MEANINGFUL & IMPACTFUL RESULTS

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Identifying Experts To Follow In Today’s World

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We live in a world where there are many who claim to be experts or share expert opinions on multiple topics. The amount and impact of ‘pseudo-experts’ seem to be increasing. On all forms of media, lots of expert opinions on varied topics are shared constantly and many people buy into them and trust quickly without realising the quality of information, the individual who is sharing or the actual source. As a result, low quality or unreliable perspectives find lots of eyeballs and mindspace.

I wanted to share 3 tips that have helped me in figuring out right experts, better quality information and perspectives.

1. Understand background and experience, both of the expert and the source

Look for the background, expertise and experiences of the individual(s) in the relevant areas. The quality, depth and breadth of those experiences and their contributions track record over time also matter. Look for how deeply they may have studied that area and shared quality insights. A basic search on the internet or LinkedIn can help. Do note that the number of connections or titles don’t translate to being an expert.

Ideally, there needs to be a mix of conceptual/theoretical and practical experiences for high quality insights and perspectives. Being an expert in one area does not translate automatically to being an expert in other areas. We tend to see that error or bias quite a bit. It also helps to observe who have liked/endorsed them or their insights or shared further. Credibility has to be developed over time and with consistency.

If studies and researches are quoted in articles or conversations, it always helps to see who or where the research was undertaken. Ask the logical questions about the relevance and environment of those studies. The quality of the institution or individuals who undertook the study can be an important factor in the validity of results that are quoted.

2. Openness to alternate views and discussions

The best experts are open to listening, discussing, learning and debating alternate or contradicting views because they understand there are multiple variables to explore, some that they may not have foreseen or others that may be worth learning or engaging further. An open mindset to a quality discussion and exploration improves the outlook of an expert perspective. Keep in mind that we generally tend to read and believe in topics that we want to believe in or have an internal bias towards. We relate better to certain conversational and writing styles.

3. Observe patiently and do your own research over time

Hold off from jumping to conclusions from one expert opinion or view, unless you have done your homework and looked across multiple expert views or studies. The predictiveness of quality is better if you have been tracking someone’s work over time. Even then, it helps to maintain a broad perspective and expand your senses to multiple experts. If the opinion relates to your own area of work, it helps to reflect on your experiences and the links to the perspectives shared.

As a result of all these, the quality of your insight and perspectives will improve over time and chances of being misled will reduce substantially. Your quality of thinking, actions and growth will be on a better curve.

Have other approaches worked for you?

“Logic, it is often said, is the study of valid arguments. It is a systematic attempt to distinguish valid arguments from invalid arguments.” – William H. Newton-Smith
Logic: An Introductory Course (goodreads)

Key Mindset Elements To Succeed In M&A Environment – Individual & Organizational Perspectives

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/

It is safe to assume in today’s world that a noticeable portion of professionals could experience at least one Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) scenario during their career. After having worked with few large scale organizational M&A/Change scenarios with leadership teams (on both sides), I thought of sharing few reflections for those who may go through similar environments. These may look simple but I have noticed that they appear in different environments repeatedly and if addressed, can make a significant difference. A key aspect is to figure out how to convert these elements to practices at an individual or systemic level. If you don’t get these fundamentals right, the seemingly bigger topics like strategy and execution become less relevant for an individual.

There are couple of perspectives to consider when we think about mindset and related behaviors – one is from the individual perspective and the other is organizational or management perspective.

Typically, major changes like an acquisition bring to the forefront our emotions at an individual level. Both positive and negative feelings on the acquiring company and acquired company exist and the emotions evolve in different directions through the journey. Most times, uncertainty in the environment drives our brains to first pick up and respond to all the seemingly looming threats in the new environment. Therefore, it is even more important to try to understand, develop few mindsets and balance our thinking to help manage through these scenarios. All this takes a lot of effort and support.

In an M&A environment, there tends to be lots of uncertainties and related emotional ups and downs for many employees. At an individual level, it helps to be prepared and develop capabilities to manage through such environments. This is relevant to employees on both sides, whether acquired or acquiring company side.

The three key elements to consider from an individual perspective are:

1.Openness

During an M&A situation, many things related to one’s immediate environment may change – leaders/managers, reporting lines, organization structure, ways of working, peers, team members etc.. There will be a lot of readjustment mentally, with many potential new working styles, strategy, systems, processes and even ways of working to adapt to. Keeping an open mind without jumping to judgments, to all the new people and organizational scenarios are critical elements for success. This also reduces stress for self and people around.

2. Patience

Changes and complexities may seem continuous and non stop. Ability to manage through such situations patiently come in very handy. Many times, answers may not be available. It is important to not get frustrated during such times and clarify, ask questions with an open mind and engage in a dialogue. It is helpful in such instances to build a balanced state of mind through conscious practices of taking breaks, not getting wound up in certain difficult instances, seeking support, taking time out with an awareness practice.

3. Assuming best intentions

Forgiving and forgetting unpleasant or uncomfortable situations help to move forward and not get stuck in emotions. Sometimes, things may not work out well for an individual. Sometimes, people may not behave in a manner that feels acceptable. There may differences in understanding on either side. In such situations, it helps is to engage in an open and respectful dialogue, not assume the worst automatically, stay connected to one’s support networks, find a way to discuss feelings, try to leave negative thoughts behind, and reframe/refocus on the positives and way forward. One needs all the support from support networks, self awareness, reflection and intense focus on next steps during such times to avoid falling into a (sometimes self created) rut of frustration. Coaching or mentoring support becomes even more valuable during such times.

While being prepared with the relevant mindsets, it is also important for an individual to map out the risks, related actions and continuity in work and career. Like companies, individuals also need their own strategies for careers and determining what’s right for them.

There are also three elements to consider from an organizational/management perspective.

1.Engage Actively, Be Visible

It is especially important to know on the acquiring company side especially, that most of the employees irrespective of job level, will feel high degree of uncertainty and have lots of questions. It is important to acknowledge that many are first concerned at a human level to support themselves and their families. Leaders, by nature are the first set of people employees look up to for guidance, assurance and solutions. At a minimum, engaging actively and visibility across sites indicate caring and shared concern. This translates to high or low loyalty.

2. Show Respect

Respect can be visible in different ways. At a starting level, avoid the ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ mentality in all leadership conversations. This naturally takes time but when the leaders adopt “We are all one” reinforcement in conversation and actions, the rest of the organization tends to follow. This could reflect in how people feel they are treated or trusted, how the communications flow, or how the processes change. It is really important to take the time before giving ‘do it our way’ guidance. It would be in the best interest of both organizations to explore the best way to adopt the right approach. This also has a direct link to engagement and loyalty.

3. Minimize Uncertainty, to the extent possible

It is practically impossible to have answers to all the questions but it helps to reassure and communicate with employees as the topics are being worked on. At a minimum, it helps to share the high level plan or thinking. Openness to sharing and discussing from an organizational perspective also help a lot in engagement and gives reasons for employees to trust. This needs to be active communication and clarification. Using multiple forms of communication and repetition can help a lot to reinforce.

When these three elements come together at the organizational level, tremendous progress can be made during integration phase.

Fundamentally, it is really important for the leaders on all sides to think deeply and work out the change plan elements to ensure engaging listening and communication to support successful integration and business sustainability for the long run. Assuming the acquisition objective is to maximize value for combined organization and not to shut down the acquired business, it is in the best interest to be prepared on the fundamental mindset to build and support the whole organization. Difficult decisions are inevitable but most times what sets the tone and expectations for employees is the ‘How’ more than the ‘What’.

Any M&A or large scale change is really complex. No two organizations or environments are the same but adoption of these fundamental principles can help a lot in different environments. The process of applying them may differ and depend on different factors.

It can also be really time and energy consuming for the people involved to work through this, especially for the leaders. Therefore, the need to find a healthy balance and perspective during those times become even more important.

If you have had experiences in similar environments, what else would you suggest? Are there other questions or elements that come to your mind?

2019 Reflections & Food For Thought

As part of a yearly practice and commitment to myself, the last couple of weeks in each year become a time for deep reflection.

I started writing posts in LinkedIn during a difficult personal time in 2014. At that time, my only thought was that it would be meaningful if my writing positively influenced, educated or inspired even couple of individuals. After 5 years (recent slow years in writing), I’m very grateful for the cumulative 25,000 views, 2000 likes and thoughtful comments from readers around the world. That makes all this very meaningful. A deep thank you to all dear friends and readers who keep checking and encouraging.

There are 4 important self-review questions I love to revisit each year:

  1. How did I live my year, especially in the context of things I aspired to do? What have I learned from my experiences, how have I grown?
  2. How much did I live meaningfully? When did I feel in touch with my soul?
  3. What positive impact did I have on the people and environment around me? 
  4. What are key things in life that I am grateful for?

On general observations from 2019, the following 5 themes and questions kept coming back for me. All of these impact businesses and organizations, in some form or the other.

  1. Leadership styles and principles – Looking at events happening around the world and behaviors (including some of the world leaders), is there a fundamental shift to what people respond better to? Where is the topic of ethics headed (with some blatantly obvious public scenarios)?
  2. Everyone has a voice but… – The power of social media and ubiquitous mobile smart devices is that anyone anywhere can share his/her voice and be seen, heard anywhere. However, there is a really important question regarding how much of that is educated/thoughtful or just ‘noise’ devoid of facts?
  3. Short term Vs. Long term – Are we ever more focused on short term (all sides) in all sectors? How much does this impact actions all round?
  4. Increasing Gap in Society – Collectively, it’s really nice to see most people are willing to give and help others during times of difficulties. That said, is the gap between haves and have nots, rich and poor in society increasing to worrying proportions? Are current economic models supporting that in most parts of the world?
  5. Environment – Without doubt, we are at the mercy of mother nature everywhere, whether we like to admit it or not. How much do we really care about preserving our world for a healthy future and how many truly believe that actions today are helping?

Guessing that these topics won’t go away soon but hoping that they will get discussed actively at all levels and evolve positively. How do you see them?

Warm wishes for a wonderful holiday season, Christmas time and New Year!

I sincerely hope that this post leaves you with one positive thought and action. We evolve through all our experiences.

“Reflect upon your present blessings – of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings (goodreads)

Reflections From Past Year In Talent Acquisition

2018 was quite an interesting stretch year for me working deep in APAC talent acquisition (TA) world, and I thought of putting down some reflections.  Unlike my 2015 reflection, this post focuses on the core TA work mostly.

So, here we go:

  • Talent acquisition is very much a team sport. To close a strong new hire, having a great recruiter is just not sufficient. It is equally important to have a highly engaged hiring manager, aligned interview panel, recruiter and coordinator who work together in synch.
  • TA exists to deliver value for the business. When the focus moves heavily to costs and metrics, it is easy to lose sight of what the stakeholder values.  Many times, working closely with a business stakeholder requires a deeper understanding of their context beyond the process/numbers, and flexibility to change views or approaches.  Vice versa, it may also require the leaders/hiring managers to stay flexible to change past views.
  • From a process perspective, aligning an interview panel at the beginning of an interview process on key assessment areas, clarity on each member’s expected area(s) of assessment saves a lot of time in the end during the debrief to get to a hiring decision.
  • Stakeholders in general prefer transparency, proactive communication, sense of urgency, commitment to close roles and visibility on progress from TA.
  • Sometimes, activity on a requisition goes slow for a while and at other times, it picks up at short notice with high urgency, depending on stakeholder engagement or organizational dynamics.  Candidates may notice this change in pace as well and it helps for TA partner to manage expectations on timeline proactively and continuously.
  • One of the key actions for a TA leader is to continuously influence key stakeholders to explore different approaches, ways of working and establish a constant, trusting feedback loop.
  • It is very difficult, almost impossible to keep all stakeholders happy always as the demand cycles, priorities and markets shift.
  • Internal and external networks of contacts are always very helpful, especially for sharing learning/experiences and, to connect with new candidates and partners.  Internal referrals can make a big difference.
  • How a TA team or hiring panel interacts (or don’t) with candidates or external partners reflects the company’s true employer brand/culture and the individual brand as well.
  • Candidate drop offs after offer acceptance are part of TA partner’s life (bigger than initially expected) and therefore managing the risk also becomes relevant.  It was surprising to note how some experienced candidates in India disappeared after accepting an offer and became unreachable afterwards.  Shortsightedness is surprisingly common.  Most criticisms on social media are about recruiters or companies but there is another side to the discussion with many unprofessional candidates.
  • It is always relevant to keep candidate pipelines active. Also from a candidate’s perspective, important for final round candidates to remember that the TA team can always reach out to them sooner than expected, when someone drops out or the same role may open up few months later.
  • Many candidates try to reach out/connect with recruiters on LinkedIn.  For this approach to be more effective and workable (especially for an unknown connection), it would help the candidate to proactively do background research on open roles listed by the organization and specify interest and role.
  • While exploring partners or agencies, it’s not enough to see the big staffing brand, rather the experiences relevant to area of work and attitude to support.  Great partners are flexible, exhibit strong ownership and partnering abilities on the requisitions they work on. They also respond well to improvement feedback and suggestions, thereby building trust.
  • Piloting a new approach is a great way to explore a new approach before institutionalizing.  We piloted a new AI tool with a partner who was willing to flex outside their norm and we ended up extending the contract.
  • Workforce planning is not just about headcount and financial planning.  If we lose the perspective on type of skills, criticality and labor market dynamics, it is equivalent to running half blind.
  • If there is no ongoing hiring/development program for young talent, it will be more expensive for an organization in the long run to pay premium for hiring lateral talent.
  • As with any other function, there are always different styles and preferences at play – within the team, outside with stakeholders and partners.  One needs to continuously learn and adapt to the different styles at play to make the most and work through the difficult ones.
  • Team members tend to respond better if they feel their inputs are heard, trusted, supported and if they have autonomy, growth and learning.
  • When there is a mistake on your/team’s side, it helps to discuss with the team in a safe environment, own it and initiate corrective actions to avoid them in future (rather try to hide or mask it).  There is something to improve continuously.
  • As operational as talent acquisition may seem to be, there is always a strategic perspective to ensuring a credible TA function.

Best wishes for a great 2019…

Reflections On Fifty Years Of Leadership – from Bill George

I’ve found Bill George’s writings on leadership to be deeply thought provoking – based on his personal experiences, as corporate leader (CEO-Medtronic, EVP-Honeywell), board member, mentor and teacher (Harvard).

The following selected notes are from his article, ‘Reflections On Fifty Years Of Leadership’ (available in the free ebook, Lead True -link shared below). These apply to developing organizations and leaders in all environments.

  • As I reflect on the past half-century, enormous changes have taken place in organizations, their leaders and our expectations of these leaders. Many formerly great organizations have fallen by the wayside, as new ones have sprung up to replace them. Economists often attribute this phenomenon to rapid changes in technology and markets, using phrases like “creative destruction.” I beg to differ with them. If there is one thing of which I am certain, it is that the difference between successful, enduring organizations and those that disappear is the caliber of their leaders – at the top and throughout the organization. Among the most important qualities for leaders, these two stand out: adaptability and courage.
  • All of us will experience great crucibles in our lives from which we can discover what is real for us: our True North. Sometimes in life bad things happen to good people. There is deep learning in these experiences if we take the time to discern their meaning and reframe them to make our lives richer and more meaningful.
  • By choosing leaders for charisma, image and style – subjects often taught by business schools and leadership experts in the 20th century – we were overlooking far better leaders with character, integrity and substance.
  • The defining quality of today’s leaders is their authenticity – their ability to know themselves and discern their True North. Authentic leaders are secure within themselves. They do not need external validation to prop up internal insecurity. Instead, they have worked hard to develop the self-awareness to lead with clarity of purpose, practice their values every day, discern the “sweet spot” where their motivations merge with their strengths, build enduring relationships, and inspire and empower others to rise to the challenge. They know what it means to LEAD TRUE: to have the courage to adapt to any challenge while still being true to themselves.

There are many more valuable notes for reflection and learning throughout the book.  I would highly recommend to read and reflect.

Source: Reflections On Fifty Years Of Leadership, Lead True, Bill George, eBook; http://www.billgeorge.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Bill-George-Lead-True-eBook.pdf

Tensions Between The Elephant & Rider – Our Brains & Change

I recently completed reading a book, “Switch” that focuses on the topic of change and found the following concept/notes valuable. We see this play out everyday.

Conventional wisdom in psychology is that the brain has two independent systems at work all the times.

  1. the emotional side – part of you that is instinctive, that feels pain and pleasure.
  2. the rational side, also known as the reflective or conscious system – part of you that deliberates and analyzes, and looks into the future.

The duo’s tension is captured by an analogy in University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis book.

Our emotional side is an Elephant and our rational side is its Rider.

Perched atop the Elephant, the Rider holds the reins and seems to be the leader. But the Rider’s control is precarious because the Rider is so small relative to the Elephant. Anytime, the Elephant and the Rider disagree abut which direction to go, the Rider is going to lose. He’s completely overmatched.

Most of us are familiar with situations in which our Elephant overpowers our Rider. The weakness of the Elephant, our emotional and instinctive side, is clear. It’s often looking for the quick pay-off (ice cream) over the long-term payoff (being thin).

When change efforts fail, it’s usually the Elephant’s fault, since the kinds of change we want typically involve short-term sacrifices for long term payoffs. The Rider simply can’t keep the Elephant on the road long enough to reach the destination.

The Elephant isn’t always the bad guy. Emotion is the Elephant’s turf – love and compassion and sympathy and loyalty. Making progress requires the energy and drive of the Elephant.

If you want to change things, you’ve got to appeal to both. The Rider provides the planning and direction. The Elephant provides the energy. So, if you reach the Riders of your team but not the Elephants, team members will will have understanding without motivation. If you reach their Elephants but not their Riders, they’ll have passion without direction. When Elephants and Riders move together, change can come easily. When they disagree, you’ve got a problem.

If you are working on changes at an individual or organizational level, how will you ensure you appeal to both the Elephant and Rider?

Source:

  • Switch, How To Change Things When Change Is Hard, Chip Heath & Dan Heath; 2010
  • Website – heathbrothers.com/resources/

When Hardship Comes Calling

When everything seems to be going right, you feel nothing can stop you.

You’re on a roll. Life is busy and everything seems to be happening as you would like it to be, or even better. You’re in the middle of things, and people constantly seem to be around you. You can sense the increase in status, success and the feeling of being wanted and valued.

Then inevitably sooner or later, hardship comes calling in some format. It may be in the form of unexpected health, job issues or other other personal disruptions.

Everything seems to shift and become challenging during that phase. Life seems to bring forth lot more questions and uncertainty. Connections and friends don’t call you or connect as they used to earlier. They just don’t seem to have time. Some disappear. In this phase, you can feel most things not progressing as you would like them to and your internal graph continues to fall.

For the totally unprepared, these scenarios can be debilitating and shocking.

Life throws up surprises with all possibilities of good and bad. Most experienced and wise beings would share the opinion that life is a mix of ups and downs – nothing is constant.

On a more practical level, the question about hardships is not whether they will appear. It is about how you will respond when they appear and how much resilience you have to tide over them. Difficult phases seem to last longer and happier moments seem to pass by quicker.

When you work through hardships in a focused manner without finding reasons to blame others or circumstances and focus on things that you can control, your probability of getting out of these “holes” increases. Your energy levels normally become low during such situations and you need to find ways to find sources of higher energy levels – physically, mentally and spiritually. Everything ties into each other. Physical momentum seems to impact mental momentum.

When the going gets really tough, normally your closest friends, family or connections will be the ones to give you their valuable listening ears, guidances, helping hands and shoulders. It is also a time when you need to remember to ask and stay open for help from any quarter without judgment. The ones who care about you will ensure you are on their agenda.

Your hardships provide strong opportunities for learning to cope and rebound from frustration and despair. Hardships lead to the discovery/confirmation of your core beliefs, values, and what defines and matters most for you. There are always things that you can do something about and it helps to focus on them, however small they may seem.

In the end, it is not about how the world sees or defines you. It is about how you see yourself and your life. Your life and search for meaning are unique experiences that only you can experience and complete. When we look back at our hardships, we realize that those hardships helped define us more than our good times.

The wiser, mature beings are those who have worked their way through hardships and understand the depth of such scenarios. Their magnanimity, abundance mindset and gratitude are also influenced by those experiences. The depth of their hardships (especially if life/death situations are involved) faced and their journeys can be observed in the way they interact with the world. Our society needs more wiser beings.

Our lives perhaps facilitate the evolution of our souls.

Best wishes…

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“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”, Anne Bradstreet, The Works of Anne Bradstreet (GoodReads)

Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference…

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Easiest Way To Be Visible On LinkedIn And Add Value

I know many connections who are hesitant and uncertain about how to be visible on LinkedIn. They also doubt if there is anything valuable to offer.

Here’s the simplest way to be visible and add value for yourself, your organization and your LinkedIn network.

“Like”, “Share” or “Comment” on helpful updates, posts and articles from your network or people you follow.

These updates don’t need to be about you or your organization alone. When you “Like”, “Share” or “Comment” on an update from someone in your network, it appears on the LinkedIn feed of your network (many times, they go even beyond your first degree connections).

You may decide to act only on certain topics and from individuals you feel totally comfortable with.

These may be:

  • Job opening updates (not just limited to your area of work or organization, think about your network)
  • Key updates about your organization and others as well
  • Interesting, helpful articles or posts that you come across
  • Points of view or observations, including your own

It may help to know your network better. You also don’t need to go overboard – just one or two actions per week may be a good start.

It is also important to keep in mind always – “What you choose to share says something about you.” 

As you do this more and more, and consistently, it not only makes you more visible to your network but also brings value in terms of useful information, learning or awareness from your sphere (however small it may seem). Your name/brand also becomes more familiar to your network (sometimes, even beyond your first degree connections) over time. You also attract other connections who may share similar interests from different parts of the world. I’ve noticed and experienced this firsthand.

Overall in any network, it is important to not just be consumers. Think about contributing as well, in your own way. Start small. That will make you and your network richer, more aware and wiser. When there are more consumers and contributors in a network, the end result is a “win” for everyone.

Talent Magnets – Who Are They & Why Are They Important

“Talent magnets” are those people in organizations with whom most stakeholders, internally and externally want to engage, connect and work for. They tend to be in all functions, irrespective of roles or seniority, and attract other talented and competent individuals to their organizations. It is not surprising to notice that many successful organizations (profit, non-profit or government) have talent magnets in many leadership or management roles. Employees, consultants, contractors, partners, communities and customers prefer to work with such talent magnets and, they play a key role in retaining other talented individuals. Talent magnets in leadership roles often deliver tremendous unrecognized value to their organization’s brand and culture. In today’s fast changing and increasingly digital world, they play a critical role in their organization’s success.

So, what are some key characteristics and behaviors of talent magnets?

These are some of my observations from three continents.

  • Talent magnets encourage diversity and culture of inclusion. They do not expect or encourage others to be similar to them. They encourage authenticity.
  • They treat everyone with respect, and are caring. When someone needs a helping hand, they offer genuine support.
  • They are willing to share responsibility and recognition.
  • They have humility, acknowledge their mistakes, and seem accessible and vulnerable. When a correction has to happen with a team member, they are willing to have respectful, engaging, sometimes difficult developmental conversations.
  • They are emotionally intelligent, do not jump to quick conclusions and are open to listening to different perspectives. They do not blindly push their own agenda.
  • They try to constantly understand and work toward the larger picture, while executing their deliverables. While reflecting on the context and what is best for the organization, their actions sometimes may hurt their own individual short term standing or official objectives (KRAs) but they may still consciously choose to benefit the larger cause.
  • They don’t play politics but acknowledge, recognize and navigate related elements maturely themselves while helping others. They encourage collaboration internally and externally, and do not pit one team against the other. They manage through negative or toxic environments effectively and neutralize or positively energize team members and environments.
  • They establish and encourage fairness, and take a strong stand against unfair practices and behaviors. They are willing to initiate and engage in respectful conversations with other stakeholders.
  • They are reliable and stick to their word. If for some reason something promised or committed changes, they openly try to explain, discuss and clarify directly with the related individual(s).
  • They are open to continuous learning and encourage others to improve. They recognize the unique strengths and differentiating competencies that team members bring to work. In short, they build confidence. Other talented people feel more secure and seem to flourish under and after them.
  • They sometimes go beyond the organization’s stated policies and guidelines to bring in and nurture talent, when very convinced about the potential.
  • They build long term relationships, which goes beyond a single organization.

As a result, talent magnets also hold higher influence within and outside their organizations. Most stakeholders become willing to listen to their perspectives and suggestions seriously.

On the other side of the scale, there are “talent repellers”, who most stakeholders seem to try to avoid, even though they may sometimes be highly competent individuals. The challenge here is that any seeming result happens for short term, with possible toxic environments and unsustainable ways of working.

Would you want to work with a talent magnet? Would you aspire to become one? Are there any other characteristics or behaviors that you notice?

Leadership In The Digital Age

 

There is a lot of discussion about “digital” currently and how it influences or impacts leadership.

Both the terms “leadership” and “digital” can be interpreted in different ways. Before we get to the details, it first helps to get to a shared understanding about what digital means.

A July 2015 McKinsey article stressed the importance of business leaders having a clear and common understanding of exactly what digital means to them and, as a result, what it means to their business. The authors believed that digital should be seen less as a thing and more a way of doing things. The three attributes of digital are: creating value at the new frontiers of the businesscreating value in the processes that execute a vision of customer experiences, and building foundational capabilities (digital mindset and technology) that support the entire structure.

The authors of the book, “Leading Digital” share the definition of digital transformation as the use of digital technology to radically improve the performance and/or the reach of a company. Digital technology is radically changing and challenging businesses in various sectors, many times at high speed. According to them, the time to start digital mastery is now. The longer you wait as a firm, the tougher it will become and you will fall behind.

So, what do leading experts like Manfred de Vries, Josh Bersin, Zenger Folkman, Charlene Li think about leadership in the digital world?

  • Digital is not technology but a different way of thinking.
  • The traditional hierarchical model of leadership is disintegrating.
  • Leadership no longer defined by what a single leader does – it is more about the ability to collaborate, motivate and manage networks.
  • It is also about decentralizing leadership and connected networks of teams. Leadership behavior needs to be distributed throughout an organization.
  • Employees want more ownership rather than to follow instruction.
  • Leaders have to be good at the coaching part of their job.
  • Key Behaviors in the digital environment – Speed, Collaboration, External Sensing, Being Inclusive, Creating Open Environment.
  • There will be gaps in the leadership pipeline in this environment and due to the radical changes. It is very important to identify the gaps and work on them.
  • Being organized correctly with the right organization structure, right jobs, right people in those jobs are critical factors for success.
  • Leadership development professionals should have a strong context about what is going on in their external and internal environments. Developing leaders is about looking at the whole system, not just L&D or HR.
  • Organizations which take leadership development seriously outperform their competition. Strong leadership requires continuous development.

Charlene Li’s (Altimeter Group) simple yet powerful (digital) engaged leader framework highlights three core elements worth trying out for any aspiring leader.

1. Listening at scale – Leaders can listen and respond, not to just one person, but many at a time. It is about listening to support your goals.

2. Sharing to shape people’s mindsets and actions – Sharing forges connections with followers that improves relationships, achieve goals, and amplifies a leader’s influence.  The big shift that leaders have to make is to be more comfortable with openness.  Sharing has to help spread authenticity, emotion and point of view.

3. Engaging to transform – Leaders have to use two-way dialogue that motivates and mobilizes followers to take collective action.

What actions will you take for yourself and your organization to become a competent leader in the digital age?

“When you’re a disruptor, you move into your fear, not away…” – Whitney Johnson, Disrupt Yourself

 

References:

http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/what-digital-really-means

http://www.slideshare.net/capgemini/didier-bonnet-oow-leading-digital-presentation

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/the-right-leadership-style-for-the-digital-age/

http://knowledge.insead.edu/blog/insead-blog/evolving-leadership-in-the-digital-age-4611

http://zengerfolkman.com/podcast-ep-63-developing-leaders-in-the-digital-age-feat-josh-bersin/

http://www.slideshare.net/INBOUND/ie15-c-charlene-li-final

The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Digital Transformation

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