Feeling excited enroute to an Away Day with a new client…

…because each client is unique and, although I have done scores and scores of Away Days over 13 years, each Away Day is an unique experience for them and for me. The preparation is the same for all and has changed little over the years: I ask them to write an essay on their lives todate with as much detail on their career joys and sorrows that they can bear to share. This helps me to unpack quickly the influences on their character and career paths.  They range from two to fifty pages but are always moving. I also speak to five people who know them well at work. I try to speak to a life partner as they have a particular perspective. Once a client asked me to speak to their mother as well as their partner. That was a great conversation. I ask five questions: What are they very good at doing at work?  Separately, what do they enjoy? What is their outstanding behavioural weakness at work? What should they do with their careers to be fulfilled? How can I help them in small ways? These calls are very helpful to my process and people are invariably kind and generous even when they are giving tough feedback. Using all this information I spend almost a day with my new client. The morning is pretty intense as I bring them through my model – The Fenton Model – which I have developed to help leaders manage their leadership careers as small businesses. I give them tools and models and help them reframe their purpose, strategy and behaviour. There is pressure on me to deliver one major “ah-ha” moment in the day. So far I have achieved this. It’s about holding up a mirror to them in a manner which helps them achieve a deeper insight. After an intense morning we have a relaxed lunch and get to know each other. This is important as we spend many months together on my programme and the foundation for that relationship starts that day. So, this morning I have read the essay and digested my notes from the calls and now I’m ready. Feeling excited but with a necessary edge of nervous anticipation. This keeps me on my toes…

Ciaran
Details of my next workshop: HERE

The 7 Deadly Sins of Nascent NEDs

The 7 Deadly Sins of Nascent NEDs
I’m doing a lot of work with NEDs at the moment and have come up with the following seven deadly sins:

  1. Frightening the CEO and/or other directors
  2. Forgetting how to sell at interview
  3. Asserting rather than demonstrating competence with stories
  4. Needing to be an NED rather than wanting to be one
  5. No marketing plan
  6. Ignoring their unique experiences as a differentiator
  7. Failure to display high Emotional Intelligence

 

My next workshop:
The Fenton Model™: Non-Executive Portfolio Workshop

Maximise your chances of building a fulfilling portfolio of Non-Executive Directorships using The Fenton Model™

The Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London

25th February 2016, 9.00am – 5.30pm

You will –

  • Be a leader with significant career achievements
  • Have demonstrable qualities that will be assets in an NED role
  • Be actively seeking NED roles.

You will come away with –

  • Tools to set and find portfolio targets that are likely to be met
  • A plan to meet market needs in a personal proposition
  • A strategy to win at interview against competing NEDs

“Ciaran and his Model made a significant difference to my approach, and to building my NED portfolio” Greg Tufnell, NED
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION & TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE CLICK HERE

The Fenton Model™: 7 Principles

1.People are not human capital assets – they are unique, individual career businesses; people, not organisations, own their own career value

2.Organisations are joint ventures of these career businesses, for brief periods  

3.Organisations use interviews to hire the least risky, not necessarily the best

4.Personal purpose, strategy and behaviour and organisational purpose, strategy and behaviour are inter-dependent

5.Mediated agreement on behavioural change to achieve personal and organisational purpose is a powerful way to overcome behavioural liabilities within boards and teams

6.Legislating for the breach of behaviour agreements mitigates the risks of failure and maximises the chances of success

7.Changing ten career actions in every hundred is only 10% change – that’s small change; people can change, if they are shown how

Ciaran

My next workshop:

The Fenton Model™: Non-Executive Portfolio Workshop

Presented by Ciarán Fenton

Maximise your chances of building a fulfilling portfolio of Non-Executive Directorships using The Fenton Model™

The Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London

25th February 2016, 9.00am – 5.30pm

You will –

  • Be a leader with significant career achievements
  • Have demonstrable qualities that will be assets in an NED role
  • Be actively seeking NED roles.

You will come away with –

  • Tools to set and find portfolio targets that are likely to be met
  • A plan to meet market needs in a personal proposition
  • A strategy to win at interview against competing NEDs

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION & TO RESERVE YOUR PLACE CLICK HERE

The one dissenting judge to the #ECHR ruling on monitoring employee emails opened a can of…

….worms when he said: “Workers do not abandon their right to privacy and data protection every morning at the doors of the workplace….the employers right to interfere with the employee’s communications is not unrestricted.” The other six judges disagreed with him. I can see why. Why would you give someone a computer and pay for their time to work on your business only to find they are using your money for their own private purposes. Nevertheless, the memorably  named dissenting judge – Paulo Sergio Pinto de Albuquerque – prompts me to ask a question: are employees human resources or capital assets whose entire being the corporation owns, once they clock in? I think not. I believe the opposite: employees are small career businesses. Jobs are joint ventures. Organisations are coalitions of these JVs for short periods. The ruling may be technically correct but businesses should be careful. No one really believes in the human capital asset conceit. I once asked a seminar full of HRDs, many of them from FTSE companies, to “up hands” if they loved being human capital assets. No hands. So, if organisations continue to treat employees as if they own them, when they don’t and can’t, they shouldn’t be surprised that they don’t get the value they could be getting from them if they treated each one as the unique, small career business, joint venture contributor they are and can be. 

Ciaran
Next workshop:

How to build a Non-Exec Portfolio using The FENTON Modeltm 
 

The 7 Deadly Sins of Nascent ﹟NEDs: §1 Unclear personal purpose and strategy…

The 7 Deadly Sins of nascent NEDs

§1: Absent or unclear personal purpose and strategy

Boards need to know that their new NEDs are fully committed to being NEDs and are not merely frustrated CEOs. The hiring CEOs and their boards fear that some NED applicants are settling, very reluctantly, for the next best thing to being a CEO. For them, an unsettled NED is a nightmare waiting to happen and far too close for comfort at that. So, it’s important that the market feels that you are ready, mentally, to be a NED and that you are ready to move on and help CEOs and boards benefit from your experiences and learn from your mistakes, not breath down their necks.  You will have reviewed your life with more than a modicum of emotional intelligence and with the wisdom you have developed over years. You will have reviewed your old purpose and thoughtfully decided on a new one. Purpose is not a proper noun with one meaning as in the cliché: “purpose driven”, as if, somehow, it were a unique hijacked load carried by a surreal lorry driver. Purpose is a humble ordinary noun. It can be whatever you want it to be. You will come up with a meaningful purpose for your NED portfolio. Then you will communicate it. You will be chilled and avuncular, not grumpy and scary.

You also need a strategy to achieve your portfolio purpose because, whether you like it or not, you are now a small NED professional services business selling your services for cash and, mainly, soft benefits. All the art and science of business can, and must, be applied to you. Strategy is about “how” you achieve your new purpose. Would-be NEDs struggle if they forget the very business principles that drove their success in the first place. One of these drivers, invariably, was their natural instinct in setting the right strategy for their businesses. Now, more than ever, you need to dust down these skills. Your new strategy for your new purpose will of course differ from other NEDs. Indeed you will have a competitive advantage over them if you have done this thinking. But without out a strategy it’s unlikely that you will succeed in building your best portfolio. Sure, you may secure some roles. But you won’t build the best and most fulfilling portfolio you deserve which, with a small change in behaviour and the right strategy, you could have built.

Purpose

strategy

 

Ciaran

My next workshop is on Thursday 25th. February at the IOD, London:

One-Day Workshop: How to Build a Non-Exec Portfolio

A friend refers me to The Grapes of Wrath Ch. 5 which chillingly…

…captures the personification of organisations: “…The Bank – or the Company – needs – wants  – insists – must have – as though the Bank or the Company were a monster, with thought and feeling, which has ensnared them. These last would take no responsibility for the  banks or the companies because they were men and slaves, while the banks were machines and masters all at the same time. Some of the owner men were a little proud to be slaves to such cold and powerful masters”.

The words  “..as the same time…” resonate with my experience of organisations which are, in my view, a coalition of small career businesses and don’t exist in their own right, except in law.  My friend, like me, believes that change in organisations will be driven by changes in individual behaviour and that the time has come in the 21st. Century to stop treating organisations and if they are separate personalities. My friend says “If ever organisations needed a reason for a purpose with humanity then Steinbeck certainly makes the case”. He’s right.

Ciaran

helping leaders change

My next workshop: How to build a Portfolio of Non-Executive Directorships

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