Tribal Leadership

“Rather than blindly following the orders of managers above them, people typically form into natural groups that the best managers are able to leverage to increase team effectiveness.” -Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King & Halee Fischer-Wright-


#36 Solving the Talent Retention Challenge

stand outTalents are unique set of individuals. They challenge traditional assumptions and are bold to make a stand. They think highly of their capabilities and enjoy an environment which provides them a platform to shine. Here are top 5 ways to retain talents.

1) Understand them at a personal level

Talents have a different set of believe system. This makes them stand out from the rest. They usually have a principle in what they do. They have passion and goals in life. However, many companies made mistakes of managing its people collectively. This tends to send signals to these talents that they are just part of a group of mediocre people.

2) Empower them and give them a voice

Talents strive to improve the overall performance of a Company. As mentioned above, they look highly to their own capabilities. Hence, they will only stay if the Company believes in their capabilities and gives them opportunity to run projects or teams. They love to be empowered to do things their way and often give feedback and views. Companies must take into the account of their voice.

3) Set challenges based on their skill set

Give them opportunity to grow. Talents are highly demanded in the job market. They tend to be on the lookout for opportunity elsewhere to grow. Companies should give them the right training which is in line with their responsibility. Responsibility without training will cause stress; and training without responsibility will cause boredom. Overtime, increase challenges but always ensure they are well equipped with the necessary skills.

4) Encourage them to be creative

Do not put them in a box that limits their creativity. Set them free and give them the full autonomy to do things differently. Talents love to think and explore. They enjoy putting fingerprints to their product and design. Companies should encourage a culture of creativity and recognize their contribution.

5) Make a commitment and keep it

Talents are highly demanded and they join companies which promise them big things. However, promises that are not kept lose trust. If you break this trust, talents will no longer believe in the future of the company and eventually will leave.

In order to retain talents, their unique characteristics have to be understood by the Company. They love to do things their way and will ultimately shine for a Company that understands what they can do. Understanding talents and aligning their values to the Company’s values is the sure way to succeed in retaining talents.

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#35 The Number One Thing to Look for in Hiring

talentThe candidates queued up for their chance to land the job interview. You went through the resume and many reads:

“President of Debate Club”

“First class honours from Ivy League University”

“Led a team of young entrepreneurs”

“Volunteer in a charity organisation”

“Ability to work on a varied task”

And the list goes on and on..

Different people have different life experience. The question is what is the number one thing to look for in hiring talents? The term “talents” are used in many ways but not understood by many. In fact, talents can be in many forms. In could be a personal mastery in a particular subject or it could be the knowledge obtained from formal and informal education. However, hiring based on this does not capture the true essence of talent. When hiring, it is important to look at something that is different from others. Your company does not need another sheep in the bunch. The greatest asset of talent is the ability to think for themselves. To have a set of believe system, values and principles in what he/she is doing. These talents usually have something worth listening to. What is the point of a bright superstar when their talent is not fully used?

Great talents are usually disruptive and their actions cannot be limited, but it’s worth listening to their ideas. We look at the likes of Richard Branson and Tony Fernandes on how they changed the whole aviation industry. They have an in-built energy inside of them that is self-driven. They look highly to themselves and are generally positive in life. Anything is possible for them if you let them to do the things they believe in. In short, when hiring a talent, look out for their ability to adapt and think for themselves.

In this fast moving world, skills can become obsolete in split seconds. Time span for a decision to be made has to be quick. What differentiate businesses are the people. Their ability to think and adapt rather than follow instruction from the top. Find talents who can fit into your organisations based on their believe system, values and principles. Put them on “auto-pilot” and let them fly.

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#34 Did Richard Branson Planned his Success?

virgin-airlines-richard-bransonSir Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group with over 400+ companies most notably Virgin Airlines. The birth of Virgin Airlines came about unexpectedly. Richard Branson went to Jamaica to discover new music for his record label Virgin Music. This comes after he decided to take his chance on a different kind of music; something fresh and totally new.

During one of the party he went to, someone asked him if Virgin was named after Virgin Island (which was not the case. Virgin was named at that time when both he and his partner were new or “virgin” in business). Conversation started and they began chatting about how one could get a free tour if he had the intention to purchase a piece of land on Virgin Island. Without hesitating, Richard Branson contacted the agent and went for the tour. He was treated like royalty in a big villa facing the big blue sea. Despite not knowing whether he can afford the island, he made an inquiry for something which he has not seen. The real estate agent then proposed an Island for sale called Necker Island which was not far away. Not knowing the price, he took up the offer and went for the tour on the island. Little did he know, the price was exorbitant. “I only have 150 000 pound” Richard Branson said to the agent who expected 3 million pound for the island. Smile slowly faded and he was escorted out of the villa thinking this was all a joke.

Richard Branson spent the holiday on another island. His initial plan was to travel to Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, the only way to get there at that time was to charter a private jet for $2000. He divided the seat which adds up to $39 per seat. He took a blackboard and wrote “VIRGIN AIRWAYS. $39. SINGLE FLIGHT TO PUERTO RICO”. All tickets were sold to passengers and that marks the birth of an idea that started Virgin Airlines. Not only that, he managed to purchase Necker Island after obtaining a loan from the bank and also his relatives and family members. A single journey to Jamaica created an unexpected business opportunity.

In whatever we do, we must not be afraid to take chances even when the odds are against us. Opportunities are everywhere if we open our eyes wide enough. Stay ready for unexpected circumstance and turn those problems into opportunities. At the same time, be like Richard Branson and have a little fun along the way

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#33 Traits of a Leader

Apple_DSC2733-L1) Leaders breathe the vision

Leaders do not only communicate the vision but also lives the vision. Steve Job was known for his appetite for innovation. His hunger for innovation has made Apple where they are today. Why Samsung still find it difficult to compete against Apple despite being the number 1 most innovative company. Simple! They lack the leadership that Steve Jobs brings to Apple. The whole innovative ecosystem and culture that Steve Jobs brings contributes the competitive edge.

2) Leaders make tough calls

Howard Schultz closed down 10 000 stores in the United States to stay in line with the purpose of the existence of Starbucks. These Companies were soaring in revenue but it was growing too fast and slowly they were losing their identity. However, Schultz stayed true to himself and did not let profit get into the way.

3) Leaders develop trust among its people

The best indicator on whether you are made to be a good leader is whether your people asked you out for a “teh tarik” to discuss about their performance. They find every chance they have to discuss on their development. This is an indication that they trust you as someone who can make a difference in their life.

4) Leaders encourage risk taking and celebrate success

For every success, great leaders do not take the credit himself but shares it with its people. Even when things go wrong, leaders take responsibility and strive to learn from failure.

5) Leaders look beyond numbers

Managers tend to achieve budgets and earn big bucks for the company. However, leaders look beyond numbers. Leaders empower its people and push forward its people. They build its people through a common vision and objective beyond profits.

6) Leaders balance short term goals with long term vision

It is so easy to succeed in the short term. Just keep squeezing. It is also easy to succeed in the long term. Just keep dreaming. However, great leaders balance short term profits with long term vision.

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#32 Difference Between a Manager and a Leader

leader-vs-managerThe rate of change in this world has prompted the need for more leadership in managerial roles. Thus, there are many misconceptions on the different roles of managers and leaders. One must clearly distinguish between these two roles as confusion will lead to not being able to adapt to changes. Essentially, the role of the manager includes setting plans and budgets for the direction of the company. In contrast, the leader is the visionary and sets the path of the company. In times of rapid change, managers may be too into exercising its managerial capability where a leadership role would be a better option. Managers may not be aware to look further for possibilities rather than current capabilities. This may not be the case in times of maturity where a managerial role may be more appropriate. Manager tends to be reactive to changes but leaders are proactive in making changes.

Different roles play different part on its people. Managerial role focuses on planning and control. In fact, most management books would define a managerial role as planning, organizing, leading and controlling. This is in the context of status quo. However, leadership role involves inspiring its people to look beyond their capabilities and potential. They are the ones that create new ideas and paths for the company. This often involves unlearning the past and crafting a new future. It goes beyond the organisational hierarchy. They ride the waves of change and often bring along people with them.

“Managerial and leadership roles should not be seen in separation. Different roles should be clearly distinguished and to be embrace at different times.”

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#31 Four Steps to Seal the Deal

shaking-handsBusiness negotiation is part and parcel of every business. In the current environment, businesses enjoy the privilege of choice. Thus, it is not as simple as getting the message across through supporting arguments. In order to win in business, negotiation skills are a must. Rather than persuading a point, the winning formula now is on understanding the needs of their potential clients through long term learning. Here are the four steps to winning the next deal.

1) Establish credibility

Getting attention in this crazy world is not an easy task. Credibility attracts attention and maintains attention. People’s minds are framed to listen to credible people. This may not be an easy task due to the diverse nature of knowledge. It is something built overtime. Few ways to improve on credibility is through gaining the knowledge itself, hiring someone with the knowledge or use outside source to support. Ensure that you are speaking in the right capacity. More credibility is needed when a manager is talking to the CEO as opposed to a manager speaking to another manager.

2) Develop a common ground

Different people have different needs and targets. A marketing personnel’s target is to achieve a target sales. An innovator’s target is to come up with the next big thing. An accountant is more concern about the dollars spent. A selling point may only be one but can be framed differently in line with the target audience. This ensures buy-in from the potential clients.

Example: An idea to streamline business operations may save cost. But this is not appealing to the marketing people. Thus, it will be better to frame streamline business operations as a way to serve customers better. The same plan but different frame.

3) Support with evidence

A good idea needs to be supported by good evidence. This is in continuance to step 2 whereby people from different background speaks different language. Framing evidence is then equally important. Be careful of using too much facts and figures as people will lose interest and ultimately buy-in fails.

4) Connect emotionally

Having all the logical arguments based on facts, figures and stories wins your first battle. But the war has not been won. This is where emotions come into play. It is a human nature to want to feel connected emotionally. Emotions attract buy-in. Do not just be a seller but be a part of the deal. Clients want businesses that share the same value. Use stories that appeal to the target audience such as using the term “recruiting members” rather than “getting customers” in a multi-level marketing business.

Having these steps in mind will win you the next big deal.

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