“Leaders” Versus “Cheerleaders”

“Leaders” Versus “Cheerleaders”

Everyone wants to describe themselves as a leader. Everyday, new books on leadership come out on the market. Leaders are seen everywhere – business, society, and, of course, politics. Yet, in our culture where greatness is often measured by noise rather than accomplishment, I thought it would be helpful to define the factors that differentiate the true leader from the notorious “cheerleader.”

* Cheerleaders are thermometers, while true leaders are thermostats. Where thermometers measure the weather, thermostats change it. This is the perfect analogy in my opinion. While thermometers stick their fingers in the wind to see what direction the wind (or crowd) is going, the true leader determines his or her course and follows it. They do that which they believe is best for everyone involved. Often true leaders have to change opinion before they can be recognized as a leader. They are willing to do this in order to make a true difference.

* Cheerleaders are often victims, while true leaders are always owners. Cheerleaders will often blame anyone or thing other than themselves if something goes wrong under their leadership. With true leaders, in the words of Harry Truman, “the buck stops here.” True leaders want responsibility for the decisions they make, apologize for their mistakes, and will look to share honor with others when things go well.

* Cheerleaders focus on themselves, while leaders focus on the cause. There is nothing more dangerous than getting between a cheerleader and a microphone, TV camera, or photo op. Such people are interested in themselves and very little else. True leaders are concerned about the cause or the project. “Who” gets the credit is not nearly as important as the project getting done! This is one of the biggest differences between cheerleaders and true leaders.

So how does one become a true leader? You become goal oriented, know what you are going to do before you set out to do it. You become a person of principal, so you are not tossed flippantly from project to project. You build those around as much you do yourself, creating a strong and integrated network of people working on the same cause and all on the same page. These are the steps one takes to become a true leader and to avoid the temptation of being a mere wannabe.

Goodwill is an Intangible Asset

Goodwill is an Intangible Asset

‘Goodwill’ is regarded as an intangible asset in a business. Goodwill carries a value over and above the tangible assets of a business, and representing all benefits derived from the distinctive location, trade and brand names, credit rating, reputation, cusotmers and patronage of the business. When a business is sold, a charge is usually applied for the goodwill as one of the assets.

Goodwill develops by virtue of quality of products or service found beneficial by the customers, clients, users, vendors etc. and the manner and style in which the products or services are presented. Good advertising helps in accelerating pace of development of goodwill and prestige. Usually advertising and other image building techniques take goodwill and sales to new heights of fame, renown and prestige. Sponsoring sports and social events, donations to charity etc help in enhancing prestige and fame.

A brand name can help add to the goodwill of the business besides acquiring its own goodwill value. Truly great brands are far more than just labels for products or trademarks; they are symbols that encapsulate the desires and liking of consumers as well their trust and confidence. In most cases products acquire fame under their brand name rather the name of their manufacturer as we see in case of cold drinks and soaps etc.

On other hand there are many companies, which are famous, and their name helps in generating confidence and trust in their different products. The products of Pharmaceutical and Electric Companies and different brand names for their products may not be as famous as the company itself. It is the prestige and goodwill of the company that helps in improving competitive position of the product in the market.

Trademark as a name, symbol, or other device identifying a product, officially registered and legally restricted to the use of the owner or manufacturer becomes an intangible asset and part of good will that can be sold separately or its use allowed to different manufacturers in different areas. Most franchise businesses owe their success to the fame and prestige attached to their brand names. Most chains of hotels and restaurants have been able to expand their franchise business world wide merely on the strength of goodwill attached to their brand names. Investors find it safe to rely on the prestige of the trade name rather than developing their own trade mark. Though they benefit from the guidance of well experienced experts and the prestige attached to the trade name, they have to pay royalty to the owners of the trade name.

Considerable efforts, ingenuity and investment are entailed in popularizing trademarks and brand names and building prestige for the organization. Content of the human intellect are deemed to be unique and original and to have marketplace value–and thus to warrant protection under the law. Intellectual property includes but is not limited to ideas; inventions; literary and art works; medicines, chemical, business, or computer processes; and company or product names and logos. Intellectual property protections fall into four categories: copyright (for literary works, art, and music), trademarks (for company and product names and logos), patents (for inventions and processes), and trade secrets (for recipes, code, and processes). Laws in many developing countries need to be reviewed and improved as concern over piracy of software, movies, music etc is being continuously expressed by the producers of movies and developers of software.

Relentless and persistence efforts are always required to maintain and enhance goodwill. Quality of products or service is of prime importance but many other factors are also important. Here is a partial list of the factors that can help in improving or damaging the goodwill.

1. Best possible quality for Sales presentation and distribution channels must be ensured. The quality of advertising, wrappers, packing and warranties is also vital. Location of offices and furnishings of high standard and good taste are always helpful.

2. Customer care and after sales service. Great damage comes from inattention and rude behavior of staff. Good service leads to multiple sales. If you take good care of your customers, they will open doors you could never open by yourself. Always strive to provide service above and beyond what the ordinary organization would give. It will help you build long-term relationships, trust, and referral business.

3. A comprehensive advertising and goodwill maintenance program must be kept under constant review. Advertising in papers and magazines, television, radio and Internet must be planned with great care based on assumption or surveys of your penetration in markets of different segment of population. Selection of site for hoardings, posters etc. must also be made in consultation with the experts.

4. Innovation and Research: By encouraging feedback from clients and sales outlets you can make i

Team Coaching

Team Coaching

Enabling team development through coaching

Supporting people performance and team development are as much a part of a team leader’s role as minding the business. In fact, in an ideal world, team leaders would spend at least 70% of their time on team coaching. In these days of reduced staff it is not always possible to delegate all task oriented activities, but the more the leader can be a coaching manager, encouraging people to think for themselves, plan ahead and create their own solutions, the more one will see the team working together, rising to the challenge and achieving extraordinary things. Conversely, the more a manager corrects the team and interferes with the team’s decisions (which is about directional management rather than team coaching), the less people will bother to think for themselves, and team development in terms of creativity and people performance will slow down.

Team development: creating possibility

To develop a team to its full potential, the coaching manager must create an environment where people are encouraged to nurture their own ideas, are supported in taking risks, and where mistakes are treated as a learning curve. It should also be a place where people can have some fun! Happily, creating a fun environment is the easiest part of the process, because if people are given the space to develop their own performance, and have the satisfaction of having taken risks, risen to challenges and learned from the outcomes (whether failure or success), then the fun part happens of its own accord.

Looking for rules and instructions on team development is perhaps starting out from the wrong place. A team can only develop itself. The coaching manager’s contribution is to create the space where that can happen and then get out of the way, leading from behind to coach the team members when they need it. This is the secret to successful team development.

The most common resistance to coaching that I hear in organisations is ‘I don’t have time to coach’. There is a misconception that every team activity will take longer because listening to people takes longer than telling them what to do. However, once the time and effort has been put in to learn manager-as-coach skills (which can take as little as a month) the team’s behaviour and relationship with the leader will start to change. If people know that when they approach their manager for guidance, they will be asked to suggest solutions themselves, they will very quickly form the habit of thinking things through before they approach the manager, presenting solutions not problems. The coaching manager will know how to create trust in the relationship, so that team members will not be afraid to call for input when it is required. The coaching manager’s time is then freed up to be spent on visioning, exploring new perspectives and driving the business forward, not to mention improved work-life balance. People performance will look after itself – there is no strain or effort involved in team coaching.

The manager as coach

Over the last decade of training leaders to become coaching managers, I have come to understand that the vast majority of managers aspire to motivate their teams, encourage them, reduce their stress levels and to bring out the very best in terms of people performance. In short, most managers want their teams to be happy as well as productive. In addition, the team leaders aspire to be liked and respected as coaching managers. Where a manager’s performance fails to meet these standards, the reason is usually due to a lack of skill rather than intention.

To take an extreme case, when I have been brought in to ‘fix’ the behaviour of a bully, which has happened on a number of occasions, I have come to the conclusion that, although on a surface level the bully may seem to revel in his or her brutal behaviour, on the inside there exists a person who rather pathetically wishes to be liked. Sadly, such a person has normally learned social skills from other bullies (perhaps parents, teachers or bosses who were a long way from being coaching managers) and has never had the good fortune to work at close quarters with a manager-as-coach role model. The bully struggles to survive what seems to be a minefield of relationships at work in the only way he or she knows how.

The good news is that such people take to manager-as-coach skills like proverbial ducks to water. What manager-as-coach training can teach them are the specific words and phrases to express themselves as the type of coaching manager they would like to be. They learn to understand the true nature of listening, which is not what we think of as listening in normal conversations, and to grasp the rhythm of give and take in the coaching conversation. It is not just a question of understanding the impact that their behaviour has on the people or team working for or around them, but of learning a different way of behaviour to replace conduct that is causing fri

Importance of Business Communication

Importance of Business Communication

In this era, the business or trade world is the most money-spinning and creative platform for the businessmen. You may be a business entrepreneur, a startup venture or a big industry, you need to grow and create an impact on the customers through quality of your service or product.

It is mandatory to update your business acumen, the trends and the technology. To compete and excel in the market, it is essential to keep an eye on every aspect that may help you gain big profit and name.

Communication is one feature that is of foremost significant for growth of any business. The message you send to the masses or target audience should generate goodwill depending on the brilliance of communication sent across. Successful companies have a dedicated team to take care of Public Relations and Communication.

Business Mails have become one of the major forms of business communication. One must carefully draft emails and put the message in an interesting and innovative way to attract the attention of readers towards the idea or concept being sold.

A well composed mail itself should be sufficient for any proposal or business idea. It should be so alluring that a proposal can be agreed and sealed, inception of new alliances could take place, and partnerships or projects could be renewed.

Hence, business email is immense important in today’s cut throat competition. The business email is the first impression; it creates the business image of a company. It enhances the company’s position, its standards and objectives. It develops the confidence in reader’s mind about the service or industry, the competence and business acumen of its team members.

Thus, it becomes most challenging to draft an effective email. While drafting a business email one must ensure a flawless documentation and presentation:

· Format: The design or the template of email should be contemporary. Always follow the structure of formal letter with every rule or parameter taken into consideration. Don’t forget to put salutation, and subject of mail in the opening.

· Email Receivers: Keep the receiver email in “To” and others in “BCC”, “CC” to your seniors or team members can also be sent.

· Brevity: Remember to keep it short. The reader would ignore long and tedious mails. You have to value a busy schedule of the reader.

· Wording: Use formal, polite, yet attractive and compelling vocabulary. A second person addressing gives a personal touch and it would impress the reader.

· Accuracy: Ensure that the mail has crisp and clear words, and it should be properly addressed. Go for spell check to guarantee that there are no spelling errors. Also, ensure there should be no grammar mistakes. The content should be precise and unblemished.

· Signature: The signatures should be given at the end in a defined format:

1. Thanks/ Regards,

2. Yours faithfully/ Sincerely, Truly,

3. Name of sender,

4. Designation of sender,

5. Contact information with the mobile number and email,

6. Company website and logo,

7. Link to social media.

Performance Culture

The Right Performance Culture Starts at the Top

Measurement is the most practical way to create a performance culture that is capable of taking the journey to become a high-performance organisation. But it won’t work quickly enough, or nearly as well, if it doesn’t start with the senior leadership team.

Measuring what matters (and doing it properly and deliberately, and *not* the way we’ve always done it) shifts the way people think about:

their contribution to the organisation
why they come to work each day.

In their article in HBR’s April 2016 issue, Culture Is Not the Culprit, Jay W. Lorsch and Emily McTague rightly point out that fixing the culture is rarely the right solution to organisational performance problems. Rather, they describe how great leaders don’t wait for a performance culture to enable measurement; they use measurement to enable a performance culture.

The act of measuring triggers changes in the performance culture of organisations.

I see it happen all the time:

Executive teams routinely say to me that the conversation to re-articulate their direction in measurable terms is one of the best conversations they’ve had – a conversation they should have had years ago.
Operational staff say they feel excited about their new measures, and that for the first time they can see a bigger reason for coming to work – bigger than their job and bigger than themselves.

Dean Spitzer talks about the performance culture like no-one else I know. His book, Transforming Performance Measurement, is a classic. My copy has highlighter on every other page, but one of the most powerful things he has to say is this:

The key to success is MEASUREMENT. Measurement done right can transform your organization… measurement is fundamental to high performance, improvement, and, ultimately, success in business, or in any other area of human endeavor.

The leadership team’s top two duties are culture and direction.

Stever Robbins, the Get-It-Done Guy from one of the Quick and Dirty Tips podcasts, says that the ultimate responsibility that rests solely on the CEO’s shoulders is the success or failure of the organisation. And the CEO’s top two duties, which only they can perform, are building culture and setting strategic direction.

And proper performance measurement brings culture and direction together, catalysing them both.

The senior leadership team only need to decide to take the first step on the path to evidence-based leadership and creating a performance culture. Then momentum and small wins can build on each other, like a reinforcing loop, and the subsequent steps, one at a time, will be so much easier to continue with.

The fastest way to commit to evidence-based leadership, and trigger a high-performance culture, is to start from the top: the senior leadership team.

Training Employees

Reasons Why You Should Consider Regular Corporate Training For Your Employees

Continuous staff training and development courses can go a long way in improving your business. Corporate training benefits both individuals and the company and hence any serious business should consider training for staff once in a while. Most businesses only offer such kind of training to new employees, but the truth is it can be beneficial even to long serving employees.

Corporate training can touch on different areas relevant to the business and there are so many good companies offering the corporate training services alongside other kinds of training and development courses. The training can be based on leadership, customer service, culture development or even employee development and there are so many reasons why it is important to any business to prioritize such training including the following.

1. It helps in ensuring the employees keep up with the latest changes in the industry

There is really no one industry that stays the same through the years. There will always be new and better developments related to the industry and the only way you will manage to keep your business up to date and compliant with the regulations is through staff training. You stand to achieve better as a business when your staff skills and knowledge rare updated.

2. It makes technological developments easier to comprehend

Nothing can be harder than trying to find your way around complex technologies by yourself. Through relevant corporate training, it becomes easier for employees to learn the ins and outs of latest technological developments so they are able to comfortably use them to their full potential. You can have training programs customized to the exact IT needs and support you feel your staff needs so they can all benefit from one training session.

3. It increases satisfaction levels on the job

One of the reasons why employees get unproductive is the feeling of unworthiness. One of the best ways of ensuring they remain motivated and excited about their jobs is by getting them through exciting training programs. When they feel appreciated you can be sure of greater productivity and turnover, thus improving profitability of the business. When you have happy, loyal employees you do not need to worry about your competitors poaching them.

4. Corporate training makes it possible to identify skill gaps and weaknesses

Unless you get third party insight, you may never know of any existing skill gaps and weaknesses in your existing workforce. Training can open your eyes to such loopholes that could be holding you back from making progress. With the acquired knowledge you will be able to seal them by equipping employees with what they need to fulfill their roles effectively.

5. It helps business stay ahead of competition

Constantly advancing your staff members will help them move forward and remain competitive in the marketplace. You will not only manage to maintain skill and knowledge, but also advance employee skills to favor your business among competitors. Your staff will be able to offer more to help business stay afloat of the competition


The 5 Stages to Start Evidence-Based Leadership

The implementation of evidence-based leadership is iterative. It’s too profound a shift to happen in one go. And it will never happen if we wait to thoroughly research our current state, detail a change management plan, save enough budget to resource it all, and delay until the time is just right and the planets have lined up.

Starting at the top is the quickest and easiest way to get rolling on the journey of high performance, because employees follow what leaders do. It’s too risky for them to do otherwise. Even if leaders say over and over again ‘Start measuring what matters!’, nothing will change if they aren’t doing it themselves.

Even when it starts from the top, the implementation of evidence-based practice across the organisation will follow iterations. It’s not going to happen in one fell swoop. With each iteration, it gets easier and smoother. And changes stick better.

So don’t feel overwhelmed by the adoption of evidence-based leadership. Simply focus on the first iteration. Move through the stages, monitor how it works, and see how that informs your next iteration.

There are five stages in the first iteration of implementing evidence-based management across the organisation.

Stage 1: Decide to be evidence-based leaders.
It’s worth having this conversation with your leadership team. And this is a conversation for the whole leadership team, not just part of it.
It’s worth exploring the leadership habits of Direction, Evidence and Execution, and the organisational habits of Decision, Action and Learning. What do they mean to you? How do you see them practised? Where is there the opportunity to practise them more deliberately?

Stage 2: Create a measurable corporate strategy.
Goals are often immeasurable because of weasel words, an action-orientation, and multi-focused complexity. So goals should be reworded to make their true meaning much more apparent to everyone. This automatically makes them easier to measure. So choose quantitative measures from the evidence that most convinces you of each goal being achieved. And now you have a direction that’s easy to communicate, easy to understand, and easy to monitor. It’s easy to take seriously!

Stage 3: Cascade the strategy.
Emailing the strategic plan to everyone, or rolling out a series of presentations about it, isn’t going to get the level of buy-in that’s necessary to fully execute it. People need to be engaged in a discussion about the strategic plan, they need to ponder it, to ask questions, to challenge it, to explore how they contribute to it. Then they can make it their own. This needs communication that is: two-way, like a dialogue, unstructured to allow for exploration, and flexible so people can join in on their own terms.

Stage 4: Let the cascade flow naturally.
There’s a risk with adopting a new approach to cascading strategy and creating a performance culture. It’s to do too much too soon. Starting small with this stage is important to avoid overwhelming people, and burning them out. So start cascading your evidence-based strategy in small bites. One way is to allow teams to pilot-test the new approach to setting goals and measures. Then later they will have more confidence to implement it fully.

Stage 5: Reflect and learn for the next iteration.
Did you close your performance gaps? What was the return on the investment in doing that? What did you learn about the dynamics driving performance in your processes and systems? What did you learn from failed attempts to close the performance gaps? What did you learn about yourselves? What is the next most important thing to focus on, to close your performance gaps further? These are the questions to ask at this point. Then tweak your approach for another iteration.

Will you start?
Mastery of something as complex as leading an organisation to true high performance doesn’t happen quickly. It’s hard, it’s challenging, and it’s a long road. But we need you on that road.