Why decisive leadership matters

Following my new year theme of efficiency it was interesting to see that new Premier League football club QPR dismissed their manager Neil Warnock yesterday, as they sit in 17th place in the league. (The fact that 17th will keep them in the league for another season is perhaps incidental).

In comments to Sky Sports, QPR’s Malaysian owner and chairman Tony Fernandes said: “This decision has been made in the best interests of the club and I can assure everyone that this is not a decision that was made lightly. Sadly, our recent run of poor form has seen us slip alarmingly down the table and the board felt it was the right time to make a change.”

Sometimes, football club owners are accused of focusing on the short term. But one thing is true. They are focused on the business of results and the commercial success that results bring.

In making a bold decision at a critical time of the season and early in the new year, Fernandes has signalled intent to a number of groups. His incoming manager, in all likelihood Mark Hughes, the playing staff, club employees, fans and football community at large will all know he is a guy that means business and commands respect whether they agree or not.

So whether it is resource, budget, product portfolio, premises, export, diversification or other type of problem you held over into 2012, can you take a leaf out of Tony Fernandes’ book and make the bold changes that need to be made in your business?

For more on the QPR story and how Fernandes is engaging fans on Twitter about his decision, read this story.

Top Tweets of the Week (wc 15 Nov)

Here are some of this week’s links worthy of your attention. Have a great weekend when you get to it!

Tuesday: RT @AronStevenson: Management Is Not Leadership http://bit.ly/9RFkxy #businesstips

Wednesday: This is awesome: How marketers are utilising Social Media in 2010 http://bit.ly/aXQXFP [infographics]

Wednesday: MUST READ: How to Get Started in Content Marketing http://bit.ly/cULlB8

Thursday: Excellent RT @B2Bento: Five Social Media Trends To Watch in 2011 by @JasonFalls http://bit.ly/dfllaK

Thursday: Savvy on ‘What makes on ideal b2b marketing client?http://ow.ly/3bJBs

Friday: Useful…RT @sejournal 12 Tips For Using Twitter to Grow Your Business | Search Engine Journal http://bit.ly/9lFrXx

And finally, because its Friday…RT @GemmaCocker: Need a smile? …this is without a doubt the best vid I’ve seen all month: http://bit.ly/btXumX

Top Tweets of the Week (wc 8 Nov)

Some links I thought might be worthy of your click. All self explanatory. Enjoy.

Monday: RT @ThisIsSethsBlog Seth’s Blog: Do more vs. do better http://bit.ly/9pvn0N

Wednesday: RT @BtoBSocialMedia: 6 Social Media Marketing Goals You May Be Over-Looking http://bit.ly/aTqcX0

Wednesday: A must read: Six steps to thought leadership http://ow.ly/37i4R

Wednesday: RT @markwschaefer Ten reasons to blog even if nobody reads it http://bit.ly/dxAgcO

Thursday: How to Use StumbleUpon: Your Comprehensive Guide http://bit.ly/aFZZQC

Thursday: How to Explain the Value of Content Marketing http://bit.ly/9lJlHX

And finally: A candidate for the cheekiest touchdown ever? http://ow.ly/36nLQ

Building a winning team

The depression of another failed World Cup bid by the England football team has, I think, been lessened this time around by the crushing inevitability of it all. From the warm up games, to the debacle of squad selection, through the performances in the group, the outbursts about the tough, prison like camp and the tactical ineptitude at critical stages of matches, it was clear it was going to come to a crashing end at some point.

Creating the right environment for a team to perform takes some planning and a lot of effort. The England team have the best paid manager in world football, a star-studded line-up and all the trappings afforded to movie stars and musicians but  failed because they weren’t sufficiently motivated and committed to winning.

There were crucial things missing.  And, the same things are often missing in teams in workplaces like yours. As marketers we have to get the best from multi-site, multi-language, multi-discipline colleagues and business partners. So, if  like Fabio, you’re struggling to get the best out of people in your line of work (and remember no man is an island), consider these five top tips:

1. Create the right environment – team members need to have some responsibility and should feel that they can propose and try different approaches from time to time.

2. Remember no idea is a bad idea – encourage input and encourage problem sharing. The best teams consistently collaborate and innovate. Build in various ways of soliciting feedback as some people naturally shy away in group situations.

3. Understand the needs of individuals – one managerial size doesnt fit all when managing a team. The autocrat for example will frustrate the experienced. Make sure you are aware of who needs the carrot and who needs the stick, who needs some hand holding and who needs letting fly.

4. Establish team roles and responsibilities and incentivize based on delivery – some team members operate best on the big picture, others are meticulous, others organised, others 100% efficient but lacking a little polish. using assessment models like Belbin can assist. Understanding where skills lie allows for effective harnessing and also helps drive  ongoing development.

5. Ultimately, recognize that the team embodies the values and attitude of its leader. If the team isn’t working, it has to come back to the leader’s door. Return to the objectives of the team, what needs to be done and where the strengths and weaknesses lie. Everything can be improved…unless you are project managing a team on The Apprentice in which case, no chance.

    As for Fabio, he isn’t the first to fail with England’s so called Golden generation, perhaps the causes are more engrained.

    Image http://blogs.mirror.co.uk

    Learning from bad managers

    The funniest, and perhaps most disturbing aspect of the David Brent character in The Office is that we’ve known one, worked with one, or worse worked under one. I’ve been fortunate to know a few and as a result I unashamedly expect as much from my manager as they do from me.

    These guys undoubtedly have enormous pressure heaped upon them, especially in commercial business environments, but what is often true is that they have been promoted way beyond a level where they made their name or added value, and are consequently poorly equipped to drive a strategy, act and be inspirational and effectively manage people.

    Worse, some notorious cases forget the basics on the rise to the top. Do any of these seem familiar? Failing to give junior team members the opportunity to present to key customers. Talking over them in meetings. Showing a scant regard for customers by presenting what you think they want rather than what they actually want. Using phones, checking email and pacing in meetings. Parking flash cars outside the office with little forethought of the impression it creates.

    Sounds negative, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and here is the rub. People buy people, and bad managers are inevitably found out. If you’re honest and good at what you do you will be fine. Match self-preservation with a desire to add value and pre-empt their expectations. Look after the people you come into contact with on the way up, they are often the kingmakers and the people who will go the extra mile for you.

    Observation is an innate human skill and can be incredibly insightful. Watch and learn. Learn what not to be. Learn how not to be behave. Learn how to be inspiring.