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
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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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Organizations do not change. People change!

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on October 28th, 2019 by admin

Addressing an organization’s mindset has a tangible business impact and is the key that opens the door to successfully transforming an organization.

Albert Einstein once famously remarked, “Today’s problems cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created them.”
Consider the example of a Latin American consumer goods manufacturer under pressure to change its performance after not having performed well for several quarters. Due to urgency, the chief transformation officer went off to set more stretched targets and created a weekly governance to review performance initiatives with more rigor.

Yes, people worked hard. Yes, at first some KPIs improved, but all of this drained more energy than the results it was delivering. It soon became clear that the people would not last a marathon at the speed of a sprint; they had started to become disengaged.
Like in this organization, most enterprise transformations focus on changing business metrics and, at best, employee behaviors—and not the thinking what created the need for a transformation in the first place. And, not surprisingly, 70% of them fail. Companies with failed transformation programs identify employee resistance or management behavior as the major barrier (72%) to success.

To avoid that statistic, this manufacturer for the first time shifted the focus on the people. What was driving their behavior? What made their eyes shine? What would truly engage them in a transformation? Looking for these answers, the top team discovered that up until then, people were gaining praise for doing new things even if they were not delivering their promised results. They thought that short-term results were more important than satisfying the consumer. And when the time came to choose, they felt that their individual goals were bigger than the company’s. All this was limiting them from participating wholeheartedly in the transformation underway.

In fact, these mindsets, as we call them, needed to be flipped to make things work. Through a set of targeted initiatives, these mindsets were shaken. The people came to realize that satisfying the consumer is what will bring the short-term results. There is no success for the individual if the company is not doing well. And they started to be recognized for executing with discipline focusing on our full potential to deliver challenging goals. Sharing the story of why the transformation was necessary and addressing these mindsets engaged the employees with a whole new level of energy, and only few months later the organization was able to deliver its first quarter back on track and continue the trend.

Companies that take the time to identify and shift deep-seated mindsets were 4x more likely to rate their change programs as “successful,” according to the McKinsey Quarterly Transformational Change Survey, 2010. In fact, mindset shifts are linked to the highest impact behaviors a person wants to change.

Unless you first identify the mindsets, both limiting and enabling your people, your transformation initiatives may be wasting resources, time and energy. Another company, a telco, found that managers spent the majority of performance reviews explaining the complex rating process vs giving feedback. So, the telco simplified the process and rating system, increased frequency of conversations, and provided training on delivering feedback. However, it’s important to keep in mind that “from” mindsets aren’t necessarily bad; many rational, competent and well-meaning people could and do operate in this way.

In the case of the telco, leaders cancelled reviews and/or spent most time on small talk. Why? Leaders actually avoided difficult conversations and focused the feedback on process because they were afraid that criticism and difficult conversations would damage their relationships. Once this mindset transformed into “honesty (with respect) is the essence of building strong relationships,” leaders started to engage in regular, honest and courageous feedback conversations, and focus their feedback on performance.
Addressing the organization’s mindset has a tangible business impact and is the key that opens the door to successfully transforming an organization. In our next articles, we explore how to uncover those mindsets and how to turn them around.
The authors wish to thank Natasha Bergeron for the practical insights she provided for this post.

Source: McKinsey.com, October 2019
Authors: Anita Baggio, Eleftheria Digentiki and Rahul Varma
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Building conversational capacity to address conflict in today’s work teams

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on October 25th, 2019 by admin

Work teams progress through four basic stages of development: Orientation, when the team is just starting out; Dissatisfaction, when conflict inevitably arises; Integration, as team members begin to learn how to work with each other; and Production, when the fine-tuned team is achieving its purpose and goals.

“The ability to balance candor and curiosity is particularly important in the Dissatisfaction stage of team development, where conflict is higher, misunderstandings are more prevalent, and the risk to team cohesion is greater than in any other stage,” says bestselling business author Craig Weber in a recent article for HR Grapevine.

Weber, author of the books Conversational Capacity and Influence in Action, worked with The Ken Blanchard Companies on the design of their new Team Leadership program.

“High candor creates conversations that are open and direct. People put forward their best ideas, biggest concerns, and most creative suggestions in a clear and compelling way.

“At the same time, high curiosity leads to conversations that are open-minded, inquisitive, and learning focused. If one team member has a view that differs from the rest of the team, rather than getting defensive, other team members get interested in exploring how that colleague sees the issue differently. They ask questions to discover what they might learn. It’s in this sweet spot—where candor and curiosity are in balance—that the best teamwork occurs.”

Weber refers to the ability of an individual or a team to remain in the sweet spot under pressure as their conversational capacity. And the more difficult the issue a team is facing, the more challenging their goals, and the more intense the differences of personality or opinion around the table, the more important this ability becomes to team performance.

“When a team leaves the sweet spot and conversational capacity begins to drop, it’s usually because team members have drifted too far toward one pole or the other. If I’m in a meeting and I let go of candor, for example, I may become overly guarded and cautious. I’ll sit there quietly, not saying something I should. Or, if I do speak up, I’ll water down or sugarcoat my point. If I drop curiosity, on the other hand, I may become more closed-minded, arrogant, and argumentative. I’ll participate in the conversation with my mind shut and my mouth open.

“Conversational capacity, therefore, isn’t just another aspect of effective teamwork—it defines effective teamwork. A team of people who can’t talk in a productive way about their most important issues isn’t really a team at all. It is just a collection of people who can’t work together effectively when it really matters.”

The good news, says Weber, is the ability to work in the sweet spot is a discipline that can be mastered if team members are willing to put in the practice to improve the conversational capacity of their teams and work relationships.

“One person can have a profound effect on the way a meeting unfolds or a decision gets made—even if they’re the only person in the room with the skills. Some of us are more naturally curious while others are more instinctively candid, but we can all learn to communicate in a more balanced way and use this ability to make a powerful difference in our teams, organizations, and communities.

“In both of my books, I quote from Airto Moreira, a Brazilian jazz percussionist, who says this about playing jazz: ‘I listen to what’s being played and then I play what’s missing.’ That’s a great way to think about how each of us can wield more influence. We can learn to pay closer attention to what’s being played in a conversation and then learn skills for playing what’s missing. Is there a lack of candor in this meeting? What can I do to ratchet it up a notch or two? Or is there a lack of curiosity and people are starting to butt heads? What can I do to slow down the conversation and get it focused back on the issue we’re trying to address?

An organization is a community of discourse, says Weber. Leadership is about shaping the nature of the discourse—and effective leaders shape discourse in the direction of learning, progress, and growth.

“A core idea in my work is how, no matter your status or station, you can play a leading role in building healthier work relationships, teams, organizations, and communities. Building your conversational capacity, and that of your team, is the key.”

Source: kenblanchard.com, October 2019
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Unlocking the potential of frontline managers

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on October 13th, 2019 by admin

Instead of administrative work and meetings, they should focus on coaching their employees and on constantly improving quality.

A retail manager responsible for more than $80 million in annual revenue, an airline manager who oversees a yearly passenger volume worth more than $160 million, a banking manager who deals with upward of seven million questions from customers a year. These aren’t executives at a corporate headquarters; they are the hidden—yet crucial—managers of frontline employees.
Found in almost any company, such managers are particularly important in industries with distributed networks of sites and employees. These industries—for instance, infrastructure, travel and logistics, manufacturing, health care, and retailing (including food service and retail banking)—make up more than half of the global economy. Their district or area managers, store managers, site or plant managers, and line supervisors direct as much as two-thirds of the workforce and are responsible for the part of the company that typically defines the customer experience. Yet most of the time, these managers operate as cogs in a system, with limited flexibility in decision making and little room for creativity.
In a majority of the companies we’ve encountered, the frontline managers’ role is merely to oversee a limited number of direct reports, often in a “span breaking” capacity, relaying information from executives to workers.1 Such managers keep an eye on things, enforce plans and policies, report operational results, and quickly escalate issues or problems. In other words, a frontline manager is meant to communicate decisions, not to make them; to ensure compliance with policies, not to use judgment or discretion (and certainly not to develop policies); and to oversee the implementation of improvements, not to contribute ideas or even implement improvements (workers do that).
This system makes companies less productive, less agile, and less profitable, our experience shows. Change is possible, however. At companies that have successfully empowered their frontline managers, the resulting flexibility and productivity generate strong financial returns. One convenience store retailer, for example, reduced hours worked by 19 to 25 percent while increasing sales by almost 10 percent. It achieved this result by halving the time store managers spent on administration; restructuring their work (and that of their employees) to focus on the areas most relevant to customers, such as the cleanliness of stores and upselling efforts at the cash register; and creating easy-to-understand performance metrics that managers now had enough time to coach employees on daily.
The key is a shift to frontline managers who have the time—and the ability—to address the unique circumstances of their specific stores, plants, or mines; to foresee trouble and stem it before it begins; and to encourage workers to seek out opportunities for self-improvement. In difficult economic times, making employees more productive is even more crucial than it is ordinarily.

The reality of the front line
To unlock a team’s abilities, a manager at any level must spend a significant amount of time on two activities: helping the team understand the company’s direction and its implications for team members and coaching for performance. Little of either occurs on the front line today. Across industries, frontline managers spend 30 to 60 percent of their time on administrative work and meetings, and 10 to 50 percent on nonmanagerial tasks (traveling, participating in training, taking breaks, conducting special projects, or undertaking direct customer service or sales themselves). They spend only 10 to 40 percent actually managing frontline employees by, for example, coaching them directly.
Even then, managers often aren’t truly coaching the front line. Our survey of retail district managers, for example, showed that much of the time they spend on frontline employees actually involved auditing for compliance with standards or solving immediate problems. At some companies we surveyed, district managers devote just 4 to 10 percent of their time—as little as 10 minutes a day—to coaching teams. To put the point another way, a district manager in retailing may spend as little as one hour a month developing people in the more junior but critical role of store manager.

In our experience, neither companies nor their frontline managers typically expect more. One area manager at a specialty retailer with thousands of outlets said, “Coaching? A good store manager should just know what to do—that’s what we hire them for.” A store manager in a global convenience retailer told us, “There are just good stores and bad stores—there’s very little we can do to change that.” Another store manager, in a North American electronics retailer, said, “They told me, ‘We don’t pay you to think; we pay you to execute.’”
These shortcomings are rooted in the early days of the industrial revolution, when manufacturing work was broken down into highly specialized, repetitive, and easily observed tasks. No one worker created a whole shoe, for example; each hammered his nail in the same spot and the same way every time, maximizing effectiveness and efficiency. Employees didn’t necessarily know anything about the overall job in which they participated, so supervisors (usually people good at the work itself) were employed to enforce detailed standards and policies—essentially, serving as span breakers between workers and policy makers. Many manufacturing companies still use this approach, because it can deliver high-quality results on the front line, at least in the short term. In many service industries, the same approach has taken hold in order to provide all customers in all locations with a consistent experience.
Although attention to execution is important, an exclusive focus on it can have insidious long-term effects. Such a preoccupation leaves no time for efforts to deal with new demands (say, higher production or quality), let alone for looking at the big picture. The result is a working environment with little flexibility, little encouragement to make improvements, and an increased risk of low morale among both workers and their managers—all at high cost to companies.
The effects of poor frontline management may be particularly damaging at service companies, where researchers have consistently detected a causal relationship between the attitudes and behavior of customer-facing employees, on the one hand, and the customers’ perceptions of service quality, on the other. In service industries, research has found that three factors drive performance: the work climate; the ways teams act together and things are done; and the engagement, commitment, and satisfaction of employees. Leadership—in particular, the quality of supervision and the nature of the relationships between supervisors and their teams—is crucial to performance in each of these areas.2 Clearly, the typical work patterns and attitudes of frontline managers are not conducive to good results.
At a North American medical-products distributor, for example, one supervisor reflected that the company “is like California—forest fires breaking out everywhere and no plan to stop them. A lot of crisis-to-crisis situations with no plan. We’ve been in this mode for so long, we don’t know how to stop and plan, although that’s what we desperately need to do. I wish I knew how to intervene.” Because frontline managers were so busy jumping in to solve problems, they had no time to step back and look at longer-term performance trends or to identify—and try to head off—emerging performance issues. It’s therefore no wonder that the company’s performance had begun to decline: inventories were increasing and errors in shipments became more frequent. Companies can also get into frontline trouble if they fail to maintain well-managed operations (see sidebar, “The danger of complacency”).

Time better spent
At best-practice companies, frontline managers allocate 60 to 70 percent of their time to the floor, much of it in high-quality individual coaching. Such companies also empower their managers to make decisions and act on opportunities. The bottom-line benefit is significant, but to obtain it companies must fundamentally redefine what they expect from frontline managers and redesign the work that those managers and their subordinates do. The examples below explain how two companies in different circumstances and
industries made such changes.

Manufacturing and the front line
Sometimes a corporate crisis drives frontline changes. A global equipment manufacturer, for example, was facing backlogs, capacity constraints, and quality and profitability issues in its core vehicle assembly business. The company’s senior leaders concluded that they would have to change operations at five plants by running two shifts rather than three while also raising production levels and quality. “Substantial” results would be needed in no more than seven weeks. Frontline managers were to have a critical role in the changeover—indeed, it couldn’t succeed unless they adopted a new way of working. To communicate the importance of the changes being introduced, senior leaders, among other things, ordered vice presidents to spend full days in vehicle assembly stations and sent the company’s director of operations to participate in daily shift start-up meetings at each plant. More on the importance of the senior leadership’s role in driving change can be found in Carolyn B. Aiken and Scott P. Keller, “The CEO’s role in leading transformation,” mckinseyquarterly.com, February 2007.
Meanwhile, the jobs of frontline managers changed. They were to spend more time in active roles: critical processes and workflows were redesigned according to lean principles,3 and the managers played the principal part in implementing these changes. Administrative activities, such as writing reports to plant managers and gathering data to prepare for site visits from regional managers, were eliminated. Innovations spouted—boards posted on factory floors, for example, were continuously updated with performance information, such as hour-by-hour tracking of lost time, as well as long-term problems and the solutions found for them. End-of-shift reports let each shift know exactly what the previous one had accomplished. Weekly reports informed workers about the five most important defects to correct and the five most important actions needed to improve performance. A typical manager’s span of control fell to 12 to 15, from 20 to 30.
Such changes freed managers to spend more time providing on-the-floor coaching and helping teams solve immediate problems. Managers received on-the-job training in lean technical skills as well as in coaching, team building, and problem solving. They also moved their desks from offices to the shop floor and spent at least five hours a day there, literally putting themselves in the middle of the transformation.
As a result, managers and workers identified and implemented other improvements—for example, making parts more available, with fewer defects, and routing materials more efficiently—so that lost production and the need for rework fell. Overall, though the transformation took ten weeks rather than seven, the initial targets were exceeded. Across the five plants, the number of completed vehicles rose by 40 percent a month—despite the elimination of a shift—and quality by 80 percent. Worker hours fell by 40 percent.

Retailing and the front line
Changing the mind-sets and capabilities of individual frontline managers can be the hardest part. In our experience, many of them see limits to how much they can accomplish; some also recognize the need to restructure their roles but nonetheless fear change. At times, before the job of coaching can begin, companies must address more insidious mind-sets—such as a belief that employees can’t learn, their negative attitudes toward customers, or a lack of confidence that frontline managers can influence performance.
The first step is to help frontline managers understand the need for change and how it could make things better. At the convenience store retailer mentioned earlier, for example, an analysis revealed that store managers spent, on average, 61 percent of their time on administration and that they struggled with poorly defined processes for interacting with customers. In addition, these managers felt that they had no control over key performance drivers (such as sales in important product categories), lacked simple tools to monitor daily performance, and had inadequate leadership and coaching skills. They were also tired of “flavor of the month” corporate-improvement initiatives that dictated more work without addressing the fundamental causes of problems.
To give store managers a sense of what could be, this company showed some groups of managers a radically different model store. There, work processes such as stocking took much less time than it did in the company’s ordinary stores, because similar products were grouped together, and high-volume stock was stored in a common and much more accessible location. Cleaning was easier because the layout had been improved, employees had the equipment and supplies to clean more frequently and quickly, and an if-it’s-simple-clean-it-now policy had been introduced. Such steps created a more attractive store environment, simplified the work of employees, freed them to interact with customers, and reduced the amount of time managers had to spend dealing with problems in these areas.
Managers also gained time in other ways: for example, they no longer had to complete long weekly sales reports, respond to corporate directives that arrived at unexpected times, and accommodate too-frequent visits by district or regional sales managers. Streamlined sales reporting captured fewer but more essential indicators, such as the volume of sales in key product categories. All visits from district or regional managers were scheduled in advance and followed a predetermined and performance-focused agenda.
As a result, the time store managers spent on administration fell by nearly half, so they could devote 60 to 70 percent of their days to activities such as coaching workers and interacting with customers. These managers spent more time on the sales floor with individual employees and regularly discussed store strategies and performance metrics with them. The discussions took advantage of a new performance scorecard with just a few key metrics, such as the number of customers greeted during peak hours, success rates on “suggestive selling” at checkout, and immediate follow-up with customers to gauge their satisfaction. Because the stores stayed open 24 hours a day, managers weren’t always present. They therefore engaged all employees in regular problem-solving sessions to create a better selling and service environment in the stores—for example, by ensuring that more employees would be available at critical times of the week. Furthermore, managers could now adapt the company’s general operating model by deciding how many (and which) employees would be present in stores at any given time.
This vision of a well-run store, contrasting starkly with the stores of the managers who visited it, overcame their fears. Once frontline managers have accepted the need for change, however, they must learn the new ways of working required by the demands of their redefined roles. At the convenience store retailer, training sessions and trial-and-error fieldwork helped the managers develop the needed capabilities quickly. Some of these skills were technical, focused on managing more effective processes and revised daily routines, as well as keeping track of the simplified store performance scorecards. Other forms of training enhanced the managers’ interpersonal skills, such as how to engage and empower subordinates; to have regular, constructive conversations about performance; and how to provide feedback and coaching.
Managers were also made aware of the negative mind-sets (such as, “I am just another associate when I go on the store floor,” and “My job is to make sure that tasks get done”) that made it harder to develop the right skills and capabilities. They learned how to counter these mind-sets and to adopt more positive ones (for instance, “I regularly provide my employees with constructive feedback and tips,” and “My job is to ensure that tasks are complete and that customers are served as well”), which promote more appropriate behavior and better performance. When the company rolled out the program broadly, the results were impressive: productivity rose by 51 percent in one region and by 65 percent in another.5

Companies that succeed in redefining the job of the frontline manager can improve their performance remarkably. Successful approaches can be applied across many industries. A mining company that implemented such a program enjoyed a 10 percent increase in tonnage per frontline employee. A bank branch found that cross-selling went up by 24 percent within a year. Total sales at a department store rose 2 percent in one six-month period.
The key is to help frontline managers become true leaders, with the time, the skills, and the desire to help workers understand the company’s direction and its implications for themselves, as well as to coach them individually. Such managers should have enough time to think ahead, to uncover and solve long-term problems, and to plan for potential new demands.
A nursing supervisor at a European hospital that empowered its nurses offered perhaps the clearest description of the way frontline leaders ought to think—a description that couldn’t be more different from the role of traditional frontline managers: “I am a valued member of this team, who has responsibility to make sure my ward nurses have the right coaching to improve patient service while contributing to the overall functioning of our ward—for the first time, I feel as important as a doctor or an administrator in the success of this institution.” That kind of frontline leader can consistently help employees to enhance their impact on an organization’s work.

Source: McKinsey.com
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Authors: Aaron De Smet is a principal in McKinsey’s Houston office, Monica McGurk is a principal in the Atlanta office, and Marc Vinson is a consultant in the Cleveland office.

What people still don’t understand about culture and how to change it

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on October 9th, 2019 by admin

The world of organisational culture has changed in the last 10 years. It doesn’t matter if you are a manufacturer, financial services provider, a FTSE 100 or a SME, this is what you need to know about culture today, that still seems to be misunderstood.

1. Your values are not your culture
Your values form part of the building blocks of your culture, along with your purpose and vision or equivalent but they are not the culture itself. The process of setting them does not mean that you have a great culture.

It is an often heard comment that your values on the wall do not make great culture and it is so true. Culture needs to be lived, it is seen, heard and felt throughout the business, through your customers, your employees as well as your partners and suppliers.

So, what exactly is it?

It is the beliefs, mindset and attitude that your employees turn up to work with every day
It is the leadership style leaders and management capability that’s displayed
It is the customer experience you deliver
It is how your people communicate and collaborate
It is how manageable your employees workload is and how effective the tools are they use
It is how you treat your partners & suppliers
It is how much of an effort you make to be diverse and inclusive
It is your appetite for risk and or innovation
It is how all your processes, policies and systems support what you say you want to achieve
It’s a long but not exhaustive list of what your culture is made up of and a reminder of how many facets of the organisation you need to really embed those values into.

2. Culture Change Needs to be Embedded Not Just Communicated
Firstly, if you want to design a new culture or change/enhance an existing culture whether it’s at organisational, regional, divisional or even team level, you need to do it with intentionality – there needs to be a concerted effort AND a structured approach to it.

The good news is that with all the technology, tools, data and experience that we have at our disposal these days culture change can now happen quite rapidly and in a fairly agile way but still it requires an organised approach rather a once-off intervention.

A 3-stage approach is a good starting point:
Stage 1: Understand the current culture – listen to your stakeholders and understand what their views and concerns are. Listen to your people and find out what really happens in the day to day happenings of the organisation. What’s enabling performance and results and what’s holding it back or could hamper the strategy or current transformation project?

You also need to understand what the case for change is. If there isn’t a compelling case for change then you need to create a very desirable and compelling future state.

At this point it’s also useful to explore how equipped your leadership team are to drive and lead any culture change.

Stage 2: Design the future culture required to fulfil the aims and ambitions, whether that be the purpose/mission and vision. What are the values, behaviours and mindset shift required to drive the new culture forward?

For larger companies, this might not be just at the top of the organisation- it might be what does this division want to do differently to standout or outperform from the rest. What’s the right culture to mobilise the people on your strategy? Make it personal to you. It’s not one size fits all.

Stage 3: Embed the culture. Build a roadmap and engagement plan to embed the desired culture and make it stick. This is the piece that most organisations don’t do well. Culture needs to be fully embedded across the entire business and not just into HR policies but also into processes, systems and structure that guide the organisation.

3. A Culture of Innovation is your only Choice
If you’re not innovating, you’re sliding backwards. There’s no such thing as sitting tight and waiting to see.

There is lots of innovation going on today but mostly it’s happening in pockets of organisations, in a lab or hub in a different building somewhere. Innovation needs to be embedded as a way of life where people have changed the way they think and work, with everyone contributing in some way to the innovation ecosystem.

In our book, Building A Culture of Innovation, we talk about the attributes of a Next Generation Organisation as Intelligence, Collaboration and Adaptability.

Intelligence is about getting meaningful insight so that you know what problems, opportunities or ideas will best serve you and your customers.
Collaboration is about truly leveraging skills, knowledge and experience of not only your own employees but also your partners, suppliers and customers.
Adaptability is about speed and agility to move. We’re still seeing businesses take too long to get a new proposition to market. And employees taking too long to adopt new ways of working.
Making these 3 things a way of life requires changing the mindset, behaviours and skills of your people.

4. Your Future Culture needs to be Human, Business and Technology Focussed.
Let’s start by saying that the future of work is definitely human. Even if we think that 40% of today’s jobs will be automated and the near future sees us fully working alongside robots. There will obviously still be jobs for people. The likely scenario though is that there will be an even greater skills gap and the war for talent even tougher.

This means that creating a culture which will attract and retain the best talent needs to be a priority.

Human
Employers will have to factor in the overall wellbeing of their people (physical, mental, financial and social)
Employee experience will need to be inclusive and welcoming to people from all backgrounds and be able to appeal to the needs and wants of all generations of workers.
The rapid pace of change will mean that you will constantly need to be upskilling and creating a learning culture.

Technology
Given the pace of technological change no single technology solution is going to define your culture but you will need to provide work tools which enable people to work the way they want to. Flexibly, collaboratively, differently. You will also need to provide the tools that continually measure your culture and its impact so that you can react immediately to issues that arise. Or even with AI in culture tools, you should be able to react before the issue!

Business
It’s obvious that you need to focus on the business aspect but don’t lose sight of your strategy! We’ve seen too many people and tech initiatives fail because they weren’t connected to the overarching strategy of the business. Define your strategy then decide what culture and tech you need to support it.

5. Equip your people to lead the culture of the future
Many of the skills that will be needed for the future will need to be learnt. Equipping people at all levels with the right skills for the future will be key for success.

Leaders: There’s always quite a bit of focus on leaders but not necessarily on the right things. Ensure they are equipped with future- focussed leadership skills such as resilience and adaptability and being an excellent communicator with strong empathy and an inclusive mindset.

Managers: Rather unhelpfully referred to as the permafrost- these people need to not only be taught how to be effective people managers, time managers and project managers, they need to be given the resources to manage their own careers and the time for their own ongoing learning.

Front-line staff– rather than herding ‘staff’ through culture change- you need to think about the individual scenarios that are going to appeal to and benefit people. The modern workplace is very diverse and its people have various needs and wants- don’t make too many assumptions that put people in buckets such as Gen Y or Mothers or LGBT- take the time to find out what they really want.

Source:Thefutureshapers.com, 8October 2019
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KRONANS Apotek – Märklig syn på kunden

Posted in Aktuellt, Customer care / Kundvård, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on September 19th, 2019 by admin

Ibland funderar man på hur företag verkligen överlever i dagens stentuffa konkurrenssituation.

När jag växte upp fanns det e t t apotek. Man gick helt enkelt till Apoteket! Situationen var, som i många andra branscher, den att konkurrensen var obefintlig. Följaktligen spelade det ingen större roll hur man tog hand om kunderna. De kom ändå. Det fanns ju inga andra alternativ.

Idag finns det, tack och lov, ett flertal möjligheter (t.ex. Apoteket, Kronans Apotek, Apotek Hjärtat, Fox Farmacia, Apoteksgruppen, Lloyds, Swevet). Alla med bra affärslägen, generösa öppettider och inte minst service på nätet. Och massor av produkter. Och produkterna är i stort sett desamma. Och, i alla fall vad gäller läkemedel, är kvaliteten likvärdig. Detta sörjer Läkemedelsverket för.

Med så mycket och så bra, hur ska man då konkurrera? Jo, man kan ju sänka sina priser. Men vem vill göra det?
Med allt annat lika kvarstår då möjligheten att säkerställa ett bemötande som är bättre för mig som kund än hos de övriga aktörerna. Känner ni igen situationen? Genom att ta hand om sina kunder (nya och befintliga) på ett bra sätt (och bättre än andra aktörer) skapar man nöjda och återkommande kunder. Och stärker sin konkurrenskraft. Låter enkelt, eller hur? Men det har visat sig svårt. Och nästa omöjligt för vissa.

En del i att utveckla marknadens bästa kundbemötande (och de stora konkurrensfördelar det ger) är att hela tiden vara lyhörd för hur kunden ser på vårt erbjudande och vårt beteende. Det är idag så viktigt att det är en stående punkt på agendan för de flesta styrelser.

Och precis som vi ger återkoppling till våra barn dagligen (för att de skall kunna utvecklas som individer) är det av största vikt att företagets anställd löpande får information om vad kunderna tycker om oss. Vad gör vi bra? Och vad vill kunderna att vi utvecklar ytterligare? Både vad gäller vårt produkterbjudande och hur vi bemöter våra kunder.

Nu till min egen upplevelse av hur detta fungerar (eller snarare, inte fungerade alls) hos Kronans Apotek:
Jag besöker Kronans Apotek på Odengatan i Stockholm. Ljust, fint och massor av produkter. Men det är ju precis som hos alla andra apotek. Det vill säga – detta skapar ingen konkurrensfördel över huvud taget.
Just mängden produkter gör att jag har svårt att se skillnaden på olika alternativ. Följaktligen ber jag om hjälp, beskriver mitt behov och blir rekommenderad en produkt. Tackar och betalar. Gott så!
Väl hemma igen Googlar jag på produkten och finner at det här inte alls är det jag behöver. Och de angivna biverkningarna är dessutom direkt olämpliga för just min situation.
Nåväl, Kronans Apotek ligger ju bara ett stenkast hemifrån. Nästa dag promenerar jag över till dem och träffar nu en annan expedit än den som expedierade mig igår. När jag beskriver mitt behov (på samma sätt som för hennes kollega dagen innan) skakar hon på huvudet och utbrister att ”då ska du verkligen i n t e använda denna produkt”! Hon plockar snabbt fram en ny produkt utan de olämpliga biverkningar som fanns i produkten från igår.

Nu dyker gårdagens expedit upp. Hon kommer fram, minns mig från igår och börjar genast försvara sin rekommendation. Felet till att jag fick en direkt olämplig produkt igår är kundens! Kunden (jag) har inte alls beskrivit behovet på rätt sätt. Jag behöver inte höra detta utan ber att helt enkelt få byta produkten från igår mot den jag just rekommenderats av hennes kollega. Trots att gårdagsprodukten är betydligt dyrare, och jag berättar att det inte spelar någon roll och att jag inte behöver få mellanskillnaden tillbaka, går detta inte att genomföra utan uppvisande av kvitto. ”Hur ska man annars veta att produkten är köpt här”? Men vi har ju just stått här, ansikte mot ansikte, och talat om vårt möte igår!!! Jag lämnar nu Kronans Apotek utan vare sig den första eller andra produkten eller några pengar. Jag har inte mitt liv till diskussioner som denna! Dessutom ligger Apoteket bara ett stenkast bort och här kan jag handla det jag nu vet att jag behöver.

Kan dock inte släppa tanken på hur illa det uppenbart fungerar på just detta apotek. Väl medveten om att just denna situation inte behöver spegla kundbemötandet i alla Kronans Apoteks butiker i Sverige.
Men visst vore det väl ändå värdefullt för Kronans Apotek på Odengatan att få information om hur kunden (jag) upplevde bemötandet. Kanske kan man lära sig något av situationen för att undvika en sur kund framöver? Jag väljer (vilket jag tror att ytterst få missnöjda kunder gör) skriva till Kronans Apotek och förklara min upplevda situation.

Svaret jag får är från en central kundservicefunktion. Man berättar att det naturligtvis inte går att byta produkten (trots obruten förpackning) utan ett kvitto. Och för att ytterligare understryka detta hänvisar man till att ”det är vår policy”. Punkt!
Hur ska man t.ex. veta att den aktuella produkten är köpt just i det aktuella apoteket?
”Men expediten, hennes kollega och jag talade ju om hennes rekommendation och mitt uppföljande köp. Och hon minns ju mycket väl mitt besök” förklarar jag.

Nåväl. Jag ska inte trötta Dig mer med den fortsatta skriftväxlingen med Kronans Apoteks kundservice. Låt mig istället gå till slutet av vår mailväxling. Jag avslutar med att skriva ” Jag utgår från att apotekschefen på Kronans Apotek, Odengatan 54, får ta del av vår dialog och att hen tar en kontakt med mig om hen ser ett värde i detta”.
Nu uppkommer det märkligaste i hela situationen! Jag häpnar när jag läser detta!
Man kan nämligen i n t e förmedla detta till den som är ansvarig på detta apotek. Istället uppmanas jag att söka en personlig kontakt på plats med den ansvarige platschefen!
Varför man inte kan förmedla denna kundåterkoppling från sin centrala funktion ”kundservice” till det berörda apoteket framgår inte. Vad som dock framgår med oönskad tydlighet är att Kronans Apotek inte ser ett värde i att utveckla sitt kundbemötande baserat på faktisk kundåterkoppling.
Rent tekniskt går det ju att i alla fall (även om det skulle te en dryg minut) kopiera texten från vår maildiskussion i ett mail till den berörda apotekschefen. Men det är inte problemet. Problemet är istället att Kronans Apotek uppenbarligen inte har en kultur som uppmuntrar sina anställda att vara lyhörda för kundernas synpunkter! Och det är ytterst en ledningsfråga!

Till aktörer som Kronans Apotek kan man bara säga: Lycka till! Det kommer att behövas …

Läs gärna mer om kundvård här.

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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For a successful transformation, start by sprinting

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering on August 27th, 2019 by admin

No, don’t hurry through important steps. Rather, create a straightforward plan and implement it in short bursts—followed by pauses to reflect on effectiveness.

When done well, an organizational redesign fosters improved strategic focus, higher growth, better decision-making and more accountability.

However, a McKinsey survey revealed that only 30 percent of organizational redesigns are successful in terms of achieving overall objectives and improved performance. That means a daunting 70 percent of transformations fail.

Why? In the design phase, meddling by too many cooks often obscures the vision of a future operating model. Accommodating multiple opinions means the design becomes fragmented and vulnerable to individual pain points. Resources can get tied up in tasks that don’t add real value, unnecessarily prolonging the process.

More than 80 percent of executives have gone through an organizational redesign at their current company. They know that a transformation is a marathon. But to get to the finish line, it pays to do implementation sprints. That means taking a simpler, iterative approach; learning as you go; and correcting course more frequently. Under this approach, concept development and implementation are linked, running in parallel.

One high-end retailer, for example, faced difficulties with its siloed culture when redesigning its operating model and online assortment strategy. A series of focused two-week meetings, led by cross-functional teams, helped to foster a common view of what needed to change. The quick implementation of changes led to an impressive increase in its online assortment from 30 percent to more than 70 percent in just three months.

There are six things to keep in mind when going through a transformation:
1. Be bold: Set a clear and ambitious target that will help you substantially transform your organization and let it guide your future operating model.
2. Slim it down: Create a simplified first version of your envisioned end-state that will still deliver a significant amount of impact in the first phase of implementation.
3. Prioritize change initiatives: Don’t kick off all new initiatives at once. Instead, be clear about how the initiatives will be sequenced and how they relate to one another.
4. Conduct implementation sprints: Kick off the implementation in short design-test-apply cycles.
5. Adapt and hone when needed: React to requirements that emerge during the transformation and course-correct whenever needed.
6. Keep your eye on the ball: Stay focused on the actual end product: a truly transformed organization, not a perfectly designed plan. Embrace constant reality checks and adapt the plan accordingly. This helps to concentrate resources on those areas that contribute the most value.

Change is not easy, and the odds are hardly in any transformation’s favor. But tackling the root of the problem by simplifying the design and using a pragmatic approach—through implementation sprints—will boost the likelihood of success.

While we all aim for perfection, we should not do so when designing a new operating model. Sometimes complex concepts, which theoretically are superior to simpler plans, don’t get implemented. Instead, they can draw attention and energy away from more fundamental changes and delay the entire transformation.

Source: McKinsey.com, August 2019
By: Patrick Guggenberger, advises leading global companies in the consumer industry and other sectors on how to optimize organizational design and operating models to improve performance and culture, and boost organizational agility-
Patrick Simon, dvises consumer-packaged-goods, apparel, and fashion companies around the world, with a focus on organizational transformation and harmonizing a company’s operating model with its strategy and the market’s requirements
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