INSIGHTS INTO THE PERSONALITIES AND ATTITUDES OF VIRGIN'S RICHARD BRANSON AND ABB'S PERCY BARNEVIK
Two of the best-known entrepreneurs and business visionaries in the world are the " New Europe's Richard Branson and Percy Barnevik. The flamboyant Branson is known as much for his highly publicized around-the-world hot air balloon adventure, sense of humour, and wide-open empowered management style as he is for founding the Virgin empire consisting of Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Cola Virgin Mega stores around the globe, hotels video and book publishing and radio and televisions production. Barnevik, on other hand, has a different personality but an equally impressive track record. In 1987, he pulled off one of the world's biggest cross-border mergers by combing the Swedish engineering group ASEA with the Swiss competitor Brown, BoverI added 70 more European and American firms, and covered global markets in equipments of power generation, transmission, and automation, robotics and environment control systems. Recently Barnevik has experienced some public controversy after ABB took a beating and he received a handsome pension payment. INSEAD'S Manfred kets de Vries ask personal questions that reveal the personalities and attitudes of these charismatic leaders
Q 1 to Branson
What do you see as your weakness? Do you have any characteristics that get in the way of your work?
Branson: I suspect not being able to say no. Hopefully, I am getting better at it now. But there are so many wonderful ideas,. I do love new projects; I love new ideas... My weaknesses really go back to the fact that I have spread myself too thin. In a purely business sense, I suspect that if I just wanted to maximize profit. I should have stayed more focused on one area and really concentrated on that one area. That's the conventional way, and I'm sure that half as much fun. I must admit that I feel very much alive when I set out to achieve some thing. On reflection, it's really more the fight than the actual achieving. I love people and I just love new creative challenges. Some people ask, why keep battling on when you can take it easy? My reason basically is that I'm very fortunate to be in the position I am. I've learned a great deal and I have had great fun doing so.
Q2 to Branson
When you leave Virgin, what kind of enduring mark do you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered?
Branson: I think that it would be nice if Virgin can be remembered as a company that challenged the established way of doing things and the that built up a number of companies that were world leaders in their own fields. That does not necessary mean being the biggest companies, but the best in that particular field. That does not necessarily mean being the biggest companies, but the best in that particular field. I also would like that the staff of Virgin would have very happy memories of the time that they spent working here.
Q 1 to Barnevik
What gets you excited at work?
Barnevik: a lot of things, I know I am competitive. Beating the competition for a big project gets me excited; so does breaking into a new industry where we were not previously. But the thing which give me the utmost pleasure is watching young people whom I have promoted successThen you have created something that will outlast an individual transaction. At the same time, I have had some of my biggest disappointments when people fail. I want my people to keep checking their imagination, their strength to move ahead. To create this change in mentality, this creative spirit you have to show them that the environment, the competitors, the customers are changing. For our survival we need to constantly bring change. You know the expression, "when you are through change you are through".
Q 2 to Barnevik
Given your reputation of always being over prepared, do people in the company question some of your ideas? Do they dare to disagree?
Barnevik: its difficult question to answer because all executive say "Oh sure others disagree". Even the worst dictators tend to say something like that. Now, I appreciate that my characteristics are some times a little bit dominant. At times I can overwhelm people. I'm aware of the risk, sitting in my position, of not getting enough feedback and not having a sufficiently open attitude. Of course, its comfortable, whatever position you are in, to have people agree with you. The temptation is always there. In my organization for those people who know me, have no problem in saying, "you are wrong". I disagree. But of course in an organization this size, there are many people who do not know me that well. In the Latin countries especially, and may be in Germany, there is a tendency to be a little cautious so as not to offend the top guy. It's difficult to make people really speak their mind and tell you things openly, particularly unpleasant things... I can only say that I am aware of the problem, which I work at it. With new people whom I do not know well, I go out of my way to try to build their confidence so that they do not worry about that aspect of the conversation. How successful I am in doing is another matter
Q 2 to Barnevik
What drives you?
What gives me a sense of reward is to create some thing, to make some kind lasing impact. Things like penetrating new countries, developing and commercializing new technologies, creating new opportunities. I don't work for the money and the prestige and all that. I guess it's like a person designing a house. People want to build some thing, create something that is worthwhile. That's what it all boils down to.
SIR JOHN BOND PROFILE
Bond management style is very modest and he preferred to discuss HSBC rather than himself. He thinks his rise to the top of HSBC is the result of being in the right place at the right time. In 2005, in an interview he noted being more driven by fear of failure, ignoring shareholders, customers and staff instead of a sense of personal aagrandizementTo be successful in business, he says we have to gather the qualities of pragmatism, curiosity, sensitivity and recognition and that life is continuous learning process. He give value to taking initiative, action and decisiveness and like the Chinese proverb "Today, you're a rooster, tomorrow you're a feather duster"He felt the importance of client orientation, team work and self dependent. Due to his relaxed leadership style Bond gives great importance to respect the local cultures. The main reason for Bond's success is the rigorous cost control. He applied this most of time throughout the organization. He said in his speech the importance of deeds that "You cannot legislate trust and integrity. You cannot impose it from without. Certainly strong corporate governance should be part of a company's character formation. But this does not mean box ticking. It means the way a company behaves, at all levels: the board, colleagues, the whole company, every day. "Words are not enough. Your real reputation depends on deeds."
When he was CEO of Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, demonstrated his commitment to the company's goal of minimizing costs with a number of seemingly small actions. He turned the lights off in his office when he left it. When he went to the airport, he often rode his own motorcycle instead of taking the company limo. His action signaled to the bank's employees they always be frugal with shareholders' money. What stands out about these leaders is their knowledge that, over the long haul, seemingly small gestures will do more to signal their commitment to organization goals than any number of speeches or memos to employees. Following his example keep us from inadvertently understanding our vision and goals by sending the wrong signals. Informally seeking feedback from employees ensures you find out if you are going off track. Sir John he always took time to talk even the lowliest staffer on is tours around operations. Checking the temperature of the organization and boosting morale. Even trade unions found it hard to dent his measured ambassadorial style. At one stormy annual meeting, unions arranged for the immigrant worker who cleaned the offices in Sir John's office at the bank to ask a question about the difference between his pay and that of the chairman. "You probably don't know who I am, I am getting up at 5 a., to clean your windows" the cleaner told Sir john. "Of couse I know who you are" came the friendly retort. "I've often seen you and wanted to have a chat. Next time you do the windows, why don't you stop by for a cup of tea? Stylistically, he tends to be traditional in his bearing, fastidious about their appearance, and fiercely protective of his reputation.
- Source: http://www.managementtoday.co.uk/search/article/555758/on-move-sir-john-bond/
Task 1.Using appropriate evidence from each of the people researched indentify review and assess own performance of current management skills.
Current Management Skill I have acquired.
- Acknowledge and appreciate that worker's feelings, thoughts, attitudes and behaviours are partially determined by their personalities, which are difficult to change. I realize that I might need to adjust to my own feelings and actions to work effectively with others.
- When I trying to understand why workers have certain attitudes and behave in certain ways, I remember that attitudes and behaviours are determined by the interaction of an individual's personality and the situation in which the individuals works.
- When feasible, structure an individual's work situation to fit his or her personality. A good match is likely to result in positive attitudes and behaviours.
- Encourage an acceptance and appreciation of the diverse in my organization.
- Realize and accept that some workers are more likely than others to be positive and enthusiastic because of their personalities. Similarly, realize and accept that some workers are more likely than others to complain and experience stress because of their personalities.
- Provided an extra measure of direct supervision to workers who do not take the initiative to solve problems on their own always seem to blame some one or some thing else when things go wrong.
- Provided additional encouragement and support to workers with low self-esteem who tend to belittle themselves and question their abilities.
Task 2. Conduct a self assessment
Are You a High Self-Monitor?
It shows the extent to which you think the following statements are true or false by circling the suitable number. For example, if a statement is always true, circle the 5 next to that statement.
- In social matters , I have the ability to change my behavior if I feel that something else is called for.
- I am often able to read people's true emotions correctly through their eyes.
- I have the ability to like the way I meet to people, depends upon the reaction I wish to give them.
- In talking's, I am sensitive to even the mute changes in the facial expression of the person I'm talking with.
- My ability of intuition are very good when it try to understand someone else emotions and motives.
- I can usually tell when others consider a bad joke, even though they may laugh at my joke.
- When I feel that the image I am presenting isn't doing my job, I can easily change it to something that does.
- I can usually tell when I've said something inappropriate by reading the listener's eyes.
- I have difficulty in changing my behavior to meet different people and situations.
- I have found that I can adjust my behavior up to the requirements of any matter I find myself in.
- If someone is lying to me, I usually know it from that person's manner of expression.
- Even when I may be on advantage, I have difficulty showing a good front.
- Once I know what the situation requires, it's easy for me to adjust my actions accordingly.
To obtain your score, add up the numbers circled, except reverse scores for questions 9 and 12. On those, a circled 5 becomes a 0, 4 become 1, and so forth. High self-monitors are defined as those with scores of 53 or higher.
Source: R. D. Lennox and R. N. Wolfe, "Revision of the Self-Monitoring Scale," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, June 1984, p. 1361.
Copyright 1984 by the American Psychological Association.
Are You a Type A?
Circle the number on the scale below that best characterizes your behaviour for each trait.
- Casual about appointments Never late
- Not competitive -Very competitive
- Never feel rushed Always feel rushed
- Take things one at a time -Try todo many things at once
- Slow doing things Fast (eating, walking, etc.)
- Express feelings - "Sit on" feelings
- Many interests -Few interests outside work
Total your score on the 7 questions. Now multiply the total by 3. A total of 120 or more indicates that you are a hard-core
Type A. Scores below 90 indicate that you are a hard-core Type B. The following gives you more specifics:
Points Personality Type
120 or moreA1
Less than 90B
Source: Adapted from R. W. Bortner, "Short Rating Scale as a Potential Measure of Pattern A Behavior," Journal of Chronic Diseases, June 1969,
Task 3. Devise and maintain a current cv or portfolio of work.Task
Devise a personal development plan to achieve personal target both long and short term learning objectives. Undertaking responsibilities for own personal and career development.(refer to task 1,2,3and 4)
What are the benefits of devising a personal development plan?
Compiling a personal development plan can:
- Identify I am standing now.
- Encourage myself to recognise my strengths and areas to improve.
- Motivate myself to get realistic and important goals.
- Provide a tool to evaluate my achievements.
Where do I start? Review myself
Start with a little self-examination. Analyse my strengths and needs, the opportunities and challenges I feel are open to me and my likes and dislikes.
Some other important questions that may be helpful at this stage will include:
- Do I have an outstanding area of concern about my development?
- What are the main national priorities that favour me?
- What are the main service developments that need to be corrected in my area?
- Point out your team's priorities in the next year, how does this affect me?
- If possible, discuss me self-assessment with a colleague.
Identify my goals
Develop a profile of the knowledge and skills that me and my employer think I need in order to develop in my existing role and the skills that i may need to gain for the future.
Plan to achieve
Prepare my development plan to meet the goals that I have set. I try to make these goals realistic, both in terms of the resources I have in my hands and in the time frame I set for myself.
I divided my goals into short term and long term
Main questions to ask at this point will be
- What are my areas for improvement in near future?
- Are there areas need for continuous improvement ?
- What will I am going to do and when
- What are my expected results?
- What things will I need to enforce my personal Development plan?
- Who can I request to support me in acquiring my PDP?
Document my personal development plan
To plan our professional development we can use:
- My own trusted scheme
- A scheme or plan devised by me
- Use some institution's forms
Build up a complete living portfolio to support my personal development plan with my attendance and success certificates
A PDP is a live continuously changing document that will change regularly as my goals and needs move on.
Resources to support me
There are enough resources available to help me in achieving my PDP.These include:
- On job training by a experienced supervisor in order to learn a new skill ,technique or application.
- Getting Experience by undertaking a specific task or bring down someone more experienced
- Professional development involving activities that broaden our knowledge, competence or potential to achieve immediate goal
- Day to day meetings or contacts with other members of team as learning opportunity
- More effective time use (e.g. making handovers or meetings more useful, the use of technology, or use them for teaching or discussion of new ideas).
- Some or all of team meetings for professional development and point out the common development periods for members
- off the job training: This may consist of formal courses either in house or outside in some institution or e-learning opportunities learning is not just going to attend some course and achieve some certificate. Day to day resources in my ordinary work such as libraries ,colleagues and friends all are important in my PDR
Some handy contacts:
- Line manager
- All those who are helpful in my education and personal development such as human resource department or education team.
Record my learning
In addition to execute my plans I should involve in a different kinds of activities and take befit of every opportunity to learn and improve myself for my organization
Manage a record what you did and why it has importance to you as evidence of development i have achieved and learning that i have got.
Learning takes place in variety of ways. I should be sure to use the activities during which i feel very comfortable and most probably learn from them
One of main advantage of ongoing development is in knowing what has been learnt and how to use them in our professional life
Assess your achievements
The development plan in nature is personal to me. Therefore assessing my achievements is a subjective process unless i take advantage of my benchmarks and any other available objective measures. When i am keeping a record of my development it is useful to me if it reflects what I have learnt from my activities.
Ask myself how I got advantage and what I meant to do with new information, skill or knowledge. I should make sure that I will keep record of my development plans.
Having achieved what I set out to, I then need to re-assess my strong points , weak points, opportunities,threats, challenges, likes and dislikes and develop the next phase of my development plan.
I mean that I do not need to develop new plans all the time as my development plan can be modified periodically as some of my targets may be met earlier than others.This is the course of my professional and professional development in my whole life
The challenge of my personal development planning
Personal development planning have some risks - I may be exposing myself to my perceived areas to improve as well as my strengths, and I am setting targets that I could or could not achieve for quite reasonable reasons. I will find the benefits of getting those goals because I am in the good position and have responsibility for identifying the risks and opportunities that are particular to me.
If I take the risk of not determine to personal development, I will find that demonstrating my competence and abilities, if I am asked to do so, is a difficult challenge. Finding times to enforce my PDP is always a challenging task but here are some advises which I will follow:
- Try to manage time outside the clinical area during working day.
- Refocus the theme of current time commitments (e.g. use of handovers or meetings).
- Reschedule the working days
- Increase the availability of time for PDP
An important point to which I remember is that ongoing development is my responsibility. I am accountable for continuously developing my knowledge, expertise and competence and, if called on to do so, assuring my professional body that I have done this. My PDP also represents my investment in myself and in my professional employability.
Sources" Organizational Behavior Tenth Edition by Fred Luthons