Thoughts on Leadership is the brain child of Paul Bridle. This is the place that Paul shares his monthly thoughts.

A Little Can Go A Long Way!

Posted: July 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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Spices in measuring spoonsI  love cooking but the skill is the ability to get the right ingredients and cook the food well, but know how much spice to add.  Too much spice can ruin the food and too little can be bland.  With spice, a little goes a long way.  It made me think about leadership.

How much of a leader are you?  How much of a leader do you need to be?  Like spice we can be too much of a leader and become too involved.  Equally too little can mean the leadership is really lacking and nothing really happens.  It is a challenge to find the right balance.  Too much does not enhance the food, bring out the flavour but rather smothers it.

There are times when more is needed.  If you want a hot dish, it means you add more spices, which means that you need to be more involved and even vital that you are in control.   But not all dishes need to be hot dishes.

So how do you run your business?  Do you try to dominate the taste?  Or do you try to enhance the flavour and bring out the best in the food?  At the end of the day, you want to create a great experience for the person eating the food and not to make the meal distasteful. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pushing Boundaries

Posted: July 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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Pushing Boundaries

Have you ever noticed how children are constantly pushing boundaries and checking how far they can push things?  It is a natural thing to do as they endeavour to discover what works and why.  As we get older, we may disguise it a bit better, but the truth is, people will still test the boundaries.  Maybe we see if we can take a shortcut in how we do things or we challenge what someone says.  It may take various forms, but the truth is, it is human nature to want to push the boundaries at some level.Pushing Boundaries

The same applies in business.  There are procedures, processes and standards we apply to ensure that the business stays on course and continues to improve.  However, human nature being what it is, people will start to take short cuts or ease off on the rules or requirements.  People will also challenge the rules to see if they apply in various circumstances or if they still apply under different leadership etc.

The important point for leaders to understand is that it is human nature for people to act like this and not to get annoyed and upset by this behaviour.  It is also the leaders role to remind people what the rules are and what they stand for.  This is not in a confrontational manner, but rather to remind people what is expected and how they need to behave.  People will generally respond to this well if done in a inclusive manner and not in a dictatorial manner.  People want to know how they are doing and where they stand.

However, there is another aspect of this that we need to remember in our role as leaders.  Having our rules and procedures challenged is a good thing.  When they are challenged, it makes us thing about them and gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves if these rules or procedures still apply?

Many rules, processes and procedures were very valid when they were designed but circumstances have overtaken them and now they are not the most effective way of doing things.  So as leaders we need to welcome the challenges that give us the opportunity to re-consider the value of what we are doing and either expose it as no longer the best way, or strengthen it.

The questions this month are aimed at two levels.  The first group are:

  • Are you clear on the rules that you are firm on?  These are ones we don’t compromise on.  They are basis of integrity and ethics.  We do not compromise on these rules because they are part of defining what we stand for and who we are.
  • How good are you at setting them and defining them.
  • How good are you at this and can you sustain it?

The second group of questions are:

  • How good are you at challenging, and allowing challenges, that are good for the business?  In other words, what is the culture in your business and what is your mindset when challenges take place?
  • Do you embrace the challenges as something that can benefit the business or do you use answers like, “That is not the way we do things around here” and get defensive?
  • Do you allow and welcome the challenges that make sure what we have processes in our business that are good for us and will help us achieve higher levels of performance?

There is a time to defend and then a time to be open to challenges.  I hope this has helped you consider how you are doing, especially at a time when business is under pressure and the market is so competitive.

Have a great month and best wishes

Paul

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