Leadership Programme for SME’s

Leadership Programme for SME’s

In 2014, Capability Group decided it wanted to take the design principles and learning model that underpins our various leadership programmes for corporate clients and see if we could support SMEs across New Zealand to build their leadership capability. We established a partnership with the Greater East Tamaki Business Association (with a membership of 2,700 small to medium-sized businesses in the East Tamaki area) to design and pilot the programme. We contextualised our existing offering to the unique challenges faced by many SMEs and ran the first pilot programme in 2015. The programme focuses on building leadership capability in a local geographic area and building collaborative B2B relationships amongst those participating organisations.

The first group consisted of people leaders from ten different organisations.  The Greater East Tamaki Business Association organised an external, 360 review of the programme at the end of 2015.  Capability Group made minor tweaks to the programme as a result and we have just kicked off a second cohort in 2016.

A building with Nokia signage.

An interesting analysis
of Nokia’s decline

An interesting analysis of Nokia’s decline and the importance on the role of Leadership in creating a safe environment – summarised by Annie Whitley

Nokia’s Decline – Key points from a blog by Neil Perkin

Matt Edgar’s analysis of Nokia’s decline. Rather than the complacency and ignorance to which
Nokia’s innovation and competitive failures are usually attributed, the author’s research (based on an
internal perspective from interviews with both senior and mid-level executives and engineers as well
as an external one from experts,) puts the blame on an organisational culture that at the time
was dominated by a climate of fear.

The research indicates that, during the time in question, temperamental leaders created an
environment that made it very hard to pass bad news back up the line. The fear that senior
management had of the external environment and of not reaching their quarterly targets in a highly
performance-driven culture seemingly impacted the treatment of their subordinates, making those
middle managers fearful of disappointing the top executives. This ‘froze co-ordination’ between
senior and middle management to the point where the latter over-promised, remained
silent or even directly lied to the former in order to avoid being told that they were not
ambitious enough to meet the stretched goals set for them.

The result was company-wide inertia. Everyone realised that Nokia needed a better
operating system for its phones in order to respond to the threat posed by Apple. But
middle management, fearful of appearing defeatist and of the reaction of their bosses, avoided
publicly admitting the inferiority of Symbian (their own operating system), and the culture led to a
‘decoupling of perceptions’ between the two groups of top and middle managers about how quickly
Nokia could match the iPhone.

This shared fear was exacerbated by a culture of status inside Nokia that equated resources
with power. This made everyone want to retain status in order to prevent resources being allocated
elsewhere or to avoid being marginalised by being perceived to be not ambitious enough or willing
enough to take on challenging projects or targets. Over-promising became a route to securing
more resources which in turn was perceived as an increase in status
The conclusion from the authors is that leaders, and particularly those required to lead
transformation (and which leader doesn’t fall into that category right now), need to be able to
identify ‘varied collective emotions’ and develop a collective ‘emotional capability’ in their
companies. In other words to be really sensitive to the emotional fallout and resultant
impact of the culture within their organisation:
“While modest fear might be healthy for motivation, using it indiscriminately can be like overusing a
drug, which risks generating harmful side effects…Fear can only be a useful motivator if
management can provide workers with the means to address these fears.”
See the full article at onlydeadfish.co.uk