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Archive for October, 2011

How You Can Get Sacked 1# Low Impulse Control

True Story (names changed). Rachel was so frustrated with her colleagues in the meeting. It had been boiling inside her for weeks now. Ineffectual meetings, lack of honesty, no decisions, no accountability and putting a positive spin on lots of bad news.

She couldn’t stop herself: “You are just pissing around here with bosses who won’t make decisions and are too bussing covering their arses and protecting bonuses and pensions!” She wasn’t finished yet and went on to a stunned audience “when are you going to think about your own staff and even more the public we are meant to be serving?”

There – she had said it. It felt really good. For a few seconds. Everyone was silent; you could have cut the air with a knife. She slammed her papers from countless futile meetings on the desk, got up and left the meeting.

Naturally there were repercussions. “Managers here don’t speak like that” her HR Manager told her. Then added with a wink “Well said! We didn’t have the courage to ever say that.”.

What learning do you take from that live situation?
For me I take this away:

1. Manage your impulse control (an aspect of Emotional Intelligence which is measurable and can be enhanced). Manage your frustration – it can cost you your job.

2. Relationships between people are everything – often underinvested, so I recommend you spend more time on them.

3. Don’t let things build up – do something about the ineffectual meetings and get a team facilitator in to teach you good meeting discipline and skills.

4. Choose what to say and who to say it with. Have private one to one meetings and use the techniques of “non violent communication” NVC.

PS Rachel survived in that organisation with a written and verbal warning on her file and was inches away from being sacked. However her relationships are seriously damaged. She refused to attend any more of those meetings.

Good luck being authentic without getting sacked!

Warm regards Jonathan

Good luck

Have You Forgotten People Risk?

Your teams are frantically managing risk in a deepening recession.
They review economic risk, financial risk and commercial risk. But what about People Risk?

What are you really doing to mitigate the risk of “executive derailment”, of key managers leaving through your own contentious leadership? What is the risk of destructive conflict in the leadership team and the opposite – everyone being nice and not making key decisions?

Have you conducted psychometric reviews and team coaching of your leadership team members? It would save you and mitigate the risk of their “dark side” bringing the team and your business down.

Ignore that risk at your own cost. You will be following some famous CEO names like Dick Fuld in Leeman Brothers and Sir Fred (the Shred) Goodwin in RBS.

I wish you a high risk, yet exciting life
Warm regards Jonathan

More or Less of a leader?

“A great leader takes more than their share of the blame and less than their share of the credit.”

Now that wise addidge can be hard to follow!

I can remember, with toe curling embarrassment, the times when I tried to take more than my share of credit, as I grew up as a leader. Can you recal your own transgressions? What drove such unhealthy behaviour? What lured us to do that – feeling we were not good enough, needed to pump ourselves up perhaps?

As for avoiding the blame…… Back to childhood and sloping shoulders. “It wasnt me – they did it!” you may have said.

Maturity as a leader means we are not always proving ourselves, but rather encouraging others to grow in a safe low-blame environment. Then as neuroscience now teaches us, we all become innovative and successful.

I encourage you to go out and practice living this motto – it changes lives and business success.

Warm regards Jonathan

Great Speaking Tips 3# Interact & Connect

It is all about you – not me. If a speaker makes their talk all about them, they miss the point and they fail to connect with you. Your ability to build rapport is the most vital skill you can acquire as a speaker.

Exciting research work on neuroscience by Professor Paul Brown (he makes the unfathomable crystal clear) is fascinating and has many tips for you. Building a sense of limbic resonance and safety opens others minds to your ideas. Safety, connection and interaction will be your success criteria.

So how do you do it? Within 30 seconds of hearing a speaker you need to be thinking “me too!” Within 5 minutes you need to be interacting with the speaker, or a partner in audience. We are social animals – make sure you connect and interact to inspire your audience.

Good luck
Warm regards

How Will They Remember You?

“People may forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel!” That powerful quote reminds me of inspiring leaders and the emotional connection these men and women had on me and those around me. It encouraged us to give so much more.

On the other hand, I have worked for and with some business psychopaths. They just leave you feeling cheap, mistreated and angry. They say one thing, but can’t stop themselves from “emotionally leaking” and you indirectly pick up their real intention far more powerfully.

I once said to a very manipulative individual, who I was removing from my team “who you are shouts so loudly, that I can’t hear what your saying.”

So my question is “how do you make people feel when you meet them?”

Go out and be authentically yourself and remember the positive ripples that spread across the universe from the way you treat others with respect.

Warm regards Jonathan

Are Your Meetings Inspiring?

It is time yours become meetings worth attending; ones which make effective, consensual decisions.

Sadly too few are!
Do read Al Pittampalli’s book “Read this before the next meeting” and visit his website

Also Nancy Kline has taught me some great disciplines and approaches to what she calls “Transforming Meetings”. Sadly I have ruined the lives of many leaders who I train in these approaches. They now hate surviving through the agony of the 90% of meeting they attend which don’t use these disciplines.

Two tips:

1. Send the agenda out at least 5 working days beforehand. Ensure there are only two agenda items in a 90 minute meeting in the form of questions. For example “What can we do to reduce costs by 10%?”

2. Everyone reads the update email before hand. This meeting is not for you to verbally download your in-box on them or bore them with PowerPoint. Don’t use it – if you have to give a 1 page handout max.

Good luck making meetings inspiring. So few are that you will stand out from the crowd.

Warm regards Jonathan

Are You an Unaccountable Leader?

“It unclear who is accountable for what!” she said in desperation. “Until we know who is responsible, we spend months falling over each other in this matrix mess” said another leader to me in a different global firm.

Months of work and untold amounts of money are wasted on in-fighting and turf wars. Incredibly some CEOs I have come across actually deliberately keep boundaries blurred and overlapping, so their reports fight over resources and new clients.

This wastes “red energy” on internal power struggles and does nothing to grow the business and delight clients (green energy of growth). Indeed it does the opposite and creates a toxic environment of land grabs, bullying and destructive internal competition.

So as CEO, Partner or MD please make everyone’s roles and responsibilities clear and define success specifically. Set the culture and model healthy leadership behaviour. Set up reward systems which encourage collaboration towards a common goal, not individual greed and destruction of peers.

Ignore this area at your peril. Matrix structures are fudges and make bureaucratic mess.

Warm regards. Jonathan

Great Speaking Tips 2#. Make it Personal

It is all about them, not you. Equally take your own very personal stories and turn them into benefits for them. Only the strongest and most self assured leaders can be appropriately vulnerable in front of an audience.

Share something personal about yourself, your life, setbacks and disappointments. Your successes are often a given. They wouldn’t have invited you to be a speaker if you were a total failure.

Make you speeches and stories memorable and deeply personal. Anchor them to a clear message or moral that they can benefit from and do something with.

They need to make an emotional connection with you. Don’t pretend to be the perfect machine of a leader; it’s not reality anyway. We all make mistakes.

Speeches should inform,inspire and activate.

Go out and make you speeches personal; your audience benefit and you will be asked back again

Warm regards