Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Improved Profits

"How can Third Generation Leadership increase my organisation's profitability?" That was a question posed to me recently. The answer is simple.

Trust the people you work with (not just the managers) and, working with them in a very open session at which everything is "on the table", work through the following process:
  1. Make a list of all the things impact on your organisation's ability to operate profitably.
  2. Sort the list into two groups - those things within your organisation and those things external to your organisation
  3. Sort the "internal" list into the following categories: knowledge, strategy, non-human resources, structure, human process
  4. Very honestly and as impartially as possible, assess each item in each category of this list as to whether it actively enhances profitability, impedes profitability (usually by causing a problem or blockage that affects some other item from functioning effectively), or operates in such a way as to prevent profitability
  5. Determine how to rid your organisation of those things that prevent profitability and clear the impediments
  6. Determine how those items enhancing profitability can be further supported
  7. Sort the "external" list into the following categories: those you can influence, those you cannot influence
  8. Develop a very clear plan for positively influencing each item you can influence and develop an approach for dealing with those items you cannot influence
  9. Empower everyone to make the new plan work

A First Generation Leader or a Second Generation Leader will try to control this discussion and will see as a threat any suggestions which question the leader's thought process and preferred approach. Such leaders will make it clear that some items are not open for consideration. This is a red zone approach.

A Third Generation Leader will operate from his or her brain's blue zone of control. This will allow full engagement with everyone involved and enable new and creative solutions and approaches to be developed. By then trusting people to actually implement what they have worked on developing, their commitment and competence will be harnessed towards achieving what needs to be done.

I'd love to know what you think of this. Please post a comment below.

More information about Doug Long at http://www.dglong.com/

Friday, July 9, 2010

Leadership, winter, rain, and puppies!

Those of us living in Sydney know that lately we've had some pretty cold and miserable weather. Yesterday I had to go to Hornsby to do some shopping (not my favourite past time!). The shopping centre was pretty full (school holidays and all) and the retailers should have been very happy with the floor traffic.

I'm a "people watcher" and I decided that having a cup of coffee was a good idea. (Those who know me are very aware that I can almost always find any excuse for a cup of coffee!) I chose a coffee shop quite close to a pet store. Now I don't really like pet stores both because so many of them sell animals bred in "puppy farms" and the like and also because the very presence of pet stores can encourage emotional responses that result in many people buying puppies, kittens, or other pets that they don't really want and that may later be abandoned or abused. However this time I noticed that the pet store was having an interesting and positive effect on shoppers.

From where I sat I could see people coming down the mall from near the car park and most seemed to look quite dismal and disgruntled. Perhaps it was the time of the year and the rain, but people looked grumpy and anxious. Even infants and young children seemed subdued and a bit sullen.

I noticed that almost everyone seemed to head for the pet shop. Even if they were on the other side of the mall most people seemed to cross over to look at the animals as they passed. Behind the glass the puppies were playing in the shredded paper that lined their cages. the puppies were full of the joy of being alive. They were being, well, puppies!

And the effect on the shoppers was instant. Almost without exception, after watching the puppies for a few seconds, people moved on with a lighter step and a smile on their face. Whatever concerns people may have had, for a few moments these were dispelled as the puppies brought some light and sunshine.

It made me think.

As leaders what are we doing to bring some light and sunshine into the lives of those we lead? Part of our role is to inspire.

Perhaps there's a leadership lesson from puppies.

I'd like to know what you think of this. Please make your comment below.

More information about Doug Long at http://www.dglong.com

Friday, July 2, 2010

Third Generation Leadership = Engagement

It is interesting to note that various articles in the mass media have picked up on the issue of relationships and how they affect engagement. The most recent trigger for this has been the change of Prime Minister in Australia.

In Australia, Prime Ministers are not elected by the people. Political parties determine their leaders and, following national elections, a particular political party (or coalition of parties) is elected to govern and the leader of that party then becomes Prime Minister. As has been graphically illustrated in the Kevin Rudd situation, a failure to engage both the general populace and your party colleagues, can lead to a rapid demise.

I note that apparently some of our business leaders (particularly in the retail arena) are using various forms of subterfuge in order to catch "slackers" at work. It seems that they feel their sales figures would be improved if people worked harder and so they want to find out who is not working as hard as perhaps they could. Clearly there is an associated implication that any "slackers" so discovered will have committed a "career limiting" activity!

I suggest that a better approach might be to improve the quality of leadership.

Most people want to do a good job. That which stops them tends to be problems in the quality of leadership or in some systems issue within the organisation. Those familiar with the concepts of Total Quality and the work of Edwards Deming will understand this.

If an organisation is not meeting the performance required, the first place to look is at the leadership. If the leader is failing to engage those with whom he or she is working, performance becomes a random variable!

I'd like to know what you think about this. Please post comments below.

More information about Doug Long at http://www.dglong.com