Run - Grow - Transform

Run your business

The leadership jigsaw

When scientists are asked what they are working on, their response is seldom ‘Finding the origin of the universe’ or ‘Seeking to cure cancer.’ Usually, they will claim to be tackling a very specific problem – a small piece of the jigsaw that builds up the big picture.” (Martin Rees).

Leadership might be thought of rather like a jigsaw. We have lots of pieces which need to fit together to allow us to see the whole picture. Alone, each piece is unlikely to tell us anything, although they may hint at our end result. If any of the pieces are missing, we have trouble in putting the whole thing together. If pieces are damaged, they may go into the wrong place or get squeezed uncomfortably into a gap. What then? Well, we could do a huge amount of work only to find that the end result looks most odd. It isn’t hard to relate this analogy to leadership in any organisation. The pieces might represent skills such as communication, strategic thinking or decision-making and they all need to fit together to make an effective whole. There is no single, isolated key to success. The healthy development of a variety of leadership skills and experiences is essential for the success of individuals, teams and the organisations in which they work. Sometimes, it just needs an external perspective to help visualise this and create the confidence to make it happen. This is where we step in with leadership coaching.

Creating the picture

First of all, at ARPAL, we love the idea that the boss should be taking the ‘balcony view’. It is from here that there is sight of everything that’s happening; if you jump off the balcony into the melee to sort something out it means this overview is lost. Once the work comes into sight from your new perspective, your resources for getting the work done will also be more visible. They may be clear to see, but it might be that they are hidden from view. Have a look: is there someone with hidden skills or a desire to do more, to take on new responsibilities or tasks; or maybe it’s just a question of readjusting priorities or changing old work habits. It might be that you have to look elsewhere, but from the balcony you will have a much better view. You’d probably be amazed at how much skill and experience you have personally and within your organisation: it is just a question of seeing it, finding it by coming at it from a different direction. This is the power of great coaching conversations: they can flip your perspective right around …

‘It’s the job that’s never started that takes the longest to finish.”

J.R.R. Tolkein

Grow your business

Ok, so the business is running.  Two key challenges raise their heads: ‘How do I keep it running smoothly?’ and  ‘How am I going to grow it to the next stage?’.

I want! …The future dream

What is your ambition for the organisation? What is your goal? your vision? A superficially simple question, but surprisingly difficult to share effectively. It is not just about the outcome, it’s about the path that you take to reach your points of success. This is so often where people start to see things differently. The make-up of a vision and the journey to it are deeply entwined with the culture of your organisation. That is why putting it into words is a tough call. Defining it well means that your strategy for success will also become obvious.

Once you are clear on your strategy, your team will have something definite to work with and will be able to see their own part in it and what they need to do.

I can ... team effectiveness

If you’re surrounded by people with-drive, energy, know-how and resilience, the collective capacity of that team for success is huge. The challenge is often to get them treading the same path and making good use of their set of skills. Rather than thinking of ‘team-building’, think about the individuals. Consider how you can grow each team member in skills, experience, confidence, and ability. When each individual understands their own particular strengths and has the confidence to use them to complement the qualities of their colleagues – then you have a real TEAM. A group who have trust and shared culture. A group that can really make things happen.

“Keep away from those who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great.”

Mark Twain

Transform your business

The motto of Everton FC is ‘Nil satis nisi optimum’- worth bearing in mind for your business.: ‘nothing but the best is good enough’.

Facing up to change

In 2005 Alan Deutschman coined the phrase ‘Change or Die’ and went on to argue that even if faced with a preventable life-altering disease, 9 out of 10 people would make no lifestyle change.  And, we argue, organisations may well be the same.

The world, our economic and market environments, lifestyle choices and social habits are all changing: if our businesses don’t change too, they will fall behind.

Is necessity the mother of invention?

If she is, then we are too late….. The best organisations are ahead of the game; devising new systems to be quicker, more agile, more efficient, creating new products, new services, new ways to keep customers happy. This takes understanding combined with creativity and confidence. All those jigsaw pieces that you fitted together have made a picture, but not the final one. They need to develop, become something more, look better and BE better.

If we imagine two strands of development – your organisation itself and the people who make it what it is – both need nurturing. This is the crux point. Change is never easy, but it is ever present. The way that change is viewed and managed will depend upon your organisation’s culture: there is no single answer; no set ‘Best Way’. Good communication, great teams and a clear vision will all help to make change just what it should be: challenging but not threatening, profitable but not greedy and manageable but not diluted. It is often at this pivot point that teams really start to need the external support of coaching, personal development, and team building.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Barack Obama

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