An institution needs to develop their senior leadership team and is very interested in the “Good-to-Great Leadership Class 1: Focus on the Big Picture, Be Effective.” Although I am flattered, this is not to most efficient way to build leaders and optimize top team performance management. Many people are also interested in our article, “4 Keys to Optimize Top Team Performance (Corporate Leadership Development).” Let’s use this case to explore how to implement the 4 key points previously laid out there.
Focus on the shifts that matter and the holes that can sink your boat.
Missing the big picture is a behavior that can have many underlying causes and require different solutions. For example, tunnel vision and poor knowledge can often be fixed through professional and psychological training. However, if the root cause is poor energy and spirit restoration, even the top MBA in the world will only waste time. What’s more, focusing on the big picture alone cannot guarantee success in execution if it’s not met with the right leadership styles, conflict management, resilience, etc.
To help a leader focus on the big picture, we first need to identify what is holding the person back. After that, time and the individual’s potential and motivation will determine how to manage the issue wisely. We can target the issue with the right tools if personal and business resources allow. It is wise to find alternatives when there are no fast solutions for the underlying issues. In addition, not all development needs are equally significant to every position; the right placement is the key.
While top teams can have different development needs to fulfill their daily roles, new needs can also emerge as environments change, which can cause something insignificant to become significant.
For example, an institution opened a new subsidiary and promoted a marketing executive to be its CEO due to his years of global marketing experience, dedication to his past roles, willingness to take risks and strong teamwork. However, this person limited his vision with his knowledge base, and struggled with conflict management.
In fact, his leadership development needs could have remained insignificant — until he was promoted to CEO. Could self-awareness and a learning mindset be enough to help him? No. First, he need to have his learning needs identified precisely, so he can learn as easy and fast as possible. Second, he need to be motivated to learn and adapt to his new role. That’s why it would be wise to know these new development needs ahead of time.
Catch development needs before a 360-degree assessment, and deliver training to address root causes.
Each person has six quotients (Q): Intelligence Q, Emotional Q, Learning Q, Adversity Q, Public Influence Q and Health Q. Issues at the top level are often complex and involve 6Q. IQ, EQ and behavior tools alone that top MBAs and most institutions use can make complex issues “intractable.” However, many executives are so used to slow or poor results that they stop searching for faster and better results. This explains why only 13% of companies believe they are building effective global leaders, per a 2016 Deloitte survey.
In addition to daily business skills, like how to communicate and take feedback, leaders also need to use law, learn, relax, sleep, etc. If individuals cannot finish one of these significant processes due to some “missing software,” the whole project can be in jeopardy. Psychological and behavioral analysis are clever ways to analyze individuals without getting to their underlying structure. However, both can only see the new psychology and behavior after the person gets into a new position, which is also what a 360-degree assessment can observe.
By knowing the whole six-Q picture, however, we can catch most development needs before the 360-degree assessment occurs, make wise investments, and deliver training based on root causes. The core assessment is called the Executive 6Q Assessment. Can we anticipate every development need? Not until we have a direct line with the God, but it is wise to learn how to be highly effective before the storm hits. There is then no need to babysit a top team unless their challenges or environments change.
Use the right formula in people analytics.
There is no doubt that people analytics enhance top team performance management. However, because individuals can have different development needs, it is important to recognize the right rules and target issues with the right tools. There is no one perfect tool for everyone, including motivation.
Our studies have found that many leaders — from CEOs to CFOs to CHOs — try to motivate their teams when the teams are too tired, which does not increase productivity but instead increases the chances of turnover and stress-related health issues. Instead, the leader should look to relieve stress by letting the team take a break or bringing some snacks.
A lack of deep knowledge of talent affects how leaders task talent, inspire others, manage conflicts, execute strategies and more. These areas are rooted in traditional training, which is what I’m determined to change.
Integrate learning with practices and involve senior leaders.
Practices at work are valuable but unavailable to everyone, and they can be inconsistent. Thus, corporate leadership development must integrate learning with practices to rapidly turn that learning into action. Usually, the less a person needs to learn, the better the person can learn; therefore, it is important to identify the needs precisely. In the meantime, learning is another whole-6Q approach where every element (e.g., learning preference and talent type) can impact the outcome.
Research from McKinsey found that “successful leadership-development programs were roughly five to six times more likely to involve senior leaders acting as project sponsors, mentors, and coaches.” Why? Because senior leaders know what matters to the company and can be good role models.
Speed, results and costs matter.
Top team performance management is critical to business success. The corporate leadership development can have a fast and lasting impact through the right approach:
1. Identify the development needs of a leader before the 360-degree assessment, make wise investments and deliver training that addresses root causes.
2. Make learning as easy and fast as possible.
3. Integrate learning with practices and involve senior leaders
Through the above steps, we often can save 50% of the time, be 10 times faster sometimes, and find efficient solutions to 30-40% intractable issues where traditional methods fall short.
The article first appeared on Forbes and then published on Chief Learning Officer.
About the Author
Bin Yang is a global CEO adviser, leadership Doctor and the Managing Director of The Prince Synergy (www.theprincesynergy.com), a leading consulting firm that focuses on building exceptional leaders and optimizing top team performance, and solves the hardest issues that no one else can. She is also the author of What Stop Leaders from Good to Great, Take Your Leadership to Level Five. If you’d like to learn how to increase your 6Q, including IQ and EQ, consider reading the life stories in the book, joining their webinars, trying their mini quizzes and group classes. For more information or to schedule an interview, lecture, or appointment, please contact 310-668-1828.