The mindsets and practices of excellent CEOs

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on augusti 17th, 2022 by admin
The CEO’s job is as difficult as it is important. Here is a guide to how the best CEOs think and act.
Acompany has only one peerless role: chief executive officer. It’s the most powerful and sought-after title in business, more exciting, rewarding, and influential than any other. What the CEO controls—the company’s biggest moves—accounts for 45 percent of a company’s performance. Despite the luster of the role, serving as a CEO can be all-consuming, lonely, and stressful. Just three in five newly appointed CEOs live up to performance expectations in their first 18 months on the job. The high standards and broad expectations of directors, shareholders, customers, and employees create an environment of relentless scrutiny in which one move can dramatically make or derail an accomplished career.For all the scrutiny of the CEO’s role, though, little is solidly understood about what CEOs really do to excel. McKinsey’s longtime leader, Marvin Bower, considered the CEO’s job so specialized that he felt executives could prepare for the post only by holding it. Many of the CEOs we’ve worked with have expressed similar views. In their experience, even asking other CEOs how to approach the job doesn’t help, because suggestions vary greatly once they go beyond high-level advice such as “set the strategy,” “shape the culture,” and “get the right team.” Perhaps that’s not surprising—industry contexts differ, as do leadership preferences—but it illustrates that fellow CEOs don’t necessarily make reliable guides.

Nor has academic and other research on the CEO’s role done much to illuminate how CEOs think and what they do to excel. For example, recent studies that detail how CEOs spend their time don’t show the difference between a good use of time and a bad one. Academic research also demonstrates that traits such as drive, resilience, and risk tolerance make CEOs more successful. This insight is helpful during a search for a new CEO, but it’s hardly one that sitting CEOs can use to improve their performance. Other research has tended to produce such findings as the observation that leaders are effective in some situations and ineffective in others—interesting, but less than instructive.
With this article, we set out to show which mindsets and practices are proven to make CEOs most effective. It is the fruit of a long-running effort to study performance data on thousands of CEOs, revisit our firsthand experience helping CEOs enhance their leadership approaches, and extract a set of empirical, broadly applicable insights on how excellent CEOs think and act. We also offer a self-assessment guide to help CEOs (and CEO watchers, such as boards of directors) determine how closely they adhere to the mindsets and practices that are closely associated with superior CEO performance. Our hope is that all CEOs, new or long-tenured, can use these tools to better apply their scarce time and energy.

A model for CEO excellence

To answer the question, “What are the mindsets and practices of excellent CEOs?,” we started with the six main elements of the CEO’s job—elements touched on in virtually all literature about the role: setting the strategy, aligning the organization, leading the top team, working with the board, being the face of the company to external stakeholders, and managing one’s own time and energy. We then broke those down into 18 specific responsibilities that fall exclusively to the CEO. For example, setting a corporate strategy requires that the CEO make the final call on an overall vision, a set of strategic moves, and the allocation of capital.

Focusing on those 18 responsibilities, we conducted extensive research to determine what mindsets and practices distinguish excellent CEOs. We mined our proprietary database on CEO performance, which is the largest of its kind, containing 25 years’ worth of data on 7,800 CEOs from 3,500 public companies across 70 countries and 24 industries. We also drew on what we’ve learned from helping hundreds of CEOs to excel, from preparing for the job and transitioning into it, through navigating difficult decisions and moments of truth, to handing their responsibilities over to a successor.

The result of these efforts is a model for CEO excellence, which prescribes mindsets and practices that are especially likely to help CEOs succeed at their particular duties. What follows is a detailed look at these mindsets and practices. Although our findings are most relevant to CEOs of large public companies, owing to our research base, many will also apply to CEOs of other bodies, including private companies, public-sector organizations, and not-for-profit institutions.

Corporate strategy: Focus on beating the odds

It’s incumbent on the leader to set the direction for the company—to have a plan in the face of uncertainty. One way that CEOs try to reduce strategic uncertainty is to focus on options with the firmest business cases. Research shows, however, that this approach delivers another sort of outcome: the dreaded “hockey stick” effect, consisting of a projected dip in next year’s budget, followed by a promise of success, which never occurs. A more realistic approach recognizes that 10 percent of companies create 90 percent of the total economic profit (profit after subtracting the cost of capital), and that only one in 12 companies moves from being an average performer to a top-quintile performer over a ten-year period. The odds of making the jump from average to outstanding might be long, but CEOs can greatly increase the probability of beating those odds by adhering to these practices:

Vision: Reframe what winning means. The CEO is the ultimate decision maker when it comes to setting a company’s vision (where do we want to be in five, ten, or 15 years?). Good CEOs do this by considering their mandate and expectations (from the board, investors, employees, and other stakeholders), the relative strengths and purpose of their company, a clear understanding of what enables the business to generate value, opportunities and trends in the marketplace, and their personal aspirations and values. The best go one step further and reframe the reference point for success. For example, instead of a manufacturer aspiring to be number one in the industry, the CEO can broaden the objective to be in the top quartile among all industrials. Such a reframing acknowledges that companies compete for talent, capital, and influence on a bigger stage than their industry. It casts key performance measures such as margin, cash flow, and organizational health in a different light, thereby cutting through the biases and social dynamics that can lead to complacency.

Strategy: Make bold moves early. According to McKinsey research, five bold strategic moves best correlate with success: resource reallocation; programmatic mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; capital expenditure; productivity improvements; and differentiation improvements (the latter three measured relative to a company’s industry). To move “boldly” is to shift at least 30 percent more than the industry median. Making one or two bold moves more than doubles the likelihood of rising from the middle quintiles of economic profit to the top quintile, and making three or more bold moves makes such a rise six times more likely. Furthermore, CEOs who make these moves earlier in their tenure outperform those who move later, and those who do so multiple times in their tenure avoid an otherwise common decline in performance. Not surprisingly, data also show that externally hired CEOs are more likely to move with boldness and speed than those promoted from within an organization. CEOs who are promoted from internal roles should explicitly ask and answer the question, “What would an outsider do?” as they determine their strategic moves.

Resource allocation: Stay active. Resource reallocation isn’t just a bold strategic move on its own; it’s also an essential enabler of the other strategic moves. Companies that reallocate more than 50 percent of their capital expenditures among business units over ten years create 50 percent more value than companies that reallocate more slowly. The benefit of this approach might seem obvious, yet a third of companies reallocate a mere 1 percent of their capital from year to year. Furthermore, research using our CEO database found that the top decile of high performing CEOs are 35 percent more likely to dynamically reallocate capital than average performers. To ensure that resources are swiftly reallocated to where they will deliver the most value rather than spread thinly across businesses and operations, excellent CEOs institute an ongoing (not annual) stage-gate process. Such a process takes a granular view, makes comparisons using quantitative metrics, prompts when to stop funding and when to continue it, and is backed by the CEO’s personal resolve to continually optimize the company’s allocation of resources.

Organizational alignment: Manage performance and health with equal rigor

Ask successful investors what they look for in portfolio companies, and many will tell you they’d rather put money on an average strategy in the hands of great talent than on a great strategy in the hands of average talent. The best CEOs put equal rigor and discipline into achieving greatness on both strategy and talent. And when it comes to putting great talent in place, almost half of senior leaders say that their biggest regret is taking too long to move lesser performers out of important roles, or out of the organization altogether. The reasons for this are both practical (good leaders provide the CEO with important leverage) and symbolic (CEOs who tolerate poor performance or bad behavior diminish their own influence). Many CEOs also say they regret leaving adequate performers in key positions and failing to realize the full potential of their roles. The best CEOs think systematically about their people: which roles they play, what they can achieve, and how the company should operate to increase people’s impact.

Talent: Match talent to value. Many CEOs have confided to us that they worry about asking the same few overstretched “usual suspects” to take extra assignments because they can’t trust the people who would otherwise perform them. The best CEOs take a methodical approach to matching talent with roles that create the most value. A crucial first step is discovering which roles matter most. Careful analysis typically produces findings that surprise even the savviest CEOs. Of the 50 most value-creating roles in any given organization, only 10 percent normally report to the CEO directly. Sixty percent are two levels below, and 20 percent sit farther down. Most surprising of all is that the remaining 10 percent are roles that don’t even exist. Once these roles are identified, the CEO can work with other executives to see that these roles are managed with increased rigor and are occupied by the right people. Robust talent pipelines can also be developed so that important roles remain well staffed. The best CEOs ensure that their own role is included so that the board has viable, well-prepared internal candidates to consider for succession.

Culture: Go beyond employee engagement. Vendors of workforce surveys like to say that employee engagement is the best measure of “soft stuff.” It’s not. While employee engagement indeed correlates with financial performance, a typical engagement survey covers less than 20 percent of the organizational-health elements that are proven to correlate with value creation. A proper assessment of organizational health takes in everything from alignment on direction and quality of execution to the ability to learn and adapt. In the largest research effort of its kind, McKinsey found that CEOs who insist on rigorously measuring and managing all cultural elements that drive performance more than double the odds that their strategies will be executed. And over the long term, they deliver triple the total return to shareholders that other companies deliver. Doing this well involves thoughtful approaches to role modeling, storytelling, aligning of formal reinforcements (such as incentives), and investing in skill building.

Organizational design: Combine speed with stability. “Agility” is one of most widely used and misunderstood management buzzwords of the past decade. For many leaders, agility evokes speed in decision making and execution, as opposed to the deliberate pace dictated by the stable, standardized routines of large organizations. The facts show that agility requires no such trade-off: on the contrary, companies that are both fast and stable are nearly three times more likely to rank in the top quartile of organizational health than companies that are fast but lack stable operating disciplines. Excellent CEOs increase their companies’ agility by determining which features of their organizational design will be stable and unchanging (such features might include a primary axis of organization, a few signature processes, and shared values) and by creating dynamic elements that adapt quickly to new challenges and opportunities (such elements might include temporary performance cells, flow-to-work staffing models, and minimum-viable-product iterations). A services company CEO, for example, better enabled her “one company” strategy by shifting the profit-and-loss axis from products to geographies, reorganizing the back office according to an agile flow-to-work model, and creating a new agile product development group.

Source:, October 2018


Dömer ut kontorstiden – arbetsplatsen skall vara en laddstation

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on juni 19th, 2022 by admin

Pandemin flyttade oss från kontoret till hemmet. Men pallen i köket kommer inte att prägla framtidens arbetsmarknad menar Linda Hammarstrand, föreläsare och inspiratör inom ledarskap, och delar de tre begrepp som kommer att göra det, ”tiden, platsen och värdet.”

”Arbetsgivare som erbjuder sina anställda en hybrid arbetsplats kommer att bli vinnare. Att vara 100 procent på kontoret mellan 8-17 är historia”, säger Linda Hammarstrand, föreläsare, författare och inspiratör inom ledarskap och företagskultur.

Samtidigt menar hon att det är omöjligt att utvecklas i takt med omvärlden på en pall i köket.

”Du måste omge dig med människor för att växa.”

Linda Hammarstrand, hemmahörande i Göteborg, driver Culture Academy som erbjuder föreläsningar och utbildningar i hur man skapar en passionerad, högpresterande företagskultur. Hon lutar sig förstås på sina egna erfarenheter, senast med titeln Director of passion för Petter Stordalens Clarion Hotel.

”Mitt löfte var att göra det till Nordens mest attraktiva arbetsgivare, något jag allra ödmjukast måste säga att vi lyckades med.”

Men det var under hennes 20 åri Stenasfären som intresset för företagskultur föddes och växte sig starkt. Ett av hennes uppdrag var att kommunicera ägaren Dan Sten Olssons affärsfilosofi till bolagets 22.000 anställda runt om i världen.

Om det inte är en pall i köket som kommer att skapa framtidens arbetsmarknad, vad är det då? Linda Hammarstrand pekar ut tre begrepp som kommer att stå i fokus, tiden, platsen och värdet.

Tiden handlar om balans och mening.

”Arbetet kommer ses mer som en uppgift att lösa, än något vi gör mellan 8 och 17 och självledarskap kommer att bli fundamentalt viktigt. Balans i livet kommer att ställas på sin spets och tid för vårt eget välmående kommer att ta mer plats. Vi har blivit allt känsligare för saker som slukar tid men inte tillför mening”, säger hon och lyfter statistik som visar att hälften av den tredjedel som hade äran att jobba hemma under pandemin inte vill tillbaka till kontoret.

”Många har vant sig vid att arbeta med resår i midjan och de vill inte tillbaka till jobbet då det saknar mening. Det är illa.”

Arbetsplatsen måste istället liknas vid en laddstation, menar Linda Hammarstrand, ett ställe dit man kommer för att tanka energi och dela nyvunnen kunskap.

”Vi måste jobba hårt för att övertyga våra anställda att det alltid är värt att komma till kontoret, det går inte att vara dum och dålig längre. Kontoren blir mötesplatser där kreativitet föds. Vi pratar mycket om nätverk idag, det har blivit lika viktigt som att andas. Men det vi måste ägna tid åt är medmänskliga nätverk där människor träffas utan en egentlig avsikt. Att lyssna och vara nyfikna tränar oss på att vara empatiska. Den som har dessa egenskaper kommer att trumfa framtiden.”

Hon tittar tillbaka på hur det såg ut sent på 1980-talet.

”Vi mätte intelligens och trodde att det var lösningen på framtidens utmaningar. Ju mer högskolepoäng vi anställde desto bättre skulle det gå. Det visade sig med tiden att det inte räckte med bara poäng. Vad skulle vi med alla högskolepoäng till om människorna inte hade förmåga att samarbeta och göra kunskapen delbar?”

IQ har ersatts av EQ och snart ska Linda Hammarstrand åka till USA för att gå en utbildning i CQ, curiosity quotient.

”Jag ska få lära mig hur man skapar en nyfiken organisation som föder såväl engagemang och innovationer.”

Det tredje begreppet som kommer att prägla framtidens arbetsmarknad är värdet.

”Vi måste fråga oss vad vår organisation är lösningen på och vilket värde måste vi skapa för att lyckas. Det handlar inte längre om att bli bäst i världen, utan bäst för världen, inte om att bli bäst i teamet, utan bäst för teamet. Om att komplettera varandra och arbeta tillsammans – inte bara arbeta samtidigt.”

Förr handlade ledarskap om kunskap och makt. Men att leda i dag handlar om att orka menar Linda Hammarstrand.

”Att förändra en kultur görs inte genom en föreläsning, det handlar om att orka leda emotionellt. Att orka ta det där jobbiga samtalet, att orka vara synlig, att orka inspirera, att orka bry sig om hur vi mår och inte hur det går. Om att förstå att mjuka värden skapar hårda värden. Det är vår kultur som speglas på vår sista rad.”


Källa:, 14 juni 2022

How to be a great 21st-century CEO

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on juni 8th, 2022 by admin

What do CEOs do? Why do they do it that way? And what matters most?

To answer those questions, we identified 200 highly successful CEOs and conducted in-depth interviews with 67 of them. We found that there is no simple recipe for success, but there is virtue in simplicity. Indeed, the CEOs we interviewed could describe their business strategy in an elevator ride up Shanghai Tower.We also found that, in a sense, all CEOs have the same responsibilities, such as working with the board, engaging stakeholders, setting direction, and creating a positive culture. What separates the best from the rest is how they approach these tasks. All excelled at some, were good at the rest—and knew the difference. All are world-class integrators. And all applied a distinctive set of mindsets against these responsibilities. In our own effort at simplicity, we identified the six mindsets that characterize great CEOs.
Be bold. In times of uncertainty, it can be tempting to minimize the downside. However, that all but guarantees either mediocrity or decline. Successful CEOs want to avoid making mistakes, of course, but they also act boldly, actively seeking significant opportunities. They raise the aspirations of the company, and they look for intersections where the business and the market meet. In effect, they are excellent futurists and thus can define the right vision. While they will cut their losses if a move is a dud, they stick to the strategy. The vision comes first; financial performance flows from that.
Treat the soft stuff as the hard stuff. Only one in three strategies is successfully implemented—in large part because change generates resistance. That is why the “soft stuff”—that is, matters related to people and culture—can be the hardest stuff of all to get right. Research has found that companies that solve the soft stuff are more than twice as likely (from 30 to 79 percent) to execute a strategy successfully. To carry their organization with them, leaders need to make the case for change, and then keep track of results.
Solve for the team’s psychology. To build high-performing leadership teams, the best CEOs start with roles, not people, asking what the most important jobs are and then finding people who can do those jobs. And they design for overall functionality, bringing in a wide range of expertise. CEOs must engage with each individual while keeping some distance. And, again, the soft stuff counts.
Help directors help the business. The board is the CEO’s boss, but an awkward one—a lot of people, infrequently seen. Like any relationship, the bedrock is trust. That means being open, honest, and prompt about plans and problems. Bad news is, well, bad, but delivering it is also a chance for the board to help, which is its function. CEOs should establish a strong relationship with the lead director and check in with other directors once or twice a year. Finally, introduce the board to the company by connecting the board to managers. As Piyush Gupta, the longtime CEO of Singapore’s DBS Group, put it: “The board, to me, is a partner, and they can talk to anyone in my management team. I believe the free flow of information is helpful for complete alignment.
Start with “Why?” Purpose can be difficult to define. At the very least, it should be powerful enough to inspire people, simple enough to be readily understood, and make business sense. And purpose matters: companies with a clear social purpose have significantly outperformed the S&P 500 over the past 20 years. The best CEOs ask themselves why their company exists, then make purpose an intrinsic part of the business model, knowing that testing strategy against purpose can open up new areas of growth. Leading with purpose can also enhance employee well-being and build loyalty.
Do what only you can do. Being a CEO is a 24/7 job, but no one can work that way. Great CEOs make it a priority to manage themselves to ensure that they are not being pulled apart. That is obviously personal, but we did find some commonalities. The most important is self-discipline, particularly regarding the use of time. Old-school techniques such as lists, stars, and color coding crop up often as time-management techniques. At the same time, the CEOs we spoke with also build flexibility into their schedule—to respond to the unexpected or simply to think. Many combine high-intensity work with recovery periods, whether that is a ten-minute break between meetings or playing the piano. Ultimately, managing personal effectiveness is about developing a sense of perspective, and then using that to see into the future.

No book can create a great CEO, any more than a boxing manual can produce a Manny Pacquiao. But in business, as in boxing, there is such a thing as good technique. CEOs matter: we calculated that the 200 CEOs we identified created additional economic value of about $5 trillion. By identifying the mindsets that characterize great leadership, we believe that excellence can be cultivated—now and in the future.

This article originally appeared in Bloomberg on May 4, 2022, and is reprinted here by permission.



Source:, 3 June 2022

Bringing coaching skills into your organization

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on maj 10th, 2022 by admin
Organizations are counting on their managers to help with two of the biggest challenges in today’s work environment—keeping people engaged and keeping them productive. It’s a results and people approach that coaching expert Madeleine Homan Blanchard is very familiar with. As the chief coaching architect for The Ken Blanchard Companies, Madeleine is regularly brought in when a client requests to improve the coaching skills of an organization’s managers.

“People have to show up at work every day as their best possible selves, firing on all cylinders. At the same time, organizations are looking to their managers to keep people engaged and growing. Managers need coaching skills to rise to that challenge.

“A manager with good coaching skills can help direct reports think through problems that don’t have an obvious solution. These managers learn how to create a safe environment where a person can look at the whole landscape of their work and prioritize what needs to be done. Managers also learn how to stay quiet, ask good questions, and help people hear their own voice and find their own answers. Sometimes that’s the best thing you can do as a leader.”

But before Blanchard moves to that step, she always asks an important fundamental question.

“When people come to us and say, “We want our people to be coaches,” or “We want a coaching culture,” my first question is, “How are you managing performance now?”

Blanchard asks that question to make sure the organization already has a system in place for setting clear goals and providing feedback on basic performance.

“Many times, when an organization brings us in to create what they call a ‘coaching culture,’ what they are really envisioning is a culture where managers make sure people have clear goals they are held accountable for, people understand what a good job looks like, and people get what they need when they need it.

“That’s extremely important, but that’s not coaching—it’s performance management.”

If performance management is what a client really needs, Blanchard recommends they start with a proven performance management process such as her company’s SLII® performance management model. SLII® teaches the basics: goal setting, diagnosing development level, and providing a matching leadership style.

“Goal setting, diagnosing, and matching are the foundation of effective performance management. From there, you can layer on the skills of coaching.”

For Blanchard, the coach approach includes how to create an environment where people will be eager to grow. To do this, managers need a different mindset, a foolproof process, and some upgraded skills.

“The number one coaching skill no one talks about is self-regulation: understanding one’s own natural tendencies and how they get in the way of building trust. From there, almost everyone can improve their listening skills, learn to ask better questions, and get more courageous in talking about reality.

“These are advanced skills that assume a performance management foundation is already in place. I didn’t understand this until I was a couple of years into teaching coaching skills. I kept getting questions such as: ‘What do I do when I have an employee who wears white socks with a navy blue suit?’

“That doesn’t require advanced coaching skills; it just requires being able to give clear direction.

“Managers are skittish about giving direct, timely feedback—but we have found they can earn the right to do it by listening carefully and asking good questions. When employees are performing to expectation, the manager can put on their coach hat and create an environment where people feel safe to reveal themselves, experiment, push themselves, and maybe fail.

“That’s the modality a manager can use to get innovation. That’s how you get the highest and best out of each person on your team. But you’re not going to do that unless the basic performance is there and the person is actually doing the job the way it needs to be done.”

For clients who are ready, Blanchard first introduces the importance of shifting to a coaching mindset, which includes demonstrating that you have the coachee’s best interests at heart. Then she shares a coaching conversation process that works every time. The coaching conversation consists of four steps: how to ConnectFocusActivate, and Review.

Connect requires the manager to be fully present in the here and now—truly paying attention to the person being coached,” Blanchard explains. “Focus means clarifying and putting in order the topics to be discussed. Activate means identifying action steps—what will we do next? Review, a step which is often skipped, ensures crystal clear agreement on what was decided, what actions will be taken, and in what time frame.”

From there, Blanchard shares the four LITE skills of Listen to LearnInquire for InsightTell Your Truth, and Express Confidence.

Listen to Learn is a refined way of listening that is subtle but powerful. It teaches managers to listen for the heart of the matter—something that is easy to miss. We remind managers that you can’t listen if you are talking, and we give them a memorable acronym: W.A.I.T. – Why Am I Talking? It’s about quieting your mind so you can really hear what the other person is sharing.

Inquire for Insight challenges managers to ask better questions. There is a big distinction between asking decent questions and asking the best question. For example, instead of asking ‘Why did you do it that way?’ or ‘Tell me what you were thinking,’ which deals with the past and asks you to defend your actions, a manager will learn to ask ‘How could you have done it differently?’ or ‘How might you approach it differently in the future?’ This looks ahead at new possibilities and responses.

Tell Your Truth is all about having the courage to say what needs to be said, which often means giving feedback. We teach managers to examine their motive and intention for saying something. Is this something the person needs to hear or something you just feel the need to say? This skill teaches managers how to make better decisions about what to share and what not to share. Intentions are often murky. We have managers ask themselves: Am I sharing an observation I think will be helpful, am I making a request for a behavior change that needs to happen, or is this a hard-core demand? We help managers navigate the ins and outs of this tricky skill.

Express Confidence is all about maintaining the distinction between people and their performance. ‘As a person, you are innately brilliant and valuable. Your recent behavior, on the other hand—’ It’s all about creating a strong, trusting relationship.”

Blanchard sometimes hears comments about how basic these skills seem.

“On the surface these skills may seem basic, but when they are actually applied, they are surprisingly powerful.

“We strive for simplicity so the skill is doable—so managers can do it! This approach to developing coaching skills provides managers with a proven way to explore. How am I developing this person for the next role? How are they growing? What are their concerns? What is this person most interested in and most passionate about? These are the types of questions people are asking themselves today.

“The Great Resignation has caused people everywhere to think hard about where they are going and how their current organization is helping them get there. Managers who develop coaching skills on top of good performance management skills have an advantage. They know how to have conversations so they can get insight into where someone might want go in the organization even if it has nothing to do with the role they have now.”

“A coaching mindset earns you the right to coach and to be the person who makes a difference—the person your people can trust—where they can be vulnerable, where they can tell the truth about themselves, and where they can have conversations that will get them where they need to go.”, April 2022

High-performing teams: A timeless leadership topic

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on april 18th, 2022 by admin
The value of a high-performing team has long been recognized. It’s why savvy investors in start-ups often value the quality of the team and the interaction of the founding members more than the idea itself. It’s why 90 percent of investors think the quality of the management team is the single most important nonfinancial factor when evaluating an IPO. And it’s why there is a 1.9 times increased likelihood of having above-median financial performance when the top team is working together toward a common vision.“No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team,” is the way Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn cofounder, sums it up. Basketball legend Michael Jordan slam dunks the same point: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
The topic’s importance is not about to diminish as digital technology reshapes the notion of the workplace and how work gets done. On the contrary, the leadership role becomes increasingly demanding as more work is conducted remotely, traditional company boundaries become more porous, freelancers more commonplace, and partnerships more necessary. And while technology will solve a number of the resulting operational issues, technological capabilities soon become commoditized.

Cutting through the clutter of management advice

Building a team remains as tough as ever. Energetic, ambitious, and capable people are always a plus, but they often represent different functions, products, lines of business, or geographies and can vie for influence, resources, and promotion. Not surprisingly then, top-team performance is a timeless business preoccupation.

Amid the myriad sources of advice on how to build a top team, here are some ideas around team composition and team dynamics that, in our experience, have long proved their worth.

Team composition

Team composition is the starting point. The team needs to be kept small—but not too small—and it’s important that the structure of the organization doesn’t dictate the team’s membership. A small top team—fewer than six, say—is likely to result in poorer decisions because of a lack of diversity, and slower decision making because of a lack of bandwidth. A small team also hampers succession planning, as there are fewer people to choose from and arguably more internal competition. Research also suggests that the team’s effectiveness starts to diminish if there are more than ten people on it. Sub-teams start to form, encouraging divisive behavior. Although a congenial, “here for the team” face is presented in team meetings, outside of them there will likely be much maneuvering. Bigger teams also undermine ownership of group decisions, as there isn’t time for everyone to be heard.

Beyond team size, CEOs should consider what complementary skills and attitudes each team member brings to the table. Do they recognize the improvement opportunities? Do they feel accountable for the entire company’s success, not just their own business area? Do they have the energy to persevere if the going gets tough? Are they good role models? When CEOs ask these questions, they often realize how they’ve allowed themselves to be held hostage by individual stars who aren’t team players, how they’ve become overly inclusive to avoid conflict, or how they’ve been saddled with team members who once were good enough but now don’t make the grade. Slighting some senior executives who aren’t selected may be unavoidable if the goal is better, faster decisions, executed with commitment.

Of course, large organizations often can’t limit the top team to just ten or fewer members. There is too much complexity to manage and too much work to be done. The CEO of a global insurance company found himself with 18 direct reports spread around the globe who, on their videoconference meetings, could rarely discuss any single subject for more than 30 minutes because of the size of the agenda. He therefore formed three top teams, one that focused on strategy and the long-term health of the company, another that handled shorter-term performance and operational issues, and a third that tended to a number of governance, policy, and people-related issues. Some executives, including the CEO, sat on each. Others were only on one. And some team members chosen weren’t even direct reports but from the next level of management down, as the CEO recognized the importance of having the right expertise in the room, introducing new people with new ideas, and coaching the next generation of leaders.

Team dynamics

It’s one thing to get the right team composition. But only when people start working together does the character of the team itself begin to be revealed, shaped by team dynamics that enable it to achieve either great things or, more commonly, mediocrity.

Consider the 1992 roster of the US men’s Olympic basketball team, which had some of the greatest players in the history of the sport, among them Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, and Scottie Pippen. Merely bringing together these players didn’t guarantee success. During their first month of practice, indeed, the “Dream Team” lost to a group of college players by eight points in a scrimmage. “We didn’t know how to play with each other,” Scottie Pippen said after the defeat. They adjusted, and the rest is history. The team not only won the 1992 Olympic gold but also dominated the competition, scoring over 100 points in every game.

What is it that makes the difference between a team of all stars and an all-star team? Over the past decade, we’ve asked more than 5,000 executives to think about their “peak experience” as a team member and to write down the word or words that describe that environment. The results are remarkably consistent and reveal three key dimensions of great teamwork. The first is alignment on direction, where there is a shared belief about what the company is striving toward and the role of the team in getting there. The second is high-quality interaction, characterized by trust, open communication, and a willingness to embrace conflict. The third is a strong sense of renewal, meaning an environment in which team members are energized because they feel they can take risks, innovate, learn from outside ideas, and achieve something that matters—often against the odds.

So the next question is, how can you re-create these same conditions in every top team?

Getting started

The starting point is to gauge where the team stands on these three dimensions, typically through a combination of surveys and interviews with the team, those who report to it, and other relevant stakeholders. Such objectivity is critical because team members often fail to recognize the role they themselves might be playing in a dysfunctional team.

While some teams have more work to do than others, most will benefit from a program that purposefully mixes offsite workshops with on-the-job practice. Offsite workshops typically take place over two or more days. They build the team first by doing real work together and making important business decisions, then taking the time to reflect on team dynamics.

The choice of which problems to tackle is important. One of the most common complaints voiced by members of low-performing teams is that too much time is spent in meetings. In our experience, however, the real issue is not the time but the content of meetings. Top-team meetings should address only those topics that need the team’s collective, cross-boundary expertise, such as corporate strategy, enterprise-resource allocation, or how to capture synergies across business units. They need to steer clear of anything that can be handled by individual businesses or functions, not only to use the top team’s time well but to foster a sense of purpose too.

The reflective sessions concentrate not on the business problem per se, but on how the team worked together to address it. For example, did team members feel aligned on what they were trying to achieve? Did they feel excited about the conclusions reached? If not, why? Did they feel as if they brought out the best in one another? Trust deepens regardless of the answers. It is the openness that matters. Team members often become aware of the unintended consequences of their behavior. And appreciation builds of each team member’s value to the team, and of how diversity of opinion need not end in conflict. Rather, it can lead to better decisions.

Many teams benefit from having an impartial observer in their initial sessions to help identify and improve team dynamics. An observer can, for example, point out when discussion in the working session strays into low-value territory. We’ve seen top teams spend more time deciding what should be served for breakfast at an upcoming conference than the real substance of the agenda (see sidebar “The ‘bike-shed effect,’ a common pitfall for team effectiveness”). One CEO, speaking for five times longer than other team members, was shocked to be told he was blocking discussion. And one team of nine that professed to being aligned with the company’s top 3 priorities listed no fewer than 15 between them when challenged to write them down.

Back in the office

Periodic offsite sessions will not permanently reset a team’s dynamics. Rather, they help build the mind-sets and habits that team members need to first observe then to regulate their behavior when back in the office. Committing to a handful of practices can help. For example, one Latin American mining company we know agreed to the following:

  • A “yellow card,” which everyone carried and which could be produced to safely call out one another on unproductive behavior and provide constructive feedback, for example, if someone was putting the needs of his or her business unit over those of the company, or if dialogue was being shut down. Some team members feared the system would become annoying, but soon recognized its power to check unhelpful behavior.
  • An electronic polling system during discussions to gauge the pulse of the room efficiently (or, as one team member put it, “to let us all speak at once”), and to avoid group thinking. It also proved useful in halting overly detailed conversations and refocusing the group on the decision at hand.
  • A rule that no more than three PowerPoint slides could be shared in the room so as to maximize discussion time. (Brief pre-reads were permitted.)

After a few months of consciously practicing the new behavior in the workplace, a team typically reconvenes offsite to hold another round of work and reflection sessions. The format and content will differ depending on progress made. For example, one North American industrial company that felt it was lacking a sense of renewal convened its second offsite in Silicon Valley, where the team immersed itself in learning about innovation from start-ups and other cutting-edge companies. How frequently these offsites are needed will differ from team to team. But over time, the new behavior will take root, and team members will become aware of team dynamics in their everyday work and address them as required.

In our experience, those who make a concerted effort to build a high-performing team can do so well within a year, even when starting from a low base. The initial assessment of team dynamics at an Australian bank revealed that team members had resorted to avoiding one another as much as possible to avoid confrontation, though unsurprisingly the consequences of the unspoken friction were highly visible. Other employees perceived team members as insecure, sometimes even encouraging a view that their division was under siege. Nine months later, team dynamics were unrecognizable. “We’ve come light years in a matter of months. I can’t imaging going back to the way things were,” was the CEO’s verdict. The biggest difference? “We now speak with one voice.”

Hard as you might try at the outset to compose the best team with the right mix of skills and attitudes, creating an environment in which the team can excel will likely mean changes in composition as the dynamics of the team develop. CEOs and other senior executives may find that some of those they felt were sure bets at the beginning are those who have to go. Other less certain candidates might blossom during the journey.

There is no avoiding the time and energy required to build a high-performing team. Yet our research suggests that executives are five times more productive when working in one than they are in an average one. CEOs and other senior executives should feel reassured, therefore, that the investment will be worth the effort. The business case for building a dream team is strong, and the techniques for building one proven.


From strategy to execution

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on mars 11th, 2022 by admin

Shifting mindsets and driving behaviors.

The ability to execute is a principal quality of organizations that become and remain great.
As increasingly volatile environments pressure executive teams to adjust their strategies
more frequently, successful execution is more critical than ever.
Based on more than 30 years of experience working with executives leading strategy
implementation, there are three typical barriers that prevent execution: speed, siloes, and
the struggle to understand what a new strategy really looks like. We also uncovered three
key elements that make the greatest impact on employees’ ability to connect strategy and
execution: alignment, mindset, and capability.
In this paper, we’ll explore the three main challenges organizations face and the three critical
elements organizations need to ensure great execution.

The strategy execution challenge
Strategy execution has never been easy. Research shows that 67% of well-formulated
strategies fail in execution.
Still, strategy execution remains a top priority and key challenge
for executives. Based on our work with executives, there are three common roadblocks that
executives encounter:
• Speed – execution is slow. People spend too long planning instead of shifting to
• Siloes – people are disconnected and often misaligned. This makes strategy
implementation nearly impossible.
• The struggle – implementation is painful, especially when people can’t fully grasp its
effects on their individual roles.

Speed is the first issue. Strategy execution is slow because leaders get stuck in the
formulation stage, which is often seen as fun and gratifying, rather than moving to
implementation, which is perceived as more difficult and frustrating. This transition
demands that leaders substantially shift their mindsets, a hurdle that most strategies fail to

Discussions about execution are commonly drowned out by operational
concerns, “Can we deploy strategy without breaking the operational
model?”; process concerns, “Do we have the right processes and systems in
place to reflect how we do things now?”; and finance concerns, “How do we
know we’re driving value?”

While legitimate, these questions miss the point, which leads us to siloes.
Strategy execution is as much of a people issue as it is a business one, as
the most critical element of its success is a strong, shared sense of direction
amongst the people responsible for executing the strategy. People tend
to work in siloes, struggling to reconcile individual goals with those of the
overall enterprise. With pressure to attain department-specific goals,
employees and leaders alike need a higher level of business acumen and
strong leadership to remain both connected and focused while executing
the strategy in their daily work.

Lastly, the struggle. It is often difficult for employees to fully grasp what
a new strategy means for them, which makes its execution painful. While
executives may benefit from the analytical boardroom debates that led to a
new strategy, employees not privy to those conversations will pay the price.
Successfully bringing a strategy from the boardroom to the front line
requires meeting these common challenges with the right alignment,
mindset, and capability to drive success.

Keys to successful execution
Alignment and capability are two of the most well-known and well-regarded
drivers of strategy execution.
1. Alignment accounts for employees’ understanding of the strategy itself.
To achieve alignment, regardless of their role, each employee must
understand how they can contribute to executing the new strategy.
They must also understand the impact of different trade-offs they will
face while executing strategy and organization-wide consequences.
This strategic foresight allows for cross-functional empathy and a more
intentional approach to collaboration driven by the understanding of
how a decision’s impact goes beyond one’s function thus driving stronger
2. Capability, in this context, refers to the skills required to implement
strategy at all levels in the organization. Most organizations typically
regard capability development as the clearest path towards short-term
strategy execution.
Take, for example, a financial institution seeking to integrate a new
strategy. Firstly, the organization’s leaders needed to develop alignment
by better understanding how their decision-making impacted other business
units. To do so, leaders experienced a customized business simulation during
which they practiced making decisions in an environment directly modelled after
the business. This allowed them to develop stronger business acumen capabilities
and better comprehend the organization as a whole, thus accelerating strategy
However, capability development is more than just a short-term solution; it can also
support strategy execution in the long term.
In the case of a leading food-industry organization, capability development was
instrumental to strengthening value creation. After experiencing a customized executive
development program, focused on both leadership behaviors and strategy by using a
tailored, context-rich business simulation, the organization’s leaders developed a deeper
understanding of their end-to-end value creation. The leaders gained clarity around the
interdependencies of their differing functions and how decisions made by other parts of
the organization would impact the business overall.
In terms of strategy execution, alignment and capability development receive plenty
of attention. Leaders know that their strategic initiatives are futile without strong
organizational alignment, and many even go so far as to say that alignment is their
top priority.
This makes sense, as misalignment of senior teams has been proven to
negatively impact organization and employee performance. Similarly, capability
development is critical to organizations, whether in executing new strategies marking
a departure from past ways of working, or in stable strategies where the criticality
is around having a strong command of the value creation process across the entire
The final component of effective strategy execution is just as critical as alignment and
capability, but often overlooked: mindset.

Mindset for execution
Mindset describes an individual’s worldview; it is their beliefs, attitudes, and physiology.
Mindset also plays a pivotal role in how one thinks, learns, and behaves.
Surveyed executives agree that mindset has the largest potential to impact an organization’s ability to execute strategy successfully. Therefore, shifting mindsets is an incredibly powerful way to
strengthen leaders for times of change.

At the organizational level, outcomes are shaped by the company’s collective mindset.
Adopting a shared mindset helps employees better understand the existing business and its
future direction, as well as buy-in to the collective momentum of the strategic shift.
For example, a global financial institution adopted an Agile way of working to support
its strategy of becoming more customer centric. This required a consistent, systematic
mindset shift from people at all levels within the organization. After identifying new ways to
contribute, employees brought the strategy to life through ownership, empowerment, and

While shared mindsets are critical at the organizational level, it is ultimately up to each
employee to shift their individual mindset to make a collective shift a reality. In the context of
executing strategy, a single person’s unique blind spots, experiences, personal worldviews, or
attitudes and beliefs can make or break a strategy. This is because each individual must buy
in to the collective mindset to implement the strategic shift.

For instance, imagine an engineer eager to devise more advanced and technically rich
product. The engineer’s sole focus is on the product and its features, rather than the
outcomes for the end-user. Therefore, the engineer struggles to adopt a customercentric mindset because they fail to put the customer first. Executing strategy requires a
corresponding mindset shift at both an individual and organizational level.

A shared mindset, when aligned with strategy, makes execution faster, better connected,
and less painful. In summary:
Strategy execution is….

So, how do the world’s leading organizations build the right strategy execution capabilities from the C-suite to the front line? And how do they do it in a way that both caters to their

organization’s specific challenges and drives tangible changes?
Safe and relevant interventions that target leaders and provide them with a powerful
coaching platform are key. Immersing leaders in a realistic environment that reflects board
room tensions and trade-offs, while allowing them to safely practice their new strategy, will
ultimately lay the foundation for the mindset shifts required by transformation.
Strategy execution is a complex, multi-faceted challenge that most organizations struggle to
enact. However, by focusing on people, developing the proper alignment and capabilities, and
integrating the required mindset, any organization can achieve strategy execution

Source:, March 2022
Author: Ignacio Vaccaro, Head of Strategy Execution and Business
Alignment for BTS Europe, Senior Director

Inclusive leadership through employee voice

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on januari 29th, 2022 by admin

Clovis Rondineli, Leadership Development expert, discusses how enabling a genuine two-way communication between managers and their teams can bring benefits to both. With hybrid working and a tsunami of data, it can be hard for leaders to hear and act on the voices of their employees. Leaders and their organisations must improve their skills around hearing, as well as seeing the value in, the individual voice above this background noise.

Why is it important to listen?

Employee voice can be defined as: “the means by which people communicate their views to their employer and influence matters that affect them at work”. For leaders, listening to their employee’s voice will build open and trusting relationships and have direct organisational impact; for employees, having their voice heard will make them feel valued and more engaged as well as creating more inclusive working environments.

Whilst leaders are getting to grips with cultural workplace changes accelerated by the pandemic and are recognising that their organisations now operate in a different business and talent landscape, a new set of skill requirements are emerging to enable them to lead successfully:  the need to understand their own listening pattern and the skill to flex their communication according to their individual audience. Listening to the voice of their employees allows leaders to explore their full potential.

Through improved communication leaders can redefine the moments that matter. Amongst many other situations this might include recognising when meeting in person is important, when an employee is more comfortable in an online context, acknowledging their own or others stress signs, or becoming aware of the manifestations of a lack of work/ life balance.

Every employee will have hidden competencies, ideas and insights that go beyond what is listed on their CV or even for the role they were hired to do. By getting to know and understand an employee, leaders are in a better position to lead more inclusively and ensure that their employees will add full value to their organisation as well as personally thrive.

Shared goals for leaders and their employees

“Organisations can learn how to be more targeted in their communications and support leaders in the identification of key moments that matter to their respective teams.”

Leaders’ responsibilities largely remain unchanged – hiring, evaluating, rewarding, and developing their team. However, employees’ expectations for successful leadership are no longer only related to their development, training, and feedback. For employees, successful leadership is marked by amplified opportunities for them to connect to the right people for their personal and professional development needs.

Transparency, openness, and shared expertise can only be achieved effectively if connectivity is seen as partnerships that advance inclusion of perspective at all levels. Organisations can learn how to be more targeted in their communications and support leaders in the identification of key moments that matter to their respective teams, whilst providing an overview on how their issues at hand are connected, or not, to organisational-wide initiatives. By doing so, organisations can build on their culture of inclusivity and create better skilled leadership to drive through their business objectives.

A learning process for leadership

Whilst developing a deeper understanding of people’s motivation and goals, leaders have to practice how to use their communication and listening skills as strategic differentiators: expanding their self-awareness and that of others’ in order to learn how to flex their style and galvanise inclusion in ways which are purposeful and impactful.

“Evaluating a leader’s listening patterns and communication style can be used as the baseline for leaders to understand their strengths and weaknesses around the flexibility of their communication style.”

Evaluating a leader’s listening patterns and communication style can be used as the baseline for leaders to understand their strengths and weaknesses around the flexibility of their communication style. At Alumni, we are often engaged to perform 360˚ evaluations that identify and develop leadership style and provide insights on existing working and communication style.  A tailored leadership development programme can then hone communication and listening skills towards these goals, with a particular focus on hearing from others in the team in their preferred style.  Understanding the new paradigm, seeing our organisational systems with new eyes and developing a new language of interaction in the employer-employee relationship will shape the new cultural realities of organisations and determine their future success.



Source:, January 2022

Var tredje svensk uppger sig ha en destruktiv chef. Så här ska du göra …

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on januari 20th, 2022 by admin

Har du en dålig chef? Då är du inte ensam. Över 36 procent av svenskarna uppger att de utsätts för destruktivt ledarskap ”ofta eller alltid”, visar forskning från Umeå universitet.

Många kanske tänker att en dålig chef är en person som är aggressiv, hotfull och orättvis. Men ännu fler lider av en otydlig chef som är undvikande eller konflikträdd, visar forskningen av Robert Lundmark och hans kollegor på psykologiska institutionen vid Umeå universitet.

I en stor studie ställde SCB frågor för forskarnas räkning före pandemin. Nu är resultaten sammanställda och publicerade. Den visar bland annat att 8,7 procent har en hotfull, straffande chef som ställer orimliga krav. Medan nära 24 procent är drabbade av ett ledarskap som är otydligt och osäkert, så kallad passivt destruktivt ledarskap.

– Forskarna delar upp destruktivt ledarskap. Det är ett samlingsnamn för flera olika beteenden som får konsekvenser för medarbetare i organisationen. Man delar upp det i aktivt och passivt, förklarar Robert Lundmark.

En chef som är aktivt destruktiv kommer med hot, orimliga krav, bestraffar, tar åt sig äran och behandlar medarbetare olika.

En chef som är passivt destruktiv undviker att ta tag i saker eller beter sig förvirrat och ostrukturerat på ett sätt som gör att det inte går att förstå vad som förväntas.

– Till skillnad från vad man kan tro så visar det sig att det är det passivt destruktiva ledarskapet som vi måste vara mest observant på och som utsätter de anställda för störst risk. Det aktiva, som har direkt negativa konsekvenser, är betydligt mer ovanligt, säger Robert Lundmark.

Hur kommer det sig att så många chefer är passivt destruktiva? Robert Lundmark menar att man inte riktigt har undersökt det ännu, men att många chefer kanske tänker att de delegerar och väcker engagemang genom att lämna över ansvar.

– Har man då inte varit tillräckligt tydlig kan det slå fel och det upplevs som om chefen abdikerar från sitt ansvar och lämnar över det i knäet på medarbetaren, fortsätter han.

Åsa Kruse är psykolog på Feelgood företagshälsovård och har under många år hjälpt personer som har haft problem med sina chefer.

– Många mår väldigt dåligt av det som kallas aktivt destruktivt ledarskap. Känner man sig ofta angripen, utskälld och blir fråntagen saker så börjar man lätt tvivla på sig själv, säger hon och fortsätter:

– Riktar det sig till en viss grupp så kan det underlätta att man är flera kollegor som ser samma saker och tycker samma saker.

Ofta söker personerna hjälp för att förstå sin situation. Har man en manipulativ chef kan det pågå saker bakom ens rygg som man inte förstår anledningen till.

– Vi börjar med att försöka ta reda på om det är en konflikt mellan de två, eller om chefen beter sig så här mot flera. När det låter som om chefen går över alla gränser så behöver vi samarbeta med hr, och förstås chefen själv. Men vi kan inte kontakta chefen om personen inte vill det. Och många vill inte det för att de är oroliga för att det ska bli ännu värre. Känner man sig ofta angripen, utskälld och blir fråntagen saker så börjar man lätt tvivla på sig själv, menar psykolgen Åsa Kruse. 8,7 procent har en chef som ofta hotar, enligt forskningen från Umeå universitet. Illustration: Elin Lindwall

När Åsa Kruse bjuder in till trepartssamtal får medarbetaren berätta om hur hen upplever sin situation. Ibland har man helt olika olika uppfattningar om saker.

– Det kan ju vara en medarbetare som har misskött sig, förklarar Åsa Kruse.

Men om samtalet inte leder framåt blir tyvärr medarbetarens sista alternativ att söka sig därifrån.

– Om det är fler som har samma upplevelse av chefen går det kanske att stanna kvar och få till en förändring. Men känner man att man är den enda utsatta så är det knepigare. Då kan man få det kastat tillbaka att ”det är du som inte fungerar i den här rollen”, berättar Åsa Kruse.

Men många som Åsa Kruse möter lider i stället av en passivt destruktiv chef. De blir stressade av otydligheten.

– Att inte veta vad som förväntas, att inte veta vilken ambitionsnivå man ska lägga sig på eller vilken roll man ska uppfylla kan vara otroligt stressande. Eller att ha en chef som glider undan och inte vill medverka till att lösa konflikter. Det kan man känna sig väldigt utsatt i, förklarar Åsa Kruse.
”Det är inte alltid man vet att det ingår i chefsrollen och en chef kan behöva handledning”, säger psykologen Åsa Kruse.

Vad kan man ge för råd när det handlar om en otydlig chef?

– Jag ger rådet att själv vara tydlig med vad man behöver. Var väldigt konkret. ”I den här specifika situationen vet inte jag vad jag ska göra. Jag behöver tydliga besked av dig.” Det kan ofta underlätta, säger Åsa Kruse.

Det är inte alltid en passiv chef är medveten om problemet. Chefen kanske inte har förstått vad medarbetaren behöver eller så vet hen inte vad som krävs i en chefsroll. Men vad gör man om man har en chef som inte hjälper till att lösa konflikter?

– Som chef är man faktiskt skyldig att hjälpa till. Man har ett arbetsmiljöansvar och ska hjälpa till att utreda vad en konflikt består i och försöka hitta en lösning. Men det är inte alltid man vet att det ingår i chefsrollen och en chef kan behöva handledning och stöd i hur man ska göra det här på ett bra sätt, säger Åsa Kruse och fortsätter.

– Många chefer har inte heller fått någon ledarskapsutbildning, vilket man kan tycka är lite anmärkningsvärt för det är så många olika ansvarsområden man har som chef, både juridiskt och mänskligt. Det är ingen lätt roll, framför allt inte att vara mellanchef och pressad både uppifrån och nerifrån.

Forskarlaget i Umeå kom fram till att över 90 procent har upplevt destruktivt chefsskap någon gång, vilket kanske inte är så konstigt. Inga chefer kan vara perfekta. Men att nästan 8,7 procent ”ofta eller alltid” har en hotande chef är mer anmärkningsvärt. Och även att 36,4 procent ”ofta eller alltid” upplever en destruktiv ledare.

Trots det stämmer förhållandena ganska väl med vad forskning har visat om hur det är i andra skandinaviska länder, säger Robert Lundmark och fortsätter:

– Men med tanke på hur kostsamt vi vet att det är, både i form av lidande för de inblandade och för organisationens resultat, så måste jag säga att jag är förvånad över att man inte investerar mer i att åtgärda det.



Källa:, 20 januari 2022

En bra chef allt mindre viktigt

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on januari 17th, 2022 by admin

Möjligheten att arbeta hemifrån har seglat upp som en av de viktigaste faktorerna bland kandidater. Det visar en årlig undersökning som rekryteringskoncernen Novare gjort.

För tre år sedan var det drygt 45 procent av rekryterarna som upplevde att en bra chef var en viktig fråga bland kandidaterna, idag är siffran nere på bara 30 procent.

– Det är anmärkningsvärt. Det kan ha att göra med att ledarskapet generellt blivit bättre i näringslivet och därmed ses som en hygienfaktor. Det kan också ha att göra med det ökade självledarskapet, idag förväntar sig kandidater att en chef snarare ska peka ut riktningen och sedan låta medarbetaren ta över, säger Fredrik Hillelson, vd och grundare för Novare i en skriftlig kommentar.

Möjligheten att arbeta hemifrån är en stark trend, visar undersökningen.

– Det innebär att arbetsgivare måste göra kontoret till en plats som är värd resan, säger Fredrik Hillelson.

I undersökningen har rekryterarna också fått frågan om vilka som är arbetsgivarnas mest eftertraktade egenskaper hos kandidaterna. Driv och energi har varit mest efterfrågat under de senaste två åren, och de värderas dessutom allt högre av rekryterare inför 2022.

Fler uppger också att de under 2022 kommer rekrytera inom hållbarhetsområdet, jämfört med såväl under 2020 som 2021. Samtidigt minskar fokuset på att rekrytera inom digitalisering.

– Det är intressant att notera hur fokus på digitalisering minskar medan det ökar kring hållbarhet, det tror jag är ett uttryck över att digitalisering nu är en integrerad del i affären och inte en separat funktion. När det gäller hållbarhet får vi hoppas att den kommer gå samma väg, silotänket är aldrig till godo tycker jag, säger Fredrik Hillelson.

Utfallet för pandemiåret 2021 stack dock ut i och med att intresset för hållbarhet sjönk, samtidigt som allt större fokus lades på att säkra försäljningen.

– Detta skulle kunna tolkas som att frågan prioriteras i en högkonjunktur, men inte annars, vilket vore väldigt olyckligt, påpekar Fredrik Hillelson.

Källa:, 17 januari 2022

If we’re all so busy, why isn’t anything getting done?

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on januari 12th, 2022 by admin

With endless meetings, incessant emails, and casts of thousands, companies have mastered the art of unnecessary interactions. Winning in the next normal requires much more focus on true collaboration.

Have you ever asked why it’s so difficult to get things done in business today—despite seemingly endless meetings and emails? Why it takes so long to make decisions—and even then not necessarily the right ones? You’re not the first to think there must be a better way. Many organizations address these problems by redesigning boxes and lines: who does what and who reports to whom. This exercise tends to focus almost obsessively on vertical command relationships and rarely solves for what, in our experience, is the underlying disease: the poor design and execution of collaborative interactions.

In our efforts to connect across our organizations, we’re drowning in real-time virtual interaction technology, from Zoom to Slack to Teams, plus group texting, WeChat, WhatsApp, and everything in between. There’s seemingly no excuse to not collaborate. The problem? Interacting is easier than ever, but true, productive, value-creating collaboration is not. And what’s more, where engagement is occurring, its quality is deteriorating. This wastes valuable resources, because every minute spent on a low-value interaction eats into time that could be used for important, creative, and powerful activities.

It’s no wonder a recent McKinsey survey found 80 percent of executives were considering or already implementing changes in meeting structure and cadence in response to the evolution in how people work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, most executives say they frequently find themselves spending way too much time on pointless interactions that drain their energy and produce information overload.

Three critical collaborative interactions

What can be done? We’ve found it’s possible to quickly improve collaborative interactions by categorizing them by type and making a few shifts accordingly. We’ve observed three broad categories of collaborative interactions:

  • Decision making, including complex or uncertain decisions (for example, investment decisions) and cross-cutting routine decisions (such as quarterly business reviews)
  • Creative solutions and coordination, including innovation sessions (for example, developing new products) and routine working sessions (such as daily check-ins)
  • Information sharing, including one-way communication (video, for instance) and two-way communication (such as town halls with Q&As)

Below we describe the key shifts required to improve each category of collaborative interaction, as well as tools you can use to pinpoint problems in the moment and take corrective action.

Decision making: Determining decision rights

When you’re told you’re “responsible” for a decision, does that mean you get to decide? What if you’re told you’re “accountable”? Do you cast the deciding vote, or does the person responsible? What about those who must be “consulted”? Sometimes they are told their input will be reflected in the final answer—can they veto a decision if they feel their input was not fully considered?

It’s no wonder one of the key factors for fast, high-quality decisions is to clarify exactly who makes them. Consider a success story at a renewable-energy company. To foster accountability and transparency, the company developed a 30-minute “role card” conversation for managers to have with their direct reports. As part of this conversation, managers explicitly laid out the decision rights and accountability metrics for each direct report. The result? Role clarity enabled easier navigation for employees, sped up decision making, and resulted in decisions that were much more customer focused.

To make this shift, ensure everyone is crystal clear about who has a voice but no vote or veto. Our research indicates while it is often helpful to involve more people in decision making, not all of them should be deciders—in many cases, just one individual should be the decider (see sidebar “How to define decision rights”). Don’t underestimate the difficulty of implementing this. It often goes against our risk-averse instinct to ensure everyone is “happy” with a decision, particularly our superiors and major stakeholders. Executing and sustaining this change takes real courage and leadership.

Creative solutions and coordination: Open innovation

Routine working sessions are fairly straightforward. What many organizations struggle with is finding innovative ways to identify and drive toward solutions. How often do you tell your teams what to do versus empowering them to come up with solutions? While they may solve the immediate need to “get stuff done,” bureaucracies and micromanagement are a recipe for disaster. They slow down the organizational response to the market and customers, prevent leaders from focusing on strategic priorities, and harm employee engagement. Our research suggests key success factors in winning organizations are empowering employees and spending more time on high-quality coaching interactions.

Take Haier. The Chinese appliance maker divided itself into more than 4,000 microenterprises with ten to 15 employees each, organized in an open ecosystem of users, inventors, and partners (see sidebar “How microenterprises empower employees to drive innovative solutions”). This shift turned employees into energetic entrepreneurs who were directly accountable for customers. Haier’s microenterprises are free to form and evolve with little central direction, but they share the same approach to target setting, internal contracting, and cross-unit coordination. Empowering employees to drive innovative solutions has taken the company from innovation-phobic to entrepreneurial at scale. Since 2015, revenue from Haier Smart Home, the company’s listed home-appliance business, has grown by more than 18 percent a year, topping 209 billion renminbi ($32 billion) in 2020. The company has also made a string of acquisitions, including the 2016 purchase of GE Appliances, with new ventures creating more than $2 billion in market value.

Empowering others doesn’t mean leaving them alone. Successful empowerment, counterintuitively, doesn’t mean leaving employees alone. Empowerment requires leaders to give employees both the tools and the right level of guidance and involvement. Leaders should play what we call the coach role: coaches don’t tell people what to do but instead provide guidance and guardrails and ensure accountability, while stepping back and allowing others to come up with solutions.

Haier was able to use a variety of tools—including objectives and key results (OKRs) and common problem statements—to foster an agile way of working across the enterprise that focuses innovative organizational energy on the most important topics. Not all companies can do this, and some will never be ready for enterprise agility. But every organization can take steps to improve the speed and quality of decisions made by empowered individuals.

Managers who are great coaches, for example, have typically benefited from years of investment by mentors, sponsors, and organizations. We think all organizations should do more to improve the coaching skills of managers and help them to create the space and time to coach teams, as opposed to filling out reports, presenting in meetings, and other activities that take time away from driving impact through the work of their teams.

But while great coaches take time to develop, something as simple as a daily stand-up or check-in can drive horizontal connectivity, creating the space for teams to understand what others are doing and where they need help to drive work forward without having to specifically task anyone in a hierarchical way. You may also consider how you are driving a focus on outcomes over activities on a near-term and long-term basis. Whether it’s OKRs or something else, how is your organization proactively communicating a focus on impact and results over tasks and activities? What do you measure? How is it tracked? How is the performance of your people and your teams managed against it? Over what time horizons?

The importance of psychological safety. As you start this journey, be sure to take a close look at psychological safety. If employees don’t feel psychologically safe, it will be nearly impossible for leaders and managers to break through disempowering behaviors like constant escalation, hiding problems or risks, and being afraid to ask questions—no matter how skilled they are as coaches.

Employers should be on the lookout for common problems indicating that significant challenges to psychological safety lurk underneath the surface. Consider asking yourself and your teams questions to test the degree of psychological safety you have cultivated: Do employees have space to bring up concerns or dissent? Do they feel that if they make a mistake it will be held against them? Do they feel they can take risks or ask for help? Do they feel others may undermine them? Do employees feel valued for their unique skills and talents? If the answer to any of these is not a clear-cut “yes,” the organization likely has room for improvement on psychological safety and relatedness as a foundation to high-quality interactions within and between teams.

Information sharing: Fit-for-purpose interactions

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? You spend a significant amount of time in meetings every day but feel like nothing has been accomplished. You jump from one meeting to another and don’t get to think on your own until 7 p.m. You wonder why you need to attend a series of meetings where the same materials are presented over and over again. You’re exhausted.

An increasing number of organizations have begun to realize the urgency of driving ruthless meeting efficiency and of questioning whether meetings are truly required at all to share information. Live interactions can be useful for information sharing, particularly when there is an interpretive lens required to understand the information, when that information is particularly sensitive, or when leaders want to ensure there’s ample time to process it and ask questions. That said, most of us would say that most meetings are not particularly useful and often don’t accomplish their intended objective.

We have observed that many companies are moving to shorter meetings (15 to 30 minutes) rather than the standard default of one-hour meetings in an effort to drive focus and productivity. For example, Netflix launched a redesign effort to drastically improve meeting efficiency, resulting in a tightly controlled meeting protocol. Meetings cannot go beyond 30 minutes. Meetings for one-way information sharing must be canceled in favor of other mechanisms such as a memo, podcast, or vlog. Two-way information sharing during meetings is limited by having attendees review materials in advance, replacing presentations with Q&As. Early data show Netflix has been able to reduce the number of meetings by more than 65 percent, and more than 85 percent of employees favor the approach.

Making meeting time a scarce resource is another strategy organizations are using to improve the quality of information sharing and other types of interactions occurring in a meeting setting. Some companies have implemented no-meeting days. In Japan, Microsoft’s “Work Life Choice Challenge” adopted a four-day workweek, reduced the time employees spend in meetings—and boosted productivity by 40 percent.1 Similarly, Shopify uses “No Meeting Wednesdays” to enable employees to devote time to projects they are passionate about and to promote creative thinking. And Moveline’s product team dedicates every Tuesday to “Maker Day,” an opportunity to create and solve complex problems without the distraction of meetings.

Finally, no meeting could be considered well scoped without considering who should participate, as there are real financial and transaction costs to meeting participation. Leaders should treat time spent in meetings as seriously as companies treat financial capital. Every leader in every organization should ask the following questions before attending any meeting: What’s this meeting for? What’s my role? Can I shorten this meeting by limiting live information sharing and focusing on discussion and decision making? We encourage you to excuse yourself from meetings if you don’t have a role in influencing the outcome and to instead get a quick update over email. If you are not essential, the meeting will still be successful (possibly more so!) without your presence. Try it and see what happens.


Source:, 10 January 2022