We coach leaders.

# 17 The and/both of Facebook

May 29th, 2012

I am not on Facebook nor do I intend to be.

However I was fascinated by an ABC program a couple of weeks ago about Mark Zuckerman and the Facebook phenomenon.  I learned that this is a man with a vision to connect people with each other and he’s apparently about to connect the 1 billionth such person.

Two things particularly fascinated me about the program and kept me up later than usual:  the first was the power of his vision which meant it was easy for he and his team to refuse a several billion dollar buy out offer because “we are clear that we are in the business of connecting people with each other not in the business of making lots of money”.

The program tracked the viewer through Zuckerman’s life and education and the second thing that especially caught my attention was that he studied computer science and psychology at university.  “Aha” I thought, this is what makes this guy different from other computer science nerds – he brings a people focus to Facebook as well as a clever technical offering and I believe this and/both approach will have contributed to his success.

The and/both of AnD Leadership Consulting

Where Zuckerman brings an and/both approach to Facebook by combining an understanding of people and science, we at AnD provide coaching services to our clients to help them use both their hearts and their heads to explore both their vision and the appropriate strategies for their businesses and their lives.  To learn more contact Kate Ramsay at [email protected]

How about you?

How do you apply and/both thinking to your business and/or your life?

# 16 What followers want from their leader

March 14th, 2012

If you’re a leader of a huge organisation or a tiny team of people, or anything in between, please take note.  Gallop Inc, the well-known polling company has done vast research on leadership and the social sciences.  Gallop’s researchers asked 10,000 followers which leadership characteristics mattered most to them in their leader.

The three most common factors followers want from their leader are that :

1.  They invest in strengths – both their own and their employees.

2.  They surround themselves with the right people and then maximise the strengths of their team.

3.  They understand their followers’ needs.

How can leaders best influence their followers?

Gallup then followed up these 10,000 people and asked them to list 3 words that best describe how they want their leaders to positively influence them in their daily life.  More than a tenth of those polled used the same words:

Trust

Compassion

Stability

Hope

What about you?

How can you demonstrate trust, compassion, stability and hope in your people today?  And if you’d like some help to work out authentic ways to do this some Leadership Coaching with an AnD Coach is a phone call or email away.

# 15 What men want and why it matters for women

October 17th, 2011

I convene a women in management group in Melbourne called the Dolphin Forum.  We meet second monthly over dinner and once a year we have a guest speaker.  Last Monday night our guest for this year was Dr Barbara West.  Barbara has her own consultancy, CultureWorks, and is also on the board of The 100% Project – a not for profit organisation that wants to see 100 percent of Australia’s leadership talent, female and male, contributing equally to Australia’s social and economic future.

What men want

Barbara told us about a recently published study by The 100% Project called Men at Work – what they want and why it matters for women.   The study shows that most men do want to spend time and energy with their family and that in fact 68% said their family is more important to them than their career.  However the most telling statistic for me is that only 39% of men surveyed have asked their employer for greater work-life balance because they think asking will harm their career.

Why this matters for women

As the synopsis of the research findings explains: “If men don’t feel they can request the work-life balance they want, then women will continue to carry most of the burden of maintaining a home and raising the children”.  This in turn means women pay for this by not making it into senior leadership roles and men by missing out on meaningful time with their families.  You can download the full report at the100percentproject.com.au

Why does this matter to me?

At a personal level I care because I am the proud grandmother of five granddaughters and I want them to have all the same opportunities as the grandsons of my friends.  At a business level I care because in my leadership coaching work I coach women who are carrying the bulk of the domestic burden and men who are working ridiculously long hours and feeling deeply the disconnect this causes with their families.

How about you?

How’s your work/life balance?  Are you able to regularly spend meaningful time with your family?

# 14 Managing upwards

September 16th, 2011

I’m in the business of supporting leaders in my role as a leadership coach.  My clients and I spend lots of time exploring how to get the best out of their team members.  But we sometimes forget they also need to nurture their relationship with their leader.  Hence the title of this blog – Managing upwards – which is the street wise term to describe this.

A colleague recently sent me an article that drew my attention to the importance of managing upwards in order to get on.  Called Managing your Boss, it was written by John J Gabbaro and John P Kotter and re-published in the January 2005 edition of the Best of Harvard Business Review.  My son found it a helpful read so I thought to share it with the readers of my blog as well.

The ‘how to’ of managing upwards

Gabbaro and Kotter recommend a 3 step checklist:

1. Make sure you understand your boss and his or her context – including their objectives, pressures, strengths and weaknesses and preferred working style.

2. Assess yourself and your needs, including your strengths and weaknesses, your personal style and your “predisposition to authority figures”.  I translate this latter phrase to be about understanding your comfort or discomfort levels with people who currently have and have had authority over you .

3. Develop and maintain a relationship with your leader that fits both your styles, keeps them informed, respects their time and resources and is based on dependability and honesty.

Needing help?

If you think you might need help with some of this, give me a yell at [email protected]

# 13 News for Intelligent Optimists

August 22nd, 2011

My blog today is a deviation from my usual ones about leadership and learning.  It’s a good news story about an online service called Odewire that searches media sources world wide and tells only the positive stories.  What a change from most print and online media that tell us all about the doom and gloom in the world – be that natural disasters, economic crashes or an outbreak of violence somewhere in the world.

Today’s lead story tells us that “Residents of Patna India will soon be able to buy organic fruits and vegetables from their nearest milk parlor” then there’s a link to more of the story.

Within the Odewire site are links to the topics of:

Business, Energy, Food, Health, Technology and Life.

I’ve taken to reading a good news story from Odewire as I munch my breakfast.

Are you an Intelligent Optimist?  If so take a look for yourself at www.odewire.com.  (I wish I could make the link for you but my WordPress software is misbehaving.)

# 12 Let’s hear it for empathy!

July 19th, 2011

A couple of weekends ago I read an essay in The Sydney Morning Herald  that moved me deeply. Written by Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Cambridge University and called Evil lives when empathy dies, it’s a plea for the use of empathy as what he calls a “universal solvent” because he believes that “any problem immersed in empathy becomes soluble”.

Baron-Cohen’s piece ends with the story of two fathers who were sharing the same stage at a gathering in north London:  Ahmed, a Palestinian and Moishe, an Israeli.  Ahmed’s son was killed by an Israeli bullet.  Moishe’s son had been killed by a petrol bomb thrown by a Palestinian. They’d met through The Parents Circle for Israelis and Palestinians that enables bereaved parents to make free phone calls into each other’s homes to express their empathy.  Baron-Cohen:

Here were two fathers, from different sides of the political divide, united by their grief and embracing each other’s language.  Ahmed described how he had been at home in Gaza one day when the phone rang.  It was Moishe, at that time a stranger in Jerusalem, who had taken that brave first step.  They both openly wept down the phone.  Neither had ever met or even spoken to someone from the other community, but both told the other they knew what the other was going through.

I included a piece about Baron-Cohen’s essay in the most recent edition of my Value Adding newsletter and some of the responses I’ve received have been fascinating.  For example, a colleague in the UK who coaches executives there emailed me the alarming information that a book he’s reading suggests that research is showing that many people in very senior roles are neurologically incapable of empathy.  Eek!  I thought.

Can empathy be learned?

I believe it can.

However for senior executives the first important step is to realise that strong technical skills and a high intellect are no longer enough to remain relevant – they also need to be self-aware and have strong inter-personal skills – what is now called Emotional Intelligence or EI.

Accessing regular time with an AnD Consulting Leadership Coach is one very good way for leaders to learn how to hone their EI – including their empathy – and so to apply the “universal solvent” to challenges within their organisation and market place.

How would you rate your Emotional Intelligence?

# 11 Some things age well!

May 30th, 2011

A good red wine and, as I discovered not long ago, a marketing tool that I first met in the 80s both age well.

At a recent business women’s networking breakfast in Mullumbimby (one of my local towns in northern NSW) we were lucky enough to have Susanne Schmid, a European based consultant ,  as our guest speaker (see http://schmid-training.com).  Susanne used the SWOT Analysis to help we local women look at our businesses with fresh eyes.

The SWOT in action

If you’re not familiar with SWOT the letters stand for the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats facing any business in its current environment.  Susanne gave us a handout with the 4 SWOT letters presented in the points of a diamond which in turn was surrounded by a rectangle.

When I first looked at my handout I confess I felt surprised that Susanne was using such an old tool.  However when she used the SWOT framework to ask us a range of gently challenging questions about ourselves and our businesses, I could see how helpful it was and indeed that the SWOT had aged well!

The SWOT and AnD Consulting

Since that breakfast I’ve spent time applying the SWOT handout to my business AnD Consulting, and to my surprise and delight I have secured several new pieces of work since then.  Coincidence?  Who knows, but I think not!

The SWOT and your business

What are the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats facing you right now?  And what can you do to enhance your strengths and opportunities and overcome your weaknesses and threats?

# 10 Leadership is a juggling act

May 2nd, 2011

Leaders have a lot on their plate – they need to satisfy their customers, keep their teams productive and motivated and plan for the future – all at once!

I’ve just read an article that categorises all of this into the what and the how of leadership – the ‘what’ being the focus on the immediate and the future – what the article calls the operational and the strategic, and the ‘how’ being the juggling act of when to be a hands on leader and when to step back and let the troops run the show – what the article calls being either forceful and/or enabling.  No wonder leaders get tired!

But wait, there’s more!

As if that wasn’t enough of a juggling act for leaders, the article also talks about the dangers of overdoing one’s strengths as a leader.  This means that even if you’re highly skilled at strategic thinking you must not lose sight of current operational issues and even if you’re most comfortable with an influencing leadership style, there are times when you will need to take charge.

How we can help

We at AnD Consulting are in the business of helping leaders be the best they can be.  Our Leadership Coaching process provides clients with confidential time out for regular reflective practice during which they explore when to be operational vs. strategic and when to be forceful vs. enabling and how to notice and correct the temptation to overdo your strengths.

How about you?

Which are your preferred leadership styles and are you at risk of overdoing your strengths?

# 9 A face lift for Cloud House!

February 28th, 2011

As the regular readers of my blogs will know, my business is called AnD Consulting and we provide one on one Leadership, Vision and Entrepreneur coaching services to our clients.  In simple language, what we do is act as a safe sounding board and guide, as clients work out their vision for themselves and their businesses, and what they need to do differently to achieve this.

Clients are typically professional and business people and locally I coach them at my home, Byrongerry, just inland from Byron Bay in northern NSW, where I also host live-in clients (andconsulting.org).  While here Learning Retreat clients reside in a self-contained studio called Cloud House.

Cloud House Face Lift

And, getting to the exciting news last, we’re currently giving Cloud House a face lift.  There’s a new carpet upstairs (from Towers at Mullumbimby) and a gorgeous new Japanese wall hanging (from Haiku in Byron Bay).  The arm chairs are in the process of being re-upholstered and two custom built Adirondack chairs (from Gidgee at South Golden Beach) have just arrived on the upstairs balcony.

How about you?

Are you feeling like pausing from your busy life to do some blue sky thinking on how you would like to be celebrating 2011 this New Years Eve?   Book yourself a couple of nights in Cloud House by contacting me at [email protected].

# 8 Being still

February 3rd, 2011

I’m sitting at our dining table on the deck, a coffee near at hand, my dog Ruby at my feet and Classic FM playing in the background.

I’ve been working through my ‘to do’ list ticking things off and following others up either by phone or email.

Then – I look up, I listen – there’s dappled sunlight through the pecan trees, the cicadas are ‘singing’ and I’ve just heard a kookaburra claiming its territory.  A quote about Tao leaders comes to mind reminding me that rich insights come when I remember to stop and listen.

Tao leaders

Here’s the quote from page 182 of a book called the The Tao of Inner Peace:

Tao leaders spend their time watching and listening.

In order to see clearly, we must look beyond ourselves.

In order to listen, we must first be still.

The value of taking regular time out

Regular time for reflective practice with a leadership coach is one way to ensure you take time to be.

Have you taken the time to be still and listen today, and where do you go to find stillness?

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