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It’s a matter of attitude

Building a career might not be as straight as you think. A recent study by RHR shows what companies look for in their future flock and what they perceive as effective for getting there. What strikes me in the demands of future leaders is the amount of soft factors that make for a successful career – the business thinking and strategic focus that is at the core of most management magazines doesn’t seem to have such a high value as is often assumed. On the development side there is also a big impact when the right relationships are in place and the assignments fit the person.

What Companies Look for in their Future Leaders
(Percentage of companies that endorsed each ability, N = 111 )
• Ability to build strong relationships internally and externally: 86%
• Openness to change and growth: 81%
• Courage to make the “right” decisions: 75%
• Ability to motivate and inspire others: 75%
• Level of self confidence: 70%
• Awareness of one’s own strengths and limitations: 68%
• Personal desire to succeed: 68%
• Commitment to the success of business, even when personal sacrifice is involved: 67%
• A core set of leadership values that the individual lives by: 67%
• Broad, comprehensive knowledge of the business: 65%
• Decisiveness: 60%
• Ability to identify and develop talent: 57%
• Superior intellectual abilities: 45%
• Other: 12%

The Perceived Effectiveness of Development Experiences
(Average rated effectiveness of each activity where 1 = ineffective and 5 = extremely effective)
• Developmental, “stretch” assignments within company 3.9
• Involved boss 3.7
• Development assessments by outside consultants 3.5
• In-house executive education programs 3.4
• Formal development planning 3.4
• Mentoring relationships with senior executives 3.4
• Use of outside the company coaches 3.3
• Coaching relationships within company 3.3
• Rigorous monitoring of progress against development goals 3.2
• External executive education programs 3.1
• Peer contact and feedback 3.1

So its time to build some interpersonal skills

or hire smarter people around yourself, as Kevin Roberts of Saatchi & Saatchi says.

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Filed under: career

Better than 360 Feedback

Companies invest a lot of money in feedback – 360° feedback. They assume that better feedback will lead to better self-understanding and improved performance. OK, so far. Last night I listened to a presentation by Patrick Lencioni (Confronting Team Dysfunctions) who talked about a cheaper and better way to get feedback. This is how it works:

In a team, everyone writes down one positive thing about each other person on the team. Then you start sharing that, for example starting with the leader. Everyone share what they bring to the team. Not just their function, but what they add in a unique way. Then the next person and so on.

After that first round of positive things, everyone writes down one thing that each other person should improve. Same again: go around and everyone shares their comments.

This seems like an interesting process. Most people will probably feel uncomfortable with the directness of the approach. Someone asked in the show: can this be done anonymous? Sure, it can. But doing it open is even more beneficial, since each person commits to their feedback and is frank about it. It actually builds trust when people start speaking open. It also establishes a culture of feedback when people start opening up on their views.

I would like to try this some time. It seems that the uneasiness with being open is quiet a barrier. It is strange that people are so private about their relationships with the people they work with daily on a team. Why is that so difficult? Why is there such a “don’t talk directly about personal issues” thing? Sure, nobody wants to be constantly evaluated and judged by their peers. On the other hand: wouldn’t it be great to be in a team where you are committed to each other’s success? And where you are aware of the weaknesses and cover each other on them? I’ll let you know if this has actually worked for me…

Filed under: organization, team