Leadership Blog


Ian Pratt
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Feb 01, 2018

Simple Technique for Creating Purpose

Whilst visiting a local garage sale, I asked about their hydrangeas, which looked amazing.

After enquiring about how he maintained them, the owner of the house kindly gave me some cuttings off his plant.

After planting the cuttings and taking care of them, I too had some great hydrangeas.

I love these plants more so than the plants I simply purchased.

Why? Because of the effort that I put into them.

The more effort that you put into something the more meaning it will have.

The same goes for your employees.

Like my hydrangeas, the more effort you put in the more your team will flourish

As you put this effort in, your relationship with your team strengthens, this improved relationship improves your employee’s sense of purpose.

It takes less than 6 hours to learn all of the skills required to see your team flourish.

Jan 25, 2018

A Life with No Purpose

The happiest developed countries also have high suicide rates, whilst in poor countries where people are less happy have low suicide rates.

Research shows us that suicide rates are linked to purpose, not happiness or wealth.

People derive purpose and meaning from their ability to contribute and connect with something bigger than themselves.

In your workplace, as a leader you can easily provide people with purpose, through enhancing your feedback style.

A lot of managers make the mistake of thinking that you need to link feedback to strategy to create purpose.

This is not the case.

What you need to do is give what I call associative praise.

Associative Praise associates the employee and one of their personal qualities to something you value.

For example:

Feedback to a Project Admin: “Thank you for recording the minutes of the meeting and for following up on the actions. Your organisation skills save me a lot of time, helps keep the project on schedule and frees me up to solve technical issues”

The admin will see that they have an important role, a purposeful role their organisation skills are valued and save the project manager time, their work helps keep the project on track.

Jan 18, 2018

The Absence of Purpose

Managers need to STOP trying to motivate people with boring vision statements

When trying to engage their employee’s managers will often try to rollout or cascade an uninspiring vision statement and they defend their action “but it is the companies vision.”

Vision statements that highlight the benefit the company enables are more likely to be engaging to your people.

If your vision is uninspiring, ask yourself why do we have this vision? What value do our products add to our customers?

In most cases, your thinking should not include any special technical qualities about your product.

For example:

Vision: “We provide the best service to our customers” is not very engaging

Qu. Why do you provide the best service?

Answer. Dealing with us takes less time and energy

Qu. Why do you want your customers to take less time and energy?

Answer. So, they can spend more time doing the things they love.

When giving feedback to an employee, you can create a greater sense of purpose if you talk about their efficient service and how this leaves the customer with more time to do the things they love.

Off course, you need to ensure the message resonates with your employees

Dec 20, 2017

I have sent an Email

I have lost track of the number of people who think that they have followed up an action simply by sending an email.

There are those that can make things happen and those that cannot.

Those that can make things happen do not leave things to other people; they take personal charge of driving for results and follow-up in person or over the phone if geographically disbursed.

Leadership is about retaining accountability, when you send an email to someone requesting action you remain accountable for the task being completed, however you have almost no control over what the receiver does with that email.

Email is one-way communication followed by wait and see.

Face to face or phone leaves you in control of the conversation with the ability to negotiate and reach commitment.

Dec 13, 2017

Agile Change Management: Don’t get to Hung up on the process

The standard process for change management will provide a great frame with which to progress a change, from strategy through impact assessment to enabling the change to embedding and sustainability.

However, in an agile environment you may not have all of the information that you would normally include in your strategy document, and your impact assessment may only be partially completed in any given sprint.

In an agile environment all roles need to learn to function with less information at the beginning and you will need to progressively complete your change analysis as more information becomes available.

The change process is an ideal guide to give you direction for your change planning and analysis, however the future is positive for people who are adaptive and flexible in their approach to change.

I have successfully delivered large-scale change without creating a single change document and I have successfully delivers large-scale change by completing extensive documentation.

The secret to success in change is to be adaptive and to work with what you have available