle lösa. Det är ofta ganska få problem som ställer till det ganska mycket. 

En viktig faktor är tid och allt som ska hinnas med på arbetsdagen. David Stiernholm säger att många har ganska dålig uppfattning om hur lång tid en viss arbetsuppgift kommer ta och att många överskattar hur brådskandet vissa saker är. 

– Om man är ambitiös är det lätt att tänka okej, det är brådskande så jag måste släppa allt annat och göra det direkt. Du borde istället fråga chefen, när behöver du egentligen ha det klart? Och inte nöja sig med så ”snart som möjligt” för det kan betyda väldigt olika för olika personer. Bråttom är ett godtyckligt begrepp. 

Vad är svårigheterna? 

– Att vi gapar efter för mycket direkt. Börja med någonting väldigt avgränsat och försök förenkla det. Om du börjar med ett stort problem och du samtidigt är stressad och har för mycket att göra är det väldigt lätt att misslyckas. 

 

Läs mer: Pauser på jobbet gör dig mer effektiv 

David Stiernholms tre tips för struktur på jobbet

1. Hitta grundproblemet

Jag tar avstamp i klassiska kvalitetsförbättringsverktyg som utvecklades i Japan på 50-talet och som går ut på att man frågar sig själv fem gånger vad problemet är för att komma fram till själva grunden till varför det blir på ett visst sätt. 

2. Avsätt egentid 

När möten slukar mycket av arbetstiden är det viktigt att avsätta tid varje vecka för att bara jobba med sådant du måste göra men kanske sällan hinner. Det är okej att flytta på den tiden om något viktigt möte skulle bokas, men bara om du flyttar tiden till en annan dag den veckan. 

3. Kräv tydliga deadlines och mål 

Vet man inte riktigt när någonting som är brådskande egentligen måste vara klart är det lätt att stressa i onödan. Kräv en exakt tid av din chef för att få bättre koll på hur du ska prioritera och lägga upp din tid. Tydliga mål gör att du inte bränner ut dig genom att göra uppgifter som egentligen inte förväntas av dig. 



Källa: DN.se, 27 maj 2019
Länk till artikeln på DN.se

Vad är det som gör en chef populär?

Posted in Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on May 21st, 2019 by admin

Kraven på dagens drömchef är betydligt högre i dag än tidigare. Men vilka egenskaper är viktigast för att en chef ska bli omtyckt av sin personal? Forskarna Lisa Björk och Charlotte Simonsson ger sina bästa råd för att hantera ledarskapsrollen.

Lyhörd, tydlig, coachande och en människokännare. En rapport från Manpower där 2.307 både anställda och företagare svarade visar att många föredrar chefer som är människokännare – i stället för sakkunniga inom sitt arbete. Tre av fyra tyckte dessutom att deras närmaste #chef är ganska eller mycket bra. Men kraven på dagens drömchef är betydligt högre än förr i tiden.

– Dagens chef ska vara både terapeut, visionär och operatör, säger Charlotte Simonsson, som har forskat på ledarskap och är forskare på institutionen för strategisk kommunikation, Lunds universitet.

På dagens arbetsmarknad ska chefer kunna hålla flera bollar i luften. Samtidigt som de ska se den enskilda medarbetaren, och inspirera eller stötta, ska chefer också leda verksamheten och komma med nya strategier, menar Charlotte Simonsson. 

– Vi har gått från ett mer uppgiftsorienterat ledarskap till mer människovetande, jag tror det är en del av samhällsutvecklingen där chefer får en mindre hierarkisk roll, säger hon.

Den nya synen på ledarskap utvecklades under 1980-talet. Ledningsfilosofin betonade kommunikativt ledarskap istället för traditionella strategiska mönster. Enligt Charlotte Simonsson befinner vi oss fortfarande i den utvecklingen. 

Samtidigt som dagens ledarskap gör det enklare att fånga upp medarbetare, som mår dåligt, innebär det också mer ansvar för chefen. Det i sin tur riskerar att ge stresspåslag tillägger Charlotte Simonsson. Hela sju av tio chefer mår så psykiskt dåligt att arbetet drabbas, visar en undersökning av fackförbundet Saco, under förra året. Dessutom har många chefer arbetat trots sjukdom eftersom de upplever att ingen annan gör jobbet. 

Längst ned på listan över egenskaper, som chefer önskas behärska, skvalpar resultatorienterad och effektiv. 

Senaste gången Manpowers undersökning genomfördes var för fyra år sedan. Även då hamnade resultatorienterad och effektiv i botten. Däremot har tydlighet blivit en allt viktigare egenskap bland chefer.

Varför vi efterfrågar mer människokännande drag av dagens chefer är en svår fråga att besvara. Men en förklaring kan vara att arbetslivet blir allt mer gränslöst. Det menar Lisa Björk, som är utvecklingsledare i organisation och ledarskap på Institutet för stressmedicin, ISM. Hon har framför allt studerat den offentliga sektorn. 

– Flera personer har ett gränslöst arbetsliv där gränserna för fritid och arbetstid suddas ut, många arbetar på kaféer eller aktivitetsbaserade kontor när vi går över till en tjänstebaserad ekonomi, säger hon.

När människor arbetar utanför kontorstider eller på olika platser ställer det högre krav på att chefen är närvarande. Framför allt eftersom egenskaper såsom coachande uppskattas mer. Samtidigt är det en utmaning när arbetet blir mer flexibelt. 

– Flera studier visar att medarbetare känner större arbetsengagemang när chefer uppvisar en sorts mänsklighet, men för att vara en stöttande chef krävs det att du har rätt förutsättningar, säger Lisa Björk. 

Det krävs att chefen har lagom med underanställda, annars är det svårt att validera varje enskild medarbetare. Likaså krävs det att du som chef har stöd från personen ovanför dig – med andra ord din egen chef. 

– I offentlig sektor har mycket nära stöd till chefer plockats bort, exempelvis sekreterarfunktioner, dessutom sitter somliga chefer långt ifrån sin egen chef, vilket gör det svårt att hinna vara den chefen man önskar vara, säger Lisa Björk. 

Drömchefen kommer troligtvis fortsätta vara en människokännare ett bra tag framöver, tror både Lisa Björk och Charlotte Simonsson. 

– Ingen föds som en perfekt chef utan det handlar om att utveckla sina mänskliga förmågor, säger Lisa Björk. 

Experterna tips:

1. Börja med att vända dig mot dig själv.

– Hur ser dina förutsättningar ut för att vara drömchefen? Fundera på hur stor arbetsbelastningen är, exempelvis hur många underanställda du klarar av för att vara en bra chef, men även hur relationen ser ut till din egen chef, säger Lisa Björk. 

2.  Prata med dina medarbetare om ditt #ledarskap.

– När jag har intervjuat chefer säger många att de inte har berättat för sina medarbetare hur de vill att deras eget ledarskap ser ut. Genom att prata med kollegorna är du tydlig med vad de kan förvänta sig av dig, säger Charlotte Simonsson. 

3. Fundera på hur du motiverar dina medarbetare.

– När du har kollat igenom dina förutsättningar är det dags att kolla på hur du motiverar andra. Vad är viktigt för mig och vilken typ av ledare vill jag vara, säger Lisa Björk. 

4. Ta ett helhetsgrepp.

– Dagens chefer kan inte vara bäst på allt när de har så mycket att göra. Det viktiga är att du som chef tar ett helhetsgrepp och blickar framåt, säger Charlotte Simonsson.

På uppdrag av Manpower Work Life genomförde analysföretaget Inizio undersökningen i januari 2019. Materialet omfattar anställda, egenföretagare, arbetssökande och studerande. Totalt svarade 2.307 personer på undersökningen. Respondenterna hade möjlighet att välja mer än en egenskap som drömchefen behärskar. 

Fackförbundet Saco:s undersökning är en sammanställning av olika källors datamaterial. Bland annat från Arbetsmiljöverket, Försäkringskassan och SCB. Materialet omfattar både enkätfrågor och statistik. 

Källa: DN.se, maj 2019
Charlotte Simonsson, Lisa Björk, Manpower och Saco. 
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Three keys to faster, better decisions

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on May 3rd, 2019 by admin

Decision makers fed up with slow or subpar results take heart. Three practices can help improve decision making and convince skeptical business leaders that there is life after death by committee.

Two years ago, we wrote about how it was simultaneously the best and worst of times for decision makers in senior management. Best because of more data, better analytics, and clearer understanding of how to mitigate the cognitive biases that often undermine corporate decision processes. Worst because organizational dynamics and digital decision-making dysfunctions were causing growing levels of frustration among senior leaders we knew.

Since then, we’ve conducted research to more clearly understand this balance, and the results have been disquieting. A survey we conducted recently with more than 1,200 managers across a range of global companies gave strong signs of growing levels of frustration with broken decision-making processes, with the slow pace of decision-making deliberations, and with the uneven quality of decision-making outcomes. Fewer than half of the survey respondents say that decisions are timely, and 61 percent say that at least half the time spent making them is ineffective. The opportunity costs of this are staggering: about 530,000 days of managers’ time potentially squandered each year for a typical Fortune 500 company, equivalent to some $250 million in wages annually.1

Managers at a typical Fortune 500 company may waste more than 500,000 days a year on ineffective decision making.

The reasons for the dissatisfaction are manifold: decision makers complain about everything from lack of real debate, convoluted processes, and an overreliance on consensus and death by committee, to unclear organizational roles, information overload (and the resulting inability to separate signal from noise), and company cultures that lack empowerment. One healthcare executive told us he sat through the same 90-minute proposal three times on separate committees because no one knew who was authorized to approve the decision. A pharma company hesitated so long over whether to pounce on an acquisition target that it lost the deal to a competitor. And a chemicals company CEO we know found himself devoting precious time to making hiring decisions four levels down the organization.

In our previous article, we proposed solutions that centered around categorizing decision types and organizing quite different processes against them. Our latest research confirms the importance of this approach, and it also highlights for each major decision category a noteworthy practice—sometimes stimulating debate, for example, while in other cases empowering employees—that can yield outsize improvements in effectiveness. When improvements in these areas are coupled with an organizational commitment to implement decisions—embracing not undercutting them—companies can achieve lasting improvements in both decision quality and speed. Indeed, faster decisions are often a happy outcome of these efforts. Our survey showed a strong correlation between quick decisions and good ones, suggesting that a commonly held assumption among executives—namely, “We can have good decisions or fast ones, but not both”—is flawed.

Three fixes that make a difference

Avoiding life on the bubble

Of the four decision categories we identified two years ago, three matter most to senior leaders. Big-bet decisions (such as a possible acquisition) are infrequent but high risk and have the potential to shape the future of the company; these are generally the domain of the top team and the board. Cross-cutting decisions (such as a pricing decision), which can be high risk, happen frequently and are made in cross-functional forums as part of a collaborative, end-to-end process. Delegated decisions are frequent but low risk and are effectively handled by an individual or working team, with limited input from others. (The fourth category, ad hoc decisions, which are infrequent and low stakes, is not addressed in this article.) Clearly, it is important that these types of decisions happen at the appropriate level of the company (CEOs, for example, shouldn’t make decisions that are best delegated). And yet, just as clearly, many decisions rise up much higher in the company than they should (see sidebar, “Avoiding life on the bubble”).

Even those businesses that do make decisions at the right level, however, complain about slow and bad outcomes. The evidence of our survey—and our experience watching executives grapple with this—suggests that while the best practices for making better decisions are interrelated, there’s nonetheless one standout practice that makes the biggest difference for each type of decision.

Big bets—facilitate productive debate

Big-bet decisions can be future-shapers for a company, the most important decisions leaders make. And they often receive much less scrutiny than they should.

The dynamic inside many decision meetings doesn’t help. It’s as if there is an unspoken understanding that the meeting should proceed like a short, three-act play. In the first act, the proposal is delivered in a snappy PowerPoint presentation that summarizes the relevant information; in the second, a few tough yet perfunctory questions are asked of the presenter and answered well; in the final act, resolution arrives in the form of an undramatic “yes” that may seem preordained. Little substantive discussion takes place.

In a global agricultural company, for example, the members of the executive committee tended to speak up only if their particular area of the business was being discussed. The tacit assumption was that people wouldn’t intrude on colleagues’ area of responsibility. Consequently, when the top team moved to decide on a proposed new initiative in Europe, the leaders from the US business stayed silent, even though they had years of hard-won experience in marketing and cross-selling similar agricultural products to those new ones under discussion. Nonetheless, the decision was made, the products launched—and sales lagged expectations. Later, the European sales force was frustrated to learn their US counterparts had relevant experience that would have helped.

Whether the cause of such dynamics is siloed thinking or a consensus-driven culture (of which, more later), the effect on decision making is decidedly negative. Bet-the-company decisions require productive interactions and healthy debate that balance inquiry and advocacy. In fact, the presence of high-quality interactions and debate was the factor most predictive of whether a respondent in our survey also said their company made good, fast big-bet decisions?

Leaders can encourage debate by helping overcome the “conspiracy of approval” approach to group discussion. Simple behavior changes can help. For example, consider starting the decision meeting by reminding participants of the overall organizational goals the meeting supports, in order to reframe the subsequent discussions. Then assign someone to argue the case for, and against, a potential decision or the various options under consideration. Similarly, ask the leaders of business units, regions, or functions to examine the decision from outside their own point of view. A rotating devil’s advocate role can bolster critical thinking, while premortem exercises (in which you start by assuming the initiative in question turned out to be a failure, and then work back for likely explanations) can pressure test for weak spots in an argument or plan.

The objective should be to explore assumptions and alternatives beyond what’s been presented and actively seek information that might disconfirm the group’s initial hypotheses. Creating a safe space for this is vital; at first it can be helpful for the most senior participants to ask questions instead of expressing opinions and to actively encourage dissenting views. Productive debate is essentially a form of conflict—a healthy form—so senior executives will need to devote time to building trust and giving permission to dissent, irrespective of the organizational hierarchy in the room.

A final note of caution: minimizing the number of debate participants to speed up decision making could harm decision quality. As many studies show, greater diversity brings greater collective wisdom and expertise, along with better performance. This is also true in decision making. To ensure a faster process, companies should manage the expectations of debate participants by limiting their voting rights and sticking to other agreed-upon processes, as we explore next.

Cross-cutting decisions—understand the power of process

An executive we know joked during a meeting that “a committee is born every day in this organization.” Just then, another executive nearby looked up from his computer to announce he had just been invited to join a new committee. The comedic timing of the line was perfect, but it wasn’t a joke.

Or perhaps the joke is on the rest of us? We often find companies maintaining a dozen or more senior-executive-level committees and related support committees, all of which recycle the same members in different configurations. The impetus for this is understandable—cross-cutting decisions, in particular, are the culmination of smaller decisions taking place elsewhere in the company. And cross-cutting decisions were the ones that executives in our survey had the most exposure to, regardless of their seniority.

Yet when it comes to cross-cutting decisions (involving, for example, pricing, sales, and operations planning processes or new-product launches), only 34 percent of respondents said that their organization made decisions that were both good and timely.

There are many reasons cross-cutting decisions go crosswise. Leaders may not have visibility on who is—or should be—involved; silos make it fiendishly hard to see how smaller decisions aggregate into bigger ones; there may be no process at all, or one that’s poorly understood.

Solving for cross-cutting decisions, therefore, starts with commitment to a well-coordinated process that helps clarify objectives, measures, targets, and roles. In practical terms, this might mean drawing a bright line between the portion of a meeting dedicated to decisions from the parts of a meeting meant to inform or discuss. Any recurring meetings (particularly topic-focused ones) where the nature of the decision isn’t clear are ripe for a rethink—and quite possibly for elimination.

Good meeting discipline is also a must. For example, a mining company realized that its poor decision making was related to the lack of rigor with which executives ran important meetings. As a result, the top team developed a “meeting manifesto” that spelled out required behaviors, starting with punctuality. The new rules also required leaders to clarify their decision rights in advance, and to be more deliberate about managing the number of participants so that meetings wouldn’t become bloated, on the one hand, or lack diverse views, on the other.

The manifesto was printed on laminated posters that were put in all meeting rooms, and when the CEO was seen personally reinforcing the new rules, the news spread quickly that there was a new game afoot. As the new practices took hold, the benefits became apparent. In pulse-check surveys conducted over the course of the following year, the company’s measures of meeting effectiveness and efficiency went up by almost 50 percent.

A social-network analysis, meanwhile, allowed a global consumer company to identify time wasting around decision making on a heroic scale—as many as 45 percent of interactions were found to be potentially inefficient, and 23 percent of the individuals involved in an average interaction added no value. In response, the company broke down complex processes into key decisions, clarified roles and responsibilities for each one, defined inputs and outputs for each process, and made one person accountable for each outcome. After conducting pilots in several countries, executives used two-day workshops to roll out the process redesign. The resulting benefits included a significant financial boost (as employees used the freed-up time in higher-value ways), as well as an arguably more important boost in employees’ morale and sense of work–life balance, which in turn has helped the company attract and retain talent.

Delegated decisions—make empowerment real

Delegated decisions are generally far narrower in scope than big-bet decisions or cross-cutting ones. They are frequent and relatively routine elements of day-to-day management. But given the multiplier effect, there is a lot of value at stake here, and when the organization’s approach is flawed it’s costly.

In our experience, ensuring that responsibility for delegated decisions is firmly in the hands of those closest to the work typically delivers faster, better, and more efficiently executed outcomes, while also enhancing engagement and accountability.

Our research supports this view. Survey respondents who report that employees at their company are empowered to make decisions and receive sufficient coaching from leaders were 3.2 times more likely than other respondents to also say their company’s delegated decisions were both high quality and speedy.

A vital aspect of empowerment, we find, involves creating an environment where employees can “fail safely.” For example, a European financial-services company we know started a series of monthly, after-work gatherings where leaders could meet over drinks to discuss failure stories and the lessons they’d learned from them. The meetings were purposely kept informal, but top management nonetheless established ground rules to ensure that the stories would be meaningful (not trivial) and that employees telling the stories would be protected. The meetings started small but became popular quickly. Today, a typical session includes 40 to 50 of the company’s top 150 leaders. The climate of trust and openness the sessions encourage has translated into better ideas, including practical lessons that have helped the company speed up its release of new products.

As this example suggests, empowerment means not only giving employees a strong sense of ownership and accountability but also fostering a bias for action, especially in situations where time is of the essence. That’s easier said than done if there’s no penalty for avoiding a decision or sanction for escalating issues unnecessarily.

Executives who get delegated decisions right are clear about the boundaries of delegation (including what’s off-limits and how and where to escalate what’s beyond an individual’s competence), ensure that those they entrust with decision-making authority have the relevant skills and knowledge to act (and if not, provide them with the opportunity to acquire those capabilities), and explicitly make people accountable for their areas of decision-making responsibility (including spelling out the consequences for those who fail to respond to the challenge). This often means senior leaders engaging in conversations and dialogue, encouraging those newly empowered to seek help, and in the early days subtly and invisibly monitoring the performance of those participating in “delegated” forums so as not to appear to be taking over. Leaders might want to start mentoring their reports with a small “box” of accountability, slowly expanding it as more junior executives grow in confidence.

For leaders looking to become better delegators, it’s not a question of choosing between a style that is “hands-on” or “hands-off,” or between one that is “controlling” or “empowering.” There’s a balance to be struck. Root out micromanagers who are both hands-on and controlling, as well as “helicopter autocrats” who are hands-off and controlling, occasionally swooping in, barking orders, and disappearing again. But the laissez-faire executive—generally too hands-off, delegating but leaving those with the responsibility too much to their own devices (sometimes with disastrous results)—is also a danger. The ideal in our experience are hands-on and delegating leaders who coach, challenge, and inspire their reports, are there to help those who need help, and stay well clear of actually making the decision.

After the decision: Seek commitment, not unanimous agreement

In his April 2017 letter to Amazon shareholders, CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the concept of “disagree and commit” with respect to decision making. It’s good advice that often goes overlooked. Too frequently, executives charged with making decisions at the three levels discussed earlier leave the meeting assuming that once there’s been a show of hands—or nods of agreement—the job is done. Far from it.

Indeed, any agreement voiced in the absence of a strong sense of collective responsibility can prove ephemeral. This was true at a US-based global financial-services company, where a business-unit leader initially agreed during a committee meeting not to change the fee structure for a key product but later reversed course. The temptation was too great: the fee changes helped the leader’s own business unit—albeit ultimately at the expense of other units whose revenues were cannibalized.

One of the most important characteristics of a good decision is that it’s made in such a way that it will be fully and effectively implemented. That requires commitment, something that is not always straightforward in companies where consensus is a strong part of the culture (and key players acquiesce reluctantly) or after big-bet situations where the vigorous debate we recommended earlier has taken place. At a mining company, real commitment proved difficult because the culture valued “firefighting” behavior. In staff meetings, company executives would quickly agree to take on new tasks because it made them look good in front of the CEO, but they weren’t truly committed to following through. It was only when the leadership team changed this dynamic by focusing on follow-up, execution risks, and bandwidth constraints that execution improved.

While it’s important to devote enough resources to help propel follow-through, and it’s also important to assign accountability for getting things done to an individual or at most a small group of individuals, the biggest challenge is to foster an “all-in” culture that encourages everyone to pull together. That often means involving as many people as possible in the outcome—something that, paradoxically, in the end will enable the decision to be implemented more speedily.

While it’s important to assign accountability for getting things done to an individual, the biggest challenge is to foster an “all-in” culture that encourages everyone to pull together.

Follow the value

There are many keys to better decision making, but in our experience focusing on the three practices discussed here—and on the commitment to implement decisions once taken—can reap early and substantial dividends. This presupposes, of course, that the decisions leaders make at all levels of the organization reflect the company’s strategy and its value-creation agenda. That may seem obvious, but it bears repeating because all too often it simply doesn’t happen. Take the manufacturing company whose operations managers, faced with calls from the sales team to raise production in response to anticipated customer demand, had to consider whether they should spend unbudgeted money on overtime and hiring extra staff. With their bonuses linked exclusively to cost targets, they faced a dilemma. If they took the decision to increase costs and new orders failed to materialize, their remuneration would suffer; if the sales team managed to win new business, the sales representatives would get the kudos, but the operations team would receive no additional credit and no additional reward. Not surprisingly, the operations managers, in their weekly planning meeting, opted not to take the risk, rejected a proposal to set up a new production line, and thereby hindered (albeit inadvertently) the group’s higher growth ambitions. This poor-quality—and in our view avoidable—outcome was the direct result of siloed thinking and a set of narrow incentives in conflict with the group’s broader strategy and value-creation agenda. The underlying management challenge is part of a dynamic we see repeated again and again: when senior executives fail to explore—and then explain—the context and underlying strategic intentions associated with various targets and directives they set, they make unintended consequences inevitable. Worse, the lack of clarity makes it very difficult for colleagues further down in the organization to use their judgment to see past the silos and remedy the situation.

Designing an organization to deliver its strategic objectives—setting a clear mission, aligning incentives—is a big topic and outside the scope of this article. But if different functions and teams do not feel a connection to the bigger picture, the likelihood of executives making good decisions, whether or not they adopt the ideas discussed earlier, is significantly diminished.

Source: McKinsey.com, April 2019
Link

About the authors: Aaron De Smet is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Houston office, Gregor Jost is a partner in the Vienna office, and Leigh Weiss is a senior expert in the Boston office.

The authors wish to thank Iskandar Aminov, Alison Boyd, Elizabeth Foote, and Kanika Kakkar for their contributions to this article.