February 09, 2011

How can I do it better than my way?

By hearing what others think!

I want to start today, by talking about myself... I led my team in the Winning Strategy exercise. In the style of Vineet Nayar (who I find impressive, and a great example of an unconventional but brilliant-because-of-it leader) I wanted to post their feedback here, because I am interested in what other leaders were told, and I'm hoping you will post. I wonder where the common ground will be... I also wanted to be brave, and put this out there, so people can tell me in the future if they think I've improved or not. For the sake of not typing 5 sheets worth of comments, with differing opinions, I have tried to capture the sense of what was said while condensing. I feel I am being objective, but this may have introduced a degree of bias. If any of you feel I am being too generous, please say so! I can take it ;-)

I was told:


  • Introduced the task well.
  • Regularly got the opinions of others, and took these in/responded to/noted them. Quite receptive.
  • Kept a close eye on time, and managed the necessary tasks well within it. Reminded team of times regularly.
  • Was cool/calm under pressure. Showed he felt it, but also that the pressure was on the team, not just him.
  • Delivered a successful outcome.
  • Had the support and engagement of most followers.
  • Impressive style, with a very balanced, democratic approach.
  • Indirect leadership/He's a thought leader.

    Areas for Improvement

    • Needs to make sure everyone is engaged.
    • Should try to give more direction and a vision from the outset, and show the strategy to get there.
    • Make more effort to directly assess people's skills at the beginning, and make use of their strengths.
    • Easily swayed by arguments. Needs to be 'flexibly' firmer with decision-making and own opinion/vision.

    My own opinions on this? Well, I was reasonably happy with my performance. I think it was a very difficult task, but only because of the lack of time. I made the point that what we did in an hour and a half, you would probably have a few weeks to do in reality. One interesting thing: most of the group thought I was very calm. In reality, I was going a bit crazy in my head! I didn't enjoy having to try and pick one strategy over another, without having the time to fully understand any of them, and this was made harder as most of the team had conflicting views about what was the best way to go.

    Ultimately, I took everything in, and made the decision myself about two minutes before I had to present it. The time pressure forced me to lead instinctively rather than methodically. So, not much time to assess skills, or organise my own thoughts. It was uncomfortable, as I am a reflector, but I guess that was the point. From what I can gather from the above, I do some things quite well. BUT, I need to work on being more direct when the time calls for it, outlining my vision so others have something to follow, and being more decisive, while making sure that everyone contributes, in the way that they best can.

    Not bad for a few hours' learning, I think!

    - 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

    1. I wasn’t there and didn’t see you guys working, however the last point from area of improvement is a bit odd. From what people said you were changing your decisions which is not perfect, but on the other hand you showed that others can make a change! Plus in the end, you wrote you took the final decision on your own which means you are decisive.
      However, as you noticed you nearly ran out of time, so I assume you didn’t have much time to communicate the final decision to your team and get their feedback or even just see their general reaction.
      But all in all seems like a good effort so the team is not dissappointed I assume :)

      09 Feb 2011, 19:00

    2. Really appreciate your contribution, mate! I think that some people felt, with every new argument that was made, I had a tendency to want to choose it over others. I’m not saying that’s what I did, just what a couple of people thought. I think my problem is that if people have something to say on a topic that interests me, I’m usually quite enthusiastic about hearing their view.

      I did take the final decision alone, but I don’t know if that’s enough to say I’m decisive. I literally had to have something to say to everyone a few minutes after, so, based on what everyone had said, and what I thought, I just called it. It would have been better if I could have managed to do that earlier, and briefed the team to see what they thought.

      From what I can see of the suggested solution, as well as my group doing well, I got incredibly lucky in this. We had it narrowed down to 3, 5 and 6, and in that moment, I felt that 3 and 5 were the best solutions. Five minutes earlier, we were planning on going for 5 and 6!

      But you’re right, I don’t think anyone is too mad at me… lol!

      10 Feb 2011, 15:16

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