Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Change is the New Normal for Successful Leadership

With the hierarchical silos of the workplace these days, change management is the new requirement to be a successful leader. Now, more than ever, leadership takes more patience, poise, and the ability to connect the dots of opportunity. 

Change management has become a bigger part of the business fabric – an embedded leadership requirement that plays into everything that we do, every day, and how we go about getting things done, regardless of hierarchy or rank.  Leadership  not only requires the ability to manage change – but also the vision to see beyond the obvious in order to anticipate unexpected circumstances.  

According to  Forbes, here are 10 things that will become defining moments along your journey to successful leadership.

Multigenerational Influence. Connecting the dots of talent and experiences requires leaders to change their attitude, and style to accommodate the needs and seize the opportunities that lie within a broader multigenerational reach. So, get out of your comfort zone and learn how to multiply the opportunities for innovation; invest time to understand the insights in the broader field of talent and customers that lie in front of you.

Cultural Intelligence. The opportunities embedded in the rapid demographic shift are endless, but the lack of cultural intelligence is making it difficult for leaders to understand the new business models and best practice requirements that lie right within reach. Success in today’s global market requires a leader’s ability to see the talent and consumer landscape as two sides of the same coin. Today, a leader must be culturally intelligent about others in order to realize the value of the demographic shift.  Culture is the new currency for growth and leaders must change their perspectives about diversity from being a cost center to a profit center.  

Global Market Wisdom. Business outside of the U.S.  respects wisdom equally to knowledge, as well as proper conduct, tact and executive presence.  Conducting business abroad is about the total experience a leader can bring to the table that is consistent, original and true.  Self-promotion, lack of values and sensationalism will get you nowhere. While your organization’s brand carries weight, just as important is getting to know who you are as an individual, and the intangibles that help you earn trust.

Consumers Demand More. As leaders, you must touch the business just as much as you lead it.  Leaders can never forget about the customers that contribute to the growth of their business and must never grow complacent about understanding their changing demands. Today’s consumer is more fickle; they are drowning in the noise and clouded by the choices that are in front of them — that are attempting to  sway them and influence what they  buy.  Leaders, regardless of hierarchy, are affected by consumer behavior; therefore, they must change the lens that they see through in order to be more mindful and educate themselves about consumer demands.

 Women Leaders Are Ready to Dive In. More women will assume senior executive leadership roles in the next 10 years, and if you are a male leader, be open to the new opportunities this represents.  Women are ready to command the leadership space by diving in, not just leaning in — to solidify their influence in the business world. Women see through a different lens then men and thus interpret the requirements of leadership differently.  Leaders must assess their approach and challenge themselves to think differently about how to best align their leadership attributes to the needs of the business.

Entrepreneurial Attitude. The competitive marketplace has made it mandatory for leaders to be more entrepreneurial, connect the dots of opportunity and find non-traditional ways for their business to grow and prosper.  Beyond creativity with the existing business at-hand, leaders must be prepared to get involved in new ventures that may require them to open up new markets, launch new products, and/or be involved in merger and acquisition activities.

Technology. You may not be technologically savvy, but you must get to know the role that technology plays in the evolution of your business.   As a leader in your business, change your mindset and educate yourself and those around you.  If you plan on being in a leadership role for the rest of your career, the 21st century demands   that you be knowledgeable enough about technology to test it, engage with it and use it to harness the profitable evolution of your business.

Crisis Management. Businesses are dealing with crisis management issues because their leaders didn’t have the circular vision to anticipate the unexpected.  The advent of social media – and a national media hungry to sensationalize any misstep – requires more leaders to have the necessary preparation, and technologies to respond to a potential crisis in a timely fashion whenever needed.

Thought Leadership. Today’s leaders must be visionaries that are not afraid to speak-up and change the conversation and/or introduce new ideas. Being a constructively disruptive leader is important and if you are not pushing your organization, its employees and the industry at large to think differently, you will not only grow complacent – you will forget how to think like a leader and as a consequence your organization will become more vulnerable to its competitors.

 Evolution of the Business Model. The result of these changes is the natural evolution of a company’s business model that now demands that its leaders serve as change agents to lift and lead the entire company. As change agents, you must know how to sell change and this requires a set of skills that you may not have been asked to have when you first got the job. 
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Monday, March 3, 2014

How The C-Suite Can Become Better Project Managers

These days, senior management is seeing its isolation disappear, which is creating a positive development towards a more agile business. Now, the CFO and the CIO must now work closely together on projects to ensure ROI and long-term value, while COOs and HR heads need to unite across change projects.
These new challenges have placed senior management in an area that is crucial for business advancement; Project Management. Here is advice from BusinessExcellence on how the C-Suite can become better project managers.

Understand the Objectives
Now, project management knowledge is essential for everyone, especially as senior executives hold the budgetary and operational keys to success. They are often the main stakeholders or if not, they know who to influence to drive project success. Put an achievable strategy in place, outline the objectives and explain what needs to be done by whom.

Create Two-Way Communication
Never block constructive suggestions as it helps highlight areas of concern, especially for individuals suffering from over-exposure. Project Managers should bear in mind that C-Level stakeholders might have had less exposure to management and need reverse management. The C-Level need to give project leaders space to work and trust their judgment.

Define the Project
Begin by defining the project’s scope, analyze the available resources and potential costs, identify risks and then build a business case that will guarantee commitment from relevant stakeholders. Benefits have to be realistic, measureable and classifiable otherwise return on investment will appear unachievable. These are classified in four ways; direct monetary benefits; direct non-monetary benefits; indirect benefits like reputational enhancement or improved staff morale; and dis-benefits i.e. what will happen if the project does not take place.

Create a Plan
Balance development time and the available resources against quality constraints and management involvement. Schedule time within the plan for review periods so feedback can be provided and concerns aired. Consider creating a critical path, a mapping of the longest route through all dependent activities. This prepares staff and the C-Suite for possible complications and establishes realistic timescales to keep to.

Stay in Control
Project managers should communicate the project’s roadmap to everyone involved and then share progress at significant points. When communicating progress, ensure people actually take it onboard. Ensure people know what is being communicated, rather than just speaking at them. Then,  implement a change process to ensure input is actioned to those in charge.

Maintain Sustainability
If effectively planned and managed, the project will be successful. But, post-launch there are areas to address to guarantee the success of future projects. Highlight what went well and what could have been better, and reflect on failure objectively and without assigning personal blame. 
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