Leadership: when the only answer is to make better decisions

Recently I had a very early morning meeting with one of my mentor’s discussing the changes in leadership within the 4th Industrial Revolution and why leadership, needs to understand the emotional wake of transformation and the time to step down.

Leadership is about defining what the future should look like and getting the board of directors, stakeholders not only to share but develop that future together.

Being trustworthy and selfless; truthful and compassionate – these are wonderful qualities. If leaders consistently displayed these traits, workplaces and employees would be doing much better. But not all leaders, including many of the most famous and successful, exhibit these qualities.

Leadership is getting smarter about work and people and the intersection between them. More and more, working people are telling the truth about topics that they were afraid to talk about openly before. One of the stickiest topics is the quality of leadership found in large and small employers.

We are starting to tell the truth about the fact that most people in leadership positions are lacking in critical skills.

One of the problems with leaders is their ability to listen, at best, or abusive bullies, at worst. Consequently, significant data on workplace bullying report widespread verbal abuse, shouting, berating others, and the creation of a climate of intimidation.

According to a psychology report from the University of California, Berkeley many leaders start to feel powerful, their more benevolent qualities like empathy start to decline.

Other studies show that people in positions of corporate power are three times more likely than lower-level employees to interrupt co-workers, multitask during meetings, raise their voices, and say insulting things.

They don’t know how to talk to their employees and they don’t know how to listen.

If they received any management training at all, they were probably trained to dole out work assignments and evaluate people. They don’t know how to probe for understanding or how to create cohesion on a team.

Organisations have always needed leaders who are good at recognising emerging challenges and inspiring organisational responses. That need is intensifying today as leaders confront, among other things, digitisation, the surging power of data as a competitive weapon, and the ability of artificial intelligence to automate the workplace and enhance business performance.

These technology-driven shifts create an imperative for most organisations to change, which in turn demands more and better leaders up and down the line.

Unfortunately, there is overwhelming evidence that the plethora of services, books, articles, seminars, conferences, and TED-like talks purporting to have the answers—a global industry estimated to be worth more than $50 billion—are delivering disappointing results.

According to a recent Fortune survey, only 7 per cent of CEOs believe their companies are building effective global leaders, and just 10 per cent said that their leadership-development initiatives have a clear business impact.

McKinsey’s latest research has a similar message: only 11 per cent of more than 500 executives we polled around the globe strongly agreed with the statement that their leadership-development interventions achieve and sustain the desired results.

The 4th Industrial Revolution holds the promise of a new era of globalisation, however, many senior executives remain less prepared than they think they are.

A year ago, Deloitte’s inaugural survey assessing private and public sector readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution observed a “tension between hope and ambiguity.”

It found that while executives conceptually understood the profound business and societal changes the 4th Industrial Revolution may bring, they were less certain how they could take action to benefit.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution enables an increasingly globalised world, one in which advanced technologies can drive new opportunities, diverse ideas can be heard, and new forms of communication may come to the fore.

But how are leaders adjusting?

Executives are struggling to develop effective strategies in today’s rapidly changing markets. Faced with an ever-increasing array of new technologies, leaders acknowledged they have too many options from which to choose, and in some cases lack the strategic vision to help guide their efforts.

Organisational influences also challenge leaders as they seek to navigate the 4th Industrial Revolution. Many leaders reported their companies don’t follow clearly defined decision-making processes, and organisational silos limit their ability to develop and share knowledge to determine effective strategies.

Leaders continue to focus more on using advanced technologies to protect their positions rather than as bold investments to drive disruption. Although many of the businesses that have made investments in technology are seeing payoffs, others are finding it difficult to invest even as digital technologies are engendering more global connections and creating new opportunities within new markets and localised economies.

Challenges include being too focused on short-term results and lacking understanding, business cases, and leadership vision.

Leaders acknowledge the ethical implications inherent in new technology, but few companies are talking about how to manage those challenges, let alone actively putting policies in place to do so.

The skills challenge becomes clearer, but so do differences between executives and their millennial workforces.

Last year, most leaders (86%) thought their organizations were doing enough to create a workforce for the 4th Industrial Revolution. This year, as more leaders recognize the growing skills gap, only 47% are confident in their efforts.

On the bright side, twice as many leaders indicate their organisations will do what they can to train their existing employees rather than hire new ones. And they’re more optimistic than last year that autonomous tech will augment, rather than replace, humans.

The journey to get where you are has not been easy. From setting records to surviving recessions, you’ve been there from day one, becoming a leader that’s respected and praised from the board, shareholders and staff.

But somewhere along the way, it all started to change. Now your leadership strategy is getting you nowhere, and you can no longer deny that nagging feeling that something’s just not right.

Recognising that you may not be the best person for the job anymore is incredibly difficult to admit, especially after investing blood, sweat, and tears into the company.
But if that little voice in the back of your head is now shouting at you front and center, it’s a likely scenario that others feel the same way.

Hanging on too long makes you irrelevant. Organisations change. Leaders should change too. You may not be the best person to lead your business forward. The skills that worked yesterday may not work today or tomorrow. Successful leaders know when to move-on. Are your strengths, the right strengths, to lead the organization tomorrow?

How does a leader know when it’s time to step down and hand over the reins?

The most important question a leader should ask is: Are you placing the good of the organisation first? This is what leadership is all about.

Final thought; most CEOs have gotten religion about the impact of accelerating disruption and the need to adapt in response. Time and again, though, we see those same CEOs forgetting about the need to translate strategy into specific organizational capabilities, paying lip service to their talent ambitions, and delegating responsibility to the head of learning with a flourish of fine words, only for that individual to complain later about lack of support from above.

To be fair, CEOs are pulled in many directions, and they note that leadership development often doesn’t make an impact on performance in the short run.

At the same time, we see many heads of learning confronting CEOs with a set of complex interwoven interventions, not always focusing on what matters most.

But as the pace of change for strategies and business models increases, so does the cost of lagging leadership development.

If CEOs and their top teams are serious about long-term performance, they need to commit themselves to the success of corporate leadership-development efforts now.

Chief human-resource officers and heads of learning need to simplify their programs, focusing on what really matters.
As Vince Lombardi, NFL player, coach and executive director once said:

“The leader can never close the gap between himself and the group. If he does, he is no longer what he must be. He must walk a tightrope between the consent he must win and the control he must exert.”

Official Launch of my 5th book: “Purposeful Discussions”

The Spring Equinox occurred on Thursday 19th March and marked the end of winter and the beginning of spring, new beginnings, new paths everything being fresh full of vitality.

An exciting day for the official launch of my latest tome, ‘Purposeful Discussions’, which started with a signing at Waterstones book shop in London and followed with an exclusive invite-only event, bringing together a gathering of business industry professionals and leaders.

We had a wonderful evening of great minds and meaningful conversations across some of today’s greatest challenges in business, business trends and business futures, and there was no shortage of great topics to discuss!


Leadership in the 4th Industrial Revolution and why purpose is more than appropriate business policies and practices

Business today is subject to the rapid exhaustion of constant change, and constant change seems to be affecting leadership to its limits. Windows of opportunity are shorter and companies are forced out of business quicker.

If we revisit the 1950’s, the average life of a company was just over 60 years. Today it is less than 20 years. According to a recent study by Credit Suisse, disruptive technology is the reason for the constant decline in company life longevity.

However, disruptive technologies are not a new phenomenon. The credit card, the microwave oven, transistor radio, television, computer hard disks, solar cells, optic fibre, plastic and the microchip were all introduced in the 1950s.

It is not technology that explains the failure and costly investments to business; it is less about technology and more about leaders’ failure to envision the future of their business as the world changes around them. It is the result of short-sightedness, an inability to see the future, adapt and lead a focused strategy with flexibility in a changing world.

For humans to be effective, productive and innovative, we must have great leaders who also focus on making trust, humility, accountability, experimentation, collaboration, digitization, innovation within a commercially astute context, a way of organizational life. Doing this ensures that their people and their company constantly deliver increased value for customers.
It also ensures that in the future of work, they drive success within their ever-expanding areas of influence and responsibility, to flow and flourish in uncertain times.

The purpose of a company is not just to make money but to pursue a just cause, we can all remember the words of Henry Ford when he said ‘A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.’

Purpose is the very reason to have the business. It’s not marketing. It’s not a recruiting tool. It’s not something you just write on your website. It’s not a corporate social responsibility program. It’s the very reason why you started the business in the first place, and it has nothing to do with money.

To be truly purpose-driven, the most senior leader in an organisation will still see themselves as subservient to a higher purpose not to another human being, but to an ideal. We are in service of those ideals, and although we will never actually achieve them, we will die trying, which is the point. It’s about progress, not just prosperity. Prosperity is counting what comes in; progress is counting how far we’ve moved down a purposeful path. The people who work at truly purpose-driven organisations feel like they have a belonging, that this is their calling and it has nothing to do with the business or the product.

Companies exist to advance, innovation, technology, quality of life or something else with the potential to ease or enhance our lives in some way, shape or form. That people are willing to pay money for whatever a company has to offer is simply proof that they perceive or derive some value from those things. Which means the more value a company offers, the more money and the more advancement the company will have for further progression.

Capitalism has to be more about prosperity, about progress.

We have all seen the increase in certain practices that drive stock price value in the short term, all these deals certainly sound ethically dubious. At a point of fact, laws, regulations and ethical conduct normally are an output of bad practices, not by policing them in advance of conduct.

The importance of business ethics reaches far beyond employee loyalty and morale or the strength of a management team bond. As with all business initiatives, the ethical operation of a company is directly related to profitability in both the short and long term. The reputation of a business in the surrounding community, other businesses, and individual investors is paramount in determining whether a company is a worthwhile investment. If a company is perceived to not operate ethically, investors are less inclined to buy stock or otherwise support its operations.

Technology companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google, certainly look like they are more relaxed at asking for forgiveness across ethical misconduct than leading the charge with a fundamental view of how they safeguard one of their most important assets; our private data. You could question how can these company’s operate without such an accountable and responsible view?

The responsibility of business is to use its will and resources to advance a cause greater than itself, protect the people and places in which it operates and generate more resources so that it can continue doing all those things for as long as possible. An organisation can do whatever it likes to build its business so long as it is responsible for the consequences of its actions.

Leadership is the lifeblood of an organization. When leaders create safe environments at work, everyone thrives and devotion is the natural response to those conditions. Toxic cultures breed cynicism, paranoia, and self-interest.

The responsibility of a company is to serve the customer. The responsibility of leadership is to serve their people so that their people may better serve the customer. If leaders fail to serve their people first, customer and company will suffer.

The management team sets the tone for how the entire company runs on a day-to-day basis. When the prevailing management philosophy is based on ethical practices and behaviour, leaders within an organisation can direct employees by example and guide them in making decisions that are not only beneficial to them as individuals, but also to the organisation as a whole.

Building on a foundation of ethical behaviour helps create long-lasting purposeful effects for a company, including the ability to attract and retain highly talented individuals, and building and maintaining a purposeful reputation within the community.

Running a business in an ethical manner from the top down builds a stronger bond between individuals on the management team, further creating stability within the company.

Finally, globally successful entrepreneurs are emerging as exciting, courageous and authentic new role models demonstrating many of the vital qualities required for effective 21st-century leadership and in the future of work.

This is because they are re-inventing how to engage in the art of applying entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship practices to harness potential and mobilize human energy towards creating a better future.

This suggests that 21st-century leadership learning programs are most effective when they focus on cultivating new mindsets, creative, critical and foresight thinking strategies. That develops the ability to anticipate, adapt and cultivate new behaviours and take intelligent actions.

As Klaus Schwab a German engineer and economist once said:

“Technology is not an exogenous force over which we have no control. We are not constrained by a binary choice between “accept and live with it” and “reject and live without it”. Instead, take dramatic technological change as an invitation to reflect on who we are and how we see the world. The more we think about how to harness the technology revolution, the more we will examine ourselves and the underlying social models that these technologies embody and enable, and the more we will have an opportunity to shape the revolution in a manner that improves the state of the world.”

Guest-blog: Reeta Minhas-Judd discusses her personal journey of being an NLP Life Coaching practitioner and ‘Why Supporting Others’ has changed her life

Reeta Minhas-Judd
Reeta Minhas-Judd

I was recently invited to a birthday lunch by a very good friend of mine who is a businessman discussing this subject: “Is a mentor really necessary for children, teenagers, post-grads and adults?” It was a fascinating discussion that caused much debate for hours, at which point and very fortuitously he introduced me to a lady, Reeta Minhas-Judd.

We examined the current world we live in, which is a world that is focused on the things that are new, fast and most innovative — but there was also something to be said about looking back in time and how life has changed through the generations.

We discussed that in society mentoring and coaching can bring about a range of benefits for young people, including for example improved relationships, increased communication skills and resilience.

It can lead young people to change their behaviours, for example helping to reduce absenteeism and/or improve pass rates. That the older generation rarely used coaching or mentorship as a succession plan to their careers, mentors provided newer employees with information and support they really needed to succeed and move up the ranks in an organisation.

But the employees who did engage with mentorship saw the benefits of the mentor-employee relationship, thus, the benefits were not just for the employees; generally, the company saw some significant engagement benefits as well.

At its most basic, the mentor-protégé relationship is one of information sharing. When the mentor works at the same workplace as the protégé, that means he or she will be able to share details about the way the workplace functions that may have taken the protégé years to figure out.

This can enrich the protégé’s understanding of a subject in ways that may not have been possible in the classroom, or help the protégé understand a topic in a way she may not have considered. In short, the additional knowledge helps employees become more well-rounded and think more critically about problems and solutions.

Jeff Myers president of Summit Ministries, once said: “Mentoring is the cultivation of young adults, the tender caring for and nurturing of them so that they will grow, flourish, and be fruitful.”

Today I have the distinct pleasure of introducing another Guest Blogger, Reeta Minhas-Judd, who is a qualified NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programme) Coaching Practitioner.

She is passionate about transforming positive change with people, starting her life journey working in customer-facing job roles and then trained to become an NLP Practitioner which proven to be very successful, also qualifying in NLP coaching which led Reeta to become an NLP Life Coach.

In her own words, ‘NLP has transformed my life by me simply changing my beliefs and values with a more positive view.’

Reeta is now going to talk to us the importance of coaching through the lens as an NLP Life Coach.

Lack of Confidence
I have seen several clients who have experienced low confidence. This has impacted on all areas of their lives. It is a belief that lacking confidence can sometimes just affect one aspect of a person’s life, however, I believe this is not the case. The lacking of confidence and self-belief impacts on everything you say and do. Do any of these examples sound familiar and resonate with you?

“Not accepting the job offer because you do not feel you will be successful in the job role and you don’t want to be seen as a failure”
“Refusing to confront an issue for fear of reprisal and humiliation”
“Not following your dreams, because you just don’t think you are good enough”
“Declining invitations to functions, because you feel that you will be ignored or ridiculed”
“Not having the courage to ask for help, for fear of rejection”

Constant Negative Outlook
This is a very common perception for many people. This is connected with lacking confidence and in turn, causes the negative outlook. Some of my clients’ glass has always been half empty because they chose to see things in a more negative light so that when bad things do happen they are justified for believing that this is the case. When you are in the “negative zone”, everything appears to be dark and they see nothing but negativity and dismay.

Do any of these examples resonate with you?
“I knew my computer was going to break one day and now it has”
“It always rains when I am going out”
“I never have any luck”
“I hate my job and my boss hates me”
“The world is a horrible place and everybody hates me”

Self Esteem & Self-Worth
I have experienced so many clients who do not believe in their own self- worth. They tend to forget or blot out what they have achieved in their lives and instead focus on what they have not done or gained. They make comparisons on what others have and what they feel they will never be able to have. Self-worth and self-esteem is very closely connected to lacking of confidence and negativity. It is your belief that you are not worthy. It is not necessarily the view of others, but you choose to think that this is the case. Some examples of this may include:

“I wish I was as attractive and confident as he/her”
“I look so fat, I just can’t seem to lose any weight”
“I will never be able to get that job”
“He/She will never ask me out because I am not pretty or intelligent enough”
“They have achieved so much in their career and I am still in the same job role”

Suppressed Issues
Suppressed Issues/Trauma is another aspect which I have dealt with on a personal and professional basis. It is so easy to suppress things we don’t want to think about or talk about. This suppression will never be dealt with and will fester unless it is addressed and managed. If not addressed issues/trauma will come out of you in a physical form. This will cause health issues because of the constant anxiety and stress of not dealing with the problem.

I was bullied as a child at school and I never disclosed this information to any of my family or friends for fear of embarrassment, feeling ashamed and being judged. It took years for me to identify why I was feeling and behaving the way I was and to deal with my emotions. I am now able to deal with the trauma I experienced as a child and I am now at peace with this issue and have moved on and left the negative experience in the past, where it belongs.

Coping & Dealing with Bullying
Bullying is not just prevalent in the school playground, it is evident in everyday life including an individual’s work life, personal life, relationship, family life.

As a survivor of bullying, it is important to address it and not disregard the feeling and emotions, as I speak from experience, it will haunt you for life and impact on everything you do. Your personality will alter because of the emotions of bullying if it is not addressed. Learning to cope and deal with bullying will give you the strength to know it is wrong and to make the changes required to stop it from taking place in whatever aspect of your life you are experiencing it.

It will also, in turn, prevent others from having to face the same challenges of bullying. In my experience, bullying made me a “people pleaser”, and subservient to others and I was so worried to speak my mind for fear of being bullied in return.

I only started my journey of NLP a few weeks ago as a secondary business to my main source of income, customer service training. I feel I have already evolved into a more positive and happier person very quickly.

NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) can be used by everybody and the strategies are simple, but the outcome can be so effective. The impact can be life-changing, and I speak from experience, as an article which I wrote on ‘Training within Businesses’ has been published in the Business Connexions magazine.

I never believed that an article which I wrote would ever be printed, published and read by so many people. This is why I have followed my passion and have become a Life Coach, because the feeling of being able to help and support others is by far the most rewarding element within my role.

NLP has made me believe that I can achieve anything I want through the power of the mind and simply by changing my perception. Through one simple advert on a local community website, since qualifying as an NLP Practitioner, I have been inundated with enquiries and I had 21 clients in the space of a month. This in itself speaks volumes.

People are so busy with their lives, that the art of communication has become redundant in many circumstances. With the technology of mobile phones, social media, the internet etc, actually sitting down together in the same room and communicating face-to-face, has now become secondary to texting, emailing etc.

There are millions of people in this world who just want to talk to somebody about their issues and concerns, and yet they refrain from sharing with others for fear of being judged, or because they feel ashamed.

This is where NLP is so decisive because it allows individuals to change their outlook and their mindset, by simply applying and practising daily strategies which will shift their current mindset and allow them to have their voice heard, without fear of judgement or ridicule.

My passion for listening and helping others has made me appreciate my own life and I have learnt how others have been less fortunate than myself. Therefore, I show gratitude for everyday things which we all take for granted.

We have one life and it is not a dress rehearsal, so it needs to be embraced with happiness and not be suffocated with sadness and negativity. I myself was once a “glass half empty” person, but now my glass is overflowing!

We must try to live in the present and not the past, so many things which have previously angered me and festered a feeling of resentment within me, I have now addressed and allowed myself to move on. I now let the bad and negative emotion go, and see it as a part of my life which I no longer need to revisit.

I have received flowers from clients and received many testimonials which have moved me to the core.

My clients have expressed their gratitude to me with such warmth and passion, and this makes my job so worthwhile. I truly believe that I have finally found my vocation in life, and helping clients achieve their goals and aspirations is life-changing, not only for themselves but also for myself.

Being heard across matters of the heart matter and this makes a huge difference.

We all need purpose in our lives, why not contact me for a real conversation today?

You can contact Reeta Minhas-Judd via:
– LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/reeta-minhas-judd-b60a5a147/
– Mail: Rmjtrainingservices AT gmail DOT com (removing all the spaces)
– Web: https://rmjtrainingservices.com