middle managers

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Connect organisation strategy to customer delivery.

Leading From the Middle

 

Successful organisations need a highly motivated and highly competent core of middle managers who can connect organisation strategy with execution in the field. But when middles are thrust into their roles with little training and support, their performance suffers and at great expense to the company. Their inability to lead effectively stunts the happiness and productivity of their teams. Projects go stagnant and delivery suffers. Frustration and attrition escalate. Innovation gives way to operational firefighting. All of this generates a tension with Middles trying to find balance between two parties in conflict with people shouting across a chasm.

Many Middle Managers were at one time individual contributors who did so well in their job, displayed such a level of critical thinking and self-governance that their efforts were rewarded with promotion to management. And along with that advancement came a logical expectation that the very qualities that made them such star performers would be magnified in a leadership role.

But in fast-paced environments, there is little time to consider the implications of making someone who was once only responsible for their own performance now responsible for the performance of many others. There is little time allocated for training, mentoring, and guidance in how to transition from awesome employee to awesome manager. Since star performers have already demonstrated an ability to think critically and act independently, why should they be any different now that they’re a middle manager? They figured it out before, they’ll figure it again. But sometimes they don’t. And sometimes they do, but it can be a long, slow trial-by-fire going it alone

Our programme Leading From the Middle helps managers understand and embrace their role as integrators in the organization and accelerate the rate at which they are getting results. Programme participants learn how to work across the company to identify and solve problems that get in the way of doing business effectively. They gain the knowledge, practice, and mentoring they need to become effective leaders of initiatives and developers of people, able to bridge strategy and execution to keep everyone focused on the right things to successfully deliver to customers.


 

Make the most of your unique position as a bridge between the senior execs at the top and your teams in the field.

 
 

My team comes to me with issues. They trust me and are asking for help. We can take action and nip potential difficulties in the bud.
— Operations Manager

With Leading From the Middle you are able to:

Raise the capability of your people and foster a high-performing culture that promotes critical thinking, creative thinking, and collaboration in a way that is incredibly efficient.

  • The programme focuses on effective communication to build trust and develop your team’s expertise.

Free up your capacity and get focused on the right activities.

  • Align efforts within your team and between other parts of the organisation.
  • Minimize unnecessary or delegatable operational tasks so you have time to do the important things that need doing.

Understand how to productively challenge the status quo and foster an environment where disruption is welcomed and people respond with curiosity instead of defensiveness.

  • Know where and how you can drive change and improvement.

Create an operational rhythm and know how to make what is going on in your part of the business more visible and accessible to senior management.

  • Manage upwards to alert senior staff to organisation problems, ask for help when needed, and provide timely information.

Learn fundamental management skills that may have been overlooked or assumed.

  • Quit acting as an individual contributor instead of team leader

  • Regain a feeling of control and comfort with the shift in responsibilities

Greatly reduce operational firefighting while increasing the capacity to pay attention to the bigger picture.

  • Gain the time and insight needed to think creatively and act confidently to address the inefficiencies that have afflicted teams for years.

Feel supported as you implement tools and approaches in the workplace with your teams, customers, and other outlying contributors.

  • Track what’s changing and tap into a community of fellow programme participants for sharing challenges, advice, and wins

Become a better meetings facilitator.

  • Experience a sense of ease and order in which everyone respects each other’s ideas, air time, and attention

Reduce costs associated with attrition, misdirected action, and challenging customer issues.

 

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Who leading from the middle is For

Leading From the Middle is a 6 to 9 month individual and bespoke programme for middle managers who are transitioning into a new role as well as more experienced managers that want to accelerate the rate at which they are getting results.

No specific knowledge is necessary but managers who leverage value from our Leading from the Middle programme often demonstrate:

  • A drive for success

  • An agenda for change

  • Values that are well aligned with those of the company

  • A strong commitment to their own learning and growth

  • A willingness to take risks and execute

  • A desire to make a difference

Key Steps in the programme

Through 1:1 coaching the Leading From the Middle Programme is broken out into three phases: Alignment, Accelerate, and Progression. The following is a breakdown of key steps in the programme:

Preliminary conversation – is this programme right for you?

Gathering the data – exploring your unique situation and business challenges.

Getting alignment with company strategy – designing your programme to fit within the wider organisation context.

Engage is regular conversations to:

  • Get focused on key initiatives
  • Think freely, talk without censoring, reflect, consider new ideas and approaches, challenge assumptions and generate new ways of moving forward
  • Plan ‘experiments’ to try out new approaches in the field
  • Reflect on ‘experiments’ and refine approaches
  • Review progress and look for the evidence of how changes are showing up on the ground.

Close the programme.

Regular conversations with your line manager to monitor progress and get feedback are built into the programme . 


I feel more confident in my role and more focused. I’m achieving more because I know what I want to do. I’m more efficient.
— Capability Manager

How does Leading From the Middle work?

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Leading From the Middle will help you get where you need to go, faster, and with less pain than if left to sink or swim, which is what often happens in organisations. We will help you to make the most of your unique position as a bridge between the senior execs at the top and your teams in the field by sharing our knowledge and expertise, tools, ideas, theories, and best practices as they apply to your  situation and your current proficiencies. The work we do together is flexible to fit around your work schedule. It’s always pragmatic and ties back to how everything you’re learning helps you do your job better.

To learn more about Leading From the Middle and explore if this programme is right for you:

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FAQs

How many people can participate?

Currently this is a one-to-one programme but we are developing a group version for 4 to 8 participants

What outcomes can I expect?

Leading From the Middle is aimed at raising the capability of middle managers and your people. It will help you make the best use of your time and get you focused, and help you get your people focused, on the right activities. Ultimately, the programme will help you improve your business results. Take a look at our Leading From the Middle outcomes above and also our success stories page more on the difference we make.

Alternatively, we offer a free diagnostic session to help you scope an agenda for you in your particular work situation.

What are your payment terms?

Upfront or staged payments as you prefer.

How much of my time will the programme take?

The one-to-one work involves a minimum of two hours per month for 6-9 months and more as you calendar allowes.

In addition to the one-to-one work with your consultant you will also work on real live issues on the job, which is something you would be doing anyway.

What are the entry requirements?

No specific knowledge is necessary but managers who leverage value from our Leading From the Middle programme often demonstrate:

  • A drive for success
  • An agenda for change
  • Values that are well aligned with those of the company
  • A strong commitment to their own learning and growth
  • A willingness to take risks and execute
  • A desire to make a difference

How is this different to other learning approaches?

Other learning approaches give you lots of information and leave you to apply what you’ve learned back in the work place, which is difficult and sometimes impossible in the face of day to day pressures. This means that, although participants often say they got a lot out of a course, programme or academic study, the net result is no change in the workplace.

Leading From the Middle is different. You will still get access to new information, ideas and approaches and in addition you get support to put them into practice in the work place. So whether you want to develop a strategy for your team or develop the team's capability, we work with you to enable you to execute your plans over time.

Leading From the Middle ensures you have the time and space to think things through. Check out our success stories to see how our clients have made a difference to their organisations.

How does it work?

People learn in all sorts of ways and a key learning route is through experience, or via a learning cycle: take action, reflect on the action, analyse the action and its consequences and finally plan for next time. With traditional approaches to learning, such as training courses or on-line study, participants have limited opportunities to go through the learning cycle which makes it very difficult to try out new ideas, approaches or behaviours back in the work place.

With our Leading From the Middle Programme you get numerous opportunities to go through the learning cycle and develop approaches and behaviours that stick, leading to great results for you and your organisation even after programme close.

How do I know it will work?

Investing in development is a big decision and you need to know it is the right thing for you and will deliver the result you want. That's why we offer a free diagnostic session where we explore your organisation's strategy, your role in delivering the strategy and where you want to see improvement in your part of the business. Our aim is to demonstrate the value the Programme can make and to provide an expeirence of working with us.

For now, to help you understand the difference it can make, take a look at our success stories. Alternatively, you could book a free diagnostic session to help you scope out your challenges and how to overcome them for your particular work situation.

Isn’t this just another course that won’t make any real difference?

No, our clients report significant results that have made a difference to their own performance as leaders and to the performance of their part of the business. You can read about some of their success stories see what a significant and lasting difference our programme has made for our clients.

Why does it take so long (6-9 months) to complete the programme?

Today's media bombardes us with apps, books, and articles, to name but a few, on how get stuff done faster. In real life, fostering change is complicated and takes time and attention. During the Leading From the Middle Programme you work on real life challenges that you are in the middle of right now. These are usually complex matters that can only be addressed over time.

Fostering change in people and the business isn't easy and research shows organisation change has about a 75% failure rate. We can't offer you a quick fix but we can work with you to help you navigate your situation succesfully so you can deliver the business improvement you are aiming for.

Finally, this is a rare opportunity to focus on your own development in a one-to-one situation as you observe, critique and extend your leadership capability.

When will I see results?

Immediately! If you sign up for a Leading From the Middle programme, you’ll already have noticed the difference your pre-programme assessment made for you. As you go through the programme, you will continue to notice the difference its making. Part of the programme is to review the results you’re getting as go and at the end with your line manager. You don’t do this for fun, measuring your success in this way is of huge value to you and your line manager, enabling you to see where you were before the programme, where you are now and where you want to go to next.

Who is involved in the programme?

The one-to-one programme primarily involves you and your Accelerated Success consultant. At different stages it will also involve your line manager in a three-way meeting between you, your line manager and the consultant.

The group programme involves you and your Accelerated Success consultant and other leaders who are on the programme with you. You will undertake a mix of one-to-one and group sessions. At different stages the programme will also involve you line manager in a three-way meeting between you, your line manager and your consultant.

What results can I expect?

You can expect to be more strategic, more confident, a better leader, less stressed and more focused on the right things that make a differene to business results. You can also expect your team, if you have one, and those around you to notice the difference and even to raise their game as well. Take a look at the Leading from the Middle outcomes above and our success stories for more on the results you can expect.

Alternatively, we offer a free diagnostic session to help you scope out what those results are for you in your particular work situation.

Will this work with other learning initiatives we have going on?

Yes, Leading From the Middle will work alongside and enhance all other learning or organisation change initiatives.

How do you measure results?

When you start your Leading From the Middle programme you will identify the outcomes you want and how you will measure your success against them. If you identify a lot of hard measures, linked to company KPIs, that’s how you’ll measure your results. On the other hand, you may identify a lot of softer measures, in which case, this is how you’ll measure your results.

The process in the Leading From the Middle programme is to review progress against desired outcomes on an ongoing basis and to have more formal mid and end of programme reviews, involving your line manager. Take a look at the success stories to see the results our clients get.

Will participants be able to use what they learn after the programme?

Yes. The Leading From the Middle programme changes how you do things and helps you make doing them habit. After programme close you will be used to the different ways of working which is why the changes you make, stick.

How does the programme make so much difference?

Learning is about repetition of doing, reflecting on what you’ve done, reviewing how it went and planning what you’ll do next time. With traditional approaches to learning, participants get limited opportunities to go through this learning cycle even once, which means they never truly learn or develop new habitual behaviours.

With Leading From the Middle, participants get numerous opportunities to go through the learning cycle and develop behaviours that stick, get great results and continue to get great results after programme close.

What qualifies you to deliver this programme?

At Accelerated Success we have been working with leaders in ICT companies since 2003 and have built a wealth of knowledge and experience about how to help them succeed, whether via our Executive Programme, our Leading from the Middle programme or Collaboration Lab.

In addition, our consultants have performed a number of leadership roles in large corporates and have a variety of learning and coaching qualifications. Take a look at our about us page to find out more.