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Aerospace BizDev News from Linda Wolstencroft
Newsletter #56 – Feb
16th, 2016

Linda Wolstencroft’s monthly Newsletter offers business leaders insights on achieving the next big win.

Let’s Start with the Answer: Not (always) the right start

I know an expert on a life threatening disease that has been asked to participate in an important policy conversation that will influence the lives of Canadians. This is important because should it result in the wrong outcome, some of our children and grandchildren will die unnecessarily. I have experience with this expert and I know his track record. The problem is that his track record and the pre-ordained outcome of the conversation are at odds. In other words, this is orchestrated.  There is no room for listening to success stories and research that show that perhaps the right answer is not what is pre-ordained.

I contrast this with work that has been done to put other policies in place, such as work done on the Aerospace Review and on the Defence Procurement Strategy. In both cases, there was an outreach and true input from all stakeholders. Further, the reviews were public and were led by informed, experienced and well-respected individuals (Mr. Emerson and Mr. Jenkins).

So I ask, if the methodology exists for gathering information and making important decisions such as for the Aerospace Review and the Defence Procurement Strategy, why are we not doing so now for other important decisions?

I am not privy to all the details but from an outsider’s perspective it doesn’t seem right.

In business, there is a tendency to “start with the answer” and then verify it, for political or short-term gain.  Examples of this are situations in which the stamp of a new leader needs to be put on the organization; or a new team member needs to show their value quickly, or when a new employee has to pass his probation period.

Here are some points to consider:

Are you honouring what came before you?  Being new to the organization, you may not fully understand the rationale behind systems, processes and decisions. It’s good to change things, but before you do so, be sure to do the work to gain this understanding.

How are you honouring the hard work that had been done by those before you?  Even if you wholeheartedly disagree, those before you most likely thought that they were doing the right thing. Throwing someone else under the bus so that you can appear to be a hero is bad form, and further, it will cause others to distrust you.

Are you giving credit where it is due? Colleagues, staff and leaders all contribute to outcomes; typically it is a team that generates positive results. It may seem like a good idea to take credit, especially when it is offered, but be careful not to undermine those with whom you will need to work in the future to achieve the next positive outcome.

Are you making a connection? My father, who led an engineering business, said to me, “You go to work, to do work.” He meant that work was about the work. He built a successful career and company by making connections based on the shared altruistic value of the work that he and his team were doing for their customers.

Are you listening? There is much value in every individual you are working with, no matter what job they are doing. Tap into that value and listen and learn from them.

Are you sharing information? It is tempting at times to keep information close so your value to the organization becomes, in part, the value of the information that you - and you alone - are privy to. This is a crucial flaw of many old-school leaders and sales / business development people. While it may increase perceived value in the short term, it also diminishes the overall value to the organization. Someone else could be using that information for a positive benefit.

Are you building trust? Trust is a given at the beginning, but if something is done to betray the trust it is difficult to win it back. Don’t risk this.

Are you protecting those that serve you? Organizational politics, such as silos and empire building, can put those who add value at risk, particularly in times when business is down. Good people need protection.

Are you honest with the people on your team that undermine the efforts of others? Calling people on this tactic is needed to put an early stop to it.

Are you setting your agenda so that you can empower those who will step up? Allow others to succeed too. Heroics are generally an old-school approach. Make those around you successful, and you and your organization will succeed as well.

There’s work to do when making an important decision about how to proceed. Let’s do the work, and not allow unintended consequences to get in the way of a successful outcome.  And with respect to the expert in the example above, I could not be happier if he succeeds in changing the pre-ordained outcome.

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NEW CALGARY LOCATION

I am pleased to announce Calgary! The new downtown Calgary location provides closer access for our Alberta-based companies. Our contact information has not changed:
Call    604.839.5504
Email linda@aerospacebizdev.com

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