A short video with Top 50 Global Leadership Expert John Spence on how we each approach Executive Leadership Coaching. There are many approaches to coaching but without doubt if you get the right fit the impact it makes to your effectiveness as a leader is significant. John has been coaching for many years and his approach, although similar, is different to mine.
I learnt through my career as an Army Officer the importance of coaching, mentoring and guiding and was lucky enough to have some very good leaders invest their time with me. Years of practical leadership followed by some post graduate study at Cornell University in the High Performance Leadership space allowed us to develop our framework that we use to work with many to the top CEO’s, Sports leaders and emerging leaders in New Zealand, Australia and the USA.
We recently hosted business thought leader John Spence here in New Zealand and I took some time to ask him what he is seeing in the market place since we were together in November 2017. This short video outlines the discussion.
What are the trends & issues you are seeing as a Business leader?
I am looking forward to hosting my good friend and mentor John Spence (www.Johnspence.com)down under in August. we will be working with a number of clients in Australia & New Zealand as we prepare them to lead in tougher times.
I am lucky enough to guest lecture at the University of Canterbury at the School of Business and Law. Supporting Masters level and MBA students with access to real life business opportunities and thinking is something I am passionate about. In July I introduced my good friend John Spence (Find out more about Top 100 Business Thought Leader John Spence here) to UC to speak about “Leading in Constant Change”. Here is his presentation.
This year has been a very busy and professionally rewarding year. As a Company The RESULTS Group has grown and moved into a different area. Our core business as “The Business Execution Experts” has remained the same and we have proven our “5 Pillars” framework (Vision, Strategy, Engagement, Accountability and Cadence) across every industry and every sized company imaginable. Ranging from the small 20 person company, the family held medium sized company through to larger NZ & foreign listed Companies, Government organisations and into several big organisations with a Billion or more in revenue. From the straight forward to the incredibly complex, from construction to the professional services (law, accountancy, survey, HR, Banking) to the technical world of IT and fast growth IP.
Our consultants have been challenged and pushed as they have focussed on our purpose of “Making a Difference” and ensuring our clients get the clarity so they they can execute their plans and lead change. It has been a year of change for us as a company and we have truly lived our core value “Live What we Teach” as we have sought to execute our own plan in amongst the busyness that “Business as Usual” presents. We have had to challenge ourselves to focus on the important rather than just the urgent which is the constant challenge of every CEO. So what have been my big lessons across 2014 as a Consultant, Executive Leadership Coach and professional CEO? I keep a journal reflect on the work I do and what I have learnt most days which makes it easy to look back and to reflect on the important stuff over the year. In no particular order;
Better, faster, cheaper: These are most common approaches that Companies have. These are not Strategies. Own the voice of your customer and look after them. Ask them often for feedback and listen to it. The magic will start.
Hope is also not a Strategy. You have to be deliberate and decisive in order to avoid being a victim of the market or dealt to by competitor moves.
The number of senior leaders seeking to leave Corporates and the Public sector so they can have autonomy and so they can actually make a tangible difference is truly staggering! A sense of purpose is critically important to people.
A lot can happen in a year. Good & bad. Roll your sleeves up and make good stuff happen.
CEO’s are often afraid to be human. The soft skills, the least talked about and trained for are the most important ones. Being able to be vulnerable, to make mistakes and learn from them……so important for leaders and so often missing.
Making clear and concise powerful decisions is often a missing skill. Making good decisions based on the best information at the time and backing yourself to alter them if they need it is a really critical skill especially in times of constant change. Just make a decision!
The value of having a massive network of people who you can support, ask for advice, learn from and add value to is truly priceless. I have so many people who support and contribute to our business and it is humbling to be able to support them in their roles and in their companies.
Any leader needs many mentors. Business and personal to grow in the complex world of modern business.
Formalising network Hubs or groups of people who can give you ongoing referrals and support is of high value.
John Spence taught me “you become like the 5 people you hang out with the most” Choose them carefully.
Hang out with those who know and ask a lot of questions. Learn from people with experience and acumen.
Lead from the front. Just lead and learn. People want to be led well. Make it a passion and never stop getting better at it.
As a CEO you need to make the big things happen. Get the rocks or cornerstones in place and make the things happen that move the Company in that direction happen. This is what CEO’s do.
Don’t seek to change people, seek to influence their activity, their behaviour and how they make their decisions. Seek to create an environment whereby they make consistently good decisions.
The art of reflecting and making clear observations and to be able to take an overview of the situation allows for better clarity. Practice it or have your team challenge you to do it.
Be tough. Firm, fair and consistent, but be tough in your standards and expectations of people. Be restless, seek excellence and constantly ask “Have I done enough?”. If the answer is no then step up and do more. Be the toughest on yourself……with power comes great responsibility.
Culture is king and Cash. No one can steal your culture. In fact thought leaders such as Tom Peters, Collin Powell, Richard Branson and John Spence all say that your culture is really your only truly defendable and significant point of difference. No one can steal it and if you get it right it will attract and retain top talent who in turn will look after your products, services and deliver excellent service to your clients. get that right and the magic begins!
Sadly in most companies the culture is just adhoc. No one plans it, discusses it and if they get it right it is by getting lucky. The best cultures in high performing companies are planned, a priority and protected by selecting only the best and by dealing with mediocrity very quickly. Leaving your company culture to luck means you are leaving a critical component of your “mission” success to chance.
Planning the year ahead in detail on a year planner (Sounds basic but try it) remains one of the activities that CEO’s rate as “most valuable”. Map out key dates, board meetings, reviews, training, holidays etc and plan the year ahead. Insist your team plans and gets clear around the year ahead.
Meetings are your number one leadership opportunity. Make them high value, fast, refer to good data/KPI’s and have fun. Most meetings in business today sap the energy from those who attend. Flip that around because leaders do people, leaders communicate and meetings are your number one opportunity to influence and live your culture.
Have more fun. Enjoy the ride. Its not a rehearsal.
Its been a big year and I have loved every minute of it. I’d like to thank my team and our awesome clients for everything. I can’t wait to be a part of the work we do in 2015 and all the challenge, fun and learning it will bring.
Live what we teach is one of our Core Values and over the last two months we have been getting really clear about what our ideal clients value, what we do well, what we need to improve upon. We have asked them, measured it, defined and launched our “Executive Leadership Program”. This incorporates some of the teachings from the Cornell University Post Graduate program which I have been on this year and other leadership experience and academic study from others across our talented consulting team. This program overarches our 5 Pillars framework which is so highly sought after.
We have defined our target markets, a term that will be familiar to our clients, but which in essence defines those that we design our services and products for. Those that it will add the most value to, growing markets and clients that will happily refer us as a company. We are now in the process of telling our Brand story and adjusting the way we market ourselves using social media and other tools to add value to our networks.
John Spence is absolutely resolute that the biggest challenge in business today is firstly having a simple, clear Strategic plan that all your people understand and align to (the easiest part of the equation) backed up by a relentless focus and plan of how to actually execute it i.e. making it happen. In todays world of constant and fast change this is a real challenge. In this attached video clip John has articulated his reasons for thinking this and exactly why he feels the services offered by The Results Group are such high value.
The insights and research from his work with CEO’s and Companies around North America and the globe echo what we see here in New Zealand, Australia & the USA with our clients. Reducing complexity & focussing on the important (vs the urgent) continues to be the biggest issue CEO’s face. Building a simple Strategic Plan as to how your Company will compete and then actually lead your people to achieve it through focus on delivering value to clients, good measurements (KPI’s) and a conscious plan to build a great culture.
That is what we love to do well and why our purpose is “To make a difference” to the Businesses we work choose to work with.
In both 2012 and 2013 we were lucky enough to have thought leader John Spence (and his lovely wife Sheila) come down to New Zealand and work with many of our clients. Both years we had events with over 400 attendees in Auckland. Afterwards John facilitated our Annual Conference and Strategy with our team. He influenced our training and imparted his experience gained whilst working with many CEO’s, Universities and Companies throughout North America and globally over many years.
John has become a personal friend and mentor and is regularly in contact. Generous with his time and resources he has become an advocate of The Results Group believing in our services and the value we add to clients. This year I asked him to put together a video for our Annual Conference last week which would reconnect us as a team to our Purpose (“To make a difference”) and to impart the trends he is seeing globally. He was kind enough to do that and it shaped our thinking and reconfirmed much of what our own industry analysis is telling us. It is worth watching if you are leading at the CEO level, involved in Business Strategy or are involved in the professional services space supporting High Performance Companies.
John is currently;
Listed as one of the top 100 Business thought leaders in America.
Listed as one of the top 100 Business thought leaders in trustworthy business behaviour in the world, and
One of the top 500 leadership development experts in the world.
On top of that he is a good guy who is fun to hang out with and who has many interests and aspirations.
“The task of a leader is to take their people from where they are, to where they have never been.”
It can be a tough place leading a team or organisation especially during change. Change is a constant and really it is only the pace and amount of change that varies in business today, reality is it is always there.
How do you lead in constant change? How do you bring your people with you on the journey to a place the organisation has never been? Culture plays a big part in this and a culture whereby there is high trust allows tough discussions to be held, ideas and views to be challenged and for teams to buy in to what needs to be done.
The big question always asked is “How do I build a High Performance Team Culture?”
Here are some articles about culture which you can link to here;