Monday, 22 October 2012

Strengths and the Organisation

In 1997, David Maister told us in True Professionalism that in order for a team to provide value above and beyond the talents of the individuals within it, it needed to provide the right conditions for talent to flourish. He offers some possible ways in which we can do this:
  • provide professionals with the benefit of shared skills and experiences within the practice group
  • back up the professional with investments in shared tools, methodologies, templates, research, etc
  • facilitate access to the skills of others in different disciplines
  • establish procedures to produce well trained junior professionals
  • achieve a high level of referrals, cross-selling, and clients of other professionals 
  • provide superior support staff and systems, to facilitate conduct of the practice
  • instill a system of supportive, but challenging, coaching to bring out the best in each professional
  • create an emotionally supportive 'collegial' environment
  • provide for diversification of personal risk - in good times and bad
  • establish a powerful brand name that makes marketing easier
Upon re-reading some of his work over the weekend, I was struck both by the 'obvious' nature of this advice and the relative scarcity of practice. I wonder what we are working on as leaders, this week, that will enable the talent within our teams to do their best?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Strengths and Education

With education being very much back on the political agenda it is important to consider the impact of the environment that schools create for children along with the more tangible  elements of excellence, such as the syllabus and exam processes. In every way, these are the more obvious and traditional targets for change. So what are the characteristics of a positive learning environment for children? What cultural elements do we need to put in place in order for children to be inner-motivated to give their best? Child Psychologist Jenni Hooper offers some sound advice in this blog post.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Getting the Balance Right

Helping leaders to get the balance right for them between leading with their strengths, and managing or working on their weaknesses, can be challenging. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman provide some useful perspective on this issue in this recent HBR blog post. They argue that if leaders are to be successful they should first address 'fatal flaws' and then lead with a suite of strengths, not focusing on one thing alone. Take a look.