“Our monthly leadership team meeting has the nine most intelligent people in the business in attendance, yet we only ever report out and discuss what has already happened. It is like we are driving our business through the rear view mirror as opposed to the front windscreen! Surely there is a better way?”
Google “Effective Team Meetings” and there are 16 million results including articles, white papers, suggestions, tips and rules for conducting better meetings.
So, if so much guidance available on how to do this well, why do we continue to suffer the blight of unproductive, dull and poorly structured meetings?
We are in November and many students are doing exams. They will soon receive reports to share with parents about their academic progress for the year. In the southern hemisphere this marks the end of the academic year followed by the long summer holidays. In much of the northern half it coincides with cold and maybe snow filled months ahead! In the business world we have about 6 business weeks ahead which includes the season of Christmas and end of year celebrations.
I propose that as leaders, this is as good a time to take stock of your leadership progress and record this in a report for yourself.
Some of us will have participated in a 360-feedback process this year and may feel that’s enough. I disagree.
Regular readers will know I did my first Olympic distance triathlon last year in Noosa, Australia. An Olympic distance is a combination of 1.5 km swim, a 40 km bike ride, followed by a 10 km run. It was a highlight of 2014 for me, made more special with the rounds of well wishers and supporters in the days that followed. Totally appreciated.
This year our business entered Noosa again but this time as a team event. I got to do the bike part only which is just as well as I struggled with the swimming anyway!
As the event took off and Vernon ran into the water to start the swim my thoughts turned an article I wrote this time least year on the lessons of leadership stemming from doing a triathlon. This time I started thinking about the benefits a team can have from training for a sporting event together. Without prompting or indeed much effort I came up with the lessons we had learned from the months of our training individually and together and how that relates to the work we do. Of course I could have been thinking of the warm bath, cold beer or the long sleep that would follow the event, but no! The mind does wander into some strange places under stress.
There is a 25-50% failure of assignment rate in expats sent to another country to head up the work there. The failure rates among others going through leadership transition such as those who are promoted, move company, move state or change career industry are not much different. Enter the coach.
Padraig O’Sullivan has been helping guide expats through this failure zone into both happiness and corporate success by “insuring” against nine known failure points using executive coaching. We have much to learn from this area.
Using the Marshall Goldsmith model of stakeholder centricity and his own PALDER framework, Padraig shows us how these ideas can be used in any setting of coaching at all when working with leadership transition.
Last weekend, the All Blacks showed us that they are indeed the leaders of the rugby world. They are formidable as individual athletes and as a team. Hailing from Ireland and living in Australia means both ‘my’ teams were favored to win the tournament at various stages, but the best team won out, again.
My friend Michael Henderson, is a corporate anthropologist and is renowned for studying tribal cultures, particularly high performing cultures. More than one famous rugby team has devoured his books over time. He also is a renowned keynote speaker. In a recent posting he talked about a key line in the Haka.
“As a leader if humility is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you”.
When I read that line it struck me as both utterly simple and absolutely profound in its meaning. Being humble – having a modest opinion of your own rank or importance, acting self–lessly has been demonstrated as being a critical component of effective leadership.