Conversations about leadership, learning, coaching and change.

emailtwitterfacebooklinkedin
line

Feedback

Feedback – Why the hamburger approach is just junk

Feedback – Why the hamburger approach is just junk

by Lynn Thair on October 25, 2018

When I ask groups how feedback should be given, there’s always someone who mentions the Hamburger Approach.

This is the theory that you should start by saying something positive (the white bread), move on to what you really want to say – apparently often negative – and then close with something a bit more positive (more refined carbs?).

But what appears to be a balanced diet is just junk food

read more…

line
How not to suck at feedback

How not to suck at feedback

by Moyra Mackie on October 8, 2018

When I ask groups how feedback should be given, there’s always someone who mentions the Hamburger Approach.

This is the theory that you should start by saying something positive (the white bread), move on to what you really want to say – apparently often negative – and then close with something a bit more positive (more refined carbs?).

But what appears to be a balanced diet is just junk food

read more…

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
We need to talk:  Rekindling quality conversations at work

We need to talk: Rekindling quality conversations at work

by Moyra Mackie on February 28, 2018

From the outside it looks as if the majority of organisations are in a mess.

Surveys tell us that only a third of workers bring their A-game to the office.   More and more time is spent at work, or working via the umbilical cord of our smartphones, yet productivity is stuck in the pre-digital era.

Stressed and overwhelmed

To make things worse,  more people at all levels in organisations are reporting excessive levels of stress.  Both  employee and company suffers; when we are under stress our brain prioritises survival, and reduces our capacity to think clearly or creatively and to make rational decisions.

Grand initiatives haven’t made a dent in the discontent and disengagement

Everyone seems aware of the problem and a whole industry has sprung up, with million dollar consultancies and business schools clamouring to fix the problem.

However it isn’t working.  Three quarters of those expensive change initiatives fail and it doesn’t seem managers with MBAs can transform the way their teams feel about work either.

So where’s the real problem?

When we at Mackie Consulting listen to people in organisations through our Clarity Survey, and through our coaching work with teams and individuals, people tell us that they are not having the conversations they should be having. What we hear supports the Ken Blanchard Leadership company’s research that shows the extent to which conversations are avoided:

  • 81% say their boss doesn’t listen to them
  • 82% say their leaders don’t provide appropriate feedback
  • 28% say they rarely or never discuss their future goals with their boss
  • only 34% meet with their boss once per week

While people talk a lot, they have lost the habit of having meaningful, quality conversations 

In all too many organisations, meetings are long and formulaic. People come to meetings either to transmit information or receive it. Dialogue seems to have been substituted by the “let-s-read-this-presentation-together” practice.

Meaningful conversations are frequently avoided, and the more challenging conversations are saved up for those zinging e-mails or vented to the wrong person at the coffee shop or water cooler.

Is it time to get back to being human?

read more…

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
Change:  who’s faking it and who isn’t?

Change: who’s faking it and who isn’t?

by Moyra Mackie on May 14, 2016

Each time I write about leadership or change, I get notes from readers that go something like this:

“I love what you write – it makes sense and it’s backed up by research – but how come I don’t see it put into practice?  Is it the case that managers don’t read any of this stuff?”

Why is change so hard?

Change management is a huge failure. More than 70% of change initiatives are still not delivering, despite the billions spent every year.

As a coach I’ve seen that it is possible to help leaders and teams achieve real change, but why does this happen so rarely?

The answer came in a brilliant post on the subject by Diane Dromgold who, in her no-nonsense Aussie way, got straight to the heart of the matter in her post Culture Change. Seriously? We’re still talking about that?

Change isn’t happening because many leaders don’t really want change

Diane recounts how consultants who tell clients the truth about change management meet resistance.  These consultants present a case based on simple behaviour change,  yet the client rejects this solution for a much more expensive “program with metrics and levers”.

This is how Diane puts it:

“A thought comes to [the consultant], and a moment of clarity. The client doesn’t want change at all. The consultant had answered the wrong question. The question being asked wasn’t how to make change happen but how to get people to love the way things are.

The whole change management conversation could turn on a pin. It’s not that hard. Real change takes modelling from the top and reinforcement of wanted behavior and outcome. It’s not hard, it’s not expensive and change starts immediately. Acceptance of what is requires marketing, and that’s easier and less expensive than one of the full blown change initiatives we see.”

We’re really talking about acceptance management, not change management

I’m guessing Diane’s post was the result of a real-life conversation. Heck, I’ve had so many of those conversations myself, but never been able to pinpoint the fact that all this time I’ve been asking the wrong question.

So now I feel duty bound to help those readers who have faithfully followed my writing.  Let’s address the right question.

Five questions to discover if your company is faking it or not

read more…

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line

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”

read more…

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line

As a coach, clients ask me into their business to help them get better at what they do. Whether it’s an individual leader, a team or even a whole company, these clients are always interested in improvement.

Most of the time they’re pretty successful (sometimes extremely successful) but they’re looking for something a little bit extra. Some of them realise that what got them to this point may not get them to where they really want to be.

At the beginning big nouns are bandied about: “leadership”, “engagement”, “collaboration.”  I know that big consultancies make big money from trying to grapple with big nouns.

Perhaps foolishly, I start with a few small verbs. Because that literally is where the action is.

There are three verbs – three actions – that guarantee improvement

read more…

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
The three things every great boss does

The three things every great boss does

by Moyra Mackie on March 22, 2014

It’s not rocket science this leadership stuff. Admittedly there’s a bit of science that comes in handy.

Like the science of how to motivate people

And it’s not what you think. Whilst money matters, we’ve got seventy so years of research showing that bonuses contribute to the quality of work going down and risk taking going up. Sound at all familiar?

So away from the science, what can you do that is guaranteed to improve your effectiveness as a leader of people?

And I do mean people. Not resources, or human capital.

In order for people to be resourceful they need these three things from their boss:

Great bosses make these three things a habit

read more…

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
View from the (l)edge

View from the (l)edge

by Moyra Mackie on October 18, 2013

One bright Sunday this June when I stepped briefly onto the glass platform in The Shard, 244m (800ft) above south London, it hit me that the older I get, the more afraid of heights I become.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about fear this week

Fear can be immobilising. It can stop us from having tough but necessary conversations and from taking necessary decisions and risks.

Effective leaders confront fear every day; in having challenging conversations, in making decisions and taking risks. Which is why leadership can be so hard and so lonely.

Leadership requires stepping onto the ledge

One of the roles of a coach is to work with leaders to help them manage their anxiety, to model a way of reflecting, talking and listening that they can take back with them to form more effective habits of responding and communicating with those around them.

Coaches work with leaders to step out of their comfort zone

Mary Beth O’Neill puts this most eloquently in Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart, when she says that all coaches need to develop a “signature presence”. This takes both professional training and years of practice. Ideally this practice should be both inside and outside the coaching room.

“Having signature presence is critical for coaches. Presence means bringing your self when you coach: your values, passion, creativity, emotion and discerning judgment to any given moment with a client. Presence means developing and sustaining your tolerance for a host of situations many people actively avoid; ambiguity, daunting challenges, the anxiety or disapproval of others, and your own personal sources of stress.”

And the last few weeks have certainly provided me with plenty of practice of all of the above  

Not in the coaching room, but in my attempts to bring a little bit of the coaching room into other people’s every day routine. read more…

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
What Tolstoy could teach us about change

What Tolstoy could teach us about change

by Moyra Mackie on October 4, 2013

How many times have you tried to change something in your work or personal life, only to find yourself drifting back to your old habits?

Even when we know that the change we want to see makes logical, rational sense – giving up smoking, exercising more, balancing work and life – we often fail to make the change.

Why do we act against our own best interests?

Well the answer came when I was handing out these postcards this week.

Change Ninja, making change happen

The Tolstoy quote has resonated with most people, but one conversation in particular stands out.  On seeing the quote one of my clients said:

“small changes…that’s so true.  Except that I usually make big changes.”

“And how does that work out?” I asked.

“Well sometimes it works, many times it doesn’t and sometimes it’s chaos.”

Which is an answer Tolstoy, a master of observing the small details of peoples’ actions and attitudes, could have predicted.

So how can we make change stick?

read more…

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line
What lies beneath: Why we avoid difficult conversations

What lies beneath: Why we avoid difficult conversations

by Moyra Mackie on September 20, 2013

Recently I was coaching a client – let’s call him Joe – who told me he was seriously considering leaving his company.

When I asked him why, Joe didn’t mention anything about the merits of his company’s competitors.

What he did talk about was his boss

“I don’t get any feedback.  I’m told no news is good news but I don’t know what I’m doing right and I don’t think I can learn and grow if I don’t know exactly where and how to improve or challenge myself.”

So I asked him what he could do to change this situation

read more…

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.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedIn

line