I came across an article by Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan (link to the article at the end) on their study on leadership development and its benefits in companies. They reviewed the companies’ leadership programs and methods. All companies had the same overarching goals, to determine the desired behaviours for leaders in their organisations and to help leaders increase their effectiveness by better aligning actual practices with these desired behaviours. The companies used different methodologies to get there: offsite training vs onsite coaching, short duration vs long, internal coaches vs external and classroom-based training vs on-the-job interaction. The increased effectiveness was assessed by the co-workers and stakeholders.
The participants’ ongoing interaction and follow-up with colleagues was the variable that emerged over and over again as central to the achievement of positive long-term change. Regardless of the methodology, the leaders who had an ongoing discussion with their colleagues showed striking improvement. They discussed their own improvement priorities and followed up with their co-workers. Such leaders are seen as people who care. The same results have been received in studies in different countries and cultures such as in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. No culture anywhere appreciates being asked for feedback and then ignored!
The development should not be seen as taking place in an event created for it but as an ongoing engagement connected to work and with the help of co-workers. Leaders learn from those around them and need to execute the learning to doing. Executive coach can be seen in many ways as a personal trainer whose role is in many cases is to remind the client to do what he or she already knows should be done. I have seen the same in my career in executive teams and also as an executive coach. Leaders know in theory what they should do but do not quite see it or get to do it. The practice is therefore often different from the leadership principles and goals of the organisations. But with the support of coaching when the first simple question is asked from the team member or other co-worker and the dialogue is started, the knowledge on the situation is increased and the possible challenges that earlier seemed almost unbearable are solved by listening the others.
The reason why coaching is so effective is seen in the article to be because it inspires the leaders to follow up with their co-workers. The studies show clear correlation between the follow up by the coach with its client and the number of times the client followed up with co-workers. I’ve seen the same. In between the coaching discussions, the dialogue is often continued at the work place with the co-workers, e.g. with the team members. The coach can be also from inside the company, e.g. at the HR unit but compared to an external coach, this may have time, credibility and confidentiality issues.
The studies show very little difference with the effects of telephone and live coaching. The same applies to the follow up by the leader with the co-workers. Again, I’ve noticed the same. I’ve had clients that I’ve coached over the phone and some of them I have never met in person. These coaching sessions have been very intense and productive. Naturally just like with live coaching in the same room both (or with a group, all) need to be in a place where they are not disturbed. I’ve had coaching discussions also over Skype with a live video connection but I’d choose the best connection over seeing the other. Even though the expressions and other behaviour gives information, so does also the full focus on the voice and the silent parts in between.
The study showed that the effectiveness of coaching did not require any connection to training. Perhaps the companies could consider having less costly group wide training programs and instead see to it that their people are encouraged and supported to listen and learn from their co-workers and to focus on their self-improvement.
I am available also for virtual one to one coaching and advising so no matter where you are or where I am, we can have good discussion and results on how to develop your career or business to the next level. If you are interested in having coaching with me, please send me an email and describe what you wish to obtain with the coaching and I’ll get back to you soon.
You can read the whole article here.
The photo is from my visit to the Ugo Rondino exhibition at Taidehalli, Helsinki in August 2019, open until 17th of Nov 2019.
I have been asked quite often, also this morning by another coach, what is the secret of my career. I’ve thought about this question and to tell you the truth, my answer is not the one we read from magazines or hear from podcasts. I did not have a clear goal or direction about what I want to achieve and what I would have developed and followed over the years.
I’ve had set and shared goals for my work and my teams and for the corporations at Executive Teams and Boards. And today as a coach I talk about and help others in setting and defining goals and in companies communicating them in an effective way so that they can be reached.
What made me gain the know-how and have the positions and also all the great adventures in my free time is the same what also got me into leaving my career and becoming an entrepreneur and coach. That is seeing that my work (and free time) is meaningful and interesting, that I am doing a good job and keeping what I promise, that I am living in the moment, listening to my heart and seizing the opportunities.
I have not been afraid to change jobs into totally different business areas or take totally new responsibility areas. It has not been intentional, I have only done what has interested me most at the time and then balanced my time and shared the responsibilities accordingly. Looking back now, strangely, the jobs do form a logical path where each position supports the others and as a whole create know-how that is much more than just one position or one industry could have offered.
When becoming an entrepreneur, coach and adviser I thought I was leaving my career behind and starting something completely new, even something a bit crazy. But I have realized that again, the move was a logical step forward. I have all the know-how and experience that I can now share and thanks to coaching, more understanding on how to best support others and also myself.
I’ve always taken the role where I can define and develop my tasks and work independently. This has meant long hours and working also during many weekends and holidays but I’ve always made sure that I’ve taken enough time to myself. In the end, only I (especially in an independent position) can make sure that I do not work too much and that I relax and rest enough. I also have not hesitated to step down e.g. from Board positions when I have felt that it is best. Now, thanks to all the work I have done earlier, I have full control of my time and of what I do with it, and a lot of free time. That is what I call success.
In one of my recent coaching it turned out that some of the issues in the company evolved from the earlier merger of companies and how the old culture affected at times negatively the work of the leaders that came with the acquired company. They felt also being separate from the rest of the company. I read a blog today about the importance, and clear lack, of cultural due diligence prior to mergers. The writer of the blog suggested that as a requirement for the merger, you need to ensure that the cultures match.
To certain extent this is true, you need to do your due diligence also on cultural matters, see where the differences are and make sure that the two companies share the common goal and core values moving forward. At the same time you need to ensure that the people of the acquired company are introduced to others and thereafter, that the new, common culture is developed together. Communication in this needs to be effective so that the message and people are heard and understood. And most importantly, that the goals, values and work culture are shared by all.
I think it is a mistake to think that the company culture is what it is, that it is stronger than the agreed, set strategies. The company and its culture must evolve with its people by taking into account the needs of the employees, customers and the environment. The company, its strategy and work culture need to be developed. The agreed goals and processes need to be feasible. What worked before will not necessarily work today or in the future. Therefore you must be ready for the changes with the right attitude, strong values and clear roles and responsibilities, and open to new ways of working.
In the coaching session I mentioned above, it was said what a pity it is that the work on the company culture was not done when the companies were merged and that the people were not introduced. So, it was not done and thereafter things got busy but, I asked, is there a reason why you would not start doing it today. By introducing yourself and your work processes and why they are important and by also otherwise increasing communication to gain clarity and better co-operation. This work will not be finished. The fact that there will be new recruitments, people will be more self driven and will be taking more responsibility on their work will ensure the need for it.
The longer the team has been run in a routine reporting mode the quicker it should be refreshed and activated
Executive Team is a valuable support function for the CEO. Its working practices and work results have a direct impact on the success of the company. The longer the team has been run in a routine reporting mode the quicker it should be refreshed and activated to develop a better team culture and better results.
You may have had team recreational days, training and consulting to develop your team and you may have been left feeling that it did not really boost the team work or business. Still, effective team development is needed to ensure that the team has clear common goals and that the team is lead and followed up towards the agreed goals. It should be clear why the team exists and why the meetings are held.
Having set goals is not enough. The composition and skills of the team should be the ones you need in order to reach the goals. You need diversity and you need the team to be able to renew because what worked in the past may not work tomorrow. The team needs to work together and be agile so that useful decisions can be made. This does not mean that everyone agrees with the CEO and with each other. The CEO should ensure that all voices are heard in the team no matter how out-of-the-box they may seem. It would be a waste not to use the versatile expertise and ideas of all the members of the team. This requires an atmosphere of trust which the CEO should create. Leading with coaching helps in building the trust: by trusting, respecting and empowering the team members, by focusing on solutions instead of problems and by being open and supportive to new ideas.
In my most recent executive team, we had a rule that the leaders leave their business unit hat outside of the executive team room and instead put the Group Executive Team hat on and look after the interests of the Group instead of their own business unit or companies they run in the Group. This rule was created together and it worked. Only this way the discussion can be constructive and lead towards the common goals. Another good rule to have is to commit to forward looking operational and strategic topics in each meeting so that the meeting is not (only) about reporting of what has been. Actually, what I’ve seen is that the standard financial, HR and business unit reports are usually circulated already prior to the meeting and accessible, often even co-created with many in the team. You should ask what value it brings to go through them in the Executive Team meeting. If some of them can be left out and the saved time is allocated to more forward-looking items I bet this would motivate the team members a lot more.
Create together as a team your own meeting rules that you as a team find important in order to have useful meetings. This may include also basic items such as being on time and being prepared so that the time of others is not unnecessarily wasted. In my meetings (and also in my group coaching) we’ve created and looked at the team rules at the start and at the end of each meeting to ensure that we follow them and in order to reflect how well we did. Do this so that the rules are not forgotten and do not become a dead letter.
The ways to take your team to the next level are mostly found from within the team but an external coach helps you to stop, think and deliver this. A coach from outside of the organization that has business and executive background helps you to see where you are at the moment in terms of skills, motivation and practices and what needs to be done in order to plan and run the meetings in a better way. The discussions with an external coach may bring to the surface hidden reasons, assumptions and goals and may help unify the team towards common goals.
I’ve sat in many Board rooms where the main owners (capital investors from around the world) have been presented by their appointed Board Directors. In one Board where I’ve been the Chairman, the CEO was the biggest owner of the listed company and the former Chairman of the Board. Another Board consisted of all the owners of the company and I, the Chairman, was the only external member of the Board. The CEO being also the Chairman causes some governance issues. The company’s operational directors and owners being also the Board Directors easily brings the Board to an Executive Board level focusing on operational matters and not the important strategic and development goals. Inviting external Board members in is a smart move in many ways, not only because they should ask the CEO the “stupid” questions that raise the awareness to the often very important but ignored matters.
The investors with their appointed Board members often force the company to change course to a more structured and refined business. Opinions on the right ways may differ but it is always a good thing to have different views from outside of the operational business. Too often the new Board members are chosen from the same industry due to their earlier operational experience in the same business field, but the Board does not run the operational business and it should look the present and the future of the business, not backwards. How else could they develop the business. Diversity, disruption and coming out of the box leads to innovative, assessed and often more balanced solutions that is more ready to face the fast changing business world.
The role of the Board and the Executive team in my opinion is to support the CEO in defining and reaching the company targets in developing the company. The Board should not limit its role to the numbers only but look deeper. It should challenge the CEO in a constructive way by asking enough questions to understand to which way the company should go and what could stand in its way. It should raise the possible risks and bring fresh ideas on the table. It should also be agile in case a change of course is needed.
When developing the company, it is important to make sure that the company processes support the change, including the leadership culture and communication to the employees and other stakeholders. This is relevant already before any decisions are made, to ensure that the expectations of the stakeholders, such as customers, partners and employees, and the goals of the company are understood. Here communication is the key.
When looking beyond the numbers, the Board cannot rely on the CEO reports only while the CEO cannot rely only on Executive Team reports. To really know where the company is going, all decision makers need to keep asking what it is that we want and why, what the proposal really means and what stands on its way. Too often the CEO or Board decisions are based on assumptions that are guided by own mindset on how things are or should be. Board members often invite (and they should invite!) key directors to report in the Board meetings. Board members usually participate in strategy development meetings with key directors. When arriving to Board meetings they often meet employees on the corridors. What a great opportunity to approach the managers and ask what they think and what stands in their way. The answer may be politely positive or diplomatic but a lot can be read from the way the answer is given.
In their roles and as a group the Board may need support, not just from attorneys and consultants but also to function better, to refine the roles and working styles. The capital investors should give room and listen to other views and be ready for changes. Open dialogue that is based on trust between the CEO and the Board, and especially the Chair of the Board as the representative of the Board, between the Board members and between the CEO and its Executive Team is outmost important. A good dialogue involves active listening and accepting different views. It also means acting without unnecessary delay on matters that are communicated and require action.
The owners, Board and Executives should ensure that the business is on a solid base and responsible. The message of the importance of corporate responsibility must come from the top. It builds the trust and credibility that is necessary in today’s business world. But it is also good for the business. Without efficient communication it may be hard to be able to act in advance to ensure this. Corporate responsibility starts from the values of the company that should be well communicated to the employees and other stakeholders and must be integrated into the company processes and actions.
Olin viime viikolla Ranskan Faroux’ssa Naisyrittäjäretriitissä asiakkaana, mutta myös tutustumassa paikkaan ja omistajiin samassa paikassa pidettävää syksyn Business Coaching -retriittiäni varten. Ohjelmassa oli yksilön ja yhtiön hyvinvointivalmennusta kolmen asialleen omistautuneen valmentajan voimin.
Paikalla The Happy Hamlet oli retriitissä iso rooli. Me kaikki olimme innoissamme päästessämme näkemään ja kokemaan se ja tutustumaan sen omistajiin Suskaan ja Nicoon. Viehättävä maalaistalojen rypäs, hamlet, on kaukana kaikesta, peltoja halkovan maalaistien päässä keskellä rauhallista maalaismaisemaa.
Meitä oli kaksitoista osallistujaa, ml. valmentajat, yrittäjiä hekin. Ryhdyimme luomaan siteitä toisiimme jo kentällä. Yhdessä osallistuminen, toisiimme tutustuminen ja ajatusten jakaminen olikin arvokkainta näiden kuuden päivän aikana. Se tarkoitti valmennusten lisäksi istahtamista saman pöydän ääreen drinkille, pitkille lounaille ja illallisille, altaan reunalla keskustelua, retkiä viehättävään lähikylään ja viinitilalle. Se tarkoitti myös vuorikiipeilyn harjoittelemista, ohjattua aamujoogaa, yhteisiä aamu-uinteja ja kävelyretkiä. Juttelimme ja nauroimme paljon. Puhuimme yrittäjyydestä, elämästä, myös kipeistä asioista.
Miten summaisin retriitin? On tärkeää ja arvokasta vetäytyä arjesta elämykselliseen ympäristöön pohtimaan asioita muiden kanssa ja rentoutumaan. Kun ryhmäläiset jakavat samoja tavoitteita, keskustelu on rikasta ja antoisaa. Kotiin lähdetään keskustelujen ja uusien näkökulmien ansiosta viisaampana ja uusia tai vahvistuneita ihmissuhteita rikkaampana.
Business Coaching -retriitissäni syyskuussa on tilaa keskustelulle ja itselle. Siinä paneudutaan ryhmän tavoitteisiin ja löydetään keinot niiden saavuttamiseksi, mutta myös nautitaan hyvästä paikallisesta ruoasta, juomasta ja lähiseudun retkistä. Odotan innolla syksyn uusia, näkemyksellisiä keskusteluja ja yhteistä inspiroivaa retkeä kohti tavoitteita.
I was thinking the other day why it is that I was invited to executive, CEO and board cabinets quite early in my career. I never asked for it or planned for it. Last week I attended a wonderful conference on Coaching to Success, organised by the BCI business coaching institute. I was listening to a story by Monica Worline, Ph.D. and research scientist at Stanford University's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. She told us how she as a young student after some hesitation and with some panic gave honest and direct feedback to her highly recognised professor about his class. Though the professor was clearly expecting a totally different feedback, the result was that they started working together and still do.
The story made me realise that I also have always been very honest and direct in my feedback. I've never minded the unwritten hierarchy rules; I've talked to whomever without hesitation. Now with more age I can see that sometimes I could have been more diplomatic! But instead of being kicked out, I was invited in. I think this directness and honesty has been a strong enabler in my career. It has created trust and confidence for the leaders I've worked with. It has been easy for them to approach me and talk to me, whether direct feedback or just sharing their thoughts on the business.
I did not think I was being the best of who I was at that time. I was not sure if I was clever or skilled enough to be in the highly responsible roles I was put in or in the discussions where my opinion was expected to be heard. I thought that being so direct was not very smart. But on the contrary, I can see now, it made others see who I am and respect me for it.
As Dr. Worline said, we should try to see ourselves as others see us so that we would get rid of the negative bias we often have about ourselves. I try to remember this now that I am an entrepreneur and at times feeling a bit insecure in this new territory. With our reflected best selves we can transform moments of hesitation to moments of courage and untrusted terrain to trusted terrains. There we can use the capacity we have to enact our best selves. Positive feedback helps.
I was a guest speaker last week at HPP, a distinguished attorneys office of a personnel of over 100 of which 70 are attorneys and partners. I was asked to speak about customer expectations, based on my long background as General Counsel, Executive Director and Board Director in international corporations. We got a full house of attorneys, the 70 or so, listening to my presentation and discussing on the topic.
I raised topics and examples from real life, where I've personally seen an attorney making a difference or failing in meeting the expectations when delivering the service. I have been observing reporting at board rooms and CEO office and I've been in between the delivery ensuring that the message is fit for the purpose and the audience. The attorneys' offices have been from various countries.
As in any co-operation, I find the defining of goal together with the customer at the very beginning of the co-operation important. There you should hear and understand the expectations and needs of the customer and understand where they rise. What is the influence of the case to other projects and people?
The role of the attorney is also such that it should be in balance with the customer role. The customer should be heard and supported. It is the customer who makes the decision and answers for it. The same applies also to internal lawyers and any other expert roles: you cannot work alone.
The ways of communication define the picture of you and your service to the customer. Ask questions and listen. Be present, be interested. Feel the situation.
Sharing your experiences and helping others in your team pays off and creates a common voice for your company.
As a partner in the audience noted, the presented ideas on best practises with the customer should be applied, and he will, also internally between the team members. And as the communication manager of the company noted, these ideas are valuable and apply as well to any business, not just attorneys' or consultancy services. I must agree. Social interaction and co-operation, presence and being interested and having the focus on the defined goal and results work for us all, also in my services to my clients.
Michaela Ramm-Schmidt haastatteli minua vastuullisen liiketoiminnan jatko-opintojen tutkimustaan varten vastuullisuudesta liiketoiminnassa erityisesti johtamisen ja hallitustyöskentelyn näkökulmasta sekä sen roolista business coachingissa. Oli mielenkiintoista ja antoisaa keskustella tästä minullekin tärkeästä aiheesta. Haastatteluni löytyy Michaelan tutkimuksesta ja on kopioitu alle. Tietoa Michaelan tutkimuksesta laajemmin löydät tästä.
"Sekä vastuullisuusajattelussa että business coachingissa painottuu kestävä ja pitkäjänteinen lähestymistapa, jossa huomioidaan laajasti eri näkökulmia ja vaikutuksia.
Päivi Hautamäellä on pitkä kokemus yrityskonsernien päälakimiehen tehtävistä, myös ylimmän johdon jäsenenä. Sen lisäksi hän on toiminut usean hallituksen puheenjohtajana, jäsenenä ja sihteerinä. Hän on ollut mm. SSH Communications Security Oyj:n hallituksen puheenjohtajana ja nyt hän toimii Amaronia Oy:n hallituksen puheenjohtajana. Tällä hetkellä Hautamäki tarjoaa business coachingia omassa yrityksessään Intu Coaching Oy:ssä. Keskustelimme hänen kanssaan vastuullisen liiketoiminnan merkityksestä hallitustyössä ja sen roolista coachingissa.
Päivi Hautamäki huomasi jo useampi vuosi sitten, että riskienhallinnan ja compliancen rooli liiketoiminnassa kasvoi koko ajan ja ne nousivat usein hyvin tärkeiksi esimerkiksi sopimussuhteissa ja yritysjärjestelyissä ja myös hallituksen agendalla. Johdon onkin hallitusta myöten varmistettava, että liiketoiminta on kestävää ja vastuullista ja johdolta on tultava vahva viesti vastuullisen toiminnan tärkeydestä yrityksessä. Vastuullisuus rakentaa uskottavuutta ja luotettavuutta, jota ilman nykypäivän yritys ei enää pärjää. Vastuullisuus tuo myös säästöä ja tehokkuutta. Sen puute sen sijaan voi aiheuttaa merkittäviä taloudellisia ja maineriskejä.
Voimassa olevan lainsäädännön noudattaminen ei Hautamäen mittapuun mukaan ole vielä riittävää täyttämään vastuullisuuden vaatimuksia liiketoiminnassa. Myös asiakkaat, yhteistyökumppanit ja muut sidosryhmät asettavat omat vaatimuksensa. Mutta yritysvastuu ei rakennu olemalla reaktiivinen. Se ei myöskään ole vain raportointia, vaan vastuullisen toiminnan pitää Hautamäen mukaan lähteä yrityksen arvoista ja toimintaperiaatteista. Sen tulee olla integroituneena yhtiön kaikkeen toimintaan. Tämä vaatii kommunikointia, joka saa organisaation ymmärtämään vastuullisuuden merkityksen ja ottamaan kukin itse vastuuta omassa toiminnassaan. Hautamäen mukaan on tärkeää, että johto osoittaa omalla esimerkillään, että arvoihin on sitouduttu ja vastuullisuus on aitoa. Johto voikin kerralla romuttaa vahvat arvot ja työyhteisön ilmapiirin toimimalla niiden vastaisesti.
Yritysvastuuta on viime vuosina ajanut yhä lisääntyvä regulaatio ja raportointivaatimukset, mutta nyt kehitys on Hautamäen mielestä onneksi menossa entistä enemmän siihen suuntaan, että vastuullisuutta kehitetään liiketoiminnan lähtökohdista ja omaehtoisesti. Asiakkaat ja sijoittajat äänestävät yhä useammin jaloillaan, jos yrityksen eettisyys ei ole riittävällä tasolla. Työntekijöitäkin on yhä vaikeampi rekrytoida, jos vastuullisuus ei ole kunnossa. Hautamäki kertoi myös eräästä naisyrittäjäverkostosta, jossa hän on jäsenenä ja jossa hän on huomannut, että useat verkoston yritykset kieltäytyvät käytännön tasolla yhteistyöstä sellaisten yritysten kanssa, jotka eivät ole eettisiä. Myös Hautamäki edellyttää omilta asiakkailtaan korkeaa etiikkaa ja vastuullisuutta.
Oli mielenkiintoista oivaltaa keskustelussamme, että business coachingin ajattelumaailma on hyvin yhteneväinen vastuullisuusajattelun kanssa. Kummassakin painottuu kestävä ja pitkäjänteinen lähestymistapa, jossa huomioidaan laajasti eri näkökulmia ja vaikutuksia. Business coachingin voidaan siis sanoa liittyvän laajemmin yrityksen toimintoihin ja sillä voidaan edistää vastuullisuutta monella tavalla, esimerkiksi johtamisen kehittämisen kautta. Coaching on Hautamäen mukaan tehokas työkalu muutosjohtamisessa ja paremman kommunikaation ja luottamuksen rakentamisessa esimiehen ja työntekijöiden välillä. Yrityksen menestyksen kannalta on aivan kriittistä, että yrityksessä vallitsee luottamuksen ilmapiiri, koska muutoin vastuuta ei uskalleta jakaa, asioista ei uskalleta puhuta niiden oikeilla nimillä ja mahdolliset ongelmat jäävät pimentoon. Johdon on myös opittava jalkautumaan työntekijöiden pariin kuulemaan työntekijöiden mielipiteitä ja näkemyksiä ja luottamaan niihin. Tämä lisää johdon ymmärrystä yrityksen tilanteesta ja samalla nostaa motivaatiota, mikä heijastuu esimerkiksi työn laadun parantumisena. Myös hallituksen on voitava keskustella avoimesti keskenään ja toimitusjohtajan kanssa. Hallituksen on lisäksi usein hyvä kuulla riskiarviot suoraan niistä vastaavalta johtajalta. Jos luottamus ei ole kunnossa, eivät tällaiset keskustelut onnistu ja hallituksen tiedot yrityksen tilasta voivat jäädä vajaiksi.
Hautamäki kertoo, että hän coachina toimii ikään kuin valmennettavan peilinä ja auttaa tätä ymmärtämään, miksi tämä toimii tietyllä tavalla ja mitä vaihtoehtoisia keinoja tällä olisi käytettävissä tavoitteen, esim. uuden strategian, yhteisten arvojen tai organisaation vastuunoton jalkauttamiseksi. Tarkoitus on haastaa valmennettavaa kysymysten avulla näkemään asia mahdollisimman monesta eri näkökulmasta. Näin halutaan rakentaa kestävää johtajuutta, joka huomioi eri näkökulmia ja toiminnan vaikutuksia. Myös vastuullisen liiketoiminnan ytimessä on ymmärrys siitä, kuinka laajasti liiketoiminta vaikuttaa eri toimijoihin yhteiskunnassa. Päivi Hautamäki käyttää coachingin menetelmiä myös hallitustyöskentelyssään varmistaakseen, että hallituksella on riittävän monipuolinen kuva käsiteltävästä asiasta ja päätöksen vaikutukset osataan huomioida kattavasti.
Päivi Hautamäki kirjoittaa aktiivisesti blogia, jossa hän tuo usein esiin tärkeitä elementtejä vastuullisessa liiketoiminnassa. Suosittelen lukemaan http://www.intucoaching.com/blog!"