How to Network More Effectively


Start by figuring out what sets you apart.

Connecting for Purpose

As you advance in your career, it’s harder to find time to network — especially when the people you want to know also have jam-packed schedules. To meet prominent people, you have to make yourself stand out so that they come to you.

Start by figuring out what sets you apart. Ask your friends to identify the most fascinating elements of your biography, your interests, or your experiences. Share this information the next time you’re with a group of people you’re trying to connect with. Building your expertise in a niche will also attract people to you.

If you know a lot about  blockchain, AI, leadership, economics, or email marketing, or any other topic, people who care about that topic are bound to seek you out.

NETWORK 4

Trevor Lee – EP International

http://www.ep-i.net

@trevorblee

We provide C-suite services in the field of talent acquisition, development and retention.

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Characteristics of a Successful Leadership Style


LEADERSHIP FISH

I believe the following characteristics, traits and actions that are key:

Choose to lead

Be the person others choose to follow

Provide vision for the future

Provide inspiration

Make other people feel important and appreciated

Live your values. Behave ethically

Set the pace through your expectations and example

Establish an environment of continuous improvement

Provide opportunities for people to grow both personally and

  professionally

Care and act with compassion

 

LEADERSHIP 5

 

Curated by Trevor Lee

http://www.ep-i.net

@trevorblee

BUILDING LEADERSHIP SKILLS


LEADERSHIP 1

Leadership skills turn ordinary employees into highly motivated and highly committed individuals. For this simple reason, we can say that building leadership skills is extremely important.

But first, what is leadership?

Leadership, they say, is first and foremost behavior and skills second. Good leaders are followed mainly because they are trusted and respected by the people they lead, rather than because they are admired for the skills they possess. Leadership is different from management. Management relies more on planning, and on organizational and communications skills. Leadership relies on management skills too, but more so on qualities such as integrity, honesty, humility, courage, commitment, sincerity, passion, confidence, positivity, wisdom, determination, compassion, sensitivity, and a degree of personal charisma.

Several factors contribute to the development of a leader. Obviously, the leader’s personal qualities are important, but also critical are the needs of the people being led and the objective they are pursuing. Some personality types thrive better in leadership roles than others, but leadership skills can be learned.

Leadership is about possessing integrity, having an effective appreciation towards corporate responsibility so that the need to make profit is balanced with wider social and environmental responsibilities, being very grown-up, leading by example, always being seen to work harder and more determinedly than anyone else, helping alongside your people when they need it, being firm and clear in dealing with bad or unethical behavior, listening to and really understanding people, being decisive but be seen to be making fair and balanced decisions, treating everyone equally and on merit, backing up and supporting your people, asking for people’s views, taking responsibility and blame for your people’s mistakes, and always giving your people the credit for your successes.

Leadership is never a finished product, but rather, it is an ongoing process that needs continuous nurturing and refinement.

leadership-pres-1

Curated by Trevor Lee

http://www.ep-i.net

@trevorblee

Build a Passionate Company with Purpose!


How can managers actually foster passion?

Connecting for Purpose

To build a great business, companies need a purpose — one that transcends the traditional bottom line. People want to be passionate about their work, and they want to be surrounded by others who feel the same. But how can managers actually foster passion?

Here are five ways:

  1. Let people show their emotions. If you ask your people to check their emotions at the door, you can’t tap into their passion.

  2. Hire passionate people. One way to get passionate people into your organization is to incentivize current employees to refer people they want to work with.

  3. Fan the flames. Find plenty of ways to celebrate joint accomplishments.

  4. Don’t stifle your rock stars. Give your people the autonomy to do the work that interests them most.

  5. Share context. Connect job functions to the organization’s broader mission, and remind people why they do what they do.

Adapted from “How to Build a Passionate…

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Three steps to building a better top team


When a top team fails to function, it can paralyze a whole company

LEADERSHIP 1

Here’s what CEOs need to watch out for ….

Few teams function as well as they could. But the stakes get higher with senior-executive teams: dysfunctional ones can slow down, derail, or even paralyze a whole company. In our work with top teams at more than 100 leading multinational companies,1 including surveys with 600 senior executives at 30 of them, we’ve identified three crucial priorities for constructing and managing effective top teams. Getting these priorities right can help drive better business outcomes in areas ranging from customer satisfaction to worker productivity and many more as well.

  1. Get the right people on the team . . . and the wrong ones off

Determining the membership of a top team is the CEO’s responsibility—and frequently the most powerful lever to shape a team’s performance. Many CEOs regret not employing this lever early enough or thoroughly enough. Still others neglect it entirely, assuming instead that factors such as titles, pay grades, or an executive’s position on the org chart are enough to warrant default membership. Little surprise, then, that more than one-third of the executives we surveyed said their top teams did not have the right people and capabilities.

The key to getting a top team’s composition right is deciding what contributions the team as a whole, and its members as individuals, must make to achieve an organization’s performance aspirations and then making the necessary changes in the team. This sounds straight-forward, but it typically requires conscious attention and courage from the CEO; otherwise, the top team can under-deliver for an extended period of time.

That was certainly the case at a technology services company that had a struggling top team: fewer than one in five of its members thought it was highly respected or shared a common vision for the future, and only one in three thought it made a valuable contribution to corporate performance. The company’s customers were very dissatisfied—they rated its cost, quality, and service delivery at only 2.3 on a 7-point scale—and the team couldn’t even agree on the root causes.

A new CEO reorganized the company, creating a new strategy group and moving from a geography-based structure to one based on two customer-focused business units—for wholesale and for retail. He adapted the composition of his top team, making the difficult decision to remove two influential regional executives who had strongly resisted cross-organizational collaboration and adding the executive leading the strategy group and the two executives leading the retail and the wholesale businesses, respectively. The CEO then used a series of workshops to build trust and a spirit of collaboration among the members of his new team and to eliminate the old regional silo mentality. The team also changed its own performance metrics, adding customer service and satisfaction performance indicators to the traditional short-term sales ones.

Customers rated the company’s service at 4.3 a year later and at 5.4 two years later. Meanwhile, the top team, buoyed by these results, was now confident that it was better prepared to improve the company’s performance. In the words of one team member, “I wouldn’t have believed we could have come this far in just one year.”

  1. Make sure the top team does just the work only it can do

Many top teams struggle to find purpose and focus. Only 38 percent of the executives we surveyed said their teams focused on work that truly benefited from a top-team perspective. Only 35 percent said their top teams allocated the right amounts of time among the various topics they considered important, such as strategy and people.

What are they doing instead? Everything else. Too often, top teams fail to set or enforce priorities and instead try to cover the waterfront. In other cases, they fail to distinguish between topics they must act on collectively and those they should merely monitor. These shortcomings create jam-packed agendas that no top team can manage properly. Often, the result is energy-sapping meetings that drag on far too long and don’t engage the team, leaving members wondering when they can get back to “real work.” CEOs typically need to respond when such dysfunctions arise; it’s unlikely that the senior team’s members—who have their own business unit goals and personal career incentives—will be able to sort out a coherent set of collective top-team priorities without a concerted effort.

The CEO and the top team at a European consumer goods company rationalized their priorities by creating a long list of potential topics they could address. Then they asked which of these had a high value to the business, given where they wanted to take it, and would allow them, as a group, to add extraordinary value. While narrowing the list down to ten items, team members spent considerable time challenging each other about which topics individual team members could handle or delegate. They concluded, for example, that projects requiring no cross-functional or cross-regional work, such as addressing lagging performance in a single region, did not require the top team’s collective attention even when these projects were the responsibility of an individual team member. For delegated responsibilities, they created a transparent and consistent set of performance indicators to help them monitor progress.

This change gave the top team breathing room to do more valuable work. For the first time, it could focus enough effort on setting and dynamically adapting cross-category and cross-geography priorities and resource allocations and on deploying the top 50 leaders across regional and functional boundaries, thus building a more effective extended leadership group for the company. This, in turn, proved crucial as the team led a turnaround that took the company from a declining to a growing market share. The team’s tighter focus also helped boost morale and performance at the company’s lower levels, where employees now had more delegated responsibility. Employee satisfaction scores improved to 79 percent, from 54 percent, in just one year.

  1. Address team dynamics and processes

A final area demanding unrelenting attention from CEOs is effective team dynamics, whose absence is a frequent problem: among the top teams we studied, members reported that only about 30 percent of their time was spent in “productive collaboration”—a figure that dropped even more when teams dealt with high-stakes topics where members had differing, entrenched interests. Here are three examples of how poor dynamics depress performance:

The top team at a large mining company formed two camps with opposing views on how to address an important strategic challenge. The discussions on this topic hijacked the team’s agenda for an extended period, yet no decisions were made.

The top team at a Latin American insurance company was completely demoralized when it began losing money after government reforms opened up the country to new competition. The team wandered, with little sense of direction or accountability, and blamed its situation on the government’s actions. As unproductive discussions prevented the top team from taking meaningful action, other employees became dissatisfied and costs got out of control.

The top team at a North American financial-services firm was not aligned effectively for a critical company-wide operational-improvement effort. As a result, different departments were taking counterproductive and sometimes contradictory actions. One group, for example, tried to increase cross-selling, while another refused to share relevant information about customers because it wanted to “own” relationships with them.

CEOs can take several steps to remedy problems with team dynamics. The first is to work with the team to develop a common, objective understanding of why its members aren’t collaborating effectively. There are several tools available for the purpose, including top-team surveys, interviews with team members, and 360-degree evaluations of individual leaders.

The CEO of the Latin American insurance company used these methods to discover that the members of his top team needed to address building relationships and trust with one another and with the organization even before they agreed on a new corporate strategy and on the cultural changes necessary to meet its goals (for more on building trust, see “Dispatches from the front lines of management innovation”). One of the important cultural changes for this top team was that its members needed to take ownership of the changes in the company’s performance and culture and to hold one another accountable for living up to this commitment.

Correcting dysfunctional dynamics requires focused attention and interventions, preferably as soon as an ineffective pattern shows up. At the mining company, the CEO learned, during a board meeting focused on the team’s dynamics, that his approach—letting the unresolved discussion go on in hopes of gaining consensus and commitment from the team—wasn’t working and that his team expected him to step in. Once this became clear, the CEO brokered a decision and had the team jump-start its implementation.

Often more than a single intervention is needed. Once the CEO at the financial-services firm understood how poorly his team was aligned, for example, he held a series of top-team off-site meetings aimed specifically at generating greater agreement on strategy. One result: the team made aligning the organization part of its collective agenda, and its members committed themselves to communicating and checking in regularly with leaders at lower levels of the organization to ensure that they too were working consistently and collaboratively on the new strategy. One year later, the top team was much more unified around the aims of the operational-improvement initiative—the proportion of executives who said the team had clarity of direction doubled, to 70 percent, and the team was no longer working at cross-purposes. Meanwhile, operational improvements were gaining steam: costs came down by 20 percent over the same period, and the proportion of work completed on time rose by 8 percent, to 96.3 percent.

Finally, most teams need to change their support systems or processes to catalyze and embed change. At the insurer, for example, the CEO saw to it that each top-team member’s performance indicators in areas such as cost containment and employee satisfaction were aligned and pushed the team’s members to share their divisional performance data. The new approach allowed these executives to hold each other accountable for performance and made it impossible to continue avoiding tough conversations about lagging performance and cross-organizational issues. Within two years, the team’s dynamics had improved, along with the company’s financials—to a return on invested capital (ROIC) of 16.6 percent, from –8.8 percent, largely because the team collectively executed its roles more effectively and ensured that the company met its cost control and growth goals.

Each top team is unique, and every CEO will need to address a unique combination of challenges. As the earlier examples show, developing a highly effective top team typically requires good diagnostics, followed by a series of workshops and field work to address the dynamics of the team while it attends to hard business issues. When a CEO gets serious about making sure that her top team’s members are willing and able to help meet the company’s strategic goals, about ensuring that the team always focuses on the right topics, and about managing dynamics, she’s likely to get results. The best top teams will begin to take collective responsibility and to develop the ability to maintain and improve their own effectiveness, creating a lasting performance edge.

Source: McKinsey • Michiel Kruyt, Judy Malan, and Rachel Tuffield

LEADERSHIP 5

Curated by

Trevor Lee

tblee@ep-i.net

@trevorblee

Building the C Suite

A New Contract Between Employees, Customers and Society


 

Capitalism 2.0


Throughout its history, information technology has been on a journey, becoming ever-more integrated with business and society. Consider that employees are no longer just users; they are increasingly ‘double-deep’ skilled in both their particular job functions as well as the relevant IT know-how. Customers are also no longer just consumers. They rely on the web and their own social networks to help themselves and others make better, more informed decisions. Finally, in many organizations, IT has become inseparable from business decision-making, corporate culture, and the larger contract with society.

These shifts in employee empowerment, customer behaviour, management thinking and societal obligations are changing the very nature of work as well as the business practices and social contracts used inside and outside of the firm. The Internet will continue to create many exciting new opportunities in areas such as social networking, mobility and collective intelligence, but it’s also creating new risks and challenges as traditional command and control environments must learn to co-exist with new management models based on communities, participation, and trust.

 

Curated by Trevor Lee

http://www.ep-i.net

@trevorblee

The Firm of the Future


Guest Blog from Professor Jules Goddard, Fellow of the London Business School.

 

future-1

 

The three great challenges facing business today are to create a commercial culture in which capital is more patient, work is more variegated and entrepreneurship is more mainstream

Anyone listening in on the conversations of executives over the last 10 to 20 years cannot help but have noticed that managerialism – the art of getting things done by and through other people – is the main source of frustration, disengagement and under-performance within most organisations. As a 19th century social technology for controlling and coordinating large numbers of relatively unskilled people, managerialism is delivering ever-declining value. We are trying to create wealth in a knowledge economy by relying upon structures and processes designed for the industrial age.

The language of planning and control, of targets and KPIs, of metrics and benchmarks, of efficiency and excellence, of specialisation and standardisation, of jobs and careers betrays a way of thinking that is wholly unsuited to the challenges confronting firms today.

The agenda has moved on. More management is not the answer. Tweaking the managerial model by opting for out-sourcing, de-leveraging, re-engineering, dis-intermediating, off-shoring, and other such administrative processes beloved of consultants, is a classic case of “doorknob polishing” when the stately home has long since fallen into disrepair.

The problems facing business have much less to do with internal systems and processes and much more to do with external or contextual variables, such as the institutions and structures within which companies are expected to perform. The five-day work week, the employment contract, the job description, the office hours mentality, the working time directive, the lifetime career, the long hours culture, the limited liability company, the quarterly reporting cycle, the acquis communitaire, and the regulatory mindset are just a few of the situational factors that contribute to a culture of indecisive management, compliant employees and passive shareholders.

For some time we have been witnessing diminishing returns to management. We need to pioneer alternative organisational models that have the potential to motivate and inspire those coming into the workforce, as well as re-energising those already within it. To borrow a telling phrase from Charles Handy’s most recent book, we need to invent a “second curve” – a new way of working – if we are to attract millennial talent into the world of business and put it to work on behalf of a better world

Three deep-seated structures – or pathologies – are particularly responsible for holding back economic growth in today’s world:

  1. The 5-Day Work week: we spend too many hours in the constrictive environment of the office and too little “out and about”. Our working week is typically too monotonous, too uniform and too “full-on” to lend itself to creativity. What has been called “hurry sickness” is crowding out time better spent on inquiry, reflection, natural conversation and “downtime” generally.
  1. The 5-Week Shareholding: perhaps this should read the “5-Second Shareholding”. It has become a cliché – but none the less true for that –that capital markets are insufficiently patient to serve one of their main purposes, which is to match lenders with borrowers and, in doing so, help direct savings into their most productive uses (even though, shockingly, only about 3% of the assets of British banks are today devoted to this purpose). Short-termism is a rational response to the irrational state of affairs in which the business model that drives the decisions of asset managers conflicts with the interests of the investees, namely, companies and those whose money is invested in them.
  1. The 5-Decade Career: the problem, as Charles Handy said many years ago, is not just unemployment, but also employment. As a legal structure and behavioural context in which individuals may be planning to build their working life in the 21st century, it is too closed, too restrictive and insufficiently developmental to meet their variegated needs.

Increasingly the role of senior management will be to redesign the organizational context in which work is done, rather than to supervise the content of the work itself. Ideally, there will develop a competitive market in employment practices and ownership rights – where, for example, different firms will experiment differently with the length and composition of the work week, the incentives attaching to different classes of shares, and the opportunities for employees to become entrepreneurs in mid-career.

 

Curated by Trevor Lee

http://www.ep-i.net

@trevorblee

Building the C-Suite