Stories2017-04-11T19:18:18-04:00

Stories to be shared

My clients‘ success stories will give you a taste of the challenges they faced, the approaches they applied, and the positive impact these approaches had on triggering excellence in leadership.

Live Your Strengths Consciously!

When self-assurance lives you as opposed to you living self-assurance, it is time to call a halt! Our natural talents can become so natural that we live them unconsciously. And this is when havoc arrives on the scene.

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Engage with Otherness Constructively!

When it comes to working with others, there is always the danger of you interpreting their strengths as weaknesses! When you encounter other people‘s strengths and you are in stress and blinded by your own needs, you quickly mistake these strengths as failings.

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Be Courageous! Be Courageous! And Be Courageous Again!

It does not take too much to realize that something is not working. This all too soon becomes all too obvious. However, it does require both insight and courage to take ownership for the fact that you are part of the solution!

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If you would like to explore what options are open for you in triggering excellence in leadership and are prepared to act now, I invite you to schedule a complimentary Leadership Strategy Session.

Case Studies

Live Your Strengths Consciously!

I worked with a key account manager whose immediate superior was struggling with what he termed “a disrespectful tone in her communication.“ And when the client and I reviewed her 360° feedback, her superior was apparently not alone. What appeared to be working for her on the customer front, was backfiring badly for her across the organization.

Issue

Very quickly she identified the issue. Her body posture! Her tone of voice! When in stress – and this was not infrequent – both her posture and tone rose to the challenge to underline her naturally inherent self-assurance.

Exploration

Over a period of time, we revisited two or three of her key critical incidents. She noticed that she generally tended to finish phrases in a lower pitch when she became impatient. This usually happened when the pace of the discussions were – from her perspective – moving too slowly.

Outcome

Today, she has extended her repertoire. She consciously invites patience to join her for important and challenging meetings. This gives her a degree of relaxation which positively impacts both her posture and her vocal tone. She even feels more self-assured than ever.

Insight

So, when strengths take on a life of their own, leadership is destined to go off course. And this is particularly noticeable in turbulant waters.

Engage with Otherness Constructively!

I worked with the head of a subsidiary who had a clear sense of direction and a high need for achievement. His leadership team was not only in the picture as to where the subsidiary needed to be but indeed the timeframe was yesterday as opposed to today. So clarity of purpose could not be denied.

When we met to discuss how best to trigger excellence in the leadership team, he was quick to point out that he wanted a fully engaged team on board. He wanted achievers. He wanted competitors. He wanted people with command. There were deliverables to be honored. There were deadlines to be met. For him leaders needed to be assertive, even aggressive. He was alergic to head-nodders. Observers left him cold.

Issue

So, I asked him where the issue was? He came straight to the point. Two of his direct reports failed to show these competencies. His impatience with at least one of these direct reports was no secret. In fact this impatience had now turned into rejection and avoidance. So, how to proceed?

Exploration

Knowing him to be a keen golfer, I asked which was his favorite golf club: the driver, the iron or the putter? And I was not surprised to learn that it was the driver! He loved his woods. He loved teeing off. Long shots were for him. And when I asked where he felt most challenged, he found himself instantly on the green with that putter in his hand.

Outcome

Four years down the road my client’s handicap has improved significantly. Both on the golf course and in his business environment. He now knows that while you cannot get to the green without the woods and the irons, you certainly cannot win the game without the putter.

Insight

Misinterpreting strengths for weaknesses can take its toll not only on the individual players but indeed on the team and the game itself.

Be Courageous! Be Courageous! And Be Courageous Again!

I worked with a client who wallowed in efficiency. She had a relentless need for achievement. Excellence, not average was her benchmark. And her career mirrored her steady performance. She was now head of the department which had been her home since her arrival in industry.

In this position, she applied the same level of intensity to her direct reports’ areas of responsibility as she did to her own. But a disconnect was soon to disclose itself.

Issue

When we met to review the results of her first 360° assessment, my client was somewhat subdued. There was one comment in particular which she believed told the full story: “She’s into the weeds at every opportunity. Instead of leading the department, she’s driving us all mad.“

She knew that she was a devil for detail. She knew it as her strength. She knew it as her weakness. But that a number of her direct reports felt cheated of their expertise, their experience, their unique points of view – that was a revelation. And it hurt. But how to run the department successfully? That was now the question.

Exploration

I posed quite a different question. I asked if she could tell me how much time she was spending on leadership tasks. “Oh, that’s easy to calculate. I’m a manager not a leader. My strength is in producing order and consistency.“ She clearly spent 100% of her time on management tasks. End of story. Or was it?

I then asked who was accountable for ensuring that the department was not only delivering the things right but indeed the right things. Needing a little more time to detect and reflect on the difference, she agreed that this was indeed her task. Then I asked how she was doing on this front. She wasn’t. And there lay her challenge.

Outcome

With efficiency at her side, she realigned her focus. And the biggest turnaround? She gave the work back to her direct reports. It had happened quite naturally. With the reallocation of her resources between leadership tasks and management tasks, the demands simply shifted.

Insight

For some people, management minus leadership equates to micro-managment. A shift in perspective could be the making or breaking of you. And your team.