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  1. 1. THERETURNOF THEMANAGERTHISTIMEIT’SPERSONAL CONSULTATIONEDITION|APRIL2015
  2. 2. 2 3 04 Managers matter 08 Where are all the great managers? 12 The Magnificent Seven 16 Relate 18 Coach 22 Energise 24 Innovate 28 Thrive 30 Direct 32 Execute 34 Manager leaders: the forgotten level 36 Unilever case study 38 References CONTENTS
  3. 3. 4 5 MANAGERS MATTER Most of us who work until retirement will have responsibility for managing other people. It’s a tough and often lonely job. Managers don’t get much love. In popular culture they’re usually portrayed as buffoons or beasts, whilst within the corporate hierarchy, middle managers tend to be seen as inefficient, ripe for cuts or a permafrost layer that prevents the CEO’s inspirational vision from being realised by the worthy worker. Managers of people are not only derided externally in the media and internally by their corporate chiefs, but they are also given one of the greatest challenges in company life: how to understand, organise and motivate people to work together to achieve more, better and faster. Much of the time they’re expected to do this with only rudimentary guidance and little release from all the other corporate demands. This report is for them: people who manage people. It’s also for the executives of organisations whose search for competitive advantage can lead them to spend vast sums on fancy IT systems and glamorous marketing campaigns that deliver uncertain outcomes in indeterminate time scales. As this report will show, the surer answer to their productivity conundrum is much closer to home. How to win In the recession of the 1980s, strategy determined which organisations came out strongest. Rigorous analysis trumped intuition on where to focus limited resources for maximum gain. By the downturn of the early 1990s, the companies with the cleverest use of technology found the fast track to recovery. Some used it to streamline their supply chain, others to better understand their customers. Emerging from the financial crisis of 2008, the fittest companies focused less on strategy and smart systems and more on process and control, minimising risk. Which brings us to today and the realisation that an over-reliance on process has sucked out initiative, engagement and innovation; it has been used as a surrogate for good management. Now the fittest companies are those that focus on talent – where employees feel their contribution matters and that they work in an environment which allows them to flourish. And who is it that creates this unique atmosphere? The overlooked manager. Money for nothing The great news for those holding the company’s purse strings is that good management costs little and delivers a lot. MANAGERS MATTER
  4. 4. 6 7 The team at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business measured the daily output for 23,878 workers matched to 1,940 bosses over five years from 2006 to 2010, resulting in nearly 6 million measurements1 . The workers came from a wide range of industries and companies but all did routine, computer- based work, e.g. retail checkout operators, airline gate agents and call centre workers. As each worker had, on average, four managers/supervisors a year, it was possible to determine the impact of a good manager compared to a poor one. Replacing a poor manager with a good one increased productivity from the same team members by a whopping 12%. That’s greater than the increase provided by many a costly (not to mention disruptive) IT investment. It was also greater than the boost provided by adding an extra employee to the team (11%). The electronic games industry is creative, knowledge-based and requires swift, efficient implementation. Each new game has two managers: the designer, who leads the creative team, and the producer, who leads the team that makes it all happen. In a robust study by professors at Wharton Business School, the quality of both managers was found to have a significant effect on the success of the game. The quality of the designer accounted for 7.4% of the variation in revenue, and the quality of the producer, 22.3%. That’s almost 30% of the success of a new game credited to the quality of the two managers leading it2 . It’s clear that swapping poor managers for good ones improves performance across industries. But what about within the same company? In a large US manufacturing firm, managers who demonstrated effective communication Change from the middle The traditional route to delivering change is either top down or bottom up. But what if both are flawed? Trickling initiatives down through a management hierarchy is unpredictable – will those in the upper echelons really change? – slow and by the time change reaches the front line (if it ever does) a new change is needed. Starting with the front line is just as precarious. Once the initiative has passed, managers tend to return to things just as they were. The UK banking division of Santander transformed branch customer service by equipping branch managers (and their immediate boss, the regional manager) to make real, sustainable and energetic changes. Some effort went into stopping senior groups from getting in the way, and individuals from the front line were asked for their views at the start of the programme. But the bulk of the effort, and investment, went towards changing how managers, and ‘managers of managers’ thought, felt and behaved. Before the programme started, Santander was among the worst rated organisations (not just banks) in the UK for service. Within eight months, Santander branch banks were at the same level as their peers. Santander went on to win ‘best branch bank for customer service’ two years in a row. Casestudy Great managers lead to better store performance 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 -0.2 -0.4 -0.6 Correlation Net profit Controllable costs Transformational management Structured management Fig.1 and inclusiveness, gave feedback well, encouraged innovation and created career development plans saw a 50% increase in sales. The impact of managers was greater than a host of other HR factors, including knowledge accessibility and workforce optimisation3 . Great managers also led to improvements in net profit and controllable costs within different branches of a Dutch supermarket (Fig. 1)4 . Employees were interviewed to determine whether managers had a structured leadership style (defining roles, establishing routines, focusing on efficiency) or the more effective transformational style (building relationships, painting an energising vision of the future, encouraging innovation, helping employees thrive). Six months later, the branches in which transformational management was present reported significantly greater profits and reduced costs, as well as improved efficiency, general communication and readiness to innovate. There are plenty more studies that make the same point: managers who focus on getting the best from their people not only boost individual performance across a huge range of measures, but also boost results at the team and organisation levels5 . Compared to most other kinds of business outlay, astute investment in the quality of management is more certain to deliver a greater financial return faster and for longer. And yet most companies invest less in management development than in the desk, chair and computer that the manager uses. In the UK, the average spend on training per person is £2,5506 ; in the US it is $1,1697 . MANAGERS MATTER Good management delivers immediate returns in front line service roles but what about in more complex environments? Wise leaders are already changing where they place their bets.
  5. 5. 8 9 WHERE ARE ALL THE GREAT MANAGERS?
  6. 6. WHERE ARE ALL THE GREAT MANAGERS? 10 11 Most people who have to do it find managing people a struggle. In a survey of 150 leaders, 68% admitted they really don’t like being managers8 . So what’s going wrong? Our experience working with many of the world’s leading companies suggests five common pitfalls. 01. Management doesn’t count for much When it comes to rewards, promotions and praise, being a great people manager tends to count for less than making a strong individual contribution. SVPs and partners in global banks and management consultancies tell us that while, officially, they are assessed on people leadership, what really affected their bonus and promotion prospects was ‘hitting the numbers’. Even outside the high-octane world of global finance and professional services, it’s not uncommon for poor people managers who create high personal value to be better rewarded than excellent managers whose personal contribution is nearer the average. 02. As well, not instead People management is usually an extra responsibility that is added to managers’ current duties, meaning they’re expected to fit it into ‘magic time’ while still delivering on everything they did as an individual contributor. It’s little wonder then, that managers spend as little as 10% of their week actually managing front line employees and that this time is often spent checking compliance or fire-fighting immediate problems9 . What people management should really be about is organising others to do much of our old job so we can contribute greater value to the business. But this specific and challenging skill is one few managers are encouraged to develop. 03. Seeking the impossible Some companies publish over 100 competencies or expectations for their managers. This tends to have two adverse results: managers feel swamped and stop trying, and competency frameworks lose their currency. The answer lies in making people management sound simple, doable and, above all, worthwhile, which means focusing everyone on the few management skills that will have the most impact. 04. Management development: little and late Management and career development seem to be inextricably linked: in order to progress, you have to manage, regardless of whether or not you’re suited to it. In theory, this shouldn’t be a problem: management is a learnable skill. The trouble is that training happens too late (or not at all), and when it does happen, it rarely addresses the challenges that most new managers face. In a global survey, only 10% of respondents said their company’s front line manager training was effective in actually preparing them to lead people10 . What managers want (and need) is an ongoing programme of ‘quick hits’ on tackling tricky situations: dealing with someone who’s subtly undermining them, or moving from team member to manager without alienating old friends. They also want a little-and- often approach, which offers opportunities to try out their new skills, reflect on what works and get feedback on what they could do differently. 05. Good = popular One of the biggest (and most common) mistakes managers make is trying to be pals with the people they manage. (Remember Chandler in Friends?). Trying to be popular almost always leads to ineffectiveness and loss of respect. So, why do so many managers fall into the trap? In part, because their organisations push them. 360° feedback (which usually means upward feedback from direct reports) can become a substitute for assessing a manager’s effectiveness. If your people like you, you must be doing a good job. The reality is that very good managers can, for a while, be deeply unpopular, while poor and ineffectual ones can be thoroughly liked. Upward feedback provides useful insight but it shouldn’t be taken as the whole picture, or anything close. The real test of a manager is in their team’s performance: both the results they achieve and how they get there. WHERE ARE ALL THE GREAT MANAGERS?
  7. 7. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
  8. 8. 14 15 THE SEVEN TALENTS The team of psychologists at Mind Gym have analysed more than 100 peer-reviewed studies to unearth the factors that make the most difference to manager performance. They aren’t exhaustive, far from it. If you want to focus managers on what will make the most difference, this is where the research says you should point them. There have been two recent and notable meta-analyses that carved up the masses of data in rigorous and meaningful ways. The first meta-analysis (popularised by the SHL Talent Management Group) spoke of ‘The Great Eight’ manager competencies11 . The second (by John Meriac and colleagues) reliably reduced 168 manager dimensions into seven core skills12 . The two lists were not only very similar, but they also mapped onto Google’s work with people analytics (see below), and Yukl’s Flexible Leadership Theory13 . This allowed Mind Gym’s psychologists to create a simple but robust model: the seven talents. Over the following years, the seven talents have been tested in a wide range of leading organisations. The results have been emphatic. The seven manager talents now form the core of management development in some of the world’s most admired companies, including Unilever (see page 36), and are being introduced in dozens more. A first among equals One talent stands out above the rest. Relate sits in the centre because is it like a prism, able to multiply or dilute the effect of the other six talents. A manager who can form, reinforce and repair relationships with their team will get a disproportionate return on their efforts in the other areas. Conversely, a manager without this skill will find that, however much they excel at the other six talents, they will never have quite the same impact. Why? Because the quality of relationships determines how team members perceive, interpret and respond to everything their manager does – an interaction that is known in organisational psychology as the ‘leader- member-exchange’ or LMX. When a team member has a poor relationship with their manager, they’ll look for the worst, feeling in the out-group rather than part of the in-group. A good relationship means that the manager gets the benefit of the doubt. Team members will trust their manager’s actions to be in their own best interests, and reciprocate accordingly. Everyone feels part of the in-group. The team at Google gathered more than 10,000 observations to find out what defined the most effective managers from the rest. They identified the eight most important attributes which are consistent with Mind Gym’s seven talents.14 After a programme of training, individual coaching and performance reviews based on Google’s eight attributes,there was a statistically significant improvement in 75% of their worst-performing managers, which was very good news for almost everyone. Casestudy THE SEVEN TALENTS ENERGISE COACH INNOVAT E THRIVE DIRECT EXECUTE RELATE
  9. 9. 16 17 Create, strengthen and manage relationships with your team members RELATE The best working relationships aren’t friendships or ones that maintain harmony at all costs. They are relationships that get the best results for the business from the team. Individuals who have good relationships with their managers are healthier, happier15 and have better careers16 . They also perform better17 (putting in more discretionary effort18 ), are more innovative19 , more resilient during change20 , less likely to leave21 , and better at responding to feedback22 . Relationships between team colleagues are also highly significant. In a study on NHS wards, Professor Michael West (a member of Mind Gym’s Academic Board) demonstrated a correlation between strong teamwork and reduced mortality23 . Building appropriate relationships with direct reports, and ensuring they exist between peers, requires a complex set of skills that most of us develop throughout our career. The greatest opportunity for business is to give these skills to managers as they reach the first rung of the corporate ladder rather than wait until they step off it. In it together A manager’s first step to building good relationships is to be clear about what the team is here to do. This can take the form of goals and targets but it will be more compelling if a manager can clarify a team purpose and build a shared identity to motivate and inspire24 . As well as being crystal clear about what we are here to do, it pays to be clear about how we are going to behave towards each other and how we achieve our goals. This form of more explicit contracting sets expectations and makes it easier for everyone to respond if expectations are breached. Managers Sans Frontières In order to get the best from their teams, managers need to strike a delicate balance: focus too heavily on the relationships themselves and the goals slip out of reach; ignore a team’s needs, and commitment will falter. The answer? Boundaries. The most successful managers keep the relationships appropriate. They achieve this, often unconsciously, by maintaining a suitable balance between being too close and too distant. Category Too close The right range Too distant Priority Relationship Outcome Output Feedback Only praise Descriptive Overwhelmingly critical Poor performance Ignore and forgive Raise, discuss, move on Draw generalised conclusions Team members’ wellbeing Protective Attentive Unaware Manager’s personal life Indiscreet Selective Guarded Team dynamics Colluding Impartial Uninterested Availability Interfering Accessible Absent See themselves as… Friend Manager Boss Mind Gym’s psychologists, with the help of Professor Janet Reibstein (who sits on Mind Gym’s Academic Board) have, for the first time, tried to define the range for an appropriate manager-direct report relationship. In summary it looks like this (see Fig.2). The challenge with boundaries comes when they are breached, whether by the manager herself/himself or by their direct report. You’ve worked late nights, your boss is on your back, you’re not getting much attention at home – it’s only human to want a bit of appreciation. Tempting though it is, as an exhausted manager you must avoid looking to your team for empathy or positive strokes. If you do, then a boundary is crossed and it will be doubly hard to rebuild it. Equally, if you’ve ever managed a direct report who frightens you slightly, you know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of an intimidating demure. Imagine said direct report makes a joke which is subtly at your expense – others smirk or laugh. A boundary has clearly been crossed but what should you do, as the manager, without looking like you don’t have a sense of humour or begrudging your team’s reactions? At the heart of Relate is understanding what the boundaries are for appropriate working relationships, keeping to them where possible and repairing them when they are breached. It isn’t easy but it is critical. Fig.2 The most successful managers keep their relationships appropriate. RELATE Example profile of a manager
  10. 10. 18 19 The Stanford study which found a 12% increase in productivity when poor managers were swapped for great ones25 revealed that the single most important difference between poor and great managers was the degree to which they coached their team. Good manager coaching increases reports’ wellbeing, resilience, attitude to work, and ability to achieve stretching goals26 , as well as doubling the impact of training programmes27 . Organisations whose managers coach demonstrate 21% higher revenues than their competitors and, in a huge global analysis by PwC, the standard estimate of the ROI for coaching was 700%28 . From PRACTICE to GROW, there’s no shortage of coaching models. Yet, despite all these acronyms, the quality of coaching in most companies is mixed. Often managers are trained to coach based on what makes a good ‘executive coach’, rather than what makes a manager a good coach. When it comes to improving performance there are six aspects of coaching that have the biggest impact on a manager’s ability to coach: their motivation, their mindset and four key behaviours. At Mind Gym we packaged these under the title of ‘Commercial coaching’ and tested them with branch managers in one of the UK’s leading telecommunications companies. In 55% of branches that improved performance quarter on quarter the manager also reported using commercial coaching techniques. In the branches where performance declined, none of them did. Against a control group, in branches where commercial coaching was used, the team’s ability to hit their revenue targets rose by 29%. Commercial coaching is simple, flexible and undeniably effective. Enable others to be the best they can be COACH COACH Increase in productivity 12% Higher revenues 21% Ability to hit revenue targets 29% ROI for coaching 700%
  11. 11. 20 21 Distracted Focused Prejudging Curious Weakness-focused Strengths-focused I’m okay/you’re not okay I’m okay/you’re okay Parent/child Adult/adult Performance Potential and performance MINDSET I believe in you Managers who believe people’s abilities are fixed and cannot be improved make ineffective coaches. But managers who have a ‘growth mindset’30 , who believe that everyone can learn, develop and grow (even if it takes a lot of hard work) see much greater returns on their coaching investments31 . This is necessary but it isn’t sufficient. Here are a few other things that make up a healthy coaching mindset. BEHAVIOURS A new way to coach for performance MOTIVATION I believe it will help me For managers to coach well, they must believe it’s in their own best interest. The trouble is, coaching is like dieting – the sacrifice is immediate and painful, but the benefits don’t appear until much further down the road. The trick then, is for managers to find a long-term motivation: “It will make my job easier in the long run”, “I’m leaving a legacy”, “This will encourage the most talented grads to work in my team”. Leaders can also do their bit to encourage managers to play the long-game: measuring managers on longer-term goals and behaviours makes them more likely to coach their teams29 . WHAT IS COMMERCIAL COACHING? There are six ingredients in commercial coaching: a manager’s motivation, mindset and four key behaviours. COACH The managers of yesteryear approached development like an apprenticeship: showing employees exactly what to do and how to do it. Not only was this demotivating for the individuals, the ‘monkey see, monkey do’ approach also left them woefully ill-prepared for new and unexpected situations. More recently, the pendulum has swung the other way, with reports left to work things out for themselves, helped by a manager who only asks questions: “What do you think you should do?” or the eternally infuriating “What would you say if you did know the answer?” Coaching is at its most effective when managers flex between ‘ask’ and ‘tell’32 (balancing advocacy and inquiry), encouraging self-discovery but using their own expertise to facilitate the employee’s learning. Mind Gym’s psychologists synthesised the findings of three key research papers33 on coaching for performance, to create four key behaviours that will help managers do just that. They are: Enable: create a learning environment where coachees can fail and flourish Challenge: use insightful questioning to help coachees to raise the bar and think differently about their most pressing challenges Observe: pay attention to an individual’s learning and provide specific and descriptive feedback in the moment Guide: use your expertise and status to show and smooth the way, highlighting progress and successes They fit into the learning cycle like this: Review How did that go? Try it out What will you do? Move forward What can be done better? Observe Guide Enable Challenge
  12. 12. 22 23 ENERGISEGive hope, build momentum and share your passion Emotional energy (both positive and negative) is infectious34 . This is called emotional contagion and it leaves managers with a choice: act as they please and hope their moodier days won’t affect their team (they will) or ramp up the positive energy and spread it through the ranks. Thankfully, there’s no innate skill required to be an energiser, and no one personality type works better than another – quietly passionate can be more effective than jump-and-shout evangelism. The benefits, meanwhile, are endless. Energised teams are more creative35 , collaborative36 , efficient37 , focused38 and decisive39 . They’re better at solving problems40 , better at handling conflict41 , and less likely to be absent or leave the business42 . What’s more, positive energy spreads through organisations, multiplying performance as it travels. When one team member energises another, the performance of both employees improves43 . So how can managers start generating and conducting energy through their teams? Here are five ways to spread the zest. ENERGISE It’s easy to feel energised at the start of something. But when a team has been soldiering on for weeks, or they’ve hit a rough patch, their energy won’t last without help. At this point, one of the most powerful things a manager can do is show them the progress they’re making. In a study of 12,000 people, ‘showing progress’ was the single most important thing managers could do to improve their team’s day-to-day enjoyment of work47 . Creating and celebrating mini milestones throughout a long project, starting each week with a progress story, or using one-to-ones to celebrate personal development are just some of the things managers can do. 05. Progress Over time, positive emotions help us to build new skills and resources, as well as increasing our levels of creativity, inventiveness, ‘big picture’ focus, and resilience45 . Managers have two key parts to play in fostering positive emotions in their team. The first is affirming people so that they feel valued. The second is giving people ‘hope’, which psychologist Charles R. Snyder defines as both the willpower (motivation) and the waypower (skills and opportunity) to achieve your goals46 . 04. Positivity Passion doesn’t have to mean jumping around in forced jubilation. What people want above all from their leaders is authenticity44 , so if demonstrations of extrovert levels of excitement aren’t their managerial style, managers shouldn’t try to fake it. But they should find their own version of passion – a quiet, unshakeable faith, for instance, or intense levels of focus. However their passion manifests itself, expressing it in the right way is crucial. The best energisers use language that is optimistic, engaging and decisive. 02. Passion Does my work matter? Our job could involve anything from generating record profits to saving lives, but if we feel it’s futile we won’t be able to muster much energy. Managers can unearth purpose by considering three questions: what motivates me on a personal level to do what I do? How do my efforts contribute to a collective purpose? What is the ideal outcome of my work? Helping your team visualise the outcome gives an extra boost of energy through generating emotional connections. Paying attention to the ‘why’ is as critical as the ‘what’ when it comes to energising people. 01. Purpose Creating a climate of positive energy is as much about reading and responding to other people’s emotions as emitting your own. The best managers are present – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. They leave their own worries at the door, tune into how their team members are feeling by observing tone of voice, facial expressions and body language, and don’t respond until they are truly ‘in the room’. 03. Present Rob Cross, Professor of Management at the University of Virginia, has been leading new research, mapping how energy spreads in large organisations48 . In a highly energised organisation, Cross’s mapping diagrams look like the one on the left – the majority of people are conductors for energy, passing it on to others. In organisations where energy is low, the diagrams look like the one on the right: there are fewer conductors, and the energy stops when it reaches people who are unable to pass it on. Some people don’t have any lines at all. These are ‘energy sappers’ who don’t conduct, receive or create energy. Networkingwithadifference
  13. 13. 24 25 Create a community that’s willing and able to innovate If we asked you to name 10 highly innovative companies, who would you choose? Apple? Google? Dyson? Whoever you picked, chances are they would have two things in common: a constant stream of new products and services, and a visionary leader. While there’s no doubt that these are linked to innovation, what really sets the trailblazers apart is something more mundane. It’s the ability to keep noticing and changing things. Not just the big things but the tiny, seemingly insignificant details. What’s more, the driving force behind this behaviour isn’t usually an ingenious CEO but a manager who can create a community that can innovate by setting the stage, rather than leading from the front49 . It is they who encourage innovation by deciding which ideas to champion, which to reshape and which to kill, and it is they who nourish innovation every working day. Welcome to the club Managers can teach their reports all the innovation skills under the sun. They can praise them and encourage them until the cows are not only home, but brainstorming in the shed. But without the right culture, innovation will wither and die. The right culture is one that supports teams through the challenges they will face at all five stages of innovation, and creating it involves a multitude of changes, from practical steps (building innovation time into the working week) to attitudinal shifts (encouraging reports to see even the most basic process as ripe for improvement). INNOVATE INNOVATE Implement Scale up to implement and commercialise, if relevant Context Provide a strong framework which clarifies your team’s purpose, values and ways of working Form Help shape initial ideas into something viable Create Welcome ideas, however unformed, whoever they come from; pose questions to challenge and gather fresh ideas Select Choose concepts to focus on; test a prototype or experiment with pilots; revise, decide whether to ditch ideas constructively with a clear rationale
  14. 14. 26 27 Situation Stifler Nourisher Tends to talk about Outputs Ideas When something goes wrong, focuses on What went wrong and why What to do to prevent something similar happening in future When chairing a discussion Gives their views first and asks if there are any questions Listens first, then gives their views In project/team meetings Pushes to decide on actions and agree responsibilities quickly Encourages everyone to share their views and probes to elaborate When people disagree Comes down on one side of the argument and explains why Validates and celebrates the value of different opinions Opinions Consistent in their views Changes their mind as they learn something new In setting goals Sets unrealistic targets Sets stretching but achievable goals In time horizon Focuses quarter by quarter Focuses on the long term as well as the short term In relation to change Prioritises maintaining stability Constructively challenges the status quo When facing an idea Keeps a realistic focus on current constraints Tests feasibility Rejects an idea Without always sharing the reason With a strong rationale With a network Prefers to share an idea once fully formed or implemented Seeks input and tests ideas In experimenting Manages the risk by keeping close control Sets a clear framework for experimentation In translating ideas into practice Can minimise real concerns others hold about details Respects the details of reality Fig.3 Leading for innovation While your managers don’t necessarily need to be innovative, there are consistent behaviours they’ll need to develop (and just as many they’ll need to put out to pasture) if innovation is to thrive. The aim should be to move from innovation stifler to innovation nourisher (see Fig. 3). The power of discovery In most organisations, innovation skills are rarely taught and barely valued. ’Generators’ (those who are restlessly discontent with the status quo) are worryingly underrepresented50 because the emphasis is on execution skills over innovation. It’s a bias that is pronounced in organisations at every level – right the way up to the CEOs51 . The truth is, we need both, to differing degrees depending on the organisation. In the Apples and Dysons of this world, innovation and execution skills aren’t just equally valued, they’re intertwined: one cannot exist without the other. The good news is that innovators demonstrate key discovery behaviours that can be taught52 . We don’t have to be born innovators but instead by developing our curiosity, our exploration, our connections and our willingness to experiment we can all create a culture where innovation can flourish. INNOVATE
  15. 15. 28 29 THRIVEBeing at your best more of the time In recent years, organisations have begun to invest heavily in employee wellbeing. The average annual spend per employee has doubled in the last five years53 , and 95% of organisations now offer some sort of wellbeing initiative (compared to 57% in 2009)54 . Sadly, none of the workplace gyms, bowls of free fruit, or visits from the GP seem to be making much difference. Two thirds of UK employees still feel overwhelmed55 , and in the US, 50% of employees assume they will work while on holiday56 . At the heart of the problem lies a common misconception around responsibility. Organisations feel a duty to ‘fix’ employees, when their role should actually be to equip employees with the psychological tools needed to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and control what they can control. With the right tools, employees can choose to spend more time feeling energised, alive and challenged through learning. They can choose not just to survive in an increasingly demanding workplace, but to thrive in it. THRIVE AmodelofThrive Stagnant High vitality Low vitality Growing Recharging Languishing Thriving Bound for burn-out Of course, nobody can thrive all the time, but employees can learn to be more aware of their recurrent patterns – how they move around the four quadrants and what tips them into a particular box – so that they can spend more time in the two orange boxes. Those who manage this are more creative (three times more, according to one meta- analysis57 ), more productive, more satisfied, and less burnt out58 . Unsurprisingly, the best way to create an organisation of thrivers is to start with managers. Once they are thriving, they’ll not only provide a model for employees to follow but be better equipped to help them along the way. Focusing on a few key areas can make a striking difference to managers’ ability to thrive over time. Mind over matter Managers who thrive do so by choosing how they think. They are aware of the toxic thinking traps they fall into most often such as ruminating, unhealthy perfectionism and creating what some psychologists have termed ‘catastrophic fantasies’ and they choose to avoid them by reframing their thoughts more positively. They’re also kind to themselves, a trait that countless studies have found crucial to thriving, from Paul Gilbert’s work on compassion59 , to Brene Brown’s findings that being vulnerable at work actually increases our wellbeing60 . And finally, they harness positive experiences and emotions, building psychological resources that help them thrive in the longer term61 . Three questions are key after a positive encounter: What did that make me grateful for? What resources did it build in me? What’s the one positive thought I can keep with me to use in the future? Walk the walk Actions often speak larger than thoughts in terms of thriving, as proved by Professor Elaine Fox62 (who sits on Mind Gym’s Academic Board). There are three key choices that thriving managers can make in their actions: noticing what has made them feel good in the past and building it into their lives (we are staggeringly bad at predicting what will bring us joy in the future); surrounding themselves with people who boost them further when they’re already thriving; and developing habits that protect their ability to thrive (e.g. creating habits that enhance connections with others – one of the few sources of lasting happiness)63 . Themodernaddiction Most of us are struggling with a very damaging addiction to the instant gratification of smart phones, whose ‘ping’ causes our bodies to release dopamine. The average person checks their phone 150 times a day64 and gets anxious after only 10 minutes away from it65 . Some people even feel their phone vibrating when they know it’s switched off66 . And on average, employees can only focus for seven minutes before changing screens67 . Many of us tell ourselves we’re multitasking – and getting lots done in the process. But since our brains only hold between five and nine pieces of information at once68 , switching back and forth between endless activities simply wastes attentional energy. We’re at least 25% less effective when we multitask69 . But our skittering attention has more serious consequences: it leaves us unable to switch off and recharge, which is damaging to our physical and emotional wellbeing. No wonder stress costs the UK economy £10bn a year70 . Individuals who thrive (even in the toughest times) are those who can break out of technology’s addictive cycle71 .
  16. 16. 30 31 Set the direction of travel, making it clear who is driving what DIRECT Clear direction is one of the three factors that drive superior business performance according to a major study by McKinsey (the other two are accountability and a culture of trust)72 . It isn’t easy to get right. In recent years there has been a significant shift in leadership research away from trait-centred theories (all about the leaders’ personal qualities) to situational leadership, and more recently to collective or distributed models, where the emphasis is on mobilising people towards common, collaborative goals, and framing those goals in a way that makes sense to them73 . Meanwhile, research has also found that micromanagement not only reduces employee engagement but also performance74 . It seems clear that managers need to step back. The question is: by how much? Box top leadership Creating a vision for the future is essential but it will need wings. Employees need to understand why this vision was chosen, what alternative visions were rejected and how the vision is most likely to affect them. The term ‘Box top leadership’ stems from the traditional puzzle of jigsaw which had the picture of the completed work on the top of the box. When managers do this well, their colleagues will make more consistent judgements when faced with a new ‘piece’ and no one around to ask. In it together Of course, there’s little point in managers setting out a clear direction if they can’t convince their people to come along for the ride. One of the most effective approaches for gaining employee buy-in is what Louis Fox calls ‘spiritual leadership’75 . Managers share the organisational vision in such a way that employees not only understand it but develop their own personal interpretation and reasons for believing in it. They are able to tell the story of the organisation’s future in their own way, to the people that matter. In other words, they’re not just singing from the same hymn sheet, they’re part of the same religion. Get some perspective One of the dilemmas managers face when providing direction is knowing how close to get. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a Professor of strategy at Harvard, has spent over 25 years working with business leaders researching strategic thinking and decision-making. She found that to be great at directing, managers need all perspectives – from the bird’s eye view (big picture thinking, long-term focus, delegating the details) to the worm’s eye view (near-term focus, directing the details), and every view in between. Those who set direction best are able to shift vantage point regularly and seamlessly. She also found, however, that most people have a default preference and so need to master consciously switching their perspective76 . DIRECT Zoom out too far and they could miss something vital; stay too close and they could lose sight of the bigger picture or morph into the dreaded micromanager.
  17. 17. 32 33 Deliver on promises, on time, in style and through others EXECUTE There isn’t much sexy about ‘execution’. But when Mind Gym team asked the people at the top of companies, – from Paul Walsh, when he was CEO of Diageo, to Luis Miranda, when he was Chairman of IDFC (who built more power stations than the Indian government)77 – what they most want in their managers, the answer was unequivocal: the ability to execute. When RBS studied the impact of a tier of regional management, they were surprised to discover that the ‘best’ managers had the same impact on branch performance as the ‘worst’. The hyperactive regional manager kept coming up with new activities and distracted the exhausted branch employees so much that they weren’t able to follow through. The more lackadaisical regional managers would give instructions on their occasional branch tour but never followed up so the branch team would nod in agreement and then get on with things as they always had done. The key to effective execution is focus and accountability. Of the 17 traits that make organisations effective at executing79 , at the top of the list was accountability: “everyone has a good idea of the decisions and actions for which he or she is responsible”. In companies that were strong on execution, 71% agreed with this statement; in organisations that weren’t, the figure dropped to 32%. The ABCD of accountability offers a simple checklist to ensure that this is properly set up. – Authority levels: what do your team have full authority to do and where do they need sign off? – Boundaries: what is in scope and what is not? – Controls: how will you monitor progress? – Deliverables: what needs to be delivered, how and when? Of these, it is the ‘C’, Controls, that tends to need most attention. Part of the answer is data, in particular information that is a strong predictor of future trouble rather than reporting on what has already gone wrong. Controls also mean being clear about what deliverables are to be expected and when, and then following up. Once a rhythm for reporting has been agreed, it is important that everyone sticks to it. Check in too often and a manager risks all the pitfalls of micromanagement, including ending up doing the work themselves. But fail to keep to the regular reviews and it may well be too late when you find that someone has veered off course. Executing through others isn’t just about giving their reports accountability and checking in on them. Managers must also be accountable themselves for facilitating their journey by, for example, providing the necessary air cover from more senior management, helping to anticipate and remove road-blocks, and building perseverance when the going gets tough. Managers who find it difficult to get results tend to have trouble separating being busy and getting things done. The urgency addiction can take hold. Often with the best of intentions, they try to do everything. The result is a lot of noise, an exhausted manager and little to show for it. The manager who executes well not only has a lot of energy but knows where to point it. They identify what is necessary or likely to have the greatest effect and concentrate their effort on that. They also recognise that their time is the scarcest resource in the team and so learning how to use that well will deliver a greater return than almost anything else in their control. To tell how well focused you are, answer four short questions: – Which one aspect of my role can have the biggest positive impact on my objective? – What percentage of my time do I currently spend on this? – What percentage of my time should I spend on this? – How can I increase this percentage? 01. Focus 01. Focus (cont.) 02. Accountability Attention Low High EnergyLow High Focused managers Procrastinating managers Detached managers Busy managers EXECUTE 78
  18. 18. 34 35 However much they’d like to leave it behind, most senior leaders still do a lot of people management. And the more senior they are, the more important it is for them to get it right – errors can quickly ripple down the management hierarchy, intensifying as they go. The most common mistake that manager leaders (sometimes called ‘managers of managers’) make is to manage their reports as if they are still individual contributors (how are you doing against your goals?) rather than managers of people (how are you building the capability of your team?). Here are just a few of the key differences between these three very distinct levels. MANAGER LEADERS: the forgotten level MANAGER LEADERS Individual contributor Manager Manager leader You do your job well You coach your direct reports on how to do their job well You coach your direct reports on how to manage others to do their job well You know how well you’re doing and whom to ask if you’re not You’re in direct contact with the people who do the work and so have a clear view of how each member of your team is performing You rely on data and your managers to let you know how their people are performing You use your technical skills most of the time You’re a technical expert and you use that knowledge to guide your direct reports Your technical knowledge may be out of date and is likely to be less relevant than your advice on how to coach/motivate/lead others to perform at their peak You’re responsible for, and in control of, the quality of your work You oversee your team members and can have a high level of influence over the quality of the work that they do You hold your managers accountable for the quality of their teams’ work, often with little knowledge about what those team members are doing day-to-day (or week-to-week).
  19. 19. 36 37 I learnt new knowledge and skills from attending the program 100% The program was a worthwhile investment100% I have been able to successfully apply the knowledge and skills I learnt to my job. Of these, 91% said they were able to apply their learning within just 2-4 weeks. 96% The program has improved my performance at work90.5% The program has had a positive impact on my engagement 82.5% The program was a worthwhile investment in my career development 95.5% “Management development can sometimes be perceived as the poor cousin to leadership development, whereas the reality is that you need both to succeed and thrive. As well as the training transfer data which is demonstrating the value created by applying these skills back in the workplace, one of the things I’m most struck by is how this programme is reinvigorating the sense of pride in being a great manager”. Nick Pope, Global Learning Director, Unilever Results To evaluate the impact of the programme, a selection of managers who took part in UMDP were asked a series of questions three months later. Here is what they said: Global management development at Unilever Unilever CEO, Paul Polman, set the direction for the business to grow from €40bn to €80bn whilst reducing its environmental impact and making a positive social impact. It intends to grow volume in every category, in every country, and central to achieving these targets is talent. The last employee engagement survey showed that line manager capability was an area that, if improved, would significantly impact the company’s ability to ‘win with our people’, which is a cornerstone of the Unilever strategy. The Unilever Management Development Programme (UMDP) is the first time a single programme has been introduced to build the capabilities of Unilever’s 15,500 supervisors, first and second line managers across 33 countries. The ambition was to build a scalable, customised, global programme that can be delivered quickly, consistently to high quality, whilst managing costs. Although Unilever already had its own ‘standards of leadership’, they chose to adopt the Mind Gym’s seven key talents that drive manager performance because these are grounded in science. Two programmes were created: one for first line managers and one for manager leaders. Each programme was built around the seven core talents but designed and pitched for the specific audience. A manager that experienced both programmes as they progressed up the company, would recognise the core that runs between them and yet would also learn something completely new. A robust online diagnostic provided every manager with a detailed 24-page report revealing how their own self-rating compared with the views of those they manage, their peers and their boss. In order to deliver a standardised programme that resonated across markets and cultures, a network of coaches was specifically recruited and up-skilled to deliver the same core messages with local relevance and cultural acuity. At the time of writing, over 2,000 managers have taken part in UMDP. In the next four years, all managers will get the chance to partake in the programme and, in so doing, set a new performance standard for Unilever. CASE STUDY CASE STUDY
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  23. 23. Know more Website: www.themindgym.com Blog: www.themindgym.com/insights Twitter: @themindgym.com NA/DR3932_AW_PB/180315 UK 160 Kensington High St, London, W8 7RG, UK e: uk@themindgym.com t: +44 20 7376 0626 USA 13 West 36th St, New York, NY, 10018, USA e: usa@themindgym.com t: +1 646 649 4333 Singapore PWC Building, #28-63, 8 Cross Street, 048424, Singapore e: sg@themindgym.com t: +65 6850 7600 UAE Building 03, First Floor, Executive Office No. 114, Dubai, UAE e: uae@themindgym.com

Transkript

  1. 1. THERETURNOF THEMANAGERTHISTIMEIT’SPERSONAL CONSULTATIONEDITION|APRIL2015
  2. 2. 2 3 04 Managers matter 08 Where are all the great managers? 12 The Magnificent Seven 16 Relate 18 Coach 22 Energise 24 Innovate 28 Thrive 30 Direct 32 Execute 34 Manager leaders: the forgotten level 36 Unilever case study 38 References CONTENTS
  3. 3. 4 5 MANAGERS MATTER Most of us who work until retirement will have responsibility for managing other people. It’s a tough and often lonely job. Managers don’t get much love. In popular culture they’re usually portrayed as buffoons or beasts, whilst within the corporate hierarchy, middle managers tend to be seen as inefficient, ripe for cuts or a permafrost layer that prevents the CEO’s inspirational vision from being realised by the worthy worker. Managers of people are not only derided externally in the media and internally by their corporate chiefs, but they are also given one of the greatest challenges in company life: how to understand, organise and motivate people to work together to achieve more, better and faster. Much of the time they’re expected to do this with only rudimentary guidance and little release from all the other corporate demands. This report is for them: people who manage people. It’s also for the executives of organisations whose search for competitive advantage can lead them to spend vast sums on fancy IT systems and glamorous marketing campaigns that deliver uncertain outcomes in indeterminate time scales. As this report will show, the surer answer to their productivity conundrum is much closer to home. How to win In the recession of the 1980s, strategy determined which organisations came out strongest. Rigorous analysis trumped intuition on where to focus limited resources for maximum gain. By the downturn of the early 1990s, the companies with the cleverest use of technology found the fast track to recovery. Some used it to streamline their supply chain, others to better understand their customers. Emerging from the financial crisis of 2008, the fittest companies focused less on strategy and smart systems and more on process and control, minimising risk. Which brings us to today and the realisation that an over-reliance on process has sucked out initiative, engagement and innovation; it has been used as a surrogate for good management. Now the fittest companies are those that focus on talent – where employees feel their contribution matters and that they work in an environment which allows them to flourish. And who is it that creates this unique atmosphere? The overlooked manager. Money for nothing The great news for those holding the company’s purse strings is that good management costs little and delivers a lot. MANAGERS MATTER
  4. 4. 6 7 The team at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business measured the daily output for 23,878 workers matched to 1,940 bosses over five years from 2006 to 2010, resulting in nearly 6 million measurements1 . The workers came from a wide range of industries and companies but all did routine, computer- based work, e.g. retail checkout operators, airline gate agents and call centre workers. As each worker had, on average, four managers/supervisors a year, it was possible to determine the impact of a good manager compared to a poor one. Replacing a poor manager with a good one increased productivity from the same team members by a whopping 12%. That’s greater than the increase provided by many a costly (not to mention disruptive) IT investment. It was also greater than the boost provided by adding an extra employee to the team (11%). The electronic games industry is creative, knowledge-based and requires swift, efficient implementation. Each new game has two managers: the designer, who leads the creative team, and the producer, who leads the team that makes it all happen. In a robust study by professors at Wharton Business School, the quality of both managers was found to have a significant effect on the success of the game. The quality of the designer accounted for 7.4% of the variation in revenue, and the quality of the producer, 22.3%. That’s almost 30% of the success of a new game credited to the quality of the two managers leading it2 . It’s clear that swapping poor managers for good ones improves performance across industries. But what about within the same company? In a large US manufacturing firm, managers who demonstrated effective communication Change from the middle The traditional route to delivering change is either top down or bottom up. But what if both are flawed? Trickling initiatives down through a management hierarchy is unpredictable – will those in the upper echelons really change? – slow and by the time change reaches the front line (if it ever does) a new change is needed. Starting with the front line is just as precarious. Once the initiative has passed, managers tend to return to things just as they were. The UK banking division of Santander transformed branch customer service by equipping branch managers (and their immediate boss, the regional manager) to make real, sustainable and energetic changes. Some effort went into stopping senior groups from getting in the way, and individuals from the front line were asked for their views at the start of the programme. But the bulk of the effort, and investment, went towards changing how managers, and ‘managers of managers’ thought, felt and behaved. Before the programme started, Santander was among the worst rated organisations (not just banks) in the UK for service. Within eight months, Santander branch banks were at the same level as their peers. Santander went on to win ‘best branch bank for customer service’ two years in a row. Casestudy Great managers lead to better store performance 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0 -0.2 -0.4 -0.6 Correlation Net profit Controllable costs Transformational management Structured management Fig.1 and inclusiveness, gave feedback well, encouraged innovation and created career development plans saw a 50% increase in sales. The impact of managers was greater than a host of other HR factors, including knowledge accessibility and workforce optimisation3 . Great managers also led to improvements in net profit and controllable costs within different branches of a Dutch supermarket (Fig. 1)4 . Employees were interviewed to determine whether managers had a structured leadership style (defining roles, establishing routines, focusing on efficiency) or the more effective transformational style (building relationships, painting an energising vision of the future, encouraging innovation, helping employees thrive). Six months later, the branches in which transformational management was present reported significantly greater profits and reduced costs, as well as improved efficiency, general communication and readiness to innovate. There are plenty more studies that make the same point: managers who focus on getting the best from their people not only boost individual performance across a huge range of measures, but also boost results at the team and organisation levels5 . Compared to most other kinds of business outlay, astute investment in the quality of management is more certain to deliver a greater financial return faster and for longer. And yet most companies invest less in management development than in the desk, chair and computer that the manager uses. In the UK, the average spend on training per person is £2,5506 ; in the US it is $1,1697 . MANAGERS MATTER Good management delivers immediate returns in front line service roles but what about in more complex environments? Wise leaders are already changing where they place their bets.
  5. 5. 8 9 WHERE ARE ALL THE GREAT MANAGERS?
  6. 6. WHERE ARE ALL THE GREAT MANAGERS? 10 11 Most people who have to do it find managing people a struggle. In a survey of 150 leaders, 68% admitted they really don’t like being managers8 . So what’s going wrong? Our experience working with many of the world’s leading companies suggests five common pitfalls. 01. Management doesn’t count for much When it comes to rewards, promotions and praise, being a great people manager tends to count for less than making a strong individual contribution. SVPs and partners in global banks and management consultancies tell us that while, officially, they are assessed on people leadership, what really affected their bonus and promotion prospects was ‘hitting the numbers’. Even outside the high-octane world of global finance and professional services, it’s not uncommon for poor people managers who create high personal value to be better rewarded than excellent managers whose personal contribution is nearer the average. 02. As well, not instead People management is usually an extra responsibility that is added to managers’ current duties, meaning they’re expected to fit it into ‘magic time’ while still delivering on everything they did as an individual contributor. It’s little wonder then, that managers spend as little as 10% of their week actually managing front line employees and that this time is often spent checking compliance or fire-fighting immediate problems9 . What people management should really be about is organising others to do much of our old job so we can contribute greater value to the business. But this specific and challenging skill is one few managers are encouraged to develop. 03. Seeking the impossible Some companies publish over 100 competencies or expectations for their managers. This tends to have two adverse results: managers feel swamped and stop trying, and competency frameworks lose their currency. The answer lies in making people management sound simple, doable and, above all, worthwhile, which means focusing everyone on the few management skills that will have the most impact. 04. Management development: little and late Management and career development seem to be inextricably linked: in order to progress, you have to manage, regardless of whether or not you’re suited to it. In theory, this shouldn’t be a problem: management is a learnable skill. The trouble is that training happens too late (or not at all), and when it does happen, it rarely addresses the challenges that most new managers face. In a global survey, only 10% of respondents said their company’s front line manager training was effective in actually preparing them to lead people10 . What managers want (and need) is an ongoing programme of ‘quick hits’ on tackling tricky situations: dealing with someone who’s subtly undermining them, or moving from team member to manager without alienating old friends. They also want a little-and- often approach, which offers opportunities to try out their new skills, reflect on what works and get feedback on what they could do differently. 05. Good = popular One of the biggest (and most common) mistakes managers make is trying to be pals with the people they manage. (Remember Chandler in Friends?). Trying to be popular almost always leads to ineffectiveness and loss of respect. So, why do so many managers fall into the trap? In part, because their organisations push them. 360° feedback (which usually means upward feedback from direct reports) can become a substitute for assessing a manager’s effectiveness. If your people like you, you must be doing a good job. The reality is that very good managers can, for a while, be deeply unpopular, while poor and ineffectual ones can be thoroughly liked. Upward feedback provides useful insight but it shouldn’t be taken as the whole picture, or anything close. The real test of a manager is in their team’s performance: both the results they achieve and how they get there. WHERE ARE ALL THE GREAT MANAGERS?
  7. 7. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
  8. 8. 14 15 THE SEVEN TALENTS The team of psychologists at Mind Gym have analysed more than 100 peer-reviewed studies to unearth the factors that make the most difference to manager performance. They aren’t exhaustive, far from it. If you want to focus managers on what will make the most difference, this is where the research says you should point them. There have been two recent and notable meta-analyses that carved up the masses of data in rigorous and meaningful ways. The first meta-analysis (popularised by the SHL Talent Management Group) spoke of ‘The Great Eight’ manager competencies11 . The second (by John Meriac and colleagues) reliably reduced 168 manager dimensions into seven core skills12 . The two lists were not only very similar, but they also mapped onto Google’s work with people analytics (see below), and Yukl’s Flexible Leadership Theory13 . This allowed Mind Gym’s psychologists to create a simple but robust model: the seven talents. Over the following years, the seven talents have been tested in a wide range of leading organisations. The results have been emphatic. The seven manager talents now form the core of management development in some of the world’s most admired companies, including Unilever (see page 36), and are being introduced in dozens more. A first among equals One talent stands out above the rest. Relate sits in the centre because is it like a prism, able to multiply or dilute the effect of the other six talents. A manager who can form, reinforce and repair relationships with their team will get a disproportionate return on their efforts in the other areas. Conversely, a manager without this skill will find that, however much they excel at the other six talents, they will never have quite the same impact. Why? Because the quality of relationships determines how team members perceive, interpret and respond to everything their manager does – an interaction that is known in organisational psychology as the ‘leader- member-exchange’ or LMX. When a team member has a poor relationship with their manager, they’ll look for the worst, feeling in the out-group rather than part of the in-group. A good relationship means that the manager gets the benefit of the doubt. Team members will trust their manager’s actions to be in their own best interests, and reciprocate accordingly. Everyone feels part of the in-group. The team at Google gathered more than 10,000 observations to find out what defined the most effective managers from the rest. They identified the eight most important attributes which are consistent with Mind Gym’s seven talents.14 After a programme of training, individual coaching and performance reviews based on Google’s eight attributes,there was a statistically significant improvement in 75% of their worst-performing managers, which was very good news for almost everyone. Casestudy THE SEVEN TALENTS ENERGISE COACH INNOVAT E THRIVE DIRECT EXECUTE RELATE
  9. 9. 16 17 Create, strengthen and manage relationships with your team members RELATE The best working relationships aren’t friendships or ones that maintain harmony at all costs. They are relationships that get the best results for the business from the team. Individuals who have good relationships with their managers are healthier, happier15 and have better careers16 . They also perform better17 (putting in more discretionary effort18 ), are more innovative19 , more resilient during change20 , less likely to leave21 , and better at responding to feedback22 . Relationships between team colleagues are also highly significant. In a study on NHS wards, Professor Michael West (a member of Mind Gym’s Academic Board) demonstrated a correlation between strong teamwork and reduced mortality23 . Building appropriate relationships with direct reports, and ensuring they exist between peers, requires a complex set of skills that most of us develop throughout our career. The greatest opportunity for business is to give these skills to managers as they reach the first rung of the corporate ladder rather than wait until they step off it. In it together A manager’s first step to building good relationships is to be clear about what the team is here to do. This can take the form of goals and targets but it will be more compelling if a manager can clarify a team purpose and build a shared identity to motivate and inspire24 . As well as being crystal clear about what we are here to do, it pays to be clear about how we are going to behave towards each other and how we achieve our goals. This form of more explicit contracting sets expectations and makes it easier for everyone to respond if expectations are breached. Managers Sans Frontières In order to get the best from their teams, managers need to strike a delicate balance: focus too heavily on the relationships themselves and the goals slip out of reach; ignore a team’s needs, and commitment will falter. The answer? Boundaries. The most successful managers keep the relationships appropriate. They achieve this, often unconsciously, by maintaining a suitable balance between being too close and too distant. Category Too close The right range Too distant Priority Relationship Outcome Output Feedback Only praise Descriptive Overwhelmingly critical Poor performance Ignore and forgive Raise, discuss, move on Draw generalised conclusions Team members’ wellbeing Protective Attentive Unaware Manager’s personal life Indiscreet Selective Guarded Team dynamics Colluding Impartial Uninterested Availability Interfering Accessible Absent See themselves as… Friend Manager Boss Mind Gym’s psychologists, with the help of Professor Janet Reibstein (who sits on Mind Gym’s Academic Board) have, for the first time, tried to define the range for an appropriate manager-direct report relationship. In summary it looks like this (see Fig.2). The challenge with boundaries comes when they are breached, whether by the manager herself/himself or by their direct report. You’ve worked late nights, your boss is on your back, you’re not getting much attention at home – it’s only human to want a bit of appreciation. Tempting though it is, as an exhausted manager you must avoid looking to your team for empathy or positive strokes. If you do, then a boundary is crossed and it will be doubly hard to rebuild it. Equally, if you’ve ever managed a direct report who frightens you slightly, you know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of an intimidating demure. Imagine said direct report makes a joke which is subtly at your expense – others smirk or laugh. A boundary has clearly been crossed but what should you do, as the manager, without looking like you don’t have a sense of humour or begrudging your team’s reactions? At the heart of Relate is understanding what the boundaries are for appropriate working relationships, keeping to them where possible and repairing them when they are breached. It isn’t easy but it is critical. Fig.2 The most successful managers keep their relationships appropriate. RELATE Example profile of a manager
  10. 10. 18 19 The Stanford study which found a 12% increase in productivity when poor managers were swapped for great ones25 revealed that the single most important difference between poor and great managers was the degree to which they coached their team. Good manager coaching increases reports’ wellbeing, resilience, attitude to work, and ability to achieve stretching goals26 , as well as doubling the impact of training programmes27 . Organisations whose managers coach demonstrate 21% higher revenues than their competitors and, in a huge global analysis by PwC, the standard estimate of the ROI for coaching was 700%28 . From PRACTICE to GROW, there’s no shortage of coaching models. Yet, despite all these acronyms, the quality of coaching in most companies is mixed. Often managers are trained to coach based on what makes a good ‘executive coach’, rather than what makes a manager a good coach. When it comes to improving performance there are six aspects of coaching that have the biggest impact on a manager’s ability to coach: their motivation, their mindset and four key behaviours. At Mind Gym we packaged these under the title of ‘Commercial coaching’ and tested them with branch managers in one of the UK’s leading telecommunications companies. In 55% of branches that improved performance quarter on quarter the manager also reported using commercial coaching techniques. In the branches where performance declined, none of them did. Against a control group, in branches where commercial coaching was used, the team’s ability to hit their revenue targets rose by 29%. Commercial coaching is simple, flexible and undeniably effective. Enable others to be the best they can be COACH COACH Increase in productivity 12% Higher revenues 21% Ability to hit revenue targets 29% ROI for coaching 700%
  11. 11. 20 21 Distracted Focused Prejudging Curious Weakness-focused Strengths-focused I’m okay/you’re not okay I’m okay/you’re okay Parent/child Adult/adult Performance Potential and performance MINDSET I believe in you Managers who believe people’s abilities are fixed and cannot be improved make ineffective coaches. But managers who have a ‘growth mindset’30 , who believe that everyone can learn, develop and grow (even if it takes a lot of hard work) see much greater returns on their coaching investments31 . This is necessary but it isn’t sufficient. Here are a few other things that make up a healthy coaching mindset. BEHAVIOURS A new way to coach for performance MOTIVATION I believe it will help me For managers to coach well, they must believe it’s in their own best interest. The trouble is, coaching is like dieting – the sacrifice is immediate and painful, but the benefits don’t appear until much further down the road. The trick then, is for managers to find a long-term motivation: “It will make my job easier in the long run”, “I’m leaving a legacy”, “This will encourage the most talented grads to work in my team”. Leaders can also do their bit to encourage managers to play the long-game: measuring managers on longer-term goals and behaviours makes them more likely to coach their teams29 . WHAT IS COMMERCIAL COACHING? There are six ingredients in commercial coaching: a manager’s motivation, mindset and four key behaviours. COACH The managers of yesteryear approached development like an apprenticeship: showing employees exactly what to do and how to do it. Not only was this demotivating for the individuals, the ‘monkey see, monkey do’ approach also left them woefully ill-prepared for new and unexpected situations. More recently, the pendulum has swung the other way, with reports left to work things out for themselves, helped by a manager who only asks questions: “What do you think you should do?” or the eternally infuriating “What would you say if you did know the answer?” Coaching is at its most effective when managers flex between ‘ask’ and ‘tell’32 (balancing advocacy and inquiry), encouraging self-discovery but using their own expertise to facilitate the employee’s learning. Mind Gym’s psychologists synthesised the findings of three key research papers33 on coaching for performance, to create four key behaviours that will help managers do just that. They are: Enable: create a learning environment where coachees can fail and flourish Challenge: use insightful questioning to help coachees to raise the bar and think differently about their most pressing challenges Observe: pay attention to an individual’s learning and provide specific and descriptive feedback in the moment Guide: use your expertise and status to show and smooth the way, highlighting progress and successes They fit into the learning cycle like this: Review How did that go? Try it out What will you do? Move forward What can be done better? Observe Guide Enable Challenge
  12. 12. 22 23 ENERGISEGive hope, build momentum and share your passion Emotional energy (both positive and negative) is infectious34 . This is called emotional contagion and it leaves managers with a choice: act as they please and hope their moodier days won’t affect their team (they will) or ramp up the positive energy and spread it through the ranks. Thankfully, there’s no innate skill required to be an energiser, and no one personality type works better than another – quietly passionate can be more effective than jump-and-shout evangelism. The benefits, meanwhile, are endless. Energised teams are more creative35 , collaborative36 , efficient37 , focused38 and decisive39 . They’re better at solving problems40 , better at handling conflict41 , and less likely to be absent or leave the business42 . What’s more, positive energy spreads through organisations, multiplying performance as it travels. When one team member energises another, the performance of both employees improves43 . So how can managers start generating and conducting energy through their teams? Here are five ways to spread the zest. ENERGISE It’s easy to feel energised at the start of something. But when a team has been soldiering on for weeks, or they’ve hit a rough patch, their energy won’t last without help. At this point, one of the most powerful things a manager can do is show them the progress they’re making. In a study of 12,000 people, ‘showing progress’ was the single most important thing managers could do to improve their team’s day-to-day enjoyment of work47 . Creating and celebrating mini milestones throughout a long project, starting each week with a progress story, or using one-to-ones to celebrate personal development are just some of the things managers can do. 05. Progress Over time, positive emotions help us to build new skills and resources, as well as increasing our levels of creativity, inventiveness, ‘big picture’ focus, and resilience45 . Managers have two key parts to play in fostering positive emotions in their team. The first is affirming people so that they feel valued. The second is giving people ‘hope’, which psychologist Charles R. Snyder defines as both the willpower (motivation) and the waypower (skills and opportunity) to achieve your goals46 . 04. Positivity Passion doesn’t have to mean jumping around in forced jubilation. What people want above all from their leaders is authenticity44 , so if demonstrations of extrovert levels of excitement aren’t their managerial style, managers shouldn’t try to fake it. But they should find their own version of passion – a quiet, unshakeable faith, for instance, or intense levels of focus. However their passion manifests itself, expressing it in the right way is crucial. The best energisers use language that is optimistic, engaging and decisive. 02. Passion Does my work matter? Our job could involve anything from generating record profits to saving lives, but if we feel it’s futile we won’t be able to muster much energy. Managers can unearth purpose by considering three questions: what motivates me on a personal level to do what I do? How do my efforts contribute to a collective purpose? What is the ideal outcome of my work? Helping your team visualise the outcome gives an extra boost of energy through generating emotional connections. Paying attention to the ‘why’ is as critical as the ‘what’ when it comes to energising people. 01. Purpose Creating a climate of positive energy is as much about reading and responding to other people’s emotions as emitting your own. The best managers are present – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. They leave their own worries at the door, tune into how their team members are feeling by observing tone of voice, facial expressions and body language, and don’t respond until they are truly ‘in the room’. 03. Present Rob Cross, Professor of Management at the University of Virginia, has been leading new research, mapping how energy spreads in large organisations48 . In a highly energised organisation, Cross’s mapping diagrams look like the one on the left – the majority of people are conductors for energy, passing it on to others. In organisations where energy is low, the diagrams look like the one on the right: there are fewer conductors, and the energy stops when it reaches people who are unable to pass it on. Some people don’t have any lines at all. These are ‘energy sappers’ who don’t conduct, receive or create energy. Networkingwithadifference
  13. 13. 24 25 Create a community that’s willing and able to innovate If we asked you to name 10 highly innovative companies, who would you choose? Apple? Google? Dyson? Whoever you picked, chances are they would have two things in common: a constant stream of new products and services, and a visionary leader. While there’s no doubt that these are linked to innovation, what really sets the trailblazers apart is something more mundane. It’s the ability to keep noticing and changing things. Not just the big things but the tiny, seemingly insignificant details. What’s more, the driving force behind this behaviour isn’t usually an ingenious CEO but a manager who can create a community that can innovate by setting the stage, rather than leading from the front49 . It is they who encourage innovation by deciding which ideas to champion, which to reshape and which to kill, and it is they who nourish innovation every working day. Welcome to the club Managers can teach their reports all the innovation skills under the sun. They can praise them and encourage them until the cows are not only home, but brainstorming in the shed. But without the right culture, innovation will wither and die. The right culture is one that supports teams through the challenges they will face at all five stages of innovation, and creating it involves a multitude of changes, from practical steps (building innovation time into the working week) to attitudinal shifts (encouraging reports to see even the most basic process as ripe for improvement). INNOVATE INNOVATE Implement Scale up to implement and commercialise, if relevant Context Provide a strong framework which clarifies your team’s purpose, values and ways of working Form Help shape initial ideas into something viable Create Welcome ideas, however unformed, whoever they come from; pose questions to challenge and gather fresh ideas Select Choose concepts to focus on; test a prototype or experiment with pilots; revise, decide whether to ditch ideas constructively with a clear rationale
  14. 14. 26 27 Situation Stifler Nourisher Tends to talk about Outputs Ideas When something goes wrong, focuses on What went wrong and why What to do to prevent something similar happening in future When chairing a discussion Gives their views first and asks if there are any questions Listens first, then gives their views In project/team meetings Pushes to decide on actions and agree responsibilities quickly Encourages everyone to share their views and probes to elaborate When people disagree Comes down on one side of the argument and explains why Validates and celebrates the value of different opinions Opinions Consistent in their views Changes their mind as they learn something new In setting goals Sets unrealistic targets Sets stretching but achievable goals In time horizon Focuses quarter by quarter Focuses on the long term as well as the short term In relation to change Prioritises maintaining stability Constructively challenges the status quo When facing an idea Keeps a realistic focus on current constraints Tests feasibility Rejects an idea Without always sharing the reason With a strong rationale With a network Prefers to share an idea once fully formed or implemented Seeks input and tests ideas In experimenting Manages the risk by keeping close control Sets a clear framework for experimentation In translating ideas into practice Can minimise real concerns others hold about details Respects the details of reality Fig.3 Leading for innovation While your managers don’t necessarily need to be innovative, there are consistent behaviours they’ll need to develop (and just as many they’ll need to put out to pasture) if innovation is to thrive. The aim should be to move from innovation stifler to innovation nourisher (see Fig. 3). The power of discovery In most organisations, innovation skills are rarely taught and barely valued. ’Generators’ (those who are restlessly discontent with the status quo) are worryingly underrepresented50 because the emphasis is on execution skills over innovation. It’s a bias that is pronounced in organisations at every level – right the way up to the CEOs51 . The truth is, we need both, to differing degrees depending on the organisation. In the Apples and Dysons of this world, innovation and execution skills aren’t just equally valued, they’re intertwined: one cannot exist without the other. The good news is that innovators demonstrate key discovery behaviours that can be taught52 . We don’t have to be born innovators but instead by developing our curiosity, our exploration, our connections and our willingness to experiment we can all create a culture where innovation can flourish. INNOVATE
  15. 15. 28 29 THRIVEBeing at your best more of the time In recent years, organisations have begun to invest heavily in employee wellbeing. The average annual spend per employee has doubled in the last five years53 , and 95% of organisations now offer some sort of wellbeing initiative (compared to 57% in 2009)54 . Sadly, none of the workplace gyms, bowls of free fruit, or visits from the GP seem to be making much difference. Two thirds of UK employees still feel overwhelmed55 , and in the US, 50% of employees assume they will work while on holiday56 . At the heart of the problem lies a common misconception around responsibility. Organisations feel a duty to ‘fix’ employees, when their role should actually be to equip employees with the psychological tools needed to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and control what they can control. With the right tools, employees can choose to spend more time feeling energised, alive and challenged through learning. They can choose not just to survive in an increasingly demanding workplace, but to thrive in it. THRIVE AmodelofThrive Stagnant High vitality Low vitality Growing Recharging Languishing Thriving Bound for burn-out Of course, nobody can thrive all the time, but employees can learn to be more aware of their recurrent patterns – how they move around the four quadrants and what tips them into a particular box – so that they can spend more time in the two orange boxes. Those who manage this are more creative (three times more, according to one meta- analysis57 ), more productive, more satisfied, and less burnt out58 . Unsurprisingly, the best way to create an organisation of thrivers is to start with managers. Once they are thriving, they’ll not only provide a model for employees to follow but be better equipped to help them along the way. Focusing on a few key areas can make a striking difference to managers’ ability to thrive over time. Mind over matter Managers who thrive do so by choosing how they think. They are aware of the toxic thinking traps they fall into most often such as ruminating, unhealthy perfectionism and creating what some psychologists have termed ‘catastrophic fantasies’ and they choose to avoid them by reframing their thoughts more positively. They’re also kind to themselves, a trait that countless studies have found crucial to thriving, from Paul Gilbert’s work on compassion59 , to Brene Brown’s findings that being vulnerable at work actually increases our wellbeing60 . And finally, they harness positive experiences and emotions, building psychological resources that help them thrive in the longer term61 . Three questions are key after a positive encounter: What did that make me grateful for? What resources did it build in me? What’s the one positive thought I can keep with me to use in the future? Walk the walk Actions often speak larger than thoughts in terms of thriving, as proved by Professor Elaine Fox62 (who sits on Mind Gym’s Academic Board). There are three key choices that thriving managers can make in their actions: noticing what has made them feel good in the past and building it into their lives (we are staggeringly bad at predicting what will bring us joy in the future); surrounding themselves with people who boost them further when they’re already thriving; and developing habits that protect their ability to thrive (e.g. creating habits that enhance connections with others – one of the few sources of lasting happiness)63 . Themodernaddiction Most of us are struggling with a very damaging addiction to the instant gratification of smart phones, whose ‘ping’ causes our bodies to release dopamine. The average person checks their phone 150 times a day64 and gets anxious after only 10 minutes away from it65 . Some people even feel their phone vibrating when they know it’s switched off66 . And on average, employees can only focus for seven minutes before changing screens67 . Many of us tell ourselves we’re multitasking – and getting lots done in the process. But since our brains only hold between five and nine pieces of information at once68 , switching back and forth between endless activities simply wastes attentional energy. We’re at least 25% less effective when we multitask69 . But our skittering attention has more serious consequences: it leaves us unable to switch off and recharge, which is damaging to our physical and emotional wellbeing. No wonder stress costs the UK economy £10bn a year70 . Individuals who thrive (even in the toughest times) are those who can break out of technology’s addictive cycle71 .
  16. 16. 30 31 Set the direction of travel, making it clear who is driving what DIRECT Clear direction is one of the three factors that drive superior business performance according to a major study by McKinsey (the other two are accountability and a culture of trust)72 . It isn’t easy to get right. In recent years there has been a significant shift in leadership research away from trait-centred theories (all about the leaders’ personal qualities) to situational leadership, and more recently to collective or distributed models, where the emphasis is on mobilising people towards common, collaborative goals, and framing those goals in a way that makes sense to them73 . Meanwhile, research has also found that micromanagement not only reduces employee engagement but also performance74 . It seems clear that managers need to step back. The question is: by how much? Box top leadership Creating a vision for the future is essential but it will need wings. Employees need to understand why this vision was chosen, what alternative visions were rejected and how the vision is most likely to affect them. The term ‘Box top leadership’ stems from the traditional puzzle of jigsaw which had the picture of the completed work on the top of the box. When managers do this well, their colleagues will make more consistent judgements when faced with a new ‘piece’ and no one around to ask. In it together Of course, there’s little point in managers setting out a clear direction if they can’t convince their people to come along for the ride. One of the most effective approaches for gaining employee buy-in is what Louis Fox calls ‘spiritual leadership’75 . Managers share the organisational vision in such a way that employees not only understand it but develop their own personal interpretation and reasons for believing in it. They are able to tell the story of the organisation’s future in their own way, to the people that matter. In other words, they’re not just singing from the same hymn sheet, they’re part of the same religion. Get some perspective One of the dilemmas managers face when providing direction is knowing how close to get. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a Professor of strategy at Harvard, has spent over 25 years working with business leaders researching strategic thinking and decision-making. She found that to be great at directing, managers need all perspectives – from the bird’s eye view (big picture thinking, long-term focus, delegating the details) to the worm’s eye view (near-term focus, directing the details), and every view in between. Those who set direction best are able to shift vantage point regularly and seamlessly. She also found, however, that most people have a default preference and so need to master consciously switching their perspective76 . DIRECT Zoom out too far and they could miss something vital; stay too close and they could lose sight of the bigger picture or morph into the dreaded micromanager.
  17. 17. 32 33 Deliver on promises, on time, in style and through others EXECUTE There isn’t much sexy about ‘execution’. But when Mind Gym team asked the people at the top of companies, – from Paul Walsh, when he was CEO of Diageo, to Luis Miranda, when he was Chairman of IDFC (who built more power stations than the Indian government)77 – what they most want in their managers, the answer was unequivocal: the ability to execute. When RBS studied the impact of a tier of regional management, they were surprised to discover that the ‘best’ managers had the same impact on branch performance as the ‘worst’. The hyperactive regional manager kept coming up with new activities and distracted the exhausted branch employees so much that they weren’t able to follow through. The more lackadaisical regional managers would give instructions on their occasional branch tour but never followed up so the branch team would nod in agreement and then get on with things as they always had done. The key to effective execution is focus and accountability. Of the 17 traits that make organisations effective at executing79 , at the top of the list was accountability: “everyone has a good idea of the decisions and actions for which he or she is responsible”. In companies that were strong on execution, 71% agreed with this statement; in organisations that weren’t, the figure dropped to 32%. The ABCD of accountability offers a simple checklist to ensure that this is properly set up. – Authority levels: what do your team have full authority to do and where do they need sign off? – Boundaries: what is in scope and what is not? – Controls: how will you monitor progress? – Deliverables: what needs to be delivered, how and when? Of these, it is the ‘C’, Controls, that tends to need most attention. Part of the answer is data, in particular information that is a strong predictor of future trouble rather than reporting on what has already gone wrong. Controls also mean being clear about what deliverables are to be expected and when, and then following up. Once a rhythm for reporting has been agreed, it is important that everyone sticks to it. Check in too often and a manager risks all the pitfalls of micromanagement, including ending up doing the work themselves. But fail to keep to the regular reviews and it may well be too late when you find that someone has veered off course. Executing through others isn’t just about giving their reports accountability and checking in on them. Managers must also be accountable themselves for facilitating their journey by, for example, providing the necessary air cover from more senior management, helping to anticipate and remove road-blocks, and building perseverance when the going gets tough. Managers who find it difficult to get results tend to have trouble separating being busy and getting things done. The urgency addiction can take hold. Often with the best of intentions, they try to do everything. The result is a lot of noise, an exhausted manager and little to show for it. The manager who executes well not only has a lot of energy but knows where to point it. They identify what is necessary or likely to have the greatest effect and concentrate their effort on that. They also recognise that their time is the scarcest resource in the team and so learning how to use that well will deliver a greater return than almost anything else in their control. To tell how well focused you are, answer four short questions: – Which one aspect of my role can have the biggest positive impact on my objective? – What percentage of my time do I currently spend on this? – What percentage of my time should I spend on this? – How can I increase this percentage? 01. Focus 01. Focus (cont.) 02. Accountability Attention Low High EnergyLow High Focused managers Procrastinating managers Detached managers Busy managers EXECUTE 78
  18. 18. 34 35 However much they’d like to leave it behind, most senior leaders still do a lot of people management. And the more senior they are, the more important it is for them to get it right – errors can quickly ripple down the management hierarchy, intensifying as they go. The most common mistake that manager leaders (sometimes called ‘managers of managers’) make is to manage their reports as if they are still individual contributors (how are you doing against your goals?) rather than managers of people (how are you building the capability of your team?). Here are just a few of the key differences between these three very distinct levels. MANAGER LEADERS: the forgotten level MANAGER LEADERS Individual contributor Manager Manager leader You do your job well You coach your direct reports on how to do their job well You coach your direct reports on how to manage others to do their job well You know how well you’re doing and whom to ask if you’re not You’re in direct contact with the people who do the work and so have a clear view of how each member of your team is performing You rely on data and your managers to let you know how their people are performing You use your technical skills most of the time You’re a technical expert and you use that knowledge to guide your direct reports Your technical knowledge may be out of date and is likely to be less relevant than your advice on how to coach/motivate/lead others to perform at their peak You’re responsible for, and in control of, the quality of your work You oversee your team members and can have a high level of influence over the quality of the work that they do You hold your managers accountable for the quality of their teams’ work, often with little knowledge about what those team members are doing day-to-day (or week-to-week).
  19. 19. 36 37 I learnt new knowledge and skills from attending the program 100% The program was a worthwhile investment100% I have been able to successfully apply the knowledge and skills I learnt to my job. Of these, 91% said they were able to apply their learning within just 2-4 weeks. 96% The program has improved my performance at work90.5% The program has had a positive impact on my engagement 82.5% The program was a worthwhile investment in my career development 95.5% “Management development can sometimes be perceived as the poor cousin to leadership development, whereas the reality is that you need both to succeed and thrive. As well as the training transfer data which is demonstrating the value created by applying these skills back in the workplace, one of the things I’m most struck by is how this programme is reinvigorating the sense of pride in being a great manager”. Nick Pope, Global Learning Director, Unilever Results To evaluate the impact of the programme, a selection of managers who took part in UMDP were asked a series of questions three months later. Here is what they said: Global management development at Unilever Unilever CEO, Paul Polman, set the direction for the business to grow from €40bn to €80bn whilst reducing its environmental impact and making a positive social impact. It intends to grow volume in every category, in every country, and central to achieving these targets is talent. The last employee engagement survey showed that line manager capability was an area that, if improved, would significantly impact the company’s ability to ‘win with our people’, which is a cornerstone of the Unilever strategy. The Unilever Management Development Programme (UMDP) is the first time a single programme has been introduced to build the capabilities of Unilever’s 15,500 supervisors, first and second line managers across 33 countries. The ambition was to build a scalable, customised, global programme that can be delivered quickly, consistently to high quality, whilst managing costs. Although Unilever already had its own ‘standards of leadership’, they chose to adopt the Mind Gym’s seven key talents that drive manager performance because these are grounded in science. Two programmes were created: one for first line managers and one for manager leaders. Each programme was built around the seven core talents but designed and pitched for the specific audience. A manager that experienced both programmes as they progressed up the company, would recognise the core that runs between them and yet would also learn something completely new. A robust online diagnostic provided every manager with a detailed 24-page report revealing how their own self-rating compared with the views of those they manage, their peers and their boss. In order to deliver a standardised programme that resonated across markets and cultures, a network of coaches was specifically recruited and up-skilled to deliver the same core messages with local relevance and cultural acuity. At the time of writing, over 2,000 managers have taken part in UMDP. In the next four years, all managers will get the chance to partake in the programme and, in so doing, set a new performance standard for Unilever. CASE STUDY CASE STUDY
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  23. 23. Know more Website: www.themindgym.com Blog: www.themindgym.com/insights Twitter: @themindgym.com NA/DR3932_AW_PB/180315 UK 160 Kensington High St, London, W8 7RG, UK e: uk@themindgym.com t: +44 20 7376 0626 USA 13 West 36th St, New York, NY, 10018, USA e: usa@themindgym.com t: +1 646 649 4333 Singapore PWC Building, #28-63, 8 Cross Street, 048424, Singapore e: sg@themindgym.com t: +65 6850 7600 UAE Building 03, First Floor, Executive Office No. 114, Dubai, UAE e: uae@themindgym.com

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