“Virtual leadership in a crisis – support for leaders” #7

“Be authentic and true to yourself – understand when your core values are crossed”

So often we are faced with challenging situations where we are confident with our point of view, know what we want to say, but we don’t say it because of peer pressures, an unsupportive culture,  we don’t feel safe, or we fear for our jobs. 🙊

The current crisis could exacerbate these situations because we might want to do one thing based on our set of #corevalues, but we feel we have to conform to the establishment.

Many times in my career, I found that I would have an emotional reaction 🧡 when my values were being crossed. I used to get very upset when my HR team would want to follow a rule book approach as opposed to a framework where we can flex to what individuals need. Individualisation is one of my core values.

Have you ever made the connection between your values being, having an emotional reaction or being unhappy?

We are creating a #newnormal for our future. It is time to honour our core values and stand up for our #beliefs. When we at least voice our concerns, we make a difference, no matter the outcome. The more we express what we really think, the more significant the change we drive together. 🎯

I recently ran a virtual team engagement session. From the opinion poll, only 50% of the team thought they were more siloed during the crisis. However, when I asked people what behaviours were holding them back from working together collaboratively, there were very descriptive comments from everyone.

Where will you be more real this week? Have you had a values related experience, please share?

#leadership #emotionalintelligence

© Talita Ferreira

© Authenticity Change Solutions

Visit FinanceInspired4Success for a free CPD course and other leadership training

“Virtual leadership in a crisis – support for leaders” Blog #6

“Appreciation and relationships = engaged team = success”

I am very interested in how our brain works and how we can be motivated as teams and individuals.

No surprise then that I have been watching webinars and courses on this subject during the lockdown. There seems to be a common theme emerging, and I wanted to share.

Crossing generational boundaries, brain science🧠 is pointing to appreciation as a key motivator. This makes sense if we combine it with the CIPD statistic that the number one reason for people leaving a job, is their manager.

How can we practically foster better relationships and appreciate our teams more?

We should first think about how we appreciate our people.

👉How do we thank them? Do we use something generic like – a job well done or do we thank them for their positive attributes and character?

👉Do we do it in front of the team or one to one?

👉Do we write an email or do it as a recognition award when other teams are present?

Some people actually hate generic praise and or being recognised in front of other people. So, finding out what motivates each individual team member is a great place to start. Comments like ‘Thank you for showing up and supporting me today’ might be preferred to ‘Thank you for a job well done’. Get to know your team better and understand what will bring out the best in them.

How do you motivate and inspire your team in #COVID19❓

#leadership #appreciation #

© Talita Ferreira, CEO and founder of Authentic Change Solutions

Visit FinanceInspired4Success for a free CPD course and other leadership training

“Virtual leadership in a crisis – support for leaders” #5

“Focus on resilience and our ability to bounce back”

If you have ever been on an aeroplane, the safety brief is to put on your oxygen mask first.

We will need to bounce back as individuals, organisations and teams. Our first focus must be on ourselves.

These are my favourite bounce back strategies🎯 for leaders

Reframe

If I obsess about something, I write it down and create two alternative scenarios. I think of evidence that supports the alternatives. Mostly I find an “aha moment” through the process.

Focus on breathing

Counting to five breathing in, holding the breath and breathing out for longer. Repeat this 5-6 times and the mind clears.  

Celebrating success

When overwhelmed by negativity, I recall a time I was very successful or happy. Recall the feelings and thoughts and re-celebrate the success.

Focusing on a positive vision🔮 of the future. Creating a vision in my mind, on a vision board or on post-it notes and believing & feeling it is already so.

Using positive energy statements – I can do this, I am successful.

It is very easy to let our limiting self-beliefs or dark mood take over in #COVID. We have the power of #choice.

Do you have any tips for resilience❓

#leadership #cfo

© Talita Ferreira

© Authenticity Change Solutions

Visit FinanceInspired4Success for a free CPD course and other leadership training

“Virtual leadership in a crisis – support for leaders” #4.

“Communication “Don’t be afraid to say – I don’t know”

So often we as leaders want to have all the answers or 90% clarity before we engage and communicate.

I supposed it has to do with not wanting to be wrong or being afraid to look stupid. COVID19 is so unpredictable; waiting for “certainty” might be in 2021.

These pointers have always helped me to navigate tricky communication situations:

·  Be as transparent as possible – if something is going on that we can’t communicate, then provide a date by when we can📆 

·   Focussing on facts and what I do know for certain

·   Sharing openly what I don’t know or am uncertain about

·   Sharing possible outcomes, but only if I know that they are real courses of action

·  Using a parking lot for the uncertain topics where we have no idea about the outcomes. Too much speculation leads to fear. 🅿️           

·   Being true to myself and honest when answering questions – even saying “this is my personal opinion”

·   The next communication date

·   Always communicate with empathy and consideration for how other individuals might be feeling💗

What other tips do you have for leaders to help with communication ❓

#covid19 #turbulenttimes #leadership #cfo


© Talita Ferreira

© Authenticity Change Solutions

Visit FinanceInspired4Success for a free CPD course and other leadership training

Virtual leadership in a crisis – support for leaders #3

“Focus on leading and managing your team through the crisis”

It would be so easy to get stuck in the doing mode and focus all the critical things that need to be done at the moment, e.g. the cash flow forecast or scenario modelling.

It is just as critical to focus on #leading the team and the #teamculture. Just a few things to think about:

·       Fostering #psychologicalsafety in the team by sharing our own vulnerabilities as a leader

·       Spending a moment in the shoes 👟 of the team collectively and for each individual

·       Uncovering the underlying #fears 😨 that might exist regarding working from home or the #virtualdelivery

Use this process to spend time on critical team activities that bond and connect the team:

·       Set an intention to spend time on #teamengagement

·       Focus by setting aside the time ⌚

·       Prioritise the #teamactivities

·       Follow up with actions🎯

Just a few ideas on engagement activities

·       Lunch or coffee ☕ interactions discussing non-work related topics

·       Discussions on #changinghabits

·       Teams value exercise and #behaviours to support thriving virtually

·       Creating a virtual team charter

Watch the videoblog that goes with this post here

https://www.dropbox.com/s/i42llpuxmk7qo6q/Virtual%20leadership%20Blog%203.mp4?dl=0#

What are you doing to lead virtually and improve team dynamics?


© Talita Ferreira

© Authenticity Change Solutions

Visit FinanceInspired4Success for a free CPD course and other leadership training

Virtual leadership in a crisis – support for leaders #2

“Share more of yourself with your team to help create psychological safety”

Sharing more of ourselves with our teams can help to build trust. I don’t think there is a single #leader that is absolutely confident in these #turbulenttimes. Some leaders might be used to #virtualworking but they are not used to #lockdown, spending days without going out and all the emotions that go with having our freedom impaired and financial uncertainties.

Sharing some of the #emotions we are feeling with our teams, will give them permission to do the same.

Sharing how we feel and asking our teams to share how they feel, can be a powerful connector. As leaders, we need to engage our #empathy and become more #curious about the #teamdynamics around us.

It is an opportunity to invite everyone to have an opinion and to participate.

Using questions/phrases like:

I would love to hear more about that…

Could you elaborate please?

Are there any other perspectives – I would value hearing them?

The lockdown gives us an opportunity to share where we are, ask more about feelings, listen carefully and provide a safe space to share.

Do you know how your team is feeling today?

Do you have other questions to open up the conversation?


© Talita Ferreira

© Authenticity Change Solutions

Visit FinanceInspired4Success for a free CPD course and other leadership training

Virtual leadership in a crisis – support for leaders #1

“Identify what you are feeling and where you are as a leader”

As leaders, we are like a contagion. How we show up will impact our teams.

#Leadingvirtually is no different. We might be #feelingpressure and dealing with the #crisisplanning one moment at a time. It is important to show up as calm and optimistic but also realistic.

If we don’t understand where we are it will be very hard to self-lead ourselves to something different.

Follow this three-step process:

·        Identify and acknowledge where you are

·        Set an intention and exercise your choice to move

·        Identify what you would rather be feeling and thinking

Identify what you are feeling and experiencing. Is it frustration, fear, anxiety, confusion, disbelief about what has happened? Acknowledge the #feelings without judging them.

Decide that you want and intend something different. Write down a few alternatives for instance, this is an #opportunity:

·        for my own and team growth or

·        to experience new connections and

·        I am not alone, I can get advice from others.

Whenever your thoughts and feelings migrate back, acknowledge them, don’t judge and #choosedifferently.

Please share what you have been feeling?


© Talita Ferreira

© Authenticity Change Solutions

Visit FinanceInspired4Success for a free CPD course and other leadership training

**Change failures – pitfalls to avoid**

In the current climate #change is the one constant.

When implementing #technologychanges in #finance or implementing #businesspartnering, we need to consider critical change elements.

In the coming weeks, I will share my learnings from the many #changeprojects I have implemented and consulted on.

A good place to start is why change traditionally fails. Rather than sharing a negative list, the failures are phrased as questions to stimulate thoughts.

• Are all leaders aligned with the change and are there enough #sponsors at the board level?

• What is the compelling case for change that links to the strategy?

• Can you articulate the change and explain it in a way that engages teams?

• Are you focussed rigidly on planning or remaining agile – testing and learning as you go along?

• Do you have the right resources, skills and capabilities to lead the change?

• Are you focussed on implementing historical decisions or the vital change behaviours?

• Are the change activities aligned and integrated into daily activities or totally separate?

Are people and behavioural change your number one focus?

We underestimate the importance of people in change and investing in change-readiness.

Which classic #changefailures do you observe?

© Talita Ferreira

© Authenticity Change Solutions

Visit FinanceInspired4Success for a free CPD course and other leadership training

Is Creativity A ‘Dirty Word’ For Finance Professionals?

This article is co-written by Talita Ferreira and Anders Liu-Lindberg

We desperately need more creativity for the challenges facing us in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. If challenges were posed precisely like yesterday’s historical problems, we could possibly do without creativity. However, most CEO’s believe that their business models are being disrupted, but also that they don’t have the right team to help them rise to the challenge.

If we still don’t believe we need this skill, let’s look at the World Economic Forum top ten skills that we should have by 2020 – creativity is number three on the list. LinkedIn Learning ranked creativity as the top soft skill that companies are hiring for in 2019. Tom Malone, a professor at MIT, states that as many challenges will come from the way we work as will come from the advancement in technology. Jamie Anderson, strategy professor from the Antwerp Management School believes that creativity is the new mindset required for a digital world.

If we want to go beyond surviving as finance, we need to embrace creativity and stop seeing it as a dirty word. This thought pattern might have stemmed from the ages of creative accounting – but it is time to view creativity in a new light. It is a crucial skill to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and to help us imagine new ways of doing things.

What holds us back from creativity and creative thinking?

Our patterns of linear thinking are holding us back. As children under the age of five, we are very creative, but then we lose that creativity and start thinking in more traditional ways. The Western education system supports this linear way of thinking. Another blocker to creativity is organisational and team cultures that don’t encourage creativity, trying to do things differently, failure, and learning from mistakes.

Sometimes we are too busy to engage with creative activities or take the time to brainstorm different ways of doing things. As finance professionals, we don’t always ask the right questions upfront. We are used to jumping to action and activity, figuring out how to reach the target best. Sometimes we need to slow down and discover more; ensure we are asking the right questions and taking the appropriate time to answer them effectively, before jumping to delivery.

Our default setting is also our past experiences, but most of the challenges facing finance today are very different from past experiences. We need to sense and probe from different perspectives to come to new conclusions.

What do we need to be more creative?

According to an article by Professor Jamie Anderson on Creativity, creative thinking involves six key components

  • Problem sensibility – reflection upon the task or challenge,
  • Liquidity – having a lot of ideas to come to a good idea,
  • Flexibility – the ability to look at the problem from different angles or perspectives which leads to a
  • Re-definition– viewing the problem or challenge differently,
  • Originality of thought – courage to try something different and not copy others around us and
  • Collaboration – a process of engaging others to create solutions built on multiple perspectives.

Finance leaders are required to tap into all six areas if we want to thrive in the face of complexity, ambiguity and the challenges of digitalisation in finance.

What are the benefits of increased creativity?

Creativity helps us to solve problems more effectively, which in turn leads to the more significant accomplishment of goals. Better collaboration and interaction amongst team members and between different teams have been observed in groups with greater creativity – so a perfect prerequisite for finance business partnering and the future of financial planning and analysis.

Increased passion and motivation flows amongst individuals displaying higher levels of creativity. Creativity stimulates increased curiosity and a desire to learn and opens up new possibilities. Teams that openly embrace creativity have a far more stimulating work environment and are far more engaged and bonded as a team.

Which conditions support creativity in a business context?

A general attitude that supports open-mindedness, thinking differently and less judgement of different ideas will foster greater creativity. High levels of team trust and psychological safety will ensure that individuals are willing to say what they think and bring forward their most creative ideas without the fear of ridicule.

Rewarding the right behaviours like curiosity, trialling ideas and shared learning will ensure that individuals are more committed to doing things differently. Allowing time for creative thinking and play, supported by an inspirational environment can start to shift things on this front. Using a diverse group of thinkers when brainstorming for new ideas, will add cognitive diversity and ensure more creativity flows naturally. For instance, inviting marketing or sales to help brainstorm finance-related issues will provide a different perspective and add new ways of thinking to the mix.

The ability to start embracing uncertainty also goes hand in hand with increased levels of creativity. We need to allow experimentation and become more comfortable with failures– often referred to as the failing fast mentality. A culture of challenging, especially at the leadership level will help to bring about new ideas and stimulate doing things differently.

What can you do personally, to support more creativity?

Believe that you can get better at creativity and that it is a skill that even analytical finance professionals can learn. Challenge yourself a bit every day to do things in a different way that will enhance your non-linear thinking in terms of the six creativity components.

Commit to a few activities that will support your daily creativity development, e.g. challenging the status quo, or talking to diverse people. Brainstorm challenges with your team regularly. Do away with traditional meetings, sitting down around a table, whenever possible. Be more creative, ask powerful questions and use post-it notes and other facilitation mechanisms to come up with different answers. Create a finance team charter for creativity and commit to doing things differently.

You can also take a free CPD accredited course ‘A new mindset for a digital world – increase performance through creativity and innovation’, which will guide you on how to create a creativity team charter.

https://financeinspired4success.thinkific.com/courses/a-new-mindset-for-a-digital-world-increase-performance-through-creativity-and-innovation

@ Talita Ferreira and Anders Liu-Lindberg

25 Ways to Lead

Do you consider yourself a leader? Or wish you were a leader? I believe everyone is a leader – of ourselves and others in various different aspects of our lives. As leaders we have to inspire those around us while remaining focused. Uncertainty and difficult situations do not stop us from taking leadership charge. We need a positive mindset, a focus on team engagement and inspiring change.

Focus on purpose. If you focus on why your team exists and how it adds value, you will be able to engage the team at a deeper level. Purpose is a key motivator

Leaders use many strategies to lead others. Using these techniques will aid you in your endeavour to be a great leader:

  • Follow through on your promises. A real leader keeps the promises made during meetings, especially regarding personal development, growth and support.
  • Avoid micromanaging and empower individuals. Micromanaging can have a negative impact on the group you’re trying to lead. People are motivated by autonomy.
  • Respect the opinions of others. Allow them to share their ideas. Listen carefully without judgement or referring to what has or hasn’t worked in the past.
  • Listen to the needs of others. If you listen carefully, you’ll discover more about what motivates your team members.
  • Avoid procrastinating. It can destroy your leadership goals. Rather make a decision with 60-70% of the information than avoid making a decision at all.
  • Stay focused on the outcome. Once you make a decision, adapt if necessary or the outcome will not be achieved. Share your change thoughts with the team.
  • Share your vulnerability. Your leadership will benefit from showing a human side and more empathy for others. Showing vulnerability is a sign of strength.
  • Look for answers outside of the norm. The ability to think differently is a crucial leadership skill and much needed for creativity and disrupted business models.
  • Admit mistakes, don’t blame others. Pretending that a mistake didn’t happen or abdicating responsibility will make your teams lose respect for you.
  • Brainstorm with your team. Find solutions together, it activates the collective brain power of the team and they feel like they’re part of the process to resolve.
  • Avoid making others feel small or scared. Fear, superiority and an attitude of knowing everything can prevent positive interactions.
  • Allow your team room to grow. They need to be able to make progress and set their own goals. Mastering tasks and demonstrating achievement are key.
  • Create a safe environment where everyone’s views count. As a leader, you can make better progress if the entire team is able to say what they really think.
  • Share your knowledge and expertise. Coach and guide others with your experiences and support, without telling them what to do.
  • Make time for the team and for the individual members. The more time you spend on bonding and connecting the team and on individual growth the more successful you will be as a leader.
  • Break down the hierarchy. The greater the power distance to your team, the less likely they are to share their thoughts openly, possibly increasing ineffectiveness.
  • Be transparent, avoid gossip. Rumours and innuendo ruin team dynamics and energy. Be open about what is happening and when you can disclose information.
  • Stay flexible and agile. Adjusting to what is required in the moment and adapting to external factors means thriving in uncertainty. One size does not fit all.
  • Lead and inspire change. In increasingly volatile environments, leaders need to embrace change as an opportunity and help others move through their fears.
  • Treat team members as individuals. Different personalities require different leadership strategies.
  • Manage your confidence and how you show up. The energy of the leader is like a contagion. The more positivity you reveal the more positive the team will be.  
  • Be a positive role model with a positive mindset. Be an action-based leader that lives positive behaviours that inspire followers. Focus on a growth mindset, continually learning and embracing new possibilities.
  • Follow a strengths-based approach. Rely on the strengths of individuals in the team and complement your weaknesses
  • Be a mentor and mentee. A real leader is willing to help the next generation and willing to learn from their perspectives to be better leader.