Managing Change Means Getting Ahead of the Game 

During the 70s and 80s the average lifespan of an organisation was 50 years. Today it is 20. A sobering change, which reflects our ‘Volatility-Uncertainty, Complexity-Ambiguity’ (VUCA) environment and the need to manage change effectively. In essence, to get and stay ahead of the game. 

Attracted to the very topical title of ‘The evolution of Leadership Development in a Digital World’, I recently joined a live webinar from Hult Ashridge Executive Education. Hosted and led by Professors of Strategy and Innovation Dr Hari Mann and Professor Paul Griffith, the pair set the scene against the background of COVID-19 and in the context of VUCA: facing multiple unknowns that are generating enormous confusion and anxiety. However, despite the scarily titled VUCA, our ‘new normal’ in terms of markets and lifestyle changes, offers plenty of opportunity for those able to spot, embrace and deploy digital advances.

COVID-19 has seen organisations fast-track five years’ worth of digital transformation

Mann and Griffith told us that many organisations, or more properly managers and leaders, are reacting ‘abruptly’. Using established, yet outmoded strategies in an effort to retain short-term control and continuity. COVID-19 has seen organisations fast-track five years’ worth of digital transformation and there are those prioritising a partial, limited digital vision. Yet, neither group is giving priority to the transformation that leaders and their organisations actually need right now in order to thrive.

My questions, of course, revolve around how managers and leaders can be better prepared and cope with rapid change.

What competencies are needed to reach and maintain high-potential and performance? What culture shift is required to build strategies for effective management and leadership in our digital age?

Mann and Griffith identified the current trend and challenges as:

  • Working practices and the implications of the virtual workplace
  • Psychological contract, and
  • Leadership development for the digital age

So, what are the competencies required to meet these three distinct challenges? Hult Ashridge recently carried out research with some 200 senior managers into what they considered to be the leadership competencies required in a digital age. Identifying 11 different areas, the survey reported that, alongside rapidly shedding the mantle of ’old school’ analogue mindsets, managers and leaders are also required to look at macro trends and re-imagine their organisations in terms of resources and quick wins to motivate their teams.

The 11 Hult Ashridge competencies for a digital age:

  1. Contextual Intelligence focusing on the organisation environment in terms of ‘what have we learnt?’ This approach requires hindsight, foresight and insight.
  2. Strategic Intelligence looks at a conceptual system involving What, Why and How?
  3. Learning Agility and Adaptability
  4. Sense-making and envisioning involving defining the right course of action, mapping the future and making sense of what is taking place.
  5.  Storytelling through creating scenarios for better knowledge transfer.
  6.  Emotional and Social Intelligence involving emotional self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.
  7.  Authenticity involving purpose, values and self-discipline, self-knowledge and ethical leadership.
  8.  Psychological capital involving hope, optimism and self-efficiency.
  9.  Creative thinking and innovative behaviour in terms of idea generation and problem-solving.
  10.  Global mindset and cultural intelligence involving exercising a global leadership perspective.
  11.  Collective leadership involving inclusivity, empathy, commitment and motivation.

So far, so good I thought. But, putting aside the enormous challenges faced in creating organisational shift and momentum, what about the employee factor in moving from the current level of skill to these new competencies? What is required to achieve this new level of performance?

Skillogy PERFORM™ equipping managers and leaders for success

With very few organisations successfully implementing this shift and the majority having yet to regroup and determine their strategies, I did a quick mapping exercise. Using the 30 courses from our Skillogy PERFORM™ programme, I aligned these to the majority of the skills and abilities required by the Hult Ashridge competencies, as follows:

Leadership PERFORM > Interpersonal relationships and the achievement of results through vision and direction.

Manager PERFORM > Process efficiency and increased output

Self PERFORM > Self-knowledge, contribution and efficiency

It’s always good to check that our flexible approach is fully aligned and can support current organisational thinking and progress.

Beating the stats, Skillogy has been going for the past 25 years, supporting managers and leaders to acquire these increasingly important soft skills and abilities. Providing performance improvement to employees in highly diverse organisations globally, we can equip teams to address all 11 Hult Ashridge competencies and their own specific targets.

Why not get in touch with your thoughts about the future of organisations, the relevance of soft skill development and the nature of work in the future? Please email me at mike.bolam@skillogy.com  with your thoughts and feedback.

Mike Bolam

Leader and Developer, Skillogy International, November 2020

Skillogy PERFORM™ Soft Skills  Training Courses By Performance Area

 SELF

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to manage oneself and one’s relationships with others in a mature and constructive manner. Research indicates that EI is closely related to workplace success at all levels of the organisation. In this course we look at six key aspects of EI in order to help develop your skills and abilities in managing yourself and your relationships in the workplace.

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Estimates show that some 70% of your work time is spent in some aspect of communication. With so much practice and experience, it would appear that we are all experts, but that is not the case. This course looks at your ability to reach a shared or common understanding with another person and how you apply your verbal and written abilities as well as your capacity to listen and understand.

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What you achieve at work is dependent on the contributions you make to your team. This is the sum of the skills that you willingly give to others or you add towards a common goal or result. This course looks at the key areas of contribution that you are required to make in order to achieve team objectives and results.

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Personal organisation seems to have a considerable effect on feelings and moods. You have good and bad days. If you feel well organised, you have a positive sense of well-being and in control. This course looks at your ability to arrange and control all aspects of your work so that it flows smoothly and efficiently. This skill depends upon your inherent drives to control events and circumstances.

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Managing priorities often causes a potential source of conflict. The correct work behaviour is summarised as ‘what you do second is equally important to what you do first’. This routine is achieved if time is controlled in terms of priority management. This course looks at your ability to focus on priority of job objectives and conflict between priority of importance and priority of time.

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Work stress has been described as the ‘wear and tear’ caused by your working life. In recent times, stress at work has seen a rapidly rising trend. This course looks at your ability to avoid work stress and to control and manage it. Excessive and continuous work stress problems stem from excessive workloads and impractical deadlines, relationships with colleagues and future job insecurity.

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Your ability to think is probably your greatest asset at work.  Everything  you say and do will be touched by what is going on in your mind. Performance and achievements are a direct function of your thinking abilities. This course looks at mental agility, conceptual and analytical thinking, in allowing you to conceive and form ideas, in a practical sense and draw the right conclusions.

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Time, like capital or human skills, is a resource that has to be managed effectively. It is also a limited resource. This course looks at your ability to manage job objectives, priorities and activities within the available time. Effective time management is criticalwhen time is at a premium and workloads are on the increase. In essence, the aim is to achieve the right things, at the right quality, on time.

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Wellness is not a new concept. The ancient Greeks believed that a truly healthy person possessed a keen intellect, a well-developed will and a disciplined body. Their ideal of excellence of any kind, was considered a noble state of human functioning, representing the merging of body, mind and spirit. This course focuses on making you aware of and making choices towards a more successful life.

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Your work personality brings together all those parts of you that have an influence on your performance at work. This course examines those qualities of your personality that you consistently demonstrate in your work and by which you become known by your colleagues. The main issue is whether you possess and use those positive qualities normally associated with good performance.

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MANAGER

Change is an inevitable part of life. Nothing remains static and the way we respond to change varies from individual to individual. Approximately one half of the population resists it, while the other half welcomes it. This course examines the change management process and the ways in which an understanding of the causes of resistance can be turned to positive advantage.

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This course looks at the step-by-step process of decision making from problem definition to implementation. It highlights the importance of qualitative information in decision judgement and the impact of unstructured decisions. It emphasises that judgement takes a higher priority when the impact of the decision is greater, more complex or the potential risk is higher.

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Time, like capital or human skills, is a resource that has to be managed effectively. It is also a limited resource. This course looks at your ability to manage job objectives, priorities and activities within the available time. Effective time management is critical when time is at a premium and workloads are on the increase. In essence, the aim is to achieve the right things, at the right quality, on time.

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This course examines the ability to plan and control the allocation of work within team members in order to maximise resources. Good delegation is based on clear objectives, regular reviews and solid feedback. It shows how delegation can provide a sound basis on which to improve productivity, engender ownership and responsibility, whilst fostering individual growth and development.

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People are a vital element in any organisation and managing and leading people is criticallyimportant for every manager. This course describes the key people management skills that contribute fully to individual performance improvement and organisational effectiveness.

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Information encompasses every aspect of your job. Throughout the work process you use it, produce it, pass it on and communicate it. This course examines the ability to store and the retrieve the essential information required to carry out your job efficiently.

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An interesting aspect of job knowledge is that the majority of people believe they understand their job until they are asked to explain it. This course sets out to examine your professional, specialist or expert knowledge and understanding that are especially required in your job.

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Objective setting is the foundation of good management. Without objectives, you will never be able to focus on achievement, nor manage the various aspects of your work and working relationships. This course covers your ability to think through and define the results you and your team wish to achieve, through an eight-step process, which is constantly subject to change and review.

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Project Management is a combination of steps and techniques for keeping the budget and schedule in line. This course follows the five stages of the project cycle, which provides a clear process and system for project tracking. A successful project manager demonstrates team building skills and develops a thorough knowledge of the team’s strengths and the project’s needs.

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Each team has a unique  ‘team  personality’ made up from the individuals that form it. It is this aspect that determines how effectively the team works together, the quality of their performance  and what they are capable of achieving. This course looks at how teams work together to achieve team objectives. Effective teams have a common ‘team spirit’ which directly impacts on their results.

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LEADER

Management is about finding creative solutions to problems and identifying the appropriate course of action. Creativity and originality explores the power of the mind, in bringing things into being, from original thought or basic concepts. This course sets out to show how the power of imagination can build on original thoughts to create solutions and plans, which contribute to work performance.

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Ethical leadership involves the way that managers and leaders carry out their decision-making in terms of moral issues and choices. This course examines the role of the ethical leader and the influence that he or she can exert in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and improving an organisation’s ethical climate.

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Innovation is a special and highly regarded ability in people at work. The organisations that are the most successful at innovation, will gain leadership in their market. This course focuses on the role of the corporate innovator, in larger scale project development and highlights the importance of building innovative teams, in order to maintain a competitive edge.

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A manager can spend 50% of their work time in meetings, of one type or another. This course looks at your ability to plan and control meetings and make effective use of your time. Meetings involve planning, preparation, selection of participants, adherence to issues and time schedules. Meetings involve the maintenance of teamwork, supporting relationships and superior work performance.

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Leaders and managers will not be effective, if they do not understand the theories and practices of motivation. What you believe about people, affects the way your team reacts to you and your leadership. This course looks at the inherent needs of people and how to improve productivity and motivate a workforce. The level of motivation displayed by a team reflects the skills of the leader.

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In achieving optimum performance and long-term success, all organisations have to respond and adapt. Similarly, all jobs are conditioned by plans that require change. This course addresses your ability to have the knowledge and understanding of your organisation’s objectives, strategies, plans and the external environment in relation to political, social, financial and market competitive forces.

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Personal character is the sum of your moral and ethical qualities. It is these same qualities that provide the foundation for your working relationships. This course helps you to reflect on your work behaviour and integrity. Without this, it is impossible to lead and manage a team with any degree of success. Nor is it possible to survive in an organisation, which is not dedicated to ethical standards.

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Much of what you achieve depends on your ability to persuade other people. In many respects, persuasion is the highest form of communication. This course looks at the ability of persuasion and negotiation, in producing successful outcomes and moving towards a convergence of opinion and understanding. Negotiation depends on your attitudes in approach and devoting time to planning.

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Managers and leaders use power every day. Using power effectively, is an important skill and by developing influencing techniques, can lead to increased team effectiveness. This course describes the sources of power and strategies and assesses your abilities in line with these. Power contributes to organisational goals, respect human rights and conform to standards of equality and justice.

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Transforming leadership involves having a transforming approach to your work and life. Leaders operate from a set of core beliefs about people, that motivates them to perform and engage in the organisation. This transforming improves personal development and the productivity of all involved. This course explores seven key areas to help you become more effective as a leader.

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