Vantage Blog

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27
Feb
2018

Mind the Performance Gap

Continuous improvement is critical when it comes to building business and leadership capability.

However investing time building capabilities alone is not enough. What are the high performance habits that successful leaders display over and above capability? How do they connect the two - capabilities and habits - to plug the performance gap and each success?

The recent Mindshop survey of global business leaders explored this very issue. The survey revealed the ‘must have’ capabilities and habits business leaders will need to succeed in 2018. Click here to access a copy of the report.

The report includes a diagnostic for you to rate yourself on the top 10 capabilities and habits. Which three should be your key areas of focus in 2018?

I welcome the opportunity to discuss strategies and learning options with you. Please feel free to contact me to organise a 20 minute discussion about your top 3 priorities.

James Atkins powered by Mindshop

Continuous improvement is critical when it comes to building business and leadership capability.

However investing time building capabilities alone is not enough. What are the high performance habits that successful leaders display over and above capability? How do they connect the two - capabilities and habits - to plug the performance gap and each success?
 ..

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27
Feb
2015

2015 Business Leader Insights and Trends

Growth is once again the key theme for most businesses in 2015. However survey results show that most businesses lack the change readiness, skills and strategy implementation ability to achieve them. How will you adapt in 2015? What are the top trends and strategies you need to implement for success?


The 2015 Business Leader insights and trends paper compiled following a global survey of business leaders by Mindshop provides valuable insights into emerging trends, key issues, new opportunities, and support required to guide leaders globally towards success in 2015. Its findings can help shape your thinking on the skills and strategies you will require to achieve success for both your business and yourself in 2015. 


In the paper you will find:

  • Top 5 Business Trends: What will shape your vision for 2015?
  • Top 8 Training Needs insights: What will shape your strategies for 2015?
  • Change Success Methodology: What is your probability of change success in 2015?
  • Overall Training Needs Analysis survey results

The Top 5 Business Trends as identified by Business Leaders are:





















If you would like to read more please click here for a copy of the full report.


by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing
Powered by Mindshop


This article is linked to James' 
Google+ profile




Growth is once again the key theme for most businesses in 2015. However survey results show that most businesses lack the change readiness, skills and strategy implementation ability to achieve them. How will you adapt in 2015? What are the top trends and strategies you need to implement for success? ..

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03
Oct
2014

A New Approach To Developing Strategy...And Your Team

The 2014 business leaders’ survey identified a number of trends and challenges which highlight the need for a different approach to strategy development and organisational learning. 


The top three organisational training needs from the survey were:

  1. Strategic development ability
  2. Implementation of those strategic skills, and
  3. Coaching and developing people

This points to the opportunity for a blending of learning with real time strategic planning and implementation - thus enabling organisations to achieve their strategic objectives whilst providing a platform for learning of individuals and teams.

It is not surprising in our fast paced, constantly changing environment that the number 1 training need was identified as strategy development. How capable really are your staff at anticipating and responding to changes in their environment, and developing more than one possible response? 
 
It is one thing to develop strategy, it is quite another to implement it effectively. This was the second key training need identified – implementation of strategic skills. Many organizations struggle with the successful implementation of their strategy. This can manifest itself in a number of ways. Too slow to implement; not sure it was the right strategy in the first place; resistance from people within the organisation and a strategy that fails to deliver the expected benefits.

The third top training need identified was coaching and developing people. How do you provide staff with an appropriate level of professional development whilst at the same time managing costs and keeping a focus on your current direction and business challenges? How do we ensure that this learning truly makes your staff more effective at what they need to do and does not become one of those activities that offers little benefit and is often seen as a waste of time? 
 
The 70/20/10 model for learning and development (Developed by the Centre for Creative Leadership) is an effective way to think about these challenges.  
 















It indicates that a new approach is needed – one that blends learning with real time strategy development, implementation and problem solving.

A blended learning approach takes into account fundamental adult learning principles incorporating the need for adults to be self directed and the need to bring life experience to the learning experience. Much of what we learn we do on the job (in fact 70%). We also learn from other people when they provide feedback on the work we are involved in and coach us to improve our skills. There is still a place for formal training as such but this does not have to be all face-to-face. Formal training can be most effective when it incorporates a mixture of workshops and on line learning, as well as courses and reading.

This new approach of blended learning recognizes that your staff need may need a flexible program tailored to their needs and your organisation’s needs. It can be made up of a mix of such elements as:

  
 










We recently worked with Compost Victoria and Sustainability Victoria to develop a five-year market development strategy. Their objective was not to have us write the plan but for their members (all competitors) to develop the market development plan collaboratively whilst up skilling their own strategic development capability. 
 
We adopted a blended model delivering six workshops augmented with one on one coaching sessions for members. A range of easy to use on line resources, from Mindshop Online, were also available so that staff could access tools when it suited and, as needed.

The outcome was a strategy that the members owned and are focussed on implementing. They are now also better placed to further refine the strategy and to respond more effectively to changes in their environment.

View this short video to learn more and hear what the participants thought of the program: 
  


by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing. 

This article is linked to James' Google+ profile

The 2014 business leaders’ survey identified a number of trends and challenges which highlight the need for a different approach to strategy development and organisational learning.   ..

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06
Mar
2013

Vantage March 2103 Newsletter out now...

Competitive advantage is one of the most critical issues for businesses to address.

As I have written before there are a number of ways that you can tackle this critical challenge...click here

But once you are clear, what comes next?  Well I believe you need to prove it, not just to your customers (normally through experience) but to your prospects! 


Easier said than done...and not a path many take (which is a differentiation opportunity in itself!).  Read more

Also in this edition…

Read more here

Best wishes,

Vantage Strategy & Marketing 

Competitive advantage is one of the most critical issues for businesses to address.

As I have written before there are a number of ways that you can tackle this critical challenge...click here

But once you are clear, what comes next?  Well I believe you need to prove it, not just to your customers (normally through experience) but to your prospects!  ..

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11
Sep
2012

A different type of Competitive Advantage

A client recently asked me to run a workshop for their leadership team based on Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage’


 
Having not heard of him, let alone read his book, I was a little wary at first.  Was this the latest fad, would it be appropriate material for a team development workshop, did it make sense... just some of my questions.

A quick download to the iPad, a pretty fast read and I was hooked.  His simple approach to getting teams to be high functioning, and thus a competitive advantage in and of themselves, is simple in structure and application. He has pulled a number of common sense threads together relating to team dynamics and making sure you have a focus on execution.

Based on what he calls the five dysfunctions of teams, Lencioni lays out an approach to getting teams working together and operating at a high level.  It is not a simple panacea (or a simple workshop for that matter) but it requires people to start laying the foundations of trust and building from that point. 


It is a journey that has the potential to have quite a significant impact. But it requires commitment beyond reading the book or attending a workshop.  A key requirement is for team members to hold themselves and each other accountable for what they commit to.  And not just through the leader – between each other, each and every day.

The approach is grounded in the belief that the most important team is not the one you lead (i.e. your department) but the one you are a part of (i.e. the next level of management up).  And what is critical in his approach is that this model will only work if led from the top – the CEO or MD. Only from there can it cascade throughout the organisation.

A part of the process for building trust is in sharing personal histories – basically showing vulnerability as a starting point.  This can be a powerful activity if approached with goodwill.  From there addressing each of the 5 dysfunctions are like building blocks.

In particular I found the approach to focusing on ‘what is important right now’, that is what you need to achieve in the next 6-9 months as the basis for alignment and resource allocation, really powerful.  You frame a theme around that objective, identify supporting strategies and then structure your meetings and communication around achievement of that theme. It also has resonance with such concepts as one page planning. It also includes some commonsense approaches to meeting structures and formats to help teams stay focussed and on track. Ideas that make sense on a standalone basis.

Well worth a read.  

If you are interested in seeing how this approach could benefit your leadership team please give me a call on 0419 516 655. James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing

A client recently asked me to run a workshop for their leadership team based on Patrick Lencioni’s book The Advantage’ ..


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