NED :: Non-Executive Director’s proposition

Are you aware of the substantive and measurable value a Non-Executive Director can bring to you and your business…?

Introduction

The Non-Executive Director, no longer a role that is associated just with large organisations. There is a growing awareness of the NED role and more and more organisations are appointing NEDs of various types, and specific specialities, often within technology and digital transformation, to enhance the effectiveness of their boards as standard practise.

With the pressure on organisations to compete globally, deal with digital transformation and respond to rapidly changing market conditions, new skills are needed at board level. This leads to the role of the NED diversifying and introduces a need to refresh the NEDs as circumstances change, bringing in new specialities, experience and challenge when the organisation needs it.

A good NED can, and should make a substantive and measurable contribution to the effectiveness of the board. Do not see a NED as a consulting advisor – a NED, within the remit of the role of a company director, play a full and active part in the success efforts of an organisation. Irrespective of the skills, experience and network contacts that NEDs will bring, they must above all, provide appropriate independent and constructive challenge to the board.

Both the organisation and the NED must understand the purpose of being a NED, within the specific organisation, for the role to be effective. This includes a clear understanding of what value the NED is expected to bring. A NED’s value goes beyond just the statutory requirements.

On appointment a Non-executive director can:

  • Broaden the horizons and experience of existing executive directors.
  • Facilitate the cross-fertilisation of ideas, particularly in terms of business strategy and planning.
  • Have a vital part to play in appraising and commenting on a company’s investment/expenditure plans.
  • Bring wisdom, perspective, contacts and credibility to your business.
  • Be the lighthouse that helps you find your way and steer clear of near and present dangers.

The role of the NED

All directors, including NEDs, are required to:

  • provide entrepreneurial leadership of the company
  • set the company’s vision, strategy and strategic objectives
  • set the company’s values and standards
  • ensure that its obligations to its shareholders and others are understood and met.

In addition, the role of the NED has the following key elements:

  • Strategy: NEDs should constructively challenge and help develop proposals on strategy.
  • Performance: NEDs should scrutinise the performance of management in meeting agreed goals and objectives and monitor the reporting of performance.
  • Risk: NEDs should satisfy themselves on the integrity of financial information and that financial controls and systems of risk management are robust and defensible.
  • People: NEDs are responsible for determining appropriate levels of remuneration of executive directors and have a prime role in appointing, and where necessary removing, executive directors, and in succession planning.

“In broad terms, the role of the NED, under the leadership of the chairman, is: to ensure that there is an effective executive team in place; to participate actively in the decision–takingprocess of the board; and to exercise appropriate oversight over execution of the agreed strategy by the executive team.”; Walker Report, 2009

 

A non-executive director will bring the follow benefits to your company:

  • strengthen the board and provide an independent viewpoint
  • contribute to the creation of a sound business plan, policy and strategy
  • review plans and budgets that will implement policy and strategy
  • be a confidential and trusted sounding board for the MD/CEO and keep the focus of the MD/CEO
  • have the experience to objectively assess the company’s overall performance
  • have the experience and confidence to stand firm when he or she believes the executive directors are acting in an inappropriate manner
  • ensure good corporate governance
  • provide outside experience of the workings of other companies and industries, and have beneficial sector contacts and experience gained in previous businesses
  • have the ability to clearly communicate with fellow directors
  • have the ability to gain the respect of the other directors
  • possess the tact and skill to work with the executive directors, providing support and encouragement where difficult decisions are being made
  • have contacts with third parties such as financial sources, grant providers and potential clients

Looking for a NED?

Now that you understand what a NED can do – What are you waiting for?

Contact Renier Botha if you are looking for an experienced director with strong technology and digital transformation skills.

Renier has demonstrable success in developing and delivering visionary business & technology strategies. His experience include Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), major capital projects, growth, governance, compliance, risk management as well as business and organisation development. From startup to FTSE listed enterprise, the value Renier can bring as NED is substantive, driving business growth.

Effective Leadership Communication

We have all heard the saying: “Communication is the key to success!”

Leadership coaches and successful leaders all agree that when it comes to communication – A leader can never communicate enough! The communication gurus say that even when there is nothing to communicate, the leader should communicate that there is nothing to communicate…

I have been asked the questions: “ How do you communicate effectively to ensure that everyone in the team are on the same page?” and “How do you ensure that you address and manage people’s expectations?”

To answer this, I’ll start by over simplifying in saying that communication is simply the exchange of information between a sender and a receiver, through a specific medium. In electronic engineering information is transferred from a transmitter to a receiver as an electric signal in a controlled way, ensuring the receiver receives the same information that left the sender – effective communication. That is no different with humans. As a leader communicating to your team, you are distributing information amongst other humans, amongst people – and herein the challenge. People, unlike electronic senders and receivers (which are manufactured to be identical) are different, not one is alike. Hence will the interpretation of the information exchanged through communication  differ as well. The challenge to effective communication is to align the interpretation of the information into a common understanding between the communicator (speaker/sender) and the audience (listener/receiver).

The ways in which you can ensure that you are addressing and managing people’s expectations better, are in understanding the people better. A better understanding of people, paradoxically comes through effective communication – to ask questions and listen more than actually doing the talking (active listening).

Communication is more than just your words – it is also:

  • how you say it – tone of voice, passion, authenticity
  • why you say it – the message’s intention
  • when you say it – time of day or after a specific milestone or prior an event
  • what you say AND what you don’t to say – sometimes what you don’t say gives a clearer picture of what you want to say…
  • your body language – facial expression, gestures and posture communicate a lot of the unsaid word

Communication Empowers

Consuming information leads to knowledge and knowledge is power. Thus communication leads to empowerment.

The ‘One Minute Manager’ refers to empowerment as: “Empowerment is something someone gives you – leadership is what you do to make it work.”

Communication empowers people with knowledge – to be informed and to feel part of something bigger. How the communication is being delivered (leadership) will determine it’s outcome.

What is LeadershipMy definition: “Leadership is the art of leading a group of people or an organisation to execute a common task by providing a vision that they follow willingly through the inspiration received from the leader’s passion, knowledge, methodologies, approach, and ability to influence the interests of all members and stakeholders.”

How can you accomplish this if you cannot effectively communicate the vision in a way that people feel inspired to willingly take action towards achieving it? Effective communication is key…

You can have the best team mission with SMART objectives but if you cannot communicate it to your team, you will struggle to make progress. How well you can communicate your plan (unambiguously) will determine if your team will really mobilise and unite behind you and go the extra mile to make it happen. The ultimate success measure of effective communication is: “your plan becomes the team’s plan” – everybody on the same page!

People are not mind readers – they need clear instructions and clear information to make decisions and conduct their work, especially if the work is delivered within a team where coherence and a mutual output objective are of the essence. Ultimately, it is in your best interest to accept responsibility for getting what you need to succeed in the workplace. As leaders it is in your best interest and your responsibility to ensure that what’s needed to succeed, is effectively communicated to your work teams.

Consider This

You can improve the effectiveness of your communication through paying attention to the following aspects, each discussed in more detail below:

  • Know & Understand your audience
  • Motivational & Confidence building
  • Have a Plan
  • Make sure the communication subject is clear – stick to it
  • Be Direct
  • Be Authentic
  • Enough detail
  • Bi-directional communication is more impactful
  • Common Cause
  • Think before you speak
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Get Assurance – get feedback, assure the message sent is the message received
  • Build Trust
  • Situational leadership – choose the communication style to suite the situation

 

Know & Understand the Audience

Being an effective communicator allows you to address the interests and concerns of your target audience whether it being your team, your customer or client, the stakeholders or an audience listening to your presentation. Knowing and understanding your audience help to ensure that your grab their attention when you communicate and that they feel your are addressing the message to them. To understand your audience better and to structure communication appropriately, you can ask questions like:

  • Who is the audience?
  • Why is that the audience? (sometimes this is obvious but by asking this question, really think about who should be getting this message and why? Why not?)
  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • What are your plans?
  • What are the expectations of me as the leader/presenter and of the people the team members/audience?
  • What will be the desired impact of your message? (Also think about the undesired outcomes and how you can proactively prevent that?)
  • What will be the impact of your plans to the business, the team and to the people personally? – Do not leave people with more questions than before.
  • Why can we productively work together? (Understanding this is key to structuring the message to utilise people’s strengths to bring acceptance and empowerment – a sense of belonging.)
  • How will we know we are doing a great job? (How will this be measured within the audience – everyone needs to understand the metrics.)
  • Are you using a language (terminology and jargon) that the audience can relate to? There is a difference in technology speak and business speak. Align the vocabulary to your target audience – i.e. when addressing business leaders do not use too much technical acronyms and terms, rather focus on outcomes and financial numbers.
  • Do you understand the audience’s needs?
  • How can you, as the leader, meet their needs?
  • How frequently do I need to communicate? (Constant)
  • What method, approach and medium (usually a combination of) will deliver the message best? (Face to face, one to one, round table, town hall, informal stand-up, email, presentation (power-point), graphs, bullet points, etc…)
  • To what level of detail do I need to go into, to describe clearly what I mean? (Post communication, everybody must have the same picture in their minds.)

Motivational and Confidence building

Communication should always be motivational and aim to build confidence within the audience – especially when bad news is being delivered. Ensure that you mention the performance of the team, the success resulting from the efforts. The positive future that awaits and the confidence that you have in the teams abilities to realise that future. Keep repremending content to the point and as short as possible and always follow it up with a positive prospect building trust and confidence.

Have a plan

If you are communicating change or progress, you must come prepared with a plan. Have a relevant understanding of the past, the present and the future. The plan is usually “how” the team will progress from where they have been, using what they have today to build the desired future. Progress against a plan must always be measurable to unsure continuous improvement.

Be clear on what is being communicated

Ensure that everyone is clear of the subject being communicated. Focus on the key message of the communication and present it in a direct and authentic way. Stick to the subject. Ensure that the message comes with the right context and content for the receiver to place it in the right perspective.

Be Direct

I believe in a direct approach – say it as it is. Have the guts to say what is needed. Speak about the hard things that no one talks about but everyone wants to hear. Address the elephant in the room, preferably before you are asked about it.

 Be Authentic

My believe is to always be truthful and authentic in delivering your message, be yourself – people see straight through anything else…

Enough detail

Ensure that you communicate just enough detail to ensure everyone has the same picture in his or her minds after you have communicated. Too much detail and people will loose interest. Too little detail and people will makeup their own inconsistent picture. Remember the story of the group of people that were told that there is a cat in the room next door… the storyteller waited for the picture to start forming and then asked each one of the audience to describe it. As you can imagine various different pictures were presented – a black cat, a ginger cat or is it a tiger?

Always be prepared to go into way more detail than what you expect – your ability to use detailed facts to support your message, especially when asked about it, will determine the credibility of your message.

Bi-directional

Successful communication always has to be two-way. You have to be a good listener as well. Be prepared to have collaboratively discussions – listen intently before you respond. Do not formulate your next response in your head instead of listening to what is being said or asked. Your team will have a wealth of knowledge and insight that might help to enhance the right picture. This means being able to have a meaningful discussion with people, understanding, assisting and facilitating the resolution of their problems, ensuring people know what to do and why they are doing it without you having to tell them how to do it. (See Success – people come first).

Effective communication is the continuous search and commitment to seek for a better understanding. Approach conversations from a learning perspective, an opportunity to get to know more rather than a one directional “tell” perspective.

Common Cause

For the message to hit home it must address a common cause – something that address the benefit of the team but also on an individual level. Either create a common cause in your communication or remind people of the common cause – why it is important to be part of something bigger rather than just you as an individual.

 Think before your speak

Stop and think things through before you act in haste, sending out an ill-considered communication. Think what needs to happen, what are the benefits, risks, what are the desired outcome… Then compile a well-considered and effective communication. Remember this – Once the message is out, you can never really take it back.

Emotional Intelligence

In the blog post on Emotional Intelligence, EQ is defined under five interconnected components:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skills

Use your own EI to assess the situation before your decide on the appropriate way to react and how what needs communicating. In short I say:” Trust your gut feeling.”

Get Assurance

Continuously test the effectiveness of your communication by asking people to relay to you what their interpretation is. Ask this questions at all levels – do not assume that the organisation structure will distribute the intended message to all that needs to hear it – go check for yourself. Get feedback. Get the assurance that people understand what you are communicating and that if people are remembering and acting on what has been communicated. If not – communicate again, again!

Build Trust

You want your communications to be trusted. How do you build trust? By doing what you say you are going to do and build relationships at all levels with integrity and honesty. When you are trusted, your communication is on-boarded more sincerely and you are taken seriously – building rapport.

Situational Communication (and Leadership)

There are many different leadership styles (read more here) as outlined in the list below:

  • Autocratic Leadership
  • Bureaucratic Leadership
  • Charismatic Leadership
  • Democratic/Participative Leadership
  • Laissez-Faire Leadership
  • People-Oriented/Relations-Oriented Leadership
  • Servant Leadership
  • Task-Oriented Leadership
  • Transactional Leadership
  • Transformational Leadership

The “One Minute Manager” summarised leadership into four basic styles:

  • Directing – The leader provides specific instructions and closely supervises the accomplishment. (Communicate mainly by telling people what needs to be done)
  • Coaching – The leader continuous to direct and closely supervise but also explains decisions, solicits suggestions and support progress made. (Communicate a directive or corrective after team collaboration)
  • Supporting – The leader facilitates and supports people’s efforts toward accomplishment and shares responsibility for decision making with them. (Communicate similarly to the Coaching style)
  • Delegating – The leader turns over responsibility for decision making and problem solving to subordinates. (Communicate collaboratively and inclusively)

Usually the leaders default communication style is directly related to the leadership style. An effective leader can adapt his management style and hence his communication style according to the situation, including consideration for the audience and the nature of the message to be communicated.

To Conclude

Remember and think about all the aspects mentioned for consideration, before you communicate. Be flexible and agile in your approach to communication – as a leader you must be able to fluently switch between different leadership and communication styles and mediums to ensure optimum results, in the moment. There is no one glove that fit them all, leadership is not a science – hence the art of leadership. You’ll know when you get it right – do more of those!

Every situation is different and hence can a single communication approach not be seen as superior to the other – there are no equals. I’ll conclude with this saying from the ‘One Minute Manager’: “There is nothing so unequal as the equal treatment of un-equals.”

 

Also Read:

Management Communication Plan

 

Bimodal Organisations

The continuous push towards business improvement combined with the digital revolution, that has changed the way the customer is engaging with business through the use of technology, have introduced the need for an agility in the delivery of IT services. This speed and agility in IT delivery, for the business to keep abreast of a fast evolving and innovative technology landscape and to gain an competitive advantage are not just required in the development and/or introduction of new technology into the business, but in the way “keep the lights on” IT operations are reliably delivered through stable platforms and processes enabling business growth as well.

IT Bimodal

We can agree that once systems and solutions are adopted and integrated into business operations, the business requirement for IT delivery changes with IT stability, reliability, availability and quality as key enablers to business performance optimisation. There are thus two very distinct and equally important ways or modes of delivering IT services that should seamlessly combine into the overall IT Service Operations contributing to business growth.

Gartner minted in 2016 the concept of IT Bimodal – the practise to manage two separate coherent modes of IT delivery.

Mode 1: Focussed on Stability Mode 2: Focussed on Agility
Traditional Exploratory
Sequential Non-linear
Emphasis on: Safety & Accuracy Emphasis on: Agility and Speed

Each of the delivery modes has their own set of benefits and flaws depending on the business context – ultimately the best of both worlds must be adapted as the new way in which technology delivers into business value. Businesses require agility in change without compromising the stability of operations. Change to this new way and associated new Target Operating Model (TOM) is required.

Bimodal Organisation

This transformation is not just applicable to IT but the entire organisation. IT and “the business” are the two parts of the modern digital business. “The Business” needs to adapt and change their work style (operating model) towards digital as well. This transformation by both IT and “the business”, branded by Gartner as Bimodal, is the transformation towards a new business operating model (a new way of working) embracing a common goal of strategic alignment. Full integration of IT and business are the core of a successful digital organisation competing in the digital era.

The introduction of Agile development methodologies and DevOps, led to a transformation in how technology is being delivered into business operations. IT Service Management (ITSM) and the ITIL framework have matured the operational delivery of IT services, as a business (#ITaaBusiness) or within a business while Lean Six Sigma enables business process optimisation to ultimate quality delivery excellence. But these new “agile” ways of working, today mainly applied within IT, is not enough for the full bimodal transformation. Other aspects involving the overall organisation such as business governance and strategy, management structures and organisational architecture, people (Human Capital Management – HCM), skills, competencies, culture, change management, leadership and performance management as well as the formal management of business and technology innovation and integration, form additional service areas that have to be established or transformed.

How do organisations go about defining this new Bimodal TOM? – In come Bimodal Enablement Consulting Services in short BECS.

BECS – Bimodal Enablement Consulting Services

Gartner’s definition: “An emerging market that leverages a composite set of business and technology consulting services and IP assets to achieve faster more reliable and secure, as well as business aligned, solutions in support of strategic business initiatives.”

To establish a Bimodal enabled TOM, organisations need to architect/design the organisation to be customer centric, focussing on the value adding service delivered to the client/customer – a Service Oriented Organisation (SOO) designed using a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). This set of customer services (external facing) should relay back to a comprehensive and integrated set of supporting and enabling business services (internal facing) that can quickly and effectively enable the business to innovate and rapidly adapt and deliver to changing customer needs and the use of technology within the digital era. This journey of change, that businesses needs to undergo, is exactly what digital transformation is about – not just focused on the technology, processes, quality and customer service, but on the business holistically, starting with the people working within the business and how they add value through the development and use of the right skills and tools, learning an applying it rapidly throughout the business value chain.

A customer centric delivery approach requires the development and adoption of new ways in which work are conducted – new management structures, building and enhancing A-teams (high performing individuals and teams, getting the job done), optimised processes and the right tool sets.

BECS must address the top bimodal drivers or goals, as identified by Gartner research:

  • Deliver greater IT value to the business
  • Shorten the time to deliver solutions
  • Enable digital business strategies
  • Accelerate IT innovation
  • Transform IT talent/culture/operations
  • Increase the interaction between business and IT
  • Embrace leading-edge technologies, tools and/or practices
  • Reduce IT costs (always a favourite)
  • Change the organisation’s culture

Take Action

Are you ready, aligned and actively engaging in the digital world?

Can you accelerate change and enable revenue growth with rock-solid service and business operations?

Are you actively practicing bimodal, continuously adapting to the changing digitally empowered customer demand?

The ultimate test to determine if you are bimodal: Every business process and every enterprise system needs to work without a blip, even as more innovation and disruptors are introduced to make the business more efficient and responsive.

It is time to be a bimodal organisation!

___________Renier Botha specialises in helping organisation to optimise their ability to better integrate technology and change into their main revenue channels – make contact today.

Related post: Success – People First; Performance ImprovementAGILE – What business executives need to know #1; AGILE – What business executives need to know #2; Lean Six Sigma; The Digital Transformation Necessity; Structure Tech for Success

Performance Improvement: Effective & Efficient

Performance is simply the action taken or process followed in doing a task or function.

Performance improvement – the continuous driver to be better, to grow, to achieve great things!

Directly related to business performance is the ability to change the business processes for greater effectiveness and efficiency increasing productivity while terms like specialisation, standardisation comes to mind followed by measurement, data analysis, statistical analysis, root cause analysis and finally process control and quality control and the overriding metric – customer satisfaction.

Remember the saying by Peter Drucker: “What gets measured, gets improved”…

Measuring performance involves the ability to measure the effectiveness of an initiative or action as well as the efficiency in which it is achieved. Similarly performance improvement involves the enhancement of effectiveness while optimising the efficiency.

Effective: Success in delivering a desired or intended result.

Efficient: Achieving maximum productivity through optimal use of resources with minimum waste or expense.

Depending on your business and your situation you must select or develop key performance indicators (KPIs) to calculate the effectiveness and efficiency of your activities – for business this is usually calculated in monetary terms. Once you understand your current performance you can set KPI targets and work on improvement initiatives.

I found this flow on Pinterest that gives a great overview of the processes involved in enhancing effectiveness and efficiency to increase business performance summarised in 5 habits of the mind:

  1. Know where time goes
  2. Focus on outward contribution
  3. Build on Strengths
  4. Concentrate on selected area that produce outstanding results
  5. Make effective decisions

Linking appropriate KPIs to this flow can measure progress and deliver improving results.

Effective_Efficient

Performance Management

Performance (Effectiveness and Efficiency) can be influenced by various different factors – illustrated in the diagram below.

Performance_Improvement - CP.png

In using this diagram, a critical path (Shown in red above) can be drawn to improve performance in a specific area i.e. staff performance.

  1. First performance is defined,
  2. then measured to get a specific result (and understanding the impact it has overall).
  3. Understanding the results to determine which key skills, abilities and competeencies or lack there-of are contributing to the specific performance.
  4. Talent is needed to deliver performance – talent skills, abilities and competencies can be trained or recruited.
  5. Engagement is key – involve, motivate and empower your talent to respond and interact with the business – engagement brings a sense of happiness, which is a great motivator for creativity and performance.
  6. And the cycle repeats in never ending quality improvement loop.

This methodology can be adapted and used for performance improvement in any area of the business value chain.

Remember performance improvement is always reflected in the customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers engage with the business recurrently – hence revenue growth!

Let’s Talk – renierbotha Ltd specialises in the performance improvement of business and IT operations. Are you looking to achieve your goals faster? Create better business value? Build strategies to improve growth? We can help – make contact!

10 Peter Drucker Quotes that challenges Business Leadership thinking

Drucker is one of the best-known and most widely influential thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory and practice. In 1959, Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker,” and later in his life considered knowledge-worker productivity to be the next frontier of management.

  1. What gets measured gets improved.”
  2. “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”
  3. “Doing the right thing is more important than doing the thing right.”
  4. “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”
  5. Results are gained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.”
  6. “So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.”
  7. Meetings are by definition a concession to a deficient organization. For one either meets or one works. One cannot do both at the same time.”
  8. “People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”
  9. Long-range planning does not deal with the future decisions, but with the future of present decisions.”
  10. Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.”

Drucker – management thought leader

His Key Ideas

Drucker is considered the single most important thought leader in the world of management, and several ideas run through most of his writings:

  • Decentralization and simplification.[31] Drucker discounted the command and control model and asserted that companies work best when they are decentralized. According to Drucker, corporations tend to produce too many products, hire employees they don’t need (when a better solution would be outsourcing), and expand into economic sectors that they should avoid.
  • The concept of “knowledge worker” in his 1959 book The Landmarks of Tomorrow.[32] Since then, knowledge-based work has become increasingly important in businesses worldwide.
  • The prediction of the death of the “Blue Collar” worker.[33] The changing face of the US Auto Industry is a testimony to this prediction.
  • The concept of what eventually came to be known as “outsourcing.”[34] He used the example of “front room” and “back room” of each business: A company should be engaged in only the front room activities that are critical to supporting its core business. Back room activities should be handed over to other companies, for whom these tasks are the front room activities.
  • The importance of the nonprofit sector,[35] which he calls the third sector (private sector and the Government sector being the first two). Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) play crucial roles in the economies of countries around the world.
  • A profound skepticism of macroeconomic theory.[36] Drucker contended that economists of all schools fail to explain significant aspects of modern economies.
  • A lament that the sole focus of microeconomics is price, citing its lack of showing what products actually do for us,[37] thereby stimulating commercial interest in discovering how to calculate what products actually do for us; from their price.[38]
  • Respect for the worker. Drucker believed that employees are assets not liabilities. He taught that knowledgeable workers are the essential ingredients of the modern economy, and that a hybrid management model is the sole method of demonstrating an employee’s value to the organization. Central to this philosophy is the view that people are an organization’s most valuable resource, and that a manager’s job is both to prepare people to perform and give them freedom to do so.[39]
  • A belief in what he called “the sickness of government.” Drucker made nonpartisan claims that government is often unable or unwilling to provide new services that people need and/or want, though he believed that this condition is not intrinsic to the form of government. The chapter “The Sickness of Government”[40] in his book The Age of Discontinuity formed the basis of New Public Management,[41] a theory of public administration that dominated the discipline in the 1980s and 1990s.
  • The need for “planned abandonment.” Businesses and governments have a natural human tendency to cling to “yesterday’s successes” rather than seeing when they are no longer useful.[42]
  • A belief that taking action without thinking is the cause of every failure.
  • The need for community. Early in his career, Drucker predicted the “end of economic man” and advocated the creation of a “plant community”[43] where an individual’s social needs could be met. He later acknowledged that the plant community never materialized, and by the 1980s, suggested that volunteering in the nonprofit sector was the key to fostering a healthy society where people found a sense of belonging and civic pride.[44]
  • The need to manage business by balancing a variety of needs and goals, rather than subordinating an institution to a single value.[45][46] This concept of management by objectivesand self-control forms the keynote of his 1954 landmark The Practice of Management.[47]
  • A company’s primary responsibility is to serve its customers. Profit is not the primary goal, but rather an essential condition for the company’s continued existence and sustainability.[48]
  • A belief in the notion that great companies could stand among humankind’s noblest inventions.[49]
  • “Do what you do best and outsource the rest” is a business tagline first “coined and developed”[50] in the 1990s by Drucker.[51] The slogan was primarily used to advocate outsourcing as a viable business strategy. Drucker began explaining the concept of outsourcing as early as 1989 in his Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article entitled “Sell the Mailroom.”[52] In 2009 by way of recognition, Drucker was posthumously inducted into the Outsourcing Hall of Fame for his outstanding work in the field.[53]

From wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Drucker

 

How to Be a Great Leader: Stay Human

How exactly can the five elements of emotional intelligence EI be combined to result in great leadership?

The first step is to remember this: You’re a leader, not a super hero. It’s OK to be human. In fact, it’s critical to maintain all of the qualities of a human, particularly the ones that enable other people to relate to you and like you. Here are six ways to do just that.
#EI #Lead #People #Leadership

Guest Blog: Original article 

We all have the ability to influence other people, and are, thus, all leaders in some way. And while leading by example is a known recipe for success, how to combine the actual ingredients for that recipe is often elusive. A huge part of what makes an effective leader is emotional intelligence, the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, as well as handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ or EI, is a term popularized by Daniel Goleman, who defined these five interconnected components of emotional intelligence:
1. Self-awareness.
2. Self-regulation.
3. Motivation.
4. Empathy.
5. Social skills.

So there’s a list of ingredients, but how exactly can those five elements be combined to result in great leadership? The first step is to remember this: You’re a leader, not a super hero. It’s OK to be human. In fact, it’s critical to maintain all of the qualities of a human, particularly the ones that enable other people to relate to you and like you. Here are six ways to do just that.

Vulnerability (self-awareness)
As counterintuitive as it may seem, great leadership relies on vulnerability. Humans aren’t perfect. We all make mistakes. We all fear something. A leader who can acknowledge and address his or her vulnerabilities is respected and emulated because vulnerability builds connection and trust.

Storytelling (self-awareness, empathy and social skills)
Ken Kesey, professional storyteller and author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (among many other titles) once said, “You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” This is what stories can do. Instead of telling someone what to do or how to do it, share anecdotes from your life with takeaways that exemplify your values, how you came to appreciate those values and what you like to see in other people. Sharing personal stories (and listening to other people’s stories) also exposes a vulnerability that, ultimately, builds trust. If you’re not a natural storyteller, find a storytelling workshop or encourage your organization to host a storytelling lab. You’ll discover that we, as humans, have been telling stories for thousands of years and are programmed to do it. (In fact, the Latin word “historia,” which is where the word “history” derives from, has the word “story” right in it—because narratives—illustrated, oral and written—are how humans have always shared information.)

De-Powering (self-regulation)
Neuroscientists have studied why power corrupts and found that it impairs “mirroring,” a neural process that is a cornerstone of empathy. While it’s difficult to prevent power from having this affect on your brain, it is possible to remove yourself from power occasionally. To maintain a capacity for empathy, it’s important to not always feel powerful by participating in mundane obligations (e.g. buy milk, pay bills), recalling humbling episodes from your past, and interacting and relating (genuinely) with ordinary, less influential people.

Psychological Safety (motivation and empathy)
Emotional intelligence requires inner motivation, and leadership requires the ability to inspire and energize other people. But if you want an innovative team that enjoys coming to work and comes up with fresh ideas, approach them with compassion in order to nurture an environment where people feel comfortable expressing opposing opinions and taking risks. A supportive environment allows people to experiment with ideas without fear of ridicule or recrimination. Also toward that end, don’t be stingy with praise—but do be sincere.

Knowing People (empathy)
Isolation has a huge price. If your team doesn’t know you, understand you and like you, then the reverse is also true: You don’t know, understand or like the individuals on your team. And that means that you can’t help each person play to his or her strengths. Only by getting to know individuals will you be able to recognize their limitations and special abilities and be able to adapt and find the best role for everyone on the team.

Diffusing Conflict (social skills and empathy)
People push buttons. People disagree. And a good leader needs to know how to flip the script before arguments escalate and damage work relationships. One technique when someone flies off the handle is to simply stop the conversation and ask with genuine concern, “Are you OK?” A conflict-diffusing response like this, which interrupts the tempo of a heated conversation and subdues an amygdala hijack, is often effective.

Costs reduction initiatives: Retain resources – incubate value innovation

Why is it that technology is always perceived as being too expensive? Do organisations really understand the underlining value technology brings to the business as a foundational enabler? If the answer is yes, then why the continued pressure on Technology Executives to reduce cost? It is interesting that when it comes to cutting cost, business and financial leaders always look at cutting technology resource head count instead of seriously evaluating opportunities to improve productivity and efficiency through value innovation.

In accounting terms there are only two main actions to improve the bottom line – increase Revenue and/or reduce Cost. In technology business operations these two factors can be influenced by several initiatives of which reduction of staff is one option. This should be the last resort, in my view. Despite the known facts that cutting heads in IT, in essence, is cutting intellectual property, knowledge and experience that resides within your team, is it still at top on the list for CFOs, other Executives and Board Members when the cost reduction discussion comes up!

Before we look at reducing the workforce delivering the technology services and products forming the enabling foundation for any organisation, surely we should look at viable alternatives, value innovative initiatives, forthcoming from our staff. Empower your staff to be an incubator for innovation.

Technology operations are all about providing services at a specific level as defined in SLAs (Service Level Agreements) for example:

  • IT infrastructure hosting email, website, file depositories and intranets,
  • Software Development of products the organisation sell to clients and/or use in-house,
  • Implementation, Integration and Customisation projects where software products are deployed,
  • Help/Service Desk supporting IT end-users, etc.

These services are all provided by technologist, by people, and People Come First (Read more…) Focussing on a professional, efficient and happy team by understanding the needs of every individual, goes a long way in ensuring the appropriate initiatives are forthcoming from your staff to make technology more proficient.

One of the key responsibilities of a technology executive is the efficient management of the resources. This is especially important when technology companies/departments are delivering services where the resources are the biggest expense on the technology P&L (Profit & Loss account or Income statement – Read more…).

Resources, as a high expense, reinforce the importance of proper Resource Management in business governance. Resource Management is not only about ensuring the right staff numbers with the right skills sets are available to deliver to business expectation and demand, but it is also about creating the right environment and support to ensure your staff flourish, grow and freely contribute. In my experience are ‘Resource Managers’ far too undervalued by business leaders not understanding the value of the role. Business leaders should work closely with the Resource Managers to ensure their staff is not seen as major expense but as a key asset contributing not only to current business operations but also future business growth and bottom line improvement initiatives.

Business are investing a lot in building teams of highly skilled and motivated people that feel valued and part of something special. These people are driving a clear and larger than themselves vision, that delivers results leading to recognition and self fulfilment. These people are full of innovative ideas on how to improve the business value proposition.

When it comes to resource management, incubating value driven innovation:

  • Ensure you have the right staff. Optimise your recruitment process to ensure that you have a robust framework for bringing the right people for your organisation onboard.
  • Keep your staff happy, mentally stimulated and intellectually engaged in all business processes and services. Make sure they are informed and are actively participating in the decisions driving the business forward.
  • Give them opportunities to learn in their delivery. Good people has a natural urge to continuous improvement – facilitate it.
  • Create communities where staff can learn and share knowledge on a formal and informal basis.
  • Plan your resourcing levels better. Ensure you have the right staff capacity with the right skills to deliver the services to the business demand and expectation.
  • Use flexible resourcing models combining permanent, temporary contracted and outsourced resources.
  • Continuously capture task and productivity data.
  • Utilise analytics, mine the productivity information to give your insight in areas/services costing the most and why. Act on these insights!
  • Build a framework you can use in planning resource capacity forecasting. Work closely with the business to understand the sales pipeline and product development strategy to ensure you optimise your resource capacity with the demand. There is nothing more disruptive to any organisation than constant resource level fluctuation (increase/hiring and decrease/firing) due to poor strategic and project planning.
  • Identify your key resources and nurture them, retain them at all cost – they are the knowledge keepers of your IP (intellectual property). It is cheaper to implement initiatives to retain staff than it is to replace them!
  • People want to feel part of something and if they are happy in their community contributing to a future and in the process they are improving themselves, they are much more likely to stay. Recruitment fees, where staff retention % are low, are a large contributor to cost.

Any cost saving initiative has a fundamentally key measure that needs to answer true: “What is the value to the business?” Revenue and cost do not always define the true value…

What is the true value your staff bring to the success of your business? Have you asked them and really involved them to work with you on ideas to improve business value through innovation rather than cost cutting?

One last point – when you have done your value analysis and it does come to letting staff go, remember this: treat them fare – you never know when you will need them again.

 

Are you under pressure to cut cost? renierbotha ltd specialises in the fine tuning IT operations for optimum business value – Make contact!

The Digital Transformation Necessity

Listening to every keynote, panel discussion or reading articles relating to business sustainability through technology, one message is repeated over and over again – Digital Transformation is imperative for all businesses!

Although this message is coming through loudly, is it not always clear to business leaders and the workforce, exactly what digital transformation really is and what it means for their organisation.

In explaining digital transformation as the benefit and value that technology can enable within the business through technology innovation including IT buzz words like: Cloud, Automation, Dev-Ops, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT), Single Sign-On, Data Mining & Big Data, Bit Chain – does not really make the need for digital transformation any clearer.

One thing is clear though – we are living in a hyper-connected world where technology and more specifically, digital devices, are the glue linking together people and information in new ways we can hardly comprehend. In this statement, is the clue of what digital transformation entails…

What is digital transformation?

We can define digital transformation as the fundamental changes in the manner in which business and organisational operations are conducted, to adapt to the changes and to leverage the opportunities, caused by the use of digital devices and their accelerated impact on the way we live.

Digital devices, operate on digital signals running through electronic circuits to collect, store, manipulate, interpret and display information. These digital electronic integrated circuits (ICs) evolved since 1947, when the functional transistor was invented, into what we know today as computers. All digital devices are, at its core, a computer of some sorts used by humans to interact with information.

Transformation on the other hand implies a fundamental change in the way things used to be (converting something from one state to another) – it enables new creativity and innovation inspired by technology evolution, bringing change that introduces a new way, a different way to do things, rather than just enhancing or improving an old or current way.

To simplify it, you could say that digital transformation is the profound changes in the way business is conducted, to adapt to the changes in society caused by the continuous evolvement of computers.

A typical example of digital transformation is the “paperless office” – fundamentally changing the way we preserve information by storing it in digital format rather than writing it down on paper. This concept has profound implications in our commerce interaction expectations if you are comparing the speed in which information can be recalled and processed through digital means vs paper files, archives and libraries…

Who should lead the Digital Transformation?

Computers are hardly breaking news anymore as it is widely used within business where technology has become an integral enabling part of any organisation. Modern digital devices i.e. tablets, smart phones, the IoT, smart watches and other smart wearable devices, are changing the way we live and interact in commerce and hence the way we, as the consumer society, expect business to be conducted. Digital transformation is thus more about the change in business operations – processes and systems – than just the adoption of new technologies. Due to the importance of technology in organisations and the key role IT plays in the organisation’s ability to adapt to the society’s changing needs, it is the role of the CIO to lead the Digitial Transformation initiatives.

Digital Transformation matters because…

Any business change is costly and businesses might avoid change, for that very reason. Howard King of The Guardian, (Nov’13) puts it this way: “Businesses don’t transform by choice because it is expensive and risky. Businesses go through transformation when they have failed to evolve.” He continues in saying that evolving businesses never necessarily need to transform as they are continually focussed on their clients. This evolution ensures the key drivers of transformation namely: changing customer demand, changing technology and changing competition, never coincide in such a way that the business operating model can no longer service it’s customers. When it does, the business reaches a tipping point that requires transformation within the business, to adapt and re-align or tip over the edge.

The pace, at which digital devices have evolved, changed the way we interact with information and has become an intrinsic and material part of daily live. This has left organisations, which did not evolve with the technology, at a tipping point. For businesses approaching or reaching this tipping point it might be too late to evolve and hence Digital Transformation becomes a necessity for survival.

Emerging, disruptive technology driven, companies are changing industries leaving competitor companies with one choice – adapt, through digital transformation, or face the consequences of slowly loosing market share and eventually…

What does a typical Digital Transformation strategy involve?

As every organisation delivers their products and services (the value proposition to it’s clients and customers) in a different way, so will the digital transformation within one company differ from the other.

To define a transformation strategy and the associate change programme, one must look at the value chain of the organisation. Each element within the value chain can, and in most cases must, contribute to the scope:

  • Infrastructure
  • People – Leadership and the overall Workforce
  • Technology
  • Supply Chain
  • Procurement
  • Operations
  • Manufacturing (Engineering)
  • Fulfillment
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Service Delivery
  • Business Market (Client’s & Customers)

For each of the business value chain components, one must question the impact of the key transformation drivers:

  • Change in Customer Demand
  • Change in Technology
  • Change in Competition

Understanding these impacts will outline what needs to change, which generally comes down to:

  • Transform the Customer Experience
  • Transform the Operational Processes
  • Transform the Business Model

Note that IT is not singled out in the above – this is because IT is the catalyst that should overall enable these transformation initiatives.

The following examples of Digital Transformation Frameworks can also be helpful in defining the strategy:

Change brings uncertainty… Address it!

Transformation, by definition, brings change and a typical digital transformation programme will dramatically change the organisation. This change will especially affect a key business asset within the value chain – the people working within the business – “Success?.. People come First!”.

It will also dramatically effect, if not completely change, the organisation’s culture. Culture comes from the top – make sure that the board and executives are promoting the transformation and are willing to change themselves, as change is always desired until it is required of one-self.

Empower the workforce to understand the reasons why transformation is needed. Involve everyone to actively contribute to the innovative rethinking of their roles – how does digital technologies impact their daily work experience? Articulate the core business focus (what is the value proposition to the clients and customers) and ask, how can enabling digital technologies be used in support of achieving value excellence?

Find ways to make the necessity of the change a positive win for everyone, as supporting the people through the transformation is just as important as the digital technology you are trying to embrace.

To Conclude

Digital organisations outperform organisations doing digital – making Digital Transformation the last survival action for organisations that have not evolved with digital technology.

Transformation is a dramatic change and hence must the people aspect and business culture be treated with extreme care and sensitivity. A strong CIO is needed to drive the transformation programme with full buy-in from the rest of the executives and the whole workforce.

A well executed digital transformation strategy will re-align the business with the growing digital demands of it’s customers, by addressing the needed adoption of technology innovation across the business value chain resulting in an agile business ready for a fast evolving digital future.

Let’s Talk – Are you looking to achieve your goals faster? Create better business value? Build strategies to improve growth? We can help – make contact!

Career Plan – Life Plan

Having a career game-plan is so key in today’s ever changing and challenging employment environments!

With a global economy balancing on a knife’s edge for the last 10 years the meaning of ‘job security’ is somewhat of a myth. Never get yourself in the mindset that you are irreplaceable – we all are replaceable.

Five and half years ago a colleague and I recognised the need and importance of a career game plan. We realised that life is too short to not be actively planning where you want to be in your career in the future. Taking responsibility for your own destiny and happiness is a key aspect of feeling accomplished. Planning your future is taking responsibility for your own happiness. Quotes that holds true – “Planning is a waste of time, but not planning is planning to fail!”, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything!” “A Plan never executed, holds no learning and hence no value!”

Realise this – the company you are employed by, will ever, at most, provide you with a certain level of opportunities that will assist you in your personal and career growth, there after – it is up to you to take the action to progress.

My life reality – 90% of my awake life, and more than often while I am sleeping as well, are spend working. Working to build your future either as an employee, an employer, a business owner, entrepreneur, etc. With this high percentage of my life spent working, it is understandable that my feelings towards the execution of my work defines the biggest part of who I am. The conclusion is that my career plan in essence IS my life plan

I came across a very insightful and thought provoking article written by JT O’Donnel . In this article JT gives two examples of people progressing their careers. One is progressing with a career plan to stay secure within employment working towards the employers growth (working for an employer) and the other with career plan of personal growth working towards her life/career goals (working with an employer) – Working for an employer vs Working with an employer.

Which one are you…?