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Category: Networking

  1. How has Leadership and Management Training Changed? - Part 2

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    In my last blog, I reflected on how my recent experience with a young, tech-based business in Bulgaria demonstrated how a different type of management and leadership has evolved from that I grew up with. I’ve generally worked in more traditional environments, so although I was aware of this different approach, I hadn’t experienced it first hand.

    My work with these bright, young leaders highlighted that increasingly (and especially in more creative, knowledge-based industries) leaders have all arrived in their position via a different route. First-line leaders have skills and abilities that would have only been associated with the most senior people a generation ago or in more traditional businesses.

    tech workers

    They also have skills gaps and blind-spots. Without many years’ experience, they are brilliant in some respects yet may flounder in others. However, due to the flexible and agile nature of their roles ‘traditional’ management skills are less relevant (not unnecessary – just less important). With multiple lines of reporting, lack of standard operating procedures, few tried and tested processes or even set job roles, this type of leader needs an entirely different type of management and leadership development, focusing on:

    Managers of knowledge-based workers don’t always have the answers; they haven’t always done the exact same job themselves. Unlike their counterparts in more industrial or regulation-led businesses, they are less likley to have worked their way up through a structured career path. Instead they have adapted to the changing needs of the buisness and seized an opportunity. As such, their role is less about being the expert. Instead, they need to know how to unleash their team members’ creativity, and provide just the right amount of support and guidance to keep everyone pulling in the same direction. They are all about making the idea work, and ensuring expectations are met. Of course, these skills are important in more traditional industries too, but they are front and centre in every-day operations.

    READ PART 1 (more traditional industries) HERE

    In my final blog, I’ll discuss how this has changed management leadership training.

  2. Show and Tell: A big difference

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    I've just returned from an excellent short break at Center Parcs with my family. Completely, water-logged (thanks to the pool and flumes), worn out and yet energised at the same time. One of the draws of Center Parcs, is that there's so much to do, and every year we go, we try and do something new.

    This year, we did two 'experiences' at the Outdoor Activity Centre. The first involved adult and child archery. It was led by a nice instructor (let's call him John) who told us how great he was with kids, and how everyone loved him and how good he was at his job. We had a good time and John provided help so that we all improved by the end of the end of the session. He was indeed a good instructor. However, he had told us he was great, so I felt a bit short changed.

    When we did laser combat, with a lovely American Instructor (let's call him Brad), we learned nothing at all of the instructor. He focussed entirely on the group, and on making sure that we had a good time. He was very enthusiastic about the activity, helpful, and gave tips so that people could improve. Brad was a good instructor, we had an amazing time, and we left the arena feeling that he was awesome!

    Maybe it's to do with the old 'under promise and over deliver' philosophy, but the fact that John TOLD us he was great (and then was simply 'good') and Brad SHOWED us he was great left us with different impressions about our experiences. It made me think about the way that we show our expertise in business. Yes, you DO have tell people what you can do, and if you don't blow your own trumpet, then who will? Well, the answer is the people who use your products/services.

    Marketing is good, but delivering a great product/service is even more important. If you do that, your customers/clients will do the marketing for you!

    And on that note, I'd like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has recommended Power Hour to their colleagues, contacts and associates. We really appreciate the kind words.

  3. Why Network?

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    I belong to an informal networking group, the Junction 7 Network. I've tried a few out (and will continue to do so), but I like the friendliness of this one. It is full of people who run small businesses in my local area. Not a likely place for me to find new clients, but life is all about connections, and you never know where a conversation will lead.

    But, the purpose of this blog is not to talk about Power Hour. It's to talk about those small businesses who consistently don't come (despite numerous invitations) because "people know we are here". These days I don't think having a presence on the high street is enough. Where is your internet presence? How are you making yourself more attractive to those people who walk past your shop or office every day? Business is about relationships, and networking is a great way to make new ones and strengthen existing ones.

    A real example from Junction 7: We have a quality butcher in our village. I have always known he was there, but I rarely used him. However, since he has made the effort to come to the networking events, I have gotten to know HIM, and I want to support him. So guess what? I now visit the village butcher more frequently.

    So to get 'power from an hour' this month - why not go networking? Find a format that you like (some are very formal, some very informal. Some are industry-based, others very 'open'. Some meet weekly, some meet quarterly) You never know where it will lead.