Greetings! We welcome you to this month's edition of our Business Performance eNews. If you are reading our newsletter for the first time, we trust you will find here a lot of interesting and practical advice.
What does it take for you to be a leader in the new business environment? Our first article draws important practical lessons from a recent study. We see a lot of debate over theoretical questions, such as the extent to which leadership skills can be learned. Practical guidance is in short supply. This article redresses the balance by pointing you to techniques you can apply today.
Our second article this month looks at the pros and cons of outsourcing some of your organization's roles. With more and more organizations relying on outsourced labor and the huge waste we see when decision-makers don't get it right, it's critically important that your organization weighs the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing each role.
Gratifying news this month is the peak body for training and development in Australia awarding our Managing Director Council Member of the Year. At their annual National Training Excellence Awards dinner, the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD) awarded Leslie Allan the coveted prize for making a significant contribution to his Divisional Council and benefiting both AITD and his local L&D community. Leslie thanks the AITD for their generous award and congratulates the other award winners. Read the Press Release for more details.
Do you need help with your current or future project? Are you looking for a professional trainer, facilitator or coach? Check out our dedicated team of experts ready to assist you in a variety of specialized fields. In this issue, we introduce you to our Appreciative Inquiry and change management expert, Sue James. Find out what Sue is up to in Meet Our Expert of the Month.
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Four Actionable Leadership Techniques for Today's Leaders
by Leslie Allan
The quest for the definitive characteristics of the ideal 21st Century leader continues. With defining such characteristics comes the challenge of developing them personally and inculcating them in our organization's culture. In this article, I consider some of the ideas put forward in a white paper entitled, Actionable Leadership in the Creative Age, recently published by Skillsoft.
The paper is based on a study in which more than 1,100 people from around the world participated to answer the question about the difference in our leadership requirements in this century compared to the previous one. The study found that there is a clear enough view regarding the necessary qualities and competencies for successful leadership. However, the research highlights worryingly that today's leaders are not typically translating the results into practice.
In an attempt to illustrate key practicalities in building 21st Century leadership, the white paper offers seven techniques or practices that contribute to both personal leadership competence and a conducive organizational culture. Here, I want to focus on the first four of these practical techniques. This group of four practices center on translating intention into action. Without action, the best leadership information and values amount to zero organizational results.
When it comes to making our organizations function better, the Skillsoft study argues for an innovation-friendly organizational culture. Innovation is called for both in oneself and in others, not only in the conventional way in which we picture "innovation" (such as inventing or designing new products). It asks us to use innovation as a guiding principle in the daily choices we make and actions we undertake. Within that context, let us now look at the first four practices dealing with action.
Overcome Fear-Induced Inertia
In this rapidly changing world, we constantly have to act in the face of uncertainty. As the uncertainty escalates, so does our stress levels. A typical response is to freeze up. Although it is appropriate to pause and reflect before moving forward on a new challenge, we need ways of overcoming the immobility that comes from fear and uncertainty.
Drawing from the insights of Chip Conley, author of Emotional Equations, Skillsoft suggests we think of a specific daunting task or project and then list the things we have control over and the ones we don't. Through performing such an exercise, two things change initially. You realize:
- you have control over far more than you thought, and
- there are resources to help with the elements that are not in your control
This exercise creates a powerful mind shift, which helps to break the inertia triggered by uncertainty or fear. Following this, another change occurs. You discover you are capable of acting because courage, based on confidence, has displaced fear.
Their white paper argues for "purposeful practice". Change isn't about stopping doing something, but about thinking and then doing it differently. It isn't about stopping being fearful and frozen into inaction. It is about shifting focus from the big, the frightening, the insurmountable, to the practical, the feasible, the do-able, the within-my-control, actions. Through practicing such focus-shifting, initially on a small and manageable scale, a leader can develop the competency of innovation and the ability to act upon opportunities where others see only threats.
Read the full article for the other actionable leadership techniques.
Read the author's other articles in this leadership series.
Do you have people in your organization that you want to cultivate into a leadership role but don't know how to manage the process? Or are you looking to provide a career path for your employees but don't know where to start? Our Succession Planner software will help you manage your entire succession planning effort. From initially identifying your succession positions through to analyzing and reporting succession progress, this tool does it all. Find out more and download the free demo version from our Succession Planner web page.
by Colin Beames
The Trend to Outsourcing
One of the most significant trends in the employment landscape in recent years has been the growth in the contingent workforce. The shedding of non-core functions reduces complexity, increases focus, lightness and flexibility, and frees up management and resources to grow the core business. The outsourcing of roles is both an economic and a strategic decision. As such, it requires careful consideration rather than an ad hoc approach.
The Economic Case for Outsourcing Roles
Replacing permanent workers with contingent ones (i.e., externalization) has been part of the effort to squeeze out the fixed costs of employment and increase flexibility. One result of this practice is a redistribution of job instability from a permanent workforce to the temporaries. Within this simplistic "make" or "buy" decision, there are a growing number of subtle variations making the effective management of employment somewhat complicated.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Outsourcing
The advantages and disadvantages of an internalized labor force and externalized labor force, including economic and strategic factors, are summarized in the table below.
Read more about making rational outsourcing decisions.
Check out our comprehensive workforce planning and reporting pack for a practical guide on outsourcing. The guides, checklists and templates will help you maximize your return from all of your outsourcing activities. Download the free Introductory Chapter and start using our Workforce Segmentation and Reporting Pack today.
Meet Our Expert of the Month - Sue James
Have you met our team of expert consultants, coaches and trainers? This month we proudly feature Sue James. Sue is a highly skilled facilitator and consultant with many years of experience working with businesses and nonprofit organizations. She is passionate about possibilities, helping people work with the day-to-day practicalities of what is achievable right here and now while also holding a vision of what's possible for the future.
Sue explains her approach, "When any group of people come together they bring with them different world views, perspectives, energies and skills. In my workshops, my aim throughout is to help the group make progress together, moving beyond adversarial thinking to 'higher ground' where shared goals, collaboration and transformative change are possible." Sue and her partner, Chris Bennett, are gearing up to roll out their popular Essence of Appreciative Inquiry program again for 2013. Contact us today to find out more about the program or how Sue James can help you.
Visit our web site at www.BusinessPerform.com for lots of expert guidance and practical tools designed to help you get ahead of your competition. Also, be sure to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues who want to stay up with what's on. From all of us here on the Business Performance team, we wish you a productive month and look forward to communicating with you again soon.