Toward a value-creating board

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete on February 9th, 2016 by admin

The amount of time board directors spend on their work and commit to strategy is rising. But in a new survey, few respondents rate their boards as effective at most tasks or report good feedback or training practices.

Directors say they dedicate more time now to their board duties than ever before and that, since 2011, they’ve cut in half the gap between the actual and ideal amount of time they spend on board work. In the newest McKinsey Global Survey on corporate boards,the results confirm that strategy is, on average, the main focus of many boards. Yet directors still want more time for strategy—more than any other area of their board work—when they consider its relative value to their companies.BR

We asked directors about the effect their boards have on company value and found that, in general, respondents believe their impact is high or very high—which was also true in our previous survey on the topic.To gain a deeper understanding of how boards create value, we took a close look at larger commercial companies and identified patterns between directors’ assessments of the board’s overall impact, effectiveness at executing specific tasks, and the way the board works. From our analysis emerged three types, or profiles, of boards, which we call ineffective, complacent, and striving. Interestingly, some directors’ initial views on their overall impact diverge from how effective they say their boards are at individual tasks. To be successful, then, the results from our three profiles suggest that boards must be effective at individual tasks, maintain a trust-based but challenging board culture that embraces feedback, and aim to improve continuously.

Time spent—and commitment to strategy—are on the rise
On average, the amount of time directors spend on board work has increased notably in recent years. Compared with 2011, respondents now say they spend five more days per year on board work, cutting in half the ten-day gap between the actual days spent and the number of days directors want to spend to get it right.

As the number of days has grown, so has the amount of time spent on strategy, where board members tend to say they make their biggest contributions. Indeed, directors are almost twice as likely to say their boards are more effective at strategy than any other area of their work; they report the least effectiveness at organizational health and talent management. Strategy is also where directors spend nine days per year, the greatest amount of time across the seven areas of board work we tested.

But for all of their focus on strategy, most directors would like to dedicate even more time to strategic issues. Fifty-two percent of directors say they want to increase the time they spend on strategy in the next few years, based on its relative value to their companies. An equal share say the same for organizational health and talent management, an area where boards spend only three days per year.

A board’s actions, dynamics, and self-perception all matter
To gain a more comprehensive understanding of how boards can be successful, beyond the time directors spend on their work, we looked closely at three factors of board performance: directors’ assessments of what impact their boards have overall, how their boards perform specific board tasks, and how their boards operate. After considering responses at both the global and the task level (where some interesting differences emerged), our analysis resulted in three types of boards: those that are ineffective, those that are complacent, and those that are striving.

The ineffective boards
Compared with their peers, the directors on ineffective boards report the lowest overall impact on long-term value creation and the least effectiveness at the 37 tasks we asked about. Notable shares say their boards don’t execute some of these tasks at all: 70 percent, for example, say their boards don’t align with the executive team on how to manage company risk. Of the tasks they do perform, only minorities of these directors say their boards are effective at any one. Ineffective boards do best at securing and assessing their management teams: 44 percent say their boards are effective at discussing top-team performance with the management team, and 42 percent say they’re effective at regularly reviewing the top-talent pipeline. When it comes to how boards operate, less than half of ineffective-board directors report a culture of trust and respect in the boardroom or that directors seek out information on their own. Only 1 percent say their directors received sufficient induction training.

The complacent boards
By contrast, directors on the complacent boards have a much more favorable view of their overall contributions. Close to half say their boards have a very high impact on long-term value creation—the largest share among the three types of boards. But when asked to consider their boards’ execution of 37 specific tasks, there are only 3 for which a majority of respondents report effectiveness: ensuring that management reviews financial performance, setting the company’s overall strategic framework, and formally approving the management team’s strategy.

Organizational health and talent management is a particular weakness: just 9 percent of directors on complacent boards, for example, rate their boards as effective at ensuring the company has a viable CEO successor who can step in at any time. Compared with ineffective boards, though, these boards have a stronger sense of trust and teamwork. Two-thirds of complacent-board directors report a culture of trust and respect, and about half say their boards spend enough time on team building. At the same time, they struggle to embrace feedback. Less than one in five say their boards regularly engage in formal evaluations, either individually or as a board, or that their chairs ask other directors for input after meetings.

The striving boards
The striving boards, then, are the most well-rounded of the bunch. Just 26 percent of these directors rate their boards’ overall impact as very high, compared with 44 percent at the complacent boards. But on specific tasks, they report much greater effectiveness than their peers on every single one—and at least half of striving-board respondents say they’re effective at 30 of the 37 tasks. These directors rate their boards as particularly good at strategy and performance management. For example, 69 percent of respondents on striving boards say they effectively adjust strategy on a continuous basis; only 35 percent on complacent boards and 2 percent on ineffective boards say the same.
Striving boards stand out, too, in the ways they operate. These directors report an exceptionally strong culture of trust and respect, that board members and the management team constructively challenge each other (76 percent say so, compared with 53 percent of complacent-board directors), and that chairs run meetings well. Feedback is another area that distinguishes these boards. Striving-board directors are more than twice as likely as complacent-board directors to say their boards conduct regular evaluations, and more than three times likelier to say their chairs ask for input after each meeting. That said, there’s significant potential for even the striving boards to improve: only one-third of these directors say their boards regularly evaluate themselves.

Finally, directors on striving boards commit much more time to their work than others do: on average, they spend 41 days per year on board duties. The complacent-board members spend only 28 days per year—even less time than directors on ineffective boards, who report spending 32 days on board work.

Looking ahead
•Spend even more time.
This year’s results indicate across-the-board increases in the time that directors spend on board work, compared with previous surveys. While directors at striving boards already spend 41 days per year and have no ambitions to spend more time, the average board member spends 33 days and says he or she would, ideally, spend 5 days more. In our experience, though, many board members are spending 50 days or more per year on board work, either due to regulatory pressure or simply owing to the fact that the time required to do a good job is usually more than directors initially expect.

•Balance trust with challenging discourse.
According to the results, the boards that are most effective and well-rounded also have the strongest board dynamics. In a healthy boardroom, a culture of trust and respect is vital. But so is an environment where directors and company leaders challenge each other. It’s no coincidence, then, that directors at striving boards report these characteristics most often. But all boards could be better at other elements of how their boards work: improving induction training, for example, and conducting regular evaluations, which only a minority of respondents report—even at the striving boards.

•Appoint an ambitious chair.
Another important ingredient of improved board dynamics—and an improved board—is an effective chairperson, who runs meetings well, establishes a culture of trust and constructive discourse, and invests in training, development, and feedback. Good leadership sets the tone for the board as a whole and can set the stage for a more effective, value-enhancing board.

Source:, 9 February 2016
Contributors: Conor Kehoe, Frithjof Lund and Nina Spielmann
About the contributors: Contributors to the development and analysis of this survey include Conor Kehoe, a director in McKinsey’s London office; Frithjof Lund, a principal in the Oslo office; and Nina Spielmann, a specialist in the Zurich office.

Read more about Board Assessment here.

The unknown motivational factor

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on February 8th, 2016 by admin

If there is one thing that you can always count on when leading people, it’s that they know how and what motivates them. The most common motivational factors are family, financial, recognition or career progression, but sometimes it can be something out of the norm. However one thing holds true, everyone has something that intrinsically motivates them. Great leaders and businesses understand the science behind intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is where someone is motivated internally. Internal motivation is the most powerful type of motivation and develops an environment for long term sustainable performance.

Extrinsic motivation is where a specific task or behavior is incentivised based on the outcome. External motivation is only good for short term gains, however the downfall to this type of motivation is that it hurts long term sustainable behaviors.
I had the honor of leading an employee that had been one of the most consistent and successful performers year after year for over 10 years. He won the elite trips and made a lot of money. He wasn’t pushing himself outside of his comfort zone to reach his full potential and past what seemed to be his limits. It was really hard figuring out what his intrinsic motivation was since it wasn’t any of the most common motivation factors. Until one day we were talking and he showed me a video of a professional football player leader a pre-game huddle.

Now let me set this up for you. This gentleman was very timid and reserved. It took me 3 months to get him to have a complete conversation with me. He was not a person who was outspoken, full of energy or passionate. He came in, he got his job done and he went home.

He showed me this video and I was desperate to find something to push him. I had the great idea to ask him if he wanted to lead our huddles since we had one for the openers and closers every day. Now I didn’t think he would say yes and I pretty much asked sarcastically. To my amazement he said, “Yeah, I would love too.”

I still didn’t know what was going to happen during this huddle, but I did know that I had to let him lead it. The day came for him to lead the huddle and I have never seen so much passion and inspiration come from an individual as I did that day. His face was blood red, he was screaming at the top of his lungs and everyone on the team was ready to run through a wall.

I was in shock, but it was a really good kind of shock!

Since that day he has got a lot of recognition for his huddle, he pushed himself outside of his comfort zone and above his perceived limits. He was intrinsically motivated and he had a huge part in the team’s success.

Successful leaders and businesses get to know their people and their motivational factors. Leaders use those motivational factors to intrinsically motivate their people every day by incorporating it into their communication and coaching. Businesses set up their incentives and recognition structure to intrinsically motivate their people.

Use these ideas to successful motivate your people:

Work/Life Integration – Allow them to have or do the things that are important to them in their personal life at work

Monthly Face to Face Meetings – Nothing is more impactful than spending some time every month in a 1×1 setting. Have them bring topics that they would like to discuss, find out how their family and personal life are going, and see if there is anything that you can do to help them.

Meaningful Work – Allow your employees to do meaningful work that motivates them. If that is not in their normal scope of job responsibilities, then give them the ability to choose something that they would like to work on.

Constant Incentives – Create recognition and incentive programs that never stop. Keep your people motivated beyond just their regular salary, bonuses, raises, etc. Change them up often in order to keep them fresh and exciting.

Source:, February 2016
Author: Jonathan Moss

Så sant!

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on February 7th, 2016 by admin


Säljträning = bortkastad investering?

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Försäljning / Sales, Leadership / Ledarskap on February 7th, 2016 by admin

Det investeras miljoner i säljträningar varje år. Men till vilken nytta? Har säljträningarna spelat ut sin roll? Eller är det så att vi måste hitta nya former för att utveckla den viktiga säljfunktionen?
– Vad tycker du?
– Vilka är Dina erfarenheter av säljträning?

Nedan följer att par intressanta inlägg i debatten.

Skriv gärna ett par rader och låt mig veta!



Säljträning funkar inte!

Säljträning fungerar inte. Inte utan coaching. Det hävdar amerikanska Sales & Marketing som hänvisar till nya forskningsrön.
Enligt en ny amerikansk undersökning från the Corporate Executive Board tenderar säljträning utan coaching att misslyckas i 9 fall av 10.

ST 2Det betyder inte att säljträning är slöseri med resurser. Träningen är viktig, men den behöver stöd av coaching för att få effekt.

Amerikanska studier visar att bara knappt hälften av alla säljare, (46 procent), når uppsatta försäljningsmål – vilket understryker vikten av ökade resurser till säljchefer och mer stöd än träning och utbildning till säljare.

Coaching är skillnaden mellan kunskap och framgång. Det hävdar Sales & Marketing som räknat upp tre anledningar varför:

1. Minne
1885 publicerade Hermann Ebbinghaus sin studie om minneskurvan. Forskningsstudierna var de första som verkligen visade snabbt kunskap faller i glömska. Ebbinghaus rapport är lika aktuell i dag som den var när den kom.

En färsk studie från the Corporate Executive Board visar att 87 procent av den kunskap som säljare får lära sig glöms bort inom loppet av 30 dagar. Andra

undersökningar visar att vi bara minns tio procent av kunskap från kurser och utbildningar efter sex månader. Kunskapen behöver upprepas för att bli beständig, vilket sker på fältet med regelbunden coaching.

2. Kunskap och handling
Att besitta kunskap är en sak, att kunna använda sig av den är en helt annan. Nyckeln till framgång är att omsätta kunskap i handling – vilket enklast sker med hjälp av stöd och coaching.

Duktiga säljchefer vet vikten av att utveckla sina säljare. Med kontinuerlig coaching kan alla säljare ta små utvecklingskliv som gör stor skillnad för försäljning och resultat. Nyckeln är att hjälpa varje enskild säljare att identifiera vilka bitar som kan utvecklas och bli bättre.

3. Mål och mening

Säljmål och träning räcker inte för att nå framgång. Det är först när varje individ får sätta sina egna mål som försäljningsframgång blir en realitet.

Med rätt coaching kan varje säljare identifiera vad den vill och därigenom hitta drivkraften för att nå sitt mål. Coaching lägger grunden till ökad försäljning och i ett större perspektiv bättre siffror för företaget

Källa:, februari 2016

Säljutbildningarna hänger inte med

Vår omvärld förändras och utvecklingen går snabbare än någonsin tidigare. Bara under de senaste åren har helt nya konsumtionsmönster uppstått och nya och affärsmodeller utvecklats oavsett om man säljer produkter eller tjänster.

Men hur har säljutbildningarna hängt med i den enormt snabba utvecklingen?
– Inte särskilt bra, skulle jag säga. En av orsakerna är att de som köper in utbildningar själva gått någon säljutbildning för ett antal år sedan som de tyckte var bra. Inget fel i det, men det betyder också att leverantörerna fortsätter att leverera exakt samma utbildningar som de gjort tidigare, det vill säga som förväntat, säger Anders Lindh som arbetat med säljutbildningar iladda ned (11) mer än 15 års tid.

Enligt Lindh är utbildningsbranschen generellt sett väldigt konservativ och utvecklingen går långsamt.
– Det finns fyra huvudtyper av utbildningar: öppna kurser, företagsinterna kurser, streamade utbildningar och inspirationsföreläsningar. Det vanligaste sättet att driva kompetensutveckling är i dag företagsinterna utbildningar, medan inspirationsföreläsningar primärt vänder sig till mindre företag med enstaka behov.

“Den öppna kursen är död”

Det har blivit allt vanligare att företagen själva tar hand om och ombesörjer sin kompetensutveckling, men köper in inspirationsföreläsningar externt.

– Den öppna kursen är att betrakta som död. Den har ersatts av inspirationsföreläsningar som företag skickar sina säljare på och av konsulter som fyller kunskapsluckor där företag i många fall själv driver intern utbildning med egna resurser, säger Lindh.

Rådande trender

Men även om utvecklingen inom säljutbildningar kanske inte varit blixtrande snabb har den heller inte stått helt stilla. Anders Lindh har identifierat fem aktuella trender bland utbildningsföretag och kunder:

1. Streamade basutbildningar om försäljning
Ger grundläggande kunskap om samtalsmetodik och säljprocesser.

2. Inspirationsföreläsningar
Förekommer ofta samband med uppstart av säljåret eller när nya produkter eller tjänster tillkommit.

3. Kurser i affärslogik
Kurser om hur kundens affärslogik fungerar, i syfte öka förståelsen för kundens affärer. Konsulter och slutkunder lär säljorganisationen om sin bransch och vilka utmaningar som finns.

4. Utbildningar kopplade till säljstödsystem
Leverantörer av systemen sätter tillsammans med kunden en arbetsprocess som ger säljaren stöd för att öka effektivitet och förbättra förmåga till prioritering i sitt och företagets arbete.

5. On job training
Coach eller utbildare följer säljare i det dagliga arbetet. Konsulten har i uppdrag att följa säljare enskilt i det dagliga arbetet för att justera och utveckla allt från personlig effektivitet och målstyrning till tekniker i samtal, möten och telefonsamtal.

Källa:, januari 2016

What ‘digital’ really means

Posted in Aktuellt, Board work / Styrelsearbete, Digitalisering / Internet, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Strategy implementation / Strategiimplementering, Technology on February 2nd, 2016 by admin

Everyone wants to go digital. The first step is truly understanding what that is.

Companies today are rushing headlong to become more digital. But what does digital really mean?

For some executives, it’s about technology. For others, digital is a new way of engaging with customers. And for others still, it represents an entirely new way of doing business. None of these definitions is necessarily incorrect. But such diverse perspectives often trip up leadership teams because they reflect a lack of alignment and common vision about where the business needs to go. This often results in piecemeal initiatives or misguided efforts that lead to missed opportunities, sluggish performance, or false starts.

digi 2Even as CEOs push forward with their digital agendas, it’s worth pausing to clarify vocabulary and sharpen language. Business leaders must have a clear and common understanding of exactly what digital means to them and, as a result, what it means to their business (for a deeper look at how companies can develop meaningful digital strategies and drive business performance, see “Raising your Digital Quotient”).

It’s tempting to look for simple definitions, but to be meaningful and sustainable, we believe that digital should be seen less as a thing and more a way of doing things. To help make this definition more concrete, we’ve broken it down into three attributes: creating value at the new frontiers of the business world, creating value in the processes that execute a vision of customer experiences, and building foundational capabilities that support the entire structure.

Creating value at new frontiers
Being digital requires being open to reexamining your entire way of doing business and understanding where the new frontiers of value are. For some companies, capturing new frontiers may be about developing entirely new businesses in adjacent categories; for others, it may be about identifying and going after new value pools in existing sectors.

Unlocking value from emerging growth sectors requires a commitment to understanding the implications of developments in the marketplace and evaluating how they may present opportunities or threats. The Internet of Things, for example, is starting to open opportunities for disrupters to use unprecedented levels of data precision to identify flaws in existing value chains. In the automotive industry, cars connected to the outside world have expanded the frontiers for self-navigation and in-car entertainment. In the logistics industry, the use of sensors, big data, and analytics has enabled companies to improve the efficiency of their supply-chain operations.

At the same time, being digital means being closely attuned to how customer decision journeys are evolving in the broadest sense. That means understanding how customer behaviors and expectations are developing inside and outside your business, as well as outside your sector, which is crucial to getting ahead of trends that can deliver or destroy value.

Creating value in core businesses
Digital’s next element is rethinking how to use new capabilities to improve how customers are served. This is grounded in an obsession with understanding each step of a customer’s purchasing journey—regardless of channel—and thinking about how digital capabilities can design and deliver the best possible experience, across all parts of the business. For example, the supply chain is critical to developing the flexibility, efficiency, and speed to deliver the right product efficiently in a way the customer wants. By the same token, data and metrics can focus on delivering insights about customers that in turn drive marketing and sales decisions.

Critically, digital isn’t about just working to deliver a one-off customer journey. It’s about implementing a cyclical dynamic where processes and capabilities are constantly evolving based on inputs from the customer, fostering ongoing product or service loyalty. Making this happen requires an interconnected set of four core capabilities:

Proactive decision making. Relevance is the currency of the digital age. This requires making decisions, based on intelligence, that deliver content and experiences that are personalized and relevant to the customer. Remembering customer preferences is a basic example of this capability, but it also extends to personalizing and optimizing the next step in the customer’s journey. Data providers such as ClickFox, for example, blend data from multiple channels into one view of what customers are doing and what happens as a result. In the back office, analytics anddigi 1 intelligence provide near-real-time insights into customer needs and behaviors that then determine the types of messages and offers to deliver to the customer.

Contextual interactivity. This means analyzing how a consumer is interacting with a brand and modifying those interactions to improve the customer experience. For example, the content and experience may adapt as a customer shifts from a mobile phone to a laptop or from evaluating a brand to making a purchasing decision. The rising number of customer interactions generates a stream of intelligence that allows brands to make better decisions about what their customers want. And the rapid rise of wearable technology and the Internet of Things represents the latest wave of touchpoints that will enable companies to blend digital and physical experiences even more.

Real-time automation. To support this cyclical give-and-take dynamic with customers and help them complete a task now requires extensive automation. Automation of customer interactions can boost the number of self-service options that help resolve problems quickly, personalize communications to be more relevant, and deliver consistent customer journeys no matter the channel, time, or device. Automating the supply chain and core business processes can drive down costs, but it’s also crucial to providing companies with more flexibility to respond to and anticipate customer demand.

Journey-focused innovation. Serving customers well gives companies permission to be innovative in how they interact with and sell to them. That may include, for example, expanding existing customer journeys into new businesses and services that extend the relationship with the customer, ideally to the benefit of both parties. These innovations in turn fuel more interactions, create more information, and increase the value of the customer-brand relationship.

Building foundational capabilities
The final element of our definition of digital is about the technological and organizational processes that allow an enterprise to be agile and fast. This foundation is made up of two elements:

Mind-sets. Being digital is about using data to make better and faster decisions, devolving decision making to smaller teams, and developing much more iterative and rapid ways of doing things. Thinking in this way shouldn’t be limited to just a handful of functions. It should incorporate a broad swath of how companies operate, including creatively partnering with external companies to extend necessary capabilities. A digital mind-set institutionalizes cross-functional collaboration, flattens hierarchies, and builds environments to encourage the generation of new ideas. Incentives and metrics are developed to support such decision-making agility.

System and data architecture. Digital in the context of IT is focused on creating a two-part environment that decouples legacy systems—which support critical functions and run at a slower pace—from those that support fast-moving, often customer-facing interactions. A key feature of digitized IT is the commitment to building networks that connect devices, objects, and people. This approach is embodied in a continuous-delivery model where cross-functional IT teams automate systems and optimize processes to be able to release and iterate on software quickly.

Digital is about unlocking growth now. How companies might interpret or act on that definition will vary, but having a clear understanding of what digital means allows business leaders to develop a shared vision of how it can be used to capture value.

Source:, July 2015
Authors: Karel Dörner and David Edelman
About the authors: Karel Dörner is a principal in McKinsey’s Munich office, and David Edelman is a principal in the Boston office.

Leadership self-awareness

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on February 1st, 2016 by admin

Even the best leaders have blind spots. No one sees themselves as accurately as other people do. If you want a true assessment of your leadership impact, it’s important to get feedback from others.

That can be tricky, according to coaching expert Madeleine Blanchard and assessments expert Dr. Vicki Essary, both of The Ken Blanchard Companies.

Finding the right assessment is the first challenge, according to Essary.
“When you are looking for a way to assess perceptions of your leadership behavior, be sure to consider only those assessments that are validated for measuring these behaviors accurately. A legitimate leadership assessment is different than an online survey or a quiz in a magazine, where the questions might be interesting but are not rooted in research or written by experts who know how to evaluate professional performance.”
boss 2
The second challenge is being open to feedback and willing to change, says Blanchard.
“It’s important to seek out feedback and do something with it. A lot of people appear to seek feedback—because they think it is politically correct—but they have no intention of letting themselves be influenced by it or taking action because of it. This can be a serious credibility buster.”

Blanchard and Essary share that even though it can be uncomfortable to receive feedback contrary to what you believe about your own leadership behavior, it’s important to be open to feedback and see it as an opportunity for personal growth and development.
“Generally, our first reaction is to defend ourselves, explain it away, or rationalize the behavior,” explains Blanchard. “But it doesn’t matter if you disagree—just be open to feedback. Even if you aren’t happy with what is being said, consider for a moment, ‘What if they’re right?’ ‘What could I learn from this?’ The same goes for feedback that you automatically discount because you think it comes from someone you don’t like or respect. In the case of an anonymous 360°assessment, you might think you know who gave negative feedback. But think: what if you are wrong and the negative feedback about your behavior came from someone you really respect?”

Blanchard and Essary point to the work of Daniel Goleman, who created a four domain model of emotional intelligence. In this model you begin with self-awareness and move to self-regulation, then to awareness of others, and then modulation of self when working with others.
“Leaders who get things done know how to inspire people, prod people, and sometimes push people, but always in a way that is appropriate,” says Blanchard. “It’s a delicate balance. The key is to manage perceptions person by person. You might need to be a little edgy with one person to communicate the message, ‘You seem to be phoning it in.’ With another person you might want to say, ‘You are going over the top here. You’re on fire, but you’re in danger of burning out if you don’t chill out a little.’”

The goal, according to Blanchard and Essary, is to make sure the impact you are going for is the one you are actually making.

Getting Started
Ready to get started? Blanchard and Essary recommend you don’t try to change too much too fast.
“Start by noticing personal patterns,” says Blanchard. “You might notice, for example, that you tend to interrupt people. It doesn’t mean you have to completely stop interrupting people right this very minute. It just means you have to observe. Once you start seeing patterns you’ll notice there might be one, two, three, or more habits you could modify.boss 1

“Then prioritize. Of the seven behaviors you do that are not serving you, choose two or possibly three to work on. Before you make final choices, apply a feasibility metric by asking yourself the question, ‘Which of these can I actually do something about?’ You want to pick habits you can actually change without getting a personality transplant. Choose behaviors that are going to have the most impact on perception and that are also humanly possible for you to do. For example, if you aren’t a warm and fuzzy person you don’t have to try to become one, but you can learn to smile more at your employees.”

“Many personal change efforts fail because people try to change too much too fast,” adds Essary. “Begin with observation and awareness, watch for patterns, and then select a few high impact behaviors that are modifiable.”

Enlist Others
Blanchard and Essary also recommend that leaders don’t go it alone.
“One thing people can do to support their journey is to have a buddy,” says Essary. “Find people in your organization who are working on the same goal of increasing self-awareness. Do activities with them, set goals, and hold each other accountable. Consider working with a coach—get support one way or another.”

Blanchard and Essary share that the more a leader communicates about goals they’ve set for themselves, the more people will realize that the leader is making an effort and the more likely they will give the leader feedback. Doing this builds a virtuous circle of growth.
“Take it slow and pace yourself,” adds Blanchard, “because it’s a never-ending journey. Every individual you work with is going to have different perceptions. With practice, you’ll start developing a sixth sense of leadership awareness. Continue to ask, ‘Is the impact I’m having the one I intended to have?’”

Source:, November 2015
Authors: Madeleine Blanchard and Dr. Vicki Essary