What really matters

McKinsey research recently reiterated that good leadership is key to the healthy organization.

So what does good leadership really look like?

Some key behavioural traits were called out in the McKinsey Organizational Health Index:

  • Supportiveness
  • Championing for change
  • Clarifying objectives, rewards and consequences
  • Prolific and enthusiastic communication
  • Development of others
  • Developing and sharing a collective mission
  • Differentiating  followers
  • Facilitating group collaboration
  • Fostering mutual respect
  • Giving praise
  • Being organized and on task
  • Making quality decisions
  • Motivating and bringing the best out in others
  • Providing a critical perspective
  • A strong results orientation
  • Positive recovery from failure
  • Composure and confidence in uncertainty
  • Role model organizational values
  • Receptive to and seeking different perspectives
  • Solving problems effectively

These are an interesting set of traits, many of them may seem intuitive and obvious but the question is, what is your personal sort order and do you practice all of them?

 

more on leading from within

Continuing on the adventurer theme, consider these few additional traits and consider them in yourself and reflect through introspection how they align.

Core Values

Children watching  cloud formation

Change is inevitable in business, the world and its industries are changing at such a rate of knots, often education an experience simply cannot adapt in time but at the core the value system is the same. In any culture, in the people around you need to convey attributes that are aligned.

As a leader you need to hold firm to the unchanging strength of your high principles and core values.  Often excuses will be made for less than savoury behaviour in a cultural context – things like, well that’s the way we do things here etc. Don’t allow this lazy perspective to contaminate you.

Such circumstances will challenge you and create some tough times but you need to be courageous and make a difference when it matters.

Trustworthiness

TrustPublic perceptions of the trustworthiness of leaders is constantly in debate. There is a need to repair this decline in trust and this pushes the focus to the  individual leader who have to doubly demonstrate their trustworthiness to compensate for and override the widespread doubt and uncertainty felt by people at a societal level.

The great leader know there is nothing more important than trust.  Creating and instilling it in colleagues and teams.

Trust should be central to everything you do and every relationship you engage in.

Your colleagues and team members should feel that they can trust what you say and what you do, they should feel that you have their backs and can be depended on.

Visionary

visionaryLeaders are responsible for creating a culture in which people are inspired to work together toward something bigger than themselves.

Inspiration comes from leaders who set goals and describe a compelling vision that is achieved as a result of attainment of that goal. A leader not necessarily be the one who sets that goal even, it could be the result of collective goal setting.

The visionary approach to leadership can also be achieved by challenging teams with a goal,  setting a specific deadline by which to achieve the goal.

Another way is to take the “Jerry Maguire” approach  – the locker room speech to set the goal which is often considered evangelical or enthusiast.

You could even defer to the greater intellect of the team, depending on who comprises the team and have them determine what action and skills on each of their parts might achieve a given goal.

Pick and share your goals  with those who will be with you on the journey.

Leading from within

Mountain Rescue AssociationAs a leader or holding a leadership position – you need to be an adventurer.

An adventurer in my book is someone who is always discovering new stuff .

The adventurer successfully avoids mediocrity and challenges the status quo in a search for that next level of excellence but they do it with ethical  behaviour that demonstrates an exemplary character.

To be a great, a  leader needs to commit to challenging everything that seems to be stagnant and in a state of potential atrophy and propose something new, insightful, challenging and innovative.

Exemplary character

Leaders tend not to be overly concerned with reputation but instead clarify the traits of themselves as leaders and how those characteristics dove-tail into their personality and being, this grows them to a position of leadership – one where they are recognized and acknowledged.

This approach is hard to fathom in an era of self-adulation self-promotion and selfi-ism.

Your character is ultimately your reputation, behave in a particular way and that becomes a characterisation of who you are and what you stand for.

While your reputation is principally what others think you are – your character is what you really are. If they are aligned and of an exemplary nature then it is likely you will be a successful leader.

Daily introspection

Discern your inner qualities and don’t get trapped by the dogma of the narrow thinking of others.

Work to discover and develop your own unique traits, qualities and gifts and let them lead you to the kind of perspective, direction and contribution that only you can make.

Do this on a regular basis, without a fear of self deprecation and self proclamation. Soliloquize, lay bare you inner thoughts on topics and evaluate their impact on your thinking and how you deal with those around you.

Integrity

Integrity is one a fundamental value. It is the hallmark of a person who demonstrates sound moral and ethical principles in their work and play.  A person of integrity lives their values in the way that they relate with coworkers, customers, and stakeholders.

Thought honesty and trust are central to integrity, acting honourably and being truthful are fundamental tenets of acting and behaving with integrity.  When you demonstrate integrity you draw others unto you because they are trustworthy and dependable.

Those with integrity can be counted on to behave in honourably even when no one is watching. Any kind of dishonesty — deliberate omission, distortion of facts, conveyance of false impressions, deliberate and conscious misdirection and misleading speech and behaviour —erodes leadership.

In many  ways, invisibly and visibly you have the opportunity to demonstrate your integrity – or lack of it – every day.   Strive to establish the truth in every situation and speak always with honesty and candour.


 

About the author

eyeClinton Jones has experience in international enterprise technology and business process on four continents and has a focus on integrated enterprise business technologies, business change and business transformation. Clinton also serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance. In past roles Clinton has worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits across the globe.

What exactly does a manager do?

clockwatcher

 

With very few exceptions, the manager’s tasks and functions are generic in nature irrespective of the size and nature of the organization but they are also interrelated.

At the most fundamental level a manager is expected to plan, organize, staff, lead and control efforts in pursuit of a particular goal or objective. Remove any one of these functions or the ability to direct any one of these functions and you no longer have a manager.

Assumptions debunked

There is a long held assumption on the part of junior staff, that a manager position is the number one position to aspire to. That, a manager in some way holds a loftier and more meaningful position than an individual contributor however this assumption could not be further from the truth.

Just as an army needs generals and foot soldiers, an organization needs manager and individual contributors. In very flat organizations there simply may be fewer managers and even those few that there are, are also individual contributors.

loudhailerThe Manager role

Managers are a  specific group of people responsible for pursuing the objectives of the organization.

Setting targets, making plans, providing resources and making sure that the targeted results are achieved.

Everyone from the chief executive down to the line manager is part of a management structure, for the difference between them is usually one degree of separation.

The C-level executive plans strategically and for long-range objectives.
The supervisory line manager is concerned with immediate objectives and results. Accumulative results at the work-group level achieve the raw tactical objectives of the company as a whole.

A line manager, foreman or supervisor is therefore a part of management and is involved in exactly the same type of responsibilities as a C level executive.

Routinely he must  define his teams objectives, decide the execution plan at an operational level; divide up and assign the work to be done and establish the procedures for physically getting the work done.

A large part of the line manager role is keeping staff current and aware of  the objectives and achievements of the group; instruct and motivate team members execute their duties and tasks and marshal the activities of the team in order to ensure that they integrate appropriately with other teams and groups.

Assessment of success, failure and remediation is part of the role together with review and corrective actions as required

crackthewhipIndividual contribution

Depending on the specific job, there may be what are considered ‘technical’ duties as part of the day-to-day job of a manager.  Such duties many include quality assurance,meeting productivity targets, reviewing and enforcing discipline and ensuring work practices are safe and compliant.

These are functional activities which are also supervisory responsibilities.

Whether a supervisor is in charge of a call center team, a factory workshop, a grocery store or in an office, the supervisory responsibilities are largely the same. Specific functional activities vary according the nature of the job.


 

About the author

eyeClinton Jones has experience in international enterprise technology and business process on four continents and has a focus on integrated enterprise business technologies, business change and business transformation. Clinton also serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance. In past roles Clinton has worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits across the globe.

What is Management ?

POSP

Management in my mind is the activity of identifying, assigning, developing and applying resources in a pragmatic and practical way that achieves some sort of end objective.

The specifics of the resources can cover a broad spectrum of things spanning people, tools, materials and capital.

Effective management is the application of these resources with efficiency and resolve in pursuit of the overarching objectives, goals or mission of the individual, team or entity.

Science and art

Management is something that one can learn the theory of, but in some instances people are good managers without understanding any of the theory. So sometimes management can be considered a combination of art and science.

The study of management is a relatively new field and the process of management as a science is taught as a popular theme in programs like those taught in business schools.

The art comes to the appropriate application of the science, particularly when dealing with people and as previously mentioned, some people have a natural acumen for management.

Management doesn’t prescribe leadership, after all, you can manage something but lead nothing. You could also be the leader in the management of something, which implies you have skillfully mastered the art of management of that thing.

People learn through observation and experience. Some individuals absorb and interpret faster than others, which again works the combination of science and art.

People Management

Effective management of people is really more about understanding  human behaviour. While there are theories aplenty on management and management styles, in the end, understanding people, what drives and motivates them, is probably a more effective approach to consider when thinking about how to manage people.

Theoretical managers may be moderately successful just applying the science of management but to really be a leader, there has to be experience and the artful application of that experience seasoned with science and theory.

eyeClinton Jones has experience in international enterprise technology and business process on four continents and has a focus on integrated enterprise business technologies, business change and business transformation. Clinton also serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance. In past roles Clinton has worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits across the globe.

The Five Levels of Management

Organizations function at many levels but five different general levels can be considered:

  • Executive
  • Senior Management
  • Middle management
  • Line Management
  • Non-managerial

Not all levels need to be present in the organization and in fact in some companies there is an active effort to keep the management pyramid as low as possible so that no single employee is more than one or two levels away from the top leaders, fewer degrees of separation.

ceoIn the model described above, the executive board members and possibly owners typically form the executive level of management. This may include representatives of top management particularly of the C level executive, so the CIO, CFO, COO etc – this is sometimes referred to as the ‘C Suite’

Top managers are classically business function leaders, so the head of finance, the head of logistics, the head of sales etc – these may also include C level executives depending on the depth of the organization and the degree of hierarchy.

Middle managers are at the division level – work center, shop supervisors, shift supervisors, line or first-level managers. Workers make up the non managerial level of the organization.

Managers comprise two basic classes,

  • Operational
  • Administrative

Lower levels of management often focus on operational matters, motivating and directing their reports in the form of line managers and workers directly to achieve operational goals.

Progressing up the management ladder roles shift their focus to administrative management activities.

Goals and objectives broaden in scope and the
viewpoint of the organization’s mission changes from tactical to strategic in nature.


 

About the author

eyeClinton Jones has experience in international enterprise technology and business process on four continents and has a focus on integrated enterprise business technologies, business change and business transformation. Clinton also serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance. In past roles Clinton has worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits across the globe.

Charting a course for growth as a corporate objective

Charting-a-new-course[1]The formulation of corporate strategy doesn’t align well with a ‘one size or shape fits all’ approach. As a consequence there is no such thing as a ‘best practice’ guide for defining corporate strategy.

A large and ambiguous lexicon of terminology, definitions, principles and concepts with wildly varying interpreted adds to the complexity of the process of defining a strategy and individual circumstances often prescribe how a specific strategy should be developed and implemented.

Corporate strategy is based on knowing a few things:

  • where business is at today
  • where business wants to be
  • how business believes it can get there

Failure to change and pivot the business can present a significant risk which may affect overall plans to develop and grow the business – competition is almost certainly evolving and progressing, and one is likely to be left behind in terms of efficiency, reputation and financial success if  lessons are not learned and factors which may influence successful goal attainment are ignored.

These factors impact corporate strategy and business plans.

If the purpose of the plans are business development rather than raising finance, decisions made today should be effected tomorrow.

Defining corporate strategy is a process.

The process objective being to combine the activities of functional areas of a business in a way which will successfully achieve organisational objectives.

Though not always written down or explicit, it should determine how business :

  • is organised
  • policies set
  • resources allocated
  • operational processes executed

The output of this process is an overarching strategic plan which will set the parameters for detailed operational and departmental plans.


 

About the author

eyeClinton Jones has experience in international enterprise technology and business process on four continents and has a focus on integrated enterprise business technologies, business change and business transformation. Clinton also serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance. In past roles Clinton has worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits across the globe.

Getting started with objectives

One way to ensure that strategic investments are made in support of organizational perpetuity is to define objectives, develop a marketing strategy around those objectives and the assess how different offerings win business. The next aspect is to establish a means of meeting the demand of the market and then engaging in fulfillment.

This approach recognizes that any business has its roots in a sound corporate Screen grab from the film Heart of the The Seastrategy – these are effectively the classical  steps in corporate planning.

Half of these steps are well understood but the latter half are not widely held in regard or practice. Depending on the nature of the business they may not all be required to formulate a strategy.

For the effective pursuit of a given market, one has to begin with understanding  customer and the customer journey as a buyer. Any business must then meet the customer on their journey and address the hurdles as they are presented.

Some aspects of what a business does, are targeted at getting the market aware, and others at closing deals. It should be clear where each activity falls in relation to the buyer and customer journey.

At the core of the objectives there are typically the following characteristics

Ideas and behaviours that support and promote the business in

  • Growth
  • Survival
  • Investor return on investment
  • Corporate Governance and Compliance

Irrespective of the goods and services bought, sold or manufactured, these fundamental objectives have to be at the forefront of any long or medium term decision that the business management take.

As business managers it is important that in the role of a captain of industry and business leadership that it each behaviour be understood on how different each is and how they feed into the long term viability of the business.


About the author

eyeClinton Jones has experience in international enterprise technology and business process on four continents and has a focus on integrated enterprise business technologies, business change and business transformation. Clinton also serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance. In past roles Clinton has worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits across the globe.

 

Planning for decisions

planningPlanning is a central aspect to a variety of management functions. Managers must carefully and methodically develop their plans but remain flexible to sustain viability in a given plan.

Good planning starts with identification of appropriate goals and objectives, evaluating circumstances and alternatives. Once this done, one can decide on a course of action and develop plan variations.

The final test of plans is against the various criteria for effectiveness and feasibility – the measures, yields and Key Performance Indicators.

Plans can be classed by purpose, duration and management level. The range of plans broadens the higher up the organization the planning is managed. Continuous evaluation for relevance is key. Abandoning a plan is far better than wasting resources on a bad plan.

Poor planning and bad organization are a waste and can ferment frustration and distrust.

A principle factor for success is being decisive. Planning is after-all undertaken with the ultimate outcome being a decision.

A good good manager knows how to use groups or collectives to make decisions and when to make the decision unilaterally. Some decisions must be made by a committee, some not.


About the author

eyeClinton Jones has experience in international enterprise technology and business process on four continents and has a focus on integrated enterprise business technologies, business change and business transformation. Clinton also serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance. In past roles Clinton has worked for Fortune 500 companies and non-profits across the globe.