Archive

The Goldilocks moment

In an earlier interview with The Smart Manager, Rita McGrath said, “…in today’s rapidly changing environments, the kind of product/feature advantages that lasted for a long time in the past are no longer offering the kinds of margins or profits that they once did.” In a sense, this points to the need for businesses to be alert and agile in the face of change. With seeming continuity of thought, here she explores the concept of ‘inflection points’ and underlines the need to identify the right time to plunge into action.

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The ‘tale’ tells

It is easy to think when making a decision based on numbers and hard data there is no place for storytelling. The reality is, that it is the story that allows us to remember and make the data meaningful.*Despite advances in technology, the power of the narrative still remains the best tool to build a culture that binds.

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Leading beyond assumptions

David Mattson, author of The Road to Excellence, unveils the ‘blind spots’ leaders should always avoid.

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Not much apart?

Management literature is replete with definitions of and distinctions between ‘leaders’ and ‘managers’—Warren Bennis’ ‘managers do things right; leaders do the right thing’ is perhaps the most-quoted line. Leadership and management undoubtedly entail different tasks, but there are pronounced areas of overlap too; and ‘we sometimes lead and we sometimes manage’. Binney, Glanfield, and Wilke, co-authors of Breaking Free of Bonkers, explain why it is prudent to bind managing and leading in a robust relationship.

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Change your language

Leaders often adopt a flawed approach to ‘time’. It is considered an elusive commodity in their packed schedules, and having control over it is seen as a difficult proposition. Time is undoubtedly limited; so, where should the focus lie for unleashing one’s true potential? How can one get beyond citing time crunch as an excuse for faux pas?

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When ego takes a back seat

“Top leaders have been better at getting to the top than actually leading successfully when they get there. We need to move beyond the hero and celebrity leader phenomenon and identify and develop leaders that are going to be excellent when they get to the top.” In an interview with The Smart Manager, John Knights talks about the core idea of his book Leading Beyond The Ego, and explains why adopting a style beyond the traditional is more suitable in a world of continuous transformation.

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Dealing with the unpredictable

Crisis—whether unknowingly self-inflicted or due to external factors—is an impending reality and it is only prudent that companies always have a plan ready for the worst. Ramya Ramamurthy, author, REBUILD, details what a good crisis management strategy comprises, gives anecdotes of how bad decision-making has led to the downfall of even giant corporations, and explores the role of PR in sustaining reputation in difficult times.

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A journey together

As per Gallup’s 2017 State of the Global Workplace report, worldwide, the percentage of adults who work full time for an employer and are engaged at work—they are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace—is just 15%. Though engagement levels vary considerably by country and region, in no country does the proportion of the employed residents who are engaged in their job exceed about four in ten. Leaders and HR managers need to abandon outdated practices and forge a new path to build an engaged and high-performing workforce.

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Diversity matters

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument identifies five types of bargaining styles—competing, collaborative, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating—based on different personality types. Likewise, stakeholders could have different buying styles too; customize your communication strategy while negotiating with them.

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Not in the spirit of war

Taking a hard line may be fine—but only in the short term, and only if you really believe that your counterpart is your adversary. But negotiation is often a series of episodes, which means that considering your counterpart as a partner or a collaborator is the foundation of trusting and fruitful—and ongoing—negotiation. How the game is played matters more than who wins.* Approach negotiations as not battles to be won or lost; instead, create value and build an edifice of trust and synergy with the partners.

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