By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership
Question: What are factors to bear in mind with a new-technology transformation in an industrial, unionised worksite?
Answer: From Legitimate Leadership’s experience in industrial transformation projects, the following are indicators:
Good leadership is at least as important, and often more important, than good technology.
If you empower the people who actually run the plant rather than throwing technologists (engineering and R&D specialists) and extra people at the problem, you do much better.
When outsiders treat those who operate the plant as fools, they become fools.
In any transformation, you need to talk to employees at the start and throughout the process. You need to engage with organised labour through labour (union) structures, no matter how hard this is; and with the people directly (by means of mass meetings, shift meetings and one-on-one meetings between managers and direct reports).
You can’t plan a transformation in detail up front. Nevertheless no transformation is successful without a clear vision, an overall strategy and a roadmap … read the full answer by clicking here
VIGNETTE CASE STUDY: GETTING EMPLOYEES TO UNDERSTAND YOUR VALUES AND STANDARDS
By Stuart Foulds, associate, Legitimate Leadership.
Ince, a South African company in the information and investment sectors, has been engaged in applying Legitimate Leadership’s module, Enabling Human Excellence by Raising the Bar. This module particularly addresses standards.
The company has been re-evaluating three sets of standards: relating to leadership, behaviour and performance.
Behavioural standards are based on values, and one of the company’s values is “collaboration”. Linked to this value is a behavioural standard paraphrased as, “We say never say ‘no’ to a customer; we say ‘yes’ and try to meet their needs”.
During the application module workshop, the executive team noted that the “say yes” behavioural standard was well established in relation to external customers, but much less so for internal customers. Internally, often the response to a request for assistance was, for instance, “that’s not my portfolio”, or “that’s not my business”.
ARTICLE: COACHING AND THE LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP FRAMEWORK
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
There are different ways of “watching the game” or determining the means, ability and accountability issues, which if addressed, would enhance employee contribution and growth. Below are examples of how the concept of “watching the game” has been applied in various contexts, to realise significant improvements in individual and organisational performance.
Regional sales managers accompanied their sales executives in the field not to assist them to increase sales (although sales increased dramatically), but to determine what they needed in order to achieve excellence in the sales process.
One of the key scores on a warehouse scoreboard was picking error rate per picker. The warehouse manager shadowed both the best and the worst pickers in the warehouse. In a few days he was able to find out what, in terms of means, ability and motivation accounted for the difference in performance.
In an explosives factory, 80% of misfires in the field were due to powder gaps in the fuse, which produced by the operator during the process of spinning the fuse.
VIDEO: COMBATING FEAR IN MANAGEMENT AND LEARNING FROM SPORTS TEAMS
By Dr Axel Zein, CEO of WSCAD, which delivers CAD software for electrical engineering. In three years he turned the company around, grew revenues 57% and achieved number two status in Central Europe. He had previously achieved similar growth in another German CAD software company.
COMMENT BY IAN MUNRO, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO EXCERPT: COMMENT BY IAN MUNRO, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO EXCERPT: At Legitimate Leadership we frequently use sports metaphors to highlight good (or bad) leadership practices. While leading in a business is obviously not exactly the same as leading a football team, the comparisons are often close enough to be really valuable – as is the case with Dr Zein’s insights.
While we agree with all five of his recommendations, I focus here on “obsession with training”. When we work with leaders one of the most important messages we at Legitimate Leadership try to convey is: “Go and do something. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Without practice, nothing will change.” Competitive sports people understand this implicitly. The difference? Because performance on a sports field is usually so transparent and measurable, ‘return on investment’ (feedback) on training success is real-time and easy to see. The more I train myself to kick the ball straight, the more accurate I get.
Leadership is different. It takes time and belief and consistency to build trust – especially if there was little there before. People on the team may be sceptical at first when they see you shifting your focus to helping them. Feedback will likely be tentative while your people try to figure out whether the change is real and lasting or something that will disappear at the first sign of crisis. Keep at it. It might take 6 weeks, 6 months, a year. But when they do finally trust and support you, it will undoubtedly be worth it.
OUR EXCERPT FROM THIS VIDEO: What happens when you start a job and you’re not really prepared for it? There are two possible human reactions: One, “Wow, what a cool thing!” Another, fear.
Fear in a manager is a recipe for disaster. Because instead of seeing opportunities, you see threats. And you want to protect all that you have achieved.
So you start kissing up and kicking down, you don’t encourage others to grow, you remove every person from your way that could be a potential threat. It’s a nightmare for your business, because in the long term you’ll ruin it. And it’s an emotional nightmare for the people involved.
But fear in a manager comes mostly from the fact that that person is not prepared for the job.
So I advise you to look at sports, look at a soccer team.