A Conceptual Look At Leadership And Associated Concepts.

Leading companies are changing the way that they are doing things in response to competitive pressures and advances in technology.  Here are some of the areas that are experiencing change.

Corporate Culture

Less focus on hierarchical reporting, more on teamwork.

Leading companies are focusing less on hierarchical structures and more on teams working together to create new services, products, policies and so on.  Cloud computing is making it easier for all employees to access work, enabling them to work remotely while still staying connected to their team.

Goodbye to the annual “happiness” survey.

The traditional, annual “happiness” survey is departing and being replaced with a more comprehensive approach to determining employee satisfaction that includes a combination of surveys, interviews and focus groups.   These research methods are proving more accurate in determining employee satisfaction levels as well as how to improve them.   For example, organizations are better able to determine the extent to which employees feel engaged and free to innovate, are aligned with the corporate direction, and believe in the company’s values.

Social Collaboration and Social Media

The rise of social collaboration.

Social collaboration is helping employees and teams interact and share information to achieve common goals.  This includes Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and WhatsApp.  It facilitates “brainstorming” and new idea creation in an unrestricted environment; allowing anyone to get involved in discussions and share knowledge.  Despite this trend, many organizations are still using document sharing, discussion forums, and blogs.  They continue to print and file many documents.  Collaboration can be increased through tools such as Zoom, Uber Conference and others social media applications.

Employee Development

Individualized employee development planning.

Organizations often bring groups of employees together to take a workshop, listen to a webinar or attend a lunch n’ learn.  These are great collaborative and engaging platforms for employee development but are not enough.  Employees are constantly adapting to organizational changes, job changes, professional changes, and so on, and don’t all have the same learning style or pace of learning.  The trend is towards individualized employee development plans to enhance the traditional models by providing employees an opportunity to learn at their own pace.  It requires leaders to be cognizant of the needs of each employee as well as their own departmental goals and to structure learning that best meets both individual and collective needs.  Individual learning can also be done through coaching and mentoring.  Technology has enabled employees to access this around their own schedules and to tap into the best global resources.  This trend is having a positive impact on overall employee engagement and retention.

Strategic Planning & Development

Getting stakeholder engagement at the front-end of the strategic planning process.

Strategy has never been more challenging or more important than in today’s environment of global competition in which corporate strategies must transcend the borders of nations and markets. Too many organizations try to be everything to everyone, wasting resources in markets that may never provide them with a worthwhile return on investment.   There is no one perfect strategic planning model for each organization.  The trend in strategy development is to focus on a more integrated approach; one that engages employees, customers and suppliers at the front-end of the process to ensure the final strategies reflect the needs of the entire organization, not just the vision of its leaders.  This creates a renewed focus on customers, innovation, engagement, retention and performance.

Employee Effectiveness Measurements

More sophisticated and reliable measures for employee effectiveness.

The effectiveness and impact of strategy on employees is traditionally measured through employee retention and turnover. While measuring how many employees stay or leave an organization is seemingly a straight-forward measure, it doesn’t provide the critical elements of why employees stay or leave. The latest trend now is to identify and measure the things that make employees effective in delivering the strategies and goals of the organization. This includes measures such as their level of: team engagement, innovation, productivity and overall employee satisfaction.

Goal Setting

Goal setting that’s more than SMART.

The process of setting goals has always been awkward and rigid. The traditional method of “SMART” goals have been around for over 50 years and directs leaders to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. It has proven to be more of an obstacle than helpful because we become more concerned with meeting all the elements of the acronym than with the goal itself. This has led to many executive leaders and salespeople consistently failing to achieve both professional and personal goals. Current thinking is to set specific, difficult goals with tight deadlines. Don’t worry about how it is written – just ensure it is clear. Goals can be created by individuals and/or with their manager. Employees will create goals to align with their manager’s. However, employees shouldn’t limit their goal setting only to those that directly align with their managers. They must also create their own goals, always ensuring their goals are shared or they will easily be overlooked.

Michael Stanleigh

Michael Stanleigh, CMC, CSP, CSM is the CEO of Business Improvement Architects. He works with leaders and their teams around the world to improve organizational performance by helping them to define their strategic direction, increase leadership performance, create cultures that drive innovation and improve project and quality management. Michael’s experience spans public and private sector organizations in over 20 different countries. He also delivers presentations to businesses and conferences throughout the world. In addition to his consulting practice and global speaking he has been featured and published in over 500 different magazines and industry publications.

For more information about this article you may contact Michael Stanleigh at mstanleigh@bia.ca