Leadership and Planning

Leadership and Planning

Being able to build a plan and work your plan is the 5th critical leadership competency identified by Korn/Ferry Lominger. A plan keeps us on track and focuses our energy. It can keep us from flying off on wild goose chases that expend great amounts of resources but achieve very little.

The ability to plan is not always natural. As we can learn through a Myers-Briggs session, some of us are naturally good at planning and some of us are not. Yet, this is another skill that can be cultivated and developed.

People who are good at planning can uncover what needs to be done, who needs to do it, how long it will take and what resources will be required. This is a very deliberate process requiring complementary skills in many other of the ‘Big 8’ competencies.

Those who do not develop good planning skills often fly by the seats of their pants. They may seem very energetic and creative, but their results often do no match expectations. They are often tired and stressed.

To be successful, be systematic in developing your plan. First set clear goals about what you want to accomplish, including performance standards and measures of success. Break your goal into smaller tasks that must be completed. Identify the resources required including budget, equipment and human. Match people to tasks, train them if necessary and give them appropriate responsibility, authority and timelines. Monitor your progress, reflect on your process and make adjustments where necessary.

This planning process fits very well with our Deliberate Success Model which focuses on developing a Vision, creating a Plan and Reflecting upon the results.

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Leadership and Motivation

Leadership and Motivation

The fourth of the “Big 8” leadership competencies (Korn/Ferry Lominger) we’re exploring in this series is motivating others.

Once again, Dan Pink had tackled this topic in his book “Drive”. What motivates (and what does not motivate) others will surprise you. Marcus Buckingham also sheds light on this topic in his eye-opening book “First Break All the Rules”.

Motivating others is complex and challenging. Some of us are more naturally gifted at it than others, but it is a deliberate skill and we can all learn to be better at it.

Some of us feel that, just because we are self motivated, others will be as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. Leaders must build strong relationships with their team members and they must know how to motivate and inspire them.

Motivation is the use of external rewards to get a job started and completed. It is, in its simplest form, the “carrot and the stick”. Research has indicated that this carrot and stick approach only works well for simple tasks where thought and creativity are not required.

Inspiration, on the other hand, is a desire from within to do something you believe is worthwhile. You are not doing it just for a reward or to avoid punishment, but because you want to do it. As a leader, tapping into inspiration requires personal understanding of your team members. You must know people well enough to connect them to a compelling, shared vision, and to tie the task or challenge to personal outcomes that they find personally worthwhile.

Ultimately, a leader’s job is to make their team look good in the eyes of others and feel good about the work they do. When you facilitate them (as opposed to driving them) to achieve great results, you can tap into powerful forces of motivation and inspiration.

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Leadership and Innovation

Leadership and Innovation

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

We are exploring the “Big 8” competencies that separate good leaders from great leaders (as identified by Korn/Ferry Lominger). The third competency is innovation management.

Those who are skilled in innovation management are good at bringing ideas to life. They can facilitate others through the creative process, brainstorm effectively, select the good from the bad ideas and foresee how potential ideas will play out in the marketplace.

On the other hand, leaders who are unskilled in innovation management are unable to judge a good idea from a bad one and can’t predict which idea will best perform in the marketplace. They are often resistant to creative ideas, avoid change and stay in their comfort zones. They are unskilled at leading others through the creative process.

Being innovative involves understanding, selecting, and follow through.

You must understand your marketplace; what your customers want and what they don’t want. What will it take to bring non-customers on board? What is not currently being offered in the marketplace or is being done poorly by other players? If you do not have a clear understanding of your marketplace, there is a good chance you will not look in the right areas for innovation.

Once you have gone through a brainstorming process, you must be able to dig through all the ideas generated and select the best, most viable one. This will involve skill in dealing with ambiguity as there is no crystal ball that will point conclusively to the “right” idea. The key here is to select a good idea or direction and commit to it.

Once you have selected your idea or direction, innovation management involves bringing it to fruition. This is often where good ideas fail. Execution is key.

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