Posts Tagged ‘organization’

Morale is the willingness to fight and to make the sacrifices needed to succeed and win. Many people confuse morale with mood. They think that if people are complaining or they are in a bad mood that automatically indicates bad morale. That may be the case, but not necessarily. In fact, people can be in a bad mood BECAUSE they have high morale. They want things to go better and are angry or momentarily discouraged because they aren’t. It’s up to leaders and key influencers to recognize this difference and to not let the momentary lapse get to them.

Signs of good morale:

  • Optimism
  • Realism
  • Cooperation and mutual aid
  • Hard work and sacrifices
  • Constructive criticism
  • Confidence in self and leaders

How is the morale is your team or organization?

  • Do you sense that people in your company have hope?
  • Is the language they use optimistic and hopeful, or pessimistic and despairing?
  • Are people making plans for the future with themselves in the plans, or are they instead making plans to abandon ship?
  • Do people have a lot of idle time, or are they working on ways to continually improve the organization and its performance?

Richard Martin is a 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.

© 2015 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 10th of these principles.

  1. Remember that people aren’t mushrooms. They don’t grow better in the cold, damp, and dark. Be ruthlessly honest and open about the real situation.
  2. Ensure everyone understands the mission and end state, so they can exercise their initiative when the inevitable changes occur.
  3. Assume that there will always be friction in the execution of plans and procedures and work to minimize it.
  4. Provide ongoing feedback and status updates so people know what is going on.
  5. Inform your followers and other stakeholders of important information they need to know.
  6. Inform people on a “need to know” basis.
  7. Make regular rounds “at the front” and ask people for their opinions, what’s happening, and their understanding of the situation.
  8. Correct mistakes and misinterpretations quickly and effectively.
  9. Kill rumours ruthlessly and quickly with accurate information.
  10. Be prepared to exploit successes and breakthroughs.

Richard Martin is a 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.

Military forces engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last decade or so adjusted their structures, weaponry, and training to the exigencies of an originally unforeseen operational context. They went from Cold War based large mechanized formations to smaller, tailored units that could interact with local populations and government forces while keeping insurgent forces at bay.

The same applies to organizations and businesses in the public, private and non-profit sectors. How many organizations are still working within a framework that is no longer relevant to its new reality? I often say that the biggest challenge a small business faces is becoming a medium-sized business. The same goes for medium-sized organizations becoming large or multinational ones. Or vice versa, companies and institutions that must become smaller, more nimble, faster, and adjustable rapidly enough to remain relevant and continue thriving.

 

  • When is the last time you reviewed your organization, structures, systems, and processes to evaluate their relevance?
  • Do you have people and teams working on tasks and responsibilities that are low priorities while others working on high priorities and vital areas are starving for resources?
  • How often do you validate the relevance and effectiveness of your training and professional development?
  • Can you reconfigure teams quickly and effectively or does your organization meander aimlessly and sluggishly while the world changes?
  • Do you conduct regular after-action reviews with all stakeholders and people at all levels of your organization?
  • How quickly can lessons be learned and incorporated into your structures, equipment, training, processes, and systems?

Richard Martin is The Master Strategist. An expert on strategy and leadership, Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

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

Signs of good morale:

  • Optimism
  • Realism
  • Cooperation and mutualaid
  • Hard work and sacrifices
  • Constructive criticism
  • Confidence in self and leaders

How is the morale is your team or organization?

  1. Do you sense that people in your company have hope?
  2. Is the language they use optimistic and hopeful, or pessimistic and despairing?
  3. Are people making plans for the future with themselves in the plans, or are they instead making plans to abandon ship?
  4. Do people have a lot of idle time, or are they working on ways to continually improve the organization and its performance?

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

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

After every major undertaking, it’s always a good idea to conduct an after-action review to determine what went well, what went poorly, and how to improve for the next time around. This is modelled on the military approach to after-action review, which I’ve described in more detail here.

I’m currently working with a client that has been through a merger and now an acquisition. Here are some of the areas to examine in conducting an after-action review to improve the next time around:

  • Competitive and corporate strategy
  • Financing & ownership
  • Brand & repute
  • Competitor reactions
  • Strategic planning
  • Planning & budgeting
  • Operations
  • Information technology and management
  • Website and online presence
  • Client relations & communications
  • Client retention & turnover
  • Other stakeholder reactions
  • Marketing & promotion
  • Employee relations (especially management)
  • Revenue generation
  • Redundancy & cost control
  • Administrative processes & systems
  • Compensation & benefits
  • Recruiting & integration
  • Key people retention & turnover
  • Succession planning

For each of these areas, you can ask your key stakeholders to identify the following:

  • Successes
  • Mistakes
  • New strengths resulting from merger/acquisition
  • Weaknesses & vulnerabilities resulting from merger/acquisition
  • New opportunities
  • Risks & threats
  • How to improve the process in the future

Today is Remembrance Day, when we salute the sacrifices and service of veterans and those who have served in the armed forces in war and peace operations. However, it is also a time to reflect on the accountability, or lack thereof, of leaders. In the military, leaders are responsible for their decisions and actions. The system sometimes falters, but by and large, military leaders are held accountable for their conduct. Even more important is that leaders can’t be treated differently than the rank and file. They must suffer with them and they must triumph with them.

We can’t say the same about all of our political and business leaders though. Thorsten Heins has overseen the demise of Blackberry. It wasn’t of his making, but he certainly didn’t improve the situation. His recent dismissal with a large “golden handshake” is completely out of sync with the poor results he achieved under his watch. Meanwhile, some Canadian senators have been suspended for claiming personal spending as official expenses. Unrepentant, their excuse is mainly that the rules weren’t clear. But this is nothing but a surrender of ethical judgment. Just because a rule about an action is vague doesn’t let you off the hook. Something might be considered legal, but not necessarily ethical or legitimate. It’s all in how your exercise your faculty of rational judgment and self-control. In the US, whatever you may think of the need for public healthcare, there is no masking the fiasco that is the roll out of ObamaCare. The president has taken no responsibility, and what’s more, it is now evident that he lied about the effects of the the Affordable Care Act in full knowledge that millions of people would be left high and dry, with no option but to subscribe to officially sanctioned health care policies that cost more and offer less coverage.

Food for Thought
Leaders give the ethical tone to an organization by their own ethics. If these are questionable, they will soon undermine morale, and permeate the organization at every level, producing perverse results in individual and collective behaviour.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine posed the question, do small businesses need strategy? My answer is that ALL organizations need strategy, whether they are big or small, in the private sector or public sector, profit or not for profit. Whether it’s in the military, business, government, or social sector, strategy is about asking and answering fundamental questions about the nature of the organization’s purpose and mission. What are its goals, its purpose, its character, and what resources can and should be allocated to these ends? What are the organization’s key advantages and strengths, its competitors and stakeholders, and how should these all be exploited and leveraged in order to prevail and achieve the mission and vision?

Last year Facebook acquired Instagram, the service that allows users to upload and share photographs. The only problem is that the company up to then was essentially without a strategy or even a business model. Not surprisingly, it didn’t generate any revenue, and had little prospect of doing so until a basic strategy could be worked out. Facebook has since forced Instagram to get its act together and to start generating revenue. The process started simply enough: to find the company’s mission. That apparently took two whole weeks! I tend to get exasperated when that process takes longer than an hour when I facilitate strategy. But you have to take the time needed to get that part straight, because how do you know what your strategy can and should be if you don’t even know what your purpose and main objective is? This doesn’t create the strategy automatically, but it’s the start of the process of formulation, planning, experimentation, learning and refinement that leads to effective and implementable strategy.

Whether you’re big or small, you need strategy.

Food for Thought
What is our purpose? What are our fundamental values — what do we stand for? What are our goals? What are our key advantages and strengths and how can we exploit these to dominate the competition and secure our future? These are just some of the questions all organizations need to ask and answer to start the process of creating and implementing successful strategy.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.