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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Positive Leadership: Essential Aspects of Leadership

General (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal speaks to Stanford Graduate School of Business students about essential aspects of leadership such as trust, purpose, and adaptability. 

"Talent alone doesn't make a great team. You need faith in your colleagues and alignment behind a common goal," shared McChrystal. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Positive Leadership: Managing Change

Most companies wait until a crisis point to launch a transformational initiative. 

However, in today’s environment, companies need to embrace pre-emptive transformation. 

Four types of companies succeed at pre-emptive transformation:

Continuous adapters

These companies continuously evolve their business models by making small changes. McDonald’s, which rode the 1960s baby boom by drawing teenagers into the workforce and harnessed globalisation in the 1970s and 1980s to expand globally, is an example.

Ambidextrous players

A company of this type maintains a balance between exploitation of existing strengths and exploration, even after finding a successful model. For example, digital-technology and chip company Qualcomm uses returns from past successes (e.g. WCDMA) to fuel future ones (e.g. LTE).

Industry shakers

These companies seek to drive industry-level change rather than become victims of it. Amazon, for example, generates razor-thin profits because it continually reinvests in its future, and even in self-disruption (as with the Kindle in 2007).

Portfolio shifters

These companies run a portfolio of businesses and actively adjust their emphasis over time. 3M, for example, has more than 35 business units divided among 6 reporting segments, and its strategic acquisitions and divestments reflect the evolving demand landscape.

Successful pre-emptive transformers share several key traits:

 External orientation
 Long-term perspective
 Ambidexterity
 Adaptiveness
 A disruptive mentality
 Healthy paranoia
 Resource fluidity
 Constant focus on simplicity

Leaders today need to engage in continuous pre-emptive renewal. They need to look beyond short-term financial performance, watch for potential disruptions and shifts and then pre-emptively address them.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Positive Leadership: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Moving beyond our comfort zone is how we can best learn and grow.

To develop the courage to take a leap, and the skill and ability to actually pull it off:

Understand what’s in it for you to motivate yourself. Brainstorm how working on this tough behaviour — networking, perhaps, or public speaking — can advance your career or help you reach other goals.

Then, customise a plan to take control of a situation instead of being overwhelmed by it. If, for example, you’re an introvert who dreads networking events, instead of feeling pressured to meet everyone, focus on a few people and actually try to get to know them, or aim to make initial contacts with the goal of following up in a more comfortable setting.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Positive Leadership: Wholeheartedness

BrenĂ© Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She poses the questions:
How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognise that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Positive Leadership: 3 Steps to Positive Leadership

Improving the positive ratio of your own team can be as simple as making some important changes to your own leadership approaches:

1. Listen and show empathy: Without trust that flows from these, your people cannot develop a stable base at work so they feel comfortable to explore and take risks with their thinking. Most of your people are paid to think, so get on and create conditions for that to happen.

2. What they learn over what they earn: Making your employees feel heard and understood can actually improve their physical health as well as their mental well-being. Giving people ownership is key. Simply listening to your employees helps them to offload their negative feelings and release tension. Carrying around anxiety or frustration can hinder an employee’s performance, so try to tap into how they are feeling on a regular basis. 

3. Work with the person, not the problem: Our sense of engagement and satisfaction at work results in a large part from the hundreds and hundreds of daily interactions we have while there, whether with a boss, colleagues or clients. Culture at work and how well people get along is a key point of talent attraction. Cultures flow down, not up and in big heavily matrixed firms, positive chemistry among team members could make a big difference to your overall company culture.