Leadership: Rock-Solid, Red and Well-Led A[euro]" Where Values Rule; Youa[euro][TM]d Have to Be Colour Blind Not to Spot That A[euro]reda[euro] Is Colour Du Corps at Vodafonea[euro][TM]s Auckland HQ. but Where Does It Fit in Its Value Spectrum? and What Does That Have to Do with Its Long-Running Leadership Programme?

Article excerpt

Byline: Vicki Jayne

You have to get the three a[euro]Ra[euro]s up front in a conversation about leadership at Vodafone. Ita[euro]s happy to own that its values: red, rock-solid and restless are at the heart of everything the company does a[euro]" including its efforts to build leadership at every level in the company.

As director human resources Michael Stanley explains, ita[euro]s a process thata[euro]s more journey than destination both at individual and corporate level. Making it to CEO doesna[euro]t mean youa[euro]ve finally got the leadership piece right.

a[euro]Something Ia[euro]m very passionate about is that leadership is absolutely modelled from the top a[euro]" so the level of executive commitment from the CEO and senior team to developing their leadership and being really intentional about modelling leadership is essential.a[euro]

The a[euro]passiona[euro] thing crops up quite a bit in conversation a[euro]" thata[euro]s what the a[euro]reda[euro] stands for and passions for a[euro]customersa[euro], a[euro]our peoplea[euro], a[euro]resultsa[euro] and a[euro]for the world around usa[euro] are described as the glue that welds the corporate culture. That glue is another reason why top execs need to walk the leadership talk.

a[euro]There is nothing more powerful,a[euro] says Stanley, a[euro]than people looking at the CEO and seeing that he is stepping up, doing things differentlya[euro][bar]a[euro]

Therea[euro]s a fair chance Vodafonea[euro]s top team gets quite a lot of scrutiny because feedback loops are an embedded part of its leadership programmes.

a[euro]Ita[euro]s really important to measure and monitor things and what we find is that giving leaders individual feedback as to how others are experiencing their leadership, I think, is the single most valuable thing you can offer,a[euro] says Stanley.

a[euro]The training, mentoring, coaching a[euro]" all these things are really important parts of the process. Then give them very direct individual feedback and watch them grow.

a[euro]Leadership isna[euro]t necessarily an instinctual thing. Some are naturals a[euro]" others just have to learn it. But what stands out is that our leaders are really committed to doing a good job therefore whatever evidence, feedback, information they get on how theya[euro]re doing is a great motivator a[euro]" either affirming what theya[euro]re doing or encouraging them to do better, to learn and develop. Accurate personal feedback is really critical to driving development.a[euro]

The company uses Hay Leadership and Engagement models to build leadership capability. All leaders with four or more reports get to go on the a[euro]managers indexa[euro] where theya[euro]re rated against specific leadership and engagement criteria by their people.

a[euro]So ita[euro]s pretty easy for anyone to look at how theya[euro]re going compared to other leaders in Vodafone and, over time a[euro]" and wea[euro]re now into our third year of running this a[euro]" to track their own progress.a[euro]

Then therea[euro]s a more intensive 360-degree feedback mechanism that looks at leadership styles and what sort of environment that particular person creates.

a[euro]Ita[euro]s a much more intensive, holistic feedback from peers, people, managers on how you are seen to be performing as a leader. That is a cornerstone of our leadership development programme.a[euro]

There are, explains Stanley, two a[euro]big buckets of activitya[euro] in the leadership programme a[euro]" the Hay leadership model and assessment, and what is described as a[euro]management essentialsa[euro] which includes the more technical elements such as performance management, career management etc. …