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            [post_content] => Adrian Funham photo2Previously a lecturer in Psychology at Pembroke College, Oxford, he has been Professor of Psychology at University College London since 1992. He has lectured widely abroad and held scholarships and visiting professorships at, amongst others, the University of New South Wales, the University of the West Indies, the University of Hong Kong and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has also been a Visiting Professor of Management at Henley Management College. He has recently been made Adjunct Professor of Management at the Norwegian School of Management. Since 2007 he has been nominated by HR magazine as one of the 20 Most Influential People in HR. 

IMI: Based on your current work – if you only had 6 words of advice to give a business – what would they be?

AF: Every Disruption involves threat and opportunity.

IMI: What does that mean? AF: We live in turbulent times: times of both threat and opportunity that really test managers. So what are the fundamental principles of good management to ensure staff are happy, motivated and productive? Can you teach experts to become good people managers and if so, how? What is the role of money in motivation? And how can we engage rather than disenchant our staff? We know from futurologists that the world of work is changing fast, even though many predictions have not come true. But where we work, for whom we work and with whom we work are all in flux. How do you manage the older worker? What are young people really like in the work-place? What is the work-place and organisation of the (near) future going to look like? Finally, I address the (continual) management of change. Which strategies work best and why? No one ever said managing people was easy: but we can learn to do it better and ensure our organisation thrives and survives in an uncertain world. Adrian Furnham is a keynote speaker at the IMI National Management Conference taking place on Thursday 29th  of September. To register please click here.   [post_title] => "Every Disruption involves threat and opportunity" Six Word Wisdom from Adrian Furnham [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => every-disruption-involves-threat-opportunity-six-word-wisdom-adrian-furnham [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 19:56:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 19:56:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 39580 [post_author] => 94 [post_date] => 2019-11-19 13:39:52 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-11-19 13:39:52 [post_content] => [post_title] => Deborah Rowland Is Change Changing? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => deborah-rowland-is-change-changing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2023-05-15 15:07:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2023-05-15 15:07:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22610 [post_author] => 80 [post_date] => 2018-04-05 09:27:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-05 09:27:06 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_22612" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Jack Welch was CEO of GE for 20 years. In a changing world, is he still the model for leadership? Jack Welch was CEO of GE for 20 years. In a changing world, is he still the model for leadership?[/caption]   When discussing the challenges facing business leaders it seems almost de rigeur nowadays to talk about the level of change organisations are facing. The challenge to equip leaders to build the future in these uncertain times is certainly daunting, with seismic geopolitical shifts (in this context the Trump administration seems to be the gift that keeps on giving), disruptive technological change (how many of us even fully understand the implications of bitcoin, blockchain and whatever new technology will be unleashed on us next) and even severe climate and weather events. The very ubiquitous nature of these challenges may however inure us to their real potential as both a threat and an opportunity to affect a true paradigm shift in how we view leadership, a classic case of an issue being undervalued through overuse. . The Concept of Leadership From the perspective of the 21st century the development of our concept of leadership is a little clearer than it may have been in the past.  From this remove we can see how the largely male, heroic models of leadership have greatly influenced the literature and teaching in this field. The business leaders who are most often cited, Jack Welch, Steve Jobs etc. are broadly from a similar mould and the models of leadership, with the exception of Servant Leadership (as a servant leader you put the needs of others, particularly team members, before you even consider your own, but how many executives really model themselves on this type of leadership?) extol an assertive, confident, out-going and mainly extroverted style. In fact, the Myers Briggs type most associated with leadership is the ENTJ (extraversion, intuition, thinking, judgment), which is described as the ‘general’, again exposing the military underpinnings of the leadership canon. We can clearly see this bias in the continuing popularity of books like Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people”, the pseudoscience of NLP and programmes that teach executives how to create the right ‘impression’. Given the genesis of the leadership concept it is understandable that people might misconstrue the notion of leadership presence as the ability to impose oneself (and influence people), but there is real hope that we are about to experience a genuine shift in the paradigm. . Unhappy Influencers [caption id="attachment_22617" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Richard Boyatzis studied how leaders influence those around them Richard Boyatzis studied how leaders influence those around them and how that effected their lives and careers[/caption] . Recent research conducted by Richard Boyatzis and colleagues from Case Western Reserve University examined the relationship between the extent to which people adopted an ‘influencing’ leadership style and their later satisfaction with both their careers and their life in general.  Interestingly they found a very strong negative correlation between these factors, i.e. the more people adopted an influence style the less satisfied they were with their careers and lives. Boyatzis and colleagues did not have an objective measure of career success, so one could still argue that the ‘influencers’ did better in their careers, but Boyatzis’ research does tell us that irrespective on how well an outsider might judge your career progress, the ‘influencers’ are less happy about their situation.  The researchers concluded that those who adopt an influencing style are pushing on their environment and trying to get more from others, e.g. they tend to show a high need to control social situations. The crux of the problem, especially in the context of a VUCA world, is that pushing on or trying to control an environment that is in a constant state of flux, verging on chaos is unlikely to be very effective and will certainly lead to people being highly dissatisfied and unhappy in their work and indeed their lives. Now would be the perfect time for the leadership movement to learn the lessons of evolutionary psychology that success in a changing environment falls to the most adaptable, those who can outlearn their competition.   The Adaptable Generation This will require a cadre of new leaders who are less ego-identified with success and winning, who don’t see problems as opportunities to impose themselves and demonstrate mastery of the environment. Rather we will see the emergence of leaders who can go with the flow, adapt to new realities quickly, work through and with others as either leader or follower and pivot gracefully as cherished paradigms fall away and hard-earned experience proves ineffective as a guide to new problems. There is no doubt that the idea of women in leadership is in the current zeitgeist and may or may not create a fundamental shift in how we see leadership in the future.  I am however hopeful, that as the new model emerges we will see less emphasis on the old machismo of the ability to impose oneself on others and on the environment and more emphasis on the willingness to adapt, change and ‘flow’ with emerging realities. Bruce Lee used to tell his students to ‘be like water’, perhaps that is not a bad metaphor for what leaders will need to become.   imi-colm-foster-810Dr Colm Foster is Director of Executive Education at the Irish Management Institute. He has acted as a leadership development consultant to organisations in the US, Asia and Ireland, particularly specialising in Emotional Intelligence. The next IMI Diploma in Leadership starts on 2nd May, 2018. [post_title] => 21st Century Leadership: The Shifting River [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 21st-century-leadership-shifting-river [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-09 13:19:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-09 13:19:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Edwin O’Hora

Edwin O’Hora

11th May 2017

Edwin O’Hora is the Programme Director for the IMI Diploma in Organisational Development and Transformation. 

Related Articles

"Every Disruption involves threat and opportunity" Six Word Wisdom from Adrian Furnham
Deborah Rowland Is Change Changing?
21st Century Leadership: The Shifting River

Line Managers are Pivotal for Successful Change Management

People realise that accomplishing change successfully is difficult. In the academic literature, opinions vary, but there is a widely held and credible consensus that many change programmes do not achieve their stated aims. Some authors would contend that up to 70% of change programmes don’t achieve what they set out to achieve.

The pace of change doesn’t seem to be slowing down later, it’s almost like the ‘Moores law’ for organisations. In 1965, Gordon Moore predicted that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit would double approximately every two years for the next ten years – people thought he was completely off the mark, but this predication has largely held.

I think the same is true of change in our organisations – the ‘rise of the robot’ is all over the news at the moment and how many jobs will be taken over by automation in the next decade. It is difficult to assess how accurate some of these reports are but the one thing it almost certainly means is that the pace of change for organisations won’t slow down anytime soon.

Rise of the robot (Photo source)

Change can undermine or even remove what Laszlo Bock (former SVP of People Operations at Google) would regard as one of the foundation elements of a high performing team – psychological safety. If people are constantly in a state of higher nervous energy because of change and uncertainty, then it will lead those people to potentially pay a higher price for this, be it higher turnover, quicker burnout or just a lack of application and motivation generally.

Change is a tough thing to manage well and requires a lot of insight, intelligence, the ability to learn and take feedback, the capacity to deal with fear and nervousness and to lead people through all of this. The people best placed to assess these elements in your organisation are your line and middle managers – if they are close to their people – they’ll be able to tell you exactly what’s going on.

Being close to their people doesn’t mean smothering them or micromanaging them – it means understanding what value work holds for them and what staff want to get from their roles. The more a line manager ‘gets’ this – the more he or she can help people see the opportunities as well as the challenges in change processes (particularly non-urgent and emergent change)

This required a high level of interpersonal competence and is something that rarely ‘just happens’ – it takes a concerted effort on the part of the organisation to help line managers develop this competence.

One of the most famous motivational theories of the last number of years comes from Daniel Pink’s book ‘Drive’. Pink’s conclusions, broadly, were that

  1. People appreciate some control over how they do their work (autonomy)
  2. They appreciate developing expertise and being recognised and acknowledged for this (mastery)
  3. They appreciate knowing why it is they should put in discretionary effort for the organisation – why should they work here? (purpose)
    People are motivated by different things – and most likely combinations of all of the above. What is motivational for one person may be bland to another – you have to know the difference.

Change puts pressure on the system. When structures come under pressure, it’s critical that line and middle managers know what is important to their people. Is it flexibility? is it career development? is it the development of expertise or the ability to work internationally?

Knowing what motivates people helps managers navigate a course with their staff through a change process and helps give the organisation a better chance of ‘beating the odds’ and implementing change successfully.

Edwin O’Hora is the Programme Director for the IMI Diploma in Organisational Development and Transformation. Edwin workes with a range of clients in different sectors in the areas of growing organisations and making them scalable and developing and sustaining high performance. He sits on the board of the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) and advises client boards on a multitude of organisational development issues.