So I confess, the blog entry I have been working on is about the organizational implications of Cloud/SaaS on Technology Infrastructure staff (not all dire, by the way) but it is a big and exhausting topic, so I decided to take a break and just acknowledge some people and capabilities that I believe can help any leader improve themselves and their leadership team. So call this post the procrastinating pundit. (smiley)
I confess I start with a perspective that says most organizations I am familiar with, at least large ones, do a very poor job of helping leaders build great teams in spite of formal curriculum, internal training teams,and lots of genuflecting at the altar of the “talent management” process. I don’t know why these approaches are not working but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is because they are based on one time training approaches that lack follow up, and fail to establish themselves into the daily routines of the leader and their team. So if you, as a leader, have some latitude in the resources you engage to help with team building, consider these great firms/people I mention below.
1. BlueMark Consulting and Wade Jack. Wade is a very experienced and incredibly talented management consultant with a background and client list I am not worthy to relate (smiley). What I can tell you he has a unique ability to work with teams and identify the work that they do, help build real, meaningful mission, value and mandate statements, key objectives and measurements/KPI’s, and do it it in a way that takes these artifacts that many consider clichés and shelfware and make them very meaningful to both leadership teams and their broader organization. I have used the artifacts that Wade and Bluemark help us produce as the key communication vehicle in Town Halls, Departmental Intranet sites, in profiles of my organizational acountabilities, etc. I really believe most leaders ignore the importance of a clear, consistent communication vehicle to their extended teams, and though this is just one of Wade’s many talents, it is one I value immensely.
2. Which is a logical lead in to Franklin/Covey and the wonderful training vehicle called “The Four Disciplines of Execution”, based on the book by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling. It is a marvelous book that defines a simple, energetic methodology for leading teams through transformative change and major projects, and has become a great course from Franklin/Covey, with useful tools to help organizations deploy the methodology successfully. For some reason, in many large organizations HR and Learning & Development professionals discount the value Franklin/Covey , in spite of the fact there is probably more leadership wisdom in Covey books and Franklin/Covey workshops than most of the leadership courses that dominate large company training portfolios. I still believe that Covey’s The 8th Habit can teach new and or junior leaders more about the roles of Leadership, authenticity, and finding your voice than most training programs, MBA’s, etc. But I digress, again. I think the 4 Disciplines of Execution, with a focus on Wildly Important Goals, Leading Measures, Accountability, and Score Carding is strategic program management for the masses..and we need the masses engaged to be successful. There are great Strategy Execution programs taught at Queens, Schulich, etc and these will help the core leaders of a major program, but the 4 Disciplines can penetrate deep into your team, with a “light” but effective set of tools and measures. Check it out!. Now it would be a stretch to call Franklin/Covey a local resource, but there are local reps and I have to tell you something about the whole Covey world view feels Canadian to me. (smiley). There is an optimism and focus on trust and values that I think is part of our makeup as well.
3. The next local resource I want to mention is Roger Kenrick. Roger is a formidable, multi-talented individual. He is a practitioner of the Birkman Method, a psychological assessment instrument that is used both by organizations and individuals, an Executive Coach, a thought leader on organizational challenges, and in a small way, as I am not worthy (smiley), a colleague and friend. Roger, through the use of the Birkman method, Emotional Intelligence, and his own unique ability to challenge anyone to become a better leader, team member, and individual can help you build a much higher performing team, while reinforcing diversity and respect for individual variation. No group think here! Now unlike the 4 Disciplines, engaging Roger and the Birkman Method is a more significant investment, and appropriate for more senior leaders only. I confess I am a Roger fan (fan boy, smiley?) but I have seen him have major, significant impact in multiple organizations and settings, and have become convinced that approaches like his need to be part of the standard tool kit for leaders. You may prefer different instruments for understanding your team’s makeup and diversity (Myers-Briggs, Herman BDI, etc) but I think more organizations and leaders need to invest in this type of coaching/analysis (not sure I can call it training). It is about building teams that can lead their staff through troubling times, as we all know the modern work place is becoming more stressful, and often dysfunctional, as the world is driven by massive, exponential change and competition.
Wow, so my procrastinating post took on a life of its own. Hopefully what comes across is my passion for the idea that leaders need to find ways, more than ever, to invest in building better teams…and that to the extent the corporate culture you are in allows, look beyond the basic training courses offering in the corporate catalog. There are many great resources out there….and I just chose to highlight three I am familiar with. If I have misrepresented anything, it is my fault, and I hope the people I mentioned do not take offense.
back to techno geek for the next post!