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Leading in Times of Adversity – March 2017 Breakfast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wendy Lambourne’s Opening Address

 

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Cultivating Accountability and Ownership in 2017 – Breakfast

Written by Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Leading with Courage – March 2016

Leading with Courage

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

Wendy Lambourne’s Opening Address

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David Harding’s Address

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Good morning,

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

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

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

Do we all subscribe to the same definition of leadership?

For me I see the role of a leader

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

2.        to integrate the talent of individuals into a team

3.        to challenge the status quo

So you may ask where does the courage come in?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t that what our primary role is?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh yes I hear you cry, get real!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here is another example!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is our job.

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

 On challenging the status quo:

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

And on a lighter note:

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

Thank you

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How to Select Givers over Takers – June 2016 Breakfast

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

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

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

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

“As Legitimate Leadership proponents we say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leonie’s pointers were:

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

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

Look Out For Anti-Success Syndrome People …

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

General Knowledge …

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

Some Provocative Questions …

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

Qualities …

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

What Are You Looking For?

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

Why Do Managers Fail?

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

How Do You Remedy This?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time and attention.

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

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

Honesty

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

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

Tough love

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

SO WHAT IS HR’S ROLE?

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

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

Being the people’s conscience regarding care

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

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

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

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

Being the expert on people care policies

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

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

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

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

Providing guidance on the How and the Why of care

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

Care has no strings attached and is strong and kind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, have their backs and be supportive.

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

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

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

The leader must always act with the same intent.

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

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

Making sure that line managers are cared for as well

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

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

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

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

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In fact, that is exactly what care means.

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

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

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

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

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

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May 2020 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

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

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

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

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

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

Featured

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

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

Question of the Month 

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

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

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

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

By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guidelines for implementing a mentoring programme in your organisation

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

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

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

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

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

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

WHAT IS NOW WAS MADE IN THE PAST

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

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

BUT SURELY THE PAST IS THE PAST?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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April 2020

Featured

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

E-mail events@legitimateleadership.com for more information

Question of the Month 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In other words we have an outdated business model.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

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

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

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

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

COMPASSION

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

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

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

COURAGE

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

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

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

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

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April 2020 – Question of the Month

By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guidelines for implementing a mentoring programme in your organisation

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

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

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

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

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

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

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

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

  1. Leaders who care give increased time and attention.

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

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

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

  1. Leaders who care are honest with their people.

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

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

  1. Leaders who care give “tough love”.

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

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

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

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Dave Stevens

Dave Stevens

Associate 

BSc (InfSys) (Hons) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What Legitimate Leaders Do In Times Of Crisis

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

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

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

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

1. THEY SHOW UP AND STAY THE PACE

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

2. THEY STAY CALM AND ARE OPTIMISTIC BUT REALISTIC

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

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

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

4.  THEY DO THE RIGHT THING

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

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

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Lessons Learned From Doing Leadership Diagnostics

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.

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

1. Do it with benevolent intent

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

 

2. Do on both positive and negative exceptions

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

3. Use with a specific purpose in mind

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

4. Apply the tool to a specific incident or result

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

5. Diagnose by ‘watching the game’

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

6. Ask ‘why?’ all the way up the line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Do both reactive and proactive diagnostics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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Legitimate Leadership UK Launched

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.

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

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

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

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

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

First, let’s look at what actually happened.

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

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

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

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

THE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

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

  1. The opportunity of improving ownership, accountability, trust, and engagement. With an improved business understanding and a new set of standards to be implemented, there’s always a choice to be made: new controls or elevated trust. New controls have the advantage of delivering the short term predictable outcome. Elevated trust, on the other hand, requires deliberate empowerment. It takes time and courage and invites the possibility of being let down. In the long term excellent people are twinned with excellent outcomes.
  2. Developing and nurturing values-aligned behaviours and decisions: doing things for the right reasons. The problem with the rules is that sometimes people follow them simply for the sake of following them. Compliance with the rules literally becomes the end. People start caring less about what value they’re adding and start fixating on how long things take. We call this clock-watching and it is seldom good for motivation.
  3. Lastly, businesses don’t exist to serve themselves, and our customers certainly aren’t there to serve us. We are there to serve them. Supply serves demand, not the other way around. Imagine the opportunity if our customers received as much attention as we give ourselves.
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March 2020 – Question of the Month

By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: Getting started with a transformation toward legitimate leadership is a protracted process which includes the introductory workshop, application modules, etc … correct?

Answer: In reality, relatively few people immediately and enthusiastically translate the theory into action. But this does not have to be the case. “Application” is not just for the most forward-thinking and courageous leaders. It simply requires commitment, perseverance, and the acceptance that trial-and-error is a legitimate (and often necessary) part of our growth.

A Legitimate Leadership intervention typically starts with a 2-day introductory programme and follows with a series of Application Modules aimed at particular problems. But leaders don’t have to wait for an Application Module before they start to change their own intent and behaviour. It all starts with intent – a change in heart.

From there it simply requires taking what now sits in your head and putting it into your hands: changing your behaviour so that people experience you differently.

It won’t (and can’t) happen overnight. People will be sceptical, especially if your new behaviour is radically different from what they’re used to, but they’ll get used to the new you. They will often even help you get there.

The email below, written to me by someone who had done the introductory workshop, but before any Application Module, is instructive.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course. I learnt so much about myself and my leadership style. During the workshop, a big eye-opener for me was that I need to take a step back and lead the managers reporting to me. I am a very hands-on person, so I am always on the floor and staff tend to talk to me about challenges they may have. What I was doing before, is I would jump in and try to solve their challenges. This potentially would have and was becoming a big problem, as more and more staff were coming to me directly and not to their managers.

“This is actually a behavior I have had for many years as a manager. I would always wonder why I spent so much time solving everyone else’s issues and never getting to the work I should be doing. Silly for me to never realize that what I was doing was disempowering the other managers …

“I have started one-on-one meetings with the managers reporting directly to me. During these sessions we are discussing what exactly I expect from them and what they expect from me. This is proving to be a good idea, as what I assumed – that they knew I wanted from them – they didn’t. Once I have laid a solid foundation with them, they in turn need to do the same with their direct reports, etc … We are a new management team, and the timing of the survey and course are perfect. I have no doubt that we are going to gain a lot from it.”

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March 2020

Featured

Question of the Month
Getting started with a transformation toward legitimate leadership is a protracted process which includes the introductory workshop, application modules, etc … correct?
What Legitimate Leaders Do In Times Of Crisis
Any group, any collective, is simply a reflection of those who lead it. Who you are as a leader, in other words, is reflected in those around you. This is true at any time but particularly in difficult times …
Legitimate Leadership UK Launched
Legitimate Leadership was formally launched in the United Kingdom on 6 March 2020 – a big milestone for the organisation …
Missed Opportunities In A Good Business Which Could Have A Better Bottom Line
This scenario is common: you have a good business, good employees and good processes, but you have strong sense that you could have a better bottom line. What to do? …
Have A Capacity For Existential Flexibility (The Fourth Of Simon Sinek’s 5 Practices Of Leadership)
Chasing the latest fad not only causes confusion but actually demoralises people. What Simon Sinek is proposing though is that leaders should be willing to radically change their strategy or technology …

E-mail events@legitimateleadership.com for more information

Question of the Month 

By Ian Munro, associate, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: Getting started with a transformation toward legitimate leadership is a protracted process which includes the introductory workshop, application modules, etc … correct?
Answer: In reality, relatively few people immediately and enthusiastically translate the theory into action. But this does not have to be the case. “Application” is not just for the most forward-thinking and courageous leaders. It simply requires commitment, perseverance, and the acceptance that trial-and-error is a legitimate (and often necessary) part of our growth.
A Legitimate Leadership intervention typically starts with a 2-day introductory programme and follows with a series of Application Modules aimed at particular problems. But leaders don’t have to wait for an Application Module before they start to change their own intent and behaviour. It all starts with intent – a change in heart … Read the full answer by clicking here
 To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

ARTICLE: WHAT LEGITIMATE LEADERS DO IN TIMES OF CRISIS
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Any group, any collective, is simply a reflection of those who lead it. Who you are as a leader, in other words, is reflected in those around you. This is true at any time but particularly in difficult times.
A crisis may or may not build character, but it definitely reveals character.
What legitimate leaders do in adverse conditions therefore, first and foremost, is look at themselves. They make themselves the project, knowing that the best they can do in tough times is set the example for others to follow. More specifically, they rise to the occasion by doing four things.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

EVENT: LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP UK LAUNCHED
Legitimate Leadership was formally launched in the United Kingdom on 6 March 2020 – a big milestone for the organisation.
The launch took the form of a half-day intro event in London hosted by the company’s directors, Wendy Lambourne and Ian Munro. Representatives of every one of Legitimate Leadership’s current UK-based clients responded positively to the invitation to attend, and actually attended the launch. They were generous in sharing their experience of implementing the framework in their organizations, said Lambourne.
The event also drew people who wanted to learn more about this unique approach to leadership and organizational excellence and how implementation of the principles and practices impacts positively on Legitimacy, Trust, Contribution and Accountability.
Given the level of interest shown at the Legitimate Leadership UK launch, a one day executive overview will be held in London on 11 June 2020.
VIEW WENDY LAMBOURNE’S OPENING ADDRESS AT THE LAUNCH BY  CLICKING HERE

VIGNETTE CASE STUDY: A MISSED OPPORTUNITY IN A GOOD BUSINESS WHICH COULD HAVE A BETTER BOTTOM LINE
By Ian Munro, director, Legitimate Leadership.
This scenario is common: you have a good business, good employees and good processes, but you have strong sense that you could have a better bottom line. What to do?
There are, of course, various possibilities – from commissioning an internal deep-dive, to getting advice from external consultants, to doing nothing and hoping the problem goes away.
In this case study the organisation chose the first option: an executive and senior management task team was assembled with the express purpose of better understanding the business and improving profitability.
On the surface Legitimate Leadership wholeheartedly supports, even recommends, this option. And for many inside this organisation the task team exercise is still considered a resounding success. The team got together, profitability improved, everybody was happy.
We don’t disagree with any of that, but we believe that it was also a missed opportunity. Why?
READ THE FULL CASE STUDY BY CLICKING HERE

VIDEO: HAVE A CAPACITY FOR EXISTENTIAL FLEXIBILITY (THE FOURTH OF SIMON SINEK’S 5 PRACTICES OF LEADERSHIP)
By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO:  Chasing the latest fad not only causes confusion but actually demoralises people. What Simon Sinek is proposing though is that leaders should be willing to radically change their strategy or technology if in so doing they will better advanc their Just Cause. Existential flexibility calls on two human qualities without which Simon Sinek’s fourth leadership practice is not possible. The first is humility – a preparedness to admit that you don’t have all the answers and are not always right, a capacity to rise above your arrogance to consider another way. The second is courage – to fundamentally change not knowing whether it is in fact the right thing to do but absolutely knowing that to do so will not only be disruptive in the short term but may even result in failure. Once again Simon Sinek is calling on leaders to evidence the best in themselves as human beings. I agree that to play the infinite game (defined at the end of our summary below) requires a noble purpose, trust of others, giving up the need to win at all costs, humility and courage. All of these are in short supply in modern organisations, but are infinitely worth pursuing.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: In Apple’s history, Steve Jobs and some of his senior executives visited Xerox in Palo Alto – as executives do, they visit each other’s companies.
Apple was already a big company and Steve Jobs was already a famous CEO.
On this visit, Xerox showed them something they had invented called the graphic user interface. This interface allowed computer users to move a mouse so that you could move a cursor over the desktop and click on icons and folders in order to work the computer. In other words, you didn’t have to learn a computer language anymore.
As the Apple people were leaving Xerox, Steve Jobs said to his executives, “We have to invest in this graphic user interface thing.”
Remember, if Apple’s Just Cause is to empower individuals to stand up to Big Brother, “this graphic user interface thing” empowers way more people to use the technology.
The Voice of Reason spoke up and said, “Steve we can’t do that – we’ve already invested millions of dollars and countless manhours in a different strategic direction. If we change and invest in graphic user interface we will blow up our own company. We can’t just abandon our investment.”
To which Jobs said, “If we don’t blow up our company, somebody else will.”
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
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Jim Furstenburg

Jim Furstenburg

Business Development Associate  

B A Social Science  

Jim held leadership positions at South Africa’s Potchefstroom Boys High – head of house, cricket captain and rugby captain. He represented his province in cricket and was awarded a cricket bursary to study at Nelson Mandela University. He wanted to become a professional cricketer.

There he played for various leading South African cricket teams – and graduated in social sciences with three majors: psychology, industrial psychology and sociology.

Jim’s first job was as a labour relations officer at what is today Bridgestone Firestone South Africa. The labour relations environment in the early 1980s was a virtual war zone – the workplace was the only legal platform for the expression of black aspirations during latter-day apartheid.

Jim was appointed as the youngest director (HR) at Bridgestone Firestone at the age of 32.

In 1995 Bridgestone International bought Firestone International. A condition of purchase was that the local operation would be closed if it was not turned around within six months. Appointed as manufacturing director, Jim led the turnaround process. Six months later the plant had improved productivity by 60 %, and it is still in operation today. This was the first time Jim was exposed to the care and growth framework.

In 1998 Jim established his own business specialising in interim leadership and turnarounds. He has led various successful turnarounds, most notably at AECI Explosives and AEL Coatings, where he again applied the care and growth framework. He has continued to use the framework in subsequent assignments and projects.

Jim has also been involved in the renewable energy industry since 2005. Jim is married and lives in Johannesburg.

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Mixo Mayimele

Mixo Mayimele

Business Development Associate  

B Mech Eng; Master of Business Administration (MBA)Tech Business Administration 

Mixo Mayimele has over 20 years of experience in South Africa and internationally in consulting engineering, telecommunications technology and investment. He has founded and managed companies in technology project management and venture capital investment.

His tertiary education was in South Africa and The Netherlands. He has worked in Johannesburg, Shanghai and Amsterdam.

In 2015-2019 he was MD of the Southern African-Netherlands Economic Chamber and was a director of the Euro Chamber in South Africa (whose membership is primarily European multinationals).

He has also headed Pepperfield Ventures, a boutique advisory venture capital firm focused on supporting early-stage African companies in their growth and being investor-ready. He particularly does deal sourcing and corporate finance, and provides leadership and strategic direction to early-stage companies.

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Have Worthy Rivals (The 3rd Of Simon Sinek’s 5 Practices Of Leadership)

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

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Legitimate Leadership argues that a goal which is about competing to win is not helpful – in the first instance, because victory  or defeat are largely outside of our control. A focus on winning is moreover potentially debilitating. This is because a focus on beating the competition leads to a fear of failure which often actually reduces rather than enhances performance. We believe that the goal should not to be better than the rest. Rather the goal should be to continually strive to be better than before. And this can only be achieved through a relentless, albeit incremental, lifting of behavioral and performance standards. In that sense a “worthy rival” who highlights areas of improvement in ourselves can be extremely helpful. Making the shift from “arch competitor to be beaten at all costs” to “worthy rival who we can learn from and possibly even collaborate with” is however no easy task. It requires a level of personal maturity which is not easy to achieve. It requires a capacity to contradict a strong drive that most of us have (to win) in order to do what is right. It necessitates a preparedness to suspend our need for immediate gratification and the adrenaline kick which comes from winning to do the hard and difficult work of improving ourselves. But isn’t that what maturity is actually all about? It is about developing an increasing capacity to let go of the “get”, and to “give” unconditionally.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: A worthy rival is another player in the game that is worthy of comparison – that in some way reveals to your weaknesses that are opportunities for you to work to improve yourself.

There’s another guy who does what I do. He gives talks, he writes books, he’s extremely well respected and he does very good work.

I like and respect his work. I just happened to hate him.

It’s nothing personal – he’s always been very kind and respectful to me whenever I’ve seen him and yet I irrationally hate him.

Because of my hatred for him I am very competitive with him and I will regularly go online and check my book rankings and his. I don’t check anyone else’s, just his. If I’m ahead I’m smug and if I’m behind I’m angry.

On one occasion we were interviewed together. The interviewer thought it would be fun if we introduced each other. So I went first and said to him, “You make me incredibly insecure – all of your strengths are all of my weaknesses and whenever your name comes up I get extremely uncomfortable.” He replied, “Funny I feel the same about you.”

It turns out the reason I hated him so much had nothing to do with him but had everything to do with me. It was because his strengths revealed to me my weaknesses, which made me feel insecure – and it was easier to channel all of that energy against him, into trying to beat him, in order to make myself feel better rather than to take a hard look at myself and say, “I’ve got some work to do.”

The funny thing is that that was such a cathartic experience for both of us that we’ve actually become very close friends and now we work together on a regular basis because it turns out people can buy more than one book. And it turns out that easier than working on my weaknesses is simply to partner with somebody whose strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa.

In other words, you have to have worthy rivals. When we have competitors in business we adopt the mindset of needing to win or needing to beat them. The problem is this is not a finite game – there’s no such thing as winning because we haven’t agreed upon any metrics, we haven’t agreed upon any time frames. You get to choose the metrics that you’ve declared that you’re the winner in, you’re ahead with. It’s totally arbitrary: is it based on revenues, market share, who has more followers on Twitter, or who has more followers on Instagram? In other words the whole thing is ridiculous.

So, a worthy rival is another player in the game that is worthy of comparison, that in some way reveals to you your weaknesses, that are opportunities for you to work to improve yourself.

You get to pick your own worthy rivals – you can have many of them, they can be entire companies, they can be individuals. They don’t even have to be in your industry, but they are people that you respect. You don’t have to like them but you respect that they are better at things than you are and they show you where your opportunities to improve are.

And remember in the infinite game the only true competitor is yourself. If the game of an infinite mindset is a game of constant improvement, then what better way to discover your weaknesses than from those who are better than you at so many things?

Respect your worthy rivals and adapt as they fall out of the game.

In the early days of the PC, Apple’s worthy rival was IBM. Apple were the pirates and IBM represented the navy. Apple represented the rebels and IBM represented the status quo that they were fighting against. But then IBM fell out of the game, which didn’t mean Apple had won – it simply meant that the other player had fallen out of the game. They were replaced by Microsoft. Apple now represented the pirates and Microsoft represented the navy.

And then Microsoft was no longer a worthy rival. And now it’s Google and Facebook and companies like that. And the fight is no longer about necessarily personal computing or the status quo but it now seems to be about personal privacy.

And still Apple seems to be representing the individuals more than the corporate concerns – in other words their Just Cause (the 1st of Simon Sinek’s Practices of Leadership) is still alive and well. It’s just operating in a different way and they use their worthy rivals to not only reveal their weaknesses but to keep them on the straight and narrow.

Who are your worthy rivals?

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

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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Want More Authority? Go And Ask For It!

By Josh Hayman, associate, Legitimate Leadership.

The simplest way to obtain the authority you feel you need to devolve decision-making downwards through the line, is to go and ask for it. Even if you believe the environment won’t support your efforts, you don’t know until you ask. As one manager asking for this kind of authority in this case study said, “Every door I kicked swung open.”

Also, managers are likely to find that their people are generally more capable and more trustworthy than they are given credit for – and more willing to take on responsibility.

In this case study, one of our clients operating in an industry with high technical complexity found itself in the position of applying very high levels of control in the workplace. This over time led to a high price being paid in terms of workforce engagement, ownership and accountability.

A prevailing view developed over time that turning this around would be a slow and arduous process.

There was a rule or policy to govern every decision (I was told), and managers at middle levels of the organisation would simply not be allowed to hand authority downwards – particularly when it came to practical things like spending decisions. This would mean re-writing a lot of the rules, and would take time and effort to convince others to both do and effect.

As one logistics manager in this business learned: assuming you are not allowed or won’t be supported is a recipe for failure before you begin.

In this environment I had to work with a number of more senior leaders in the business to help them think about how they could begin to positively impact levels of empowerment through the line.

One of the managers who was part of my groups looked after logistics. Attending one of our sessions on Empowerment, she shared how she had recently taken over the area, and had found herself inundated with demands for her to take decisions far beyond what she felt was reasonable.

During the workshop there was much discussion about the levels of control in the business, how rule-bound the environment was, and how difficult it would be to obtain the necessary authority to push decision making down. While there was general acceptance of the idea that empowering people was a critical part of shifting the culture, the view was that this would be a slow and arduous process.

This response is not unusual in our experience. Often the steps toward giving up control are small and incremental, and gather momentum as confidence and learning builds.

During the closure of the session, participants were asked to commit to taking some action to increase levels of empowerment in their areas. Everyone made some practical commitments to effect this, but the logistics manager had the longest list, and many of her issues were about spending decisions which were felt would be the hardest to get right. She conceded that there was a lot of work to do in terms of empowerment, and this would likely be a long journey.

I returned to the group 4 weeks later to review progress. I was pleased to see that everyone in the group had taken the first small steps toward giving up control, and that positive progress was being made. We went through everybody in the group. The logistics manager was the last person to give feedback on progress.

What she had succeeded in doing in 4 short weeks given the environment was staggering. She reported that firstly, she had successfully advocated for and arranged the removal of clock-in requirements for her managers on the basis that if they could be trusted to lead people, they could be trusted to arrive for work and leave on time. Secondly, she handed over a healthy budget for each first line manager to spend on safety-related improvements. Thirdly, she had also handed a general discretionary budget to her immediate operations managers for incidental expenses designed to speed up delivery of minor day-to-day needs. Finally, inundated by requests for training budget sign-offs, she had also handed all spending decisions related to training requests to her management team, on the basis that they were best placed to know whether training requests were appropriate or not.

When I asked her how managers were handling all this new authority she simply said, “For the most part, responsibly.”

Her thinking here was that the money was being spent anyway, the only problem was that she was having to approve it all, which was both time consuming and unnecessary. Pragmatically she was not in a position to understand whether every spending decision was in fact appropriate – her managers were far better placed and experienced to make those decisions, and they had been missing an opportunity to speed up decision-making and increase accountability.

As a safety net she implemented spending review meetings every month. These were specifically aimed at reviewing spending decisions already made in the month and learning from them, rather than as a control mechanism. She felt at the time that she might review this once she was confident all managers were well aligned on what appropriate spending entailed.

When I asked her how she managed to effect all this she said not a single person she asked for support or permission from said “no”. As she put it, “Every door I kicked swung open. My learning here was not to assume you will not be given the authority you need – go and ask for it, and provide convincing reasons why you need it.”

Two months later, at her request, I talked to her leadership team of about 20 people, none of whom had been exposed to Legitimate Leadership, about the concept of Empowerment. I took the opportunity to do a diagnostic on their perceptions of empowerment in their workplace.

This is a fairly simple exercise which we do by asking people questions about whether they feel they have been given decision making authority recently (or have had it taken away), and then, on the balance of their experiences, drawing conclusions about whether empowerment levels have changed.

In this case, I asked the participants to say whether they felt more empowered, less empowered or no change from 6 months previously. Of the 19 managers present, none felt less empowered, 15 felt more empowered, and 4 felt no change. The general conclusion was that this was a major shift from the preceding 6 months.

On reflection, the logistics manager drew two insights from the exercise:

  • That people are generally more capable and more trustworthy than they are given credit for, and also in general more willing to take on responsibility than we realise.
  • Even if you believe the environment won’t support your efforts, you really don’t know until you try. Every door she knocked on opened, and not a single thing she asked for in terms of support from functions like finance and HR was not given – despite general perceptions in the business that these areas would not likely be willing to allow her to relinquish control.
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February 2020 – Question of the Month

By Stuart Foulds, associate, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: As a leader, I want to demonstrate that I can suspend my interests in favour of my team’s. But everything I can think of helping them with is clearly in my interests as well as theirs. Our interests do not appear ever to be in conflict. To suspend my agenda for theirs requires somewhat separate agendas … right? I feel like we’re working towards common goals and our agendas are aligned, so what have I missed? Their growth opportunities, for example, might not directly help me but they benefit me in the long run as they grow in competence. My time spent with them never feels wasted.

Answer: Don’t feel alone! As leaders embark on their legitimate leadership journey, many initially wrestle with this apparent quandary. But it’s not truly a quandary. The answer goes straight to your INTENT.

Firstly, we have to acknowledge that in the real world we all generally act to some extent with mixed motives.

In any well-run team there will be broad positive alignment of everyone’s agendas. Through your giving, your team will improve and you may well look good as a result. Clearly, having a happier, better-skilled and better-capacitated team is also going to benefit you as the leader. And that’s fine – we are not asking leaders to go out of their way to act against their own best interests!

What we are asking leaders to do is be thoughtful about what their PRIMARY intent is – am I doing this mainly because I genuinely want to help the team, or am I doing this mainly because I want to get something in return? If you can honestly answer the former, then be confident that you’re doing the right thing.

Think about what each member of your team needs from you to grow and develop. You pass the Intent Test every day when you give your time and attention to helping with a direct report’s “inconvenient agenda”, when your own life might be simpler and easier if you focused on something else.

If as a result your own life as a leader also gets better, there’s no need to feel guilty – just enjoy the feeling of a genuine win-win!

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February 2020

Featured

Question of the Month: I want to demonstrate that I can suspend my interest in favour of my team’s, but our interests are not in conflict! So what have I missed?
Don’t feel alone! As leaders embark on their legitimate leadership journey, many initially wrestle with this apparent quandary. But it’s not truly a quandary. The answer goes straight to your INTENT.
Want More Authority? Go And Ask For It!
The simplest way to obtain the authority you feel you need to devolve decision-making downwards through the line, is to go and ask for it. Even if you believe the environment won’t support your …
Managers Do Things, Leaders Do People
Let us be clear: both good management and good leadership are required for sustainable organisational performance. Management, however, is a process and set of practices which are best …
Have Worthy Rivals (The 3rd Of Simon Sinek’s 5 Practices Of Leadership)
Legitimate Leadership argues that a goal which is about competing to win is not helpful – in the first instance, because victory or defeat are largely outside of our control …

E-mail events@legitimateleadership.com for more information

Question of the Month 

By Stuart Foulds, associate, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: As a leader, I want to demonstrate that I can suspend my interests in favour of my team’s. But everything I can think of helping them with is clearly in my interests as well as theirs. Our interests do not appear ever to be in conflict. To suspend my agenda for theirs requires somewhat separate agendas … right? I feel like we’re working towards common goals and our agendas are aligned, so what have I missed? Their growth opportunities, for example, might not directly help me but they benefit me in the long run as they grow in competence. My time spent with them never feels wasted.
Answer: Don’t feel alone! As leaders embark on their legitimate leadership journey, many initially wrestle with this apparent quandary. But it’s not truly a quandary. The answer goes straight to your INTENT.
Firstly, we have to acknowledge that in the real world we all generally act to some extent with mixed motives Read the full answer by clicking here
 To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

VIGNETTE CASE STUDY: WANT MORE AUTHORITY? GO AND ASK FOR IT!
By Josh Hayman, associate, Legitimate Leadership.
The simplest way to obtain the authority you feel you need to devolve decision-making downwards through the line, is to go and ask for it. Even if you believe the environment won’t support your efforts, you don’t know until you ask. As one manager asking for this kind of authority in this case study said, “Every door I kicked swung open.”
Also, managers are likely to find that their people are generally more capable and more trustworthy than they are given credit for – and more willing to take on responsibility.
In this case study, one of our clients operating in an industry with high technical complexity found itself in the position of applying very high levels of control in the workplace. This over time led to a high price being paid in terms of workforce engagement, ownership and accountability.
A prevailing view developed over time that turning this around would be a slow and arduous process.
READ THE FULL CASE STUDY BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: MANAGERS DO THINGS, LEADERS DO PEOPLE
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Let us be clear: both good management and good leadership are required for sustainable organisational performance. Management, however, is a process and set of practices which are best applied to things (like money, facilities, systems, inventory, etc). Leadership on the other hand is a process and set of practices pertinent to people.
The problem arises when management is applied to people. It literally reduces people to the status of things.
More specifically, this problem presents itself in organisations in situations in which those who have people reporting to them, for whom they are responsible, are managers and not leaders.
Managers are different from leaders in five vital respects.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

VIDEO: HAVE WORTHY RIVALS (THE 3RD OF SIMON SINEK’S 5 PRACTICES OF LEADERSHIP)
By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Legitimate Leadership argues that a goal which is about competing to win is not helpful – in the first instance, because victory or defeat are largely outside of our control. A focus on winning is moreover potentially debilitating. This is because a focus on beating the competition leads to a fear of failure which often actually reduces rather than enhances performance. We believe that the goal should not to be better than the rest. Rather the goal should be to continually strive to be better than before. And this can only be achieved through a relentless, albeit incremental, lifting of behavioral and performance standards. In that sense a “worthy rival” who highlights areas of improvement in ourselves can be extremely helpful. Making the shift from “arch competitor to be beaten at all costs” to “worthy rival who we can learn from and possibly even collaborate with” is however no easy task. It requires a level of personal maturity which is not easy to achieve. It requires a capacity to contradict a strong drive that most of us have (to win) in order to do what is right. It necessitates a preparedness to suspend our need for immediate gratification and the adrenaline kick which comes from winning to do the hard and difficult work of improving ourselves. But isn’t that what maturity is actually all about? It is about developing an increasing capacity to let go of the “get”, and to “give” unconditionally.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: A worthy rival is another player in the game that is worthy of comparison – that in some way reveals to your weaknesses that are opportunities for you to work to improve yourself.
There’s another guy who does what I do. He gives talks, he writes books, he’s extremely well respected and he does very good work.
I like and respect his work. I just happened to hate him.
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
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Managers Do Things, Leaders Do People

By Wendy Lambourne , director, Legitimate Leadership.

Let us be quite clear that both good management and good leadership are required for sustainable organisational performance. Management, however, is a process and set of practices which are best applied to things (like money, facilities, systems, inventory, etc). Leadership on the other hand is a process and set of practices pertinent to people.

The problem arises when management is applied to people. It literally reduces people to the status of things.

More specifically, this problem presents itself in organisations where those who have people reporting to them, for whom they are responsible, are managers, not leaders.

Managers are different from leaders in five vital respects.

  1. MANAGERS ARE HERE TO ‘TAKE’, LEADERS ARE HERE TO ‘GIVE. Managers and leaders have a fundamentally different view of what they are here to DO and for what PURPOSE. Managers think that their job is to get results out of people. Leaders know that their prime purpose is to care for and cultivate excellence in their people. Managers in their essence are here to “take” while leaders are here to “give” to their people.
  2. MANAGERS GET THE WORK DONE THROUGH PEOPLE, LEADERS GET THE PEOPLE DONE THROUGH THE WORK. This difference in intent or motive evidences itself in what managers perceive to be means and ends. A manager’s end or objective is to get the job done or results achieved. By definition people are the means to that end. Managers, in other words, commoditise people. While they are “our greatest assets” in good times, they are “an unfortunate cost” in adverse conditions – which, like any costs, need to be reduced. People are human resources to be used, or even used up, in order to achieve the results. Leaders make an essential shift in what they see as means and ends. They view the tasks/results as a means to cultivate exceptional people. Managers get the work done through the people; leaders get the people done through the work.
  3. MANAGERS TOLERATE MEDIOCRITY, LEADERS INSIST ON EXCELLENCE.  Managers don’t care if their people are mediocre or excellent as long as they produce the results. On the contrary, leaders are relentless in the pursuit of excellence in their people as an end in itself. Leaders do whatever is required for their people to be the best that they can be, whether they like it or not. This is because they know that sustainable organisational excellence is not possible with lacklustre people.
  4. MANAGERS SEEK TO CHANGE THEIR PEOPLE, LEADERS STRIVE TO CHANGE THEMSELVES. Managers want their people to change because they believe that the change in their people’s performance, ownership and willingness, will deliver a better result. Leaders rather seek to change themselves. Instead of doing things to their people to motivate them they seek to become the kind of person who their people are motivated by. They make themselves the project because they are convinced that the cause and effect chain works as follows: only when leaders change do their people change, which then leads to a different result.
  5. MANAGERS HAVE PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS, LEADERS FORGE PERSONAL CONNECTIONS WITH THOSE IN THEIR CHARGE.  Lastly, managers and leaders differ in the nature of the relationships they have with their people. Good managers at least have “professional” relationships with their people such that there are reasonable levels of respect and trust between the parties. Leaders have something more. They have “personal” relationships with their people. They bond with them at a deeper level and, as a result of this, their people are prepared to walk through fire for them. What generates the personal bond is that leaders sincerely care about their people as human beings, not human resources. They deliberately and consciously choose to put their people’s interests before their own. Consequently they grow in stature in their people’s eyes and then, and only then, are their people prepared to sacrifice for them.

The transformation of managers into leaders is not easy. It amounts to a fundamental change, not in the head but in the heart. Nothing less is what is required, however, if organisations are to become places where (in Simon Sinek’s words) “people wake up inspired, feel safe at work, and return home fulfilled at the end of the day”.

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Sylvania Sheppard

Sylvania Sheppard

Project and Quality Manager 

B.Tech Business Administration 

Sylvania studied and worked in Cape Town, gaining a B Tech degree in  Business Administration. She then worked in administration for Ernst & Young, and thereafter in labour law for the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in the Arbitration Department as a Professional Assistant.

She subsequently lived in the United Kingdom, Russia and Greece. Following her return to South Africa, she was a Business Manager for an independent school, Pecanwood College in Hartebeespoort Dam.

 

Sylvania joined Legitimate Leadership in 2016. She has been co-developer of the Afrika Tikkun-Legitimate Leadership Give to Grow programme aimed at developing and growing the youth in South Africa. Her main roles in Legitimate Leadership are project management, client project quality management, sales and marketing management and development of associates.

Sylvania grew up in Cape Town, the youngest of 10 siblings. She now lives in Johannesburg; she is married with three children. Her interest includes, most importantly, family – followed by community service, cooking, hiking and running, and yoga.

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Nonhlanhla Nyoni

Nonhlanhla Nyoni

Office Manager 

Bsc Geology (Hon) 

After university, Nonhlanhla began her career in the South African mining industry. She worked for Anglo American, formerly South Africa’s largest mining company. In this job, she particularly conducted conduct quality assurance and control research on projects. She later also worked for a smaller geology consultancy, and thereafter for a postal and office administration franchise.

Nonhlanhla joined Legitimate Leadership in 2019. Her main roles in Legitimate Leadership are business administration and managing the many surveys which the company conducts.

She was born and raised mainly in the Durban area. She now lives in Johannesburg. She is married with two sons. She is fascinated by mid-century furniture and architecture, interior decorating, exploring parks and driving around residential neighbourhoods – as well as trying out new cooking recipes.

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Have A Just Cause (The Second Of Simon Sinek’s 5 Practices Of Leadership)

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

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Simon Sinek makes a valid point that there is an absolute connection between trust and feeling “safe”. There is an erosion of trust in an environment where people do not feel “safe”; this in turn leads to decreased commitment, decreased discretionary effort, decreased openness, and decreased initiative. What makes people “safe” is a conviction that those in charge of the enterprise are acting in the best interests of their people – as opposed to in pursuit of their own interests. Trust is built over time, in increments, and into perpetuity. When managers compromise on what is the right thing to do, in order to further their own interests, this is immediately apparent to their people. Their people instantly conclude that management is self-serving and cannot be trusted. Conversely, when management contradicts their interests in order to do the right thing, their people experience them as sincere. They see management as values-driven rather than needs-driven, and therefore trust them.

 OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: Does your organization offer your people a cause so just that they would be willing to sacrifice themselves and their interests in order to advance that cause?

An example of a Just Cause was the United States’ Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers wrote down reasons why they wanted to go to war and create their own country. All men are created equal, they said – endowed with unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In other words they presented an ideal vision of a future state that did not yet exist – an ideal so inspiring that they were willing to commit their honor, their fortunes and their lives in order to advance it.

They will never actually achieve that ideal but they will die trying – and that is the point.

Winning the Revolutionary War was simply a finite victory in this infinite game. Once they had won that finite victory (like winning a client, for us), the heavy work begins (like founding a company, for us).

We can see throughout history when nations are trying to advance their ideal state – whether it’s the abolition of slavery or women’s suffrage or gay rights. We can see that there’s a striving towards that ideal state that they’ll never actually reach.

Organizations need to offer their people a cause so just that they would be willing to sacrifice – and it has nothing to do with the products you make or the services you sell. Nobody is inspired to sacrifice by going on frequent business trips and being away from their families so that the company can make the best products of the best possible value. Nobody cares about that.

Steve Jobs for example had an ideal vision of a future state. A Just Cause that he imagined was a world in which an individual could stand up to Big Brother; in which an individual could compete with a corporation. It so happened the personal computer was the perfect product to help Apple advance its just cause, and the people who signed up to be a part of their company were proud and loyal employees and customers. It wasn’t just that the product was better (that was debatable); it was that they saw themselves as champions for this cause, which cause became their own.

It’s not an accident they attracted young and creative people to be such zealots for their products. It’s because these were the people who liked the idea of standing up to Big Brother. It was a Just Cause.

Sacrifice doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your life. Going on frequent business trips, being away from your family, working late hours and knowing that you could probably make more money at another job but you choose to stay here and choose to do those things – not because you like those things but because you feel they are worth it.

Are you offering your people something to make them feel a part of something bigger than themselves – a vision that they feel is worth the sacrifice?

You must have a Just Cause to play in the infinite game.

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

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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The Appropriate Response To Exceptions In A Business

By Wendy Lambourne , director, Legitimate Leadership.

An exception is anything outside the norm – something which is unusual, untypical, not what we expect or have become used to.

We should learn from both positive and negative exceptions and apply the learnings to ensure a more positive future result. More specifically, we should unpack the command or leadership actions which sit behind all exceptions. In doing so we enable those in leadership roles to gain clarity regarding what they should be doing to better enable each of their direct reports.

Exceptions, in other words, should be seen as golden opportunities to learn about and enhance the quality of leadership in an enterprise. They should be used to raise the calibre of leadership at every level in the line of command.

An exception can pertain to either a specific incident or to a result. Both incidents which are negative (a disabling injury, a customer complaint, a protracted breakdown); and those which are positive (a project delivered significantly below budget, an exceptional product launch, a shutdown completed in record time) constitute exceptions. Similarly, an abnormal result, as reflected as a score on a scoreboard (profit, sales revenue, picking error rate, customer service index), can be defined as an exception when it is unusually better or worse than the norm.

POSITIVE EXCEPTIONS

Very often the response to a positive exception is no response. The positive outcome is taken for granted and we move on to the next challenge. More appropriately we do pause long enough to at least celebrate the ‘win’; we have a party. Praise and reward is given, though not necessarily to the right people but to those who have made the biggest contribution to the positive result. Then we move on.

What rarely happens is that we take the time to learn from the positive event. We take time to understand who contributed what to the positive outcome and then apply that learning to ensure the positive result is maintained or repeated going forward.

NEGATIVE EXCEPTIONS

When a serious negative event occurs, our immediate response is to take crisis action to ameliorate or reduce the negative effect. This is appropriate: when the boat springs a leak, we should scurry to find a way to ‘plug’ the hole in the boat. Typically, an investigation is launched which may or may not get to the root cause. Sometimes the ‘culprits’ are punished; people are held accountable though not necessarily appropriately. More likely as a corrective action than holding people accountable is to rather impose another control, a checklist or an additional checker, to ensure that this never happens again.

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Township Youth Learn ‘Give To Grow’

Basic Legitimate Leadership principles were encapsulated for general life application in a three-afternoon programme for high school learners – and the principles were surprisingly easily understood by them, according to the facilitators. The programme, called Give to Grow, is applied in South African townships by one of South Africa’s largest non-governmental welfare organisations, Afrika Tikkun.

Afrika Tikkun, founded in 1994 by the late Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Cyril Harris, and businessman/philanthropist the late Dr Bertie Lubner, provides, education, health and social services to young people and their families through five centres of excellence in South African townships.

The Legitimate Leadership Model has been applied in Afrika Tikkun’s operations for the past five years. Its application there has been championed by Leonie van Tonder, its former general manager; she had also previously applied the model in a number of situations in the South African commercial banking industry.

Legitimate Leadership has thus gained considerable currency among Afrika Tikkun’s employees (see Afrika Tikkun – An Astounding Culture Shift in One Year). But because Legitimate Leadership principles are also applicable to many areas of general life, ways were sought to also impart them to township children – see Give to Grow Leadership Workbook.

In its centres of excellence, Africa Tikkun runs empowerment programmes which include giving children an awareness of human rights (including sexism, racism and homophobia) – so that they can stand up for themselves with integrity, question the status quo, and contribute to a more just society. These empowerment programmes include self-advocacy groups of high school girls and boys of around 15-16 years old.

This cohort was also selected by Africa Tikkun as being most likely to benefit from an awareness of Legitimate Leadership principles because they are normally two years away from matriculation and not yet too focused on their school-leaving exams. Because of scarce resources, no programme can be offered to everyone.

Dr Jean Elphick, a former general manager of Afrika Tikkun’s empowerment team, says learners had to apply with a written CV (which is also useful in preparation for the world of work, which is one of the focuses for Africa Tikkun) and a supporting letter.

Those who were selected for the programme were required to absolutely commit to attending the three consecutive afternoon sessions which would be held.

A basic workbook was drawn up by the (adult) programme facilitators which particularly allowed space for participants to write their own answers and observations – and which they could refer back to after the programme hours.

The facilitators’ session plans were later developed into a set of facilitators’ notes.

This first workbook boiled the Legitimate Leadership principles down to three basic areas of focus, and this has been carried through to the final-version workbook, which is called the Give to Grow Leadership Workbook.

The three basic areas are set out on the first page of the 20-page booklet:

1. A successful life is about giving not taking. Giving is your choice and within your control.
2. Giving from the heart, and doing the right thing, makes us generous and courageous.
3. Mature people can put service above self.

Following the three-afternoon programme, feedback about it has been excellent, says Elphick. Given this, Africa Tikkun will include it in a leadership camp which it will run in 2020 and thereafter. It is planned that this will leadership camp be offered to children who have leadership positions (for instance in sports teams) as well as children who have reached grade 10 (two years before matriculation).

Pat Moloi, general manager of the Africa Tikkun’s Alexandra (township) centre of excellence, where the first programme was piloted, says she has observed that the children who took part in the first programme in 2018 have increased in confidence and are taking more leadership positions. She believes that the course was beneficial because it focused on the small group as individuals, and on their relationships with friends, family and other people. “It prompted them to reflect on who they are and those relationships,” she says. “Other courses they do are often related general knowledge, for instance.”

Moloi had previously done advanced Legitimate Leadership training, and as a facilitator, she interwove the course with material about intent – benevolent and malevolent. Intent is a strong theme in Legitimate Leadership.

Sylvania Sheppard of Legitimate Leadership, who co-designed the programme, says its core propositions are from Legitimate Leadership. For instance:

  • Giving is only giving if it is unconditional.
  • Giving is about being appropriate.
  • Giving is not only a giving of things.
  • Giving requires a preparedness to risk / lose.
  • You can give even if you have a little.
  • Giving is a choice.

THE THREE CONSECUTIVE AFTERNOON SESSIONS (2018)

GIVE TO GROW 1 – A SUCCESSFUL LIFE IS ABOUT GIVING NOT TAKING. GIVING IS YOUR CHOICE AND WITHIN YOU CONTROL.

An informal tone was set from the start to obviate any feeling of a big hierarchy between the adult facilitators and the learners, and to make participants feel calm and welcome.

The session started with an explanation of the three sessions and a check-in (there were also two check-ins at the end of each session because facilitators wanted participants’ input of the programme; there were also reminders and refreshers in the booklet which learners could write in afterwards with examples and observations from their lives.

Facilitators then asked participants to think about people who had made a contribution to their lives and how living a life of significance related to how much you give. Elphick says it was remarkable how easily the children comprehended this – they appeared to be in tune with it: “Kids are super-smart even when they come from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Of course, mothers featured heavily here – for giving unconditional love, advice, help when mistakes were made, and assistance with self-confidence. But, surprisingly, the children came up with other types of giving by their mothers and other relatives – for instance, “she gave me my name/roots/identity”. All of these had the word “give” in them.

In the workbook, the spaces for written self-reflection proved very effective, including for checking whether the concepts had been fully understood. A number of children, for instance, took giving to be important because then they would then receive – which is in variance to the kind of giving which is advocated in the Legitimate Leadership Model and in the Give to Grow Leadership Workbook.

Thereafter, with a stack of cards bearing graphics showing various situations, the children were asked to sort the cards into:

  • Acts of taking/getting/having.
  • Acts of giving.

For instance, what were the following images – taking or giving? Working hard/ Making an effort/ Caring for others/ Being kind to others/ Receiving awards at school/ Being in the popular group at school/ Having the latest shoes/ Having a fancy phone/ Being a member of an important family/ Allowing someone to copy my homework.

After this first programme further cards have been added with graphics of instances adduced by the children.

This exercise works particularly well because the graphics are related to township life.

The course then focused on the proposition that “giving is under your control”. The facilitators asked participants to take the two piles of cards they had sorted (giving and taking) and divide them between those activities/instances which would be under their control and those which would not.

For instance, would being a member of an important family or having a big brand cellphone be under your control?

This was convincing evidence that acts of giving are mainly under your control.

The children were asked to again reflect on this and fill in their books.

Elphick remarks: “It is less effective to teach kids by telling them the theory and then asking them to relate this to their lives. It’s much better for them to do an activity and reach the conclusion in their own way.”

Sheppard says that many of the children came from homes with one or no parent. Although they generally had very little in the way of material possessions, they were quickly able to comprehend that giving is a choice and we have control over what we give whereas we have no control over what we are given.

“These learners know better than most children that they had no control over the little that they receive,” she says.

In the booklet, the summary of the first afternoon is:

  1. Giving is a choice. We have control over what we give.
  2. We do not have control over what we get.
  3. We can’t control what we don’t have control over.
  4. Giving is NOT only a giving of things.
  5. You can give even if you only have a little.
  6. Therefore, focusing on getting makes us weak because we can’t control it. Focus on giving makes us powerful.

The children were asked to, before the next session, fill in their “self reflection” and observe in what way they give or take – and to read and reflect on what had been said in the programme.

Elphick says repetition is an important part of the neuroscience of learning – and the booklet is repetitive in a number of places, particularly in relation to the basic tenets of giving and taking.

GIVE TO GROW 2 – GIVING FROM THE HEART AND DOING THE RIGHT THING MAKE US GENEROUS AND COURAGEOUS.

Two new words were introduced: courage and generosity, the two forms of giving. In Legitimate Leadership, to act courageously means to act despite your fears and though it means leaving your comfort zone; to act in accordance with your values, even though it is difficult, unpopular or criticised; and to do the ‘right thing’ even if it is difficult, dangerous or painful. To act with generosity means giving easily, from the heart; and giving unconditionally, without expecting anything in return.

It was important to make children aware that giving is not just about making people happy; it is not just about generosity. Sometimes it also involves having to do things which take courage.

To increase understanding of the two new words, the multi-lingual audience (South Africa has 11 official languages) was asked to translate the English words into as many languages as they could. This worked extremely well and resulted in excellent definitions in English.

Following this was another card sorting activity. This time, the cards bore graphics which only depicted acts of giving.

The children were asked to sort into piles acts of giving which required courage versus acts of giving which required generosity.

Then came another series of pictures and new vignettes, followed by questions and the introduction of two further words: selfishness and cowardice.

For instance, one picture showed a boy looking after a sick old lady in bed; a second picture was identical except that the old lady’s last will was lying in the foreground. In other words, the same apparent activity could fall under different categories according to intent.

Another set of images showed a hungry child at the door. Generosity would require you to give that child some food; but if the child repeatedly appeared at the door, acts of courage might be required.

Discussion of the questions and answers followed. Sheppard says participants said not being courageous means not facing your fears and choosing to do the right thing. If you do not act courageously, you are being cowardly.

The opposite of generosity, they said, is selfishness, which is when you choose not to give because you don’t want to risk losing things like time, money, food or belongings.

Then participants wrote in the workbook (page 8) about generosity, selfishness, courage, cowardice, gratitude and trust. Self-reflection on page 10 was for between the sessions.
The children were also asked to keep a gratitude journal (page 13). According to research, keeping a gratitude journal increases people’s happiness, says Ephick. On page 14 there were prompts about gratitude.

Says Sheppard, “You might think that with so little, these children would be worn down and have difficulty with being grateful. But it was the opposite.”

GIVE TO GROW 3 – MATURE PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO GIVE FAR MORE THAN THEY TAKE AND PUT SERVICE ABOVE SELF.

This involved revising everything that had been done so far and making sure that it was understood and absorbed.

Participants were asked to share examples of their acts of courage and generosity.

Then a pop quiz was held to see how much had been retained, with questions such as:

  • A successful life is about …?
  • Why does focusing on taking make you weak?
  • Why can we not control what we get in life, only what we give?
  • Two types of growing are …?
  • What do generosity and courage mean to you?
  • Why do people choose sometimes not give of themselves or act courageously?
  • What could be the risks of being generous or courageous?
  • Are you a giver or a taker?

A discussion followed about the responses.

Thereafter, the concept of maturity was introduced. Maturity is important to children, and whether they are perceived to be mature.

The question of how mature you are was linked to how much you give – and, from that, how significant you are able to live your life. Legitimate Leadership says maturity requires the suspension of own agenda. Maturity has nothing to do with age, education or experiences.

It was pointed out by participants that you could be 70 years old and immature and that 16 year-old participants could be more mature than adults if they were there to serve the other rather than themselves; that with maturity comes giving; and that people can depend on mature people.

In an intense session, requiring good facilitation skills, the children are asked to rate on a scale to what extent they believed that they were givers or takers/mature or immature.

Then the children are asked who would have the courage to share their scores and have them discussed by the group. The risk here was embarrassment or hard feedback – so volunteering was an act of courage.

In the event, all participants had the courage to share their scores.

The participants were then invited to give each other feedback on the scores that they had given themselves. There was considerable emotion around this.

Many of the participants had underscored themselves, according to the feedback. Some were seen by their peers as young in age but more mature, for instance.

A few had overscored themselves, according to their peers – generally, Elphick says, the more extroverted boys.

This last session then led into an existential debate, also requiring skilled facilitation.

In closing, the participants were asked to reflect on the whole programme and what value they had derived from it.

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January 2020 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne , director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month:To grow someone at work, does a leader need to promote her, move her to another job or give her new responsibilities?

Answer: Clearly there are opportunities for a person to grow from all three of these. But there is no need to either move a person or reconfigure her role in order for her to grow. Leaders enable their people to grow on a continuous basis in their current jobs through helping them when they get stuck; helping them to view their jobs differently (the means and ends switch); helping them to focus on and build their abilities (by the leader watching the game and giving feedback); and by setting them tasks which keep them in their learning zone.

 

  1. They help their people, when they get stuck, to move forward.

What this means is not necessarily that the leader helps a direct report whenever he is struggling with a problem. On the contrary, letting a person grapple with an issue can often result in greater learning than the leader jumping in to assist him. What this actually means is intervening when a direct report has got himself into some kind of victim state. When the person has ceased to take accountability in the situation, that he is in, is focusing on what he is “getting” which he does not want/ not “getting” what he does want, and believes that someone other than himself or the environment in which he operates is to blame.

Whenever a person is in a victim state, the will to learn and grow is not engaged. The role of the leader here is to help his subordinate to get out of this debilitating frame of mind, to focus his attention forward and regain his sense of being in charge of the situation that she is in.

There is a very simple but powerful process which leaders can use to do this called the Gripe to Goal process, which is outlined in detail in the book Legitimate Leadership (2012) – page 216-231. The skilful use of this process makes masters out of erstwhile victims. It does so now.

  1. They help their people to view their jobs differently – the means and ends switch.

The conventional view of a job is that it comprises a number of tasks which are done by a person in order to achieve some defined outcome. The purpose of doing any task, in other words, is to achieve a result.

Legitimate leaders help their people to change, not the content of the jobs, but how they view their jobs. They help them to make a means and ends switch; from viewing themselves as the means to do a task to seeing the task as the means to grow them.

Specifically, they assist their people to see the opportunity which exists whenever a task is done to strengthen a particular ability; to develop or enhance a particular competency that they would like to work on.

All tasks have within them the possibility for ongoing learning and growth but only if the person doing the task uses the task as such. Every time I run a Legitimate Leadership Introductory workshop (which I have done at least 1,000 times) I can either view it as something I am doing to deliver on a client commitment or as yet another wonderful opportunity to hone my facilitating ability (I don’t profess this too often – since a client said “so you mean that you should be paying us, not the other way round?”)

Similarly, every time a debt collector picks up the phone, she can, if she chooses to do so, use the call to enhance her influencing ability. Even a subordinate from hell can be a blessing if he is perceived as such by his manager, who views each difficult conversation that he has with him as a means to develop what is a key leadership competency – that of confronting or dealing with conflict.

In helping their people to see their jobs in this way, leaders effect a change in their relationship with their direct reports from a traditional reporting to a coaching relationship.

In a reporting relationship, the person is there to produce a result, not enhance his ability. The routine interactions between manager and direct report are therefore typically centred on progress against agreed tasks.

In a coaching relationship, conversations between the parties include content which is not in a conventional reporting relationship. Part of what is discussed is the person’s progress against a specific competency and the aspects of his job which provide the greatest opportunity to further strengthen the person in terms of his ability.

  1. They help their people to focus on and build their abilities by watching the game and giving feedback.

For most people, if they receive feedback at all, it is infrequent, formal and in the context of an annual or biannual performance appraisal. The feedback moreover is generally not very helpful. It is not consistent with the basic rules of good feedback: specific, behavioural, owned by the giver, balanced and soon. Most importantly, it does not provide the person with clarity in terms of exactly how to do better going forward.

This is despite the fact that feedback from a person who is both trusted and respected is one of the most powerful development tools available to managers in any organisational context.

Legitimate leaders obviously take the opportunity to give their direct reports feedback in their regular one-on-ones with them throughout the year. In addition to this, they help their people to focus on and build their ability by, as frequently as possible, making time to “watch the game” and give feedback on what they have observed.

Like a good sports coach, they help each of their direct reports to focus on and work to improve only one aspect of themselves at a time.

The purpose of watching the game is to identify what specifically the person needs to learn which will further improve his ability in terms of a particular competency.

The reason why the leader needs to watch the game is because competencies – like listening, influencing, empowering – are still too global. In terms of listening, for example, does the person need to learn not to interrupt? To be fully present? To be more sensitive and empathetic to the feelings behind the facts?

Only by seeing the person in action, observing and asking questions, can the leader garner the kind of information that can then be used to convince the person of exactly what he needs to work on next to further enhance his ability.

When leaders watch the game and give feedback well they will know that this is the case simply because the person whose game they have been watching will be asking them to come again soon.

  1. They help their people to grow by setting them tasks which keep them in their learning zone.

Honing an ability, any ability, takes time. The 10,000 hours of practice required to achieve real mastery, posited by David Levitan, is generally seen to have validity.

An extraordinary investment of hours, however, is not on its own enough. People can work at something for most of their lives, being good at what they do, but not exceptional. It is necessary, but not sufficient to put in the hours.

In addition what is required for excellence in ability is what Anders Ericsson termed “deliberate practice”. By deliberate practice is meant concerted, repeated and focused engagement with the intention to improve.

Legitimate leaders do not simply implore their people to go out there and work on improving a particular competency. Rather, they determine specific task(s) which, when performed, will put pressure on each of their direct reports’ current learning needs.

The best task(s) are those which stretch the person beyond their current abilities. Task(s) which require the person to stretch just out of reach of their current level of ability to place the person in a learning zone. Task(s) which are in the person’s comfort zone, on the other hand, fail to extend abilities since by definition they can already be done easily.

Activities which are too hard are also not conducive to growth in ability because they engender panic rather than learning.

Conventional managers assign tasks on the basis of getting the best result now, not on the basis of enabling growth in their people. Legitimate leaders break the habit of keeping people doing the things that they are already good at. They put the task at risk to grow the person. They do so by pushing their people into their learning zone by giving them tasks which will grow and challenge them. They then support them so they do not fail.

By consistently helping their people in these four ways, they ensure that their people continue to grow and never stop growing.

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January 2020

Featured

Question of the Month: To grow someone at work, does a leader need to promote her, move her to another job or give her new responsibilities?
Clearly there are opportunities for a person to grow from all three of these. But there is no need to either move a person or reconfigure her role in order for her to grow …
Township Youth Learn ‘Give To Grow’
Basic Legitimate Leadership principles were encapsulated for general life application in a three-afternoon programme for high school learners …
The Appropriate Response To Exceptions In A Business
An exception is anything outside the norm – something which is unusual, untypical, not what we expect or have become used to …
Just Cause (The Second Of Simon Sinek’s 5 Practices Of Leadership)
 Simon Sinek makes a valid point that there is an absolute connection between trust and feeling “safe”. There is an erosion of trust …

E-mail events@legitimateleadership.com for more information

Question of the Month 

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: To grow someone at work, does a leader need to promote her, move her to another job or give her new responsibilities?
Answer: Clearly there are opportunities for a person to grow from all three of these. But there is no need to either move a person or reconfigure her role in order for her to grow. Leaders enable their people to grow on a continuous basis in their current jobs through helping them when they get stuck; helping them to view their jobs differently (the means and ends switch); helping them to focus on and build their abilities (by the leader watching the game and giving feedback); and by setting them tasks which keep them in their learning zone … Read the full answer by clicking here
 To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

CASE STUDY: TOWNSHIP YOUTH LEARN ‘GIVE TO GROW’
Basic Legitimate Leadership principles were encapsulated for general life application in a three-afternoon programme for high school learners – and the principles were surprisingly easily understood by them, according to the facilitators. The programme, called Give to Grow, is applied in South African townships by one of South Africa’s largest non-governmental welfare organisations, Afrika Tikkun.
Afrika Tikkun, founded in 1994 by the late Chief Rabbi of South Africa, Cyril Harris, and businessman/philanthropist the late Dr Bertie Lubner, provides, education, health and social services to young people and their families through five centres of excellence in South African townships.
The Legitimate Leadership Model has been applied in Afrika Tikkun’s operations for the past five years. Its application there has been championed by Leonie van Tonder, its former general manager; she had also previously applied the model in a number of situations in the South African commercial banking industry.
Legitimate Leadership has thus gained considerable currency among Afrika Tikkun’s employees (see Afrika Tikkun – An Astounding Culture Shift in One Year). But because Legitimate Leadership principles are also applicable to many areas of general life, ways were sought to also impart them to township children – see Give to Grow Leadership Workbook.
READ THE FULL CASE STUDY BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE TO EXCEPTIONS IN A BUSINESS
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
An exception is anything outside the norm – something which is unusual, untypical, not what we expect or have become used to.
We should learn from both positive and negative exceptions and apply the learnings to ensure a more positive future result. More specifically, we should unpack the command or leadership actions which sit behind all exceptions. In doing so we enable those in leadership roles to gain clarity regarding what they should be doing to better enable each of their direct reports.
Exceptions, in other words, should be seen as golden opportunities to learn about and enhance the quality of leadership in an enterprise. They should be used to raise the calibre of leadership at every level in the line of command.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

VIDEO: HAVE A JUST CAUSE (THE SECOND OF SIMON SINEK’S  5 PRACTICES OF LEADERSHIP)
By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Simon Sinek makes a valid point that there is an absolute connection between trust and feeling “safe”. There is an erosion of trust in an environment where people do not feel “safe”; this in turn leads to decreased commitment, decreased discretionary effort, decreased openness, and decreased initiative. What makes people “safe” is a conviction that those in charge of the enterprise are acting in the best interests of their people – as opposed to in pursuit of their own interests. Trust is built over time, in increments, and into perpetuity. When managers compromise on what is the right thing to do, in order to further their own interests, this is immediately apparent to their people. Their people instantly conclude that management is self-serving and cannot be trusted. Conversely, when management contradicts their interests in order to do the right thing, their people experience them as sincere. They see management as values-driven rather than needs-driven, and therefore trust them.
 OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: Does your organization offer your people a cause so just that they would be willing to sacrifice themselves and their interests in order to advance that cause?
An example of a Just Cause was the United States’ Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers wrote down reasons why they wanted to go to war and create their own country. All men are created equal, they said – endowed with unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In other words they presented an ideal vision of a future state that did not yet exist – an ideal so inspiring that they were willing to commit their honor, their fortunes and their lives in order to advance it.
They will never actually achieve that ideal but they will die trying – and that is the point.
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
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Have A Just Cause (The First of Simon Sinek’s 5 Practices of Leadership)

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

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Legitimate Leadership believes that organizations succeed to the degree to which its members are prepared to go above and beyond in pursuit of its objectives. The leadership challenge therefore is to solicit peoples’ willingness to give unconditionally to the goals and objectives of the organization. What solicits peoples’ willingness, we believe, is three things: PURPOSE, PERSON, PASSION. Of the three, Purpose relates to what Simon Sinek calls Just Cause. Simon Sinek, and Legitimate Leadership. believe that people will only go the extra mile for something worth suspending their self-interest for. Simon Sinek calls this a Just Cause; Legitimate Leadership calls it the Benevolent Intent of the enterprise, or its Noble Purpose. Giving people a ‘why’ which is about increasing the ROI for shareholders is not only not motivating, it tends to engender hostility. This is because this ‘why‘ turns employees into people who are being ‘taken from’ to enrich the owners of the business. What solicits in people a willingness to go above and beyond, to sacrifice their own interests, is a ‘why ‘which is bigger than themselves and is about making a contribution to others and making the world a better place. It is a ‘why‘ which is about adding value to a customer. This ‘why‘ has nothing to do with the company’s products and services – it is all about what the company makes or does FOR its customers. Articulating and communicating the organization’s Benevolent Intent is the job of the leaders of the company. Ensuring that everyone in the company then lives up to its Noble Purpose is also a leadership issue. Leaders need to believe in the Just Cause and dedicate themselves to it. They need to make sacrifices in the interests of furthering that cause. Then, and only then, will their people do likewise.

OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: Does your organization offer your people a cause so just that they would be willing to sacrifice themselves and their interests in order to advance that cause?

An example of a Just Cause was the United States’ Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers wrote down a reason why they wanted to go to war and create their own country. All men are created equal, they said – endowed with unalienable rights amongst which include life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In other words they presented an ideal vision of a future state that did not yet exist – an ideal so inspiring that they were willing to commit their honor, their fortunes and their lives in order to advance it.

They will never actually achieve that ideal but they will die trying – and that is the point.
Winning the Revolutionary War was simply a finite victory in this infinite game. Once they had won that finite victory (like winning a client for us), the heavy work begins (like founding a company for us).

We can see throughout the history of nations when these nations are trying to advance their ideal state – whether it’s the abolition of slavery or women’s suffrage or gay rights. We can see that there’s a striving towards that ideal state that they’ll never actually reach.

Organizations need to offer their people a cause so just that they would be willing to sacrifice – and it has nothing to do with the products you make or the services you sell. Nobody is inspired to sacrifice by going on frequent business trips and being away from their families so that the company can make the best products of the best possible value. Nobody cares about that.

Steve Jobs for example had an ideal vision of a future state. A Just Cause that he imagined was a world in which an individual could stand up to Big Brother; in which an individual could compete with a corporation. It so happened the personal computer was the perfect product to help Apple advance its just cause, and the people who signed up to be a part of their company were proud and loyal customers. It wasn’t just that the product was better (that was debatable); it was that they saw themselves as champions for this cause and that cause became their own.

It’s not an accident they attracted young and creative people to be such zealots for their products. It’s because these were the people who liked the idea of standing up to Big Brother. It was a just cause.

Sacrifice doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing your life. Going on frequent business trips, being away from your family, working late hours and knowing that you could probably make more money at another job but you choose to stay here and choose to do those things – not because you like those things but because you feel they are worth it.

Are you offering your people something to make them feel a part of something bigger than themselves – a vision that they feel is worth the sacrifice?

You must have a Just Cause to play in the infinite game.

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

TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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December 2019 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne , director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month:What is the appropriate action for a leader to take when an employee underperforms, or performs according to expectation, or performs well above expectation?

Answer: A hallmark of a leader is that he takes appropriate rather than expedient action. He sets the example for his people by doing the right thing and motivating them to behave appropriately.

When an employee has been a ‘Superstar’ and made an exceptional contribution, the “appropriate” leader responds by finding a way to reward the employee for this – because it is only just that such a person should receive demonstrably more than those who have not gone the extra mile.

When an employee has been a “Solid Citizen”, the appropriate leader acknowledges the contribution made and thanks the person for doing a good job.

When an employee has performed below standard, the appropriate leader investigates why this is the case and takes the appropriate action. If the employee lacks the means to do the job, the means is provided; if the employee lacks knowledge or ability, training is provided or the person is removed from the role or the work is redesigned. But if the underperformance is due to carelessness, the employee is censured and careful work is insisted upon; and if the underperformance has been due to deliberate malevolence, the employee is disciplined and sanctioned.

In all three cases (Superstar, Solid Citizen and Underperformer), the appropriate leader ensures that the means and ability are available for the employee to maintain and raise the bar on her performance.

By contrast, the inappropriate leader’s response to the Superstar is to do nothing, or to take advantage of her and assign more work. Alternatively, the leader may give everyone a reward.

Under inappropriate leadership, the Solid Citizen adopts an attitude of ‘it’s good enough’. He does not seek to up his game and over time his performance may deteriorate.

In the case of an Underperformer, the inappropriate leader does nothing, or does the work himself, or lowers the standard, or assigns tasks to someone else, or transfers the person or makes him redundant – or simply complains to colleagues about the Underperformer. The Underperformer continues to be sloppy, lazy or even deliberately malevolent, with a demeanour of ‘how little can I do without being fired?’

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December 2019

Featured

Question of the Month: What is the appropriate action for a leader to take when an employee underperforms, or performs according to expectation, or performs well above expectation?
A hallmark of a leader is that he takes appropriate rather than expedient action. He sets the example for his people by doing the right thing and motivating them to behave appropriately …
Singular Systems Reinvents Its Performance Management System
Singular Systems, which was founded in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a bespoke software provider with a total staff today across its three sites of about 200 …
Video: Just Cause (One Of Simon Sinek’s 5 Practices Of Leadership)
 Legitimate Leadership believes that organizations succeed to the degree to which its members are prepared to go above and beyond in pursuit of its objectives …

E-mail events@legitimateleadership.com for more information

Question of the Month 

By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: What is the appropriate action for a leader to take when an employee underperforms, or performs according to expectation, or performs well above expectation?
Answer: A hallmark of a leader is that he takes appropriate rather than expedient action. He sets the example for his people by doing the right thing and motivating them to behave appropriately.
When an employee has been a ‘Superstar’ and made an exceptional contribution, the “appropriate” leader responds by finding a way to reward the employee for this – because it is only just that such a person should receive demonstrably more than those who have not gone the extra mile.
When an employee has been a “Solid Citizen”, the appropriate leader acknowledges the contribution made and thanks the person for doing a good job.
When an employee has performed below standard, the appropriate leader investigates why this is the case and takes the appropriate action. If the employee lacks the means to do the job, the means is provided; if the employee lacks knowledge or ability, training is provided or the person is removed from the role or the work is redesigned. But if the underperformance is due to carelessness, the employee is censured and careful work is insisted upon; and if the underperformance has been due to deliberate malevolence, the employee is disciplined and sanctioned.
In all three cases (Superstar, Solid Citizen and Underperformer), the appropriate leader ensures that the means and ability are available for the employee to maintain and raise the bar on her performance.
By contrast, the inappropriate leader’s response … Read the full answer by clicking here
 To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

CASE STUDY: SINGULAR SYSTEMS REINVENTS ITS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Singular Systems, which was founded in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a bespoke software provider with a total staff today across its three sites of about 200. The company was started by Anthony Wilmot and the current CEO, Nicholas Kruiskamp, and has a family-business ethos.
Luckily, when the company embarked on reinventing its pre-existing performance management system in 2017, there was a fair degree of trust already within its culture. “Any process you could think of would have zero impact if it didn’t have trust,” says Dave Elliott, an executive of Singular Systems.
Another essential was that care and growth of employees as a value had to be accepted by the top leadership.
The performance management project was embarked upon simultaneously with a Legitimate Leadership transformation project, led by Ian Munro (see Reinventing Performance Management Workshop). Following the reinvention, Singular Systems Cape Town achieved increased revenue growth year-on-year due, among other things, to focus on growing staff and driving individual contribution.
Singular Systems applied principles from Legitimate Leadership in designing its new system. Thereafter Singular Systems evolved its own system in its three separate offices (in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London).
READ THE FULL CASE STUDY BY CLICKING HERE

VIDEO: HAVE A JUST CAUSE (THE FIRST OF SIMON SINEK’S  5 PRACTICES OF LEADERSHIP)
By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Legitimate Leadership believes that organizations succeed to the degree to which its members are prepared to go above and beyond in pursuit of its objectives. The leadership challenge therefore is to solicit peoples’ willingness to give unconditionally to the goals and objectives of the organization. What solicits peoples’ willingness, we believe, is three things: PURPOSE, PERSON, PASSION. Of the three, Purpose relates to what Simon Sinek calls Just Cause. Simon Sinek, and Legitimate Leadership. believe that people will only go the extra mile for something worth suspending their self-interest for. Simon Sinek calls this a Just Cause; Legitimate Leadership calls it the Benevolent Intent of the enterprise, or its Noble Purpose. Giving people a ‘why’ which is about increasing the ROI for shareholders is not only not motivating, it tends to engender hostility. This is because this ‘why‘ turns employees into people who are being ‘taken from’ to enrich the owners of the business. What solicits in people a willingness to go above and beyond, to sacrifice their own interests, is a ‘why ‘which is bigger than themselves and is about making a contribution to others and making the world a better place. It is a ‘why‘ which is about adding value to a customer. This ‘why‘ has nothing to do with the company’s products and services – it is all about what the company makes or does FOR its customers. Articulating and communicating the organization’s Benevolent Intent is the job of the leaders of the company. Ensuring that everyone in the company then lives up to its Noble Purpose is also a leadership issue. Leaders need to believe in the Just Cause and dedicate themselves to it. They need to make sacrifices in the interests of furthering that cause. Then, and only then, will their people do likewise.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: Does your organization offer your people a cause so just that they would be willing to sacrifice themselves and their interests in order to advance that cause?
An example of a Just Cause was the United States’ Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers wrote down a reason why they wanted to go to war and create their own country. All men are created equal, they said – endowed with unalienable rights amongst which include life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In other words they presented an ideal vision of a future state that did not yet exist – an ideal so inspiring that they were willing to commit their honor, their fortunes and their lives in order to advance it.
They will never actually achieve that ideal but they will die trying – and that is the point.
READ THE FULL SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE
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Instead Of Doing Admin, Frontline Managers Should Coach Their Employees And Constantly Improve Quality

By Aaron De Smet, Monica McGurk, and Marc Vinson, principals of consulting company McKinsey in the USA, writing in McKinsey Quarterly.

COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS ARTICLE: For frontline managers to perform their care and growth role requires in the first instance a mindshift from seeing their jobs as getting results out of people to enabling excellence in them. This will only happen however if those people are given the means and ability to perform the role and then held accountable for doing so. The Legitimate Leadership process, run over 12-18 months, has consistently delivered the kind of frontline managers described in this article – in branch banking, in motor retail, in manufacturing, in call centres, and in fashion retail. For these Legitimate Leadership case studies, see (Fuelling Peformance in Fashion RetailOpening A New Store A New WayCare & Growth Impacts Motor Retail ResultsReflections On Implementing Care & Growth).

OUR EXCERPTS FROM THIS ARTICLE: A retail manager responsible for more than $80 million in annual revenue, an airline manager who oversees a yearly passenger volume worth more than $160 million, a banking manager who deals with upward of seven million questions from customers a year. These aren’t executives at a corporate headquarters; they are the hidden—yet crucial— managers of frontline employees.

Found in almost any company, such managers are particularly important in industries with distributed networks of sites and employees. These industries—for instance, infrastructure, travel and logistics, manufacturing, health care, and retailing (including food service and retail banking)—make up more than half of the global economy. Their district or area managers, store managers, site or plant managers, and line supervisors direct as much as two-thirds of the workforce and are responsible for the part of the company that typically defines the customer experience. Yet most of the time, these managers operate as cogs in a system, with limited flexibility in decision making and little room for creativity. In a majority of the companies we’ve encountered, the frontline managers’ role is merely to oversee a limited number of direct reports, often in a “span breaking” capacity, relaying information from executives to workers.

Such managers keep an eye on things, enforce plans and policies, report operational results, and quickly escalate issues or problems. In other words, a frontline manager is meant to communicate decisions, not to make them; to ensure compliance with policies, not to use judgment or discretion (and certainly not to develop policies); and to oversee the implementation of improvements, not to contribute ideas or even implement improvements (workers do that). This system makes companies less productive, less agile, and less profitable, our experience shows.

Change is possible, however. At companies that have successfully empowered their frontline managers, the resulting flexibility and productivity generate strong financial returns.

One convenience store retailer, for example, reduced hours worked by 19 to 25 percent while increasing sales by almost 10 percent. It achieved this result by halving the time store managers spent on administration; restructuring their work (and that of their employees) to focus on the areas most relevant to customers, such as the cleanliness of stores and upselling efforts at the cash register; and creating easy-to-understand performance metrics that managers now had enough time to coach employees on daily.

The key is a shift to frontline managers who have the time—and the ability—to address the unique circumstances of their specific stores, plants, or mines; to foresee trouble and stem it before it begins; and to encourage workers to seek out opportunities for self improvement. In difficult economic times, making employees more productive is even more crucial than it is ordinarily.

THE REALITY OF THE FRONT LINE

To unlock a team’s abilities, a manager at any level must spend a significant amount of time on two activities: helping the team understand the company’s direction and its implications for team members and coaching for performance. Little of either occurs on the front line today.

Across industries, frontline managers in the USA spend 30 to 60 percent of their time on administrative work and meetings, and 10 to 50 percent on nonmanagerial tasks (traveling, participating in training, taking breaks, conducting special projects, or undertaking direct customer service or sales themselves). They spend only 10 to 40 percent actually managing frontline employees by, for example, coaching them directly. Even then, managers often aren’t truly coaching the front line. Our survey of retail district managers, for example, showed that much of the time they spend on frontline employees actually involved auditing for compliance with standards or solving immediate problems. At some companies we surveyed, district managers devote just 4 to 10 percent of their time—as little as 10 minutes a day—to coaching teams. To put the point another way, a district manager in retailing may spend as little as one hour a month developing people in the more junior but critical role of store manager.

In our experience, neither companies nor their frontline managers typically expect more. One area manager at a specialty retailer with thousands of outlets said, “Coaching? A good store manager should just know what to do—that’s what we hire them for.” A store manager in a global convenience retailer told us, “There are just good stores and bad stores—there’s very little we can do to change that.” Another store manager, in a North American electronics retailer, said, “They told me, ‘We don’t pay you to think; we pay you to execute.’”

These shortcomings are rooted in the early days of the industrial revolution, when manufacturing work was broken down into highly specialized, repetitive, and easily observed tasks. No one worker created a whole shoe, for example; each hammered his nail in the same spot and the same way every time, maximizing effectiveness and efficiency.

Employees didn’t necessarily know anything about the overall job in which they participated, so supervisors (usually people good at the work itself) were employed to enforce detailed standards and policies—essentially, serving as span breakers between workers and policy makers. Many manufacturing companies still use this approach, because it can deliver high-quality results on the front line, at least in the short term. In many service industries, the same approach has taken hold in order to provide all customers in all locations with a consistent experience.

Although attention to execution is important, an exclusive focus on it can have insidious long-term effects. Such a preoccupation leaves no time for efforts to deal with new demands (say, higher production or quality), let alone for looking at the big picture. The result is a working environment with little flexibility, little encouragement to make improvements, and an increased risk of low morale among both workers and their managers—all at high cost to companies.

The effects of poor frontline management may be particularly damaging at service companies, where researchers have consistently detected a causal relationship between the attitudes and behavior of customer-facing employees, on the one hand, and the customers’ perceptions of service quality, on the other.

In service industries, research has found that three factors drive performance: the work climate; the ways teams act together and things are done; and the engagement, commitment, and satisfaction of employees. Leadership— in particular, the quality of supervision and the nature of the relationships between supervisors and their teams—is crucial to performance in each of these areas.

Clearly, the typical work patterns and attitudes of frontline managers are not conducive to good results. At a North American medical-products distributor, for example, one supervisor reflected that the company “is like California—forest fires breaking out everywhere and no plan to stop them. A lot of crisis-to-crisis situations with no plan. We’ve been in this mode for so long, we don’t know how to stop and plan, although that’s what we desperately need to do. I wish I knew how to intervene.”

Because frontline managers were so busy jumping in to solve problems, they had no time to step back and look at longer-term performance trends or to identify—and try to head off—emerging performance issues. It’s therefore no wonder that the company’s performance had begun to decline: inventories were increasing and errors in shipments became more frequent. Companies can also get into frontline trouble if they fail to maintain well-managed operations

TIME BETTER SPENT

At best-practice companies, frontline managers allocate 60 to 70 percent of their time to the floor, much of it in high-quality individual coaching. Such companies also empower their managers to make decisions and act on opportunities. The bottom-line benefit is significant, but to obtain it companies must fundamentally redefine what they expect from frontline managers and redesign the work that those managers and their subordinates do. The examples below explain how two companies in different circumstances and industries made such changes.

MANUFACTURING AND THE FRONT LINE

Sometimes a corporate crisis drives frontline changes. A global equipment manufacturer, for example, was facing backlogs, capacity constraints, and quality and profitability issues in its core vehicle assembly business. The company’s senior leaders concluded that they would have to change operations at five plants by running two shifts rather than three while also raising production levels and quality. “Substantial” results would be needed in no more than seven weeks. Frontline managers were to have a critical role in the changeover—indeed, it couldn’t succeed unless they adopted a new way of working. To communicate the importance of the changes being introduced, senior leaders, among other things, ordered vice presidents to spend full days in vehicle assembly stations and sent the company’s director of operations to participate in daily shift start-up meetings at each plant.3 Meanwhile, the jobs of frontline managers changed. They were to spend more time in active roles: critical processes and workflows were redesigned according to lean principles, and the managers played the principal part in implementing these changes. Administrative activities, such as writing reports to plant managers and gathering data to prepare for site visits from regional managers, were eliminated. Innovations spouted— boards posted on factory floors, for example, were continuously updated with performance information, such as hour-by-hour tracking of lost time, as well as long-term problems and the solutions found for them. End-of-shift reports let each shift know exactly what the previous one had accomplished. Weekly reports informed workers about the five most important defects to correct and the five most important actions needed to improve performance. A typical manager’s span of control fell to 12 to 15, from 20 to 30. Such changes freed managers to spend more time providing on-the-floor coaching and helping teams solve immediate problems. Managers received on-the-job training in lean technical skills as well as in coaching, team building, and problem solving. They also moved their desks from offices to the shop floor and spent at least five hours a day there, literally putting themselves in the middle of the transformation. As a result, managers and workers identified and implemented other improvements—for example, making parts more available, with fewer defects, and routing materials more efficiently—so that lost production and the need for rework fell. Overall, though the transformation took ten weeks rather than seven, the initial targets were exceeded. Across the five plants, the number of completed vehicles rose by 40 percent a month—despite the elimination of a shift—and quality by 80 percent. Worker hours fell by 40 percent.

RETAILING AND THE FRONT LINE

Changing the mind-sets and capabilities of individual frontline managers can be the hardest part. In our experience, many of them see limits to how much they can accomplish; some also recognize the need to restructure their roles but nonetheless fear change. At times, before the job of coaching can begin, companies must address more insidious mindsets— such as a belief that employees can’t learn, their negative attitudes toward customers, or a lack of confidence that frontline managers can influence performance. The first step is to help frontline managers understand the need for change and how it could make things better. At the convenience store retailer mentioned earlier, for example, an analysis revealed that store managers spent, on average, 61 percent of their time on administration and that they struggled with poorly defined processes for interacting with customers. In addition, these managers felt that they had no control over key performance drivers (such as sales in important product categories), lacked simple tools to monitor daily performance, and had inadequate leadership and coaching skills. They were also tired of “flavor of the month” corporate-improvement initiatives that dictated more work without addressing the fundamental causes of problems. To give store managers a sense of what could be, this company showed some groups of managers a radically different model store. There, work processes such as stocking took much less time than it did in the company’s ordinary stores, because similar products were grouped together, and high-volume stock was stored in a common and much more accessible location. Cleaning was easier because the layout had been improved, employees had the equipment and supplies to clean more frequently and quickly, and an if-it’s simple- clean-it-now policy had been introduced. Such steps created a more attractive store environment, simplified the work of employees, freed them to interact with customers, and reduced the amount of time managers had to spend dealing with problems in these areas. Managers also gained time in other ways: for example, they no longer had to complete long weekly sales reports, respond to corporate directives that arrived at unexpected times, and accommodate too-frequent visits by district or regional sales managers.

STREAMLINED SALES

Even when companies get frontline management right, it can be easy for them to lose sight of their gains. Consider, for example, the experience of a chemical manufacturer where shift supervisors didn’t need to spend time on simple, immediate problems, because workers could solve those themselves. Instead, these managers focused on more complex, longer term improvements: eliminating defects, understanding the fundamental causes of operational problems, and coaching and mentoring operators and mechanics. From the outside, the shift supervisors didn’t seem to be contributing much, so during a cost reduction effort, the company implemented self-managed teams. Although the reduced costs initially seemed beneficial, over time discipline slipped, new hires were chosen and trained less rigorously, long-term issues were no longer addressed systematically, and the self-managed teams became less reliable. In other words, they could manage the work day by day but not in the long term. As a result, about five years after the role of shift supervisor was eliminated, the company’s capabilities began a steep slide: the structural integrity and safety of plants fell, costs went up dramatically, and reliability plummeted. It took the company another five years to dig itself out of the hole. Some of its businesses shut down completely, in part as a result of global economic conditions, but also because the high cost of restoring its efficiency and reliability made it less competitive.

THE DANGER OF COMPLACENCY

Reporting captured fewer but more essential indicators, such as the volume of sales in key product categories. All visits from district or regional managers were scheduled in advance and followed a predetermined and performance-focused agenda. As a result, the time store managers spent on administration fell by nearly half, so they could devote 60 to 70 percent of their days to activities such as coaching workers and interacting with customers. These managers spent more time on the sales floor with individual employees and regularly discussed store strategies and performance metrics with them. The discussions took advantage of a new performance scorecard with just a few key metrics, such as the number of customers greeted during peak hours, success rates on “suggestive selling” at checkout, and immediate follow-up with customers to gauge their satisfaction. Because the stores stayed open 24 hours a day, managers weren’t always present. They therefore engaged all employees in regular problem-solving sessions to create a better selling and service environment in the stores—for example, by ensuring that more employees would be available at critical times of the week. Furthermore, managers could now adapt the company’s general operating model by deciding how many (and which) employees would be present in stores at any given time. This vision of a well-run store, contrasting starkly with the stores of the managers who visited it, overcame their fears. Once frontline managers have accepted the need for change, however, they must learn the new ways of working required by the demands of their redefined roles. At the convenience store retailer, training sessions and trial-and error fieldwork helped the managers develop the needed capabilities quickly. Some of these skills were technical, focused on managing more effective processes and revised daily routines, as well as keeping track of the simplified store performance scorecards. Other forms of training enhanced the managers’ interpersonal skills, such as how to engage and empower subordinates; to have regular, constructive conversations about performance; and how to provide feedback and coaching. Managers were also made aware of the negative mind-sets (such as, “I am just another associate when I go on the store floor,” and “My job is to make sure that tasks get done”) that made it harder to develop the right skills and capabilities. They learned how to counter these mind-sets and to adopt more positive ones (for instance, “I regularly provide my employees with constructive feedback and tips,” and “My job is to ensure that tasks are complete and that customers are served as well”), which promote more appropriate behavior and better performance. When the company rolled out the program broadly, the results were impressive: productivity rose by 51 percent in one region and by 65 percent in another.5 Companies that succeed in redefining the job of the frontline manager can improve their performance remarkably. Successful approaches can be applied across many industries. A mining company that implemented such a program enjoyed a 10 percent increase in tonnage per frontline employee. A bank branch found that cross-selling went up by 24 percent within a year. Total sales at a department store rose 2 percent in one six-month period. The key is to help frontline managers become true leaders, with the time, the skills, and the desire to help workers understand the company’s direction and its implications for themselves, as well as to coach them individually. Such mangers should have enough time to think ahead, to uncover and solve long-term problems, and to plan for potential new demands. A nursing supervisor at a European hospital that empowered its nurses offered perhaps the clearest description of the way frontline leaders ought to think—a description that couldn’t be more different from the role of traditional frontline managers: “I am a valued member of this team, who has responsibility to make sure my ward nurses have the right coaching to improve patient service while contributing to the overall functioning of our ward—for the first time, I feel as important as a doctor or an administrator in the success of this institution.” That kind of frontline leader can consistently help employees to enhance their impact on an organization’s work

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Legitimate Leadership Should Be Nurtured, Not Managed Or Controlled

By Wendy Lambourne , director, Legitimate Leadership.

Organisations do not transform overnight. This is because people are still people irrespective of technology. Humans, because they are human, require time to adapt and respond to change.

Legitimate Leadership, or being here to care for and grow others, actually begins in an organisation when one or more individuals who have been exposed to the Legitimate Leadership Model go away and do something with it. The positive results they accrue from doing so not only personally encourage them to continue, but provide an example(s) for others to follow.

The germination of the 16 Legitimate Leadership or care and growth practices, in other words, happen slowly and often takes time to be noticed. At some point however the principles and practices take root and gather momentum. Eventually a point is reached when some sort of critical mass has been achieved. “Care and growth” is then no longer the exception but the norm.

Cultivating an organisation which embodies the principles and spirit of Legitimate Leadership therefore requires patience and perseverance by all involved.

It is in recognition of this that the Legitimate Leadership process for a group of 15-20 leaders is typically 12-18 months in duration.

The process begins with a two-day workshop which seeks to gain leaders’ understanding of and commitment to the Legitimate Leadership principles and beliefs. Thereafter leaders gain insight, from feedback on their leadership profiles, as to how aligned they are currently perceived to be to the Legitimate Leadership criteria. The feedback they receive acts as a stimulus to action and gives focus to the changes they need to make in their leadership behaviour and practice.

The final step in the process is a period of deliberate practice and reflection through attendance at a series of Application Modules and Review Sessions interspersed by application in the workplace.

Over several months leaders gain increasing competence and confidence in the use of the tools they have been given and practices they have been taught. The Legitimate Leadership way of leading gains traction and becomes, eventually, simply the way leaders are and behave in the organisation.

Those participating in the process need to bear in mind the four following points:

  1. Every step of the process, from the initial two-day workshop through to the Repeat Profiles, is necessary and adds value. At the same time, in enabling the shift from being here to get results out of people to caring for and growing exceptional people, more change happens in the one-on-one feedback on profiles and the application review sessions than in the “training” components of the process, be it the two-day Intro or Application Module workshops. People really grow and change from feedback and deliberate practice – not input, no matter how interesting and convincing that input is.
  2. The purpose of the Application Module workshops is to provide leaders with a deeper understanding of the specific aspect of the framework that the module addresses as well as the means (tools) and ability (know-how and know-why) to act on that understanding. The “end” of the module is that leaders are enabled to DO this aspect of Legitimate Leadership better than they would have without the module. Each person will, and should, take something different from the workshop. Each person will, and should, elect to use the tools that “work” for them or adapt the tools so that they do so.
  3. The care and growth process is organic. It happens incrementally and it happens one leader at a time. Rather than having a Legitimate Leadership strategy and plan with measures and milestones to manage against, leaders need to trust the process and stop trying to manage the outcome. Only once they do so will they not only enjoy the journey but find that they have transformed as leaders in the process.
  4. Some leaders learn quicker than others and some apply the principles better than others. That is fine. The goal is not to reach perfection, it is to continue to learn and get just a little better than before.
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Event: Reinventing Performance Management Workshop

By Teigue Payne, Legitimate Leadership.

Conventional performance management systems received negative reviews at a recent Legitimate Leadership client-consultant workshop in Johannesburg entitled Reinventing Performance Management. Comment on traditional systems was that they were often seen as a form of control and punishment – and occasionally reward.

One delegate described them as “the single most disengaging factor that employers use”.

Also, often conventional systems were “played” to get the required good scores.

Yet in the choice between software systems and more labour-intensive performance management approaches, software systems are generally preferred. This is probably because of two factors. Firstly, software is frequently sold as a silver bullet (but experience shows that this is unrealistic – that any success can only come from putting new behaviours in place). Secondly, legitimate leadership of any kind generally involves hard work and the courage to hold people accountable – and the turkey seldom votes for Christmas.

To remedy the negatives of conventional performance management systems, there was agreement among many delegates that the focus needed to shift to “forward-looking contribution”. Most of all, any system which would result in all employees trusting and contributing to it, should be sought.

The Legitimate Leadership Model is not about systems, said Wendy Lambourne, director of Legitimate Leadership. It is rather about cultivating relationships of trust. So no particular system should stop the application of the Legitimate Leadership Model in an organisation. Nonetheless, a performance management system which is aligned to Legitimate Leadership principles obviously is likely to work better.

A case study of one company, Singular Systems, which used the Legitimate Leadership Model in reinventing its performance management system, was described at the workshop – see Singular Systems: Reinventing Its Performance Management System. Following the reinvention, Singular Systems Cape Town achieved increased revenue growth year-on-year due, among other things, to focus on growing staff and driving individual contribution, said Dave Elliott, and executive of Singular Systems.

Said Lambourne: “Every organization is different and you absolutely cannot have a one-size-fits-all approach. Legitimate Leadership has no silver bullet for all performance management systems. It accepts that they will differ from company to company, in different geographies and different environments.”

Almost every company has a performance management system of some kind – often very informal.

Whatever pre-existing system there is, it can be tweaked and changed to align with the Legitimate Leadership Model. Or the system can be scrapped and one can start again.

Ian Munro, director of Legitimate Leadership, said the willingness to give or contribute unconditionally is enabled by the three Ps: purpose, passion and person.

One of the deepest differences between Legitimate Leadership and more conventional leadership approaches is that it calls for the focus on the financial scoreboard (results) to be lessened in favour of focus on the contributions of the people in the organisation. Put differently, Legitimate Leadership is asking for a shift from the results themselves to the people in the organisation who actually cause the results in the first place.

Said Munro: “The scoreboard doesn’t tell you what the contribution is – you can only know what it is by watching the game.”

“Sticks and carrots are not the solution because in essence both are about what can be got from people. In contrast, Legitimate Leadership is about empowering people – what we can give to people and how enabling people makes them stronger.

“The defects of traditional performance management systems are usually addressed through one or more of the following: 1) increasing transparency, 2) decreasing subjectivity, 3) moving from discrete reviews to continuous performance management, and 4) performance standardisation (bell curves). Most performance management systems that we have come across aim to deliver on at least a couple, or occasionally all, of these.

“The problem with all four is that none of them deals with the two core problems plaguing performance management in most organisations: mistrust and backwards-focus. None deals explicitly with mistrust (getting someone to believe you because you made everything transparent is not the same as getting them to trust you). Only continuous performance management (potentially) deals with the backwards-focus problem.

“In designing a performance management system, it is much more effective to focus on developing trusting relationships, than developing the perfect system. None of the trends – improving transparency, decreasing subjectivity, holding a continuous focus, and standardising across the business – are bad ideas in themselves. In fact, we think they are good ideas. We’re simply saying that without a commensurate improvement in trust, and a willingness to look forwards rather than backwards, they simply won’t deliver the improvement that organisations desire. The response to calling on trust will depend on the level of social capital in the relationship.

“Unless you have a trust-based relationship it doesn’t matter what your system is, it will always disempower people. Essentially the Legitimate Leadership Model, and the essence of trustworthiness, is ‘I trust you to the extent that I believe that you have my best interests at heart’.”

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November 2019 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne , director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: What is the difference between management and leadership?

Answer: Legitimate Leadership has a very clear view of the distinction between management and leadership: management is what you apply to things; leadership pertains to people.

For organisational success and sustained results – organisational excellence – both management and leadership are required. So the distinction, for us, would be distilled by asking people, “what sounds right to you of the following two statements: you manage the inventory in the warehouse, or, you lead the inventory in the warehouse?” Obviously, you manage the inventory in the warehouse.

We are total advocates of the view that you should manage things like finances, systems, structures, facilities, etc. And we know that organisations which don’t manage tend not to succeed.

But our plea is: please don’t manage people, lead them. Because when you manage people, you reduced them to the status of things.

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November 2019

Featured

Question of the Month:  What is the difference between management and leadership?
Legitimate Leadership has a very clear view of the distinction between management and leadership: management is what you apply to things …
Event: Reinventing Performance Management Workshop
Conventional performance management systems received negative reviews at a recent Legitimate Leadership client-consultant workshop in Johannesburg entitled Reinventing Performance Management …
Legitimate Leadership Should Be Nurtured, Not Managed Or Controlled
Organisations do not transform overnight. This is because people are still people irrespective of technology. Humans, because they are human, require time to adapt and respond to change …
Instead Of Doing Admin, Frontline Managers Should Coach Their Employees And Constantly Improve Quality
For frontline managers to perform their care and growth role requires in the first instance a mindshift from seeing their jobs as getting results out of people to enabling excellence in them …
E-mail events@legitimateleadership.com for more information

Question of the Month 
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership
Question: What is the difference between management and leadership?
Answer: Legitimate Leadership has a very clear view of the distinction between management and leadership: management is what you apply to things; leadership pertains to people.
For organisational success and sustained results – organisational excellence – both management and leadership are required. So the distinction, for us, would be distilled by asking people, “what sounds right to you of the following two statements: you manage the inventory in the warehouse, or, you lead the inventory in the warehouse?” Obviously, you manage the inventory in the warehouse.
We are total advocates of the view that you should manage things like finances, systems, structures, facilities, etc. And we know that organisations which don’t manage tend not to succeed.
But our plea is: please don’t manage people, lead them. Because when you manage people, you reduced them to the status of things.
 To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

EVENT: REINVENTING PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP
By Teigue Payne, Legitimate Leadership
Conventional performance management systems received negative reviews at a recent Legitimate Leadership client-consultant workshop in Johannesburg entitled Reinventing Performance Management.
Comment on traditional systems was that they were often seen as a form of control and punishment – and occasionally reward.
One delegate described them as “the single most disengaging factor that employers use”.
Also, often conventional systems were “played” to get the required good scores.
Yet in the choice between software systems and more labour-intensive performance management approaches, software systems are generally preferred. This is probably because of two factors. Firstly, software is frequently sold as a silver bullet (but experience shows that this is unrealistic – that any success can only come from putting new behaviours in place). Secondly, legitimate leadership of any kind generally involves hard work and the courage to hold people accountable – and the turkey seldom votes for Christmas.
To remedy the negatives of conventional performance management systems, there was agreement among many delegates that the focus needed to shift to “forward-looking contribution”. Most of all, any system which would result in all employees trusting and contributing to it, should be sought.
The Legitimate Leadership Model is not about systems, said Wendy Lambourne, director of Legitimate Leadership. It is rather about cultivating relationships of trust. So no particular system should stop the application of the Legitimate Leadership Model in an organisation. Nonetheless, a performance management system which is aligned to Legitimate Leadership principles obviously is likely to work better.
A case study of one company, Singular Systems, which used the Legitimate Leadership Model in reinventing its performance management system, was described at the workshop – see Singular Systems: Reinventing Its Performance Management System.   Following the reinvention, Singular Systems Cape Town achieved increased revenue growth year-on-year due, among other things, to focus on growing staff and driving individual contribution, said Dave Elliott, and executive of Singular Systems.
READ THE FULL REPORT BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP SHOULD BE NURTURED, NOT MANAGED OR CONTROLLED
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Organisations do not transform overnight. This is because people are still people irrespective of technology. Humans, because they are human, require time to adapt and respond to change.
Legitimate Leadership, or being here to care for and grow others, actually begins in an organisation when one or more individuals who have been exposed to the Legitimate Leadership Model go away and do something with it. The positive results they accrue from doing so not only personally encourage them to continue, but provide an example(s) for others to follow.
The germination of the 16 Legitimate Leadership or care and growth practices, in other words, happen slowly and often takes time to be noticed. At some point however the principles and practices take root and gather momentum. Eventually a point is reached when some sort of critical mass has been achieved. “Care and growth” is then no longer the exception but the norm.
Cultivating an organisation which embodies the principles and spirit of Legitimate Leadership therefore requires patience and perseverance by all involved.
It is in recognition of this that the Legitimate Leadership process for a group of 15-20 leaders is typically 12-18 months in duration.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: INSTEAD OF DOING ADMIN, FRONTLINE MANAGERS SHOULD COACH THEIR EMPLOYEES AND CONSTANTLY IMPROVE QUALITY
By Aaron De Smet, Monica McGurk, and Marc Vinson, principals of consulting company McKinsey in the USA, writing in McKinsey Quarterly.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS ARTICLE: For frontline managers to perform their care and growth role requires in the first instance a mindshift from seeing their jobs as getting results out of people to enabling excellence in them. This will only happen however if those people are given the means and ability to perform the role and then held accountable for doing so. The Legitimate Leadership process, run over 12-18 months, has consistently delivered the kind of frontline managers described in this article – in branch banking, in motor retail, in manufacturing, in call centres, and in fashion retail.  For these Legitimate Leadership case studies, see (Fuelling Peformance in Fashion RetailOpening A New Store A New WayCare & Growth Impacts Motor Retail ResultsReflections On Implementing Care & Growth).
OUR EXCERPTS FROM THIS ARTICLE: A retail manager responsible for more than $80 million in annual revenue, an airline manager who oversees a yearly passenger volume worth more than $160 million, a banking manager who deals with upward of seven million questions from customers a year. These aren’t executives at a corporate headquarters; they are the hidden—yet crucial— managers of frontline employees.
Found in almost any company, such managers are particularly important in industries with distributed networks of sites and employees. These industries—for instance, infrastructure, travel and logistics, manufacturing, health care, and retailing (including food service and retail banking)—make up more than half of the global economy. Their district or area managers, store managers, site or plant managers, and line supervisors direct as much as two-thirds of the workforce and are responsible for the part of the company that typically defines the customer experience. Yet most of the time, these managers operate as cogs in a system, with limited flexibility in decision making and little room for creativity. In a majority of the companies we’ve encountered, the frontline managers’ role is merely to oversee a limited number of direct reports, often in a “span breaking” capacity, relaying information from executives to workers.
Such managers keep an eye on things, enforce plans and policies, report operational results, and quickly escalate issues or problems. In other words, a frontline manager is meant to communicate decisions, not to make them; to ensure compliance with policies, not to use judgment or discretion (and certainly not to develop policies); and to oversee the implementation of improvements, not to contribute ideas or even implement improvements (workers do that). This system makes companies less productive, less agile, and less profitable, our experience shows.
Change is possible, however. At companies that have successfully empowered their frontline managers, the resulting flexibility and productivity generate strong financial returns. 
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE
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Singular Systems: Reinventing Its Performance Management System

BACKGROUND

Singular Systems, which was founded in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a bespoke software provider with a total staff today across its three sites of about 200. The company was started by Anthony Wilmot and the current CEO, Nicholas Kruiskamp, and has a family-business ethos.

Luckily, when the company embarked on reinventing its pre-existing performance management system in 2017, there was a fair degree of trust already within its culture. “Any process you could think of would have zero impact if it didn’t have trust,” says Dave Elliott, an executive of Singular Systems.

Another essential was that care and growth of employees as a value had to be accepted by the top leadership.

The performance management project was embarked upon simultaneously with a Legitimate Leadership transformation project, led by Ian Munro (see Reinventing Performance Management Workshop). Following the reinvention, Singular Systems Cape Town achieved increased revenue growth year-on-year due, among other things, to focus on growing staff and driving individual contribution.

Singular Systems applied principles from Legitimate Leadership in designing its new system. Thereafter Singular Systems evolved its own system in its three separate offices (in Cape Town, Johannesburg and London).

Divisional goals are aligned to achieving the company-defined goals; thereafter, the process of performance management is consistent across the geographies. However, the specific goals, values, principles and cultures that are defined in each are specific to the geographies.

Elliott says the family culture of the business was both a blessing and a curse. A curse because a new entrant would not clearly know it’s values, which were unstated between original “family” members –  and this could result in a plunge in quality when a family member was not involved in a project.

“In a business which is scaling up, when there is a results focus rather than a contribution focus, this becomes a challenge,” he says.

In reviewing Singular Systems’ pre-existing performance management system, it was observed that  support/mentorship was hindered by two issues.

  1. The company was not able to define what excellence looked like and also could not articulate the means that were needed to execute a task efficiently (for example, the expectation was that middle management would organically grow the skills needed to lead people). “Language is important in any framework. We had not, for instance, defined what ‘excellence’ looked like. We used to use wording like ‘keep up good delivery on client X’. But it was left to that person’s interpretation of what ‘good delivery’ looked like rather than the concept having been defined in terms of process, quality and principles. This has now changed.”
  2. When the quality was not good enough on project-based work, the senior team would swoop in to save the day rather than holding people accountable and using the opportunity to grow individuals involved or have tough discussions. Thus the opportunity to grow in a difficult situation/period was taken away.

The company’s pre-existing, conventional performance management system was very financially orientated, with goals and budgets defined annually and assessed every six months.

“Every six months management sat with each employee and examined his performance and from that decided on salary increases and bonuses. The question asked of the employee then was not related to the values and goals of the organisation and was usually a generalised ‘how did the past six months go?’”

Also, many people were putting in a lot of very hard work. The question arose as to why they were working so hard. Perhaps it was because quality was not the best and there were too many reworks of software. If that was the pattern, then according to the Legitimate Leadership Model, bonuses based on working really hard but not actually adding significant value were not justified.

There was, apparently, much potential for streamlining and greater efficiency.

WHAT CHANGED – FEATURES OF THE NEW SYSTEM

  • From the start, in line with Legitimate Leadership principles, it was stated that the overall purpose of the reinvented system would be to grow people and enable their contribution. In the previous system, every year the company’s financial goals were set for the year ahead and these were cascaded down to each division. Now these goals include some non-financial goals as well. Progress against all goals is communicated to all staff on a monthly basis. “Financial goals and budgets are very much part of the process, but the difference is that both financial and non-financial goals have been articulated. For instance, non-financial goals included one on hiring – a goal of better understanding talent acquisition (because the costs of recruiters was too high, the company had to do its own recruitment).”
  • Whereas previously the review process had two main elements – retro and goals – in formulating the new system, huge initial work was done on first understanding the company’s Values and Standards – that is, Values and Standards for “each other” and Values and Standards for “clients”. Once the Values and Standards were defined as precisely as possible (clichés were avoided), it was clear what people would be required to “stand up” for.

“What time we spend on something is a reflection of our focus. Our focus changed from the results to empowering people. This required an initial massive time investment. They need to feel the care!”

The session to define site Values and Standards is repeated every year and this exercise now takes a few hours.

“This is because there is now a thread through the organisation, in its fabric, and through all individuals. This means that subsequent changes are mere tweaks to reflect changes in the environment or in perceptions. Some of our Values – for instance, gratitude – will always need to be there; others will change. For instance, work-life balance may change for individuals. A bachelor joining the company might want to work harder than a new father, which is perfectly acceptable.

“Most empowering is that whereas we normally think that formulating performance management systems is a top-down process, this process – because it is transparent – is not. A junior can challenge a senior, saying that a particular behaviour is not in line with a particular value. Formulating and broadcasting the values and principles causes immediate bonding within the company.”

  • Job roles were revisited to ensure that the unique value-add of each role in terms of Purpose and Key Accountabilities was appropriate. Articulation of skills and what is required from each job role, and training required, is done across a number of facets. This is also done from the client perspective for each job role.
  • Each staff member within the organization was assigned a Project Lead and Career Manager. The Project Lead of a project team is responsible for the care and growth of those on the project. A Career Manager’s focus is on longer term career development in line with the individual’s aspirations as long as he is with the company. This was seen as a particularly important addition in this project-based company to provide continuous focus on an individual’s development as he might move from one project team to another.
  • Monthly Contribution Sessions have been instituted, attended by the individual employee, the Career Manager and the Project Lead. The individual brings her proposed contributions for the month ahead that need to align from a complexity perspective with what is defined against her job role. Each contribution begins with “I will commit to …” (in contrast to the previous common statement “I will continue to …”). The individual also brings her assessment of her contribution overall in the past month (Superstar, Solid Citizen, Growable/Coachable, Disconnect). The Career Manager and Project Lead share their perceptions of the individual’s past contributions as well as acting as coaches on the proposed contributions for the month ahead. The employee owns her contributions and understands that this is what she is accountable for. In the staff of 40, there are 5-8 career managers who may look after one individual or more. And there are about 10 Project Leads because the division typically has 10-14 clients.
  • Every 6 months a bonus is paid (depending of course on company performance – if there is poor financial performance there is no bonus). Notably, doing the job to the required expectations is not worthy of a bonus – that is what the salary addresses. The bonus is paid out on what over-and-above contributions the individual has made – project-related, business-related, in relation to clients, behaviours and attitude. Over-and-above contributions may be acts not agreed in the monthly contributions and deliverables – for instance a person who brings a good attitude and contributes to the broader team’s happiness day-to-day is unlikely to have been defined previously in Values and Behaviours, but is considered to add value. During the performance appraisal, a discussion is held and a 1–10 score is agreed. The 6 months of contribution discussions are obviously an input in these discussions. Elliott recognizes that the rating thus arrived at is subjective but he says that there is generally alignment of the score between the parties involved if the contribution sessions and process have been well adopted and adhered to because they minimise the discrepancy in people’s perceptions of their performances and those held by their managers. “Our initial assumption was that people would be upset when their bonus was small, but that is generally not the case.” Variance in bonus payments has increased – people who have ‘shot the lights out’ in the past 6 months now get significantly more than those merely contributing at the level that their job role prescribes. Previously, under the family business culture, there was less disparity between bonus percentages of a monthly salary as everyone was seen to be driving the financial success of the business. This created two challenges: it disincentivised the members of staff that were contributing significantly over and above what was expected of them, bringing them back down to a mean; and it validated poorer performance from members of staff who had merely performed at the minimum required level.

After the new performance management system and its philosophy had been formulated, Elliott organised a breakaway morning for the 40-person Cape Town team in which the new principles were explained. Elliott has been the champion of the process – but other staffers have been brought on board and there is now wide-spread support for it.

SOME RESULTS

  • Singular Systems Cape Town has been able to shift the emphasis and culture of the site from financial to people development so that its excellent financial growth recently has been a byproduct of people development rather than the reverse. Management has also realised that it is not asking for more time and effort but rather for a defined contribution.
  • Employees increasingly realise that it’s not for the Project Manager to come up with tasks for them; it is for them to define their contributions and, for instance, say “could you please give me more projects to align me with X or Y”.
  • There is increased alignment between day-to-day work and impact on company and department goals.
  • Everyone holds others to account.
  • Only once people are performing at the next level is a promotion offered. And the person concerned is first asked whether he wants to take on more responsibility. Not everyone does – just as not everybody wants to lead. Previously a technical person often just grew into a manager’s position. “We had extremely competent technical people who weren’t necessarily good managers.” But whatever they decide, everyone is still developed!
  • Deadweight people – victims – have left the company. Previously they did enough to check all the boxes and management couldn’t articulate what they were doing wrong. This bred a culture of mediocrity and discouraged new entrants.

OTHER THOUGHTS

  • Elliott’s Cape Town team numbers about 40; he believes that the system is scalable. A team of 900, for instance, should be divided up into groups according to geography, skills or other criteria. Singular Systems is a project-oriented company. In a more “continuous work” company the principles are the same, he says: look for the different components. “For instance, a farm needs preparation of the ground; preparation of the seed; planting; and harvesting. Hold people to account for each element.”
  • Of course there are external factors. In farming, for instance, even with the best intent you might be let down by the weather. If you don’t recognise this, it’s demotivating. You can only be held accountable to what is in your control.
  • “We work in an industry where there is a huge demand and competition for good people. In order to develop staff effectively, there is a significant time and cost associated with this – investment that leads to value creation but requires up front commitment and consistency. As a result, companies may be concerned that the investment is lost when people leave for other businesses. Our view is in line with the adage, ‘what happens if we train our staff and they leave?’ We say, ‘what happens if we don’t and they stay?’ We have accepted that there will be an attrition rate, but attrition rates have fallen in our division.”
  • “Many of the meetings with the Career Manager occur over a meal or coffee. Initially we asked the staff to select career managers. Later, with new recruits coming in we have had great people looking for opportunities to be Career Managers. They are also thereby steeped in the Legitimate Leadership Model.”
  • People define their own career path and Career Managers facilitate this. “There is a myth that if a company cares about people it has to give up caring about the money. But the two are not in opposition. They are actually aligned – and we communicate this to shareholders.”
  • Consistency is more effective than intensity. In other words, do consistent education, not big-bang. Education takes time and effort. “Going to the dentist doesn’t look after your teeth; brushing your teeth does.”
  • It’s not the mechanism of the performance management system, it’s the spirit, that matters.
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October 2019

Featured

Question of the Month: What are factors to bear in mind with a new-technology transformation in an industrial, unionised worksite?
From Legitimate Leadership’s experience in industrial transformation projects, the following are indicators…
Vignette Case Study: Getting Employees To Understand Your Values And Standards
Ince, a South African company in the information and investment sectors, has been engaged in applying Legitimate Leadership’s module, Enabling Human Excellence by Raising the Bar…
Article: Watching The Game To Enable Employee Contribution And Growth
There are different ways of “watching the game” or determining the means, ability and accountability issues, which if addressed, would enhance employee contribution and growth…
Video: Combating Fear In Management And Learning From Sports Teams
At Legitimate Leadership we frequently use sports metaphors to highlight good (or bad) leadership practices. While leading in a business is obviously not exactly the same as leading a football team…

E-mail events@legitimateleadership.com for more information

Question of the Month 
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership
Question: What are factors to bear in mind with a new-technology transformation in an industrial, unionised worksite?
Answer: From Legitimate Leadership’s experience in industrial transformation projects, the following are indicators:
  • Good leadership is at least as important, and often more important, than good technology.
  • If you empower the people who actually run the plant rather than throwing technologists (engineering and R&D specialists) and extra people at the problem, you do much better.
  • When outsiders treat those who operate the plant as fools, they become fools.
  • In any transformation, you need to talk to employees at the start and throughout the process. You need to engage with organised labour through labour (union) structures, no matter how hard this is; and with the people directly (by means of mass meetings, shift meetings and one-on-one meetings between managers and direct reports).
  • You can’t plan a transformation in detail up front. Nevertheless no transformation is successful without a clear vision, an overall strategy and a roadmap … read the full answer by clicking here
 To submit your question, e-mail info@legitimateleadership.com

VIGNETTE CASE STUDY: GETTING EMPLOYEES TO UNDERSTAND YOUR VALUES AND STANDARDS
By Stuart Foulds,  associate, Legitimate Leadership.
Ince, a South African company in the information and investment sectors, has been engaged in applying Legitimate Leadership’s module, Enabling Human Excellence by Raising the Bar. This module particularly addresses standards.
The company has been re-evaluating three sets of standards: relating to leadership, behaviour and performance.
Behavioural standards are based on values, and one of the company’s values is “collaboration”. Linked to this value is a behavioural standard paraphrased as, “We say never say ‘no’ to a customer; we say ‘yes’ and try to meet their needs”.
During the application module workshop, the executive team noted that the “say yes” behavioural standard was well established in relation to external customers, but much less so for internal customers. Internally, often the response to a request for assistance was, for instance, “that’s not my portfolio”, or “that’s not my business”.
READ THE FULL CASE STUDY BY CLICKING HERE

ARTICLE: COACHING AND THE LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP FRAMEWORK
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
There are different ways of “watching the game” or determining the means, ability and accountability issues, which if addressed, would enhance employee contribution and growth. Below are examples of how the concept of “watching the game” has been applied in various contexts, to realise significant improvements in individual and organisational performance.
Regional sales managers accompanied their sales executives in the field not to assist them to increase sales (although sales increased dramatically), but to determine what they needed in order to achieve excellence in the sales process.
One of the key scores on a warehouse scoreboard was picking error rate per picker. The warehouse manager shadowed both the best and the worst pickers in the warehouse. In a few days he was able to find out what, in terms of means, ability and motivation accounted for the difference in performance.
In an explosives factory, 80% of misfires in the field were due to powder gaps in the fuse, which produced by the operator during the process of spinning the fuse.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE

VIDEO: COMBATING FEAR IN MANAGEMENT AND LEARNING FROM SPORTS TEAMS
By Dr Axel Zein, CEO of WSCAD, which delivers CAD software for electrical engineering. In three years he turned the company around, grew revenues 57% and achieved number two status in Central Europe. He had previously achieved similar growth in another German CAD software company.
COMMENT BY IAN MUNRO, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO EXCERPT: COMMENT BY IAN MUNRO, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO EXCERPT: At Legitimate Leadership we frequently use sports metaphors to highlight good (or bad) leadership practices. While leading in a business is obviously not exactly the same as leading a football team, the comparisons are often close enough to be really valuable – as is the case with Dr Zein’s insights.
While we agree with all five of his recommendations, I focus here on “obsession with training”. When we work with leaders one of the most important messages we at Legitimate Leadership try to convey is: “Go and do something. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Without practice, nothing will change.” Competitive sports people understand this implicitly. The difference? Because performance on a sports field is usually so transparent and measurable, ‘return on investment’ (feedback) on training success is real-time and easy to see. The more I train myself to kick the ball straight, the more accurate I get.
Leadership is different. It takes time and belief and consistency to build trust – especially if there was little there before. People on the team may be sceptical at first when they see you shifting your focus to helping them. Feedback will likely be tentative while your people try to figure out whether the change is real and lasting or something that will disappear at the first sign of crisis. Keep at it. It might take 6 weeks, 6 months, a year. But when they do finally trust and support you, it will undoubtedly be worth it.
OUR EXCERPT FROM THIS VIDEO: What happens when you start a job and you’re not really prepared for it? There are two possible human reactions: One, “Wow, what a cool thing!” Another, fear.
Fear in a manager is a recipe for disaster. Because instead of seeing opportunities, you see threats. And you want to protect all that you have achieved.
So you start kissing up and kicking down, you don’t encourage others to grow, you remove every person from your way that could be a potential threat. It’s a nightmare for your business, because in the long term you’ll ruin it. And it’s an emotional nightmare for the people involved.
But fear in a manager comes mostly from the fact that that person is not prepared for the job.
So I advise you to look at sports, look at a soccer team.
READ THE FULL EXCERPT OF THIS VIDEO BY CLICKING HERE
TO VIEW THE VIDEO CLICK HERE

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October 2019 – Question of the Month

By Wendy Lambourne , director, Legitimate Leadership.

Question of the Month: What are factors to bear in mind with a new-technology transformation in an industrial, unionised worksite?

Answer: From Legitimate Leadership’s experience in industrial transformation projects, the following are indicators:

  • Good leadership is at least as important, and often more important, than good technology.
  • If you empower the people who actually run the plant rather than throwing technologists (engineering and R&D specialists) and extra people at the problem, you do much better.
  • When outsiders treat those who operate the plant as fools, they become fools.
  • In any transformation, you need to talk to employees at the start and throughout the process. You need to engage with organised labour through labour (union) structures, no matter how hard this is; and with the people directly (by means of mass meetings, shift meetings and one-on-one meetings between managers and direct reports).
  • You can’t plan a transformation in detail up front. Nevertheless no transformation is successful without a clear vision, an overall strategy and a roadmap. Within that you need to act on the opportunities for positive change as they arise in the process (for example, clinching a deal making temps permanent in exchange for flexible work arrangements).
  • You need to help managers make the shift to connecting to people as individuals who have individual circumstances and issues as opposed to seeing them as vessels of skills and knowledge, a human resource which you deploy to achieve some result.
  • You also need to teach managers how to empower their people (how to trust and entrust them, how to coach them and hold them appropriately accountable). You cannot assume that managers know how to do this.
  • Not everyone will survive a transformation – either due to restructuring or because they cannot fulfil the requirements of the role they need to perform. There is a need in any transformation for some tough conversations and letting go of some people.
  • The right structures (for instance, levels and shape of the organisation, and conditions of work like shift patterns and flexible working) can be significant enablers of the transformation.
  • Transformation is always a combination of enabling the people who are there and bringing in new people who will help with the change. Getting that mix right is important.
  • Leadership’s intent in the process is all-important. Why are we doing this? It has to be to secure a viable future for as many people as possible and to realise the best in people as an end in itself.
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Watching The Game To Enable Employee Contribution And Growth

By Wendy Lambourne , director, Legitimate Leadership.

There are different ways of “watching the game” or determining the means, ability and accountability issues, which if addressed, would enhance employee contribution and growth. Below are examples of how the concept of “watching the game” has been applied in various contexts, to realise significant improvements in individual and organisational performance.

Regional sales managers accompanied their sales executives in the field not to assist them to increase sales (although sales increased dramatically), but to determine what they needed in order to achieve excellence in the sales process.

One of the key scores on a warehouse scoreboard was picking error rate per picker. The warehouse manager shadowed both the best and the worst pickers in the warehouse. In a few days he was able to find out what, in terms of means, ability and motivation accounted for the difference in performance.

In an explosives factory, 80% of misfires in the field were due to powder gaps in the fuse, which produced by the operator during the process of spinning the fuse. A team made up of managers, technical experts and trainers spent 72 hours on site assessing operators against critical quality standards and asking them questions about their knowledge (including the “why”) of the standards. By watching the game, they found that 70% of the reasons for powder gaps were related to a lack of adequate means, 20% to ability (primarily a lack of “know-why”), and 10% to carelessness or willful non-adherence to standards. Remediation of the issues reduced customer complaints from 20 to 2 per month.

In a company which recovered stolen and hijacked vehicles, a key role was that of the installation technician who installed the tracking devices in the vehicles. Team leaders across the country asked the installation technicians reporting to them 3 questions:

  1. What frustrates you/makes it difficult for you to do your job?
  2. What motivates/is important to you?
  3. What would make you more motivated in your job?

Acting on the answers to the questions led to a significant improvement in motivation and customer satisfaction.
In a retail environment, area managers radically changed how they spent their time in the field by going on store manager rather than store visits – with the aim of “fixing” the store manager as opposed to the staff, the store, or the stores’ performances.

An MD accompanied his marketing and sales manager on an international trip to visit key suppliers. They returned not only with signed contracts but with clarity regarding what the marketing and sales manager needed in order to take relationships with critical individuals in the supplier organisations to higher levels.

Another form of watching the game is to do the job for a period of time and experience the realities of it. There is nothing like running a branch, taking calls in a call centre, or serving clients to understand what is really required to perform in the role.

Legitimate Leadership profiles are a mechanism for “watching the game” of those in leadership positions. They serve to diagnose a leader’s degree of alignment to the care and growth criteria. Better still is to spend time with someone in a leadership role sitting in on their one-on-one meetings and team sessions and watching them “watch the game”.

To watch the game in any context requires leaders to take their eyes off the results and to put their attention on their people. It requires them to focus on giving their people what they need to excel in their roles. Then, and only then, will organisational excellence be achieved.