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What Should Leaders Do About Targets And Standards In A Crisis?

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Leaders can choose to make targets or make standards what they focus on and prioritise in a crisis. They can also elect to change (raise or lower) the targets and/or standards, or leave them unchanged. The choices they make are important because they have a significant bearing on whether those they lead thrive or not in difficult times.

Leaders should focus on standards, not targets, in a crisis. They should raise standards, not targets, in difficult times.

CHOICE ONE: WHAT TO FOCUS ON AND PRIORITISE IN A CRISIS

Making achieving targets the priority in a crisis has its benefits. This is because clear targets provide focus and, when they are stretching but achievable, they inspire people to achieve them. But whether the target is achieved or not, is not within people’s control. All outcomes are in part at least, and sometimes almost entirely, affected by extraneous factors.

So when leaders focus their people on what they cannot control they disempower, not empower them. They engender in their people a fear of failure which reduces their effectiveness in the crisis, since part of their energy is trapped in the jaws of fear.

Standards, on the other hand, are absolutely within leaders’ control. This is because it is leaders who set and enforce standards. And the standards that leaders expect, demonstrate and walk past are the standards they get.

Standards moreover are enablers of human excellence in that they describe the best that people are capable of both in terms of behaviour and performance. When standards are upheld by leaders in a crisis they serve to bring out the best in their people. When standards are pitched high they propel people towards excellence. And when people are exceptional rather than mediocre, they are far more likely to achieve the desired results.

This is not to suggest that goals and targets should cease to exist in a crisis. But they should not be either the focus of attention or the priority. Rather leaders should focus each and every person in their charge on excellence in the task in front of them. They should then focus on enabling excellence in their people. Now everyone is focused on what they have control over.

CHOICE TWO: WHAT TO RAISE OR LOWER IN A CRISIS

In a debate on what to do in a motor retail environment when new-car sales were shrinking year-on-year by 6%, a CEO had an epiphany moment. “Because we are feeling sorry for our sales people in these trading conditions, we are being soft on the standards. In fact we should be doing the opposite.”

What he was proposing was the following.

Firstly, that the sales targets should be reviewed and adjusted down in the face of the new reality. The purse had shrunk and it was a lunacy to expect the outcome initially envisaged. The targets needed to be adjusted down to reflect the actuality of the situation. Leaving them unchanged would be seriously demoralizing.

Secondly, and at the same time, standards regarding excellence in the sales process needed to be raised.

Leaders should insist on higher standards, enable their people to meet them, and hold them accountable for doing so. Ironically, by raising the standards not the targets, leaders increase the likelihood of the targets being met.

In both good and bad times, ambition is needed. But there is good and bad ambition. Good ambition is about being the best that one can be, about striving to improve oneself. Bad ambition, on the other hand, is about seeking to get ahead, to win and be better than the competition. This is true in any context.

Right ambition for an athlete means focusing on playing a better game, not on winning the league.  For medical professionals it is about a commitment to producing exceptional medical care rather than being distracted by medical statistics. For soldiers it is about giving their all to the fight, whether they end up in victory or defeat. For employees it means excelling in the role, including a leadership role.

The higher the standards and the more people subordinate themselves to meeting those standards the more successful they are likely to be, irrespective of the circumstances in which they find themselves.

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What Baby Boomers Can Learn From Millennials At Work – And Vice Versa

By Chip Conley, an American hotelier, hospitality entrepreneur, author and speaker.

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: We agree with Chip Conley on all counts. Firstly, that diverse teams outperform ones that are less diverse. Secondly, that diversity should include age. Thirdly, that relationship competence/leadership competence takes time to develop. This is because leading people in a way consistent with the Legitimate Leadership criteria requires a level of personal maturity which takes time to develop and which is rare in people under 35 years of age – “you can’t microwave emotional intelligence”. Finally, that enabling leadership maturity in younger leaders is a contribution which older leaders who have acquired “relationship wisdom” can make. It is a value-added “give” which should be expected and rewarded in those with more chronological age in the workplace.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: There’s ample evidence that gender- and ethnically-diverse companies are more effective. But what about age?

A new kind of elder is emerging in the workplace. The alchemy of algorithm and people wisdom gained with age (high-tech meets high-touch) can greatly benefit millennials who are in managerial roles but have no formal leadership training.

It was my third day on the job at a hot Silicon Valley start-up in early 2013. I was twice the age of the dozen engineers in the room. I’d been brought into the company because I was a seasoned expert in my field, but in this particular room, I felt like a newbie amongst the tech geniuses.

I was listening to them talk and thinking that the best thing I could do was be invisible. Then the 25-year-old wizard leading the meeting stared at me and asked, “If you shipped a feature and no one used it, did it really ship?”

“Ship a feature”?

In that moment, Chip knew he was in deep ship. I had no idea what he was talking about. I just sat there awkwardly. Mercifully, he moved on to someone else. I slid down in my chair, and I couldn’t wait for that meeting to end.

That was my introduction to Airbnb. I had been invited by the three millennial cofounders to join their company to help them take their fast-growing tech start-up and turn it into a global hospitality brand, and to be the in-house mentor for CEO Brian Chesky.

I’d spent from age 26 to 52 being a boutique hotel entrepreneur, and so I guess I’d learned a few things along the way and accumulated some hospitality knowledge.

But after my first week, I realized that the brave new home-sharing world didn’t need much of my old-school bricks-and-mortar hotel insights. A stark reality rocked me: what did I have to offer?

I’d never been in a tech company before. I had never heard of the “sharing economy,” nor did I have an Uber or Lyft app on my phone. This was not my natural habitat!

So I decided that I could either run for the hills or cast judgment on these young geniuses – or instead, turn the judgment into curiosity and actually see if I could match my wise eyes with their fresh eyes. I fancied myself as a modern Margaret Mead amongst the millennials.

I quickly learned that I had as much to offer them as they did to me.

The more I’ve seen and learned about our respective generations, the more I realize that we often don’t trust each other enough to actually share our respective wisdom. We may share a border but we don’t necessarily trust each other enough to share that respective wisdom.

I believe, looking at the modern workplace, that the trade agreement of our time is opening up these intergenerational pipelines of wisdom so that we can all learn from each other.

Almost 40 percent of employees in the United States have a boss that’s younger than themselves, and that number is growing quickly. Power is cascading to the young like never before because of our increasing reliance on DQ: digital intelligence.

We’re seeing young founders of companies in their early 20s scale their companies up to global giants by the time they get to 30, and yet we expect these young digital leaders to somehow miraculously embody the relationship wisdoms we older workers have had decades to learn.

It’s hard to microwave your emotional intelligence. There’s ample evidence that gender- and ethnically-diverse companies are more effective. But what about age?

This is a very important question because for the first time ever we have five generations in the workplace at the same time, unintentionally.

Maybe it’s time we got a little more intentional about how we work collectively.

A number of European studies that have shown that age-diverse teams are more effective and successful. So why is that only eight percent of the companies that have a diversity and inclusion program have actually expanded that strategy to include age as just as important a demographic as gender or race? Maybe they didn’t get the memo: the world is getting older!

One of the paradoxes of our time is that baby boomers are more vibrant and healthy longer into life. We’re working later into life, and yet we’re feeling less and less relevant. Some of us feel like a carton of milk — an old carton of milk — with an expiration date stamped on our wrinkled foreheads.

For many of us in midlife, this isn’t just a feeling, it is a harsh reality, when we suddenly lose our job and the phone stops ringing. For many of us, justifiably, we worry that people see our experience as a liability, not an asset.

You’ve heard that “sixty is the new forty, physically.”

Well when it comes to power in the workplace today, 30 is the new 50.

So this is all pretty exciting, right? Truthfully, power is moving 10 years younger. We’re all going to live 10 years longer.

Do the maths. Society has created a new 20-year irrelevancy gap. Midlife used to be 45 to 65, but I suggest it now stretches into a midlife marathon 40 years long, from 35 to 75.

But wait — there is a bright spot. Why is it that we actually get smarter and wiser about our humanity as we age? Our physical peak may be our 20s, our financial and salary peak may be at 50, but our emotional peak is in midlife and beyond, because we have developed pattern recognition about ourselves and others.

So how can we get companies to tap into that wisdom of the midlife, just as they nurture their digital young geniuses as well?

The most successful companies today and in the future will actually learn how to create a powerful alchemy of the two.

Here’s how the alchemy worked for me at Airbnb: I was assigned a young, smart partner, who helped me develop a hospitality department. Early on, Laura Hughes could see that I was a little lost in this habitat, so she often sat right next to me in meetings so she could be my tech translator, and I could write her notes and she could tell me what things meant.

Laura was 27 years old, she’d worked for Google and then for Airbnb when I met her. Like many of her millennial cohorts, she had actually grown into a managerial role before she’d gotten any formal leadership training.

I don’t care if you’re in the B-to-B world, the B-to-C world, the C-to-C world or the A-to-Z world, business is fundamentally H-to-H, human to human.

And yet, Laura’s approach to leadership was really formed in the technocratic world, and it was purely metric-driven. One of the things she said to me in the first few months was, “I love the fact that your approach to leadership is to create a compelling vision that becomes a North Star for us.”

Now, my fact knowledge, as in how many rooms a maid cleans in an eight-hour shift, might not be all that important in a home-sharing world.

But my process knowledge of “how do you get things done?” based upon understanding the underlying motivations of everybody in the room, was incredibly valuable, in a company where most people didn’t have a lot of organizational experience.

As I spent more time at Airbnb, I realized it’s possible that a new kind of elder was emerging in the workplace. Not the elder of the past, who was regarded with reverence.

No, what is striking about the modern elder is their relevance – their ability to use timeless wisdom and apply it to modern-day problems. Maybe it’s time we actually valued wisdom as much as we do disruption. And maybe it is time for us to definitely reclaim the word “elder” and give it a modern twist.

The modern elder is as much an intern as a mentor, because he/she realizes, in a world that is changing so quickly, that their beginner’s mind and their catalytic curiosity is a life-affirming elixir, not just for themselves but for everyone around them.

Intergenerational improv has been known in music and the arts: think Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga or Wynton Marsalis and the Young Stars of Jazz. This kind of riffing in the business world is often called “mutual mentorship”: millennial DQ for Gen X and boomer EQ.

I got to experience that kind of intergenerational reciprocity with Laura and our stellar data science team when we were actually remaking and evolving the Airbnb peer-to-peer review system, using Laura’s analytical mind and my human-centered intuition.

With that perfect alchemy of algorithm and people wisdom, we were able to create and instantaneous feedback loop that helped our hosts better understand the needs of our guests. High tech meets high touch.

At Airbnb, I also learned as a modern elder that my role was to intern publicly and mentor privately. Search engines are brilliant at giving you an answer, but a wise, sage guide can offer you just the right question. Google does not understand, at least not yet, nuance like a finely attuned human heart and mind.

Over time, to my surprise, dozens and dozens of young employees at Airbnb sought me out for private mentoring sessions. But in reality, we were often just mentoring each other.

In sum, CEO Brian Chesky brought me in for my industry knowledge, but what I really offered was my well-earned wisdom.

Maybe it’s time we retire the term “knowledge worker” and replaced it with “wisdom worker.” We have five generations in the workplace today, and we can operate like separate isolationist countries, or we can actually start to find a way to bridge these generational borders.

And it’s time for us to actually look at how to change up the physics of wisdom so it actually flows in both directions, from old to young and from young to old.

How can you apply this in your own life? Personally, who can you reach out to to create a mutual mentorship relationship? And organizationally, how can you create the conditions to foster an intergenerational flow of wisdom?

This is the new sharing economy.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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Leading Remotely – It’s Still All About Intent

By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Leading remotely isn’t new. Managers, especially senior managers in distributed organisations, have been leading remotely for decades. Remote leadership has, however, been pushed to front and centre by the events of the last 12 months.

Remote leadership in 2021 differs from the past in three important ways:

  1. As the global pandemic has pushed people out of their workspaces and into their homes so more leaders than ever before have had to (often reluctantly) grapple with the challenges of remote leadership.
  2. Previously remote leaders tended to be middle or senior managers with multi-geography responsibilities. They typically had the benefit of experience on their side. Today junior and first-line leaders, often still finding their feet, are having to lead and understand their teams without the benefit of day-to-day, face-to-face interaction or coaching.
  3. Technologies and tools available to leaders today are vastly superior to those that were available to leaders in the past. But there is a learning curve. And with any learning curve comes a change management challenge.

Depending on your perspective the three points above could be seen as either a major obstacle or a huge opportunity. We have encouraged our clients to see them as the latter.

While much has changed, the fundamentals of leadership have not. Over the past three decades whenever we have asked programme participants (who now number in the thousands), “How would you describe the person you go to work for willingly?” we have received the same answer, “I would work willingly for somebody who prioritises giving over taking, and who both cares for and grows me.” In the words of one programme participant: “It’s all about Intent”.

Intent matters when you are leading a team sitting right next to you. And intent matters just as much, perhaps more, when your team is on the other side of a phone or a Zoom call.

If we look at each of the three aforementioned points through an intent lens, we can start to see why remote leadership is so difficult for many leaders, and we can also start to understand what we can do about it.

Most of today’s remote leaders didn’t choose to be, all of a sudden, located far away from their teams. They also didn’t choose to be leaders in the midst of a global crisis. As a result, when we have asked groups of leaders over the last 12 months about their current concerns they have tended to focus on what they’re getting (or not getting), rather than what they are giving (or not giving). Typical concerns relate to management and productivity rather than leadership: “My wi-fi connection is unstable”, “I am struggling to find balance between work and home life”, “I don’t know whether my people are working hard or slacking off”. As leaders we need to separate working remotely issues from leading remotely issues. We need to fix our wi-fi, find ways to establish boundaries between work and home life, and stop worrying so much about monitoring our people and start worrying about how we can help. Once those things are out of the way we can refocus our intent and get back to our core focus: caring for and growing our people.

In our experience junior and first line leaders often see their role as having to monitor and micromanage – usually because they themselves have been monitored and micromanaged. In some ways a move to leading remotely is actually helpful. It forces managers to more effectively clarify contribution. Rather than building bad habits related to monitoring and control, junior leaders can put their focus where it matters: building legitimacy by deliberately taking an interest in people and their situations, and gaining experience in how to be helpful without doing the work for people. As senior leaders we need to be sure that we are deliberately spending the time coaching and watching the game so our junior leaders develop as quickly as possible.

Lastly, we need to deliberately invest in helping leaders to develop the know-how and skills required to communicate effectively in a world that is rapidly moving online. We all need to know HOW to use Zoom, MS Teams and WhatsApp, but even more importantly we need to start by addressing the WHY. Leaders who understand the importance of transitioning to a new online world are going to find it much easier to do so than those who are stuck bemoaning the use of technology as “not as effective as face-to-face”. Keeping up with technology is as much a mindset issue as it is skills issue. As stated earlier, “It’s all about intent”.

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January 2021 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month:  I believe a lot of the reason we fall into the traditional way of working is that we have been institutionalised as a society, taught to fear and obey authority (rather than see it as an enabler), and we sit within a hierarchy from school age (learnt behaviours). But I sense a change in this with each generation. Is the framework easier to apply in organisations with a higher ratio of younger people?

Answer: In one sense, once people are adults, intent is not a function of age. There are “givers” at work from the beginning of their careers and “takers” who have entirely been there to take. What Legitimate Leadership tries to do over time is change the ratio of “takers” to “givers” at work. There is a view that in fact the change is harder to effect with so called millennials. The view is that both parents and teachers are not doing as good a job as before at care and growth. Hence millennials enter the workplace entitled, expecting instant rewards. In the words of Simon Sinek this leaves managers to do the “parenting” that should have been done before they entered the workplace. It is an issue worthy of debate.

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January 2021

Featured

Question of the Month
I believe a lot of the reason we fall into the traditional way of working is that we have been institutionalised as a society, taught to fear and obey authority (rather than see it as an enabler), and we sit within a hierarchy from school age (learnt behaviours). But I sense a change in this with each generation. Is the framework easier to apply in organisations with a higher ratio of younger people?
Leading Remotely – It’s Still All About Intent
Leading remotely isn’t new. Managers, especially senior managers in distributed organisations, have been leading remotely for decades…
What Baby Boomers Can Learn From Millennials At Work – And Vice Versa
A new kind of elder is emerging in the workplace. The alchemy of algorithm and people wisdom gained with age (high-tech meets high-touch) can greatly benefit millennials who are in managerial roles but have no formal leadership training.

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

Question of the Month 
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: I believe a lot of the reason we fall into the traditional way of working is that we have been institutionalised as a society, taught to fear and obey authority (rather than see it as an enabler), and we sit within a hierarchy from school age (learnt behaviours). But I sense a change in this with each generation. Is the framework easier to apply in organisations with a higher ratio of younger people?
Answer: In one sense, once people are adults, intent is not a function of age. There are “givers” at work from the beginning of their careers and “takers” who have entirely been there to take. What Legitimate Leadership tries to do over time is change the ratio of “takers” to “givers” at work. There is a view that in fact the change is harder to effect with so called millennials. The view is that both parents and teachers are not doing as good a job as before at care and growth. Hence millennials enter the workplace entitled, expecting instant rewards. In the words of Simon Sinek this leaves managers to do the “parenting” that should have been done before they entered the workplace. It is an issue worthy of debate.
 To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

ARTICLE: LEADING REMOTELY – IT’S STILL ALL ABOUT INTENT
By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Leading remotely isn’t new. Managers, especially senior managers in distributed organisations, have been leading remotely for decades. Remote leadership has, however, been pushed to front and centre by the events of the last 12 months.
Remote leadership in 2021 differs from the past in three important ways:
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

VIDEO: WHAT BABY BOOMERS CAN LEARN FROM MILLENNIALS AT WORK – AND VICE VERSA 
By Chip Conley, an American hotelier, hospitality entrepreneur, author and speaker.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: We agree with Chip Conley on all counts. Firstly, that diverse teams outperform ones that are less diverse. Secondly, that diversity should include age. Thirdly, that relationship competence/leadership competence takes time to develop. This is because leading people in a way consistent with the Legitimate Leadership criteria requires a level of personal maturity which takes time to develop and which is rare in people under 35 years of age – “you can’t microwave emotional intelligence”. Finally, that enabling leadership maturity in younger leaders is a contribution which older leaders who have acquired “relationship wisdom” can make. It is a value-added “give” which should be expected and rewarded in those with more chronological age in the workplace.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: There’s ample evidence that gender- and ethnically-diverse companies are more effective. But what about age?
A new kind of elder is emerging in the workplace. The alchemy of algorithm and people wisdom gained with age (high-tech meets high-touch) can greatly benefit millennials who are in managerial roles but have no formal leadership training.
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE FULL VIDEO CLICK HERE
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December 2020

Featured

Question of the Month
How long does it takes to recognise change in individuals, teams and organisations when applying the Legitimate Leadership Model? I expect there could be some fairly rapid change on a one-to-one basis, but wider change would presumably require consistency of approach and be subject to many other influencing factors.
Insights From Within An Organisation That Keeps Getting It Right
Africa Tikkun, one of South Africa’s largest non-profit organisations, assists many thousands of people in that country’s townships. But seven years ago, this extraordinary organisation set out, with Legitimate Leadership, to increase its employees’ level of engagement by showing employees that they also really mattered.
Building Cultures Where Givers Succeed
As an organizational psychologist, I (Adam Grant) spend a lot of time in workplaces, and I find paranoia everywhere. Paranoia is caused by people that I call “takers.” Takers are self-serving in their interactions. It’s all about “What can you do for me?”
The opposite is a giver. It’s somebody who approaches most interactions by asking, “What can I do for you?”

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

Question of the Month 
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: How long does it takes to recognise change in individuals, teams and organisations when applying the Legitimate Leadership Model? I expect there could be some fairly rapid change on a one-to-one basis, but wider change would presumably require consistency of approach and be subject to many other influencing factors.
Answer: At an individual level, the one thing that can change in an instant is intent. I have seen this many times. For sustainable changes in behavior and practice our experience is that at least 12–15 months is needed. This is why our process for a group of leaders is of that duration. But embedding the Legitimate Leadership principles and practices so that they have real organizational impact is not a quick process. For big, complex organizations employing thousands of people it can take 3–5 years.
 To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

WEBINAR: INSIGHTS FROM WITHIN AN ORGANISATION THAT KEEPS GETTING IT RIGHT
Africa Tikkun, one of South Africa’s largest non-profit organisations, assists many thousands of people in that country’s townships. But seven years ago, this extraordinary organisation set out, with Legitimate Leadership, to increase its employees’ level of engagement by showing employees that they also really mattered. The results of that exercise were dramatic and were part of a major turnaround in the organisation.
Then earlier this year, Africa Tikkun pivoted again: in response to the Covid 19 pandemic it changed direction from being an organisation which supported centre-registered families, to doing emergency mass distribution of food parcels to the broader community.
How Africa Tikkun achieved these changes, and the part that Legitimate Leadership played, was the subject of this webinar, which was held on 12 November and was attended by 111 people.
READ THE FULL REPORT BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

VIDEO: BUILDING CULTURES WHERE GIVERS SUCCEED
By Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, of Wharton University, USA.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Adam Grant’s research indicates that 19% of people are “takers”, 56% are “matchers”, and 25% are “givers”. In Legitimate Leadership’s view, “matchers” (that is, those who give to get) are still takers but the giving they do is in order to get. So in fact 25% are givers and 75% are takers. This is our experience as well: in any group between 15-30% are there to give and 70-85% are there to take. So there are currently more givers than takers at work. We also agree with Adam Grant on the following: that the most successful people in the world are givers; that while there is a problem with taking, there is nothing wrong with receiving; and that you should recruit givers not takers; and that takers need to be dealt with.
However we don’t agree with Adam Grant on two matters. Firstly, Adam Grant’s type of giving is only one form of giving: generosity. There are in fact two forms of giving: generosity and courage. With generosity, you risk losing things associated with yourself; with courage, you are putting yourself on the line. Secondly, Adam Grant says that the most unsuccessful people in the world are also givers. We believe that why they are not successful is not because they are givers but because they give inappropriately. Giving is not about being nice, about burning out or allowing others to take advantage. Successful givers give either generosity or courage, whichever of the two is appropriate in the situation.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: As an organizational psychologist, I (Adam Grant) spend a lot of time in workplaces, and I find paranoia everywhere. Paranoia is caused by people that I call “takers.” Takers are self-serving in their interactions. It’s all about “What can you do for me?”
The opposite is a giver. It’s somebody who approaches most interactions by asking, “What can I do for you?”
I wanted to give you a chance to think about your own style. We all have moments of giving and taking. Your style is how you treat most of the people most of the time, your default.
I have a short test you can take to figure out if you’re more of a giver or a taker, and you can take it right now (see third illustration above).
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE FULL VIDEO CLICK HERE
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Building Cultures Where Givers Succeed

By Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, of Wharton University, USA.

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Adam Grant’s research indicates that 19% of people are “takers”, 56% are “matchers”, and 25% are “givers”. In Legitimate Leadership’s view, “matchers” (that is, those who give to get) are still takers but the giving they do is in order to get. So in fact 25% are givers and 75% are takers. This is our experience as well: in any group between 15-30% are there to give and 70-85% are there to take. So there are currently more givers than takers at work. We also agree with Adam Grant on the following: that the most successful people in the world are givers; that while there is a problem with taking, there is nothing wrong with receiving; and that you should recruit givers not takers; and that takers need to be dealt with.

However we don’t agree with Adam Grant on two matters. Firstly, Adam Grant’s type of giving is only one form of giving: generosity. There are in fact two forms of giving: generosity and courage. With generosity, you risk losing things associated with yourself; with courage, you are putting yourself on the line. Secondly, Adam Grant says that the most unsuccessful people in the world are also givers. We believe that why they are not successful is not because they are givers but because they give inappropriately. Giving is not about being nice, about burning out or allowing others to take advantage. Successful givers give either generosity or courage, whichever of the two is appropriate in the situation.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: As an organizational psychologist, I (Adam Grant) spend a lot of time in workplaces, and I find paranoia everywhere. Paranoia is caused by people that I call “takers.” Takers are self-serving in their interactions. It’s all about “What can you do for me?”

The opposite is a giver. It’s somebody who approaches most interactions by asking, “What can I do for you?”

I wanted to give you a chance to think about your own style. We all have moments of giving and taking. Your style is how you treat most of the people most of the time, your default.

I have a short test you can take to figure out if you’re more of a giver or a taker, and you can take it right now (see third illustration above).

Take a moment to think about yourself. If you have made it to step 2 by now, you are not a narcissist. This cartoon is the only thing I will say today that has no data behind it, but I am convinced the longer it takes for you to laugh at this cartoon, the more worried we should be that you’re a taker.

Of course, not all takers are narcissists. Some are just givers who got burned one too many times.

Then there’s another kind of taker that we won’t be addressing today, and that’s called a psychopath.

I was curious, though, about how common these extremes are, and so I surveyed over 30,000 people across industries around the world’s cultures.

I found that most people are right in the middle – between giving and taking. They choose a third style called “matching.”

The results were that 56% of people were matchers, 25% were givers and 19% were takers.

If you’re a matcher, you try to keep an even balance of give and take: Quid pro quo — I’ll do something for you if you do something for me. That seems like a safe way to live your life. But is it the most effective and productive way to live your life? The answer to that question is a very definitive … maybe.

I studied dozens of organizations, thousands of people. I had engineers measuring their productivity. I looked at medical students’ grades — even salespeople’s revenue.

And, unexpectedly, the worst performers in each of these jobs were the givers. The engineers who got the least work done were the ones who did more favors than they got back. They were so busy doing other people’s jobs, they literally ran out of time and energy to get their own work completed. In medical school, the lowest grades belong to the students who agree most strongly with statements like, “I love helping others,” which suggests the doctor you ought to trust is the one who came to med school with no desire to help anybody.

And then in sales, too, the lowest revenue accrued in the most generous salespeople.

But actually, it turns out there’s a twist here, because givers are often sacrificing themselves, but they make their organizations better. We have a huge body of evidence — many, many studies looking at the frequency of giving behavior that exists in a team or an organization — and the more often people are helping and sharing their knowledge and providing mentoring, the better organizations do on every metric we can measure: higher profits, customer satisfaction, employee retention, even lower operating expenses. So givers spend a lot of time trying to help other people and improve the team. And then, unfortunately, they suffer along the way.

I wanted to talk about what it takes to build cultures where givers actually get to succeed.

So I wondered, then, if givers are the worst performers, who are the best performers?

Let me start with the good news: it’s not the takers. Takers tend to rise quickly but also fall quickly in most jobs. And they fall at the hands of matchers. If you’re a matcher, you believe in an eye for an eye — a just world. And so when you meet a taker, you feel like it’s your mission in life to just punish the hell out of that person, that that way justice gets served.

Most people are matchers. And that means if you’re a taker, it tends to catch up with you eventually; what goes around will come around. And so the logical conclusion is: it must be the matchers who are the best performers. But they’re not. In every job and in every organization I’ve ever studied, the best results belong to the givers again.

Data I gathered from hundreds of salespeople tracked their revenue. The givers go to both extremes – they make up the majority of people who bring in the lowest revenue, but also the highest revenue. The same patterns were true for engineers’ productivity and medical students’ grades. Givers are overrepresented at the bottom and at the top of every success metric that I can track.

Which raises the question: how do we create a world where more of these givers get to excel? Not just in businesses, but also in nonprofits, schools, even governments.

The first thing that’s really critical is to recognize that givers are your most valuable people, but if they’re not careful, they burn out. So you have to protect the givers in your midst.

I learned a great lesson about this from Fortune’s best networker, Adam Rifkin, a very successful (American) serial entrepreneur who spends a huge amount of his time helping other people. And his secret weapon is the five-minute favor.

Adam has said, “You don’t have to be Mother Teresa or Gandhi to be a giver. You just have to find small ways to add large value to other people’s lives.” That could be as simple as making an introduction between two people who could benefit from knowing each other. It could be sharing your knowledge or giving a bit of feedback. Or It might be even something as basic as saying, “You know, I’m going to try and figure out if I can recognize somebody whose work has gone unnoticed.”

Those five-minute favors are really critical to helping givers set boundaries and protect themselves.

The second thing that matters if you want to build a culture where givers succeed, is you actually need a culture where help-seeking is the norm; where people ask a lot.

What you see with successful givers is they recognize that it’s OK to be a receiver, too. If you run an organization, we can actually make it easier for people to ask for help.

Some colleagues and I studied hospitals. We found that on certain floors, nurses did a lot of help-seeking, and on other floors, they did very little of it. The factor that stood out on the floors where help-seeking was common, where it was the norm, was there was just one nurse whose sole job it was to help other nurses on the unit. When that role was available, nurses said, “It’s not embarrassing, it’s not vulnerable to ask for help — it’s actually encouraged.”

Help-seeking isn’t important just for protecting the success and well-being of givers. It’s also critical to getting more people to act like givers, because the data say that between 75 and 90 percent of all giving in organizations starts with a request.

But a lot of people don’t ask. They don’t want to look incompetent, they don’t know where to turn, they don’t want to burden others.

Yet if nobody ever asks for help, you have a lot of frustrated givers in your organization who would love to step up and contribute, if they only knew who could benefit and how.

But I think the most important thing, if you want to build a culture of successful givers, is to be thoughtful about who you let onto your team.

I figured that if you want a culture of productive generosity, you should hire a bunch of givers. But I was surprised to discover that actually that was not right — that the negative impact of a taker on a culture is usually double to triple the positive impact of a giver. One bad apple can spoil a barrel.

Let even one taker into a team, and you will see that the givers will stop helping. They’ll say, “I’m surrounded by snakes and sharks. Why should I contribute?”

Whereas if you let one giver into a team, you don’t get an explosion of generosity. More often, people are like, “Great! That person can do all our work.”

So, effective hiring and screening and team building is not about bringing in the givers; it’s about weeding out the takers. If you can do that well, you’ll be left with givers and matchers. The givers will be generous because they don’t have to worry about the consequences. And the beauty of the matchers is that they follow the norm.

So how do you catch a taker before it’s too late?

We’re actually pretty bad at figuring out who’s a taker, especially on first impressions. The personality trait that throws us off is agreeableness – one the major dimensions of personality across cultures.

Agreeable people are warm and friendly, they’re nice, they’re polite.

How could I ever say I’m any one thing when I’m constantly adapting to try to please other people?

Disagreeable people do less of it. They’re more critical, skeptical, challenging.

I always assumed that agreeable people were givers and disagreeable people were takers. But then I gathered the data, and I was stunned to find no correlation between those traits.

Because it turns out that agreeableness-disagreeableness is your outer veneer: How pleasant is it to interact with you?

Whereas giving and taking are more of your inner motives: What are your values? What are your intentions toward others?

The agreeable givers are easy to spot: they say yes to everything.

The disagreeable takers are also recognized quickly, although you might call them by a slightly different name.

We forget about the other two combinations: the disagreeable givers and agreeable takers.

Disagreeable givers are people who are gruff and tough on the surface but underneath have others’ best interests at heart. Or as an engineer put it, “Disagreeable givers are like somebody with a bad user interface but a great operating system.”

Disagreeable givers are the most undervalued people in our organizations, because they’re the ones who give the critical feedback that no one wants to hear but everyone needs to hear. We need to do a much better job valuing these people as opposed to writing them off early, and saying, “Kind of prickly, must be a selfish taker.”

Agreeable takers are the deadly ones, also known as the fakers. They are the people who are nice to your face, and then will stab you right in the back.

My favorite way to catch these people in the interview process is to ask the question, “Can you give me the names of four people whose careers you have fundamentally improved?” The takers’ four names will be more influential than them, because takers are great at kissing up and then kicking down.

Givers are more likely to name people who are below them in a hierarchy, who don’t have as much power, who can do them no good.

Let’s face it, you all know you can learn a lot about character by watching how someone treats their restaurant server or their Uber driver.

So if we do all this well, if we can weed takers out of organizations, if we can make it safe to ask for help, if we can protect givers from burnout and make it OK for them to be ambitious in pursuing their own goals as well as trying to help other people, we can actually change the way that people define success.

Instead of saying it’s all about winning a competition, people will realize success is really more about contribution.

I believe that the most meaningful way to succeed is to help other people succeed. And if we can spread that belief, we can actually turn paranoia upside down – to “pronoia”.

Pronoia is the delusional belief that other people are plotting your well-being.

That they’re going around behind your back and saying exceptionally glowing things about you.

The great thing about a culture of givers is that’s not a delusion — it’s reality. I want to live in a world where givers succeed, and I hope you will help me create that world.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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Insights From Within An Organisation That Keeps Getting It Right

Africa Tikkun, one of South Africa’s largest non-profit organisations, assists many thousands of people in that country’s townships. But seven years ago, this extraordinary organisation set out, with Legitimate Leadership, to increase its employees’ level of engagement by showing employees that they also really mattered. The results of that exercise were dramatic and were part of a major turnaround in the organisation.

Then earlier this year, Africa Tikkun pivoted again: in response to the Covid 19 pandemic it changed direction from being an organisation which supported centre-registered families, to doing emergency mass distribution of food parcels to the broader community.

How Africa Tikkun achieved these changes, and the part that Legitimate Leadership played, was the subject of this webinar, which was held on 12 November and was attended by 111 people.

BACKGROUND

Background to the transformations in Africa Tikkun, was provided by Ian Munro, director of Legitimate Leadership, who moderated the webinar:

Africa Tikkun is one of the largest non-governmental organisations (NGO, non-profit) in South Africa. It works with children and young adults with a cradle-to-career model. It operates from five centres, four in Gauteng and one in the Western Cape. It has impacted more than 36,000 children directly. Additionally, Africa Tikkun also runs outreach programmes in schools and other institutions so the number of children actually impacted is much greater than 36,000 (see, for instance, Township Youth Learn Give to Grow).

In 2013 Africa Tikkun commissioned an employee engagement survey (see Afrika Tikkun – An Astounding Culture Shift In One Year ). The result showed 27% employee engagement within the organisation. At that time the organization had experienced significant growth over a long time which apparently had had negative implications for its culture and management disciplines on the ground.

The vision of the organization was not well understood by people on the ground and wasn’t being communicated properly to new people who joined the organisation. Managers weren’t available to their people.

The organization knew that something needed to change. So among other things Africa Tikkun engaged Legitimate Leadership.

A year later, the employee engagement survey was redone. Engagement had risen from 27% to 59%.

Said Munro: “That means that at the beginning of the 12 months, if there are three people talking at a water cooler, two of them are talking the organization down and one is talking it up. By the end of the 12 months, two people are talking the organization up and one of them is talking it down. It is chalk and cheese.

“The engagement surveys were done by an independent company which told us (Legitimate Leadership) afterwards that they had just not previously seen this kind of turnaround in such a short space of time.

“But perhaps even more remarkable than that was the fact that the change has been sustained. It is one thing to change an organization, it’s wholly different for that change to endure over as long as seven years – and it isn’t slowing down yet.

“The last part of the story is about Africa Tikkun and Covid and the lockdown in South Africa earlier this year. Within a matter of weeks Africa Tikkun was able to pivot from being an organization which supported centre-registered families to an organization which supported the broader community; which was able to move out of the classroom and into serving meals and distributing food parcels in the community.

“There are many organizations that struggle to turn their ship. But Afrika Tikkun did this in weeks and got their people to commit to a whole new way of doing things and a whole new reason for being.”

PARTICIPANTS

in the webinar, Ian Munro asked questions (preprepared and from the audience) of the three Afrika Tikkun participants:

Marc Lubner, group CEO of Africa Tikkun, who was intimately involved in the Legitimate Leadership application.

Leonie van Tonder, who was chief operating officer of Africa Tikkun for seven years and introduced Legitimate Leadership to Africa Tikkun.

Nehwoh Belinda, who heads Africa Tikkun’s Uthando centre in Johannesburg, who experienced and participated in the Legitimate Leadership application there.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q (IAN MUNRO): What was Afrika Tikkun like before the Legitimate Leadership application and what triggered you to adopt Legitimate Leadership in your organization?

LUBNER: The organization had grown very quickly. Then we changed our primary focus from ad hoc programmes to an integrated cradle-to-career approach. But while we at head office had a clear understanding of what we wanted to achieve we had not communicated it well to the people who were to be responsible for implementation. A lot of information was lost in interpretation. That created confusion and a growing rift between head office and the operating sites.

Secondly, the board came from the commercial world and didn’t necessarily understand the change processes that would be required in a developmental organization where you have to turn the pyramid of responsibility on its head and realize that the people at the coalface are your most important assets – not the size of your balance sheet or the people at head office.

Thirdly, innovation was not coming from the sites themselves. I had anticipated that people in the township environments, in those communities, would be pushing management to bring about various programmes to bring about change. But we were sorely lacking in that innovation.

Fourthly, in 2013 I personally was exhausted and burnt out. I was recommended to meet this extraordinary woman Leonie van Tonder who would turn out to be the genie in the bottle that would provide the solutions. Leonie had come from a corporate background but had a deep understanding of how to make people feel valued and respected. I told her I needed a new culture within the organization which would most importantly make people feel that they really mattered – not just the work that they did, but that they themselves really mattered.

Leonie made her employment in Afrika Tikkun conditional on us supporting her with implementation of Legitimate Leadership in the organization and we’ve never looked back.

What Legitimate Leadership brought as a starting point was the sense that if you’re going to care for people you’ve got to do so responsibly.

 

Q: Based on your experience at Africa Tikkun and elsewhere what advice would you give to someone thinking a Legitimate Leadership implementation?

VAN TONDER: One of the first things is to look at is the structure of the organization. If there is no clarity in the structure it is difficult for people to understand who they take their orders from. One must be quite stringent about the line of command.

Secondly, getting buy-in from senior management is critical. When we started with Legitimate Leadership we started with the senior management, then we did the layers below. And it is extremely important to never forget the non-managerial people because you cannot institute a change in your culture as well as in your management processes and activities if they do not understand.

Nice about the Legitimate Leadership is that the development is in the managerial groups but there are also programmes that go right down to the real people in the organization – for them to understand why they are there and to appreciate the unique contribution that each person makes to any organization.

 

Q: You talk about contribution, but this is an NGO (non-profit). Surely everyone who works in Afrika Tikkun naturally a fantastic person who wants to make a contribution? So surely this is much easier to do in Afrika Tikkun than in for instance a bank?

VAN TONDER: You might think so but in fact when you care for other people you need to put it in context. Care is not a bunny-hugging process; it has responsibility and accountabilities. It is not easier or more difficult to do it in an NGO than it is in a commercial company. People need to understand the responsibilities and accountabilities that go with caring.

 

Q: In some ways the profit motive almost makes it easier I think because people are less confused about what they are expected to do and what the purpose is. I think it was sometimes difficult for people to come to terms with the contribution that the centre heads had to make – not on the children directly but indirectly through the other leaders. How did you experience the shift on the ground and what do you think has made that shift stick for the past seven years?

BELINDA: Legitimate Leadership has grown me as a leader and I recommend it to every organization. When Legitimate Leadership was introduced it was confusing because the organization was then focusing on results. Contribution was something that we did not really understand. The vision was not very clear and we were just looking for numbers. But when Legitimate Leadership was applied I got to understand that care was the most important thing, and attention. I had to take care and grow my people, and the results would just come. For us to accept that was a bit challenging. But as Leonie said you need to start from management. When management accepted Legitimate Leadership and transitioned into implementing what we had learned we went through 10 months of one-day-a-month coaching that discussed issues that were real in the organization. For people to believe in this, as a leader I had to walk the talk, I had to watch the game, I had to let everyone in my team know my intent so that I could hold people accountable – be it praising them or censuring them. And making sure that everyone in the organization was on the same page – from the cleaner whose job is very important to the cook and gardener. This made things easier because the language of the organizations changed immediately – when you praised someone they would say that is care and growth, but when I censured a manager she thanked me and said that is care and growth.

Consistency is very important. Since we started this process, every year we come back and share our experiences.

 

Q: What do you mean by ‘caring responsibly’ and what were some of the obstacles you had to overcome in making the shift to Legitimate Leadership. How does one shift from focusing on results to focusing on the things that produce the results?

BELINDA: I did one-on-one sessions which were well planned, not just in the air but in the diary. I gave them the responsibility, they owned the meetings, they directed the meetings. If they had to talk about their personal issues, I had to listen to them. Many times someone would come into work late or something would happen and we would not know them as a person because we had just needed them to produce. When I started having those one-on-ones and actually incrementally suspending control, making them take decisions (whether I loved the decisions or not), letting them run their various departments, the shift was so clear that I could actually take a holiday and not worry about the centre.

 

Q: Yes other people have said that they will know an implementation is successful if they can go on holiday. Marc, you have said when you control people you perpetuate dependency. What do you mean when you say you should not perpetuate dependency but rather empower?

LUBNER: The world of charity was built on people who had who wanted to give to people who didn’t have. So there was almost an assumption that the giver was somewhat superior to the receiver. That kind of mindset, I am pleased to say, is becoming archaic because it perpetuates dependency – ‘I will feed you today and then tomorrow I’m still responsible for feeding you, I haven’t taught you to feed yourself’. So the philosophy within Afrika Tikkun is ‘responsible kindness’. Obviously if you’re going to be in service of others you have to be kind in nature, your objective is to be kind – but you need to do so in a manner that is responsible, to break that dependency cycle. And that’s not just necessarily between an organization and its beneficiaries, but within the organization itself.

One has to accept that the people that are working with you in the organization have insight and skills and became involved in this field because that is what they really wanted to do. So it’s no good just taking people and putting them into predefined jobs whose results are measured on the prescribed outcomes. You have to recognize that these individuals are putting their hearts and souls into the work and build systems that enable them to be able to speak their minds and innovate. And you must encourage and incentivize that kind of behaviour rather than just putting people into process flows.

 

Q: One of the analogies we use is that if you want to have a beautiful garden you not only need to plant a beautiful garden but you also need to tend that garden for it to stay beautiful. What has been required from the leadership in order to sustain?

LUBNER: Like anything in life that’s worthwhile, you have to work at it. Legitimate Leadership requires a commitment to constant, rigorous improvement. Leadership in the organization cannot simply sit back and say ‘oh well great, now my staff are empowered’. If anything it changes the role of the leader in the organization to become even more visionary, more strategic. Your responsibility to your team becomes even greater because people are now doing what they’re saying they’re going to do and therefore they have expectations of you to be able to also fulfil your role. There is an absolute necessity for commitment to constantly reviewing this process and refreshing it and not allowing it to lapse. This isn’t a one-hour fitness video experience, this is something you have to learn to live, and the more you live it the more it becomes real in every element – from HR to leadership disciplines to the talk within the organization. The nature of the talk has changed around those water coolers – we now talk Legitimate Leadership lingo and have a deep sense, understanding and commitment to what that really means. So it requires a rigorous commitment to an ongoing structured process and an adoption of a number of informal procedures within the organization.

 

Q: Is this something that you can outsource?

LUBNER: You can outsource the teachings but your own in-house trainers have to be trained and then they themselves train others – so all our general managers become teachers in their own right and train others. So it really is a process that infuses throughout the organization. You cannot buy a video or employ someone for one day a month. You have to recognize that what you’re doing is injecting this throughout the entire body of the organization. But you also have to rely on experts like Legitimate Leadership to help advise on changes that are taking place because it’s dynamic. So I don’t think it’s something you can do internally on your own without guidance and equally it is not something you can just delegate to a third parties.

 

Q Leonie, you’ve been involved in successful implementations of Legitimate Leadership in different organizations. What were the particular challenges in Africa Tikkun and how were they overcome?

VAN TONDER: As an NGO the first challenge was money and the second was time. The third in Africa Tikkun was logistics.

Marc initially found us some money to do this and going forward through the years there have been special donations made for this purpose.

Regarding time, one must obviously always take people’s time into consideration because there are children and beneficiaries that normally demand their time and need to be attended to. So the organization of time was important.

If then in an organization where you have different branches, like a bank has different branches, one of the best things that we did was to select the people that attended the workshops from different centres and brought them together at a central venue. For the first time people got to know their colleagues doing the same kind of work at other centres. Just bringing the people together for that purpose made a huge difference in the organization because people suddenly started to get to know their colleagues from elsewhere and saw that they all had the same kind of challenges in the organization.

 

Q: What kind of coaching did you do with people in the organization – was it external, internal or you sitting with others?

VAN TONDER: The coaching was specifically around the application modules of Legitimate Leadership that point to specific aspects of the work – things like the true meaning of performance management and empowerment. When we did theoretical days or half-days for the modules they got homework and had to go and practice this in the centres. Then before the next session we sat with them and they shared their experiences, learning from peers – the one person would have a better way of solving a problem than another. And where there were specific problems obviously I stepped in.

 

Q Did you have any managers that didn’t see themselves as leaders?  I’ve come across people who’ve said ‘I’m a manager and my job is to deliver results and frankly I don’t care about people and I don’t care about you and your programme either’.

VAN TONDER: Yes we do. We give the person the best opportunity and best guidance that we can and then at a stage we decide that this is not working and have a good conversation and redeploy the person somewhere else where they would be better suited, maybe with lower rank but where they are responsible for functions and not for people directly. This is not a hospital pass (exempting them), which one should never do.

LUBNER: The organization was always driven by values of the original founders – the legendary Chief Rabbi Harris and my father Bertie Lubner (both late). So it wasn’t too difficult when we started to implement a values-driven cultural programme.

Rather than creating fear and trepidation the Legitimate Leadership system and the way it was implemented made it uncomfortable for certain individuals who realised that this wasn’t the environment they wanted to be in – because we said the cultural shift is non-negotiable. Legitimate Leadership was not a carrot or stick approach but a way of following values from people around you. You would either subscribe to those values or it would become obvious that you weren’t going to fit. In fact people left – a proper discussion was held and people moved on either into another post where they weren’t in leadership positions or out of the organization completely. What really impressed me was the remarkable capacity that the management team had to embrace and support one another. If there’s one take-home for me it is how the management team worked together, bringing their various different strengths and relative weaknesses to support one another and create this really magnificent team of individuals capable of achieving so much.

 

Q: I have seen many leaders over the years who want to have their cake and eat it – they want to be values- and principles-driven but they also just can’t bring themselves to give up on the short-term results. And it becomes fundamentally disabling because people see that as insincere. You can’t claim to be values-driven, then at the same time, when push comes to shove, you don’t act in a values-driven way. I think it’s hard for leaders to make that kind of sacrifice – but in the long run it’s not even a sacrifice … right?

LUBNER: I thought I was this caring loving all-embracing wonderful human being, supportive of my staff. Then when I looked at the low percentage of staff who were engaged (before Legitimate Leadership), and I had Leonie, this tough-talking no-nonsense individual who was going to take over the role of chief operating officer and implement Legitimate Leadership, I had to swallow hard. I thought I would alienate everybody by bringing this style of leadership in. In fact quite the reverse happened because I and my role were more clearly defined through the Legitimate Leadership process and each individual understood how he or she mattered and the values that we were instituting in the organization. If anything, everyone had a greater sense of security because they knew which direction they were going and how they fitted into the overall puzzle. Equally they knew where my role’s boundaries were so they didn’t think ‘because Marc is the CEO he can just do anything and everything he wants’. Protocols were implemented which were good for me and good for the organization and brought a far better sense of trust between us, which is a very important ingredient in running any organization.

 

Q: Regarding the lockdown, Nehwoh, as a general manager, how did you make the big shift and what role did Legitimate Leadership play in you making this shift?

BELINDA: St Francis of Assisi said, ‘Preach the gospel; if necessary use words’. I try and live by that in applying the Legitimate Leadership principles. Sometimes they’re not easy to do but I try and remind myself. So one of the things I do is respect and support staff members and listen to them. I do not promise something or ask for an opinion from a staff member or from the management team that I will not follow up on. And I’ve learned how to give feedback and not mix it – so if someone does something well I will not in the same feedback conversation give praise and censure.

When the lockdown came everyone understood what contribution means and so when management decided within a week to distribute food parcels each centre management had to manage themselves in a way that spoke to their community because we knew that people wanted food parcels but we still had to do distribution in a way that was dignified. So I called staff members and told them this was the decision and we put people in different groups – people to cook, to distribute, etc. But the culture of the organization says we communicate with each other in the process of checking in with the team. Because we had built a relationship where people openly hold us managers to account, they now said ‘we know we are doing this work and we are happy doing it, but we feel we were not consulted’. And I had to say ‘it was a crisis and in times of crisis, management has to make certain decisions’. So everyone came in and contributed. People don’t look at job descriptions at Africa Tikkun – they’ve moved away from that; they make sure that we serve the communities.

 

Q: Was this enabled by having a different approach? Could you not have just said to people ‘this is what we’re going to do’ and they must listen because you know you have people who want to make contribution?

BELINDA: No, the fact that we had to understand the true meaning of care played a great role. Without it I think we would have just been dictating and we wouldn’t have got the feedback that we got. Then people would not give it their all and would find excuses not to do the work. It was Covid 19, it was a pandemic, everyone was scared. Many people could have taken take sick leave but they did not because they really wanted to contribute – and this had been paved by the care and growth that we have in the organization. Without Legitimate Leadership it would have just been people struggling to claim UIF (government income subsidisation) and not actually giving of themselves

 

Q: Yes, in many organizations I know the conversation became about UIF and TERS etc (government subsidies), not about how can we contribute. There are whole sectors of our society where people just left their posts in a crisis and focused on claiming these things, but that didn’t happen in Africa Tikkun.

LUBNER: This wasn’t just people being asked to be doing different jobs, they were being asked to go into an environment where all the rules of the pandemic – social distancing, stay at home, etc – were being turned on their head. They were going into community environments where they were swarmed by people for whom food was a priority. And these were not staff members who were anticipating overtime payments though the hours they worked were well in excess of that which they were contracted for. Legitimate Leadership helped us swing from a structured day-to-day regime to this new set of crisis interventions because there was trust. Before the crisis trust had been developed between management and staff at all levels. There was this spirit. Nehwoh said that at her level decisions were taken because there was a crisis and she conveyed those decisions, but she was still sensitive to the fact that there hadn’t necessarily been a proper caucus. In times of crisis you have to take decisions and you have to be surrounded by people who trust that you’ve taken the right decisions and support that. That’s why it’s so important that you can’t just intervene with Legitimate Leadership as a once-off or a once-a-year initiative, you’ve got to constantly refresh it. It’s got to be a way of life so when crisis times do strike you have the trust of all people – like teachers who become packers or delivery staff, taking risks in going out. Over 100,000 free monthly food parcels were delivered because there was a culture within the organization which had been engendered over seven years. It’s a great way to be able to live, to work in an environment where you’re surrounded by people who trust you and equally you trust them in return. I think people underestimate the enormous power of trust and the fact that you don’t turn trust on by paying for it – you have to live it over time

CONTRIBUTE TO AFRIKA TIKKUN: https://afrikatikkunservices.com/contact-2/

TO VIEW THE VIDEO OF THIS WEBINAR CLICK HERE

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December 2020 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: How long does it takes to recognise change in individuals, teams and organisations when applying the Legitimate Leadership Model? I expect there could be some fairly rapid change on a one-to-one basis, but wider change would presumably require consistency of approach and be subject to many other influencing factors.

Answer:  At an individual level, the one thing that can change in an instant is intent. I have seen this many times. For sustainable changes in behavior and practice our experience is that at least 12–15 months is needed. This is why our process for a group of leaders is of that duration.

But embedding the Legitimate Leadership principles and practices so that they have real organizational impact is not a quick process. For big, complex organizations employing thousands of people it can take 3–5 years.

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In An Implementation, If Necessary Use Words

afrika-tikkun

By Teigue Payne, Legitimate Leadership

Go forth and preach the gospel; if necessary use words.

These words, from St Francis of Assisi, were a theme in the “graduation” ceremony in Legitimate Leadership’s Advanced Leadership Module for nine general managers of Africa Tikkun, one of South Africa’s largest NGOs (non-governmental organisations).

The graduation ceremony was held on 24 November in Johannesburg. The group had completed a total of 22 days of training and development in the Legitimate Leadership Model over three years (since 2013), culminating in a series of Advanced Leadership Modules.

Afrika Tikkun is a community empowerment organisation which develops young people in a “Cradle to Career” model. It employs over 550 permanent staff and its services reach over 20,000 direct beneficiaries and 100,000 indirect beneficiaries. Five of the nine general managers manage service centres in various townships in South Africa; the rest are subject-matter experts.

EXAMPLES

At the graduation ceremony, members of the group related aspects of their understanding of the model and gave examples of how it had changed their management styles and practices.

Some quotes from the group …

On enabling employee contribution:

“It is important that as a leader your intentions are correct at all times. Constantly engage (your subordinates), give them one-on-one time. It is not about you, it is about the staff members … In our centre, we had someone who was outshining and outperforming in her role, and was assisting the principal. When the principal resigned she was the obvious person to appoint. But we must always watch the game – I take full responsibility that this did not happen in the beginning, because I thought she was a superstar. But her performance fell behind. Eventually we had to talk. We examined means and ability issues and found they were not lacking; accountability was where it went wrong. This required a serious conversation, including asking her whether she was still willing. She could hear herself and see a picture of herself. We brainstormed a solution, then secured commitment from her. We are still sitting together and monitoring the improvement.” – Pat Ledwaba.

“When I arrived at my centre I emphasised that the success of one is the success of all. Therefore, in our team there are no super chickens. We collaborate and support each other, we have cultivated collaborative teams. Now when we have a weekend function, we find all the staff there.… But we are also finding that the general managers are collaborating horizontally more, and people are noticing it.” – Manny Mlanga.

On courage:

“We had an issue with an early childhood development employee. She was not conforming, or adhering to instructions or deadlines. The barrier I faced was fear – fear of being judged that I had not been doing my job, and fear for the consequences for the employee and her family. But I took courage and the supervisor and I had a serious engagement with the employee. She was given standards and instructions, with support. There has been a marked improvement, because of the act of courage.” – Vanessa Mentor.

“Courage is a matter of will, it is not an ability issue. So you need to introspect.” – Ziyaad Jina.

“We had a talented individual but he was having difficulty with change. We wanted to keep him on the bus and we thought he was coachable. When we were training in dealing with victims, we realised there was no other issue with him except of willingness. He was also starting to influence other people. So we had to do some serious performance management.” – Thomas Taole.

On dealing with and leading change:

“In my centre, people were complaining about the cleanliness of the toilets and saying the cleaners were not doing the jobs properly. I decided to take a day to do a cleaner’s job, in order to understand the problem. I mopped the floors and cleaned the toilets. I heard from the other cleaners that users were not looking after their toilets and they needed to change their attitudes to the cleaning staff. That allowed me to implement change in that area, particularly around people’s attitudes to the workplace.” – Lizo Madinga.

On growing by growing others:

“When we focus on what we are giving versus taking, we always learn. I was told to go and meet Leonie (the chief operating officer) in her office. I was very afraid; I prayed. But Leonie said she wanted me to become a general manager. When I expressed doubt about my abilities to do so, she said I should fake it until I make it. I had never thought about being a general manager. In my first meeting I told my staff, ‘I am empty, I have been tasked to lead, help me’.” – Belinda Nehwoh.

AFRICA TIKKUN’S LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP JOURNEY

Africa Tikkun has been one of Legitimate Leadership most loyal clients. Leonie van Tonder, its chief operating officer, agreed to her appointment to that post three years ago on two conditions:

  • That the organisation would undertake an immediate employee engagement survey. This was done by Mindset Management Programs (an organisation not associated with Legitimate Leadership).
  • That the Legitimate Leadership Model would be implemented in the organisation. Every person in the organisation has since had some training in the model. Van Tonder had previous experience of implementing the model, when she was CEO of Shared Services for FNB, one of South Africa’s largest banks.

When Van Tonder was appointed chief operating officer of Africa Tikkun in 2013, the organisation was in turmoil and disorganisation – even though it was still managing to do good work. This was admitted by Marc Lubner, CEO of Africa Tikkun, at the graduation.

Lubner thanked Van Tonder for turning the management of the organisation around and for implementing the Legitimate Leadership Model.

Lubner said that when he came into the organisation 10 years ago, he envisioned that its focus should be inverted from a top-down pyramid organogram then (with the founder, the late Bertie Lubner, his father, at the top, and the service centres at the bottom). This has now been achieved, he said, with the head office increasingly serving the service centres.

Van Tonder said that the initial employee engagement study by Mindset Management Programs  indicated an employee engagement rate of 27%, which was even lower than the low South African national average of 29%. A year after that, following the initial rollout of the Legitimate Leadership Model, a re-survey showed a stunning improvement to 59% engagement.

She said that, being an NGO, it was essential for Africa Tikkun to be able to measure and evaluate everything it did – to ensure effectiveness of practice and to give adequate feedback to all donors on how their money was being spent. It was also important to understand what the purpose of all interventions were – what the endgame looked like and what the company would need to do to achieve that.

But, she said, “working with people is a journey where you never arrive. As soon as you have one group up and running, they move on and the next batch arrives and you start all over again.”

Essentially the model had helped make Africa Tikkun managers and general managers into legitimate leaders who can insist on contribution and accountability from their subordinates, she said: “Trust is the currency by which you buy Legitimate Leadership.”

WHAT A LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP INTERVENTION SEEKS TO ACHIEVE

Wendy Lambourne, director of Legitimate Leadership, spoke about what a Legitimate Leadership intervention seeks to achieve. In essence, she said it seeks a specific transformation – namely, a change in motive or intent from being here to take to being here to give at the level of the individual, the team and the organisation.

Organisations which are here to give have a noble purpose, referred to as its “benevolent intent”. They exist to serve their customers and to add value to people’s lives.

Leaders (those in authority) in organisations who are here to give understand that they are here to serve their people, not the other way round. What serving their people means boils down to two drops of essence: to care for and to grow their people.

By “care” is meant to have their people’s best interests at heart and to have a sincere and genuine interest in them as individuals, as human beings. By “growth” is meant to enable them to realise their full potential, to be the very best that they can be.

Employees who are here to give come to work concerned with what they can give or contribute rather than with what they can get while giving as little as possible.

Employees who are here to give are committed unconditionally to going above and beyond in pursuit of the organisation’s objectives. They are actively engaged at work and come to work to do the best job they can do.

Although Legitimate Leadership often starts off an intervention by conducting leadership audits in order to provide leaders with individual and collective diagnostic information on their strengths and weaknesses, in Africa Tikkun’s case it was felt that a leadership audit would not be particularly helpful since it was clear that those in leadership positions were generally not doing well in terms of both care and growth. There were many indicators in 2013 that this was the case.

For instance:

  • The reporting structures were not clear.
  • There was no clear line of command and in any event no one respected it.
  • Everyone was giving orders to everyone else.
  • Those in management roles at all levels did not understand what they were accountable for, what their unique value-add was.
  • There was limited commitment to deliver on promises made.
  • Deadlines were missed.
  • Times were not adhered to.
  • There was some deviant behaviour like stealing, but people weren’t fired because there were compassionate concerns about the effects on their families, etc.
  • There was lots of training that this did not translate into a change in behaviour or improved performance on the ground.

Lambourne said that in the past three years, Legitimate Leadership had:

  • Provided an understanding of the Legitimate Leadership Model through its two-day introductory workshops.
  • Put managers at all levels through the initial series of application modules, followed by coaching sessions – a total of 10 days over a 12 month period. The topics covered Care and the Issue of Time and Attention, Performance Management, Empowerment, Making Masters (Dealing with Victims) and Holding People Accountable.
  • Then, via leadership audits, it measured the degree to which managers were now aligned to the care and growth criteria. From the audits, each manager committed to making specific shifts in their leadership behaviours.
  • Ran Grow to Care workshops for non-managers at all the centres – not once, but twice.
  • Put the nine general managers in the organisation through the Advanced Leadership programme during the second half of 2016, which culminated in the graduation.
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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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The Empowerment Framework

Empowerment implies an incremental suspension of control to enable growth in others.

At the outset we should acknowledge that empowerment is not an instantaneous event. We cannot empower someone by simply deciding that they are empowered, instead a deliberate framework for empowerment must be followed.

The Empowerment Framework

Empowerment is a process for enabling contribution; for cultivating ‘givers’. People can’t make a contribution if they don’t have the ‘means’ to do so; literally, they are not allowed to give. In an organisation, empowerment means providing people with an enabling environment in which to perform by giving them the requisite tools, resources, time, authority, targets/goals, standards, and feedback.

Equally for contribution to happen, people must have the ‘ability’ to give. They need to know from their manager both ‘how’ to do what is required of them and ‘why’ they should do it.

Generally, managers believe that having addressed the two variables of ‘means’ and ‘ability’ to contribute, their empowerment job is done. To use the analogy of empowering a man to fish, the process entails providing him with the tools and bringing in an expert to teach him to fish. Suitably equipped and able, the man is now fully empowered to feed himself and his family by fishing. Or is he? No, he is not. What is missing is the third critical variable in the process – the issue of ‘accountability’. At some point the fisherman must be told: ‘If you don’t catch the fish, very sorry but starve’.

What engages people’s will to contribute is accountability. Through the centre of accountability runs a standard. A person’s contribution can either be above standard or below standard. When a person’s contribution is above standard, either the person is going the extra mile, in which case it is appropriate to reward the person, or the person is careful to meet the standard and should be recognised. Similarly if the person has the means and ability but is below standard, it is for two kinds of reasons: either the person is careless and should be censured or she is malevolent, which requires that she be disciplined.

To empower someone means to address all these three aspects of the empowerment process. Unless due consideration is given to all three – in the order of means, ability and then accountability – empowerment has not happened.

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The Most Important Characteristic Of A Leader

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

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: The problem with leadership work (care and growth) is that it is vitally important but rarely urgent. Because of this it can be put off for another day – and typically that is what happens. Leaders are not here to produce outcomes, they are here to produce the people to produce outcomes. This will only happen when they are courageous enough to focus their time and attention on the care and growth of their people, when they schedule time for the leadership work and stick to the plan. What gives leaders the courage to do this is simply the conviction that people matter and that, as those in charge of others, their job is to “give” to them not to “get” results out of them.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: I (Simon Sinek) am often asked what the most important characteristics of leadership are – vision, charisma, etc. I know plenty of incredible leaders that aren’t Steve Jobs visionaries. And I know some fantastic leaders who do not have charisma – they’re quiet and super-introverted, not that exciting to talk to or spend time with.

When I say charisma I mean the traditional definition which is more about energy. But I believe that charisma is undying belief in something – and they have that in spades.

But I think courage is the one thing that all great leaders have to have because we are surrounded by overwhelming forces every day pushing us to play the finite game. The pressures are overwhelming.

(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.)

If you’re a public company, all the markets want for their own selfish gain is for you to make short-term decisions. If you’re a numbers-driven person, the pressures are overwhelming. If you’re in survival mode the pressures are overwhelming. If you have a spouse who spends more money than you can make, the pressures are overwhelming.

All the pressures around us – even the way we treat competition versus rivalry (we feel like we have to win win win all the time) – are absolutely overwhelming for us to be finite and to prioritize the short term over the long term, the urgent over the important.

It takes unbelievable courage to put the important before the urgent. It takes unbelievable courage to resist all the pressures coming from selfish outside parties, to do the right thing.

Which begs the question, how do you get courage?

The answer is you have to have people in your life who love you and believe in you – friends, colleagues, employees – that when you just don’t have it in you, you don’t think you can, somebody says “I’ve got your back, I believe in you”.

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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Lessons Learned From Doing Leadership Diagnostics

Legitimate Leadership ProfileBy 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 which 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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Different Scenarios For Learning On The Job

In a written feedback about Legitimate Leadership’s Module 1 (Building Strong People), and in particular about a prescribed article for that module, Your Diary Never Lies, a manager who had started his career as an apprentice said that at a personal level, his own career had benefitted from working with managers who took time to help him over the years and “just watching how they performed in the work place was a learning experience itself”.

“Finding quality time to spend with staff is vitally important, particularly if they are inexperienced and need training to be able to carry out their role. Delegation of tasks becomes much easier with an experienced team. This is something I learned 10 years ago when working as a programme manager. The job was easy when I had inherited a team of experienced schedulers, who knew exactly what they were doing and delivered everything that was asked of them. None of them were victims, they were a pleasure to work with and easy to manage.”

“This period gave me a false sense of security, thinking that management was easy.”

“This all changed within a couple of years when they retired. The people that replaced them had far less experience and came with behavioural challenges that I had not experienced before. It was a rude awakening and I made the mistake of not spending enough time with them to train them. Instead, I ended up doing some of their work on top of my own and working a lot more hours. The end result was a considerable amount of stress and a serious lesson was learned.”

“Part of the reason for falling into the trap of not spending enough time with the team was a belief that we would not meet planning deliverables if I did not do the task myself. What I should have done is shown and coached each member of the team how to do it themselves, allowed them to take the reins, sat beside them and talked them through it. This style of coaching is not a five minute job, nor can it be done in a couple of weeks. It takes months, but during that time the individual learns faster than they would have done if they had been left to their own devices. Their skills and confidence grows to the point when they become proficient and are less reliant on their manager. A good working relationship develops because of the time that has been invested.”

Spending Time With My Team – 1-To-1 Meetings, Daily Stand Up Meetings, Coaching And Mentoring Sessions

“I set up weekly 1-to-1 meetings with my staff in August 2020. I’m finding these are a great way to get to know the team better on a personal level and find out how they are settling into their new roles. They are all doing well and seem to be enjoying the work. During these discussions I also get to find out other things about their characters, their hobbies and interests, family life, and so forth.”

“One of the best things about working on our site, which most people comment upon when asked about where they work, is the people, the friendships that develop, and the social interaction that takes place. The work is complex and no two days are the same. This is something I almost always mention to new people who join the company and have just started their careers – to make them feel welcome and to let them know how lucky they are to get the opportunity to work on exciting projects.”

“When I asked my team for feedback recently about what they thought about the 1-to-1s, they told me that they thought it was a good idea and that they felt supported and appreciated. It does give me the chance to let them know how well they are getting on, offer advice, talk about future goals and say thank you for their contribution that week.”

“The introduction of the Daily Stand Up Meetings (DSUMs), from the SOE (Sustainable Operational Excellence) course has been tremendously useful. We have been running these every day for the last month, starting at 8:30am and lasting 20-30 minutes. My team have helped to design the DSUM document that we use to update with information each day. It is still a work-in-progress but getting better each week. As their manager, it is an excellent way for me to start the day, to see what we are all working on each day, the targets we are aiming to complete, what has been achieved, discuss health and safety items, our workloads, wellbeing, training requirements and bring up any concerns that need to be actioned or escalated. It is a very powerful tool and we are already seeing the benefits and the potential of other things that it can be used for.”

“Coaching is very important at the moment and I am doing this in a variety of ways – for instance, 1-on-1 coaching, where the individual is doing the task and I talk with them over Skype, coaching by demonstration and explanation, giving briefs and presentations, and asking them to attend workshops and review meetings where the main idea is for them to listen and learn what takes place. During the week, they are also encouraged to ask as many questions as they like and there is no such thing as a stupid question. Our management tasks require a questioning mindset, good writings skills and a lot of listening as well.”

“Spending time with the team is time well invested and will help them get up to speed in their roles, build confidence, trust one another and empower them to both perform well and develop their careers.”

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November 2020 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: Are there people who prefer to be managed rather than led?

Answer: The universal answer to the question “who would you work for willingly?” is “a giver, not a taker” – that is, “someone who is in the relationship to care for and grow me”. So in the sense that caring and growing people is leadership, not management, generally people want to be led not managed.

But there are two caveats to that statement. Firstly, while all people want the person they respect to have a genuine concern for their wellbeing, to care for them as a human being not as a human resource, not everyone wants “tough love”. They may want the “nice” part of care but not the kind of care which enables them to stand on their own two feet and take responsibility for the situations that they are in.

They prefer to remain “looked after”, dependent and needy rather than being supported to become strong and self-reliant.

Secondly, there are people who don’t want to be empowered.

They may not be capable of taking on more accountability. There are some people who don’t want the responsibility and accountability which goes with being empowered.
There is also a small minority of people who can’t be trusted with what they have been entrusted with. It is also true that after a long period of being micromanaged and disempowered, not everyone leaps forward with alacrity to embrace freedom to operate and make decisions independently of their manager.

But one of the core distinctions between managers and leaders is the product of their endeavours. Managers produce results – they don’t care whether their people are mediocre or not, as long as the results are achieved. Leaders, on the other hand, are relentless in the pursuit of excellence in their people as an end in itself.

The path to excellence is not the easy path. But I remain convinced that most people do really want to realise the best in themselves, to become the best they can be. Most do want to be led, not managed.

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November 2020

Featured

Question of the Month
Are there people who prefer to be managed rather than led?
Different Scenarios For Learning On The Job
“Finding quality time to spend with staff is vitally important, particularly if they are inexperienced and need training to be able to carry out their role. “
Lessons Learned From Doing Leadership Diagnostics
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.
The Most Important Characteristic Of A Leader
The problem with leadership work (care and growth) is that it is vitally important but rarely urgent. Because of this it can be put off for another day – and typically that is what happens.

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

Question of the Month 
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: Are there people who prefer to be managed rather than led?
Answer: The universal answer to the question “who would you work for willingly?” is “a giver, not a taker” – that is, “someone who is in the relationship to care for and grow me”. So in the sense that caring and growing people is leadership, not management, generally people want to be led not managed.
But there are two caveats to that statement. Firstly, while all people want the person they respect to have a genuine concern for their wellbeing, to care for them as a human being not as a human resource, not everyone wants “tough love”. They may want the “nice” part of care but not the kind of care which enables them to stand on their own two feet and take responsibility for the situations that they are in. They prefer to remain “looked after”, dependent and needy rather than being supported to become strong and self-reliant.
Secondly, there are people who don’t want to be empowered.   Read full answer by clicking here.
To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

VIGNETTE CASE STUDY: DIFFERENT SCENARIOS FOR LEARNING ON THE JOB
In a written feedback about Legitimate Leadership’s Module 1 (Building Strong People), and in particular about a prescribed article for that module, Your Diary Never Lies, a manager who had started his career as an apprentice said that at a personal level, his own career had benefitted from working with managers who took time to help him over the years and “just watching how they performed in the work place was a learning experience itself”.
“Finding quality time to spend with staff is vitally important, particularly if they are inexperienced and need training to be able to carry out their role. Delegation of tasks becomes much easier with an experienced team. This is something I learned 10 years ago when working as a programme manager. The job was easy when I had inherited a team of experienced schedulers, who knew exactly what they were doing and delivered everything that was asked of them. None of them were victims, they were a pleasure to work with and easy to manage.
“This period gave me a false sense of security, thinking that management was easy.
READ THE FULL CASE STUDY CLICKING HERE

Legitimate Leadership ProfileARTICLE: 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
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VIDEO: THE MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTIC OF A LEADER
By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership, and motivational speaker.
COMMENT ON THIS VIDEO BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, DIRECTOR, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP: The problem with leadership work (care and growth) is that it is vitally important but rarely urgent. Because of this it can be put off for another day – and typically that is what happens. Leaders are not here to produce outcomes, they are here to produce the people to produce outcomes. This will only happen when they are courageous enough to focus their time and attention on the care and growth of their people, when they schedule time for the leadership work and stick to the plan. What gives leaders the courage to do this is simply the conviction that people matter and that, as those in charge of others, their job is to “give” to them not to “get” results out of them.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: I (Simon Sinek) am often asked what the most important characteristics of leadership are – vision, charisma, etc. I know plenty of incredible leaders that aren’t Steve Jobs visionaries. And I know some fantastic leaders who do not have charisma – they’re quiet and super-introverted, not that exciting to talk to or spend time with.
When I say charisma I mean the traditional definition which is more about energy. But I believe that charisma is undying belief in something – and they have that in spades.
But I think courage is the one thing that all great leaders have to have because we are surrounded by overwhelming forces every day pushing us to play the finite game. The pressures are overwhelming.
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
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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.”