Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Books Read: “The Leaders Guide to Radical Management”, Denning   Leave a comment

Or as the sub-title succintly puts it: reinventing the workplace for the 21st Century.

This book is an easy read, and full of straightfoward principles.

The primary thesis here is that radical management is about generating in-demand output that involves people with a common passion and who are good at what they do.

And at the outset he quotes the American philosopher to lay a foundation for the aim of the book:
  “If a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory.

Its about continuous innovation, and whilst the principles he puts forth have been separately “discovered” before he states that its through the interlocking nature of them as a whole that will have great impact.

These principles are:
1. focus work on delighting the client
2. do work through self-organising teams
3. do work in client-driven iterations
4. deliver value to clients each iteration
5. be totally open about impediments to improvement
6. create a context for continuous self-improvement by the team itself
7. communicate through interactive conversations

For me, it is about the client. And although not every client would welcome it, incremental innovation does indeed have benefits to both the provider and the client.

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Books Read: “The Frontiers of Management”, Drucker   Leave a comment

Drucker, in this series of wide ranging essays, postulates two things:
1. the future is being made by totally anonymous people
2. change is opportunity

His aim for this book is to provide knowledge, insight, foresight and competence. Plus create vision.

One of his chapters is on white-collar productivity. He posits three measurements for this class of productivity:
1. length of time taken to bring product out of development into the market
2. the number of new products and services introduced to the market in a given period
3. number of supporting staff, including levels of management, for a given output

The comparison is with blue-collar organisations. Blue-collar output is roughly proportional to the number of staff, whereas white-collar output can/should be inversely proportional.

Other thoughts sprinkled throughout the book are:
– information-based organisations rest on responsibility
– modern leadership is one that respects performance, but requires self-discipline & upward responsibility
– innovation requires backing people, rather than the projects (especially early in the life of the innovation)

For me, this collection of Drucker’s thoughts is mostly of informational value. However, the insights into white-collar productivity (ie, IT) are most relevant. The basic implication is that as time goes on, IT staff should be able to handle more systems (with the assumption that existing systems become more efficient & effective).

Books Read: “The Facilitative Leader”, Ray   Leave a comment

This book comes from the heart of Glenn Ray. With 27 years as a member of commercial organisations and a further 15 as an organisational development consultant, plus the study he has undertaken, Glen knows what goes into successful leadership.

Facilitative leadership is successful leadership.

And the qualities of a facilitative leader are:
– relationship building
– coaching
– learning
– problem solving
– action planning
– implementation tracking

And there are 5 modes that the leaders functions in:
– enabler of change
– respectful communicator
– developer of people and teams
– master of problem-solving tools
– manager of conflict

And yes, Glenn does use various models (ie. the Thomas-Kilman Conflict Model, various brainstorming techniques, and so on) but at its heart the facilitative leader displays servant leadership.

For me, this book highlights the way to get the best out of those you are leading.

Posted February 21, 2013 by terop in Books Read, Leadership, Organisational Development

Books Read: “Strategic Management in the Innovation Economy”, Davenport, Leibold, Voelpel   Leave a comment

It can be argued that we have moved on from a knowledge economy to a creative/innovation economy. If this holds true, then a new approach to strategic management is required.

Thus the concept of “poised strategic management” as opposed to the traditional analytical and mechanistic approaches to strategic management.

This book is a refreshingly new look at strategic management and squarely demonstrates its timeliness.

To give you a sense of what the book covers, here are the parts of the book:
– The innovation economy and strategy
– The changing nature of business and challenges to strategic management
– A new strategy mindset for the innovation economy
– Strategy, business models and organisational energy
– New strategic management processes and tools
– Strategy leadership and management in the innovation economy

Here’s some quotes from the book:
– “strategic management in the innovation economy requires a new mindset, rooted in a systemic (networked, interactive) view & not a traditional (mechanistic) value-chain, industry-bound, or an existing (physical, internal) resource capability orientation”
– “companies have felt that workers needed them more than they needed workers. This is changing in ways that most companies still do not seem to grasp” (Drucker)
– “a firm’s real competitive advantage is both its contribution to the ecosystem & systemic enterprise, & acting as an essential ‘attractor’ shaping & influencing ecosystem patterns of behaviour”

Further, here’s their 4 key requirements for management in the innovation economy:
– foresight and insight
– co-creating mentality
– broad innovation
– ability to effect cultural change & unleash energy in organisations

And the 4 challenges to the conventional strategic management wisdom:
– the shift from visible assets & invisible customers to invisible assets & visible customers
– the displacement of horizontal & vertical organisations with networks of intrafirm, extrafirm & interfirm relationships
– change of focus from analytic deconstruction of competition & markets to holistic construction & collaboration for innovative value
– descriptive & reactive mindsets shifting to creative & proactive mindsets

So, what is “poised strategic management”? It is: “the management of multiple business models for sustaining and disruptive value innovation in collaborative business networks”.

Comparing the two models of strategy development:
Traditional Strategy Process
– situation analysis
– strategic analysis & strategy pointers
– strategy formulation
– strategy implementation and change
Holistic (poised) Strategy Process
– sense-making of business ecosystems
– business model re-invention: processes & tools
– business model & strategy options
– strategy thrusts
– enabling continuous business model & strategy fitness: capabilities & methods

The approach, while new to me, of “Organisational Fitness Profiling” seems to be the right one for ascertaining the organisations potential performance using poised strategic management. It comprises of organisational levers and capabilities:
– organisational levers
  – leadership team
  – work system
  – management processes
  – human resources system
  – principles & culture
  – corporate context
– capabilities
  – co-ordination
  – competence
  – committment
  – communication
  – conflict management
  – creativity
  – capacity management

So, at its heart this poised strategy management approach is about undertaking both incremental innovation and disruptive innovation. Its the ability to handle convergent thinking (the assumption of continuity) and divergent thinking (broadening the context of decision making).

So, how does this apply to me? Its both looking to maintain the status quo & keeping a watch, with the option to embrace, disruptive technology.

Books Read: “Right Brain / Left Brain Leadership”, Decosterd   Leave a comment

Excellent insights into what makes successful leaders. In essence, success goes to those with the greatest breadth and flexibility in style and perspective.

As Dr. Decosterd is well experienced in organisational development, applied psychology, university teaching and executive coaching her views are most applicable.

The start of the book there is her “Leadership Behaviour Rating” scale (1-10), where a score above 7 in a category indicates a depth strength. A high breadth score is a score of 7 in 7 or more categories:
– assertive
– transformational
– strategic
– savvy
– innovative
– expressive
– engaging
– resilient
– methodical
– grounded

And thus to her thesis – in order to succeed leaders need to act from a broader, more complete range of business, organisational and interpersonal behaviours.

The model she presents has 10 guiding behaviours (how to) and 4 key processes (what):
Behaviours
– left brain:
  – methodical
  – expressive
  – grounded
  – assertive
– right brain:
  – strategic
  – innovative
  – transformational
  – engaging
– plus factors:
  – resilient
  – savvyy
Processes
– visioning
– operationalising
– implementing
– declaring

The above lists just scratch the surface as each of these behaviours have related traits (which are too numerous to list here).

And there are action/development plans to assist in the trajectory of leadership improvement. They are based on:
– orient your leadership from right to left
– work differently, not harder
– when stuck in a preference, shift style
– avoid the quick fix
– manage your energy thoughout the day
– create dynamic interplays
– promote synergies
– go natural
– build a library on leadership, not book-of-the-month picks
– make feedback your new best friend

There is a Charles Schulz quote in the book which is quite apt: “Life is like a ten speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use”.

For me, there is much in the book which speaks to self development

Posted February 21, 2013 by terop in Books Read, Leadership, Organisational Development

Books Read: “On Leading Change”, F.Hesselbein, R.Johnston   Leave a comment

This book explores the challenges of transforming organisations. The themes that emerge are that change leaders encourage questions, innovation, experimentation and learning.

A key thought about change is that change is of necessity a planned abandonment. Its more about creating than problem solving, and its about being open to the new.

That change starts with the passionate few, and that framing is at the heart of the persuasive abilities of these change agents. The elements of framing are:
– what will appeal to hearer
– attractive advantages
– meaningful outcomes

And there are 7 essential steps to transforming a culture through a changed organisation:
1. environment scanning for trends that will impact organistaion
2. determine impact of the trends
3. re-examine & refine mission
4. drop old hierarchy & create flexible structures to release energy
5. challenge assumptions, policies, procedures (keep future relevant ones)
6. communicate compelling messages around mission, goals & values
7. disperse responsibility of leadership

And while change is external (different policies, practices, etc), transition is internal (psychological reorientation). Thus change timelines can, and are, affected by stakeholder’s mental state. That people need to say good-bye to the old, enter a neutral zone of confusion and preparation, and then finally begin to move forward. It can be tough. That’s why the “4 P’s” are important:
– purpose: why do we have to do this
– picture: what does the goal look & feel like
– plan: the steps ahead
– part: involvement in the plan

The research covered by this book highlights 3 key attributes of change-adept organisations:
– concepts: the imagination to innovate
– competence: the professionalism to perform
– connections: the openness to collaborate

Another approach to breaking free from the old & ushering in the change is to manage by committments:
– to a course of action
– to an ambitious goal
– to stretch relationships
– to an operating philosophy

Another facet of change is the operating environment we all face – the opposing tensions of interdependence & diversity. To lead in this connected world, leaders must:
– have ethical & political savviness
– be authentic & accountable
– fopcus on the politics of commonalities
– think long-term, act short-term
– exhibit leadership through expectation
– seek a a quest for meaning

For me, leading change is similar to infusing innovation. It requires transparency of motive, an openness to the new and a bias toward servant leadership

Posted February 20, 2013 by terop in Books Read, Leadership, Organisational Development

Books Read: “Multiple Intelligences and Leadership”, Riggio, Murphy, Pirozzolo   Leave a comment

Excellent book on a key component of leadership: intelligence. But specifically looking at the different types of intelligence and their respective influences upon leadership effectiveness.

The domains of intelligence as discussed by the papers presented in this book are:
– analytical
– cognitive
– creative
– cultural
– emotional
– practical
– social

I found it not only intriguing, but also leading me to reflect upon, the notion of multiple types of intelligences. That we each hold a mix of intelligences, with degrees of sub-competencies, and that these factors greatly influence our leadership styles.

For example, successful organisational leadership requires a high degree of social intelligence. Social intelligence comprises the two competencies of social reasoning and relational skills. These social reasoning skills are:
– social perceptiveness
– social knowledge structures
– metacognitive reasoning
And the relational skills are:
– behavioural flexibility
– negotiation
– conflict management
– persuasion
– social influence

Which all leads to the thought that one’s social intelligence could be improved by targetting each of these skills.

Likewise with emotional intelligence. Although there are a couple of models that attempt to explain emotional intelligence (the ability model & the mixed model), they too are structured with competencies (ie, perception, empathy, self-awareness, etc).

Then there is the discussion regarding transformational leadership (as opposed to transactional leadership). Those leaders seen as transformational will have greater emotional and social intelligences than cogntive intelligence.

Another important factor covered by the book, whilst not exactly a leadership skill or competency, is motivation.

As the authors state at the end of the book: “successful leadership is extraordinarily complex, and we are only beginning to understand the implications of multiple intelligences for research on leadership, and for leadership selection, training and development”.

For me, understanding that there are numerous skills which ultimately combine to produce a capacity to lead implies that, to a degree, leaders can indeed be made.

Posted February 20, 2013 by terop in Books Read, Career, Directorship, Leadership