Cultivating Leaders

I want to lay a myth to rest.  Leaders are not born.

At least, not the leaders you actually want to be led by or have leading in your organisation.

It all starts with a fundamental misconception around leadership.  When we talk about leaders being “born rather than trained” what are are talking about are the typical authoritarian “Boss” or “Ruler” type of “leader”.  Those types of status seeking individuals do not need to be trained to be egotistical, narcissistic and bullying.

In my experience these are not truly leaders at all, because the first requirement of being a leader is to have followers.  Bosses and Rulers don’t have followers, they have adherants, chancers and cronies, all looking for a shortcut to their own status by sticking closely to a dominant personality and drafting to some version of “success” in their slipstream.  As such these adherents will seldom challenge their meal ticket.  Far from it, they will seek to ingratiate themselves by agreeing, pandering and subordinating to the outrageous.

Followers are those who believe in a cause or purpose and see aiding and supporting a leader as the way to achieve the purpose.  They will challenge the leader and in doing so they will enhance both the leader and the strategy.  The leader will only be effective if they can align followers into a cohesive team and develop individual capability along the way.

Authentic leaders are the ones who inspire us, who make us feel good about ourselves, because we are contributing to sustained success in the organisation, community or society.  Authentic leaders enable and empower us to do more, be more and create more value.  Authentic leaders seldom issue orders (except in crisis), but listen to ideas and arguments and help the best become the plan.  Great leadership is a subtle and sophisticated art.

Leadership is something we learn.  We learn it through study, through practice and most of all through having great teachers.

The military, who know a thing or two about leadership, do not leave leadership to chances of birth anymore. Since a litany of military disasters catalogued in Norman Dixon’s classic “On the psychology of military incompetence” the British military have actively trained leaders  through that combination of study, teaching and practice at a young age.

The disasters that Dixon writes about were not bad luck, they were a consequence of bad, egotistical, narcissistic, bullying leadership and their attendant knavish, fawning followers.  This type of individual simply does not get to lead in the best military forces any longer.

Similarly many of our non-military disasters (The financial crash, Climate Change, corporate calamities, the situation in Syria, to name a few) are not the result of bad luck.  They are the result of the same combination of  bad, egotistical, narcissistic, bullying leadership and their attendant knavish, fawning followers.

Why does business and government still leave leadership to chance?  Why do we not offer systematic leadership education and preparation for those who choose leadership, in their 20’s and 30’s.  Is it because we have not yet had enough political or commercial disasters to persuade us yet?

We urgently need to both stop electing, selecting and promoting egotistical, narcissistic, bullying individuals to positions of authority (Please bear this in mind in your forthcoming voting opportunities in the US and the UK)  and start developing the next generation of great authentic leaders.

Holos is currently designing leadership academies for a number of clients to do just that.  A “Sandhurst” for commerce.  A “West Point” for the public sector.  Specifically to work with people in their 20’s and 30’s who are willing to make the choice to lead.  The Holos model of leadership academy will work, as the military do, intensively with character as well as competence, using study, teaching and especially practice to deeply embed the habits, wisdom and intent that makes for great leaders.

Since we set Holos up our vision has been “Ubiquitous Authentic Leadership”.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at www.holoschange.com

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Leadership, society, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beware the demagogue, my son

There is a fundamental schism in what we consider to be leadership.  On one side we have Bosses and Rulers, whose core motivation is status and on the other we have Authentic Leaders and Visionaries whose core motivation is purpose.

The question everyone else has to ask themselves is why do we EVER elect, select or promote status motivated individuals to positions of authority?

Status motivated Rulers and Bosses may appear to add short term value, but always at a catastrophic externalised cost and as a result they never add long term value.

The reason that we the voters, we the shareholders, we the customers and we the employees allow this to happen is because of our own reluctance to lead.  Most of us want to focus on raising families, creating beautiful things, being athletes or just getting on with our lives.  We don’t want the kind of responsibility, pressure and stress that comes with being President, Prime Minister or CEO.  We want someone else to do it for us.

By contrast status seekers will say and do anything that they believe will get them to or keep them at the top of the heap, where they believe the status they crave exists.

They will appeal to our own weakness for not wanting to take responsibility by blaming and vilifying out-groups for our own problems.  They say:  “The reason you can’t get the jobs/pay/lifestyle you want is because – they – the out-group – are taking them from you.”  They will offer attractive simplistic “solutions” to complex problems that let us off the hook of making our own decisions and taking our own responsibility.

In office status seekers will offer nothing positive to anyone except their own crony elite. They will erode freedom of speech so that when their simplistic “solutions” fail we will not even know about it, until it is a catastrophe.  They will create a cult of identity that rewards sycophants and clones and punishes difference and questions.   Their legacy will be a wasteland of destruction.

We must learn to discern the difference between status seekers and purpose pursuers and we must make status seeking a fundamental barrier to office:

Status seekers use the language of “them vs us”

Purpose pursuers use the language of “we are in this together”

Status seekers promise that simple solutions will work.

Purpose pursuers recognise that creativity and effort are required to solve problems.

While purpose pursuers are plentiful, few are willing to admit that they are leaders.  This humility, and the daunting effort required to solve the problems, prevents many of them from even from even offering their candidacy, either in business or politics.  They need to be cajoled, coached or outraged into candidacy.

Status seekers by contrast leap at the chance of status, ignore the challenges and responsibilities and focus ruthlessly on the prize.

Is it any wonder that we end up with such a skewed experience of leadership?

This year we face two future defining choices in two of the most significant populations in our society. By the end of 2016 the United States and the United Kingdom could be ruled by status seeking demagogues.  If this happens be prepared for a bonfire of socially and environmentally progressive protections and legislation and a raft of tax cuts and benefits for cronies, sycophants and elites.

Be prepared for the world to get a lot less fair for everyone who just wants to focus on raising families, creating beautiful things, being athletes or just getting on with our lives.

We need to reshape our thinking on leadership.  We need to nurture and develop purpose pursuing leaders from a young age and not just in the military.  We need to elect, select and promote purpose pursuing, authentic leaders and visionaries in business and politics.  We need leaders who will enrich the future rather than just themselves.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at www.holoschange.com

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

Posted in authenticity, Business, Leadership, society | 2 Comments

Holos Change and Sustainable Success

Holos is turning out to be exciting.  Over the last year or so we have been developing our approach, building partnerships, delivering for clients, speaking at conferences, and learning loads.
What makes Holos different is that is is a “virtual consultancy”.  We have no offices or employees, but 160 brilliant, partner level consultants, coaches and facilitators around the world.  For clients this means that you always get senior people and you are not paying our overheads – so your costs are lower.
Our approach has been developed in what we like to call the “crucible of reality”.  We take the learning from real interventions and real clients and we build our understanding and capability around what really works.  For example, we know that a team or organisation that is in stress has to be become reliable before it can become high performing: consequently we use our diagnosis tools and interventions appropriately to your context.
We have also been able to build relationships with some remarkable partners to helps us with both diagnosis and with strategy.
Our diagnostic partners enable us to understand culture and its impact on performance down to a team level.  For example, we can look at a whole organisation and identify the teams that are creating systemic risk versus the ones that are creating sustainable success.  In addition we are looking at true sustainability through another partner who can diagnose the Carbon Readiness of your business and value chain.
Our Strategic Consultants are remarkable individuals with huge credibility and track records of change and innovation in sectors such as energy, banking and entertainment.  They help us offer insightful, experienced, industry specific strategic advice to executive teams on the future of their industry and how to adapt to it.
Alongside all of this we have been delivering for clients, understanding and developing cultures that deliver results, by helping leaders maximise their own effectiveness and optimise their cultural impact.
Holos has also spoken at and participated in conferences in the UK, Sweden, France, India and Monaco, delivering keynote talks on Authentic Leadership, Corporate Reliability, Megatrends, Purpose, and the Positive Spiral of Performance.
To reflect our own development we have just launched a new website which focusses in on our brand promise: Change is Easy.  It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, easier than before.  This ease reflects our whole approach: working with Holos is easy and we have distilled the essence of what it is that makes it easy for individuals, teams and organisations to change.  This is what we bring to our clients.

Holos helps make change easy. We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at www.holoschange.com

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Change, disruption and adaptability

There was a time for many businesses and other organisations, when the essence of good practice was to develop a way of doing things, get good at doing it that way and repeat, with only minor adjustments.  There was a time in business when innovation was a bad idea, full of risk and downside.  There was a time in business when if you were going to innovate you followed the “skunkworks” model, put all your innovators in one place and hoped that they wouldn’t come up with anything too disruptive.

Those days are gone. Change is all around us, technical and sociological changes on the outside are driving transformations to entire market eco-systems.

Take energy as an example; For all of our lifetimes energy has been a pretty stable mix of coal, oil, gas and nuclear.  Distributed by trains, trucks, pipes and wires.  Within the next ten years that will change substantially to solar, wind and storage.  It will be distributed on a smart grid where buyers are also sellers.

The stable sectors of oil, gas, haulage, shipping, automotive, electricity generation, coal are already being turned upside down.  Denial of the true nature of the transition is so strong in some of these organisations that they believe absolutely that it is just another market cycle and that it will pick up again.  Some oil businesses like Dong Energy are leading the charge, others are so poorly equipped to change that like Shell and VW they are lobbying to hold back change.  The ones best able to change are the ones with a future.

The answer is that we need our businesses to not only be good at doing what they do, but also to be good at change.  To be adaptable.

There is a nearly universally accepted myth that says that change is difficult and risky and that culture change is nearly impossible.  This is profoundly wrong headed and untrue.

Change is easy.  The problem is not the change is difficult.  The problem is that most organisations have not invested in the skills that make it easy.

In a reasonably stable market environment it makes sense for organisations to invest in managers.  Managers organise people and processes to ensuring that the right outputs occur reliably.  What organisations don’t do in a stable environment is invest in leaders.  In a stable environment leaders are seen as disruptive and risky.

In very many organisations leadership is desperately poorly understood.  So poorly understood that the terms “management” and “leadership” are frequently used interchangeably.  They are not the same, they are profoundly different activities.

However “activities” is what they are – neither is necessarily a full time position.   Part of the skill of leadership is to also be able to manage.

Leadership is synonymous with change.  If someone is leading then change is happening.   The skill of leadership is specifically to make change happen and to be effective at that the leader must also make culture change easy, must also make behavioural change easy, must make it easy for people to change habits.

Managers do not lead change, they resist it.  That is their role.

Changing habits of behaviour and interaction is the essence of culture change.

Organisations that want to have a future, have to invest in adaptable, skilful leadership that can inspire teams and engage organisations.  Organisations have to become continuously adaptable and reliable to achieve sustained success in a disrupted market place.  Most market places are now or soon will be disrupted, by advances in technology and by social and legislative changes that are already happening.

Holos helps make change easy.  We help organisations develop their leaders, map out and deliver the changes required to achieve sustained success even in a highly disrupted environment.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.neilcrofts.com

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

Posted in Business, innovation, Leadership, society | Leave a comment

The secret to having it all in business

What would you include on a wish list of business success?

  • Profitability and shareholder returns
  • Commercially reliable and sustainable
  • Successful innovation and change
  • Environmentally and socially positive
  • Regulatory compliance and safe
  • Forward looking with outstanding leadership
  • Collaborative teams and colleagues
  • Great employer reputation
  • Inspiring working environment
  • Purposeful and rewarding place to work

My experience is that very few businesses have been through this exercise, very few businesses have really articulated what success looks like, much beyond short term profitability and share price growth.

This is a problem because, the single minded pursuit of short term gain, creates medium and long term risks.

Risks such as: reduced reliability of operations, lack of adaptability, externalisation of costs to society or the environment, regulatory and HSE corner cutting, suboptimal leadership and culture.  All of these are risks because failure to put sufficient focus on them will lead to failure.

These risks are not just risks for the businesses, but they are risks for all stakeholders, including society at large and capitalism as a whole.  If businesses cannot be successful without compromising the future of society, ultimately it raises questions about capitalism as a model.

Balancing long and short term is a challenge and a discipline, but many of us do master it when we train for sports or learn a language or musical instrument.

The big question is, how do we apply this discipline to business?

How do we create businesses that deliver sustained success, for all of their stakeholders from employees to society?  More particularly, how do we create this in shareholder owned businesses?

At Holos we have been working on this question for years, while at the same time studying business from very close up indeed, as we run leadership and team development sessions for some of the largest businesses in the world.  We have been able to observe similarities and themes that lead to success, and those that lead to failure.  These ideas have been formed not through academic research or theory, but in the crucible of reality.

We have developed a narrative we call the Positive Spiral of Performance.  If as a business you can get the things at the bottom of the spiral right, the outcomes will include all of the items on our success check list.  And more particularly, for businesses under pressure from shareholders, the profitability and growth will exceed that which could be achieved by more conventional means.

This is the secret that enables some businesses to profit and grow for years on end.

The first items at the bottom of the spiral are “forward looking and outstanding leadership” and “effective intentional culture”.

Whatever performance an organisation achieves it is achieved through the agency of the culture.  It is the people and their habits of interaction that will differentiate between safe and risky, innovation and stasis, growth and decline, profitability and loss.  People who are excited, focussed, collaborative and open will be more productive and reliable than those who are not.

Culture happens.  Put any group of people together for a period of time and we will form a culture.  That culture will be disproportionally defined by the dominant individuals in the group – the leaders.  Whether that culture is appropriate for the kind of performance your business needs or not will depend on whether that culture is accidental or intentional.

An intentional culture is one that has been deliberately created and curated to achieve the purpose to which the organisation is dedicated and whose leaders are specifically tasked with and skilled at leading culture in order to deliver performance, rather than leading performance directly.  The culture of an organisation is articulated through the values and behaviours, or code, that it both lives and aspires to maintain.  An example of a really detailed intentional culture “code” is the Netflix culture deck .

At this point it is also worth making clear the distinction between management and leadership.   Fundamentally the difference is change.  Leaders have the ability to get individuals and cultures to change.  Change the way they think, behave and interact.  Managers on the other hand work with what they have to get as close to the required results as they can. Both are important in business and both are roles that each of us individually can play.

Leadership is also a choice, you cannot be appointed to leadership, you have to choose to take on the challenge, you have to study it and practice it to become good.  Leadership is also non hierarchical, you can lead anyone in any direction in a system, however you can only lead if you can get people to follow.

Which brings us to another of the the foundations of our spiral of performance, “Purposeful and rewarding place to work”.  For an organisation to enjoy the benefits of the spiral it must have a purpose and that purpose must offer some external social or environmental benefit.  This idea of “purpose beyond profit” is not some hippy idealism, it is the clear foundation of high performance organisations.

The biggest reason why “purpose beyond profit” matters is trust.  As Steven Covey puts it – high trust organisations enjoy a “Trust Dividend” where low trust organisations pay a “Trust Tax” (see section titled “organisational trust”).  In low trust environments, everything takes longer and is diminished.  In high trust environments performance increases.

If we put purpose into the trust equation we can see why it makes such a big difference.

For a business where the purpose is short term profit only:

Trust = reliability+competence+intimacy ÷ self orientation

For a business that has a purpose with social or environmental benefits:

Trust = reliability+competence+intimacy x other orientation

Purpose is the compelling and inspiring “Why” the businesses exists and as Simon Sinek says – successful businesses start with Why.  A purpose beyond profit is the social or environmental challenge that the business exists to solve.

For this to work the purpose must also be sincere and fully integrated into the business.  This means it must also be measured and a key part of the reward system.

I remember being in a meeting with a senior executive of a drinks company, which had a stated purpose of “helping people celebrate life every day.”  He was introducing us to the business and had given all sorts of financial and distribution figures for the European business.  At the end I referenced the purpose and asked him how many celebrations of life they had helped to create over the same period, he said he didn’t understand the question.

Purpose alone is not enough, sustainably successful organisations will also have an inspiring vision and a clearly stated mission as well.  These terms “purpose, vision and mission” are often used interchangeably, but they have important, separate and distinct meanings and we need to have all three, to give an organisation a “cause”.

A vision is a picture of the ideal destination for the organisation.  Critically a vision is not bounded by what we believe to be possible – it is just the place we want to get to.  It is the tangible effect of delivering on our purpose.

A mission is the financial, physical and human resources that the organisation will need to have or to acquire in order to achieve the vision and deliver on the purpose.  The mission might well include quantification of scale, revenue or profitability.

According to Elon Musk at the launch of the Tesla Model 3 recently the purpose of Tesla Motors is: “To accelerate the transition to sustainable transport”.  This statement includes both vision (sustainable transport) and purpose (to accelerate the transition to…) it is easy to see that Tesla will need a certain level of scale and financial success in order to achieve these things – this is the “mission” part of their “cause”.

This “cause” is inspiring enough to engage employees to incredible creativity and dedication and to persuade hundreds of thousands of people to place deposits for a car they probably won’t see for two years.   It is also enough to persuade investors that a car company that has only just sold over 50,000 cars in total, has such a bright future that it should have a market capitalisation of about half that of Ford or GM – both of which sell that many cars in a couple of days.

If we put all of this together the secret to having it all in business is:

  • A strong “cause” – purpose beyond profit, vision and mission.
  • An intentional culture explicitly defined by a “code” – values and behaviour.
  • The leadership and processes to make it happen reliably and consistently.

The “how” for all of this is contained in the Holos “Sustained Success Matrix”  which helps organisations understand where they are culturally in order to understand what they need to be focussing on in order to get from where they are to a place of sustained success.  You can see more on sustained success in this blog post.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.neilcrofts.com

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

 

Posted in Business, Leadership, society | 1 Comment

Authenticity, Trust and reliability in business

Last week I spoke at a conference in Stockholm titled “Corporate Reliability – who can you trust?  The topic ties in very well with the the Holos four steps to Sustained Success and our Swedish partner Time to Performance’s work on Corporate Reliability, which was the inspiration for the conference topic.

The four stages to Sustained Success are:

1- is Fix – for organisations that are in stress after some sort of crisis
2 – is Reliability – creating a culture of reliability which can increase available leadership bandwidth
3 – is Ensurance – understanding and managing cultural and systemic risk
4 – is Adaptability – where organisations are ready to take on the megatrends and create an innovation culture

We find that most  clients are keen to get to “Adaptability” and Sustained Success –  an organisational system and culture that enables reliable and safe day to day running while at the same time embodying the adaptability and innovation to keep moving forwards.

However there is no direct route from Stage 1 “Fix” or  Stage 2 “Reliability” to Stage 4 “Adaptability”.  Organisations have to gradually build up, increasing leadership bandwidth and capability and cultural agility, before reaching stage 4 “Adaptability”.

Stage 2 Reliability is the critical foundational layer of Sustained Success and the topic of the talk last week.

We start with a question: At what point do we consider “others” and “ourselves” to be late for a meeting?  Asking the audience to raise their hands for 1, 5 and 10 minutes.  For “others” the majority choose 5 minutes, while for “themselves” they chose 1 minute, about 25% went for each of the other options for both questions.

So our first observation is that we calibrate reliability differently.

Another calibration is in communication and particularly the difference between “promises”and “aspirations”.  If we agree a meeting time and I hear it as a promise, but you mean it as an aspiration, there is a high probability of disappointment.  If a company makes a statement without being clear (internally or externally) about which it is the effect is the same.

If increasing “Trust” is part of the reason why we want to improve reliability then we also need to understand reliability in the context of trust.  The “Trust Equation” is helpful for this:  Trust = reliability + competence + intimacy divided by self orientation.

On this basis reliability alone is not sufficient to create and build trust, we also need relevant competence and sufficient knowledge of each other.  Perhaps the biggest element of all is Self Orientation.  For us as individuals, this is perhaps less of an issue, but for corporations seeking to build or rebuild trust it can be more challenging.

For this reason corporations whose “cause” (purpose and vision) and culture are directed towards shareholder value or profitability are Self Orientated at a fundamental level and will always find it difficult to build trust with customers and even staff.   Trust will always be easier when “other” orientation is embedded at a cultural level and when profit and shareholder value are allowed to be an outcome of the successful pursuit of that “other” orientation.

Reliability itself is made up of a set of components – Reliability is defined by the difference between what we say and what we do and also the difference between what we actually do and what we say about what we do – The authenticity gap.

For organisations to be reliable there has to be close cooperation between the communication functions, like sales and marketing, and the production and fulfilment functions, such as factories, call centres and shipping.  Historically  over-promising has been part of inter-company competition, often with insufficient commitment do delivery.

Take the story of the Amagasaki train crash in 2005.  Competition between train operators lead to highly ambitions time tabling of commuter trains with strong incentives for punctuality.  A driver trying to make up 30 seconds, arrived too fast at a station and overshot the platform, meaning he had to back up and costing him another 60 seconds.  Now 90 seconds late, he took a corner too fast, the train derailed and hit a building.  162 people died.

With the equipment available the timetable was aspirational and the accident was the consequence of communicating it as a promise.  In order to make that promise the railway would have had to invest in faster trains, better track or other infrastructure that could have made that timetable safe.

In the digital age with tools like TripAdvisor available, companies have to be all the more careful about the promises they make and the tensions between what they say and what they do.  Today we have to assume that transparency is inevitable and design our organisations, incentives and cultures accordingly.

Holos and Time to Performance have developed robust tools and processes to improve promise adherence in organisations.  Promise adherence and reliability start with leadership and also start internally.  A culture that cannot be punctual to meetings or deliver on agreed actions from meetings will find it extremely difficult to deliver on promises to customers or shareholders.

The other key dynamic is to calibrate promises, identify the priority promises we are going to invest in keeping and then make plans, processes and responsible incentives to encourage promise adherence in the organisation.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.neilcrofts.com

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

 

 

 

 

Posted in authenticity, Leadership, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why do people follow Trump?

It is an almost binary divide, on the one hand the loyal, even fanatical followers on the other a mystified and increasingly concerned rest of society. Of course it is not just Trump, there have been many examples of popular demagogues throughout history.

What is so puzzling, to the concerned opposers, is why would anyone follow someone who is so obviously self-serving and so clearly harmful to others.

Many people have attempted to answer this question and particularly as the Trump campaign has gathered pace. So it is with some trepidation that I add to that canon, but I do think there could be another dimension to this.

Adulthood is challenging and often confusing, the simple answers and apparent certainties are gone. As adults we have to navigate the complexities of the world. As children most of us are insulated from these complexities by our parents. Ambiguities are hidden from us or broken down into simplistic choices and certainties.

So it is understandable that there is a childish part of all of us that is attracted to simple certainties and simplistic apparent solutions to complexities we would rather not face. We want a parent to take these unpleasantnesses away for us, make things better, tell us it is all someone else fault and that everything will be alright.

This is the appeal of the simplistic end of the mainstream media. This is the appeal of the politics of blame and finger pointing. And this is the vulnerability that demagogues tap into, they tap into our inner child and exploit it ruthlessly for their own purposes.

Our individual challenge is to realise that life is full of complexity and to be wary of anyone peddling simple solutions to anything. We have to be willing to grow up and think through things for ourselves, willing to engage our system 2 brain, look at the evidence, debate and work out our own point of view.

In my previous blog I described four different types of leader – the Manager, the Authentic, the Boss and the Ruler. As my business partner, Mark Thompson, pointed out, I missed one out, the Visionary. Like Rulers, Visionaries are relatively rare. Visionaries see themselves in service of a bigger picture, responsible for and driven by some significant cause. Visionaries are uncompromisingly authentic and as a result may have less patience with those who are not as committed to the vision. They will blend their styles in service to the cause, but like authentics they create a culture which empowers others in a meritocratic way because they see the benefits in attracting support as opposed to control. Visionaries recognise the need for power in order make effective change, and will use it, although they tend to use their power with others rather than over them. Visionaries transform whole systems including societies.

It is “Rulers” (like Trump) and “Visionaries” who are most likely to take advantage of our need for simple solutions. Trump with his wall on the one hand and Musk with his cars and batteries on the other. The difference is in the consequences; Rulers largely steal from the future, where Visionaries largely enrich the future.

So how do we, who create leaders by our choices in who we follow, ensure that we choose Visionaries more often and Rulers less often? How do we overcome our anxious inner child and face up to the realties of life’s complexity rather than hiding from them behind the next convenient demagogue?

1 – Don’t be bought off with sweeties – like parents Rulers know that many of us can be “bought” with treats or the promise of treats. We need to realise that the price of these treats can be very high, perhaps not for us, but for someone.

2 – Look for compassion – Typically the someone paying the price for our treats will be an “out group” or a group with little political clout, like workers, migrants or our children. Scrutinise leadership candidates for signs of compassion, if there are none, be wary.

3 – Standing for something – Authentic leaders and Visionaries have a long and usually outspoken track record of things they stand for (or against), Rulers are much more opportunistic and are likely to either be equivocal or even contradictory.

At Holos we have developed a Leadership assessment tool that can be used for coaching, in a 360, for learning needs analysis and to evaluate candidates for promotion. This tool can help individuals how to become great leaders or organisations understand who will make great leaders.

At Holos we have been studying change leadership and leadership training in the crucible of reality for years. We know what great leadership looks like and we know the journey to achieve it. We have developed a suite of diagnostic tools to understand where companies and teams are on this journey and how to take them from there to sustained success.

Holos has a wealth of specialist leadership and culture coaches and consultants with decades of experience working with a huge variety of leaders. Holos can help you or your organisation to upgrade it’s leadership to flourish even in a challenging business environment.

Please share your ideas, comment and discuss here – click on the blog title and scroll to the bottom to find the comment box.

You can subscribe for free at http://www.neilcrofts.com

neil

Neil Crofts
Co-Founder
Holos

+447803 774239
neil@holoschange.com
http://www.holoschange.com

Posted in authenticity, Business, Leadership | 1 Comment