Member Since: 12th Jun 2009
Andrew Leigh is a founding director of Maynard Leigh Associates and a Fellow of the CIPD. He is author and joint author of a number of books on presentations, leadership, management and teams. His latest book The Charisma Effect is being translated into eight languages. Having been a columnist on the business section of The Observer, he spent many years as an Assistant Director in various UK local authorities, and subsequently set up Maynard Leigh with his fellow director Michael Maynard in 1989. The company which recently celebrated its 20th year, has a core mission of Unlocking People's Potential and works with a wide ranging clientele from major corporations such as DHL, Visa and Aviva through to medium sized and small companies that want to bring about significant changes in individual and corporate performance. The company pioneered the idea of using ideas from the theatre in business and much of its approach is described in the book Dramatic Success. Andrew has a particular interest in managing and managing change, and especially culture change and has written an award winning paper on sustaining it. He is also a director of Parity Eco Solutions, an award-winning provider of environmental solutions to the residential building sector. www.maynardleigh.co.uk
Director Maynard Leigh Associates
13th Aug 2011
I am grateful for Gary's comments, even if they are roughly 12 months after the event!
It seems we meet different people! Plenty of free lance trainers I know are keen on ROI, yet know their clients would not invest the time and money needed to produce a credible result.
Of course Gary is right, there are plenty of people who would indeed benefit from his expertise in how to measure ROI. That muddled thinking often prevails is hardly a matter of dispute--we seem to be agreeing violently!
But I stand by my earlier comments that ROI is often complex and less than credible, especially when it comes to soft skills. While it is also true many trainers and consultants could not care less about ROI, many others would be more involved if clients were interested and willing to pay the inevitable costs of collecting credible data. It is not just about the HOW but also about HOW MUCH!
22nd Dec 2010
-- Andrew Leigh www.maynardleigh.co.uk
You make a fair point. However the feedback on the CEO is strictly informal, not the result of a written questionnaire. That is really the point I was making. CEOs should have opinion feedback and seldom do, in fact too many go out of their way to avoid ever confronting how they are seen by their colleagues.
5th Oct 2010
-- Andrew Leigh www.maynardleigh.co.uk
To extend the people first statement it is interesting that one of the fastest growing Indian technology companies HCL Technologies has a forward thinking CEO who has argued publically for Staff first, customers second.
If you believe n the power of engagement this makes absolute success. It is hardly surprising that Gallup have found that the causation runs from people to financial results and not the other way around!
28th Sep 2010
-- Andrew Leigh www.maynardleigh.co.uk
The argument for insight-driven HR is now becoming mainstream in thinking strategically about HR. The challenge is how best HR professionals can in fact develop their insight in new, more effective ways. (See for example: 7 Ways to Develop Your Insight)
It is also true that most companies still have a traditional HR structure in which thinking about talent for example, remains heavily siloed with a general failure to use insight to join up the dots to create a holistic approach.
Finally I would argue that the whole issue of effective talent mangement for example, turns on the ability of both line managers and HR professionals to develop greater insight into what really excites and inspires people, gets their energy flowing and generates peak performance.
27th May 2010
I am grateful to Spindrift for these comments, though I do not entirely agree with all of them.
For example, it is hard to credit this industrial chaos as down to a few selfish and short-sighted employees or their misguided leaders, as this post seems to imply. In fact my impression is that the extent of support from the staff is comprehensive though not, it is true, total.
Secondly, Spindrift makes the valid point that: “Frankly the country itself is fed up with both sides anyway, and BA is rapidly losing any goodwill that it had - so they may all be out of a job in due course.” Now why would that be? It is surely in part due to the intransigent and macho style of the BA management that has exacerbated the situation to this point.
Elsewhere I have made the comparison with Mars whose original owner once told the new UK Managing Director, that he was safe in his job so long as staff did not go on strike. This naturally led the MD to pay extraordinary attention to ensuring he stayed closely in touch with staff so that strikes were headed off extremely early. One cannot help feeling that if the BA’s CEO had been told he would be asked to leave if things got so bad that staff went on strike the present hiatus would long ago have been resolved.
Whatever the actual rights and wrongs of this dispute though, one fact is hardly in dispute. Leaders succeed these days through engaging their staff, or as I have indicated above by making sure they feel valued, involved, developed and inspired (VIDI).
When the dispute is finally resolved, assuming there is still an airline of some kind still to run, BA's management will have to win back the trust of its employees so they feel fully engaged. Based on the evidence so far, such thinking remains far from the centre of concern of the present management. Perhaps a coda to add to the original blog I wrote should be can its macho CEO survive?
See also Can BA Survive?
27th May 2010
I entirely agree. Presence is an essential leadership quality and is entirely learnable. Being present in the moment is what good actors learn to do and what makes them so effective in commanding attention.
Leaders who convey presence have the ability to make you feel you are the most important person in the world. Bill Clinton was famous for this ability to use his presence, so much so that one person commented on encountering him: “I felt he'd flown across the Atlantic just to meet me!”
In our flagship presentation course “Performing With Presence” we show people how presence works, what it takes to really be there, to be entirely present. Most people “get it” once they see that it is simply giving their absolute attention to the audience. Likewise in our work with leaders, we find that the best ones already understand the importance of presence and know how to convey it.
We also have to recognise that a whole generation of young people are currently developing who give their presence not so much to people as to technology. Utterly absorbed in texting, tweeting, mobiling and on line social networking where full attention is not required, many are missing out on the experience of what it means to be fully present with another human being.
My blog: Straight Talking
29th Oct 2009
I do not disagree with the above but would add just a small additional perspective.
Much of the above deals with the role of HR. I would however say the real issue lies with management itself and its responsibility to avoid strikes as the ulitmate sign of managerial failure. It is probably an apocryphal story but it is said that an early UK managing director of Mars the confectionary firm, was told by his US owners on his appointment that he could do what he needed to do to run the company but if there was a strike he would be fired.
Not surprisingly this MD paid close attention to how his staff were feeling and sought constant feedback about numerous situations where there was potential for misunderstanding and possibly strike action. Needless to say no strike ever occured at Mars!
One wonders how things could have been different at say both BA whose record of industrial relations is a text book example of how to disengage staff, or the Royal Mail if a similar message had been given to their respective chief executives.
Of course it can be argued that being told you will be fired if there is a strike, while doubtless concentrating the mind in the same way an impending hanging may do, would lead to managerial weakness is the face on strong union behaviour. However there is considerable evidence that unions generally want to resolve confrontations and seldom revel in them the way they are sometimes portrayed as doing.
In contrast, weak managers rely on confrontation as a means of bullying their way to a solution. It is symptomatic for example that the Royal Mail management have taken the stance that "we won't go to arbitration without you going back to work first." This is tantamount to demanding that the enemy give up their weaponse as a condition for stopping the war. As we know from the history of Northern Ireland and dealing with the IRA this is to treat your opposite number with barely concealed contempt. That is no way to resolve differences.
Andrew Leigh www.maynardleigh.co.uk
22nd Sep 2009
While I agree with these views about reviews we need to face the fact that universally they are in disrepute. This is because an annual review or even a bi annual review is useless for tapping into people's talent and enthusiasm. Nowdays managers who understand about managing talent expect to give constant and powerful feedback to their direct reports on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
The evidence though is that managers are poor at handling reviews, whether annually or more frequently. CIPD reseasrch shows that a large proportion of UK managers have been asked to do things for which they feel ill equipped and top of the list is managing people.
I would like to see reviews re-thought completely as happens in some of the more astute organisations where the idea of an annual assessment, a sort of make or break process is totally unacceptable.
30th Jul 2009
As one would expect, Mr Fairhurst talks considerable sense about the recession and its implications for HR and talent management in particular. Nor would I quarrel with his view that talent needs to be high on the top team's agenda.
Where I part company with this distinguished practitioner is on the war for talent issue. The concept was formulated by McKinsey some years back and has stampeded many companies into thinking talent is in short supply. It is not. Companies, including Mr Fairhurst's are stuffed full of talent.
As the international research by Gallup shows, there is a dreadfully low level of engagement in most companies. This means a vast amount of talent goes waste. To suggest that there is a shortage when you are not using what you have got is surely quite wrong.
Of course everyone in Mcdonald's may be fully engaged though that is hardly the widespread impression one gains from the countless tales of what it is really like working for the company.
To sum up, the war for talent concept is indeed alive and well, the reality that it implies is however entirely different. It's an entirely phoney war!
6th Jul 2009
(Click title to see full response)
Richard raises a perfectly sound point. Did the director of the charity act with integrity or not? Since this was a real story--only the name of the charity has been concealed--there is a real possibility as Richard says, that the Director took the easy option.
He wondered too! That is why he wrote to all the stakeholders to share his own doubts and to invite their feedback. Since the overwhelming response was that the decision was indeed a difficult one, and that the stakeholders appreciated the dilemma. On the whole they fully backed the director's choice.
If we go back to the meaning of integrity we can at least get a handle on the nature of the dilemma. Integrity is first deciding what is right and wrong, secondly it is acting on what you have discerned even at personal cost and finally, saying open you are acting on what understand to be right and wrong.
As far as I can judge the charity director realised he was facing a "right or wrong" choice and made the decision even at a potentially high personal cost. He offered to resign if enough of the stakeholders judged his actions as wrong.
By writing to all stakeholders he put himself on the line, explaining that he was acting on what he felt to be the right choice but accepting that he might indeed have acted as Richard says, with expediency.
The story itself was presented to a group of participants at the Breaksfast seminar and they too found the choice difficult. Interestingly the majority decided along the same lines as the charity director.