2020 Hindsight Series: Stay Simple

We're continuing our series of 2020 hindsight; a look at lock down leadership lessons, I've learned over the past 12 months. One important factor in successfully navigating a crisis is the need for simplicity. I think there is a lesson for businesses and their leaders to keep it simple.  

There definitely seems to be something innate in us, that compels us to add complexity where it's not necessary. I think underlying this is the wrong assumption that complexity is a sign of competence. When I hear people being complex or giving long answers, it’s often used as a cover for incompetence or self-justification. In the many turnarounds I've been involved with, the solutions have always been very simple, even in the most complex environments. Complexity, bureaucracy and politics, all...

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2020 Hindsight Series: Love First

One of the things that has been a surprising outcome of meeting with groups of leaders during 2020 is a definite change in the usual priorities. Once the urgency of protecting the business and preserving the company was in place, leaders started talking about other things. The often-robust conversations of a purely commercial nature became deeper, and more personal. Forced time away from work, more connexion with family, and a prevaling threat helped us all, to reassess our priorities. My 2020 hindsight, leadership lockdown lesson is the importance of putting love first. Yes this is commercial leadership content and yes I’m talking about love. I’m even going to quote an Italian poet. Please bear with me.  

True love cannot be found where it does not exist, nor can it be denied where it does,” according to Torquato...

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Hindsight Series: Build Trust

We're taking a look at some of the things I've learned over 2020. With a little bit of 2020 hindsight. In this session I'm going to cover, the importance of building trust. Lincoln Chafee, the American politician said, “trust is built with consistency.” Very true, but I would add transparency and integrity.

As a leader when you don't have trust, or haven't created an environment of trust for your team, things move slowly. With low trust you experience low productivity and even toxic environments. Often when there is no trust, that gap is filled with fear.

If we do build trust, we can create a dynamic environment with enabled powerful teams. Trust is the yeast that can influence an entire environment and release the latent potential of your people. In short with trust, you can get things done!

A survey by YPO of CEOs in 115 countries, showed that leaders recognise the importance of stakeholder trust for business success. However, they also reported building and...

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Hindsight Series: Know What Comes First

This is a continuation of a small series I'm doing on 2020 hindsight. These are leadership lessons I've learned from the lockdown. In this session, “Know what comes first”. In a year where there was a lot going on, as you may have noticed, having clarity around priorities has been paramount. “Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.” According to the Bahamian Clergyman, Myles Munroe. Wise words.

If we don't know what comes first, we will be busy, but not necessarily effective. We all have a huge amount of noise in our world. The tendency will be to become reactive rather than proactive . We will randomly respond to what's happening, rather than considering our primary most effective response. If we do have a sense of what should come first, then we have more clarity. If we cut through the clutter and the noise, we tend to make better decisions.

Good is the enemy of great. We can...

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Hindsight Series: Embrace Uncertainty

 Here’s a 2020 hindsight; a lockdown leadership lesson I've learned during this ‘interesting’ year. Embrace uncertainty. Danish Physicist Niels Bohr said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future.” I do like a physicist with a sense of humour. But it's very true, we do like to think that we are in control, that our futures are certain. We are the most insured, some would argue, over-insured people in history. We try and reduce risk, increase certainty and think that we can control our future's. Once again, there's nothing wrong with those things, but if we do not learn to embrace uncertainty, we can be left disappointed, resentful and cynical. It can also lead to a lack of resilience. Yet if we embrace uncertainty, recognise that the environment and life in general, cannot always be shaped into our desired state, we can be both realistic and resilient. This year taught me that embracing uncertainty is essential to...

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2020 Hindsight Series: Enjoy the Journey

I thought it was a good time to take some of my own advice and review this year with 2020 hindsight. We all know it's been an extraordinary year. We all came into 2020 with 2020 Vision. As with any new year there were expectations of what we would do, what we wouldn't do, and what the year was going to look like. The overused quote from Mike Tyson that everyone has a plan until they get a punch in the face, is so true for 2020. I want to take a look at the “lockdown leadership lessons” that I've learned or at least have had reinforced, with 2020 hindsight.  

The first one for me has been to enjoy the journey. Greg Anderson, the American author, said “Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. It's such a simple concept, yet worth contemplating if you're like me; very focused on the outcomes, the destination, ...

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Mindful Leaders See Alternatives

Mindful Leaders see Alternatives. Often when disruption comes, we are blindsided because it comes from industries, sectors or competitors that are outside our experience. If we don’t look far and wide for possible alternatives to our products and services we get disrupted, replaced or at least commoditised. If we are mindful of alternatives, then we can recognise new opportunities, lower our risk, embrace changes we need to make early and adapt. 

Alternatives like car-sharing rather than ownership, or Airbnb as an alternative to hotels can sideswipe an entire industry. The choices then become very difficult to make, especially if you see it early. These pivots are extremely challenging for the established players because as Kenneth Eade points out, “Most people, faced with two difficult choices, prefer not to choose at all.” This probably explains why incumbents loose to new disruptors especially if it is due to...

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Mindful Leaders Know the Trends

Mindful Leaders know the Trends. We all operate in an environment that’s changing. Being mindful of how those trends will change the future operating environment, is critical if we are to lead constructive change. If we're not attuned to trends, we will get sideswiped and surprised by what, in hindsight, will look like the seemingly inevitable. We will be subjected to being reactive, rather than proactive. Another unfortunate consequence of not identifying changes, and not changing quickly enough, is that we are in the middle of the pack of other companies, and so in a highly competitive environment. These pressures, and this situation, lead to a stressful workplace, challenged revenues, with margins under pressure as we fail to innovate into expected trends.  

If we are mindful of trends, we have the opportunity to lead the market, and ...

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Mindful Leaders Challenge the Status Quo

 

Mindful Leaders challenge the Status Quo. Business models are failing faster now than at any time in history. Corporate history is littered with examples of what happens when you don’t innovate and are wedded to the status quo. Blockbuster, Nokia, Polaroid, Pan Am, General Motors, and ironically the inventor of the digital camera, Kodak. You can even develop the next wave of innovation and still fail through failure to adopt. Any business today that embraces the status quo as an operating principle is going to be on a death march. said Howard Schulz. Harsh but non the less true.  

It's almost guaranteed that the status quo on which we now operate is currently being disrupted by someone somewhere. We have to learn to disrupt ourselves and that starts with questioning the unquestionableIt's not easy. All organisations have a certain worldview and operate within a...

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Mindful Leaders Know the Team

Mindful Leaders know the Team.

If you’re a leader I just want to challenge you for a moment, how well do you know your team? Do you know what makes them tick? What are their aspirations? What really motivates them? If we don't know our team well, then we will tend towards micromanagement. “I love to be micromanaged” said nobody ever. If we're not mindful of an individual’s agenda will end up with low engagement, and therefore low productivity. But, if we can connect with those around us, in a way that is authentic, and releases them into their passions and their desires, aligned to their talents we will create engagement and high productivity. Plus, you get to have a bit more fun in a more positive environment, whilst achieving a better commercial outcome. It's about leveraging the latent potential and collective experience of your team and growing commitment. "Individual commitment to a group effort; that is what makes a team work, a company work, a...

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