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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Gavin Hastings joins the Board of Positive Leadership Limited

We are delighted to announce that Gavin Hastings OBE has agreed to join the Board of Positive Leadership Limited in an executive capacity.

Gavin brings his direct experience of leading successful teams at the highest level of world rugby, as well as his business expertise in the sports marketing and event management arenas, to the advisory and consulting work of Positive Leadership.

The vision of Positive Leadership - to help leaders excel under pressure - is communicated by drawing extensively on lessons from the elite sporting environment. As such, Gavin will play a significant role in assisting our domestic and international clients, in both the business and sporting worlds.

Gavin was previously the all time record points scorer for Scotland. He won 61 caps for his country, captaining the national team 20 times. He captained The British & Irish Lions during the 1993 tour to New Zealand. He also captained Cambridge University in the 1985 Varsity match. He was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2003.

Lions coach, Ian McGeechan said of Gavin; ‘...his greatest asset was to engender confidence in those around him and to lead by example when the opposition had to be taken on.’

Positive Leadership's advisory and consulting services include: leadership advice in the areas of business strategy, M&A, capital raising, talent development and performing under pressure; and leadership consulting in the areas of coaching, mentoring, executive education, training and keynote speaking.

Brett Favre's Lessons on Leadership

Brett Favre is a 40 year old American football quarterback who now plays for the Minnesota Vikings. He was the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers between 1992 and 2007 and for the New York Jets in 2008.

He became the Packers' starting quarterback in the fourth game of the 1992 season, starting every game from then until his retirement in 2008. In 2008, Favre came out of retirement, was traded to the New York Jets, and continued his consecutive start streak. On February 11, 2009, Favre told the New York Jets that he was again retiring. He came out of retirement for the second time and signed with the Minnesota Vikings on August 18, 2009. This year, the Vikings are 7-1.

Favre is the only player to win the AP Most Valuable Player three consecutive times (1995–97). He led the Packers to two Super Bowl appearances, winning one (Super Bowl XXXI).

He holds many NFL records including: most career touchdown passes, most career passing yards, most career pass completions, most career pass attempts, most career interceptions thrown, most consecutive starts, and most career victories as a starting quarterback.

When asked about how he defines leadership, he says:

“It’s somehow getting 52 other guys to raise their level of play. To get them to believe in what we’re trying to do. You do that by setting an example, by doing things the right way. I’ve always shown up, I’ve always been prepared, I practice every day. I practice hard. I study. No matter what happens on the field, I never point blame at anybody else. Everything I do comes back to leadership, the example I want to set.”

The Means of Expression are the Steps to Leadership

According to US scholar, Warren Bennis, who is widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of leadership studies, the means of expression are the steps to leadership. In other words, it all begins with reflecting on your successes and failures and building from there:

1. Reflection leading to resolution.

2. Resolution leading to perspective.

3. Perspective leading to point of view.

4. Point of view leading to tests and measures.

5. Tests and measures leading to desire.

6. Desire leading to mastery.

7. Mastery leading to strategic thinking.

8. Strategic thinking leading to full self-expression.

9. The synthesis of full self-expression = leadership.

Leaders Must Take Risks

The act and practice of leadership is a risky undertaking. Leadership is the act of bringing about positive change. This requires leaders to initiate, to blaze new trails, to venture into the unknown and unexplored terrain. All of this entails risk. Kouzes and Posner in their bestselling book, The Leadership Challenge (JB Leadership Challenge: Kouzes/Posner) describe it this way:

“Leaders are pioneers – people who are willing to step out into the unknown. They are people who are willing to take risks, to innovate and experiment in order to find new and better ways of doing things.”

Leaders take these risk because they have a vision, they see a future and a new world that inspires action and makes the risk worthwhile. Leaders are pioneers… not settlers. Great leaders take risk. They push past the edge of their current reality. Striving to bring their vision into today. How about you?
  • Are you a pioneer or a settler?
  • Are you taking the necessary risks to find better ways of doing things?


Working with Top Performers to Improve the Team

While LeBron James is a superstar in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ organisation, everyone can think of a standout employee in their own business. The question is, as a manager, how do you coach and work with this player to make him or her better?

Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry offers his advice about how to coach your best to be better:

“My thought of how we coach the best is, for example with LeBron, being honest with him — whether he had a good game or bad game — being compassionate and trying to do things right, night in and night out,” Ferry says.

It’s important to treat your standout just like the others on the team, and that message should also be communicated to that person.

“...this is something that (Cavaliers Head Coach Mike Brown) talked to LeBron [about] — ‘You’re going to have to allow me to be hard on you, and you have to allow me to coach you because everybody else is looking,’” Ferry says. “You have to have that level of trust and communication with your star player and say, ‘I’m going to get on you, and I’m not always going to be right, but it’s important for our culture and important for our team to see that I’m willing to jump your butt more than anybody else.’”

Doing this shows the rest of your employees that you recognise the top performer isn’t perfect. For example, during Cavs film sessions, Ferry says that while the staff uses all of the players’ mistakes, James’ are on there more than anyone else’s.

It’s also crucial that you don’t elevate a bad apple to stardom. “Ultimately, your superstar has to have character for it to really work,” Ferry says. “That person having solid character is hugely important to the potential success for the whole organisation. With solid character, the rest of your organisation will try to emulate that behaviour.

While it’s important to build up your best person, you also have to be careful of depending on them too much, which is something that, like all managers, Brown has had to work at with his team.

“It’s hard because [James] is such a good player,” Ferry says. “We want to say, ‘Hey, here’s the ball, OK?’ and he can make things happen, but staying with it and putting him more on the back end has been one of Mike’s focuses, and the offense has moved better.”

On top of that, Ferry says the team has done better this past year at playing well when James is out than it has in the past, which wouldn’t have happened if Brown focused only on James.

“It’s a balance, and Mike Brown has to have the credibility to say, ‘Hey, I’m putting us in the best position to win,’” Ferry says.

As the leader, it’s important to utilise your best people to leverage the team, but it’s also important to explain why your star was or wasn’t placed on a project. Doing this fosters trust and builds stronger communication between manager and employee, and Ferry says Brown does this with his players.

“He’s very honest and open upfront, ‘This is going on, this is going on — I’m going to play you, but this is what I expect, or I’m not going to play you because of these issues,’” Ferry says. “If you communicate afterward, it makes it more challenging because there isn’t as much trust.”

Balancing all of this with everything else you have to worry about as a manager can seem tough, but Ferry boils it down to the fundamentals.

“Whatever it is, you have to win people over with honesty, caring and character, and you have to be consistent — and doing those things consistently.”

What is the key to building a successful corporate culture?

Ritz-Carlton has become a leading brand in luxury lodging by rigorously adhering to its own standards. Its unique culture starts with a motto: "We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen." One of its remarkable policies is to permit every employee to spend up to $2,000 making any single guest satisfied.

Here is what Simon Cooper, who has led Ritz-Carlton for the past eight years, says about building corporate culture:

'A culture is built on trust. And if leadership doesn't live the values that it requires of the organisation, that is the swiftest way to undermine the culture. No culture sticks if it's not lived at the highest levels of the organisation. It takes an extraordinarily long time to build a culture.'

For more, see - http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/30/simon-cooper-ritz-leadership-ceonetwork-hotels.html

Leadership is like conducting an orchestra

What does a young debut conductor need to know as she steps up on to the podium, looking out at all those expectant, demanding faces? It seems that a maestro and an executive face very similar challenges and that what helps on the podium can help in the corner office.

• Have a clear and vibrant vision for your people's success

Leaders who have not yet done the hard work of imagining a best-case scenario for their organisations will inevitably default to leading through correction and criticism. But when your highest priority is developing the right goals and strategy, you will spend most of your time inspiring people about them and guiding them towards successful achievement.

• Listen carefully to your people

A maestro listens "microscopically" to the orchestra. She uses the special perspective of her podium to take in both the big picture and the relevant details. In her imagination she juxtaposes the reality of the orchestra's playing with her best-case vision of how they might sound. Subtracting one from the other shows the crucial gap she needs to narrow or even eliminate. Armed with this knowledge she can focus the organisation's attention on those few crucial points.

• Translate your agenda into directions that can easily be understood and executed by the players

It is a major accomplishment to devise the right goals, but that is no guarantee they will be achieved. Only your workforce can accomplish that, and the leader and the worker will have vastly different understandings of the vision. The leader's understanding is based on the pressing strategic needs, as seen from the podium. The worker's view is shaped by the chair he occupies, where the big-picture view of the organisation is very much in the distant background. So the leader needs to translate the vision so that it makes sense from every chair. The workforce cannot act effectively until the leader expresses directions and assignments in the language they understand.

• It's not about you. It's about how the orchestra sounds under your direction.

It's very easy for a conductor to personalise the orchestra's behaviour and see it as reflection on him or his abilities. But the orchestra is not nearly so concerned with what a conductor does or says as they are with how they sound. Therefore sharpen your focus on simply getting the best results, and don't get distracted by interpersonal dynamics.

For more, see - http://views.washingtonpost.com/leadership/guestinsights/2009/10/leadership-secrets-from-a-maestro.html