Stewards of the Future – A Guide for Competent Boards

This week’s article is an excerpt from “Stewards of the Future – A Guide for Competent Boards”, by Helle Bank Jorgensen, CEO of Competent Boards, which offers the global online ESG Competent Boards Certificate Program.  It is a companion to her interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Stewards of the Future: A Guide for Competent Boards that aired on Tuesday, January 18th, 2022.

 

“Stakeholder concerns are shareholder concerns. The increasing focus by investors, consumers, and other stakeholders on sustainability is directly influencing value creation.” — Jane Diplock, chair, Abu Dhabi Global Market Regulatory Committee; director, Value Reporting Foundation

 

Case study – Ørsted

One company that has successfully managed the transition from passive to active engagement is Ørsted, Denmark’s largest energy utility. Ørsted has undergone a dramatic transformation since its inception in 1972 as Dansk Naturgas, and later as Dansk Olie og Naturgas. For the first thirty years of its existence, its business centered on coal-fired power plants in Denmark, and offshore oil and gas drilling rigs in various other parts of Europe. In 2006, however, it decided to shift its focus to green energy, closing its coal-fired plants and putting its resources instead into offshore wind farms. As of 2020, the Danish company was the world’s leader in offshore wind power, with a 30 percent market share; it forecast that it would produce enough power for more than 30 million people by 2025.

Stakeholder engagement has been a key pillar of the transition strategy. In 2007, for example, the company began fostering a dialogue with activist groups such as Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and the Danish Society for Nature Conservation. Rob Morris, a senior editor at the London Business School, noted in an article that Ørsted “had to convince people that the future business could be as successful as the old one.” One example was a lengthy op-ed piece in Denmark’s Politiken newspaper written by then-CEO Anders Eldrup in which he stressed that transformation would not be an overnight miracle. Eldrup publicly debated the company’s climate action strategy with Greenpeace’s then-executive director Mads Flarup Christensen at a 2009 meeting hosted by the Copenhagen Business School.

While the Danish government still owns 50.1 percent of Ørsted’s shares, the company has been listed on the Copenhagen stock exchange since 2016.  The following year, it opened another useful avenue to tell its story to international investors by launching its first green bond.

“A lot of it starts with a company needing to be clear about what its purpose and its real priorities are, and that can be quite difficult to formulate,” says Ørsted’s current board chair Thomas Thune Andersen. “We have a wide debate about strategy that covers everything from the annual strategy plan to the long-term strategy, to our strategic priorities. If you’re able to really explain what your strategic priorities are, you’re able to get the shareholders and others to buy in.”

Ørsted now conducts a thorough materiality assessment each year, which involves identifying its most material stakeholders as well as assessing shareholder priorities and how these priorities intersect with society’s overall challenges. It has identified five key stakeholder groups: political stakeholders and authorities, local communities, employees, investors and shareholders, and NGOs/multiple stakeholder networks. The company has a specific interest in each group. Political stakeholders are vital allies in its plans to develop green energy. Local communities and employees provide valuable input on skills, talent retention, education, and local environmental initiatives. Investors expect strong financial returns as well as robust performance on environmental, social, and governance issues. Finally, the company engages NGOs and multi-stakeholder networks on topics such as biomass sustainability and human rights. It has worked to strengthen implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and has identified minerals and metals in its supply chain where environmental and human rights risks are greatest. The Danish company also has no problem collaborating with other utilities to develop wind farm projects. For example, in March 2020, it joined forces with Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings to bid for an offshore wind power project in Chiba prefecture, near Tokyo. The two companies have several other joint projects.

Ørsted has set a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2025 and no carbon emissions at all by 2040. Corporate Knights magazine named it the world’s most sustainable energy company for three years in a row, from 2019 to 2021, and ranked it number two across all sectors in 2021. But sustainability has not come at the expense of financial performance. Ørsted’s market value has more than doubled since its listing in 2016, surpassing rivals such as BP with a far greater dependence on fossil fuels. It achieved a 10 percent return on capital and a 4 percent advance in operating profit in 2020. As of mid-2021, its share price had almost quadrupled since the 2016 initial public offering.

Taken from “Stewards of the Future – A Guide for Competent Boards”, by Helle Bank Jorgensen, now available in hardcover and ebook.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Helle Bank Jorgensen is the CEO of Competent Boards, which offers the global online ESG Competent Boards Certificate Program with a faculty of over 95 renowned international board members executives and experts. A business lawyer and state-authorized public accountant by training, Helle helps global companies and investors turn sustainability into strong financial results. She was the creator of the world’s first Green Account based on lifecycle assessment, as well as the world’s first Integrated Report and the first holistic responsible supply chain program. Helle has written numerous thought leader pieces, is a keynote speaker, and is interviewed by global media outlets.

 

Photo by Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

2021 Top 10 Interviews on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future

As we enter into the last month of 2021, we at the Innovative Leadership Institute want to take a moment to look back at the year and recap what interviews have stood out to our listeners.

We also want to extend a big THANK YOU to every subscriber of this newsletter for trusting us with your time and helping to grow this newsletter to over 73,000 subscribers in 15 months.

Our passion is to bring you thought leaders in the area of leadership, to share an article written by those who have looked at a situation differently, solved a problem others face as well, researched and analyzed a facet of leadership, or gave us something to contemplate.  We strive to bring you timely interviews by these same people so you can hear their thoughts on leadership and provide you the opportunity to learn from others, implement new ideas, and upskill your leadership.

Today’s article is a countdown list of the top 10 most listened to shows of 2021.  Links to each of the shows are included for ease in accessing this valuable content.  The links direct you to the Voice America platform but any of the shows can be accessed via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

  1. Sponsorship and Being Sponsored (8/17/2021)with Ricky Robinson and Keith Powell, both of C-Crets, a career advice platform offering career coaching services, online courses, and topical content through blogs and a podcast.

The leadership journey can be a challenging one with unseen challenges that ruin reputations. Skilled people can be left wondering what went wrong if they don’t have effective sponsorship. These challenges are even more pronounced for underrepresented people in leadership roles. Ricky Robinson and Keith Powell of C-Certs will talk about the importance of having a sponsor and of being sponsor-ready.

 

  1. Management Vs. Leadership: How Coaching Skills Make a Difference (5/25/2021) with Jonathan Reitz, an executive coach and CoachNet FLUXIFY’s Director for Training/CEO.

Coaching skills are not just for the life coach or the executive coach, they are every leader’s secret weapon. Managers can become the leaders that are needed when they understand how to use coaching skills that put the development of their team as the top priority and multiply their impact. Want to move from managing your team to leading your team? Coaching skills are the key. Jonathan Reitz joins Maureen to share how managers can move toward leading by learning some simple coaching behaviors.

 

  1. The Science of Dream Teams (9/14/2021) with Mike Zani, author and CEO of The Predictive Index, a talent optimization platform that uses over 60 years of proven science and software to help businesses design high-performing teams and cultures.

Sophisticated assessments, data, and software are giving CEOs and managers within any organization or industry detailed insights into human behavior. As CEO of The Predictive Index, Mike Zani has witnessed firsthand how the application of data and science can impact, and completely change, the way we function in our professional lives. In his new book, THE SCIENCE OF DREAM TEAMS: How Talent Optimization Can Drive Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness, Zani details a data-driven approach to talent strategy that makes hiring, motivating, and managing people more efficient and effective than ever. Mike joins the show to share his research on how to build a dream team.

 

  1. Applying the Innovative Leadership Concepts (7/27/2021) with Tom Grote, the chief catalyst for the Edge Innovation Hub, and Christoph Hinske, an associate professor at the School of Finance and Accounting at SAXION University of Applied Sciences, covering Systems Leadership and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems.

Several of the Innovative Leadership Institute’s certified facilitators join the show to share how they have taken the concepts that they learned from a 9-month program and applied them to their business functions. Tom Grote and Christoph Hinske joined Maureen to discuss how they have extended the program content and built a values-based systems mapping that helped shape both of their professional and personal journeys.

 

  1. The Essentials of Theory U (2/23/2021) with Otto Scharmer, Senior Lecturer at MIT and co-founder of the Presencing Institute.

Theory U blends systems thinking, innovation, and leading change from the viewpoint of an evolved human consciousness. Otto Scharmer joins Maureen to discuss his latest book: The Essentials of Theory U: Core Principles and Applications, a book that meets a crucial need during this point in history in helping us bring necessary changes to our foundational systems from a place of deep consciousness and perspective-taking from all key stakeholders – including the future as a key stakeholder.

 

  1. Flex: The Art and Science (9/21/2021) with Jeffrey Hull, author and CEO of Leadershift, Inc., a leadership development consultancy based in New York City.

In the past, to move up the corporate ladder and succeed at the top, you simply had to set goals, motivate the troops, delegate to underlings, and groom a successor. Now, if they are leading a team, chances are that they are managing a kaleidoscope of people from a variety of cultures, across a range of ages, all of whom are wired together 24/7. These changing demographics and structures have led to a seismic shift in terms of the tools needed to successfully manage and grow within a company: charisma and strategic thinking abilities now matter less than qualities such as vulnerability and relatability. Jeffrey Hull joins the show to discuss the research he has done on the art and science of leadership in a changing world that is featured in his book, Flex.

 

  1. Mental Toughness: How to Embrace Stress for Greater Success (7/6/2021) with Colonel Deb Lewis, a retired Army Colonel, a West Point graduate, and a Harvard MBA.

Women (and men) face unhealthy stress and anxiety daily – it’s a wonder they’re still standing. Too few of us have stress tools powerful enough to put stress to work for us so we can enjoy the journey. Once you’ve learned how to be mentally tough, you will use stress to your advantage. It becomes your superpower! Colonel Deb Lewis joins the show to share her experiences and how you can learn to effectively use stress to your advantage.

 

  1. The Power and Promise of Generation Z (10/5/2021) with Anne Marie Hayek, a cultural consultant, generational expert, and social agitator who deeply understands society’s evolutions. She founded and leads two companies, Global Mosaic and ZSpeak, with a passion for navigating the cultural movements shaping our world.

AnneMarie Hayek joins Maureen to share about her new book, Generation We. In this book, she joins forces with thousands of Zs to tell their powerful story—one that impacts all of us. From new ideas on capitalism, politics, and climate change to education, gender, race, and work, AnneMarie explains how Gen Z thinks, what they envision, and why we should be hopeful. Zs are not naïve idealists. They’re hardened realists with a bold vision for how we can transition, re-create, and progress. Generation We is your invitation to see the future they will create as it’s unfolding.

 

  1. The Future Leader: Skills and Mindsets to Succeed in the Next Decade (1/12/2021) with Jacob Morgan, the founder of FutureofWorkUniversity.com, an online education and training platform that helps future-proof individuals and organizations by teaching them the skills they need to succeed in the future of work.

There has been a lot written about leadership for the present day, but the world is changing quickly. What worked in the past won’t work in the future. We need to know how to prepare leaders who can successfully navigate and guide us through the next decade and beyond. How is leadership changing, and why? How ready are leaders today for these changes? What should leaders do now? To answer these questions, Jacob interviewed over 140 CEOs and partnered with LinkedIn to survey almost 14,000 of their members around the globe to see how CEO insights align with employee perspectives. Jacob joins the show to share insights he gained from this research.

 

  1. Becoming a Better Leader: Daily Leadership Development (2/9/2021) with Ron Riggio, the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of more than a dozen books and more than 100 research articles and book chapters in the areas of leadership, organizational psychology, and social psychology.

“Great leaders are great learners” is often quoted but how can leaders implement this into their very hectic day? Ron has created a year-long leadership development guidebook that offers day-by-day instruction in short excerpts to provide leaders with the knowledge and practical application ideas. Ron joins the show to discuss his new book “Daily Leadership Development,” his lifetime achievement award, and his views on the current state of leadership.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

Moving the Needle for Your Organization

This week’s article is provided by Pete Martin, the Founder and CEO of AskMyBoard. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled One Big Idea: Helping Leaders Focus and Grow Their Organization that aired on Tuesday, November 16th.

 

“I would be a terrible employee!”

This is precisely what I told the Vice Chairman of KPMG when I sold my consulting firm to them in 2014. To get to that point of a successful exit, I decided to focus on only one “big idea” per month. Without this level of focus, I would never have had that meeting. Let me explain.

We live in an age of distraction. We are bombarded with interruptions from co-workers, email, inbound calls, the crisis of the day, not to mention personal obligations. So as a leader, how do you focus on what really matters – those activities that move the needle in your organization and make a measurable difference.

Our recommendation is to focus on one, and only one, “big idea” per month.

Leaders of growing companies are pulled in a thousand different directions from “fire-fighting” activities to those strategic tasks you never seem to get around to working on. And if you are struggling to focus on the right set of priorities, how can your team members understand what is truly important in growing the business?

There are countless books written about time management, so that’s not the focus here. Nor is getting into detail about how to decide what your focus should be. But we do suggest you develop enough of a strategic execution plan that you can objectively choose the most critical levers to drive your growth, then ensure that you are spending at least some time on it every day. Many well-meaning advisors promote “growth strategies,” which is well and good, but what you focus on every day – the actual execution – is what matters the most. A good strategy without effective implementation is a map to nowhere.

In our work at AskMyBoard as a strategic advisory firm, we work with business owners that struggle with “what to work on next.” As an outside observer, it is often is easier for us to see through the fog of daily priorities of our clients to identify the handful of activities that will propel the business forward faster.

As I mentioned at the top of this article, I was the CEO of a professional services company I sold to KPMG for 12 times EBIDTA – and no earn-out. What enabled me to accomplish this was the realization that I was too involved in the day-to-day running of the business, especially in client acquisition. It wasn’t until I made extracting myself my single focus did the company start to grow and flourish.

My “big idea” that I worked on for six months was unshackling the constraints to scaling by implementing streamlined and consistent processes that didn’t have me at the center of them. I identified all areas where we didn’t have a documented process or where I was too deeply involved. I committed to spending some time every day to “fix” these constraints.

I can tell you that it was both a blow to my ego and a huge relief that when I took myself out of selling every client, the business grew faster. When I sold my business to KPMG, the deal almost fell apart because it was the first and only time that KPMG acquired a firm where the CEO didn’t go with the deal. When we discussed that the entire selling process, organization, and operations didn’t involve me personally and that if I went with the sale, “I’d be a terrible employee,” we were able to close the deal – without me as part of it.

Our firm helps business owners improve all eight drivers of company value, but we tend to spend the most time focusing on the top three; team, cash flow, and customer acquisition. We have developed a few “big ideas” that move the needle across each of these drivers, and we encourage our business leaders to spend time every day focused on at least one of them.

For example, finding and retaining great employees is increasingly difficult, so we have been helping companies refine their approaches to recruiting, hiring, and retaining a fully engaged workforce – even if those team members are part-timers or freelancers.

One big idea that is paying off for our clients is to approach recruiting employees as strategically as finding new customers. Very few companies have identified the specific values that best align with the company’s culture. Most companies will either copy and paste a job description from the internet, list the dozens of skills and credentials that the candidate must have, or create a bland and generic description of the role that wouldn’t excite anyone to join your company.

Get this right by developing an ‘ideal employee avatar.’  Analyze the personal values of your best employees and create a position description that focuses first on the “why” someone should join your company and then the set of values that someone should have to be a successful team member. By doing this, you’ll most likely attract a bigger pool of candidates and, most importantly, one that will align with your company culture. The best example of this and the most effective recruiting ad I’ve seen in a long time is from Amazon. Check it out here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZIQXEqveCY.

I understand that very few companies can afford to offer what Amazon does in this commercial, but I think it is one of the most spot-on recruiting ads in terms of speaking to the needs and desires of a potential employee. Hire first for values aligned with your culture, then core competencies, then any skills truly needed to succeed in the role. If your recruiting is as focused on how your company and the specific role meet the needs and desires of a potential employee as effectively as the commercial, you will attract a pool of qualified candidates.

In summary, what you do matters and sends clear signals to the rest of the organization about what is important. So pick the right things to work on each day.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Pete Martin is the Founder and CEO of AskMyBoard, a company focused on helping business owners unleash their business’s highest potential value to grow faster and more profitably to put you in a position to exit at the highest price or confidently detach from the business. As a serial entrepreneur, Pete has started, scaled, and successfully exited four previous companies, including his last to KPMG for 12 times EBIDTA and no earn-out.

 

Photo by Kurt Liebhaeuser on Unsplash

Honesty is a Muscle You have to Work At to Be Good At

This week’s article is provided by Ron Carucci, is co-founder and managing partner at Navalent. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled To Be Honest: Lead with the Power of Truth, Justice and Purpose that aired on Tuesday, November 9th. The following article has been adapted from Ron’s book  To Be Honest: Lead with the Power of Truth, Justice & Purpose.

 

Of all my findings, the revelation that honesty is more than a character trait or moral principle was the most important. It’s more than an aspiration; it’s a capability. To be good at it, you have to work at it. And that begins with believing you can be better at it than you currently are.

To be sure, leading this kind of life and team takes work. It demands practice. Embodying truth, justice, and purpose requires real competence. These aren’t just ethical qualities you either have or don’t. My research revealed that honesty is a muscle, and like any muscle, to make it strong you have to work on it. Regularly. When an athlete leaves the gym or a patient leaves physical therapy, they feel sore but satisfied. Becoming good at honesty is no different. When you declare that you and your organization wish to serve a worthy purpose, you have to eliminate the distractions and contradictions that keep you from doing so. This process takes insight, ongoing feedback, and creativity. It takes grit to deflect the naysayers and courage to remove the obstacles.

When you set out to create a more just organization, you will be tampering with deeply embedded institutional biases that, likely unknowingly, have privileged some people over others. You have to be willing to interrogate your processes of accountability—what you measure, how you acknowledge contributions, how you create opportunities for others to advance and shine, and how you talk with those you lead about their contributions—to make sure everyone has the same chances of being successful, no matter who they are. That may require disappointing some people who’ve benefited from the biases in the old system and helping them recognize the need to create accountability that is based on dignity and justice for all. It means being vulnerable with those you lead and building sufficient trust with them, as only then will you be in a position to hold them to account for commitments they make and talk openly about when they fall short. And you have to model what it means to acknowledge your own shortfalls and improve.

There are plenty of platitudes I could offer about why being more honest and just is “good for you,” though you’ve undoubtedly heard those since kindergarten. But I deeply believe that understanding the conditions under which we, and our organizations, encourage dishonesty and injustice can bring greater levels of contribution and satisfaction, and ultimately meaning. I want you to discover, painful though it might be, the ways your organization unknowingly encourages employees to withhold or distort the truth or act unjustly, and how to fix the conditions that create this behavior. From there, you will be much more empowered to make different choices. And, as you will see, choosing truth, justice and purpose can make you and your organization healthier, higher-performing and significantly more competitive, and ultimately, more joyful.

In the end, my hope is that To Be Honest will help you live a more honest life—one in which you tell the truth, act with justice toward others, and live your purpose with deep satisfaction and impact. I have no intention of defining your moral compass or value system; that’s yours to do. But I want you to feel proud of the people and organizations you lead, knowing that you’ve created the conditions in which people will choose honesty. That way, when you return home at night, you’ll be able to look your loved ones in the eye and know you are exactly the person they believe you are.

What you will find on the pages of To Be Honest is the roadmap for doing just that.

 

Read my new book To Be Honest: Lead with the Power of Truth, Justice & Purpose and download our free How Honest is my Team? assessment here

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Ron Carucci is co-founder and managing partner at Navalent, working with CEOs and executives pursuing transformational change for their organizations, leaders, and industries. He has a thirty-year track record helping executives tackle challenges of strategy, organization and leadership.  From start-ups to Fortune 10’s, non-profits to heads-of-state, turn-arounds to new markets and strategies, overhauling leadership and culture to re-designing for growth.  He has helped organizations articulate strategies that lead to accelerated growth, and design organizations that can execute those strategies. He has worked in more than 25 countries on 4 continents.  He is the author of 9 books, including the recent Amazon #1 Rising to Power and the forthcoming To Be Honest, Lead with the Power of Truth, Justice & Purpose. He is a popular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, where Navalent’s work on leadership was named one of 2016’s management ideas that mattered most. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes, and a two-time TEDx speaker. His work’s been featured in Fortune, CEO Magazine, Inc., BusinessInsider, MSNBC, Business Week, Inc., Fast Company, Smart Business, and thoughtleaders.

Stratified Systems Theory Applied To Dream Teams

This week’s article is an excerpt from The Science of Dream Teams: How Talent Optimization Can Drive Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness by Mike Zani, CEO of The Predictive Index, a talent optimization platform that uses over 60 years of proven science and software to help businesses design high-performing teams and cultures.  It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The Science of Dream Teams that aired on Tuesday, September 14th, 2021.

What do you have to do next week? What will be on your plate four months from now? How about in two years? If you pose these questions to different people in your organization, you’re sure to get very different answers. Some will provide full to-do lists for different scenarios, while others will shrug, wondering why you’re asking questions that seem irrelevant to their jobs.

People across an enterprise hold wildly different ideas about the future. During the Cold War, a psychologist named Elliott Jaques carried out research on this subject and called it the Stratified Systems Theory. The idea, which was especially useful for the military, is that different jobs require different time horizons. Certain people are comfortable projecting far into the future, while others limit their view to a single week, or even a day. So the trick for a large bureaucracy, Jaques wrote, was to layer the talent according to people’s time horizons.*

If that sounds a tad theoretical, consider concrete examples. An engineer is heading up a team building a manufacturing plant. Working on the construction might be a welder who handles assignments thrown his way. He doesn’t have to plan too much for tomorrow or the next day. His time horizon can be counted in hours.

But the engineer takes a longer view. He has to consider the supplies he’ll need next month and the month after. By that point, winter storms might be blowing through. How will that affect supply chains and construction? He’s dealing with a number of variables over a time frame of several months. Next year, he knows, he’ll have a different project. But he doesn’t have to plan for it.

His boss does. She’s a regional manager who has financial responsibilities, a profit and loss report due every quarter. She’s already prospecting for next year’s projects, some of them in Europe. She’s busy calculating how many workers she’ll need, considering currency hedges, and gauging the risk of banking on contract laborers, which hinges on the job market next spring. She has to think ahead, at least a year or two.

She reports to a chief executive, who might be plotting an Asian strategy, including a massive acquisition in Japan. This person has to weigh variables far into the future, perhaps a decade, even longer.

When Elliott Jaques was drawing up his Stratified Systems Theory for the military, the expanding time frames, Strata 1 through 5 (see Figure 4.1), fit neatly into a rigid hierarchy. Privates didn’t need to think about the future, only to follow orders hour by hour. Each ascending rank required a longer vision, until you got to five-star generals, who had to consider the geopolitical implications in 5 years, or 10, of nuclear weapons development or the containment strategy of the Soviet Union.

While few of us run companies as hierarchically rigid as the military, it’s still valuable to measure the time horizons that employees are comfortable with, and to use them in the deployment of talent.

There are tremendous advantages in a workforce marked by higher strata proficiency. We strive for it in our company. One big plus is that a person who envisions what’s ahead is more likely to figure out what to do—thinking through the steps that lead in the right direction. These people need less management, and are frequently self-starters. They’re more likely to generate ideas because they’re imagining the future and scenario planning. People who think far ahead also have potential to climb into management and executive roles.

Getting a grip on strata is fundamental for designing reporting relationships in an enterprise. Think of what happens, for example, if a chief executive has an administrative assistant who functions on a Strata 1 level. To manage this person, the CEO must drop down to Strata 2, allocating perhaps 15 minutes every morning to go over what the assistant is going to do and how to handle certain calls and emails and calendar items. This is not time well spent. And for this reason, many CEOs hire executive assistants who function at high strata levels. These elite assistants can see the entire operation, and anticipate what’s ahead and what needs to be done. Often, they shed the assistant moniker and become executives in their own right.

If you’re in a small startup, you don’t need to think much about reporting relationships. But as a company grows to 200 people, it develops new levels, with executive vice presidents and division leaders. It’s while managing talent in such an enterprise, with five or six levels, that the strata take on importance. Ideally, each level will have to drop only one strata to manage its reports. Big gaps waste time and lead to frustration.

How do you test for strata? Tom Foster, a management consultant and author, proposes a question, such as: “When you finish what you’re working on now, how do you get more work?” Some people say they wait for their next assignment. Others ask their manager. Others might start to enumerate everything they know that needs to get done. The answer often reveals a person’s time horizon.

I often test for strata during the hiring process. After all, if we want high-strata employees, the job interview is a great place to screen for it. I might ask candidates to tell me a story about the most complicated project they ever undertook in their youth or early in their career. I’m not looking for altruism or team play or any other virtues. I’m focused on comfort with complexity and long-span thinking.

Some people, eager to flash their entrepreneurial credentials, tell me about a business they started. But when you poke further, there’s little there. For example, someone designs a website in college. It’s pretty good. And a local business pays him $500 to make another one. Pretty soon, he has a small business of his own, which pays a chunk of his expenses through college. That’s great, but it doesn’t show a strategic vision.

One of the best strata stories I heard was from a former high school actor named Rich Weiss. He and his friend worked on sets for a high school play. That didn’t sound so complicated to me at first. But then he described the constraints. There wasn’t much money or space. They had to figure out how to make a set that fit into the gym, one the school used for all kinds of activities. So the set had to be compact, moveable, and affordable. They had to plan in September to build it over the winter holidays, without interfering with basketball and gymnastics, and then stage it in March. Rich was clearly a strategic thinker. He now uses those skills to run important processes at our company. He doesn’t have to wait around for someone to tell him what needs to be done.

Excerpt from The Science of Dream Teams: How Talent Optimization Can Drive Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness by Mike Zani, pp. 60-65 (McGraw Hill, July 2021).

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author
Mike Zani is the author of The Science of Dream Teams: How Talent Optimization Can Drive Engagement, Productivity, and Happiness and CEO of The Predictive Index, a talent optimization platform that uses over 60 years of proven science and software to help businesses design high-performing teams and cultures. Zani is also the co-founder and partner at Phoenix Strategy Investments, a private investment fund. An avid sailor, he was the coach of the 1996 US Olympic Team. He holds a BS from Brown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

 

Photo by Leon on Unsplash

Getting to the Top: Five C-CRETS to be Sponsor-Ready

This week’s article is provided by Ricky Robinson, Keith Powell, and Jenelle Jack of C-Crets.  It is a companion to Ricky and Keith’s interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Career Sponsorship and Being Sponsor Ready that aired on Tuesday, August 17th.

 

What if connecting with just one person could turn your career around?

It’s more than possible. Corporate executives find success all the time, doing exactly that. A chance meeting or invitation for a drink can lead to a key introduction, or even an offer for a higher position.

Many people see finding a good mentor as critical to their professional advancement when perhaps they’d be better off establishing a relationship with a sponsor—a senior-level advocate who can provide the support needed to move your career forward.

A mentor gives you advice and encouragement on your professional journey, and is typically useful in terms of your technical growth. They typically work in the background, answer your questions and share their personal experiences to help guide you on.

Sponsors, however, have the real power to propel your career. In the corporate world, they speak and advocate on your behalf, and provide a link to the people on the path ahead. Having a sponsor in your corner is often the difference between slowly scaling the corporate ladder and grabbing a seat on the fast track to upper management. Effectively, the sponsor is in front helping to lead you forward.

Sponsorship can impact your wallet. According to a study by Payscale, there is a “sponsorship premium,” which boosts the salaries of their protégés. For example, Hispanic women with a sponsor earn 6.1% more than Hispanic women without one, while African-American women with a sponsor earn 5.1% more than their counterparts.

 

So, what are some key characteristics of a sponsor?

First, sponsors are willing to share valuable resources with their protégés. These are the same resources that they themselves use, whether it’s marketing collateral, network access, or the contact information of their executive coach.

Another important quality of sponsors is that they will put their professional credibility on the line by advocating for you even when you’re not in the room for stretch assignments, promotional opportunities, and/or inclusion on succession plans.

They will invite you to important meetings so that you can get a first-hand view of leadership and are positioned to gain insights from the discussion. You may also be invited to social outings that give you access to persons you wouldn’t connect with otherwise.

Further, sponsors have no problem giving you high visibility projects, along with the credit for their successful execution.

A sponsor might ask you to represent the company on public platforms, whether it’s at a function for a nonprofit organization, a conference, or a media event. The aim is to support your career advancement.

To benefit from the support they can give, you should first be able to identify a potentially good sponsor. Look at the leader’s willingness to share resources, whether they’re interested in connecting subordinates with others, assign tasks that enable professional growth, and publicly praise subordinates.

But before you can gain access to a sponsor who can liaise with others on your behalf, you’ll have to position yourself.

 

Five C-CRETS To Be Sponsor-Ready

Connect Intentionally

This may mean accepting the new team project that will require extra hours of work because you know a senior manager is overseeing it and your visibility will increase with the team’s success.

Taking on additional responsibility and participating in work-related projects can support your desire to connect directly with a potential sponsor. It’ll also allow you to showcase your leadership skills and demonstrate the value that you bring to the company.

Be a Thought Leader

Share your opinions, take action and encourage other colleagues to be proactive too. When you share your thoughts with others, they’re more likely to be interested in what you have to contribute. These are the types of employees who get invited to speaking events, participate in board meetings, and lead webinars and other work functions. Sponsors want to see that you can clearly articulate information.

Move Beyond Being Average

The employee who exceeds expectations and who puts points on the board that benefits the company will be seen by a potential protege. At the end of the day, a leader is risking his or her reputation by advocating on your behalf. Therefore, you must not only perform well in your role or simply do what’s expected, but you must also demonstrate excellence.

Advocate for Yourself

The high-value employee not only adds value to the company, but can articulate their specific skill sets and how they continue to contribute to the company. Having the ability to vocalize your value proposition is important and eliminates any doubts a potential sponsor may have about your abilities. Sometimes, especially in larger organizations, it’s harder to spot good work unless the employee speaks out. By sharing your wins, you can create more opportunities for yourself.

Get Comfortable with Discomfort

Many people only want to do what is expected of them at work, but it’s discomfort that’s often the catalyst for growth. For an employee this might mean working longer hours than usual to complete a task, being asked to prepare and present on a topic at an upcoming meeting, or being placed on a project you don’t quite feel qualified to take on. Any diversion from a comfortable routine is often seen as an obstacle, but discomfort will also give you an opportunity to expand your horizons. Be willing to endure temporary discomfort and you’ll stand out even more among your colleagues.

Part of finding a sponsor is being prepared for one when they show up.

You can increase your chances of finding a sponsor, as opposed to just a mentor, by implementing the five strategic tips outlined above. This will take additional effort on your part, but it’s worth every penny of the payoff you’ll earn in terms of professional growth, networking opportunities, and career advancement.

 

Recommended Resources:

Sponsors: Valuable Allies Not Everyone Has – Compensation Research (payscale.com)

C-CRETS Podcast: Season 3, Episode 1 – Are you Sponsor Ready?

C-CRETS Podcast: Season 1, Episode 6 – Over Mentored and Under Sponsored…Why Sponsorship is the C-CRET to Reaching the C-Suite

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Authors
Ricky Robinson is a Vice President of Human Resources for a $35B leader in the Medical Device industry. His 20+ year career has afforded him leadership roles in Human Resources for some best in class global organizations spanning industries from commercial goods, retail, smart home industries and med tech. Ricky is extremely familiar with being the “Sole Brother” on the Executive Leadership Team quite often challenging diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias issues within Corporate America, as an advocate and sponsor for underrepresented groups. Having spent his career as a mentor and coach, he continues to share the tips and tricks that help underrepresented employees reach their full potential as a co-founder of C-CRETS (www.c-crets.com), which is a career advice platform offering career coaching services, online courses and topical content through blogs and a podcast.

Keith Powell is a Chief Operating Officer in private education with over 20 years corporate experience in the U.S. and Canada. Most of his career, Keith led global Finance and Operations functions for Fortune 1000 companies in the automotive, chemical, consumer and commercial goods, e-commerce, and smart home industries. Keith was the “first” or the “only” quite often climbing the corporate ladder. Having mentored and coached hundreds throughout his career, he continues to share practical, digestible advice to underrepresented employees as a co-founder of C-CRETS (www.c-crets.com), which is a career advice platform offering career coaching services, online courses and topical content through blogs and a podcast.

Jenelle Jack is a Trinidad-born, Maryland-raised content writer and book coach who supports business owners and professionals in building their business by creating relevant content that can stand the test of time. Jenelle is passionate about helping people create impact, grow their platform and maximize their message to reach more of their intended community.

Photo by Lagos Techie on Unsplash

 

Why Strong Leaders Always Put a Focus on Promoting Business Transparency with Employees

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This article is a guest post provided by Jori Hamilton.  It is provided to supplement the interview with Laura Morgan Roberts and Courtney McCluney, as part of the International Leadership Association’s interview series.  Their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled DEI: Needed Conversations and Understanding aired on Tuesday, April 27th, 2021.

 

In a leadership position, transparency isn’t likely one of the topics you think about first. Yet, for your employees, transparency is a key leadership trait. 64% of respondents ranked trust between employees and senior management in a survey regarding what matters most for job satisfaction and engagement.

Yet, many business leaders still undervalue transparency. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis and continued economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever before to adopt transparency as a key tenet of employee-facing business policies.

Effective leadership during and after a crisis like this requires clear and quality communication. Business transparency makes such communication possible. Strong leaders will use this to their advantage, but first, it helps to understand what business transparency looks like and how it helps workplaces.

Business Transparency Defined

Obviously, as a business, it doesn’t make sense for all employees to have access to all the company’s information. Interns, for example, don’t necessarily need the details on financial accounts. Business transparency, however, doesn’t mean a complete revelation of all trade secrets and financial details.

Instead, business transparency can be simply defined as openness in communication between employers and employees regarding policy and decision-making. This simple quality can have a huge impact on employee engagement and success.

In planning your transparent approach to business leadership, it is helpful to remember that transparency is a means to greater and more effective leadership potential. New company policies, especially on a corporate level, tend to get passed down the chain with little transparency or communication involved. As many as 52% of workers say their own company struggles in providing up-front and open communication with them.

But no one likes to follow rules they don’t understand. Lack of clear communication leads to distrust. In many cases, employees even quit because of frustrations with their superiors and the way they communicate. Sometimes all it takes to make a difference is a clear memo and accessible communication channels.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we see the value of transparency in leadership even more closely. Since all kinds of businesses suddenly had to transition their processes, unclear communication has had negative effects on some businesses as employees struggled to effectively adapt.

At the same time, businesses that communicated a continuity plan with employees from the start and were receptive to ideas had the easiest time managing pandemic concerns. Even in instances where this meant layoffs, transparency and quality communication gave these workers more time to seek out the unemployment benefits they were often entitled to.

But this kind of transparency has more long-term benefits that will extend long past the pandemic.

The Benefits of Managerial Transparency

The management style you adopt can have a significant impact on the growth of your organization. Transparency can help ensure that that impact is a positive one.

The data is clear when it comes to clear and empathetic communication between employees and management. Employees in these circumstances have higher retention rates and levels of productivity. These factors can even mean all the difference when it comes to financially surviving crises like COVID-19.

Here are just some of the statistics regarding the importance of transparency in business management:

  • Transparency is the number-one factor in employee happiness.
  • 57% of employees left a job because of a manager.
  • 94% of customers are likely to be loyal to a company that offers complete transparency.
  • 39% of customers would switch to a brand that offers greater transparency.
  • 73% of customers will pay more for products from transparent brands.

With potentials like these, it is no wonder why strong leaders always put a focus on promoting business transparency. Clear and open communication with employees invites collaboration and innovation. At the same time, a willingness to explain thought processes behind decisions and policies is a huge factor in establishing employee trust.

Since trust and communication are so valuable to employee engagement and success, transparency should not be an overlooked aspect of leadership. But what exactly does business transparency look like, and how can leaders cultivate it?

Building Success Through Transparent Leadership

With so much potential available through transparent communication alone, it should be every leader’s priority to build transparency into their processes. There are several ways this can be achieved. From highly promoted value statements to open-door policies, transparent leadership is effective and achievable.

One radical example is the social media scheduling company Buffer’s approach to pay scales. Buffer keeps the salaries of all its employees on a public spreadsheet along with a formula that describes exactly why each worker makes what they do. The company claims this keeps employee frustrations low while also offering employees something to strive for, leading to greater productivity.

While you still might want to keep salary information private in your own business, you can still create a culture of transparency through a few simple actions. These include:

  • Clarify transparency as a core value of your business and promote these values in company culture.
  • Share all information about changes with employees upfront.
  • Engage in honest and open negotiations with employees.
  • Maintain an empathetic approach to leadership.
  • Explain decisions through data and clear communication.

By engaging in simple practices like these, you can demonstrate a greater commitment to your employees and customers. Doing so can also actively prevent many toxic behaviors from occurring. As demonstrated, this can offer business benefits like greater productivity and employee retention. These qualities matter even more as the world still reels from the coronavirus pandemic.

Final Thoughts

Facing a lack of certainty in the larger economy, employees deserve a transparent workplace and clear communication from their employers. This does not have to mean complete visibility of financial data; even revealing data analytics that points towards the reasoning of a specific change can be enough to generate trust and respect.

As business policies continue to shift in the course of a pandemic-stricken economy, negotiating employee needs like remote work accommodations will require a dedication to transparent communication. Businesses need transparency and empathy to thrive as they accommodate new standards of normal. As a result, strong leaders are promoting business transparency and reaping the rewards that follow.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. Her areas of expertise and topics she typically covers revolve around business leadership, ethics, and psychology. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter: @HamiltonJori

Image Source: Pexels

How to Improve Written Communication in Your Team and Increase Productivity

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This blog is a guest post from Jessica Fender, it coordinates with Ryan Gottfredson’s interview titled Success Mindsets: Your Keys to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life that aired on December 15th, 2020.

 

As a leader, you have a lot of responsibilities. From keeping your team efficient to nurturing a positive work atmosphere, you need to handle it all. You must constantly work on improving your relationship with your team as well as their relationship with each other. While there are many ways to do it, effective and clear written communication is among the top ones.

To increase your team’s productivity, and keep everyone on the same page, you have to find a way to improve written communication in your team.  We’ve created this ultimate guide for improving written communication in the workplace that will help you boost team productivity and efficiency.

1.     Advocate Open Communication

Your team looks up to you and follows the rules that you set. They’re counting on you to make way for positive changes and help them reach their maximum potential.

This is why a change for improved communication needs to start with you.

You have to show your team that you want them to:

  • send you emails
  • communicate their problems
  • ask for advice, opinion, or feedback

To make sure they’re aware that they can write to you whenever they feel the need, all you have to do is let them know.

Tell them in person, or end your emails with notes such as:

  • Please, let me know if there are any questions/you have uncertainties/you need to further discuss this, etc.

Advocate open communication, and you’ll be making way for positive changes.

2.    Choose the Right Channels

For your team to be communicating properly, you need to help them find the right channels to do it. You can test out different versions and team collaboration tools and decide which channel suits the needs of your team best.

Here’s what we suggest you try:

  • LinkedIn
  • Trello
  • Slack
  • Teamwork
  • Microsoft Teams

Once you set up a proper channel, you’ll be happy to learn that your team members will be more willing to communicate, collaborate, and improve their relationship.

3.    Schedule Assessments

To make sure you’re nurturing written communication properly, you have to make sure you’re communicating regularly. This goes for all types of workplaces, especially remote ones.

And since so many of us are working remotely due to the COVID 19 pandemic, it’s essential that we schedule regular assessments.

Here’s what we have in mind:

  • once a week or month, you write an assessment of the previous period
  • review the goals, workflow, and results
  • ask for the whole team to join you
  • let them speak their mind, give suggestions, or share their thoughts

This way, you’ll show them how important it is for you to hear what they have to say. By scheduling written communication, you’re making it more important and meaningful for the entire team.

4.    Write Professionally

You and everyone on the team need to write like a professional. That means that everything has to be proofread and polished before you hit send, publish, or pin.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • grammar mistakes
  • spelling mistakes and typos

To make sure your writing is polished to perfection, and you’ve managed to proofread everything to the smallest detail, you can get some help online. For instance, check out TrustMyPaper review if you feel you need help improving your writing. They’ll provide writing help of any kind.

5.    Provide Valid Feedback

As a team leader, it’s your job to keep people engaged, motivated, and happy to be a part of your team. But, this doesn’t mean you should praise whatever they do or pretend to not see their mistakes.

On the contrary, it means you have to provide valid feedback.

Here’s what we have in mind:

  • critically analyze the work of all team members
  • give them both positive and negative feedback
  • make your feedback valuable, informative, and educational

If a team member sees you went through the trouble of writing a report on their results, they’ll see they matter to you and the rest of the team.

Your feedback will show them how to grow and improve, and that’s the biggest gift you can give them.

6.    Keep it Simple

You and all your team members need to keep the communication simple if you want it to make any positive effect. You all have a lot of work to do, and nobody has the time to read endless pages of reports or emails.

This is why you have to write following these simple rules:

  • keep it short
  • be concise
  • go straight to the point
  • write short but valuable sentences
  • remove everything that doesn’t bring value

This means that there’s no room for jokes, fluff words, repetition, or anything that isn’t directly connected to the topic of your written conversation.

If everyone follows these rules, nobody would skip reading the emails or ignore the messages you’re sending.

7.    Write Down The Expectations

While you may be communicating great in your live meetings, it’s always a great idea to write the most important points down. This goes especially for assigning tasks and roles to individual team members.

Here’s what to write down:

  • each person’s tasks
  • expectations on the project
  • deadlines
  • project stages

Put everything in writing and make sure all team members have access to this report. This way, you will be assured that everyone knows what they’re expected to do, how, and when.

Final Thoughts

Written communication is equally as important as oral communication. To increase your team’s productivity, you have to ensure you’re a role model, and that you initiate positive written communication habits.

Use the tips we’ve shared above to improve the productivity of your team and help them establish strong and healthy work communication.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Jessica Fender is an educational blogger and content specialist at GetGoodGrade, a resource for writing websites reviews. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with students of all ages and making learning easier for them.

Four Critical Functions of an Effective CEO

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This blog is a modified version of the Introduction to Robert Rosenberg’s new book Around The Corner To Around The World. Robert served as the CEO of Dunkin’ Donuts for 35 years. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled A Dozen Lessons Learned Running Dunkin’ Donuts that aired on Tuesday, March 16th, 2021.

Every morning, five million people around the world start their day with a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Thirsty customers in search of their favorite pick-me-up can find their fix in more than eleven thousand stores and in more than forty countries. In the United States, the brand enjoys a 95 percent recognition rate among consumers. In head-to-head taste comparisons between Dunkin’s original brew and Starbucks blend, Dunkin’ was preferred 58 percent to 42 percent.1 In part due to these achievements, Wall Street has placed a market value of nearly $6.5 billion on the enterprise known as Dunkin’ Brands.2

This was not always the case. From humble beginnings—a single shop in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1950—Dunkin’ Donuts grew over the years into one of the world’s most beloved brands through sheer perseverance and grit, talent, and a little bit of luck. This memoir chronicles the trials and tribulations, the dizzying highs when we got it right and the heart-thumping near-death lows of when I got it wrong.

This is a story of a family business transforming from a small, regional diversified food service company into the worldwide, iconic brand it is today. More than anything else, it is a story of change. Sometimes it was a pivotal switch-up in management that affected all levels of the business, or merely a refinement in the menu that sent sales skyrocketing. Deceptively simple adjustments in the service delivery system transformed our retail concept in fundamental ways. A more sophisticated location and marketing strategy increased sales dramatically, while a new purchasing system saved our franchisees tens of millions of dollars. The fact is that our team— both franchise owners and management together—continually adapted to an ever-changing consumer and competitive landscape. This adaptability enabled us to build this world-renowned brand that I had the good fortune to shepherd for more than thirty-five years.

Since my time and exposure with this company parallels the mind-blowing growth of the fast-food business, as well as the franchise system of distribution, business readers are sure to find value in this tale as well.

Growing any business is not for the faint of heart; not in 1950 when Dunkin’ began, not during the years I was at the helm, 1963– 98, and certainly not today. So to all those entrepreneurs building their own businesses today or contemplating buying a franchise, I would hope our successes and failures would be a valuable springboard and provide important lessons and helpful insights—or cautionary tales—for your own ventures.

Thousands of executives, staff, and franchise owners past and present who have built this wonderful business. It was their adaptability, courage, and genius that made Dunkin’ Donuts a legendary and dominant global brand around the world.

In my experience, these are the four critical functions of an effective CEO.

  • The first is strategy. Strategy is the controlling plan that sets out what an enterprise wishes to be, what it wishes to achieve, and the most important action steps it needs to take to marshal scarce resources in the achievement of its mission and objectives.
  • The second lens is organization, which deals with the recruitment, retention, and motivation of the appropriate staff to achieve the strategy.
  • The third is communication, the aim of which is to align all constituents enthusiastically behind the achievement of the strategy.
  • The fourth and final category I call crisis management, where I parse the issues that posed either a threat or opportunity to the enterprise, requiring the attention of the CEO.

After due reflection on three-and-a-half decades at the helm of a dynamically growing business, six years teaching as an adjunct in the graduate program of a leading entrepreneurial college, and decades as a board member of several well-known food service companies, I’ve become convinced of the worth of this counsel.

Taken from Around the Corner to Around the World by Robert Rosenberg. Copyright © 2020 by Robert Rosenberg. Used by permission of HarperCollins Leadership.  www.harpercollinsleadership.com

 

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Robert Rosenberg served as chief executive officer of Dunkin Donuts from 1963 until his retirement in 1998. Under his leadership, the company grew from a regional family business to one of America’s best-known and loved brands. Rosenberg received his MBA from Harvard Business School, and in just weeks after graduating at the age of 25, assumed the position of chief executive officer. After retiring from Dunkin, Rosenberg taught in the Graduate School at Babson College and served many years on the boards of directors of other leading foodservice companies, including Domino‘s Pizza and Sonic Restaurants

 

 

7 Must-have Qualities of Leaders to Get the Best Output from Their Teams

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This blog is a guest post from Valentina Wilson, it coordinates with Ron Riggio’s interview titled Becoming a Better Leader: Daily Leadership Development that aired on February 9, 2021.

 

“Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.” — Steve Jobs

The responsibilities of leaders have quadrupled during an era when it has become a challenge to run a business. Covid-19 has brought fresh challenges for the companies. The onus is on leaders and remote workers to keep the business running amidst all uncertainties. But the key responsibility of helping a business thrive during the pandemic rests upon the shoulders of its leaders.

Great leaders can help to inspire teams to give their 100% at work.

Leaders need to instill a sense of courage and trust in their workers. Workers look up to leaders for direction and inspiration. If the leaders are incompetent or do not have adequate leadership skills, then it is hard to get 100% productivity from the teams.

Good leaders can get the best out of their teams during a crisis period. By keeping the teams motivated, inspired, efficient, productive, and focused on work, leaders can help a business to reach the pinnacle of success at any time. Teams look up to their leaders for direction and confidence. They walk on the path that their leaders show them. They watch and observe each movement of the leaders.

Also, leaders act as a bridge between the company and the employees. A great leader can inspire his or her teams to give their best effort during a crisis time and help to bring abundant growth to the company.

What are the great qualities of great leaders that can help to get the best output from their teams? 

  1. Give powerful and inspiring messages to your team.

Employees trust leaders more than the information they get from the media or the government. Great leaders always choose their words carefully at the time of communicating with their teams. They give clear and direct messages to make workers feel safe and protected.

During a period of crisis, leaders give moral support to workers even though they don’t feel confident about the situation. They solve the queries of the workers in the best possible manner to reduce their stress.

Great leaders are always there with their workers during ups and downs. They give powerful messages to instill hope and courage in the hearts of workers and help them shine in their full glory.

  1. Great leaders bond with the team by sharing personal stories and experiences.

Sharing personal experiences helps to strengthen the bond between leaders and team members. It helps the leaders to connect with team members and help to build healthy relationships. They speak about their personal experiences and victories to their team members.

They discuss Netflix web series, sports, personal interests, TV shows, politics, and so on to uplift team spirits. All work and no play make the team members feel bored. Personal chats and sharing of hearty laughs are also equally essential for the smooth functioning of a team.

If the bond between the leader and team members is not strong, then there cannot be 100 percent success. When leaders share their experiences and personal stories, workers feel inspired. They get the strength to collaborate with other members and get the work done as soon as possible.

  1. Great leaders act as a mentor rather than an authoritative person.

Great leaders don’t instruct workers about what to do like an authoritative boss. They act as a mentor toward the employees and guide them on how to finish a task. Leaders share helpful resources with the workers so that they can work on the project in the right direction. Leaders work with employees as a team.

They give genuine feedback about the progress of workers. They converse about the challenges that workers may face while doing the project in the weekly team meetings. Leaders ask how they can help workers overcome those obstacles and challenges. They share personal experiences to encourage workers to keep on fighting to overcome all the challenges and achieve ultimate victory.

  1. Great leaders take accountability for both success and failure.

Workers look down upon leaders who love to come to the limelight when there is a grand success and put all the blame on the workers when something goes wrong. Great leaders work as a team with workers.

They set clear objectives so that employees know what they must deliver. They work alongside the members until a project is delivered. They share both success and failures with the team members.

  1. Great leaders are fair and impartial to everyone.

Great leaders are fair and impartial to all workers so that they don’t feel deprived of anything. If the leaders are not neutral, then the team will not be motivated to give their 100% at work. The relationship between the team members and the leader will suffer, and so will the work in process.

  1. Great Leaders act as a bridge between the employers and the employees.

The outbreak of COVID-19 led to the introduction of work from home policy in many companies across the globe. Millions of workers have been working from home for the last year. Now, this has created a sense of confusion among employees. It has also created a sense of disconnect between employees and employers.

Leaders have a big responsibility here. They must act as a bridge between the employer and the employees. Great leaders communicate the new work from home policy clearly and decisively so that there is no confusion. They answer all the questions of the remote workers patiently and resolve their curiosity. After all, curiosity kills the cat.

Great leaders explain the benefits and risks of the new work from the home policy so that no one feels that others are getting an undue advantage. They work with employers to develop effective strategies to motivate workers who are coming to the office and working from home during the pandemic. They relay messages from employers from time to time so that remote workers get a sense of belonging to the company.

  1. Great Leaders work hard to lead by example and inspire others to work equally hard.

Workers will not be ready to put their 100% at work if their leaders give only 10% effort on projects. If leaders are sloths, workers will also be sloths. Great leaders prefer to lead by example. They put their 300% at work so that the workers are equally motivated to put at least their 200% on the current assignments. Strong leaders don’t believe in delivering speeches only. They believe in action. And that is because action speaks a thousand times more than words.

Final note

Leadership qualities help companies and workers in achieving financial freedom during dark times. The right behavioral attitude, empathy, and effective collaboration, and great leadership skills can help both companies and workers to get financial success in the long run.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Valentina Wilson is a writer. She loves to analyze personal financial matters and help others manage their finances in a better way. Traveling is also her passion. She follows more animals on Instagram than humans and her greatest achievement is her blog. She believes that transparency and conversations about money are essential in gaining control of finances.  To connect with her, go to her LinkedIn or visit her blog bestdebtconsolidation.org

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay