Tag Archives: Collaboration

Surviving the Age of Disruption

At the April CEOtoCEO Breakfast the discussion focused on how to lead during a time of wide spread disruption. Disruption within the business community has also created anxiety for many CEOs. According to its 2015 survey, IBM

John Buller

found that 54 percent of CEOs expect to contend with competition from outside their industries — rising from 43 percent in 2013.

CEO speaker John Buller of Loyalty Solutions posed the the following CEO round table discussion:

What are the most important changes that a company in your industry should make to thrive these disruptions?

The CEO’s discussion led to 5 leadership strategies to survive and thrive during periods of disruption

1. Having the right Organizational Culture

The culture needs to be built to allow change, with all of the voices from all levels of the organization participating.

Some comments were:

  • Create a culture that embraces change –find the right people to champion this change
  • Work with the willing – hire people that are willing to change
  • Build a Culture of Engagement (creating internal buy-in, bottom-up information flow, adaptability)
  • Make sure senior management is aligned and become promoters of change

2. Redefine your corporate strategies

The change from incremental improvement to a culture that is flexible to make change, needs to become your organizational strategy.

Some comments were:

  • Create an education effort around organizational change ‘How do we change?’
  • Purposeful/and deliberate plan for the future – ‘Create a process’.
  • Self-awareness – listening to changes – being able to be wrong.
  • Make sure you have a capital investment plan to be able to adjust to the disruption expense issues.

3. Identify organization change agents

The organizations needs to have change agents at all levels of the organization.

Some comments were:

  • Identify leaders that can champion change, find them at all levels of the organization.
  • Find the best communicators in your organization ,empower them to communicate like crazy
  • Coach up –Show you can adapt and support the change.

4. Embrace Technology Changes

In most cases the disruption will involve new technology and applications embrace the change.

Some comments were.

  • Have capital set aside to buy and train the technology change.
  • Educate your customers – expect they will need to be trained

5. Understanding Generational Differences

There is a definite difference in the skill level and motivation between the 3 generations now working in these organizations.

Some comments were:

  • The makeup of your organizational generations will have a significant impact on how you define and react to disruption.
  • Define and identify your next generations of leaders.
  • Focus on your company’s demographic – understand the differences

A Forgotten Art and Component of Effective Leadership…Listening

hand draws the big idea

When people say the word “Leadership” there are lots of things that come to mind. Usually the comments center on someone who is strong, in control, good communicator, decision maker, and knowledgeable. While these are unquestionably important, there is one skill that truly differentiates the best leaders from average leaders…their ability to LISTEN.

Listening in many ways is a lost art today. Everyone has lots to say and most aren’t afraid of telling us what they think. And add into the mix the Tsunami of Social Media adoption by leaders today and you have exponentially increased the volume of content leaders have to say. So with all this talking, who has time to listen? Great leaders…that’s who.

I saw an article that was simple, yet quite impactful on 5 benefits to why the best leaders listen. The article was in Enterprise NK and I wanted to share with you what they have found to be 5 areas any leader can incorporate that will help them be a better listener. But they did it in a way that is all about how it can “benefit” the new or existing leader today. The article, “Leadership – 5 Benefits of Listening,” focuses on why this is something every leader needs more of today.

Here are their 5 Benefits as to why this can help you as a leader…

  1. You Discover Things – When leaders are simply walking around their organizations and interacting with employees in all areas of the company, if they stop talking long enough they will probably discover things they are doing as a company they didn’t even realize.
  2. You Take Better Decisions – When I first saw this I thought it was a type and the word should be “make” instead. But the way they explain it makes total sense. When you listen, you get a wider range of options presented and discussed and as such you can “take” the best decisions from the group…makes total sense now.
  3. You Gain Respect – This plays completely on the value employees place on being able to have someone of importance actually listen to what they are saying. They feel more appreciated and recognized just by the simple fact you listened instead of spewed some information.
  4. You Find Out More – This one is pretty obvious and similar to #1 other than it’s an opportunity to get more depth of what is going on in a certain area to help you make better decisions in the future with better and deeper information.
  5. You Uncover Opportunities – This is probably the culmination of the all of the above…you see things you may never have seen before and with the bright and creative mind you have as a leader, you can “translate” them into potential opportunities you may never have thought of before now.

There you have it…how many of these are you, as a leader, doing today? How many can you personally improve in? How many can your team improve in to make a stronger leadership team in your company? Maybe these could be a discussion in your next leadership team meeting…providing that the team is willing to “listen” to these ideas about listening!

Millennials…One Thing They Want More of in Their Culture

Manage Key Showing Leadership Management And SupervisionThere is a lot of talk about what Millennials want and don’t want in the workplace. While there might be a lot of aspects people don’t agree on, one that Harvard Business Review found most do agree on is the need for FEEDBACK and COACHING in the workplace.

In a recent article, “Millennials want to be Coached at Work,” Millennials shared what they appreciate and found valuable as part of the culture of the organization. They crave — and respond to — a good, positive coach, who can make all the difference in their success. They conducted a survey of 1400 Millennials and they told them they wanted more feedback…not less…from their managers. In fact, they want it 50% more of the time than other employees. However, only 46% thought they got enough feedback from their managers.

There was a great quote that summed up how most Millennials felt about feedback and coaching…

“I would like to move ahead in my career. And to do that, it’s very important to be in touch with my manager, constantly getting coaching and feedback from him so that I can be more efficient and proficient.”

There were 3 things that they told Harvard they wanted from a manager…

  1. Inspire me…Most Millennials like to work for causes and people rather than companies and institutions. As such, they want to have managers inspire them with their leadership and motivation. They clearly have demonstrated more of a need for praise than most other generations. In their analysis, there were four traits of inspiring leaders…
    1. Providing a Vision
    2. Enhancing Relationships
    3. Driving Results
    4. Serving as a principle role model
  2. Surround me with Great People…the audience of Millennials constantly told them, “Help me up my game by working with people who are talented and better than I am (now).” The job of a manager is to coach a new person while they are most fragile, rather than fostering a sink-or-swim environment. Putting them in groups and surrounding them with people that are better than themselves is a positive in their opinion. They see it as a way to grow rather than a super competitive environment.
  3. Be Authentic…they want to hear about both the successes and failures of their managers so they know they are real and authentic. The best coaches and managers are the ones that aren’t intimidated by their past defeats but can use them to help their team grow. Millennials love this approach and want managers who are willing to share this without intimidation or insecurity.

When managers and coaches use these techniques they find far more engagement and loyalty from their Millennial employees. Find a team of managers that can deliver these elements in their style and establish a culture of inspiration and motivation and you will win them over.

15 Traits of a Terrible Leader…from Their Employees

leadership skill conceptThere are lots of lists and do’s and don’t’s about “Leadership” from Leadership experts…but what about from their employees? So when I saw this article by Success.com it made me think about it a bit more and some of the insights were quite thought provoking.

The article, “15 Traits of a Terrible Leader” was sharing feedback from the YEC (Young Entrepreneurs Council) from different members. I thought it was a list worth sharing and discussing with your leadership team to see how well you would grade yourself and your team in these areas. In a time where more and more companies are hiring Millenials and others, this is a perspective we could all use…

  1. Lack of Transparency
  2. Not Listening
  3. Dismissing Ideas other than your own
  4. Valuing Experience over Potential
  5. Ego
  6. Working 24/7
  7. Lack of Empathy
  8. Forgetting about Leadership Development
  9. Being Overly Conservative
  10. Permitting Negative Gossip
  11. Poor Communication Strategy
  12. Closed-Mindedness
  13. Assigning Blame
  14. Inconsistency
  15. Being too Slow to Adapt

You can agree or disagree with this list, but either way, I think there is value in discussing each of these to see how you, as the leader of the organization, believe you are doing in these different areas. You may choose to dismiss some based on your business but I believe this is a worthwhile group exercise to have a lively debate among your leadership team. But as I tell the CEOs/Business Owners I work with all the time, the value is in the “Process of doing” as much or more than the actual outcome. Meaning, you might not change everything, but having a healthy discussion about where you stand and “why” in each area has tremendous value.

I believe it is also valuable to “assign a score” to each item on the list. A “current score” and a “desired score.” This means you might only have a desired score of a 5 in one category and a 10 in another category (on a scale of 1 – 10) but it is how well you think you and your leadership are doing that really matters. Look at the gaps…this is a classic “gap analysis” of where you want to be and where you are. Wherever there is a big gap, schedule a time in your next management meeting to discuss “Why” and this will make for a great…and helpful…discussion.

Best Business Books of 2014?

strategy + business logoIt’s that time of year where we all talk about books that we read this past year and which ones stood out in our minds. These lists will start pouring in over the next couple of months. I will share some of these with you along the way. But to give you an early start, here are the top Business Books for 2014 as put together by Strategy+Business. Let us know if you have read any of these and what you thought…good or bad…it will help the rest of us that haven’t read them get a better idea if it is worth our time our not. Here’s the list…by topical category…

Business Strategy

Marketing

Executive Self-Improvement

Organizational Culture

Innovation

Sustainability

Economics

So if you were looking for things to fill your time during the holiday season, this should solve that problem. Enjoy…and let me know what you think of these books or if you have some of your own you would like to add to the list. If you have read a book and want to give our readers a brief summary, please e-mail me (Blaine Millet) and I would be happy to put your review up as a blog post.

Jack Welch got it Right…even for Customers

There is a famous quote I always loved from Jack Welch, famous CEO from General Electric. He said, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, then the end is near.” Today the rate of change is eclipsing most organizations and they can’t keep up. Competition is… Continue Reading

John Schneider’s Partnership with Pete Carroll

We had the opportunity back in the fall to have John Schneider, General Manager of the (SuperBowl bound) Seattle Seahawks speak to us at one of our CEOtoCEO breakfast meetings. What a treat…both from John being very entertaining with his dry sense of humor but the insights he shared with us about the Seahawks organization.… Continue Reading

Innovation Teams coming together…

Over the past several months we have been talking with a variety of companies and executives about how they are creating innovative environments and innovative cultures in their organizations.  While we have heard some great success stories, we have also heard many tales of concern about how to build an “innovative organization and  culture”. This… Continue Reading

Innovation is “Hot Topic” for everyone

We had the privilege of having David Allen, Executive Vice President of McKinstry speak to our packed house of CEOs last week and as usual, it was both entertaining and insightful. There were many highlights, which we will continue to share in subsequent blog posts, that focused on real world examples of how McKinstry is… Continue Reading

CEOtoCEO provides helpful advice from peer leaders

Jeanne Wintz of Gilmore Research Group is a regular at the CEOtoCEO BreakfastCEOtoCEO Breakfast in large part because of the valued input she gives and receives from other participating business leaders. A few months back Jeanne arrived at a  with a heavy heart and looking for advise and support from other business leaders. After a rigorous budgeting process… Continue Reading