Dave on April 28, 2011
My daughter and her partner took over the management of a pub last week and the machinations of their installation were quite incredible to observe, as much from a professional perspective as from a parental one. My primary concerns don’t lie with my confidence in their abilities, neither, believe it or not, with the apparent parlous state of the pub industry but with the pub owning companies or corporations who dominate and generally control the industry.
From what I can gather, the minimum qualification and experience required to obtain both a licence and a pub are quite exasperatingly little when considering the nature of pub management. The challenges of this business include keeping abreast of and complying with ever changing and demanding mandatory and or statutory regulations, staff supervision, customer relations, stock management, buildings management and maintenance, etc. Even the smallest of pubs is, in effect, quite a complex small business operating in an extremely challenging environment. Furthermore, the minimalistic requirements appear to be matched by the apparent support provided by the owning organisations. Without the challenges presented by the current economic climate I believe the existing requirements and provision of support in the pub industry are more inclined to contribute to failure than success - in any event.
I recently read the current rate of pub closures is around 25 per week, down form around 40 per week last year when about 13000 jobs were lost due to the closure of around 1300 pubs. This is quite grim reading, especially for those embarking on or contemplating a career in the pub industry. This said, I genuinely believe just about every challenge presents an opportunity – even pub management. It all depends upon appropriate perspective and preparedness which good leadership ensures.
Posted in: Leadership
Phil on April 25, 2011
As a leader how well do you do? Easy ask your workforce and generally if you, the leader, ask they will tell you the good bits that you do well. But how often do people tell their bosses their weaknesses? It is not generally a career enhancing move and if it does happen it happens because of high emotion or alcohol when it is delivered in its least effective way.
So how can a leader measure their effectiveness? Leadership cannot be easily quantified as there are so many variables that need to be brought into the equation and as leadership is about motivating and inspiring many of the calls are qualitative rather than quantifiable in their measurement.
As leaders generally have some form of control over those they lead few people are rarely honest about their boss. I think David Ogilvy’s quote on market research is never more true than when asking about someone’s boss.
“The trouble ………….is that people don’t think how they feel, they don’t say what they think and they don’t do what they say.”
People seem to develop an allegiance to their leader and this allegiance is often achieved in the early days of a leadership relationship when a group accepts a leader. However, once the leader is established the group begins to follow the leader unquestioningly and that is why so many strong and good intentioned leaders so often inadvertently stray from the path of righteousness.
Leaders need challenge if they are to be at the peak of their game and that challenge has to test their mettle. The problem is most of us find challenge uncomfortable and we normally rid ourselves of those who challenge us for fear of being usurped.
So leaders have difficulty with challenge from within the team; therefore perhaps self challenge is the answer? Well it is if you are able to keep it up, but we all know from our physical training that we are generally much more effective when we are encouraged and cajoled to greater effort. So perhaps a challenging mentor is the answer, but a mentor can be expensive and some are better than others. They also need to really understand the issues if they are to challenge effectively.
Leaders need to be able to be challenged and the safest challenge is an inanimate challenge that can be achieved through an effective means of measuring leadership efficacy. A measurement that includes objective and subjective data and one that assesses a leader and their effect.
We at Sampson Hall have developed such a tool that is non-judgemental, a tool that identifies opportunities within an organisation, a tool that measures and tracks progress, a tool that enables the diagnoses of the causes of a situation rather that just treating the symptoms that manifest themselves.
Posted in: Leadership, Leadership efficacy, Learning, Motivation
Phil on April 16, 2011
We live in a target rich environment. Targets for this and targets for that but what do targets do to people? Targets are the domain of managers they assist in policing productivity whilst vision through inspiration is the domain of leaders. So why is that and why do businesses remain focused on targets when other motivators can be so much more effective?
Change your thoughts and you change your world. – Norman Vincent Peale
A target is set and predictable it is a way of motivating people to perform and monitoring performance. A target unless regularly reviewed is a glimpse from the past into a predicted future; so how accurate can it be? Now what happens to the individual owner of that target if the target is achieved and even more importantly what happens when the target is not achieved? It becomes a de-motivator as the subject relaxes as they reach it or become disillusioned when they don’t. So it can cut both ways.
Targets belong in a world where trust does not exist and they can be very useful when used in particular scenarios but there are other more effective and liberating ways.
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. – Peter F. Drucker
Life is about continuous improvement, striving to be better just look at the continuous progress made by athletes as world records are broken. Look at organisations and businesses that free up their people and optimise their people’s power to deliver constant improvement. Free from targets they can exploit things further they can truly achieve and go beyond the expected.
Great moments are born from great opportunities. Herb Brooks
……..and not great targets.
Posted in: Empowerment, Leadership, Motivation, Organisational Change or Transformation, Uncategorized
Phil on April 5, 2011
Leadership as we all know comes in different shapes and sizes to suit different environments and situations. Situational leadership is key to good leadership and a good leader uses their judgement to apply the right style, to the right team, in the right situation at the right time. Now that is all very easy if you are the leader of a small independent team or organisation. But as a middle ranking leader in a large organisation you have to fit in to the organisational culture, unless you have a proven pedigree that is appreciated from on high.
Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules. – J. D. Salinger
Leadership and leaders have to fit an organisation and hence unfortunately it is very difficult to exercise true change leadership from within. The tempo and the requirement generally come from without either as a new senior leader joins or a set of circumstances force change. It is here that leaders experience real challenge and it is here that true leaders who are original thinkers stand out. Unfortunately conformism is not required when leading change particularly if that change is significant.
In large organisations leaders are in competition with their peers for promotion, monetary rewards and status. Most of those recognised and rewarded for their leadership are identified by superiors who have already conformed to achieve their position and use their own values to select potential followers hence they are looking for ‘mini me’s’. So how does a large organisation change to preserve its position vis a vis its competitors without outside influence?- ask Woolworths, ask Zavi ask some of the Government supported Banks after the Credit Crisis.
For me true empowerment and a drive for continuous improvement are key. Leaders have to learn to be brave, they have to learn to trust their staff and to empower their staff to maintain continuous improvement. After all in the information age it is not so much the big that eat the small as it is the quick that eat the slow. Large autocratic organisations become ponderous as control is exercised from the top with decisions being referred up and decisions promulgated down; where conformism is rewarded as traditions are maintained and change challenged and beaten off as hastily as possible.
Successful organisations allow and empower people to develop and implement their ideas. They allow individuals to grow within the organisation. They encourage diversity and challenge stagnation. They share power and prevent the weed that first entwines then suffocates progress known as bureaucracy from taking root within the organisation. Bureaucracy lives in large autocratic organisations because it has to but when it feeds on itself it destroys the organisation it lives in.
Large organisations need to learn to truly empower if they are going to have longevity as unforeseen targets are very difficult to set.
Posted in: Empowerment, Leadership, Learning, Organisational Change or Transformation, Uncategorized