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Unas spotlight: Why are only one in 20 bosses a good leader?

One in 20 bosses. That’s only 5%. According to this research cited in Management Today, for every company that has 20 bosses (your average 200-300 employee firm), only one of them is likely to be a good boss. For a public sector body with say 5000 employees, it may have 25 good bosses. Puts things into perspective wouldn’t you say?

How on earth does this happen in today’s world when it would be easy to think that businesses understand the value of developing their people? It’s not like there aren’t any books on the subject or even free information out there on the good ol’ web…

I’ve pulled together these critical danger points for you to look at for yourself and/or to work through with the leaders and managers in your organisation. They come from my personal experience and learning so I’m not saying this is all there is to it, please add your own insights too in the comments:

Critical Danger Points

Not understanding that different people need different approaches so they treat all people the same.

This can come from a genuine wish to do well by others, so many of us learned “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Treating people with kindness and compassion makes you a good person. Giving all your direct reports public praise and recognition may not make you a good manager though – some will love it and others may be mortified. The same applies to how much time you spend handholding and ‘helping’ your team. Some may really appreciate help, others will just feel micro-managed and that you don’t trust them.

 

Not ensuring people work to their strengths and talents.

The evidence is overwhelming on this point. When managers and their teams really get how to leverage their talents across the team (and between them and other teams in the organisation) not only does productivity and effectiveness go up, motivation and engagement usually increases too.

Underestimating the importance of good people management the higher up the ladder they go.

I’ve heard several HR people talk as though senior leaders don’t need to focus so much on their people management skills because their direct reports are also more senior and should know what they’re doing. Maybe so, however, there are some other factors to consider. Their direct reports are people too and they have the same emotional needs as any person does. Remember “All the world’s a stage” and people are watching how senior managers manage to get clues about what is really valued by the big bosses, no matter what leaders say. So maybe it’s more important the higher up they go as they get to influence a greater sphere of people. After all, people do as you do, not as you say..

They lack self-awareness 

As cited in the Management Today article self-awareness is very important. Imagine a leader talking at a staff conference about people coming forward with ideas and interacting when they had shouted at people only a few minutes earlier? Leaders and mangers may believe that their past successes were all down to them and discount the contribution of others. Nothing rankles so much with people as when blame and credit are unfairly attributed. There may be times when us development and HR peeps have to bite the bullet and help leaders to understand the impact of their behaviour – get your CV ready and tread carefully though, not all leaders will want to hear it because…

They simply don’t care and purposely choose a domineering or bullying stance

because they believe that’s what gets results. It will definitely get results; the ones where people do a lot of politicking to stay on their right side. The kind of results where people won’t pass on valuable data for decision-making because it conflicts with what they know or think the leader wants to hear. This not caring often results in the best people leaving the business at the first opportunity because they’re not allowed to do their best work. The research cited in the article found that 47% of respondents felt threatened at work, instead of praised… The end result of all this is usually a downward spiral for the organisation.

They don’t manage change very well.

Any research on change will indicate that participation and communication are the two most important elements of successful change. Yet time and time again bosses don’t do either very well. All too often in my experience decisions are made without genuine interaction with others in the organisation. Often those making the decisions on changes don’t know what really goes on in the level of detail that team members do. Give people a chance to input BEFORE decisions are made. Not all change will be good for each individual in the business but for those that it is make sure to communicate that as well as why the change is so vital in the first place. Then communicate that again and again and again and again until people complain that they’ve heard this message several times now!

The business hasn’t got the right leader in the right place at the right time.

In the way that team members will get to perform at their best when they get to work to their strengths, the same applies to leaders and managers too. Yet more than this, each leader will have a time and place in the organisation that is most suited to their talents. When a leader is great at innovating and problem solving, don’t put them in charge of customer service because they are likely to innovate their way out of service issues. This is especially true when the business (or product) is at the point where it is building a solid customer base. In the same way, a leader who is great at managing risk is not going to excel if the organisation really needs to boost the performance of its staff. In addition, the economy goes through cycles (or seasons) too and this also influences who is best to lead at a particular point in time. You don’t want the person who was so good at tightening your belts to restrict growth when the economy turns from Winter to Spring.


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Jans Corner: A lasting contribution or winning at all costs?

I’m a big cycling fan. Apart from an occasional bike ride I love to watch the Grand cycling tours, most notably the Tour De France – arguably the biggest and most prominent three week cycling race in the world. I have followed Le Tour, as they call it in France, for the past ten years ever since I spent some time in Paris and witnessed Lance Armstrong win it for the fourth time.

Lance Armstrong is a cycling legend having won the race seven consecutive times. He inspired millions of people – including me – by his story of overcoming a terminal illness and succeeding against all odds. He also was the one who pointed out in his books and interviews that success in cycling is less about the individual greatness and more about seamless team work. Over the years, I have drawn many useful lessons for teamwork and high performance from cycling in the Tour de France to business. Playing to ones strengths, adjusting strategy based on the terrain, optimising the teams’ energy and timing of tactical actions, are just a few of them.

However, today I’d like to point out something completely different. In the past week, Armstrong’s phenomenal success has been shockingly turned completely on its head. He and his past team members, as well as management and staff of his teams were accused of probably the greatest doping scandal in the sports history. Based on a detailed investigation of the US Anti Doping Agency (USADA), Armstrong achieved his extraordinary success and sports prominence to a great extent due to their sophisticated and systematic doping program that virtually everyone surrounding his team participated in over a period of 14 years. It seems now obvious that the performance and success have been built on a deceitful use of banned and dangerous performance enhancing substances and methods.

Basically, Armstrong created an amazing teamwork and a high-performance culture that delivered extraordinary wins consistently but that was completely violating the spirit of the sport and the agreed rules of the game.

The story is both shocking and sad and demonstrates not just that a reputation built over a lifetime can be destroyed in a moment but also that a winning at all cost attitude, that employs questionable means that justify the ends may reap short-term awards but in the long term tends only to destroy the value that it created and more. It has a devastating effect on the individuals who participate in it and on the trust in both the team and the sports as a whole.

Sadly, I see this approach sometimes applied in business situations. The same pressure to win at all cost as is used for justifying dodgy tactics and dubious means. Phrases “everyone else is doing it, so why not us” or “this is the necessary evil” come to mind. Moreover, short-term thinking drives executives to exploit the resources for quick but unsustainable performance increases and generous rewards that come with it, only to move on and have the successors to pick up and deal with the mess that happens afterwards. Many companies covertly circumvent regulations to save profitability targets only to leave employees, suppliers, communities and the environment paying multifold for these savings now and in the future.

Gandhi said that “means are results in making” and I believe that we have a unique opportunity to build our businesses and teams around values that not only respect the shared purpose of the enterprise and the agreed rules of game in the market or industry but also ensure that we play transparently and can always look straight in the eyes of those we are serving and impacting.

Lance Armstrong’s legacy that went way beyond re-writing cycling history, to making a difference to millions of cancer patients, got severely tainted if not completely destroyed over night. Let’s choose a different path. One that might be not as spectacular in its short-term triumphs but one that is sustainable in its long-term positive impact and contribution. And also one that we can be proud of even if someone discovers the secret of our success.

 


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Michelle’s News

I expect by now, those of you who already had taken the test before and therefore were sent a new token, will have downloaded the new style report, with all the new cool extra’s packed in it and also your free copy of the brand new book!

For everyone else, we have priced the new book at just 99p until September 30th, so you can grab a copy now! Just click here

“Talent Dynamics

How to Unlock Your Teams Highest Potential”

We’ve had some great feedback from clients on both of these products. Please feel free to post any thoughts or comments on our blog or mail to me directly to let me know what you thought!

We started the month having a fabulous and very glamourous night out at the BIBA awards with the team and some of the TD PC’s. To be recognised as finalists in 2 of the categories was such an honour for us, we all felt very proud!

Janet Carter, Helen Williamson, Una Doyle, DT Guest, Amanda Jesson from the TD community with guests and friends (and me) at BIBA awards Preston

It was wonderful, to again be a part of Roger Hamiltons Fast Forward Your Business Events. This time in the UK (so I didn’t have very far to travel!) I met some really amazing business people in both London and Manchester and we also found we connected with some great new Trainers/Recruiters who have joined our ever growing community of Performance Consultants.

Looking forward to next week in Preston, where I will be meeting up with the latest group of TD Performance Consultants ‘in training’ as they take part in their accreditation workshop.

Here’s to a Flow filled month ahead!

Michelle

 


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Unas Spotlight: Why Innovative People Fail

I was intrigued when I recently read this Forbes article titled ‘Why Innovative People Fail’ to see that the author and commentators were so close to a workable solution, yet so far at the same time.

While the idea of getting another person involved to complement the innovator’s strengths is mooted, the concept of how a team could add value is not fully explored.

Perhaps this is partly because the ‘idea monkeys’ (and as a Star profile I’m one of them!) do enjoy significance & freedom and they could feel that a team would tie them down. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

It is interesting how I have learned that every time you wish to switch up a level, you often need to do the opposite of what you were doing before. Counterintuitive I know…

Where the right team dynamics can really add value is not just in supporting the execution of an idea but in actually helping to select the best ideas to carry forward in the first place.

The innovator, often a Creator profile, can be amazing at generating new ideas and strategies. However, their sense of timing is frequently off, usually with them being ahead of the crowd and more importantly the market.

In addition to having great timing, dealmakers and traders are also closer to the customer and so can assess the Creator’s ideas from that viewpoint. Stars can ensure that the idea is marketable and Supporters that the best team is in place to execute it.

Of course what is also essential is to have an Accumulator/Lord and/or Mechanic to ensure that the best use of data is made and the right systems and processes are in place for repeated success.

Unfortunately, what happens in many teams is that the Creator can be sensitive to criticism of their idea or strategy, which stops feedback in its tracks and consequently prevents their plans being more robust. This increases risk and the likelihood of failure.

If the team is unaware of the value that they all add to the innovation process, then there is the danger that they will be constantly moved from working on one idea to the next before anything has the chance to be completed.

An idea could be brilliant, however it may simply cost too much to execute and/or to promote, especially if this means entering new markets. It could even be taking the company totally off track in terms of where it as an organisation adds the most value to the marketplace.

The three Dynamo energy profiles, Mechanic, Creator and Star, will all innovate constantly. The trick to innovation success though, is to have the right structures and parameters in place to ensure that their innovation reaps rewards.

Understanding how value and leverage lead to accelerated trust and flow provides parameters that often result in six-and-seven-figure returns.

Having the right team dynamics gives you a structure that supports identifying and executing the best opportunities for your organisation over and over again.

So before you automatically dismiss or jump on the next great idea, consider with your team is it really the best idea for your team, for your organisation and your market at this time?


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Jans Corner: Team Learning and Collective Intelligence

Ever wondered why is it possible that a team of highly intelligent individuals is often behaving, well, not so intelligently?

Shouldn’t it be that intelligent and competent people naturally make intelligent and competent teams? Yes, in theory, but not necessarily in practice.

Why? Because the collective intelligence, competence and performance of the team depends not just on the quality of the individuals but also on the quality of their interactions.

The quality of the interactions will greatly depend on how well they can see, appreciate and draw out the best of the strengths and differing points of view of the other team members at the right time.

This doesn’t come necessarily easily or quickly and requires a collective learning process for the team to go thorough. Not just at the beginning of their collaboration through widely known process often referred to as – forming, norming, storming and performing – but continuously though team practice and synchronisation.

To co-create something magnificent together teams need to operate like orchestras.

We know that in an orchestra, learning and great performance come not from sameness and conformity but from diversity and harmony that comes from that diversity. The more diversity of musical instruments and the more in sync they play together, the larger the repertoire of music they can play and the more powerful and beautiful the sound.

Well, why do we in business have such a hard time to learn from performing arts, like orchestra music?

I would assert that it is because we treasure performing over practicing together. Even though they go hand in hand. Moreover, we are not used to and geared to practicing and learning together. We might be used to meetings and retreats, to debates and reports yet often without the extra benefits they may promise.

Peter Senge, worldwide expert in the area of learning organisations and the author of the seminal book the Fifth Discipline, points out that teams, not individuals, are the fundamental learning units in modern organisations. “Unless teams can learn, the organisations cannot learn,” and of course cannot perform adequately to reflect the aspirations and intelligence of their individuals.

:: What do you do, to learn together?

:: How do you think and practice together as a team? Do you learn from every experience and improve the quality of every interaction? Or do you keep repeating the same experiences, fighting the same problems and expending energy on who is right?

:: How often do you practice? What is your practice rhythm? Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually?

Team performance can generate the business equivalent of beautiful music played by an exquisitely synchronised orchestra where everyone enjoys playing their part whilst appreciating the diversity they are part of.

How much we unlock our collective intelligence will, however, depend on how willing and open we are to continuously practicing and learning together.


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A moment in the spotlight

The Blackpool Gazette has just published an article on Michelle Clarke meeting the Prime Minister. To take a read, just click on the following link

http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/community/a-moment-in-the-spotlight-1-4881791


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TD 2.0 launching at Fast Forward Your Business event in the UK next week!

Congratulations to the newest group of accredited TDPC’s from the UK! Here they are pictured with Master Trainer Jan and myself in Oxford.

By the way, we are super excited here at TDHQ! We thought we should let you know why!

We’ve been busy these past few months working closely with Roger James Hamilton, Creator of Wealth Dynamics and Talent Dynamics on the new and improved TD reports and TD book. The reports have doubled in content and value with information on leadership styles, environments, communication styles and much much more! Click here for more information about how you will be able to get your free upgraded report, if you have already taken a TD profile test with us in the past.

TD 2.0 will be ‘going live’ on the 6th September at the Fast Forward Your Business Events in London and Manchester, with Roger, along with his new book about Talent Dynamics!

I’m delighted to be going to both events with Roger, along with a group of our TD Consultants and we would love to see you there too! If you are in business and want to know how to build business exponentially whilst ‘future proofing’ it against the major waves of change coming our way, then come and join us for an amazing value packed day. There are still a few tickets available for both cities! Click here for more information and to access tickets for either  city

Here’s to a fabulously filled Flow month ahead!

Michelle


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Jans Corner: Simply the Best!

London 2012 Olympic Game are over. Athletes and spectators from around the world have enjoyed these two spectacular weeks of games, competition and records.

We have seen that Usain Bolt is arguably the best sprinter in the world, and now an athletic legend. Michael Phelps is the planet’s best swimmer and by the count of gold medals the best olympic athlete in the history. American basketball team showed that they can put up a show as well as points when it mattered to claim yet another olympic gold.

It is tough to win the gold and therefore, it is adequately regarded and celebrated. It marks the reward for an arduous four-year journey and symbolises personal or team triumph. It is also a reason for great pride and celebration at the athletes’ home, wherever around the world that is.  And it is also a proof of being simply the best.

In business we like the sports metaphor – and it really comes alive during the Olympics or big tournaments. It can fuel us to be our best and motivates us during the time of uncertainty and challenge.

Yet frequently the sports metaphor brings along severe limitations and distortions when applied (or presumed) in enterprises, teams or business interactions. We can say that like a unleashed dog it can turn back to bite us.

As a result businesses obsess about winning in the market at all cost (mostly to their stakeholders and the environment), teams experience undesirable yet somehow unavoidable internal competition that wastes time and energy, and individuals give more attention to being right and defending their opinions and interests than doing their best.

The focus becomes winning and beating the competition not providing value, being of service to others and collaborating to effectively make a difference. Trapped in the competitive metaphor we are losing sight of the bigger picture which we are part of and our business’ primary purpose – to serve people and society.

:: What if, as a business, instead of seeking to be the best in the world, we sought to be the best FOR the world?

:: What if, as a team, instead of seeking to be the best in the business, we sought to be the best FOR the business?

:: What if, as individuals, instead of seeking to be the best in the team, we sought to be the best FOR the team?

You get the idea. Being best for the world is a very different context and metaphor for leading and operating in business than being a winner.

When I first heard Richard Barrett, the British social commentator on the evolution of human values in business and society, coin this phrase I saw the exciting possibilities of what we can accomplish together by seeing the big picture as well as how our experience can shift in everyday business by asking just slightly different questions.

What possibilities can you see when you try this on?


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Una’s spotlight: Being competitive or bullying?

Did you know that the original meaning of to compete is ‘to serve better’?

Not according to South Africa’s communications company Telkom, which was fined £35M for using it’s dominant market position to “bully” competitors (see the recent BBC news story).

As a fixed line operator the company was battling against mobile operators and retaliated by charging too much for internet access.

A fair response some might say but is it really? When people – and their organisations – feel desperate, feel a big sense of lack then that is probably the space that they are going to respond from.

But where does that leave the customer? What impact does that have on innovation in the marketplace when one organisation looks to block competition?

The fact is that when it comes to David and Goliath situations in business, these days David has a good a chance as any. The internet has lowered barriers to entry in many markets and social media facilitates huge followings where there is strong passion and a great idea.

Anybody who has the drive and the will can deconstruct an industry and change the marketplace. Your industry could be next if it isn’t happening already…

Telecoms is one typical example of such massive change and there are many more. For instance what happens when lots of people are getting much of their energy from their buildings (via solar panels, etc) and selling it back to the utilities companies? Will the utilities change their focus to renewable energy and/or helping home owners and businesses to be more green? Or perhaps they’ll enter new industries that they can add value to in the way they did in their current market.

Thinking this is a bit extreme? The typical response to a new idea is for people to laugh and pour scorn, then a few people respond positively while others shake their heads in wonder and finally everybody accepts it as a way of life.

The fact is that any new idea with merit will eventually happen – ignoring it is not the solution, not in the long term anyway.

So what if your focus was less on blocking your competition and more on the ways that you could add more value to your customers? That is how to have a bigger share in the marketplace.

The one thing that will put you and your organisation ahead of the game is to be playing on a different field entirely. Do it right and suddenly you’ll find that you have more loyal spectators coming to see you play.

Perhaps in doing this you may even discover what you thought of as your biggest competitor, could actually be your greatest ally…


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TD 2.0 Launching very soon…

I wanted to give you some prior notice of an exciting update! Over the past few months, Roger and the team here at TDHQ have been working on the development of the Talent Dynamics Profile reports.

We’re calling it TD 2.0!

The updated report, as well as all of what you have come to expect, now also contains:

Explanation on Value and Leverage

The leadership style of your profile

How you communicate with others and the best way to get into Flow

The best environments for your profile to flourish

The emotional needs of each of the Frequencies

There is now information on all 8 profiles as well, so you can see at a glance an overview of the others in your team…

and much much more!

It’s grown from 10 to 18 pages and is packed with even more content about your profile!

We are letting you know now, as early in September, we will contact you to let you know that we are almost ready to go live with TD 2.0 and before we do that, as you have already taken a profile test with us previously, we want you to be able to download the new version of your own report, absolutely free.

The opportunity to download the new report for free will be available for a limited period only, so please don’t miss it.

In addition, we will also be gifting you a free copy of the new book that Roger and I have created about Talent Dynamics.

Look out for the updates coming from us in the next few weeks as you will have exclusive access to the new reports and the TD book before anyone else sees them!

 


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