Resources - Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. -Henry Ford
A New Leaf

October 2012: In This Issue

The approach of the Fall season brings clearly into focus the 2013 planning cycle for many organizations. In this edition's Book Review, Execution offers insights on key questions to address during your 2013 strategic planning process. This important topic is supplemented by our Feature Article which provides an overview and context of the definition of emotional intelligence and the impact it has on improving your leadership capabilities.

See Change Management works closely with leaders and their teams in the areas of business restructurings, leadership development, team building and strategic planning. Best of luck as you navigate through this important time of year in setting the stage for a successful 2013.

- Mike 


Execution-The Discipline of Getting Things DoneBook Review: "Execution-The Discipline of Getting Things Done"

A (re) reading of this 2002 best seller by Larry Bossidy, former Chairman of Honeywell International, will assist in your company’s successful 2013 strategic planning process.  Bossidy clearly articulates why execution is needed, what the building blocks of execution are and what comprises the core processes of execution. One of his key core processes is a periodic strategic review of your business.

Execution does an excellent job of articulating those critical questions that need to be addressed during your strategic planning phase. These include:

“How well versed is your business about the competition?”
“How strong is the organizational capability to executive the strategy?”
“Is your plan scattered or sharply focused?”
“Are you choosing the right ideas?”
“Are the linkages with people and operations clear?”

For each key question above, several additional topics are provided to offer a clear roadmap to an effective planning process. Following are the secondary questions and brief comments related to the above question “Are you choosing the right ideas” and how they may impact your strategic planning process:
“Is the idea consistent with the realities of the marketplace?"  Frequently, teams will undertake a planning process without addressing the reality that the marketplace has changed…..and they have failed to change with it. Not addressing head on the changes you are facing with your customers will ultimately result in an ineffective planning exercise.

"Does it mesh with our organizational capabilities?"  Oftentimes, a brainstorming portion of a planning process identifies goals that the organization is ill equipped to implement. This is not problematic if the next discussion focuses on the ability and commitment of the organization to transform itself to achieve these goals. Absent this important follow up discussion, goals that are not aligned with organizational capabilities are destined to fail.

"Are we pursuing more goals that we can handle?"  Significant research supports that fewer, more tightly defined, goals are more effective than a large number of targets stretching the organization beyond its abilities. Not having an early discussion focused on how much the organization can reasonably accomplish is destined to doom the planning process from the start.

"Will the idea make money?"  All successful plans articulate how and when a planning idea will become a profitable one. This helps assure that ideas that are pet projects of management but don’t contribution to the company’s bottom line are dismissed early in the planning process, saving important time for the issues that will make the real difference to an organization's success.

The above are just a few of the key questions Bossidy offers that can be instrumental to your ineffective planning process. Many more are set forth in Execution providing you with the opportunity to make your 2013 strategic planning process more successful than ever.  


BrainFeature Article: "Leadership Emotional Intelligence: How Are You Doing?"

Different organizational challenges require different leadership skills. Daniel Goleman in his Harvard Business Review article "What Makes a Leader" contrasts the need for these varied skills with his belief that in all environments "effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of ...emotional intelligence".

Goleman believes that intelligence and technical skills represent only "threshhold capabilities" or entry-level requirements for key leadership roles. Based upon his research, he has identified the following five components of emotional intelligence (EI) that make the difference in leadership performance:

  • Self Awareness
  • Self Regulation
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social Skill

Just as important as the EI skills themselves is research that supports that EI can be learned and developed as part of targeted, focused training by top managers.  Following are definitions of the key EI components and the potential impact they may have on a leader's performance:

Self Awareness reflects a leader's ability to recognize and understand their own moods, emotions and drives, as well as how these have an effect on others.  People with strong self awareness are openly honest with themselves about their strengths and weaknesses. They are able to make changes in their own behavior to ensure positive results.  If a leader is unable to assess their own abilities, it is unlikely that they will be successful in assessing the abilities of their team and the needs of their organization.

Self Regulation is important as we are all subject to emotions driven by our own biological impulses (and filters). Mastering self regulation frees leaders from being prisoners to their initial feelings. Leaders who are able to control their original impulses and respond with consistent and positive feedback are much more effective in building environments of trust and fairness. Executives with a high level of self regulation exhibit a propensity for reflection and thoughtfulness, allowing them to bypass or counteract their initial reactions. They are effective in suspending judgment in their decision making, having developed the important skill of “thinking before acting”.  Those that are ineffective in self regulation create environments where employees fear quick and inconsistent feedback, putting the leader's credibility significantly at risk.

Motivation reflects a leader's drive to achieve beyond any defined expectations. Highly motivated leaders are not solely driven by financial rewards or status but by the desire to achieve for the sake of achievement. Highly motivated executives exhibit passion about their work and pursue goals with focused energy and persistence. They look forward to tracking and assessing their own performance and that of the organization with an aim towards continuous improvement.  A high correlation exists between motivation and individual commitment to the organization. Without setting the bar high for themselves and exhibiting undeniable commitment to their cause, leaders will inevitably struggle in motivating the rest of the team.

Self awareness, self regulation and motivation are detailed by Goleman as key "self management" skills. The last two components of EI, empathy and social skill, focus on a leader’s ability to manage "relationships with others".

Empathy addresses the effectiveness of a leader's ability to sense and understand the viewpoints of fellow employees. With the increasing presence of team environments today, this skill is becoming more important than ever. Without the ability to obtain high levels of participation, buy-in and commitment from all members of a team, a leader’s ability to arrive at the best possible decision will be significantly compromised. Developing skill in reacting to people based upon their emotional reactions is a necessary step in mobilizing a team to action.  In additional to playing an important role in decision making, empathy plays a key role in a leader's ability to retain talent and effectively coach and mentor an organization’s succeeding team of leading executives.

Social Skill, the final component of EI, reflects the leader’s ability to effectively manage key interpersonal relationships and networks. Goleman refers to it as “friendliness with a purpose” and is exhibited by the ability to move people in the direction you would like them to go. A strong ability to find common ground and building rapport is an important result of this EI component.  Well developed social skills brings together many of the positive aspects of the other components of EI and has a direct impact on a leader's ability to build and lead teams and effect organizational change.

How well do you rate on the components of emotional intelligence? Assess yourself. Be honest.  Identify a plan for improvement. If you are not successful in managing yourself, you will be compromising your ability to be the best leader you can be!

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