Posts Tagged ‘Succession planning’

The answer is an unequivocal YES! It IS possible to create a plan of action in a single day, whether individually or as a team. You require focus and discipline to develop the following, which I call the 6 Ms of planning:

Mission – What is the unique value you bring to your clients and the marketplace?

Markets – What do you offer? To whom do you offer it? When do you offer it? Why do you offer it? Where do you offer it?

Mass – What is your key strength, your centre of gravity? What is your main effort to leverage it and what do you need to STOP doing in order to free up the ressources to do focus on it?

Manoeuvres – What are the specific actions you must take to achieve your aim? Who does what, when, where, why, with whom, and with what ressources?

Morale – Do you believe in your mission and vision? Do you have a will to succeed no matter what? What non-material limitations must be taken into consideration in your plan?

Marketing – What is your strategy and plan to reach out to your clients with your offers? How will you go about doing this?

Whether you need to come up with a strategy, an operational plan, or a tactical plan, I can help you get it done in a single DAY!

© 2016 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

I’m working on my next book, with the working title of Follow Me! Mastering the Art of Leadership… from the Battlefield to the Boardroom. One thing I consistently reinforce is that leadership can be learned and developed and that it is competence-based. In fact, competence is the heart of leadership.

People want to follow competent leaders. Competence, integrity, and accountability generate credibility with superiors, employees, peers, and the public. Credibility in turn generates respect, which then leads directly to leadership effectiveness.

Competence is the mix of skills, knowledge, and attitudes that is required to be an effective and efficient leader. Knowledge consists of theoretical concepts and technical data. It includes the information required to analyze situations, assess people, make decisions and plans, and understand when, how, and why to act in a timely, efficient, appropriate, and effective manner to achieve individual and organizational goals.

Skills are applied knowledge, the capacity to act according to learning and experience. Whereas knowledge is essentially theoretical in nature, skills can only be acquired through diligent and consistent practice until they become second nature. You can study the psychological aspects of leadership in scientific literature and books, but it’s only when you can translate that to action on the ground with real people that you can truly say you’re a skilled leader.

The technique of supplying corrective feedback illustrates well the relationship between theoretical understanding and practical application. Psychology informs us that people are more open to criticism when it’s constructive and couched in positive, growth-oriented terms. That’s the knowledge part. One of the corresponding techniques on the practical side of the equation is to provide feedback through the “sandwich” technique. You start by giving an overall positive assessment of the subject’s progress and performance. Then you point out the two or three areas where he or she needs to improve. You then assure them of your availability to provide timely advice and the training or coaching to improve. Finally, you reiterate the overall positive assessment, and gain their commitment to specific and measurable improvement goals.

The third component of competence is attitude, which includes all of the dispositions, traits, and beliefs that are required of a leader. At first, an individual must want to take the lead, to be out in front, take risks, and assume responsibility. After that, he must have the right mindset to continue leading, to be accountable, and to have the integrity to influence and inspire others. At one point during his presidency, Barack Obama was criticized from all quarters for saying he preferred to “lead from behind.” Most observers sensed, correctly, that this is an oxymoron. To lead is, by definition, to be out in front, taking hits and risking your reputation. You can’t do that with a wall of people in front of you to protect you from the harshness of reality.

By the same token, leaders must be willing to accept a certain amount of conflict and questioning from their advisors. Otherwise they risk getting lost in a miasma of sycophancy and adulation that cuts them off from reality. Abraham Lincoln intentionally forged a cabinet that was, as aptly named by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, a “team of rivals.” He wasn’t afraid to accept various points of view and challenges to his thinking and plans. As a result, his policies were stronger and bolder, and he is recognized as one of the greatest political leaders in American—and world—history.

Leaders must excel in all three forms of competence, and these must be in balance as much as possible. Someone who has knowledge and the right attitude to be a leader, but who doesn’t know how to lead, influence, and inspire others, is either ineffectual as a leader, unqualified, or simply inexperienced.

Someone who has knowledge and skills, but lacks the right attitudes and dispositions to lead with intention, integrity, and a sense of responsibility will often display a lack of accountability, unpredictability, moodiness, as well as egotistical, vainglorious behavior.

Someone who has the skills and the right attitudes will know how to influence and inspire others, but will lack the wisdom to apply these abilities in a timely, effective, and ethical manner. Such leaders can often be highly charismatic—think of Adolf Hitler … or maybe that crazy boss you once worked for—but they can be extremely dangerous and even destructive.

12 techniques to boost your leadership competence

  1. Set clear overarching objectives for you and your team.
  2. Analyze the internal and external environments, as well as the evolving situation.
  3. Consider multiple scenarios and courses of action before making a decision.
  4. Formulate a clear and direct mission and communicate it openly to your followers.
  5. Surround yourself with the right people and involve them as much as possible in analysis and decision-making.
  6. Ask for advice from followers, peers, and superiors and consider multiple perspectives in your analysis and decision-making.
  7. Break your plans into actionable steps and tasks and assign these to specific individuals on the basis of their competencies, talents, and developmental requirements.
  8. Ensure your subordinates have the resources needed to do their respective jobs and support them in their tasks.
  9. Communicate your plans and intentions clearly and directly.
  10. Question your followers frequently to know what they know, understand, and believe.
  11. Designate priorities and the focus of effort for all your plans and intentions.
  12. Follow up to ensure effective and efficient implementation of your guidance and direction.

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time!

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He 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.

By analogy with combat readiness, business readiness is the state of being aware of, capable of, and fully prepared to exploit to changes, maximize opportunities, and minimize risks in order to achieve a company or business unit’s mission, vision, and objectives.Business readiness requires an offensive mindset in order to seize and maintain the initiative, as well as the strategic, operational, and tactical leadership to influence others in the achievement of the mission.

  1. Do you have a clear and precise mission and vision for your organization?
  2. Have these been well communicated to your management team? Has the team understood and implemented them?
  3. Is your business strategy offensively oriented, or is it overly defensive with you frequently reacting to your competitors’ moves?
  4. Do you have a good understanding of your strategic, operational, and tactical environments? Do your management team and employees have the same good understanding?
  5. How is morale in your organization? Note: Morale is not the same as whether or not employees are happy with the company or in a good mood. It is whether they are willing to fight to win.
  6. Are you entirely confident in your management team, and its capacity to translate strategy into concrete actions and results?
  7. Do you have a well-articulated operating strategy that has been translated into operating plans for finance, production, marketing, communications, sales, research and development, human resources, etc.?
  8. Do you have a succession plan to develop the next generation of leaders?
  9. Do all your leaders have a “second-in-command” who can take over at a moment’s notice?

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He 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.

We’ve all heard about the well-known generations X or Y, or about the children of the millennium, the so-called ‘Millennials.’ Young people, let’s say for sake of argument, workers under 35 years of age, supposedly are very different than us baby-boomers. Nevertheless, my experience and observations tell me there’s no truth to this affirmation. Young people seek the very same things that older people seek.

It’s been close to ten years that I’ve been working as a management consultant, coach, trainer, and public speaker. I continually hear talk about how more demanding young people are than we older folks were when we were young. Young people insist upon their holidays. They don’t like working weekends or evenings or graveyard shifts. They’re looking for challenges, responsibilities, and intellectual stimulus. They do want to work, but not at the price of their family or personal lives. They want to work in businesses or other organizations that are socially, politically, and ecologically responsible.

What strikes me the most is that young people have the chance of living everyday what their older siblings struggled to get, that is, balance between the commercial and social goals of their work organizations on the one hand, and their family and personal lives on the other hand. In short, they want the very same things that previous generations wanted, but without the social and political struggles, and without facing the same difficulties and obstacles that older workers faced.

Workers aged 45-65 slowly worked their way up through the ranks. Those who entered the workforce between 1975 and 1985 when unemployment was high had to content themselves with dry bread and water at a time when inflation was rampant and mortgage rates approached 20 percent. Furthermore, in those days, one didn’t question authority in terms of respect and conformity to rules. When I was in elementary school, no one asked me if I wanted to be an altar boy or receive the Catholic sacraments. Adults just assumed that you would follow orders or suffer the consequences. It is therefore a little frustrating for older people to see younger workers face an embarrassment of riches when it comes to choosing employment or imposing their own values, or at least to take them into account in their work and career.

Unemployment in some sectors and regions remains high, especially for people without the professional qualifications needed today. For those with qualifications, however, there are lots of opportunities. There are even some sectors where there is a current or coming shortage of labour. The mayor of Quebec City shouts from the rooftops that there is a serious shortage of candidates for many jobs. Jobs go begging in traditional trades such as plumbing, electricity, and others. Trucking firms advertise on radio, as do professional training establishments.

Under such circumstances, it is hardly surprising that a young worker who never has had job security nor had a family to feed, a mortgage, or a pension fund might be mobile and demanding. If a job does not suit him or her for whatever reason, it’s easy to look elsewhere. Lack of satisfaction with a job can have many sources, among them, working conditions and pay. One thing I often hear from young people is that the work is insufficiently satisfying, that the boss doesn’t know how to plan and lead, that employment conditions do not live up to promises. I’m a father of three young women, who often recount to me the incompetence of managers and supervisors. I hear the same things from my undergrad students in my university teaching.

In summary, work complaints, whether from young, old, or middle-aged, reveal the same malaise and feelings. I observe essentially a lack of leadership, planning, and communication. As a military officer, I learned that the art of commanding, above all, comes from the professional and leadership capacities of the leader. To this effect, the ten principles of military leadership are also applicable to business and organizational management. Read the following principles. They apply equally to young or to not-so-young.

  1. Develop professional competence.
  2. Know how to assess one’s strengths and weaknesses, and seek to improve oneself.
  3. Seek and accept responsibilities.
  4. Provide a good example to others, especially your employees.
  5. Ensure yourself that your employees understand your intentions, and direct them in the execution of your mandate.
  6. Know your employees, and promote their welfare.
  7. Develop the leadership potential of each of your supervisors and employees.
  8. Take the right decisions at the right times.
  9. Build the cohesion and effectiveness of your team, and use each employee to the maximum of his or her capacities.
  10. Keep employees aware of mission, changes of situation, and overall portrait of the organization.

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.

© Alcera Consulting Inc. 2015. We encourage the sharing of this information and forwarding of this email with attribution. All other rights reserved.

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.

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.