Two major challenges are destroying our ability to focus.
First, we increasingly are overwhelmed with distractions flying at us from various connected devices. Smartphone and tablet use is spiking, and we now use digital media for an average of over 12 hours per day. This hyperconnected state does not allow us to process, recharge, and refocus.
Second, we rely excessively on meetings as the default form of interaction with other people at work. Studies indicate that we spend anywhere from 35%–55% of our time, and sometimes much more, in meetings. If we want to stay focused on truly meaningful activity, something has to change.
You and your business will benefit greatly if you can address these issues.
The capabilities that companies need most have evolved, but methods of building those skills have not. Our survey finds that the most effective companies focus on sustaining skills and linking learning to business performance. A McKinsey & Company article.
Tom Hood's insight:
More evidence linking learning and development to business performance. Interesting that there is a significant focus on front line people. "The capabilities that companies need most have evolved, but methods of building those skills have not. Our survey finds that the most effective companies focus on sustaining skills and linking learning to business performance."
Industrial Age leadership was good, or at least efficient. It enabled us to get the most out of every worker; expectations were set; consequences for not meeting minimums were clear. People did what they were told, and went home.
But the Industrial Age is over. And it’s not coming back.
Love it - the move from the industrial age to the information age to the "social age". Our Leadership Academy identified the new attributes of the CPA Leader of the future as "Proactive, flexible, collaborative, trustworthy, future-focused, balanced, tech-savvy". Welcome to the social age!
In today’s business environment, boards are naturally inclined toward risk assessment and caution. This occurs simultaneously and without the slightest hint of irony that business growth is also expected. CEOs and their executive team are put in place to create growth with as little risk as possible, and this comes in the form of management submitting initiatives requiring board approval.
I agree with Don's highlight, “Boards need to believe they are involved in the success of the business. This is not a manipulated perception. Their involvement in large decisions is part of what has made the business grow.”
Highlighting "risk" and downsides and even wildly successful upsides are my takeaways. I would add the idea of the RONI or Risk of Not Investing". In this period of faster change and increased competition, the risk of not making decisions has a cost or downside risk that is often not considered fully. It is the CEOs job to educate the board about this as well.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that only 1 out of nine people are in official "sales" jobs, but something is happening with the other eight of us in today's workforce. We are all in non-sales sales jobs according to Dan Pink. That's right non-sales sales jobs. In fact, the research says that the other eight out of the nine workers spend an average of 41% of their time, "convincing people to give up something [in exchange] for something you have to offer?”. That is an...
Tom Hood's insight:
Communication is one of the top 2 or 3 skills in constant demand and selling or negotiating is taking up 41% of our tim according to the latest research. Famous sports agent, lawyer, founder of Shapiro Negotiations Institute says the secret is in the 3 D's - Draft, Devil's Advocate and Deliver. He has a special 3 hour session on September 15th to share his proven formula to help us increase our communication and negotiation skills.
Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a world expert on hiring, did a study of C-level leaders who were fired. The conclusion: they were hired for their intelligence and business expertise, but fired for weakness in emotional intelligence – usually the social variety.
When I looked at competence studies done by companies to identify the skill sets of their outstanding performers – what sets top leaders apart from average – the vast majority fell in the emotional intelligence category.
With a fresh crop of college grads heading into a tight job market, I wish they had had help in developing their emotional intelligence skills during their studies. But with a very few exceptions colleges ignore this crucial skill set for success. Students acquire these abilities on their own time, and rather randomly, depending on happenstance.
Having just finished our fifth class of Leadership Academy for our emerging CPA leaders, this article resonated with me. While the notion of EQ as a critical leadership quality is on point, I think it must be in the context of how leadership is changing in this hyper-connected, rapidly changing world. When we asked our emerging leaders to compare and contrast leadership across the ages, they identified the common traits we all know - vision, communication, passion, and authority. Yet when looking at the current state, they added words like collaborative, transparent, more communication,.
These skills include the ability to engage and inspire followers to a shared vision and action. The other critical piece is to 'know themselves' in a way they can be that authentic leader with their own unique style rather than trying to fit some standard leadership model that forces them to change. We do this with Strengths-Finders and Values to help them become self-aware.
Thus I see the idea of EQ to include specific group dynamics, collaboration, listening, and making your thinking visible to others. These skills can be taught and developed and we are seeing emerging leaders able to apply these as they grow into the kind of future leaders we will need.
Here are seven habits of people who know how to confront adversity and move on with their lives stronger than before:
1. They have a strong sense of purpose.
Resilient people make a habit of being persistent. "Knowing what one wants is the first and, perhaps, the most ...
Tom Hood's insight:
Today's leaders require resilience and this article has some great suggestions that speak directly to this point. Next Monday at our Summit we will feature an example of resilience with our opening keynote by Lt. Brad Snyder, a wounded warrior who overcame extreme adversity to become a para-olympic gold medalist in swimming and now a motivational speaker. Here is his story http://www.macpa.org/blog/3393/can-t%20do%20it-%20tell%20me%20what%20you%20can%20do
This post is part of a series in which Influencers share lessons from their youth. Read all the stories here.Graduation is the prime time to think about your future—about the things you want to
Tom Hood's insight:
Are you thinking BIG enough?
Dan Burrus doesn't think so (and neither do I).
"So whatever big thing you’re thinking about doing, think bigger! Ask yourself, “What is even bigger than what I’m thinking, because that’s what I really want to do?” That’s how you raise the bar far higher on yourself. There is always a bigger big. If you can’t imagine it, you will never achieve it.
By thinking bigger, choosing to be extraordinary, leveraging your talents by elevating your unique gift, and committing to learning new things every year, you will have the keys to creating a very successful life—one filled with amazing opportunities and unforgettable memories that are worthy of a life well lived."
Companies have spent years reducing the average finance team’s budget to nearly 1% of revenue, but that figure is suddenly spiking.
Tom Hood's insight:
What's the ROI of your finance / accounting teams?
Great article from WSJ and I agree that the cost of finance/accounting teams is increasing.
The question is, is it worth it? The expansion of finance/accounting responsibility for innovation, operations and strategy beyond the traditional scorekeeping is adding value to businesses in new ways and hopefully much more than the cost.
We are entering a major talent war for finance and accounting talent and those with the right set of skills are in more and more demand. As the Corporate finance/accounting roles have broadened since the great recession, the need for more and more soft or "success skills" is costing more and is likely to continue rising. The other side of the coin is that accounting and finance personnel are more likely to be in value-added role working along side business leaders, involved in innovation, and much more involved in strategy. Thus the value proposition is increasing hopefully more than the cost.
If you are an aspiring CFO or corporate accountant, the question is do you have the right skills to work in this "new normal". Skills like collaboration and synthesis, strategic thinking, leadership, business acumen, communication, and being technologically savvy. That is what we are seeing demand for in our work with large public company finance teams.
There are three distinct mindsets that allow new employees and leaders to become constant learners: the Gamer Mindset, the Beginner Mindset, and the Growth Mindset. Knowing all three can provide a framework that throws your personal switch to “LEARN” when you need to rapidly adapt and get to work.
Using the sinking of the Titanic as an example and contrasting it with the story of the Shackleton expedition to Antarctica, this paper describes how project managers can take specific leadership actions that will contribute to project success. Detailing the different types and styles of leadership, the paper draws from a large body of research and from the fields of ethics, trust, and professional conduct and gives emphasis to high-performance teams. Project managers can reduce project risk and become successful project leaders by taking the actions identified.
We like to say, "A leader's job is to set context, connect to the purpose and provide hope and inspiration." This article captures that spirit well.
Servant leaders understand that things don’t revolve around them, rather it is all about the team! The leader’s role is to nurture an environment that builds enthusiasm and energy around the work being done. The level of energy within the team rests squarely on the leader’s shoulders.
During my years as a consultant, I have often had people say to me, “I wish my leader knew …” to which I would encourage the individual to speak up and raise an issue of real concern so things might improve. When I did this, I often got the following responses: “It won’t make a difference.” “I don’t want to get in trouble.” “It will just make them mad.”
Via John Lasschuit ®™
According to a new report released by Oracle and Forbes, "Making the Change: Planning, Executing and Measuring a Successful Business Transformation," emerging players on the global platform now place pressure on businesses to seek out new ways to get ahead of the competition. Transforming a business — through bringing new products to market, deploying IT systems, or major investments and acquisitions — can take countless forms, but keeping current is proving a challenge for many companies.
The study surveyed 534 senior executives at companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenue, spanning across the Americas and EMEA region. A range of industries was included, such as professional services, banking, finance, retail and engineering.
While the majority of executives surveyed — 86 percent — said business transformation is necessary for continued success, 48 percent admitted their company was only somewhat or not at all prepared to execute a transformation today.
One in five said attempts at transformation had failed, and three in five have not yet attempted to change their business to remain competitive.
Incremental change is no longer sufficient according to this latest report - "86 percent — said business transformation is necessary for continued success, 48 percent admitted their company was only somewhat or not at all prepared to execute a transformation today."
This concept and the visual was taken from my new book which came out today called, The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization.
One of the things I have been writing about and have tried to make clear over the past few months is that work as we know it is dead and that the only way forward is to challenge convention around how we work, how we lead, and how we build our companies. Employees which were once thought of expendable cogs are the most valuable asset that any organization has. However, the employee from a decade ago isn’t the same as the employee who we are starting to see today. To help show that I wanted to share an image from my upcoming book which depicts how employees are evolving. It’s an easy way to see the past vs the future.
Nice graphic that captures the essence of how work and the employee is changing / needing to change. It is very close to an exercise we did with our team as we prepared for our move and our "workplace" consultants (Avance') had our entire team map how work was, how it is now, and where they see it going... Here are some of the key areas:
From individual work to group work
From hierarchy to flat structure
From Independent group to interdependent group
From internally focused to external (customer/member and brand)
From planned connections to spontaneous connections
From single work point to multiple workpoints
From structured to fluid
This also reinforces our approach to what we are calling the "shift change" and how the interplay of technology, workplace, leadership, learning, and culture are all in need of intentional thoughtful planning to get the most out of the new world we are facing...
Dinosaurs are an apt and widely used metaphor today. After all, if a firm can't or won't adapt, it's straight to the dustbin of business oblivion. A business
Tom Hood's insight:
Insightful piece on adapting in the pace of rapid change. "Searching for the magic bullet is a distracting waste of resources. Adapting is a game of singles, not home runs."
The leaders job is to set the direction (vision and strategy), and more importantly pace, or speed of adapting for the organization. Alignment of all activities to the direction creates unity and energy. Involvement of your teams creates safety and buy-in.
Get off the monotonous treadmill of your job, and seek a different running path of meaning on your journey toward career satisfaction.
Tom Hood's insight:
Why meaning matters (at work). With 70% of the workforce DISENGAGED (according to Gallup) what could a boost of engagement, alignment, and meaning give to your team?
This has been a major part of our conversation over the past two days at our MACPA Leadership Academy. This group of emerging leaders developed four critical themes to their future success as 1) Communication; 2) Collaboration; 3) Anticipation; and 4) Talent development and training.
I like how Jessica summarizes this as:
- Become a master job crafter (coupling, decoupling, rearranging tasks and fine-tuning the purpose and meaning of the work).
- Ignore the what and heed the why (ala Simon Sinek).
- Remember that other people matter (and everyone has good ideas).
We attend conferences so we can deepen our knowledge and relationships. Hopefully we’ll also get recharged and inspired too but that doesn’t always happen. I was fortunate enough to come away from ...
Tom Hood's insight:
We are not "Not-For-Profits", we are "For Purpose" organizations.
This recap is from a fellow "Association" friends, Deirdre Reid, and captures the essence of one of my must-attend conferences, The DigitalNow.
In one of my sessions we found that 10 out of 10 associations were experiencing severe to moderate disruption in their business models. Your point, "Associations are on the edge of their comfort zone right now dealing with new ways of associating, learning and communicating, new technology, new competition, and new expectations. This is also a time of new opportunity. Associations who push through their fear will become stronger and better positioned to be agents of transformation for their members." says it well.
"Thinking strategically is not just the responsibility of upper management or an organization's CEO. It's everyone's responsibility. Do you have the characteristics of a strategic thinker? Test yourself and try our three approaches to improving your skills.
What gets in the way of building strategic thinking capacity at your organization?"
Tom Hood's insight:
We happen to agree that strategic thinking is a core leadership competency and was identified in the Top 5 skills CPAs need for the future by the CPA Horizons 2025 Project. This is a great overview of the "strategic thinking" competency and a useful self-assessment.
If you want to build you strategic thinking competency along with positive strengths-based leadership and collaboration and facilitation skills, sign up to attend our MACPA Leadership Academy to be held June 25-27, 2014 at the Sheraton Baltimore North http://cpa.tc/2dq.
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