Development From WJM Associates, Inc.
March-April 2011 / Vol.10 Issue 2
In This Issue
Welcome to WJManagement Advisor, a bi-monthly newsletter from WJM Associates, Inc., a global leader in Executive Coaching and Leadership Development. Delivered via e-mail and archived on www.wjmassoc.com, WJManagement Advisor presents issues and trends affecting the successful development of organizational leadership.
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Let me illustrate this with a recent coaching case which is a typical example of how a leader may derail his/ her otherwise exceptional career. Walter had a track record of success at a Fortune 50 company, headquartered in the US. The company was providing proactive coaching for Walter as he assumed a new role as the Vice President for Manufacturing Operations Worldwide. In this new role Walter had Plant Managers from approximately 10 different cultures around the world reporting to him. Each of these cultures had very different ideas about what constituted effective leadership.
In our first coaching session, Walter discussed some of the initial steps that he had taken. He described how he had traveled to each of the plants, and individually interviewed the Plant Managers to collect their thoughts, opinions and feelings about what was going well and what needed to be improved in their operations. Some of the Plant Managers were quite forthcoming with their suggestions, others were more reticent and still others appeared to be annoyed by the questions. In spite of these varied reactions Walter's perceptions were that the visits were a hit and he was quite confident about his ability to be successful in this new role.
Walter experienced a rude awakening about his global mindset when he received feedback from his 360 interviews. The 360 interview data mirrored the reactions that Walter had observed during his meetings. Some feedback was very supportive and positive, others were neutral and finally some were hostile, with comments such as, "Why is he asking me how to do his job? That's what he's paid for." or "How can I possibly have respect for someone who doesn't know what he's doing?"
What Walter had neglected to consider was the impact that culture might have on how people might both perceive and respond to his very US-centric approach. In essence, he demonstrated that he did not have a Global Mindset. Global Mindset consists of three types of "capital" which are described below:
|•||Psychological Capital which is the willingness and motivation to experience of and to succeed in a global role. While Walter certainly wanted to succeed in a global role he did not seem to recognize that people have different perspectives and values based on their culture.|
|•||Intellectual Capital which is knowledge of business and cultures around the world. Walter did not make an effort to gather information about other cultures before embarking on his international tour of manufacturing facilities.|
|•||Social Capital which is the willingness and ability to adapt your interactions to match the culture you are in. Walter interacted with his Plant Mangers in a very similar fashion, not showing any flexibility in how he approached people from different cultures.|
Walter looked to me, his coach, for direction. I suggested that he use Thunderbird's Global Mindset Inventory (GMI) to identify what his current strengths and areas for development were and that based upon those scores we would create a development plan. One of the benefits of using the GMI is that Thunderbird School of Global Management's, Mansour Javidan, Ph.D., Director of the Global Mindset Institute and creator of the GMI, has demonstrated empirically that each of the capitals can be improved over time.
Over the next nine months Walter increased his knowledge of business and cultures around the world and came to accept that people from different cultures have different values. This led him to challenge his assumptions about people and to suspend his judgment until he had more information. Subsequently, in his interactions with his Plant Managers from different cultures he learned to:
|•||Identify nuances in his employees behavior and modify his interactions to fit the culture he was interacting with|
|•||Probe for more information|
|•||Create a dialogue with his direct reports describing why he thought it was preferable to act in a particular way, and encouraging discussion, thereby, enriching the cross-cultural adeptness of himself and of his direct reports.|
The post-coaching 360 I conducted indicated that while Walter still had a little more work to do on his Global Mindset, all of his direct reports perceived him much more positively than they had previously.
Joy McGovern is a WJM Faculty Member and Manager of Business Development for Thunderbird’s Global Mindset Institute. Joy has spent the last twenty years as a leadership consultant and business developer to Fortune 50 corporations, non-profits and universities across a wide range of industries and services.
Globalization is creating vast new opportunities for corporations. But too few companies have the talent ready to leverage those opportunities. Exceptional international organizations recognize that talent, more than strategies and systems, drives competitive advantage in the global marketplace. Yet, finding and developing that global talent remains a challenge.
How can companies best prepare leaders and their teams to deal with the broad social, cultural, and political issues of the global marketplace? Here are six core practices you may wish to consider, whether your firm is just initiating a global leadership strategy or accelerating the development of global leadership competencies throughout the organization.
1. Identify if and why global talent is important to your business strategy.
Start by asking, why is global leadership capability important to your business strategy? Most large and many mid-size companies have leadership development programs for managers and special learning programs for their high potentials. Yet for many, the notion of building global leadership capability is a new undertaking. According to a recent study by AMA/i4cp, only one third of companies surveyed had initiated global leadership programs. Yet those who did generally had higher performance returns and, not surprisingly, success operating in global markets.
Organizations need to have strategic clarity around exactly what capabilities and skills to develop, and why. Are global markets a source of growth, new talent, lower production costs, suppliers, or investors? Are senior executives motivated to develop a strategic multi-year talent development program to address growth and talent requirements? Or are more tactical requirements the primary consideration? What level of commitment do senior executives have to driving the global leadership program forward as a means to drive strategy?
2. Know what competencies and behaviors are needed to achieve business outcomes.
What competencies and behaviors are critical to the global business strategy – and to achieving specific business objectives? The WJM Executive Leadership Model, for example, is a global behavioral model that covers the four core areas of Leading Self, Leading Others, Leading Change, and Leading Results (with specific behavioral competencies in each area). Many companies have a competency model that identifies how results will be achieved. A global competency model like the Global Mindset Inventory (GMI) can be used to supplement a core model for purposes of assessment and development of executives. The GMI is a scientifically validated instrument based on data from thousands of executives working for global organizations in many countries.
The Global Mindset Inventory measures three types of capital: Intellectual Capital, Psychological Capital, and Social Capital (see previous article).
Global leaders who have a high level of global mindset tend to better understand the situations and individuals they are interacting with in a global environment. They demonstrate a passion for learning about multiple cultures and ideas. They are better able to identify and enact appropriate methods to influence stakeholders to work towards achieving the company’s goals. They show openness to collaborate and innovate in teams.
Individual job profiles for global leadership positions can also be useful for both selection and development purposes. Good job profiles describe the behavioral characteristics that it takes to succeed in the job (often based on history), as well as capabilities and preferences for work environment.
3. Choose talent selection and assessment tools to provide feedback and insight into global developmental needs.
Today many companies combine "high tech" on-line assessment with "high touch" talent review and feedback. For example, a WJM leadership assessment typically includes personality inventories (such as the Hogan Leadership Forecast Series, MBTI, or 360 feedback assessments), as well as the Global Mindset Inventory (GMI). WJM consultants can assess executives against the company’s own global competency model or against WJM’s Executive Leadership model. The purpose of is to create feedback relevant to the executive and a development plan for closing gaps in global leadership capability.
Many organizations are also putting rigorous assessment tools in place for identifying high potentials and "emerging" leaders – to better target global learning investments. Experts believe that emerging leaders need exposure to global talent issues early in their careers to ensure that global mindset is a core of their leadership capability.
Where scalability is important, several online systems are available. For example, Matchpoint Careers is a scalable online system that can match people with job profiles using a job based framework of proven competencies, capabilities and preferences. A scalable assessment might then be supplemented by more intensive "high touch" pre-employment assessment, selection, and development. Rigorous psychological and capability assessments can help leaders to develop more self awareness and pinpoint precise global developmental opportunities.
4. Target the use of executive coaching to achieve global leadership objectives.
When developing global leadership capability, coaching may be used to prepare the executive for a particular international assignment or for addressing specific gaps in the leader’s global mindset capability. Executive coaching typically begins with an initial assessment, followed by feedback with the participant, a meeting with the participant and their manager, and the creation of a development plan. In some cases, the development plan will be focused on cultural on-boarding for say a new assignment in a new country. Often, WJM will draw on its international Faculty to assign a local Executive Coach in that country to assist with the assimilation on site.
For example, one manager who took the GMI assessment identified areas of core strength in Psychological Capital – meaning he had a passion for diversity, a quest for adventure and self assurance. He also had high scores on Social Capital meaning he had ability to building trusting relationships with people who were different than him through intercultural empathy, interpersonal impact and diplomacy.
However, this executive needed to enhance his Intellectual Capital, specifically the global business savvy and cosmopolitan outlook needed to succeed in an assignment in Tokyo. He embarked upon a development program to learn how his industry operates in other parts of the world, especially Asia. Once he reached Japan, the executive worked with an executive coach familiar with the Asian global business environment to learn about culturally sensitive issues and behaviors needed in the new assignment.
5. Identify any additional support and training needed.
Many companies choose culture-specific training, as awareness and sensitivity are important factors in assimilation and personal effectiveness in a new country. For example, WJM consultants design and facilitate custom workshop modules around such topics as Understanding the Impact of Chinese Cultural Style on Negotiations or Presenting Effectively in Japan, among many others.
A good source for other leadership and management training is The Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) Research Project. The GLOBE study of 62 societies and 17,300 middle managers concluded that leadership effectiveness is contextual, i.e., it is embedded in the organizational norms, values and beliefs of people being led. To be effective, one must understand and act in a way that aligns with the dominant social patterns of a culture. The study identified nine culture dimensions that make it possible to compare similarities and difference across societies. These include: power distance, uncertainly avoidance, humane orientation, collectivism (institutional and group), assertiveness, gender egalitarianism, future orientation and performance orientation. Country clusters allow managers to understand relative differences between Nordic cultures and, say, Eastern European cultures which are very different. Training for managers helps them to understand and adapt their leadership and team behaviors to the appropriate culture and team membership.
6.Ensure relevant developmental opportunities abroad.
International assignments are still critical to the development of global leaders. To be optimal as a global leader, learning through experience is required. This means living for some time in a different culture. Selecting the right people for international assignments is also a critical competitive advantage. A failed international assignment can be costly.
Some experts differentiate between Level 1 leaders who have never lived anywhere outside the U.S. and Level 2 leaders who have lived in different cultures. Development of Level 1 leaders (who may be managing global teams from the US) often focuses on "cultural awareness" issues such as sensitivity to stereotypes, cultural power dynamics and basics of inter-cultural relationships. But this type of training rarely deeply imbeds cultural learning. Level 2 leaders, who have broader experience with international cultures, often have an enhanced ability to understand the nuances of culture. Nevertheless, culture-specific training greatly enhances an executive’s ability to work with global teams.
"Being a global leader requires experience to understand nuances, important business subtleties, and most importantly to challenge one’s own assumptions and norms as a leader and a person," states Ashley Miles, Organizational Development Leader of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, who has lived in four countries and trained employees in twenty-seven.
Adds Paul Basile, CEO and Founder of MatchPoint Careers and an experienced global manager, "Training global leaders requires that they live and work in multiple countries and cultures. You can’t fly in, stay at the Hilton, and say you know Azerbaijan."
Amy Armitage is an Account Director and Senior Vice President with WJM Associates. Amy has spent the last twenty years as a leadership consultant to Fortune 500 corporations, non-profits and mid-size businesses across a wide range of industries and services.
WJM talks to WJM Faculty Member Ben Dattner, Ph.D. about his new book written with Darren Dahl, THE BLAME GAME: How the Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure (Free Press, March 15, 2011)
WJM: Why does credit and blame matter?
DATTNER: Credit and blame are at the very heart of organizational psychology, and help determine whether individuals learn and grow in their careers or derail, whether teams take an open minded approach to the challenges they face or succumb to the temptation to scapegoat and blame, and whether entire organizations have cultures of trust and problem solving or instead waste time and effort on dysfunctional finger pointing. As an organizational psychologist, every time I work with a client or client organization, the dynamics of credit and blame are what everyone is focused on.
In many workplaces, people come to feel they’re playing a high-stakes game of "blame or be blamed," and this game can be disastrous for the individuals who get caught up in it, for work teams and for whole organizations. From a colleague taking credit for a successful project that was mostly someone else's work, to members of a team feeling they are always being blamed for things that aren't their fault, to one person on a team being scapegoated by the others, the situation can quickly get out of control. And what’s worse, the more emotionally charged a workplace is—such as when our jobs are threatened or when an organization struggles to confront serious internal and external challenges—the more emphatically we play the game, just when we can least afford it and trust, collaboration, and innovation are most needed. Anger and resentment builds, people quit or get fired, projects go off the rails and attention is taken away from working together to solve problems.
What can we do?
Learn to understand the hidden dynamics of the blame game. Considering how factors such as human evolution, childhood experience, gender, and cultural differences influence how credit and blame are assigned and reacted to, our book The Blame Game shows the many ways in which counterproductive patterns of blaming and inaccurate assignment of credit take root in the workplace. Drawing on true stories from my years of work with companies both large and small, in the US and abroad, as well as his research as a faculty member at New York University the book reveals how we all are vulnerable to falling back on instinctive psychological defense mechanisms of blame-avoidance and credit-grabbing, and portrays how and why this fundamental human tendency gets out of control. The book then shows how we as individuals can arm ourselves with the awareness we need to not fall into the trap of the blame game, as well as how leaders, from CEOs down to managers at all levels, can learn to discern and defuse the problems of credit and blame going on within a team or organization.
Why is this topic timely?
Unfortunately, as the economy has tanked there has been a "bull market" in blame. Whether it’s financial bailouts or oil spills, it seems every time one turns on the television there is some executive testifying before Congress on some topic or other, blaming other organizations rather than taking any accountability. This culture of blame permeates far too many organizations these days, and the result is that organizations fail to motivate their people, to innovate, or to acknowledge and fix deficiencies. Successful leaders, teams, and organizations are able to fight this trend, and to create environments where people are more focused on admitting mistakes and fixing things rather than on deflecting blame or trying to hoard credit.
What kinds of perspectives do you take on credit and blame in the book?
The book considers credit and blame from the point of view of individual psychology, relationships between individuals, dynamics within and between teams, and from the point of view of entire organizations. It also looks at leadership, and gives examples of how great leaders set a personal example for managing the dynamics of credit and blame in an open and positive manner. The book approaches credit and blame from both a theoretical and practical perspective, and I endeavored to balance descriptions with prescriptions.
How can a leader can recognize that an unhealthy credit and blame dynamic exists in their team/organization?
Leaders should pay careful attention to the culture and climate on their teams and in their organizations. If there is too much finger pointing and not enough problem solving, it should be apparent that a negative dynamic has taken hold. If talented workers are leaving the team or if compelling candidates aren’t accepting offers to join the team, this may be a signal that things need to change. But more to the point, leaders should observe how their teams and organizations handle credit and blame on an ongoing basis, to make sure that the wrong people aren’t being blamed for the wrong things in the wrong way at the wrong time.
What are the consequences for not recognizing and addressing that negative dynamic?
If leaders don’t develop mindfulness of the importance of credit and blame, and tolerate or encourage negative dynamics, their teams will stagnate and devolve into finger pointing and recrimination, getting stuck in the present or the past, and will fail to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment. However, by recognizing and addressing negative dynamics, leaders can intervene in a powerful way and turn vicious cycles into virtuous cycles, fostering learning and progress.
For more information about the book: www.creditandblame.com
Ben Dattner, Ph.D., is a WJM Faculty member and an adjunct professor at New York University
On May 24th, 2011, Hire Disability Solutions, a disabled-owned company promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities into mainstream employment is hosting one of the largest Global Veterans Career Expos in New York City. They will be providing the following workshops for an anticipated 7,000 to 10,000 Veterans in attendance:
|•||Small Business Start-up|
The Global Veterans Career Expo is being hosted in partnership with The New York Times, Veterans Across America, the NYBLN and Recruit Military. The virtual component will run simultaneously online and for 2 weeks thereafter spanning military bases around the globe.
Please share in the commitment to providing employment opportunities for our Veterans and their family members and help boost their social and economical wellbeing by becoming a Sponsor/Exhibitor.
Unlike other career fairs, sponsorship of the Global Veterans Career Expo includes advertising in the New York Times - reaching 20 million readers. Additionally, a special section will be dedicated to Veterans and Employment on Sunday, May 22nd in The Times prior to the event. There will be a V.I.P. breakfast prior to the doors opening at 10:00 a.m. including 250 corporate and government leaders.
Thanks to the interest (and financial support) of business & industry, the world of applied psychology has been able to develop reliable, accurate, comprehensive, and ultimately, practical self-assessment tools to measure those traits, styles, and motivators that correlate with what we now consider effective management and leadership.
Given that these tools are commonplace in many organizations for measuring individual attributes, some have begun to apply individual results in understanding team strengths, weaknesses, blind spots, and general style. The following is a brief summary on the current state of self-assessment tools in business.
The measurement of psychological traits, known as psychometrics, can assist with the selection and development of anyone in an organization, from a front line customer service rep to a relationship-based sales associate, to a CEO. Rarely are these tools used in isolation however. For selection purposes, they are generally part of a larger process that includes interviews, resume review, and references. In development scenarios, psychological self-assessments may be integrated with 360 (multi-rater) data, performance reviews, and a current development plan.
Unlike tests used in the 80s and 90s when these self-assessment instruments were dispensed (and scored) using hardcopy questionnaires and paper answer sheets, most reputable psychological tests for business are now administered and scored via the Internet. The time required to complete these tests typically range from 10 minutes to an hour each. And thanks to advances in computer technology, multiple customized reports are usually available within minutes of the completion of these online tests. The reports range from one-page summaries of scores to lengthy documents (25 or more pages) that define the attributes being measured, provide a detailed breakdown of the participant’s results, and, if relevant, pages of development suggestions and strategies. Of course, in most cases, this type of data is primarily sought for individuals. And, in those organizations that make use of these tools, there appears to be general agreement that the value of the tools greatly outweighs the costs involved.
The following is a list of some of the key areas that are targeted for assessment in selection and development.
|•||PERSONALITY (e.g., conscientiousness, competitiveness, risk-taking)|
|•||VALUES (e.g., altruism, tradition, power)|
|•||EMOTIONAL/SOCIAL SKILLS (e.g., assertiveness, empathy)|
|•||CONFLICT STYLE (e.g., collaborative, competitive)|
|•||COGNITIVE ABILITY (e.g., tactical reasoning, strategic reasoning)|
While there is not enough space here to go into detail, there remain some controversies related to the use of psychometric tools including:
|1;||Who should be interpreting test results? Should it be trained psychological professionals or HR consultants who have completed 1 or 2-day "certification" courses?|
|2||What happens when participants are motivated to cheat or "fake good" answers? It is possible to measure this accurately? Are overly positive results useable?|
|3||Who owns (and should have access to) the personal psychological data that is uncovered by a testing process – the participant or the organization? Should this information be protected the same way that medical information is protected?|
ASSESSING A TEAM
First, a brief disclaimer: It is important to note that while grouping assessment results of individuals may paint a portrait of attributes that present in a team, in most cases these tools were not designed to provide aggregate data. Caution should be used when "adding up" results of a team as this method does not account for the complex interactions between individuals with similar or different traits. That being said…
What individual assessments tell us about executive teams:
|•||Which attributes are more common? (Is this an ambitious team, a cautious team, a healthy mix?)|
|•||Which values are shared (or not shared) among a team? (Will the organization sense that their leadership team is unified or disparate?)|
|•||What gaps exist that should be addressed? (Is this a group that has limited interpersonal sensitivity and fails to understand employee perspectives?)|
|•||Are there key attributes that may be in demand once someone exits? (When this SVP retires, who will serve as the spokesperson for ongoing learning?)|
What can be done with this information:
|•||Add new members that possess missing characteristics|
|•||Provide executive coaching to strengthen (or minimize) behaviors|
|•||Enhance team’s self-awareness|
|•||Maximize team strengths|
What other value is there in testing an entire executive team?
|•||Considering the type of culture will be imparted by the CEO successor|
|•||Partnering two executives with complementary attributes|
|•||Identifying psychological causes for roadblocks|
While great care must be used when implementing any type of testing process (executive or otherwise), the applications of reliable, comprehensive, accurate assessment data are virtually endless.
Headquartered in New York City, WJM Associates is a recognized leader in the fields of executive and organizational development. WJM has a Faculty of over 300 experienced executive coaches and consultants delivering coaching, assessment and other organizational effectiveness services throughout the world. To learn how we can assist you, visit www.wjmassoc.com, contact one of our Account Directors toll free at 1-877-667-4647 or email us at ..