Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Based on two years of research and analysis of approximately one million data elements, Bersin found that the following 22 talent management processes drive highest business impact. Use this list as a priority list to guide your talent management strategy.

Top 22 Talent Management Practices

Top 22 Talent Management Practices


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This post is a primer for the coaching we do with Leadership and Self-Awareness.

Put simply a Leader can not be an Authentic Leader without self-awareness. The top three coaching objectives that Leaders ask us for at the start of an assignment are:

  1. Leadership – developing interpersonal and team leadership skills.
  2. Self-awareness – becoming more aware of my shortcomings and growth opportunities as a leader, and understanding the origins and history of my behavior in work and its impact on others.
  3. Life development – balancing personal and professional roles more effectively.

Self-aware people are honest about themselves with themselves and with others. They also understand their values and goals. When you are self-aware you know where you are headed and why.

Because the decisions of self-aware people interrelate with their personal values and convictions they find their lives more energizing. To quote Leonardo da Vinci: “One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”

Working on self-awareness requires that you take responsibility for your part of the difficulties you face. Understanding that only you are responsible for your life and actions, the choices and decisions you make are yours alone, you can not hold anyone else accountable for your choices. How you choose to react in situations or lead your life is yours and yours alone.

To help you start developing your self awareness consider keeping a learning journal, just try it for 30 days and write honest observations on the following:

  • Thought patterns – your self-talk patterns, what are you saying in your mind?
  • Emotional patterns – what are your usual feelings?
  • Behavior patterns – your usual actions – how you behave in different situations, write down the situation, your actions and others response As you keep your notes reflect on them, how was your mood, were your actions appropriate, did you cause distress to others or yourself.

In his book, How Life Imitates Chess, the Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov wrote “The key to success – it’s not enough to work hard and to study hard into the night. You must also become intimately aware of the methods you use to reach your decisions. Self-awareness is essential to being able to combine your knowledge, experience and talent to reach your peak performance”

Lack of self-awareness and the ability to control our own emotions may be the biggest obstacle to increased personal and professional competence in relationships and life satisfaction. You cannot manage yourself adequately if you ignore what you need to do to change. Ignoring your feelings does not make them go away; it just helps them to surface again when you least expect it. James Allen wrote this aphorism, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,” and “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts”.

When you become self-aware you can learn to overcome the dysfunctional thought patterns that make up your negative thoughts – you become a more authentic leader, someone that people willingly follow and trust.

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Every day I put an Executive Coach Tip of the Day on my Twitter feed. Here’s the list from last week:

  1. An authentic leader is consistent and not a sort of chameleon, changing colors for certain groups
  2. Realise there is never a Right Way to do a Wrong Thing.
  3. A leader is only as successful as their team, hinder their growth and you hinder your own.
  4. Behind every managerial decision or action are assumptions about human nature and human behavior.
  5. No leader achieves anything of true, lasting value alone. Therefore, building great teams ought to be your highest priority.

If you truly follow these practices I am sure you will start to see major changes and boost your potential. Follow me at Twitter.

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As important as culture is, it remains one of the most misunderstood concepts in business today. People often confuse it with more specific things, such as internal policies and procedures, or dismiss it altogether as a “soft science.” For this reason, strong cultures may be common among some firms, but they remain rare among businesses as a whole.

Organization culture is defined as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group.

Culture sets the tone, having culture is all about being authentic – leaders set the authenticity and culture of the organization. Very few firms have a business culture department – yet the most successful businesses, those consistently on the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work have all created a culture where stakeholder relationship management is at the core.

Stakeholder relationship management means clear, honest practices and ways of behaving towards customers, employees, shareholders and partners. Not just passive action written down on a mission statement but of a code of conduct acted upon consistently.

Culture is much like the water in an aquarium. While it is largely invisible, its chemistry and life supporting qualities profoundly affect its inhabitants. An organization requiring transformation is like an aquarium polluted by too many algae and requires restoration of the right balance of elements in the environment.

Let’s look at the Qualities of the Best Places to Work – Fairness, camaraderie, credibility, respect, pride, and—most important—trust characterize these companies.

Employees that are living up to their full potential in the workplace, customers feeling the potential bliss associated with having their unrecognized needs met, and investors feeling fulfilled by seeing the potential of their capital leveraged. This is good for all parties bottom line. These top one hundred have had three to four times the stock market gain as the Standard & Poor 500 during the past decade.

Leaders set the tone of the culture and as is becoming apparent with the current enquiries of bank leaders there was a “culture that discouraged people from questioning powerful managers” according to Paul Moore, Ex-head of Group Regulatory Risk, HBOS Plc in his testimony to the UK Government. He goes on to say:

“I told the Board they ought to slow down but was prevented from having this properly minuted by the CFO. I told them that their sales culture was significantly out of balance with their systems and controls”.

The Financial Services Authority (Governing body) wrote to a HBOS subsidiary  “There is a risk that the balance of experience amongst senior management could lead to a culture which is overly sales focused and gives inadequate priority to risk issues.”

“My team and I experienced threatening behaviours by executives when carrying out its legitimate role, in overseeing their compliance with FSA regulations. At this point I would just like to quote from an email I sent to Mike Ellis the CFO in June of 2004 which gives a flavour of the culture with which we had to contend in carrying out our legitimate (and required) oversight activities”:- “We really do have to do something…and you may wish to lead this…to change the whole tone of engagement. This is not a battle of wits but a joint attempt to do what is right for the organisation”.

“The CFO to whom I reported failed constantly to provide adequate support when issues arose”.

“The Company Secretary failed to minute crucial comments I made at a formal Board Meeting which I attended to report on a detailed review that Group Regulatory Risk had carried out to determine whether the sales culture at HBOS had got out of control. It had”.

He makes some recommendations for policy analysis and development:

“A more detailed policy and rules which allows the FSA to test the cultural environment of organisations they are supervising e.g. tri-annual staff and customer survey. There is no doubt that you can have the best governance processes in the world but if they are carried out in a culture of greed, unethical behaviour and indisposition to challenge, they will fail. I would now propose mandatory ethics training for all senior managers and a system of monitoring the ethical considerations of key policy and strategy decisions within the supervised firms”.

What sort of culture was evident at HBOS where Moore said he saw a culture that discouraged people from questioning powerful managers?

Certainly not one where having shared values enables people to work together. Having shared values in an organization creates trust, along with confidence that people will do what they say. Trust liberates and mobilizes people. It releases creative, uninhibited, innovative, entrepreneurial activism toward other people. Uncertainty and risk are lowered, and hence possibilities of action increase proportionally to the increase in trust.

Members of the organization are more open toward others, more ready to initiate interactions and to enter into enduring relationships.  Shared values free people from anxiety, suspicion, and watchfulness, and allow for more spontaneity and accessibility. People are released from the necessity of monitoring and controlling every move of others, policing their behavior, and constantly “looking at their hands.” As a result, everyone’s conduct becomes more innovative. It provides the basis for being able to work together with others.

Core moral values cannot be delegated. They have to be promulgated from the top and shown relentlessly.

Moore’s statement can be read in full here

Let me know your thoughts and experiences.

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Each day this week I have Twittered an Executive Coach Tip of the day. Here’s the list:

Day 1 – “Only two assets in a company really matter: The people who work there, and the people the company serves”

Day 2 – “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. —Peter Drucker

Day 3 – P.T. Barnum once said ‘a terrible thing happens when you don’t promote yourself . . . nothing’

Day 4 – Results are the feedback you get on the quality of your decision-making.

Day 5 – Each day ask yourself “What ailment of mine have I cured today? What failing have I resisted? Where can I show improvement?”

Day 6 – Challenge assumptions and beliefs in thinking and communicating — by starting with your own.

Day 7 – Use non-defensive open listening, ask open & closed questions, know the difference and when to use which.

If you practice one of these each day I am sure you will start to see major changes and boost your potential. Follow me at Twitter

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My thoughts on Leadership: A leader must be courageous, temperate, reasonable, and be self-disciplined.

A leader should cultivate a number of other qualities, including sincerity, dignity, industriousness, and sobriety.

A leader should curb arrogance, to rise above pleasures and pains, to stop lusting after popularity, and to control their temper.

A leader must never grumble, to be considerate and frank, to be temperate in manner and speech, and to carry themselves “with authority”.

A leader should be virtuous which means to be perfectly rational and to know both how to act in private life and with respect to one’s friends, business associates, fellow citizens and all human beings.

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In Executive Coaching I help clients to look at and improve all 4 areas of their life; 1) Work, 2) Family, 3) Self and 4) Community/Social. When clients undergo the assessment I suggest that they ask themselves this one question “What is truly valuable in my life?” The answers to this can help start the re-alignment process.

One client, let’s call her Sarah a director of a financial services company. Realized she was spending 55% of her time at work and probably another 20% thinking and talking about work when she was not physically ‘at the office’. She spent little ‘quality’ time with her teenage children and husband and even less time on her diet and exercise. One of her life goals was to climb Mont Blanc. She had never climbed a mountain before, other than the smaller hills in the Polish countryside. After discussion and Sarah’s appreciation of the importance of achieving balance whilst building her career she realised it was possible to get this balance by and achieve her  goal – to climb Mount Blanc.

1. Family – enlist the help and support of her family and spend quality time with them on weekend climbing expeditions.

2. Self (Health) – being strong emotionally, mentally, and physically are needed for a successful climb and descent.

3. Work – obtain sponsorship from her employers who can also generate positive PR and Marketing and possibly rope in work colleagues to enhance team building.

4. Community – the climb could be sponsored to raise cash and awareness for a charity of particular interest to Sarah and her family.

Sarah’s family enthusiastically supported her in the idea, including creating a new regime of making the effort to start every day with a family breakfast and evening meal with a focus on healthy food choices, set one evening aside during the week for family exercise (in this case attending the swimming pool together) and doing hill climbing with enjoyable picnics over many memorable weekends.

Her employer committed to sponsor the climb and several other colleagues willingly embraced the challenge, creating a bonding exercise that vastly improved the office working relationship and aided productivity growth.

Sarah was able to raise a substantial amount of money for her family’s chosen charity from friends, fellow employees, her employer, clients and suppliers of her company.

Finally Sarah’s mental and physical health improved dramatically by a carefully planned diet, exercise regime and the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal which gave some significance and balance to her life as a partner, mother businesswoman, and community member.

What is truly valuable in your life?

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