Let’s Talk Leadership for the Digital Age
Podcast Show with Des Walsh
A 34 year command-level combat veteran of the Canadian Forces, Fred leads a consultancy team with an extensive arsenal of expertise for what he calls, “The Corporate Battlefield”. Fred has commanded everything from specialized strategic advisory teams of 20 to large multi-disciplinary task forces of 600, both at home in Canada and abroad in harm’s way. He was a highly experienced strategic planner in the Canadian Department of National Defence and has designed, managed and coordinated business plans, transformational “change management” campaigns and corporate level strategies with values in the billions of dollars.
A firm believer in the principle that “all strategic issues are leadership issues”, Fred has been used extensively in executive leadership consultancy and strategic planning capacity building portfolios at Head of State, Ministerial, Ambassadorial, CEO and Senior Executive levels in Canada, Africa and Afghanistan. He holds a Masters in Military Technology from the Royal Military College of Science in Shrivenham, a Baccalaureate of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Ottawa, and is a graduate of the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College Kingston, the UK’s Joint Command and Staff College and the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.
And as I’ve learnt from a number of extended conversations, Fred is a fund of information and wisdom about leadership.
Military Does Some Things Better
After leaving the military, and contemplating a new career in the private sector, Fred did “a complete environmental scan” and observed that:
- there are some things that the private sector does very well
- there are some things that the private sector does terribly
And he posed for himself the question of why they do those things terribly – and then why, in his perception, the military does them better. His conclusion:
“We do them better because we have certain tool sets and expertise that we build over decades of someone’s career that allows us to do these things.”
Several of those things “popped up” for him, including how people do intelligence.
“If we did intelligence in the military the way they do it in the private sector, we’d all be speaking Russian right now.”
Wargaming and Red Teaming
Fred’s company uses processes of wargaming and red teaming to help with strategic planning. He explained the difference.
Wargaming is where you get everybody included in the process and use techniques “to fix your plan and make sure everybody has unity of thought, purpose and plan before you execute it.”
Red teaming is “where you bring somebody in to make your plan fail”. In other words, put the plan under “extreme competitive stress”. (Sounds more interesting and useful than the Wikipedia definition I quoted in the podcast conversation!)
Does Culture Really Eat Strategy for Breakfast?
A statement often attributed to the late, great management expert Peter Drucker (1909-2005), is “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. It appears there is no verifiable evidence that Drucker ever said that. Fred expressed some strong views on how that statement has been used and reminded me of the blog post he wrote for LinkedIn on this some time ago: Culture doesn’t eat strategy for breakfast….but it will regularly feast on weak leadership and incoherent strategy
Listen for Fred’s demolition job on the stereotype of rigid, inflexible, unimaginative leadership in the military and the implicit corollary that military leadership doesn’t fit for the kind of agile, adaptable kind of leadership needed today in the business world.
“We teach adaptive leadership. You adapt your leadership style to a) the mission and b) the team. And that is as true in business as it is in battle.”
Emotional intelligence – something new? Fred explained how the fundamental concept is literally thousands of years old. The Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius had said one must know the emotional pulse of the empire. And from more recent times Fred had a quote from Clausewitz. on the moral (i.e. in modern parlance, psychological) aspects of war.
Do leaders today, in the age of digital disruption, need new leadership skills or time-honoured ones? One aspect of this is they have to be, or learn to be, leaders, and not get stuck as specialists. “The C-suite have to be strategically minded, not tactically minded”
A couple more items
Fred said “Everything I’ve learnt (in the military) has commercial potential”.
To his officers (in Burma, facing huge odds against the Japanese), Slim said:
“I tell you, as officers, that you will not eat nor drink, nor smoke, nor sit down, nor lean against a tree, until you have personally seen that your men have first had the chance to do those things. If you will do this for them, they will follow you to the ends of the earth, and if you fail to do so, I will bust you in front of your regiments.”
Follow up with Fred
If you think Fred and his team can help your company, organisation, government agency, get in touch with him, have a chat. If my experience is anything to go by, you will at least come away from a conversation with Fred knowing something new, or seeing something with a fresh perspective. Make contact with Fred through the website for Strategic Red Team Consulting at this link: http://stratredteam.com
And follow Fred on Twitter: @FM_Aubin
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Ian Sampson is Co-Founder and Director of Glanton Solutions, a company focused on implementing web and content management platforms for leading companies around the world. Glanton Solutions specialises in identity management and are passionate about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, especially Salesforce, and about how adopting a CRM system can transform companies.
Ian is a Chartered Accountant, with Honours degrees in Business and Finance from Rhodes University, but But his career has always been in technology. As a developer, analyst and architect he has innovated and designed technology solutions for some of the largest companies in the world.
Starting as an Audit Manager with Ernst & Young in South Africa, he has held senior roles in a range of companies, co-founded WebAdvantage and angel investor Accelerati, is an Ambassador for Wearable World and has played a very active role with peak regional information technology industry body, IT Forum Gold Coast.
Lessons about Leadership
Ian is clearly not enamored of traditional ideas of Leadership, in the sense of someone being the boss. He sees leadership more in terms of “getting in, getting your hands dirty, leading by example, working as a team”.
His exercise of volunteer leadership in the regional technology space was prompted by asking himself the question “What’s the ecosystem I want on my doorstep?” and then trying to do something about that.
He believes that leadership in the contemporary collaborative, co-creation space is about “finding ways to remove the roadblocks, letting people get on with what they want to do.”
Ian’s Comments on Australia and Innovation
Australia came through the Global Financial Crisis “relatively unscathed”: the rest of the world was scrambling to create new industries, IP – and to not lose the IP.
Recent years, in terms of government, represent missed opportunity, even damage done.
But the local Queensland State Government initiative Advance Queensland is a positive sign.
Some concern that the Federal government, in looking to other countries for ideas, is not focused on what we in Australia can do for ourselves.
“It very much seems to be ‘have a look over the fence and see what everyone else is doing’. ‘Look to New Zealand, the UK, the US. Look at these programs and bring them over here.’ That’s great, that’s safe. But if we’re just following how can we expect to lead in this digital innovation space?”
Optimistic about the Younger Generation, Concerned about the Education System
“I don’t think there’s a better time for people who are unencumbered (no mortgage, no school fees to pay etc) to have a go.”
Concerned that schools and teachers are not keeping up. It is not a time to stand still.
Startup Opportunities: Gold Coast vs Silicon Valley
For startups that need to scale, especially for the consumer market, Australia is too small and there is a need to go overseas.
May be different for B2B.
We do offer some natural advantages for tech companies:
Australia, and specifically the Gold Coast, great offering in terms of standard of living: and things we can do well in terms of apps for leading industries such as mining and tourism.
Asia offers huge potential as “a massive market you can supply to”
Automation – Internet of Things (IoT)
“Tall Poppy Syndrome”
Ian sees the Tall Poppy Syndrome, whereby “no Australian is permitted to assume that he or she is better than any other Australian” as a hindrance to innovation.
Need a cultural shift.
We need to celebrate success and celebrate people who are being successful.
Culture – leadership in creating and nurturing it
“You have to be completely transparent, honest, open, clear. If you’re going to set goals for a team, in a team, and people are going to do better than others, then be very clear about what those expectations are, how they’re going to be implemented.”
What’s keeping business leaders awake at night?
Ian turned this around to consider those who have a smooth running business and sleeping well and offered this wakeup observation: “if you’re not disrupting, you’re being disrupted”.
And these tips:
- Look at how technology can help you
- Look at what your competitors are doing
- A CRM system will transform your business (“staggered” at how few companies have one)
- Think about how you can reinvent your industry (a great idea here for how to do this bit)
Ian Sampson on LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/in/iansampson
Glanton Solutions: http://glanton.com
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Or, as expressed more elaborately on the company website, applying “proven mindfulness and meditation tools in the corporate setting to reduce stress, energise teams, unlock insight, tap into creativity and optimise decision making”.
Peter knows executive stress. For thirteen years and seven months, through the nineties and the first decade of the new century he was CEO of the Internet Industry Association of Australia (IIA).
IIA, now part of the Communications Alliance, was in its heyday the national industry body for internet commerce, content and connectivity and a key player in often intense public policy debates and manouevres over the commercial, legal and political implications of the information revolution.
These were “uncharted waters” and “highly political”.
With academic qualifications in science, the law and education, Peter was well equipped intellectually and in experience to take on the challenge of this new field. And he clearly enjoyed the challenge.
“We really felt like we were the vanguard of a new way – a new way of being, a new way of communicating.
“A lot of our role was educational – developing innovative, well-reasoned positions on social policies and the economic implications.”
Nothing is Wasted: Tackling the Spam Menace
In 1998, IIA developed a code of practice, designed to help deal with spam.
Peter applied a process which he had used successfully in the field of environmental pollution. There the aim had been to generate attention and action by showing the economic cost of not dealing with environmental pollution. With the internet industry there was (and is) an economic cost of spam. A campaign was launched with the aim of shifting the cost burden of spam from the consumer and from internet service providers to the spammers.
This experience taught Peter that “You can actually foster an appropriate way of thinking that gives you more predictable access to the lessons of the past. It gives you inspiration to innovate that would otherwise be quite random.”
Peter had learned to meditate in 1977 and then, after successfully encouraging his businessman father to meditate, he “glimpsed the applicability of these ancient techniques to modern corporate life”.
He attributes his capacity, over all those years as CEO of IIA, to sustain high levels of performance, in that turbulent environment, to his ability “to regularly enter a state of what we call stillness…”.
A couple of years on from IIA, the “tipping point” that moved him towards his current activity with SerenityWorks was in the form of developments in neuroscience with direct relevance to challenges faced by executives today, including:
- the ability to process a volume of information quickly
- maintaining focus and attention
- emotional control
- seeing things in perspective
- managing fear
“This whole meditation revolution (which is how it actually feels) feels surprisingly like the internet felt in 1997. It feels like we’re on the cusp of another huge wave now. And this time the revolution is around human consciousness and human performance, at the neurological level, but of course it’s supported by techniques that are thousands of years old.”
“The key to leadership these days is really having the courage to experiment, the courage to innovate.”
Eight Weeks to a Better Brain (Harvard Gazette – cites work of Sara Lazar)
Mindfulness can literally change your brain (Harvard Business Review)
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This week I had the pleasure of interviewing David Anstee co-founder of rapporr. David is a seasoned founder with CEO experience across start-ups, media and technology sectors. He founded and sold two media and communications businesses to establish Australia’s 2nd largest direct advertising agency.
He’s an active advisor, mentor and consultant focusing on business innovation, creativity and acceleration.
Social entrepreneurism is a bit of a buzz phrase in some circles, but David walks the talk in that department, as is evidenced in the fascinating story of the genesis and development of his current startup, rapporr, which he explains in the podcast.
Very early in his professional career David worked with American Express, then founded what was to become a leading Direct Response Advertising and Communications Group, with prestigious clients including American Express, British Airways, ANZ Bank, and Citibank. He then sold that to the McCann Erickson organisation and took leading roles with them. He later founded a new agency, MMI, which he built to become a leading provider of customer loyalty and membership marketing and network development services.
In short, he’s “been there, done that” in the leadership department and is still making good waves with his startup.
Key Lessons in Leadership
David shared the key lessons he has gleaned about leadership:
- Form a strong vision of what you want to build
- Focus on that vision
- Set a very high bar
- Continually reset that bar, with the people around you
- Attract the right team to achieve that
“I think that’s key, having the right people around you, not doing it all yourself. And inspiring people constantly, to jump over that bar. And constantly focus on that vision.”
“Always surround yourself with the right people, from the early days, not later on, (not) waiting for those people. Try and get the best people you possibly can get hold of when you are starting off the business.”
rapporr – the Story
When I met David for the first time, in Sydney a couple of weeks ago, I was fascinated by the genesis of his rapporr startup and asked him to tell that story again for the benefit of listeners to the podcast. The story involves David’s experience as a volunteer with a wonderful Australian organisation whose whole raison d’etre is literally saving lives, Surf Life Saving Australia.
In the podcast David explains how as a volunteer lifesaver (“lifeguard”) on Sydney’s famed Bondi Beach, and with his friend Peter Tippett, also a lifesaver there, they identified a problem patrol captains had in getting replacements when some members of their scheduled patrol indicated at the last minute that they would not be available – with 40,000 people expected on the beach the next day, getting replacements at such short notice had to be a big worry for the patrol captain. That was the inspiration for the rapporr application and platform, which David explains in the podcast.
The application is also being used by other organisations, including the inspirational Salvation Army volunteer Street Teams. and by small and large businesses. Having 100 languages available on the app is a bit help in a multicultural workforce typical of contemporary Sydney.
“(Rapporr) is all about a quick, more effective way to have access to information and to talk to the peole that matter about critical things and solve them in an expedient way.”
The New Australian Zeitgeist
The new Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been busy talking up his vision for the nation, with a more innovative, agile economy, recently chided a leader in the academic community for not picking up on the new zeitgeist. I asked David whether he thought that innovation message was getting any resonance in the business community. David was unequivocally sure it was. There was a “massive shift” happening in the corporate/investor attitude to innovation, a change in mindset. It’s an exciting time and we need more investment.
David spoke eloquently and from his personal and business experience of Australia as a “wonderful place to start a business”.
How Corporates can Address the Challenge of Disruption
Listen also to what he has to say when I ask how he would advise corporate leaders who are worried about disruption but hesitant to take action.
More about Rapporr
You can find out more about Rapporr and download the app free from the Apple Store or from the Google Play Store. And for questions, get in touch with the Rapporr people via the website.
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Boom Time for Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2014, corporate mergers and acquisitions (M&A) worldwide reached a seven year high of around $4 trillion. KPMG’s 2015 M&A Outlook Survey Report was headed “The Boom is Back: M&A Reemerges as Leading Growth Strategy”.
But even the most optimistic figures about mergers and acquisitions show that no more than 50% are successful. It’s clearly a high risk business move.
In this episode of Let’s Talk Leadership I cover some general issues affecting leadership of a merger and the key areas of leadership skill required.
The focus is on mergers rather than on acquisitions.
Key Points to Consider for Leading in a Merger
Reasons for the Merger
There can be a variety of reasons for a merger, but the particular reasons need to add up to an agreement between the merging companies that the merger makes sense because of:
• complementarity of the two businesses, pointing to a potentially profitable synergy
• improved market reach/impact, which will often include improved geographical reach
Every merger is a journey into uncharted territory.
The success of a merger will require purposeful, astute, agile, adaptive leadership, and leading from strength.
Leadership Skills for a Successful Merger
1. Negotiate the deal
- Open, comprehensive conversations before the deal is inked
- Look at risk as well as upside
2. Communicate the rationale
- A well articulated strategy for communication about the merger, especially for communication with employees of both companies, and with other stakeholders, including customers, suppliers and investors
- Regular discussions with key people in the newly merged firm
3. Oversee the logistics of change
Self-evident, but make sure it is in the to do list.
4. Manage the cultural adjustment and keep key staff engaged
Especially important for retaining the services and commitment of key people
5. Manage the evolving perception of differences
As time goes by some differences, previously accepted, can start to be seen as a liability
6. Be alert to changes in the external environment
Not every risk to a merger is from the internal dynamics of the merging and now merged company. External factors can play a big role.
7. Negotiate adjustments to goals and timetables for success
The world of business moves fast these days, with rapid changes in technology, modes of working, and society. Plans need to be adaptable.
The Linchpin Skill
The skill that holds all the others together that of managing the cultural adjustment.
Without systematic management of the cultural adjustment, it need not take long for initial enthusiasm about the merger to dissipate under the effect of some cultural dissonance or clash of personalities or professional styles.
Comments by Axel Schultze
Axel responded to a question of mine on Quora about key factors for leadership in a merger. He knows the terrain. Hehas been involved in about 10 mergers, takeovers etc. Companies in the $5 million to $50 million valuation range, in Europe and the US.
His key factors, in priority order:
- Cultural alignment
- Team integration
- Value maintenance
- Incremental value creation – innovation continuity
You can read Axel’s detailed answer at this Quora link.
Social Business Bites Newsletter
At the beginning of this week’s episode I spoke about my newsletter, Social Business Bites.
You can subscribe at this link.
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Back in 2004 Libsyn pioneered the system of hosting and publishing podcasts. That’s one year after LinkedIn launched and two years before Twitter was heard of.
In that time, Libsyn has grown to be the world’s largest podcast network, now hosting over 25,000 podcasts and with a monthly audience in excess of 44 million.
Rob has a degree in Engineering from the University of Dayton and an MBA from the University of Connecticut.
He’s had an awesome career to date, with senior roles across a range of companies, as Design Engineer, Product Manager, Director of Business Development, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, and Director of New Media.
More about Rob
Rob is President/Founder and host of the one of the best known podcasts, the podCast411 Podcast/Blog. He’s also host of the Today in iOS Podcast /blog, co-host of the Today in Podcasting Podcast, co-host of The Feed Podcast and host of the KC Startup 411 Podcast, which covers the Kansas City Startup Scene.
And he produces his son Porter’s show, Porter’s Podcast.
Rob co-authored the book “Tricks of the Podcasting Masters” and has been podcasting consultant to Gov. Bill Richardson, Senator John Edwards, Dr. Mark Hyman, Tim Ferriss, Jack Welch (the WelchCast) and many others. He’s been a monthly columnist for Blogger and Podcaster Magazine as well as App Developer Magazine, and is the organizer of the Kansas City Podcaster Meetup.
As a fellow member of the Podcasters Community on Google Plus, I am regularly impressed by Rob’s commitment and clarity of explanation in helping people just getting started with podcasting and others who are already podcasting and who are keen to know how to do that more successfully.
Secrets of Survival and Success in a Tough Industry
I asked what was the secret of Libsyn’s success. Rob made the point that first of all Libsyn had survived, in an industry where others had come and gone in the intervening time. He shared five key contributors to their success.
- Good, reliable statistics
- Reliability of service
- RSS feed – easy to manage and reliable
- Active participation in the podcasting community and events such as conferences
- They are podcasters themselves
Growing Interest in Podcasting
We talked about the growth of interest in podcasting, as illustrated by contrasting the dearth of podcasting sessions at BlogWorld 2008 with the much higher profile of podcasting now, as one of only three main streams in 2016 for BlogWorld’s current incarnation as New Media Expo.
But in terms of business takeup of podcasting, “we’re not there yet”.
To illustrate why we are not there yet but that there are some positive indications of interest, Rob pointed to some statistics in Michael Stelzner’s Social Media Marketing Report 2015. Only 10% of companies surveyed are using podcasting for content creation and engagement, bur 48% of respondents are interested in learning more about it.
The Case for CEO Podcasting and How POTUS Came to the Garage
The crucial question for companies looking at podcasting is “Who is the content for?” Employees, or the customer base?
When companies can’t answer that, they usually don’t get started. If they know exactly who their market for the podcast is, things usually move forward pretty smoothly.
Podcasting is invaluable for leaders who want to do a podcast for their internal employees.
“This is a great opportunity for CEOs, to promote the culture, to promote what’s going on and rally the troops….With podcasting they have this great tool, they can really, really rally their troops. They can get their voice out there, in edited format.”
Even if they don’t see themselves as very good speakers.
We talked about the great story of how the White House sought an invitation for President Obama (POTUS) to go on the podcast show WTF with Mark Maron and the President chose to come to Mark’s garage to have the conversation.
What a boost for anyone wanting to help business leaders begin to understand the potential of podcasting!
Keeping Leaders Up at Night
Rob said what should be keeping business leaders up at night is paranoia. About what’s happening next.
The alternative is complacency, and “complacency is the worst thing you can have as a leader”.
You can reach Rob at his email: [email protected]
You can find out more about Libsyn at this link and you can start podcasting there for as little as $5 a month.
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Michael “Coop” Cooper is an internationally recognized executive coach, advisor, facilitator and trainer who specializes in working with executive teams to develop the leadership skills, alignment and strategies to grow and thrive in a constantly changing environment.
He developed and teaches leadership training courses for entrepreneurs and executives to learn coaching skills; how to define problems; how to give and receive feedback; how to recognize, manage, communicate and market to brain types; and how to manage multi-generational teams.
Coop founded Innovators + Influencers to help right-brain entrepreneurs and executives capitalize on the need for more creativity in business leadership.
Coop spends time studying neuro-science and practical applications for neuro-leadership and is recognized as an expert on managing millennials.
He has 23 years of experience as a coach, management consultant, strategist and project leader with Fortune 1000 companies and small businesses in over 20 countries. He has worked with leaders at Sony Computer Entertainment, Wells Fargo, Novell, Southwest Airlines and hundreds of other organizations large and small.
Coop is a contributing writer to Fast Company, Entrepreneur and Wired Innovations.
At the core
At the end of that formal introduction as above, I asked Coop what would stand out for him, from that list, or in addition, that he would want people to know?
“What I love doing the most is getting inside people’s heads….
“Since the very beginning of my career, I’ve always known that the way we think not only predicts the way we act, but we can also predict behavior and we can change the way we act. And our belief systems also have a lot to do with what we give ourselves permission to do or not to do….…
“I just understand how people think and act and how their brains work. That to me would be the core thing.”
Changes in executive leadership coaching
A lot has changed in the past 13 years or so, since Coop and I first connected.
- Executives are now much more aware of what coaching is
- Many have used coaching multiple times
- Executives are now “really great” at evaluating whether or not a coach can help them
- Coaches now have to do a lot more than coaching, become much more embedded in the organization, be up to date with issues and trends relating to their clients’ industries
Reminiscing about Thomas
I mentioned Thomas Leonard, founder of Coachville.com and other ventures, including the International Association of Coaching, of which Coop was the Founding President, and Thomas’ dedication in keeping up with developments, especially in technology.
Coop explained that this was about Thomas’ brain type of Analyser/Systemazier. He needed to have that information to be comfortable, to know he was asking the right questions.
Leadership by entrepreneurs, especially in the digital space
He has worked with a number of innovators and influencers in this space.
They don’t play it safe, they’re risk-takers, they’re trying new business models, not trying to do something that’s already been done – and that “takes a little bit of craziness”
Because it’s a new space for many of them, they have to learn and change their behavior pretty significantly over time
Innovators and Influencers
4 ways the brain processes information
William Moulton Marshall research in 1920s, his Social Styles – Driver, Expressive, Amiable, Analytical
Others as derivatives, including Myers Briggs – and Innovators and Influencers
Coop’s framework of types, with percentages of population
Controllers & Managers 15%
Innovators & Influencers 15%
Nurturers & Harmonizers 35%
Analyzers & Systematizers 35%
Innovators & influencers need structures in place for teams/organizations. Only 15% of population and there is a deficit of coaching for this brain type.
A lot of negative views about Millennials – fear of change and fear of the unknowns.
Coop sees Millennials as “a fascinating, rich resource that’s completely untapped”.
- Education systems changed when they were in schools – emphasis on feedback, which they now expect when they go into an organization
- First time there have ever been five generations in the workplace
- The way we transfer power is being upended by Millennials
- Resentment by older managers
- Many Millennials are not equipped with critical business skills – they know they need to learn, they know they need to develop skills
- They don’t want a manager, they’ve been taught how to manage themselves: they want a coach. But many managers do not have great coaching skills
Coop’s upcoming book
The book is about the seven blind spots for each brain type: now with the publisher. How to recognize your brain type’s blind spots and what you can do to address them.
What keeps business leaders awake at night?
It depends on the leader.
Some similarities. Disruption happening in nearly every market around the world is keeping a lot of leaders up at night. It used to be about innovation. Now it’s “What am I not thinking about?” “where am I going to be blindsided?”
Innovation leaders at some big companies are anxious about executing on innovation.
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Founder & CEO, Taurus Marketing
Sharon Williams founded Taurus Marketing, an integrated PR, marketing and social media agency in 1995 and created the unique TaurusBullseye™ methodology in building businesses for entrepreneurs. Sharon is a pioneer in the Australian agency industry, one of the youngest Fellows of the PRIA. Taurus has assisted over 1000 clients from smart entrepreneurs to Top ASX companies.
Sharon has worked in marketing and PR for over 25 years in London, Europe, Hong Kong, throughout Asia and Sydney. She is an international speaker presenting on a broad range of Marketing, PR, Social media, business and lifestyle issues and has previously presented for over 250 organisations including MLC, BRW, CPA and UTS, amongst many others. She is an Ambassador for Advance, the largest global network of high achieving Australians, a member of the Cook Society, serving council member on the Australian British Chamber, an adjunct professor for the University of Notre Dame, lecturer at Macquarie University, retired Chair of The CEO Institute and an Ambassador for children’s charity Good Beginnings.
Sharon commentates on broadcast and print media and is often featured in the Australian Financial Review, Sky Business News, SBS, Channel Seven, Nine and Ten and ABC radio and was voted by Smart Company as one of the Top 25 business bloggers 2011 for her resident SME blog on NineMSN. She is a marketing and SME expert on Kochie’s Business Builders TV show.
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Secrets of Success
Sharon’s initial answer, when I asked her the secret or secrets of her success, being still in business and thriving 20 years on when other companies have come and gone, was “I tend not to think of success. I tend to think of life.”
She then shared her four key business success factors:
- Have good advisors around you – great mentors
- Always have a strong handle on the financials (invaluable advice shared on this)
- Love what you do
- Sign up new business (or the business will die)
Snippets from the conversation
On loving what you do
If people asked, “What would you do if you won Lotto?”: “I would absolutely get up and come to work.”
On change and especially in communication technology
“Every year of my career I have something new to play with. That keeps us young and innovating, because we’re constantly getting new things to play with in the marketing business world, certainly with the advent of social media, and now apps, and the rise of the mobile phone. There’s always something new to learn and some new platform to be able to experiment with and to make the most of.”
A key lesson from working with entrepreneurial leaders
“It’s the people around you that will make or break your business.”
About working with young people, especially Millennials (Gen Y)
Sharon talked with enthusiasm about her Taurus FastTrack™ programs. The process is designed to take young people through who don’t want to be constricted by large corporates, or even by large agencies. The feedback Sharon has is the people going through this program find themselves doing things their peers elsewhere don’t get to do for years.
The challenge of the intergenerational workforce phenomenon of our times and the clue to success in the different generations working together is for the participants to have mutual respect.
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Emotional intelligence as a psychological theory was developed by Peter Salovey and John Mayer, who in 1997 provided this definition:
“Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.”
Science journalist Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ and other books on the subject, developed a framework of five components of emotional intelligence:
- Self regulation
- Internal motivation
- Social skills
The ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.
The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and the propensity to suspend judgment and think before acting.
A passion to work for internal reasons that go beyond money and status. Examples are: an inner vision of what is important in life, a joy in doing something, curiosity in learning, the sense of flow that comes when we are immersed in doing something we love.
The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions
Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks, and an ability to find common ground and build rapport.
In this episode I mentioned the relatively new online platform, Blab, and promised to include in these notes some information about that.
For the benefit of those who haven’t heard about it (don’t worry, a lot of people haven’t) its a live video streaming service where you can have up to 4 people on the screen at once. Currently best accessed and enjoyed from a desktop/laptop etc.
Warning: Blab (it’s still in beta) can be (and is for some) addictive.
On a more positive note, a lot of people are finding Blab a great way to:
- interact with colleagues from around the world
- meet new people
- gain new Twitter followers
- attract clients
- socialize at all hours
I found this video, only 3.04 minutes in length, that is a brilliantly simple intro to Blab.
This week’s Blab session and Principal Albert Canales on emotional intelligence
Here is the link for the replay of yesterday’s Blab on Leadership and Emotional Intelligence. The section I refer to in the podcast, with the Principal of a high school in Texas, starts at 45.06 minutes into the Blab session. Albert Canales is Principal of McAllen High in McAllen Texas and his Twitter id is @McHiPride. The segment is full of wisdom and stories of good practice, from Albert.
Upcoming Blab session on Leadership and Dealing with Difficult People
My co-host Sandi Coryell (@SandiCoryell on Twitter) are planning our next Blab session this coming Thursday (US/Can)/Friday (Australia). We are going to focus on an aspect of the emotional intelligence story, i.e. Leadership and Dealing with Difficult People.
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In this episode of the Let’s Talk Leadership podcast, I talk about the age demographic described as the Millennials or Gen Y, those born between – roughly – the mid 1980s and early 2000s.
Shel’s Book Dedication and Millennials Chapter
In his new book, Lethal Generosity: Contextual Technology and the Competitive Edge, which I reviewed in a blog post last week, Shel Israel devotes a whole chapter to the Millennials, under the title “Why Millennials Matter”. Shel has also dedicated the book to the Millennials, with the words
To the Millennials: They’re the best hope we have.
And in the Introduction, he writes, “…the fact remains, regardless of what business you are in, Millennials matter to your future.”
In the podcast I refer also to an article from a couple of years ago, but still very relevant, especially for those of us interested in issues and challenges for leadership.
The author writes:
In the last few years there has been a lot of research on Millennials and how they’re different. But a new topic has now come up in many of my conversations with HR and business executives: What is their leadership style and how will they lead? The answer to this question is important. Your ability to attract, develop, and retain young leaders will make or break your company in the coming years.
From a study of Millennials, the following key findings are listed (and explained in the article):
- Millennials want leadership and they want it their way
- Millennials know they’re not ready for leadership, but want it anyway
- Millennials value an open, transparent, inclusive leadership style
- Millennials demand career growth and lots of it
- Millennials thrive on fairness and performance-based appraisal, not tenure
- Millennials are comfortable with less role clarity and less of a manager-led career
- Millennials thrive on innovation and change
Leading intergenerational workforces
With Millennials already in leadership positions, there is a whole lot of learning to be done by all of us, in whatever age group, for us to establish and maintain effective leadership.
A key factor in this is that the Millennials are the first truly digital native generation and that affects not just their private lives but the way workplaces work – or don’t.
The mobile device is key. Shel Israel writes:
For business strategists, the important point is that you should consider the mobile devices as an essential, omnipresent part of who the Millennials are – as shoppers or employees. Take a smartphone away from an older individual and it will be inconvenient, but she will work around it; remove it from a Millennial and he will not only feel untethered, but he also may not have any experience solving a problem in any other way.” (Lethal Generosity, p 27)
We have a lot to learn from each other.
I work and socialize with a lot of Millennials and I’m optimistic.