Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 120 – Power Players

Dear leaders, over the past year I have ramped up my coaching, it is something I get a lot of energy from and I personally love seeing others develop their soft and hard skills. 

With all of my coaching clients (from experienced middle managers to startup CEOs), the same themes manifest, they typically mention how others are perceived and how other people within their organisation seem to have an extra level of influence or power.
(And yes, even CEOs will raise this when they are relaxed)

An exercise I ask my clients to run through is breaking down these perceived power players and understanding their behaviours and is it common within their business. 

Who, What, Why, How Exercise

Who – Who they are? Who are they connected to? Who do they champion? 

What – What makes them “them”? What drives them? What behaviours do they have personally and in small groups? What makes them tick? 

Why – Why are they in the position they are in? Why are they respected? Why do you think they are operating at that level above? 

How – How did they get there? How do they act in front of people? How do they act in important meetings? How prepared are they? How do they act away from groups of people?  

A hint, ‘the power player‘ is a blend of IQ, EQ and PQ, PQ aka political intelligence is always a core factor. Be aware that playing the game and knowing when to step out of the game is an essential skill many just do not work on and rarely decide to improve. Almost every skill a power player has is developed and nurtured for the environment they operate in now. 

Two themes that usually stand out:
(1) Do they seem to rewrite the rules whenever they want?
(2) Or act in a way that others would be called out for?  

Very often these colleagues are Internal influencers +, they have more influence than just title and status, they have an aura, they have strong beliefs or are the hammer (they force things through and ensure those around them deliver) or the strategic member of the senior leadership team and drives the business vision

Next time you are wondering how certain people operate like power players, run through the who, what, why and how questions above. 

Thanks and have a good week,

Danny Denhard

PS. Would someone benefit from this exercise or the breakdown of power players? Copy and paste into teams or slack.  

Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 119 – Flex, Freedom Or Friction. Company Driver

Dear leaders, I haven’t been able to shake a phrase I heard and wanted to share it with you. 

On a recent livestream, two CEOs were debating how the company driver has to be friction driven. Meaning; that you have to create friction and then apply control to run a successful company.

They both agreed this method is engineered for success.

I’ll be honest, this made my blood boil, it was two traditional CEOs suggesting you had to control people to garner performance. 

IMHO this is mostly BS. 

Ever since hearing this, I have been deep in thought and in conversation with other business leads about how you can apply three different models.  

1/ Flex
2/ Freedom
3/ Friction

Flex, flex is my go-to method of choice, flex provides guidelines and frameworks to be successful. It is empowered by the information you provide, celebrates wins and ensures quick and easy feedback is given in the right moments. 

Flex works if you provide guard rails, often an essential part of “flex” is giving the right directions and speed signs (like you see while driving) and being able to be pliable, with the guidelines, with your people, but never too much with performance and goals. 

Freedom is giving complete autonomy to your teams and allowing each team/department to go off and run it their way. Freedom works until it doesn’t (usually means performance has taken a dip or small pods abuse this) or freedom is taken too far.

Freedom has become the default for many and when freedoms become too free, the company has to react and often overreact and remove any freedom. Often then causing issues and increased staff turnover. 

Friction – when tension is created to apply pre-determined control measures. This is often causing friction between department leads and cross-functional leads to build a competitive atmosphere where the strongest or most politically savvy survives. 

I’ll admit, we can create situations that encourage friction (I have done it a number of times with my departments in the past), such as friction between two competitive teams or competitive executives, however, friction for many is combat (not conflict) and some will want to win so badly they will take this until one admits defeat or the other leaves, sending many ripples through the business and encouraging younger team members to mimic these behaviours – be aware of this before you drive this behaviour. 

By all means, smartly test your teams, and understand their motivations and what really triggers the right reactions but learn quickly and do not push those who are close to the edge or unable to compete in these environments. Many CEOs were brought up in a time when only the stoic and “the strongest survive”, in today’s business world this only causes friction and the rewards never compare to the battle scars created. 

This week ponder on what type of company driver you have and what behaviours you encourage from your business. I bet you are driving some behaviours that you will want to address in the next business cycle.

Thanks, and have a great week, 

Danny Denhard

Company Culture

10 Lessons To Teach In Hiring Freezes & Headcount Reductions

Right now many businesses are freezing headcount and many have had to reduce their headcount by a significant amount.

Here are ten important lessons to help your business progress while it might feel like you cannot do anything proactive within your business, from interview training, to introducing proven frameworks and improving company culture.

  1. Interview Training – improve the department’s ability to interview and encourage the team to interview each other. This will improve skills and enable colleagues to get to know each other
  2. Introduce Management Pods – Improve management teams by introducing rotating management pods, connect small groups of managers and department leads to problem solve and tackle challenges together
  3. Improve Problem Solving – Introduce frameworks and templates to help address and reduce internal issues. One problem two solutions framework is the most popular free framework on Focus and will help your team tackle problems in an open way
  4. Create Two Up Two Across Matrix – Most managers and companies struggle to map out their team members’ career paths, creating the next two steps up or their side steps (helping members know they could become a Product Manager from Marketing or making the move from an expert to the management track is imperative)
  5. Improve Culture With Agreed Department Principles – many departments do not clearly define their sub-culture and do not clearly call out the right behaviours to be rewarded and the bad behaviours that won’t be tolerated
  6. Learn Good Management Traits – Following on from good management traits, learn what traits you and the team like from the department lead and what bad traits you have to remove
  7. Improve Pros and Cons with The Risk Vs Benefits Framework – Pros and cons is often considered the best way of breaking down issues or opportunities, optimise this with the Risk vs benefits, explaining why and think more deeply on nuanced matters
  8. Improve Internal Communications – the core lesson: Short powerful messages + repetition + simple analogies (+ repetition)  = internal communication wins (Never ever over communicate!)
  9. Have More Coaches & Mentors – Remove the stigma around mentors and coaches and look to develop your colleagues with mentorship and repurpose bad L&D practices like going to bad conferences to hiring more coaches.
  10. Review Your Managers Reviews – Quarterly performance reviews from staff members to their managers often stops at their manager reviewing it and often not progressing the advice. One way to remove this bad practice is to ensure the department leads and leader of the business reviews the peer-to-peer and managers’ reviews

Obvious But Always Overlooked Lessons: The most obvious many do not teach is budget management and how to put business cases together to succeed within your business.

Good luck and take this opportunity to grow your people and your business.

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hybrid office

Why Hybrid Work Is Struggling & Why The Office Was & Is Far From Perfect 

2022 – The New And Old Dynamics Colliding

We are in a standoff, the conditioned ‘office is best’ versus the more modern approach of work is not location specific and you don’t need to physically together to work and collaborate. 

The easiest way to explain the office versus hybrid (and remote) is policing and boundaries and not being able to learn newer ways of working and making it work against your own biases (particularly those with proximity bias). 

The office had clear boundaries – workspaces, communal areas, and “meeting zones”.

Most knew when you were having private vs semi-private vs public conversations. You had a number of variables but most knew what these were: 

  • At your desk 
  • In an open booth
  • In a call booth
  • In a breakout space
  • In a conference room 
  • Outside of the office
  • Headphones vs no headphones. Headsets vs no headsets. Background vs no background 

Those who didn’t were often policed by colleagues (or then HR).

The Office Environment 

The office was noisy or quiet, it didn’t have a perfect balance and often the most political debates were about how to move teams away from Sales and Marketing departments. 

The decisions we made on the fly were complicated and required constant scanning in full offices, meeting zones free or full, what were the requirements was it a one-to-one, a breakout group, or a follow-up to the management meeting (where the best conversation leads to action), a team stand up, a weekly department meeting 

The surfacing of this is the Product and Engineering area or this is Marketing’s area – it made it easy for some, hard for others, it was like entering the lion’s den for some and others easily entered and exited unscathed. This happens in every business and it is down to work status, title status and knowing how to operate in work/social and work/work situations. 

Not to mention, the always bubbling beneath the surface, the air con wars, the ongoing conflicts of who ate my avocado, this is your seat (despite disliking those around you) and the constant social dynamics of where you sit and who you have to sit with or when you decided you had to work from home to get your work done. 

These cultural moments and company culture movements create subcultures, all combining into how colleagues consider what a toxic workplace is for them and if this is a workplace you want to work at for the mid to long term. 

The New Considerations: 

  • Where are people working from: Work — Home — Third space. What type of work are they doing there? 
  • Working in third space pros vs cons (the implications of having conversations that might include spending, budgets and company finances, firing and then attempting to interview in a coffee shop as its easier to navigate than the office) 
  • How are we going to manage and balance the requirements of a meeting in IRL aka In person vs URL (virtual) and what if its split down the middle, half in the office meeting room and then others outside it 
  • Habits die hard (habitual and routine) – it takes 88 days for complex habits to be forged and now in-frequency leads to fewer habits, leading to less footfall in the office. 
  • It is important to note bad practices and bad habits are easily picked back up, with poor meeting etiquette being the easiest. Examples are those with headphones versus those without. Those in the room (physically) versus those who dialled in 

The questions you should now answer to make the environments work

  • Did you change the office? 
  • Did you re-onboard your teams to the office?
    Without onboarding new colleagues and existing colleagues, how will you create a great and equal environment? 
  • Did you make the office less daunting or less chaotic?
    How have you adapted the office to pre-2020 feedback and more recent actionable feedback around the office set-up? 
  • Did you make the office more appealing? 
  • Did you introduce neighbours where colleagues would interact and collaborate and know it was safe to do so?
    How did you challenge the status quo and improve connection when many professionally unfollowed each other and unfollowed leaders
  • Did you reshuffle what the office meant and how you removed the chaos?
    Without change, you will be forcing employees back into a broken system
  • Did you improve the software and tech to improve when working hybrid?
    Force fitting zoom to every use case is hindering businesses.
  • Did you attempt to build less reliance on meeting and real time decision making?
    Have you looked at embracing async work and more in depth deliberate discussion in writing, audio and short form video?
  • Did you interview and continue to gain feedback from the teams? 
    Without feedback and discussing what feedback you received and the actions you take is removing all the hard work and hard decisions you made
  • Have you renamed working from home to – working from workplace home?
    The bias and conditioning can be removed with reframing. 
  • Have you created a decision document?
    Helping the whole company understand how and why decisions were made? 

There is an art and a science to the chaos of the office, many struggles to grasp the art and don’t understand its importance (many just do not understand PQ and are never taught office political intelligence). The chaos was deciding what’s important and what’s not and where to be and how to act as a constant test and challenge. 

The hybrid office and working style is something so many did not make a plan for, they didn’t create a deliberate working shift to improve the quality of work and consider how to improve company culture and company performance. 

How you and your fellow business leaders react now is going to set the tone for your next 12-24 months. 

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Now 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 ( 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: – Briony archives them on her blog.  Listen to Briony's guided meditations on Insight Timer, e.g. this is a popular one: 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

The 8 Different Types Of Company Leaders 

Over the last decade, we have landed in a place where we demand a different type of leader for the distinct phase of the business. 

Some are obvious, some are less so and there are clear categories these leadership types fall into. Here are the eight different types of leaders. 

  1. Founder 
  2. Traditional 
  3. BAU
  4. Turn around
  5. Pivot 
  6. Growth 
  7. Caretaker 
  8. Returning Founder 


The creator or adopted creator of the company, leads from the front and is often the owner or co-owner of the business. Typically runs the company until the maturity of hires smart leaders to complement them. 

Founders are often blinded by their status and can hinder the business without the right support network. 

Founders are often the ‘visionary leader’ and will serve a long term or until a large market shift and confidence is low within the business. 

Business Maturity: Start-Up 


A leader brought in or took over from a founder and helped to mature the business and develop the business operationally. A traditional leader will often long-serving leader who builds their leadership around them. A traditional leader is often brought into startups and scaleups in the maturity phase that requires rebalancing. 

Business Maturity: Maturing  


Brings a level head to the leadership role, often a high-level and extremely experienced leader who is brought in to create a status quo approach to the company and will expect sustainable growth to the business. This is can be a COO or CFO who is promoted or operated in a similar business and won’t rock the boat too much. A BAU leader often serves for three to five years and is considered the safest pair of hands. 

Business Maturity: Scale Up or Mature 

Turn Around 

This is arguably the toughest role when a company has stagnated and is brought in to turn the company around and start operating more positively. Often a turn around leader is brought in to clean ship, revitalise the company, streamline it or refresh the way the company operates from the top down. 

Turn Around leader is typically in the role for under three years and will go onto another business in the same shape. 

Business Maturity: Stagnated 


Specialist leader who is brought in to help the company repoint its product or services to survive or thrive. Often a pivot leader is a specialist who understands different landscapes and applies a new way of thinking and operating throughout the business. The Pivot leader often will reduce headcount or repoint headcount far faster than other leaders and the idea is to drive change from the front. The Pivot leader is often a shorter-lived role and can make or break a business, especially if they do not take into consideration existing company culture and how to repoint resources and explain the company strategy clearly. 

Business Maturity: Start Up or Scale Up


A leader who is brought in with a history of driving change within businesses, this leadership type is focused on the hyper-growth of the business they enter into and often has a lens to sell the company or drive an IPO (or in some specific scenarios a SPAC). A Growth Leader often will have to be focused on changing leadership around them and reshaping the middle management tier. 

Growth leadership is often a mid-term leadership role and can be exciting to the team if run correctly. 

Business Maturity: Stagnated 


An unofficial title for most, the caretaker leader is a company lead who will come in for a short period of time and re-focus the business. The caretaker is often an experienced operator internally or externally. Internal caretakers will be taking on a difficult job and often will be the final role within that business, an external caretaker coming in is a six to twelve-month role that will have clear goals often around hiring a new leader and helping the next leader imprint their incoming style. The caretaker can be a brilliant role for experienced operators however it can be a kiss of death for internal caretaker leaders whose next step will be to leave the business or be demoted back to where they were. 

Business Maturity: Stagnated 

Returning Founder 

When the company is struggling or needs to go back to how it was once operating a founder is brought back and drives focus or simplifies how the business operates. Examples of Returning Founders include Steve Jobs (Apple), Howard Schwartz (Starbucks) and Michael Dell (Dell Computers). They have all been brought back to gain control and push the company forward. 

Howard Schwartz is currently on his third term as CEO and is attempting to stabilise the Starbucks business which is a hybrid business between tech and retail. 

Business Maturity: Stagnated or Declining 

2022 Into 2023

In the near future, there will be a lot of change and demand for leadership change, particularly at the end of 2022 and into H1 of 2023 when many businesses understand the new landscape away from the height of the pandemic and the new way of operating in the hybrid work world.

Company Culture

How To Manage Introverts On Your Team

The brilliant Anxious Achiever podcast host Morra Aarons-Mele (an introvert herself) provides a number of invaluable recommendations on managing and empowering introverts on your team:

From The FT Working It Podcast

Tips Provided By Morra & FT’s Kesewa Hennessy:

  1. Remove Meeting Stacking: Remove the demand to do meetings back to back, remove the demand for being on camera (aka reducing mirror anxiety ) and reduce the demand to perform on camera
  2. Stop Shaming Quiet Team Members: Stop naming and shaming introverted members who rarely speak in meetings
  3. Run Better Meetings: Structure your meetings, have an agenda and reduce the demand for loud voices in real-time meetings
  4. Enable Early Opinions: Encourage and embrace introverts (and ambiverts) early in the meetings and encourage more discussion in writing and asynchronously
  5. Recovery Time: Enable introverts to recover their energy while working from home
  6. Encourage Colleagues: to uncover the qualities of introverts (and ambiverts) within your team and encourage these colleagues to be involved in other ways than just speaking within a meeting
  7. Embrace Culture: Each workplace culture is different but that’s what makes your company unique and offers a chance to embrace different colleagues with different personality types. Embrace this and lead by example with this in mind.

Important Resources To Help Improve Management

The FT working it podcast is available on all of the podcast players and full listings of their pod can be found here

Company Culture

The Best Company Culture Books To Read 

Company culture is something so many companies are attempting to reprioritise in today’s micro and macroeconomic climate. 

While many companies are struggling with balancing the company’s needs, the stagnation of performance and ensuring their people are not burning out while a large demand on their performance, it is essential you are planning for the future and improving company culture. 

Here is the definitive list of the eight best books I have read and implemented for developing company culture, with why you should read the book and provide you with a supporting video link to help you get a feel for the book in under an hour for the book. 

Hard Things About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz 

Type Of Culture Promoted: Bureaucratic 

Why Read? Venture Captial leader Ben Horowitz book is a deepdive into making hard decisions as a leader and highlights how as a leader communication is paramount and your role as a leader is making the hard decisions and being real with your company as a leader and this fosters the best culture possible. 

Video Teaser

No Rules Rules – Erin Meyer & Reed Hastings

Type Of Culture Promoted: Bureaucratic

Why Read? Netflix culture deck was the document many companies copied to create their own culture. All of Reed’s lessons, the hard decisions and the ruthless mission for brilliance and candour are told in easy-to-consume stories. It’s not a book on how to build, it’s how to think different and provides insights into the flexible frameworks and decisions made by Netflix execs to foster the culture they demanded. 

Video Teaser

Read Focus’ no rules rules review.

The Art Of Gathering – Priya Parker

Type Of Culture Promoted: Intentionality  

Why Read? Priya Parker offers great insights into why intentional meetings in all forms of life are essential and why without strict guidance humans are not engineered to dislike unguided meetings/gatherings. Personally, I recommend this book for anyone who leads people and is operationally weak or naive and fails their team by allowing no or weak agendas. 

Video Teaser

The Five Dysfunctions Of A Team – Patrick Lencioni

Type Of Culture Promoted: Commitment Culture  

Why Read? Patrick Lencioni and the Table Group are known for their forward-thinking and easy-to-consume leadership style and people-first performance approach to company development. The five dysfunctions go through The Table Group’s ideology around leaders’ lead, knowing that conflict can be healthy if the muscle memory is built and maintained as a healthy occurrence and everyone is brought into their role with commitment and ownership of outcomes. 

Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability” – Patrick Lencioni.

Video Teaser

Turn The Ship Around – L. David Marquet

Type Of Culture Promoted: Commitment Culture 

Why Read? This is a brilliant book telling you how David Marquet turned around the worst performing boat into the best performing boat by changing how the boat communicated, flipped only the leader shouting orders to trust being shared throughout the boat by flipping language (“I intend to” x is a great reminder how language can be so powerful when making important decisions). A must-read for any senior leader. 

Video Teaser

“Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility” – Patty McCord

Type Of Culture Promoted: Commitment Culture

Why Read? Patty was an early HR lead at Netlfix and despite leaving earlier in the journey Patty shares why radical honesty is so important within high-performing teams and why freedom and responsibility work so well when everyone knows their role and the expected outputs. This book will help you to reshape your business if you can build resilience within the business and can trust the middle management to buy into and promote honesty and allow freedom across their teams. 

Video Teaser

Decide and Conquer – David Siegel 

Type Of Culture Promoted: Commitment Culture

Why Read? David Siegel is the CEO of and is a leader who helped to turn around meetup in the middle of covid and pivot their business in what would have killed many other similar business. David takes you through 44 decisions that will Make or Break All Leaders but have to teach your teams and then adopting within your business with deliberate steps forward. David doesn’t hold back and is frank throughout the book about how difficult it can be to be a leader and make positive change. David promotes open communication, disagreements and tension will help to improve your business, why transparency across the business is key but will be challenging and why kindness (not niceness) will prevail if you build up better and intentional focus. 

Video Teaser

Rebel Ideas – Matthew Syed 

Type Of Culture Promoted: Commitment Culture  

Why Read? Matthew Syed writing is always thought-provoking and something that leaders will need to dedicate time to read, note and consume. Rebel Ideas is full of deliberate questions and examples of different approaches and driving you to encourage collaboration and embrace diverse thinking. Syed highlights a huge number of known issues many leadership teams do not address, important 3 areas to ponder now (1) Dominance dynamic – the flow of information and lack of flow (2) the ignorance towards status games and hierarchy and (3) the wisdom of the crowd but why businesses are often set up for us vs them rather than embracing coaction. This is the book I gift leaders the most and highly recommend you form a book club around your business leadership team. 

Video Teaser

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Essential Resources To Read

Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 113 – The Future Of Work (Re-Engineered For Success)

The Future Of Business 

Dear leader, as a long-time reader you are aware I often speak on the future of the industry, I was recently invited to discuss the future of business and how mid to large businesses may operate. 

Here are a few predictions that I made recently that you might find compelling and make you ponder how you could shape the future. 

Culture Department

We will have a dedicated department focused on culture, it won’t sit in the leadership team and it won’t sit as a team within HR.

Rethought Workplace(s)

Workplace home vs workplace office will rage for years, however, the smartest businesses will embrace the home workplace and reshape business for hybrid first, enabling great working environments (including seating, technology and wellness) rather than everyone having a different workspace and workplace 

Async First

Studying how many successful businesses have made remote work, the focus around asynchronous work and having the right tools not force-fitting the tools you already have. Async work will be adopted by many companies and will encourage more written and audio-based discussions and updates versus real-time work over video meetings and around large meeting room tables with follow-up meetings.

Rethinking Use Of Freelancer Teams

Something that hinders companies is the reluctance to embrace a freelance team that comes in and helps out on projects and acts as an additional expert resource when people go on holiday, paternity/maternity and long-term sickness. Many will have to embrace more freelance talent to help keep momentum and drive business results

IC – Expert – Management Track

Something that is obvious in large businesses is the lack of understanding of how to embrace the new ways of work and removing the two-tier system that does not embrace an expert and specialist versus just being an individual contributor and being a manager. Accepting and rewarding experts is going to reduce tensions and pushing experts into managers roles without training and reducing their impact

Be inspired by HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah (and current CTO) who does not have a team reporting to him as he knows his strength is not management.

Internal Comms Specialists

Workplaces are hard to navigate, they are hard to gain cut through and now with so many channels getting the important messages across and read is becoming a real challenge. Expect specialists to help with tools, tactics and techniques to land messaging, these will be distribution specialists. 

Squad Over Team

A popular reshuffle over the last decade, we saw departments and teams being created and tribes forming around cross-functional goals and tackling specific problems. In the near future, this approach will be reinvested, and the traditional ways of working will be rethought to hit deadlines and importantly answer customer problems and pain points over large department pain points and empire building by team and department leads. 

The importance of the squad or tribe leader is going to escalate and many of these tribe leaders will be paid and rewarded financially and many middle managers will have to adapt quickly. 

Your Move!

What do you think? Do you agree? Which of these do you feel you would have to invest in?

Have a great week and consider how these areas are going to evolve in the short to mid-term to reshape your company-wide strategy for 2023 and beyond.

Danny Denhard

Essential Resources To Help You This Week

hybrid office Leadership Strategy

Free AOP and LRP Resources 

A dedicated list of free AOP and LRP resources from Focus.

Site data is a great indicator of what is happening in the market and how management teams are operating. From the focus data, it is clear to see what phase many companies are operating at and what activities they are undertaking. 

It is clear many businesses are in long-range planning or revisiting their annual company-wide strategy. 

Below are the most popular and most useful free resources to help you with your AOP’s (annual operating plan) and LRP’s (long-range planning).

Resource Link
(Click below to jump to the free resource)
Use Case / Why To Use
Annual Playbook Template For Company-Wide SuccessA free template to use to create your one company-wide strategy
The Difference Between Mission, Vision, Strategy & TacticsThe explainer behind why you need to understand the difference between mission, vision, strategy and tactics (and why you should concentrate on the flow of information)
The Focus Corporate Speak Bingo CardThe corporate buzzwords we overuse (this is extremely popular for LRP and creates fun moments when LRP are notoriously tense)
The Lessons From “Why Coinbase Shut Down Woke Activism”Lessons from Coinbase’s deliberate move to remove external political factors and focus on work. Great to understand if you want a top-down company culture or flowing culture
Andy Jassy’s Masterpiece MemoAmazon CEO’s comms masterpiece, a framework of how to use written communications to your whole company. 
Should Companies Remove Chat Apps Like Teams And Slack?A resource to help you understand if you removing instant messengers and chat apps like Teams and Slack will drive positive change within your business and remove the busy badge of honour
Hybrid Work GuideA free detailed hybrid work guide, 35 pages of actionable tips and tricks to make hybrid work for your business
Decision DocumentHow to improve communication within your organisation with an asynchronous document explaining key decisions and how the decisions were made and importantly why. 
Rethink The Leader – Manager – Coach – Mentor – Operator DynamicAn exercise to understand the different dynamics and a way to rethink if you need more managers or actually need to look for more coaches and external mentors
Free Internal Get To Know Each Other Profile TemplateSomething all businesses struggle with is getting to know colleagues and ways to formalise getting to know each other. This template is popular for new and promoted managers 
How To Fix A Toxic CultureSays exactly what it does on the tin, a guide on how to fix toxic and bad company culture

If you are looking to receive the best frameworks and insights on leadership, company performance and company culture, sign up below:

Company Culture Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 112 – How do we work together to be successful? 

Dear leaders, the title of this week’s newsletter is simple. 

How do we work together to be successful? 

It is something that is rarely discussed and I believe is often the one missing part of conversations between colleagues and mostly between managers and their direct reports. 

In almost every working relationship I have had, there are a few questions I ask that enable you to build trust and understand each other quickly.

Three of my favourite questions I ask are: 

  1. How do you like to communicate? 
  2. What’s the best way for you to receive updates and how often?  
  3. Are you about the macro or the micro? 

These three questions will open up their working styles and help you to understand how you should communicate with them. 

Don’t be surprised if some people like the ‘micro’ and micromanagement, it is the one area we all think we hate, however, many know this is how they are going to be successful in their job.

Following these questions, it is important to say how you like to work and how you will or should provide updates. 

Common ground is essential, especially the more senior you become and work seems more politically charged

Hybrid Complexities: In a hybrid work world, we are going to see face-to-face become a real challenge unless you have set days, however, it is important that face-to-face can be replaced with video or audio calls (and likely should be if calendar conflicts). Slack or teams channels are noise that should be cut down and you leverage decision documents and more asynchronous work styles. 

Scale? An important note, communication styles and updates don’t scale very well if you have a direct reporting line of over 20 as it becomes a juggle versus being effective and making sure the comms lands as best as possible. 

Shared To Win: This is where department principles will work great for you as a department lead. 

Over the next week and if you are in a place where you are hiring and backfilling roles, ask these three questions and build out a better, more effective working style. 

Thanks and have a great week. 

Danny Denhard

Three Articles To Be Inspired By:

Should businesses remove chat apps like teams and slack? 

Can you be inspired by Spotify’s fully remote working style?

Are you embracing the digital presence?