Tag Archives: change

Driving new growth: Don’t assume your team’s skills are right for what’s next

In mountain climbing, reaching a mid-mountain plateau is not as fulfilling as ascending to the summit. Rarely will any climber start out to scale a mountain with the idea of stopping at a plateau below the summit.

But in planning the assault on the mountain, veteran climbers know that different skills and capabilities are needed at each step along the way. The skills that enabled you to reach Base Camp on Mt. Everest – such as the ability to navigate rocky terrain in a relatively oxygen-rich environment – won’t be enough to reach the summit, where climbing in snow and ice with little oxygen is the challenge. 

Your organization faces a similar circumstance. SETD program

The executive leadership skills that got your organization to its current level of success may not be the skills needed to get it to the next stage. 

Reaching a growth plateau

Organizations often hit a “growth pause” – a point at which their current executive leadership’s expertise goals have been realized, revenues and profits plateau, and growth slows or stalls altogether. 

An executive team leading a pre-product startup requires a different set of skills than the knowhow needed to optimize operations for a credible, sustainable, or mature business. At this point, leadership abilities need to be reevaluated to determine what is needed for continued ascendance. 

Organizations must ask themselves several questions: 

  • What mix of skills do we need  to succeed at our current stage and to get ready for the next? 
  • Does our team have the mix of skills needed? 
  • Will gaps in executive team skills hamper growth? 
  • Can our team’s skill set be developed or enhanced for success now, such as through hiring or culling, and to get ready for the next stage? 

In almost every case, the right mix of leadership team skills can address stalled growth and get you back on track. Earlier needed skills may no longer be helping, and necessary new skills may be missing. Or, the skill development strategy may need to be overhauled. 

Assessing the pause cause

IntelliVen has constructed a one-of-a-kind, tailored, thorough and immersive program to provide answers and solutions to these questions and more. 

The Strategic Executive Team Development Program provides a leader and team with unique insight into the needed skill sets at each stage of an organization’s development, based on 24,000 data points gathered over decades of research

The program approach is  rooted in an extensive study of the best mix of skills in executive leadership for each stage of organization maturity, from pre-market concept to mature going concern. 

IntelliVen Principal consultant Dr. Brent Green and the IntelliVen team offer a unique executive team skills assessment and gap analysis. This offering pinpoints the capabilities needed to spark new growth for your organization by assessing your team’s skills, then comparing them to your organization’s benchmark stage. 

Assessments are conducted using data collected in one-on-one sessions with the CEO and interviews and electronic surveys with each team member. Insights and recommendations are shared with the CEO ahead of interactive, facilitated sessions that explore results and implications with the team. 

Unblocking growth

The process reveals executive team members’ individual and collective proficiencies in a mix of nine competencies across three categories: 

  • Knowledge of industry, technology and organizational capabilities
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize what they know
  • Planning and execution. 

We refer to the three areas as KNOW, THINK, and ACT.

The results reveal deficiencies in skills that likely block growth and hinder the evolution of the organization to the next stage.

Most importantly, the program offers custom executive team development action plans, for each team member and for the team as a whole, that address gaps and opportunities for development specific to your venture and team, help them evolve, rekindle growth, and put them back on a “hockey stick” growth curve.

Based on the IntelliVen Manage to Lead System, the action plans align your team members and focus them on evolving the business to address performance and growth blockers.

The MtL tools, templates, and methods are taught in an Immersion Program that is unique in that it is team-based leadership development that captures proven best practices for driving change as applied to your organization’s case.

MtL distills the lessons of a team of highly successful leaders over decades into a clear and concise series of modules and accompanying tools. Elements of it have been taught at MIT, Stanford, University of Maryland, George Mason University, Golden Gate University, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Learn more about the new program here:  Strategic Executive Team Development Program 

Advice and Lessons from Women Leaders Who Drive Change

Figure 1: A leader sets direction, aligns resources, and motivates action.

On April 29, 2014 IntelliVen sponsored the San Francisco Bay Area Organization Development Network (BAODN) panel discussion on the topic of Women Leaders Who Drive Change.

BAODN President Steve McGee facilitated the discussion in front of an audience of over 40 people at Big Heart Pet Brands Headquarters, One Maritime Plaza in San Francisco.

Panelists:

  • Christine Hunter; Vice President of Talent at Big Heart Pet Brands, formerly Del Monte.
  • Rochelle Kopp; founder of Japan Intercultural Consulting, wrote a book for non-Japanese about working at Japanese company, and teaches cross-cultural business communication.
  • Dena McFarland; was part of a significant change at Xerox where they restructured the company yet didn’t lay off anyone.  She was also a consultant for hospitals to change their mindset from physician-centered to patient-centered.
  • Jeanamaria M. Alayaay; co-facilitated Lean Startup Product Development training for the White House Presidential innovation fellows and Presidential leadership programs, Enterprise Ireland (the Irish government’s tech accelerator), Evernote, and Microsoft Imagine Cup.  She works at Luxr.

A rough summary of key points panelists offered in response to opening questions follows:

Advice from women who drive change:

Leadership development curriculum content for top executives, and those who aspire to become top executives, is now also available on Amazon.

IntelliVen blog content is now available as interactive content.
High-end leadership development curriculum content now available on Amazon.

Whether one wants to change personal habits, implement a new information system, improve a business process, get team members to work together, increase a community’s appreciation for diversity, or even to topple a monarchy, taking seven actions driven by seven disarmingly simple truths will individually and collectively help achieve the goal.

Manage to Lead: Seven Truths to Help You Change the World is a workbook that top educators, consultants, and executives use to help their students, clients, and staffs become effective leaders of strategic change. Manage to Lead serves as the core content for a class in Organization Leadership, Analysis, Strategy, and Development at one of the top Organization Development masters programs in the United States.

The workbook was introduced in the spring as interactive, digital content and is now also available in softcover from Amazon or as an iBook from iTunes. It introduces a straightforward framework to describe and assess any organization and provides a structured approach to plan and implement next steps for an organization as it strives for long-term growth and performance.

Those searching for high-end leadership development curriculum content should consider placing Manage to Lead at the center of their program. Contact the author to request related teaching artifacts including: Continue reading Leadership development curriculum content for top executives, and those who aspire to become top executives, is now also available on Amazon.

How a new executive earns respect by listening until s/he can be heard.

Most people cannot listen until they have been heard. As a consequence, wise leaders who want to affect thinking and behavior learn to first be a great listener to those they aim to impact.

Holding back from jumping-in when a key point comes to mind in the middle of a fast-paced conversation can be a challenge but it is also essential in order to avoid being written-off as one who does not listen or understand, especially if the leader is new to the organization.

The following steps help a leader stay in-tune and attuned and dramatically improve their odds of success:

  • Pay attention. When someone talks, give undivided attention and do not interrupt.  While s/he is talking you may think you know what s/he is going to say and what you want to say next rushes to mind.  In that instant you experience an irrepressible urge to interrupt and jump-in.  Following the urge causes many bright, successful senior executives to often unintentionally and repeatedly use the power of their position to hijack conversations.  The pattern wears on those in the organization and soon the leader is written-off as one who never listens and who does not get, or care about, those s/he leads.
  • Don’t jump-in.  Set thoughts aside in your mind or make a note of what you plan to share when the time comes.  Force yourself, instead, to concentrate on precisely what is being said.  Do not evaluate what is being said and do not begin to formulate a response.  Just listen word-for-word with the objective to repeat back exactly what you heard to be sure you got it right.  To force yourself to listen, try to write-down what is being said exactly as you hear it in the moment.  Strive to hear and understand each word as well as the overall point being made.
  • Say what was said. When the speaker stops, ask for permission to repeat back what was heard.  Follow with an opening phrase such as: What I heard you say is:…” and then say back what you heard, word-for-word.  When done, ask for confirmation that you heard correctly.

Continue reading How a new executive earns respect by listening until s/he can be heard.