[Our guest blogger is Madeleine McGrath, Managing Director of the Tom Peters Company.]
During summer 2010, we (Tom Peters Company) were sensing that among our clients that had survived the worst of the recession, the mood was becoming more buoyant. Our customer base tends to be more forward-thinking and adventurous than the norm, and is often a bellwether of new trends. We therefore decided to find out what this group was seeing ahead, and if there were lessons for other leaders.
Our recent survey involved a select group of clients located in 29 countries and 6 continents. Overall, we found they, particularly those in the private sector, are indeed ready to put the past behind them. One respondent summed it up this way: “We’ve been in survival mode and it has hurt our growth. We need to focus on the future and stop the survival mentality. But how?”
We used our Excellence Audit™ survey to identify the development priorities that participants now see as important. A sign that recovery is on the way was that the prior focus on cost and systems has been overshadowed by a realization that Leadership is now the key element for attention.
Managers in our sample realize that it is time to pay attention to the people that have brought them through the recession. “Now that the economy is on the up, we need to step back the pressure, to work on the experiences of clients and workers, and to use technology to help us to do that.”
According to our customers, leaders must devote attention to two action areas in our Excellence Audit, above all others.
1. Find, deploy, encourage, and protect intra-preneurs, groundbreakers, and champions of change.
2. Get actively involved in the talent management process – strategy, tactics, and implementation!
Our survey participants know the value of focusing on their people, but realize they have been distracted:
“This is an area that has taken a back-seat to execution as we weather the current economic storm.”
“Too often people engage in conducting the tasks we are assigned and forget about developing their people.”
If you are looking for more ideas about how to develop a leadership action plan in these areas, see Tom’s Working Master Slideset Part 3: Talent. More information about the Excellence Audit and how it can help you create your own improvement agenda can be found here. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information about the Research Project Findings.