In a minute or two of trawling around LinkedIn you will be amazed at the great men who all sing the praises of failure: from Churchill to Michael Jordan; from Kennedy to Henry Ford; from James Joyce to Abraham Lincoln. On the other hand, you won’t read much about Joe Dorn, a baker in Pocatello, […]Read More about Rebound—or the Joys of Failure
Each business has its own characteristics, business drivers and strategic imperatives. Although some “basics” exist in Leadership, the most important skills, attitudes and behaviors for leaders to embody, are those that respond to the company’s business objectives and expected corporate culture.
Successful global companies seek to develop a body of Leaders and potential Leaders who will ultimately take up positions in various parts of the business around the world. The Leadership Profile should therefore reflect the uniqueness of an organization and what is special about its leadership. It needs to be both a lever for consistency and allow for diversity so that it can be easily accepted and implemented.
In our experience with companies that have recently experienced mergers, acquisitions or organizational change at a global level, we find that leadership profiles are structured around a number of topics that we identify as:
1. Drive and Execute Strategy. This includes designing and getting buy-in for a new strategic vision and direction, inspiring teams to drive transformation, developing new markets; putting the customer at the center. Depending on the company and its context, it will put more or less stress on visioning or, for example, on increasing global presence.
2. Make the Global Organization Work. This includes working and cooperating across boundaries of all sorts: national, regional, cultural, functional, and organizational. Depending on the company and its context, it will put more or less stress on issues such as leading virtual or remote teams; managing across cultures; cooperating between HQ and field offices.
3. Develop and Empower People. Talent shortage will continue to increase. Building and developing the relationships with talented collaborators represents a certain competitive advantage in the long term. This is why senior Managers today have to shift to a coaching/mentoring position.
4. Live the Values and build the Company Culture. It is through the management’s transmission of values and convictions that a company can build a corporate culture, a community of interest and of thinking; Senior Management is to be exemplary on this matter.
Of these four “topics”, the last one constitutes what we call the Corporate Leadership Signature. It is about creating behavioral convergence in terms of leadership and management practices, and therefore building a strong, shared, corporate culture. This Corporate Leadership Signature is at the heart of what determines a company’s uniqueness in terms of Employer Branding
This is why off-the-shelf profiles are far less meaningful, relevant, or effective. You cannot outsource your company’s identity to an off-the-shelf definition!
Developing and implementing your company-specific leadership profile
ICM adapts its methodology to the size, complexity, and context of each client. The process below gives you an idea of what wetake into consideration in this process.
Step 1: Listening to People and Developing the Leadership Profile
- ICM starts by interviewing managers and running a questionnaire based on the ICM CBF© model in order to gather expectations of leadership and better understand the existing company culture. On this basis, we propose major headings for the leadership profile that pick up company language and take business and cultural drivers into account.
- We then organize a working session with the Executive Committee and HR Project Manager in order to discuss and validate the Leadership Profile.
- The objective is to end up with a profile that people feel is relevant to them and that has taken the different parts of the company into account.
Step 2: Implementing the Profile
Once the profile has been developed, it’s all about implementation. By far the most credible lever for implementation is having senior executives and leaders demonstrate by their behaviors, that they are aligned with the profile. In order to help this happen, we accompany our clients in the following activities destined to accelerate buy-in and implementation:
- Communication: often the HR’s responsability, it’s very important to communicate around the initiative to the whole participants.
- Leadership development tied in to the profile. During our meetings, managers from different departments and geographical regions can discuss common goals.
- 360° Feedback: the 360° questionnaire derived directly from the specific leadership profile, in order to reinforce individual alignment to the profile.
- Team barometers based on a profile definition, enables a team to reinforce its strengths and understand its weaker areas.
- Cross-cultural meetings and off-sites in which the behaviors associated to the leadership profile are discussed among leaders from very different parts of the world. Giving and receiving feedback, certainly looks very different in Brazil, in China and in the US!