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Stakeholder Archives - StratAffect S.A.

Create Your Story – For Telling

By | Storytelling | 2 Comments

Ever wondered what special talent you need to be able to create those beautiful corporate stories that stick in your mind and tug, just a bit, at your soul? Although I’ve met some individuals who just had storytelling in their DNA, I’ve met many more who have learned a process for developing their story, that works just as well.

Corporate stories are created to connect people with the product, service or spirit of the company or organisation. Following a clean process will allow you to develop an elegant and memorable story that gets your point across. Here are the steps that I use with my clients:

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Changing Behaviour with Storytelling

By | Storytelling | 2 Comments

There are three important differences between corporate storytelling and the stories you tell around the campfire or read for entertainment. Corporate stories are created to serve a purpose. Although they can be very entertaining, they are not just meant to entertain. Although they can be riveting, they should not have a ‘surprise ending’. And above all, although they are fashioned to be memorable and repeatable, they must also be designed to put specific focus on an important behavioural or aspirational element of an organisation.

By now, we have all heard at least some of the research that confirms that there is little difference between hearing a story and living it. Most of us have also read that we are all hardwired to remember a good story. But corporate storytellers must go a step further and a bit deeper. Corporate storytelling inspires customers but more than this, it provides guidance and alignment for your team to build exceptional results and connection to the organisation’s purpose.

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Breakfast Meetings? Everyday!!

By | Personal Power | One Comment

Life Work Balance: Breakfast Meetings? Everyday!!

Working as a consultant can be daunting. Unlike most jobs, where you show up and get paid for trying your best to get the work done in a specific amount of time, a consultant attaches a number to everything she does. The first number is the day or hourly rate. The second is the number of clients. The third, the hours available to fulfill client requirements. Like lawyers and accountants, most consultants keep some type of docket and count their billable hours carefully.

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It’s a Mind-set

By | OCM (Org Change), Org Health | No Comments

Optimizing Organisational Health

No organisation thrives without well-functioning teams. It can look like it’s functioning, but in the long-run, you will notice work and communication break-downs forming and eventually, wasted time and effort on demotivating and unproductive behaviour and actions. There are a few things you can do to ensure your team is working at an optimal level. Here is my cheat-sheet.

Delegate

Mind-set is especially valuable for new managers. You may have come from an environment that promotes people for their ability to get things done, fight fires or even accomplish the impossible. With this type of organisation comes a mind-set of the ‘individual contributor’ who often works to personal priorities. The two main problems with this type of mind-set is that 1) managers may not delegate enough and try to do everything themselves, and 2) everyone focuses on their individual actions and there can be little cohesion between groups or people.

To combat this, create a shared platform of understanding within your team. Use stories, metaphors and role modelling to express your priority as a manager. Delegate programs of work, not just tasks so that team members are empowered and accountable for results. Align the team, and your work, by asking the following questions, in this sequence …

  •  Is this [program / action / decision / focus / etc.] good for the company?
  • Is it good for the team?
  • Is it my priority or should I engage someone else on the team?

Remember, most people love to know the why’s behind the work. By focusing your team on consistent and congruent priorities, aligned objectives, and the bigger picture of accountability across teams, you will create many leaders within your group who understand your vision, and how they make a difference every day within the organisation. You will also, by default, increase productivity and satisfaction with the job.

Listen

The main intend in most conversations is to create a safe space to create and exchange ideas. One of the most important tools a manager has at their disposal to do this is questions. But asking good questions requires you to be able to listen to the answers and check your perspective at the door, at least for a few minutes.

Listening is not just sitting silently while someone talks … or drones on. Neither is listening asking hordes of questions in rapid succession – this is called an interrogation. Listening is an elegant fusing of asking questions, understanding the answer from the speaker’s perspective and synthesizing the information into meaningful bites – sometimes leading to more questions. Listening is also being open to new ideas, concepts and yes, from time to time, answers.

To be a good listener, prepare yourself for the experience. Consider the person you are about to talk to and become curious about them … and their ideas. Plan ‘open questions’ that lead to discussion. Avoid ‘closed questions’ that lead to ‘yes / no’ dead-ends.  Open yourself up to hearing what the person has to say and considering deeply how that idea or concept might change the way you think, work or do business. Be prepared to reciprocate. Share your feelings and ideas freely as well.

Think Quality – Fast!

Nothing sets a department apart like their ability to produce top quality work quickly and efficiently. To do this, you must have processes and tools in place that enables the team. There are innumerable processes that your people use every day that have similar inputs and / or outputs. Standardize your reports, data collection, and other management tools to accelerate your processes. By working with your team to create templates and standard structures, you take about 30% of the effort out of almost everything they touch. The time saved can be spent on checking facts, improving analysis, etc. In other words, anything you standardize can be used to improve the quality of your team’s work and reduce small errors that impact your people’s credibility.

Make every Interaction Count

It goes without saying that if your team respects and enjoys working together they will be happier and more productive. Here are a few things you can do to embed positive behaviours for everyone. Set up meetings that are guided / managed by your direct report. Don’t give them the answer; let them problem-solve to come up with three possible solutions. Praise individuals and your team in public but provide constructive feedback or let them vent in private. Consider non-work issues that may be impacting performance and be sympathetic. Be aware of what each person’s ‘communication drivers’ are and try to accommodate their needs.

Promote

Many managers hold their power close to the chest; guarding their decision-making ability and contacts closely. The problem with this type of behaviour is it limits your growth too. A manager that doesn’t have three staff waiting to take their place in the next level of the organisation is weak and constrained. Grooming is easy; allow your individual team members a chance to prove themselves and then reward them with more responsibility; talk to your team about your goals for your department or area and ask for their participation in problem-solving and planning, and give your team the chance to take risks and support them if they do not always succeed, and give them a chance to ‘show their face’ through presentations to more senior managers with you.  Your team will:

  1. Respect you & your dedication to their growth
  2. Take more responsibility and shine
  3. Talk about you to other staff
  4. Be able to stand in when you are away
  5. Have individuals that are ready and able to fill the gap when you are promoted

and you will …

  1. Have a great reputation for developing people within the organisation
  2. Be able to recruit more top talent
  3. Rest easy when you are away, knowing your team can function without you

Have 1 to 3 people who can take over for you immediately if a promotion comes up

By grooming your top talent for your job, you accomplish a variety of goals and are always ready to move up in your organisation.

Modelling Sustainable & Rational Change

By | OCM (Org Change) | No Comments

I was practicing Organisational Change Management for about two years before I knew there was a special name for it. Back then, organisations would call me and ask for Training or OD work or a myriad of other types of interventions. When OCM (Organisational Change Management) finally began to gain traction and visibility, we still had to explain what OCM was to the general population impacted by the programme or project as a first activity for almost any engagement. Back then, it was a project. I remember one client musing, ‘We just need a few months to get through this and then everything will get back to normal.’ As we all know now, OCM has become a ubiquitous element of virtually every organisation and we never ‘just get through Change’.

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Leadership Vs Management

By | OCM (Org Change), Org Health | 20 Comments

Leadership Vs Management: Bring it On!!

A lot is being written about the importance of leadership for organisations, but in this clamor, I believe the virtues of solid management are being overlooked. Yes, it’s true; management has never been associated with the ‘sexy’ side of the business. In fact, phrases like ‘pencil pusher’ and ‘form herder’ illustrate the derision many managers must endure. While leaders are touted for their visionary ability to ‘create value’, the important service that managers do for the organisation is often times overlooked.

Where Vision Ends

So what is more important? Creating value or assessing and maintaining it? Inspiring people or keeping them focused on priorities? Influencing the team or ensuring opportunities & synergies are realised? The answer is simple, an organisation cannot mobilise all its resources to accomplish its goals and fulfill its vision without both. And if you need both, why paint one as better than the other, or one in a totally negative light. Management is just as essential to the vibrancy of an organisation as leadership, but we are really comparing apples to oranges? Although they don’t look or taste at all alike, they are both delicious and juicy! Can you really be negative about the apple, even though its only offence is that it does not look or taste like an orange?

Free The Managers

I’m proposing something pretty radical – Free managers from the negative stereotypes and acknowledge their amazing contribution to the organisation. I asked a few clients about the role of managers versus the role of leaders and I found that most people speak about managers with a certain amount of derision; as if managing someone is less important

Leaders vs Managers

Leaders vs Managers

that leading someone.

Of course, Leaders could be Managers and Managers could be Leaders. There is no disputing that. And although this is not usually the case, I know plenty of managers who are concerned with building their team and motivating their people.

What I’m encouraging you to do is to remove the ‘negative stereotype’ from the role of manager and see the incredible value they bring to the day-to-day activities in any organisation and benefit they provide to their employees.

Other Links of Interest ….

Stereotyping Leads to Inequality, HEC

Trust in Organisations, HEC

Three Differences Between Managers and Leaders, HBR

The Leadership versus Management debate: What’s the Difference?, eba

3 Things That Separate Leaders from Managers, AmEx

….. Using the Kitchen Table At Work

By | Facilitation, Kitchen Table Conversations | One Comment

Using The Kitchen Table At Work

The Kitchen Table is where lively chatter, interruptions, disagreements, heartfelt stories, and bad jokes, come together for almost any family. It is where everyone can participate in thoughtful, skilled and enjoyable discussion, because it is virtually hardwired into our DNA. The challenge is to find a way of using the Kitchen Table at work. To achieve this type of rambunctious, but productively fluid discussion consistently and predictably in a business setting.

Whether it is a single 2-hour session, or a large group intervention lasting several days, Kitchen Table Conversations (KTCs) can be used for a variety of business needs. KTCs can be the driving force for project planning and in creating a project vision. KTCs can be led by trained, in-house moderators, and used to accelerate and evolve designs. Kitchen Table Conversations are used to….

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