Becoming a Trusted, Authentic Leader

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on October 13th, 2021 by admin

Over the course of his 28-year professional career, Scott Blanchard was known in his organization as both a “key innovator” and a “chief disruption officer,” depending on who you talked to. As a result, people were understandably cautious when Scott took on the role of company president just before COVID-19 turned the L&D world—and the company—upside down.

In an all-hands meeting immediately following the announcement of his promotion, Blanchard decided to share his leadership point of view with the companyFor people who didn’t really know him yet, it was a way to introduce himself. For those who knew him well, it was a way to share more deeply the people and events that influenced his leadership style as well as the values that would guide his journey as president.

“I talked about my need for forthrightness,” said Blanchard. “If I see something, I’m going to talk about it. In the past, that may have come across as bluntness or callousness, but it really is a need I have.

“Next, I talked about mastery. I don’t like inefficiency. I don’t like friction in the way things work. I don’t want to compromise on proficiency—and I feel like if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.

“Then I talked about kindness, which is a core value for me. It is not something that comes naturally to me because of impatience and forthrightness, but it is a learned behavior that I value as a discipline.

“Finally, I talked about self-determination and my deeply held belief that we create our own destiny. Even in a situation where our destiny seems predetermined, we can still choose the way we feel and think about it.”

Blanchard acknowledges that when he shared his leadership point of view, it wasn’t a soft and fuzzy presentation—it was real and authentic. People throughout the company responded positively.

“I think people’s positive reactions were because they understood where I was coming from. That’s what sharing your leadership point of view does—it helps people understand what’s valuable to you and where it comes from. As a result, people know what they can expect from you and what you expect from them.

“It doesn’t change who you are, but it can change people’s understanding and interpretation of who they thought you were. I remember when I was part of a coaching initiative and one of our clients was a senior executive at one of the world’s largest consulting firms. He was big, strong guy physically and he was also the smartest person in the room. He was intimidating and people were scared of him.

“When he shared his leadership point of view, he talked about where he had come from, how he had become who he was, and how he struggled with a lot of issues others didn’t see. Now his people could begin to see what drove his decisiveness and his sharpness.

“Authentically sharing your leadership point of view disarms people because they begin to understand your history and that you are a human being with a story, just like anybody else.

“Nobody gets to where they are without being influenced by their family, by significant events, by other important people, and by their life experiences. And while it doesn’t mean that people will necessarily like you, sharing your leadership point of view always helps people understand where you’re coming from—and they’re not in such a hurry to evaluate you.”

In recommending that leaders in other organizations explore how sharing their leadership point of view can build trust, caring, and understanding in an organization, Blanchard points to the importance of working with someone who is familiar with the process.

“I worked with a coach. We talked about the process, which involves identifying experiences that were meaningful in your life. Who were the important people that influenced you, and what did you learn from them that you either want to emulate or that you want to avoid? People influence us in one way or the other.

“Next, what beliefs have you developed about leadership and what it means to be a good leader? What do you expect from people and what can people expect from you?

“A coach enables you to share your story by creating a space for you to think about those influencers and experiences. And then they help you choose the language you want to use and select the right stories, in the right level of detail and the right length, so your presentation doesn’t turn into an endless, navel-gazing soliloquy.”

For leaders unsure about sharing who they are authentically and what their influences are, Blanchard offers words of encouragement.

“There is a really strong body of research that shows you can’t actually lead without bringing yourself to the moment of leadership. You can’t lead without bringing yourself, as a person, into the picture. It sounds a little obvious, but we use ourselves as instruments of leadership. And so to the degree that you can help people to know who you are and how you got to be who you are, you can influence the way they perceive you as a human being.

“The leadership point of view process enables people to tangibly see and understand you as a leader. We all know that nature—including human nature—hates a void. In the absence of information, people will make stuff up that will invariably be wrong.  And many leaders are trying to lead but struggling against false narratives they aren’t even aware of.

“People need to know who they are working with. When a leader takes the time to authentically and earnestly share their leadership point of view, it always delivers insights for both the leader and the people they lead. As one coaching client recently said, ‘this process is like a rebirth—an opportunity to own my story in a whole new, powerful way.’

“We are always encouraged to walk a mile in another’s shoes to manage judgment that might be an obstacle to trust. But there are precious few good methods to do that. The leadership point of view process gives everyone an opportunity to walk in their leader’s shoes—to understand their world view in an unforgettable way.”

Källa: kenblanchard.com, october 2021
Link

Så hanterar du den som stjäl din energi på jobbet

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on October 6th, 2021 by admin

Konstant klagande, en nedlåtande ton eller en irriterande ovana att inte hålla sig till gemensamma deadlines. Det finns flera besvärliga beteenden som kan stjäla energi på arbetsplatser.

DN har talat med två experter om hur du hanterar energitjuven på jobbet – och hur chefer har skyldighet att förebygga onödig frustration.

”Energitjuvar”, ”kroniska klagare”, ”ångvältar” och ”slingrare”. Det finns många öknamn för personer som gör arbetslivet svårt. De kan sluka energi på arbetsplatsen, skapa dålig stämning och göra vardagen frustrerande.

Men vilka är de?

Thomas Jordan, lektor i arbetsvetenskap vid Göteborgs universitet, säger att han inte är så förtjust i att prata om besvärliga personlighetstyper.

– Jag vill hellre prata om beteenden och förhållningssätt och inte tillskriva människor fasta egenskaper. I stället kan man öppna upp mer kring att det finns personer som har förhållningssätt och beteenden som många runtomkring dem tycker är frustrerande, säger han.

Visst kan man bli tokig på den som hela tiden klagar eller som har en nedvärderande ton. Men det kan också vara någonting i just din och den personens relation som skaver och triggar en.

– Det behöver inte vara så att alla är överens om att ett visst sätt är irriterande, utan man kan reagera olika, säger Thomas Jordan.

Men när vardagen redan har fyllts av frustration, på grund av hur den där kollegan smaskar eller minspelet under morgonmötena, så är det svårt att ändra på det. En långvarig irritation är ännu svårare att hantera än en enskild konflikt. Om man känner att man står inför en energitjuv så finns det en poäng med att fråga sig själv varför man reagerar som man gör.

Är det vad personen gör, eller ligger något annat bakom?

– Ibland blir det tydligt vad som är problemet. I vissa fall kan man misstänka att frustrationen har med relationsdynamik eller personkemi att göra. Då kanske man först inte begriper varför man blir störd, men så kommer man på att det är något annat man påminns om, säger Thomas Jordan.

Ett beteende som kan skapa frustration är konstant klagande. Den som alltid tycker att vädret är lite för dåligt, att mötena är lite för långa, eller för korta, eller att alla förslag är för dåliga – fast den inte kommer med något bättre. Så hur hanterar man ett sådant beteende?

– Det finns de som alltid bara fastnar i det negativa, och aldrig kommer därur. En del har mer ljus i sinnet, medan andra drar åt det negativa. Om det har varit många påfrestningar och man är lagd åt det negativa hållet så fastnar man lätt i gnälldiket. Det behöver inte vara för att vara dum, men det vi känner kommer ut i vår kommunikation, säger Lena Skogholm, beteendevetare som föreläser om konflikter på arbetsplatser.

Men det är inte så enkelt att man kan säga till någon som klagar mycket att det är dags att tänka positivt. I stället är Lena Skogholms tips att man försöker se till anledningarna till att någon är negativ – och att man försöker bemöta det på rätt sätt för att skapa en förändring.

– Nyckeln till att möta en person är alltid att bekräfta den. Försök säga ”jag förstår hur du tänker” för att sedan ge ditt perspektiv – som kan vara mer positivt.

Hon säger att man också kan ställa frågor som får personen att bredda sitt perspektiv. Om någon tycker att det mesta fungerar dåligt så kan man fråga vad personen tycker har fungerat bra – eller i alla fall mindre dåligt.

– Det behöver inte handla om att vara jättepositiv, utan bara att vara neutral. Det kan såklart vara jobbigt att höra någon klaga – men det hjälper inte att gå till attack.

Samtidigt som man som kollega kan försöka hjälpa personen att bredda sitt perspektiv är det dock viktigt att sätta upp egna mentala gränser – för att inte själv dras med i klagosången och bli mer negativt inställd.

Står man inför någon typ av besvärligt beteende så behöver man inte bära sin frustration själv. Thomas Jordan säger att det kan vara en bra idé att prata med någon kollega om situationen eller personens beteende – om man gör det på rätt sätt.

– Inte för att få medhåll, utan för att man har en vän eller kollega som är bra på att lyssna utan att hälla fotogen på brasan. Då kan man få ösa ur lite grann av affekterna man har, och sedan bolla lite hur man kan förhålla sig till det.

Lena Skogholm menar att man kan försöka kommunicera vad man själv behöver av en relation. Om någon sprider negativ energi behöver man inte konfrontera personen, utan man kan i stället vända det till att handla om ens egna behov.

– Man kan säga: ”Jag har så mycket omkring mig som tar energi, jag skulle uppskatta om vi fokuserar på det positiva.” Då har man bett om hjälp i stället för att gå till attack. Och då handlar det om ett arbetspass, inte att man ber personen vara positiv för evigt.

Men om en ”energitjuv” tar allt syre på arbetsplatsen är det också ett problem som chefer har skyldighet att ta tag i. Och ibland finns det konkreta anledningar till klagande, utdragna konflikter och frustration. Något som en chef måste försöka fånga upp.

– Ibland kan det handla om otydlig ansvarsfördelning som gör att konflikter uppstår. Om någon är irriterad, frustrerad eller missnöjd kan man också titta på vad deras faktiska önskemål är. Vad vill de uppnå, och vad vill de ska hända? Ibland räcker det med att ställa en sådan fråga för att det ska bli tydligt vad det är som skaver.

Om man som chef får reda på eller märker av problematiska relationer i gruppen finns enligt Thomas Jordan tre frågor man bör ställa sig. Den första: Påverkar samarbetssvårigheterna verksamheten på ett påtagligt sätt? Om så är fallet måste problemet lösas.

Om svaret på den frågan är nej får man fundera på huruvida den psykosociala arbetsmiljön är påverkad av beteendet. Om den inte är det: Finns det risk för att en skavig relation får konsekvenser på sikt?

– Då är det viktigt att göra någonting innan de får negativ påverkan för gruppen.

Chefen har en skyldighet att säkerställa att den psykosociala arbetsmiljön är god på arbetsplatsen. Och det är inte bara ett ansvar hos chefen, utan även hos alla medarbetare.

– Om den psykosociala arbetsmiljön är påverkad kan man som chef luta sig mot det, och hänvisa till arbetsmiljöansvaret för att säga till parterna i en konfliktfylld situation att man inte kan ha det som det är eftersom det gör att människor inte mår bra, säger Thomas Jordan.

För Lena Skogholm är ett sätt att hantera en person som skapar dålig stämning att som chef fundera på vad personen har för behov. Om mötena alltid blir till klagosånger kanske personen som klagar kan ringas upp en halvtimme innan mötet.

– Då kan man fråga om den orkar vara med på mötet, och hur den mår. Man behöver inte vara dömande utan skapa något konstruktivt och låta personen prata ut innan mötet, så det negativa redan är avklarat.

Under det senaste året har många arbetsplatser gått över till distansarbete, och möjligheten att träffa sina kolleger på andra sätt än i avstämningsmöten och onlinemöten har krympt. Även om det inte finns några större studier av hur detta har påverkat människors arbetsrelationer så menar Thomas Jordan att det kan ha gjort att relationsproblemen har minskat.

– Om man inte mår bra i hur man blir bemött av andra, så tenderar ju det att bli lite mindre påfrestande när man inte möts fysiskt. Man är inte exponerad för minspel, blickar och attityder på samma sätt. Men så kan det naturligtvis också uppstå missförstånd när man inte har samma möjlighet att stämma av saker med varandra.

Det kan också bli svårare för chefer att upptäcka små irritationer som pyr när de inte ser sina medarbetare till vardags. Ett sätt att få en överblick är enligt Thomas Jordan att försöka implementera ”management by walking around”, även när det sker på distans.

– Se till att ha avstämningar med medarbetarna i olika mindre konstellationer för att se hur allt fungerar och fånga upp sådana här konflikter. Och gör det frekvent. Det behöver inte vara långa samtal, men det handlar mer om att se problemet innan det är för sent.

Även på distans kan man jobba med gruppdynamiken, och se vad gruppen har för gemensamma mål för hur man vill ha det. Då pekar man inte ut någon enskild person och alla blir delaktiga i vilka spelregler som gäller.

– Om man skapat en gruppinsikt är det lätt att sedan vid uppföljande samtal prata om vad som är svårt och vad som fungerar. Nyckeln är öppna frågor som leder till reflektion och inte anklaganden så att någon går i försvar, säger Lena Skogholm.

Och det är viktigt att komma ihåg att grunden till ett besvärligt beteende också kan vara att någon har ett underliggande problem som den behöver hjälp med att lösa. Lena Skogholm tycker att man kan vara ”artigt påflugen” för att få reda på om problemets rot ligger utanför arbetet.

– Vi är alldeles för rädda för att lägga oss i. Man märker om man får svar på sina frågor, och även om man inte får det så har man försökt. Vi går alla omkring med massa problem som vi inte visar utåt. Och det mår man inte bra av.

 

Tips. Så kan du hantera energitjuven

● Det kan finnas personer som man stör sig mycket på – men det behöver inte alltid handla om vad den andra personen gör. Det kan också vara någonting i just er relation som skaver. Fråga dig själv vad det är som irriterar dig – är det vad personen gör, eller ligger något annat bakom?

● Om någon ständigt klagar eller gnäller – försök att förstå vad som ligger bakom beteendet. Man kan också fråga vad personen tycker har fungerat bra – eller i alla fall mindre dåligt, för att få en mer neutral ton i samtalet. Det hjälper sällan att gå till motattack.

● Bolla med en vän eller kollega om situationen är påfrestande.

● Kom ihåg att chefen har skyldighet att plocka upp konflikter och samarbetssvårigheter. Om svårigheterna påverkar verksamheten negativt behöver de lösas.

● Den som är chef kan göra klokt i att ringa upp en person som ofta klagar innan möten, för att undvika att stora delar av ett gemensamt möte tas upp av det negativa.

Källa: Thomas Jordan, lektor i arbetsvetenskap vid Göteborgs universitet och Lena Skogholm, beteendevetare och föreläsare om konflikter på arbetsplatser.

Undersökning: Flexibilitet lika viktigt som en bra chef

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on September 30th, 2021 by admin

Ungefär hälften tycker att det är positivt att återgå till arbetsplatsen, medan en fjärdedel tycker att det är negativt,  visar en ny undersökning.

Serviceföretaget Sodexo har med hjälp av undersökningsföretaget Novus frågat 1 043 tjänstemän i privat och offentlig sektor om deras inställning till att jobba på distans och på den gemensamma arbetsplatsen, samt förväntningarna inför att kontoren kan öppna igen. Undersökningen är en del av en återkommande arbetslivsundersökning som ska publiceras kvartalsvis.

Av undersökningen framgår det att nästan fyra av tio tjänstemän har jobbat helt på distans under pandemin. Drygt en fjärdedel har jobbat 100 procent på den gemensamma arbetsplatsen.

Av de svarande anser en tredjedel att arbetslivet har blivit bättre under pandemin medan fyra av tio tycker att det har försämrats. Ungefär hälften tycker att det är positivt att återgå till arbetsplatsen, medan en fjärdedel tycker att det är negativt. Minskad pendlingstid och mindre stress i vardagen är den största fördelen med ett flexibelt arbetsliv, enligt undersökningen. Drygt hälften av de tillfrågade planerar att fortsätta jobba hemifrån eller på distans minst en dag i veckan, medan fyra av tio planerar att jobba helt och hållet från arbetsplatsen.

– Många arbetsgivare försöker nu hitta en policy som ska fungera för alla samtidigt som kontoret snabbt ska byggas om med flera mötesrum. Min rekommendation blir att ha lite is i magen och framför allt börja med de stora frågorna. Hur får vi våra medarbetare att må bra och prestera bra? Och hur kan vi använda flexibilitet för att behålla och attrahera talang till vår organisation. Att hitta en policy som fungerar för alla kommer inte att gå. Risken är då att man hamnar i anarki eller tvärtom detaljstyrning, säger Johanna Langer, Business Transformation Lead på Sodexo.

På frågan “Skulle något av följande göra din arbetssituation bättre?” hamnar “Ett bättre ledarskap” (25 procent) och “Möjlighet att jobba mer flexibelt” på delad förstaplats (25 procent). Att kunna jobba flexibelt är alltså lika viktigt för trivseln som att ha en bra chef. På andraplats hamnar “En trevligare fysisk arbetsmiljö” (21 procent) och på delad tredjeplats “Ett kontor som är bättre anpassat efter min arbetssituation” (15 procent) och “Att både jag och mina kolleger jobbar på arbetsplatsen till allra största delen” (15 procent).

Arbetsplatsens viktigaste roll – en social plats för möten
  • Av dem som jobbat på distans under pandemin ser hälften positivt på att återgå till den gemensamma arbetsplatsen helt eller delvis, medan en fjärdedel är negativa. Av dem som planerar att fortsätta jobba på distans är nästan hälften negativa till en återgång.
  • Fem procent funderar på att byta arbetsgivare för att de inte får jobba så flexibelt som de önskar.
  • Mest negativt med att åter börja jobba från kontoret är att lägga tid på jobbpendling och arbetsresor (41%). Det finns fortsatt en oro för att pandemin inte är över och att kontorsarbete ska öka risken att smitta eller smittas (34%). Men annars är det en ökad stress i vardagen (29%) och en försämring i relationen mellan jobb och fritid (24%) som ses som mest negativt.
  • På den positiva sidan är det utan tvekan att få träffa kollegorna på riktigt som är viktigast (69%). Bättre möten (27%) och få tillgång till de resurser och den service som finns på arbetsplatsen (27%) rankas också högt.
  • Arbetsplatsens viktigaste roll kommer att vara en social plats för planerade och oplanerade möten (54%) samt att skapa en miljö som främjar samarbete (50%). För 38 procent är det på arbetsplatsen det ges möjlighet att jobba fokuserat med arbetsuppgifterna

Undersökningen omfattar 1 043 intervjuer av förvärvsarbetande tjänstemän i privat och offentlig sektor. Undersökningsföretaget Novus genomförde undersökningen sista veckan i augusti 2021 på uppdrag av Sodexo.

 

Källa: Realtid.se, 29 september 2021
Länk

Posted in Aktuellt, Allmänt, Leadership / Ledarskap on September 27th, 2021 by admin
A BIG NUMBER 68
That’s the percentage of respondents in a McKinsey Global Survey that say ongoing coaching and developmental feedback positively affect an individual’s performance. In fact, our analysis indicates that when managers can effectively coach employees, the performance-management system is much more likely to be perceived as fair.

Regular, ongoing feedback is even more critical in a remote-work environment, since employees may be feeling more anxious and disconnected, and managers may be feeling frustrated by a lack of visibility into performance. Although technology has enabled us to work off-site and in real time with others without missing a beat, challenging conversations can become even more so when conducted in a virtual environment. Periodic check-ins, whether monthly, weekly, or even daily, help to ensure that employees aren’t blindsided by the content of annual performance evaluations.

 

Source: McKinsey.com, email, September 27, 2021

Cultivating an agile culture in a virtual environment

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on September 18th, 2021 by admin

How will you maintain your Agile culture while everyone is remote and distributed?

Imagine a flashback in your digital life – the year is 2001. Netflix is still mailing DVDs, Google is just getting started, and Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook don’t exist. Only 50% of people in the United States have cell phones, and the iPhone is still six years away.

Woman on video call on laptop

At this time, 17 software developers met in Snowbird, Utah, to create what they called the Agile Manifesto, a set of values and principles outlining how organizations and teams can better work together to deliver business solutions. Since its advent, the Agile Manifesto’s principles have revolutionized the way people work and collaborate.

One such principle is co-location. While the benefits of teams working in the same location are numerous, from developing trust, to learning from “osmosis” (by hearing colleagues collaborating), to seeing shared progress, 2020 has forced leaders to revisit how to achieve these benefits without actually being in person.

The good news is that much has changed since the Manifesto was written.

How to Enable Virtual Co-Located Teams

The first value of the Agile Manifesto states “Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools.” However, remote Agile teams need both effective technology and tools to emulate a co-located experience. Fortunately, there are a number of options available today that are free or low cost. As a leader, it is important to ensure that your team has access to core enabling tools that facilitate work management, brainstorming, and ideation.

It’s likely your team interactions in a virtual environment are going to need some enhancements, particularly during this extended time of remote work. Here is what you should focus on first:

Virtual Agile Starter Kit

Create Your Agile Working Agreements

As teams shift to remote work, team members and companies will need to reconsider many of their working agreements. Team members will need to discuss how they want to engage using technology, such as expectations about responsiveness to messages and whether or not to always use video during video conferences.

This might mean considering whether companies provide budget for high-speed internet, efficient and ergonomically appropriate workspaces, and how to support employee childcare needs. For employees, it will likely be necessary to create some working agreements in your household on how to manage noise levels, interruptions, take breaks, and the frequency of your visits to the pantry.

Companies should also be reimagining their employee perks. Onsite gyms can become memberships to Peloton or Steezy, instead of onsite cafeterias, DoorDash or UberEats can offer alternatives. Companies can also start tracking the positive environmental impact of not having employees drive to work.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Agile also emphasizes creating a work environment that includes having fun as a way to keep teams engaged. Ice cream retrospectives, jigsaw puzzle areas, and plushy talking sticks were signature features of Silicon Valley’s Agile teams, but in today’s environment, how do you insert fun into a virtual team setting?

Try using easy to learn, team-oriented games accessible from phones, tablets, and computers such as one from Jackbox.tv. Another way to increase social interaction would be through a virtual pot luck with the team and encourage everyone to share what dish the prepared for the party. Another idea is a multi-player jigsaw game or creating a Guild in an online game like World of Warcraft. You can even invite a llama to a team meeting through Goat-to-Meeting and support a community farm. Encourage the team to offer their own ideas too.

Three Moves You Can Make Tomorrow

Agile can and will work in a virtually distributed environment. Here are three steps you can take to shift your team in this direction:

  1. Create your Agile technology stack: Check in with your team and make sure they have all the necessary tools to effectively work remotely. This means making sure your people not only have the right technology, but are also set up from an ergonomic perspective. Investing in keyboards, chairs, and lighting can create big returns in productivity for your people.
  2. Enable your team’s Working Agreements: Set aside time to create Working Agreements within the team on how you will engage with each other and technology. Be sure to set expectations on what you will be doing when and how frequently you will be doing it. Then, take these agreements and lead the charge on living these values.
  3. Lastly and most importantly don’t forget the fun! Invest in culture initiatives that make a difference for your people – whether it’s home exercise, meal delivery, or facilitated coworker bonding, ensure your culture remains intact and strong as you shift away from face-to-face.

The shift to remote working has already occurred in most organizations. But maintaining an Agile way of working while physically separated is a new challenge that organizations must face. Through the proper planning, communication, and working agreements, your organization can get ahead of the curve by maintaining your Agile way of working, even while virtual.

 

Source: BTS.com, September 2020
Link

Three keys to faster and better decisions

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Leadership / Ledarskap on September 5th, 2021 by admin
Decision makers fed up with slow or subpar results take heart. Three practices can help improve decision making and convince skeptical business leaders that there is life after death by committee.
Two years ago, we wrote about how it was simultaneously the best and worst of times for decision makers in senior management. Best because of more data, better analytics, and clearer understanding of how to mitigate the cognitive biases that often undermine corporate decision processes. Worst because organizational dynamics and digital decision-making dysfunctions were causing growing levels of frustration among senior leaders we knew.Since then, we’ve conducted research to more clearly understand this balance, and the results have been disquieting. A survey we conducted recently with more than 1,200 managers across a range of global companies gave strong signs of growing levels of frustration with broken decision-making processes, with the slow pace of decision-making deliberations, and with the uneven quality of decision-making outcomes. Fewer than half of the survey respondents say that decisions are timely, and 61 percent say that at least half the time spent making them is ineffective. The opportunity costs of this are staggering: about 530,000 days of managers’ time potentially squandered each year for a typical Fortune 500 company, equivalent to some $250 million in wages annually. Managers at a typical Fortune 500 company may waste more than 500,000 days a year on ineffective decision making.The reasons for the dissatisfaction are manifold: decision makers complain about everything from lack of real debate, convoluted processes, and an overreliance on consensus and death by committee, to unclear organizational roles, information overload (and the resulting inability to separate signal from noise), and company cultures that lack empowerment. One healthcare executive told us he sat through the same 90-minute proposal three times on separate committees because no one knew who was authorized to approve the decision. A pharma company hesitated so long over whether to pounce on an acquisition target that it lost the deal to a competitor. And a chemicals company CEO we know found himself devoting precious time to making hiring decisions four levels down the organization.In our previous article, we proposed solutions that centered around categorizing decision types and organizing quite different processes against them. Our latest research confirms the importance of this approach, and it also highlights for each major decision category a noteworthy practice—sometimes stimulating debate, for example, while in other cases empowering employees—that can yield outsize improvements in effectiveness. When improvements in these areas are coupled with an organizational commitment to implement decisions—embracing not undercutting them—companies can achieve lasting improvements in both decision quality and speed. Indeed, faster decisions are often a happy outcome of these efforts. Our survey showed a strong correlation between quick decisions and good ones, suggesting that a commonly held assumption among executives—namely, “We can have good decisions or fast ones, but not both”—is flawed.

Three fixes that make a difference

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

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

Big bets—facilitate productive debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cross-cutting decisions—understand the power of process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delegated decisions—make empowerment real

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the decision: Seek commitment, not unanimous agreement

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

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

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

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

Follow the value

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

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

Source: McKinsey.com, May 2021
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Studie: Chefernas ledarskap har påverkats negativt av pandemin

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on August 19th, 2021 by admin

Fackförbundet Akavia har frågat närmare 4 300 yrkesverksamma medlemmar om hur de ser på arbetet efter pandemin. Många av medlemmarna har arbetat hemifrån under en längre tid och en majoritet (73 procent) vill fortsätta arbeta hemifrån två till fyra dagar i veckan även efter pandemin. Bara två procent svarar att de vill återgå helt till kontoret. 87 procent anser att det är viktigt att de själva får välja vilka dagar de ska jobba hemifrån respektive kontoret.

Även de flesta chefer ser en kombination av arbete hemifrån och från kontoret. 40 procent av cheferna anser att det är optimalt att medarbetarna jobbar ungefär lika mycket hemifrån som från kontoret. Däremot finns det chefer som gärna ser fler dagar på kontoret än vad medarbetarna önskar. Ju högre chefsbefattning, desto mer negativ inställning har man till många dagars arbete hemifrån per vecka.

– Vi har i många år tryckt på att medarbetare behöver en ökad balans i livet. Det nya flexibla arbetslivet är en del av lösningen. Men nu hör vi om att flera arbetsplatser tänker återgå till hur det var innan pandemin eller att stänga kontoren. Det är förhastade beslut. För samtidigt visar undersökningen att inte bara medarbetare vill ha det flexibla arbetslivet utan även chefer, säger Lee Wermelin, ordförande i Akavia, i ett pressmeddelande.

Att chefernas och medarbetarnas syn skiljer sig åt kan bero på att närmare hälften av cheferna (46 procent) anser att deras ledarskap har blivit något eller mycket sämre vid distansarbete. Det svåraste har varit att bedöma hur medarbetarna mår, att fånga upp om någon medarbetare behöver stöd samt få till stånd utveckling av verksamheten.
Däremot är det endast en liten andel av cheferna som anser att effektiviteten bland medarbetarna har sjunkit (16 procent) och hela 36 procent av cheferna svarar att medarbetarna har blivit effektivare när de har arbetat hemifrån. Något som däremot både chefer och medarbetare anser har påverkats negativt av att arbeta hemifrån är kreativiteten och innovationen (31 procent).

– Därför är det viktigt att kontoret finns kvar som en fysisk mötesplats. Vi har sett att vissa regler, lagar och försäkringar behöver uppdateras för att överensstämma med hur arbetslivet konkret ser ut. Här har arbetsgivarna och arbetstagarna och lagstiftarna ett ansvar att se till att framtidens arbetsliv blir välfungerande och att det inger trygghet på arbetsmarknaden, säger Lee Wermelin i pressmeddelandet.

Källa: Realtid.se, 12 juli 2021
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Teamwork at the top

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Coaching, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Fact Based Management, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 29th, 2021 by admin

Creating an effective top team starts with behavioral improvement and teamwork in leadership.

The popular business press on both sides of the Atlantic is infatuated with chief executive officers who have drunk from the Holy Grail of heroic leadership. To be sure, a single person can make a difference at times, but even such heroic CEOs as General Electric’s Jack Welch emphasize the power of team leadership in action. As Welch himself said, “We’ve developed an incredibly talented team of people running our major businesses, and, perhaps more important, there’s a healthy sense of collegiality, mutual trust, and respect for performance that pervades this organization.”

Increasingly, the top team is essential to the success of the enterprise. Indeed, Welch is celebrated not only for increasing GE’s revenues nearly sevenfold in his 20-year tenure but also for building one of the world’s strongest executive talent portfolios, which has provided new leadership for many Fortune 500 companies besides GE.

So despite the obsessions of the business press, senior executives, shareholders, and boards of directors question the myth of heroic leadership. Merely bringing in a new CEO to reshape an organization will tend to show mixed results. In reality, long-term success depends on the whole leadership team, for it has a broader and deeper reach into the organization than the CEO does, and its performance has a multiplier effect: a poorly performing team breeds competing agendas and turf politics; a high-performing one, organizational coherence and focus.

Often, however, the leadership team is at best a collection of strong individuals who sometimes work at cross-purposes. What does it take for senior managers to gel as a team? Our work with more than a score of top teams, involving upward of 500 executives in diverse private- and public-sector organizations, suggests a straightforward process for enhancing their performance.

The most effective teams, focusing initially on working together, get early results in their efforts to deal with important business issues and then reflect together on the manner in which they did so, thus discovering how to function as a team. Formal team-building retreats are rare; behavioral interventions and facilitated workshops, though sometimes helpful, are not central to the effort of team building. Top teams address business performance issues directly but behavioral issues only indirectly and after the event.

A second myth of leadership, as pervasive as the myth of the heroic CEO, is the idea that seasoned managers slotted into an organizational chart can easily function as a team. In reality, top teams face many problems: finding the right people, matching the available skills to the job, and learning to work together without taking the time to craft roles. Teams don’t magically coalesce overnight. Their members have to be close in the professional rather than personal sense; they can thrive in an atmosphere of conflict if it is managed to increase creative output and to catalyze change. Becoming a top-performing top team must be one of the team’s goals.

To meet that goal, teams have to master three dimensions of performance. First, they require a common direction: a shared understanding of goals and values. Second, skills of interaction are crucial if the team is to go beyond individual expertise to solve complex problems and, equally, if it is to withstand the scrutiny of the rest of the organization, for people usually take their cues from the top. Finally, top teams must always be able to renew themselves—to expand their capabilities in response to change.

One reason for the difficulty of improving a team’s performance is that interaction, direction, and renewal are interdependent—teams need to go forward simultaneously on all three fronts to make real progress. It isn’t surprising, for instance, that top teams interact poorly when they don’t have a common direction. By contrast, enhanced performance in one dimension not only reinforces the improvement in others but also provides for the genuine personal development that builds success.

Suppose, for example, the team believes that it must build trust among its members. It rarely helps to have self-conscious discussions or “sharing” exercises about keeping or breaching trust, an approach that may actually be quite destructive. But by working together to sharpen the sense of strategic direction—and in this way experiencing successful interactions—the team can indirectly, but often dramatically, improve its effectiveness and thus the feeling of trust among its members. In effect, the team exploits its strong reasoning abilities to build trust.

Identifying real problems

Tolstoy wrote, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The same can be said of underperforming teams. Nonetheless, there are typical warning signs in each of the three dimensions of team performance.

Confused direction

Many CEOs assume that they and their top teams share a common understanding of corporate goals and values. Formal descriptions of roles, expected conduct, and corporate strategies and plans all reinforce this assumption, but several realities undermine it.

Lack of alignment. Executives may nod their heads when the CEO propounds a vision, but the team often lacks a shared view of how to implement it. At one well-known energy company, the five executives of a top team were asked to list the company’s 10 highest priorities. Alarmingly, they listed a total of 23 priorities; only 2 appeared on every executive’s list and only 7 on the lists of more than three members; indeed 13 of the 23 priorities appeared on only one list. In other cases, the team doesn’t agree about how performance should be assessed, who the company’s top performers are, or how to motivate the organization to achieve its stated objectives.

Lack of deep understanding. In some cases, the top team agrees on plans, but subsequent actions are inconsistent with its decisions. This problem reflects the tendency of top teams to focus on making decisions without examining the assumptions, the criteria, and the rationales behind them.

Lack of strategic focus. Top teams without a common direction spend more time on business as usual and on “fire fighting” than on seeking out and doing the work only they can do—work that is important to the organization and gives the team as a whole an opportunity to add value. A focused team concentrates on developing talent within the organization and on driving major growth initiatives; an unfocused team second-guesses line-management decisions, reruns analyses, and immerses itself in detail. Half of the executives we interviewed believed that they failed to add value in much of their work.

Ineffective interaction

Many management teams pay lip service to the importance of interaction but foster a working style that inhibits candid communication and collaboration.

Poor dialogue. Although the members of a team may spend much time talking to one another, they can often fail to communicate, by withholding vital information, suppressing critical opinions, or accepting questionable strategies out of fear of retaliation. These games lead not only to frustration but also to hidden agendas—problems that may stem from mistrust if individual team members don’t know one another or organizational units have a history of conflict. According to 65 percent of the respondents in our top-team database, trust was a real issue for their teams.

Dysfunctional behavior. Often the most serious result of poor dialogue is an inability to capitalize on diverse viewpoints and backgrounds, thus reducing the team’s ability to work creatively and adapt to changes in the market. And like any group of people, top teams can fall into destructive practices—for instance, the public humiliation of team members. Such behavior understandably creates fear and defensiveness and can intensify problems by isolating and scapegoating individual team members. Because the top team’s conduct is mimicked lower down in the organization, this kind of behavior can come to pervade it.

An inability to renew

Although many top teams recognize the importance of organizational renewal, few of them institute processes that revitalize effort and commitment. Three problems can make it hard for members of a team to step back and honestly assess their own performance. These problems often have their origin in the team members’ experience as middle managers. Most executives have climbed functional silos and are accustomed to defending their organizational turf. It is often difficult for such people to make the leap to broad strategic issues that have a bottom-line impact. Frequently, executives also can’t adapt their leadership style to life at the top, where interactions tend to be shorter, more frequent, less prepared, and aimed at a wider and more diverse audience.

Personal dissatisfaction. Many team members, despite their apparently successful careers and enviable positions, have become frustrated or insufficiently challenged by their work. A quarter of our respondents said that their jobs didn’t stretch them. Collectively and individually, team members ignore new sources of insight, information, and experience that could push them out of their comfort zone. The teams we have observed engaging in destructive politics usually discourage their members from assuming new roles or taking risks. As a result, these executives ultimately become bored, and their performance declines; hence, the typical CEO complaint that once-solid team members no longer energize others or adapt to changing needs.

Insularity. Top teams rarely pay enough attention to information from outside their companies or industries—information that, digested quickly, could influence key strategic and organizational decisions. In addition, top teams seldom make the time to reflect on the information they do receive and to assess its future impact. Lacking structured processes to receive and reflect upon information from external sources, most teams don’t find the time to generate a real strategic focus.

Deficient individual skills. Most companies give the members of their top teams little mentoring or coaching about how to effect change. Unlike middle managers, who frequently get broad training and coaching, senior managers usually work without a safety net and, frequently, without a second chance. Among the executives we surveyed, 80 percent believed that they had the necessary skills to fulfill their role, but only 30 percent believed that all of their colleagues did.

Becoming a top team

How can a company set about improving the performance of its top team? Our research points to some useful strategies for promoting effective action, reflection, and cohesion.

How it works

Many behavioral team-improvement efforts fail because they don’t speak to the needs of top managers: programmed exercises, for instance, seem artificial. Our work with top teams suggests four ways to build their performance by replicating the way senior executives actually work together.

1. Address a number of initiatives concurrently. The top team must focus on the most pressing issues—work that only it can do. Achieving tangible outcomes in a variety of management challenges is essential. The activities most likely to foster team action and reflection include framing strategy, managing performance, managing stakeholders, and reviewing top talent. The team really needs to do these things whether or not its members are attempting to improve their own performance as a team. The action element of the cycle improves the direction of the organization and its ability to renew itself, while reflection makes it possible for teams to discover ways of improving their interaction.

2. Channel the team’s discontent. Only 20 percent of the executives we surveyed thought their team was a high-performing one. Successful teams invite external challenges, focus on competitive threats, and judge themselves by best practice, since comparisons with industry leaders or key competitors raise the quality of debate by putting facts on the table.

3. Minimize outside intrusions. It is hard for a team to execute an improvement process by itself; some form of facilitation is usually required. Consultants or coaches should observe top teams at work rather than lead meetings or presentations. They should never try to direct the team’s work. Finally, they should ensure that real work dominates the improvement process. Teams must discover what is effective for them. Merely telling a team the solution to its problems reinforces the poor quality of its alignment and interaction.

4. Encourage inquiry and reflection. More than 80 percent of the executives we surveyed said that they didn’t set aside enough time for analyzing the root causes of problems. These executives believe that instead of developing rules of thumb slowly and subconsciously, they should use their business experience to draw lessons. Most senior business executives took a decade or more to develop their business judgment, but with the tenure of CEOs becoming shorter as investors’ expectations rise, most top teams just cannot wait years to improve their performance. Facilitating team cycles of action and reflection—accelerating the pace of change and making the process of discovery explicit—can have a significant effect in as quickly as three months.

What it looks like

On the face of it, a top team going through the performance improvement process resembles any other top team at work. As usual, CEOs and senior executives address a number of strands of business, but they focus on major strategic issues and work together as colleagues rather than delegate tasks to staffers, consultants, or individual team members. At a minimum, the entire top team should spend one day each month together, without staffers, doing real work as a team. Subgroups of two or three members should work together a couple of times a week on every issue the team is addressing and should probably spend some time with a facilitator as well.

Teams rarely manage to improve their performance wholly outside their active working environment, so short-term workshops, no matter how attractive the setting or how heart-felt and candid the members’ exchanges may be, aren’t likely to change their mode of working. Structured self-discovery and reflection must be combined with decision making and action in the real world; the constant interplay among these elements over time is what creates lasting change.

Why it works

Teamwork is a pragmatic enterprise that grows from tangible achievements. The action-reflection cycle—supported by improved direction, interaction, and renewal—complements the work style of most senior teams. First, this approach pushes them to address their own performance just as directly and forcefully as they would address other business performance issues. By doing real work on important problems and applying business judgment to reflect on that work, top teams jump-start their performance and satisfy their need for visible progress.

Second, taking an oblique approach to sensitive performance issues allows top teams to address their behavior after the event, without personal confrontations. Team members discover that alternative points of view are valid, that the CEO doesn’t have all the ideas the company needs for success, and that the team can be both challenging and supportive at the same time. This paradoxical combination—the indirect assessment of team behavior through direct work on critical issues—allows top teams to manage their own performance. Before investing time and resources in programs to build the top team, leaders should ensure that such efforts deal with its real work.

Teams must assess their own performance regularly and honestly. Every senior team should also dedicate several working sessions a year to issues—such as technology, changing demographics, political and environmental pressures, and emerging themes from management literature—that have little bearing on the next quarter but could reshape the enterprise and the team itself during the next five years. Teams should also explore unexpected successes and interesting failures inside and outside their organizations. They ought to travel, both physically and intellectually, outside their own regions and industries to companies that have tackled challenges similar to their own.

In doing all this, teams should pay attention to the consistency of their leadership, the quality of their interaction, and their opportunities for renewal. They must also build into their work processes ample time to reflect on the deeper causes of problems, on the areas where they can add the most value as a team, and on the quality of their past decisions. It is the process of discovering the best way for the members of the team to work together that ensures the absorption of basic behavioral lessons.

The prize for building effective top teams is clear: they develop better strategies, perform more consistently, and increase the confidence of stakeholders. They get positive results—and make the work itself a more positive experience both for the team’s members and for the people they lead.

 

Source: McKinsey.com
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Finns det en baksida av att vara tävlingsinriktad?

Posted in Aktuellt, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 23rd, 2021 by admin

Man blir inte OS-vinnare utan att vara motiverad. Och motivation kan också behövas i vardagen, för att ta tag i träningen, orka prestera på jobbet eller klara av skolan. Motivation kan ibland bli kontraproduktiv – men inte för alla.

– Det är lätt att man alltid problematiserar. För en del går det alldeles utmärkt att drivas av yttre faktorer och resultat, säger Victoria Blom, docent i idrottspsykologi.

Att vara lite bättre på arbetsuppgiften än sina kolleger eller att vinna guldet i idrottstävlingen kan vara en motivation för en del människor. Den motivationen kan behövas för att man ska lägga ner så mycket tid som krävs för att man ska nå sitt mål.

– Om man till exempel ska lägga ner i stort sett hela sitt liv och satsa på en idrottskarriär så måste man ju ha ett driv för att orka med det, och då måste man tycka att det är värt det.

Det säger Mikael Wallsbeck, lärare i idrottspsykologi vid Bosöns folkhögskola. Han menar att vi i vårt samhälle idoliserar ”vinnarskallarna” – de som alltid vill prestera lite bättre än alla andra. Och den vinnarinstinkten kan förvisso vara positiv och ge resultat – men den kan också bli kontraproduktiv och leda till sämre resultat än om man fokuserar på processen.

– Det kan vara någon fotbollsspelare som värvas av en klubb, men som byter klubb efter en vecka för att den får för lite speltid och tänker ”Jag är för bra för det här”. Men så finns de som sitter på bänken och accepterar det, som jobbar med det och är ödmjuka.

För att kunna lyckas, arbeta framåt och nå framgångar så är det kanske snarare motivation än vinnarinstinkt som krävs. Inom idrottspsykologin talar man om olika motivationsteorier. Den inre motivationen kommer av att man tycker att en uppgift är rolig och engagerande. Belöningen för att man lyckas utföra en uppgift är där en känsla av kompetens och självbestämmande.

Den inre motivationen växelverkar med yttre motivation. Där är belöningen någonting som är orelaterat till uppgiften – som till exempel att man ”vunnit” eller presterat bättre än någon annan.

– Vilken man drivs mest av kan handla om vad man har lärt sig och fått med sig från sin uppväxt och vad som är viktigt för en, säger Mikael Wallsbeck.

Victoria Blom är legitimerad psykolog och docent i psykologi vid Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH och Stockholms universitet. Hon menar att motivationen kan bli forcerad om den kommer ur en känsla av att man inte duger som person om man inte är bäst.

– Att om man inte vinner tävlingen, får A på provet eller alltid är duktig på jobbet så är man inte värdefull. Det blir en tvångsmässig och anspänd strävan och ett prestationsdriv som kan skapa stress.

För att prestationssträvan inte ska bli en destruktiv kan man försöka hitta sina inre drivkrafter och värderingar.

– Rikta fokus på uppgiften i sig, och vad som är roligt med just det du gör. Försök locka fram den inre motivationen, nyfikenheten och lusten för uppgiften i sig, och gör så att det viktiga inte är klappen på axeln, utan det som faktiskt är roligt och meningsfullt med uppgiften. Den inre motivationen är mer långvarig och gör att du bibehåller ditt engagemang längre.

Vi återgår till exemplet med fotbollsspelaren som får ”för lite speltid”. Mikael Wallsbeck menar att man för att hjälpa den personen att komma framåt behöver arbeta med ett uppgiftsorienterat klimat, snarare än resultatet.

– Om du sitter på bänken så finns det jättemycket du kan jobba med. Egot måste inte bara vara resultatstyrt. Jag träffar idrottare som sitter på bänken i perioder men som mår bra och utvecklas i sitt idrottande. Det handlar inte om att ge upp, utan om att vara smart.

För att skapa inre motivation menar Mikael Wallsbeck att man måste fundera på varför man gör det man gör. Och även om exemplet ovan handlar om en elitidrottare så kan samma sak gälla för gemene man. Om du gång på gång försöker komma i gång med träningen men misslyckas kanske du måste byta inställning och fundera på varför du gör som du gör.

– Man måste stanna upp och fundera på vad man vill. Varför börjar jag träna? Är det för att andra säger att jag borde göra det? Då kanske jag måste hitta någonting i mitt inre som gör att jag vill.

Den inre motivationen till varför man vill träna är viktig för att hålla i gång vanan. Foto: Henrik Isaksson/TT

Att vilja prestera bra är förstås inte dåligt i sig. Det kan också ge en känsla av kompetens hos en person.

– Problemet är om du upplever att ditt värde hänger på dina prestationer, att allt blir resultatbaserat på bekostnad av det lustfyllda. Det kan leda till att man sätter upp rigida regler för sig själv att alltid prestera bäst eller aldrig tumma på perfektion, och det blir väldigt obehagligt att gå utanför dessa snäva regler, säger Victoria Blom.

Prestationsbaserad självkänsla innebär att man har en låg självkänsla, där man känner att man inte duger ifall man inte presterar bäst på varje uppgift. Enligt Victoria Bloms studier har hög prestationsbaserad självkänsla en koppling till symtom på utbrändhet. Och den typen av självkänsla kan grundläggas tidigt.

Men det finns sätt för vuxenvärlden att försöka skapa en inre motivation i barn och unga.

– Hela samhället, och inte minst idrottsvärlden och skolan, basunerar ut ett budskap om att det är viktigt att vara duktig. Och det spär ju säkert på det här. Det är såklart läskigare att göra misstag eller att våga fråga när man inte förstår, om man är i en miljö där det är uttalat att man inte får misslyckas, säger Victoria Blom och fortsätter:

– Det man skulle vilja är att man fokuserar på att det ska vara roligt, på ansträngningen och utvecklingen snarare än på resultatet och om man vann.

För någon som lider av en rädsla för att misslyckas kan det fungera att försöka byta strategi:

– Vi jobbar med att utmana ”livsregler” som man kan ha satt upp: att testa att inte vara förberedd till tänderna till ett möte eller att ställa en ogenomtänkt fråga och inse att det inte betyder att alla kommer att tycka att man är helt oduglig som person, säger Victoria Blom.

Hon säger också att man som närstående till en högpresterande person kan hålla koll på vissa varningstecken:

– Om någon är väldigt rädd för att misslyckas, och blir väldigt rigid i sitt sätt att vara för att inte riskera att misslyckas. Det kan också vara kopplat till ett stort kontrollbehov, där det blir läskigt med situationer man inte har benkoll på för att man då kan misslyckas. Och om man märker att någon inte grundar sin känsla för vad som är bra i sig själv, utan utifrån vad andra tycker.

Att försöka hjälpa till att bygga upp en känsla av kompetens och autonomi är ett annat sätt att skapa positiv motivation hos en person med ett destruktivt prestationsdriv. Att bidra med en positiv miljö där det finns psykologisk trygghet och tillit, ett tillåtande klimat med högt i tak och där man litar på att alla gör det som är bäst för uppgiften. Det främjar både inre motivation, långvarigt engagemang och skapar en bra inlärningskontext.

– Man skulle vilja att tränare, lärare, föräldrar, chefer fångar upp det här och inte kommer med gliringar när en person vågar testa att göra misstag, släppa lite på kontrollen eller inte alltid säger ja till alla uppgifter. Att möta personen på ett bekräftande sätt när hen utmanar sina invanda beteendemönster.

Om man känner prestationsångest i en viss situation – till exempel jobbet – kan man försöka utöka andra områden som intresserar en.

– Fokusera mer på familj, vänner, fritidsintressen. Så att inte självbilden står och faller med prestationen på jobbet, säger Victoria Blom.

Motivation är ju i de allra flesta fall någonting positivt. Men samtidigt kan det vara svårt att se när en problematik kryper in i en högpresterande persons liv. De flesta sätter sig nog inte en vanlig onsdag och funderar på vad det är som driver en att alltid prestera.

Men det kanske man borde göra, menar hon.

– Fundera på vad som driver dig: Vad är viktigt och meningsfullt för mig? Är jag ibland alltför nitisk och rigid i mina regler för hus saker ska göras?

Mikael Wallsbeck säger att den yttre motivationen kan behövas i vissa fall. Det är inte så många som njuter av uppgiften att stå på en crosstrainer. I stället gör man det för att leva längre, även om det inte ger glädje i stunden. Och även tävlingar fyller en funktion.

– Det är klart att man kan tävla. Problemet är att om det får för stort fokus så tenderar idrottsledarna att missa den inre motivationen. Man fokuserar bara på att ”vi måste öva avslut inför morgondagens match”, i stället för att se till processen och omtanken inom laget.

Det finns såklart välmående vinnarskallar, säger han. Men om man märker att någon som vanligtvis är tävlingsinriktad och verkar tillfreds och glad över sina prestationer plötsligt börjar få en personlighetsförändring är det läge att försöka hjälpa personen.

– Det kan vara att de börjar träna mycket mer än de brukar, eller tvärtom: att de blir tysta och inåtvända. Det man kan göra är att erbjuda sina öron. Visa att du har uppmärksammat förändringen och hur personen mår, säger han.

Källa: DN.se, 22 juli 2021
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High-performing teams: A timeless leadership topic

Posted in Aktuellt, Executive Team / Ledningsgruppsarbete, Leadership / Ledarskap on July 19th, 2021 by admin
CEOs and senior executives can employ proven techniques to create top-team performance.

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.

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. (See sidebar “Cutting through the clutter of management advice,” which lists top-team performance as one of the top ten business topics of the past 40 years, as discussed in our book, Leading Organizations: Ten Timeless Truths.)

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.

 

Source: McKinsey.com
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