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How to Lead From Anywhere

 10th October 2017 by gihan

The traditional workplace – an office with everybody working the same hours, at the same time, in the same place, and focussed on the same goals – is changing fast, but many leaders don’t know how to apply their leadership skills to these new environments. Leaders who understand the needs of their distributed teams members will increase productivity, retain the best talent, and achieve their personal and professional goals.

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The Fit for the Future Podcast brings you regular ideas, interviews and insights about how you, your teams and your organisation can become fit for the future.

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Accelerate Your Business

 5th October 2017 by gihan

Many businesses slow down because they stop being nimble, agile and flexible. By leveraging the three pillars of innovative growth, you can accelerate your business growth to stay ahead of the game.

You can watch the recording here:

After the webinar, I asked participants “What was the most useful thing you learned today?” Here are some of their answers:

“start before you are ready”

“Jugaad innovation”

“Suppose I had LESS resources. Would I make a different, better decision?’ I will be thinking of you.”

“A new approach to thinking about this”

The Future Proof Webinar Series

The Future Proof webinar series will keep you in touch with our future - what's ahead, what it means for us, and how to stay ahead of the game.

In each webinar, I'll cover an important topic about the future - for example, the shift of power to Asia, the changing workplace, healthcare technology, the shift to customer-centric business, big data, and more. This is not just theory; I'll also give you practical examples and ideas for you to future-proof your organisation, teams, and career.

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Google Has Diluted the Value of Your Expertise

 2nd October 2017 by gihan

What would happen if your specialised expertise and knowledge – that clients and customers value highly – was available to everybody instantly and at a fraction of the cost? That disruption is happening right now, across a range of industries.

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Involve Your Customers and Clients In Your Marketing

 27th September 2017 by gihan

How well do you involve your clients and customers in your business processes? In a social, mobile, and global world, they have more power than ever to boost your business. Here’s one way to involve them in your marketing, so you get more customers – and a higher quality of customer.

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The Busy Leader’s Guide to Building Skills Fast: Break Down the Walls

 19th September 2017 by gihan

In a research study reported in the Harvard Business Review, chefs in a restaurant made tastier food when they could see their customers. This wasn’t because the chefs felt like they were being watched (because the same result occurred when the customers couldn’t see the chefs), but because they could see how their product would be used. Just seeing their customers gave them a more personal connection and a more meaningful role, and that translated into a better product.

Can you do the same with the people in your team? It’s not very inspiring if they beaver away in isolation, day after day, and never see the way the customers use what they produce. Look for ways to let them step outside their own little work bubble and see what’s going on around them.

Here are some ways to show them what’s happening elsewhere in the organisation and also what’s happening outside it.

Step into a co-worker’s shoes

As a leader, you can see how each person’s work fits into the overall project, but it’s not so easy for the people doing the work itself. Give them the chance to understand what other people in the organisation do, especially those directly connected to them. You can do this through informal job-swapping, letting them shadow somebody else for a day, or inviting co-workers to give a short presentation about their job.

For example, if you lead a sales team and rely on leads from the marketing team, invite a marketing person to make a short presentation to your team. Similarly, if you’re the marketing manager, send your people on sales calls with the salespeople who receive your leads. This process not only brings the two teams closely together, it also means they might identify ways to improve the process.

Show them some real customers

Bring your team members closer to customers, even just to observe them. According to one study from Harvard, chefs make tastier food when they can see their customers. This is not because the chefs feel like they are being watched (the same result occurred when the customers couldn’t see the chefs), but because they could see how their product would be used.

This is valuable even for people in a support role – such as finance, administration or human resources – so they can see how their work contributes to the value your organisation offers.

This helps people understand how their work is meaningful and lets smart people suggest improvements.

Show them how their work has meaning

If you can’t expose them to real customers, find other ways to demonstrate that their work has meaning, either to others in the organisation or to external stakeholders. People are motivated by knowing how their work plays a role in delivering an important service or creating a valuable product.

Highlight something to be proud of

If meaning is about their internal motivation to do a good job, pride is about something your organisation does that they can boast about to others.

Your organisation might be the biggest, smallest, oldest, youngest, fastest, brightest, or better in some other way. It might pride itself on its remuneration, working conditions, management structure, social conscience, mentoring programs, paid parental leave, or something similar.

Even if your team members aren’t working in areas directly related to these features, they can still take pride in being part of an organisation that supports them.

Take away resources

Sometimes the best way to encourage cooperation is to remove resources rather than adding them. For example, a lunch room that’s shared with other teams might spark more interesting conversations than a private lunch room for your team.

However, be careful of the unintended consequences of your actions. Removing the lunch room might encourage people to eat lunch at their desk instead – and that defeats the purpose (as well as reducing productivity).

People also tend to resent losing resources. Rather than actually taking resources away, you might apply this principle by simply not adding new resources.

Use the hierarchy

An important part of your role as a leader is to bypass the hierarchy in order to get things done, but the organisational hierarchy can be useful if you use it to your advantage. Avoid the hierarchy if it causes friction (that’s called bureaucracy), but use it if it facilitates your goals.

For example, if the CEO has publicly stated her commitment to collaboration, you can quote her when asking your peers about job swapping, creating a mastermind group, or any other initiative you want to implement.

What are YOU doing to break down the walls for your team?

Don’t wait until “we’re not so busy” to put these ideas into action. There will never be a perfect time, so make time for these ideas in your regular work days. Most of them don’t take much extra effort, but they can make a big difference to your team’s motivation and engagement.

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Strong, Smart Mentoring Moves

 12th September 2017 by gihan

For most organisations, traditional training courses have two big weaknesses: They teach skills rather than experience, and they tend to be “one size fits all” processes. You can address both weaknesses with a simple but highly effective way of accelerating the experience curve for your team members: mentoring.

Mentoring is a one-on-one relationship, where each learner (mentoree) is paired up with a more experienced person (mentor). They meet regularly for the mentor to share their experience and guide the mentoree, who asks questions and uses the mentor as a sounding board for their ideas.

The benefits for mentorees are most obvious: They learn new skills, fast-track their development, identify new areas for growth, access new networks, have a sounding board for ideas, explore issues in a safe environment, and develop their career path.

Mentors get benefits as well: They develop listening and coaching skills, enhance their leadership skills, understand people better, stay in touch with other parts of the organisation, and give back to others.

Even if you don’t have a formal mentoring program in your organisation, mentor your team members anyway. But don’t just stop there – encourage others in the organisation to use mentoring for their own teams’ growth and development. It’s in your best interest as well, because it opens up the range of potential mentors for your team (and you). Here are some practical things you can do:

  • Offer your service as a mentor. Be a role model and ask peers and colleagues if you can mentor any of their team members.
  • Invite them to be mentors. Discuss mentoring with your peers and colleagues, and invite them to offer their time as mentors.
  • Share success stories. Showcase stories of your team members who have benefited from mentoring.
  • Conduct “career days”. Invite others in the organisation to present their work to your team members, to bring potential mentors and mentorees together.
  • Invite Human Resources to participate. Invite an HR person to be involved with your team from time to time, so they get to know the team members, and vice versa. Your team members are their “human resources”, so a good HR person should welcome the opportunity.

Finally, look for existing mentoring programs – either within your organisation or elsewhere – so you can tap into them, rather than doing everything yourself. However, if you do need to do it all yourself, do it! It’s not a difficult and time-consuming task, and it can bring great rewards for you and your team.

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Disrupt Yourself

 8th September 2017 by gihan

We hear a lot about businesses and entire industries being disrupted, but smart leaders don’t wait for somebody else to disrupt them. That’s a reactive approach, and you’ll be starting off on the back foot. Instead, these leaders take a “If it ain’t broke, break it!” approach, and find ways to lead the way in change, innovation, and disruption.

You can watch the recording here:

After the webinar, I asked participants “What was the most useful thing you learned today?” Here are some of their answers:

“The need to disrupt yourself before others disrupt you”

“Risk Analysis ie reviewing perceived strengths (& the potential threats) “

“Virtualspeech.com! and other up to date real world tips/disruption/apps…”

“Great insights into disruption — personal check about my own readiness for disruption — getting on the front foot to become an innovator — Start Before You are Ready”

“To be more aware of the changes in my world and how I can be the one who disrupts. Two years ago I didn’t see the changes coming so now I’m reinventing. “

“Having to look at my strengths and being ready for distruptions”

“You need to get ahead of the curve or risk the reality of disruption”

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Boost Innovation by Taking an External Perspective

 5th September 2017 by gihan
 Comments Off on Boost Innovation by Taking an External Perspective

Break out of your standard thinking style by taking an outsider’s view. Use this exercise with your team and you’ll generate more ideas and better ideas.

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