Personal Effectiveness for Team Leaders

Personal effectiveness for team leaders

You may have heard the term Personal Effectiveness Programme or Personal Development Programme, but what exactly are they and who are they for? Is there an employee at your company you feel has the potential to contribute more to the organisation? Maybe they have the key skills to do their current job but lack the confidence to move up to the next level within your organisation. Mike Gaffney is adamant that with the right support system in place, those employees can learn new skill sets that will increase their personal effectiveness and help them transition into a leadership role.

Here’s where a personal effectiveness programme comes in.

Personal effectiveness programme for your workforce

When we discussed the Capability Development Framework (CDF) with business leaders around the country we looked at the area of personal effectiveness for the general workforce. They said ‘yeah we should do something there,’ but they were a little hesitant. However once they introduced the idea to the general work force, universally the response was fantastic.

The sentiment is ‘finally we get a chance to develop our skills and knowledge.’ They also appreciate the fact that it’s a certified training programme, assuring them that the programme is run in a very supportive and professional manner. During the workshops time is allocated to help people acquire the certification, so the enthusiasm and commitment of participants in the general workforce on these programmes is a joy to behold.

When it comes to motivated and engaged workers it’s not about the amount of money they get. It’s about addressing key questions; am I respected here? Are my thoughts and ideas being listened to? Do I belong in this organisation?

The Personal Effectiveness programme is saying to them; not only do you belong but we want you to develop your skills, your knowledge and your capabilities and become a critical and important contributor to the ongoing development of our organisation.

Who is the personal effectiveness programme for?

The usual participants are the people directly below the first management tier. They are people with potential who could, in a relatively short length of time, progress into a management role. They are key people in the organisation who have important responsibilities, but are not in a management position yet. They are the most common type of employees that companies are sending forward for the Personal Effectiveness programme.

So staff members with the potential to be future managers of the business. 

What they currently do as individuals is critical for the organisation, but management have recognised their potential to contribute even more and progress further within the company.

What will the programme do for participants and their organisation?

It will greatly increase their confidence and their willingness to actively contribute ideas to the organisation. For some people there may be great potential but also a slight lack of confidence in stepping out beyond the boundaries of the role they currently have. This programme addresses that lack of confidence.

Why should an organisation invest in a personal effectiveness programme?

Because despite our best intentions, each of us can become stagnant or stale in our current roles. We see the world in a certain way and we become comfortable with the way things are, because this is how they’ve always been done. We tend to slow ourselves down with these artificial constraints we place on ourselves. The programme helps people to freshen up and learn new approaches, new ideas and new skills. It’s a more natural way to re-commit to a company and re-engage with the daily activities in a more thoughtful manner.

The programme will:
• Increase your confidence when moving into a new role in the organisation
• Increase your skill set to effectively manage the new role
• Engage more effectively with your team and senior management
• Re-energise yourself within the organisation
• Help you develop a greater awareness of your own behaviours and how you impact others

Is the programme accredited?

Yes, it comes with the Quality and Qualifications Institute (QQI) Level 5 certification.

What is the structure of the programme?

There are typically 4 one day workshops covering the key areas; managing self, time management, working with internal customers, and effective team player. Running in parallel to the workshops there are specific assignments that have to be completed. There is also ongoing mentoring support from LEAP’s business advisors and executive coaches, to ensure each participant can successfully submit the body of work required for certification at QQI Level 5.

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How to make team meetings more effective

How to make team meetings more effective_John Raftery blogIn this part of John Raftery’s series on visual management he addresses the problem of team meetings that lack purpose, and have little effect on performance. Due to a lack of delegation and accountability meetings will often drift off the agenda, with team members no better off after the meeting than they were before it. What can managers do to correct this? Here John explains how to make team meetings more effective, and how a simple visual aid like a Gantt Chart can transform meetings.

Team leaders must track performance

‘What companies need are not meetings for meetings sake. Meetings do have a bad name and the reason they have a bad name is because they go on too long and tend to go off track. People often come in ill-prepared for the meeting, then minutes are taken and issued out. People don’t look at those minutes until just before the next meeting takes place, so nobody really takes any action. The meetings just go on and on indefinitely, without really achieving anything. There is no tracking mechanism to see how effective the meetings are.

Visual Management

The simplest and most effective way to make meetings useful and efficient is, once again, to introduce the concept of visual management. If you were to do a Google search on work plans you will probably see lots of different examples of plans which are basically Gantt Charts. Instead of issuing minutes to the team after a meeting, all you need to do is take your weekly or monthly meeting and divide it up into 4 or 5 core areas.

Creating accountability

Under each of those core areas you will have different lines of action in the left hand column. The next column will show who the owners of the lines of action are, in other words who’s responsible for implementing those actions. Then divide up the right hand side of the page with a timeline of 12 months or 52 weeks. There you track the activities by colour coding them using green, orange and red. Green indicating actions completed successfully within the timeline, orange indicating actions delayed or postponed and red indicating actions incomplete within the timeline.

How to make team meetings more effective_visual managementYou can then print this Gantt chart out on an A3 sheet of paper, and this can act as a very effective tool in managing team meetings. Not only does it show what people should be working on and what’s coming up next, it also helps you to track the things you have achieved over the year. As more and more items are shaded green, you get a good overall picture of the progress that’s being made. It’s a very simple but effective tool that gets away from the standard process of meetings that can often drift off course, and where no real progress reporting gets done.’

John Raftery is a business advisor and executive coach at LEAP.

Interview by Des Kirby
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Visualise Your Company Success Story

 

Visualise Your Company Success Story

Visualise Your Company Success Story

In a new management training series business advisor John Raftery discusses Visual Management, a business methodology that has worked wonders for management teams within large corporate organisations. Here he explains how you can visualise your company’s success story and why this visual approach is more successful than traditional methods, and how small and medium businesses can benefit from the ‘display and engage’ approach.

What is Visual Management?

I work a lot with clients in the SME sector and often when I go into their offices or business premises I see little by way of business related posters, graphs, bulletin boards, Key Performance Indicators (KPI) or business charts around the building. But if you walk into a multinational corporation’s building that’s exactly what you find.

Every type of visual mechanism is being used to try and get the message across to the workforce about what the company represents, how it’s performing and what it’s key goals are and what it’s key performance indicators are on a daily basis. So really visual management is about trying to take that culture from the multinational organisations and try to bring it into the SME sector.

Why is visual management better than traditional methods?

Why is visual management better, or an improvement on, the way companies currently work? The answer is simple; the thing is that for the vast majority of companies I work with the key information is being kept in people’s heads, or stored on spreadsheets on their laptops. Everybody in the organisation then assumes that everyone else knows what’s going on, but in actual fact a lot of that key business information remains hidden away and largely ignored.

Visual management is about trying to extract the most important facets of that business information and make it visual. In other words to display the most vital information on a noticeboard or Gantt chart, or to represent KPIs through the use of bar graphs. You get the information out there and this helps engage people more in the business process.

Management Engagement

It distils the information into communicative, more consumable pieces for management team members and team leaders to track, understand and act upon. Remember one of the most important things about trying to communicate with people; people remember what they see and engage with, they recall very little of what they hear. If teams are fully engaged with the company’s goals and vision they come to understand it and that has a powerful effect.

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How To Create a Successful Company Culture

How to create a successful company culture

According to Mike Gaffney many businesses underperform because of a negative company culture, rather than aggressive market forces or macro conditions. It’s often the lack of recognition of underlying bad habits and leadership behaviours that cause stagnation in the business. But business owners can take solace in the fact that there is a way to address the negative habits that are holding your company back.

Mike, just how damaging can a negative company culture be to a business?
In working with companies throughout Ireland, it’s becoming evident that we totally underestimate the effect of bad habits and norms in the business. You may send your people on a management development programme, and embark on a strategic review of the business, but unless we take a detached perspective, and take a serious look at how we think and act within the business, then all the commitment to logical changes won’t take hold; those underlying bad habits must be addressed

What drives these habits?
This behaviour is natural, the human brain is programmed to develop habits, like driving a car; the first time it’s awkward and clunky. After a while it becomes a subconscious behaviour, that’s how the brain works. So if you’re going to make serious changes in your business and maximize new opportunities, you need to recognise the subconscious habits and often limiting behaviours that are holding the organisation back. Without recognising and addressing them you won’t achieve the changes that are necessary to transform the business.

What should business owners do to change negative habitual behaviour?
It was Einstein who said ‘we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’ The big issue here is the lack of recognition of underlying negative habits and behaviours of business owners and management. Making statements to staff such as ‘we need to change’ isn’t good enough. And you can map out a new strategy for the business, but that won’t work either if you don’t address people’s negative behaviours. A fundamental change in behaviour must occur for any real progress to be made. Highly successful businesses recognise that they need three things.

1. a clear vision for where they want the business to get to
2. a mission statement as to why they exist now
3. a clear set of values that underpin the organisation’s culture & behaviour

If they can get their people to buy into those three areas, then they can address those old negative habits and develop new positive ones, and a new mind-set for the organisation.

Does that mean confronting staff who are not aligned with the company core values?
Before business owners can implement change they have to let people know what they want the company to change into. Clarity is required – clear vision, clear mission, clear values – so that people know what’s expected and are given a chance to adapt. Unless people have clarity in terms of what’s expected of them then people won’t change, and that clarity must come from the business owner. If there are certain values that are critical to the success of the business, and if people deviate from those values, then they are out of the organisation.

Does articulating the company values usually get the results business owners want?
Articulating it is not enough, the business owner has to walk the talk and lead by example. Sometimes the people who are most resistant to change are the most senior, longest serving employees in the organisation. Their attitude is ‘that’s all very well for the troops but I’m ok doing the same old routine.’ But if everyone acknowledges their underlying negative behaviours, and agrees to buy into a new set of core values and behaviours, then together you can take the company to the next level. Without that buy-in everyone will just continue pulling against each other.

What tools can businesses use to help them clarify their vision, mission and core values?
As part of the futureSME methodology, a method that we use ourselves, we sit with the management team and have them craft a vision, a mission statement, and 5 or 6 core company values that will become part of their new visual strategy for the business. It’s just one part of what is known as visual mapping; a tool that business owners and management teams can use to great effect, with real tangible results.

 

In interview with Des Kirby
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What Have Core Values Got To Do With Business?

What have core values got to do with business?

 

We’re all familiar with the phrase ‘one bad apple spoils the barrel.’ The old idiom is often applied to political organisations and large corporations, but it may be applied to SMEs too. Essentially the phrase refers to negative habitual behaviour that can permeate throughout a group. Mike Gaffney explains why establishing a set of positive core values is vital for developing the right kind of company culture; the kind that both employees and customers can respect. And ultimately the kind that will decide your company’s destiny.

Mike, why are core company values so important?
Managers and business owners tend to focus on things like numbers, and performance this year compared to last year, and how to squeeze more out of the team we have. They often fail to recognise that people are not motivated by the owner’s increased profit or turnover. However, they are motivated by being part of a team where they are valued and respected, and where there are shared company values that they can align themselves with.

Company Culture
In a military context, the use of mantras and expressing values has been used for a long time. For example the motto by the SAS ‘Who Dares Wins’ expresses the type of mind set that they are famous for. So a company’s core value set can reflect who and what they are. We find that some organisations totally ignore, or underestimate, the power of values in changing behaviours to improve individual and collective performance.

How do you define values in an organisational context?
Values are the set of beliefs that guide our conduct individually and collectively within the organisation. For example, at LEAP our core values are:

Collaboration – we believe in collaborating with our clients to ensure the best solution for them
Rigour – we believe in applying rigour to everything we do
Authenticity – we are genuine in our approach
Impact – there’s no point in being great at what we do if it’s having no impact on the company
Creativity – we believe in providing creative tailored solutions for our clients

We hold ourselves to account with those 5 values. It’s a simple, straightforward way to see if we are keeping ourselves on track regarding the standard of performance and behaviour we expect from ourselves, and crucially, how that translates into our behaviour with clients.

Your Company’s Destiny
It’s also important to remember that in business your customers will ask 3 questions of you, and the value set that you define for your team need to reflect those questions. The questions are:

1. Do you have high standards?
2. Can I trust you?
3. Do you care about me, the client?

If the value set that your people live by reflect and answer those questions then your company is on the right track. The main point for Irish businesses is that traditionally in Irish culture, and society, we have a good value set. However we don’t articulate them clearly enough, or reinforce them in the daily activities of the team. In the absence of those explicit values we create a vacuum where different habits creep in; habits that are not in line with our core company values and how we want our teams to behave.

Practicing Core Values, Not Just Preaching Them
So developing teams that believe in, and practice, the core values of the company creates a real sense of ownership and belonging to the company. Ultimately that leads to more successful business performance.

As Ghandi once said:
your beliefs become your thoughts,
your thoughts become your words,
your words become your actions,
your actions become your habits,
your habits become your values ,
your values become your destiny.

Mike Gaffney managing director at LEAP

 

 

 

 

Mike Gaffney is Managing Director of LEAP. To learn about our programmes click the link below.

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What do successful companies do differently?

What do successful companies do differently?

Success in business depends on so many factors – clarity of vision, product innovation, great customer service, leadership, management capabilities, employee retention, new customer acquisition. Many business owners and management teams are aware that these factors are critical to success, but fail to implement performance processes that hold individuals to account. Accountability for delivering on strategic goals and objectives remains a critical issue for many businesses, particularly in the SME sector. John Raftery, business advisor at LEAP, explains what successful companies do differently, and how less successful ones can learn from them.

John, what do successful companies do differently?

I’ve been working with the SME sector for many years now, and one of the most successful things I do with them, in terms of impact is to give them a tour of a multinational company, particularly an American multinational. What they see there is a huge emphasis on clarity of purpose, measuring performance and accountability.

Visual Management

Multinationals are very clear on what their vision is and what they want to achieve. They get huge engagement from their employees through a lot of visual management systems. Their walls are literally covered in charts, graphs, timelines, value stream mapping, process improvement projects and so on. It’s all visual and it’s all there on display. What I find then when I go to less successful companies is that all the information is kept in peoples’ heads, on their laptops or on spreadsheets; it’s not visible at all. As a result there is no clarity about what the company is trying to achieve, there is no clarity about what the performance levels are, there’s no clarity about who is doing what, or what effect they are having. If KPIs exist at all they will only be kept by a few senior managers and hidden away on laptops and spreadsheets. We need to get them out there, we need them displayed, we need to get people buying into them, we need to get people understanding them, we need people taking ownership of them and delivering on them themselves.

Can big business practices work in an SME environment?

There is always a question of ‘how do we do this? Can we take the best practices of the successful multinationals and adapt it to our own SME environment? The answer to that question is yes, we can do it. The first thing people say is that it’s not suited to the Irish culture, but that’s totally untrue. One of the most successful countries in the world in terms of adapting to the American multinational culture is Ireland. The Irish workforce lap this up because it’s about engagement and communication, it’s about ownership and empowerment and teamwork. These are all the things that turn on the lights of the Irish workforce. But how do we do it then for SMEs? Is there a process, a method that can be undertaken to take these good ideas and implement them into a small company? And again the answer to that is yes.

The futureSME process

futureSMEWe have a process called the futureSME which is a well-researched, well developed process and its sole aim is to take the best practices from the most successfullarge multinational companies, and adapt them for the SME environment. It is a well-structured, well organised, well developed programme that undertakes to do just that. It’s delivered through ManagementWorks in the Management Team Programme and creates the culture of accountability necessary for success.

 

Interview by Des Kirby 

How do you measure success in your company? We welcome your feedback. Leave a comment in the box below.Thank you.
 
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How can businesses benefit from Executive Coaching?

The primary goals of an Executive Coaching Programme are to support business owners by helping them to clarify their vision for the business, delegate more effectively, and to create the space necessary for innovation in order to drive the business forward. In this video John Raftery, executive coach at LEAP, addresses 4 main questions regarding leadership development for business owners.

  • What is the role of an Executive Coach?
  • What are the 3 most common problems faced by business owners?
  • How does an Executive Coaching programme impact on the business?
  • How can business owners benefit from an Executive Coaching programme?

Gain valuable insight into the role of the executive coach, how business owners benefit from a leadership development programme and crucially, how these programmes help your business become more profitable.

At the core of the executive coaching programme is the theme of personal development. To understand more about this see  5 Key Factors in Personal Development for Managing Directors where John delves deeper into the kinds of skills and traits that successful business leaders spend years practicing and developing.

Please feel free to leave a comment on the video using the box below. Thank you.

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LEAP signs agreement to roll out EU business transformation process

Galway Advertiser March 20

LEAP, the Galway-based management and leadership development organisation, has signed a licence agreement to deliver the fully accredited, transformational futureSME business process in Ireland.

What makes the futureSME process unique is that it has been developed over a four-year period through an EU Framework 7 Project involving 26 partners across Europe, seven of whom are Irish – in a project that was spearheaded by the University of Strathclyde.

After years of extensive research, refinement and practical application, and an investment of €8 million, futureSME methodology emerged as a business model for all SMEs to help grow their business.

Read the rest of the article here

 

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LEAP futureSME

How does futureSME come alive in a business?

LEAP’s Tricia Cunningham explains the advantages for small and mediumTricia Cunningham
enterprises (SME)
participating in development programmes using the futureSME methodology. This business framework was the result of an €8 million EU research project that was successfully carried out by the University of Strathclyde and tried and tested on SMEs across Europe.

Tricia, how does futureSME come alive in a business?
One of the critical tools that we explore in the programme workshops is ‘thinking as one brain.’ We try to get the leaders and managers to understand what they need to put in place to ensure the team are in sync, and implement this in the workplace. So the teams work through how they can develop the team to think as one brain, and understand what the guidelines are for managing team meetings effectively.  That way they can work through information quickly, succinctly and cohesively.

Meetings become productive and employees walk away from the meetings with a clear understanding of what has been discussed, what has been decided, and they are clear about any actions that need to be taken.

We also explore any issues of dissent; when you are trying to implement the visual strategy there are times when the team will encounter road blocks i.e. challenges that have to be overcome. We explore what you can do to ensure that those obstacles can be overcome.  

Implementation is Critical
Many times in the SME sector you are working with small teams because there aren’t that many layers in the organisation. You have the business owner and key employees as opposed to a team of managers. But it’s still vitally important that these key people make it happen.

So the leader and the key people have to decide how they are going to work effectively together, to ensure the visual strategy comes alive and achieves the desired results. Having the visual strategy alone will not ensure success. Having the visual strategy, and working together as one brain, will ensure that you make progress in achieving your business goals.

How many workshops are on the programme?
There are 6 workshops on the programme; the first 4 are focused on developing the visual strategy, and also examining the leader’s role to ensure he/she is functioning properly as a leader in their business. Then we look at the roles of the rest of the team in terms of implementation. So the first half of the programme develops the visual strategy; the second half looks at getting the team on board and moving them along that strategy.

Is there any support system on the programme for participating companies?
Mentoring is an important element on the programme, so at the start of the programme we do a capability diagnostic to assess where the business is today, and that’s completed with the mentor. There are 6 mentoring sessions in total.

On the Business Leadership Programme  they are 6 mentoring sessions for each business owner, and on the Management Team Development Programme there are team mentoring sessions.  So you might have three people from one business and they will have one mentoring session after each workshop.

Why would you recommend this programme over others Tricia?
It’s based on intensive research on large successful corporations by the EU Framework 7 project . These programmes have been proven to work, they’ve been validated. They have been used by large organisations to succeed, and they have been translated in a way that is workable and practical in an SME environment.

It’s also different from other programmes because it comes with qualified mentors. They fully understand the futureSME process, they understand small and medium businesses, and they know what it’s like for a leader trying to transform their business.

They work closely with the participating companies. So you have that individual element in the workshops where people can exchange ideas, share their understanding, and then the individual can apply what they learn to their own company. That’s what makes the difference, and that’s what makes it so successful.

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Interviewed by Des Kirby
Are the issues mentioned by Tricia currently affecting your management teams? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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The Mentor’s Role and ROI for managing directors

Mike Gaffney managing director at LEAPYou may wonder what the mentor’s role is when investing in a leadership and management development programme for your company, such as the futureSME programme. Managing directors need tangible results that will boost performance across all areas of their business, from daily operations to profit margins and market share. LEAP’s Mike Gaffney explains the role of the mentor on this programme and how it affects overall business performance.

Mike, what’s the purpose of a mentor on the future SME programme?

Well futureSME provides many proven business practices, tools and disciplines that can be applied to your business. The role of the mentor is to help the individual identify how to actively apply those tools to his or her given situation. Mentors are steeped in the best practices of futureSME and how they can be applied. They work closely with the owner to ensure they are applied in the most relevant and practical way to suit the particular needs of the company.

How does that benefit the company?

From the outset of the programme the focus is on practical application and tangible results.  This is a programme that uses theory to drive changes and secure results.  The mentor has that focus clearly in mind and ensures this is happening at each step in the process.  The mentor works with the owner to complete the company diagnostic at the start of the programme and again at the end of the programme so there is a clear comparison – evidence of change, evidence of improvements.  So mentoring is a critical component of the overall programme.

Is the mentoring process the same for every company, or does it differ by industry and size?

There are some common threads to the futureSME solution, like a visual strategy, and the application of visual management tools. The essence of futureSME is to enable the company to develop its strategic, managerial, operational and adaptive capabilities. What is applied to the organisation often depends on what is most critical to their specific needs.

For some companies, getting the operational side of the business right is the most critical issue. For others it could be having a clear strategy or better managerial capabilities. So the mentoring process is not the same for everyone. There is the same outline regarding the disciplines and practices that are put in place, but how they are put in place, and which areas are prioritised, is very much company specific.

What kind of ROI can a client expect from the mentoring side of the programme?

Business is tough for any organisation so there has to be real tangible benefits, be it increased turnover or profitability, increased market share or new customers. There has to be tangible business performance deliverables. The best example I can give is ourselves; LEAP has applied the futureSME methodology and we doubled our turnover in 2013 compared to 2012. So it’s important for any company engaging in futureSME that they clearly state what business performances they need to see improved, and how that will be measured. We are very comfortable with measuring the implementation of futureSME in a company against tangible financial performance, and other core performances, that the company determine.

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In interview with Des Kirby
Have you used mentoring programmes in your company? Did you find them effective? We’d like to hear your thoughts about it. Leave a comment in the box below. Thanks.

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