‘Made to Measure’ Leadership Development: Five Keys to Success

I’m writing this immediately following a visit to my local optician for an eye test. The sales assistant helped me to find the right frame to fit the recommended lenses, then carefully measured it to ensure a good fit. In return, I handed over my hard earned cash and anticipated an excellent return on investment (less eye strain, sharper focus on the words on my computer screen etc).

So here’s an interesting question: In a continuing climate of budget constraints, how realistic is it that any organisation can afford to invest in something as bespoke as my new glasses?

I’ve just finished reading the excellent ‘Primal Leadership – Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence’ by Daniel Goleman. On the topic of designing leadership development programmes, he states that “too often these (programmes) present a fixed cookie cutter agenda”.

Not at all like the experience of buying my new glasses! Instead, he suggests that “leadership development best succeeds with a process and not a programme”.

This is where a&dc’s LIVED® leadership model offers a high quality, yet cost-effective solution. It’s based on our continuing research into behaviours needed to successfully navigate today and tomorrow’s VUCA world. You can read further details about VUCA and LIVED® here on a&dc’s website.

We’ve crafted our approach to developing LIVED® leaders using five core principles:

1. Carefully contextualising the modules’ practical exercises, tools and case-studies to fit the context in which delegates exercise their leadership.

2. Adapting the approach for the level of course delegates in the leadership pipeline.

3. Designing the programme in accordance with best practice principles.

4. Ensuring delegates take accountability for learning and commit to change.

5. Providing flexible options for continued development, eg through 1-1 coaching and action learning.

Any leadership development process represents a huge investment; not just of the financial budget, but also in the time devoted by your present and future leaders. So, in the same way as I needed to be sure I was buying the very best glasses to improve my sight, organisations want to be sure that leadership development will offer the greatest certainty of a return on your investment.

So, have you considered nominating any of your current or potential leaders to participate in our Open LIVED® Leadership Development Course? Similar to how my optician suited my individual needs with glasses that ‘fit the bill’, we’re confident that our ‘made to measure’ approach to leadership development will deliver 100% satisfaction. We can even go one step further and scope a fully bespoke, in-house process with you.

We look forward to equipping your leaders with the practical tools and strategies for the leadership challenges of today and tomorrow!

Author: Karen West

The Greek Crisis: What Does This Tell Us About Leadership?

I recently went on a trip to the Biennale exhibition in Venice, which showcases artists’ creations from around the world. I came across one building containing artwork from either Germany or Greece.  It was difficult to tell; on the outside of the building there was a Greek flag, but written on it was the word ‘Germania.’

I wondered whether it was a symbol of the ongoing animosity between Greece and Germany. The two countries have had tense relations for over two decades.  There’s been endless news coverage on this story due to the effect it’s having on so many other countries.

So what’s the issue here?  Identity. Do Greece belong to eastern or western Europe? Should they stick with their roots in ancient Greece or become more modern?  This identity crisis has led to rejection of change or restructuring.

So why’s this a problem?  Well, living in a VUCA world (ie Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) is the new normal and as such, we have to be able to deal with and embrace change.

In the same way that Greece is struggling to cope economically due to their resistance to make changes, we’ve seen many organisations suffer for the same reason. As a result, some have gone into administration.

So what does this tell us about leadership?  Greece’s leaders have tried their hardest not to make changes to avoid conflict with their electoral clients and unions within the public sector. The resulting debt, 26% unemployment rate and 25% loss of national income can be attributed to a lack of two leadership qualities; learning and courage.

So what do you need to do to be an effective leader?

Embrace and facilitate a culture of learning

Leaders set the organisational culture.  If they’re not change oriented and constantly learning, how can they expect others to be the same?  Look for opportunities to remain up to date with current knowledge.  Reflect on what works well and not so well, and apply this learning to new and different situations.

Analyse information strategically

Leaders need to be able to make sense of different types of data.  Use it to think ahead, create strategies for the future and make effective decisions even in difficult situations.

Be authentic and courageous

Leaders need to act with integrity and be authentic to themselves.  Have the courage to stand up for what’s right, even if you don’t think others will agree with your message.

Manage emotions, build relationships and inspire others

Leaders need to be able to control their own emotions, especially when networking within and outside the organisation.  Manage your emotions effectively, and you’ll empower and inspire others.

Be committed and results oriented

Leaders need to show enthusiasm and commitment to the organisation.  Be proactive and focus on producing high quality results.

So how do organisations thrive in the VUCA world? The answer is simple: recruit and develop leaders with 5 main constructs in mind: Learning, Intellect, Values, Emotions and Drive (LIVED®).

Find out more about LIVED® and watch our short video here, or get in contact with us for some advice.

Author: Clare Reyersbach

Predicting Workplace Performance with A-Levels: Why Academic Qualifications Fall Short

The A-level results are in!  While students across the UK anxiously await the grades that may determine their future, at a&dc we’re asking a simple yet important question.  What does an A-level grade, or even a degree qualification, actually tell organisations about potential future performance?

Well, for many large-scale employers, not as much as you might first think.  I came across a couple of news articles on the BBC last week highlighting the ineffectiveness of academic performance at predicting workplace performance.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Ernst & Young, using A-levels and other academic qualifications is “too blunt an approach” for recruiting graduates.  PwC believe this so strongly that they have removed A-level grades from their graduate recruitment process.  Similarly, for their 2016 graduate scheme, Ernst & Young will now choose which graduates to interview based on their performance in online tests instead of their academic qualifications, including at university level.

Thousands of teenagers (my brother being one of them!) today find out their A-level results, which have been two years in the making, involving hours of studying and revising.  Surely this calls into the question the validity of such qualifications, and the time investment required?

Of course, many professions require proof of technical competence, which academic courses can provide.  But what about all those other competencies which are needed to succeed at work?  The skills they don’t teach you in the classroom.  I’m thinking about presentation skills, persuasive verbal communication, effective prioritisation and planning skills, and leadership behaviours.  These are so important for carving out a successful career, but all too often are not part of the academic syllabus.

If these important workplace behaviours are not formally measured in the classroom, it comes as little surprise that employers need to measure these behaviours during the recruitment process.

There are many effective ways to assess workplace behaviours as part of your recruitment process.  You can sift out unsuitable candidates using an online psychometric just like PwC and Ernst & Young, create competency based interview questions, or run an assessment centre.  There are methods to suit different needs, as well as budgets.  Take assessment centres, for example, they can be done as either “day in the life” or discrete exercises and can be done virtually or face-to-face.

Behavioural assessment is one of the most effective and statistically valid methods for predicting workplace performance, with many employer giants scrapping academic qualifications in favour of behavioural competence.  If you’re not assessing for behaviours as part of your recruitment process, isn’t it time you should be?

To find out more about behavioural assessment, take a look around a&dc’s website and get in contact with us for some free advice.

Author: Sofia Brzostowski

Four Tips all Talent Managers should know about Millennials

The Millennial generation is anyone born between 1980 and 2000.  They are the largest generation ever, and are ‘coming of age’ as an established cohort of key consumers.  Organisations are now observing trends in Millennial behaviour and making plans to appeal to their spending habits.  Millennials have also been entering the workplace for the last ten years, and will continue doing so until today’s 15 year olds leave full-time education.

Why should Talent Management take notice of Millennials?

Millennials have grown up in a time of unprecedented rapid change.  As a result, they have become much more open and embracing of change than any previous generation.  Any research out there will tell you Millennials have unique views of the world, and a different set of priorities compared to Generation X or the Baby Boomers.  They also expect different things from their employment, and they have a more varied set of strengths and weaknesses.  Therefore, HR and Talent Managers must consider Millennial preferences and needs.  This will help attract and recruit the best young talent in the workplace now, as well as retain and develop them effectively for the future.

So what are the key Millennial trends Talent Managers should look out for?

1. Be open and transparent when hiring

Millennials are more used to a fast pace of life than previous generations.  Any hiring process that is unexpectedly long and drawn out will be demotivating.  Make your recruitment stages concise and engaging.  Importantly, give them an insight into your culture.  Millennials want to know they are joining a company that will value them, give them useful feedback and plenty of opportunities to learn.

2. Give clear career progression

Millennials are the poorest generation yet.  By this, I mean they have the greatest student debts ever and have entered the workplace during the global economic recession.  They are not used to high wages or extensive benefits, so fewer Millennials are motivated by money than previous generations.  Instead, they are motivated to continuously learn new things and progress their careers.  If you can’t offer decent skill development or career advancement, then expect high staff turnover in the future.

3. But expect loyalty!

A 6,000 participant study from 2013 looked at how Millennials view themselves compared with how HR professionals view Millennials.  The most extreme difference related to employer loyalty.  82% of Millennials said they wanted to stay with their employer in the long term, whereas only 1% of HR professionals said the same.  This Millennial mindset goes against what current research is saying about how long they are actually staying in jobs compared to previous generations.  To me, this says Millennial preferences are not the problem when it comes to the job hopping trend.  It’s about how organisations treat them.

4. So allow them freedom and flexibility

Millennials are the most socially connected generation ever.  Roughly 80% of them have smartphones and 75% have social media profiles.  Millennials place huge importance on being in touch with their family and friends, and therefore balance a huge number of activities both in and out of work.  This makes them master networkers and multi-taskers, but it also means they don’t want the 55-hour week that typified the Baby Boomer generation.  Allow your Millennials to operate flexibly and explore their work without a restricting structure, and they’ll reward you with greater productivity.

Author: Jordon Jones