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Five TOP leadership competencies

"The shortage of talent"

It's a pretty good bet that, as you read this, somewhere in your competitor's camp there is an ongoing conversation about the qualities that describe tomorrow's leadership. Be it talent acquisition, succession, identifying high potential talent and/or shaping the investment in leadership, one thing is assured … tomorrow will not be a continuation of today.

We commonly see references to "the shortage of talent." Paradoxically, there is no shortage of talent. The growing number of business schools around the world, combined with the billions of dollars spent globally on leadership development means that there is actually a surfeit of candidates. The problem? The vast majority of those candidates are a great fit for a business environment that served us well in the past.

TOP Talent

A more integrated, faster and, by a quantum step, more complex business environment demands not just a new way to think and act but a new definition of "leadership success." Exponential change fuelled by ongoing leaps in technology … exacerbated by unprecedented disruption on a global scale … is, indelibly, redefining what is meant by the term "TOP Talent."

As we move into unchartered territory - where only those organisations that are fast, flat, flexible, focused and fertile (to new ideas) will survive - TOP (Transforming, Outstanding, Performance tested) Talent refers to those fully equipped to excel in a, hitherto unknown, level of business and societal uncertainty.

TOP leadership competencies

Other than know-how in technology, which is a given, leadership competencies differ depending upon the role. This emphasises the need to develop "role-specific" leadership competencies. Generic competencies have value, e.g., the broad leadership development agenda, but they are less than useful, however, when making hiring and succession decisions. That understood, five TOP leadership competencies are emerging as having future primacy:

  • A Passion to Learn
  • Leadership Reach
  • Comfort with Ambiguity
  • Resilience
  • Culture Savvy

In a world dominated by ideas, a move from cooperation to collaboration is essential - and inevitable. The environment and a new generation dominating the workplace mean that tribal loyalty will, of necessity, give way to a stronger sense of community. A community mindset, meanwhile, ushers in the dominance of stakeholder capital. How does your team make a difference in people's lives?

Although many are served by a more defused definition, "employee engagement" is about building a culture where opportunity and capability are aligned. To that end, any falloff in the fit between the speed of change in the business environment and a sense of personal growth - a perceived lack of currency in the job market - will quickly disillusion those the organisation most wants to retain. Why do your best people stay?

Finally, the fallibility of strategy means that, rather than being the by-product of a singular, linear direction, the organisation's culture must enable a range of potential future options to unfold. Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable becomes the new norm.

Insights by John Burdett. Orxestra Inc., © 2018.

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

The Culture Conversation - 2. Why Culture Now?

The following is an edited transcript of part 2 of "The Culture Conversation" webinar by John Burdett. Read Part 1 of The Culture Conversation.

Today is the fastest things have ever been … but the slowest they will ever be!

Speed is a cultural imperative. It has been for a long time, but now more than ever. It doesn't matter how good your services are. It doesn't matter how good your support systems are. It doesn't matter how good your service ethos is. If you are slower than the competition … you don't have a problem … you may not have a business.

Culture, right now, needs to embrace speed. Not just speed of delivery, but speed of response, and speed in terms of basically everything that exists within the organisation.

Read Part 3 of The Culture Conversation

The Culture Conversation - 1. Why Culture Now?

The following is an edited transcript of part 1 of "The Culture Conversation" webinar by John Burdett.

Why culture now? Why culture at this particular point in time?

It can be argued there are 3 stages to a crisis:

  • Stage 1: Shock, denial, coming to terms with the new reality.
  • Stage 2: Simply surviving. Pulling the needed resources together and navigating through the crisis.
  • Stage 3: Reinvention. Thinking about the business differently. Asking, "How do we come out of this crisis stronger?"

Some organisations will come out of this stronger. Some will be winners. And I'm going to suggest that the question we need to ask, perhaps the question you need to have in your organisation… "Is tomorrow's organisation agile enough to both navigate and take advantage of heightened uncertainty?" That question moves you into the culture space and the culture conversation.

But, let me segue just for a minute. There is a good deal written, and being written right now, about 'Distance Employment', 'Remote Employment'. There is no doubt that Covid-19 has accelerated the platform around digitalisation, and a whole lot of what is happening now will continue. But, I would like to step back and recognise that there is something about work that is very special.

People don't come to work just to work. The workplace gives a sense of belonging. It creates a sense of meaning in peoples' lives. It's a place where people share stories. Yes, it's a place for people to gossip, and gossip is as common to homo sapiens as grooming is to apes.

It is also the case that if you look at organisation structure and start to think for a minute that that is how the organisation actually works, you are sadly mistaken. The organisation works as a result of ongoing, informal, collaborative networks. It works in terms of people accidentally bumping into each other. What Alam Mumford used to call "Accidental Learning". The workplace isn't just a place to do work. It's a social experience. It is part of how people find meaning in their lives.

As a reference point, IBM, Reddit, Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard and Best Buy, all went through the notion of having a good deal of their employment 'remote employees'. And, they pulled many of those employees back. The reason being that it stripped out a wad of what they called "innovation".

So...

  • Why culture now?
  • 3 stages to a crisis.
  • Is tomorrow's organisation agile enough to both navigate and take advantage of heightened uncertainty?

That leads you naturally into a conversation around culture. And indeed it leads you into what we would suggest is a very different conversation.

Read Part 2 of The Culture Conversation

To come out of this chaotic period stronger we need to move through all 3 levels of crisis

There are 3 stages to a crisis:

Stage 1. Acceptance
Stage 2. Survival
Stage 3. Growth

To come out of this chaotic period stronger we need to move through all 3 levels of crisis and address ALL three levels of organisation culture:

Level 1. Issues that are clear and obvious.
Level 2. Enshrined habits and the values in action.
Level 3. Mindset.

John Burdett explains how and much more in his latest insightful webinar "Coming Down The Mountain - It's All Mindset".

Coming Down The Mountain - It's All Mindset Webinar
transearch.com

You hear it all the time: "success is a state of mind." Have you ever wondered how two leaders can go after the same goal in the same way and yet just one of them succeeds? Is it sheer luck? Timing? Perseverance?

The webinar explores 7 mindset themes:

  1. Crisis, culture and the central role of mindset plays
  2. Can you change mindset?
  3. Mental rehearsal
  4. We are copying machines
  5. Storytelling
  6. The importance of language and metaphor
  7. Changing the patterns of play

The session is presented by John O. Burdett, who has worked in over 40 countries as an executive and as a consultant for businesses that are household names.

Read "Coming Down The Mountain - It's All Mindset Webinar" leadership insights

Where the interviewee is truly a top candidate both parties are being fully evaluated

Where the interviewee is truly a top candidate both parties are being fully evaluated. As a recruiter, there are candidate questions that you must know how to answer. Although by no means replete, in some ways, the 10 questions outlined are an acid test of how prepared you are for the turbulent talent management path that lies ahead.

10 candidate questions from "Great Candidates Ask Great Questions"

Insights from "Great Candidates Ask Great Questions" by John Burdett.

Bringing on board great candidates draws on six fundamental hiring building blocks

Uncovering, informing, involving, inspiring and successfully bringing on board great candidates draws on six fundamental, hiring building blocks:

  1. A winning hiring value proposition. People do not join your organisation … they connect with your story.
  2. The means to define (measure) both the organisation culture you have and the culture you need. Successful recruitment is always strategic!
  3. A robust performance scorecard.
  4. The means to define the emerging role-specific leadership competencies.
  5. In that tomorrow's organisation will be a team of teams, the tools to measure and assess future team fit.
  6. An integration process that provides the structure, support and the tools to enable newly hired executives to take a leadership role in their own integration. Given the opportunity, leaders lead!

Insights from "Great Candidates Ask Great Questions" by John Burdett.

The Culture Conversation Webinar
transearch.com

In working to come out of this crisis stronger, organisation culture is a leading actor - many leaders would suggest, the dominant issue - in creating a competitive tomorrow. The webinar explores 7 critical issues:

  1. Why a focus on organisation culture is a leadership imperative - especially now.
  2. The "needed" relationship between strategy and culture.
  3. Speed of learning - the ultimate competitive advantage.
  4. Overcoming the single most important reason executives fail.
  5. Culture, measurement and the bottom line.
  6. Culture is a system. The unintended consequences of a piecemeal approach.
  7. The essential building blocks of the culture conversation.

Read "The Culture Conversation Webinar" leadership insights

If you are not fast, you are going to be last!

As the momentum of business both increases and accelerates, a culture where learning how to learn becomes a high priority. And it is not just learning fast at an individual or team level but building an environment where speed of learning becomes an organisation-wide competitive advantage.

Consider the questions below.

  1. What needs to change to be flat, fast, focused, flexible and fertile to new ideas?
  2. How will compelling metaphors be introduced to coaching discussions?
  3. What would it take to architect leadership workshops as 'learning how to learn and learning how to learn limited only by imagination'?
  4. In future meetings what are you going to do to change the patterns of play?
  5. Do you measure culture? When and how will you make that happen?
  6. How successful are you in displaying behaviour in line with who the customer strives to become?
  7. How is 'speed of learning' woven into hire and promotion decisions?

If you are not fast, you are going to be last!

Insights from 'Speed of Learning: The Ultimate Competitive Advantage' by John Burdett.

Facilitation is like skiing. Preparation, practice and picking the right line are essential

Facilitation is like skiing. Preparation, practice and picking the right line are essential. In other words, know your audience, know the outcome desired, and introduce a facilitation approach (style) that best fits the situation.

John Burdett outlines four facilitation styles. One size doesn't fit all. A masterful facilitator sees the four approaches as a rich pallet of behaviours to be mixed, matched and blended as the situation demands.

Insights from "Facilitation - the Forgotten Art" by John Burdett.

Excellence in facilitation shares much with what it means to be an outstanding coach

Few companies teach facilitation as part of their leadership development agenda. And yet, if we want collaboration, if we want to grow teams, if we want to challenge talent in a meaningful way … being able to get the best out of meeting of minds becomes pretty important.

Excellence in facilitation shares much with what it means to be an outstanding coach:

  • Humility
  • Conduct with a hidden baton but don't start to play any of the instruments
  • Come with a beginner's mind … be open to being surprised
  • Pass power to the participants
  • Ask great questions
  • Push for clarity around what the real issue is but avoid suggesting potential solutions
  • Listen, listen, listen
  • Summarise what has been agreed to
  • Push for objective action regarding next steps

Good luck on your next opportunity to facilitate. It is one of the most difficult but at the same time rewarding leadership skills. Remember, from a career perspective, bringing the best out of a group session is something of a forgotten art.

Insights from "Facilitation - the Forgotten Art" by John Burdett.

Any form of change that moves beyond improving 'what is' implies working on the organisation's culture
Posted

Any form of change that moves beyond improving 'what is' implies working on the organisation's culture.

In a world where agility, ideas, collaboration and global reach dictate who wins and who fails, tomorrow's organisation will, of necessity, be fast, flat, flexible, focused and structured as a network of networks.

Think of a team of teams … not traditional top-down leadership. Think jazz ensemble … not a marching band. Think work … not employment. Think community … not tribe. Think contribution … not title. Think collaboration … not cooperation. Think ideas … not ideology. Think values … not rules.

As for leadership, the market for talent will put a premium on software savvy, the capacity to leverage big numbers, speed of learning, comfort with ambiguity, personal resilience and the capacity to build community.

The dilemma: top talent is going to be more difficult to find than ever. Think hiring with tomorrow's culture in mind … not hierarchy. Think leading the charge … not being in charge. Recognise that we will need super teams more than we need superstars.

Insights from "If It Can Be Digitalised, It Will Be Digitalised" by John Burdett.