Leadership Central - Steve Radcliffe
We’ve partnered with Steve Radcliffe, a leadership coach who’s worked with leaders including First Direct’s Chris Pilling, Unilever’s Keith Weed and Sir Gus O’Donnell, head of the Civil Service, to help you grow as marketing leaders. We’ve been working with Steve for many years on The Marketing Leaders Programme, and thought it was time to share his wisdom and insights more widely.
Leadership Central: Step One
Here’s the first bespoke leadership exercise from Steve Radcliffe to help nudge you towards being the leader you want to be.
“To what extent would others already describe you as a bold marketing leader?
Our experience from working with hundreds of marketing leaders is that you’re in the minority if you can positively answer this question. Here are two actions for you to take this week to start your journey. First, write down the words that describe the leader you want to be. Second, go and ask others for the words they would use to describe you as a leader. Compare the two and come back next week for the step two in our series on how you can become an even bolder marketing leader.”
Leadership Central: Future – Engage – Deliver explained
Future-Engage-Deliver is Steve Radcliffe’s practical framework to guide you towards becoming bolder marketing leaders. It’s a simple, proven approach that works for everyone regardless of position and works fast. First, powerful and effective leaders are guided by the Future they want; second if you want the help of others to create that Future, you need to Engage them and third, in Deliver, you make things happen. You already have all the fundamental Leadership Muscles. And you can grow each of them with practice.
Leadership Central: Step Two
Here's the second bespoke leadership exercise from Steve Radcliffe to help nudge you towards being the leader you want to be. Think of the times when you have been that bolder marketing leader. Enjoy doing that for a moment, revel in it. Now think of a time coming up this week when you'd probably not show up in this way. Then imagine how it would feel and look if you showed up as the bolder marketing leader. The fact is that we all have the ability to be at our best more of the time. Lots in life will take your attention elsewhere. Now and again, pause, think of any situation and picture yourself at your best. Then go and be it! Steve Radcliffe
Leadership Central: Step Three
One way to consider your working day is with the awareness that you spend it flipping between two modes. Either you're in, what we call your Operator/Manager Mode, in which you are focused on the present and getting a job done. Or you’re in your Leader Mode, galvanised by the future you want and so challenging what’s happening in the present.
Here's the catch - of the thousands of people we've helped to grow as bolder leaders, every one of them spends more time in Operator/Manager Mode than they or their organisation want them to.
You can spend more time being a bolder leader by simply shifting into Leader Mode more often:
- First, be really clear what you are like in both these modes; notice how they feel different.
- Then, notice the times and places you’re in Operator/Manager Mode but don’t want to be.
- Finally, identify those situations, meetings, encounters in the future where you will now shift into Leader Mode.
Read more about The Shifts to Leadership that we first developed in our work with Unilever and Boots.
Leadership Central: Step Four
"It was great. They were ordinary but inspiring!”
I’ve just had a terrific three days helping run the Society’s Marketing Leadership Programme. This week, take heart from the six successful marketing leaders who spoke. They each were open about their journey, their ups and their inevitable downs. As one participant said: ‘‘It was great. They were ordinary but inspiring!” This is a crucial point we can miss - these top class leaders were normal folk like you and me. They weren’t exceptionally bright or any particular personality type. However, each of them had what I've identified is the key factor of effective leaders - they had been and were still ‘up to something’. That is, they each were guided by something they wanted in the future – a dream, an aspiration, a purpose – that was linked to what they care about. I have written that this has been the fundamental and only common factor of the hundreds of capable leaders we’ve helped grow.
Leadership Central: Step Five
Last week, I wrote about the 'ordinary but inspiring' speakers on The Society's Leadership Programme. Interestingly, every one of them spoke of times when life and work didn't go at all as they would have liked. This is one of the times your bold leadership shows up.
And that absolutely applies to you, particularly when you're in bold leader mode and challenging the status quo.
Please work on the basis that you will have setbacks and disappointments, please don't presume that everything will always go fine. What you can do is build up your resilience to knocks by taking a breath and reconnecting with what you care about and your leadership when you are at your best. As the old saying goes, 'when you're learning to ride a bike, failure is not falling off your bike. Failure is not getting back on it.'
So think for a while about what you are like after a setback and write down how you could more quickly get back to being the leader you want to be. Be sure to include the support of friends and colleagues in your answer. Steve Radcliffe.
Leadership Central: Step Six
You may know that I believe all this ‘leadership stuff’ always boils down to just three elements – Future, Engage, Deliver. That is, when you’re in your bold Leader Mode, you’re guided by the Future you want; you then Engage others to build it with you; then you get on and Deliver.
I’ve written recently about the ‘ordinary but inspiring’ leaders on the Society’s Leadership Programme. They all honestly talked about their major setbacks, and interestingly these most often had resulted from them not doing enough engaging. Either they thought they’d engage people but hadn’t, or there had been a crucial player they hadn’t thought of engaging.
Pause now and think about yourself as an actively engaging leader. Write down at least five names of the people you most want engaged in and fully behind what you are up to as a leader. Then write down how well engaged you believe they are versus where you want them to be. If you’ve got gaps – and most of us have – what are the next conversations you’ll have this week with whom?
(You can read more about this vital topic in the Engage chapter of my book, Leadership Plain and Simple)
Leadership Central: Step Seven
So this week, I’m giving you another lens through which to examine yourself as an engaging marketing leader. The main idea is that: You have to have relationships big enough to get the job done. When I say, ‘big enough’, I mean ‘strong, healthy or productive enough’. You can make enormous strides in your leadership simply by making some key relationships bigger.
So think about your important working relationships. Write down two lists: those you can say ‘yes, they are big enough to get the job done’ and those you can’t. Then get to work on those in the second list so you can say ‘yep, my important relationships are big enough to get the job done.’
Leadership Central: Step Eight
It was so good this week to help Jenny take a significant stride to being much more of the bold marketing leader she can be. In our conversation, she saw the bigger difference she could make if she shifted from being the leader of the marketing department to a leader for marketing in her company.
Anyone regardless of position can make this shift. So as Jenny is now doing, write down what you would say if your chief executive came to you and said: ‘Can you tell me everything you would do if you were to help us have this company be truly marketing-led?’
Imagine your biggest, best answer. Really imagine a glorious future. What would you do? Who would you most want to engage? What bigger relationships would you build with which key players? What would you want them to understand better than ever? What requests would you make of them?
Then whether you ever get asked this question or not, get out there and live your answer.’ Steve Radcliffe
Leadership Central: Step Nine
A few people we worked with this week had a real awakening. They had completely lost sight of how their organisation culture - the norms about how to behave - had been shaping how they showed up at work. We see this often and it may be part of what's limiting you from being the bold, marketing leader you want to be.
Quietly but powerfully, the culture around you is sending you messages about how to behave. Be aware of them but much more crucially be aware of how you want to be as a leader.
Leadership writer, Warren Bennis, puts it this way:
“By the time we reach puberty, the world has reached us and shaped us to a greater extent than we realise. Our family, friends, school and society in general have told us - by word and example - how to be. But people begin to become leaders at that moment when they decide for themselves how to be.”
This week and beyond, who is the leader you want to be? Go and be it!’ Steve Radcliffe
Leadership Cental: Step ten
We’ve just finished this year’s Marketing Society Leadership Programme (MLP). It was probably the best ever. All 15 speakers inspired by bringing themselves as well as their marketing nous with them. And the participants’ openness to learning and being stretched was excellent. They had various ways of describing how they felt different leaving the programme.
I’d summarise it by saying that they all left ‘up to something’ – for me, the key ingredient to being a bold leader. That is, they were much clearer than ever about what they stood for and the future they wanted to create for their people and whole organisation. And they were galvanised by the feeling of being ‘up to’ making it happen.
One said she’d arrived constrained by a job title and job description more than she’d realised but left energised by an ambition, an aspiration to shift the impact marketing would make in her organisation.
This week I invite you to think about to what extent you’re constrained by a job title and what you could do to be even more ‘up to something’ to make a bigger difference. Steve Radcliffe.
Leadership Central: Step eleven
Without knowing it, Martin Glenn, CEO, Birds Eye Iglo Group, has virtually written my piece this week. He wrote on this blog that:
“We are implementing a reformation of marketing practices which puts marketing back in the heart of business decision-making. Our marketers critically need to deliver three things:
· Articulate a point of view about the future
· Translate this into the language of the board and shareholders
· Create the means for great execution.”
To see Martin’s post in full, please click here.
Martin and I haven’t conferred but you can see that what he wants is for them to practise Future – Engage – Deliver, the three fundamentals that I believe this ‘leadership stuff’ is all about.
If you want to improve at something, you’ll need a mental framework that helps you make sense of your practice and learning. So to become a bolder marketing leader, you’ll need a framework about leading. I keep life simple by using Future – Engage – Deliver. I’m delighted that Martin uses it too. Do you have a framework? If not, get one!
Leadership Central: Step 12
I want to build on the nudge from the other week. I finished that one by writing “I invite you to think about to what extent you’re constrained by a job title and what you could do to be even more ‘up to something’ to make a bigger difference.” Now I want to help you see how you are constrained by your working patterns. All of us can get dragged into our Operator/Manager mode more than we’d like, doing the admin rather than boldly leading. Imagine your organisation coming to you and saying, “we are fully confident you can make a bigger difference around here, and do it in just two days a week.” Think through what you would focus on in those two days so you made the biggest difference. Who would you spend time with? What requests would you make? And most crucially what would you not spend time on? With this perspective, what do you see about how you can make some changes and so become a bolder marketing leader this week?
Leadership Central: Step 13
I’m writing this piece just after a session introducing a group to Future – Engage – Deliver to help them be bolder leaders.
One person approached me to say he was completely buzzing with possibilities about the future but had been told that he wasn’t particularly engaging. While he was telling me this, I noticed that he wasn’t paying any attention to me. He was ‘communicating at’ me but not ‘engaging’ me. I’m still amazed how many people don’t get this distinction.
In the Future aspect of leading, your job is to be in touch with possibilities that lift your spirits. But in Engage, the job is to connect with others and help them be alive with possibilities. So this week I have four questions for you:
- What do you notice about people who ‘communicate at’ you?
- And what do you notice about people who ‘engage’ you?
- What do you see about you when you ‘communicate at’ and when you ‘engage’ people?
- From these answers, how do you see you could practise being a more consistently engaging leader?
PS I”m delighted that within eight months of being published, Leadership Plain and Simple has become Amazon’s number one book on leadership! Steve Radcliffe
Leadership Central: Step 14
I’m buzzing this week, just back from a client’s global marketing conference. Many things struck me but one for you is…
‘Absolutely don’t be alone’
All of us can be bigger and bolder when we’re part of a group, gang or tribe up to something together. My shorthand for a leader is that he or she is up to something i.e has an idea about the future that they’re doing something about. My shorthand for a team is that they are up to something together. The 150 at the conference left energised by that feeling of being up to something together.
How do you feel in this regard? Who are you up to something together with? And if the answer is not as energising as you want, what are the conversations you can have this week to move you away from struggling alone and more towards creating a gang building a bigger, bolder future for your brand or organisation?
P.S If you’ve not read Tribes by Seth Godin, you absolutely must.
Leadership Central: Step 15
I hope you saw some excellent guidance to you being a bolder marketing leader in an article on the Society blog last week. The article is about Steve Jobs but it’s also about you and thousands of other leaders who we’ve seen make a difference. When you’re at your biggest, boldest best you are like Jobs in three ways.
1. Future: you have “a passionate zeal” for the Future of your product or service.
2. Engage: you are “telling a brand story based on this passion to your employees, customers and the wider world”.
3. Deliver: “And if you only help generate a fraction of that 2500% increase in stock price increase, you’ll still be a hero.” That is, you deliver.
You’ll find the three fundamentals of leading, Future, Engage and Deliver, in any story of leadership success. How do you score yourself on these three fundamental aspects of leading? On which front are you going to raise your game?
Leadership Central: Step 16
Someone came over to me recently and said “Hello, I’m Judy. I’m just the assistant manager at xxx.” This was on a break in a workshop where I was helping Judy and others be bolder leaders so I asked her “tell me, how do you benefit by saying ‘just the assistant manager’?” She went quiet for a while and then said “I get to play safe. I suppose people will expect less from me.” I asked her if that is what she really wanted and after another while she said “no, it’s not”.
And this is what we are like – at times we feel good and step boldly out into the world; at other times we prefer to play safe, even when deep down we really don’t be that way. See if you can stop yourself whenever you’re like this and ask yourself how you really want to be. A key part of our work is helping people Be At Their Best, More of the Time. Judy’s now practising this. How could you practise this too?
Leadership Central: Step 17
In a recent interview, Dizzee Rascal was talking about how he’d grown and at one point he said ‘So coming out of that has taken a lot of work to steer myself into things that really matter.’
I thought ‘blimey, you’re not alone!’ At times the world seems to be designed to take us away from ‘things that really matter’. I meet people all the time who work hard and long but have lost sight of what really matters to them. To consistently be a bold leader, you not only need to be in touch with what matters to you, you then need to make sure that this then guides where you spend your time and put your energy.
How are you doing in this regard?
1. First, how instantly are you in touch with what really matters to you a) out of work and then b) in work? It’ll help if you write this down.
2. Then, how well is your time and energy spent on what really matters to you?
If your answers aren’t the ones you wish, what are you going to do about it?
Leadership Central: Step 18
Alex Batchelor, the Society’s Chairman, has rumbled me! In his review of my book on Amazon, he writes that “FED (Future Engage Deliver) is a genuinely great tool…. for every leadership situation. But I suspect that Steve really wants people to use FED to make their lives better, rather than just read about it!”
I do want to help you be a bolder leader but I believe you’ll do this if you live a fuller life. This is why this week the message is please, please avoid the 5 regrets heard most by a nurse who spent years with the dying:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Which regrets might you be headed for? What changes can you make to avoid them?
Leadership Central: Step 19
We can spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves and how we are doing as a leader. But here’s another place to look. Ultimately, your leadership shows up in your impact on others. So why not have a good look there? One of my favourite writers, Larry Bossidy, guides you nicely:
“How am I doing as a leader? The answer is how are the people you lead doing. Do they learn? Do they visit customers? Do they manage conflict? Do they initiate change? Are they growing and getting promoted? You won’t remember when you retire what you did in the first quarter of 2009, or the third. What you’ll remember is how many people you developed. When confused as to how you’re doing as a leader, find out how the people you lead are doing. You’ll know the answer.”
Not many of us fully grasp the difference we are making to others and the impact we can have on them. Notice your impact on others this week and make it even more positive and liberating.
Leadership Central: Step 20
I’ll be seeing all the people from this year’s Marketing Leaders Programme soon for a catch-up. It’ll be interesting. They each left the Programme with a clear picture of what they were going to practise to grow themselves as bold marketing leaders. They left with great energy and good intentions. So how many will have carried forward the energy and applied themselves? We’ll soon see and I’ll let you know.
One of the key questions I’ll ask is ‘how well have you built your Support Team who know how you want to grow and so what you’re practising?’
How do you score in this regard? Would you say you have a Support Team? Do you have people who know what you’re working on to grow as a leader? If not, experience tells me you are really holding yourself back from growing into the leader you could be. What could you do this week to let more people in to support you?
Leadership Central: Step 21
I’ve had phone calls from two marketeers this week and it’s complete madness!
If I were building a team, I’d hire both of them. They both have vision; they are naturally engaging; and they have delivered time and time again.
However, both phoned to talk about leaving their organisations because they don’t feel valued and don’t believe they have a future there. Now I can promise you that as soon as they let their organisations know how they’re feeling, they will be offered this and that and encouraged to stay.
But why does it have to get this far?
It’s really not very complicated.
As a leader, you deliver through other people. Other people will feel a lot better and deliver more if they feel valued by you.
So this week, look at both sides of the coin. First, do you feel valued, as you’d like to? If not, what’s the conversation you can have with whom that would shift this?
Second, how well do people feel valued by you? (By the way, you can’t answer this question!)
Leadership Central: Step 22
I love it when someone grasps an idea, lives it and makes a difference. We love the model of The Four Energies. Jo, a senior marketer, has succeeded to date by bringing his Intellectual Energy with an uplifting dash of Spirit Energy with Physical Energy applied to get things done. I’d encouraged him to bring more of his Emotional Energy but he’d struggled.
Today he told me, with a sparkle in his eye, how he and his team had had a great meeting talking about how they felt about the current challenges. It was rated a great meeting by all, brought people closer together and built even bigger relationships – this is the power of Emotional Energy!
Do you share with others how you are feeling? Do you give chance to others to do the same?
Try a bit more of this and see what happens.
Leadership Central: Step 23
I told Sharron that our son, Alex, hadn’t replied to my text yet. She said, ‘well, did you ask a question? Because if you didn’t, he’d assume you were simply sending information and there was no reply needed.’ I hadn’t asked a question so I’d got no reply.
It’s very similar when you’re leading. The equivalent point for the leader is ‘did you make the request?’ in line with our idea from Future – Engage – Deliver that ‘Leaders make Big Requests’.
So notice this week, do you build the connection with others? Do you present your case well? Do you engage them? But crucially then do you leave them hanging or do you make your request? We come across few leaders who naturally and consistently make the big requests they want to? This is an essential Leadership Muscle to build.
What requests of whom are you not making? Why not make them this week?
Leadership Central: Step 24
We’ve just started a company-wide leadership programme in a major organisation. It came about because a junior manager, Sam, stepped into the leader space and as the chief executive passed his desk, he gave him a copy of Leadership Plain and Simple, and said ‘read that, we need more of it round here!’ The chief executive came back a couple of weeks later and said ‘I agree, please arrange a meeting with someone in Steve’s team.’
So this is to formally declare that this week is:
‘Pass a Copy of the Book to the Chief Exec’ Week!!
The serious point is that here’s another example of how you like Sam can make a difference way bigger than you might first think. If you allowed yourself for a while to think about the difference you would like to make to your organisation and beyond, what is the Future you would imagine? And what would a bold step in that direction look like? This week, why not take it?
Leadership Central: Step 25
I’ve just come off the phone from a capable marketeer who is struggling. A moment of insight was reached when I asked him, ‘so who at work wants you to succeed?’ He went quiet for a while and then said 2 names followed by ‘maybe’!
What’s your answer to this question?
The question is one of a number we ask to help people see the context – or situation – in which they’re working. You can be technically great as a marketeer but it’s the context that will have those skills make an impact or not.
Now step forward as a leader! Because one of our lines is:
Managers manage Content.
Leaders manage Context.
That is, be aware of your context and don’t let it be done to you. One crucial aspect of context is your relationships. So build those relationships so that colleagues want you and marketing to succeed.
Who’s not on your list of people wanting you to succeed? And what can you do this week to get them on there?