Categories
hybrid office Leadership

The Future of Work – Is The Forced Return To The Office (3+ Days Per Week) A Modern Day Loyalty Test? 

Apple’s three day return to the office recently came under scrutiny when their Machine Learning lead Ian Goodfellow announced he was leaving Apple stating
“I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team.”

The question many are not asking is, is this part of the company’s strategy to add control back or is it a test to work out whether hybrid can work?
Or is this part of a company-wide strategy to add more guardrails (less chance of interviewing, harder to organise interviews etc) to control the great resignation from impacting their business?

Apple is a notorious company for keeping projects secret and it is well documented their internal secrecy around new projects. Brand and products are a huge competitive advantage for Apple.

Is this really the reason for Apple’s non-flexible stance? Unlikely. 

There is often an argument and firm belief that the best talent leaves first, especially in a market that is weighted towards candidates. 

To be clear, this is not the first or last example of talented individuals leaving however it is the first that publicly suggested working styles and returning to the office is the main factor. 

We will see many more high calibre individuals leave for the same reason, whether they are in the same position to make this statement we will have to see. 

Loyalty Doesn’t Work Both Ways?  

Is this today’s CEO loyalty test, is it suggesting to employees this is the way you show your loyalty to the company by working within the office environment? 

Most likely yes, however, only certain companies would be brave enough to try this approach, Apple, Google and very few others have the brand equity, stock options and base salary to do this. 

Especially in a market where Uber, Meta and other previous powerhouses have hiring freezes and only backfilling essentials. 

With high wages being paid by cash-rich companies and from the web3 space, we are seeing a systemic shift towards flexible work and companies that understands the demands of modern work. 

Many businesses are allowing managers to set their own working schedules with their teams and in some rare situations at individual basis, this always comes under scrutiny, however, with most large businesses setting the tone for other businesses who blindly copy, the one rule of returning to the office three days per week, is likely causing cracks and creating sub cultures within your business. 

Google’s it’s ok manifesto received huge support across LinkedIn in 2021, however, Google has been clear about the move back to the office and its continued investment into the likes of London Kings Cross is clear their long term future is in person first. 

Rename Home To Workplace

Right now the best thing any business can do is rename home to workplace, remove the conditioned work that happens in the office and remove the pandemic PTSD around forced work from home is the same as working from home in a more open work world. 

The questions many are not answering: 

  • Is three days the right amount?
  • Why do we need teams in the office? 
  • How do we adapt our office for hybrid working?
  • Does collaboration actually happen effectively in person? 
  • When most work is in real-time (in meetings) and over zoom is being in the office offering the best work experience? 
  • How do we improve our hybrid tools
  • What is the best possible hybrid work experience? 

The other issue many are encountering has allowed poor management practices like internal policing from bad and middle management. Proximity bias is slowly killing companies inside out.   

Think Differently: 

Digital First & Work From Anywhere Movement

Airbnb has been bold to suggest in the US you can work from anywhere and your salary won’t be affected, is this a PR play or does the Airbnb management team truly believe they learnt enough and listened to feedback to suggest this is the best way to keep talent happy and attract talent. 

The answer is both, it is a PR play and it is a move the management team back, so the winners are those who want flexibility and those who believe in their vision of the future of work. 

In a recent Forbes interview, CEO Brian Chesky suggested Airbnb had over 800000 visitors to the career pages. Airbnb famously went over and above in 2020 for the teams they had to lay off and opened up their careers hub to help their employees find new work.   

Slack’s digital first approach is winning over many, it centre’s around enabling a change of thinking around what identity is within a business and in person is the old way of working. 

Twilio announced they are approaching work as a remote first company, potentially this way you can improve the way people interact and consider working from different workplaces like “home” and other offices.

Slack’s parent company Salesforce is now listing job roles by timezone, not by location emphasising the importance of flexible approaches. 

Dropbox has redesigned its offices and rethinking what in-person work looks like is a good reminder of what smaller companies are doing to improve work and stay competitive. 

Easy Question: Simply ask your teams why they used to work from home in 2018/2019/early 2020? 

It is most likely they worked from home to get their heads down and get their work done. 

If you couldn’t make the office environment work before 2020, you will struggle to make the office work in 2022 and beyond. 

It is time to rethink, reshape and rebalance the office/work environments. 

Other ways to consider reshaping work are to: consider satellite offices, hiring workspaces based on the commute of your employees, hiring workspaces based on the projects they are working on and moving to asynchronous work versus real-time work. 

Will 4 Days Per Week Work Better?

In the next hotly debated topic will a move to four day work weeks help? Unlikely, however, smart companies like front have tested and rethought what 4 days per week might look like and why flexible Fridays at Front are working.

4 days per week only work if you can work in a new constraint and have rethought what work works like and what success looks like in 4 days, not 5. 

Consider, is it 40 hours of work per week you can rethink rather than working a set 4 day week (like Wednesday are non-work days), as logistically this will be a much harder shift in mentality. 

The Future Of Work Is…

It is clear the future of work has evolved past even the smartest business operators and past the way many conditioned leaders can envision the future. The future of work is what we make of it, so make it better, make it flexible and create environments where output is valued more than location and hours worked. 

Supporting Resources To Help Make Smarter Decisions 

The A-Z Of Leadership in 2022

The importance of DNA documents and agreed principles

5 smart ways to rethink the work week 

Will a strict return to the office help my team get back together?  

How to handle back to back meetings?

How to rethink perks in hybrid work?

Categories
Leadership

A-Z Of Leadership In 2022

Leadership has never been so challenging and often it feels like you are fighting to understand what are the traits of the best leaders and leadership.

Here are the 26 leadership traits you want to have, work on and develop within your teams.

A – Attitude

How do you handle attitude and how your attitude is perceived within the business?

B – Balance

How much balance do you have and what work/life balance are you and your business offering?

C- Company Culture

How seriously are you taking, designing and improving the company culture within your business? Does the team know the principles that make up your company culture? If something goes wrong does your company culture bounce back or are fingers pointed by individuals?

D – Delegation

How do you delegate and how well are you supporting those you delegate to?

E – Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

How emotionally smart are you? How are you promoting EQ as well as IQ and how do you reward those who apply EQ to their management styles and throughout the business?

F – Formidable

How formidable are you and your business? Is this something you work on? How formidable can you be to influence your competitors?

G – Growth Mindset

Do you have a growth mindset? Are you ensuring there is personal and professional growth throughout your organisation? Do you encourage growth? 

H – Hybrid

How are you approaching hybrid work and enabling hybrid work to thrive within your business?

I – Intelligence

Do you show intelligence? Do you offer to share your intelligence and do you understand that IQ only works with EQ and PQ (political intelligence)?

J – Jobs To Be Done

Do you prioritise the right jobs to help your customers become successful? Do you understand how to build the right jobs to be done mindset?

K – Kind

Are you kind to those around you? Do you build out kindness and respect within your business?

L – Learning

Are you always learning? Do you consider how you learn from failure and teach from these moments?

M – Mental Strength

Do you have the right mental strength and allow those around you to demonstrate their mental toughness and their exercise their mental strength?

N – North Star

Do you know what makes your company ultimately successful? Have you set the right north star? Does the company have the right compass to be successful? Do you repeat the north star as often as possible? Does your strategy roll up to your north star?

O – Operational Excellence

Do you understand what operational excellence looks like? Can you explain what “excellent” looks like across your organisation and how are you teaching excellence daily?

P – Prioritisation

Are you prioritising the right work? Prioritising the right hiring? Prioritising the right spending? Ultimately are you creating focus?

Q – Quality Of Work

Do you know what good work looks like internally? Do you proactively reward high-quality work? Do you reward good quality work overwork just hitting deadlines?

R – Relationships

Are you building relationships across the business, vertical and ensuring you keep relationships strong?

S – Security

Are you offering security to your teams? Are you secure with your operations?

T – Trust

Do your team trust you? Do you show you trust your team? Do you ensure trust is earned and rewarded?

U – Unity

Is your business showing unity? Do you operate as one unit versus numerous teams within departments?

V – Vision

Do you have vision? Are you painting the right vision for your company to follow and believe in? When people lose their way, does your vision set them back on the right path?

W – Wellness

Are you putting your wellness and wellbeing first? Do you support mental wellness and have you put in the right support levels to ensure wellness is a priority?

X – X-Factor

Do you have the x-factor? Do your team(s) strive for the x-factor?

Y – Yare (Speed and agility)

Does your teamwork with yare? Do they know that speed and agility are vitally important alongside just hitting deadlines?

Z – Z-A Starting At The End

Can you start at the end and ensure you and the team lay out the steps to be successful? Ensuring you know what success is and the milestones to hit?

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Essential Reading

Need a glossary of some of these terms? The focus glossary will help

Categories
Company Culture Leadership

11 Common But Unspoken Hiring Mistakes 

In recent months, we have seen an increase in hiring mistakes.

Rushing to hire, rushing to counter offer and in many cases hiring the wrong candidate because there is no clear understanding of what you want, what you need and why you are hiring this role for long term success. 

Truth is, very few people are good at hiring for the long term success of their department.

Hiring has been a challenge for many, however, the question should be asked:

Are you setting yourself and your company up to fail with bad processes and bad practices?  

Here are 11 common but unspoken hiring mistakes many are making and it is setting you and your company up to fail. 

Being led by recruiters, not by hiring managers
– are you allowing recruiters to filter CV’s and profiles based solely on one conversation with the hiring manager? It’s important to build that trust and relationship between hiring managers and recruiters before allowing this process to happen.

Asking bad questions leads to bad answers 
– are you and your teams asking bad questions that only promote and accept bad answers? Have you reviewed your interview questions recently and given interview training?

Hiring those that interview the best vs hiring those who will do the best job  
– this has been happening for years, however, it has not been addressed and this is down to lack of time, lack of training and lack of awareness of how people interview vs how people work. Create more working environments vs more interview questions.

Not having a clear understanding of what you need from the role not from the candidate 
– I recently asked ten hiring managers what they are hiring for and their process and 8 of the 10 suggested they just copied and pasted another company’s job description and did not materially change for their workplace, they didn’t have time to consider the goals to make this role successful. The role and the job spec sets you up to succeed or fail. Consider what you need from the role not specifically from that idealistic candidate you have in your mind, consider the goals and the 12-month plan ahead, not just the job spec highlighting what you might want.

Hiring managers coming in too late in the process
–  many hiring processes remove the hiring manager from CV/resume reviews and LinkedIn profile reviews and then miss one to two rounds of interviews before interviewing the candidate directly, this means many hours of wastage and interviewing badly fitted candidates

Too many colleagues in the hiring process 
– hiring is an art form, hiring processes vary greatly, and many now opt to bring in colleagues and teams into rounds of interviews, very often there are too many colleagues involved in the hiring process and is extending the time scales. This is the hardest element to get right, however, ensuring the right colleagues are part of the process and provide good feedback is an essential balance.

Too many interview rounds, especially hybrid recruitment.
– are you hosting too many rounds of interviews? Can you hire in three rounds, not six or seven which is now a common number of rounds of interviews.
Have you learnt how to interview virtually effectively?  

Being too narrow on what a successful candidate looks like and in turn what will make them successful 
– unlike many businesses leads and department heads I believe being ultra-narrow and overly specific in what a successful candidate will look like actually hinders your hiring process and will impact your existing team and bias your hiring. Having an idea of what a successful candidate will look like is great however often when you interview someone and they lead the charge, you can feel empowered to change your view of what a successful candidate is.

Hiring for a team skill gap not for solving the existing and upcoming customer problems 
– there are many reasons why you are hiring; backfill, hiring to demand, hiring to grow your team or reshaping your department. What this is often missing is hiring for the future and most hiring is focused around the current skill gap in the team rather than the customer problems and helping to hire to fix these not just hiring for a digital specialist in your Marketing team as you don’t have an expert. Where some will have to and want headcount here is where freelancers, coaches and agencies can add a lot of value and you can then evolve your department based on customer problems for now and the future.

CV/resume hires, hiring based on brands people worked at. Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple etc
–  the repeated mistake many make is hiring from some of the largest companies in the world. Typically, some in the hope of hiring up (“hiring higher calibre”), some to bring the experience, others in hoping these hires can bring the perceived successful operational frameworks with them or in hope to bring the same level of performance to their own business.
The truth is these companies operate in magnitudes of £$/x’s and 0’s bigger than you and often have numerous others who perform the same role, so in your org, you will have one senior-level Ops lead, in Google they will have a series of Ops leads.
These hires rarely scale well and expect large teams and hiring is rarely an issue in larger businesses, in smaller businesses and startups this just isn’t an option. Operationally too, larger companies have much more status-driven games and long hierarchical battles, these politics will also come into your business and will impact the culture and subculture of your business.

Hiring for cultural fit when you are unaware of what cultural fit is at your company 
– the unspoken hiring mistake is suggesting you are hiring for cultural fit when you do not have a culture defined or understand what culture is within your business. Cultural fit is often referred to by mistake as skills or “observed” ability. These misunderstandings will cause numerous headaches when looking for the right fit or explaining what cultural fit is within your department (subculture) and cultural fit within the business. If a candidate asks what cultural fit you are looking for and you cannot answer it in one to two sentences, you likely do not have your culture defined or cultural fit written down, agreed upon and shared throughout your business.

Not having a clear view (roadmap) and a potential 3-year plan for the role
– the topic I speak on most with hiring when asked to support hiring mid to senior-level roles. Thinking through and supplying a career roadmap for this role is essential for all roles, particularly those looking to join you and who need to map out their career. Most outstanding mid to exec level candidates have a plan and a long term roadmap they are building on top of.

Very often long term success of the role is considered at numbers levels and then potentially job titles are considered, however, what the next two to three steps are and what the two up two across matrix is for this specific person. Yes, often this has to be considered when probation is based and you have an understanding of their performance, however, to give you a competitive advantage when you interview you should be interviewing for the next three steps for this role and within the business and evolving with each catch-up and 1:2:1.

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter Leadership

Leaders Letter 99 – Leader & Cheerleader 

Dear Leaders, this is the 99th leadership newsletter I have sent out. It’s been a pleasure landing in your inboxes each week 

It has been 99 consecutive letters helping you to fight the battles that come thick and fast at leaders every day. 

This week I am going to show you why cheerleading is the hidden pillar of leadership. 

I set myself on a quest in 2020 to speak to as many leaders as I could.

I actually do something similar every year, however, when we were in lockdowns and trying to navigate that evolving landscape I wanted to speak to leaders who were driving their company forward. 

I spoke to leaders from as many industries as possible, including; secondary education, the military, sport, FMCG, creators, finance and fintech and there were three themes that arose from the calls and zooms:
(1) leadership evolves every day
(2) know when to lead and know when to get out of the way
(3) communication is key – but it’s how you deliver the message that is so important to landing that vital message. 

When I checked in with a few of these leaders recently, I revisited the themes and a fresh theme bubbled up to the top: knowing when to be the leader and when to be the cheerleader. 

The role of the leader regularly changes, but the core principles are often the same. 

Many learnt throughout the last three years that being leader changes but what was required most recently was being ‘the cheerleader’. Cheerleading the strategy, cheerleading the culture, cheerleading teamwork, cheerleading great work, cheerleading the pending business pivot, cheerleading change when many were proactively feared change. 

The issue many leaders cited was when their middle management and their leadership team struggled to rally the teams or galvanise change, it was on them to step up and cheerlead not always just force leadership decisions and change. 

Are you cheerleading enough? Are you embracing the role of the cheerleader and the impact is has on your team? 

This week consider how you can embrace this pillar of leadership and cheerlead more to help drive positive change.

Thanks, 

Danny Denhard

Are you interviewing? Here are the company culture interview questions to ask 

Here are the 7 leadership tips to win 

Struggling with the hybrid work shift? Read the hybrid work guide 

Categories
Leadership Strategy

Can the Stripe community letter create guidance for you and your company?

Stripe released a brilliant and smart seven-page letter for their community, it was an update on the company, what they drove In 2021 and where their next steps are and where they see opportunity. 

At first glance, you can tell this has taken a number of iterations but the most impressive element of the letter is how detailed and directive it is, not just for Stripe (taking a leaf from Bob Iger’s book: lead from press release), its partners and those wanting to be in the fintech community but for the industry as a whole. 

A letter is a format I have written about before, the letter of writing a letter is personal, intentional and provides a map for those who struggle to see a vision through presentations and videos. 

Everyone can create a presentation or a deck with aesthetically pleasing graphs and numerous words but a letter is a statement of intent, a way to appeal to many without death by PowerPoint and donning their caps to the likes of Jeff Bezos who mastered the art of the shareholder letter and Warren Buffett’s excellent shareholder letters, read the four giants section from 2021 letter

What can you take inspiration from for your letter? 

Impact

A brief look back at what you achieved, the product solutions shipped with mentions of partners you are proud of and the impact you’re having. 

Stripe 2022 shareholder letter

Direction

Setting clear product and industry direction is vital for any letter, internal or external. Stripe sets a direction for the industry who have built on its piping and for those wanting to grow moving forward.

Reduce the fears

Cybersecurity and hacking are areas many have unfortunately experienced issues in and are a fear every online business has. Acknowledging the problem and highlighting how you are working on this briefly shows you know your customer and offer peace of mind for your partners. 

Show you understand the future

The creator economy is something many businesses are desperately attempting to be part of and Stripe is part of the foundational layer, be inspired by how they reference and show their part of the largest subscription shift in history. 

Ability to focus

Despite being one of the only companies in the world that can be the partner, the piping and the platform, Stripe has an ability to connect the dots like very few and focus their community on their two core business sides the consumer and the businesses playing their space. The way they word their letter is something to analyse and implement in your writings. 

Reference what people know

Unlike many, the Collison brothers are self-aware and reference what others know and discuss and are an important anchor point for many other founders and leaders to leverage. Turn a perceived negative into a positive. 

Stripes mission

Mission

Stripe’s mission is to grow the GDP of the internet. That means both helping existing economic activity migrate to the internet an$ enabling completely new undertakings that couldn’t exist in an offline world.” Stripe’s mission is aligned with business growth and making everyone successful, if you are a marketplace or offer products with solutions for the customer this is something you will want to borrow and drive people towards. 

Moving forward be inspired to get into a room or shared document and write your thoughts, reference the past, highlight the future and showcase your work while celebrating other successes. If you cannot show your mission and vision know you are going to be looking in the rear mirror and the likelihood is you will struggle to bring the company and potential partners into the future with you. 

The TLDR: Inspire the internal and external customer by writing a brilliant letter showcasing your achievements, your past and the provide a bright future for you and your ecosystem.

Read the full letter below

Read other essential leadership lessons

The-focus-corporate-buzzword-bingo-card-2022
Read the buzzword bingo card
Categories
Leadership Podcast

Leadership Masterclass Podcast

It is rare that you find a priceless podcast on leadership that you should pay for. This is one of those you feel you should have paid for.

This podcast with General Stanley McChrystal on the Knowledge Project podcast (I highly recommend signing up for their newsletter) with Shane Parrish.

Watch Or Listen Below

Quote of the podcast:

“When I was a brand-new lieutenant, I asked my father, “How would I know if somebody that I worked for or worked for me was going to be a good commander in combat? … How would you tell in peacetime?” He says, “You won’t. You won’t know because people have capabilities or coping mechanisms that in peacetime look fine, that doesn’t play well in war.”

Then I asked him, “Okay, when you’re in combat, how do you know?” He said, “Some people keep asking for more information and what they’re trying to do is drive uncertainty to zero so that there’s really not a question on the right course of action because you know everything.” But you can’t do that. It’s not achievable. So they become hesitant.

They become tentative, and they become focused on getting more and more information to ratchet the uncertainty out of the situation and they don’t act.”

General Stanley McChrystal & Shane Parrish

Why listen to this masterclass with General Stanley McChrystal:

  • Commander’s intent
  • Threats vs. vulnerabilities framework and maths
  • Detecting and avoiding threats
  • Decision making framework
  • Why tiredness is making us more risk averse in 2022
  • How to make decision’s in moral dilemma’s
  • Why money and bonuses hurts the cilivan leadership and workplace (and helps in the military)
  • Why person and organisational values need to work together and the who they are is so important to perform
  • Training Matters: Military takes average talents and drive way above average results
  • War time decisions are big time decisions but is rarely needed in peace time (due to laws and rules)
  • Why history will help
  • Why stress management is personal but there are guides you can follow
  • How to develop mental toughness
  • How to teach self discipline

Like This?

Listen to the fixing the broken world of work podcast.

Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Briony Gunson 🧘‍♀️ – Focus Podcast With Danny Denhard Fixing The Broken World Of Work Podcast

This episodes guest Briony Gunson (https://brionygunson.com/) is a business + mindset coach, meditation teacher + trauma-informed breathwork trainer, Briony helps individuals and businesses to improve.  Follow Briony across social – LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube.  The Links:  Briony's Introduction Video On YouTube Podcast: Aubrey Marcus – not about the world of work but psychology, spirituality, human potential + behaviour Book: Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art  by James Nestor Newsletter: Brain pickings AKA The Marginalian has a free Sunday digest of the week’s most mind-broadening and hear Sign up to Briony's Friday Feels newsletter: https://bit.ly/3AiEOv9 – Briony archives them on her blog.  Listen to Briony's guided meditations on Insight Timer, e.g. this is a popular one: https://insighttimer.com/brionyg/guided-meditations/letting-go-meditation-12-minutes Briony also recommended Kirsty Hulse's work (Kirsty is great and gets my co-approval) Briony takes us on a journey of: Mental health and why it is so important to be aware of How mental health is evolving How your mental health can help to transform physical health Why early morning open-air swims have been so important Therapy and therapists role in peoples lives Why breathwork is so important Why our bodies are driven by our breath and controlling our breath Why Yoga is vital to so many of us Personal development starts with you Everyone is facing similar challenges – it's how you find the best course of action Why retreats are going to so popular and a necessary part of life and work You are the expert of yourself – why starting to listen to yourself and your body is so important
  1. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Briony Gunson 🧘‍♀️ – Focus Podcast With Danny Denhard
  2. Fixing the broken world of work podcast with Colin Newlyn 🏴‍☠️
  3. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Peter Hopwood
  4. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Andy Reid
  5. Fixing The Broken World Of Work With Jo Twiselton
Categories
Leadership

The Seven Greatest Leadership Traits 

The Seven Best Leadership Traits From Leaders Throughout My Career

This is the 21st year of my career and I have worked across the full spectrum of business. 

From running two of my own consultancies, tiny three-person businesses, family-run businesses with multiple interests, startups at different phases from post sell through to IPO and seeing the exec team ring the opening bell, through to working in M&A and acquiring other businesses and integrating them into the organisation, and I have worked within large listed businesses that operate so differently to all of the other business.

I wanted to share the best leadership traits and lessons from my experience. 

Time Management ⏰ – Ruthless prioritisation over time blocking, time management and being able to remove time as a barrier or being able to move projects and campaigns on with managing time. 

Those in back to back meetings and not owning their calendars often struggle with other core leadership traits. 

Knowledge Retention 🧠 – The best execs and leaders work at an incredible pace and retain important pieces of information alongside deadlines as if it is the only piece of information provided to them that day. Being able to handle and remember important points per project to keep colleagues accountable. 

Very often driving a project forward with the information provided and understanding so well they can discuss at many different levels. 

Knowledge retention helps with time management and communication. There is a correlation between those who retain knowledge and keep their own notes. 

Communication 🗣 – From handling how to communicate clearly in every situation especially when in writing and in person, to having objectives around each interaction. Poor leaders are bad at communicating and putting across their vision to teams. The highest 1% of leaders work hard on communication and continuously improve their communication skills. 

Communication is very often the difference between those who buy into the leadership and those who don’t. 

Objectives & Interactions 🥅 –  Something that stood out from one incredible COO of a listed company was their ability to understand and retain information from many different technical departments and she was able to create clear objectives and interact with numerous stakeholders. This particular COO learnt from every interaction to big moments in QBR’s.  

Many exes struggle with interacting with those they do not work with regularly, the best have a great way of talking to anyone from any level and create objectives from these conversations. 

Objectives are often the best method leaders have to keep their people accountable and drive interactions. 

Organisation Design 🕸 – Org design is often the most challenging for startups and upstarts, building out the organisation and hiring the right people to develop these departments challenges even the most experienced and often is the difference between short and mid-term success. Don’t hire and build an org on a pain point or skills pain point, build around sets of problems. 

Org design is often seen as a way to build more hierarchy and grow (or reduce) headcount but also is a way for leaders to reshape trust, organisational health, culture and develop people in the business and those around them. 

Cutting Through BS 🔪-  Even the best leaders within businesses are often so busy they struggle to manage direct reports and cut through BS especially with long term colleagues. The elite leaders can cut through excuses, misdirections and very often drive change by cutting through others BS, particularly underperforming department leads. The elite also from experience drives change, from not accepting weak and vague answers. This often results in loyalty not being rewarded but change and growth being rewarded instead. 

Being able to cut through BS at any level is essential, if your BS radar does not improve with experience you are likely not learning lessons or losing important political intelligence battles around you.  

Long Term Vision 👩‍💼 – The very best leaders show they understand where the business is going, how their industry will change and be focused on the long term, they ensure departments action 1 year ahead, they plan 3 years ahead and plan for the 5 pending years. They are almost unwavering in the vision and allow others to build into the vision while trusting those around them and beneath them to plan and deliver the plan.   

Without a focus on long term vision and being in the driving seat, often executives, founders and co-founders lose their influence and can often misalign the departments. 

Learn From Successful CEO’s

Learn From Jeff Bezos

Learn From Elon Musk

Categories
Leadership

James Clear 2022 Management Team Inspiration

James Clear is the top-selling writer and speaker, writing Atomic Habits and having one of the most popular newsletters online.

This 1% better every day video is something I share with executives teams in management team training and is homework to watch before coaching sessions.

So why should you watch?

Learn how habits actually work and how habits fuel goals and ensure you hit these specific goals.

1% Better Every Day Video

To form good habits, James recommends four steps:

Noticing, Wanting, Doing, Liking.

Quote to takeaway:

“Good habits make time your ally,
Bad habits make time your enemy”

Inspire & Share:

Be inspired and shared this with your senior management team or fellow leadership team to increase the growth mindset within your business and improve every day.


Be Inspired Weekly

Categories
Leadership

21 Leadership Lessons To Take Away From 2021

Here are 21 leadership lessons to take away from the rollercoaster that was 2021, below have a number of great examples of rethinking problems, solving staff issues and addressing concerns. Other examples included is how not to do leadership and proves all leaders need coaching and mentors. 

  1. Leadership is hard, many of the large businesses got it wrong including Alphabet, Amazon and Apple. We all get it wrong from time to time, in the hybrid work world it is going to be harder. Owning mistakes and communicating the resolve is most important.  

  2. Every leader does it differently, from command and control from Mark Zuckerberg, to principles style discussion-based leadership from the likes of Ray Dalio and manage by press release like Bob Iger. In 2021 going into 2022, we are going to see a continued need to be flexible and provide leadership in the form team members demand, some will need to follow one leader, some will require and be led by compassion, others will need a hierarchy to follow and understand they are being heard and appreciated. Leadership Coaching and Management Team Training are going to be imperative.

  3. Relentless Impact: 2020 and 2021 have been relentless for everyone, particularly for managers and leaders of businesses. The unspoken toll on leaders is an important lesson to coach throughout organisations and help managers of all levels to know you have to be able to handle stress and ask for help and importantly put your own health first.

  4. New Rules: When letting go 900 staff members, rip off the bandaid early and be respectful of the impersonal nature of zoom meetings – Better.com CEO has since gone on a break, the ripple effects, however, have continued and has set a bad precedent that many others will, unfortunately, replicate when PR and leadership teams tell others you have to be the alpha and set the tone for the business moving forward.

  5. Local Leadership: As the world adapted to different cycles of covid, local leadership became more important, local leadership roles can be difficult, however across 2020 and 2021 local leaders have usually developed the best plan for their teams locally. Successful and vigilant local GM’s and HR leads have to be given more respect and leadership opportunities in 2022. 

  6. Hybrid Years: Hybrid work has divided everyone, it has highlighted many flaws in companies and management, especially leaders who rely on seeing their teams aka proximity bias and businesses not listening to their staff or customers. 

  7. Smarter Approaches: Many companies took a smart approach to reposition working hybrid and working remotely, Dropbox Studio approach looks at how to know the office is about collaboration but you don’t have to be in the office to be effective.

  8. Rethink Identity: Slack’s digital first identity is clever and future-leaning, it enables their teams to understand they will operate in a digital-first manner but also that it is the future they are seeing and co-building with their software businesses.

  9. TW&T Days? Many businesses started to state they were opting for three days a week hybrid schedules, unfortunately, this led to numerous issues, viral TikTok’s and having to retract numerous statements. Learn to listen, react and stipulate when you will be providing a safe environment and how you are expecting your people to act and perform in and out of the office environment.  

  10. Deliberate Actions Matter: “Being intentional is the ultimate integrity in leadership. It’s stating your values and intentions clearly, then putting your money where your mouth is” — Fidji Simo. CEO – Instacart, Instacart’s leader leading from the front and offering the way we should lead in 2021 and 2022 and agreed that President Carolyn Everson who joined Fidji from her previous company Facebook to leave for the best for both parties. Being open and understand that something is not working out for both parties early on is essential.

  11. Good Comms Wins Every Time: Internal communication is essential and setting up communications and expectations from moment one is imperative – Andy Jassy first memo is a masterpiece that is well worth the read.

  12. New World Of Work: Total commitment from your teams and leadership was always a non-negotiable, although across many businesses this is still a pillar of demands, there are smart business leaders who are seeing the signals and cutting through the noise of the great resignation and knowing that sitting on the fence is ok.

  13. 4 vs 5: Four Days A Week Vs Five Days A Week: Front app took a smart test to introduce flexible Friday’s, Front’s 4 days a week take, allowing their teams to work, take off and work on and off each Friday. When you are looking to help teams with burnout and consider how you rethink the work day and the structure of your work week.

  14. Mental Health Days & Weeks: Bumble allowed each team member to take off an extra week paid vacation this year, this was a move Airbnb have followed allowing each employee to be off from 22nd of December until the 3rd of January. We are likely to see more time off and forward-thinking businesses using mental health breaks as ways to help their staff but also recruit staff. 

  15. Calendar & Time Management: We are set to the same number of hours in a day, many senior executives allowed their calendar to be filled with meetings and did not audit and this behaviour filtered through businesses. One of the most popular newsletters this year was how to run a calendar audit and offered a framework to follow and apply a scoring matrix to get back many hours per week.

  16. PDP Vs 3×3 Matrix: Likewise, personal development plans have always been a struggle for managers to keep up with and influencer their team members to be proactively updating, this two up two across matrix was the most feedback newsletter of 2021.
  17. Manager Vs Director: HubSpot’s co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah rightly stated that doubling down on your strengths and not having to be a people leader is a smart move for your business. Leaders have to lead, whether that is with direct reports and being a good people manager (many just aren’t) or that’s directing the future of the company without having dotted lines and big lines of reports.
      
  18. Metawhat? The metaverse is a narrative big tech is trying to be associated with, even the likes of Microsoft went early and painted the Microsoft metaverse stake.
     
  19. Show You Know: Google’s it’s ok to manifesto highlighted how one company can get it so right and then so wrong within a matter of days. The Google it’s ok to manifesto is a good base to create your own (this manifesto was influenced from an old NHS manifesto).
     
  20. DNA Docs? There is a movement towards setting out the DNA of companies, sports clubs are creating DNA documents to set out expectations and the behaviours of the club. Many businesses are starting to learn again from the sports world and apply to their business.
  21. New Intelliegence? Many businesses are not set up to train and prepare their staff for the modern world of work, especially in a world of external review sites, social media posts being written up and embedded, PQ (political intelligence) might just be the skill businesses need to teach their leadership teams. 

Best of luck for 2022 and remember to take these good, bad and ugly lessons forward and share them with fellow leaders to ensure you have a successful 2022.

Categories
Leadership

The Top 5 Most Read Articles & Resources

The most-read articles on Focus of 2021

The Hybrid Work Guide – help you to create the right hybrid set up for your business

The 7 business rules of Elon Musk – Help you understand why Elon Musk’s company have had such successful 2021 and why Elon hates pointless meetings

The business lessons from Jeff Bezos – Amazon’s chairperson is a business inspiration to many and this breaks down why Amazon is so smart and why their strategy of moats and customer obsessions is so vital to their dominance.

The Google Manifesto – The internal memo was shared far and wide this summer and particularly popular across LinkedIn. This is a good guide on how to rethink Hybrid and the stresses and strains we have all been under.

Andy Jassy’s (Amazon new CEO) first internal memo – it’s a masterpiece of internal communication and stating his intent under his guidance.