Make it safe to fail. That works well until there is an actual failure, leading to a genuine loss.
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Those who fail often suffer in terms of promotion and reward, if not worse. You must enshrine acceptance of failure — and willingness to admit failure early — in the practices and processes of the company, including the appraisal and promotion processes. For example, return-on-investment calculations need to assess results in a way that reflects the agreed-upon objectives, which may have been deliberately designed to include risk. Strategic leaders cannot learn only from efforts that succeed; they need to recognize the types of failures that turn into successes. They also need to learn how to manage the tensions associated with uncertainty, and how to recover from failure to try new ventures again.
Honda is one enterprise that has taken this approach to heart. Like several other industrial companies, the automaker has had a dramatic, visible failure in recent years. The installation of faulty equipment from its favored airbag supplier, Takata, has led Honda to recall about 8. The problem was the lack of attention to the failure at an early stage, when it could have been much more easily corrected.
Provide access to other strategists. Give potential strategic leaders the opportunity to meet and work with their peers across the organization. Otherwise, they remain hidden from one another, and may feel isolated or alone. The first step is to find them. Strategic leaders may not be fully aware themselves that they are distinctive. But others on their team, and their bosses, tend to recognize their unique talents. Instead, cultivate the idea that many managers, perhaps even most, have the potential to become strategic leaders.
Then bring the first group together. Invite them to learn from one another, and to explore ways of fostering a more strategic environment in the rest of the enterprise. Develop opportunities for experience-based learning.
The vast majority of professional leadership development is informative as opposed to experiential. Although traditional leadership training can develop good managerial skills, strategists need experience to live up to their potential.
Bring together a team of potential strategic leaders with a collective assignment: to create a fully developed solution to a problem or to design a new critical capability and the way to generate it. Give them a small budget and a preliminary deadline. Have them draw plans and financial estimates of their solutions. Then run the estimates through an in-depth analysis.
This project might include a simulation exercise, constructed with the kind of systems simulation software that has been used to model and participate in wargames since the s. You can also let reality be their practice field. Have them create the new capability or initiative on a small scale, and put it into effect. Then track the results assiduously. Assign mentors with experience to help them make the most of their effort — without sidetracking it.
Whether you set up the project in reality or as a simulation, the next step should be the same. Schedule a series of intensive discussions about the results. Explore why these results appeared, what the team might have done differently, and how things could be different in the future if the group changed some of the variables.
The goal is to cultivate a better understanding than would be possible without this type of reflection, and to use that understanding as the basis for future efforts. Hire for transformation. Hiring decisions should be based on careful considerations of capabilities and experiences, and should aim for diversity to overcome the natural tendency of managers to select people much like themselves.
The better they are at keeping near and far points of view simultaneously available, the better their potential to be strategic leaders.ispassociation.org/cache/ist-es/iphone-6-orten-mit-android.html
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For those hired, the on-boarding processes should send explicit signals that they can experiment, take on more responsibility, and do more to help transform the organization than they could in their previous career. They need to feel that the culture is open to change and to diverse views. The final three principles are aimed at the potential strategic leaders themselves. Following these tactics can help them prepare for their personal evolution.
Bring your whole self to work. Strategic leaders understand that to tackle the most demanding situations and problems, they need to draw on everything they have learned in their lives. They want to tap into their full set of capabilities, interests, experiences, and passions to come up with innovative solutions. Significantly, they encourage the people who report to them to do the same. In so doing, strategic leaders create a lower-stress environment, because no one is pretending to be someone else; people take responsibility for who they truly are.
This creates an honest and authentic environment in which people can share their motivations and capabilities, as well as the enablers and constraints in their life.
Find time to reflect. Your goal in reflection is to raise your game in double-loop learning. Question the way in which you question things. Solve the problems inherent in the way you problem-solve. Start with single-loop learning, and then move to double-loop learning by taking the time to think: Why did I make that decision? What are the implications?
What would I do differently next time? How am I going to apply this learning going forward?
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Reflection helps you learn from your mistakes, but it also gives you time to figure out the value of your aspirations, and whether you can raise them higher. It allows you the chance to spot great ideas using what you are already doing or things that are going on in your life. Managers are often caught up in the pressures of the moment. A mistake or a high-pressure project can feel overwhelming. But if you take a minute to step back and reflect on these problems, it can provide the space to see what you did right. Some reflection is more productive than others. To avoid this pattern, deliberately give yourself a constructive question to reflect on.
For example, what are the capabilities we need to build next? How can I best contribute? Human capital teams can help by training individuals in these practices and ensuring that all managers support their team members who take the time to reflect. Recognize leadership development as an ongoing practice. Strategists have the humility and intelligence to realize that their learning and development is never done, however experienced they may be.
This characteristic has the added benefit of allowing other people to be the expert in some circumstances. In that way, strategic leaders make it easy for others to share ideas by encouraging new ways of thinking and explicitly asking for advice. Their thirst for learning also gives potential strategists the space to be open to less obvious career opportunities — new industries, different types of roles, lateral moves, stretch assignments, secondments, or project roles — that may help them fulfill their potential.
At some point, you may advance to the point where you are not concerned solely with your own role as a strategic leader, but also with cultivating opportunities for others. This will require a clear-eyed, reflective view of the talent pool around you. Or, worse, to learn that the people with the potential to demonstrate leadership feel constrained by current organizational practices, and they are taking their talents elsewhere.
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Ears wide open Voice-activated technology and devices are creating new media, entertainment, and marketing businesses built on the age-old power of simply listening. Current Issue. Diversifying the high-tech talent pool Ears wide open. Illustration by Lars Leetaru. For example, there might be a plant manager who has potential for promotion but has lived all his life in a small Southern community.
Having identified him as someone with high potential, Sonoco can design a particularly tempting assignment, one that would be difficult for him to pass up. Many companies use a matrix to look at the individual strengths and weaknesses of employees in linchpin positions and to assess the strength of an entire group. The matrix shown here is an example of a tool used by Bank of America to review its talent pool the names have been changed. This type of matrix is typical of the tools we found in the best-practice organizations we studied. The vertical axis tracks performance results.
One major national retailer, which was having difficulty finding talented people to fill a broad range of management roles from the officer level all the way down to the regional managers, decided to deal with this situation by treating all those roles as linchpin positions. The company began conducting talent review sessions for these positions, during which HR managers and the executives responsible for the roles discussed the people currently in the positions and their likely replacements which were few. In the process, they learned that these positions were generally filled through serendipity—when a job opened up, it went to whoever was on the radar screen.
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Today the company has a systematic approach to building the pipeline, which allows it to gauge bench strength more accurately, and it now uses the regional manager role as a way to give promising store managers developmental experiences that will groom them for more senior roles. It allows for last-minute changes of heart without the need to deal with dashed expectations or angry reactions.
A transparent succession management system is not just about being honest.