My first boss said those words to me on the fifth day in the job.It was great advice and has remained with me ever since; I refer to him and fall back on those 3 words a couple of times a week.Had he still been with us he would have been greatly interested in the way things are unfolding in Eastern Europe and in particular Ukraine.Doubtless he would have been returning to his mantra on a daily basis.Of course, saying ‘expect the unexpected’ is one thing, it’s what you do about it that matters.
As the title of the song by The Stranglers puts it, “Everybody loves You When You’re Dead”.I think there’s something in that.Certainly artists of all types and their work, gather momentum post mortem; we frequently hear anecdotes about playwrights and painters who were penniless during their lifetimes, yet their works sell for millions one they’ve gone.Interestingly, the next line of the song goes..“you’ll finally be appreciated”.Strange, but somehow true.
Striving to increase workplace diversity is a very good business decision. In a global analysis of over 2,000 companies, those with at least one female board member outperformed those that did not have any women on the board. In recent years a body of research has revealed another, more nuanced benefit of workplace diversity: non-homogenous teams are simply more effective. Working with people who are different from you will challenge you (your brain) to overcome its stale ways of thinking and sharpen its performance.
“Foresight is not about predicting the future, it’s about minimising surprise”
For years, we’ve talked about great leaders having a clear, positive, compelling vision of their team or organisation’s future. A good analogy for a vision is building a Lego model. Before you even begin to organise and assemble the small plastic pieces that are inside the box, you’ll see, very clearly, the final outcome displayed on the external part of the packaging, indeed the more complex models come with a fully illustrated assembly booklet. That’s your vision; the outcome that you’re striving to create.
When considering great leaders one only has to think of such people as Ghandi, Churchill and Boadicea. It would be nice to think that we all have something of the ‘right stuff’ to make a difference in our worlds.There is a good chance that you already have some of the right stuff or at least understand how its application might just make your job slightly easier.Honing these skills and learning how others did and still do lead will further enhance your ability to get it right and be successful in your chosen field.
a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualitiesor achievements.
due regard for the feelings, wishes or rights of others.
The word ‘respect’ is complex, offering as can be seen above, a variety of meanings depending on the context in which it is used and even the age group applying it – it is simultaneously both verb and noun.
When you’re a leader, regardless of how long you’ve been in the role or how difficult it was to get there, you are merely ‘overhead’ or ‘in charge’ unless you’re bringing out the best in your employees by being an integral part of the team – unfortunately, many leaders lose sight of this.
As a wise friend of mine once said… “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason!”
Leadership frequently conjures images of someone speaking in front of the podium, or at the very least, in front of their team. It is easy to see why this image abounds however, leadership does not to be about talking others to death.
Founded in the 1980s, Ledger Bennett is a UK based marketing business. Amongst its clients, Ledger Bennett lists Microsoft, LinkedIn, Vodafone and British Gas. We were introduced to Ledger Bennett in August 2017. Initially they wanted to make use of our leadership expertise.
Ledger Bennett had experienced steady growth until 18 months ago when the business won some very large accounts and needed to take on more staff. The increase in work load, turnover and recruiting continued throughout 2016 and into 2017. During the summer of 2017, the board recognised that the business was outgrowing itself – a number of large mistakes had been made that would not have happened had the business not grown so rapidly. In short, it was still behaving like a small family concern when it should have been acting more maturely. We were asked to examine the business’s culture and values, with a view to recommending what they should be and how they should be carried forward.
Having been involved with similar projects before, we were well aware that telling people what their culture and values are, or should be, is normally counter productive. Values and culture that are identified at the grass roots and nurtured within the organisation are more likely to gain traction. With this in mind we set about getting the Ledger Bennett staff to tell us what they thought. Over a number of workshop sessions and one on one interviews, we generated a detailed insight into the business’s values and culture. This work culminated with a detailed report recommending what Ledger Bennett could adapt as its values and culture.
When our input was complete we recommended that their value was integrity and their cultural anchors were proactivity, collaboration and pride.
Ledger Bennett have adopted our recommendations in full. The organisation is now more cohesive and able to deal with the rigours placed upon it by operating globally and servicing some of the largest businesses in the world. At the core of their successful development is a belief that the senior leadership team will listen to everyone in the business and take their views into consideration when planning their next move. The senior leadership team decided that the value and cultural anchors should not be something that was printed and stuck to the wall, more they should be facets of everyday life within the business and form part of ‘the Ledger Bennett way’.
The Follow Up
The business was not finished there. Seeing the value derived from listening to their staff, the board decided to invite bridge][ability to produce a staff development program for implementation throughout 2018. This program will accommodate everyone within the business, on both sides of the Atlantic and will cover leadership, commercial negotiation, team building and line management.
At the heart of this development program is a deep seated desire to get the best from their people by investing in them and drawing upon their expertise.
Simple? Yes, but many organisations would run away from what Ledger Bennett is embracing.