Tag Archives: Management

The Entrepreneur and the Hierarchy

With global enterprises and entrepreneurial behaviour, hierarchy does not and cannot suffice. Being part of a supportive community becomes the basis for repeated, mutually beneficial transactions. Collaboration becomes the underlying mode of operating. Contracts are incomplete and often only marginally enforceable through judicial processes. Legal systems and ethical systems are often in conflict. Therefore, to interact effectively and efficiently, individuals must sense that they are part of a community that cares, protects, and ensures legitimate behaviour on the part of others. Trust, caring, agreed-upon standards for performance, and agreed-upon sanctions are the lubricant easing the friction inherent in free exchange. Building a sense of community is a leadership task. Learning to live as part of a community that is dispersed, asynchronous, and diverse is one of the initiatives that shapes character as well as knowledge. Such a community is created and linked by the technology that is evolving.


These four challenges for the future are mutually reinforcing. Scholars and practitioners who attempt to deal with one of the challenges without under- standing the others do so at their own peril. Entrepreneurship creates the technology and is enabled by it. Communities that form across traditional boundaries enable globalization and enable growth through entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs build community by managing networks rather than hierarchies and by reinforcing the community through celebration and reinvestment in other community members’ new ideas. They share the rewards of innovation with customers, suppliers, and other partners in the enterprise in order to assure cooperation.


The Three Most Important Things about Leadership

Over the past few months, I have during my MBA studies; we have deliberated, reflected and observed the leadership journey. I even spoke to my children and asked their opinion on me writing a book on the subject. Obviously, they provided feedback via laughter, not deterred I am still making notes. So far the book will have three sections:



  • It’s all about People
  • Appreciation – Showing and Giving
  • Life without regrets … live it to the fullest



For some that I have talked to this can be a bit of a difference to the management training they have been given. Leadership is very different from where many focus their energies. What if I could write a book to decipher and debunk what it took to get to “the top”? I’ve been gathering research and focusing on is what it takes to make a difference, appreciate those around us and make the most of every day.


Leadership questions for YOU:

  • “What do you think of the 3 headings and are there any you would add or change?”
  • “Why does it usually take disaster/tragedy for us to truly appreciate each other – what would it take to make it part of your daily routine?”


Remember…YOU do make a difference!



Change and Collaboration

With our insatiable search for unlocking business value, and the desire for leaner, flatter and more responsive organizations means that the ability of organizations to change fast is now a competitive advantage. When combined with the ‘gamification’ and ‘fun’  key components in engaging the modern workforce and our tech-inclination, we can see that traditional methods of delivering change (through top-down directives, long-term policies, workshops, the experts, PowerPoint, the CEO-on-Tour, etc.) are simply not effective. Clearly, the processes to support change within organisations must be faster and flexible, they must be cost-efficient, bottom-up, mobile, easy to deploy, employee-friendly, etc. In other words, these processes must be ‘real-time’.

“Focusing on communication and begin positioning collaboration at the heart of the way you work.”

It is easy to see this happening at a managerial level, in a single business. However, take a step back and consider the following; since change is a prerequisite to survival, the topic should no longer be reserved to the elite/senior leaders. Indeed, to succeed should not be about whether you can afford the premium consultancies, the ‘Big-4’.


No! To survive must be an option for every organization out there, small and large, recognized or not. We need to move from focusing on communication and begin positioning collaboration at the heart of the way you work.

“To win tomorrow, you must disrupt your own internal processes today because if you don’t you’ll be displaced by those who do.”


Democratizing Change Management

In the old days, OK the 1990’s the need for Change in organizations was infrequent. The Change was almost predictable, large organisations could adapt to it; you had time to adjust your operating model to remain competitive.


That time is over and is noticeable in the prevalence of the number of articles discussing organisational agility. Back then when the business environment was predictable (and maybe easier), the process of ‘managing change’ typically was controlled and driven by ‘the experts’. Obviously, there were many reasons why we heavily relied on the ‘experts’;


  • The expert has the experience to understand the impact of the required change. Whilst this might have been true when knowledge was scarce and in the hands of the few, today reality is different.
  • How the corporate world reacts to failure. When changed are implemented unsuccessfully without experts would result in being ‘fired’. Therefore, to avoid delivering bad news in times of crisis or tarnishing your image, we tend to call-in the experts to play bad-cop. In many cases completely outsource the job to the experts is career suicide as managers are expected to be capable to project manage.


As dealing with change is now a regular activity, leading it becomes a skill to hone, an internal capacity to master.


Back then, the need for change was cyclical and gradual. Today, as we are witnessing with the emergence of new technology and knowledge, change is constant. This has tremendous implications for the organization. This means that change is something everyone must be very comfortable with both as an employee and as leaders. As dealing with change becomes a regular activity, leading it becomes a skill to hone, an internal capacity to master. Clearly, change implementation, strategy execution, or whatever sophisticated name associated with the process, can no longer be outsourced to the expert only; it must be woven into the organisations operating model. In the future, “the way we do things here” should be a phrase that explains how complacency is not acceptable. Leading change is now a core competency and like all core competencies, you need to keep the intelligence in-house.



Ask Your Direct Reports Their Opinion and They May Hate You Less

Probably your direct reports don’t hate you, Things are not that bad. It might be mild discontent. But, what could explain the fact that they don’t seem to get it. If only they could stop driving you crazy and just do their job like they are supposed to. Is that the attitude you had when they first joined your team?

“Just do your job and don’t drive me crazy and we will get along fine.”

If this has been your general approach toward your employees, I urge you to consider pursuing a role as an individual contributor, not a leader. It will serve everyone better.

When an employee first joined your organization (or you took the reins of an existing team), you shared expectations, communication preferences, point of view, and boundaries. All with hopeful anticipation and valued camaraderie. “Welcome to the team,” you likely said.

So what happened?

Over time, things got sloppy. Perhaps you got used to each other and replaced communication with assumption.

“She’s been here long enough, she knows what I mean.”

The layman’s term for this is, ‘lazy’. It can happen even when everything is humming along; costs contained, profits up, technology has magically fixed your problems, and you are getting home at a decent hour. The effective leader knows; the garden still has to be tended with a diligent and caring eye.

Although they seldom like to hear it, I frequently remind clients, “Your manager knows more than you.” This has nothing to do with intelligence or common sense. It is about perspective. Your manager attends different meetings than you, receives different reports, is under different scrutiny, and is responsible for more. These are not things a leader should tell their direct reports because at best it comes across as a humble brag, at worst it is sanctimonious.

It is rare for your direct reports to see things from your vantage point. They view the world from their perspective, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn the reverse is also true. Your direct reports know more than you. They are closer to the end-user. They get the latest tactical information in real time, well before your excel spreadsheet turns from yellow to red. Every day they see successes and failures that you never do, or if you once did, you’ve long since forgotten.

When you stop communicating, collaborating, and soliciting opinions, you break an implicit compact. The point of a team is the realization of a strategic imperative. It is the recognition that the accomplishment of something important cannot be successful without the diversity of thought, experience, skill, and perspective. Without that you do not have a high-performing team, you have a group of people who barely tolerate each other, and there is no strategic benefit to that.

So, go ask your direct reports their opinion. Let them know ahead of time that you may or may not agree with or act on what they share, but you still want to hear their opinion because you value their perspective.