Leadership and Relationships – It’s the Little Things

In leadership and relationships, it is often the small gestures and words that make all the difference.     I have often been surprised at the number of times I have been reminded of my words and gestures from the past, how they have remained in people’s minds and in some cases had influence in their thinking and on their actions. To be honest, this has not always been in a positive sense, with mistakes and errors in judgment coming back to haunt me at various stages of my life as well. But this blog is more about the positive aspects of our words and gestures. In my last 6 years of full-time work for GE I had the pleasure of working with another leader, Luke, who I was able Read more about Leadership and Relationships – It’s the Little Things[…]

LinkedIn Leadership Poll Nov 2012 Results Screenshot

Leadership Traits, Skills and Attributes – Poll

Late last year I ran a poll via LinkedIn asking the question: what is the most important leadership trait, skill or attribute that you would like to see developed and improved in 2013? I was very pleased with the number of responses, receiving 226 votes. What was most satisfying was the effort many people put into the supporting comments of which 49 added to their vote with their thoughts. There are many well-balanced, thoughtful and insightful people in my network and I thank you all for taking the time to add to the discussion. I will add that the 3 or 4 foolish people who took the time to repeatedly add very little constructive thought and feel the need to use domains such as LinkedIn polls to vent and argue Read more about Leadership Traits, Skills and Attributes – Poll[…]

Leadership Greatest Hits: 2012 CoachStation Highlights

Like many of you, I have spent some time over the past weeks reflecting on 2012 and planning for next year. As cliche’d as it may be, the years do seem to be passing more and more quickly, although I feel this is a reflection of our lifestyles and a symptom of the modern world. It has been a year of significant change for me, as I took the step to leave full-time employment and work full time in and on my consulting and leadership development businesses, CoachStation and Telework Management. Pleasingly, I have never been so comfortable and content with my current and future work situation. Beyond my family, one of my great joys is writing and I have taken much pleasure from the blogs constructed in 2012. It Read more about Leadership Greatest Hits: 2012 CoachStation Highlights[…]

Leadership Training of Middle Managers

Do we forget how important leadership is in business?     Over the weekend I read an article in our local paper titled, Investing in the Forgotten Heroes, by Carla Jenkin. The premise for the article is the importance of the role of ‘middle-managers’ and the level of support and training they receive. Carla wrote: Middle managers are the ones that keep the cogs turning and ensure the job gets done, not the chief executive. They are often not getting the support or training required so that they can maximise operations, as more senior managers tend to get the company-sponsored education opportunities…more businesses need to look at how their middle managers can be supported if they are to effectively lead people and manage the success of operations. U.S. research reveals Read more about Leadership Training of Middle Managers[…]

CoachStation: Employees, Strengths, Diversity and Relationships

Self-Awareness, Mindfulness and Decision-Making

Ask yourself: “am I particularly efficient…or am I effective in what I do and the decisions that I make?” Self-reflection, taking into account many factors is important to continue to produce improvement and awareness about what is going well and what you would like to change about who you are and what you do. In my most recent role as a national leader within a global organisation I had many responsibilities and tasks assigned to my role. I was also in the fortunate position to have a degree of flexibility and freedom in my direction and subsequently, that of my team. Last year there was a leadership change within my team, which had its pros and cons. However, I did find that I had less opportunity to genuinely contribute my Read more about Self-Awareness, Mindfulness and Decision-Making[…]

Life Choices: The Decision Tree

I have walked that long road to freedom I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.” (Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, born 1918, South African lawyer, statesman and 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner, from Mandela’s inspirational 1994 book, Long Walk to Freedom.)   Although it is hard for any of us Read more about Life Choices: The Decision Tree[…]

CoachStation: HR and Administration

Where is My Team? Remote Management and Teleworking

Teleworking, Remote Management, Virtual Leadership – no matter how it is described, the need to provide leadership outside of the traditional work environment is becoming more prevalent each year. Teleworking and the associated challenges and benefits of leading a team who may not be located in the same site, is becoming more prominent in business as a result of technology, recognised cost-savings and employee attitudes. There are many potential benefits, however it adds significantly to the requirement for leaders to be even more effective in how they operate and to continue to develop new skills within the modern work environment. Leading remotely can add to the challenge of building a team with the structural reality of many modern businesses and organisations requiring distributed or virtual teams. Technology, globalisation, organisational expectations Read more about Where is My Team? Remote Management and Teleworking[…]

Leading Customer Experience Management

Providing a level of customer experience that ensures your customers ‘feel’ the difference between your business and competitors is crucial to success. A key element to be able to make this a reality rather than a pipe-dream is how many of your employees and particularly leaders ‘live the reality’. Discussing customer experience (CE) as a core part of business culture genuinely reinforces the messages – but not if this is felt by a few, not the many. Effective business leaders should always know that they are building a culture and understanding with all employees that the customer matters. This cannot be achieved through empty words, sound bites or a shallow attempt at driving a customer-centric organisation. CE can be incredibly complex and very simple at the same time. I wonder Read more about Leading Customer Experience Management[…]

CoachStation: Leadership

Roles, Structure and Instinct…Be Like a Bee

In my front garden is a small bush. As we enter the early stages of Spring, it has come into full bloom. The plant is covered in bunches of small, white, delicate flowers. I can see the bush from my office and often enjoy the view of our garden. Under my office window is a bench seat that I made last year using the original wood from a patio that we pulled down in our backyard. It is one of my favourite places to sit. One beautiful Spring day last week I was sitting on the bench watching the bees, literally hundreds of them, flitting from flower to flower. I watched them for 20 minutes or so working very studiously collecting nectar and doing what bees do….and it got me Read more about Roles, Structure and Instinct…Be Like a Bee[…]

CoachStation: Learning, Education and Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson: Education, Our Kids and the Future

My wife sent me an email with a link to the Top 20 TedTalks since 2006, ranked by ‘views’. I watched the number 1 on the list by Sir Ken Robinson (>13m) and was so impressed and inspired I felt compelled to share with the remaining 6 billion people who are yet to watch his presentation (well, those who read my blogs may be a little lower in numbers, but it’s a start!). I must confess I had never heard of Sir Ken previously, however, quite simply, his TedTalk is a must see! His views regarding learning, children and where we are getting it wrong are unique and thought-provoking. There are many outcomes that we are seeing as adults that link back to our childhoods and early education. There are Read more about Sir Ken Robinson: Education, Our Kids and the Future[…]

CoachStation: Building Leadership

The Current Challenge Of Leadership

People-oriented issues are the biggest factors impacting business success in 2012. A recent report by the business group, SixSeconds, titled The 2012 Workplace Issues Report: Insights On The People Side of Performance seeks to identify the key challenges in the workplace today. The report details the results of a global survey which explores top issues as well as employee attitudes and the role of emotional intelligence in solving those key issues. The findings collate 775 responses from leaders and employees worldwide, representing various levels of employment, industries and sectors. There are many interesting results and data-sets stemming from the survey, all providing depth to the importance of people-related leadership activities. 58% of survey respondents list ‘Leadership’ as the biggest ‘people-side’ issue in their organisation. Additionally, the survey highlights key words Read more about The Current Challenge Of Leadership[…]

At Last We’re Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 2)

Is employee engagement relevant in today‘s workforce? Earlier this week I wrote the first part of this blog relating to Employee Engagement. In part two I examine some of the leadership themes, highlights and a few statistics supporting the relevance and importance of engaging employees. A leader‘s ability to consistently demonstrate and apply relational skills has a direct correlation to the level of engagement an individual may feel. Providing genuine leadership is key. There appears to be a gap between what employees state is occurring and what leaders feel they are applying in reality. Data and surveys continually reflect the discrepancy between what leaders believe is occurring and what their team members state. This is often reflected in frequency and quality of the levels of engagement through formal and informal Read more about At Last We’re Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 2)[…]

CoachStation: Employee Engagement

At Last We're Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 1)

Is employee engagement relevant in today‘s workforce? I would suggest more significant than ever with the ‘war for talent‘ escalating, technology providing a seemingly endless stream of information and contact with new job opportunities being more accessible than ever. What is employee engagement? Simply, it is how well an employee is fully involved in his or her role and the desire in meeting business interests, outcomes and goals. Employee Engagement is the extent to which employee commitment, both emotional and intellectual, exists relative to accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organisation. Engagement can be seen as a heightened level of ownership where each employee wants to do whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and for the success of the organization as a Read more about At Last We're Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 1)[…]

CoachStation: Developing Leaders

Efficiency and Effectiveness – Leadership Impact

Are you efficient and effective in all that you do? I’m not, however a recent experience has taught me more about myself and the importance of these two attributes . Self-reflection, taking into account the many factors that influence us all is important for growth. Taking time to reflect provides a platform for improvement and awareness about what is going well and what you would like to change about who you are and what you do. In my most recent role as a senior leader within a global organisation I had many responsibilities and tasks assigned to my position. I was also in the fortunate situation where, for most of my tenure, I had a high degree of flexibility and freedom in my direction and subsequently, that of my team. Read more about Efficiency and Effectiveness – Leadership Impact[…]

CoachStation: Learn To Lead

Development and Training – Same, Same: Maybe Not?

Are learning, training and development the same thing? The short answer is no, however training is one avenue to learning and development. Why does defining the difference matter – aren’t I really just splitting hairs? Now, that is the interesting question!! Having worked with many varied people and business cultures and recognising the similarities and differences, it is clear to me that many managers think training and development are the same thing. I have seen examples where a manager has sent one of their team to training to ‘rectify’ a skill gap and behaviour. Attending the training did not make the difference expected by the manager, so he sent the employee back on the 2-day training course at the next available opportunity. Of course, there was no change as a Read more about Development and Training – Same, Same: Maybe Not?[…]

How Important Is Reading To Development and Leadership?

In one of those coincidental yet surprisingly common situations, I have been engaged in several scenarios regarding the importance of reading in recent weeks. As a keen reader, this stimulated thought regarding my current situation and what has led me to where I am today – do I believe there is a link? I recently left permanent employment to focus my time and energy full-time on a consulting business I have been developing for the past two years. As with most small business owners, I am keen to succeed for my own reasons (making a difference, ego, challenging myself etc.) as much as external factors such as earning an income and supporting my family. I was keen to investigate how much I have learned through what I have read as Read more about How Important Is Reading To Development and Leadership?[…]

360 View in 360 Words: Leaders Are Born AND Made

Some months ago I read a post written by Colleen Sharen titled, Leaders Are Born, Not Made. I have continued to think through this question, particularly as I have changed my views somewhat over the years. I felt it appropriate to provide further insight into this question of leadership, based on my response to the original blog. It appears Colleen hit the right note to stimulate thought and some controversy based on the various responses from other readers that were posted in response. My belief is that leaders can be taught and developed, however there is a ‘minimum’ requirement that must exist to start with i.e. emotional intelligence, intelligence, physical, personality along with other skills, traits, behaviours and attributes. What I am interested to discover (and I continue to look Read more about 360 View in 360 Words: Leaders Are Born AND Made[…]

Personal Values – One View

Understanding your own set of personal values can be a powerful tool. Increased self-awareness and knowledge of what is most important to you can help to identify how you act, what motivations drive you and better understand why you react to particular events or situations more than others. What are personal values? Wordnetweb defines values as beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something). Values exert major influence on the behavior of an individual and serve as broad guidelines in all situations (BusinessDictionary.com). Values can and do change over time depending on environment, parental influence, teachers/schooling, friendship groups, specific situations and many other contributing factors. Importantly, values can be shaped through both negative and positive experiences. An individual may Read more about Personal Values – One View[…]

360 View in 360 Words: Leadership and Influence

To be able to effectively influence others is a key leadership skill. However, like many skills, particularly those involving the art of working with people, influencing can be a challenge. Situations, relationships, cultures and other variables impact your ability to influence. You do not have control over every one of these variables – but you do have control over developing a deeper set of skills in influencing others. Improve yourself through self-development and learn to influence others more effectively in practice. Be aware of your own body language and that of others. The ability to ‘read’ others through what is unsaid can be a powerful input into influencing. Take into account the other person’s perspective. The ultimate empathy position can be found when you step into the other person’s shoes Read more about 360 View in 360 Words: Leadership and Influence[…]

Leadership, Employee Engagement and Customer Service

I attended last years IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney and thoroughly enjoyed the content. I learned a lot. There were many great speakers. Many of them focused on the what – meaning that I learned about tools, measurements, successes through data collection and customer platforms, amongst other aspects. I was invited to this year’s conference, including the opportunity to be a guest speaker during the opening day. I wanted to set a challenge to myself and the attendees with a pitch more aligned to the ‘how’: • How do we achieve improved customer service results? • How do we establish the right culture to balance employee, customer and business needs? • How do we use the extensive quantities of data available to real advantage? • How do we create Read more about Leadership, Employee Engagement and Customer Service[…]

Leadership @Customer Experience Management Conference

This week I attended the IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest speaker during the Focus Day on Monday and many other speakers have shared their thoughts and presentations over the three days. Although the conference theme was based around Customer Experience, there have been many great quotes and comments regarding leadership, business and culture that are worth sharing. This blog highlights a few of the key points that I felt were most relevant and resonated with my own values and passions. Thank you to all the speakers for sharing! How are you choosing to challenge what has been done previously? Don’t accept the reasonable reasons from the past. Our employees want to know their leaders and what they care about. Gordon Read more about Leadership @Customer Experience Management Conference[…]

11 Key Leadership and Customer Experience Mantras

This week I am attending the IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest speaker during the Focus Day on Monday and presented on the subject of ‘Building Customer Experience Frameworks From The Inside Out’. The comments and quotes highlight some of my key themes and concepts that I feel are most important when developing a Customer Experience philosophy and strategy: Unless your business sees Customer Experience as a culture, not a tool, then your customers will feel the pain of what is not being provided by your customer-facing employees. Leaders should create a culture of employee engagement, empowerment and buy-in that ensures your customers benefit. When we get our leadership mantra right…our employees care about their roles and our customers ‘feel’ Read more about 11 Key Leadership and Customer Experience Mantras[…]

Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 2)

Richard Branson recently stated that coaching senior managers can be difficult for various reasons, not the least of which is the difficulty in finding an uninterrupted period of time to conduct and review. In Part 1 I noted the first three guidelines Richard Branson highlighted in a recent article in the Business Review Weekly magazine titled, 7 Rules For Managers, focusing on effective leadership, coaching and empowering leaders.This post concludes the guidelines, consisting of the final four points. Who’s In Charge? It’s Up To You? A good manager provides clear roles for members of his team, which enables everyone to get on with the job of running the business. Once you’ve made these choices, do not micromanage. If you make a habit of diving in and changing a major project’s Read more about Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 2)[…]

Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 1)

Richard Branson recently stated that coaching senior managers can be difficult for various reasons, not the least of which is the difficulty in finding an uninterrupted period of time to conduct and review. Branson and his senior leaders spend time together each year at his home on Necker Island to discuss the opportunities and challenges the Virgin business group and leaders currently face. I am certain this is a great opportunity to solve the business issues, share and learn from each other, however equally sure this is only part of the development story for individuals and future of the Virgin group and other companies in general. Sharing and learning from others is one aspect of coaching and leadership development, however knowing something or having additional information about a situation or Read more about Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 1)[…]

The Positive Impact Of Connecting

I recently read an outstanding article titled ‘The Why (and How) of Employee Engagement‘. It incorporates an interview with Kevin Kruse, entrepreneur and CEO of Kru Research and co-author, along with Rudy Karsan, of We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement. I am particularly interested in this topic as it is often one of the key differences between those in charge who are managing and those who are leading. Employee engagement is a large topic with many inputs. On a one-to-one level or team level the connections made form part of the engagement story. There are many interesting points made in the article, notably the need to apply the same rigor and analysis to engagement as we would any other area of management by measuring its success, Read more about The Positive Impact Of Connecting[…]

CoachStation: Coaching and Leadership

Leadership Credibility: The Right To Lead?

A few questions that I have been recently pondering. How do you know that you have leadership credentials? What gives us the right to lead others? How do we know if our leadership is effective – how is leadership development success measured?   I had a coffee last week with Steve, someone who I was meeting with for the first time. Overall the meeting went well and we discussed many thoughts, concepts, real-life scenarios and philosophies regarding work culture and leadership. We covered background information and work history, along with discussion about values and motivations. Overall, it was a fantastic discussion and I felt a natural level of affiliation with Steve as we held many similar views. During our chat though, he asked a great question. Considering my passion for Read more about Leadership Credibility: The Right To Lead?[…]

Leadership Starts Early…Real Early

I love my family. I am very proud of my three daughters. I am also pleased that my wife, Julie, and I (almost always!!!) share a similar view on raising our girls. Like any parents, we want our girls to be healthy, happy and able to cope with the many challenges life offers, whilst maximise the joy in their lives, now and in the future. Julie and I set high standards. We are consistent. We love our girls. We lead…and we are developing our daughter’s accordingly. Leadership is not a title…it is a series of attitudes, developed skills and related actions. Julie and I discuss values with our daughter’s, particularly as our eldest, Maddy, is about to turn 10 – I do wonder where that decade has gone? We do Read more about Leadership Starts Early…Real Early[…]

Strategic Thinking and Leadership

Do you truly understand the difference between strategic and tactical thinking and application? If so, do you understand enough about the similarities and differences to create aligned goals, apply meaningful actions and ensure that one leads effortlessly to the other? Many a plan or process has failed due to a lack of clear direction and early identification of the problem to be solved, leading to a poor concept of the strategies required. The subject of strategy is vast and complex. This blog highlights that there is power in understanding what strategic thinking is and its necessary alignment to the tactical tasks and practical choices we make every day. In this instance, a useful definition of strategy is, “A word of military origin (which) refers to a plan of action designed Read more about Strategic Thinking and Leadership[…]

Leadership, The Coach and Coaching – Ange Postecoglou

With this evening’s win by Australia in the Asian Cup Football, it is timely to share a blog I wrote a couple of years ago after seeing and hearing Ange Postecoglou speak. He was then and is now a very inspiring leader. So much so that he has turned our national team around in a very short period…leading to tonight’s win. His thoughts and words regarding team, leadership and culture are just as relevant in business as they are in sport. I was fortunate to attend an evening hosted by one of my local football clubs on Friday night. The guest speaker was Ange Postecoglou, head coach of our local nationally based football (soccer) side, the Brisbane Roar. Ange has represented Australia playing football and has successfully transitioned into coaching Read more about Leadership, The Coach and Coaching – Ange Postecoglou[…]

Expectation Setting – Who Cares?

Does an employee have the right to clear expectations? Or, is it the employee’s responsibility to ask if they are unclear about any aspect of their role. As leader’s should we just expect that the clarity and details will come in time – it’s not like there is an expectation of high performance on day 1..or day 10..or day…? Or, is there never an expectation of high performance? There should be! Earlier this week I read a blog on the Leaders Beacon website (thanks Colleen Sharen) providing insight into expectation setting. It got me thinking. How well do we as leaders really set clear expectations? Do we induct our new employees effectively? Is this even on the radar of leaders or central to business planning and strategy? Do we consider business Read more about Expectation Setting – Who Cares?[…]