Talking to Leaders - Interview Series

Don’t become a busy fool! Effectiveness or efficiency? ask your coach!

Picture2For our next episode in this leadership and management series, I have the pleasure to introduce Pedro Angulo from Prospectus.

When it comes to leading and finding the right people, Pedro knows what he is talking about, simply have a look at his LinkedIn profile and you will be convinced, and when I asked him ‘What is the best business advice you have ever received?’, he paused. ‘That’s a good question… Definitely: don’t become a busy fool! Reflect. Take the time to ensure you are doing the right thing.’ That’s for sure an advice to adopt and actually, I have often mentioned it to my clients. This is all the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. In today’s world, we tend to be all busier than we can… but is this really true or necessary? The issue actually is that employees are often ranked on how busy they are rather than on how effective they are, which creates a completely wrong trend in motivation… being busy, killing time, staying late, etc… without assessing if all this is really useful, and then came an employee that is able to be effective… still she/he may have to stay in the office longer than needed just to be busy… not the best way to create great work/life balance. In NLP coaching, we touch that subject by emphasizing the importance of focus, setting tasks and reviewing, on regular basis, if they are the right tasks; in other words, if the work produced is effective.

Effectiveness versus efficiency, our first change of perspective for today. So let’s talk about change, and I went ahead, ‘Pedro, what is for you the most important point in change management?’ Pedro has no hesitation there; ‘The main, main, main point in change management is to engage heart and mind of the people, this and only this allows them to support the change and maximize the benefits of what you’re trying to achieve. Too often the focus is on systems, processes rather than on people, this means lack of commitment, new and old ways running at the same time and… a failed change process.’ Now, this is not new, Mary Lou Nolan mentioned the same in our first episode in ‘talking to leaders’. Why is this still happening? Pedro went on, ‘we are missing true leaders. We have plenty of managers, but not enough true leaders.’ That’s quite an interesting point worth exploring, right? So I asked ‘Can you explain further?’ Pedro smiled, ‘Managers are more about compliance than commitment, they are more about control, policy, procedures, systems, tasks, etc… Leader are really about the people, about long term versus short term, they bring positive energy in the business and inspire people.’ Lately, I have to say, I have seen countless trainings in leadership popping up in Google search. Can you really take a two days class and become a leader? From my perspective, impossible… a two days class is going to give you information on qualities needed for leadership, knowledge of tools that can assist in the job, however all this can only work if supported by a good coaching program, bringing everything in situational learning, and the beauty of NLP coaching is really to first tell you who you are, how you work, and how you can modify that, developing a great awareness of you and others. So I went on, ‘Pedro, what advices would you have for developing leaders?’ And Pedro to reply, ‘Interesting question… the problem with leadership program if that they may create clones rather than leaders. You can’t develop leadership without a 1:1 approach. Leaders need notion of emotional intelligence, awareness of others, awareness of their behaviours. You really need a 1:1 approach working according to the person, and you want leaders to develop charisma, and more important develop an easiness with differences, kind of being happy with differences.’ Waouh… lot of information there. In NLP we often refer to ‘model of the world,’ each of us having a specific ‘model of the world’ and you want to welcome this difference and work from it, then you can actually expand your vision and your knowledge, or find new ways of approaching situations.

Of course I kept my favourite question coming next, ‘Pedro, tell me how do you see coaching in business?’ There was no pause there. Pedro is actually involved with the EMCC and knows for sure about coaching; ‘Coaching has a huge role to play! The coach is really there for the individual and coaching is really powerful. During the 1:1 there is no place for fear, negatives consequences; people can really be open and honest and tell things the way they are. That’s so important for emerging or confirmed leader to have this support.’ Definitely what every coach want to hear, and definitely something true. This is why managers cannot really coach their team… They can advise their folks, guide them, mentor them but not coach them… because of the hierarchical link. It does not mean the coach has to be external however the coach has to be external from the day-to-day activities, and able to create a perfect climate of trust and respect, supported by a coaching agreement.
Now, Pedro being head of HR, I decided to throw in an extra question… ‘Pedro, what do you think are the biggest challenges for HR at the moment?’ and yes I know, a tough question… but Pedro kept his focus, ‘too many at the moment… HR is still trying to find a place in the business, and understand how to add value. HR has to see themselves as partner and leader of business. At the moment there is still too much focus on processes and tools, we are back to our efficiency versus effectiveness, but there’s progress, things are definitely going in the right direction.’ And you know what? To keep going in the right direction, call your coach!

Thanks again to Pedro Angulo from Prospectus for giving me 15 minutes of his time for this inspiring phone conversation.

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