I love difficult conversations – said no one ever. But when you’re a leader, difficult conversations are part of the deal. And these days, they’re made even more difficult by the fact that we can’t even have them in person, and pick up on nuances and read each other’s cues. Still, difficult conversations are not
With the Christmas holidays approaching, are you confident that you will be able to take a break without compromising your business? So often we hear stories from people who are taking calls from work almost daily during their holidays and ‘firefighting’ from the beach, the snow or even overseas. The need to recharge is critical
Ken Blanchard, of Situational Leadership and the One Minute Manager fame wrote in his book Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships: Experts have been telling us for years how important positive relationships are and yet we don’t focus much energy or time building them. The reality is, people don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.
“I’ll just do this and then I’ll get started on that.” Procrastination. If it were an Olympic event many of us would be on the podium. There are several reasons why we procrastinate. You find the activity unpleasant and think, “I don’t want to…” You find the activity difficult or too large and think, “I
In a recent conversation with a General Manager, he mentioned that, if he knew there was a significant change coming up for his company, he would organise extra ‘team building’ to help people get through it. His idea of team building was to organise a lawn bowls day, maybe give everyone a free day off and offer them company time to work on the Not for Profit of their choice. He knew that these things didn’t change anything but didn’t understand why.
His mistake is a common one; the idea that, by giving people something, they will feel more positive about work and therefore more able to cope with whatever happens there. If only we were that uncomplicated.
James trained as a builder and worked on large construction projects for years. In his mid-30s, with two young children and a sore back, James decided he needed to change his role. When a Project Management role was advertised within the company he worked for, James applied and was successful. Two years later I caught up with him and he spent an hour telling me how hard his job was. It wasn’t the technical aspects of the role but managing his team, working with his peers and communicating with his bosses.
It is a common story; people (usually men) who no longer want to work ‘on the tools’ in the construction or mining industry put up their hands to be Project Managers. They are given a team and a project and sent forth to prosper. With an increasing number of infrastructure and construction projects getting the green light, the demand for Project and Programme Managers is growing.
There’s a lot to take in when you take on a new leadership role. Whether you are new to the organisation and facing a steep learning curve, or it’s an internal step up and you are navigating new dynamics with your colleagues, it’s important to pause and prepare a plan before jumping in. These are three mistakes we’ve seen made time and again by new leaders – typically three important things that they DON’T do in the rush to establish their new role.
The Board is ultimately responsible for the direction and performance of their organisation. How do you spot a Board that isn’t working at its best?
Stacy Zeiger in the Chron lists 10 indicators that a Board might be dysfunctional. These include hostility, lack of confidentiality, lack of order and respect, dominating or not engaging in conversations, conflicting agendas and a lack of trust. We would argue that lack of trust is what underlies all of the other symptoms. As Stephen Covey has written “Trust is not a soft, social virtue. It’s a hard, economic driver for every organisation.”
Trust is the cornerstone of effective relationships, great work, brilliant teams. When we have trust we have freedom to try new things, to give and receive feedback. Without trust it’s very hard to improve what we do and the way we do it. At Big Goals trust is the core of our business. Our clients trust us with their most precious asset – their people. And we ask them to trust us in the advice, support and direction we give. This mutual trust enables us to achieve great things together. I think we’ve always instinctively known that trust is key, but now we are empirically being told that it is.
Ever wonder why things don’t happen when you have been doing so much? Sometimes busyness is confused with achievement and we continue to do things without realising that we may be missing the mark.
Recently I worked with a client who had been trying to implement a project for over three years. There had been extensive work done on the project and they had frameworks, structures, maps and detailed plans. Yet virtually no one in the business was doing things the new way and one of the senior leadership team had openly declared it was not his problem.