April 10, 2017
There isn’t life AFTER leadership; there’s life WITH leadership.
My formal organizational career passed 14 years ago when I was relatively young after a 30 year career as an executive leader.
My corporate afterlife has been an interesting ride; I smothered myself in leisure activity and explored many potential opportunities to consume my new freedom.
I have been in my “post real job” era long enough now to understand just how significantly my leadership tenure has influenced my entire life.
Leadership traits become ingrained; involuntary.
You can’t escape them. They own you despite your desire to find new bearings and a different direction.
Deep down you will always be that leadership person.
In your career afterlife your leadership genes can be a good thing or not.
I plan things well in advance. Vacations and other significant events are booked well in advance with an execution plan laid out in terms of what specifically has to be done, by whom and when. And I always have a back up plan ready when things go awry.
I place a great deal of emphasis on getting stuff done. I get extremely frustrated with protracted conversations about possibilities. I need to pick a path and DO IT. Wandering through dreamland is not an activity that gives me any satisfaction whatsoever.
I am a problem solver. If an issue comes up I need to resolve it. Not talk about it; but find a solution. Now; not next week. Sense of urgency continues to run through my veins.
I keep a journal in my calendar on my electronic device. I have a “record of proceedings” of my life; experiences and memories. It seems the proclivity to have a record of achievement and observation never wanes.
I value honest people who approach their lives in a simple way. I avoid people who thrive on - and love to talk about - the many things they are able to juggle and achieve in their daily busy lives.
I can spot insincerity a mile away from people who “grin” at me and who try to impress others and standout with no platform. I walk away.
I would rather take the initiative than follow the lead of another. WOW! This has produced some interesting conversations with our friends. It’s something I must do; it’s gravity.
I schedule every personal and family event on my calendar even though my dance card is replete with unclaimed territory.
I have a strong opinion on most issues and voice it perhaps too frequently and with an excess of passion. Casual conversations can easily morph into debates.
I have not mellowed out much over the years and continue to see little value in a “milk toast” persona. I continue to resist yoga and meditation even though I recognize their merits. Maybe someday.
I practise my art of BE DiFFERENT with everyone in my personal community including my family. I will likely never be known as someone who is the SAME as everyone else but one who goes beyond limits to standout from the crowd.
I place an exceedingly high priority to create experiences for my family that hopefully will be remembered by my grandchildren in particular as cool things we all did together.
I am intolerant of “dumb rules” in organizations that I deal with as a customer. Policies that make no customer sense fuel my fire to say something about it. And I do.
I wonder why business problems haven’t really changed and am frustrated that what I believe to be simple axioms of success aren’t practised far and wide today; people complicate organizations needlessly. The education system lags behind.
Practising the art of leadership doesn’t end after your formal career has ended, and retirement, whatever the hell that means, takes over.
For better or for worse you own it.
It’s yours forever.
- Posted 4.10.17 at 04:00 am by Roy Osing
April 3, 2017
Standout leaders are proactively adaptive who thirst for change. They drive change as opposed to letting change drive them.
They enthusiastically embrace the change process and treat it as an opportunity for the organization and themselves as opposed to treating change as a threat and something that can be avoided.
They are good at anticipating how things will unfold but are brilliant reaction agents, reacting to an unforeseen event when it occurs. When Plan A is in jeopardy they move to Plan B in a heartbeat.
They are Change Leaders, as opposed to their more traditional organizational cousin, the Change Manager.
Change Managers want to perpetuate the momentum of the business, and reluctantly move into the change mode when the forces on them leave no other option.
The Change Manager isn’t GREAT at reacting; they are limp reaction agents, reluctant to change and get dragged into it kicking and screaming with the real motive to keep the status quo for as long as possible.
They act from the belief that change can be affected in a controlled and organized fashion and tend to look to incremental improvements to address the challenges of the day. Change Managers are students of the softer more evolutionary methods of organizational change.
Incremental thinkers drive incremental change which often falls short of what is required.
Don’t look to Change Managers to be proactive and initiate required changes in your organization; to have an adrenalin-rushed reaction to move in a different direction as a result of unanticipated events.
They simply will not do it. And don’t look for an out of the box alternative to the current way of operating your business; they will always be governed at best by modest incremental changes to the current operating model.
Change Leaders, on the other hand, understand that real change with breakthrough benefits for the organization is the result of introducing discontinuities to the current business model.
They are proactive and are constantly on the lookout for operating models for running the business so that revolutionary break-through changes can be achieved. And in the face of unexpected events challenging the performance of their organization, expect Change Leaders to enthusiastically react with a sense of urgency to determine the appropriate life-saving course of action to take.
Change Leaders will present your organization with tough decisions because their proposals will require taking higher risks to yield greater rewards. Expect them to make your organization uncomfortable with the inherent risks associated with the order of magnitude changes they bring forward.
You must develop a plan to be a Change Leader; it won’t happen by serendipity. You will discover that most of your colleagues will fall into the change manager category and that differentiating yourself is very achievable and will get you the kind of currency in your organization that will highlight you for future opportunities.
These 9 steps will help you be a change leader.
1. Use your personal network to discover the most critical issues the organization is facing. You can’t lead change unless you have an intimate understanding of the threats and opportunities likely to impact your business future.
2. Focus on the critical few things that will deliver the maximum number of benefits to the organization. Beware of the long action plan list; you have neither the time nor the energy to do ten or twelve things really well nor will they be equally important in terms of the positive impact they produce.
Look for 20% of the actions - your critical few list - that will deliver 80% of the needed results and get going.
The long action plan list - pursuing numerous tactics - is a symptom of sloppy strategic thinking: a lack of appreciating the few actions required to produce the greatest impact.
Chasing numerous tactics may make you feel good about how busy you are, but it can be deadly in terms of achieving real progress.
3. Be anal about executing your top priorities. Don’t get mesmerized by the brilliance of your idea; it’s worthless until you do something about it and achieve positive results.
4. Take on a let’s do it differently attitude and way of working. Avoid linear thinking. Be a lateral thinker and look for out-of-the-box solutions to problems in the organization.
5. Purge your vocabulary of words like evolutionary change and incremental change in favor of breakthrough and revolutionary change.
6. Get on the internal speaking circuit. Talk up the importance of creating discontinuity for your organization as the way to meet the challenges your organization is facing and generate economic opportunity.
7. Increase your depth and breadth of experience and expertise. Look for job opportunities throughout the organization; don’t get pigeonholed in one specialist role.
8. Read insatiably, and develop a portfolio of new concepts and ideas that could be applied to solve your pressing business problems or lead your organization in new directions.
9. Seek out others in the organization others who aspire to be Change Leaders. Encourage them. Mentor them. Support them in their day to day activities. And be seen to be doing it.
- Posted 4.3.17 at 07:34 am by Roy Osing
March 27, 2017
There are two elements to a service strategy: core service and the service experience.
Core service is the basic product or service you provide the market; your dial tone so to speak. Without your core service you don’t have a business. Clean hotel rooms, dial tone, accurate financial advice, working stereo systems and 24X7 cable service are all examples of core service.
Interestingly, customers expect your core service to work every time, and when it does they give you a ‘C’ on your service report card. Customer loyalty is unaffected; it neither goes up nor down.
The source of customer loyalty is the service experience; dazzling a customer will get you an ‘A’ on your service report card and they will keep coming back and tell everyone else how wonderful you are.
The objective, then, is to deliver your core service seamlessly and consistently 24X7X365 AND to dazzle and amaze the customer when you do it.
How does an organization create dazzling experiences?
1. Hire human being lovers. Can you dazzle a customer if your frontliners have a fundamental dislike for humans? No. Creating memorable experiences for customers requires employees who want to serve; they want to take care of people.
Look at your recruitment programs. Do they explicitly look for this attribute?
2. Recover: fix it and do the unexpected. Service mistakes happen in any organization; what’s critical, however, is what you do when they occur. The amazing thing is that customers are more loyal after a successful service recovery than if the mistake never happened at all! How to recover?
Fix the mistake FAST and then blow them away by surprising them with something they DON’T expect.
3. Kill ‘dumb rules’. Do you have policies that don’t make sense to customers? The rules, policies and procedures that piss them off royally? Seek them out - ask your frontline - modify or get rid of them so they are not a source of aggravation.
Policy creation should be driven from the customer’s perspective not internal staff groups who are constantly in the control mode.
4. Bend the rules; empower the frontline to ‘say yes’. You can’t dazzle customers if your frontline is enforcing rules all the time. Allow them a bit of flexibility to bend the rule when it makes sense to do what the customer wants and delight them in the process.
Organizations that build culture around these 4 attributes are loved by their customers.
And they win.
- Posted 3.27.17 at 04:16 am by Roy Osing
March 19, 2017
If your new strategy development process does not deal with the CRAP you need to eliminate, it will surely fail.
There is no way you can renew your strategic direction and target new customers and re-vector your competitive claim if you continue to do things that were part of your old plan.
You simply do not have sufficient resources and bandwidth to do it all, and even if you did, the past will create inertia that will prevent you from moving to a new place.
So, treat CUT THE CRAP as a fundamental part of your strategy building process.
Once you have charted your new course, include CRAP analysis in your execution plan.
What things are you now doing that are no longer necessary? How can they be eliminated? What resources can be made available to your new strategy from CRAP activities?
Create a CRAP list and make it long; create a KEEP list and make it small.
Make it tough on yourself to retain CRAP. Subject each CRAP item to rigorous review before deciding to KEEP it. Remember CRAP represents potential resources to get on with new projects.
And beware of those who possess the CRAP.
These custodians of the past are people who are comfortable handling past activities; they enjoy them and they don’t want to change.
They are managers of irrelevance and are critical to the CRAP elimination process. If they are permitted to continue to do their thing they will infect others in your organization and prevent them from taking on the new direction.
Identify these folks and manage them: either reassign them or, if they are unwilling to move to the future, exit them with dignity from your organization.
Designate a cut the CRAP champion for the task; make it a senior person in your organization that has the tenacity, perseverance and currency with employees to give the job the credibility it deserves.
Charge this person (make it a critical component of their performance and compensation plan) to make it happen. Review progress regularly. Communicate results to the organization.
Make it matter to everyone. When someone tells you they don’t have the resources to execute the new direction ask them how much CRAP they have eliminated.
Make the organization accountable to CRAP elimination.
- Posted 3.19.17 at 06:18 am by Roy Osing