Tag Archive | leadership

On integrity

Integrity, a subject that many of us easily talk about but often used to hide our real selves. I will use excerpts from an article I recently read around the subject.

Corporate Integrity: It Starts at the Top

I heard of a story about a gentleman who used to be affiliated with a construction company whose owner ordered the workers to cut corners in every way possible without getting caught.  Some foremen were even chastised for taking extra care to do a good job.  Did this philosophy work?  No.  The company did make money, but the employees who took pride in their work went elsewhere, leaving a workforce who simply was not trustworthy and a company which had a shady reputation.

When a new owner set a policy of always doing things right, the company slowly began to grow.  Those who continued to cut corners were dismissed and a new vitality began to emerge as the employees felt good about themselves; they began to love their jobs and became proud of who they worked for.  Guess what?  This company continues to flourish today.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Individual Integrity: We Are All Accountable

Writer and speaker Nicky Gumble punctuates this truth in the following story:

A man named Gibbo used to work as a clerk for Selfridges.  One day the phone rang and Gibbo answered.  The caller asked to speak to Gordon Selfridge, who happened to be in the room at the time.  When Mr. Selfridge instructed Gibbo to tell the caller that he was out, Gibbo handed him the phone and said, ‘You tell him you’re out!’  Gordon Selfridge was absolutely furious, but Gibbo said to him, ‘Look, if I can lie for you, I can lie to you.  And I never will.’  That moment transformed Gibbo’s career at Selfridges – he became the owner’s most trusted employee.

Integrity, for Gibbo, was so deeply ingrained that he disobeyed his boss without hesitation.  Yes, he might have been fired, but I am guessing that Gibbo wouldn’t have wanted to continue working there anyway.  In this case, however, his integrity was instrumental to his ascent at Selfridges.

Why Integrity Works

 It is no surprise that employees with integrity shine.  They do not undermine their fellow workers, they work just as hard whether they are being watched or not, they can always be counted on to do their best, and they will be honest enough to admit it if they have made mistakes.  They won’t pass the blame, but they will share the credit.  They are an inspiration to others, creating a positive and upbeat work environment.

If you were in charge of hiring and networking, wouldn’t you dig beneath the surface of a potential employee’s resume to learn of their integrity?  Of course you would.  Therefore, if you are that employee, your services will be coveted, both when you are hired and for years thereafter.

How Are You Doing?

  • Do you leave work early when there is no possibility anyone else will find out?
  • Do you accept full responsibility (or your share) when things don’t go well?
  • Do you share the credit when things go right?
  • Do you confront wrongdoing, even if it means confronting a Team Leader/Manager?
  • Do you hide legitimate income to avoid paying taxes on it (such as not reporting cash payments)?
  • Do you claim tax deductions you can’t document?
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2015 in review – special appearances

Once in a while I get asked to give a view on current trends.

Here, we partnered with Kinetic for CEM Africa during winter in Cape Town http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmcmxddbutQ #2015Reminiscence @bpesa

The year 2015 in review – January

Tebogo PicOfficially as at the end of 2014, I was gainfully involved as follows: Director -Kezia Consulting Group, Board Member -BPESA Western Cape (@bpesact) , Advisory Board Member -BLDE Consulting, Trustee -Ubuntu Wellness Trust and Founder/Chairman – Spirit Dominion Foundation. I also took on a few young people on a mentorship programme to help shape SMME space directly. From the onset, the year 2015 was going to be extremely busy indeed.

As the year 2015 opened, I was invited as a Board Member of BPESA Western Cape to accompany BPESA Western Cape CEO (and then interim national CEO of BPESA), Gareth Pritchard hosted by Achievement Awards COO, Barry Coltman at their facility in Cape Town. The guests for the day were, MBA students from Cornell University in New York and we presented on South Africa as a business opportunity from a global perspective. For obvious reasons, we zoned in on BPO sector and how that has managed to attract circa 25 000 jobs (and counting) into the country from mainly the UK and parts of Europe. #2015Reminiscence

A selfie is always on point of cause:
IMG_0298

I also shared the following through micro blobbing platform, Twitter:

Cornell University MBA class

Cornell University MBA class2

More about the School
The Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management is the graduate business school of Cornell University, a private Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York. It was founded in 1946 and renamed in 1984 after Samuel Curtis Johnson, founder of S.C. Johnson & Son, following his family’s $20 million endowment gift to the school in his honor—at the time, the largest gift to any business school in the world.

The school is housed in Sage Hall and supports 59 full-time faculty members. There are about 600 Master of Business Administration (MBA) students in the full-time two-year and Accelerated MBA programs and 375 Executive MBA students. The school counts over 11,000 alumni and publishes the academic journal Administrative Science Quarterly.

Learning leaders

 There is a very close link between learning to lead and managing yourself and also developing your ability and skill in leading others. If you can demonstrate your effectiveness it gets very easy to demonstrate leadership which in turn allows others to follow you. If you look around at leaders who are failing in their responsibilities often you will see that they take on far too much work, inherit a poor performing people and do nothing about it and they end up achieving little for themselves or their people.

These leaders have no scope to change move or develop because they are constantly in a reactive mode and have limited their opportunity for learning. This robs them of the opportunity to learn by reviewing past experiences, mistakes and successes so that they can apply them to the current situation. Unfortunately, this is not always easily apparent to leaders within the organization. Sometimes, everybody is so busy that they don’t lift their head to see what is happening around them.
Businesses make different demands on leaders in different circumstances. The demands and the circumstances are constantly changing. This means that the modern leader has to be very nimble to cope with this constant change. It also means that the opportunities to misread the situation have increased in the modern day workplace. Because of the constant change, each situation has to be understood as much as possible so that relevant decisions can be made. It is very hard to be effective if you constantly misread situations when you are in a leadership position.

Corporate Integrity: It Starts at the Top

I heard of a story about a gentleman who used to be affiliated with a construction company whose owner ordered the workers to cut corners in every way possible without getting caught. Some foremen were even chastised for taking extra care to do a good job. Did this philosophy work? No. The company did make money, but the employees who took pride in their work went elsewhere, leaving a workforce who simply was not trustworthy and a company which had a shady reputation.

When a new owner set a policy of always doing things right, the company slowly began to grow. Those who continued to cut corners were dismissed and a new vitality began to emerge as the employees felt good about themselves; they began to love their jobs and became proud of who they worked for. Guess what? This company continues to flourish today. Coincidence? I think not.

Individual Integrity: We Are All Accountable

Writer and speaker Nicky Gumble punctuates this truth in the following story:
A man named Gibbo used to work as a clerk for Selfridges. One day the phone rang and Gibbo answered. The caller asked to speak to Gordon Selfridge, who happened to be in the room at the time. When Mr. Selfridge instructed Gibbo to tell the caller that he was out, Gibbo handed him the phone and said, ‘You tell him you’re out!’ Gordon Selfridge was absolutely furious, but Gibbo said to him, ‘Look, if I can lie for you, I can lie to you. And I never will.’ That moment transformed Gibbo’s career at Selfridges – he became the owner’s most trusted employee.

Integrity, for Gibbo, was so deeply ingrained that he disobeyed his boss without hesitation. Yes, he might have been fired, but I am guessing that Gibbo wouldn’t have wanted to continue working there anyway. In this case, however, his integrity was instrumental to his ascent at Selfridges.

Why Integrity Works

It is no surprise that employees with integrity shine. They do not undermine their fellow workers, they work just as hard whether they are being watched or not, they can always be counted on to do their best, and they will be honest enough to admit it if they have made mistakes. They won’t pass the blame, but they will share the credit. They are an inspiration to others, creating a positive and upbeat work environment.
If you were in charge of hiring and networking, wouldn’t you dig beneath the surface of a potential employee’s resume to learn of their integrity? Of course you would. Therefore, if you are that employee, your services will be coveted, both when you are hired and for years thereafter.

How Are You Doing?
• Do you leave work early when there is no possibility anyone else will find out?
• Do you accept full responsibility (or your share) when things don’t go well?
• Do you share the credit when things go right?
• Do you confront wrongdoing, even if it means confronting a Team Leader/Manager?
• Do you hide legitimate income to avoid paying taxes on it (such as not reporting cash payments)?
• Do you claim tax deductions you can’t document?

Because we tend to be blind to our own shortcomings, I challenge you to ask a friend – one with integrity – to tell you honestly whether you are more like Gibbo or his boss.

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Leadership complexity

It all hangs on leadership

It all hangs on leadership

An amazing analogy of effective leadership is demonstrated in the Good to Great(Collins et al). It’s key to note that leadership is not about warm and fuzzy. In fact, it’s about strength of character in being able to stand for something while being able to guard yourself against arrogance that could be created by that same conviction.

According to Collins et al, there are five attributes that typify a true Leader:
They are self-confident enough to set up their successors for success.
They are humble and modest.
They have “unwavering resolve.”
They display a “workmanlike diligence – more plow horse than show horse.”
They give credit to others for their success and take full responsibility for poor results.
They “attribute much of their success to ‘good luck’ rather than personal greatness.”

It is my wish that the dangerously risky task of leading humanity continues to draw on the strength that is heart leadership and all efforts will be expended to cultivate and nurture such through this medium.

Leadership, risky business!

Leading: The art of getting people focused on an idealized future and moving full steam in that direction. This art has been written about so much that a search for the word leadership brings out 499 million records in 27 seconds on Google.

Key in unpacking the concept is accepting that to lead is to live dangerously! Every day, in every facet in life, opportunities to lead call out to us. At work and home, in our local communities and in the global village, the chance to make a difference beckons. Yet most of us often hesitate. For all its passion and promise, for all its excitement and rewards, leading is risky, dangerous work! Why you would ask. Because real leadership -the kind that surfaces conflict, challenges long held beliefs, and demands new ways of doing things – causes pain. And when people feel threatened, they take aim at the person pushing for change. As a result, leaders often get hurt both personally and professionally. It is my wish that through this medium and other platforms, we will learn to understand that for those of us that are called to lead others, putting ourselves on the line, responding to the risks and living to celebrate our efforts is all in a day’s work

The concept of leadership has more followers and equally experts than most subjects with each publication building on already established ones. This piece does not seek to add to the amount of writing that has been done on the subject, but rather will seek to give my take on the discipline of leading others using Jesus Christ as the model leader. In order to embark on the content properly, it is crucial to accept that the question of nature vs. nurture is key and needs to be resolved up front.

There are people who are born with a gift to lead while there is also a large body of knowledge that seeks to teach the discipline of leading. Both these are crucial as some aspects of leading (for instance values or charisma) may prove difficult to teach while others may easily be taught (for instance the management aspects of leadership). So, are leaders born or made? It depends on what your DNA came programmed with and what social conditions you are raised under!

Leading through priorities

Priorities in leading

Priorities in leading

Leadership focuses on an envisioned tomorrow while enlisting others towards it through conviction and commitment. The art of leading others therefore also means if I forget the ultimate, I will be enslaved by the immediate. The old adage of focusing on important things in order to avoid being driven by urgent ones.
If we accept that the art of leading others is about them rather than us, therefore it follows that leadership also means we lose our right to be selfish. When we abandon our highest priority, we lose our way and people suffer. As such those of us that are entrusted with the custody of the leadership office need to always:
• Consider our actions and take care to avoid contradiction with the vision we champion
• That we work smart to ensure results in key areas of business
• Spend funds wisely and in areas that bring the best return
• Always feel dissatisfied in our production and thereby constantly challenge ourselves to do better
When leaders and people fail to maintain proper priorities, disappointment always results. Remember the paretto principle which says 80% of all output come from 20% of input. With the right priorities, 20% of our efforts will get 80% of the desired results. But with the wrong priorities, 80% of our effort will get 20% of the desired results. Priorities in leading people is not about working harder, but smarter.

Organizational culture: an enabler or disabler?

Culture in the context of an organisation should be understood in the perspective of the setting it's in. In order to understand organisational context, it's important to see the organisations as communities. Using classical sociology as basis, there are two key cultural relationships in communities:sociability and solidarity. Sociability refers to effective relations between individuals who are likely to see each other's friends. They share ideas and values and associate with each other on equal terms. This represents relationships valued for their own sake. No real conditions are attached.

CultureSolidarity on the other hand, describes task focused cooperation between individuals and groups. It does not depend on close friendship or even personal acquaintance nor does it needs to be continuous. A perception of shared interest is enough to spark it which once in place solidarity can produce high levels of focus. To bring this home, if we were to ask someone to describe their ideal family, their would typically go straight to one where members like and love one another (sociability) and one that pulls together when times get tough (solidarity).

Thus, where there is high levels of sociability with low solidarity we find highly networked cultures. Most organizations fall into this category hence exhibiting such negative manifestations as clique formation, informal information exchanges that generally degenerate into dangerous rumour and gossip machines; friendly meetings that produce of talk but little action; and most importantly, considerable energy, especially among senior managers, that goes into organizational politics and making the right impression. There is more often than not managing upward rather than managing outcomes.

Most of us know or have read about these symptoms. Seeming perfect is the holy grail, with leaders seeking that out of their people which constantly makes people strive to impress the boss regardless of the consequences to individual relationships or team dynamics.

It is crucial for organisations to seek to have Hugh levels of solidarity and sociability. This keeps the team focused on common purpose while relating on a high trust basis.

Leadership is about generosity, not greed!

20140111-130505.jpg Revisiting your leadership approach is about looking at things through different lenses and from fresh perspectives. In that light, consider this: knowing when to say you have enough is also about being generous. When you push away from the table, you give others an opportunity to get a share of the pie. Using your size to gobble up everything in sight limits what others can do. Most corporate leaders are in a tough spot on this one, stuck between the rock of needing to make a living and the hard place of wanting to control their appetite. Watch that selfish appetite, it may be contrary to the role of leading others!