Distributor Spotlight: Advanced People Strategies Developing UK's Next Generation of Leaders

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Wed, Mar 15, 2017

At a time when organizations across the globe are struggling to identify and develop the right leaders, Hogan has made it a priority to leverage decades of research to ensure all of its clients and partners are equipped with the best tools available. As a result, the Hogan Distributor Network has experienced a great deal of success against its competition, and the result is a much more effective global workforce.

A prime example of implementing a leadership development program “the Hogan way” is Hogan’s UK distributor, Advanced People Strategies (APS). Led by Managing Director Chris Humphreys, APS has more than 15 years of experience in helping organizations develop leaders both in the UK and abroad. Most recently, they spent a year assisting one of the UK’s top engineering firms with the implementation of a robust leadership development program. 

APS Case Study

Advanced People Strategies have been able to support a leading British civil engineering company over the past 12 months in the latest leadership and development program. The organization is recognized as one of the UK’s leading engineering solutions providers, and work on some of the biggest infrastructure projects within the UK.

The aim was to create a leadership pipeline for the business and to do this more objectively, removing personal biases that can come into play. The organization wanted a leadership and development program that could identify and develop candidates. Using APS’s expertise working with senior managers, APS was able to devise and support this goal with the use of the Hogan suite as part of its development centers.

APS ran five development centers which included a variety of individual and group based activities. Most of the candidates were very well established within the business although some had differing levels of experience. Using Hogan allowed the organization to add further objectivity when reviewing and selecting people for follow-up development programs.

APS supported the organization with a guided review of each participant. The Hogan Suite was used to predict potential and fit to future strategic leadership roles. These predictions were reviewed alongside the levels of skill observed on the development centers, people’s track record and references from within the organization.

The company was happy that it met its objectives to act on unbiased information when deciding the most suitable route for their people development. Whilst all the candidates were talented and well experienced within their role, the development centers enabled them to decide on who would be a best fit for strategic roles for the business going forward.

APS has since been able to provide continued support for the managers and their development, supporting them with reviewing their 360 and looking after the admin of this system.

Even in the company’s early days, Bob and Joyce Hogan always aimed to improve the global workplace through the delivery of their assessment suite. By arming talented people at organizations like APS with cutting-edge products and data, all Hogan has to do is get out of the way and they’ll handle the rest.

Topics: leadership development, future leaders, personality assessment, distributor, development

Key Leadership Tactics

Posted by Robert Hogan on Tue, May 26, 2015

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We know a lot about the personality style associated with effective leadership, but we don’t know a great deal about what effective leaders actually do on a routine basis. I recently spent some time in Warsaw talking with a brilliant Polish engineer—Maciej Witucki, President and Board Chair, Orange Polska (the French telecom) and Board Chair of LOT-Polish Airlines—discussing lessons learned. He made six points with which I strongly agree and think are worth repeating.

First, engineers and technical people usually make poor managers. They tend to be tactical, to get lost in the details, to be unable to prioritize tasks, and to waste money in the futile pursuit of technical perfection. My Polish engineer friend believes that social skill is essential for effective managers, and technical people are not often concerned with managing relations with others.

Second, management books by retired CEOs are not helpful in learning how to manage. Many CEOs get their jobs through politics—they are good at self-promotion, which they continue to practice after they retire. Management books by retired CEOs primarily tell readers how to become like them. In addition, retired CEOs often have no clue regarding their actual success. The first important CEO I knew personally drove his previously successful company into bankruptcy in 18 months. He retired with a golden parachute and then went on the leadership speaking circuit.

Third, the HR department has a crucial role to play in talent management—the attraction and retention of talented employees. To the degree that the HR department focuses on the administration of pay and benefits, the organization where they work will be deprived of this input. Smart CEOs rank HR just behind Sales as their most important resource for business and organizational development.

Fourth, the whole concept of “change management” is nonsense. On the one hand, unplanned change is inevitable and all one can do is try to manage or control it. On the other hand, it is very hard (almost impossible) to change anything important in a planned direction.

Fifth, Mr. Witucki said ruefully that the biggest mistake he ever made as a manager was not firing unproductive and problematic people soon enough. It is hard to bring oneself to fire people, the easiest solution is to procrastinate in the vain hope that the problem employee will change, and they never do. This view is, of course, politically incorrect, but it is also consistent with my personal experience.

Sixth, the optimal structure for any business doesn’t exist. People waste vast amounts of time and energy trying to fine tune the organizational chart based on the view that “structure is strategy”, but that structure doesn’t exist. The best a manager can do is find reliable people and ask them to handle core parts of the business.

In my experience, these points are all true and worth remembering, but this list also makes a larger point. When I first began trying to understand management and organizational dynamics, I thought that there were some crucial first principles out there, waiting to be discovered. But when I talked with successful organizational players, I found that their knowledge was organized in terms of rules—rules for introducing people, rules for leveraging people, rules for getting your way with this kind of person or that kind of person, etc. Real knowledge about human affairs is not organized like the principles of geometry or mathematics, it is organized in terms of lists of “if-then” statements that we ignore at our peril.

Topics: leadership, leadership development, leader behavior

Are You Aware of Awareness Coaching?

Posted by Hogan Assessments on Wed, Jul 25, 2012

Awareness coachingIn the face of ever-shrinking budgets and less resources to devote to employee development, many companies face a similar problem: providing current and potential leadership with critical professional development opportunities.

Executive coaching programs often span more than a year, in which a coach helps the participant develop skills and augment behaviors necessary for future success. These engagements are known as skills coaching and are designed to enhance the skillset of the participants.

Yet, skills coaching fails to heighten one’s strategic self-awareness – the understanding of one’s strengths, weaknesses, and behavioral tendencies and how these characteristics compare to those of others.

Awareness coaching, on the other hand, uses assessment results and a series of short coaching sessions that put the ownership of development on the participant. In such engagements, the employees receive a series of short coaching sessions supported by personality data, where they receive suggestions for behavior changes geared toward increasing workplace performance.

Finding cost-effective and impactful methods for leadership development is crucial to success. Using the power of assessments to make leaders aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, rather than teaching them new skills, or ways to improve their existing behaviors, employers can ensure they have a bench full of high-potential employees ready to step in to key leadership positions.

To learn more about awareness coaching and to see a case study of how one company experienced positive results through this method, review our white paper, Awareness Coaching.

Topics: leadership development, coaching

Thinking Outside the Boss

Posted by Jesse Whitsett on Wed, Jul 11, 2012

SuccessEvidence shows that at least 50% of individuals in leadership have, will, or are failing. The vast majority of suggested solutions revolve around high potential identification, leadership development programs and the like. The purpose of such initiatives is to identify the individuals who should be leaders, but given the statistic above, one has to wonder about their effectiveness.  

The methods above could use a little tweaking. Instead of focusing primarily on who should lead, organizations should place equal impetus on who should follow. An individual not being cut out for or even having the desire to lead is not in and of itself a bad thing. Lest we forget, leaders have to have individuals to lead, and it is those who are led that drive the success or failure of their leader. The term “followers” typically incites a negative response in our minds, however, workers, soldiers, and players are the backbone of any successful grouping of people: an army of only generals is no army at all. For a more recent analogy, imagine the NBA playoffs consisting only of head coaches Erik Spoelstra and Scott Brooks without their respective Heat and Thunder. It simply doesn’t work.

That said, a look through the annals of promotion would quickly reveal that most individuals end up in managerial or upper level leadership positions based on strong performance. This promoting strategy relies on a mindset we have all adopted, and for good reason as it makes logical sense: promote those who do well. Almost inevitably, one of those promotions will eventually place an individual in a position to manage people, and it is at that point logic often begins to breakdown.

Traditional logic fails because good leadership is comprised of much more than just strong performance. By taking a black and white approach and promoting leaders solely based on performance, organizations can potentially shoot themselves in the foot – actually in both feet as the repercussions can emerge on two fronts. Let’s continue with the NBA analogy above: there can be little argument that LeBron James is a phenomenal basketball player. In an organizational culture his performance ratings would be off the charts, and thus, by traditional thinking, LeBron should be promoted. So let’s hypothetically pull LeBron from the hardwood and move him into a more senior position, say head coach. Makes sense, right? Of course it doesn’t. What’s left is a team with big shoes to fill (pun intended) in a small forward, and an individual who has been pulled from an area of strength into an area in which he may or may not excel. Does LeBron have what it takes to be the coach? Does he even want to be the coach?

The example above commonly plays out in the arena of sales. Success in a sales role depends upon significantly different KSAOs (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, and Other Characteristics) than a sales manager, sales director, etc. So before a high performing sales person is moved into a position of leadership, an organization should ask itself whether they want the individual to sell or to lead. The two are not mutually exclusive and it is entirely possible that the individual can successfully do both. It isn’t necessarily logical, however, to expect leadership success based solely on strong sales numbers.

As past behavior is a solid predictor of future behavior, performance metrics should be a critical component in identifying who should lead and who should follow. They should be combined, however, with a few additional variables: values and potential.

Values - Does the individual even desire to lead? Do they want the promotion, or are they content in their current status as a high-performing employee?  Will it fuel their passion or will it extinguish their pilot light?

Potential - Does the individual possess the intrinsic characteristics to successfully lead? Do they truly have what it takes?

To summarize, sometimes a soldier should remain a soldier; a small forward a small forward. Some individuals want to lead, some don’t. Some have what it takes, some don’t. Neither side of the coin is right or wrong, as organizations require both leaders and followers, but we cannot expect to figure out who is who by judging performance alone.

Topics: leadership, values, leadership development, job performance

Developing a Global Mindset

Posted by Jarrett Shalhoop on Mon, Mar 19, 2012

Last week I attended the Developing Leaders for Global Roles Summit at the Thunderbird Najafi Global Mindset Institute in Glendale, Arizona. The summit brought together academics and practitioners from around the world to discuss the concept and issues surrounding global leadership, and approaches to closing the talent gaps that virtually every organization experiences. The stories and insights from the other attendees were enlightening, so I thought I’d summarize a few of the takeaways here in our blog.

First, this will come as no surprise, but nobody is defining their problem in terms of a surplus of global leadership talent. Talent in this area is particularly scarce and extremely valuable. This is a prime battle in the broader war for talent.

Second, gooGlobed leadership skills do not necessarily generalize to a global setting. Leadership skills are distinct from having a global perspective, and successful global leadership requires both. The folks at Thunderbird have a robust body of research on the concept of global mindset, complete with a measurement tool (the Global Mindset Inventory, or GMI) and taxonomy of skills and attributes. The good news is that global mindset can be developed. The bad news is that not nearly enough organizations are actively developing global mindsets in their leadership talent pools or organizations. 

Third, success in a global environment requires not just leaders that think globally, but an entire organization that sees itself as global and thinks in those terms. Making this transition is difficult. For example, moving from being a U.S.-based business that works in China to an organization that does business in both the U.S. and China is a big adjustment, and requires commitment from the entire workforce. From this perspective, global mindset is an organizational development issue, not just a leadership development issue.

So what are people doing to move towards a global organization? I heard a few things from a fantastic lineup of speakers, including:

  • Building cross-cultural work teams. These might be traditional or virtual work teams, but getting some exposure to different people, different business cultures, and different ways of thinking is key.
  • Spending time in-country. Most of the speakers agreed that there is no substitute for spending time in another culture. If you want to do business in Japan, for example, you need to get over there and really get a first-hand feel for the way things work. This is difficult and expensive, but also provides tremendous development.
  • Debriefing past experiences. After projects are implemented, the project teams sit down and replay the scenario, debriefing what decisions were made, and how things could have been done differently. This is probably good practice for any significant project, but hearing the story from others with a different cultural perspective can provide valuable insight that might not have been acquired through the process of just getting the work done.
  • Targeting global mindset specifically through development programs. This is relatively new, but seems like a great idea. The GMI and other assessments are being integrated into development programs to help people recognize their own tendencies (individual and cultural), and how to think outside of those constraints.

It’s a cliché – but no less true – to say it’s a global business environment. Those who can adapt to this playing field will be more successful. Those who impose their ways of doing things onto other culture will struggle. Developing leaders who can be successful in the global business environment will be critical, and the Global Najafi Global Mindset Institute is doing a lot of great work to help organizations meet this challenge.

Topics: leadership development, global leadership, developing leaders, leadership skills

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