I have been focusing on each of the 10 leadership principles I learned as an officer in the army. This the 7th of these principles.

  1. Realize that everyone is expendable, including you.
  2. Assume that all your followers are potential leaders until they prove otherwise.
  3. Leadership can and must be developed.
  4. Match responsibilities to knowledge and skill levels.
  5. Remember it’s easier to teach knowledge and skills than to change attitudes.
  6. Create a professional development framework so everyone knows what is required and expected in order to progress.
  7. Stimulate your followers intellectually and emotionally.
  8. Challenge your followers, especially if you think they have high leadership potential.
  9. Provide ongoing coaching, mentoring, training, and feedback.
  10. Tell people where they stand.

Richard Martin is The Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

I have been focusing on each of the 10 leadership principles I learned as an officer in the army. This the 6th of these principles.

  1. Get out of your office and talk to your followers, colleagues, and other stakeholders.
  2. Ask your followers about themselves.
  3. Have a regular “platoon commander’s hour.”
  4. Every once in a while get in the “snake pit” and answer questions from your followers.
  5. Ensure your followers have the best training, professional development, leadership and resources they need to carry out their missions.
  6. Ensure your followers’ creature comforts are reasonable and taken care of.
  7. Ensure fairness and reasonable equivalence in privileges and amenities across your team or organization.
  8. Provide regular feedback.
  9. Monitor the mood, morale, and cohesion of your team or organization.
  10. Care about the person, not just the position.

Richard Martin is The Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

I have been focusing on each of the 10 leadership principles I learned as an officer in the army. This the fourth of these principles.

  1. Take your profession seriously and be a model of professional competency and development.
  2. Assume everyone is looking to you and will imitate you in your comportment, demeanour, and words.
  3. Walk the walk and talk the talk, but remember that actions speak louder than words.
  4. Own up to mistakes and errors, and correct them immediately.
  5. Follow the golden rule. Respect goes both ways.
  6. Be willing to make hard decision and to justify and explain them if necessary. Don’t just “rule by fiat.”
  7. Be firm but fair. Explain your decisions when they concern people directly.
  8. Know what you stand for and make sure others know it also.
  9. Be honest with yourself and others.
  10. If you don’t know, say so. You can always find out or ask for someone’s advice or input.

Richard Martin is The Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

I have been focusing on each of the 10 leadership principles I learned as an officer in the army. This the third of these principles.

  • Volunteer for important missions and responsibilities.
  • Plan ahead when you have a new mission or responsibility.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. If you’re not at least a bit nervous, you’re not taking enough risk.
  • Learn about and try out new approaches.
  • Take the blame when things go poorly, and praise your team when things go well.
  • Remember that no one is shooting at you.
  • Responsibility means being able to answer for your decisions, actions, and behaviour. Responsibility = accountability.
  • Put your attention on what you can control and either manage risk for the rest, or forget about it.
  • Risk should only be accepted with a corresponding chance of reward.
  • As a leader you’re part of “the system,” and represent the institution. So you can’t blame “the man” because you’re him.

Richard Martin is The Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

In the next weeks I will be focusing on each of the 10 leadership principles I learned as an officer in the army. This the second of these principles.

  • Do your personal SWOT analysis on a regular basis.
  •  Find your personal center of gravity and leverage it for all it’s worth.
  • Find ways to limit your weaknesses through mitigation, training, alliances, teambuilding, etc.
  • Adopt positive role models.
  • Get mentoring or coaching as needed.
  • Learn and practice the nuts and bolts of management and inspiration.
  • Do regular personal after action reviews to identify and consolidate lessons learned.
  • Seek and accept informed and intelligent counsel.
  • Ask for advice and suggestions from subordinates, and then make the decision.
  • Volunteer for important, “stretch” tasks and responsibilities.

Richard Martin is The Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

 

One of the main challenges in business is finding a way to grow. A company can choose the acquisition route. This is what Richardson GMP did last year when it acquired Macquarie Private Wealth to become Canada’s largest independent (i.e. non-bank) wealth management firm. GE is currently in the process of acquiring France’s Alstom to expand its energy business, while Medtronic is buying Covidien to expand the range and scope of its medical device offerings.

In reality, though, an acquisition is just a means to an end. Companies can also choose to grow “organically,” that is, to create new businesses from within on the basis of existing products and services. In either case, the growth can come from increasing its share and penetration of existing markets, offering new products to existing customers, seeking out new customers for existing products and services, or creating a whole new business by offering new products to entirely new customers.

There is a basic assumption underlying all of these approaches, however. It is that the company continues to define itself in the same way. If we take again the example of Medtronic, we can see that its acquisition of Covidien fits nicely within its corporate mission, which is: “To contribute to human welfare by application of biomedical engineering in the research, design, manufacture, and sale of instruments or appliances that alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life.” (www.medtronic.com). Medtronic and Covidien both make surgical and prosthetic devices based on biomedical engineering.

But what if we go beyond the assumption of staying within an existing business model and mission? When I engage in strategy formulation with clients I often introduce the concepts illustrated in the following graphic. I call these complementary approaches generalization and instantiation of value.

Generalization-Instantiation of Value

Whenever a business has a very specific value proposition, I encourage its executives to question that by having them ask: What is this value an example of? Alternatively, what is a more general, abstract, or higher order way to express our value and mission?

In the diagram I show the process for a restaurant. The most concrete value that customers get is to go to the restaurant for a meal. But what if customers could get value by buying a meal there but taking it out to eat elsewhere? It is obvious that many restaurateurs and customers have already thought of that idea. You can go higher in terms of generality. What if customers could get meals from that restaurant but enjoy them whenever or wherever they want? Then you get a selection of frozen or preserved meals. The same goes for offering catering to clients of the restaurant. You can have any number of levels, but four levels are probably a good number to start with.

You can do this exercise in more ways than one. The restaurant owner could decide to generalize by opening other locations, or franchising, or getting into other types of cuisine, or restaurant formats. The important thing to remember is that you work from very specific and concrete value to a more general expression and form of the same value.

The right hand progression in the diagram is the inverse of generalization. Instead of generalizing upward, the object is to proceed downward from value that is very general and abstract to value that is more concrete. The question to ask, then, is whether you can provide a more concrete instantiation of the general value you are already providing.

The graphic depicts this instantiation process for a company that provides event management consulting to its clients. Through asking progressively more specific questions, the company could go from offering general consulting on events, to helping their clients organize and run their events, to co-owning events (e.g. a conference) with clients, or owning them outright. This could even extend to developing part or all of the content within the event, and then controlling the intellectual property and subsequent rights to it.

The important thing is to see this as a heuristic device to either expand or restrict your business’ existing definition of value. This could even extend to redefining the company’s purpose by creating a new mission statement that is more specific and concrete, or more general and abstract.

© Alcera Consulting Inc. 2014. We encourage the sharing of this information and forwarding of this email with attribution. All other rights reserved.

In the next weeks I will be focusing on each of the 10 leadership principles I learned as an officer in the army. This the first of these principles.

I always like to say that competence is the heart of leadership. Remember that competence consists of 3 domains: knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

  • People want to follow leaders who are competent and able to lead them to victory.
  • The idea that you can be an effective leader while being a so-so manager is a myth. Leaders must be effective at planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling.
  • Be clear on your objective(s) before considering the factors and making a decision.
  • Make decisions as fast as required, but not so fast that you rush headlong into the first course of action that pops into your head.
  • Consider multiple courses of action before making a decision.
  • Surround yourself with the right people.
  • Create a strong team and organization.
  • Communicate clearly and directly.
  • Follow up and ensure effective and efficient implementation of your plans during execution.
  • Designate your main effort and give it the resources and attention it requires.

Richard Martin is The Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. An expert on strategy and leadership, Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to thrive and grow in the face of rapid change, risk, and uncertainty.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.