Tag Archives: leadership

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 

Ten Steps to Drive Change from the Inside

If you are frustrated by an organization resistant to embracing a change you believe is right, consider using the following steps as a road map to seeing your ideas through to reality:

Get Clear.

Write-up and share your point of view. While what you have in mind may seem clear to you, it likely is not yet to others. Writing about what you want to happen forces you to work out the logical progression of thought and to fill in the details to tell the story in a way others can understand. Share what you write with others to test for clarity and ask for help to make it clearer.

Focus on value.

Emphasize the business value your change would generate in terms others, especially those in positions of authority, can understand and appreciate.

Set the context for change.

Use the change framework to explain how what you have in mind to change exists today, why it needs to change, how it will be in the future, what must be done to get from here to there, and what will be difficult about effecting the change.

Continue reading Ten Steps to Drive Change from the Inside

How Leaders Learn From Those With a Stake in Their Success

Leaders Used to Rule Their Followers

A follower makes a leader. The relationship between leader and followers (i.e., the way the connection between leader and follower works, not just the state of being leader and follower) has changed. Leaders used to command-and-control workers, who were seen to be basically lazy, having to be told exactly what to do, and motivated only by security and money. Leaders had top-down authority and a tight rein on workers who could not be trusted to do good work without control.

A more democratic model eventually emerged. Workers were seen as responsible and motivated to do a good job, even without tight controls, punishment, and reward. This led to a less rigid leader-follower relationship, one more focused on creating happier, productive workers. The tools for doing that, however, have not been clear.

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Followers Now Enlighten Their Leaders

There is now even more change in how leaders and followers relate. Specifically, we see more emphasis on a leader’s capacity to build and sustain an inclusive and high-trust relationship with a loyal, capable, and motivated followership. Continue reading How Leaders Learn From Those With a Stake in Their Success

4 Steps to Tap Into the Power of The Learning Community

Have you ever noticed how helpful it is to test-run your messaging by others you know and trust will provide honest helpful advice and suggestions?

Have you ever been asked to provide a reaction and found it easy to take a few minutes to listen, think, develop a point of view, and then share it?

Such is the power of a like-minded crowd. There is plenty of both need and competent capacity to provide value.

At any given moment, of the hundreds of people who have developed, taught, learned, and used IntelliVen content, a few have the time and inclination to help a compatriot in need. Many of you have encouraged us to further facilitate such exchanges and that is exactly what we aim to do with the IntelliVen Learning Community (ILC).

There is now a featured post at the top of the IntelliVen LinkedIn Company Page called Ask the Learning Community. Every Friday we will post a question or situation submitted by an ILC member. You are invited to enter a comment to share your reaction, suggestions, experience, wisdom, and/or resources. 

This post explains the mechanics you need to know to participate. Don’t hesitate to jump in and give it a try. As always, your feedback and suggestions are most welcome. Continue reading 4 Steps to Tap Into the Power of The Learning Community

How to set direction when the leader is not sure where to head next

Leaders set direction, align resources, and motivate action as suggested by the panels in Figure 1.  Another way to put it is that a leader develops, holds, nurtures, communicates, and drives to achieve a vision.

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

As in Figure 2, it helps to think of the leader holding a map, like Harry Potter’s Marauder’s map that is always changing, making sense of it, and navigating the course with those led looking on over the shoulders. The best leaders constantly check with their top team to confirm that they are headed toward the same goals, in the same way, and for the same reasons.

Figure 2: A leader develops, holds, nurtures, communicates, and drives to achieve a vision.

Top leaders are also always open to input from their core team to tweak goals and plans along the way. Clarity starts with the leader.  If the leader is not clear then no one else can be clear.  A leader either: Continue reading How to set direction when the leader is not sure where to head next