Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

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Employee Engagement

Senior executives have never been so well rewarded.  In the UK it now takes the average CEO only three days to “earn” what the average employee takes home in a year.  On top of this, lottery-sized exit packages and gold-plated pensions give those at the top unprecedented material security.

And yet… Not everything feels secure

According to The Economist, the average life expectancy of public companies shrank from 65 years in the 1920s, to less than ten in the 1990s. Public scrutiny is increasing and innovation is a source of both creativity and disruption. Whilst a golden parachute might break the fall, life in the C-suite is becoming ever more precarious. In just ten years the average CEO tenure has fallen from 8.1 to 6.3 years and is getting shorter all the time.

In an uncertain climate, good leadership matters more than ever

McKinsey has published numerous papers linking organisational health with profitability, innovation and shareholder return.  So every year the spend on leadership and management development training and change and culture consultancy increases.

And yet…  Lack of good leadership is costly

Dissatisfaction with the results of all this training and development is on the rise.  Employee engagement numbers remain stubbornly low and, depending on the survey you read, between 50 and 60% of staff would fire their managers if they could. According to Deloitte Shift Index American companies are 75% LESS productive than in 1965.

What should leadership achieve?

Erik de Haan in his book The Leadership Shadow summarises decades of research:

“Leadership is the function devoted to harnessing the organisation’s effectiveness”

This speaks to the fact that everyone in an organisation has a leadership role in order to harness that effectiveness.

However, many studies point to the crucial role of senior management teams:

“The prize for building effective top teams is clear: they develop better strategies, perform more consistently, and increase the confidence of stakeholders.  They get positive results and make the work itself  a more positive experience both for the team’s members and for the people they lead”   – McKinsey,  “Teamwork at the Top”

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Office Design: Psychology of the Office Space

Office Design: Psychology of the Office Space

by Tim Wayne on February 14, 2016

If you’ve ever hated being stuck in a cubicle farm or became annoyed with the distractions of an open office, it turns out that you’ve got a great reason to complain.

Office design does more than just the shape our place of work – it can also shape employees’ motivation and job satisfaction. When your workplace doesn’t meet your psychological needs, it can be devastating to your productivity.

Your work environment can make you happy (or stress you out)

According to environmental psychology, or the study on the relationship between people and their surroundings, a work space can inspire workers to be creative and happy or stress them out.

While the impact of office design on productivity is more obvious when issues like lighting, ventilation, and noise pollution are the problems, it can also harm morale when workplaces don’t offer employees enough freedom in when, where, and how they work.

Innovative design can help create an innovative workforce

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Tim Wayne

Tim Wayne

Tim Wayne is a digital content marketer and contributor to several healthcare blogs. He is interested in healthcare, education, and small business management. Since graduating from USC with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, Tim has worked with websites across a wide range of industries in writing website copy and promoting content online.

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Motivation – it’s time to kill those sacred cows

Motivation – it’s time to kill those sacred cows

by Moyra Mackie on November 14, 2014

We know what motivates people at work.  We’ve known for a really long time and we’ve got an increasing amount of science to back it up.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that this knowledge is rarely passed on at school, not taught on business school programs and only occasionally encouraged and rewarded in companies.

Carrots, sticks and sacred cows

Organisations cling to policies, processes and habits that actively undermine or distort motivation and kill engagement.  Here are just a few:

  • Individual bonuses, prizes or incentives
  • Written performance appraisals
  • Forced or stacked ranking
  • Hot desking
  • Travel bans
  • Infrequent one-to-one meetings
  • Lack of verbal feedback

It’s by no means an exhaustive list but it would be helpful if you notice how you react to certain items – which ones are your sacred cows?

Have you ever thought what it would be like to get rid of those things?

The problem with the first three items on the list is that they are extrinsic motivators – carrots and sticks.  Each one involves an element of win/lose.  Temporarily motivating the “winners” and de-motivating the “losers”.

What we really want to foster is intrinsic motivation, which must not involve a sense of winning and losing

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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In the absence of other metrics on leadership effectiveness, let’s take employee engagement levels as a way of working out how well managers are leading.

Given that record numbers of staff are disengaged, we can safely say that current leaders are failing on a massive scale.

But what to do about it?

Spend on leadership development continues to rise.  Yet according to many surveys, including a summary of research by the Corporate Research Forum, dissatisfaction with results is also on the rise.

From the mountains of research and 15 years of helping organisations to develop leaders and their teams, I would summarise the reasons as follows:

  • A confusion with the difference between training and learning
  • Too much or too little “classroom” learning
  • No scope for individualised learning tracks
  • Lack of management buy-in and involvement
  • Too much focus on strategy and not enough on measurable skills
  • Inconsistent follow through
  • Lack of focus on the science of change

The red herring in the room: 70:20:10

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Are you and the people who work with you engaged?

When I say “engaged”,  are you engaged as in focused and connected with others? Or are you engaged as in busy, behind locked doors, not available?

Being available?  Is that not touchy-feely stuff?

The hard facts are that Gallup has just analysed 25 million responses to their employee engagement survey and found:

“Of the 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs,  30% are engaged and inspired at work, so we can assume they have a great boss.

At the other end of the spectrum are roughly 20 million (20%) employees who are actively disengaged. These employees, who have bosses from hell that make them miserable, roam the halls spreading discontent.

The other 50% of American workers are not engaged. They’re just kind of present, but not inspired by their work or their managers.”

See what happened there? It’s not about employee engagement it’s about leaders

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Accelerate your leadership development

Accelerate your leadership development

by Moyra Mackie on May 3, 2014

Leadership development matters

If every manager has a team of six or eight direct reports, it’s easy to see how many people can be motivated by effective leaders or demotivated when they are neither led nor managed.

Effective leaders develop high performing teams that produce results.  Ineffective leaders manage disengaged teams.

Disengaged teams are sadly more common than high-performing ones, leading to lower productivity, more sicknesses and absences and higher turnover.

Increasing engagement means improving leadership skills

Which is why I am so proud of the leadership development program the team at Mackie Consulting has created.

The design principles underpinning the program are that leaders need to:

We believe that training doesn’t work, learning does

Watch the video below to find out more.

Then contact me to find out how Mackie Consulting can help your managers achieve leadership excellence.

 

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Do you know someone at work who isn’t performing as well as they could?

With nearly three quarters of people reporting that they are not engaged at work, I have many clients asking what they can do to change this.

“How can I get rid of low performers or poorly engaged staff?”, is a refrain I hear a lot.

Then it’s time for a bit of tough love.  So I say, there are two reasons for that:

  1. Someone hired the wrong person – who is that someone and what are you going to do about their recruiting and interviewing skills?
  2. You hired the right person and something has changed since your hired them.  What are you as a leader going to do about it?

Leaders need to think like gardeners

Gardeners don’t blame the plant when it fails to thrive.  True leaders, like effective gardeners, look at themselves first and then the environment.

As a keen gardener, I’m struck by the thought that if you are a leader, you can do a lot to help those around you withstand the cold winds of shrinking budgets and increasing targets by thinking about it from a gardener’s perspective.

Gardening is about both leading and managing change. Here are three leadership lessons from successful gardeners.


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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Feeling engaged? Why we all need a blue piano

Feeling engaged? Why we all need a blue piano

by Moyra Mackie on March 29, 2014

What’s it like where you work?

I don’t just mean how you relate to your boss and the people you work with.

I mean the space.  What’s it like?

Is it a space where you feel your needs can be met?  The need for connectedness and collaboration and a space that allows you to do that in comfort and ease.   The need for confidential conversations and focussed work, without having to book a windowless meeting room six months in advance.

Have you ever thought the way you relate to people at work is connected to the space you do it in?

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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The CIPD identifies three dimensions to employee engagement:

  • Intellectual engagement – thinking hard about the job and how to do it better
  • Affective engagement – feeling positively about doing a good job
  • Social engagement – actively taking opportunities to discuss work-related improvements with others at work

Put simply, engaged employees are those who can bring their whole selves to work – who are both effective and fulfilled.  Engaged employees feel connected to the purpose and goals of the organisation, to the task they have to perform and to the people they work with.

Effective leadership is essential to creating employee engagement

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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The simple secret to success at work: Find your tribe

The simple secret to success at work: Find your tribe

by Moyra Mackie on February 2, 2014

Nick Pugliese must have given his mother quite a few sleepless nights. When he graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, with a degree in political science and philosophy, Nick decided he’d like to gain some interesting and challenging work experience.

So he chose a telecoms company in Kabul, Afghanistan.

At college he’d been captain of the football team – or as they say in his hometown of Rochester, NY – “soccer”.  So it wasn’t long before Nick started playing the game at weekends with his Afghan colleagues. It was a mental and physical escape from the restrictive, claustrophobic world of the small expat compound.

And then he got offered the chance to play for Ferozi FC, a professional club in the 14-team Kabul Premier League.

Nick had to choose between his $3000 a month job with the telecoms company and the $300 a month wage at Ferozi FC and a life outside the safety of the compound.

Nick chose the life outside

He became the first American player in the Afghan league since the 2002 invasion.
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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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