Malik Mentoring: Critical Leadership Skill: Motivating and Inspiring a Team to Create Value

After reading McKinsey’s 7S framework, this statement made an impact: “Management is the art of achieving goals through the effort of others.”

It’s amazing how many well-intentioned managers never take the time to distill their work into this simple statement. We can all be guilty of this: focusing on the work that needs to get done while overlooking the people who do the work.

The dilemma is, in a business setting, success depends heavily on the level of effort and commitment from the team, and that makes management of employees critical. Management doesn’t happen in a vacuum; it happens in conjunction with the people one manages. Some may think management is about telling others what to do, but this is only one part of it.

Motivating and inspiring a team to achieve goals is a critical managerial skill. This is a different mindset than management by objectives, which focuses on clearly defined outcomes. This critical skill recognizes that effective management is about motivating and developing people to achieve results, while fostering an environment in which they can do so successfully.

 There is no single, right way to organize and manage. Effective management does depend on clear goals and an understanding of the factors affecting the organization’s ability to achieve them. The McKinsey 7S framework is a useful tool for assessing the effectiveness of your management structure and processes. It offers a snapshot of how well you’re performing against seven different dimensions:

➢  Strategy

➢  Structure

➢  Systems

➢  Style

➢  Staff

➢  Skills

➢  Shared Values

 What makes the McKinsey 7S framework so powerful is that it places all of these considerations into a single framework that can help leaders make decisions more efficiently and effectively. All components of this framework are interdependent to achieve optimal results, but in this context, I will concentrate on the staff component.

Building a cohesive team can be challenging—especially when you’re trying to bring together disparate personalities who have different interests, backgrounds, and priorities. Here are a few strategies that can help improve a team’s cohesiveness.

Assemble the Right Team

In my PAR (Professional Advancement Relationships) model, I discuss how successful role integration and satisfaction requires a commitment and access to professional advancement by organization leaders. That makes staffing crucial to effective management. Before you can expect your team to integrate and deliver, you must first assemble the right team of people. 

Basically, it boils down to two major questions:

  1. Are you hiring people for the right position and with the right skills?
  2. Are you training people to close the competence gap?

If you’re not hiring capable people for the right position – everything else is for naught. Training is also critical because it helps to fine-tune the employees’ skills and competences. Training includes making sure individuals have access to coaching, mentoring and sponsorship. Neither one happens by accident – they require careful planning and execution by leadership.

Through the McKinsey 7S framework, leaders can determine whether they are making smart hiring decisions, engaging in appropriate training activities, and whether their work environments effectively encourage and support employees to develop competencies essential to the organization’s (and individual’s) success.

Build Consensus

Consensus means that everyone agrees on the goals of the team – what needs to be done, how it should be done, and when it should be done. It also requires agreement on the why — why something should be done in a certain way — because if people understand the “why,” they are likely to be motivated to fulfill the goals and mission of the team.

The goal is to ensure everyone has a voice in the decision-making process. To be effective, it is imperative that leaders ask questions rather than making statements. For example, instead of saying, “We need to make these changes, and this is how I think we should go about it,” the ask, “What are our options for making these changes?” or “How would you recommend we make these changes?”

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Demonstrate Commitment

It’s easy enough to say that “we’re all in this together” or “we’re a team.” But if your actions don’t reflect these sentiments, the team will start doubting your sincerity.

 You can’t expect to get the most out of your people if you’re not fully committed to them. Let’s face it, there are a lot of people out there who are willing to give their all, but they will not do it if they don’t believe that leadership is doing the same.

Implementing the McKinsey 7S framework effectively offers leaders a system for examining how different parts of the organization work together so they can make decisions more efficiently and effectively. It gives leaders:

–       a common language to discuss their organizational challenges,

–      assess their performance,

–       make decisions and

–      drive action.

At the end of the day, the framework provides a way for leaders to manage their teams as well as to understand their roles in creating value for the organization.

Let me hear from you –

  •     If you are familiar with and have used the McKinsey 7S framework, in what ways has the framework impacted your organization?
  •     How can the McKinsey 7S framework affect your organization’s efficiency? How about your efficiency as a leader?
  •     How does understanding the critical skill of managing your team create value for the organization, for the team members, and for you as a leader?

 


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