Clarity is the single greatest asset a leader can bring to their organisation. Clarity aligns action, it acts as a conduit for analysis, catalysing the latent potential of individuals and teams throughout the organisation. Usefully, it also inspires the trust and confidence of external stakeholders. Humans willingly follow a leader whom they trust. Therefore leaders who are able to proffer simple, straightforward plans, strategies and solutions, are likely to be followed willingly and to be produce outstanding results
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.
“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.
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.
Samworth Brothers is a Leicestershire based food manufacturer, the owner of Cornish Pasty maker Ginsters, and the largest maker of certified Melton Mowbray Pork Pies. It is currently listed at number four in The Times Top Track 250.
As one of the largest food manufacturers in the UK, Samworth Brothers provides for a very interesting case study.As with so many of our clients, their challenges stemmed from changes in the retail environment and pressures within their supply chain.Samworth Brothers sought our support in order that they could generate greater revenue from their commercial interactions and maximise the outcomes of their strategic relationships.
After detailed research, the solution we proposed and subsequently executed, involved a very broad cross section of the business.Thus far we have had the pleasure of working with Samworth Brothers staff who are involved in sales, procurement and the financial side of the business.We have also dealt with a wide range of seniority.
We have delivered a number of 1 and 2.5 day programs to the Samworth Brothers team.The programs have been a mix of in-house and ‘open’ sessions as the business has realised the benefits of both.We are able to deliver a sector specific offering when working in-house, whereas our open programs are available to anyone who wishes to join us; as Samworth Brothers has realised the great benefit of the latter is the chance to experience other delegate’s (and therefore other sector’s) commercial challenges and solutions.
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.
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.