Registration form for 2018 Leadership Seminar

Registration form for Lead Your Team To Win – The Power of Collaborative Leadership: March 15, 2018. Kapok Hotel Trinidad

Name and Role _________________________________________________________________________

Company______________________________________________________________________________

Name and Role of Registrants______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________

My company’s leadership challenge is _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Questions I want answered

1)___________________________________________________________________________________

2)____________________________________________________________________________________

3) ____________________________________________________________________________________

Other areas of leadership that I am interested in

1)___________________________________________________________________________________

2) ____________________________________________________________________________________

Breakfast is served from 7.30 a.m. Indicate any dietary restrictions______________________

Costs

  • I am interested in Group Rate at TT$675 per person for (5 or more)_____ persons. No deadline date.
  • I am interested in Early Registration at TT$675 before January 31 2018 for ______ persons.
  • I am interested in Registering at TT$750 per person for _______ persons

Copies of Lead Your Team To Win will be on sale at a seminar price of TT$120 per copy.
I/We are interested in reserving _____ copies of Lead to Your Team To Win at a total seminar price of $______.

I am paying by Cheque/ Cash/ Paypal . Total Payment ( Seminar and Books) ____________

Cancellation clause : Unexpected stuff happens. If the registrant cannot attend, then, we will be happy to accommodate a named alternate representative. If cancellation is made 7 days prior to event, we offer a full refund.

Signed by __________________ Date _______________________

Name in BLOCK LETTERS____________________

Return registration form to MaxineAttong@gmail.com.
Invoices will be forwarded on receipt of registration form. Send new vendor registration forms if applicable with registration.
For further information or clarification call / Whats app/ Maxine Attong at 1 868.724.7642 or email.
We look forward to engaging with you March 15th at KAPOK Hotel. Seminar ends at noon.

Advertisements

A Review of Lead Your Team To Win

A review by Catherine Da Silva of Silva Publications Creating Safe Spaces .A brief review of Lead Your Team to Win .By Maxine Attong Published by River Grove Books .

In her new book Lead Your Team To Win , local author/ Management Consultant Maxine Attong sites the advantages of managing strategically by a certain keen consciousness for the holistic well being of the employee .This takes into account creating the necessary outlets and inlets for team expression, exchange ,innovation and sharing in a positive -safe space, As home is where the heart is..so too the office is where we strive to achieve our professional and life goals .

The Safe Space is the ” happy place” within the organisation where team members should not be ostracised or criticised for venting , self expression, formulating solutions and inventing new ways to enhance processes and projects. Quite apart from the traditional top down ,linear type of management techniques ,safe spaces advocates for collaborative team efforts ,facilitated with inclusiveness and sensitivity for all involved ,towards achieving “optimal performance ” says Attong.

The 226 page book is a variable manual for those wishing to look at leadership from a different point of view. Chapters like The Concept of Caring,Trust, Decision Making ,serve to navigate the reader cleverly and with great honesty.Attong incorporates case studies , personal experiences and check lists for ease of reference and recall. It’s relativity to real life is formidable and down to earth and would be as instructive to anyone interested in establishing and maintaining conscious and creative spaces for success. “When I was solely focused on the results ,by any means necessary,the space could not be safe. ” This is one of my favourite quotes from the book,for we must go gently to and move fluidly in the spaces which are dear to us , and which dare us to think and create.

Lead Your Team To Win, available on Amazon is the second in her continued works to provide a unique approach to managing teams. Change or Die her first book occupied Amazon’s best seller list for six weeks in its category, and is readily utilised as a teaching and reference tool for Attong’s Team workshops and guest lectures at key regional and international events .

3 facts about Difficult Conversations

As leaders we often need to have difficult conversations with our staff and it’s never an easy task. Sometimes these conversations happen at planned times – the disciplinary meeting, the performance review; sometimes they evolve – a simple matter erupts and we’re in the middle of a difficult conversation.
These conversations are not unique to the organisation, they occur in our personal lives as well – with our spouses or our kids or the contractor who has not yet competed the job.
The content of the conversation rarely makes the conversation difficult. The three factors that make the conversation difficult are:

  1. Our role in the conversation – Usually it is our beliefs about the topic, our own feelings, our history and our emotional investment that makes the conversation difficult. We  bring ourselves to any conversation, which means there is a possibility for us to be triggered by what the other person may do or say at any time during the conversation. The same can be said for the other person.
  2. The relationship we have with the other person – We tend to resist and dismiss ideas, or opportunities from people we have labelled as irritating, or lazy, or rebellious, or bad worker. Whenever these people approach us we brace ourselves for confrontation.
  3. Our perception of the outcome  – When we believe that the outcome of the conversation can change our relationships or personal status the more difficult the conversation becomes. The more we believe that we or the other person may lose, whether real or perceived,  the more we will deem the conversation as difficult.

Based on this I define a difficult conversation as : one in which you feel vulnerable, where the outcome is unsure and you believe that the risk of the conversation being terminated is high.

What’s your definition of a difficult conversation?

Maxine Attong is the author of two books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead Your Team to Win. She works with leaders to create more effective and efficient organisations. She is a Keynote Speaker, a Gestalt Organisational Development Consultant, a Certified Professional Facilitation, Evidence Based Coach and a Certified Accountant.

 

Leadership in a VUCA World

This article was published in pwc’s 2018 Budget Review on October 3, 2017

System theorists have long proven that external societal impacts affect an organisational system. When we map the correlation between societal stress levels caused by an increasing crime rate, and infrastructural deficiencies, to reduced productivity levels; we can attest that our organisations are a microcosm of the larger society. What if we can reverse this? What if our leadership can deliberately impact on the larger Trinidad and Tobago society?
We live in the VUCA ( volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, in which the butterfly effect is our new reality. Change on the world stage is felt faster and in larger proportions, leaving us with little time to react. The drastic reduction in oil and gas prices and the trickle down effects have affected all that we considered normal – access to foreign exchange, spending patterns, job stability and economic recovery. When we consider the sobering effects of climate change that have left our Caribbean neighbours devastated and the viability of social media as a platform for change, we realise that we need to review our leadership priorities.
In 2013/4 when tax revenues were at $57.2B, we could easily isolate ourselves from world trends but in 2017 when tax revenues are estimated at $38.7B ( a 31% reduction) we are forced to pay attention. Our economy has flatlined and the government’s capacity for projects has diminished. What is the role of each of us in this new scenario?
If we accept HInd’s* argument that, “on the political and governance front, we are seeing the near collapse of almost every institution of governance and service delivery by the State” then, we also accept that leadership needs to emanate from the other enterprises that constitute the business community in Trinidad and Tobago.
An unemployment rate of 4.4% (2016 Central Statistical Office) means that most of our citizens are employed in establishments where we interact and interrelate with internal and external stakeholders. We belong simultaneously to families and communities, to work teams, and to management and leadership teams within various industries that are nested in the wider Trinidad and Tobago. We are part of multiple systems, that create harmony or tensions within the workplace.

Beisser in his 1970 essay, Paradoxical Theory of Change reminds us that, “change does not take place through a coercive attempt by the individual or by another person to change him, but it does take place if one takes the time and effort to be what he is …” No longer can we fold our arms and wait for the government, there is a need for a new remit from all of us who consider ourselves to be leaders.
The experiential learning experience of systems is important for our leaders to truly understand the possible far reaching impacts of his/her leadership.We need to be aware of the wholeness of “each part ( of our organisations) the dynamic relationships between the parts, the whole (higher-level) entity they form together, and the interdependence among the parts and the whole,” Stevenson** (1970, p.114).
When we deal with a team member we become conscious that we are no longer dealing with an individual, we are dealing with his family and his community. Therefore by our leadership we can make a difference that will redound to the wider Trinidad and Tobago.
The old paradigm of the maximum leader that thrived in an environment devoid of social media, with an inability to follow international trends or without the presence of  millennials needs to make way for a new remit, where we embrace the ideas of the collective. As the volatility of our external world increases, and as we are still guessing the effects of changed international policies ( Brexit, Trump administration) there is need for more collaboration in the co-sensing of our next move. The leader who makes decisions on his own or with only his leadership team is making decisions from a position that only considers the impacts on the systems that he/ they belong(s) to, with many assumptions about the impacts that will be made on the collective – the families, the communities and the wider Trinidad and Tobago.
More than ever, the call is for leadership to harness the creativity and intelligence of the people with whom we work so that we can make a positive impact on the wider Trinidad and Tobago. We can no longer wait on the economy to get better or for the price of oil and gas to recover, or for a new gas/ oil reserves to be developed. The call is urgent and the response has to be made now. Our economic situation has changed and our world has shrunk.

*Ronald Hinds address T&T Chamber of Commerce & Industry address Sept 2017

*Stevenson, H., 2010. Paradox: A Gestalt theory of change for organizations. Gestalt Review, 14(2), pp.111-126

Who do you impact with your leadership?

What are the possible far reaching impacts of your leadership?

Maxine Attong is the author of two books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead Your Team to Win. She works with leaders to create more effective and efficient organisations. She is a Keynote Speaker, a Gestalt Organisational Development Consultant, a Certified Professional Facilitation, Evidence Based Coach and a Certified Accountant.

How to Fire a Client in 5 steps

When I decided to walk away from the client, my intentions were clear – I wanted to remain in right relations with the client and I wanted to extricate myself from the contract. With those two thoughts in mind I set about ensuring that my actions did not expose the client or myself to any bad press and that are the end of the conversation we could walk away with little acrimony between us. I realised that some of the things that I naturally put in place with every contract served me in good stead to take the necessary action.
1) Plan an exit strategy – I emphasise to clients, that they have choice in service providers and can exercise their options at any point during the contract. This is documented in the contract terms and conditions stated as “either party can terminate the agreement with x amount of days notice”. A list of reasons for termination may be provided as well as the carte blanche statement “for any reason”. This establishes that the service provider has the same rights to terminate as the client.

2. Ensure payment terms leave you cash neutral – I can’t imagine under what circumstances a client will willingly cut a cheque for a service provider who has decided to walk. As a result, when I terminated the contract, I issued the client a final invoice that showed that the money received was the money worked for and that he owed me nothing. All contracts state payment terms which include a mobilisation fee with balloon/ milestone payments. In this way. the client never owes me (too much) money if I have to leave.

3. Document the reason why you are leaving – When leaving the client, prepare a termination letter with the final invoice. The letter refers to the termination clause as stated in the contract, and one of the reasons as stated under this clause is quoted, hence the need for “or any other reason”. Set a meeting with the client and hand the client the letter, explaining your reason for leaving. Sincerely thank the client for his business and apologise for your departure.

4. Offer the client a bone – You can sweeten the leaving for the client, by extending a free gesture of goodwill. Offer written recommendations for the business, or a free training session for the staff or a report that is relevant to his business. Chances are that the client wants little/ nothing to do with you when you leave so he will hardly take up any offer that brings you on his premises.

5. It is about me – When I decided to leave the client, it was my decision. Therefore I took responsibility and ensured that the client remained blameless in the matter. What I thought of his business practices or his associates were my personal opinions and therefore I kept those to myself. The client did not hire me to make these assessments, he contracted me to do a job. It is I who decided that I did not want to complete the job, under the existing conditions. Therefore I cannot make statements that are judgemental, or inflammatory, or accusatory or derogatory about the client or the client’s business to the client or to anyone else.  I also took responsibility for the tone of the meeting, and ensured that I treated the client with dignity and was compassionate in the delivery of the news.

Have you ever fired a client? What would you have done differently?

 

Maxine Attong is the author of two books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead Your Team to Win. She works with leaders to create more effective and efficient organisations. She is a Keynote Speaker, a Gestalt Organisational Development Consultant, a Certified Professional Facilitation, Evidence Based Coach and a Certified Accountant.

Five reasons to fire a client

I fired a client today and my soul rejoiced.
I was hired to complete a project that was stalled for two years. This was a good contract. The work was challenging, the duration was to year end and the contract price would comfortably cover all my expenses well into the new year. It seemed serendipitous since I declared the week before that I needed a client to see me through the end of the year. Like a lot of good things in my life, this contract was effortlessly attained. A third party introduced us, the client, his staff and I had several meetings, I submitted a proposal, we signed a contract and I started to work.
When the work started, I started observing the client’s behaviour, listening to the staff and seeing patterns emerge. Slowly, I became aware that this was not the client for me, not did I want to serve the client, he was just not the client for me. As I reflect on the experience I realised that there were signs all along that shouted at me, even though I took a few weeks to listen to the messages.

Client has a pattern of changing consultants– When I reviewed the artefacts left behind by the previous consultants, I noticed that the client half-answered or evaded questions about the the same dubious practices. When I reviewed the files, I noticed that there were several references and recommendations about the same issues, which voided the argument that the client’s practices were due to ignorance.

The client’s business partners are not your type – Even though I was not directly doing business with the client’s partners, they were not people that I wanted to associate with or be associated with. Professional circles are small and the client notified several of his external stakeholders about my involvement in the project. Therefore by association I would be seen as dealing with the same characters as my client was.

Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde – My client presented a squeaky clean image, spoke a lot about God, and was polite and reverent in his responses to me. Yet the documents and his dealings with staff told a different story. The data did not line up with the client’s version of the truth, and the staff told tales of a short tempered man, who was harsh in his criticisms. The staff confessed that they were only staying for the duration of the project since they believed that they would benefit from interacting with me.

You bring the client home – When my sister confronted me and said, “ You talk about him a lot,” I realised that even though I was not complaining, the client, the staff and the staff’s tales were weighing heavily on my mind. I was not happy with the situation.

Forget about the money – Ah the money. It’s hard to ignore the lure of a pay-cheque when you’re not seeing another to replace it. I had to instruct myself “ Pretend that there is no money. Will you want to work with the client?” When I answered a resounding, “No”. I knew that it was time to remove myself from that equation.

It’s not about me – It is hard for me to walk away from a client, because I’ve been trained to complete what I have started, and to give service when it is needed. I sincerely believe that the collective intelligence and creativity (of me and my clients) are enough to solve almost any problem and that most people want to do better, and will do better once shown how.  This client reminded me that it’s not just about me. Regardless of my principles , my vision and my purpose I have to accept that people are entitled to their own agendas. Therefore when the client’s agenda does not mesh with mine I can make some choices – change my agenda to mesh with his, stay and promote my agenda or leave. In this case I chose to leave.

What clients do you need to fire? What would you do differently if the money was not part of your decision?

Maxine Attong is the author of two books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead Your Team to Win. She works with leaders to create more effective and efficient organisations. She is a Keynote Speaker, a Gestalt Organisational Development Consultant, a Certified Professional Facilitation, Evidence Based Coach and a Certified Accountant.

Is Leadership the Engineer’s Kryptonite?

Excerpts from the Speech given at Association of Professional Engineers Trinidad and Tobago 57th Annual Awards and Honour Function.

I have worked with engineers for most of my working career in the old and gas sector. These women and men are absolutely brilliant. Yet I have witnessed many A class Engineers struggle to become A class managers. Therefore I can only ask “Is leadership the Engineer’s Kryptonite?”
I reached out via Linked In to some of my engineering colleagues around the world and posed two questions:

  1. What are the challenges that engineers face when they get into management/ Leadership positions?
  2. What are the three pieces of advice that you will give an engineer who is moving into a leadership[/ management position?

I will reframe the feedback and the remedies using my Organisational Development language.  The three challenges the engineer faces are

  1. Leadership style
  2. Thingification of the organisation
  3. Understanding the field

Leadership style
Engineers are promoted to management as a reward for a performing a technical job well ( thus far this is the way that organisations have figured this out). As a result the engineer steps into leadership, behaving the way that he always has, doing the things that have worked well for him, in the past.

She acts as a hero – A great engineer knows everything about her job. She has many years’ experience and knows exactly what to do. Just as Superman does not allow the firemen to extinguish the flames of the burning building, this manager tells team members what to do, without allowing team members to problem solve. She is impatient with failure, since she preferences success over failure’s value as a learning tool. She misses the field work and compensates by micro managing teams and getting involved with the minutiae of daily activities. Some of these heroes do not share knowledge and as a result, team members are often frustrated. While they admire and respect the  manager’s intelligence and experience, they are concerned that they won’t develop the talents that will in turn make them great engineers.
He is a shadow leader – This manager stands with his back to the sun, casting a long shadow over the team. These managers want mini-mes, they want team members to act and think like them and to do things the way that they do them. They forget that they have the benefit of experience and that they were allowed to hone their own personal style.
He displays Paternalism This attitude is reflected in the manager’s thinking that he “knows best” or “it’s my way or the highway”. This leads to the stifling of the opinions and the eventual dumbing down of the team members.  How would you know if you are paternalistic? If you find yourself saying “ after all I have done for them” or referring to team members as “ungrateful” or “selfish” then you may be paternalistic.

Some remedies for these afflictions are:
Be a Host not a Hero – if ever you went to or hosted a great party you know what to do. A great host selects the guest list, ensures that the food choices cater for religious restrictions and allergies, introduces people to each other, then leaves guests to enjoy the party even while keeping a watchful eye. The manager who acts as a host supports the growth and development of team members, helps them to network and keeps a birds eye view on what is happening with the team.

Let the sunlight fall on team members instead of casting shadows. Allow team members to develop their own style and support them to do so. Allow them to be recognised for doing great things. They won’t steal your thunder, because every win for a team member is a win for you as leader.

Build adult to adult relationships with team members. They are not kids. These are people who balance budgets, take care of households and care for aging parents. They deserve to have their intelligence and creativity honoured and to be treated with dignity in our interactions with them.

Thingification of an organisation – Engineers deal with things. Therefore leading teams provides a contradictory experience. Gone is the high probability of the consequences of actions and decisions taken, since an organisation is not a thing. An organisation comprises of humans who are interrelating and interacting through communication with each other along the parameters of process, function or department of the organisations’ structure. This creates situations of high unpredictability since different people react differently to different situations.
Engineers are great at fixing things and slowly he comes to realise that he can’t fix people, and there is no formula that serves all people.

A manager needs to work on his relationships with the individuals in his team. He needs to understand what makes each team member tick and motivate each of them from this place. The manager can view himself as a mentor and adopt this attitude when dealing with his people. Leaders can take the opportunity to self reflect and do the personal work that may be getting in the way of their own professional development. Wherever we go we take all of whom we are so the messiness of our personal situations if not resolved eventually seep unto the jobs.

Understand the field. Systems theorists share that we are all connected to multi systems. For example, an engineering manager is part of his engineering team, and also part of the management team, which is nested in your organisation. The organisation is part of an industry sector which belongs to all businesses operating in Trinidad. All businesses are part of Trinidad and Tobago, nested within the Caribbean and the wider world. This means that a manager now bumps up against other systems that he did not have to engage with when he was an engineer. When I worked in oil and gas I had many interesting interactions with engineers. When a piece of equipment needed replacing, engineers did wonderful research to identify what was the most technologically advanced piece of equipment. As an accountant my interest was in three things. Is it within budget?  What is the return on investment? What is the payback period? My selection process was based on highest return on investment, the shortest payback period and the cost within budget. Engineer managers need to have similar dialogues with other non technical managers in their respective fields. As part of a management team he is expected to understand that the business needs are beyond the newest technology.  He needs to appreciate that there are external and internal stakeholders who may not be part of the daily operations but whose decisions impact on what occurs on a daily basis. Those of us who operate in multinationals know that an event that occurs in China may impact on local business decisions.
The Manager is advised to expand his professional networks, both within and external to the organisation, to include non technical professionals. Expand the reading base beyond Popular Mechanics to include management and leadership information. And while in transition from technical expert to manager get a mentor or a coach.

All is not lost for the engineering manager because he / she can decide that he/she wants to be a better leader and this is a powerful first step. Some questions to assist with the transition will be:
How do you define leadership?
What is your reason for leading a team?
What is your stance as a manager/leader?

Maxine Attong is the author of two books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead Your Team to Win. She works with leaders to create more effective and efficient organisations. She is a Keynote Speaker, a Gestalt Organisational Development Consultant, a Certified Professional Facilitation, Evidence Based Coach and a Certified Accountant.

Tips for Effective Leaders

As leaders we will have many successes and failures. I had several failures that matched my many achievements. In last week’s blog I shared ten tips that will assist leaders to be effective. In this blog I will share more of what I learned.
To be effective, leaders need to:

  • Leaders need to count to 10
  • Leaders need to be able to fail and to support failure
  • Leaders need to be consistent
  • Leaders need to be responsible
  • Leaders need to be honest
  • Leaders need to be trustworthy
  • Leaders need to be fair
  • Leaders need to be open to suggestions
  • Leaders need to ask open ended questions
  • Leaders not to take themselves seriously
  • Leaders need to have fun with their teams

Over the next weeks I will be sharing more details on each of these tips.  If you have any questions on any of these tips, feel free to let me know.

Maxine Attong is the author of two books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead Your Team to Win. She works with leaders to create more effective and efficient organisations. She is a Keynote Speaker, a Gestalt Organisational Development Consultant, a Certified Professional Facilitation, Evidence Based Coach and a Certified Accountant.

Ten Tips for Leaders

All leaders will develop their own definition of leadership. Mine is simply harnessing the creativity and intelligence of the people that I work with. This definition governs my actions, my behaviours and my leadership style.  I needed to change old behaviours and adopt new  attitudes to lead as I believed.  From this I developed a list of what worked for me and did not work.  Today I share with you the first 10 tips for effective leadership.

To be effective, leaders need to:

  1. Actively work on personal development
  2. Assume that team members act from a place of good intentions
  3. Be humble
  4. Be able to hear a different opinion and not feel threatened
  5. Communicate effectively
  6. Check the motive behind personal thoughts and actions
  7. Give team members the benefit of the doubt
  8. Have a sense of humour
  9. Say sorry or “I was wrong” and not have a meltdown.
  10. Understand personal  level of emotional intelligence

Which of these ten tips resonate with you?  Which of these do not?

P.S. If you want any further explanation on any of the tips, drop me a line and I will give some more details. I will share the rest of the changes that I needed to make next week.

This blog is an adaptation of Lead Your Team to Win (Attong, 2014)

Maxine Attong is the author of two books – Change or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual and Lead Your Team to Win.  She works with leaders to create more effective and efficient organisations. She is a Keynote Speaker, a Gestalt Organisational  Development Consultant, a Certified Professional Facilitation, and an Evidence Based Coach and a Certified Accountant.