You’ve heard the phrase ‘a chip off the old block’? Well, the "shadow of the leader" is a similar concept. It describes the phenomenon where leaders, through their likes and dislikes tend to shape culture and behaviour. Coined by Sean Delany the "shadow of a leader" is a helpful metaphor. Think of organisations you know and how the personality and behaviour of the leader influences their culture.
We spend a large portion of our working week at meetings. But how many are effective, productive and contribute to transforming business growth? Many companies start off with great intentions but find that meetings, particularly weekly management meetings, gradually slip into Groundhog Day and are an ineffective use of people’s time.
Having listened to increasing complaints about this we decided to put together some useful tips for you to consider:
People spend a lot of time talking about "sweet spot” or ideal customers, who are the best fit for their business.
But what about the sour spot customers? How much time do you spend talking about the customers who are a bad fit for your business? In some ways they may be customers you prefer not to think about. Like bad relationships if you don't think about them, they may not appear to be there.
There is something about the autumn term; fresh new schoolbooks, new pencils and leaves falling from the trees. For most of us, as far back as early childhood, autumn represents a fresh start.
We find it’s a time of year when many companies start planning for growth. Maybe it’s facing into the last quarter of the year or perhaps it’s the pressure of making the Q4 numbers. Or maybe it’s simply a throwback to those new schoolbooks and fresh pencils.
Many task oriented CEOs claim success through their focus on task completion. They make employees accountable. They then micro manage to ensure they are on top of everything. This works in smaller companies where each member of the team is accountable to the 'boss'.
However, as companies grow, CEOs become more stretched by the 'always on' work environment. One-to-one conversations happen less frequently. There is less time. The task oriented CEOs can't cope and become overloaded with too many decisions. Business growth slows down. Everybody becomes frustrated.
Growing companies take on new momentum when there is a growth spurt. The founders hire more expertise. New titles emerge. Loyal senior staff are unsure of the impact on their role. The founders don't fully explain the rationale for the changes. Responsibilities get muddied. The pecking order changes. Too many people are at meetings. Chaos ensues.
Some teams are winners. Others never quite make it. Pundits debate the reasons endlessly. For me, the main factor is leadership style.
Like many parents, I watch my children playing sport. When kids are young they need lots of advice. Most coaches start off with a directive style.
We’ve written lots about how building the right metrics into your business can help transform growth. It makes sense – focus on the right metrics or KPIs and good stuff happens. But when the good stuff happens how do we choose what to celebrate?
High performing teams celebrate success well. They intrinsically understand that to drive the right behavior you need to celebrate success. Yet we had an interesting conversation with a client’s team earlier this week.
In the nine years since I became a parent I’ve spent a lot of time observing how little people interact. The interesting thing I’ve noticed is that you can learn a lot about human behaviour by watching your kids!I have always been a bit skeptical about the impact of team building exercises – you know the 'take the team out to the woods and get them to build a bridge' type of stuff. However a recent trip away with my eldest son’s rugby team caused me to rethink this skeptical approach.
It's ironic. We all welcome better times. Yet the CEO's job becomes trickier than in tough times.
Tough times require strong management skills. You have to do more with less. The focus is on the cost line. New revenue is harder to win and the challenge is often holding on to what you have. Decisions are tough at a human level and they have a short term horizon i.e. they impact next quarter.