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October 2020

Featured

Question of the Month
Is Legitimate Leadership crafted purely with the business world in mind or does it hold that effective leadership is the same no matter the environment?
Working Remotely And Leading Remotely Are Decidedly Different
Many organisations are now adopting a “wait and see” approach regarding the future of remote working, while others are saying “we will never go back to the office”.
The Single Most Important Leadership Trait In Setting Your Company Culture
As I approached retirement after 42 years of working in the shipbuilding and chemical industries, I was reflecting on the different bosses I have had and what makes the most difference…
Who You Should Do Business With
The Legitimate Leadership framework is being applied by pioneers, brave men and woman who believe that there is a better option than the conventional command and control approach…

For more information regarding the above, please
E-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

Question of the Month 
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: Is Legitimate Leadership crafted purely with the business world in mind or does it hold that effective leadership is the same no matter the environment? For example, in the military, could it not be argued that the control approach is more appropriate given the exigencies?
Answer: The framework is relevant in all contexts and in all power relationships: parenting, teaching, sports coaching, government and the military. In the military there are officers that the troops will lay down their lives for and those for whom they will follow orders to the letter. In this regard an excellent book is Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. Our framework was for instance introduced to senior officers in the Pakistani army many years ago.
This is not about replacing an autocratic/directive style with a democratic one. Both are not only possible but appropriate in a legitimate relationship of power. When the leader is being commanding, his command will be accepted as long as what he is doing is in his people’s best interest. In other words, control is absolutely appropriate as long as it is subordinate to the intention to empower. Holding a child’s hand (an autocratic imposition of control) is appropriate if the child is not yet ready to walk independently. Insisting on holding the child’s hand into perpetuity is not appropriate and the child will never learn to walk!
To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

ARTICLE: WORKING REMOTELY AND LEADING REMOTELY ARE DECIDEDLY DIFFERENT
By Dave Stevens, associate, Legitimate Leadership.
Covid has unceremoniously dumped society into a new way of life that seems to have irretrievably blurred the distinction between our personal and professional lives. Many organisations are now adopting a “wait and see” approach regarding the future of remote working, while others are saying “we will never go back to the office”.
In all this however one thing is certain: working remotely and leading remotely are not the same thing.
Working remotely is largely about tangible things like laptops, internet connections, noisy kids, home-schooling, and separation of personal and professional time. These things are well understood and should be regulated by defined “rules of engagement” or “behavioral standards”.
Leading remotely, on the other hand, requires empathy, trust and a deliberate increase in time and attention devoted to our people. Leaders who do not spend one-on-one time with their teams and are not “watching the game”, for whatever reason, are unlikely to be perceived by their people as having a sincere and genuine interest in them.
If leadership is about cultivating exceptional human beings, we need to get to grips with what it means to lead from a distance.
Legitimate Leadership recently ran a diagnostic exercise with 16 of its clients and nearly 300 individuals (managers and non-managers) to understand, among other topics, their experiences of working remotely in the past six months.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP TRAIT IN SETTING YOUR COMPANY CULTURE
By Tony Flannigan, talent and development director, Johnson Matthey.
As I approached retirement after 42 years of working in the shipbuilding and chemical industries, I was reflecting on the different bosses I have had and what makes the most difference. In thinking about this there are many words that come to mind such as Authenticity, Honesty, Trust, etc, etc.
But one word above all others captures what truly great leaders have that distinguishes them from others: Courage.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE CLICKING HERE

VIDEO: WHO YOU SHOULD DO BUSINESS WITH
By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership, and motivational speaker.
COMMENT ON THIS VIDEO BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, DIRECTOR, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP: Legitimate Leadership provides a leadership perspective that is the opposite to the conventional view – that is, the view held and practised by the vast majority of organisations today. I once met an MD who said to me, “I have run my business very successfully for 30 years through micromanagement and I intend to continue to do so”. I replied, “We are definitely not for you”, shook his hand and wished him well. The Legitimate Leadership framework is being applied by pioneers, brave men and woman who believe that there is a better option than the conventional command and control approach. I feel grateful to be working with these people. I am convinced that what is still the exception will one day become the norm.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: My (Simon Sinek’s) goal is to not do business with everybody that needs what I have; my goal is to do business with people who believe what I believe.
People say, “That may be nice emotionally, but practically, can I really be that picky in business? Is it that easy that I can just do business with people that believe what I believe?”
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
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Who You Should Do Business With

By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership, and motivational speaker.

COMMENT ON THIS VIDEO BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, DIRECTOR, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP: Legitimate Leadership provides a leadership perspective that is the opposite to the conventional view – that is, the view held and practised by the vast majority of organisations today. I once met an MD who said to me, “I have run my business very successfully for 30 years through micromanagement and I intend to continue to do so”. I replied, “We are definitely not for you”, shook his hand and wished him well. The Legitimate Leadership framework is being applied by pioneers, brave men and woman who believe that there is a better option than the conventional command and control approach. I feel grateful to be working with these people. I am convinced that what is still the exception will one day become the norm.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: My (Simon Sinek’s) goal is to not do business with everybody that needs what I have; my goal is to do business with people who believe what I believe.

People say, “That may be nice emotionally, but practically, can I really be that picky in business? Is it that easy that I can just do business with people that believe what I believe?”

Yes I believe that to the core of my being – that we should work very, very hard to only do business with people who believe what we believe and reject business from people who don’t believe what we believe.

I’m sometimes accused of being naive and I have been told, “Yes, but you can afford to do that Simon; you know I can’t afford to do that.”

The answer is that I’ve been doing this from the beginning. When I didn’t have two pennies to rub together I would turn down business. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard and sometimes you do have to take the business because you have bills to pay.

Back in the early days I had an experience of somebody who’d heard about my work and who called me and said, “I’ve heard good things about you. Convince me why I should hire you.”

My answer was “Don’t”.

The reason is simple: anybody who says “convince me” is not somebody who believes what I believe.

The ones that I would say yes to are people who came to me and said, “You know, your stuff is interesting. I don’t think it’s all right, I think some things you got wrong, but I think it’s really, really interesting. I think we could do something together.”

Those are the people I want to work with.

There’s an old Zen Buddhist saying, “How you do anything is how you do everything”. So if somebody is going to force me to convince them why I should work with them then on every piece of advice I give them they’re going to force me to convince them why I am making this recommendation. Where does trust come in?

Whereas when there’s a shared set of values and beliefs, trust builds deeper so that when I say I think you should try this they say, “If you say so”. So there is trust.

It also keeps me to a high standard because I know this person does trust me.

Not to mention that those people are just more fun to work with. I work with fantastic people because I chose to work with fantastic people. I don’t have any clients that suck the life out of me because I said no right from the get-go.

And finally: you don’t have to do this. I’m not saying everybody has to do this. It’s simply a choice. If you want to say yes to everything, it’s not my business; it’s your business and do what you want with what I have said. This is how I’ve chosen to live my life and run my business.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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The Single Most Important Leadership Trait In Setting Your Company Culture

By Tony Flannigan, talent and development director, Johnson Matthey.

As I approached retirement after 42 years of working in the shipbuilding and chemical industries, I was reflecting on the different bosses I have had and what makes the most difference. In thinking about this there are many words that come to mind such as Authenticity, Honesty, Trust, etc, etc.

 

But one word above all others captures what truly great leaders have that distinguishes them from others: Courage.

  1. It takes courage to confront your own individual unconscious biases to attract and assemble a thoroughly diverse team – that is, people who are completely different from you. Same = safe; different = risky.
  2. It takes courage to be humble enough to suspend your own preferences and thoughts to ask others what they think.
  3. It takes courage to create a safe environment where the power of that diverse thought can all contribute without fear – that is, to assemble a team who will challenge you and each other and to create an environment where this is not just welcomed but encouraged.
  4. It takes courage to be authentic and true to yourself, to disclose your own feelings and thoughts and what drives you.
  5. It takes courage to say the things everybody else is thinking but no-one will say.
  6. It takes courage to ask for constructive feedback when you know you won’t like what is said. It takes courage to simply say ‘thank you’ for feedback that does hurt you in the moment. It takes courage not to get defensive about feedback you don’t like or agree with.
  7. It takes courage to give constructive feedback that you know may not be received well.
  8. It takes courage to enable people to perform to the best of their ability by judging and taking the risk on what is the maximum possible growth they can achieve to get to their next level of capability and performance.
  9. It takes courage to delegate the outcome to others and therefore risk what the result may be when you know yourself what will guarantee a result – that is, they may fail, they may achieve as you would, or they may exceed what you would.
  10. It takes courage to develop people further than they are comfortable in going themselves – that is, pushing them out of their comfort zone. This also implies you have spent time to get to know them and what they aspire to do in their lives.
  11. It takes courage to temper an over-enthusiastic achiever to walk before he/she can run.
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Working Remotely And Leading Remotely Are Decidedly Different

By Dave Stevens, associate, Legitimate Leadership.

Covid has unceremoniously dumped society into a new way of life that seems to have irretrievably blurred the distinction between our personal and professional lives. Many organisations are now adopting a “wait and see” approach regarding the future of remote working, while others are saying “we will never go back to the office”.

In all this however one thing is certain: working remotely and leading remotely are not the same thing.

Working remotely is largely about tangible things like laptops, internet connections, noisy kids, home-schooling, and separation of personal and professional time. These things are well understood and should be regulated by defined “rules of engagement” or “behavioral standards”.

Leading remotely, on the other hand, requires empathy, trust and a deliberate increase in time and attention devoted to our people. Leaders who do not spend one-on-one time with their teams and are not “watching the game”, for whatever reason, are unlikely to be perceived by their people as having a sincere and genuine interest in them.

If leadership is about cultivating exceptional human beings, we need to get to grips with what it means to lead from a distance.

Legitimate Leadership recently ran a diagnostic exercise with 16 of its clients and nearly 300 individuals (managers and non-managers) to understand, among other topics, their experiences of working remotely in the past six months.

The exercise confirmed that it is one thing to work remotely, but it is entirely different to lead remotely.

Among the themes which stood out from the exercise were:

  • Leaders haven’t clarified expectations and standards for leading remotely – this was evidenced in conversations and comments like “my boss calls me whatever time suits him” and “… ‘but you can use the time you previously spent in traffic’”.
  • Leaders aren’t making time to “watch the game” – “I don’t have time to watch the game, in fact I’m on the field playing the game” and “my manager seems more worried about how quickly I answer his call than me getting the job done”.
  • Leaders are failing to hold people accountable, both positively and negatively. – “some of my colleagues are having a paid holiday while I’m doing their work for them”.

Particularly important, is that “watching the game” must be a planned activity rather than opportunistic (as is currently often the case). Leading remotely requires leaders to increase the time and attention they give their people and watch the game to ascertain the support their people need (and not for the results they produce).

And despite the remote working conditions, leaders must continue to hold people appropriately accountable, both positively and negatively. It is all too easy for leaders to delay holding their people accountable until they are back in the workplace. This is an excuse and reflects cowardice in leaders.

Leaders need to develop several important skills to lead remotely with legitimacy:

  • Remain connected as well as demonstrate care remotely.
  • Establish supportive and enabling rules of engagement.
  • Maintain and even increase productivity with remote teams.
  • Appropriately lead exceptional performers at a distance.
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October 2020 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: Is Legitimate Leadership crafted purely with the business world in mind or does it hold that effective leadership is the same no matter the environment? For example, in the military, could it not be argued that the control approach is more appropriate given the exigencies?

Answer: The framework is relevant in all contexts and in all power relationships: parenting, teaching, sports coaching, government and the military. In the military there are officers that the troops will lay down their lives for and those for whom they will follow orders to the letter. In this regard an excellent book is Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. Our framework was for instance introduced to senior officers in the Pakistani army many years ago.

This is not about replacing an autocratic/directive style with a democratic one. Both are not only possible but appropriate in a legitimate relationship of power. When the leader is being commanding, his command will be accepted as long as what he is doing is in his people’s best interest. In other words, control is absolutely appropriate as long as it is subordinate to the intention to empower. Holding a child’s hand (an autocratic imposition of control) is appropriate if the child is not yet ready to walk independently. Insisting on holding the child’s hand into perpetuity is not appropriate and the child will never learn to walk!

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Financial Times Article: You Don’t Have To Sell Change To People Who Designed It

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THE ARTICLE BELOW: The Leading in Crisis diagnostic survey recently conducted across 16 Legitimate Leadership client organisations (see webinar report, above) provides affirmation of what Cath Bishop and Margaret Heffernan suggest below. Leaders in Legitimate Leadership client organisations put their people’s safety first and demonstrate a genuine concern for their people. Trust in the leadership as well as productivity increased as a result. Remote working facilitated increased empowerment concomitant with decreases in multiple checks and reporting. For the increase trust to be sustained however requires that leaders do not revert to a focus on results and micromanagement of people. Continuing and doing even more caring for and growing their people, as the authors say, “makes companies fit for the future, whatever it may bring”.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE: In this recent Financial Times article in its Rebooting the Workplace series, business authors Cath Bishop and Margaret Heffernan wrote that the future of work requires a new social contract. At a time when business outcomes can no longer be predicted or guaranteed, when forecasting has become more difficult and uncertainty endemic, it is essential that organisations stay attuned to early warning signals and cultivate the capacity to accelerate change when clarity emerges, they wrote. Which means that leadership and decision-making cannot stay at the top.

A highly networked organisation, in which information and insight travels fast and without impediments, is the only coherent response to a world where business conditions can change overnight. We can learn from the improvisatory genius of world-class sporting teams, in which players have the freedom and skill for on-the-spot decision-making, according to the authors.

Glimmers of this approach were seen early in the pandemic. Across public and private sectors, leaders from line managers to chief executives went to exceptional lengths to look after their people, wherever they were. To their surprise, caring about people made productivity go up, not down.

At the same time, much work shifted from the centre to smaller, often ad hoc, teams. Devolving decision-making to the frontline and increasing localisation forced leaders to trust their people to know what to do.

They haven’t been disappointed. Where sharing responsibility might have felt a risk, now it’s an obvious asset.

At Ford, the collaboration with ventilator designer Penlon and manufacturer STI, produced 17,000 ventilators in a few months, an achievement that would never previously have been envisaged in under a year. In the NHS (National Health Service of the UK – editor), the need for rapid creative thinking collapsed a vast and intricate hierarchy into a single organism, which in turn generated levels of co-operation across all levels and between services with an ease and speed previously only dreamt of. Obtuse targets were discarded, pointless bureaucracy cut.

Such stories have a common theme, the authors wrote: with a newly clarified, shared sense of purpose highly complex collaborations work faster and better than the ancient regime of scientific management with its brigades of managers and metrics.

Permanently unleashing that hitherto untapped creativity and motivation is now the challenge. But this way of working requires people to be well informed about what is needed and why.

Forthcoming research from Professor Veronica Hope-Hailey at the University of Bath shows that, while trust in leaders remained high during the crisis, both public and private sector workers want to be trusted with better information and knowledge. Active involvement in decision-making enables them to make better, more relevant contributions. In a future where creative responsiveness can spell the difference between survival and failure, the long win lies in driving deeper participation across the entire workforce.

We saw the beginning of this trend before the pandemic, with more organisations finding ways to gain greater insight from their workforce, according to the authors. At the Bank of England, productivity improvements came from suggestions solicited from every level. Capita put a young employee on its board to provide cross-generational perspective. The Post Office recently added a serving postmaster to its board, to see more clearly the daily consequences of centralised decisions.

Central to participation ought to be purpose. But purpose is a much traduced word. Bland statements mean nothing and have corrupted the idea. For broad participation to be coherent it requires that purpose is real to everyone, in everything they do.

The pandemic revealed a capacity for change that managements worldwide had routinely underestimated. Most people had never been asked for ideas and didn’t expect them to be heard. Companies had become fixated on incentives but to many people, satisfaction at work never meant hitting targets or achieving profit milestones. Success came from working alongside trusted colleagues to contribute to goods or services that mattered. That’s the experience many more had when Covid-19 struck. And it’s the way people want to keep working.

The new social contract offers the collective intelligence of people who are both an early warning system and a rich, collaborative network of creativity and improvisation. In return, they expect the open sharing of knowledge and information and an invitation to participate in work that makes the world better. The potential rewards for everyone are huge, because the greater the participation in decision-making, the faster implementing change becomes. You don’t have to sell change to people who designed it. So it’s fast, it’s credible and it’s co-created by people who care. That makes companies fit for the future, whatever it may bring, the authors wrote.

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The Accountability Thief

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

When managers in organisations are asked why they do not hold their people accountable, they typically provide a list of reasons which fall neatly into the categories of Willing; Able; and Allowed. But the reason which is not given, which is actually the primary reason why managers do not hold their people accountable, is that managers have not clarified and agreed what each person is accountable for in the first place.

The typical Willing, Able and Allowed reasons are shown below.

NOT WILLING

  • Lack of the “testicular fortitude” to do so – conflict-averse; want to be liked too much; fear the reaction of those held accountable.
  • Don’t care enough – prepared to tolerate less than the best; misbehaviour and poor attitude, as long as the results are good.

NOT ABLE

  • Lack the knowledge and skills to do so – don’t know how to diagnose performance issues; have not been taught how to have the “tough conversation”.

NOT ALLOWED

  • The environment is not conducive to doing so – not enough time; too busy pursuing the result; lack the authority to discipline or reward; the procedures are too complex; there is a lack of support up the line.

Only very occasionally do managers say that they don’t hold their people accountable because they don’t know what to hold them accountable for. The reason they don’t know what to hold their people accountable for, they say, is because they have not sat down and clarified and agreed this with them. And the reason they haven’t done so is that they have assumed that their people already know what they are accountable for.

I first came across this problem of assuming that people know what they are accountable for many years ago when I was working with a client on a gold mine in Tanzania. I was in discussion with two people, a manager and his direct report (who, in the manager’s view, was grossly underperforming).

At a point in the conversation I posed this question to the direct report: “What (pointing to the manager) do you think he is paying you for?”

When the direct report had given his response, his manager exploded: “What!? That is the last thing I am paying you for. What I am paying you for is …”

Afterwards I asked the manager why he had not clarified his expectations with his direct report. Why had he not literally taken what was in his head, voiced it, and confirmed that this was what the other person also had in his head? The reason, in short, was because he had assumed that what was in his head and what was in his direct report’s head were identical.

The assumption that people know what is expected of them, or that expectations between parties is both clear and aligned, is a common problem and one that I am only too guilty of. Two examples, spring to mind.

The first pertains to a business partnership that I was in. Two new partners came on board. During this process there was no sitting down and engaging in conversation about expectations. I did not say, “This is what I’m expecting you to bring to the party”. Nor did I ask, “Is this what you can/want to bring or do you have another view?” A year later, one of the new partners exited the business. My view was that he had not lived up to hopes and expectations. His view? I really don’t know. I just know that the relationship did not survive the experience.

More recently, it occurred to me that my expectations of Legitimate Leadership associates and what they believed was expected from them, were not necessarily one and the same. My expectations went way beyond excellent delivery on work contracted and agreed with clients. I documented my expectations and then held frank discussions with each associate around the question: “What are you willing and able to contribute in the next 90 days?” The results were truly amazing. To my embarrassment, one associate said it was the most useful discussion that she had ever had with me! Other associates reported feeling far more responsible than previously, following this exercise.

Since then I have been overawed by the increase in contribution made!

So it seems that although a lack of courage and care, inadequate skills and a non-conducive environment all have a role to play in a lack of holding people accountable, the number one Accountability Thief is actually a lack of clarity.

Clarity refers to people knowing what is expected of them, what their contribution in the context of the results to be achieved actually is, and how their contribution impacts on organisational performance. Clarifying and agreeing contribution, now and going forward, is one of the most critical enablers of contribution. Without clarity, value-added contribution is not possible.

In the words of Marcus Buckingham: “There is no such thing as a confused productive employee.”

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How 16 Legitimate Leadership Clients Performed During The Crisis (Webinar Report)

In a survey of the performance of leaders in 16 Legitimate Leadership client companies and organisations during the first months of the coronavirus crisis, the results showed that their leaders were more successful in demonstrating care and compassion than they were in using the crisis to empower and bring out the best in their people.

Legitimate Leadership says there are two criteria for legitimate power: care and growth.

The results of the Leading in Crisis diagnostic survey showed that leaders delivered admirably on the care criterion, but did not deliver on the growth criterion to the same extent. They did not capitalise on the opportunity the crisis offered to empower people and enable them to be the best that they could be.

The diagnostic survey was conducted by Legitimate Leadership in May-July 2020. 282 interviews were conducted by Legitimate Leadership staffers on 16 organisations across seven industries. The interviews were with both managers (56%) and non-managers (44%).

Most of the managers had been through Legitimate Leadership training; most of the non-managers had not.

The results were presented in a webinar (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfWpgCDUJu8&t=11s)  held on 11 September 2020. Presenters of the webinar were Wendy Lambourne and Josh Hayman, and the moderator was Ian Munro, all from Legitimate Leadership. The webinar was attended by 81 people.

The webinar conveyed six key insights which Legitimate Leadership gained from the survey – into what is working, what is not working, and what opportunities exist for leaders in client organisations which participated as they continue to work to gain the support and trust of their people during the crisis.

The questions asked in the survey addressed:

  • Has management focused on people or results during the crisis?
  • How has trust changed as a result of how leaders have responded in the crisis?
  • How aligned are leaders with the Legitimate Leadership criteria?
  • Are leaders collaborating effectively with one another?
  • Have you seen examples of excellent leaders? If so, what has made them stand out?
  • What are your expectations of leaders going forward?

Insight 1: People draw conclusions about what you care about by looking at where you spend your time, what you give your attention to, and whose agenda you prioritise.

From the responses, the five top reasons given as evidence of a primary concern for people by leaders were: concern for employee welfare; concern for safety; regular, clear communication; ‘checked in on me’/available; and, honesty/transparency.

When leaders were seen to have made their people their primary concern, this was because they put people’s health and safety first, no matter the impact on results. Moreover they demonstrated personal concern for individuals, stayed in contact to find out how they were doing under the circumstances and kept them informed to the best of their abilities. The above was more important in promoting this perception than job or income security.

Legitimate Leadership believes that care is about much more than, and sometimes not even, looking after people’s physical and material needs – that care is about genuine concern for the individual as a human being, not as a human resource.

Comment from the webinar presenters: “The fundamental question is ‘whose agenda is put first?’ And if it is the employee’s agenda, what is that agenda? Legitimate Leadership believes employees want their leaders to show concern for them personally; to talk to them and listen to them; to coach them and empower and grow them; to hold them accountable; and to build a team. Of course none of these will save your business … or will they? If you want people to care for your business, first and foremost you must care for them.

“It is a tribute to our clients that despite the immense pressure in the situation, leaders were able to find the time to focus on and deliver on the employees’ agenda.

“Remarkable also was the level of gratitude to management of people reflected in the interviews, and the level of willingness and generosity that that unleashed.

“Leaders might be tempted to say, ‘I don’t have time for people because I’m too busy saving the company, and people should be grateful for that’. But saving the company is not what people notice. They notice the personal touch. Saving the company is in the leader’s interests as well as the people’s interests; but focusing on employees is squarely in the employee’s interests.”

Insight 2: Trust is not a function of circumstance, situation or position in the hierarchy – it is a function of intent.

From the responses, the five top reasons for significant increases in trust were: regular, clear communication; concern for employee welfare; honesty/transparency; concern for safety; and new responsibilities/’trusted us’.

Legitimate Leadership believes there are four ways to earn trust and gain legitimate power:

  • Building personal relationships by getting to know the person and having due concern for personal circumstances.
  • Spending time on and giving attention to what is important to the person.
  • Putting the other person’s interests first; being values- not needs-driven.
  • Trusting them, handing over decision making authority, giving up control.

Comment from the presenters: “When trust in management increased it was because management showed genuine concern for their people’s welfare, put their people’s interests before their own, gave time to what was important to their people such as keeping them informed, and entrusted them with new responsibilities.”

Insight 3: Leaders were significantly more successful in demonstrating care and compassion than they were in using the crisis to empower and bring out the best in their people.

Legitimate Leadership believes there are two criteria for legitimate power: care and growth.

From the responses, leaders surveyed delivered on the care criterion, putting people’s health and safety first, being available, keeping them informed and providing support. But they did not deliver on the growth criterion to the same extent and did not capitalise on the opportunity the crisis provided to empower people and enable them to be the best they could be.

Regarding growth, when rating their leadership against the criteria for Legitimate Leadership (where -10 was very poor and +10 was very good), respondents rated their leaders at +6.2 for ‘clear expectations’; +4.6 for ‘support and watching the game’; but only +1.5 for ‘empowerment’.

Comment from the presenters: “The seminal research in the South African gold mining industry, on which the Legitimate Leadership Model is based, said if trust improved over a period it was due to one thing only: that management had shown a genuine concern for the wellbeing of their people. In this diagnostic leaders did demonstrate that to their people, so, not unsurprisingly, trust increased.

“But Legitimate Leadership also believes that people trust managers who trust them – in other words, when managers also meet the growth/empowerment criterion. This aspect came through clearly in these findings: leaders were most successful in demonstrating care, but on the growth criterion, they did not perform as well.

“Empowerment did happen, but more by default than design – it was necessitated by the need for remote working arrangements. Because managers and employees were no longer physically together, employees were trusted to do their jobs and take independent decisions.

“However a countervailing force is that in a crisis people look to managers to be saviours. And it is tempting for managers to comply. But the price of this is too high: by saving the day, managers kill initiative, creativity, ownership and accountability.

“Legitimate Leadership also says unless you deliberately choose empowerment over control you will revert to control. In an example (not during this crisis), devolution was successfully achieved by a factory manager moving his office off the factory floor so people had to take their own decisions. But you cannot wait for something like that to empower people.

“In this crisis, within some client organisations many controls were thrown out of the window. For instance, one company didn’t keep a register of what was removed for remote working; in the past such removals would have caused a bureaucratic nightmare. In another, previous requirements for sick notes were thrown out, and when some normality returned it was decided not to reimpose them in the belief that employees would be responsible adults. And Legitimate Leadership’s client in the platinum mining industry built a hospital in eight weeks, which would have been impossible previously.

“We say, when this is over, resist the temptation to reimpose excessive controls and excessive reporting because they don’t add value.”

Legitimate Leadership’s recommendation is that leaders should push decision-making authority as far as possible down the line. They should empower managers to empower their people to do, not do themselves. Leaders should seek new responsibilities which will accelerate growth. And they should resist resurrecting the old controls and excessive, detailed reporting.

Insight 4: In this crisis people valued hard-working leaders with a personal touch over visionaries and strategists.

From the responses, what made the standout leaders exceptional?

  • Connecting/checking in on a personal level and demonstrating genuine concern.
  • Being available to and giving their people support.
  • Communicating openly, honestly and transparently, disclosing information, and really listening.
  • Being in the trenches with their people.
  • Working hard, going above and beyond and taking on additional responsibilities.

Comment from the presenters: “We are not saying that it’s not important to have insight and strategy to help the organisation to survive and thrive, but we are saying that that is not what leaders will be remembered and revered for. Will you be revered for managing to restore your company to 100% income quickly or being deeply concerned about difficult personal circumstances which arose because of the crisis?”

Insight 5: Superhero leadership works. So does spreading the load (which is Legitimate Leadership’s strong preference).

From the responses, who were the standout leaders?

In some organisations there were one or two superheroes at the top who were seen by respondents to have excelled during the crisis. In other organisations respondents pointed to numerous individuals, at every level including first-line management, who had shown exceptional leadership during the crisis.

Legitimate Leadership believes that for sustainable organisational excellence there must be legitimate leaders at every level. Excellent leaders cultivate excellent leaders below them.

Comment from the presenters: “if you are saving the day but haven’t built many leaders below you, you haven’t been successful. Were standout leaders in the crisis standout leaders before the crisis? Yes, many were, but the crisis also prompted new standout leaders to come forward.”

Insight 6: What people are looking for from leaders at this time is clear: communication, compassion, empowerment, flexibility, visibility and appreciation.

From the responses, what are the expectations of leaders going forward?

  • Communication – not too much, honest, human, short and interactive. Listen more and trust people with financial information.
  • Compassion and connection – check in on people with one-to-ones and be caring, approachable, supportive and empathetic.
  • Empowerment – less micromanagement, stop checking up, fewer meetings and less reporting. Enable people to take ownership and accountability by handing over control.
  • Flexible working arrangements – don’t go back to normal, allow different ways of working. Help people to work remotely and leaders to lead remotely.
  • Visible leadership – be visible and available, especially if you’re working remotely from your team. Make time to watch the game and give your people your full attention.
  • Recognition and appreciation – be deliberate and don’t fall victim to ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Recognise people for careful work; reward them for going the extra mile.

Comment from the presenters: “For trust to increase further, leaders need to maintain the positive leadership behaviours and practices evidenced during the crisis and do still more to convince their people of their change in intent. To retain the gains made in trust, managers should continue to show genuine concern; keep communication brief but human and interactive; work as a team; stick to short, focused meetings where decisions are made without delay; trust their people more (relax controls and reduce reporting, deliberately increase decision-making authority and autonomy); make both behavioural and performance expectations crystal clear; and hold their people accountable for their value-added delivery – not their presence or the results.”

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September 2020

Featured

Question of the Month
Why does Legitimate Leadership regard courage at work as so important?
How 16 Legitimate Leadership Clients Performed During The Crisis
The results of the Leading in Crisis diagnostic survey showed that leaders delivered admirably on the care criterion, but did not deliver on the growth…
The Accountability Thief
The assumption that people know what is expected of them, or that expectations between parties is both clear and aligned, is a common problem…
Financial Times Article: You Don’t Have To Sell Change To People Who Designed It
At a time when business outcomes can no longer be predicted or guaranteed, when forecasting has become more difficult and uncertainty endemic, it is essential that organisations stay attuned to early warning signals and cultivate the capacity to accelerate…

For more information regarding the above, please
E-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

Question of the Month 
By Josh Hayman, associate, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: Why does Legitimate Leadership regard courage at work as so important?
Answer: If a person (like a leader) is in a relationship to give, the conventional view is that giving is about generosity. But in the Legitimate Leadership Model the often less-talked-about way of giving is about courage.
We find that courage is by far the rarer form of giving, which is partly why Legitimate Leadership emphasizes it.
Of the two (generosity and courage), courage is also the harder to get right. This is because being generous involves rising above a loss of things – the price we pay for being generous is generally not high.
Being courageous involves much more risk as there is usually an issue at play which presents the possibility of real and serious consequences. What the person stands to lose makes acting courageously difficult, and for some, impossible.
Courage is critical in the workplace because the absence of it leads people to give in to their fears, rather than rising above them.
In leadership, acting with courage means much more than disciplining your people. Caring about your people may require courage in making yourself vulnerable. Providing the means for your people may require courage to challenge policies and standards, or your manager or your colleagues. Cultivating ability may require the courage to coach others to the point where you are replaceable. Praising and rewarding people may require the courage to spend money on doing so when it is unpopular to do so. Being prepared to single out exceptional performers for reward instead of just rewarding the “herd” will require courage.
The good news is that courage is not a matter of ability or skill, it is a matter of the will, and exercising it gets easier with practice.
To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

WEBINAR REPORT: HOW 16 LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP CLIENTS PERFORMED DURING THE CRISIS
In a survey of the performance of leaders in 16 Legitimate Leadership client companies and organisations during the first months of the coronavirus crisis, the results showed that their leaders were more successful in demonstrating care and compassion than they were in using the crisis to empower and bring out the best in their people.
Legitimate Leadership says there are two criteria for legitimate power: care and growth.
The results of the Leading in Crisis diagnostic survey showed that leaders delivered admirably on the care criterion, but did not deliver on the growth criterion to the same extent. They did not capitalise on the opportunity the crisis offered to empower people and enable them to be the best that they could be.
READ THE FULL REPORT BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: THE ACCOUNTABILITY THIEF
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
When managers in organisations are asked why they do not hold their people accountable, they typically provide a list of reasons which fall neatly into the categories of Willing; Able; and Allowed. But the reason which is not given, which is actually the primary reason why managers do not hold their people accountable, is that managers have not clarified and agreed what each person is accountable for in the first place.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE CLICKING HERE

FINANCIAL TIMES ARTICLE: YOU DON’T HAVE TO SELL CHANGE TO PEOPLE WHO DESIGNED IT
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THE ARTICLE BELOW: The Leading in Crisis diagnostic survey recently conducted across 16 Legitimate Leadership client organisations (see webinar report, above) provides affirmation of what Cath Bishop and Margaret Heffernan suggest below. Leaders in Legitimate Leadership client organisations put their people’s safety first and demonstrate a genuine concern for their people. Trust in the leadership as well as productivity increased as a result. Remote working facilitated increased empowerment concomitant with decreases in multiple checks and reporting. For the increase trust to be sustained however requires that leaders do not revert to a focus on results and micromanagement of people. Continuing and doing even more caring for and growing their people, as the authors say, “makes companies fit for the future, whatever it may bring”.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE: In this recent Financial Times article in its Rebooting the Workplace series, business authors Cath Bishop and Margaret Heffernan wrote that the future of work requires a new social contract. At a time when business outcomes can no longer be predicted or guaranteed, when forecasting has become more difficult and uncertainty endemic, it is essential that organisations stay attuned to early warning signals and cultivate the capacity to accelerate change when clarity emerges, they wrote. Which means that leadership and decision-making cannot stay at the top.
A highly networked organisation, in which information and insight travels fast and without impediments, is the only coherent response to a world where business conditions can change overnight. We can learn from the improvisatory genius of world-class sporting teams, in which players have the freedom and skill for on-the-spot decision-making, according to the authors.
Glimmers of this approach were seen early in the pandemic. Across public and private sectors, leaders from line managers to chief executives went to exceptional lengths to look after their people, wherever they were. To their surprise, caring about people made productivity go up, not down.
At the same time, much work shifted from the centre to smaller, often ad hoc, teams. Devolving decision-making to the frontline and increasing localisation forced leaders to trust their people to know what to do.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE
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September 2020 – Question of the Month

By Josh Hayman, associate, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: Why does Legitimate Leadership regard courage at work as so important?

Answer: If a person (like a leader) is in a relationship to give, the conventional view is that giving is about generosity. But in the Legitimate Leadership Model the often less-talked-about way of giving is about courage.

We find that courage is by far the rarer form of giving, which is partly why Legitimate Leadership emphasizes it.

Of the two (generosity and courage), courage is also the harder to get right. This is because being generous involves rising above a loss of things – the price we pay for being generous is generally not high.

Being courageous involves much more risk as there is usually an issue at play which presents the possibility of real and serious consequences. What the person stands to lose makes acting courageously difficult, and for some, impossible.

Courage is critical in the workplace because the absence of it leads people to give in to their fears, rather than rising above them.

In leadership, acting with courage means much more than disciplining your people. Caring about your people may require courage in making yourself vulnerable. Providing the means for your people may require courage to challenge policies and standards, or your manager or your colleagues. Cultivating ability may require the courage to coach others to the point where you are replaceable. Praising and rewarding people may require the courage to spend money on doing so when it is unpopular to do so. Being prepared to single out exceptional performers for reward instead of just rewarding the “herd” will require courage.

The good news is that courage is not a matter of ability or skill, it is a matter of the will, and exercising it gets easier with practice.

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August 2020

Featured

Question of the Month
When something goes wrong, surely it’s very important – and part of the accountability process – to find out who is to blame, and then to correctly blame that person?
Legitimate Leadership Concepts About Leading In A Crisis
What people choose to do is a function of the intent of their leadership: if historically leadership has been in the relationship with those they lead to give, those people in turn will…
An Example Of Leading In A Crisis In A Legitimate Leadership Way
Miles Crisp, CEO of Tarsus Technology Group of South Africa, said his group has been working on its leadership structure for six years……
What Value Is – The Total Value Of Everything
Most people will agree that there is an ethical dimension to value. This becomes clear when examining the word in its plural. Values are important ideals relating to what is good…
Kindness In Leadership
The Legitimate Leadership Model is based on the proposition that the best way to achieve your own interests is to pursue the other person’s self-interest.

For more information regarding the above, please
E-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

Question of the Month 
By  Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: When something goes wrong, surely it’s very important – and part of the accountability process – to find out who is to blame, and then to correctly blame that person?
Answer: For many of us the first thing we want to do when something goes wrong is blame someone, to know whose fault it is. Blame is really discharging of discomfort and pain and it has an inverse relationship with accountability. Those who blame a lot seldom have the tenacity and courage to actually hold people accountable.
Of course it is important to find out why something went wrong – a correct diagnosis allows the appropriate medicine to be applied.
There are only ever three whys: a “means” why (provide the means), an “ability” why (trainer/coach), or an “accountability” why (hold the person accountable for their carelessness or deliberate malevolence).
Blaming others is one of the distinctive characteristics of a victim. Part of the leader’s job is to deal with victims wherever they are and whenever they arise. Legitimate Leadership has developed a powerful tool for leaders to deal with victims called the Gripe to Goal process (refer to the book Legitimate Leadership (2012), pages 216-231).
To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

WEBINAR REPORT 1: LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP CONCEPTS ABOUT LEADING IN A CRISIS
This report and the next report (respectively on the Concept and Practice of leading in crisis in organisations) are from a Legitimate Leadership webinar held on 30 July 2020. The presenters were Wendy Lambourne of Legitimate Leadership (this report) and Miles Crisp of Tarsus Technology Group of South Africa (next report). Ian Munro of Legitimate Leadership was the moderator. The webinar had 99 attendees.
In a crisis the chickens come home to roost: people rally or scatter.
What people choose to do is a function of the intent of their leadership: if historically leadership has been in the relationship with those they lead to give, those people in turn will, in a crisis, come to the fore and do whatever they can for the survival of the organisation. If the leadership has been there to take, the opposite will occur: they will do little if anything and maybe they will jump ship.
What leaders do in a crisis may be forgiven but it will not be forgotten. Leaders come under increased scrutiny from their people. A crisis creates lingering memories.
READ THE FULL REPORT BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

 

WEBINAR REPORT 2: AN EXAMPLE OF LEADING IN A CRISIS IN A LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP WAY
Miles Crisp, CEO of Tarsus Technology Group of South Africa, said his group has been working on its leadership structure for six years.
“Six years ago, we started a complete overhaul of the organisation. We adopted a legitimate leadership framework and did workshops across the entire organisation for about 18 months. They were about what intent we wanted. Accountability was also important – we involved people in the whole framework around means, ability and accountability.
“You never really know in a measurable way how this is impacting. Over the period we gradually reduced numbers in the organisation and became more focused in what we do. We became a much leaner organisation.
“Then Covid came. We made a decision 10 days before South Africa entered full lockdown in March 2020 to move a large number of our people to work at home.
READ THE FULL REPORT BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

ARTICLE: WHAT VALUE IS – THE TOTAL VALUE OF EVERYTHING
By Peter Jordan, associate, Legitimate Leadership.
A Google search of “the total value of everything” will reveal articles relating to “how much is the world worth”? (in dollar denomination); “how to calculate the value of your estate”; and a definition of gross domestic product.
Value is often automatically assumed to be monetary, but we all know instinctively that that what we value is multi-dimensional and diverse.
Most people will agree that there is an ethical dimension to value. This becomes clear when examining the word in its plural. Values are important ideals relating to what is good or bad. Often such values will be culturally determined and as such are not objective.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

VIDEO: KINDNESS IN LEADERSHIP
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
The Legitimate Leadership Model is based on the proposition that the best way to achieve your own interests is to pursue the other person’s self-interest. Because when you do that, that person’s natural response is to give back.
Conventionally, if managers or leaders are asked what their job is, they will reply that it is to get results out of their people (because that is what they are measured on).
But you don’t elicit willingness from people by being a taker. We say you elicit willingness as a leader when you are a giver.
But that giving is of two specific types: the gift of care, and the gift of growing people.
So Legitimate Leadership argues for a change of intent, a change of heart in leaders.
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
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What Value Is – The Total Value Of Everything

By Peter Jordan, associate, Legitimate Leadership.

A Google search of “the total value of everything” will reveal articles relating to “how much is the world worth”? (in dollar denomination); “how to calculate the value of your estate”; and a definition of gross domestic product.

Value is often automatically assumed to be monetary, but we all know instinctively that that what we value is multi-dimensional and diverse.

Most people will agree that there is an ethical dimension to value. This becomes clear when examining the word in its plural. Values are important ideals relating to what is good or bad. Often such values will be culturally determined and as such are not objective.

Empirical Versus Ethical Interpretations

Modern social scientists are understandably concerned by this subjectivity and have attempted an empirical approach to what people value without any ethical dimension. An example of this is Marxist labour theory which values everything according to the amount of labour required for it to be produced. Thus, a life-saving drug and a chemical substance for mass annihilation would be considered of the same value if they required the same amount of labour to produce.

Things which are valued by humans range from what may be regarded as good, neutral or bad from the perspective of ethical philosophy. The extremes are illustrated by the life-saving drug and the chemical weapon, with perhaps a glass of fine red wine in the middle.

Modern history, fraught as it is with cyclical financial crashes, wars over scarce resources and environmental disasters, with all the human suffering which these entail, is compelling us to revisit what we value from an ethical perspective.

Inevitably societal and environmental matters will increasingly integrate with the financial and empirical, whether some branches of social science or some corporates (including governments) like this or not.

Value As Defined By Contribution

In this article, value is linked to contribution made to the wider community. The ethical stringency of the contribution and hence the difficulty by which it is delivered is increased as the community is defined more broadly.

The premise is: if all act in their own self-interest, then collective value is diminished. If all contribute more to the collective than they take out, then a surplus is created.

The opposite is also true. If all are there to take as much as they can get, without consideration of the impact of this, value is diminished and a deficit results.

The surplus/deficit continuum may be of a financial nature but also applies to all aspects of human endeavour.

Social Value During Covid-19

Let us take the current Covid-19 as an example. If people act in self-interest to satisfy their immediate agendas (for example by ignoring social distancing) they put themselves and others at risk with all the financial and societal cost entailed. Value is diminished. Medical staff who courageously suspend their self-interest by tending to those who are affected by the virus assist in restoring people to health and shorten the time period in which economic activity is curtailed. Value is added.

Whether to act in narrow self-interest (individually or a collectively) or to act in the broader interest is a matter of choice. The decision to act in accordance with ethical values, as opposed to in expedient self-interest, inevitably involves risk – which explains why expedient, short term decisions are all too prevalent.

As an illustration, an error by the manager of a chemical plant results in a large spillage of toxic material being released into the natural drainage system. This manager may be faced with a choice: cover up the spillage and thereby protect himself from possible disciplinary sanction or own up to it, enabling remedial action to be taken and reducing the likelihood of a reoccurrence. In the former value is diminished and in the latter value is added.

Pre-Industrial People Knew Better

Where individuals take out more from the collective than they contribute the resultant value deficit will ultimately lead to the demise of the collective. Pre-industrial people understood this principle very clearly. They knew that to exploit natural resources in a non-sustainable manner would “kill the golden goose” and lead to famine and death.

More modern societies have found ways of blurring this principle and postponing the fatal outcome of taking out more than is contributed. For example, if there is a financial deficit governments may print more money. Clearly this is short term and cannot be sustained.

They know this, but maybe the words of Louis XV of France apply, “Après moi, le déluge” (“after me the flood”). His grandson. Louis XVI. paid the ultimate price for this mode of thought at the guillotine.

The consequences of taking more than giving are becoming more and more apparent within all spheres and levels of human endeavour. Louis XV’s flood is at hand.

In Conclusion

As individuals and as collectives, we need to urgently re-examine our reason for existence and how we can align our intentions and actions with holistically serving the external world. Yes, this is difficult. Yes, this is almost Stoic behaviour. However, it is what is required for the sustainable survival of us all.

We need the following: more subordination of narrow self-interest, responsibility and respect (involving the assessment of impact) and gratitude, which unleashes the will to contribute more without conditions attached. In this way we can add to the total value of everything by the creation of a surplus borne of benevolent contribution.

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An Example Of Leading In A Crisis In A Legitimate Leadership Way (Webinar Report Two)

Miles Crisp, CEO of Tarsus Technology Group of South Africa, said his group has been working on its leadership structure for six years.

“Six years ago, we started a complete overhaul of the organisation. We adopted a legitimate leadership framework and did workshops across the entire organisation for about 18 months. They were about what intent we wanted. Accountability was also important – we involved people in the whole framework around means, ability and accountability.

“You never really know in a measurable way how this is impacting. Over the period we gradually reduced numbers in the organisation and became more focused in what we do. We became a much leaner organisation.

“Then Covid came. We made a decision 10 days before South Africa entered full lockdown in March 2020 to move a large number of our people to work at home.

“We moved 450 people off-site in three days (we have since decided to move them off-site permanently).

“You don’t know whether they have the means. Some people didn’t have computers. Some people couldn’t afford data, etc.

“It’s impossible to control the situation, you have to stand by. The anxiety I personally experienced was that I didn’t feel I was doing enough. I wasn’t busy enough. So it was the ultimate in surrender to other leaders in the organisation.

“You are subject to the ingenuity of your people, even down to quite junior people, who have to figure out for themselves what they have to do in the situation.

“That’s when I realised it could not have been done if we had not been deliberately working on trust and on holding people accountable to trust their subordinates. In a hierarchy, trust must come from the top down – you have to give the trust first before you can expect it.

“We had been doing this for six years, and holding people to account. Training is not only about equipment and technical capability. If you are not trusted, you are not empowered.

“As a leader there was so much going on and so many moving parts, not just technically but also knowing where everyone was at, and policy-wise.

“For instance what policy do you have around working hours and sick leave and other types of leave? Some people were sent home but they were not capable of working from home. You can’t send a forklift driver home because there is nothing to forklift there. Do we put them on half pay or on leave?

“There are all these little decisions. And in the finance department, suddenly we were confronted with an audit. That department was working 18 hours a day.

“We found that because we had trust, we instantly agreed on things. For instance that people should all be paid as normal, noone should be forced to take leave, everything would be kept as close to normal as possible. We instantly created ‘Covid leave’ because we didn’t want people who had to come to the premises (some people still come to the premises) to be afraid to take leave if they felt sick.

“So I started by simply watching my teams doing it, not seeing the bedlam – and it was not bedlam.

“Then, with the lockdown, there would be no sales for a whole month.

“Our turnover is about half a billion rand a month and we have to finance the stock arriving at the ports. The ship is on its way, it has to be paid for.

“But, seeing yourself as a project, you must not panic: you have to understand what the priorities are, the big issues, what can sink you. In our case it was the bank. They decided that they would not increase our financing facility. And because of the rapid deterioration in the rand currency in the period, we had to pay R390 million more than we ordered, which came right out of our cash flow.

“This could generate panic in anyone. I realised my main job was to be calm, understand the different moving parts, ask the right questions, and then stand in absolute awe at the power unleashed by over 700 people. With not one complaint from them … it was just extraordinary.

“Then I realised that all our prior work in building trust was coming to fruition.

“So we, the small exco, and our small communications team, sat down and started communicating to everyone, and cascading the communication at different levels.

“We battled with connectivity and realised we had to use every means of communication. We used videos and Zoom sessions and SMSs and emails.

“We realised we had to share a lot of information, the bad and the good news.

“And I started communicating personally. I have saved my emails from that time, including the ‘thank you’ emails and emails from people I didn’t know asking how I was doing personally. In fact, I was doing fine.

“We had the unsold stock piled up in Durban port. Then our biggest customer was allowed to re-open a month later, on 1 May. They wanted to get stock straight into their shops so that they could start selling straight away.

“So we had to get the stock through shippers and through customs. We changed shippers halfway through. The logistics coordination to move R700 million of goods in two weeks was amazing to see – for the collaboration with the suppliers, shipping companies, trucking companies, our customers. The solving of the crises that we had, the trust that we had.

“We had bought the computers when the rand was at 14 to the dollar and we now had to pay for them when the rand was at 19 to the dollar. How to deal with that? This could have sunk us.

“I couldn’t make all the decisions, there were too many! But I used to go to my team and ask, ‘Can’t you give me more work?’

“Our communication was successful and we let our people do their work!

“Sadly we had to retrench 100 people, which our very small HR team did.

“Other than the retrenchments, all this was a very gratifying experience in which we improved as an organisation and now know our strengths and weaknesses much better. We are in better shape now than we were before.

“We had worked hard on our levels of trust with our suppliers. But there was one supplier who we didn’t experience a high level of trust with: our bank. They tried to micromanage us, they wanted a list of our disbursements every day. At one point they stopped paying our suppliers without telling us even though we were hundreds of millions within our financing facility with them. Some faceless person had applied a policy notice to us which shouldn’t have been applied.

“With our huge multinational suppliers, if you miss a payment, all kinds of adverse consequences are triggered mechanically.

“I was on the phone to director-level people at the bank at 9PM in the evening. In all of our relationships with suppliers, if there were problems, we shared information, the good and the bad. Generally, years of building trust with customers and suppliers is what saved the day.

“Now I had to focus on this one relationship – this one relationship without trust consumed 80% of my time. A wise non-executive director said we must calmly work on restoring the trust. We sat with the bank officials and said, ‘You can get this information, not that; and do you want to run the company or will you let us run the company?’

“Once I had put my emotions aside and discovered what their problem was on a human level, it became better. We discovered that the bank officials were sitting in credit meetings for 18 hours a day to limit their losses; they were in panic about many customers. When I realised this, we could put our differences aside and rebuild trust.

“In this I experienced the idea of making yourself the project. When I got angry with the bank, I had to deliberately say, ‘This is not going to help … stop being angry’. When I understood what was driving them, what the issue was, I was able to ask, ‘How can I help you?’ That resulted in automating daily reports which were pumped through to them, reducing the anxiety and rebuilding the trust.

“If I had focused on righteous indignation about the injustice being done to us, I wouldn’t have done anyone any favours.

“I tried every day to get one hour of exercise (though in the beginning I felt like a schoolboy playing truant). If you are going to be sustainably available to your people, and not get sick, you need to take exercise or relax. Make sure you are getting me-time. We are encouraging all of our people to do that. Our biggest potential problem is burnout and overwork with everyone working day and night for the survival of the company.

“Also, ask: ‘Are you making yourself the project?’”

Q: What about managing performance and output in this crisis period?

A: “With people working remotely and on their own, what has become so transparent is just who is contributing and who is not. When everyone is milling around in an office of 400 people, you see them sitting at their desks and they look busy. Now suddenly the outputs are there or they are not. Now you are hearing directly from customers about the outputs of individuals. In this remote environment, we have spent more time on indicators. But we realised that we were spending too much time on dashboards which reflected yesterday’s output; we were not spending enough time on dashboards which allowed us to focus on what we were going to do in the future. It’s not monitoring whether people stay until 5PM any more.”

Q: How did you manage the flow of information into the organisation?

A: “We have a small dedicated team doing that. This has always been a focus of ours. Because of the legitimate leadership-based induction of new people, for instance, we have always examined what we communicated, and we conducted wall-to-wall ethics workshops, for instance.

“At the top level we talked about communications all the time. In the beginning I relied a lot on emails. I sent emails with personal notes around what we were doing.

“It was a matter of getting personal communication going. And we had some lightness: we had people wearing funny hats and introducing their family members and their dogs.

“My family was lucky to have the arrival of a grandchild on during this lockdown; I put a note in some of the emails to the staff on this. There was banter and congratulations coming back from staff members I had had no personal relationship with previously. I responded to every single email with personal notes. I’ve had so many more people create direct communication with me at their initiative, regardless of their rank.

“But I make a point of never taking a decision for a manager in the organisation, to not undermine them.”

Q: What do you see as the next biggest big leadership challenge?

A: When you are in a crisis you have to trust that people remember what the purpose of the organisation is. In a crisis you do not engage in any formal induction programme showing mission, strategy, etc. But it’s important to come back to all of this afterwards; it’s important then to go back and re-examine the purpose of the organisation and make sure that people understand what their piece of the purpose is.

“In the crisis, your purpose is just to survive, but you put a time limit on this. After that time limit, go back to rebuilding the business, re-examining and refocusing the people.

“I like the Legitimate Leadership concept of inversion of means and ends. The end is a more complete person. The organisation and its tasks are the means to develop and bring people on board. We have not lost sight of that.”

TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

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Legitimate Leadership Concepts About Leading In A Crisis (Webinar Report One)

This report and the next report (respectively on the Concept and Practice of leading in crisis in organisations) are from a Legitimate Leadership webinar held on 30 July 2020. The presenters were Wendy Lambourne of Legitimate Leadership (this report) and Miles Crisp of Tarsus Technology Group of South Africa (next report). Ian Munro of Legitimate Leadership was the moderator. The webinar had 99 attendees.

In a crisis the chickens come home to roost: people rally or scatter.

What people choose to do is a function of the intent of their leadership: if historically leadership has been in the relationship with those they lead to give, those people in turn will, in a crisis, come to the fore and do whatever they can for the survival of the organisation. If the leadership has been there to take, the opposite will occur: they will do little if anything and maybe they will jump ship.

What leaders do in a crisis may be forgiven but it will not be forgotten. Leaders come under increased scrutiny from their people. A crisis creates lingering memories.

This throws up two possibilities:
• Irretrievable breakdown in trust in relationships, which will never be the same again.
• The leaders capture the hearts and minds of their people as never before.

If you Google the characteristics required for leadership in a crisis, you will get a list so long you might as well give up in advance.

But Legitimate Leadership believes there are only two essential characteristics required: compassion and courage, in that order. Leaders who are revered in a crisis have the combination of a soft and brave heart.
And these qualities are a matter of choice, a matter of the will. If you don’t display these qualities you have no one to blame but yourself.

People only trust others who care about them. In this Covid crisis this care for people has been brought into sharp focus.

But more than care for people’s physical and material needs is required in a crisis.

There are essentially three care “gives” as a leader in a crisis:

  1. Don’t just give them time and attention but increase both. A person gives time and attention to those things he/she cares about.
  2. Care in the sense of being honest with your people. Trust them with sensitive information so they can in turn demonstrate their trustworthiness.
  3. Give tough love: care in a way that enables people, rather than making them weak.

Legitimate Leadership believes that most of the leaders in our client companies are passing the care test with flying colours.

But our experience is that the leaders are not passing the growth test. People are looking to those leaders to save them in the crisis, and the leaders are doing just that. We think that is not the right thing to do. Leaders must rather deliberately empower, not control, people in a crisis.

Yes, leaders should continue to set policy and strategy. But they should push all other decisions down the line. This means increasing people’s responsibilities so that leaders resist the temptation to “do”; rather empower managers to empower their people. Increase people’s responsibilities so that you can accelerate their growth in the crisis. And once the crisis is over, resist taking back authority, and resist re-imposing the controls removed in the crisis. And continue making decisions with limited information, as leaders did in the crisis.

First and foremost, leaders must look at themselves in a crisis. Look at who you are as a leader – because who you are as the CEO, for instance, is reflected in the organisation. So leaders should make themselves the project.

In a crisis a leader’s intent is revealed; the crisis also provides a golden opportunity for leaders to polish their intent and set the example for others to follow. In a crisis the leader grows more than anyone else.

Q: Are all the different types of trust correlated? Can you have the trust of your employees but no trust with your suppliers or customers?

A: How the other party perceives your intent determines how they respond to you. This is true in any relationship. For instance, I know that Legitimate Leadership will go above and beyond in every way we can for the clients who stayed with us through the Covid crisis. It doesn’t matter what the relationship is, if the intent in the relationship is to give, the natural instinctive reaction of the other party is to give in return.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

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August 2020 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: When something goes wrong, surely it’s very important – and part of the accountability process – to find out who is to blame, and then to correctly blame that person?

Answer: For many of us the first thing we want to do when something goes wrong is blame someone, to know whose fault it is. Blame is really discharging of discomfort and pain and it has an inverse relationship with accountability.

Those who blame a lot seldom have the tenacity and courage to actually hold people accountable.
Of course it is important to find out why something went wrong – a correct diagnosis allows the appropriate medicine to be applied.

There are only ever three whys: a “means” why (provide the means), an “ability” why (trainer/coach), or an “accountability” why (hold the person accountable for their carelessness or deliberate malevolence).
Blaming others is one of the distinctive characteristics of a victim. Part of the leader’s job is to deal with victims wherever they are and whenever they arise. Legitimate Leadership has developed a powerful tool for leaders to deal with victims called the Gripe to Goal process (refer to the book Legitimate Leadership (2012), pages 216-231).

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Is It Better To Manage Or Lead In A Crisis?

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

People trust those who care about them. But people also trust those who trust them, which suggests that the more managers empower their people in a crisis the more they are trusted. Or are they?

In a crisis the natural instinctive response of those in authority is to take back control. They assume the situation calls for strong, centralised dictate and believe that they are best placed to determine priorities, make smart trade-offs and decide what to do. They think that their people are looking to them to provide direction, to steer the ship through stormy waters. They feel honour-bound to swoop in and save the day.

And they are not entirely wrong. In times of crisis people want those in charge to do just that, take charge. If that means they have to give back some decision-making authority, so be it. It is a small price to pay to gain the security that “they” will decide what is best and find a solution in the face of the disaster.

People are looking for a saviour and senior management will generally want to be the saviour their people are looking for.

But at the end of the day, the price to pay for taking back control is simply too high. Taking back control often produces poorer decisions because they are being made by those removed from the action, a drop in motivation and commitment because people now feel their decisions no longer matter, and the demise of initiative and creativity. Taking back control also robs people of opportunities to prove their trustworthiness, breeds dependency and over time even resistance  to centralised control. Managers will be playing the game rather than watching it and lose perspective as a result. They may exhaust themselves to the point where they are no longer useful to their people.

Ironically though a crisis can actually give rise to empowerment – but by default rather than design. People get to make decisions because managers are absent or too busy doing to control. Tedious bureaucracy, including onerous reporting, falls away because there is just no time for it in a crisis. Consequently projects get done within a fraction of the time. More importantly, for the first time in a long time, the value of those on the frontline is appreciated . The focus shifts to giving those most critical to the organization what they need to deliver; productivity soars as a result.

Although it is difficult, scary and counter-intuitive, managers should deliberately choose empowerment over control in a crisis. If they don’t their default position will be to revert to control.

While policy and strategy decisions should stay at the top, execution should be pushed as far down the line as possible. Senior managers should resist the temptation to leap in and do, and rather empower their managers to empower their people to do. They should proactively seek opportunities in the crisis to give people increased or new responsibilities in order to accelerate their growth.

Once the crisis is over, authority handed over in the crisis should not be taken back. Similarly, the controls and reporting requirements that were there before the crisis should not all be resurrected. Managers should be as decisive post the crisis as they were in the crisis. They should trust their capability to make good decisions without the reams of information they previously thought they needed to do so.

In answer to the question, “is it better to manage or lead in a crisis?” – it is better to lead by a long chalk. It is better to lead than manage because there is much more to be gained than lost by doing so.  The gains in employee initiative, creativity, commitment, and motivation which empowerment brings, will outweigh the loss of predictable outcomes and fall sense of being in control.

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Kindness In Leadership

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

The Legitimate Leadership Model is based on the proposition that the best way to achieve your own interests is to pursue the other person’s self-interest. Because when you do that, that person’s natural response is to give back.

Conventionally, if managers or leaders are asked what their job is, they will reply that it is to get results out of their people (because that is what they are measured on).

But you don’t elicit willingness from people by being a taker. We say you elicit willingness as a leader when you are a giver.

But that giving is of two specific types: the gift of care, and the gift of growing people.

So Legitimate Leadership argues for a change of intent, a change of heart in leaders.

We summarise this by saying that leaders need to give care and growth.

When care and growth happens, the effect can be extraordinary. Care and growth does not impact on the result directly but it increases the legitimacy of leadership, trust in management, and employee contribution (resulting in more exceptional contributors and fewer poor contributors).

It also increases people’s ownership or taking of accountability. And it enables leaders to do the flipside of that – namely, holding people accountable. Increased accountability must be good for business.

You don’t have to do anything to motivate people. All you have to be – and it’s not a small “all” – is the kind of person that people are motivated by. In other words, the project is you, the leader. And this is so tenfold in a crisis.

Leaders who are revered have a soft and a brave heart, they have compassion and courage.

How then does kindness express itself in the good leadership?

Kindness is generally in short supply among leaders in organisations: it is not kind to use people as the means to the end of producing results; it is not kind to basically ignore people’s needs and not genuinely listen to them and have concern for them; it is not kind to take all the glory and make yourself bigger by making other people small.

So good leadership is really about bringing back the humanity into organisations.

But we shouldn’t confuse kind with nice. Care and growth is tough love. You don’t enable people by being nice to them. Caring and growing people is not for sissies, but it is being kind to them.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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The Shiny Eyes Definition Of Success

By Benjamin Zander, 81, a British conductor who is the musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.

COMMENT ON THIS VIDEO BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP: Well put, Benjamin Zander! The job of the leader is to make those in his charge “big”; to enable others to become the best that they can be. If people are not realising their full potential, the leader needs to look at himself and ask, “What do I need to give this personal which will enable her to excel?” Only when the leader changes do the people change. The ultimate beneficiary is the leader, he grows.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. His picture appears on the front of the CD but he doesn’t make a sound. He depends for his power on his ability to make other people powerful.

That realisation changed everything for me – it was totally life-changing. People in my orchestra came up to me and said, “Ben what happened?”

What happened is I realised my job was to awaken possibility in other people.

And of course I wanted to know whether I was actually doing that. And you know how you find out? You look at their eyes. If their eyes are shiny you know you’re doing it.

If their eyes are not shiny, ask this question, “Who am I being that my players’ eyes are not shining?”

I have a definition of success. For me it’s very simple, and it’s not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shiny eyes I have around.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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Courage In Organisations, In Practice (Event Report Two)

Jimmy Furstenberg’s first job was as a labour relations officer in what is today Bridgestone Firestone South Africa. At the time, the 1980s, the labour relations environment in South Africa was a virtual war zone because the workplace was the only legal arena for the expression of black aspirations during apartheid. Then Bridgestone International bought Firestone International. A condition of the deal was that Firestone International’s Port Elizabeth factory would be closed if it wasn’t turned around within six months.

Appointed as manufacturing director, Jimmy led the turnaround process, applying legitimate leadership principles.

Jimmy recalls that at the start of the turnaround process, “My MD, Steve Shiller, and I did a trip around the world to benchmark our factory against similar factories. The Port Elizabeth factory had been built in 1938 as part of the World War II effort, so it was an old dog and there was a lot we had to do. We were in a lift in Rome and Steve and I said to each that we would fix the factory no matter what we needed to do. We shook hands on it. We resolved that because it was the right thing to do.

“In December 1994 we faced Irvin Jim (general secretary of NUMSA union and probably South Africa’s most militant union leader then and today – editor). Jim wagged his finger at me and said he would see to it that no people would lose their jobs and that there would be no change. But Steve and I had agreed that there would be change no matter what, so we took on NUMSA. You could call it courageous or foolhardy, but we did it because it was the right thing to do.

“That is the most important thing – somehow it’s easier being courageous when you are driven by a purpose.

“The end result was that we turned around that factory despite a major strike. Six months later the factory had improved productivity by 60%. To this day – the factory is still operating – NUMSA does not know that it was set up for a strike. We kept thousands of people in employment, which was the just cause. Courage is not easy but it becomes easier when you are driven by the right cause, the right contribution.

“Courage will emerge where a courageous environment has been created. When organisations look to cultivate it, it is mostly about leaders rather than non-leaders. In my experience, it is not the employees who will become courageous , its about leaders who have to change, then employees will change. You will find individual flickers of employees being courageous, but mainly it comes down to the leaders.

“I don’t rate myself as a courageous person but when I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to make decisions I have made them on the basis of what I think comes down to:

  • Having self-belief in myself as a leader. Deep down you have to say, ‘I back myself to be able to do what I what I’m going to do now.’
  • Having a just cause, a purpose. So if the business that you’re in does not fire you up, the short answer is, leave it! An organisation is the best place for you to develop yourself as a leader and individual. Life is too short.

“One definition I read of leadership is that it is the most difficult 18-inch journey you will find between your head and your heart. When you make a courageous decision it must come from the heart because if it doesn’t you’re not going to feel the pain of it; it’s not going to drive you enough to be able to do what you have got to do.”

“Legitimate leadership says that 70% of problems in leadership in organisations is a result of means issues (leaders and managers not providing the environment and the tools, resources, enabling systems, processes, time, decision-making authority and information, etc). Managers and leaders provide the means, so managers and leaders are actually the project. They must admit that they are the project. So though managers and leaders must be confident, they must also be humble enough to admit this.

“What is the relationship between courage and trust? Courage is about taking a risk. You don’t know what the result will be. But you have to have some trust that if you act courageously and do the right thing for a just reason there will be a positive result. If you are fundamentally mistrustful of the outcome, if you believe that the result will always be bad, it is much harder to have courage.

“It not easy – if it was easy, it would not require courage. The risk that you face when you have to act with courage is always immediate. Rising above it is what makes it courageous. But you do need some trust that it’s going to turn out all right.”

Said Joshua Hayman in the webinar, about another example of courage: “When a particular manager was recruited at a time when he had a young family, he accepted the job on the basis of an undertaking that it would not involve international travel. But the management of the company changed thereafter and the new CEO insisted that he would have to travel internationally. The new hire asked the manager who had made the original undertaking to him, to tell the disciplinary committee about that undertaking. The manager who had made the undertaking told the disciplinary committee despite having been advised that if he did he might lose his job. This manager took the risk because he fundamentally felt that the stance being taken by the new CEO was not fair – but if the CEO insisted on it, this was not the kind of organisation he wanted to work for.”

Said Ian Munro in the webinar: “Courage doesn’t develop if it is not required. For instance organisations often do anonymous surveys. These prioritise accuracy and correctness over asking people to be courageous. There are downsides to anonymity. It’s important for organisations to think about whether something needs to be anonymous or whether they should ask people to be courageous.

“The issue of courage also arises in performance appraisal systems. The more we systematic we can make them, the less courageous we have to be in providing feedback etc. We use systems to remove the need for courage – it is so easy then to say ‘it’s not me but the process’. In fact that is acting with cowardice.”

How do you help leaders, and the people they lead, to develop courage?

Said Joshua: “Walk the talk. Demonstrate the courage yourself. Which means holding people to account, handling conflict, taking risks, showing your own integrity and moral strength. Courage can be developed but it comes back to what is in your heart – your own belief in yourself and your cause.

“Developing courage within an individual is quite practical. The individual may not feel courageous but a start is to get her thinking about the issue of courage and what it takes. Ask the person to think of an instance in her history in which she felt that she acted with courage. How did she feel, what was the worst outcome and what was the best outcome? And think of opposite situations – in which she should have acted with courage but did nothing or did the opposite. How did that feel and what were the outcomes, positive and negative.

“This thinking allows people to connect with their own notions of courage.

“You can also identify opportunities in that person’s job for acting with courage, and find a place for her to start. Don’t do the biggest thing first – challenge her but do not paralyse her with fear. It helps if you can engineer a situation in which the person has some success. Courage is not encouraged if the person’s head gets chopped off on the first attempt.

“And there is rehearsal and practice. If there is a conversation a person needs to have with a manager or a subordinate, what will he say, how will he say it, what does he want to put across? Rehearsal gives the person some encouragement.

“The starting point is an admission by the person that he grapples with courage and needs help. It requires a plan of action practical. The helper needs to know the person to be encouraged and what will paralyse him and what will do the opposite.

“Organisations typically don’t make it plain that courage is what they want from their people. So the simplest thing to do is emphasize the display of courage as a behaviour standard and give practical examples of what that means in context. Ask for it, and reward it. And don’t tolerate the opposite of it – take a firm line on cowardice.”

When does courage become foolhardiness? Said Jimmy: “Courage is not about making instantaneous decisions necessarily. It’s about a considered view of the situation particularly in organisations. Some people might be impetuous and their actions might appear courageous but everybody knows its stupidity.

“Don’t lose sight of the purpose for which you are acting. Whose interests am I doing this in? If it is theirs, is it actually the right thing to do? It comes back to the ‘why’ and the purpose.”

TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

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Courage In Organisations, In Concept (Event Report One)

Although this webinar is about Legitimate Leadership’s view of courage in organisations we start by referring to the bestselling book by Adam Grant, Give and Take. Grant explored which of two strategies in organisations would tend to be more successful, drawing on research from across the United States.

One conclusion he drew was that some of the most successful people in organisations are givers. We at Legitimate Leadership were pleased because this conclusion is very supportive of our framework.

But there was a fly in the ointment: Grant also concluded that some of the least successful people in organisations were givers.

What then accounts for why some givers are successful and others are not successful? Grant concluded that the answer had a lot to do with the choices that givers made about who to give to or what to give. We agree with this conclusion – we believe the givers of generosity who are less successful find it difficult to make choices about what kind of generosity is appropriate in situations that they face.

But we believe that Grant did not ask the essential question – namely, what the appropriate give is in a particular situation. Grant’s book talked only about generosity, but we say there are two kinds of giving. One of them absolutely is generosity; but the other is courage.

Both generosity and courage require you to put your own interests in the back seat and put the interests of other in the front seat. But what you have to put in the back seat differs between the two.

Generosity involves being generous with things like our time, support, empathy, knowledge and experience.

Courage on the other hand typically requires a far higher price because then we put ourselves at risk.

Giving courageously is, in our view, first and foremost a matter of willingness. It is not about competence, skill or knowledge. It is largely about whether or not people have the resolve and the will to do so.

Courage is not about the absence of fear. Courage is about feeling fear in a situation but nevertheless facing the fear and acting despite it – doing what is right or what is appropriate.

We feel afraid or uncomfortable in these situations because of physical pain, uncertainty, intimidation or the risk of material or non-material loss. When courage is involved there is always a real risk of losing something valuable of ourselves. Courage is what is required in order to overcome that fear.

There is also, in our view, a connection between maturity and courage. As we mature we develop our capacity for suspending our self-interest – in other words, what we’re here to get or to take. We develop an increasing capacity for focusing on or acting in the interests of others. As we mature we develop or grow our capacity for giving unconditionally and we also therefore grow our capacity for giving courageously.

And there is not a link between chronological age and maturity. Rather, maturation is largely a matter of the will – a matter of choosing to set aside self-interest and act in the interests of the other.

Organisations are typically not good at courage for various reasons:

  1. Leaders and employees feel a need to have and maintain affiliative relationships with others – the perceived importance that your colleagues like you. Sometimes acting with courage necessitates putting those relationships at risk and often people are not prepared to do that. Sometimes the issue is that your needs – what you want to get out of the situation – come first and you are not able or willing to suspend those needs. So instead of acting with courage you act in your own interests.
  2. There’s a lack of trust in the organisation. People who perhaps want to take courageous action simply don’t trust that it will have a positive outcome – so they don’t do it. For instance, people are often not prepared to challenge authority because a pervasive view is that you should not stick your head above the parapet; that if you do, it’s very likely to be chopped off. Courageous action is seen as likely to be career-limiting.
  3. People grapple with courage because they haven’t really thought about what their values are – what they really are prepared to take a bullet for. If you are not sure of what you are prepared to take a bullet for, you may fall for anything.
  4. People will, particularly if they understand their values, be courageous for a cause. But many organisations don’t have causes that are worth being courageous for, or have not articulated them.
  5. A difficulty with taking risks is that the negative consequences are always clear and immediate. But the long-term benefits are not – they are often only realised in the future.
  6. Although courage is often a critical ingredient in success, success is more likely to be attributed to good strategy, sound decision-making, knowledge, competence, a good business model or good people. When success happens it is not often unpacked to see what courageous acts enabled it. Courage is also difficult to measure and reward for.
  7. Very few of the most famous authors on leadership place courage as a cornerstone of leadership. Yet you might have a great personality and intellect and experience – but you can’t successfully lead an organisation without courage!
  8. All this means there are often few role models – few people to look to in organisations who act with courage and produce positive outcomes.

There are four organisational-environments-and-individual-courage possibilities:

  1. The individual is not courageous and the environment also is not conducive to courage. Most likely, courageous action will not happen.
  2. The individual is courageous and the environment is good at cultivating and encouraging courage. Legitimate Leadership’s experience is that courageous acts will happen.
  3. The individual isn’t courageous in an environment that does support courageous action. Courageous action is very unlikely.
  4. Finally, the individual is courageous but not in an environment that encourages courage. Legitimate Leadership’s experience is that despite this, the individual will act with courage.

This all starts not so much with focusing on the organisation’s environment and systems, but with people. Legitimate Leadership’s view is that when you cultivate enough people to act with courage, they will eventually create an environment that’s conducive to courage.

So when Legitimate Leadership works with organisations on this issue it places the focus on cultivating courageous individuals – enabling people to make the shift in intent and in motive in order to enable them to rise above a fear of loss and to act with courage when appropriate.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

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Courage In Organisations – Webinar

This report and the following two reports (respectively on the Concept and Practice of courage in organisations) are from a Legitimate Leadership webinar held on 18 June 2020. The presenters were Josh Hayman, Ian Munro (moderator) and Jimmy Furstenburg. Josh and Ian are Legitimate Leadership consultants; Jimmy is an organisational turnaround practitioner. The webinar had 37 attendees.

In the current pandemic people are very insecure. Organisations have to make very tough decisions. Leaders should be frank, upfront and honest with employees.

How have leaders reacted to the situation? Who just chased the money; who really cared for their people; who acted with courage?

Handled correctly, the Covid experience has been an important development opportunity to create a greater sense of shared purpose between employees, leaders and shareholders in organisations.

Courage is not something that organisations are typically not good at. But observation (for instance, https://thriveglobal.com/stories/whats-courage-have-to-do-with-leadership/) indicates that courage in an organisation has huge benefits: it builds accountability; the ability to handle conflict; integrity and moral strength; collaboration and teamwork; capacity for risk-taking; and an engaged, dynamic and inspired work culture.

Said Jimmy Furstenburg, in the webinar: “In the end, you cannot run an organisation successfully without the trust of your people. But when you create an environment of trust you can do amazing things. How do they learn to trust you? A key element is you, the leader, being courageous. How are you courageous? It is not a mystery: by being yourself warts-and-all, by being frank and honest and having integrity and authenticity.”

TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

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July 2020 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month:In the Legitimate Leadership Model, what is the difference between leaders and professional managers?

Answer: In organisations today there are a lot of professional managers but very few leaders. The difference between the two is a matter of intent. Professional managers give, but in order to get. A true leader (who may be called ‘manager’) is genuinely there to give.

Professional managers do have relationships with their people built on mutual trust and respect. They do an adequate job of enabling contributions by their people. But their people are still a means to an end. The end is the result. The result comes first and the people second.

Great leaders have it the other way round. Their people come first, before the results. Their people come first in good times and in bad – always. This is because leaders care about their people absolutely.

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July 2020

Featured

Question of the Month
In the Legitimate Leadership Model, what is the difference between leaders and professional managers?
Courage In Organisations 
How have leaders reacted to the situation? Who just chased the money; who really cared for their people; who acted with courage?
Courage In Organisations – In Concept 
We feel afraid or uncomfortable in these situations because of physical pain, uncertainty, intimidation or the risk of material or non-material loss. When courage is involved there is always a real risk of losing something valuable of ourselves. Courage is what is required in order to overcome that fear…
Courage in Organisations – In Practice
Jim wagged his finger at me and said he would see to it that no people would lose their jobs and that there would be no change. But Steve and I had agreed that there would be change no matter what, so we took on NUMSA. You could call it courageous or foolhardy, but we did it because it was the right thing to do.
The Shiny Eyes Definition Of Success
If people are not realising their full potential, the leader needs to look at himself and ask, “What do I need to give this personal which will enable her to excel?”

For more information regarding the above, please
E-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

Question of the Month 
By  Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: In the Legitimate Leadership Model, what is the difference between leaders and professional managers?
Answer: In organisations today there are a lot of professional managers but very few leaders. The difference between the two is a matter of intent.
Professional managers give, but in order to get. A true leader (who may be called ‘manager’) is genuinely there to give.
Professional managers do have relationships with their people built on mutual trust and respect. They do an adequate job of enabling contributions by their people. But their people are still a means to an end. The end is the result. The result comes first and the people second.
Great leaders have it the other way round. Their people come first, before the results. Their people come first in good times and in bad – always. This is because leaders care about their people absolutely.
To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

EVENT: COURAGE IN ORGANISATIONS
This report and the following two reports (respectively on the Concept and Practice of courage in organisations) are from a Legitimate Leadership webinar held on 18 June 2020. The presenters were Josh Hayman, Ian Munro (moderator) and Jimmy Furstenburg. Josh and Ian are Legitimate Leadership consultants; Jimmy is an organisational turnaround practitioner. The webinar had 37 attendees.
In the current pandemic people are very insecure. Organisations have to make very tough decisions. Leaders should be frank, upfront and honest with employees.
How have leaders reacted to the situation? Who just chased the money; who really cared for their people; who acted with courage?
Handled correctly, the Covid experience has been an important development opportunity to create a greater sense of shared purpose between employees, leaders and shareholders in organisations.
Courage is not something that organisations are typically not good at. But observation (for instance, https://thriveglobal.com/stories/whats-courage-have-to-do-with-leadership/) indicates that courage in an organisation has huge benefits: it builds accountability; the ability to handle conflict; integrity and moral strength; collaboration and teamwork; capacity for risk-taking; and an engaged, dynamic and inspired work culture.
Said Jimmy Furstenburg, in the webinar: “In the end, you cannot run an organisation successfully without the trust of your people. But when you create an environment of trust you can do amazing things. How do they learn to trust you? A key element is you, the leader, being courageous. How are you courageous? It is not a mystery: by being yourself warts-and-all, by being frank and honest and having integrity and authenticity.”
TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR  CLICKING HERE

EVENT REPORT 1: COURAGE IN ORGANISATIONS, IN CONCEPT
Although this webinar is about Legitimate Leadership’s view of courage in organisations we start by referring to the bestselling book by Adam Grant, Give and Take. Grant explored which of two strategies in organisations would tend to be more successful, drawing on research from across the United States.
One conclusion he drew was that some of the most successful people in organisations are givers. We at Legitimate Leadership were pleased because this conclusion is very supportive of our framework.
But there was a fly in the ointment: Grant also concluded that some of the least successful people in organisations were givers.
What then accounts for why some givers are successful and others are not successful? Grant concluded that the answer had a lot to do with the choices that givers made about who to give to or what to give. We agree with this conclusion – we believe the givers of generosity who are less successful find it difficult to make choices about what kind of generosity is appropriate in situations that they face.
But we believe that Grant did not ask the essential question – namely, what the appropriate give is in a particular situation. Grant’s book talked only about generosity, but we say there are two kinds of giving. One of them absolutely is generosity; but the other is courage.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

EVENT REPORT 2: COURAGE IN ORGANISATIONS, IN PRACTICE 
Jimmy Furstenberg’s first job was as a labour relations officer in what is today Bridgestone Firestone South Africa. At the time, the 1980s, the labour relations environment in South Africa was a virtual war zone because the workplace was the only legal arena for the expression of black aspirations during apartheid. Then Bridgestone International bought Firestone International. A condition of the deal was that Firestone International’s Port Elizabeth factory would be closed if it wasn’t turned around within six months.
Appointed as manufacturing director, Jimmy led the turnaround process, applying legitimate leadership principles.
Jimmy recalls that at the start of the turnaround process, “My MD, Steve Shiller, and I did a trip around the world to benchmark our factory against similar factories. The Port Elizabeth factory had been built in 1938 as part of the World War II effort, so it was an old dog and there was a lot we had to do. We were in a lift in Rome and Steve and I said to each that we would fix the factory no matter what we needed to do. We shook hands on it. We resolved that because it was the right thing to do.
“In December 1994 we faced Irvin Jim (general secretary of NUMSA union and probably South Africa’s most militant union leader then and today – editor). Jim wagged his finger at me and said he would see to it that no people would lose their jobs and that there would be no change. But Steve and I had agreed that there would be change no matter what, so we took on NUMSA. You could call it courageous or foolhardy, but we did it because it was the right thing to do.
“That is the most important thing – somehow it’s easier being courageous when you are driven by a purpose.
But we believe that Grant did not ask the essential question – namely, what the appropriate give is in a particular situation. Grant’s book talked only about generosity, but we say there are two kinds of giving. One of them absolutely is generosity; but the other is courage.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

VIDEO: THE SHINY EYES DEFINITION OF SUCCESS
By Benjamin Zander, 81, a British conductor who is the musical director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra.
COMMENT ON THIS VIDEO BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP: Well put, Benjamin Zander! The job of the leader is to make those in his charge “big”; to enable others to become the best that they can be. If people are not realising their full potential, the leader needs to look at himself and ask, “What do I need to give this personal which will enable her to excel?” Only when the leader changes do the people change. The ultimate beneficiary is the leader, he grows.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: The conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. His picture appears on the front of the CD but he doesn’t make a sound. He depends for his power on his ability to make other people powerful.
That realisation changed everything for me – it was totally life-changing. People in my orchestra came up to me and said, “Ben what happened?”
What happened is I realised my job was to awaken possibility in other people.
And of course I wanted to know whether I was actually doing that. And you know how you find out? You look at their eyes. If their eyes are shiny you know you’re doing it.
If their eyes are not shiny, ask this question, “Who am I being that my players’ eyes are not shining?”
I have a definition of success. For me it’s very simple, and it’s not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shiny eyes I have around.
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
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June 2020

Featured

Question of the Month
What is the logic behind the various steps of a Legitimate Leadership intervention – the introductory workshop, the application modules, etc?
Pinewood Technologies Shows The Value Of The Grow To Care Programme
The Grow to Care process facilitates a change from going to work to earn a living to going to work to going above and beyond in service to the customer…
Leadership Antidotes To Uncertainty
While it is tempting for leaders to give their people assurances – that the war will be won, the business will survive, a cure will be found – that is the last thing that leaders should do…
Adrian Gore Writes About Simon Sinek’s Webinar On Leadership – Translating Purpose Into Impact
The following words of wisdom from Simon Sinek accord absolutely with the Legitimate Leadership principles and practices: be open to counsel and have a vision of the future; change the “what”…

For more information regarding the above, please
E-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

Question of the Month 

By  Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: What is the logic behind the various steps of a Legitimate Leadership intervention – the introductory workshop, the application modules, etc?
Answer: The typical implementation process for a Legitimate Leadership intervention is underpinned by the following four steps.
First, we establish the two criteria of care and growth. We also introduce the insight that INTENT, not knowledge or skill alone, legitimises leadership. Skill helps, but without the right intent the will simply doesn’t engage.
Second, we diagnose against these two criteria. Are your leaders caring for and growing your people at every level? If yes, fantastic. If not, what are they doing wrong?
Third, we work to support our clients in remediating behaviour. Once we understand the core issues, we get to work supporting our clients in dealing with them. We provide leaders with the knowledge, tools, techniques and skills required to shift behaviour and make care and growth real day-to-day.
Lastly, we develop enabling structures. We work closely with our clients to address structure and process. We look at areas such as role descriptions, reporting lines, performance management systems and disciplinary processes.
To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

CASE STUDY: PINEWOOD TECHNOLOGIES SHOWS THE VALUE OF THE GROW TO CARE PROGRAMME
By Stefaan van den Heever, consultant, Legitimate Leadership.
Pinewood Technologies, a South African company which implements and supports car dealership management IT systems, was operating very well to start with. It did not have serious problems. Its people were motivated and engaged, and results were good. The Grow to Care intervention which is the subject of this case study was never intended as a “fix”. It was simply the next step in Pinewood’s relentless pursuit of improvement – to be even better than before.
Legitimate Leadership enables a shift in intent from “taking” to “giving” in both those in leadership roles and non-managers. The Care and Growth process enables a shift from getting results out of people to caring for and enabling ordinary people. The Grow to Care process facilitates a change from going to work to earn a living to going to work to going above and beyond in service to the customer.
READ THE FULL CASE STUDY BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: LEADERSHIP ANTIDOTES TO UNCERTAINTY
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership
People like certainty. In uncertain times that need becomes a craving which people look to their leadership to satisfy.
While it is tempting for leaders to give their people assurances – that the war will be won, the business will survive, a cure will be found – that is the last thing that leaders should do.
Firstly, by setting themselves up as seers, they put themselves at risk of being blamed when their predictions do not come to pass.
More importantly, guarantees of positive outcomes by leaders breed dependency on them by their people. They take away from their people what makes them strong – a sense of ownership and responsibility for the situation they are in.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: ADRIAN GORE WRITES ABOUT SIMON SINEK’S WEBINAR ON LEADERSHIP – TRANSLATING PURPOSE INTO IMPACT
Adrian Gore is the founder and chief executive of South African healthcare and financial services group, Discovery Limited. Simon Sinek is an acclaimed American speaker, author and leadership expert.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE OF LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP ON THIS ARTICLE: The following words of wisdom from Simon Sinek accord absolutely with the Legitimate Leadership principles and practices: be open to counsel and have a vision of the future; change the “what” and “how” but not the “why”; the results matter, but leadership more so; focus on process not outcome and don’t miss the mountain due to a fixation on the summit.
ADRIAN GORE’S ARTICLE: In early June 2020 an excellent public dialogue webinar was hosted with Simon Sinek. All proceeds from the webinar went to South African community service organisation Afrika Tikkun (a client of Legitimate Leadership – editor) which works in underprivileged communities.
Simon reflected on a range of issues. I wanted to share a few of the main themes. Many of you will be familiar with Simon’s own journey of becoming a successful entrepreneur, and the challenges that came with it, until he came to understand the three levels of what, how and why – the so-called “Golden Circle” – that it is purpose that drives successful individuals and businesses.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE
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Adrian Gore Writes About Simon Sinek’s Webinar On Leadership – Translating Purpose Into Impact

Adrian Gore is the founder and chief executive of South African healthcare and financial services group, Discovery Limited. Simon Sinek is an acclaimed American speaker, author and leadership expert.

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE OF LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP ON THIS ARTICLE: The following words of wisdom from Simon Sinek accord absolutely with the Legitimate Leadership principles and practices: be open to counsel and have a vision of the future; change the “what” and “how” but not the “why”; the results matter, but leadership more so; focus on process not outcome and don’t miss the mountain due to a fixation on the summit.

ADRIAN GORE’S ARTICLE: In early June 2020 an excellent public dialogue webinar was hosted with Simon Sinek. All proceeds from the webinar went to South African community service organisation Afrika Tikkun (a client of Legitimate Leadership – editor) which works in underprivileged communities.

Simon reflected on a range of issues. I wanted to share a few of the main themes. Many of you will be familiar with Simon’s own journey of becoming a successful entrepreneur, and the challenges that came with it, until he came to understand the three levels of what, how and why – the so-called “Golden Circle” – that it is purpose that drives successful individuals and businesses.

LEADERSHIP

When we think of leadership we often think about power, authority and control. Simon highlighted leadership qualities that get less prominence but are fundamentally more effective and enduring.

One comes from South Africa’s own former president Nelson Mandela who shared with Simon a story of his father (a local chief) who when meeting with others would always sit in a circle – and speak last. True leadership involves humility, being open to others, and expressing empathy. Simon pointed to the experience we’ve seen in the Covid-19 pandemic – with female leaders that exhibit these qualities typically faring better in their national responses: think of New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen and Germany’s Angela Merkel. Simon stressed that in a moment of crisis, it’s important to be open to counsel and have a vision for the future – the combination keeps people effective and inspired.

THE PANDEMIC

In Simon’s view, Covid-19 is not unprecedented in the pressure it is creating for businesses to transform. For example, the advent of the internet saw the demise of whole industries as some doubled down on old business models, while newer companies that thought differently thrived. Consider the following examples: there is no reason that eBook and Kindle could not have been invented by a publishing company, or Netflix by the broadcasting industry – they had far more resources and knowledge – it’s because they were stuck with old business models in a new world. We are seeing the same thing now. Those companies doing a better job of pivoting their businesses have a forward-looking view. Another difference is that those who are struggling tend to put themselves at the centre – it’s about company survival – while those doing well are putting the customer first. They are being creative with the resources they have. He gave an example of Chicago pizza shop Dimo’s who had to stop selling pizza by the slice, and realised they could use their super-hot pizza oven to melt plastic and create face shields, providing PPE to healthcare workers. The crisis is forcing companies to deliver on their ‘why’ – albeit in different manifestations.

The pandemic has also laid bare the fragility of the economy, and Simon reflected on the long-lasting changes that may be ingrained in the generation living through this while coming of age. We saw how those who were teens during the World Wars became frugal for their entire lives – what changes will we see in a generation whose course of life has now been irreparably changed?

MILITARY CULTURE

Simon also spoke about what business can learn from the military, and the misconceptions about its culture and its leadership. Simon noted that the military is constantly trying to prepare people to operate in situations of extreme stress where nothing goes according to plan. There is a saying that no plan ever survives contact with the enemy; the analogy in business being that no plan ever survives contact with reality. Leadership is therefore critical, yet most businesses have poor or no business leadership training. In business we promote our top performers, not our best leaders. In the military, performance is important but the focus is on intangibles like loyalty, honour and caring deeply about those in your charge. Military leadership courses don’t assess the outcome of tests, but whether, while performing that test, you exhibited the qualities of a good leader. They understand that in the unpredictability of battle, bad missions can happen to good leaders, and good missions to bad leaders. Performance is important, but leadership more so.

MILLENNIALS

In his now famous talk on millennials in the workplace, Simon comments on the factors that informed the context of the millennial generation, and their unique challenges and outlooks. What he observes most often is an impatience to reach their goals without appreciating the process of getting there – missing the mountain for the summit, in his analogy.

And while Millennials are often accused of ‘slacktivism’, we are seeing in Generation Z (typically born around 2004), a more active generation that organises and participates in protests, with a greater willingness to show up and do the work to create change. Simon’s view is that you cannot have service without sacrifice: while donations are helpful, it’s the physical work of showing up that creates a real sense of goodwill.

MENTORSHIP

When asked about mentorship, Simon was of the view that mentorship is more akin to a friendship than one person bestowing their knowledge uni-directionally. Two qualities of a good mentor are that they evolve and always have time for you. Simon shared his own story of a mentor relationship that involved mutual learning – he wasn’t always the student and his mentor wasn’t always the teacher. They learnt from each other.

Finally, Simon spoke about his own company’s journey to survive in a time of Covid-19 and how they went back to their ‘why’ – their purpose of inspiring people to do the things that inspire them. They built an entirely new section on their website in two weeks, transitioned to online learning and made these live to maintain the human connection. People learned how to present online and the whole team came together behind a new way of doing things. They not only pivoted the business, they pivoted themselves.

If you have enjoyed this post, and Simon’s profound comments, which he shared freely with the goal of raising money for the work of Afrika Tikkun, please donate on: https://afrikatikkun.org/donate/

 

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Pinewood Technologies Shows The Value Of The Grow To Care Programme

By Stefaan van den Heever, associate, Legitimate Leadership.

Pinewood Technologies, a South African company which implements and supports car dealership management IT systems, was operating very well to start with. It did not have serious problems. Its people were motivated and engaged, and results were good. The Grow to Care intervention which is the subject of this case study was never intended as a “fix”. It was simply the next step in Pinewood’s relentless pursuit of improvement – to be even better than before.

Legitimate Leadership enables a shift in intent from “taking” to “giving” in both those in leadership roles and non-managers. The Care and Growth process enables a shift from getting results out of people to caring for and enabling ordinary people. The Grow to Care process facilitates a change from going to work to earn a living to going to work to going above and beyond in service to the customer.

Pinewood Management was already committed to the Legitimate Leadership principles. There was a belief that if these principles were helpful for them, then imagine what it could be like if everyone in the organisation was committed to GIVING also? They wanted the principles to be applied at the front line of the organisation. Ultimately, it was the desire to better enable employees on the front line that led to the Pinewood Grow to Care intervention, specifically designed to promote the shift from TAKING to GIVING for direct contributors.

GIVING EVERYONE A CHANCE TO BE THEIR BEST: THE 1-DAY GROW TO CARE INTRODUCTION

The 1-day Grow to Care Introduction workshop is designed to introduce participants to the concepts of GIVING and TAKING. What is the difference? Why does it matter? What is the implication for me professionally and personally?

At Pinewood, participation at the introduction workshop was enthusiastic, but it was obvious that the concepts sat more easily with some than others. It was a significant help that many in the room could positively relate the workshop content to their personal experience of Pinewood Management. At the end of the day, the shift from taking to giving is really about employees reclaiming their sense of personal strength, and their capacity to make an excellent contribution at work. A common realisation amongst participants in this introductory day was that “coming to work to give is about focusing on what we can control, and that puts us in a position of strength”.

A key, and emotional, part of the introductory day for Pinewood employees was their discussion of people in their lives who they saw as heroes. A significant theme that emerged (as it always does) was that the people we view as heroes are viewed as such because of what they have GIVEN or contributed to others and society, not because of what they have TAKEN or accumulated.

The introductory day also had the effect of galvanising people as a team with a purpose – the realisation that we are all human, we all share the experiences and challenges of life, and at Pinewood we share a common goal – enabling our customers.

CHOICE, CONNECTEDNESS AND CLARITY: THE APPLICATION WORKSHOPS

The purpose of the application Grow to Care workshops is to give people the tools and techniques required to implement the principles covered in the 1-day introduction. The focus of the workshops is on three core criteria:

CHOICE: To practically equip participants to make the choice to prioritise GIVING rather than TAKING

CONNECTEDNESS: To help participants understand how they are connected to the bigger picture of the organisation – each participant’s individual “WHY”, and

CLARITY: To help participants gain clarity with respect to their current and future contribution.

Each application workshop comprises a half-day content workshop and a half-day review, to allow people to discuss and reflect on insights gained and also to ensure that application actually happens.

MAKING THE SHIFT FROM TAKING TO GIVING: APPLICATION WORKSHOP 1

In this workshop, participants are given the insights and tools to make empowering choices. Participants explore the difference between being a victim and a master and what is required for the former to mature from that weak state to a more powerful position. They are encouraged to explore their personal growth journey by reflecting on, noticing and shifting what they are currently paying attention to when they come to work. They are introduced to the Gripe to Goal process which helps participants to take accountability for any situation they are in. Being one’s best simply requires that one consistently makes choices which prioritise GIVING over TAKING.

Before this workshop, not everyone had taken time to consider what makes people excellent. Insights were generated by participants reflecting on themselves and how, with which intent, they were showing-up at work and in their lives. What are the essential differences between exceptional contributors and poor contributors? The differences extend far beyond the quality of tasks or output.

This workshop can be confronting, dislodging and disruptive. People are confronted with the real picture of themselves.

Some comments from participants:

  • “I learned that I pull the office down if I moan, and when I’m needy and grumpy – I am shifting to take more responsibility.”
  • “This has made me aware of how many gripes I have in a day and that I need to mature.”
  • “Intent is a huge learning; I am not moaning anymore.”
  • “I realised that I have to respect myself and ensure that I am not playing the victim. Each individual contributes and I need to understand that I am valuable as well.”

FINDING MY PURPOSE AT WORK: APPLICATION WORKSHOP 2

Finding My Purpose at Work is about giving people the insights and tools to help them understand how they are connected to the bigger purpose of the organisation. Why does each part of the organisation exist? What value does my department add to the customer? Why does my contribution matter?

According to comments, what shifted was that participants started to understand the reason or WHY behind their own roles, their department and the organisation – not how or what they did, but why they did it. What was their role in the organisation? And for the whole organisation, why was it there? Ultimately, “to serve the customer excellently” was the conclusion – the most important WHY of all. If the business gets that right, and that is reflected in the intent of employees, then a significant determinant of the success of the business is secured.

The participants explored and clarified what the benevolent intent was at each level of the individual role, the function and the organisation. Everyone was asked to establish a clear line of sight between his or her role and the purpose of the organisation, thus forming a basis for excellence in contribution. This led to a feeling of connectedness between teams in the organisation, they started to understand each other better, and what the GIVE or contribution was for each team or function.

Some comments from participants:

  • “The workshop was an eye opener to our values, focus, and how we operate as different business functions.”
  • “I learned the purpose and reason of my organisation, department and other departments. This workshop helps me to know and understand what other departments do, so I can assist them better.”
  • “This has helped me define my purpose, which I’ve never thought of.”
  • “I was able to understand how each department views their roles within the business and how everyone plays a key role in each and everyone else’s jobs.”
  • “I am here to transfer knowledge to better enable users, so that they can understand what and why they do their job on Pinnacle.”
  • “My purpose is to allow our customers’ businesses to grow and to ensure that our customers know how Pinnacle and integration functionality work in order to broaden their knowledge, enabling them peace of mind and the knowing that we are here to help them succeed and that we care about them. It’s not just about the money.”

OWNING AND ENABLING MY CONTRIBUTION AT WORK: APPLICATION WORKSHOP 3

In this workshop, participants are presented with techniques and tools to gain clarity in what their contribution is – a fundamental precondition to taking ownership and accountability. Participants develop an understanding of the difference between contribution and results and why a focus on contribution is the best way to achieve results.

During this workshop participants explored the means, ability and accountability issues that constrain them from meeting or exceeding the standard. In turn, this enables them to take responsibility for soliciting what they need from their manager to contribute their best. At Pinewood we also explored how individuals could support their manager in providing CARE and GROWTH to their people.

The workshop challenged management to have rigorous one-on-one meetings with employees, to clarify each individual’s contributions, and for everyone to be aligned as a team. It also challenged employees to take ownership and accountability.

Some comments from participants:

  • “I realise how important it is to have clear deliverables to make, and make a positive contribution.”
  • “I learned that there are ways to go about reaching your end results. I’ve also learned that it is more important to focus on service delivery, as opposed to what I can gain.”
  • “I learned to always remember my purpose and make sure I am clear of what is expected of me and what I expect from others.”
  • “I will make sure I have a clear understanding of what is expected.”
  • “More appreciation towards management.”

GIVING TO MY TEAM: APPLICATION WORKSHOP 4

In this workshop, all the previous topics come together so that people understand how to apply the concepts of CHOICE, CONNECTEDNESS and CLARITY in the context of a team.

This workshop addresses the core criteria and requirements for establishing, building and maintaining powerful teams. Participants gain clarity on what they need to give or contribute towards the team’s causes and objectives. They also learn about team member qualities that cultivate collaborative rather than competitive team interactions.

The workshop had a significant impact on the teams and on how people connected with one another. A spirit of both courage and generosity started to develop in the teams. For trust to develop in an organisation, people have to get to know each other. They have to engage with the intent to give – which sometimes requires being generous and other times requires being courageous. Giving appropriately, in this way, asks people to suspend their own interests for the interests of the team and the organisation.

Some comments from participants:

  • “We were forced to take responsibility for our own issues and how they affect the people around us.”
  • “The walls are down now, we are more open and honest with each other.”
  • “There was an error on the system, but this time we pulled together – we have each other’s backs now.”
  • “We are now making an effort to appreciate and support other teams.”
  • “We are more honest with each other, and we’re asking more questions.”
  • “I have learnt to care about my colleagues more than I care about myself.”
  • “Awareness of what truly allows for great teamwork: sense of belonging and contribution.”
  • “I need to be more honest with myself in order to be honest with others.”

CONCLUSION:

The intention of the Pinewood Grow to Care intervention was to enable direct contributors at the front line of the business to be even better – both in terms of their own personal strength, and consequently in delivering excellence to customers and colleagues.

The quote below from a senior manager at Pinewood gives a clear sense that these objectives were achieved, and that Pinewood as an organisation has also benefitted.

“Grow to Care has enabled our staff to grow closer to each other, while also thinking outside the box on how they can support their teams, managers and the company. Our staff had 5 sessions with Stefaan, but I will always remember the first session where a lot of our staff came out of the session very emotional. I thought I made the biggest mistake, however my staff came to me thanking me for getting Stefaan out because they’ve never felt this close to their direct and other teams. We could immediately see the difference in interactions and the positive impact on how our staff approached each other. Grow to Care challenges our staff to be a better, stronger and more powerful team”.

Perhaps the best summary was provided by one of the participants midway through the intervention: “(Grow to Care) brought teams and employees closer together. It allowed us to speak out and either to vent or complement where we feel it’s appropriate. It assured each of us that we are one team, and really brought all staff closer. We now rethink the “why” we come to work for, our intent to work. It made us relook and rethink how we can be better and improve ourselves and our intent in life.”

An essential part of the Grow to Care process is the Generous and Courageous Giving Assessment.

We did this survey to provide insights into additional areas of development. This subjective assessment with the participants revealed the importance of both generous and courageous giving. Pinewood staff are clearly committed to their organisation and also to their customers. They also realized that courageous giving and holding each other accountable is where work was needed.

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June 2020 – Question of the Month

By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: What is the logic behind the various steps of a Legitimate Leadership intervention – the introductory workshop, the application modules, etc?

Answer:  The typical implementation process for a Legitimate Leadership intervention is underpinned by the following four steps.

First, we establish the two criteria of care and growth. We also introduce the insight that INTENT, not knowledge or skill alone, legitimises leadership. Skill helps, but without the right intent the will simply doesn’t engage.

Second, we diagnose against these two criteria. Are your leaders caring for and growing your people at every level? If yes, fantastic. If not, what are they doing wrong?

Third, we work to support our clients in remediating behaviour. Once we understand the core issues, we get to work supporting our clients in dealing with them. We provide leaders with the knowledge, tools, techniques and skills required to shift behaviour and make care and growth real day-to-day.

Lastly, we develop enabling structures. We work closely with our clients to address structure and process. We look at areas such as role descriptions, reporting lines, performance management systems and disciplinary processes.

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Leadership Antidotes To Uncertainty

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

People like certainty. In uncertain times that need becomes a craving which people look to their leadership to satisfy.

While it is tempting for leaders to give their people assurances – that the war will be won, the business will survive, a cure will be found – that is the last thing that they should do.

Firstly, by setting themselves up as seers, they put themselves at risk of being blamed when their predictions do not come to pass. More importantly, guarantees of positive outcomes by leaders breeds dependency on them by their people. They take away from their people what makes them strong – a sense of ownership and responsibility for the situation they are in.

Rather than certainty of outcome, leaders should give their people certainty of purpose and contribution. Unlike certainty with respect to the future, both of these are within the leader’s control to deliver. Together, they go a long way to quell the fears that uncertainty brings.

CERTAINTY OF PURPOSE

While the “how” or the “what” may have to change in a crisis, the “why” should remain constant.

All organisations have a reason for existing which is bigger than simply winning or being the best. Simon Sinek calls this “why” a Just Cause. It is about advancing something eminently worthwhile, something which inspires people’s commitment and solicits in them a preparedness to sacrifice and to persevere in the face of setbacks and hardships.

In a crisis leaders need to rally their people – not around the achievement of finite goals but around a noble purpose. A leader’s resolve to stay true to the organisation’s contributary purpose provides their people with an anchor to hold onto in all the unpredictability. By giving their people a cause bigger than themselves to hang onto, leaders instil in their people a sense of meaning despite the sea of uncertainty.

CERTAINTY OF CONTRIBUTION

In any situation, what we “get” is never entirely within our control. However, what we “give” absolutely sits in our own hands. Daniele Bolelli puts it eloquently as: “Victory or defeat are largely out of my control, but putting up a good fight … putting up the kind of fight that makes the earth shake and the gods blush, this I can do.”

In times of crisis, leaders need to help their people shift their attention away from uncertain future outcomes to what they can “give” uniquely under the circumstances. They need to work with their people to co-determine the contribution that each is willing and able to commit to making. Given the fluidity of the situation, each person’s “give” needs to be ascertained, not once-off but on an ongoing basis, as circumstances change and people grow.

Certainty of contribution is a great enabler of contribution. Knowing exactly what one can do to help, no matter how little, provides each individual with the impetus to make a contribution. By focusing their people on giving their all rather than outcome, leaders help their people to lessen the fear which holds them prisoner.

Leaders cannot, with the best will in the world take away the uncertainty, but they can reduce the fear and anxiety that uncertainty breeds. They do so by clarifying and then enabling their people to make a value-added contribution. They also ensure that there is a clear line of sight between their people’s contribution and the contributory purpose of the organisation.

DEALING WITH THOSE PARALYSED BY UNCERTAINTY

There is one more thing that leaders can do for their people in uncertain times.  Not all, but some people, are literally paralysed by uncertainty.  They are like rabbits frozen in the headlights and unable to move.

The leadership antidote here is to help those immobilised and ‘stuck’ to get ‘unstuck’ and regain their power.  Leaders do this by helping their people to reorientate their attention to the future, focus on what is in their control and to act.

The moment their people take action they are no longer ‘stuck’.  They have simultaneously increased their ‘circle of influence; and reduced their ‘circle of concern’.

There are then three antidotes to uncertainty – certainty of purpose, certainty of contribution, and shifting people out of paralysis and into action.

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Leading in Times of Adversity – March 2017 Breakfast

From left to right: Masenyane Molefe (Hyundai SA), Wendy Lambourne (Legitimate Leadership) and Bradley Salters (Imperial Group).Report-Back on Legitimate Leadership’s ‘Leading in Times of Adversity’ Breakfast

Legitimate Leadership’s first breakfast event of 2017, on the subject ‘Leading in Times of Adversity’, took place in Johannesburg on 15 March. Executives from two organisations, Hyundai Automotive South Africa (Hyundai SA) and Jurgens Ci, shared their experiences of how they responded to the difficult circumstances they faced.

The types of adversity that the two companies faced were different. Jurgens Ci was confronted with significant conflict in management-employee relationships, a factory which burnt down, and a decline in sales which necessitated a 10% reduction in employee numbers.

In Hyundai SA’s case, the company was faced with the year-on-year decline in new car sales, an exchange rate not in its favour, fierce competition in an industry where all vehicles are of high quality, and a negative organisational culture.

There is a natural tendency in difficult conditions to cut spending and batten down the hatches, but both Hyundai SA and Jurgens Ci elected to do the opposite.

They chose to rather invest in their people and to use the Legitimate Leadership framework as an enabler to change management-employee relationships, build trust in the leadership of the enterprise, develop leaders’ ability to lead, and engage employees’ willingness to go above-and-beyond in the pursuit of the organisations’ objectives.

As a result, Jurgens Ci was able to get back the trust relationship with its staff and engender a “how do we fix this?” mindset rather than an attitude of “what’s in this for me?” The conclusion of Bradley Salters, Jurgens Ci’s managing director, was twofold: firstly, that it is much easier to cope with difficult times when you have a workforce which is engaged and on your side; secondly, to get where you want to go, you have to help others to get where they are going.

In the words of Masenyane Molefi, human resources director of Hyundai SA, “culture beats strategy for breakfast but real culture change takes 3-5 years”.

After 18 months of a project with Legitimate Leadership, Hyundai SA has some pockets of excellence but has still to achieve a critical mass of leaders who can solicit the willingness of their people to truly go the extra mile. Hyundai SA is currently measuring the impact to date of the care and growth intervention on shifting the culture from “taking to giving” and determining how best to sustain the momentum it has gained.

 

Wendy Lambourne’s Opening Address

 

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Cultivating Accountability and Ownership in 2017 – Breakfast

Written by Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

As managers, it is tempting to divide our employees into two groups; “givers” and “takers”, those who take accountability and ownership and those who do not. We thank our lucky stars for the “givers” while we tear our hair out and feel despair for the “takers”.

We wonder whether the ratio of “givers”:”takers in our business is a matter of providence and therefore something beyond our power or agency…? Or whether it is possible to determine, or at least influence, the relative size of the two groups?

As Legitimate Leadership, our response to these questions – what we believe – is the following:

  • There are “givers” in any organisation – wonderful human beings who are just this way, always have been and always will be, irrespective or even despite those who lead them.
  • Equally, every organisation has its share of “takers” – unattractive specimens of humanity who are similarly just this way, always have been and always will be, even under exceptional leadership.
  • But undoubtedly the mix of “givers” and “takers” is not a matter of chance. “Givers” and “takers” are largely manufactured by those in charge of them. What people are is on the whole a reflection on those who exercise authority over them. Beyond a shadow of a doubt “givers” beget “givers” and “takers” beget “takers”.

Our experience, consistently over the past three decades, is that those leaders who deliver on the criteria for legitimate power – have a sincere and genuine interest in (care) for their people and enable them to realise the best in themselves (growth) – are those who realise people at work who are accountable and take ownership.

They do so because, as leaders, they are characterised by the following:

  • They are COMMITTED to their people and as a result engender their people’s commitment to the organisation. Being committed to their people does not necessarily mean that they offer them an equity stake in the business or even permanent employment. Rather, they take a personal interest in their welfare; they genuinely care about them as human beings, not human resources.
  • They ROLE MODEL the very qualities they would like to see in their people; they exemplify accountability and ownership. Leaders who are not motivated, who lack passion and resolve are unlikely to command the opposite in their people.
  • They INSPIRE dedication in their people by giving them a “why” which is worth rising above their self interest for. This “why” is not an ROI to shareholders but an opportunity to contribute to making the world a better place. Inciting people to enrich the owners of an enterprise is not only not motivating but leads to hostility. A meaningful purpose, on the other hand, invigorates people to rise to the cause.
  • They not only seek their employees’ views and opinions but also TRUST them to get on with the job. People only take ownership when they feel free to express themselves openly and honestly and when they are given the freedom to operate. Control and accountability, in other words, are mutually exclusive. You can have one or the other, but not both.
  • They are crystal CLEAR about what taking ownership looks like. They then make very sure that those who are accountable and take ownership are recognised and rewarded for doing so. Equally, that there is ACCOUNTABILITY or consequence for those who fail to do so.

There is some truth in the adage that people get the leaders that they deserve – but perhaps more truth in the statement that leaders get the people they deserve.

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Leading with Courage – March 2016

Leading with Courage

LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP BREAKFAST, LEADING WITH COURAGE (3 MARCH 2016)

Wendy Lambourne’s Opening Address

 Legitimate Leadership is an organisational transformation framework developed out of research conducted in the South African gold mining industry in the late 1980s under the auspices of the Chamber of Mines.  The research sought to determine the conditions under which management of an enterprise are trusted by their employees, and its corollary – the commitment of employees to making an above and beyond contribution to realising the company’s objectives.  What, in other words, engages employees’ willingness to contribute or go the extra mile?

It was an important question to answer back then and remains an important question, if not a more important question today, when roughly only one out of four people at work worldwide are engaged or willing (according to recent research).

What the research back then showed was that trust in management was a function of a single criterion and that was the degree to which employees perceive those in charge to have a genuine concern for their well-being.   Employees accepted or rejected management on that basis only.

The decision to trust or not trust management was a function of how employees read their managers’ (individually and collectively) intent.  Were managers in the relationship to “get” (results), with employees being simply the means to that end; or were managers there to “give” to their employees, specifically to care for and grow them?

Only when management was prepared to suspend their own interests to serve the best interests of their people would their people be willing and would the managers mobilise the consent of their people to being led by them.   This elusive thing called willingness was in fact a matter of the heart, not the head.

Almost 25 years later a book came out with the title “Give and Take”.   It was written by Adam Grant, allegedly one of the youngest people ever to be given tenure at an Ivy League university in the USA. His book was an instant bestseller.  In the book he drew extensively on both social psychology research and individual and organisation examples to make the conclusion that the most successful people in the world are “givers”.   Here was a book which provided both the scientific and evidential proof to support the findings made in South Africa – and endorsed by the many companies locally and globally who applied the insights It was now crystal clear that actually the best way to serve your own interests is not to pursue your own interests but serve the best interests of others.

Adam Grant, however, made a second finding from his research which was the opposite of the first.  The finding was that the least successful people in the world are also “givers”.   How can that be?

I think that it is easily explained when you consider Legitimate Leadership’s understanding of what “giving” really means.   Giving is not about being nice to the point of being taken advantage of;   it is about being appropriate in the situation that you are in.

In this sense, there are in fact two forms of giving.   The first, which Adam Grant focuses on, is generosity.   The other is courage.

Social workers in inner city Chicago who support those in need to the point of burnout are not being appropriate.  They are being generous when they should be courageous.

All “giving” necessitates a preparedness to risk or to lose.  Generosity requires rising above a fear of loss of things.  Courage on the other hand is about rising above fear of loss of self.  Of the two, courage is more difficult because the price that you may have to pay is higher.

It is my conviction after 25 years of working with leaders and organisations all over the world that the crux of exemplary leadership is getting the courage side of “giving” right – the essence of exemplary leadership is about cultivating courage in the first instance in oneself and  then in others.

So in the response to the question, “what is the one piece of advice that you would give to anyone in a leadership role today?” my answer has to be, “more testicular fortitude, please!”

LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP BREAKFAST – LEADING WITH COURAGE (3 MARCH 2016)

David Harding’s Address

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Good morning,

The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear!  Mandela

Hopefully, this morning, I can seed some thoughts that will allow our panel discussion to be more fruitful.

Courage and leadership, is it not one and the same thing?

Do we all subscribe to the same definition of leadership?

For me I see the role of a leader

1.        to primarily develop the ability of all subordinates and maybe colleagues

2.        to integrate the talent of individuals into a team

3.        to challenge the status quo

So you may ask where does the courage come in?

So here is the first question for you captains of industry:   how many of you have had a genuine feedback session around your PA’s performance?  Hands up – difficult no doubt!!

I had a colleague in the consulting business who wished to apply his modern management consulting techniques to his wife.

He duly compiled some really accurate and appropriate feedback about her use of the credit card etc.   The result of the intervention as consultants would say was not as expected.  In fact it was a disaster!!!

Why? Well he certainly showed courage, but a complete lack of empathy!!

Lesson- being a bold in your face leader is unlikely to be effective if they are unable to understand and empathise with the consequences of their decisions.

Hierarchal authority can relieve leaders of the need to be courageous.  Do as I say not as I do etc!

Leaders with testicular fortitude, however, are prepared to make decisions that are right, despite causing personal discomfort, pain and opprobrium.

From the top of the pile we can all direct a course of action and are often able to be insulated from the consequences, particularly at a personal level.  E.g. sending the HR manager to announce retrenchments.

Confucius he says:  To see what is right and not do it, is the want of courage.

 Leaders, however, occur at all levels in an organisation, both formally and informally, something we sometimes forget.  First line managers and shop stewards come to mind. But what of those leaders who rise naturally in work groups, civil society and so on.

Being a first line manager trying to direct and grow a disaffected work force,  with whom they often lived, grew up and worked together, is every bit as difficult job as being the CEO, in some ways more so.  Little power, minimal support, hostile environment etc.

And yet, with a little help and guidance, tolerance and respect it is more than possible to create outstanding leaders anywhere in the organisation.

Isn’t that what our primary role is?

When I first started to restructure AEL in the mid 1990’s I spent significant time cultivating the unions in that post revolutionary period.  The president of our main union was a man of great wisdom, who recognised that the industrial relations landscape had changed irrevocably.  The revolution was over –how to handle the peace! It was easy for me to say what was needed; he had to persuade his membership that whatever pain necessary was worthwhile in the long term.  It was a question of securing the future for our children’s children.

As a union leader he would have had no credibility overtly supporting the restructuring, the strategy was to enable him not to say no!!

For me this was a man who not only epitomised leadership, but who exhibited the true courage of one who was prepared to take the pain to ultimately  do the right thing for all members of the business.   And he was brave:  in the space of two years we shut four factories took out 4000 staff, and never lost a day in industrial action.  That was in a workforce that was 100% unionised in the factories.

I contrast him and the success of that partnership, with a second restructuring I carried out in 2013/14, where the main union leadership bitterly opposed the closure of a factory, as had been previously agreed, as a consequence of a significant new investment in modern machinery.

We fought for a year, faced 10 strike calls, none of which got sufficient support, and eventually closed the old factory with a loss of 1000 jobs, although we had created 700 new higher skilled and paid jobs in the new factory.

This led me to observe two things about leadership:   The main union protagonist cared not one jot about the workforce, this was a marxist political statement directed from the centre with no real reference to the context or welfare of the affected workers.

Secondly we put huge effort into upping the quality of leadership for all the first and second line managers in both the affected plants and the new plants using the Legitimate Leadership thematic.

Thus through leading the troops from the front at shop floor level, particularly, ensuring that primary communication came from management; we not only created the operational performance to affect the closures, but persuaded the workforce that certain self-serving unions were leading the business to financial ruin. Hence the lack of support for the strikes.

What is more interesting, in the context of today’s discussion is the courage displayed both by certain shop stewards and some management, to face their fears in a hostile environment and stand up for what they personally, as opposed to politically, believed in.

To give you an idea of how we had in the past allowed union power to overwhelm weak management, in a plant of 700 people we had 40 shop stewards – inherited I hasten to add!

But of course you all know this, the 101 of leadership isn’t it?

One thing that I do observe, is a consequence of today’s society’s desire to be able to hold people to account in the event of public failures, whether accidents, bankruptcies, malfeasance etc.

All good and well, we should expect of our leaders to stand up and be counted!!

Oh yes I hear you cry, get real!!

Self-preservation is a natural instinct.  Sure, so a Mother dies protecting her child?

Regardless of those around us who will not, or lack the guts to, surely any leader worthy of the name will stand up for what they believe.  That takes courage.  Indeed can you be a real leader if you do not have it.

In the trenches of the Somme young officers would lead the charge, many times in a futile way because they believed they owed it to their men to demonstrate courage overcoming fear, as they set the example.   It was gallant gesture, but managerially a bad call, we lost proportionally more leaders than men, to the disadvantage of the battle.

The problem is how do you empower, that overused phrase, your people. Certainly not by hedging their lives with so many controls, that they become ciphers.   And I do not mean that we should have an anarchic world either.

The cry always goes up that we cannot trust, we must have authorisations, limits of authority, and twenty signatures etc., all to stop fraud or whatever.   South Africa ranks #1 in compliance legislation, but so what. We still have massive fraud kleptocracy etc.

Surely if we are to break out of this spiral of disempowerment, without being naïve, we have to show trust.

As Tacitus said: Nisi impunitatis cupido retinuisset, magnis semper conatibus adversa!

The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise!

Many years ago I ran a very high tech plant, putting literally, molecules on a polyester substrate.   The foremen had been around for years maintaining the status quo, but resisted all efforts to improve.

One of the complaints, to be expected, was that they were not allowed to make change nor was there any budget available to them so to do, therefore, nothing could be done.

After some discussions about health and safety and change control, the real issue was cash and freedom. So we struck a deal, each shift was given a budget for which they had sole responsibility. All changes had to be agreed between them. They could commission whoever they liked to execute, and all that was asked for was a 15% improvement in plant output.

It was with some trepidation that I left them to it and crushed all desire to ring up, walk the plant in order to find out what was happening, although I did see the production figures.

After the first month things were looking up, I got the odd call asking advice, I was allowed on the plant but had to be circumspect!!

By year end we had a 25% increase in output, drop in overtime, absenteeism and so on.  Most amazing was that no shift had spent their entire budget; they guarded the modest sums with their lives but still delivered the goods.

The moral I take from this is: to gain control you have to give up control! – Harding

And let me tell you that is really difficult and counter cultural!

And here is another example!

When I was just a little bit younger, I was moved to a job in a different part of the world as the budgets were being put to bed.  The Operations director flew in from Holland and soon I was being pressured to say what improvements I could deliver.  I demurred pointing out that I had been in the job for less than two weeks and what would he suggest?   There was then an uncomfortable, potentially career limiting, impasse.   To cut a short story shorter, an emissary was despatched to persuade me to offer something which ultimately I did. Say 10% improvement.

The following year the same director returned to review the performance and set new targets.  We had achieved way better results.  He was happy I was happy!  So what was agreed for the following year?  We put a figure on the table BUT that was for guidance because we both agreed that trusting us to do the best possible job ensured that we would deliver the best possible result.  And we did! Whose balls were stronger and bigger!

I have one more story of courageous Directors! Not me!!

I was the acting manager of the sister PVC plant to the one at Sasolburg, when we started to experience reactors going out of control and from time to time and dumping 40 tonnes of smelly carcinogenic PVC slurry on our neighbours.

This culminated in the headlines in the national press that it was snowing in June in Runcorn and an old lady’s mini was covered in the stuff as she drove on the highway.  Adverse press reports were an anathema to the board!

Everybody got grumpy and two nights later it happened again at 04h00 and I promptly shut the whole plant.  I informed the works manager and the relevant divisional directors, and got hold of the shop stewards at lunchtime to discuss what we were going to do.  Over the course of the next 10 days we met each lunch time at the pub whilst we rebooted all our procedures etc.

In the meantime I was invited to discuss the matter with the company deputy chairman and sundry others to explain what my plan was to prevent any more incidents.  This looked like the final days of my career.

To my surprise I was not sacked, I was asked what help I needed and requested to keep the bosses informed on a daily basis, and left to get on with it.

No one ever criticised the decision that I had taken to shut the whole plant despite the cost.

The process operators too, were shocked into understanding they also were part of the solution.

The net result on restart was a significant improvement, on a sustained basis of plant operation, a real improvement in labour relations, and large consumption of beer in the local pub whilst we grappled with the reopening of the plant.

No one could have planned the crisis but we all took the gap. But for me the outstanding lesson was the trust placed in me and the team to do the right thing and for them not to feel impelled to send a thousand head office chaps to help us;   that proverbial flock of corporate seagulls.

It was an important lesson well learned for me and an example of enlightened management from the very top. And they were kind enough to make me the permanent manager.

So where are we?  Testicular fortitude is a necessary attribute in all true leaders.  They may not show fear but if they don’t feel it then it is unlikely they are, in our terms, good leaders.

Finally how do we balance the exuberance and energy of youth, with the wisdom of age and experience?  Do all leaders have to be in your face demonstrating their prowess?   There are of course times when this is important, but effective leaders know when to take the back seat, give the young bloods their head, let them make mistakes and then honestly coach them onwards and upwards.

I find that very hard, but when it works you will have developed the winning team, which is surely what it is all about.

Nevertheless, sometimes you have to cut the young bloods down to size.  I once had a very bright young man working for me, who was absolutely convinced of the correctness of his approach.  He ambushed me in the open plan office to tell me how wrong I was! Was this going to be the start of the next anglo boer war! The ensuing, sometimes heated discussion became gladiatorial as others joined to listen.  I should have been wise and stopped it there and then, but as you know there are times when the opportunity presents itself and you go for it!!

And hour or so later he comprehensively lost the argument and conceded!! Victory – but for whom! He learnt that to persuade was more productive than intellectual arrogance, his career is now flourishing, with a little gentle coaching from his engels friend.

It was high risk, but was needed.  I might have lost but I would have bailed out with a bit of humility.  The point is once again that the reward was worth the risk and this man is becoming a serious leader in the business.

That is our job.

Ladies and Gentlemen that is my story. I leave you with two from thousands of quotes on the subject of courage and leadership that resonate with me.

 On challenging the status quo:

Henri Matisse said: Pour regarder quelque chose comme si nous avions vu avant nécessite un grand courage! To look at something as though we had never seen it before requires great courage!

And on a lighter note:

Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway!  John Wayne.

Thank you

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How to Select Givers over Takers – June 2016 Breakfast

Keynote address by Leonie van Tonder, COO of Afrika Tikkun, to the recent Legitimate Leadership breakfast on this topic.

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Of all the tasks a leader must practise, choosing staff at any level is one of the most challenging – and so very often disappointing, Leonie said.

Building and maintaining trust is sacrosanct, she said, quoting Wendy Lambourne of Legitimate Leadership: “Trust is the currency by which you buy Legitimate Leadership.”

Firstly, Leonie said, “Listen to the language people talk! Measure the answers/statements the person gives against the fundamental shift required for a person to move from taking to giving: Legitimacy, Trust, Contribution and Accountability.”

“As Legitimate Leadership proponents we say:

“The collective leadership of the organisation MUST BE seen to be legitimate and have the support of the majority of employees to being led by them.

“At an organisational level we help effect a change in what are means and ends. We enable those in leadership positions to serve their people, who in turn serve their customers.

“At a team level we cultivate team members who are prepared to subordinate their own interests for the bigger interests of the team and who deliberately set up their colleagues to succeed.

“At the individual level, we foster people whose focus is on what they can give or contribute. We grow a company whose people are concerned with what they owe others and whose behaviour is primarily values- rather than needs-driven; who do what is right rather than what is expedient.”

It is of course, she said, “so much easier to look for these characteristics when we employ or promote people than trying to cultivate them later, sometimes on a non-receptive base.”

Leonie said that in a quest to “tell the audience something they did not already know”, her solution was to share her own habits learnt over more than five decades of work, and the habits of others that she had learnt about.

Leonie’s pointers were:

When You Interview People Or Deal With Them On A Daily Basis …

  • How do you judge a limp/dead fish hand shake?
  • Is the attire appropriate – clubbing/ holiday/business?
  • Is the person on time?
  • Is the person’s cell phone turned off?
  • Does he/she start every sentence with “to be honest …”?
  • Does he/she use the word “respectfully” and go ahead and insult somebody?
  • Does he/she complain about previous company and not getting opportunities?
  • Will he/she use the interview and a possible offer to go and blackmail his/her current company?
  • Do he/she speak freely about disability/possible failures/self-censureship?
  • More interested in title than job content?
  • More interested in pay than responsibilities?
  • Is the person involved in the community/corporate social investment?
  • Do you feel energised by the conversation?
  • Does time pass by so quickly that you need to book a second appointment?
  • Does the person call people “human resources” (or “human capital”)?
  • What does the person say about learning and training for self and others? Father James Keeler said: “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”
  • Does the person display loyalty for previous/present boss/company?
  • Is the person a pessimist or an optimist. A pessimist is a person who regardless of the present is disappointed with the future.

Look Out For Anti-Success Syndrome People …

  • “I did not study because of financial constraints …”
  • All words no action …
  • “When my ship comes in …”
  • Entitlement – wanting something for nothing wanted, usually from the company.
  • Too old syndrome …
  • “I’m not qualified …”
  • “Whatever happens, happens – life is a bitch and then you die …”
  • “In the hands of the gods …”
  • “I don’t get the breaks … others are favoured.”
  • All-mapped-out syndrome – needs a detailed instruction manual from the start.
  • My-time-will-come syndrome … time runs out.
  • Only happens to me syndrome …
  • “Always been unlucky …”
  • “I’m only average …”
  • “Someday soon …”
  • “If I only had confidence …”
  • “What’s the point …?”

General Knowledge …

  • What was the exchange rate this morning?
  • Who is the minister of finance/health?
  • Who is the leader of the Democratic Party in the US?
  • Who are the two main contenders in the American presidential election?
  • Who won the Euro football tournament?

Some Provocative Questions …

  • Have you ever fired anybody? Look for self-assessment of decision.
  • What do you do when you do not agree with your boss?
  • Do you read the newspaper every day?
  • What books do you read?
  • What films do you like to watch?
  • Your best ever film?
  • Is music important in your life?

Qualities …

  • How do you measure integrity (definition: what you do at 3am when it is dark and nobody is watching)?
  • How do you measure credibility?
  • Can I trust this person with my company/clients/beneficiaries?
  • What happens if you measure the person against the values of your company?
  • Is this a team player or a one-man band (no1 in team)?
  • Is this a worker or a clock watcher?
  • Is this a political player?
  • Is this a gossiper that will keep the grapevine going?

What Are You Looking For?

  • A well rounded person that can add value to your organisation.
  • A person with compassion/empathy that is appropriate.
  • Passion that can be directed.
  • Talent that can be mined.
  • Commitment that will produce a loyal employee.
  • A track record that speaks of consistency/sustainability.
  • A role model for giving at the highest level.

Why Do Managers Fail?

  • Status before results.
  • Do not execute duties.
  • Do not hold direct reports accountable.
  • No decisive action – fear of failure.
  • Desire for harmony.
  • Desire for invulnerability.
  • Lack of testicular fortitude.
  • Lack of care – prepared to live with mediocrity and poor attitude.
  • Not able to – lack of skill and knowledge.
  • Not allowed to – environment is restrictive.

How Do You Remedy This?

  • Trust people with your ego; invulnerability is not obtainable
  • Clarity is more important than 100% accuracy.
  • Encourage your people to air their differences – lively meetings are often a sign of progress and health.
  • Accept responsibility for whatever you do or don’t do – be somebody that other people want to be around and learn from.
  • Do whatever you do with all your heart – you will be dead for a long time, you can rest then.
  • Work for the long term respect of your people, not their affection.
  • Remember one has integrity and one earns respect and credibility
  • However important you become (in your own eyes) don’t lose yourself in the process—stay the same person who started the journey.
  • Keep your feet on the mother earth – it is the only stability you can bank on.

In conclusion, Leonie quoted St Francis of Assisi, who said: “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary use words.”

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These Are Not Unprecedented Times – The Importance Of Infinite Mindset During The Covid-19 Crisis

By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker, speaking during a recent “company huddle” of his staff.

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS  VIDEO: A crisis confronts leaders with their past deeds. Those who have put money aside, rather than taking it out in short-term incentives, will obviously be in a stronger position. Leaders who have been here to “give” to the people in the past are more likely to have employees who pick up the oars and help to row the boat through choppy waters. Those who have historically been “takers” should not be surprised if their people give little, if at all, and may even rebel or jump ship. A crisis as an opportunity to reset the relationship with employees – to take the relationship to new heights. It is also an opportunity to reinvent the business – not the Why of the business but the What and the How. This will be easier in some industries than others. But the losers, irrespective of their industries, will be those who don’t at least try to adapt to the change, who lack the will to seek and find another way.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: I have recently been pushed to explain how the infinite mindset helps in times like these. A finite game has known players, fixed rules and agreed-upon objectives. By contrast, rules are changeable in the infinite game, with unknown players who are in it to keep playing. Problems arise when finite players are up against infinite players. Often the former end up mired in lost trust and declining innovation.

These are not unprecedented times. There are many famous cases where change or unexpected events has put companies out of business – and made other companies come out stronger and reinvent themselves.

The invention of the internet put many companies out of business – the ones who could not reinvent their companies for the internet age but rather doubled down on the old way they did business. Every video store is out of business because of streaming; they couldn’t reinvent themselves. When Starbucks moved into neighborhoods many coffee shops went out of business because they refused to change the way they did business. Uber is putting taxi companies out of business because the taxis refused to change.

This crisis is something new, sudden, shocking – absolutely. But this is not unprecedented in the business world and so it is for us to say not “how do we do what we’re doing?” but rather “how will we do what we’re doing in a different world?” It is the companies that have been investing and have had an infinite mindset for a long time that will come out of this stronger because they’re prepared. Some of them were saving money as opposed to giving out huge bonuses and spending all the money; and the will of their people is high to figure out a way through it.

The ones that are struggling the most are the ones that spend all their money, save nothing, to appease Wall Street; and the will of their people is low. Their people are in survival mode rather than reinvention mode.

Regardless of how much money they have, it’s the companies that with an infinite mindset that are and reinvention mode; it’s the companies with the finite mindset that are in survival mode. It’s the mindset “How are we gonna get through this?” versus “How are we gonna change to get through this?”

I feel so optimistic (for this team) because we’re thinking about the future. We’re in a dark tunnel now but there’s a light over there. I don’t know how far away that light is but I can see it.

When we come out we will have a better train, a different train. We will be a completely different business, some of us will have different jobs.

And that’s our opportunity the opportunity is what we will be – not “how do we do preserve what we had”. That’s an infinite mindset.

I am watching people reinvent themselves; I’m watching people think about their jobs differently; I’m watching people think how can I contribute in a new way; I’m watching people say, “What could we be, how will we bring our message to people in a different way in new ways that will last forever – not just for now?”

We’re not allowing Uber to put us out of business. We’ll reinvent ourselves.

If you think you’re going to do the same job and you’re waiting for this to pass, then I got some bad news. That that ship has sailed.

This is a huge wake-up call for us. We had the luxury of being lazy – not in a bad way, there was no reason to reinvent when drinking from a firehose. But now the opportunity is magical. I’m thinking, “How do I put myself out there without a stage. This is entirely new for me as well. But I’m not worried about what I do. I’m worried about why I do it and I will find a job that helps me do that, make a job that helps me do that, and expect the same of everyone.

And the best thing is you don’t have to do it alone. We’ve got each other’s backs, we’ll help each other. Some of it will be easy; some of it will be unbelievably difficult.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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The Role Of HR In Assisting Line Managers To Demonstrate Care In A Crisis

Below is a report on the Legitimate Leadership webinar held on this subject on 7 May 2020 (with some questions and answers at the end). The Legitimate Leadership presenters were Wendy Lambourne and Leanne Maree. 

Legitimate Leadership says that only if you are seen to care will you be trusted by those who report to you. People will only consent to being led if their leader cares for them (primarily) and grows them.

So how does human resources (HR) help leaders in their organisations to care for their people?

The conventional view is that care is about looking after people’s physical and material needs. This is true. Particularly in the Covid-19 crisis, line managers need ensure people’s safety and health – for instance PPE (personal protective equipment), screening and social distancing.

They also need to do the best they can, within their means, to ensure that people’s pay needs are catered for. The capacity of companies to do this differs. For instance in the first world, government support is generally much greater than in the developing world.

Some companies can pay 100%; some companies can pay nothing. But trust in leadership will not necessarily differ between those extremes! Appropriate care does not mean paying 100% if that means the business will be out of business.

Legitimate Leadership has identified six key roles that HR can play, to enable line managers to care.

But care is not just about physical matters and pay. The giving should be not just of things but of self.

The How of care is also important. In other words, the care must make employees stronger in the crisis and not do the opposite.

The three care Gives are: Time and attention; Honesty; and Tough Love.

Time and attention.

There is an inextricable link between what you care about and time and attention paid to it. If a leader doesn’t give time to his people then they will inevitably conclude that they are not his focus. So there is a need to especially increase time and attention in a crisis. Most of all, the leader should be spending time listening to his people to establish where each individual is (because people’s level of response differs) on the following three: mindset; positivity; and degree to which they feel in control.

Leaders must ascertain and acknowledge – and not judge or tell people to be different. No one calms down as a result of being told to calm down. But leaders can help people to progress from left to right on each of the three.

Honesty

Communication is obviously very important in a crisis. More important than the medium (video, management briefing, face-to-face, etc), or even the content (what you say), is who is doing the communicating. Managers individually and collectively will only be trusted if they are communicating with their people in their best interests. Management cannot communicate things in their interest but withhold some information that they think may not be in management’s own interests. Honesty means being prepared to disclose information that you are not actually required to disclose. And leaders must not protect their people by withholding information because then they are not treating them as adults.

When a leader is trusting of his people and discloses to them information which he does not have to disclose, they will demonstrate their trustworthiness in return.

Tough love

The degree to which people are impacted by the crisis will differ. Some people will suffer a little, others will suffer hugely. The issue is: are their leaders aware of this and do they show concern? Leaders should be compassionate, kind and magnanimous (not so much in money but in generosity of spirit – that is, cut them some slack and show understanding of what they are going through). In responding it is very important for a leader to first ask, “What is the caring but at the same time enabling thing to do here?” That is, don’t make them small, but big. Don’t decide for them, don’t encourage dependency, don’t patronise them. Help them stand on their own two feet. Enable them to understand, if not overcome, the difficult circumstances. People will then be robust, trustworthy and will take responsibility despite their circumstances.

SO WHAT IS HR’S ROLE?

The personal wellbeing of employees is often largely shaped and impacted by the organisations where they work and by their line manager.

Legitimate Leadership has identified six key roles, below, that HR can play, to enable line managers to care. HR should be aware that line managers will be looking at HR to do many of these things for them. But fundamentally, HR cannot do the care thing for them. If they do, they will disenable them. However, there are many things that HR can do to enable line managers to care.

Being the people’s conscience regarding care

HR is the ombudsman of making sure that employees are treated fairly and that organisational decisions take into account their personal and mental wellbeing and growth opportunities. It is HR’s responsibility to ensure that any interventions by the organisation are balanced with the collective interests of employees, and that employees are represented in the discussions. This is tricky because HR constantly has to navigate between the employees’ and the organisation’s requirements. For instance, the organisation may not be able to keep paying people because this may not be sustainable longer term. So, for example, HR, the people’s conscience, must ask whether a reduction in hours can be negotiated.

HR must ensure that line managers are able to react to the short-term crisis but still ensure that there is a sustainable future for all.

HR must also ensure that the leadership’s actions are a reflection of the organisation’s values, and continue to hold leadership accountable for this. And, at least in Legitimate Leadership-aligned businesses, a core value is care.

HR should ask, “What do we want to be known for and remembered for by all our stakeholders?”

Being the expert on people care policies

New legislation, some of it temporary, is being enacted continually – changes in unemployment insurance funds, working hours, work-from-home rules, social distancing rules, wearing masks, etc. This has a significant impact on compliance in organisations. It is HR’s role to research and synthesise all this.

Line managers by contrast are focused on production and getting services and operations done. They do not have the opportunity or time to research legislation, for instance. HR can have a huge impact here by responding to changes quickly, and aligning care policies to ensure compliance.

Most importantly, HR needs to be much better at communicating the changes in these policies and the reasons for them, to line managers – so that they understand them. Because only when line managers understand them will they be able to communicate and execute the changes. Otherwise HR will see resistance and ‘the complaining process’ – it is easier to moan than to do.

HR should not arrogantly think that it gets it right in being a service provider to line managers – it must always go back to engage and listen to them about responding to the difficulties in practice in executing change policies.

Providing guidance on the How and the Why of care

Legitimacy of leadership only happens when there is trust. Trust and willingness of employees are engaged when they perceive that the leader cares about them. That is when they are prepared to make sacrifices and go the extra mile for the leader.

Care has no strings attached and is strong and kind.

As in our personal lives, in the heat of the fight/crisis, it’s not what the leader says to you but how it makes you feel, that creates the lingering memory. When the sky is falling around you, if your leader makes you feel that he/she cares for you, that is what you will remember in that relationship.

Communication is HR’s kryptonite. HR often makes mistakes, gives too much information, gives misleading information, or overwhelms line managers with volume – “I have 800 unread emails.”

If the messages are confusing, you’re losing. Be sure to choose your words carefully when you coach leaders on the How. Coach them on how to listen, to understand, to communicate. And that they need to continually hold employees accountable for delivery to standard – because a fundamental aspect of care is holding people accountable.

Being the trusted adviser to line managers on specific people care issues

HR often has huge swathes of responsibility in an organisation – but little authority. And HR often has functional expertise that their clients (line managers) do not – but often line managers don’t want to hear it from HR and possibly don’t even respect them.

So, if it is not in place, a key role for HR is to start gaining the respect and even the liking of their clients – a relationship of trust – in order to be effective in the role. HR must seek to become the trusted business adviser and the trusted partner of line management.

People trust you when they know that you have their back, that you are there in the trenches supporting their initiatives and not sitting on the sidelines and complaining about people in sales, production, marketing, etc.

So, have their backs and be supportive.

Hand-in-hand with care is HR’s role in ensuring that there is fairness and consistency in the treatment of employees. They should ensure that line managers understand the difference between fairness and consistency, and that they execute fairness and consistency in all their dealings and treatments with staff.

Fairness means treating employees appropriately and individually – as each one comes to work with different circumstances, anxieties and energy levels. Fairness also means taking due consideration of circumstances, performances and contributions.

Consistency is about taking appropriate action when a standard is breached. It does not necessarily have to be the same action. It must be appropriate to what was preached and what the employee’s intention was – careless, malicious, etc.

The leader must always act with the same intent.

HR must ensure that the maintenance of standards is still a critical deliverable. HR must assist in holding people accountable where they have been malicious – for instance in the spreading of false emails or fake news or breaching of safety standards or the cutting of corners deliberately. HR must help line managers to speed up the disciplining process in these instances – and to give recognition and gratitude when appropriate. For instance, enable line managers to recognise employees who are displaying careful behaviours – adhering to safety, quality and other standards.

And HR must assist line managers to reward employees commensurately with their added value – their added deliverables during the crisis (which can be reviewed after the crisis has passed).

Making sure that line managers are cared for as well

A crisis is a good time to get close to line managers, to walk the path with them. Good relationships with their support services will enable line managers to keep calm and carry on – and enable teams to feel safe and secure.

HR needs to ensure that line managers are taking care of themselves mentally and physically so that they can be fully present, calm and in control. A crisis is fuelled when composure is missing.

HR must engage with line managers to assess where they are at, and listen to and understand their concerns, fears and frustrations – but they should also constantly remind line managers that not only must they hold their people accountable, but they will in turn be held accountable.

So HR needs to get out in into the trenches with their line managers and build these relationships of trust.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: Is there any difference between care in a crisis and care in normal times?

A: There isn’t a real difference between what leaders should do. In a crisis they must do what they have always done but they must do more of it. David Ulrich says leadership actions are magnified in a crisis and they leave lingering memories. In a crisis, you have to be even better at care.

Q: Should HR or line managers try and encourage a feeling of certainty or positivity among employees?

A: No, you can deliver time and attention, honesty and tough love; you cannot deliver certainty. And it is okay to say, “I don’t know.” Information and legislation surrounding this pandemic is changing daily, so leaders should not put stress on themselves to provide information in advance. They will exhaust themselves trying to plan for every scenario. The only certainty we can give people is that we will tell them the truth.

HR may find itself torn between trying to be positive to buoy people, and the sombre reality. They won’t want to overly upset people who are really having a bad time, so what note should they strike?

HR’s responsibility is to be honest and reflective of the situation – it will lose credibility if it is too polyanna-ish. And it is okay for anyone to have a bad day, to be sombre.

It may be important for HR to share why it is feeling what it is feeling and own how its mood may be affecting how it is communicating.

Likewise for line managers. Often they try to buoy people, or try to provide certainty when there is none so that people will feel better. But then they are essentially lying to employees –pretending to know the future when that is impossible.

Q: Surely holding people to account during a crisis increases the stress on them?

A: Care is only care if you still hold people accountable. In this crisis, line managers may say, “But my people are so frightened, they are coming to work because what we do is an essential service. How can I now add to their anxiety by holding them accountable, insisting on adherence to standards? And how can I even insist that they come to work?”

In fact, that is exactly what care means.

And you cannot hold people accountable if your expectations of them have not been fully clarified upfront. The starting point is to make it absolutely clear that you are an essential service, you have to operate, and the expectation of employees is that they do come to work, that they do the best job that they can, and that in no way do standards (particularly standards pertaining to safety and quality) decline during this time.

And employees should be told that they will be held accountable for this.

Line managers may well receive this advice from HR with relief. HR cannot do this for them but if they are trusted advisers, line managers will be seeking their counsel and advice. HR’s job is to give them the right advice that will enable them to do the care thing during the crisis.

Q: How can I know as an HR professional that I am doing a good job in enabling line managers?

A: Your workload during this time may be huge! HR has generally risen to this challenge! After the crisis, the diagnostics will reveal that. But if you want to know how well you are doing now, ask the recipients of your interventions whether they are happy with what you are delivering, whether you can do something else for them, what they expect from you. Keep communicating and exchanging ideas. And you may liaise with your professional bodies or equivalent colleagues in other companies or departments to check your interactions. But if your intent is nothing but the sound and good interests of the employees, you’re on the right track.

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May 2020 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month:We have set the rules for social distancing, communicated them and the Why behind them. People have been given the means to comply but some still don’t do so. We have been “nice” about it, reminding people over and over, but in some instances, to no avail. Should we now sanction the transgressors – maybe even fire those who won’t adhere to the social distancing protocols?

Answer: Social distancing is no different from any other behavioural standard and will not be adhered to unless all seven requirements below are met:

  1. Role model – everyone in a leadership role needs to provide the example for others to follow.
  2. Define – the standard needs to be simple, clear and exact.
  3. Communicate – the standard needs to be communicated especially the Why (keep everyone safe), and preferably face-to-face.
  4. Understand – the “means” and “ability” needed to comply.
  5. Provide the means – the sanitisers, the demarcations of 2m, the facemasks and so on.
  6. Ability – there is no skill involved but the Why has to be in the people’s best interests.
  7. Hold people accountable against the standard for their intent:
  • Discipline for deliberate malevolence (for reasons of justice), bearing in mind that at some point repeated carelessness should be treated as malevolence.
  • Censure for carelessness (to stop careless and encourage careful).
  • Praise for careful (thank those who comply – it is only good manners).
  • Reward for extra mile (holding others to account as well as demonstrating excellence – it is only fair).

It would appear in this case that the first six requirements have been satisfied and now it is time for accountability, BUT:

  • Make sure there is both positive and negative accountability.
  • Consult with respect to the appropriate sanction – although ultimately only you can decide. Ensure the sanction is neither too harsh nor too lenient.
  • Communicate in advance what the consequence will be so that there are no surprises.
  • Stay firm in the face of kickback, if it arises. Show that you are serious about the standard.
  • Remember that your intention is to save lives.
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May 2020

Featured

Question of the Month
We have set the rules for social distancing, communicated them and the Why behind them. People have been given the means to comply but some still don’t do so …
The Role Of HR In Assisting Line Managers To Demonstrate Care In A Crisis
Legitimate Leadership says that only if you are seen to care will you be trusted by those who report to you. People will only consent to being led …
Nothing Like A Crisis To Bring The Chickens Home To Roost
A crisis confronts leaders with their past deeds. How their people respond is determined by whether, as leaders, they are seen to have previously been in the relationship to “give” or to “take” …
These Are Not Unprecedented Times – The Importance Of Infinite Mindset During The Covid-19 Crisis
I have recently been pushed to explain how the infinite mindset helps in times like these. A finite game has known players, fixed rules …

For more information regarding the above, please
E-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

Question of the Month 

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question:We have set the rules for social distancing, communicated them and the Why behind them. People have been given the means to comply but some still don’t do so. We have been “nice” about it, reminding people over and over, but in some instances, to no avail. Should we now sanction the transgressors – maybe even fire those who won’t adhere to the social distancing protocols?
Answer: Social distancing is no different from any other behavioural standard and will not be adhered to unless all seven requirements below are met:
1. Role model – everyone in a leadership role needs to provide the example for others to follow.
2. Define – the standard needs to be simple, clear and exact … Read the full answer by clicking here 
To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

EVENT: THE ROLE OF HR IN ASSISTING LINE MANAGERS TO DEMONSTRATE CARE IN A CRISIS
Below is a report on the Legitimate Leadership webinar held on this subject on 7 May 2020 (with some questions and answers at the end). The Legitimate Leadership presenters were Wendy Lambourne and Leanne Maree. 
Legitimate Leadership says that only if you are seen to care will you be trusted by those who report to you. People will only consent to being led if their leader cares for them (primarily) and grows them.
So how does human resources (HR) help leaders in their organisations to care for their people?
The conventional view is that care is about looking after people’s physical and material needs. This is true. Particularly in the Covid-19 crisis, line managers need ensure people’s safety and health – for instance PPE (personal protective equipment), screening and social distancing.
They also need to do the best they can, within their means, to ensure that people’s pay needs are catered for. The capacity of companies to do this differs. For instance in the first world, government support is generally much greater than in the developing world.
Some companies can pay 100%; some companies can pay nothing. But trust in leadership will not necessarily differ between those extremes! Appropriate care does not mean paying 100% if that means the business will be out of business.
Legitimate Leadership has identified six key roles that HR can play, to enable line managers to care.
But care is not just about physical matters and pay. The giving should be not just of things but of self.
The How of care is also important. In other words, the care must make employees stronger in the crisis and not do the opposite.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: NOTHING LIKE A CRISIS TO BRING THE CHICKENS HOME TO ROOST
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership
In the midst of a strike, a shop steward told me, “Now the chickens will come home to roost!” He was saying the current fraught relationship had been made in the past and management’s poor historical relationship was about to come back and bite them.
WHAT IS NOW WAS MADE IN THE PAST
A crisis confronts leaders with their past deeds. How their people respond is determined by whether, as leaders, they are seen to have previously been in the relationship to “give” or to “take”. Leaders who have put their people first will have people who will respond tenfold and give whatever it takes to weather the storm. Conversely, leaders who have put the results first, should not be surprised if their people don’t come to the fore, give little if at all, and may even rebel or jump ship during the crisis.
In short, leaders determine whether their people will rally or scatter in a crisis by the way they have led them in the past.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

VIDEO: THESE ARE NOT UNPRECEDENTED TIMES –THE IMPORTANCE OF INFINITE MINDSET DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS
By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker, speaking during a recent “company huddle” of his staff. 
COMMENT ON THIS VIDEO BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP: A crisis confronts leaders with their past deeds. Those who have put money aside, rather than taking it out in short-term incentives, will obviously be in a stronger position. Leaders who have been here to “give” to the people in the past are more likely to have employees who pick up the oars and help to row the boat through choppy waters. Those who have historically been “takers” should not be surprised if their people give little, if at all, and may even rebel or jump ship. A crisis as an opportunity to reset the relationship with employees – to take the relationship to new heights. It is also an opportunity to reinvent the business – not the Why of the business but the What and the How. This will be easier in some industries than others. But the losers, irrespective of their industries, will be those who don’t at least try to adapt to the change, who lack the will to seek and find another way.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: I have recently been pushed to explain how the infinite mindset helps in times like these. A finite game has known players, fixed rules and agreed-upon objectives. By contrast, rules are changeable in the infinite game, with unknown players who are in it to keep playing. Problems arise when finite players are up against infinite players. Often the former end up mired in lost trust and declining innovation.
These are not unprecedented times. There are many famous cases where change or unexpected events has put companies out of business – and made other companies come out stronger and reinvent themselves.
The invention of the internet put many companies out of business – the ones who could not reinvent their companies for the internet age but rather doubled down on the old way they did business. Every video store is out of business because of streaming; they couldn’t reinvent themselves. When Starbucks moved into neighborhoods many coffee shops went out of business because they refused to change the way they did business. Uber is putting taxi companies out of business because the taxis refused to change.
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
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Mentoring – Helping Future Leaders To Find Their Compass

By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Leading people is not the same as writing code, operating a machine or compiling a document. Writing code is a skill. It can be taught and learned in a classroom or on the job. The issue is ability. The same could be said for operating a machine or compiling a document.

Leadership is different. The primary issue for excellence in leadership is intent, not ability. Is the leader willing to suspend his or her agenda in the interests of others? Today’s most enabling leaders have earned legitimacy not because they are good at any particular leadership skills, but because they have repeatedly passed the “intent test”. Of course, they may possess well-developed leadership skills as well, but it is their maturity, their capacity to act above self-interest, their willingness to align to a deliberately-chosen set of fundamental values, that people find compelling.

Unfortunately, values cannot be taught. Teaching applies to skills and abilities. Values are not skills or abilities. Values talk to judgement, to integrity, to intent, to maturity. The person who helps you to develop these, as an adult, we refer to as a mentor.

In South Africa in particular, but also more generally in countries where we operate, people entering the workplace have very different starting points when it comes to values.

As children we learn values and associated behaviours from our parents, our extended families, our communities and our schools. In South Africa, despite their best intentions, many parents are simply too impacted by their working circumstances (long commutes, work away from home, two working parents, single working parent) to have the time to deliberately develop their children’s value systems. Extended families are often absent too. Communities frequently offer the poorest of role models. There are some fantastic schools and teachers that are increasingly focusing on values and service as guiding principles. But unfortunately these types of schools and teachers are not in the majority.

Example: a few years ago I had a conversation with a graduate working as an apprentice – learning what he could in the field of law. Thinking him one of the lucky ones who managed to find employment as a graduate, I asked how he was finding his job. “The job is good,” he replied (paraphrasing), “my concern, though, is that I don’t earn very much and my friends call me a sell-out because they say I am working for too little and I allow myself to be taken advantage of. Of course, they say this while I am paying for their drinks, so I try not to take them too seriously. But it is a problem. Do you think I am doing the right thing? Should I demand more money? Am I being taken advantage of? Should I quit if I don’t get the increase I demand?”

I am certain that this person’s experience is not unique. I have spoken to other young individuals who, at the first sign of difficulty, have asked me for my opinion on whether they should resign. These cases almost never relate to technical difficulty; almost always they are about relationships: “My boss doesn’t treat me well”; “I don’t like my colleagues”; “I can’t trust management”.

The strange thing about these situations is not the questions. The questions are normal. The strange thing is that the people asking me these questions have typically known me for less than a day.

Being in the fortunate position of having a mentor to turn to, I would probably have asked my father. My father would probably have said something like: “Well, what have you done to impact the relationship negatively? What have you tried to do to change her mind? It takes two to tango.”

This advice would likely have been very helpful, and also very different from the advice I would have received had I asked my similarly disaffected colleague-friends. The conversation I would have had with my mentor father would have challenged me to take ownership, to not run away, to do the right thing, and not the expedient thing. In short, I would have come away from the conversation a little more grown-up, a little stronger, a little less of a victim.

While I imagine that many leaders currently reading this article can recall similar stories relating to their early mentors, there are far too many young people today who have never had a mentor-type figure in their lives.

As the current leaders of future generations of managers and leaders we can certainly help. One way to do that is to make mentoring as much a part of the development landscape in our organisations as is skills training. A structured, maturity-focused, mentoring programme provides the mechanism.

Guidelines for implementing a mentoring programme in your organisation

As said before, at Legitimate Leadership we believe that teaching and training are good ways to build skills, that coaching is about developing competency, and that mentoring is about intent, values and, ultimately, maturity. These distinctions are important.

In our experience formalised mentoring programs are either totally absent, or frequently play second-fiddle to skills development programmes. Skills development is important, but so is mentoring. Mentoring is about helping individuals to develop judgement, to build networks that will challenge and expand their thinking, to make a contribution for reasons other than self-interest, to build better organisations and societies.

Implementing a mentoring programme that achieves the outcomes above isn’t easy (few worthwhile things are), but it is certainly an attainable goal in any organisation. Here are some guidelines:

  1. The programme must be genuinely opt-in – for both the mentors and mentees.
  2. Mentees must choose their mentors.
  3. Both individuals must be open to growing through the process, and both individuals must be willing to check their rank at the door.
  4. Mentors don’t have to have all the answers, but they should be willing to ask the difficult questions.
  5. Mentoring only works if individuals are willing to make time for one another, give one another attention, and stick to some basic ground rules.
  6. In mentoring, confidentiality is everything.
  7. An unethical and/or self-centred mentor will likely produce an unethical and/or self-centred mentee.
  8. Use a catalyst (initial workshop, coffee sessions, etc) to get things going on the right track.
  9. Ensure that mentors understand the difference between mentoring, skills development, and coaching.
  10. Setting goals and understanding expectations is critical.
  11. Set up opportunities for formal reflection.
  12. Agree an end-point. It’s hard to know how to pace yourself when there is no end in sight.
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Nothing Like A Crisis To Bring The Chickens Home To Roost

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

In the midst of a strike, a shop steward told me, “Now the chickens will come home to roost!” He was saying the current fraught relationship had been made in the past and management’s poor historical relationship was about to come back and bite them.

WHAT IS NOW WAS MADE IN THE PAST

A crisis confronts leaders with their past deeds. How their people respond is determined by whether, as leaders, they are seen to have previously been in the relationship to “give” or to “take”. Leaders who have put their people first, will have people who will respond tenfold and give whatever it takes to weather the storm. Conversely, leaders who have put the results first, should not be surprised if their people don’t come to the fore, give little if at all, and may even rebel or jump ship during the crisis.

In short, leaders determine whether their people will rally or scatter in a crisis by the way they have led them in the past.

BUT SURELY THE PAST IS THE PAST?

Past actions cannot be undone. Only the present and the future can be changed. But how leaders engage with their people in the current crisis is all-important because as David Ulrich says, “The stress of a crisis magnifies actions and creates lingering memories”.  What leaders say and do during a crisis may be forgiven but will never be forgotten. There will be consequences to them of their actions for a long time to come.

A crisis however offers leaders a golden opportunity, if they take it, to reset the relationship with their people and take it to greater heights. This is because there are crucial moments in any crisis. What leaders do then can lead to an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship or create the conditions which will capture the hearts and minds of their people like never before.

SO HOW SHOULD LEADERS ENGAGE WITH THEIR PEOPLE IN THE CRISIS?

In every interaction that leaders have with their people they should elect to do the right, rather than the expedient, thing. They should be compassionate or courageous, whichever is appropriate at the time.

To do so they should understand the following “laws” of human interaction between people in any situation:

  • There are only two options for any party; to act on the basis of what they want to “get” or what they choose to “give”. To act in pursuit of their own or others’ best interests.
  • When a party acts on what they want to “get” in an interaction, they are weak, not strong. They put themselves in a situation where others can withhold from them what they want. The more they want to “get” the more manipulable they become.
  • Any party is only in control of their side of the transaction and should therefore take care of that and not concern themselves with what they have no control over.
  • How any party acts in an interaction is a function of their maturity. Immature people will be concerned with meeting their own needs, getting what they believe they are entitled to and having their demands met. Mature people will focus on what they should be contributing, on doing their duty, on being values rather than needs driven.

Based on this, leaders in a crisis need to cease to want anything from their people – be it trust, willingness, loyalty or performance. They then need to do what is appropriate without trying to engineer an outcome.

It is appropriate for leaders to demonstrate gratitude to, and applaud, the “givers” in their charge – and to be intolerant of the

“takers”. They should reward those who go above and beyond in the crisis. And they should not acquiesce to the demands, or allow themselves to be manipulated by, those who are not willing to do their duty. They should insist that the “takers” do their bit to the best of their ability and hold them accountable for doing so.

Leaders will always be criticised in a crisis. But the more they rise above self-interest to do the right thing, the more their people will experience them as sincere. The more they are seen to be values rather than needs driven, the more they will be trusted.

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April 2020

Featured

Question of the Month
Leading people is not the same as writing code, operating a machine or compiling a document. Writing code is a skill. It can be taught …
There Are Only Two Must-Haves For Leading In A Crisis
There will always be a debate about which traits are most important for leading in a crisis – but two absolute essentials are compassion and courage, in that order …
Caring For Your People In A Crisis – What It Means
Leaders who make people not things paramount during a crisis will be seen to care. Those who do the opposite will rightfully be perceived as uncaring if not heartless …
Have The Courage To Lead (The Fifth Of Simon Sinek’s 5 Practices Of Leadership)
It is extremely hard to make decisions with a Just Cause (Sinek’s first of 5 practices of leadership) in mind when so many of the pressures …

E-mail events@legitimateleadership.com for more information

Question of the Month 

By Ian Munro, associate, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: Many young leaders are struggling to find their compass – can structured mentoring programmes help?
Answer: Leading people is not the same as writing code, operating a machine or compiling a document. Writing code is a skill. It can be taught and learned in a classroom or on the job. The issue is ability. The same could be said for operating a machine or compiling a document.
Leadership is different. The primary issue for excellence in leadership is intent, not ability. Is the leader willing to suspend his or her agenda in the interests of others? Today’s most enabling leaders have earned legitimacy not because they are good at any particular leadership skills, but because they have repeatedly passed the “intent test”. Of course, they may possess well-developed leadership skills as well, but it is their maturity, their capacity to act above self-interest, their willingness to align to a deliberately-chosen set of fundamental values, that people find compelling.
Unfortunately, values cannot be taught. Teaching applies to skills and abilities. Values are not skills or abilities. Values talk to judgement, to integrity, to intent, to maturity. The person who helps you to develop these, as an adult, we refer to as a mentor.
In South Africa in particular, but also more generally in countries where we operate, people entering the workplace have very different starting points when it comes to values …Read the full answer by clicking here 
 
To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

ARTICLE: THERE ARE ONLY TWO MUST-HAVES FOR LEADING IN A CRISIS
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
There will always be a debate about which traits are most important for leading in a crisis – but two absolute essentials are compassion and courage, in that order.
For some leaders either or both of these qualities are fundamental aspects of their nature; they are part of their DNA. But ultimately, both compassion and courage are not a matter of genetics so much as they are a choice or a matter of the will. They can therefore be fostered or cultivated in leaders who do not naturally have these qualities.
Leaders in a crisis who lack compassion and courage can blame nobody but themselves. Both of these qualities are within their reach; they sit in their hearts. In a crisis, leaders choose to bring these qualities to the fore or lack the will to do so.
With every compassionate or courageous act, leaders develop their capacity to be more compassionate and courageous. They increasingly become the leaders their people need to be led by in a crisis.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: CARING FOR YOUR PEOPLE IN A CRISIS – WHAT IT MEANS
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership
Leaders who make people not things paramount during a crisis will be seen to care. Those who do the opposite will rightfully be perceived as uncaring if not heartless.
Of course caring for one’s people means doing the best you can, within available resources, to look after their physical and material needs. Leaders who truly care also give their people time and attention, honesty and “tough love” during adverse times.
Their intention in all instances is to nurture or build strong people because strong people not only withstand, but may even overcome, their circumstances. Weak people, conversely, can wane even in the most benign set of conditions.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

VIDEO: HAVE THE COURAGE TO LEAD (THE FIFTH OF SIMON SINEK’S 5 PRACTICES OF LEADERSHIP)
By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO:  Legitimate Leadership is, first and foremost, an ethical leadership framework. It requires leaders to not only stay legal but to live up to the highest moral code. That means to consistently choose to do the right rather than the expedient thing; to be values- rather than needs-driven. Which takes courage. As Simon Sinek says, this needs to hold true not only in the relationship between leaders and their people, but also in dealings between leaders and their customers, suppliers, shareholders and the community. At the end of the day this is a choice on how to live one’s life.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: It is extremely hard to make decisions with a Just Cause (Sinek’s first of 5 practices of leadership) in mind when so many of the pressures on us are pushing us to make finite short-term decisions (if you work for a public company).
The pressure is overwhelming from the outside to focus on the finite at the expense of the infinite (see note at end of this summary for definitions of finite and infinite). Sometimes we put pressure on ourselves to focus on the finite. We become so obsessed with the arbitrary goals we set for the end of the year that sometimes we abandon our own values in order to make the sale, gain the client, move the numbers. If we do that too many times over the years, it’s to the detriment of our own organisations and our own people.
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
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Have The Courage To Lead (The Fifth Of Simon Sinek’s 5 Practices Of Leadership)

By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker.

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS  VIDEO: Legitimate Leadership is, first and foremost, an ethical leadership framework. It requires leaders to not only stay legal but to live up to the highest moral code. That means to consistently choose to do the right rather than the expedient thing; to be values- rather than needs-driven. Which takes courage. As Simon Sinek says, this needs to hold true not only in the relationship between leaders and their people, but also in dealings between leaders and their customers, suppliers, shareholders and the community. At the end of the day this is a choice on how to live one’s life.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: It is extremely hard to make decisions with a Just Cause (Sinek’s first of 5 practices of leadership) in mind when so many of the pressures on us are pushing us to make finite short-term decisions (if you work for a public company).

The pressure is overwhelming from the outside to focus on the finite at the expense of the infinite (see note at end of this summary for definitions of finite and infinite). Sometimes we put pressure on ourselves to focus on the finite. We become so obsessed with the arbitrary goals we set for the end of the year that sometimes we abandon our own values in order to make the sale, gain the client, move the numbers. If we do that too many times over the years, it’s to the detriment of our own organisations and our own people.

It is unbelievably hard to keep a Just Cause in mind as the guiding principle – especially if you have to make decisions that hurt in the short term. It is unbelievably hard to commit yourself to this practice of good leadership in which you obsess about the trusting teams like a family. It’s never perfect, it’s about human relationships.

And yet for us to acknowledge that our responsibility as leaders is not to drive the results but to create an environment in which our people can work at their natural best is unbelievably difficult. It is so much easier just to hire and fire people willy-nilly and drive the numbers and create all kinds of incentive structures based solely on people’s performance (except for the fact that it drains the energy of people. it drains their trust, inhibits cooperation and innovation and eventually runs out of steam).

It’s much easier to direct all of the discomfort and anxiety we have about competition and our weaknesses at others. The problem is if we become so obsessed at winning, sometimes we do things that are quite unethical.

It’s like running in a race where I’m obsessed with beating the other runner. I may resort to tripping him. I may win the race, but I’m still a slow runner and in this game there is no end to the race, it keeps going and going and going. And to change our mindset away from having competitors to having worthy rivals and being honest with ourselves about our weaknesses is unbelievably hard.

The capacity for existential flexibility – most people in this room will never have to do it even once. However are you building your organization so that the organization and future leaders are prepared to be able to do it?

Do the people know the Just Cause? Is it a culture of trusting teams so that future leaders can make the flex if they need to – even if you’ve never had to? That’s the responsibility of leadership (to prepare the organization for the next leaders).

If you are perfectly satisfied with the fact that when you quit your company it will go belly up I have no no beef with that – you’re playing a finite game and it’s just for fun and you’re going to see how much you can accumulate in your time there and then you’re done.

But some people have an ambition that the company should outlast them and even grow greater than when they ran it – like the same ambition we have for our children.

It is hard to maintain an infinite mindset, it takes unbelievable work and unbelievable courage.

The US chemists company CBS had a vision statement/Just Cause to protect the health of their employees and their customers. They kept finding themselves in very uncomfortable meetings with hospitals and doctors where everything went well but at the end of the meeting somebody would say, ‘Don’t you sell cigarettes?’

Eventually they decided that they were going to remove all the cigarettes from all of their shops, a move that would cost them billions of dollars of revenue.

Wall Street lashed out against the announcement, analysts said those cigarette sales would go to other places. CBS stuck to its guns. Yet when all the cigarettes were removed from their stores, sales either stayed the same or went up. Turns out that cigarette sales didn’t go somewhere else – more people stopped smoking. Or people were so enamored by the fact that they made such a courageous decision based on cause and not money that they spent more money at CBS or travelled out of their way to do business with CBS. And employees spoke with remarkable pride about how much they loved working at this company that was so courageous that it was willing to do the right thing over the expedient thing.

The CEOs of their competitors – Rite Aid and Boots – were asked whether they were going to remove cigarettes from their stores. Those organizations also had vision statements – you guessed it – to protect the health of customers.

Rite Aid said, “We’re continuing to examine the situation and we continue to sell smoking secession products”. A nicotine patch next to a pack of cigarettes is like selling a doughnut next to a diet book. One is an impulse decision the other one requires a little work and even somebody who wants to go on a diet will still buy a doughnut if you offer them the opportunity.

Boots was even funnier. They said, “We are selling cigarettes in compliance with all local state and federal laws.” That’s not courage – the law has a much lower standard than ethics.

This is one of the problems we have today. The standard of business is too low, it is predominantly driven by a theory proposed by economist Milton Friedman. He said the responsibility of business is to maximize profit within the bounds of the law. That is a very low standard.

When the Titanic was built it was considerably larger than all the other ships that existed. It was four times larger than the largest ships then, which were ferries. The regulations that governed lifeboats in the day were for ferries. And expressly to save money, the Titanic’s builders put empty berths for lifeboats on the decks of the Titanic – they only put enough lifeboats as required by ferry regulations, namely for one quarter of the number of passengers. The regulation didn’t require more. They knew that the regulations would eventually catch up so they also put the empty berths.

The Titanic struck an iceberg and sank and – you guessed it – 75% of people died and 25% survived.

The Titanic broke no laws. In other words the law is a very low standard. And unfortunately thanks to Milton Friedman and supporters of the concept of shareholder supremacy, we prioritize the wants needs and desires of shareholders over the wants, needs and desires of customers or even employees

This is like an owner of a football team trying to build a great team by asking the fans what to do rather than asking the players what they need. It doesn’t work so well. But because of the 1980s and 1990s boom years the concept of shareholder supremacy became normalized. The idea of using redundancies on an annualized basis in order to balance the books – think about that. We use someone’s livelihood so that we can meet our arbitrary projections at the end of an arbitrary time period. Companies use redundancies and layoffs even when they’re profitable – they just weren’t as profitable as they predicted.

Think about the ethics of that. Forget about the people who lose their jobs; think about the unbelievable stress it causes to the people who keep their jobs. What they basically have been told is this is not a meritocracy and no one here is safe. Do you think they will give you their all the next year? No they’re hiding from you and they’re lying to you and they’re faking every single day because that’s our business model.

The idea to promote the top 10% performers and fire the bottom 10% performers became normalized in the 1980s and 1990s.

The evisceration of regulations which protected us from speculative investing in the 1980s and 1990s in the name of profit meant that we’ve had three stock market crashes in the past 30 years – yet from the Great Depression up until the 1980s we had zero

In other words we have an outdated business model.

In GE, Jack Welch was hailed as a hero of business for everything that he proposed. He was a Milton Friedman acolyte, he became the poster child of what leadership looks like in the 1980s and 1990s.

GE needed a three hundred billion dollar bailout in 2008 and who knows if it’s even going to survive for the next five years. It was not a company built to last, it was a company built with finite mindset for finite success.

We need to completely reimagine business. We need to reject the finite mindedness of the 1980s and 1990s and we need to embrace the infinite mindedness for the next millennium.

And the irony is, it’s good for businesses. The organizations that are led with an infinite mindset tend to outperform their competitors over the long term. They tend to have much higher levels of innovation and much stronger teams where the people don’t quit at the slightest shudder. They rather hunker down and say, “How can I help?”

And for those of us who have to work there, those are the jobs we love.

All of this raises an interesting question: what does it mean to live an infinite life? Clearly our lives are finite but life is infinite: we’re born, we die, but life continues with us or without us. Which means though we don’t get to choose the rules of the game we do get to choose how we want to play in this infinite game. We can choose to live our lives with a finite mindset or an infinite mindset. To live our lives with a finite mindset means we wake up every single morning trying to make more money than anyone that we know, to maximize the amount of power that we have, to gain power, and to control the world. And when we die, we leave it all behind. It’s only fun while we’re living, you can’t take it with you.

Look at a lot of these finite-minded entrepreneurs who’ve done really well in life and go look in their medicine cabinets, look at the qualities of their marriages and their relationships with their children it paints a different story.

To live our lives with an infinite mindset means we wake up every single morning and think to ourselves, “How can we have a positive impact on the people around us?” That one day I can meet a remarkable entrepreneur and ask how he became who he was and he will mention your name, he will talk about the lessons he learned from you, how he learned to be a better version of himself, to take care of the people around him. And then everything that he had learned came from you – you have literally lived on beyond your own years.

I asked Sir Richard Branson, “How should we judge you after you die? What did you build at Virgin, what about Virgin are you most proud of that you will want to be remembered after you die?” He got very annoyed with me and said, “Do not judge me by anything that I have ever done at Virgin. If you want to judge the quality of my life, judge the quality of my children.” That’s an infinite mindset.

Every one of us has a choice whether we want to live our lives with a finite mindset or an infinite mindset.

NOTE: Sinek defines a finite game as having known players, fixed rules and agreed-upon objectives. By contrast, rules are changeable in the infinite game, with unknown players who are in it to keep playing. Problems arise when finite players are up against infinite players. Often the former end up mired in lost trust and declining innovation.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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There Are Only Two Must-Haves For Leading In A Crisis

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

There will always be a debate about which traits are most important for leading in a crisis – but two absolute essentials are compassion and courage, in that order.

For some leaders either or both of these qualities are fundamental aspects of their nature; they are part of their DNA. But ultimately, both compassion and courage are not a matter of genetics so much as they are a choice or a matter of the will. They can therefore be fostered or cultivated in leaders who do not naturally have these qualities.

Leaders in a crisis who lack compassion and courage can blame nobody but themselves. Both of these qualities are within their reach; they sit in their hearts. In a crisis, leaders choose to bring these qualities to the fore or lack the will to do so.

With every compassionate or courageous act, leaders develop their capacity to be more compassionate and courageous. They increasingly become the leaders their people need to be led by in a crisis.

COMPASSION

Leaders who have compassion have strong feelings of sympathy and sadness for the misfortune of their people coupled with a desire to mitigate or alleviate their pain. Put simply, their hearts bleed for their people, not for themselves. Compassion in a leader is notable in the following respects:

  1. Compassion or lack of it in a leader bears no relationship to experience. There are leaders who have never experienced what their people are experiencing and never will do so, but who can still identify and relate to their people’s privation. Other leaders have been subjected to similar hardship, and feel very sorry for themselves, but can’t find the same level of feeling when it comes to their people’s suffering.
  2. Compassion should not be judged by the amount of emotion displayed. Some leaders’ genuine empathy is indeed conveyed in heartfelt words or in tears, to the point that they may appear too emotional to speak. Others, equally moved, show little visible emotion but their actions bespeak their feelings.
  3. Whether leaders are compassionate or not is decided not by themselves but by their people, who make up their own minds as to the sincerity of their leader’s concern. From experience people have an uncanny sense of what is in their leader’s heart – and usually they are right.

Why is compassion of such significance? Because people’s need to be understood by their leaders and to feel that their leaders care deeply about what they are going through is amplified a thousand-fold in times of crisis – even if what the leader can actually do to help them is limited. Leaders who are indifferent to what their people are experiencing leave their people stone cold. Truly compassionate leaders, on the other hand, are not just liked but loved by those they lead.

COURAGE

Courage is not about thoughts and feelings but about words and deeds. Courageous leaders do the right thing in a crisis, no matter how difficult it is for them to do so. In plain language they face what needs to be faced and do what needs to be done for the greater good of others. Courage in a leader is notable in the following respects:

  1. Leaders who have courage are not devoid of fear, worry and angst – but do not let these feelings control or define them. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.”
  2. When leaders are courageous they don’t dither or delay but act decisively. This is not because they know what the right call is but because they understand that a call has to be made. Despite the uncertainty they take a stance and follow through on it no matter how unpopular it is. They then do not let pride stand in the way of overturning their decisions if evidence suggests that they should do so.
  3. Like any human being, courageous leaders want to save their own skin, protect their interests and enjoy the good opinion of others. Yet they do not let these things deter them from self-sacrifice and even inflicting pain on their people if that is in the longer term best interests of all.

Why is courage of such significance? Because in times of peril and calamity, people need their leaders to be bold, to put themselves on the line. It helps them to do so also. Conversely when leaders are cowards they breed fear in their followers. Courageous leaders, on the other hand, make their people courageous. This earns them the trust and admiration of their people.

In essence, the leaders who are revered in a crisis are those who have both a soft and a brave heart.

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April 2020 – Question of the Month

By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: Many young leaders are struggling to find their compass – can structured mentoring programmes help?

Answer: Leading people is not the same as writing code, operating a machine or compiling a document. Writing code is a skill. It can be taught and learned in a classroom or on the job. The issue is ability. The same could be said for operating a machine or compiling a document.

Leadership is different. The primary issue for excellence in leadership is intent, not ability. Is the leader willing to suspend his or her agenda in the interests of others? Today’s most enabling leaders have earned legitimacy not because they are good at any particular leadership skills, but because they have repeatedly passed the “intent test”. Of course, they may possess well-developed leadership skills as well, but it is their maturity, their capacity to act above self-interest, their willingness to align to a deliberately-chosen set of fundamental values, that people find compelling.

Unfortunately, values cannot be taught. Teaching applies to skills and abilities. Values are not skills or abilities. Values talk to judgement, to integrity, to intent, to maturity. The person who helps you to develop these, as an adult, we refer to as a mentor.

In South Africa in particular, but also more generally in countries where we operate, people entering the workplace have very different starting points when it comes to values.

As children we learn values and associated behaviours from our parents, our extended families, our communities and our schools. In South Africa, despite their best intentions, many parents are simply too impacted by their working circumstances (long commutes, work away from home, two working parents, single working parent) to have the time to deliberately develop their children’s value systems. Extended families are often absent too. Communities frequently offer the poorest of role models. There are some fantastic schools and teachers that are increasingly focusing on values and service as guiding principles. But unfortunately these types of schools and teachers are not in the majority.

Example: a few years ago I had a conversation with a graduate working as an apprentice – learning what he could in the field of law. Thinking him one of the lucky ones who managed to find employment as a graduate, I asked how he was finding his job. “The job is good,” he replied (paraphrasing), “my concern, though, is that I don’t earn very much and my friends call me a sell-out because they say I am working for too little and I allow myself to be taken advantage of. Of course, they say this while I am paying for their drinks, so I try not to take them too seriously. But it is a problem. Do you think I am doing the right thing? Should I demand more money? Am I being taken advantage of? Should I quit if I don’t get the increase I demand?”

I am certain that this person’s experience is not unique. I have spoken to other young individuals who, at the first sign of difficulty, have asked me for my opinion on whether they should resign. These cases almost never relate to technical difficulty; almost always they are about relationships: “My boss doesn’t treat me well”; “I don’t like my colleagues”; “I can’t trust management”.

The strange thing about these situations is not the questions. The questions are normal. The strange thing is that the people asking me these questions have typically known me for less than a day.

Being in the fortunate position of having a mentor to turn to, I would probably have asked my father. My father would probably have said something like: “Well, what have you done to impact the relationship negatively? What have you tried to do to change her mind? It takes two to tango.”

This advice would likely have been very helpful, and also very different from the advice I would have received had I asked my similarly disaffected colleague-friends. The conversation I would have had with my mentor father would have challenged me to take ownership, to not run away, to do the right thing, and not the expedient thing. In short, I would have come away from the conversation a little more grown-up, a little stronger, a little less of a victim.

While I imagine that many leaders currently reading this article can recall similar stories relating to their early mentors, there are far too many young people today who have never had a mentor-type figure in their lives.

As the current leaders of future generations of managers and leaders we can certainly help. One way to do that is to make mentoring as much a part of the development landscape in our organisations as is skills training. A structured, maturity-focused, mentoring programme provides the mechanism.

Guidelines for implementing a mentoring programme in your organisation

As said before, at Legitimate Leadership we believe that teaching and training are good ways to build skills, that coaching is about developing competency, and that mentoring is about intent, values and, ultimately, maturity. These distinctions are important.

In our experience formalised mentoring programs are either totally absent, or frequently play second-fiddle to skills development programmes. Skills development is important, but so is mentoring. Mentoring is about helping individuals to develop judgement, to build networks that will challenge and expand their thinking, to make a contribution for reasons other than self-interest, to build better organisations and societies.

Implementing a mentoring programme that achieves the outcomes above isn’t easy (few worthwhile things are), but it is certainly an attainable goal in any organisation. Here are some guidelines:

  1. The programme must be genuinely opt-in – for both the mentors and mentees.
  2. Mentees must choose their mentors.
  3. Both individuals must be open to growing through the process, and both individuals must be willing to check their rank at the door.
  4. Mentors don’t have to have all the answers, but they should be willing to ask the difficult questions.
  5. Mentoring only works if individuals are willing to make time for one another, give one another attention, and stick to some basic ground rules.
  6. In mentoring, confidentiality is everything.
  7. An unethical and/or self-centred mentor will likely produce an unethical and/or self-centred mentee.
  8. Use a catalyst (initial workshop, coffee sessions, etc) to get things going on the right track.
  9. Ensure that mentors understand the difference between mentoring, skills development, and coaching.
  10. Setting goals and understanding expectations is critical.
  11. Set up opportunities for formal reflection.
  12. Agree an end-point. It’s hard to know how to pace yourself when there is no end in sight.
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Caring For Your People In A Crisis – What It Means

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Leaders who make people not things paramount during a crisis will be seen to care. Those who do the opposite will rightfully be perceived as uncaring if not heartless.

Of course caring for one’s people means doing the best you can, within available resources, to look after their physical and material needs. Leaders who truly care also give their people time and attention, honesty and “tough love” during adverse times.

Their intention in all instances is to nurture or build strong people because strong people not only withstand, but may even overcome, their circumstances. Weak people, conversely, can wane even in the most benign set of conditions.

  1. Leaders who care give increased time and attention.

There is an inextricable link between what anyone cares about and what they give their time and attention to. Consequently leaders who care exponentially increase the amount of time they give to their people throughout a crisis. They take into every engagement with their people the understanding that individuals respond very differently to exactly the same set of circumstances – not only in terms of their level of anxiety but also in their mindset, ability to focus on the positive and level of optimism. They therefore listen very carefully to ascertain where each of their people has “landed” on three continuums:

  • I am a victim/not in control – I am in control/an actor, not a bystander.
  • I can only see negative effects/downsides – I see both positives and benefits.
  • I feel trapped/stuck with no room to move – I feel that the options are endless.

Having listened they do not judge but rather acknowledge where each of their people are at. Thereafter they stay close in order to assist each individual to progress along the three continuums; to stay positive, to seek options and to regain a sense of accountability for the situation they are in. They enable their people to be robust and resilient despite the difficulties they face.

  1. Leaders who care are honest with their people.

In any crisis, management communication is obviously key. Whether it is successful or not, however, is a function of the degree to which the source of the information is trusted. And what accounts for trust in the communicator is a belief by those being communicated to that the information sharing is being done with their best interests at heart. What this means is that leaders need to make a policy decision to be honest with their people on every occasion, even if it appears not to be in their interests to do so. They need to stay honest even if, in doing so, they may contradict their own needs.

In the first instance honesty means telling the truth – the good and the bad news. More than that, it means disclosing information that leaders could elect not to reveal. It means trusting their people to do the right thing with the information they have entrusted them with. Building strong people only happens when leaders stop protecting people by keeping the facts away from them. Enabling people means that leaders tell their people what they know, what they don’t know and what they can’t share with them. It means trusting their people so that they can demonstrate their trustworthiness.

  1. Leaders who care give “tough love”.

How leaders respond to the genuine personal concerns of their people during a crisis is a real test of their sincerity. To what degree are they, as leaders, aware of the actual impact of the crisis on their people and to what degree do they care? Leaders who care about their people’s personal circumstances relate to their people’s concerns; they have an understanding and appreciation of them. They are compassionate, not callous, in their response to those concerns. They are kind and magnanimous.

At the same time they evince “tough love”. They combine being kind with being enabling. They avoid being patronising or weakening. They don’t make decisions for their people but help them to decide. Rather than causing dependency, they help their people to stand on their own two feet. In every instance they ask “what is both the caring and enabling thing to do here?” In practising “tough love” they build people who not only feel supported but who also have a sense of responsibility in the situation they are in.

Leaders who care give their people time and attention, honesty and “tough love”. In doing so they make people strong – people who are able to be robust, resilient, trustworthy and responsible despite the circumstances they are in. This is true at all times but particularly in times of crisis.

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Dave Stevens

Dave Stevens

Associate 

BSc (InfSys) (Hons) 

Dave’s career before joining Legitimate Leadership was primarily in high-pressure project environments where delivery within time and budget constraints is critical. In these environments leadership is crucial in ensuring delivery.

He has worked in various sectors: mining, electricity (distribution and billing), banking (both retail and investment), insurance, and telecommunications and broadcasting.

He has led and taken accountability for many successful project implementations. He is particularly passionate about digital transformation in personal productivity.

His first appointment as a consultant was at Accenture in 2004. Before joining Legitimate Leadership he was the Delivery Lead in a global IT consultancy in which he headed a team of technology consultants and was responsible for their HR as well as delivery.

At boarding school in South Africa, he was a keen sportsman and was head prefect in his final year.
He is married and has two young sons. He lives in Johannesburg and his non-work interests are scuba diving, cooking, carpentry and architecture.

Dave was introduced to the Legitimate Leadership model in 2006 and has moulded his leadership style on many of the principles with overwhelmingly positive results.

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What Legitimate Leaders Do In Times Of Crisis

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Any group, any collective, is simply a reflection of those who lead it. Who you are as a leader, in other words, is reflected in those around you. This is true at any time but particularly in difficult times.

A crisis may or may not build character, but it definitely reveals character.

What legitimate leaders do in adverse conditions therefore, first and foremost, is look at themselves. They make themselves the project, knowing that the best they can do in tough times is set the example for others to follow. More specifically, they rise to the occasion by doing four things.

1. THEY SHOW UP AND STAY THE PACE

Legitimate leaders don’t run away or abandon ship like the captains of the Greek cruise ship Oceanos (1991) and the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia (2012). They do their duty. They don’t manage the crisis at a distance. They go to the frontline, to the scene of disaster. They are there in the trenches with their people and share the dangers with them. More than at any other time they demonstrate genuine care or concern for their employees’ wellbeing. They bear the same burdens and do not exclude themselves from them. They sacrifice as much or more than their people do.

2. THEY STAY CALM AND ARE OPTIMISTIC BUT REALISTIC

Rudyard Kipling’s famous inspirational poem “If” begins with, “If you can keep your head when all about you/Are losing theirs …” Legitimate leaders stay calm in times of calamity. Above all, they don’t panic. They remain cool under fire. They keep a tight rein on their emotions. If not serene, they are at least not overly agitated or irrational. Like Admiral James Stockdale, who spent eight years in the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prisoner-of-war camp during the Vietnam war, they balance optimism with reality. They remain convinced of a positive outcome while facing up to the hard facts in the present. Rather than burying their heads in the sand they accept the facts no matter how brutal they are.

3.  THEY FOCUS ON WHAT THEY HAVE CONTROL OVER AND ACT

Legitimate leaders operate from the standpoint that they may not be in full control of what happens but are absolutely in control of their response to what happens. They understand that there are things that are up to us and things that are not up to us. Consequently, they separate that which they can influence from that which they cannot. Then they focus their time and energies on what they do have control over – that is, what is in their hands. They don’t allow themselves to be distracted by external factors over which they have no influence. And they focus their efforts during the crisis where they can have the greatest impact. Above all, they act – they take decisions rather than falling foul to paralysis by analysis. They move forward and adjust course as they go.

4.  THEY DO THE RIGHT THING

Legitimate leaders recognise that we all have needs and that, unless we deliberately choose otherwise, we will naturally act to fulfill them. That is, we will do the expedient or self-serving rather than the right thing. Legitimate leaders are acutely aware of their own needs, fears and desires in the situation. But they don’t act on them. Rather, they find within themselves the capacity to rise above or even contradict their needs in order to do the right thing. Throughout the crisis they are values- not needs-driven. They reflect on what the situation in front of them requires of them – whether generosity or courage are called for. They then do the courageous or generous thing, whichever is most appropriate at the time.

In a crisis leaders are truly tested. What any crisis tests in essence is a leader’s capacity for kindness, selflessness and bravery. Those who pass the test with flying colours engender trust and loyalty; those who don’t engender the opposite.

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Lessons Learned From Doing Leadership Diagnostics

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Experience over the years working with leaders in the mining, manufacturing, banking and hospitality industries has produced the following insights on Legitimate Leadership’s Leadership Diagnostics methodology: do it with benevolent intent; do on both positive and negative exceptions; use with a specific purpose in mind; apply the tool to a specific incident or result; diagnose by ‘watching the game’; ask ‘why?’ all the way up the line; remedial action needs to be owned and driven by the line; be wary of excuses – invalid means and ability claims; the improvement timeframe will be shorter when means and accountability, rather than ability, are at issue; and do both reactive and proactive diagnostics.

1. Do it with benevolent intent

Leadership Diagnostics have a noble purpose: to enable enhanced future contribution throughout the line of command. As such, the methodology’s primary function is to grow leaders at every level in the organisation.

 

2. Do on both positive and negative exceptions

When diagnostics are only done on negative exceptions, the impression can be created that the methodology is used by management to censure and punish people. Doing diagnostics on positive as well as negative exceptions serves to cultivate excellence in an organisation. Determining what each person in the line contributed to an exceptional result, and the means, ability and accountability they received which enabled them to do so, can ensure a perpetuation of the positive outcome into the future and/or a replication of excellence in other areas.

3. Use with a specific purpose in mind

The Leadership Diagnostics tool is most useful when it is focused on a specific performance issue. An organisation may, for example, elect to do diagnostics on all safety incidents in order to improve its safety performance. Conversely, doing diagnostics on all customer complaints and compliments can help address product quality. Organisations which have been most successful in their use of Leadership Diagnostics have focused them on burning performance issues in their business.

4. Apply the tool to a specific incident or result

The more specific the incident or the result which is chosen for analysis the better. This is because finding solutions to the specific exception per se is actually not the reason for the diagnostic. The specific exception is simply a vehicle for getting to grips with the key command issues which are evidenced by the exception. As more and more specific exceptions are diagnosed the core leadership issues in the organisation become increasingly apparent and lay the foundation for a strategy to raise the calibre of leaders across the business.

5. Diagnose by ‘watching the game’

A diagnostic is only as useful as the quality of information on which it is based. Quality information can only be garnered by spending time in the field gathering the facts, through direct observation and asking questions of all involved. Sometimes the most penetrating insights come from someone who is unfamiliar with the situation but who knows the means, ability and accountability questions to ask.

6. Ask ‘why?’ all the way up the line

The Leadership Diagnostic needs to be done all the way up the line, preferably to the most senior level in the organisation. This is because what senior managers do or don’t do in a situation is often the bull’s eye – the 20% of causes which account for 80% of results. Remedial actions taken by those higher up in the hierarchy, in other words, tend to have a far bigger impact than those taken at lower levels in the organisation.

7. Remedial action needs to be owned and driven by the line

Concerted and systematic action needs to follow on from the diagnostic and needs to be owned and driven by the line. Unless this is the case, Leadership Diagnostics stand the risk of becoming an academic exercise rather than a means to significantly strengthen an organisation’s line of command.

8. Be wary of excuses – invalid means and ability claims

Not all means and ability issues are valid. Often people profess means and ability issues to avoid being held accountable for their carelessness or deliberate malevolence. When they are in fact ‘excuses’ they should be treated accordingly.

9. The improvement timeframe will be shorter when means and accountability, rather than ability, are at issue

Improvements in contribution can be realised most quickly when the issues impeding contribution are means or accountability issues. Ability issues, by definition, take longer to address.

10. Do both reactive and proactive diagnostics

A reactive diagnostic is, by definition, an analysis of the past. Its value lies in the learning afforded by the exception which has already taken place. A proactive diagnostic on the other hand can be used to improve on performance in the future. With a proactive diagnosis a stretch goal is set; afterwards the diagnostic determines what needs to be given by whom all the way up the line to ensure that the desired outcome is achieved. Organisations which have made the doing of Leadership Diagnostics mandatory and who have tasked managers at all levels to report back on their diagnoses and remedial actions on a regular basis have reaped the biggest dividends from deploying this critical leadership practice.

Initially doing Leadership Diagnostics seems like hard work. The benefits which accrue in terms of significant improvements in the calibre of leadership in a business are, however, more than worth it.

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Have A Capacity For Existential Flexibility (The Fourth Of Simon Sinek’s 5 Practices Of Leadership)

By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker.

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Chasing the latest fad not only causes confusion but actually demoralises people. What Simon Sinek is proposing though is that leaders should be willing to radically change their strategy or technology if in so doing they will better advance their Just Cause.

Existential flexibility calls on two human qualities without which Simon Sinek’s fourth leadership practice is not possible.

The first is humility – a preparedness to admit that you don’t have all the answers and are not always right, a capacity to rise above your arrogance to consider another way.

The second is courage – to fundamentally change not knowing whether it is in fact the right thing to do but absolutely knowing that to do so will not only be disruptive in the short term but may even result in failure.

Once again Simon Sinek is calling on leaders to evidence the best in themselves as human beings. I agree that to play the infinite game (defined at the end of our summary below) requires a noble purpose, trust of others, giving up the need to win at all costs, humility and courage. All of these are in short supply in modern organisations, but are infinitely worth pursuing.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: In Apple’s history, Steve Jobs and some of his senior executives visited Xerox in Palo Alto – as executives do, they visit each other’s companies.

Apple was already a big company and Steve Jobs was already a famous CEO.

On this visit, Xerox showed them something they had invented called the graphic user interface. This interface allowed computer users to move a mouse so that you could move a cursor over the desktop and click on icons and folders in order to work the computer. In other words, you didn’t have to learn a computer language anymore.

As the Apple people were leaving Xerox, Steve Jobs said to his executives, “We have to invest in this graphic user interface thing.”

Remember, if Apple’s Just Cause is to empower individuals to stand up to Big Brother, “this graphic user interface thing” empowers way more people to use the technology.

The Voice of Reason spoke up and said, “Steve we can’t do that – we’ve already invested millions of dollars and countless manhours in a different strategic direction. If we change and invest in graphic user interface we will blow up our own company. We can’t just abandon our investment.”

To which Jobs said, “If we don’t blow up our company, somebody else will.”

That decision led to the Macintosh, a computer platform so profound that the entire software of Windows is designed to act like a Macintosh. A decision so profound that it changed the way computing works today. A computer has become an appliance which is so common in our homes and companies that an individual can now indeed compete against a corporation.

Existential flexibility is the capacity to make profound strategic shifts – 180 degree shifts – in order to better advance your cause. And failure to do so may ultimately lead to the demise of your own organization.

Back when Blockbuster was the dominant video renter in the US, there was this little upstart company called Netflix that had a new business model based on subscriptions. Netflix would send you the DVDs which you could keep for as long as you wanted.

The CEO of Blockbuster went to his board and said, ‘We have to look into the subscription model thing – especially where streaming technology is getting better and better. We should probably prepare ourselves.” And the board said, “Absolutely not, we may not do that because we get 12% of our revenue from late fees and we’d be walking away from that revenue.”

Blockbuster no longer exists and Netflix dominates the industry because if you’re not willing to blow up your own company the market will blow it up for you. Do it even if it means making a hit to the short term results in order to have a capacity for existential flexibility.

A, you have to have a Just Cause; and B you have to have trusting teams. The cause is what directs that flexibility.

This is not like Shiny Object Syndrome that so many of us have suffered from – in which some entrepreneur says, “Here’s the latest shiny object” and wants to redirect the whole company. And after the fourth or fifth one this year nobody knows what the hell is going on.

I’m also not talking about the daily flexibility required to run your business.

I’m talking about when you discover a technology or a better strategy or a better way to advance your cause, and you’re willing to make this choice, this profound strategic shift, in order to advance your cause.

But you have to know what your cause is first and you better have trusting teams because the likelihood that you will put your company through upheaval in the short term is high and your people have to be willing to go along with it, to say, “We agree this will hurt but let’s do it.” Because if they don’t they’ll all abandon ship.

Kodak made the same mistake. George Eastman invented film – he is the reason why you and I can take pictures of our families on our holidays. Before George Eastman the only way you could take a picture was to hire a professional photographer.

George Eastman was obsessed with democratizing photography – making it simpler and simpler and simpler so more and more people could engage in photography.

In 1975, a Kodak engineer, Steve Sasson, who believed in George Eastman’s Just Cause, invented the digital camera.

Unfortunately there had been so many leadership changes at Kodak over the years that the executives by then had adopted a finite mindset. When they saw the digital camera they decided to suppress the technology for fear that it would cannibalize film sales. Because the company had built its monstrous self based on chemicals and developing and cameras and all the rest, they couldn’t imagine the upheaval in digital cameras.

They knew once the genie was out of the bottle there would be no putting it back. They predicted about 10 years before digital technology would show up somewhere – and amazingly, exactly 10 years later digital technology started to show up from other companies and the digital revolution started to take hold.

In fact Kodak made billions of dollars from the royalties they received from the patents they had for digital cameras and technology. But when those patents ran out five years later they were bankrupt. Because they refused, they couldn’t go through with, the existential flex.

They had abandoned their Just Cause, they had adopted a finite mindset. Their teams were no longer trusting teams because the company was so driven by short term gains and short term goals that for so many years they thought they were doing well because of those royalties – until they no longer existed as a threat or as a significant market player.

Do you have a capacity for existential flexibility? If you want to stay in the infinite game you had better.

NOTE: Sinek defines a finite game as having known players, fixed rules and agreed-upon objectives. By contrast, rules are changeable in the infinite game, with unknown players who are in it to keep playing. Problems arise when finite players are up against infinite players. Often the former end up mired in lost trust and declining innovation.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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Legitimate Leadership UK Launched

Legitimate Leadership was formally launched in the United Kingdom on 6 March 2020 – a big milestone for the organisation.

The launch took the form of a half-day intro event in London hosted by the company’s directors, Wendy Lambourne and Ian Munro. Representatives of every one of Legitimate Leadership’s current UK-based clients responded positively to the invitation to attend, and actually attended the launch. They were generous in sharing their experience of implementing the framework in their organizations, said Lambourne.

The event also drew people who wanted to learn more about this unique approach to leadership and organizational excellence and how implementation of the principles and practices impacts positively on Legitimacy, Trust, Contribution and Accountability.

Given the level of interest shown at the Legitimate Leadership UK launch, a one day executive overview will be held in London on 11 June.

VIEW WENDY LAMBOURNE’S OPENING ADDRESS AT THE LAUNCH BY CLICKING HERE

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Missed Opportunities In A Good Business Which Could Have A Better Bottom Line

By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.

This scenario is common: you have a good business, good employees and good processes, but you have strong sense that you could have a better bottom line. What to do?

There are, of course, various possibilities – from commissioning an internal deep-dive, to getting advice from external consultants, to doing nothing and hoping the problem goes away.

In this case study the organisation chose the first option: an executive and senior management task team was assembled with the express purpose of better understanding the business and improving profitability.

On the surface Legitimate Leadership wholeheartedly supports, even recommends, this option. And for many inside this organisation the task team exercise is still considered a resounding success. The team got together, profitability improved, everybody was happy.

We don’t disagree with any of that, but we believe that it was also a missed opportunity. Why?

First, let’s look at what actually happened.

  1. Simply put, shareholders and senior executives agreed that a good business such as this should really be giving a better return on investment.
  2. On a given afternoon all executives and senior managers were called into a room and a deep-dive task team was announced.
  3. Starting the next day, all managers were to arrive at work an hour earlier than usual. For a month and a half that hour would be spent better understanding the business and putting in place measures to improve profitability.
  4. The following morning managers dutifully arrived and began to unpack the business value chain from start to end.
  5. Soon, gaps were identified – primarily, improvement opportunities related to standards of timekeeping and lackadaisical and inconsistent billing approaches.
  6. No matter, these things were easily solved. Stricter timekeeping standards and controls were implemented (time was now monitored and captured by close-of-business each day in increments as short as 15 minutes). Daily monitoring of time metrics and trends meant that senior managers could keep a closer eye on targets and ‘actuals’.
  7. Senior managers now had the information to make the right decisions regarding billing and invoicing. Authority was pulled back up the line to where it should have been in the first place – back up to a management level where people could be trusted.

During and following the deep-dive there were two notable implications for the organisation.

  1. Profitability metrics improved. This was mostly because of compliance with the new set of standards relating to project billing. However, as compliance improved, initiative and ownership commensurately declined.
  2. As decision-making authority was pulled up the line to where people could be trusted, so levels of trust down the line declined. “Why should I behave in a mature, trustworthy way if nobody trusts me anyway?”

Also noteworthy is that there was very little, if any, impact on customer outcomes. Customers weren’t aware of the task team, and they weren’t mentioned in task team conversations.

THE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

Nothing about the above is necessarily a train-smash, and from the perspective of a short term shareholder this could be (and is) seen as a significant success. From our perspective, however, there were some important missed opportunities in this approach.

  1. The opportunity of improving ownership, accountability, trust, and engagement. With an improved business understanding and a new set of standards to be implemented, there’s always a choice to be made: new controls or elevated trust. New controls have the advantage of delivering the short term predictable outcome. Elevated trust, on the other hand, requires deliberate empowerment. It takes time and courage and invites the possibility of being let down. In the long term excellent people are twinned with excellent outcomes.
  2. Developing and nurturing values-aligned behaviours and decisions: doing things for the right reasons. The problem with the rules is that sometimes people follow them simply for the sake of following them. Compliance with the rules literally becomes the end. People start caring less about what value they’re adding and start fixating on how long things take. We call this clock-watching and it is seldom good for motivation.
  3. Lastly, businesses don’t exist to serve themselves, and our customers certainly aren’t there to serve us. We are there to serve them. Supply serves demand, not the other way around. Imagine the opportunity if our customers received as much attention as we give ourselves.