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Posts archive for July, 2010

World Class Business Leaders don’t have to be great at everything!

July 20, 2010

Research suggests they will be more successful developing 3-4 World Class behavioural strengths that really make a difference.   This comes from a fascinating book The Extraordinary Leader by Zenger and Folkman (2009) which, based on extensive research,  identifies sixteen key leadership behaviours that differentiate World Class leaders.  They also posit it is a myth to focus on weaknesses, that is unless those weaknesses are a ‘fatal flaw’, in which case they should be remedied.

I’ve been coaching business leaders for a number of years, and working with another very well researched model of Leadership Behaviours, (Schroder’s High Performance Behaviours) and not surprisingly whilst the clustering of behaviours  between Schroder and those of Zenger and Folkman differ, there are many similarities that can be mapped across the two models.  For example Zenger and Folkman’s Solving Problems, Analysing Issues and Innovation are very similar to Schroder’s Concept Formation and Conceptual Flexibility; and their Building Relationships can be compared with Schroder’s Empathy and  Self-Confidence. 

Zenger and Folkman’s model centres around the cluster ‘Character’ and they relate this to Credibility (Kouzes and Posner), Integrity (Bennis), telling the truth (Shaffer) and Principle Centred Leadership (Covey).   I would also add in to this list Roger Steare’s (www.rogersteare.com) recent work ‘ethicability®’ which explores rule compliance, social conscience and principled conscience.  A free on-line test can be found at www.ethicabilitytest.org

I’ve worked with many organisations who have developed their own leadership behaviour/competency models (often less elegant), and typically the majority of the behaviours can be mapped onto the well researched and validated models such as Schroder or Zenger and Folkman.

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Sarah climbing Old Coach Road, Lake District

Tough cycling climbs and tough business times

July 9, 2010

 Last weekend I cycled the Coast to Coast (C2C) route from Whitehaven on the Irish Sea to Sunderland, on the North Sea – 145 miles (on and off road) with over 10,000ft of pedalling uphill. The scenery was stunning, especially through the Lake District and over the Pennines. There were also some really tough climbs that required just getting into the groove, being careful to pace myself and appreciating the moment(s) – scenery, wildlife, animals, flowers, sunshine, mini milestones, support and encouragement from other cyclists, following winds and the reward of making it to the top, before a fast exhilarating descent to start yet another tough climb. On reflection there are some great analogies and metaphors for business in these challenging and tough times. As the saying goes, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’.

How often is it when faced with what appears to be a really difficult goal to achieve (a 7 mile uphill cycle) , our initial reaction is ‘it’s too difficult’, or ‘is it worth the effort?’. People who rise to tough sporting or business challenges tend to:

  • break them down into mini milestones (reaching each bend)
  • ensure resources are available and making best use of resources (avoiding burn out, refuelling with energy drink, support from others, following winds)
  • take time to appreciate the journey (scenery, wildlife) • enjoy the rewards of achieving the goal (feeling of achievement at reaching the summit, the views and/or cafe/bar at the top!)
  • enjoy the downhill speed, the time to recover and replenish resources (muscles). Caution on the descents though, whilst exhilarating be aware of the risks (tight bends, missing turnings, not knowing when to apply the brakes, etc!)

Sarah at top of Hartside Pass, Pennines

And then…….you are ready to take on the next tough climb, knowing you can do it, it is worth the effort and the rewards!

I’d love to hear what analogies and metaphors came up for you.

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