The importance of the first line leader

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I was at a lecture that Tom Peters gave at the Cass Executive Leadership Masterclass in 2015. Here are some of the things he said about the importance of first line leaders.pexels-photo-29642

‘If the regimental commander lost most of his 2nd lieutenants and 1st lieutenants and captains and majors, it would be a tragedy. If he lost his sergeants it would be a catastrophe. The Army and the Navy are fully aware that success on the battlefield is dependent to an extraordinary degree on the Sergeants and Chief Petty Officers. Does industry have the same awareness?’ Continue reading

A method to approach the ‘human side’ of change management

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‘Leading change in large organisations is hard work and offers little instant pexels-photo-109919

Notwithstanding all the process and systems changes that have to be implemented to the finest level of detail, it’s the human side – or the human resistance side – that can be the biggest hurdle.

The results can be frustrating.

What about the systems upgrade project that takes months and months to deliver and is finally declared a success only for managers in finance still to be using spreadsheets to do month end – because that’s the way it’s always been done? Or the introduction of the new Human Resources system that leave staff disillusioned and lost because they don’t feel as if they were consulted and are poorly trained when go-live comes along?

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A simple framework to develop leaders

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We have written a number of blogs recently on the difficulties that organisations have in pexels-photo-194094implementing successful leadership development strategies. The sad fact is that organisations continue to struggle with all forms of leadership development (see for example Deloitte’s ‘Survey of Human Capital Trends 2015’).

Here is a simple framework based on the work by John Adair in his book ‘How to Grow Leaders.’ Continue reading

A practical way to improve leadership in your organisation

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startup-photos-1W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne describe the extent of widespread employee disengagement in an article in the May edition of the ‘Harvard Business Review.’ They quote a study by Gallup (2015- ‘State of the American Workplace’) showing 50% of employees merely put their time in at work and 20% actually act in a counterproductive way; negatively influencing their colleagues or providing a poor level of customer service. Research on this topic has found similar results at regular intervals. Continue reading

The accidental manager

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Developing leaders remains a major issue. bow-tie-businessman-fashion-man

A recent survey by Deloittes (Global Human Capital Trends 2015) finds that:

  • Organizations around the world are struggling to strengthen their leadership pipelines, yet over the past year businesses fell further behind, particularly in their ability to develop Millennial leaders.
  • Eighty-six percent of all surveyed HR and business leaders cite leadership as one of their most important challenges.
  • A focus on leadership at all levels, coupled with consistent year-over-year spending in this area, is key to building sustainable performance and engaging employees in the new world of work.

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Practical ways to develop leaders – introduction

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Despite research showing that succession is an essential part of strategic planning, many pexels-photo-58457companies ignore leadership development to focus on more immediate challenges. But your organization’s future success depends on identifying and developing the next generation of its leaders. (Harrsion Monarth, ‘Evaluate Your Leadership Development Programme’ Harvard Business Review January 2015).

Developing leaders in any organisation remains a major challenge and has done for many years even though attitudes towards work are changing.

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Jeffrey Arnett asks ‘What really motivates workers in their 20s?’ Quoting research by the Clark University Poll of Emerging Adults, Arnett observes that young people see the need to develop expertise in their job, which often means doing the lower-level work for a while. Asked what they would do if they were in a boring job, 78% agreed that ‘I would be patient and try to move up within the company.’ (Jeffrey Arnett ‘What Really Motivates Workers in their 20s?’ Harvard Business Review August 2015). Continue reading

Why don’t they teach sales at university?

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Why don’t they teach sales at university?

It seems odd that sales doesn’t appear in the course outlines for leading MBAs. Likewise, first degrees offered by universities across the country give budding sales graduates few options.pexels-photo-95425

It’s clearly unfair; near neighbours – marketing, operations, business administration, psychology and finance – appear in abundance.

Marketing students, in particular, are very well catered for; they have applied marketing, business and marketing, marketing for small businesses and the very attractive sounding marketing and social media.

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Why the customer self-service revolution is stalling

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pexels-photoIn 2010 I was asked to speak at a meeting in Cambridge on customer service. The audience consisted of 50 or so retired bank managers who met quarterly to debate business topics.

The first two speakers earned hearty applause by ripping to shreds the standard of customer service in the ‘modern age.’ One kept the audience highly amused by recollecting the trials and tribulations customers faced when dealing with a local authority in South London. I have to admit it was a brilliant line of attack; describing the Herculean effort tenants had to make to get a rent refund or council tax error corrected. It was also a surprising approach given he’d been Customer Operations Director at the council for the previous fifteen months.

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Growing leaders – masterclass

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copy-800px-coach_ross_lyon_addresses_team_st_kilda_fc_011 Many people in the contact centre industry say that having effective team leaders is one of the most important factors of a successful operation. However, the amount of time that organisations spend developing people in these roles, particularly when they are first appointed, varies greatly in practice.

In organisations where team leader development is given a low priority, there can be many detrimental impacts on performance. By referring to the work of John Adair, a leading authority on leadership and leadership development, this (longer) blog discusses the potential impacts of a lack of focus on team leader development in many contact centres. It then examines seven principles that can be used to guide senior managers who wish to review the team leader development structures they have in place in their own contact centres. Continue reading

The monthly business review meeting

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pexels-photo-57825‘In meetings in which people truly value each other’s thinking and….truly listen…strategies get formed better, budgets get set better and…the quality of work gets to shine.’ ( Nancy Kline ‘More Time to Think’).

I attended a Business Review meeting. It’s a monthly event. There are lots of slides covering aspects of the business – contact centre, complaints, finance, collections, outbound sales and processing. The meeting takes three hours with each department head given their turn. Continue reading