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Tag Archives: Leadership

4 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

9 Oct

Evaluation and onboarding of outstanding leaders is anything but straightforward.  Almost all organizations have set up testing mechanisms or assessment centers to distinguish senior leadership candidates having traits that make up for Exceptional Leaders.  These assessment centers shortlist leaders based on certain indicators and criteria.

However, these assessments are not always accurate in predicting the best leaders.  At times, the entire evaluation exercise results in drafting mediocre leaders and fails to select top influencers and role models for the organization.  The traditional methods of gauging senior leaders prove inadequate based, typically, on 3 common flaws:

  • Granularity – Gauging the candidates for leadership positions using the profiles of successful leaders from the past. Those profiles are not meaningful considering the pace of change today and the future needs of the organization.
  • Long-term Focus – Assessment of candidates based on the traits required to reap the fruits of Business Strategy in 5 years’ time is another ground for not identifying the right leaders.
  • Emphasis on finding typical leadership traits – Instead of looking for traits that separate exceptional leaders from the pack, most assessments are geared towards finding typical leadership traits.

Research by PwC—spanning over a period of 10 years with a sample size of 2500 senior executives, who remained a part of C-suite successions in large organizations—reveals that the common flaws in leadership assessment methods can be confronted methodically.  To find the best C-level executives, leadership evaluations should focus on identifying candidates possessing the following 4 key traits that are typical only of the top C-level executives:

  1. Simplification & Operationalization of Complexity
  2. Drive Enterprise-wide Ambition & Change
  3. Strong Teamwork
  4. Leader Building

Let’s dive deeper into these traits.

Simplification & Operationalization of Complexity

In today’s world of disruption, organizations face new challenges on a day-to-day basis.  Exceptional leaders have the ability to process tremendous volumes of information and simplify things fairly easily.  Leaders who truly standout are well-versed in tackling confusion and learn promptly.  They are great at:

  • Interpreting complexities and creating simplified operational descriptions around them for others’ understanding.
  • Developing visions to influence people and rally them around the shared objectives.
  • Developing & implementing actionable plans to achieve objectives.
  • Developing functional and dynamic storylines encompassing the agenda that demonstrates how the company will execute its strategy. These storylines consistently remind the people to concentrate on the things that matter most to the company (e.g. customers, products).
  • Creating and disseminating robust communication plans—highlighting how their company is best suited to face the challenges of disruption—that are consistently analyzed and improved upon.

Drive Enterprise-wide Ambition & Change

People in an organization often operate in groups.  These groups consider people outside their circle as competitors or “outsiders.”  This tribal mentality is detrimental for an organization and inculcates individual thinking—focusing only on personal / group targets—and debilitates the ability to operate outside one’s comfort zone.  Exceptional leaders have the skills to:

  • Make people come out of this tribal or siloed mentality and think collectively in terms of realizing organizational objectives.
  • Understand different mindsets and know how to influence them constructively.
  • Make people realize their contribution towards the bigger, organizational perspective and work towards achieving their business unit targets rather than personal performance objectives.

Strong Teamwork

Nobody can undermine or deny the importance of teamwork.  Much has been written on the subject. However, in reality, most teams do not quite understand the spirit and commitment fundamental to develop teamwork.

Exceptional leaders:

  • Are aware of the importance of teamwork and collective leadership. They consistently challenge their people to ponder over ways to achieve not only personal but also the strategic organizational objectives.
  • Work with teams to uncover prioritized initiatives critical for organizational growth.
  • Lead their teams and make informed strategic decisions.
  • Focus more on the strategic planning front than tactical way before they reach the C level.
  • Emphasize to the teams the significance of spending time discussing / developing strategy and devising plans.
  • Focus on maximizing the effectiveness of each individual to benefit the organization.

Interested in learning more about the traits of outstanding leaders?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Exceptional Leadership here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

3 Conditions for Sustainable Change

4 Sep

Change4

With most Transformation initiatives people gradually revert back to their old habits of doing things.  Sustainable Change Management necessitates 4 key processes:

  • Chartering—defining the scope, rationale, and team for the change initiative.
  • Learning—testing and refining ideas before a full-blown execution of the initiative.
  • Mobilizing—using symbols and metaphors to engage people and gain their buy-in for the change program.
  • Realigning—redefining the roles and responsibilities and managing performance of the initiative and the people driving it.

These processes are critical to enable an Organizational Culture which encourages execution of lasting change.

In addition to these key processes, for the change to entrench into the organizational fabric, Leadership needs to put in place the environment necessary for the people to embrace and own the new processes, systems, and desired behaviors.

The 4 critical processes aid in creating the enabling conditions necessary for institutionalizing change in the organization.  These enabling conditions for sustainable Change take place in 3 settings:

  1. Structural Context
  2. Procedural Context
  3. Emotional Context

The environment for sustainable change must be put in place way before the actual execution of the Transformation initiative.  These enabling conditions encompass making changes to the organization’s structure, procedures, and sentiments / behaviors.

Let’s dive deeper into the 3 conditions critical to enable sustainable change in the institution.

Structural Context

The first element of the enabling environment requires the change leadership to work on reshaping the organizational structure.  The 4 key processes have a direct bearing on the organization’s structure.  Their effect pervades over:

  • The organization’s hierarchy and reporting lines.
  • Compensations, benefits, and rewards systems.
  • Monitoring and control systems.

The Structural Context significantly affects the way employees’ work and expend their time and their interest in certain types of projects.

The structural context is altered during the Realigning process of Transformation in the way new personnel practices are employed.  The Learning process informs the redefinition of linkage between the leadership and field staff.  The Mobilizing process informs the changes to be made in the roles and responsibilities of the management and front-line people—through storytelling and metaphors.  Whereas, the Chartering process helps instill a reformed, team-building culture in the organization.  Together, these changes in the structural context cascade down across the organization.

Procedural Context

The Procedural context pertains to a feeling of objectivity and authenticity of new processes and systems.  The Procedural environment involves the perception of people that their views are taken seriously and acted upon while designing and implementing a new initiative.

Procedural authenticity is critical in gaining commitment from the employees on initiatives that were not validated by them earlier.   It involves belief of the people that the change initiative integrates well with the philosophies of the organization and the way business should be done.  It makes the people feel heard, ensures trustworthiness of the change leadership through positive track records and effective decision making abilities, and alignment of the change initiative with the core values of the organization.

Interested in learning more about the other enabling conditions mandatory for institutionalizing change?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Conditions for Sustainable Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

4 Processes of Sustainable Change

25 Aug

Initiatives aimed at improving performance are often launched with great uproar, costing an organization significant investments.  Such initiatives necessitate extensive changes in the Organizational Culture and the way the enterprise systems and processes function.

However, most initiatives fall short of realizing success.  Decades of scholarly research on Change Management reveals that the issues that contribute the most to the failure of strategic initiatives are:

  • Incompetence in sustaining process improvement.
  • Lack of trust on senior leadership.
  • Failure to embrace new ways of doing business.
  • Performance relapse.
  • Inability of the initiative to produce any positive financial returns.
  • Skepticism towards the desired behaviors and return of impractical employee behaviors.

Researchers have carried out scores of studies to isolate the drivers of lasting change.  Research published in MIT SMR in 2005 discusses how leadership can design and execute Transformation initiatives that bring lasting changes in the organization.The study entailed in-depth analysis of the strategic Customer Service Enhancement (CSE) initiative undertaken by a large clothing retailer, having franchises in multiple geographic locations.

The researchers conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with leaders, in-store operations and support function managers.  Detailed notes of the interviews were shared amongst the researchers alongside an exhaustive literature review.  A case study of the initiative was prepared using independent research to have an unprejudiced viewpoint, free from any bias.  Feedback from the organization’s management was gathered and incorporated throughout the study to seek clarifications or corrections.  Data analysis was carried out employing a coding scheme developed using Atlas.ti tool.  Comparative analysis was conducted and similarities and differences in conclusions were discussed.

The study brought to light 4 key processes necessary for change to stick in an organization.   These key processes assist in laying the foundation for successful institutionalization of change initiatives by creating a company-wide culture that encourages enduring change:

  1. Chartering
  2. Learning
  3. Mobilizing
  4. Realigning

Let’s delve deeper into the first 2 processes.

Chartering

Chartering is a process through which an enterprise classifies the purpose, scope, and the way people interact with each other on a strategic initiative.  Clear delineation of project boundaries, resources, responsibilities, and reporting lines are the elements integral for the success of a change initiative.

The Chartering process entails 2 critical components:

  • Boundary Setting
  • Team Design

Boundary Setting involves the key steps a team takes for accurate definition of change initiative’s scope.

The project team should clearly outline the problem(s) that the project is, and isn’t, going to tackle.  Ideally, while designing and executing a change initiative, the focus of the engagement should be on confronting the most crucial problem area.  The leadership should ensure not to confuse the core team by eyeing too many priorities to deal with through the strategic initiative.

The Team Design element of Chartering involves ascertaining the roles, accountabilities, and guiding principles for team’s collaboration.  Team design entails creating ground rules for team members to interact, devising mechanisms to manage conflicts.  The leadership needs to not only maintain diversity of the project team’s expertise, but also ensure they complement each other, and inculcate a standardized approach to decision making in project teams.  There needs to be fostered a culture of positive discourse and testing ideas amongst the team members.  Incorporating these guidelines helps spark thinking, learning, and decision making.

Learning

Learning aids in anticipating and dealing with hurdles during implementation of Transformation initiatives.  Learning enables the managers to improve the quality of the new processes.  it is a process through which managers develop, test, and refine ideas before full-scale implementation.  The process entails 2 critical components:

  • Discovery
  • Experimentation

For more information on Learning and Development and how to elevate your organization into a Learning Organization, check out the frameworks and tools on Flevy here: https://flevy.com/business-toolkit/learning-organization

The discovery element involves gathering data to identify the objectives of the change initiative and outlining ways to achieve those objectives.  Before rolling out a complete implementation of a change initiative, testing and refining the individual elements of the initiative immensely assists in the success of the initiative.  Gathering adequate information relevant to the initiative, setting up baseline metrics to measure performance, and identifying issues hampering customer satisfactions are the key aspects of this phase.  The team should learn from the failures of prior initiatives, introduce change in a systemic fashion rather than piecemeal, and encourage people to change rationally as well as emotionally.

Interested in learning more about the other processes critical for change to stick?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 4 Processes of Sustainable Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Lean Product Development: Talent Development

19 Aug

Top products are the creation of top designers and developers. Lean Product Development helps in developing expert designers and developers, who are excellent problem solvers and are adept at creating innovative solutions.  Developing Key Talent for Product Management accelerates Innovation and time to market while lowering costs.

Managers responsible for developing creative products and solutions need to take 5 key steps, in order to facilitate Learning and Development of Key Talent in the manufacturing sector:

  1. Incorporate Technical Excellence into the Organization DNA
  2. Create and Implement Design Standards
  3. Hold Regular Technical Design Reviews
  4. Evaluate Organization’s Product Development Process
  5. Revisit Organizational Leadership Culture to Focus on Learning

Let’s dive deeper into the steps to effective Talent Management.

STEP-1 Incorporate Technical Excellence into the Organizational DNA

Technical mastery needs to be at the heart of everyday work practices and the guiding principle for manufacturing concerns.  Incentives, recognition, and rewards should be created based on technical competence, and it should be incorporated into routine business practices.  Likewise, training programs need to be geared towards enhancing the engineers’ technical capabilities.

For instance, technical competence is an integral element of training new engineers at Toyota.  One of the main requirements for qualifying for an engineering leadership position at the company is mentoring of young engineers.  Similarly, Ford Motor Co. has a technical maturity model in place for each department in the engineering function.  The giant automaker reinforces this when creating roles and responsibilities, conducting design reviews, and remunerating its engineers.  These measures help curb attrition and motivate people to stay longer.

STEP-2 Create and Implement Design Standards

The next step is to develop design standards and execute them.  Design standards should be set in place and implemented by using the existing organizational knowledge.  Design leaders should hold regular sessions with developers on a smart board and solicit their views on the layout of a certain system and training an apprentice in design principles.  These design guiding principles should be compiled into user-friendly handbooks for future design and development programs.  Lessons learnt from each project should be incorporated into the design standards with regular updates to the handbooks.

Toyota reserves 10-15 days out of the development project time period for the development team to ponder over the lessons learned from an ongoing project.  The development team incorporates these lessons into the design standards and updates the design manuals with these newer experiences.

STEP-3 Hold Regular Technical Design Reviews

The 3rd step involves holding frequent technical design reviews to nurture people via action learning and collaboration. The product design and development units should organize weekly technical design assessments.  The assessments need to be conducted at the design and development facilities—factory premises, test lab, or prototype shop—instead of a conference room.  This helps in gaining practical knowledge and skills.  Regular assessments assist in developing design and engineering teams through on-the-job experiences and cross-unit cooperation.

Interested in learning more about the other steps to facilitate Learning and Development of Key Talent in the manufacturing sector?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Lean Product Development: Talent Development here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Lean Product Development & Innovation

8 Aug

Improving Product Development competencies in designers and developers is a concern for senior leaders in the manufacturing sector.

The approach most organizations take in developing Human Resources does not go beyond staffing the cream of the crop from leading global educational institutes.  Talent Development to them is, typically, sending their people to attend workshops and keeping up with employee annual training hours’ goals, and that’s it.  Companies usually spend more on acquiring latest manufacturing equipment or modern collaboration tools than they do to develop their greatest asset—their people.

Research on manufacturing practices unequivocally suggests that it’s primarily the inspiration to adopt a culture of Continuous Improvement in people that results in operational excellence.  This Continuous Improvement Culture has more significance than implementing Lean practices across all processes.

The “Lean Product Development” concept isn’t a new notion.  The practice has been around since the 1980s.  An MIT study in the 1980s revealed that manufacturing practices in Japanese automakers were totally opposed to those of auto manufacturers in the rest of the world.  These approaches were referred to as “Lean” practices.  Research into manufacturing practices of Toyota has spread the knowledge about Lean Product Development globally.

Lean concept is strikingly opposing to the philosophy that emphasizes on delegating the responsibility of developing the designers’ / developers’ capabilities to the Human Resources Department.  In order to develop and deliver superior products, Lean Product Development focuses on enabling the developers build “personal dexterity” as the key element of success.  The concept necessitates technical training and collaboration between developers.

Before embarking on the Lean Product Development and Innovation journey, organizational leadership should work on finding answers to these 3 fundamental questions:

  1. In order to design better products, which critical insights do we need to develop regarding customers, products, and processes?
  2. Which mediums, organizational knowledge, and tools are required to develop these insights?
  3. Which organizational structures and ways of doing businesses are ideally suited to develop these valuable insights and improving the expertise of developers?

Pondering over these critical questions and answering them facilitates in creating a pool of skilled Product Designers and developers.

Let’s dive deeper into these questions.

Question 1

Lean Product Development emphasizes on developing a steady stream of products at an even pace—referred to as “Takt.”   iPhone 1 and iPhone 2 are examples of a steady stream of products released at regular intervals in Apple’s iPhone value stream.

Takt has evolved the way products are designed.  An initial product is developed as a means to validate an idea.  Products are progressed from the initial product based on stakeholders’ feedback.  The purpose of a value stream of products is to improve the current product offerings, inspire the existing customers to upgrade, and tempt potential customers to try the product.  In these evolving value streams, every product release serves as an opportunity to gain insights into the market.

The value enhancement through Takt has 2 broad objectives:

  • Fixing problems in existing products and creating offerings meeting the customer needs.
  • Lowering manufacturing costs and improving quality.

Question 2 

Lean Product Development underscores the significance of the medium through which developers should learn in order to create superior products.  Developers’ capabilities in technical Problem Solving and learning what the others are doing helps enhance the quality of each new release.  Development teams should have quick access to accumulating a thorough knowledge of the entire supply chain and the effect of their decisions on manufacturing.  This assists in improving the efficiency of the developers.

Instead of learning and gaining knowledge through traditional ways, Lean Product Development encourages the developers to learn through Action Learning—the process where teams are continuously mentored and encouraged to learn collectively on the job, solve problems creatively, and test models to cope with real-life issues.

Interested in learning more about the key elements to consider before enabling Lean Product Development & Innovation, and the phases of the Lean process?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Lean Product Development & Innovation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

4 Key Steps to Executing a Research-substantiated Corporate Learning Strategy

22 Jul

Although organizations invest heavily in Learning and Talent Development, most CEOs when interviewed complain about the shortage of learned managers, leaders, and skilled workforce.

The capabilities of knowledge workers, not technology or capital, is often a key constraint for organizational growth.  Research reveals that a number of managers consider employee performance to remain the same even if their organization’s learning function is totally abolished.  Studies further indicate:

  • Ineffectiveness of Corporate Learning.
  • Wrong investments in Learning and Development.
  • Lack of linkage of learning with strategic goals.
  • Focus on learning but not on employees’ development.

Investments and efforts on learning are concentrated towards wrong things.  Abundance of online courses and mobile knowledge apps are triggering organizations to revisit their Corporate Learning Strategies.  Utilization of innovative learning techniques—and modes—for leadership development has become the top agenda for senior learning leaders.

Learning and Development is important for organizations as:

  • Employee engagement and leadership sets the right impetus for the organization.
  • Competencies of knowledge workers makes the difference in achieving organizational growth.
  • It delivers value, critical to survive—and outperform—competition.
  • Effective learning experiences engage the emotional and cognitive centers of human brains, making employees appreciative of their organizational learning efforts.

Leadership, today, is more aware of the significance of Corporate Learning in Organizational Development and profitability.  Leaders are now proactively striving to align their Corporate Learning objectives with demands of knowledge workers and strategic organizational goals.

The following learning practices represent 4 key phases of the process for defining and executing a research-substantiated Corporate Learning Strategy:

  1. Formulate the CEO Agenda
  2. Align Learning & Development (L&D) Resources
  3. Gain Buy-in from Key Stakeholders
  4. Activate the Learning Agenda

These learning practices have been grounded on senior leadership interviews and surveys on company strategy and decision-making rationale to develop corporate learning initiatives.

Let’s dive deeper into these 4 phases of Corporate Learning Strategy.

Formulate the CEO Agenda

Corporate Learning Strategy is much more than top management attending training events.  It warrants making the corporate learning agenda an extension of the CEO agenda.  Learning programs typically entail doing a Training Needs Assessment by interviewing mid-level management, who aren’t part of the organization’s strategic management, which makes the assessment flawed.  Outsourcing the training function further compounds the problem.

The first phase of the Corporate Learning Strategy warrants gathering data from company reports, websites, and leadership interviews to enable documentation of senior leadership’s pain points, key issues, and strategic priorities.  Mapping the CEO Agenda—uncovering the leadership priorities—should be the foremost element of aligning learning with strategy.

The step necessitates extensive meetings to identify leadership needs and attributes essential for future leaders and incorporating feedback of business leaders to develop new corporate learning initiatives.  Chief Learning Officer reporting directly to the CEO facilitates the process.

Align Learning & Development (L&D) Resources

The matter as important as creation of a learning inventory is typically skipped at companies.  The executives, there, find it difficult to track expenditure on learning programs carried out by scores of external consultants.  Preparation of a repository of current Learning and Development resources has to be done regularly to make sure that the learning portfolio aligns with the organizational learning strategy.

Business units should align priorities and investment with top-level strategy.  L&D leadership has to ensure that their interventions are tailored to the needs of the business.  There should be regular reviews and calculated reorganization of the development infrastructure and processes (e.g., promotion and succession planning).  The approach should focus towards strengthening the on-the-job learning experience, busting silos, and developing collaboration.

Gain Stakeholders Buy-in

Reorganization of Corporate Learning initiatives necessitates gathering input and support from all levels of the organization.

Interested in learning more about the other phases of Corporate Learning Strategy?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Corporate Learning Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

11 Pillars: Quality 4.0 Framework

17 Feb

Stock image 2 - Quality 4.0

The introduction of emerging, digital technologies has ushered in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  To keep the competitive advantage in this era of Digital Transformation, leveraging contemporary technology is an absolute necessity.  Using cutting-edge technology means not just augmenting, but in fact, revamping the whole Quality outlook.

Quality 4.0 is the complimentary Quality approach to the Industry 4.0 era. Quality 4.0 is about transforming and improving Organizational Culture, collaboration, competency, and Leadership Development among other things through the application of technology.

Quality 4.0 is characterized by:

  • Transforming and improving culture, collaboration, competency, and leadership through the application of technology.
  • Digital Transformation of Management Systems and compliance.
  • Enabling technology and processes necessary to maximize value, resolve customary Quality impediments, and provide innovative solutions.

Quality 4.0 is not just about Digitalization, but more importantly about the impact of that Digitalization on Quality technology, processes, and people.

Companies can use the 11 pillars of Quality 4.0 Framework to identify how the existing capabilities and initiatives can be transformed and then educate, plan, and act accordingly.  The framework uses the traditional Quality methods to build upon and improve them.  The 11 pillars of Quality 4.0 include:

  1. Data
  2. Analytics
  3. Connectivity
  4. Collaboration
  5. App Development
  6. Scalability
  7. Management Systems
  8. Compliance
  9. Culture
  10. Leadership
  11. Competency

The majority of the companies are still not in a position to take leverage of Quality 4.0.  This warrants making investments in improving traditional Quality and bringing themselves in a position where they can spring up to use Quality 4.0 to prepare for the future.

There are strong interrelationships between the pillars of Quality 4.0, and adding new capabilities to certain pillars facilitates new applications on other pillars.  Let us delve a little deeper into a few of these pillars.

1. Data and 2. Analytics

Data and Analytics form the first 2 pillars.  Data is key to informed decision making.  Most companies are still using fragmented data while the innovating market leaders have progressed to taking leverage of Big Data.  Data can be better understood by understanding its 5 components:  Volume, Variety, Velocity, Veracity, and Transparency.

Analytics help reveal the insights contained within raw data.  Correct metrics are key to uncovering correlations and patterns—meaningful information.  Big Data Analytics using Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is beneficial if the Analytics Framework—comprising Descriptive, Diagnostic, Predictive, and Prescriptive Analytics—is understood clearly.

3. Connectivity

Connectivity encompasses the link between Business Information Technology—e.g., Enterprise Quality Management Systems (EQMS), Product Life-cycle Management (PLM), Enterprise Resource Planning—and Operational Technology that is used in Manufacturing, Labs, and Services.  Connectivity is achieved through abundant and inexpensive sensors providing real-time feedback from Connected People, products, edge devices, and processes.

4. Scalability

Scalability creates uniformity in Quality.  It is the ability to harmonize processes, best practices, competencies, and lessons learnt across the organization, be it global.  Cloud Computing has played a pivotal role in harnessing scalability by providing Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Solution (PaaS), and connection of databases.

The reality of the future is Quality 4.0.  It is being adopted very swiftly.  Those who remain unfamiliar with it or are slow to adopt run the risk of being marginalized very quickly.

Interested in learning more about Quality 4.0? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Quality 4.0 here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Are You Aware of the 3 Obstacles to Overcome while On-boarding Senior Executives?

18 Nov

Mediocre people occupying senior Leadership positions is one of the chief reasons for the fiasco and humiliation that organizations like Enron and WorldCom faced.  The practice of recruiting average people at the top is omnipresent and often goes unnoticed until the results begin to surface, which is typically too late for any intervention.

Smart people decisions matter a lot in achieving profitability.  Research indicates that a return on average human asset of 5% is typical in many industries.  However, a senior executive selection of 2 standard deviations below the average yields -15% return on asset.  An executive selection with 2 standard deviations above average causes 25+% return, which is 5 times the average.  Increased investment in finding and hiring the best senior executives fetches returns to the magnitude of 1000%.

Attracting and selecting the best people for senior leadership positions isn’t a small feat.  The future of organizations depend on it.  However, not too many organizations succeed in getting the right people at the top.  The reason for this failure is attributed predominantly to 3 critical obstacles that hinder in making the right recruitment decisions at such a crucial level.  Wrong Executive Selection decisions due to these 3 obstacles bring about losses and negative returns:

  1. Obstacle of Rarity
  2. Obstacle of the Unknown
  3. Obstacle of Psychological Traps

Let’s talk about these obstacles in a bit of detail.

Obstacle of Rarity

The first barrier to finding outstanding executives for senior positions is their scarcity, as excellent executives are a rare breed.  Sophisticated skills that make an executive standout aren’t common.  They are distributed in a given sample.

Outstanding people perform at a much higher level than that of their peers, particularly at the top positions.  A blue-collar executive with 1 standard deviation above the mean translates to 20% more productive individual than an average executive.  With increasing complexity of job, the difference between the top performer and an average performer increases considerably.

Appointments at the senior positions do not go without assessment errors, which can prove to be extremely costly.  Even an accuracy level of 90% in executive assessment isn’t satisfactory.  This results in a number of mistakenly categorized top performers and rejection of outstanding candidates.

Obstacle of the Unknown

Another barrier to the Executive Selection process is the predictive assessment of candidates on the skills and attributes required and the actual delivery capabilities of the individuals.  It is difficult to assess the unknown.

Competencies at the junior levels are easier to define, but it gets difficult to pinpoint the skills required at the top level.  The skills required at the top keeps on changing due to the evolving political, technological and economic landscape.  The skills required today get obsolete over time.  In case the exact requirements for a position are fully known, it isn’t certain whether a candidate meets the requirements in their entirety.

Accurate assessment of the candidates’ behavior and competencies is difficult but worth investing efforts and resources.  “Soft” skills—e.g., leading people, coaching and developing teams, teamwork, and managing Business Transformation—are what differentiate the senior leaders, but gauging these skills necessitates thorough evaluation and considerable time, which is difficult at senior levels.

Obstacle of Psychological Traps

A number of psychological traps are associated with cognitive biases in humans that hinder the decision making abilities in people and incapacitate the hiring process.  8 types of psychological traps are most common in individuals:

  • Procrastination
  • Assuming incorrectly
  • Impulsive judgment based on first impressions
  • Discounting the warning signs
  • Covering mistakes
  • Bonding with familiarity
  • Emotional anchoring
  • Tendency to follow the majority

For more information on selection and hiring “the best of the best,” take a look at the Fiaccabrino Selection Process (FSP).  Download a free primer on FSP here.

Interested in learning more about the 3 critical obstacles that hinder right Executive Selection?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Executive Selection here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Having Problems Maintaining a Stable Talent Pipeline? Apply the 6 Pillars of Talent Management to Master the Art

13 Oct

Enterprises worldwide face problems selecting, staffing, developing, compensating, motivating, and sustaining their key talent.  Building a sustainable Talent pipeline is quite strenuous even for large multinationals.

Replicating best practices from somewhere and applying them alone isn’t sufficient for organizations to build a Talent pipeline and achieve Competitive Advantage.  This warrants overcoming arduous challenges associated with this digital age, including:

  • Adjusting to varying dynamics in global markets
  • Handling the expectations of varied customer segments in different geographies
  • Managing the preferences of key Talent
  • Acquiring new technologies
  • Building novel capabilities
  • Achieving Operational Excellence by streamlining operations and improving processes
  • Exploring new markets
  • Devising strategies to attract, select, develop, assess, and reward top Talent.

Developing Talent Management practices helps the organizations build and retain talented people available in the job market.  The term was first used by McKinsey & Company in 1997, and it pertains to planning and managing strategic Human Capital through activities, i.e. attracting, selecting, developing, evaluating, rewarding, and retaining key people.

Executives use diverse Talent Management strategies and career pathways based on various departments, levels, and roles in their Talent pool.  Multi-year research on Talent Management practices conducted by an international team of researchers from INSEAD, Cornell, Cambridge, and Tillburg universities studied 33 multi-national corporations, headquartered in 11 countries.  The study revealed that successful Human Capital practitioners and workforce planners adopted 6 core principles.  These principles act as the 6 pillars to effective Talent Management implementation:

  1. Alignment with Corporate Strategy
  2. Consistency of Talent Management Practices
  3. Integration with Corporate Culture
  4. Involvement of Leadership
  5. Global Strategy with Localization
  6. Branding and Differentiation

Let’s discuss the first 3 pillars in detail, for now.

Alignment with Corporate Strategy

Integrating Talent Management with Corporate Strategy is imperative as the need for future Talent depends on the company’s long-term strategy.  Corporate Strategy should guide the identification of Talent required to accomplish organizational goals, since it’s the right Talent that drives the key strategic initiatives rather than strategic planning.

For example, GE’s Talent Management practices have been a great assistance in implementing their strategic initiatives.  The organization regards its Talent Management system as their most potent execution tool and has integrated TM processes into their strategic planning process.  To sustain its image as an innovation leader, GE targets technical skills as a priority in its annual Strategic Planning sessions.  Individual business units lay out their business as well as the Human Capital objectives in GE’s annual strategic planning sessions.  Significant time is spent on reviewing its Innovation pipeline, its engineering function’s structure, and Talent requirements.  To achieve its vision, GE promotes more engineers in its senior management than its rivals.

Consistency of Talent Management Practices

Talent Management practices must be consistent and synchronous with each other.  It is critical not only to invest in advancing the careers of key Talent but also to invest in processes to empower, compensate, and retain them.  Human Capital practitioners utilize various tools to ensure consistency of Talent Management practices, including Human Resources satisfaction surveys and qualitative and quantitative data on TM practices implementation.

For example, the success of Siemens is based on consistent monitoring of its systems, processes, and key performance metrics across its subsidiaries.  Every element of Human Capital Management is connected, continuously assessed, and linked to rewards.  This goes from recruitment of graduates each year, to their orientation, to mentoring and development, to performance evaluation and management, and compensation and benefits.

Integration with Corporate Culture

Corporate culture is regarded as important as vision and mission by renowned global organizations. These companies hold their core values and behavioral standards very high and promote them among their employees through coaching and mentoring.  They strive to embed this into their hiring, leadership development, performance management, remuneration, and reward processes / programs.  So much so that they consider cultural adaptability a crucial element of their recruitment process—as personality traits and mindsets are hard to develop than technical skills—and evaluate applicants’ behaviors and values rigorously.

For example, among other leading companies, IBM has a special emphasis on values while selecting and promoting people.  To ensure consistent values across the board, it organizes regular values jam sessions and employee health index surveys.  These sessions encourage open communication and debate on values and organizational culture and their importance among employees.

Interested in learning more about the other pillars of Talent Management, the various approaches to TM? You can download an editable PowerPoint on 6 Pillars of Talent Management here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Are You Able to Effectively Respond to VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) Challenges?

7 Oct

VUCA relates to threats that people and enterprises often encounter. The acronym reflects the constant, dramatically-transforming, and unpredictable world. The concept originated in 1987, based on the theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus. The term was first used by U.S. Army War College to describe the volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous general conditions globally.

The acronym found traction after 2002, when it was considered an emerging idea to be discussed among the strategic leadership. The term VUCA stands for:

  1. Volatility
  2. Uncertainty
  3. Complexity
  4. Ambiguity

The 4 VUCA challenges reflect the unpredictable forces of change that affect organizations, necessitating new skills, approaches, and behaviors to mitigate them. The 4 elements of VUCA relate to how people view the situations where they make decisions, formulate plans, respond to challenges, cultivate change, and solve issues.

VUCA is a practical code for anticipation, understanding, preparedness, and intervention in the wake of uncertainty and confusion. One of the biggest challenges of managing in a VUCA world involves team members who resist change. Simply training the leaders on key capabilities isn’t adequate to avoid failures resulting due to not handling the VUCA issues properly. What differentiates sound Leadership from mediocre management is the leaders’ ability to ascertain key elements that prevent them from adopting resilience and flexibility.

In this age of disruption, Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity are widespread. These elements will be more prevalent across industries and enterprises in future, and if not managed properly can sap an organization’s and its employees’ strengths.

Let’s discuss these VUCA elements individually.

Volatility

The Volatility element of VUCA talks about the distinct situational categorization of people due to their specific traits or their reactions in particular situations. People react differently in specific settings due to social cues. Volatility describes the influence of situations on stereotypes and social categorization, which is the reason why people perceive others differently.

Two factors connect people to their social identities: Normative fit and Comparative Fit. Normative fit is the degree that a person relates to the stereotypes and norms that others associate with their specific identity. For example, a Hispanic woman cleaning a house does not get gender stereotypes from others in this situation, but when she eats an enchilada ethnic stereotypes emerge and the gender is forgotten. Comparative fit relates to specific traits of a person that are prominent in certain states compared to others, which are obvious as others around a person do not have those traits. For example, a woman in a room full of men stands out, whereas all the men are grouped together.

Uncertainty

The Uncertainty element of VUCA pertains to the unpredictability of information in events, which often occurs in the intention to indicate correlation between events. Uncertainty is often counteracted by using social categorization (stereotypes), as people tend to engage in social categorization when there isn’t much data about an event.

For instance, when there isn’t enough information to clearly appreciate someone’s gender — as in case of an author’s name when discussing written information — majority of people presume the author is a male. Social categorization also occurs in case of a race, when people stereotype a certain race to a particular trait. For example, basketball players are most of the time assumed as black people while golfers are expected to be white.

Complexity

The Complexity element of VUCA relates to the inter-relatedness of several factors in a system. Complexities due to interactions and dependencies within groups and categories bring unexpected results even in a controlled environment. There are certain identities in individuals that are more dominant than others. Other people distinguish these identities, make their assumptions about them, and create stereotypes. However, complexity in a person’s personality makes it difficult to socially categorize that individual accurately.

Different categories trigger in the mind of the observer, creating positive and negative perception. It is that positive perception that the observer is more open-minded despite stereotypes and think past the target’s dominant social trait. Complexities in social identities cause some identities to lessen the noticeability of other identities, making the targets unnoticeable and overlooked.

Interested in learning more about the elements of a VUCA environment, its mitigation, and Robert Johansen’s leadership framework “VUCA Counterweight” or “VUCA PRIME?” You can download an editable PowerPoint on VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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