Change Management vs Change Leadership? Most companies focus on Change Management……… perhaps Change Leadership is what’s required for forward-looking, sustainable business in a changing world…..
In the past week, I’ve been bombarded by articles on matric results, with people giving their take on how to deal with this never-ending problem and the way forward.
If I’m feeling overwhelmed by all this, what of those poor matrics, having to cope with their success, achievements, failure, the future and joblessness?
Let me add my bit, gleaned from all my article readings…… My advice for school-leavers:keep moving, dreaming, creating and doing…you’re in the driving seat. Three key words: purpose, creative thinking and doing.
“Are we pilots or passengers” asks, Are we just drifting or directing our lives? The word agency is defined as “our power to affect the future” and the writer goes on to say we all have more agency than we think we have and we need to realise this and use it to steer our lives in the direction we want to go.
Using the ideas of Albert Bandura, We are advised to focus on our intentions, vision and purpose for our lives and then use our agency to work towards achieving our goals. We do have the ability and power to make things happen by planning and acting.
So, school-leavers entering the real whole need to be guided in some self-reflection to tap into their own purpose or goal and to plan how to fulfil it in a relevant way.
Another article, based on an education and entrepreneurship report in the UK, focused on the value of daydreaming or “relaxed attention” in exploring alternative solutions to challenges and problems. Our school systems neglect this type of thinking and hence produce matriculants who can’t think for themselves, critically and creatively. This is a key ingredient in developing innovators, entrepreneurs and motivated citizens and engaging them in the social and economic (and yes, political) sectors of our society.
“From Thinking to Doing” explores the ideas of Edward De Bono, the creative thinking guru. The three aspects of thinking: “what is; what may be; and what can be” are used to show how creative ideas emerge from changing what is already known to a new idea or product. “Finding a different use for an existing product or developing it into something completely different is what entrepreneurship is all about.”
Without detailing the cognitive process, suffice it to say that according to De Bono, “In education we are concerned with literacy and numeracy. That leaves out the most important aspect of all, ‘operacy’. The skills of action are as important as the skills of knowing. We neglect them and turn out students who have little to contribute to society.”
Change our education system, focus on skills of thinking and action, and we won’t experience this annual crazy frenzy of opinions about the state of education and how students should learn and be taught to become useful and productive. Students would feel more empowered to steer the course of their lives in ways that suit them, their knowledge and skills, their circumstances and their own goals for their future.
And, by the way, everything I’ve said applies to young, old, individuals and businesses too….. have a brilliant 2015!
In his article The acrid smell of dry rot, Theo Botha,partner at CorporateGovernance.Pro, laments the fact that ” Abil, PPC and HCI have been less than vigilant in executing their responsibilities.” This leads to ‘unsound governance’ that has 3 stages to the effects, namely – and I quote:
- Internal loss of trust: this could lead to weak compliance, the ‘bending’ and eventual ‘breaking’ and ‘flouting’ of rules (meaning to treat them with contempt); misuse of company assets, abuse of company powers, victimisation of well-meaning people, loss of strategic direction, loss of capable leaders,
- External loss of reputation: this normally leads to external mistrust, loss of business, loss of funding support, loss of profit, runs on the company, and total collapse, and
- Actions against the company: these could lead to closing of business.
Botha maintains, “it is important to put your finger into the tiny hole in the dyke as soon as possible….So do take care who we elect to sit on boards, and to the positions of CEO and CFO; do ensure that they are remunerated to get to the most preferred outcomes for the company; do ensure that these people act responsibly; do ensure that company actions are in the best interests of all stakeholders; do ensure that shareholders are vigilant (even asset manager-linked shareholders) and act on their responsibilities; and do require management and directors to be held to account.”
He adds: “What do we have at HCI, apart from very many unanswered questions? A damaged reputation, I would submit, probably irreparably damaged. Bad smells (dry rot?) all over. One very unhappy funder at Sabido. One very sad news service at eNCA (the relaunched name for eNews). And now, one ex-chairman at HCI.”
Read more on MoneyWeb…..
REAL Communication Consulting’s Desiray Viney ran a workshop entitled, ‘Must Haves’ for The New Age Executive at Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business this week.
Attended by managers and directors of business, industry and NGOs, it produced much discussion around the qualities, attributes, skills and actions of an effective manager or leader in this volatile, uncertain and fast-paced world.
Participants were asked to work through a given list of twelve (from leading writers) and to select and rank their own Six ‘Must Haves’ for Executives list. It culminated in this list:
- Have the courage and skills needed to lead an organisation in today’s environment – To build the confidence of your people to achieve the impossible: constant improvement, growth against a backdrop of extraordinary challenges and growing stakeholder expectations.
- Know that all people in your organisation are important – make the effort to be in their presence. Don’t be too far removed from those who matter most – within boundaries. People at the “bottom” are more informed and empowered than ever. Respect them. While they need your wisdom and direction, you should draw on their input in your decision-making.
- Ask the difficult questions and have the tough conversations on all levels of the organisation. Know the facts crucial to making wise decisions, and make a conscious decision that knowing the truth, being respected and doing what is right is most important, more so than being liked or avoiding conflict.
- Communicate purposefully! Don’t allow an information vacuum. Give feedback. Muzzle your voice, listen to what others think, and schedule face-to-face interactions.
- Know that values drive people’s behaviour, strive to create a values driven organisation. Remain true to your own values, which should match those of your organisation. Enable people to strive for excellence, and celebrate when they achieve. Have fun too.
- Have a Plan, acknowledging the speed of socio-political and economic change and how these interact and impact your business. The rate of change is very fast and it’s becoming more difficult to predict these forces in society, but you still need to strive to understand them.
Taki Anastasis, Sunshine Bakery’s chief executive, distinguished between the leader and the manager roles and explained how sometimes there’s a gap in their understanding of certain issues and how they communicate their understanding of values and instructions etc.
This workshop raised a number of issues in Business. Clearly, every business is unique and requires leadership appropriate to its operational environment. It also highlighted the need for more research on how local company bosses communicate and implement their vision, values and strategies. Information collected would provide the appropriate data and findings to advance leadership in South Africa.
What Executives Must Have … So much is being written about leadership today. The state of the world and business demands it. We all know we need good leaders in all spheres of life. But let’s explore what good leaders have and what they do…….
In this VUCA world – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous – characterised by knowledge creation and change, real leaders are those who are aware of the challenges and problems and build coherent strategies and responses to surmount them. (From Jean-Francois Manzoni’s “Breaking bad leadership habits”).
This VUCA world demands that we start doing things differently, that we manage ourselves and our people differently. And we have so much useful, valuable information around us today, all we have to do is study it, synthesise it, create new knowledge from it and then apply it to our own working lives. The value of Emotional Intelligence in leaders and the LEAP principles of Leadership Excellence through Awareness and Practice are examples of this.
Like Samuel Bacharach (Bacharach Leadership Training), I am an academic who believes in the value of utilising theories, debates and studies in the context of business, translating academic ideas into business concepts. Based on leadership research and ideas around Neurolinguistic Programming (taking attributes, characteristics and features from others and transferring them to oneself through mindfulness, learning new skills, capabilities and habits) I have developed my training workshops.
My most recent catalyst has been Toby Moore’s article, Six ‘must haves’ for the new age executive. Apart from the business acumen and sound judgment required of leaders, Moore adds: Visionary, Presenter, Communicator, Technologist, Peer and Champion. I took these leadership attributes or characteristics and blended them with some traditional and some newer concepts to come up with, what I call I-CARE Leadership. And this is the foundation for my next workshop which I have entitled, “Must haves for the new age executive.”
I run workshops with Executives, Managers and Leaders, offering attendees actionable insights and findings to take back to their work, integrating new information and ideas into their behaviour and communication at work. Watch this space for details of my next Workshop: ‘Must Haves’ for The New Age Executive.
Come to the next REAL Communication Consulting Presentation and Workshop……..
‘MUST HAVES’ for The New Age Executive
Words, words, words – the Most Persuasive Words I love words. I use them constantly. I’m in awe of their power and influence. I also love gleaning and collecting all sorts of interesting facts, ideas and opinions from all sorts of sources. I file them knowing there’ll be an opportunity to use or share them, either in conversations, lectures, workshops or in writing. As I sat in Cape Town this week waiting to pitch a proposal, wondering whether I’d be successful, I suddenly remembered I had “Stumbled Upon” a list of the108 Most persuasive words in the English Language back in 2013! I was pleased to see I regularly use a good number of them across all my activities and work. So I’ll give you my word list. And I’ll tell you later if my words managed to persuade my audience!
Achieve Act Adopt Align Analyse Apply Ask Assess Bridge Build Change Choose Clarify Collaborate Communicate Connect Contribute Create Decide Define Deliver Design Develop Diagnose Engage Ensure Ethical Explore Evaluate Establish Find Focus Foresee Gather Generate Goals Identify Implement Improve Inspire Lead Learn Leverage Manage Measure Motivate Performance Prepare Position Plan Research Respond Scan Share Solve Simplify Skills Sustain Train Transform Understand Use Values Win.
Meanwhile you can find the full list somewhere in “Stumbled Upon”…..
Let’s have the Conversations about your Business Strategy
Although I call myself a ‘communication’ coach and consultant, I firmly believe that it is the conversations I have with executives that start the whole process of understanding your business, its needs and goals and end in your strategic plan and actions.
I have packaged the crucial conversations I have with you as The 10 Conversations. They are called conversations because they are more informal. We share information as equals, feeling more at ease through this 2-way engagement. We ask questions, we listen intently, we reflect, we clarify, we brainstorm, we understand, we plan and we do together, collaboratively.
Based on my experience and knowledge of experiential and peer learning, among other things, I use the LEAD process [Learn, Envision, Act, Deliver] in my conversations. Hence we move from the Learn Phase through to the Delivery Phase.
We start the process with Conversation 1 entitled, “Begin the Journey to the source”. We explore your company’s – and your own – purpose, its goals and preferred outcomes. We ask the ‘why’ questions of what you do. Learning about you and your company, allows us to start the move away from uncertainty to seeing possibilities and choices.
As we move through The 10 Conversations, we explore how you want your company to be seen (envision), what your stakeholders’ perceptions are, find alignment between the two, and plan your messages, your behaviour and actions (act) towards implementation and delivery phase, and then to evaluating and monitoring your communication.
This outward/inward looking approach aims for higher performance, better stakeholder relations, a good image and a solid reputation. It also ensures that you are aware of the importance of strategising for a more authentic, sustainable and profitable company for the long-term.
I want to “conversate” with you.
Take a look at what Cellene Hoogenkamp, an executive coach, has to say about the value of conversations and ‘conversating’!
Some thoughts and comments on the PRISA conference held at Emperor’s Palace, Kempton Park on 9 and 10 June. The theme was “Managing Reputation on our Threatened Planet.”
As a Corporate Communication and PR consultant focussed on reputation management, I felt I had to attend. It would be the place to meet the movers and shakers, the decision makers of PR in South Africa. A great opportunity to network and meet people I could do business with……
But sadly, there were very few private business owners there, and the quasi-government organisations were represented by people unable to talk to me about possibilities. So I didn’t achieve my goal of finding connections for future work.
Regarding the speakers, the line-up on the programme was impressive, starting with Prof Jonathan Jansen, vice-chancellor and rector of the University of the Free State. In his usual irreverent style, he criticised the education department for not demanding excellence, and the general lack of a moral compass in a government that did not know the difference between social justice and transformation, between position and influence and between saying and doing. My favourite line: “Why don’t big business deliver textbooks?”
The very humbly gracious Advocate Thuli Madonsela, accepted the PRISA President’s Award and spoke on the impact of the Public Protector’s work on SA’s reputation. Not a charismatic speaker, but wow, she spoke her truth, exuding honesty, quiet commitment and brave tenacity. She was so impressive! Best line: “I am a servant.”
Another speaker I enjoyed was Trevor Ndlazi, of the Reputation Institute. Reputation management is one of my special interests, so I was very pleased to hear that “Reputation IS a tangible asset that needs to be managed”!
Paula Fray, a media expert with a focus on development communication, was a very engaging speaker who clearly knows what she’s talking about from years of experience. You can’t beat that.
New kid on the media block, and very popular, is Emma Sadleir, a social media legal consultant, who puts the fear of g-d into you with her stories of how tweets and social media messages, if not monitored and managed, could cause a whole lot of trouble for your company’s reputation.
There were many other good and interesting talks and presentations over the two days, but the one that stands out for me is the presentation entitled “stakeholder interventions” by Nazir Allie, CEO of SANRAL. This is definitely the most inappropriate talk of the conference as it clearly showed how NOT to deal with your stakeholders! PRISA staff must be kicking themselves for such a bad choice! All Allie did was blow SANRAL’s own trumpet, and make it very clear that the only stakeholder SANRAL considers important is government legislators. Very little respect was shown to other stakeholders like the public. He firmly believed that the public must pay for what the government spends on social grants etc. Sadly, Allie has no concept of building and managing his organisation’s reputation. Great pity.
According to Diane Charton, more and more thinking from the worlds of economics and psychology is creeping into marketing. A discipline called behavioural economics is challenging many of our old assumptions and helping us to think about how our customers behave in totally new ways. Behavioural economics, pioneered in marketing through thinkers like Rory Sutherland, of Ogilvy & Mather UK and co-founder of OgilvyChange, holds that people don’t always make decisions or act as rationally as we might think.
Instead, people are influenced by a range of irrational, and often unconscious and emotional, factors when making a decision. Though the decision-making process may be irrational at times, it is based on a set of principles that are consistent and predictable. Sutherland says: “The emergence of behavioural economics provides the marketing industry with a framework fit for purpose for the next century.” Current thinking is that ‘informed’ consumers and stakeholders take note of corporate communication, behaviour and products in relation to current public issues and debates, and make their decisions about companies based on that.
Companies need to focus on both their and their clients’ communication, attitude and perceptions if they want to influence others’ behaviour. People identify with companies that do have values and do behave ethically.
The ethical brand process.
Brand research used to focus on the frameworks and approaches typically associated with the field of corporate social responsibility. However, only when the focus shifted away from specific policies, practices and issues, to recognising that even those companies with ethical, social and environmental dimensions are commercially motivated, did they discover the ethical brand process.
Although ethical brands base their behaviour on their values, authentic ethical brands are not perfect. However, the one thing that sets them apart from all others is the way they respond to these imperfections. One of the major challenges the authentication methodology had to overcome was to incorporate an in-built tolerance for human imperfection that does not in any way undermine the integrity of the approach.
The ethical brand process is defined by:
- Listening to the interests, needs and concerns of stakeholders
- A willingness and ability to learn from stakeholder interactions
- Responding to stakeholder approaches – timely and respectfully.
Discovering the ethical brand process was an important milestone in branding methodology. It clearly identifies activities that we could observe and measure in an unbiased and clinical manner. The EB process reveals everything we need to know about how responsive the organisation is to the needs, interests and concerns of all its stakeholder communities – anywhere, anytime.