"Frank's skill in asking the right questions is un-mistakable, and is at the core of his leadership philosophy.

The power of these questions cannot be underestimated, especially if you want to lead and not manage."
—John Cave
Westhaven Worldwide Logistics

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Archive for the 'Definitions' Category

Scrum

Having just vented about business jargon, I should mention that someone recently asked me what I thought about scrum meetings.

As honesty is the best policy in situations like this, I told my colleague that I hadn’t the faintest idea what she was talking about.

“You know,” she said, “scrum… a daily stand-up meeting”.

Well—I hadn’t come across this so thought I had better research it. Apparently ’scrum’ is a product development process which encourages close daily collaboration on a project thus avoiding the traditional sequential methodology.

Now that sounds like a good thing.

And, to be honest, so do stand-up meetings. After all, what better incentive to cut to the chase than being obliged to stand up rather than settling down (as so many do) for a long-haul disorganized exchange?

Talking of being organized, the stand-up meeting agenda also meets with Kanu approval. This is because the meetings are based around the three key questions that neatly characterize all of our working experiences, namely:
  1. What did I achieve yesterday?
  2. What will I achieve today?
  3. What obstacles are in my way?


All this said, ‘google’ something like ‘disadvantages of stand-up meetings’ and you get to see the other side of the stand-up meeting coin. Meetings that started at 15 minutes and now go on forever. Meetings that degenerate into ‘gripe-fests’ (ugh, more jargon). Meetings that disadvantage the more introverted team member. Meetings that should be nature be held in the morning but have somehow got moved to the afternoon. The list goes on…

… and stand-up meetings shouldn’t.

Fortunately, given that I am declaring myself ‘for’ the concept of a stand-up meeting, not one of the issues with stand-up meetings I saw online was insurmountable.

They just needed leadership from the (please forgive the jargon)… scrum-master (more ugh!).



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BPO

As you know, I have a love hate relationship with acronyms.

I love to hate them… and any other language device that seeks to disguise meaning and act as an obstacle to communication.

So… time for a little hypocrisy then.

BPO.

No, I am not referring to the Baltic Ports Organization, Business Process Offshore, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra or a Benign Prostatic Obstruction.

I’m talking about Business Prevention Officers.

BPO’s are the ‘can’t dos’ in any organization. Among a number of distinctive features they:
  • will give a short, sharp intake of breath when you suggest something new
  • invoke any number of laws going back to the 12th century as reasons for inaction
  • use the word compliance—or probably non-compliance—in every sentence
  • will tell you which Division in your company won’t like your new initiative (so, for example,<sharp intake of breath> ’sales won’t like that’)
  • will remind you of a number of business constraints that prevent adoption of your new idea (using the words ‘budget’ and ‘headcount’ a lot).

Now, don’t get me wrong. Organizations often need people who are willing to pull on the handbrake when ludicrous ideas start to gain traction.

No, it’s the automatic naysayers I’m talking about. There will be some in your organization armed with a bucket of cold water ready to douse the flames of a good idea.

It will be up to you to help champion that idea past them.


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Leadership

Let’s start with that word.

Leadership.

It’s so open to misinterpretation. Most people don’t give it a thought. Your leader. The ‘He’ or ‘She’ who tells you what to do, when and how.

You see, I prefer not to think about management and control when I consider the issues attached to leadership. I like to focus on the provision of guidance and direction and the skills involved in getting people to lead themselves.

That’s not to say that the bricks and mortar of leadership aren’t relevant. By this I mean that if there are people in your organisation who don’t understand its proposition, have no idea what the business strategy is and how their role contributes to it… then you haven’t laid the foundations of your leadership (the bricks and mortar). Assuming that you have clarified your business proposition and strategy (at least for yourself and your senior team) then you really do need to get the internal communications right so everyone can share your thinking and direction.

No, I mean with those foundations in place, what actions have you taken to put in place a culture where people feel able to step up to the strategic plate and deliver of their own accord—because they feel they can and because they really want to. If this isn’t happening, then are you analysing the gaps? Are there political issues? Are there skill set gaps? Is the line management structure right? Are middle management leaders not on board with the idea of empowering staff? And that big question—

Are the right people in the right jobs?


It’s about your leadership… and it’s about your business’ culture.



I’ll return to that latter thorny issue next week.

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Leadership Theory

The basic conditions, structures, processes and consequences of leadership.

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Execution Planning

Detailed description of every step in the work process; in extreme cases the plan describes daily tasks.

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Participle Leadership

Participle Leadership means to:
  • acknowledge employees
  • incorporate their knowledge and skills
  • encourage suggestions
  • choose an employee’s plan

Participle Leadership results in higher motivation and productivity.

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Management by Democracy

USA Today has an interesting interview about Management by Democracy:

Do you think that changing leadership accountability to employees is the way to go? It seems to me that in politics (see Russia to name just one example) the trend is to lessen the peoples control while adding more power to the leader.

Looking at the definition of Management by Objectives—how is Management by Democracy any different?

Just a new name for an old horse?



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Are You an Evil Overlord?

We all know how much emphasis is put on personality types—especially the Myers-Briggs Personality Type.

But here is the real deal: Myers-Brigg Personality Type

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