Broadcast Media Partner Lynn Moran is CEO of the Arizona Coaching and Consulting Center based in Phoenix. Lynn spent over 25 years with Mars, Inc. the privately-held, global candy and consumer products company, where she ultimately served as president of Ethel M Chocolates. Lynn and her team expanded the high end brand into specialty retail and consumer networks. Today Lynn leads a business advisory firm and shares her precepts on the power of independent coaching for leaders, particularly based on data-driven, business results-focused performance – not the measurement of activities.
Managing the Overwhelm via Work-Life Balance: Taking high performance work standards into our personal lives can be deadly –imposing self-inflicted exhaustion tied to treadmill schedules. Drop the energy draining guilt that may drive us to pursue “what can I do better,” as opposed to “how can I be better.” The better you manage time, the more time you will have. Managing the overwhelm is often based on our ability to manage ourselves first and our expectations – for us and for others.
What Can One Manager Do about a Culture? Everyone who works at a business is part of the company, and needs to accept responsibility for how it operates – the good, bad, and the ugly. You are the company! There are ways to influence, if not change, the culture: a) form alliances, b) get out of the office, c) got off the sidelines, and d) model the way. When confronted with “But, that’s the way we always do it,” ask simply “So, how is that really working for you?” to engage people in change.
Stumbling Through the Culture: Companies who attract seasoned leaders from outside the company to lead change would do well to create a strong support network for the leader: a) assign a trusted advisor, b) counsel on potential organizational pitfalls and how to avoid or address them, c) set realistic expectations for the leader to assimilate and adapt to the culture, then enable change agenda, d) recognize discomfort and complaints as the leader implements agreed upon strategies, and e) work out differences and address misalignments amidst the staff.
Leveraging Leadership for a Competitive Advantage: The move to flatter and leaner organizations combined with the drive to control costs have resulted in bigger jobs for the average employee and for leadership. All leaders are advised to: a) schedule time to work with employees who are on the front lines to get in touch with what really is happening, b) stop presenting to and start talking with employees, c) plan off-site business meetings as engagement opportunities vs. information sharing or directing, and d) formally assign underperforming parts of the organization to top leaders for mentoring in partnership, not managing.
Shutting Down the Right Questions: So many times people in organizations are warned about “rocking the boat” – don’t ask this, don’t say that. The protection of the status quo prohibits many people from growing and the organization subsequently evolving. Senior management quickly falls into the dark or under mushrooms, not really knowing what is going on. If companies let the right questions come forward regardless of the source to the highest levels of leadership, the relevant concerns can be addressed with more informed and profitable decisions.
What Were They Thinking?: Leaders who do not pay attention to trends or listen to people around them are destined to miss opportunities or worse, miss big competitive and market shifting changes unfolding in front of them. They miss the relevance, and profitability of the business will slide. Leaders are advised to get out of their headquarters and be wary of passive data. Search out fresh and objective listening points. If you don’t stay on the edge, you fall over the edge.
Copyright The Larsen Group: Architects of Change 2008