Categories
Leadership

Who Benefits?

Making any kind of change is difficult, especially in a large and complex organisation.

One really useful technique is to identify who is going to benefit from the change. Think about everyone who will be impacted, ranging from customers to suppliers, your internal stakeholders to your immediate team.

If the only benefits that you identify are to you or your direct team, then you are going to be treading a long and lonely path. You may find that this kind of change is one to put on to the backburner, as it’s going to struggle to build momentum.

In the majority of cases, you’ll find some people where the costs outweigh the benefits that they’ll see, and you’ll find some who benefit more from the change than the effort it’ll cost.

Those who benefit more will be your key allies in bringing this change to bear, and should be the first people you enlist in building momentum in the group. Getting these people on board is key to success. Make sure they see the benefits that will accrue to them, and they are likely to become enthusiastic supporters of the change.

When you have that initial support, it will be easier to convince those who may be neutral towards the change, those who are neither going to gather major benefits or costs. There’s a lot of value in there being visible and vocal allies to convince others. A lone voice can be dismissed as an outlier, multiple advocates are positive reinforcement and can start to move the group.

Finally, you can start to move those who are more impacted by the change. With a range of supporters, the change is gaining momentum. There’s a point where people will start to support it to make sure they are not left behind, being part of the group is important. You might need to commit some additional effort to bring around the most impacted, but if you’ve built the platform with your supporters, it will be less than you might think.

So, find out who is going to benefit and enlist them in your change effort. Many voices will bring success more quickly than a lone effort. Show the value you’ll bring and get those supporters lined up to move the group forwards quickly.

Categories
Coaching Leadership

How Do You Lose?

Winning is great! It’s an awesome feeling to come first, to see the reward for all your effort and to be recognised for your successes.

You aren’t going to win all the time. The more you are pushing and stretching, then the rarer those wins might be. So you need to think about how you handle losing, and how you can take those losses and make them positive experiences.

First up, check out your public response. What are you presenting to the world? Most of the time, even for something high stakes like a promotion, you’re winning or losing is in the context of a continuing relationship. Showing anger, complaining loudly or disparaging the winner are actions that are unlikely to be looked on favourably in that ongoing relationship. Think about losing gracefully, respecting the game and showing good spirit.

Remember, no-one ever overturned a referee’s decision by arguing with them in the heat of the moment!

Of course, that’s not to say that you won’t feel hard done by, that decisions were unfair or that someone won out on attributes that weren’t being measured in the ‘official’ rubrics. Take a breath, count to ten and complain in private if you have to! Then think about how you’ll drive some constructive change in the future.

Now you’ve covered that public response, the reflection and learning is the next, and most important, stage. Losing is a perfect opportunity to learn from your performance, to do even better next time.

What did you do well? What went badly? Was it a close run thing, or were you played out of the park? Get honest here, and use feedback or external sources to ensure that the honesty is true.

If you did well, then take heart from the experience. You are likely to just need to tweak some parts of your performance. Double down on some of your strengths and turn areas you were good, to places you can be great.

If you did less well, then it’s time for some deeper reflection. Did you really overreach yourself? Even so, what did you do well? Can you take those positives and build on them for the future? Is this an opportunity to set an intermediate goal and aim there next time?

Losing is the fastest teacher around, take the knock, dust yourself off and get back on with it to drive forwards to success!

Categories
Book Review Leadership

Made To Stick

This is the classic guide to helping you shape your stories to make them sticky. It gives you a set of simple tools and techniques that enable you to refine your message so it becomes more effective.

The particularly great news is that these skills are something that you can learn, it’s not just the gift of the instinctive storyteller. You can deal with the curse of expert knowledge by taking dense and statistics heavy messages, and turning them into short snappy stories that really resonate with your audience.

You will be introduced to the principle of SUCCESs:

  • S – Simple
  • U – Unexpected
  • C – Concrete
  • C – Credible
  • E – Emotional
  • S – Story

Take any message you want to spread widely, test it against these criteria and refine it until you hit more of them. Do this and it’s certain you will hit more people, and the message will stick better with each person you reach.

Simple and practical, this is a great guide for those of us who default to the position of the expert, and who sometimes need to step back a bit to pull others along on our journey.

Categories
Coaching Leadership Uncategorized

Know Your Strengths

I really rate the Clifton Strengths assessment as a method of understanding your own strengths and preferences. It costs about $50, but it will bring you many multiples of that back in value if you make good use of the report.

You’ll get an ordered list of 34 different strengths across a range of themes (Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking). You’ll get a range of reports, ranging from the full list, to a deep dive into your top five strengths. The detailed reports will give a high level summary, a range of phrases that explain the strength, and also an indication of what could be a negative if you overuse that strength.

It’s really great that the reports invite you to reflect on the specific themes that resonate most to you, rather than forcing you to box yourself in to a single descriptor.

As an example, one of my top strengths is “Analytical”, which is 100% not a surprise (Maths graduate!). This means that I like to work with data, that I like it when ideas are well formed, and I enjoy when people are able to “show their working”. This strength will mean that people will seek me out when they want support to build up an idea (or knock down one that’s not yet well formed). However, if overused, it can cause people to stop seeking my advice, if they feel their ideas may not yet be rigorous enough.

With this awareness, I’m able to put this analytical strength to good use. I’m able to support people to build up ideas, pairing up with people who work in a more instinctive way to help them connect their inspiring idea to the data that backs it up.

I’m also able to look out for those times when the emotional connection is the right one to make, so that I don’t drown it out with data!

If you know your strengths, then you can spend time making sure you apply them whilst also looking out for situations where overusing them might be a handicap.

If you don’t have this awareness, then will find it hard to recognise what you are great at, you won’t recognise where you are struggling, and worst of all, you won’t know where your default behaviour is going to cause you difficulty.