THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – What are the inseparable elements of change leadership?

Screen Shot 2012-12-18 at 10.49.01

Change, it seems, is all around us.  Many organisations I come into contact with are experiencing unprecedented change at this present time with progress being patchy and personal reaction to the required change being highly variable.  So the leadership of those changes is of vital importance – perhaps like never before.

There are three essential competencies a leader of change needs to have. First off, leaders of change need to be competent in:

Systems thinking:

  • Who/what/how dimensions of change;
  • Cognisant of the fact that the weakest link in the overall change required, will limit operational performance in order to take people with you; and
  • Ability to put into place the 5 essential elements of successful change, being:
  • vision/skills/incentives/resources/action plans, because
  • without all 5 elements, successful change won’t happen.
Employee engagement
  • EQ – higher discretionary effort is required in the area of emotional intelligence;
  • Some managers are good technically but not with people.  It then falls on the leader to bridge that gap; and
  • Use hard evidence with those that think OD is fluffy!  A leader who can influence the environment to instigate all 5 elements mentioned above will generate true benefits to the change process and reduce their managers time in having to deal with missing links.
Change management
  • Either bringing in or developing the skills and competencies to effect change is absolutely vital.  Without it, a leader will produce anxiety;
  • Developing and embedding the vision and relevant resources for the future organisation design are essential elements a leader can drive.  Without them the change process will produce nothing more than confusion and frustration;
  • Without a leader delivering clear and regular internal communication to staff, bringing the workforce with the changes and putting in place resources for them to deliver the required changes, then there will be only slow, gradual change, even falling into false starts time and time again;
  • Action planning is essential, and staff need to be involved in this not merely informed.  Realistic action planning is a skilled function, the absence of which will result in anxiety and repeated false starts.  In turn this will result in a total lack of leadership credibility and a universal response of “so this is the next fad” attitude from the workforce.

Are you a leader with these three core competencies and if so, do you always ensure the 5 essential elements of change are in place for successful change to take place?  You would be surprised how many people answer yes to the former and are completely in the dark over the latter!

Mentorship & Me – Part 15 – Peggy Edwards – Reflection

IMG_1496After spending some idilic time wondering around the Aresko estate, my latest  mentorship session took a reflective view of progress to date. We have now reached a point in our sessions where there are less ‘what am I going to do with you’ comments and far more ‘thats good’. My reflection skills have improved to the point where I have stopped rocking in a corner and my mentor has to drag painful self analysis out of me, to an ability to recognise what I wasn’t doing so well in the past. I hope others have seen a change in me, I know I certainly view my professional life so differently now. Little things which seem to dominate my personality have now gone; the pressure of my in box, my constant to-do lists, my need to read and research things to the minute detail. I am developing ways of seeing myself from another view point, spending time reflecting on how I can do things differently and how others traits can influence me and how I can then influence them. Without mentorship I would still be stuck with the attitude of ‘this is me and they have to get over it’  and wondering why I could never seem to get things quite right. Now I can see more clearly how what I do makes a difference. Onwards and upwards……………well there are some lovely hills on the estate.

THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – How do you win people over?


We’ve spent a couple of weeks now thinking about how to give and receive feedback.  There are a few things you can do to improve both and this week, we look at 10 simple ways to build effective working relationships with your manager, or indeed any stakeholder you are working closely with.  The essence is, of course, achieving clarity of role and purpose, with a view to keeping a keen eye on that all important “Habit 5 – Seek first to understand then to be understood.”

“So what are the 10 Simple Questions That Will Win Over Your Manager/Key Stakeholder?”

  1. Ask what he thinks you can do to be more effective.
  2. Ask what her top three priorities or goals are.
  3. Ask what you can do to make him more effective.
  4. Ask what you can do to make the team more effective.
  5. Ask if he’s interested in knowing what will make your job easier.
  6. Ask what her take is on the organisation’s top priorities and goals.
  7. Ask what he thinks you should do differently or improve upon to be more effective.
  8. Ask if she’d like to meet periodically, one-on-one, and if so, how frequently and what format would she like the meeting to take. Then set it up.
  9. Ask what his philosophy is on your shared functional responsibility, whatever that is, i.e. marketing, HR, IT, engineering, finance.

And, if the meeting’s open-form and you feel it’s appropriate, ask about his/her background. Most people like to talk about themselves and how they got there, as long as they don’t feel like they’re being grilled, pumped for information, or played in some way.

So get practicing these basics of building a great relationship – and let me know how it goes.

Aresko Has Relocated


We have finally relocated and are now based near Llandovery, South Wales.

New contact details are as follows:

Telephone : 01550 720902

mobile : 07932 641313

Mail :

Skype : areskoltd

Facebook :

Twitter : @AreskoLtd

What better place is there than the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park, to come and be coached/mentored/or for some serious leadership development?

We come to you too of course, but think about creating that all important time and space for serious personal reflection in surroundings that are second to none (accommodation available)!

THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – Giving and Receiving Feedback – Part 2

Last week, we started looking at simple steps to perfect the art of both giving and receiving feedback.  Getting it wrong, either way, is not worth thinking about. So this week we put ourselves in the shoes of being the receiver and we discuss:

“How will we respond to feedback in the future? 

First and foremost, feedback is NOT disapproval, criticism or a personal attack.  It should be given for improvement purposes.  It should be both constructive and consistent, offered by someone in an informed position, and then it can be useful.  Therefore, it should be focussed on those things that you do which impact on others and goes to the route of your personal effectiveness in this respect.

I don’t know one single soul who wouldn’t find critical feedback difficult to receive.  It’s hard to maintain a non-defensive and open attitude, as the implication is that we are flawed or wrong.  So there are various things you can do with feedback, however it is delivered:

  1. accept it, and act upon it;
  2. refuse to accept it and bin it; or
  3. hear it and file it for a later date.

Have you got examples of when you’ve utilised all three strategies?  Lets focus on the positive ways of receiving feedback this week, and these include:

  • Open: Listen without frequent interruption or objections
  • Responsive: Willing to hear what’s being said without turning the table.
  • Accepting: Accept the feedback, without denial.
  • Respectful: Recognise the value of what is being said and the speaker’s right to say it.
  • Engaged: Interact appropriately with the speaker, asking for clarification when needed.
  • Active listening: Listen carefully and tries to understand the meaning of the feedback.
  • Thoughtful: Try to understand the personal behaviour that has led to the feedback.
  • Interested: Be genuinely interested in getting feedback.
  • Sincere: Genuinely want to make personal changes if appropriate.

Clearly this suggests that Option 1 is the most effective.  However, that only applies if it is delivered in the way we discussed last week.  Some folk can’t help being judgemental – it’s in their genes, and either they have not undertaken sufficient personal development to overcome that trait, or they themselves have chosen not to absorb and utilise that development to good effect.  Hence, Options 2 and 3 also exist, IT IS YOUR CHOICE in how you allow that feedback experience to impact upon you.

Historically, the gravity I’ve attached to it depends upon the rapport I have established with the person giving it.  It’s built on trust and respect so never neglect that aspect of building workplace relationships.

We shall look at the notion of trust as the founding principle in dysfunctional teams in weeks to come, so merely trailing it her.  This week, reflect upon examples of both good and poor reactions you’ve had wen receiving feedback in the past.  Analyse your reactions given what you have learned over the past 2 weeks and let me know what conclusions you come to.

%d bloggers like this: