Brought to you by the Brefi Group: "Developing your business through strategy, facilitation and executive coaching – internationally."
Welcome to this issue of CorporateCoach – a free newsletter for senior executives and teams in organisations interested in using coaching to improve corporate performance. Please share it with colleagues and contacts who will benefit from reading it.
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HOT NEWS 1: We are pleased to welcome Carol Newland into our team of corporate coaches.
Carol has an extensive background in personal and management development training, mainly in the public sector, as well as coaching, mentoring and facilitating learning groups. She is a Master Practitioner of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) and a certified Executive and Life Coach.
Carol is interested in creativity and accelerated learning and she is leading teams of coaches on the ITS NLP programmes.
Carol lives in Southampton, UK.
1. Editorial: Time for a PEST
President Kennedy and UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan struck up a personal friendship. When the young Jack asked his elderly mentor what he feared most, he is reported to have been told "Events, dear boy, events."
We have had plenty of events during this month and many leaders in business as well as politics will have had cause to consider the significance of his reply.
It is widely reported in the media that the world has changed. Perhaps, more accurately, our perception of the world has changed, and it is our response that has caused the economy to change. From the initial response of anger, we have moved to questioning what have we done to cause these events.
Another question might be "What could be the results caused by what we are now doing, or considering doing?" As all organisations are faced with a changed environment, so it is time for some scenario planning.
For many companies, the next three months are the season for strategy planning in preparation of the budget for the next financial year. They may well include a SWOT and PEST analyses. This year it will be particularly important to include a PEST analysis.
What are some of the processes that we coach individuals, organisations and governments that might be particularly relevant just now?
It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change. Charles Darwin
In such changed circumstances we offer our coaching and facilitation services to new and existing clients. Contact us today.
One of the exercises we do in team building involves a collection of planks with slots. These can be assembled to form a pattern and the objective is to assemble the planks in the minimum time. The first occasion I ran this exercise gave us an excellent demonstration of different management styles.
One team was very organised. They labelled each plank and drew up a schedule of actions so that one person could call out instructions to the rest of the team. They won the first round easily.
The other team took an opposite approach. They allocated responsibility for different parts of the pattern to individuals, with no centralised direction. Although slower in the first round, this devolved strategy allowed them to learn, and with repeated rounds they rapidly overtook and left behind the first team, who failed to make much better time than in their first attempt.
An interesting lesson for companies, governments and societies.
We are going to take a less structured approach ourselves. Instead of the newsletter arriving in great bulk at the end of the month, in future it will arrive in parts throughout the month. We believe that smaller chunks will be easier for you to read.
2. Coaching notes: Coaching in industry
Tim Paget has carried out a survey of executive coaching among doctors in the pharmaceutical industry. His contacts recognised the role of coaching at the top and called for it to be available more widely in their organisations.
Many doctors seek the varied challenges presented by roles in industry instead of the traditional world of clinical medicine and work with patients in the National Health Service. In the pharmaceutical industry these doctors work in research, scientific departments supporting the marketing of medicines, drug safety and other such functions. Many head up large medical departments and some progress to very senior roles in the business.
These people are all in roles which are diverse and changing fast in a fast moving industry which is under public scrutiny. When they join the industry many meet diversified new issues relating to politics, business strategy, self assertiveness and inevitably some prejudice. They have legal and ethical obligations to fulfil in a business environment.
All of this stacks up to challenge of the highest degree – perhaps the reason why it is difficult for them to find the time needed for themselves and their own development and support.
In a telephone survey of 16 doctors who are medical directors or in senior positions in the pharmaceutical industry, Tim found that technical areas of development were well supported but almost all identified management and personal development as the area of greatest unmet need in terms of their training.
Of course this is where coaching fits in and 15 of the 16 participants had come across the concept of executive coaching, though only four had actually had a coach.
Many of the doctors surveyed identified coaching as a means of supporting their continued performance in this environment and focused on performance, objective setting and management of particular issues. Those that had been or were being coached also experienced relief from stress and other benefits. Development of inspirational leadership qualities, consolidation of training, and learning by coaching with each other in an organisation were all mentioned.
Fourteen out of the 16 participants felt that individual coaching could be combined with team coaching for optimal performance. This is an area where they are starting to experience the value of coaching for themselves and recognising how it could add more value if used more widely in their organisations.
Only six of the 16 had a personal development plan, and, although in 70% of cases their jobs had changed significantly during the last year, only two had received any form of defined training or manager support directly relating to the change.
Whilst there was recognition that the most senior people in the top positions rightly receive coaching in many organisations, most of the participants felt that coaching could and should be made available more widely in organisations such as theirs.
The principle still applies that starting at the top is all important, with the leaders in organisations sharing the value of what they learn with their teams and further identifying other individuals and teams who can benefit.
Nearly all participants would want coaching away from the workplace and few favoured telephone appointments.
HOT THOUGHT: In many organisations the last three months of the year are the period for strategy review and preparation of business plans and budgets. Why not include a corporate retreat or engage a facilitator? Contact Brefi Group today! Or, if you would like to speak to a consultant in the UK call 07970 891 343.
3. Tools notes: PEST analysis
PEST stands for Political, Economic, Social and Technological and, along with SWOT analysis, is one of the standard processes used in business planning and strategy review. Every organisation should carry out a PEST analysis if they have not done so in the last couple of weeks, and should probably repeat it soon. So let's consider some of the questions that should be asked in a PEST analysis at this time.
The global economy is strongly influenced by the behaviour of the American economy. This has been slowing down fast, with the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates in an attempt to stimulate demand. Will this work? What is an economy these days? In many countries there are multiple economies, with manufacturing, commercial, services, retail and leisure. There are sub economies affected by international trade and others affected only by very local behaviours.
What will be the effect of the terrorism attacks in America? What has been the effect so far and how will this develop? Is there a real change, or a temporary disruption? What will be the effect of military action? Which industries will benefit and which will suffer?
What about the political implications? On an international stage, is there going to be better co-operation or a breakdown into opposing power groups? The political map of the world is already different from during the cold war. What will be the impact on relations with India and Pakistan, with Saudi Arabia, with Israel and the Palestinians? Will relations with Russia affect the expansion of the EU in the Baltic?
What will be the political implications on domestic affairs? Will there be knee jerk reactions, restrictions on liberty, more controls? Will there be more expenditure on defence and security? If so, will this offer business opportunities or incur additional costs?
What is the current state of society, in your own country and elsewhere? How has it changed, and how will it evolve? Are people concerned about travel, investment, debt? Will there be a change in the balance between urban – especially metropolitan – and suburban/rural populations? What will be the impact on housing, entertainment and travel? What will be the impact on ethnic and racial relations, settlement patterns and public policy. Will there be a higher or a lower profile for government activity? Population changes, refugees and asylum seekers – already a concern in Europe, and a long term problem in less developed parts of the world. AIDS continues to decimate populations in Africa and to grow in other countries has an impact on business, society and politics.
There have been protests against capitalism, globalisation and research on animals, and debates about the control and legalisation of drugs. Will these grow, or fade away?
Technology changes and we have seen differing reactions over time from investors. What are the threats and opportunities within telecommunications and e-commerce? What will be the succes of 2.5 and 3G mobile networks, with concerns about the health effects of mobile phones, and what new technology and services will they stimulate? The human genome and biotechnology offer increasing opportunities – when and where can they be commercialised, what will be their impact on society? What opportunities in power generation – wind, wave and solar, and/or nuclear? What other developments that we are not yet aware of?
Political, economic, social and technological trends and changes influence the world we live and operate in. Each impacts on the others in a sophisticated system. We should monitor trends at all times, but after such a shock to the system as we have recently experienced, a major review is justified.
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