“Culture is the glue that binds an organization together and it’s the hardest thing for competitors to copy. As a result, it can be a lasting source of competitive advantage.”
Creating a winning culture will call on a very different type of skill set than is traditionally called upon by a CEO. You need the capacity to listen, empathy, and compassion to grasp the nuances of a winning culture and integrate each of them into your day-to-day operations.
“Culture” can sound esoteric and hard to wrap your hands around, but it’s not so complicated. You can manage and measure a winning culture by spending time on it. In fact, whatever time you’re currently spending on culture, quadruple it.
Be honest with yourself about where your culture is today. Find a clear vision for where you want it to be a year from now and then map an achievable action plan with the steps you’ll take as an organization to get there. Think about how this vision comes together on a day to day basis, how will it change the way you attract and assess new talent coming into your organization? Will it change the leadership competencies you encourage, develop and reward in leaders?
Action plan: Don’t “hang your hat” on positive engagement survey results. These type of surveys speak to the current climate of the organization at a given point of time and are not your culture. Identify where you need to be to WIN in the next 3-5 years and what needs to change with your current culture to best enable you to get there. Talent acquisition should be focused on hiring for the emerging culture.
“The most successful organizations will equip employees with what they need to make, measure, and sustain progress on diversity and inclusiveness.”
We know that companies are far more successful and innovative when they leverage diverse talent, and that it is no longer acceptable for “diversity” to be a keyword.
A CEO must possess an authentic intention and a solid plan for integrating diversity into every level of their organization and culture, and the new standards for diversity include diversity of experience and thought, in addition to physical and gender diversity.
Action plan: Consult with your CHRO and Talent Partner to re-examine how your organization attracts, assesses and onboards talent to ensure diversity and inclusion are being facilitated systematically with the highest-possible standard for democracy.
“True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.”
— Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
Humility, empathy and masterful listening skills are all part of a mindful business practice and essential components for fostering a culture of disruptive innovation.
Mindful business isn’t a theory or a philosophy, it is a series of decisions you can make to drive buy-in, help people feel heard and part of a movement bigger than themselves. Mindful business is a means for making every member on your team feel safe to come up with big ideas.
Surround yourself with people that compliment your development areas and create influence with leadership. Learn what you need to know and not what your ego wants you to hear.
Action Plan: Read “The Mind of The Leader: How To Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results” by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter for Harvard Business Review Press. “The Mind of the Leader” offers a radical, yet practical, solution. To solve the leadership crisis, organizations need to put people at the center of their strategy. They need to develop managers and executives who lead with three core mental qualities: mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion.
This article was originally published by Steven Pezim, Vice Chair of the Board – TRANSEARCH International
Most global executives are promoted or recruited into new leadership roles because of the education they completed, the experience they gained and the insights they bring to new business opportunities and challenges.
Experience alone can be a game-changer. Having learned the ropes once before, successful executives can leverage the lessons learned and confidence instilled in them from past employment and parlay these assets into exciting new results for their next employer.
On the whole, experience truly is a gift for those who choose to learn – good and bad – from it, and those who learn how they must adapt in order to recognise how different situations, resources and people fit the current day and potential for tomorrow.
Sometimes, if you listen intently enough, some of the most powerful lessons of your executive leadership career can come from some of the most unexpected places.
Too often, it seems, global executives tend to look up the chain of command for insight on a host of important management challenges. It’s natural, after all, to seek to learn from the experience of more experienced and highly successful leaders for tips on balancing priorities, making sound decisions and taking calculated risks.
Yet some of the most telling and revealing lessons are often revealed where we might least expect it – on the front lines, in the trenches, so to say, and often, in the words of people who’ve walked distinctly different paths than our own up the corporate ladder.
Take, for example, the words of a schoolteacher who recently challenged some friends to look at little differently at their work, their aspirations and their lives, too.
Executives in a growing number of industry spaces are beginning to ask many ‘What if?’ sorts of questions. Their teams are modelling revenue projections, supply chains and technology risks against a bevy of influences brought on by new technology and new business competitors whose aims are as disruptive as they are ambitious.
Take the case of Amazon.com, which has over the past couple decades gone from asking whether any of us had bought a single book online to exploring more and more industry markets ripe for innovation, disruption or outright reinvention. It’s just one of a number of large global companies whose future growth may rest on its ability to bring change to the customers your organisation may have served for decades…
If you found time recently to reflect on where you are on life’s journey or on the pathway of your executive career, you may have found yourself thinking more about your purpose, your time and your priorities.
Finding meaning in your work, and the example you set as a leader, is a powerful motivator when business demands require you to travel to far away time zones or when urgent matters require you to stay up late or arise very early to monitor emails and more.
As the demands on global leaders continue to escalate and complicate the balance between work and life, it is imperative to take stock of why you’re committing so much of yourself to your current role, your current employer and its employees and customers…
Coaching can be challenging, even for established leaders. However executives who are open to being coached and therefore, learning more about themselves, have a far greater opportunity to achieve their full potential. Executive coaching also acknowledges the value of the leadership team and a focus on continual improvement within the organisation.
Opinions and perceptions are formed very quickly in our rush-around business world. That’s especially true when senior business leaders look around and decide which people, products and processes to invest in. Because they are likewise stretched then, many CEOs and other ‘C-Suite’ executives look for behavioural and verbal cues to reinforce what they think they already know.
Sometimes, through no fault of their own, individual leaders at just about every level of the organisation can be stereotyped or internally branded in a way that limits their career growth and development and the support they get from the enterprise.
Achieving sustained business growth is not an easy task, no matter the size of the company. The stakes are even higher when corporate objectives clash with the prevailing culture of an organisation.
Business growth and profitability is the stuff of legends.
Companies that astound investors, employees and the business media with sustained or unprecedented expansion become the darlings of the global financial markets and the spotlight grows on the careers of the executive officers, non-executive directors and innovators who made it all happen.
It is not surprising, then, that we are all chasing the same dreams. Growth leads to new opportunities. New opportunities present the potential to change the things around us. And recognition enables influence on a scale sometimes unimagined.
Yet there comes a time in the development of any company – large or small, public or private – when the risk of significant imbalance between corporate objectives and company culture escalates and begins to threaten continued business growth…
Building strong relationships is important at any level of your career. Leaders who display a high level of emotional intelligence are more likely to build trust with clients, enjoy better rapport with their teams and achieve greater success for their organisations, which follows through to their personal accomplishments.
We’ve all been there.
You know, at that moment in an awkward business, social or community environment when it becomes pretty clear to most parties involved that one among you has an alarming lack of self-awareness. Whether that reality is betrayed by one’s behavior or language, such a lack of self-awareness is often a signal to others to disengage, maybe for good. Maybe this was you at a younger age, or at decidedly different point in your career.
Whatever the case, the key is understanding yourself – your tendencies, your style, your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to interacting with others in the workplace – so you can put your best self forward and maximize your potential as a global business executive. This self-realisation, which can be bolstered by raising your understanding of emotional intelligence (how your actions impact others), is an important first step toward taking your relationship building skills to the next level.
It is important to re-boot your thinking when starting a new leadership role and not fall into the “this is what we used to do at my old firm” default!
When you open your computer each morning, your email looks a certain way, your web browser makes it easy to get to your favorite web sites, and your desktop looks however you like to see it organised. This is because, somewhere along the line, you or one of your IT staff programmed these as the defaults you will come back to time and again, thereby making clever short-cuts a real time-saver in a busy global executive leader’s routine.
But much like the instructions plugged into our laptops and desktops, it is important for global leaders to recognise that past successes and failures alike could have the same effect on our own day-to-day leadership and management tendencies if we are not mindful of how habit and comfort can shape the path in front of us. These intellectual and behavioral “default settings” can be sources of exceptional performance yet also the catalysts of tremendous failure.
There remains a significant gulf between the kind of organisation many companies espouse and what their employees say they actually are.
Even inside some of the most successful global business enterprises, there is a hidden culture and social identity and energy that either complements the party line about the company’s missions and values or recognises it to be disconnected from the day-to-day operating realities of their work forces. This misalignment of people and priorities is both a threat and an opportunity for global leaders.
The management view – and that of the marketers, human resources and corporate social responsibility promoters responsible for effectively messaging corporate culture to create a unique business identity and attract top talent from the outside – is usually far out ahead of the reality known amongst those who occupy your office’s cubicle workstations…