Thursday, July 25, 2013

Power and management behaviour

Watching university students role play salary package negotiations is fascinating. Without question the student who acts as the manager negotiates from the perspective that they have the power in the negotiation. The student acting as the prospective employee, who is trying to negotiate the best possible outcome for themself also adopts the perspective that the ‘manager’ has the power.

Several minutes in to the role plays I interrupt and tell the ‘manager’ that their CEO has a memo for them. The memo informs them that, due to the war for talent, they must do everything they can to secure the services of the prospective employee while maintaining responsibility for their budget.

Gary Ryan, Creator Yes For Success personal development programThe negotiations continue with a changed dynamic. The power has shifted. No longer does the ‘manager’ see that they have control. While having adopted an initial distributive bargaining strategy, they quickly shift to an integrative bargaining strategy. Even their body language changes. As I said this is fascinating to watch.
What is also fascinating is that the students involved are yet to begin their professional careers. Many of them have part-time jobs and/or volunteer roles and the majority of them have never had a manager’s role. Yet they follow this pattern of behaviour.

The role play is conducted as part of a Communication For Business program. In it I teach the students about the power of their mental models; their theories about how they believe the world works and how these theories directly affect their behaviour. Their perception of having or not having power affects the mental models they adopt in the role play which in turn affects their behaviour. As soon as the power is ‘shifted’ by the memo, they adopt a different mental model and their behaviour changes.

I have conducted this activity over a seven-year period and the observed behaviours have been consistent over this period of time. The perception of power has a direct implication for behaviour. This is not right or wrong. The challenge is that your mental models often act at a sub-conscious level rather than a conscious level. Either way they will affect your behaviour.

Reflecting on the activity students report that they were aware of the position they were taking in the negotiation but not aware of the deep mental models that were ‘driving’ their behaviour. Their view of the power they had or didn’t have had a direct impact on their behaviour.

What lesson does this activity surface for leaders and developing leaders alike?
Let’s assume that you value talent. If you are not aware of the influence that power has on your subconscious mental models and ultimately your behaviour, you are unlikely to treat the talented individuals you are working with as talented people. You will treat them as people who have less power than you. You will not be equals who have different roles.

Raising your awareness of your mental models is a key element for success. What is your experience of mental models and how they drive your behaviour?

Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented professionals to move Beyond Being Good.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Innovation - value is the key!

In its recent report New Concepts in Innovation – The Keys To Growing Australia the Business Council of Australia defined innovation as:
Innovation can be defined as the application of knowledge to create additional value and wealth. Innovation involves using knowledge to find new ways to create and bring about change for the better. This definition of innovation has implications for the types of activities within businesses that can be considered innovative.
First, innovation does not necessarily involve technology and technological knowledge. Successful innovation can involve the use of any type of knowledge, provided its application results in additional value and wealth.
Second, innovation is not invention. Innovation may not even require the creation of new knowledge – be it to the world or to the firm. What it does require is the inspired application of knowledge (old or new) to create additional value.
Yes For Success, Life balance, plan for personal success, Gary Ryan, Organisations That MatterWhat I like about this definition is that it makes innovation easier to understand. Value determines innovation. 

If you create something and it doesn’t hold value, then you haven’t innovated. In an earlier post Understanding Innovation I explained that innovation was as simple as taking something and adding it to something else. Providing the result creates value, then you have innovated. 

Your somethings can be anything. They can be something physical with another physical thing, such as wrapping paper and a brown paper bag that together created the Gift Bag

They can be a concept such as portability which was added to music and you create the Sony Walkman. You can have selling white goods and providing people with access to finance for those goods and you create GE Money. You can have a passion for baseball and a desire for a large free wedding and you create a fully Sponsorship Public Wedding.

Given the Business Council of Australia advocates innovation as a critical skill for career success, practise this concept and start testing the value that you create. You might just take your most successful program and the desire to create a like-minded community and create the Yes For Success Platform!

Learn about the Yes For Success Platform here.

Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented people to move Beyond Being Good.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Who's in control of your development?

Handing over 100% control for your personal and professional development to your employer is flawed. In our current world it doesn't work. Not any more.
Yet that is the place that many of you are in. You rely 100% on your employer to develop you.

According to Mark McCrindle you are likely to have at least three different employers over the next decade. The reasons will be varied but will include you deciding to shift jobs and/or your employer no longer requiring your services. 

This is the world we now live in. Jobs for life are a rarity. Just ask the folk at Shell, Ford and Target in Geelong in regional Victoria, and Ford in Broadmeadows in the Melbourne's northern suburbs. Over the next two years more than 1,900 people will be losing their jobs, many of whom will have worked for those companies for decades.

plan for personal success, Gary Ryan, Organisations That Matter, Yes For SuccessImagine if you were one of those workers. In good faith you had trusted your employer to develop you. After all you were part of their 'big family'.

When the economy tightened, what was one of the first budget items to get cut? Traditionally, the budget item is training and development. 

Let's consider some logic.

The reason the budget is getting cut is because the company is earning less money through sales. Should that trend continue then people's jobs will be cut at some point in the future. This isn't rocket science! 

Yet, if you were one of the employees in these circumstances, the writing is on the wall - at some point in the future you will be looking for a new job. It is with some irony that it is under these circumstances when you, the employee needs to be developing yourself more than you ever have before. Yet, when you have handed 100% of the control of your development to your employer you are getting less. Does this seem like a good formula for security and success?


If you, the employee have handed 100% of control for your development to your employer, then you are facing a situation where your employability is going down, when you should be aiming to have it go up.

Some more logic. When you are a job seeker is it safer to be more employable or less employable? Not a hard question, is it!

"My organisation provides wonderful training and development Gary, this isn't relevant to me!" you might say. I'm sorry, but this is relevant.

Treat the training and development that your organisation provides as a bonus. If they are a decent employer they will understand that it is in their interests to keep developing you. That said they'll limit their development to what they think is good for you, not necessarily what is good for you, your talents and your future. I'm not suggesting that companies are bad for having this view. It is understandable and reflects how the world actually works. The important thing is that you need to understand how the system works and you need to be in control over of development.

My message is simple. Keep your development 100% in your control. Don't hand that control to your employer. Use whatever development opportunities they give to develop your talents. Be the best employee that you can be. But don't limit your development to what your employer provides. Do online courses, join Toastmasters, do whatever you need to do to keep developing yourself.

Right at this moment what are you doing that indicates that you are in control of your development? Your security and future depend on it.
Learn about the Yes For Success Platform here.

Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented people to move Beyond Being Good.