20Nov/130

Open Your Wallet – Open Your Mind!

Posted by Marshall Goldsmith

Open Your Wallet - Open Your Mind!
by Marshall Goldsmith

My coaching clients are either the CEOs or potential CEOs of multi-billion dollar corporations. Most are men; most are older and most are, by any normal standards, rich.

There is a common assumption that old rich men don't really care about losing small amounts of money.

Wrong!

From my experience, most old rich men don't like to lose any money.

It is not the amount of money that matters. It is the losing that they hate.

Have you ever watched a group of executives play competitive golf for wagers involving small amounts of money? It is amazing how serious and animated they become. Wagers at the race track are another example. One of my friends laughed as he described collecting his two dollar bet after the horse he picked won by a nose. Jumping up and down in his excitement, he spilled his Coke and ruined his hundred-dollar shirt!

As a coach, I use small amounts of money to help executives change behavior. It is astonishing how well this works! For example, if my clients are perceived as stubborn and opinionated, and they want to become more open-minded listeners, I 'fine' them every time they begin a sentence with the words 'no,' 'but,' or 'however.' All of the money that I collect from my fines is donated to the charity of my client's choice. Over the past 30 years, I have raised over $300,000 for great charities by playing this game with my clients.

Why fines for 'no,' 'but,' or 'however'?

The word 'no' means 'you are wrong,' and the words 'but' and 'however' mean 'disregard everything that came before this word.'  A friend once described these as 'eraser words.'

As I was reviewing a 360-degree feedback report with one of my clients, his first words were, "But, Marshall ..." I smiled and replied, "That one is free. If I ever try to give you advice again, and you begin a sentence with 'no,' 'but,' or 'however,' I am going to fine you twenty dollars!"

"But," he replied, "that's not ..."

"That's twenty!" I laughed.

"No, I don't ..." he refuted.

"That's forty!" I continued.

"No, no, no!" he protested.

"That's sixty, eighty, one hundred dollars for charity!" I gleefully exclaimed.

Within an hour, he was down $420. It took another couple of hours before he finally got the point and said, "Thank you. I did that 21 times with you bringing it to my attention. You annoyed me so much that I would rather have died than paid you the money. The words kept coming out of my mouth anyway. How many times would I have done this if you had not brought it to my attention? Fifty? One hundred? No wonder people think I am stubborn. The first thing I do when people try to talk with me is to prove that they are wrong!"

The positive change in this executive, who was then the COO and is now the CEO of the company, was amazing. Within a couple of years, he was perceived as much more open and receptive to new ideas—and much less stubborn and opinionated—by all of his direct reports, his co-workers, and even his family members.

I also fine my clients when they say, "That's great, but ..." or "That's great, however ..." These eraser words end up destroying the value of recognition. They make sure that the receiver knows that the 'great' part doesn't count for much.

A few years ago, I was teaching a class at the headquarters of a major telecom company.  I mentioned the 'That's great, but ...' problem and my use of fines to change behavior. I predicted that many members of the class would continue to say these words—even after hearing my lecture, and even knowing that I was going to fine them.

One of the men in my class mocked me when I made these statements. He thought that such a simple behavioral request would be easy for him. He was so sure of himself that he offered to donate $100 to charity every time he did this—and boasted that he would never have to make a donation.

I made a point of sitting next to him at lunch. When I asked him where he was from, he told me that he lived in Singapore.

"Singapore?" I said.  "That's a great city."

"Yeah," he replied, "it's great, but ..."

He gave me a very chagrined look, chuckled and paid the money.

The next time you want to help your clients change minor behavioral 'tics' that are annoying everyone around them, try fining them small amounts of money, and then give the money to a great cause.

It may create a win for your clients—and, at the same time, it will create a win for the world!

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (2007, Volume 3, Issue 2). Copyright © 2012 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

Marshall Goldsmith, MBA, PhD, founder of Marshall Goldsmith Partners LLC, is a world authority on helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting behavioral change. His executive coaching expertise has been highlighted in Forbes, Fast Company and Business Week. The most recent of his 22 books is What Got You Here Won't Get You There (Hyperion, 2007). Learn more about Marshall in the WABC Coach Directory. Marshall can be reached by email at Marshall@MarshallGoldsmith.com.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
4Jul/130

Power Tools For Leadership Success

Posted by WABC

By Katherine Craig

As an executive coach I have the opportunity to work with a diverse range of individuals at all stages of their leadership development journey. Over the past two decades I’ve created wide-ranging strategies to support my clients as they strive to improve their individual and team performance. While many of those strategies require long-term effort, there are some basic tips and tools that can be implemented for immediate results and I’ve shared some of those tips in my new book, Power Tools for Leadership Success (© Dog Ear Publishing, 2012). Here is an excerpt:

Power Tools—Turning Thought into Action

How many of us have gone to a conference, heard a speaker, or read about an idea that really fired our engine, only to have the inspiration fade away over time? We have every intention of implementing a new plan and changing our leadership strategy, but we get sucked back into the tornado of day-to-day operations, and the ideas blow away. Sometimes, we just don’t know how to begin to turn a concept into action.

That’s what this book is all about. At the beginning of each section, I’ll introduce a new concept that has been shown time and again to impact our ability to lead effectively. At the end of each chapter you’ll find the Power Tools. These are the concrete actions you can take to build your leadership skills.

If you master these tools, you’ve got a great beginning to great leadership. It may sound easy, but it can be extremely difficult. Your work environment may be surprisingly resistant to what seems to you like a brilliant idea. What separates a great leader from all the good leaders out there is the ability to turn thought into action over and over again. In other words, great leadership takes practice.

Be persistent in your pursuit to be a great leader! Constantly move from thought to action, and take your leadership—and your team—from good to great!

But First, the Blueprints

In the pages that follow, I’ll be sharing specific tools I’ve developed based on my 20 years of experience as an executive coach and mentor. These ideas didn’t come to me overnight: I’ve been able to build and refine them over time by maintaining a structure, or blueprint, that guides my progress. I strongly urge you to try this for yourself and give shape to your ideas, as well.

  1. Keep a notebook handy (electronic or otherwise). You have great ideas. When they come to you (mine happen immediately upon waking, so the notebook stays on my bedside table), you can write them down. Write them down as soon as you think of them.page1image24224
  2. page2image1144Review your ideas, at least once a week. You may find that the ideas follow a theme. Ask yourself these questions: Why did I think of this idea? Was it a solution to a problem? Is it a method to “freshen up” a stale operation? How can I apply this idea?
  3. Put rigour to your ideas. What resources will it take to try the idea out? How could I make this work? Your brain may have been tussling with a problem without you even being fully aware! Articulate the thought so that you can easily talk about it. Our brains do a funny trick of not being in partnership with our mouths when it’s time to share our ideas with peers or our boss. Say your idea out loud until it’s on the tip of your tongue and fluent.
  4. Sketch out an implementation plan. Often it’s wise to try the idea on a smaller scale before you go whole hog. I love the concept of a “test drive” approach. It gives everyone a chance to try the car before buying it. Think about seeding some champions around you. They are often the difference between implementation success and failure. Not familiar with seeding champions? Seeding champions refers to the practise of creating a core group of people who will help carry your idea across the organization. You can’t be in every discussion around every corner, but your champions can be, and they’ll carry your message in the positive fashion you desire. The more champions, the better!
  5. Act! Get out of your chair and carry out your implementation plan. Set some time aside in your calendar and do it...now.

If you want to read more, or access links to free resources, you can visit my website www.spearheadexecutivecoaching.com. Be the leader you admire now, and enjoy the journey!

Katherine Craig is CEO and founder of Spearhead Executive Coaching, a dynamic organization dedicated to developing excellent leaders at all levels to create healthy and profitable organizations. She welcomes your comments: katherine@spearheadexecutivecoaching.com.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
23May/130

Playing on a Bigger Stage – A Branding Firm Expands, Winning Ovations from Partners and Clients

Posted by WABC

by I. Barry Goldberg and Martin Thoma

The Business/The Organization

Thoma Thoma is a branding and marketing consulting firm founded and owned by Martin and Melissa Thoma in Little Rock, Arkansas. The company had spent the past three years restructuring its services and repackaging itself as a "brand growth consultant." As activity began to increase and its new positioning gained traction, the leadership team understood that in order to make the leap to bigger markets and clients, they would have to re-engineer everything from basic beliefs to key processes and organizational accountabilities.

The two principals suffered from what might be termed "entrepreneuritis." Since they had founded and built the company, they knew how to do every job in it--so they did. It was clear to the entire team that the two newly promoted directors would have to mature quickly, establishing and maintaining accountability for their departments, if the principals were to relinquish their habitual hold on details. The principals needed to focus on the big picture if the firm was going to live up to its full market potential.

The Partnership

The principals knew that creating this envisioned change would take sustained effort and unprecedented persistence. Barry Goldberg, executive coach and founder of Entelechy Partners, had recently shared his vision for a year-long coaching process for leadership teams with Thoma Thoma's principals. They all agreed that Barry would coach the group and each individual for a year, integrating concentrated off-site team experiences with bi-weekly individual leadership coaching.

The Challenge

While the Thomas and their team had some ideas about what they wanted to accomplish, the design of both individual and group development plans clarified those challenges. Using The Leadership Circle Cultural ProfileTM, the organizational challenges were the first to be clarified:

  1. Thoma Thoma was such a nice place to work that everyone took it for granted. Even employees indicated that more demanding performance standards would be beneficial.
  2. While the vision was clear and compelling, employees lacked confidence in the company's ability to execute in a purposeful manner.
  3. Employees valued the firm's commitment to work/life balance. However, they also agreed that additional drive would translate into increased productivity and client satisfaction. Those ends could be accomplished without turning Thoma Thoma into the sweatshop stereotypical of the industry.

Each of the four individuals involved in the coaching process also established an individual development plan based on personal strengths and opportunities. Issues common to the group included:

  1. Discomfort with direct communications concerning work standards, deadlines and internal processes.
  2. A desire to apply linear processes to creative development, gaining significant improvements in scale and efficiency.
  3. Significantly differing business perspectives between the creative team and account management.
  4. The need for clear accountability, including the transfer of more responsibility from principals to directors.

The four clients made their own behavioral contributions to each of these group issues. They also had opportunities for individual development. Perhaps the most powerful catalyst for change, however, was their willingness to work together to alter collective patterns of behavior through their individual participation in the program.

The Approach

The Leaders' TrekTM for Thoma Thoma started in April 2005 with a three-day offsite session focused on group coaching. As the team engaged in real work, coaching interventions centered on the first two individual development goals listed above. The team was coached on giving and receiving difficult feedback. Working very specifically with Speech Acts, the group engaged in re-engineering key processes through direct communication and clear agreements.

The major outcome of the "BaseCampTM" experience was that the entire leadership team took responsibility for organizational change. They brought their new, well-practiced skills back to the office, where individual coaching centered on unique development plans for each executive. Creative Director Derek Wacaster explained, "My coaching work focused on building greater confidence and taking larger ownership of my position--things critical to my success. From the very first session, I experienced an internal change that resulted in richer interaction with my teammates and significantly enhanced my contribution to the firm."

By involving the entire leadership team, this coaching format had a major impact not only on individual development, but on specific relationships among the team members as well. Common frameworks for bonding patterns, balance and communications delivered a growing set of tools for dealing with new issues. Common language and newly honed skills allowed the leadership team to become independent and self-sustaining, assimilating new capabilities very quickly. As a result, ever deeper material could be explored in coaching without creating dependency on the coach for sustained behavioral change.

The Value Delivered

The value of the Thoma Thoma team's experience with The Leaders' TrekTM can be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively:

  • Roughly one half of operational duties previously held by principals have been successfully delegated to directors. Work continues in this regard.
  • All key processes have been re-engineered as "scripts," and ownership for each process is vested in a "producer/director" who is accountable for process execution.
  • All employees now understand and embrace the focus on quality work completed on deadline, and exhibit a high appreciation for that value in the work environment. (One employee declined an offer at a competing shop for considerably more money.)
  • Principals are focusing on higher leverage strategic activities, spending much more time and attention on developing relationships with client CEO's.
  • Implementation of new discipline in the firm's sales process has improved its close ratio from roughly 30% to nearly 60%. Thoma Thoma is more focused on pursuing the right opportunities, grooming its referral network and ignoring low-potential pitches.
  • After three months on The Leaders' TrekTM, Thoma Thoma increased its monthly sales target by 70%. From May 2005 through October 2005, it hit the new target five months out of six, missing it by only 10% in September.

Throughout this period of increasing business and financial performance, employees report more energy, greater enthusiasm, higher morale and growing esprit de corps. And Thoma Thoma is still viewed as caring and nurturing--an exceptional place to work.
This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (Spring Issue 2006, Volume 2, Issue 1). Copyright © 2013 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

goldberg

 

I. Barry Goldberg is the founder of Entelechy Partners. His coaching practice focuses on senior leadership teams and high-potential executives. Barry holds a Graduate Certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University. Read more about Barry in the WABC Coach Directory. Barry can be reached by email at barry.goldberg@entelechypartners.com.

 

 

 

 

thoma

Martin Thoma is a Principal in Thoma Thoma, a brand growth consultancy. Martin is widely published on the subject of branding. He is an English and journalism graduate of the University of Arkansas. Martin can be reached by email at martin@thomathoma.com.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
11Apr/130

An Integrated Approach to Strategic Business Coaching

Posted by WABC

By Ernesto Olascoaga

In 1983, Volkswagen devised the concept of an IT company that functioned as an internal service provider. In 1998, VW-GEDAS became gedas, a separate business entity and one of Germany's leading system integrators, serving clients inside and outside the VW Group.

In 2006, under the direction of new CEO, Federico Casas Alatriste, coaching was used by gedas Mexico as an integrated approach to redirect efforts toward three major business imperatives: Exploring new markets, targeting new clients, and improving strategies and work methods. At the time of the coaching process, gedas was in the process of merging with T-Systems to become gedas, a member of T-Systems.

The Partnership

Laura Ceballos, human capital manager, and María Eugenia Díaz Mercado, organizational development coordinator, conducted a 360-diagnostic process to identify the leadership competencies required for the company to become more competitive in the global marketplace. They then partnered with business coach, Dr. Ernesto Olascoaga to design and implement the change process, which had two major goals. First, that all managers understand the company's strategic imperatives. Second, that they work as a team to implement efforts to grow in a competitive market.

The Challenge

With three main clusters of needs, the first revolved around the business imperatives. The second related to developing the coaching competencies of top management, and the third to developing leadership and management competencies in middle management. Detected in the 360-diagnostic were a lack of both teamwork and entrepreneurial attitude. In addition, business results were below annual goals.

The Approach

Design Principles

The coaching process was designed according to the following principles:

  • Communicate key business imperatives to all participants
  • Gain commitment from stakeholders
  • Develop awareness and link significant action to each coaching intervention
  • Include follow-up
  • Review and celebrate progress in a formal closing
  • Define next steps with follow-up commitments

Top management agreed to lead the process using the collaborative research approach suggested by David Coghlan, in which each learning cycle follows four stages: Diagnosis, planning, action, and evaluation.1 Awareness of relevant issues is encouraged during each cycle, which affects four subsystems: Individual, interaction, team, and organization.

Strategic Initiatives

Top managers identified the initiatives that they considered most critical to the business imperatives. These were then plotted against the list of middle managers. For each of the eight initiatives identified, a top manager was designated as its team sponsor and members of a small group of middle managers were assigned as team members. The coaching process was designed to drive the development of required competencies and to provide support to each team.

Kick-off Meeting

In June 2006, during the kick-off meeting, the CEO explained his vision for the company and the implications of the three imperatives. Then, each sponsor presented the main objective and expected deliverables for the respective initiative. An open discussion followed these presentations, and it became clear that deliverables for each team should include a detailed analysis of the current and desired situation, as well as an action plan.

The coaching process and objectives of the process were then explained to all teams. These were:

  • To develop the coaching competencies of top management
  • To develop the leadership and managerial skills of middle management
  • To practice the new skills in the strategic initiative teams
  • To achieve the deliverables in each initiative with the result that the company would align and move towards the business imperatives

The Coaching Process

The coaching process considered the interventions of both the top-management team and middle managers.

The Top-Management Team

The top-management team participated in both group and individual coaching. The Caliper Profile was used to help each sponsor understand his/her motivators and behaviors and to devise an action plan for consolidating strengths and managing behavioral opportunities.

Each sponsor had four individual coaching sessions with the business coach. These were built around the individual's development plan. The team profile was used to help team members understand the opportunities they had to improve and to provide support to the sponsors of each initiative. During several sessions feedforward was used. This methodology emphasizes future opportunities rather than rehashing old events.2

Middle Managers

Using the 360 diagnosis, five competencies were identified that were important for the middle managers to develop: Alignment to strategy, leadership skills, service orientation to clients, development of high-performing teams, and change management. A one-day workshop was structured for each of these topics.

The Coaching Model

The chart below shows the coaching model.

The Value Delivered

Coaching Process Follow-up

Each team met as necessary to work on the initiatives. The sponsor was available as needed and functioned as the team guide. Each sponsor had several individual coaching sessions around his/her leadership, which included improving support for initiative team members. Sponsors also provided coaching to their teams.

Dr. Olascoaga held three sessions with each sponsor and his/her team to review progress on both task and team process issues. During the sessions, teams discussed the learning experience, and identified practical applications of included concepts and exercises. They reviewed their progress, identifying possible improvements for the next workshop.

Comments and suggestions from middle managers and sponsors were analyzed during top management sessions, and two-way communication was encouraged between top and middle managers.

Coaching Process Evaluation

In addition to session evaluations, a final evaluation was included at the end of the last workshop. Most teams reported improvement. The following table shows the average results from each team.

Issue

Level of improvement

Trust

37%

Support

41%

Open communication

32%

Listening

30%

Strategic goals understanding

35%

Commitment to goal achievement

26%

Conflict management

26%

Use of skills and competencies

32%

Follow-up of action plans

42%

Commitment to quality

27%

Image projected to co-workers

27%

Achieved results

38%

 

During the last team coaching session, participants analyzed which expectations were achieved and which were below their expectations.

They recognized improvements in the following:

  • Satisfaction for participating and delivering results through a strategic project that challenged their assumptions
  • Awareness of leadership strengths and weaknesses and learning process for competencies development
  • Interdisciplinary team performance
  • Change management
  • Market understanding
  • Customer service orientation
  • Strategic thinking
  • Commitment to explore business alternatives
  • Global potential
  • Celebration of initial results
  • Clarification of implementation plans

Expectations not met included the following:

  • Participation of some team members
  • Co-ordination and support from some sponsors
  • Some projects did not achieve the required level of results
  • Time spent on each project

Suggestions for improving the learning process included the following:

  • Clarify objectives of strategic initiatives earlier
  • Develop common vision for each project
  • Identify resources required for each initiative
  • Identify empowerment levels required to speed up the change process
  • Increase the interaction among top management and middle management

Celebration

Top management suggested keeping track of the level of progress and making a formal evaluation of each team in order to award a symbolic prize to the best team. This helped organization leaders reinforce awareness, feedforward, and recognition skills, and team members appreciated and enjoyed the process.

Follow-up

Though the merge with T-Systems affected the expected implementation, most teams are applying their strategic initiatives according to the action plans. Top management will initiate the next collaborative research cycle and has identified specific coaching needs for 2007. The plans have been approved to reinforce the needs of key leaders and teams in order that they continue acting on the strategic imperatives.

Coghlan, D. 2001. "Putting 'Research' Back into OD and Action Research: A Call to OD Practitioners."Organization Development Journal, 20 (1), 62-65. See also, Coghlan, D., & Brannick, T. 2001. Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Goldsmith, M. Feb. 2003."Feedforward" Executive Excellence; 20, 2; ABI/INFORM Global pg. 15

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (Fall Issue 2007, Volume 3, Issue 3). Copyright © 2013 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

Ernesto Olascoaga(Mexico), is the founder and CEO of Grupo Visión Global (GVG), a consulting firm since 1976. With more than 30 years of experience as a business coach and consultant, Ernesto specializes in strategic change management, leadership development and process redesign for collaborative work systems. Read more about Ernesto in the WABC Coach Directory. Ernesto can be reached by email at eolascoaga@gvg.com.mx.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.