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.
culture, example, influencing, leadership, team development
“Differences challenge assumptions” Mohandas Gandhi
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.
cognitive, culture, diversity, influencing, leadership, resilience
“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.
culture, influencing, leadership, listening, team development
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.
culture, foresight, influencing, leadership, planning, team development
Promar is the UK’s largest agricultural and agri-food consultancy, a division of Genus PLC. Promar works with more than 2000 farmers in the UK and overseas, providing advice to maximise profit and fulfil the strategic objectives of the business. Promar also works with commercial and trade organisations and governments globally to manage projects and provide advice to develop ambitious businesses.
Genus and Promar work very closely with Tesco. They manage Tesco’s Future Farmers Foundation (TFFF). This scheme is designed to take farmers who work within Tesco’s supply chain and give them the required skills to deliver more successful businesses whilst serving Tesco’s needs. Part of this year long development program includes leadership and commercial negotiation.
From a start point of business planning and decision making, bridge][ability’s involvement with the TFFF has grown to include commercial negotiation development. This has presented some almost unique challenges for us. First, the agricultural sector was unfamiliar to us and whilst we know that our expertise is applicable across all industries, we did need to develop an understanding of the challenges presented in modern farming. Second, due to the time pressures in place on the TFFF, bridge][ability has been required to deliver impactful and useful material in an unusually short period of time. Our involvement with the TFFF has required us to be highly disciplined in our delivery and has shown us what can be packed into a few short hours.
Although brief, our interactions with the TFFF delegates have led to many of them taking places on our longer programs. As the pressures grow on the UK farming industry, the ability to negotiate a good deal continues to be extremely important.
influencing, international, negotiation, retail, team development, tesco
bridge][ability is closely involved with Manchester Business School in a number of areas. Over the past 3 years our focus has been delivery of negotiation development training on their Advanced Management Achievement Course (AMAC).
The Advanced Management Achievement Course is a 3-week highly specialised programme designed for military officers moving into management and executive careers. Through a mix of taught sessions, in-company visits and guest speakers, attendees develop the confidence and management tools to take the next step into a new and unpredictable commercial environment.
Attendance on the programme also includes the award of the Chartered Management Institute Level 8 in strategy and leadership.
Although the AMAC has been running for several years, it has never addressed directly the subject of commercial negotiation. Further, the attendees on the AMAC, whilst senior in their military roles, have not been exposed to the challenges of negotiation in the commercial world. Our remit was to deliver a short and focussed programme within the AMAC, that would equip the attendee with the knowledge to enter a new career and be commercially effective immediately.
The AMAC provided an almost unique challenge. In the vast majority of situations where bridge][ability is presented with ‘new-comers’ to negotiation, they tend to be junior, either in age or time served within their parent organisations; the AMAC delegates are neither of these things. Their lack of knowledge and experience is a product of the environment in which they have worked.
Our knowledge allowed us to craft an impactful day that would give the attendees the ability to influence their negotiations through a thorough understanding of the nature of any negotiation (and environment), the ability to plan any negotiation and an understanding of the impact of their actions on others. Through the use of video feedback we were able to demonstrate to the attendees how they influence, and are influenced by others, in a negotiation situation. Whilst brief, the sessions we deliver on the AMAC expose attendees to transactional and collaborative negotiations – in short, we give them the all the skills they need to by effective in their new roles.
Our relationship with Manchester Business School continues to thrive.
influencing, management, negotiation, team development
(some) traits of great leaders
what do the people that get it ‘right’, really do? What is it that elevates the good to the great, and sometimes beyond? Having looked at the subject and those who do it, some thoughts follow…
culture, influencing, leadership, team development
good or bad, the example you set will be followed…
even the most sophisticated studies and investigations have yet to make leadership, and its development, more science than art. The four ‘Cs’ – competence, character, creativity, and charisma remain difficult qualities to quantify, let alone cultivate. Growing effective leaders is challenging work.
change, example, influencing, leadership, management
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.
culture, example, influencing, leadership, listening, team development
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.
culture, influencing, leadership, negotiation, planning