What Is Leadership Reach?

Leadership reach is one of the five TOP leadership competencies emerging as having future primacy.

There are basically four formative conversations that take place at work: 1) tell and listen; 2) tell and sell; 3) shared problem solving; and 4) coaching (where the way forward lies with the coachee). Leadership reach embraces mastery in each of these situations. It also describes a leader who approaches each new challenge with a beginner's mind … equipped with a rich toolbox of processes, models, ideas and innovative ways forward.

Leadership reach means having a global mindset. It also implies interpreting how local political and social norms/policies shape the business options. Finland doesn't really have a word for collaboration. Teamwork in South Korea is a very different proposition from teamwork in South Wales. If you don't appreciate the humour in Australia, you will always be on the outside looking in. Roads in Iceland are designed not to upset the elves. To a visitor they look somewhat the same but Canadian business is way more collegiate than its big cousin to the south. And candour in Holland has an openness and edge to it that shocks those used to a less confrontational culture.

A leader who displays leadership reach enters the prevailing context with elegant ease. Be it turning around a very traditional, hierarchical business, moving a highly engaged team to the next level, working with gig employees, and/or successfully collaborating with a business that operates in virtual space … leadership reach is to quickly understand how to make a difference.

In a similar vein, a start-up in Singapore, an overly aggressive trade union in Australia, a turnaround in Turkey and/or an innovation challenge in India … all sit comfortably on this leader's shoulders.

And the difference that makes a difference: Provide international experience early, make "customer-centric" a way of life, don't trap high performers within functional silos and don't come to the rescue too quickly when testing the character, commitment and performance ethos of those you deem "high potential".

Insights from "Tomorrow's Leadership Will Be Different".

Five Essential Building Blocks of Your Organisation's Story

Tomorrow's successful leader is someone who can slalom through the white water of unanticipated disruption and culture change. To that end, little is more important as a navigation aid than the organisation's story. That story has five essential building blocks:

1) Where are we headed?
2) What do we believe in?
3) What makes us special?
4) What is our brand promise?
5) How do we make a difference in people's lives?

Story is culture and culture is story. Yesterday, strategy informed culture. Moving forward, culture enables strategy. If you're not measuring culture … you're not managing it.

Insights from "Speed of Learning: The Ultimate Competitive Advantage".

What Do I Need To Do Today To Make The Business Better Tomorrow?

Talent acquisition is about managing risk. Risk, in turn, is about fit. As disruption, uncertainty and new technology impact how business does business … culture is destined to become evermore important.

Technology, being customer-centric, leveraging big data, agility, reach, responsiveness, innovation, collaboration, coaching, succession, attraction and retention … are all wired into the organisation's culture.

Get culture wrong and many of the building blocks of a successful business amount to little more than a spin of the roulette wheel. Success is about both results (strategy) and people (culture). Both are essential. Both are hard.

All that said, for a leader one question always has primacy, "What do I need to do today to make the business better tomorrow?" No matter the size of your organisation or the sector you operate in, if you really think about that question … culture will figure prominently in the answer.

The tools that TRANSEARCH International (powered by Orxestra®) uses provide a unique perspective regarding culture, performance, leadership and team 'fit'. Visit our website to learn more about our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment https://www.transearch.com/

Do You Hire/Promote With "Tomorrow's" Culture In Mind?

The world of work is changing. And the very definition of "a job" is, perhaps, changing most of all. Structures, processes and tools honed over the last hundred years are starting to fail. Hierarchy and a command and control mindset are out of step with the need for agility. Strategy is an unreliable compass.

A decade from now the workforce will look very different. In that, literally, many of the jobs that companies will seek to fill a decade from now don't currently exist. Even our investment in training and development is open to question.

Into this maelstrom rides talent management. The metaphorical quarterback of talent management … who and how we hire.

Simply replacing a leader who leaves is to reinforce the status quo. External consulting support drawing largely on an expensive address, a nice suit, great marketing and a thick rolodex belongs in the past. A reliance on selection that ignores culture is to build a house on sand. And an executive who lacks mastery in the interview puts the business at risk every time they make a hiring decision.

Little is more important to tomorrow's culture than who the organisation hires and promotes. Go astray and there is no easy fix. Most leaders arrive at work to a full diary. The day-to-day and the immediate have a habit of overwhelming a long-term view. And yet, unless we create tomorrow today, the future will, inevitably, be little more than a replay of what has been. Count on it!

It's easy to find the "best" candidate. But, getting culture on the right track means identifying the "right" candidate. Not every now and then … but every time. Talent acquisition is about managing risk. Risk, in turn, is about fit. There are six critical elements of fit:

  1. Attraction
  2. Culture
  3. Performance
  4. Role-specific, leadership competencies
  5. Team fit
  6. Integration

All six elements of fit are essential but as disruption, uncertainty and new technology impact how business does business … culture is destined to become evermore important.

Culture Imperative: Who you hire determines what's possible. Hiring that has a "replacement bias" is to become more of what you have always been. In determining fit, measurement matters. Especially when it comes to culture and team. Money might attract talent but if you want to keep high performers give them a job that they love.

Insights from "The 7 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Culture".

Do You Measure Culture?

The disruptive dynamic currently battering business negates the naïve notion that change can be managed, translated into a series of workshops or framed as a program. To lead is to learn to ride the waves of change. Change thus has to become a way to think … a mindset grounded in a resilient and adaptable approach to interruption and ambiguity.

There are four levels of change:

  1. Transactional – do more of what we have always done better.
  2. Transitional – significant change but we have time to evolve.
  3. Transformational – reinvention and do it now.
  4. Exponential – a tsunami that is merely an introduction to the next and greater tidal wave.

Culture plays a key role in change no matter the degree of change envisaged. Both transformational and exponential change are literally about reinventing the culture. The engine of culture change? A leader who knows how to successfully introduce the culture conversation.

Ongoing and unprecedented uncertainty, meanwhile, demands a culture that is both strong and agile (StrAgility). Strong enough to build commitment to the organisation's mission. Agile enough to "enable" the right strategic scenario to unfold. As to the future, the only thing you can count on is that it will be different. If you don't know where you're going … don't be surprised if you don't get there. What we don't know we can't address. It's difficult to raise the bar if you don't know how high it is. It's essential, however, that the culture measurement express, in business terms, where the organisation's culture is (roots) and where the organisation's culture needs to be (wings).

Here we face the reality that if you don't measure culture, you can't manage it. Intellectually appealing as many of the sociological approaches and those focusing on values congruency may be, if the cultural journey isn't described in business terms, the top team - keeping in mind that most senior teams have a notoriously short attention span - will quickly move on to the next topic. If the language employed to assess the organisation's culture sounds as if it were drawn from a psychology textbook, then that's where it belongs. No less important, culture is strategic. We need to understand both where we are and where we need to be.

It's not a matter of one-size-fits-all. An interactive conversation with the Board on culture invariably demands a different way to present - and thus measure - the organisation's culture. Similarly, transactional versus transformational change are different challenges … a difference that has to be reflected in how the culture journey is presented to those whose support is needed.

Culture Imperative: It's tough to manage what we don't measure.

The tools that TRANSEARCH International (powered by Orxestra®) uses provide a unique perspective regarding culture, performance, leadership and team 'fit'.

How Leadership & Seizing Opportunities Can Supercharge A Clean Economy Revolution
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Joe Biden has pledged to create 10 million new jobs in the clean economy and spend $2 trillion on clean energy and sustainable infrastructure by 2035.

For this unprecedented transformation to succeed, highly talented people and innovative companies in the power and renewable energy sectors will need to achieve extraordinary feats. John Ryan explores the keys to succeed.

Read "How Leadership & Seizing Opportunities Can Supercharge A Clean Economy Revolution" leadership insights

Culture Question - Are Middle Managers Fully In The Game?

No organisation of more than 150 or so people has one single and unified culture (often referred to as "The Dunbar Rule"). The challenge becomes one of tight-loose leadership: allow local differences to flourish (for example the term "team" means something entirely different in Seoul than it does in Syracuse) while, at the same time, develop an overarching Meta culture that ensures common values, consistency, connection, collaboration, caring for the customer and an unrelenting commitment to the whole.

The group that binds everything together is the "middle managers". Moreover, they are the only group that can! And the straw that stirs the middle management drink is inspirational leadership, especially from the leaders who are expected to inspire the middle kingdom - leaders one level up! Leaders who inspire do four things extraordinarily well:

  1. Through imagery, symbolism, metaphor and story they make tomorrow come alive in the room today.
  2. In addition to agreed goals and scope of responsibility, they ensure that everyone on the team fully understand their role on the team.
  3. They see coaching not as a nice capability to have but as central to what it means to be a leader.
  4. They bring out the best in people and treat team members with dignity and respect. Always!

If the middle managers in your business are sitting on the sidelines … if the middle kingdom isn't fully in the game you don't have a strategy you have a problem.

Insights from "The 7 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Culture".

Five TOP Leadership Competencies (Infographic)

Five TOP (Transforming, Outstanding, Performance tested) Leadership Competencies:

  • A passion to learn
  • Comfort with ambiguity
  • Resilience
  • Leadership reach
  • Culture savvy

Read more in "Tomorrow's Leadership Will Be Different".

Culture Question: Is There Clarity Around What Has Made And Makes The Business Successful?

A business exists primarily to create tomorrow's customer. Profit is obviously important but it's ultimately the outcome of doing the former well. The organisation's culture delivers both the outward-looking (why buy from us?) and the inward-facing value propositions (why work for us?). Of the two, the latter is the more important.

If the brand promise doesn't live inside the organisation it can't live in the marketplace. If employees don't support the organisation's promise within the customer space, it doesn't matter how strong the product or service offering is. A disappointed employee is a disappointed customer. And based on the business sector, the multiplier effect (number of customers a market facing employee can influence) may well be 50, 100 or even 1,000 to one.

Culture isn't an adjunct, a sideshow, or a sandbox for those with a love for all things abstract. Culture is real, practical and central to what makes a business endure. For the business to sustain, the culture has to attract top talent, retain outstanding leaders, provide the agility needed for different strategic scenarios to be realised, create the space for innovation, move best practice across the organisation, accelerate learning, nurture risk, empower those closest to the customer to make key decisions, ensure that the environment is a priority and align the organisation's resources with why the customer buys - today and tomorrow.

Results will follow.

Insights from "The 7 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Culture".

Three Essential TRANSEARCH Orxestra® Webinars You Can Watch Right Now
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TRANSEARCH International recently invited organisational change and culture guru Dr John O. Burdett to present a series of global webinars on the following themes:

  1. The Culture Conversation
  2. Coming Down the Mountain - It's all mindset
  3. Organization Design

For those who have already watched the webinars or participated in the live sessions, thank you for your ongoing interest in our TRANSEARCH Orxestra® series. If you haven't been able to join us or missed one of the sessions, you can read more about the webinars using the links above and watch the videos at your leisure.

Insights from "Three essential TRANSEARCH Orxestra® webinars you can watch right now" by Vladimír Polomský, Sr. Consultant, TRANSEARCH International Czech Republic & Slovakia.

Read "Three Essential TRANSEARCH Orxestra® Webinars You Can Watch Right Now" leadership insights

Do You Spend As Much Quality Time On Culture As You Do On Strategy?

Traditional business school thinking is that strategy drives culture. Figure out the strategy and then make the culture fit. In a steady state world, that model makes perfect sense. Except we don't live in a safe, predictable environment. In a world of uncertainty the only thing that is predictable is that your strategy will be "subject to correction". Long after the strategy has been shredded, what will endure is the culture. The new reality - culture enables strategy.

It's become popular to use the expression "culture eats strategy for breakfast." It's colourful, catchy, engaging, provocative … and wrong! We need both strategy and culture. The conundrum with a good metaphor is that logic doesn't unseat it. We need a better metaphor.

Consider...

"Strategy is a bicycle, culture is a bus."

It's a mistake of epic proportions to assume the bicycle can pull the bus. Difficult when the road is flat; impossible on a steep incline. Know also that if the bicycle has to swerve - if, for example, a black swan runs into the road (a black swan event describes unpredictable, sweeping and highly disruptive change, e.g., the 2008 financial meltdown) - the bus will just keep on going .. and going. And in the collision that follows … no prize for knowing the winner!

We need to get strategy on the bus … recognising that culture has primacy at the back of the bus! What does that mean in practical terms? The next time your team meets to discuss strategy make sure that culture is front and centre. In an uncertain and unpredictable world, to be a successful leader is to breathe life into the culture every single day. The problem? Intent and intestinal fortitude aren't always aligned. What's important gets in the way of what is essential. Early resolve is not the same as a successful outcome.

The evidence from our own research, and that of others, is that only 20% of organisations are managing their culture. The Culture Imperative: If you are not managing your culture someone else is! The union; a dominant customer; a predatory supplier; the local press; government regulators; and/or a function or sub-business that, because of past success, have undue influence and will be pleased to move into the vacuum.

Insights from "The 7 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Culture".