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About Jacquie

Jacquie Molloy guides senior leaders to develop and display leadership authority (what she calls Authoritas); helps Boards to discover the power (and imperative) of exploring differences of opinion through Debate; and shares the practices for personal authority, high-performing teams and cultural excellence with individuals and organisations so they can be Visible in all the right ways.

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Thursday
May252017

4 tips to help you get that next role

So many individuals in my client community are undergoing a transition, preparing for succession or navigating a selection process. So this seemed a good time to share 4 tips that will help you keep an even keel during these times.
 
But first an overarching frame: remember that the opportunity to step up — and your success in making that transition — is not (or at least it shouldn’t be) a reward for past achievements and performance but an acknowledgement and appreciation of your potential.
 
So your task is to consider how to demonstrate and make visible your potential.

1. Approach each conversation as if it is the last

Keynote presenters and conference speakers know this tip: always be prepared to deliver in less time than what you think you have. Things happen and your 50 mins just got chopped down to 30. Don't lose your cool. Be sure to stay on message. You have to think the same when it comes to search and selection processes. You'd like to think there’s more ahead but if this conversation was your only shot, what would you want to make sure you included and what questions would you want to ask?

2. Be curious about the process (before it starts)

Remember that no-one is infallible and the credentials behind the chair, board or firm doesn’t always guarantee that the process will be as rigorous or transparent as you think it will be. Everyone is taking their orders from someone (or some belief). Ask about what will happen and how the process will roll before you begin – and ask clarifying questions. (And if you think that clarifying questions is the same as pestering or sounding ignorant, then you need to check out my short article on Managing Up.)

3. Be prepared to modulate your energy and positioning to be visible

You know how you can be surprised by an actor in a new role – you think you know their work but then in this new role the performance seems revelatory? Same actor, different role. Same actor, different performance. Well, just like the actor, you are always you – but your energy and how you show up can shift. I often use archetypes in my work to help clients understand the possibilities of how they can position themselves and what parts of themselves they can bring to the fore. We could also talk in terms of elements — for example: when can, or do, you show up with fire (power, illumination, flashes of brilliance, spark, strength) and when can, or do, you show up with water energy (flowing, consistent momentum, path of least resistance, ‘invisible’ force, find a way through no matter what)?

4. Be ready before it’s time

In my 1:1 work with senior execs I counsel them to devote some of their headspace to what they want to come next. It sounds counter-intuitive but this is not about ‘going missing’ or being disrespectful to their current role and organisation, but rather to fully understand and appreciate the significance of the time they have in their current role and what they want (and need) to achieve. At this level, it’s never too soon to be thinking legacy and personal fulfilment. As the Buddha said: the problem is that you think you have time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
 
If you’d like to have a conversation about the rationale behind any of these points, including real-world examples of how to put them into action in your current situation and the kinds of practices that will support that, please get in touch.

Sunday
Apr232017

Managing your transition to CEO

It’s pretty common when individuals get into a new role — especially the top job — to want to make a mark. Whether it is a conscious or subconscious impulse, it’s natural to want to be distinctive and well regarded.

If you’re conscious and think through your actions and you have high EQ (emotional intelligence) and a good sounding board to test and refine your ideas and approaches, we’re all good.

If it’s more a case of ‘I do it like this because that’s just the way I roll’ … there could be some issues.

Let’s take the new CEO.

Even those new CEOs who have been well prepared for the transition are still surprised by how easy it is to be caught off guard by the significance of the role, the chaos that naturally surrounds transition and why all of a sudden nothing seems to ‘fit the same’.

And that means you're temporarily off-balance: not the best state through which to exercise power and influence.

There’s a McKinsey Quarterly article from 1994 about CEO transitions that still stands as one of the best. The article is ‘Managing CEO Transitions’ by Tsun-Yan Hsieh and Stephen Bear.

None of what the authors share is earth-shattering. Common sense rarely is.

Here’s one passage in particular that bears repeating:

"Recognizing the uncertainties created by the fact of transition at the top, many CEOs feel compelled to move quickly to clarify and address the expectations people have of them. At times like these, however, they need to be aware of two kinds of problems that can haunt the rest of their tenure, if not damage their legacy altogether.

The first has to do with the indiscriminate upholding of expectations. In the perfectly understandable interest of assuaging fears and removing uncertainty, some new CEOs treat all existing expectations as obligations and vow to uphold them across the board. In so doing, however, they squander a unique opportunity to reset expectations at a point when employee anticipation of—and likely acceptance of—change is highest. This, of course, locks in the status quo.

The second problem, which often follows the first, is unkept promises. CEOs in transition often feel compelled to make early promises on which they ultimately cannot deliver. Why? They bow to the sentiment of the people around them at the time. Wanting to be liked and accepted, they let good intentions cloud their business judgment."

It's no longer listed on the McK Quarterly site, but it is possible to preview the article here. (You'll need to subscribe to Questia to access the full article.)

Thursday
Mar232017

The art of managing up

One of the messages you’ll often hear me share is “If it’s your job to answer the question, then it’s your job to facilitate a conversation with the person asking you to do the work so that you both explicitly understand and agree intention and scope and then you can manage expectations accordingly”.
 
Last week I again shared this message in one of the exec group coaching sessions I facilitate every month for a client. We talked about why this practice is so important (and it's not just the obvious reason) — and I modelled some language and approaches to make that short conversation a powerfully valuable exercise for the more senior person as well so that you (or they) don't feel like you’re wasting their time, stating the obvious or over-stepping.

Creating value — while getting the information you need and managing expectations — is a critical part of managing up.  

Everyone has to manage up, and facilitating conversations that create clarity and insight are critical for both immediate success and long-term reputation.

You want individuals on your team who understand their role in illuminating the current tasks, processes, meetings, decisions so that it’s clear how those tasks relate to previous direction, other work under way and what might come next.
 
(And I share the practices that support this as often with experienced CEOs and Board Directors as I do with new senior execs).
 
If you believe that managing up well is critical to how effectively you and your team performs, would you be prepared to consider how to improve and hone your team’s skills in this area?
 
One of the ways I work with clients is to establish monthly ‘active coaching conversations’ with the senior teams to hone, and apply, the necessary targeted comms skills that support managing up (and across). 

These are the skills and approaches that allow you to achieve your priorities with less setbacks, missteps and tangential excursions — however minor — than you might be experiencing right now (and that you might even be calling ‘business as usual’).
 
Just like great swimmers continually work on adjustments to their stroke technique to maximise efficiency in the water and gain power and speed, we too should always be looking at ways to make those career-enhancing 2-3% shifts to how we work and create more value.
 
What do you think?

Wednesday
Feb222017

Mental Toughness

The late Carrie Fisher (sigh) once noted that “There is no point at which you can say, 'Well, I'm successful now. I might as well take a nap.'”
 
Similarly, and like physical fitness, mental toughness is not a state that once reached is attained forever. It requires discipline and commitment to maintain (and expand).
 
Over the weekend I saw Hidden Figures. What a fantastic story! Some of you know that I am a lover of all things space. So it might not surprise you that after the film, we crossed the road, stepped straight into Readings (my favourite independent books store) and bought a copy of the book that the film was based on.
 
The connection between this and mental toughness? Well, here’s a piece from the book which made me stop (in full-out admiration) and think about how I was tracking in my own mental toughness journey. I wonder what it might mean for you …
 
(Some context if the movie is unfamiliar to you: Hidden Figures is the story of the black female mathematicians at NASA — ‘the computers’ — who played a critical role in shaping some of America’s most successful achievements in space at a time of segregation and when teaching and secretarial duties were considered the most appropriate work for women outside of the home.)

She also made the decision to bring a bag to lunch and eat at her desk, something many of the [white, male] employees did. Of course, for Katherine Goble, eating at her desk also had the benefit of removing the segregated cafeteria from her daily routine, another reminder of the caste system that would have circumscribed her movements and thoughts. Those unevolved backward rules were the flies in the Langley buttermilk. So she simply determined to pluck them out, willing into existence a work environment that conformed to her sense of herself and her place in the world. …  

Once she crossed the threshold of Building 1224, she entered a world of equals, and she refused to behave in any way that would contradict that belief.  
[Italics mine.]


Certainly, this is an example of mental toughness — that blend of resilience and confidence and grit and perseverance and belief — in action. And the positive results are now well documented.

Wednesday
Feb222017

Mental Toughness

The late Carrie Fisher (sigh) once noted that “There is no point at which you can say, 'Well, I'm successful now. I might as well take a nap.'”
 
Similarly, and like physical fitness, mental toughness is not a state that once reached is attained forever. It requires discipline and commitment to maintain (and expand).
 
Over the weekend I saw Hidden Figures. What a fantastic story! Some of you know that I am a lover of all things space. So it might not surprise you that after the film, we crossed the road, stepped straight into Readings (my favourite independent books store) and bought a copy of the book that the film was based on.
 
The connection between this and mental toughness? Well, here’s a piece from the book which made me stop (in full-out admiration) and think about how I was tracking in my own mental toughness journey. I wonder what it might mean for you …
 
(Some context if the movie is unfamiliar to you: Hidden Figures is the story of the black female mathematicians at NASA — ‘the computers’ — who played a critical role in shaping some of America’s most successful achievements in space at a time of segregation and when teaching and secretarial duties were considered the most appropriate work for women outside of the home.)

She also made the decision to bring a bag to lunch and eat at her desk, something many of the [white, male] employees did. Of course, for Katherine Goble, eating at her desk also had the benefit of removing the segregated cafeteria from her daily routine, another reminder of the caste system that would have circumscribed her movements and thoughts. Those unevolved backward rules were the flies in the Langley buttermilk. So she simply determined to pluck them out, willing into existence a work environment that conformed to her sense of herself and her place in the world. …  

Once she crossed the threshold of Building 1224, she entered a world of equals, and she refused to behave in any way that would contradict that belief.  
[Italics mine.]


Certainly, this is an example of mental toughness — that blend of resilience and confidence and grit and perseverance and belief — in action. And the positive results are now well documented.

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