The debilitating effects of ‘update-itis’

It’s the scourge of most boardrooms. A virulent and disabling disease that paralyses real progress in organisations. The symptoms are all too familiar. The team gets together for its regular meeting. Hearts are already heavy from seeing the agenda – which is a terrifyingly long list of updates from departments and projects. Each presents the prospect of a long, rambling and often purposeless input from a member of the team – during which most of the rest of the team will switch off. There’s also a clear heirarchy. Finance always comes first and takes longer than it should. Everyone then takes their turn until, if the team gets that far down the agenda, HR get a few minutes to try to get the attention and support of a, by now exhausted, team. It’s a weary and discouraged team who leave the room. The meeting has been a long list of mostly problems and bad news. Some actions have been noted but may issues remain unaddressed. Inevitably, the agenda wasn’t completed.
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Categories: Priority Conversations.

Team Alignment – a great idea but what does it mean in practice?

Most members of leadership teams would recognise the conflict and ineffectiveness that arises from members pulling in different directions.  Team alignment is much discussed but few leaders agree exactly what it means, let alone know how to achieve it. It’s simpler than you might think and this article shows how.   Alignment – the Holy Grail for leadership teams? Every leader I have met would recognise this image as a representation of a team who are working to different agendas and looking to different goals.               Enormous energy is wasted by all of the members of these teams in understanding and reconciling the different positions, and by the leader in particular. Even when the competing viewpoints are brought together the discussions and decisions that ensue are usually poor and badly implemented. These compromises take two forms:- In order to gain agreement, a ‘lowest common denominator’ compromise is reached. Everyone knows that it’s a sub optimal answer but also accepts that it’s the best that
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Categories: Changing Your Team, Delivery Conversations, and Why Leadership Teams Matter.

How do you get your team pulling in the same direction?

Focus is the price of excellence A former colleague of mine was fond of repeating this at every available opportunity. It may be a little trite but it is also true. Whether you are talking about individual high achievers, teams or whole organisations – one thing that is true of them all is a relentless (even obsessive) focus on a few, critical things. Repetition, dedication, energy, persistence and determination are all brought to bear on a narrow set of priorities – so it is not surprising that capability then grows and performance improves. When I was setting up in business someone said to me that if my offer didn’t hit at least one of the clients top three priorities they would never buy. The reason for this is simple; every leader has a long list of things they know need to be done or changed. Unfortunately, they also have to live with the daily reality that they (and their organisations) simply do not have time to act on them all.
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Categories: Priority Conversations.

How to get your team and organisation pulling in the same direction

Aligning your team and organisation Have you ever stopped to consider what ‘money’ really is? Is it pieces of shaped metal, ink on paper or, increasingly, a series of ones and zeros stored on wafers of silicon? Actually, money is better defined by what we understand it to mean to us. That makes more sense, but if that’s true then the single word money means lots of different things:- To a business leader, it may mean the ultimate arbiter of organisational success. To a beleaguered politician, it may mean a scarce resource to be fought for at budgeting time. To someone living in poverty, it may mean a lifeline to a better life (or just survival) To a religious fundamentalist, it may mean the source of all evil. Whatever the context, the substance of money has little importance. The significance of money (and particularly, the way it causes us to act) is defined by the meaning that we each attribute to it. It’s called Social Construction… Err what’s that? Berger
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Categories: Priority Conversations.