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Why you need a reality check before hitting the corporate cascade send button

By Wayne Clarke, Founding Partner

Here’s a little story to start us off on this subject. I spent two days with the senior management team of a company, working with them to talk through and develop some new ideas around their corporate culture. We had done a good job, I thought, and had made some excellent progress. It was at this point that the managing director turned to the communications director and said: “Could you make sure you cascade this to everyone as soon as you can, please?”

Now, even had that been a sensible idea, the communications director would have had to possess the writing skills of William Shakespeare to have had any chance at all of condensing our two days of thought, debate and discussion into any kind of ‘cascadable’ document. They would not have had the remotest chance of turning all that work into a communication which would have encompassed even a second of all that hard work, let alone put it into a document which could have enthused a single employee down at the front line of their business.

Of course, it wasn’t a sensible idea. But, let’s be honest now: how many senior teams out there have not been so much in love with their own brilliant suggestions for the way to change their organisation from top to bottom that they haven’t, even just for a moment, applied a reality check before they hit the send button. It’s easy to do, of course, and that’s probably why it keeps on happening, but it’s not the best way to do it.

After all, you’ve just spent a lot of time and effort on that plan. To you it’s the coolest thing on the planet. An effortless set of proposals hammered out by some of the best brains at the top of your business. Why wouldn’t you want to share it with all your employees straight away? But that is precisely why you need to stop right there and think again.

Just because you’ve lovingly crafted it, it doesn’t mean anything. Down on the shop floor (and this is also based on a real story I came across) they are worried about that fluorescent strip lighting in the warehouse that has been blinking on and off like a disco for the past six months. They’re fed up asking for it to be fixed. Now along comes their line manager, who knows about the problem and, as far as they are concerned, has done nothing about it, who is about to gather them around and ‘cascade’ your ‘exciting’ hard work about the new direction for the business. You think they’re going to listen to a single word? You bet your life they’re not.

A couple of things here. First, and most obvious, you need to address the things that matter to those frontline employees before you have any chance of communicating significant cultural change. Secondly, you’re only going to be able to know about the things that really matter if you have some way to connect with them. Connect and you can tap into the fundamental intelligence that they will be only too willing to share if only you’d stop cascading and listen.

But we do listen, you’ll tell me. You point to your regular employee satisfaction survey as evidence of this. Fine. So how many of your surveys have open ended questions? Because of all the questions you ask, those are the most important of all, and I can tell you right now, from years of personal experience, that only 5% of managers read those open ended answers.

Just 5%. That’s an awful lot of flickering lighting, itchy uniforms and poor quality staff lockers which are not being fixed, and until they are fixed those days spent locked away with expensive consultants in hotel rooms are a waste.

Instead of hitting the cascade, here’s an idea. When you’ve done your corporate thinking, get each of the senior team to sit down with a group of front line employees and set aside a half hour or an hour on a regular basis with them for six months. By all means share your thinking with them, but above all listen and have a conversation with them, tap into their knowledge and the intelligence which they have in abundance, if you’d just give them a chance. It will transform your business in a way no conventional ‘cascade’ even could.

Which leads me to one other reflection I’d like to share. We are now in a world where everything your business does can easily be copied by a competitor. The barriers to entry in the world of business have never been lower. You could set up a bank tomorrow with as little as £250,000. What you do is no longer what’s important, but how you do it. The only thing your competitor can’t copy in a successful business are the ideas that drive that business and the people who take those ideas and make them successful. Everything else is up for grabs.

To be one of the leaders, you need to be different. To do that you need good people, and you need good managers to lead those people. While some managers are born to the role, many others find themselves, for whatever reasons, thrust into that position. Many of your frontline managers will be just 20 or 30 years of age. With luck they may have had good managers themselves to learn from. There’s the problem – too much is left to luck and not enough time is dedicated to giving those up and coming managers the training and support they need to do a difficult job well. And increasingly you need them to ensure that your all important cultural strategy is delivered where it matters – right at the frontline.

Two final things to think about…

One, how do you create a successful culture and get employees to be as enthusiastic about it and committed to it as you are?

Second, how can you make sure that the people who have to manage that cultural change have the backing, training and support they need to make it happen?

Fail to address those two questions and you can spend all the days and nights you can handle in expensive hotels arguing the toss over whether to include ‘unlocking the entrepreneurial spirit of frontline staff’ in the final document. Because you’ll be wasting your time if you don’t answer those two vital questions first.

Thoughts, suggestions, feedback or idea’s, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch: manager@the-ggi.com

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World Class Manager celebrates partnership with Square Mile Global Consulting

Financial training and consulting are at the very heart of the Square Mile Global Consulting team. An integral part of enhancing the skills of finance teams in any organisation is the development of their managers.

The Global Growth Institute and Square Mile Global Consulting are delighted to be joining together to work in creating truly world class finance professionals from around the globe.

Wayne Clarke, Founding Partner of GGI said “I am excited to be working with our partners at Square Mile Global Consulting to develop and learn from managers and leaders in finance across sectors. We want to share ideas and debate how to get the best out of themselves and of course their teams and look at what can we do collectively to strengthen this approach to developing more leaders. It is an exciting and fast-growing profession with fantastic opportunities, and we look forward to helping more managers and leaders grow”.  

Saket Modi, Founder and Director said: “We are delighted to partner with the Global Growth Institute to offer the international World Class Manager programme. The “World Class Manager” is fantastic complement to the specialist international accounting and finance courses that we offer to finance professionals, executives and students. We are looking forward to working with the World Class Manager team to equip our clients with the very best tools and techniques required to make them the global leaders of tomorrow.”  

About Square Mile Global Consulting:

Square Mile Global Consulting is a London headquartered financial training and consulting company, specialising in the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). We have worked extensively with organisations in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia to help finance professionals, executives and students from over 50 countries analyse and interpret financial statements. 

For more information on world class manager visit: www.worldclassmanager.com or email us at manager@the-ggi.com

World Class Manager Turkey
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World Class Manager celebrates second successful year partnership in Istanbul

Following the launch of World Class Manager with Stratejik İşle, GGI’s Founding Partner Wayne Clarke has been back in Istanbul this week to share key findings and celebrate last year’s successful launch in developing the vibrant country’s leaders.

During the week Wayne and Stratejik İşle CEO IsmailHaznedarexpanded the world class manager network by hosting an evening for a ‘WCM meet up’ sharing latest global trends in leadership and how to effectively engage your workforce. They also spent time meeting with engagement experts who will join The GGI’s and Stratejik İşle efforts in developing young Turkish leaders.

Wayne said of the week “I am excited to be back in Istanbul with our partners at Stratejik to meet with and learn from managers and leaders who have been through the world class manager programme. We want share ideas and debate how get the best out of themselves and of course their teams and look at what can we do collectively to strengthen this approach to developing more leaders in Turkey. With a population of around 80 million people it is an exciting and fast-growing economy with fantastic entrepreneurial opportunities, and we look forward to helping more managers and leaders grow”.  

As a dedicated UN ambassador and past global president of the Junior Chamber international (JCI) Ismail and his team are committed in helping leaders and managers to benefit from the best practices from thousands of managers around the world and to meet global management standards. 

For more information on world class manager visit: www.worldclassmanager.com or email us at manager@the-ggi.com

World Class Manager India
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The UK training programme helps to up-skill India’s managers

Skilling India’s Future:  A Global Youth Skill Development Conclave organised by Ignite India and The Global Growth Institute hosted at Agni College of Technology was inaugurated by the Honourable Minister for School Education Shri KA Sengottaiyan on the 17th of May 2018.

India has long recognised the need for scaling up their efforts to enhance skill development across the country, in the context of their transition to a knowledge-based economy, through the creation of a professional skilled workforce.

Governmental efforts, especially in recent times, in the area of skill development has shown through a variety of schemes and programmes. The Global Growth Institute (GGI) has signed a partnership agreement with Ignite India in their new joint mission of “imparting skill development training to 1 million youth across the world.”

The Honorable Minister spoke of the importance of developing skills at schools and colleges. He also emphasised the government is taking all steps to eliminate “mug-up” practice for exams.

Wayne Clarke, the founding partner of the GGI said: “We are incredibly proud to launch World Class Manager in India. We believe the rollout of the programme will play a significant role in local communities who are in a desperate need to upskill their managers.”

He added: “World Class Manager has been successfully deployed in the United Kingdom, Mongolia and Turkey.”

Over 700 students from different colleges have participated in the conclave where 50 speakers from a diverse set of industries will be sharing their knowledge and perspectives on the topics such as: future of education system, the new age skills for a transforming economy, entrepreneurship, skills gap, leading and building game-changing teams.

World Class Manager, red thread partnership
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Innovative Disruptor Product (World Class SME) helps UK SME’s upskill their managers, fast!

There are 5.7 million SMEs in the UK which make up over 99% of all businesses. According to a recent study*, a fifth of workers (20%) don’t trust their managers. One of the main reasons for it is that they don’t feel supported at work (59%). People are often promoted in managerial roles but don’t necessarily have the tools to manage effectively!

This creates a real challenge to effective leadership, improving productivity and building successful businesses.

The GGI (creators of the acclaimed online World Class Manager programme) have recently signed a partnership deal with the Milton Keynes based consultancy The Red Thread Partnership to address these problems. Together they have created ‘World Class SME’ – an innovative, online programme of bite-sized learning, accessible on any device.

Built on best practices from 1000’s of great managers around the world, World Class SME enhances the performance of managers, teams and their organisation.

Wayne Clarke, the Founding Partner of the GGI said: “World Class SME is designed to help UK companies win in every competitive and global business world. It levels the playing field as we know that managerial strength is key to productivity, customer service delivery and profitability. We believe it is a 21st-century solution for today’s time-poor manager and cost-constrained world.”

The Red Thread Partnership is a leadership development company helping UK SMEs develop leaders, nurture and grow great teams. Freddie Guilmard, the Managing Director said: “This is another commitment from The Red Thread to be seen as a disruptor in the Learning and Development sector by enabling managers to get access to World Class content at an affordable cost.”

According to the survey conducted by Academy for Chief Executives, the number one issue for SME Businesses is the Quality of People – recruiting, retaining and developing employees, is seen as paramount. One way to boost productivity levels is by improving management quality. World Class Managers lead effective teams, create great working cultures, increase productivity and reduce absenteeism and employee turnover.

The online World Class Manager programme (a core component of World Class SME) is already being successfully used by some of the UK’s leading companies who are reporting improvement rates of over 95%.

*Study in The Culture Economy.