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Management – Strong Advice

The Future of Risk Management: Gamer boys and girls as Chief Risk Officers

4 mins Read

The world of risk management can no longer be ruled by the quants, they had their time of complicating something very simple and easy. The Future of Risk Management lies with the gamers.

When we look at formal risk management as we know it today, it is moving out of the teenage years and the make-up of the future Chief Risk Officers will be very different to the past of “quantified” risk reports, based on historic data and produced (normally too late) by one department in the organisation.

Future CROs must be visionaries, capable of adding value and churning out a positive ROI (Return on Investment) through building an effective risk culture across the entire organisation…. and their supply chain, and their outsourced service providers.

This require skills we did not pay too much attention to up to now. Risk Management is hard work, so we will not be able to fix it with soft skills. The CRO of the future is a tough guy, sitting at the main table, reporting directly to the Board of Directors.

Gamers are used to large, complex, social systems that are constantly evolving. Games can capture and hold the attention of their players because they are always new. This is pretty much like the levels of change we are currently experiencing in all corporate organisations. The pace of change and the intensity of change in all organisations are ever increasing and with that, the exposure to risk shoots up…. the gamers are quite used to this.

They live in a world of MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) like WoW and Guildwars2 and RTS (real time strategy) games like StarCraft – a war type game consisting of different units and play styles ranging from fast aggressive small attacks to grand scale full army assaults.

Winning relies on constant monitoring of your opponent and evaluating their current situation and predicting their possible paths in the future; then determining the best way to overcome their attacks, this is both in fine control of specific units on the front line, balanced with continued resources collection to produce units. How does this compare to what we want the CROs of multinational organizations to do?

The character traits needed for success in the Future of Risk Management are all in the gamers and these traits will help them to thrive as Chief Risk Officers. Research done by John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas highlights these five key character traits in gamers:

  1. Focus on The Bottom Line: In the games that these online players are playing, each player is constantly being measured and assessed. Each player is ranked and compared to other players using systems of rankings, points, and titles.
  2. Diversity Is Good: Gamers realize that they cannot do it all themselves. To be successful in a game, players need to build a strong team. The teams that are the most successful are the ones that consist of a strong mix of both abilities and talents.
  3. Change Is Good: Gamers thrive on change. The worlds in which they play are constantly changing – nothing is constant. Their actions transform the world in which they are playing. Gamers have come to expect this type of massive change.
  4. Learning Is Seen as Fun: The games that players are participating in consist of complex challenges that must be overcome. These challenges make the game fun. Discovering the tools that are needed and creating the knowledge that is needed to overcome challenges is what turns problem-solving into a fun activity.
  5. Innovation Is a Lifestyle: Gamers are willing to explore new ideas and ways of solving problems. Even when the solution to a problem is known, gamers are willing to search for new solutions that will solve the problem quicker or by using fewer resources.

So how can these be the future risk management leaders?

A survey done by IBM found that there were six key lessons that leaders could learn from the online game environment:

  1. Apply virtual communication tools and facilitation techniques to more effectively connect people from around the world.
  2. Use collaborative spaces to gather knowledge, express ideas and concerns and share passions.
  3. Spend more time on setting organizational context and communicating where the organization needs to go.
  4. Improve the visibility of both formal and informal skills.
  5. Use dashboards linked to collaborative tools to capture key real-time information about people, activities and outcomes.
  6. Provide guidance that is more frequent and link performance to recognition.

All gamers already live in this world of leadership and apply these skills daily.

The average gamer is usually a college aged male whose life is centred totally on video gaming. Mostly addicted to online games and often totally owned by at least one game. They also usually look pathetic and seldom change clothes because they never go to bed and they spend all their money in a cycle of forever-newergames. They own serious computers that have names like “My Baby” or “The Beast” and their video cards cost more than the family’s monthly car payment.

“In a future world, computer skills required to do your job are beyond the skills adults currently have – except for some of us. Kids who are gamers acquire skills that will give them an advantage over the rest of us. Hence, if you’re not young enough to be a gamer and not old enough to retire soon, you may find yourself in an awkward position ten years from now” (Christine– years ago – on a Harvard Business Review blog- http://blogs.hbr.org/2008/02/the-gamer-disposition/#disqus_thread )

We might still have to wait a couple of years for these geniuses to enter the world of Risk Management and we will have to teach them a few soft-skills.

They are coming and we will see the TRANSFORMATION of Risk Management, but they will not be cheap, the babies and beasts they will buy for their kids will be supercomputers!

Get ready to see some brilliant CROs with no grey hair and no “long service” awards, just a passion to succeed!

Horst Simon is the Director, Risk at Strong Advice FZC and an Advisor to the Risk Centre in the British University in Dubai. Horst Simon is a… Click to Read More

Top IT services in Dubai

4 mins Read

DEFINITION OF IT SERVICES 

According to Gartner, IT services “refer to the application of business and technical expertise to enable organizations in the creation, management, and optimization of or access to information and business processes. The IT services market can be segmented by the type of skills that are employed to deliver the service (design, build, run). There are also different categories of service: business process services, application services, and infrastructure services. If these services are outsourced, they are referred to as business process outsourcing (BPO), applications outsourcing (AO), and infrastructure outsourcing.” 

Strong Advice is an information technology service provider that acts as a trusted IT partner for several organizations in the global market. We enable organizations at various stages of their lifecycles to leverage technology to the fullest capability. We assist our clients in management transitions, business process automation, and scale-ups. We are here to free up your time by taking care of your technology needs so you can focus on your core business. Our IT experts provide 24/7 technology solutions to small and midsize businesses (SMBs), MNCs, and government entities to enhance their effectiveness and make them global market leaders. We implement solutions that make your organization agile and resilient to the changing external environment.  

OUR IT SERVICES 

  1. IT Infrastructure Audit 
  1. IT Strategy 
  1. Fixed or On-demand Support 
  1. IT Support 
  1. Website Design ad hosting 
  1. Business Process Service 
  1. Digital Workplace Service 

IT Infrastructure Audit 

If in doubt about the effectiveness of your company’s IT systems, we provide a top-notch IT Infrastructure audit. Our strong expert advice focuses on analyzing your existing systems and deciphering its gaps to understand the strengths and areas in need of improvement.  

IT Strategy 

We pride ourselves on 30+ years of experience helping organizations harness the power of a team and developing leaders that transform the business landscape around the world. We help your organization align IT strategy to business strategy and guide planning and implementation. If you have ever wondered what makes a good IT management strategy consultant, see our article on the critical roles of an IT management consultant here

Fixed or On-demand Support 

We understand IT requirements vary significantly based on company expectations and goals. Therefore, we operate on fixed numbers of hours per month or on-demand support when you need it, the decision is completely up to you.  

IT Support 

We are strong advocates for all things cloud, our IT support is primarily focused on cloud hosting services. We use all necessary operating systems and applications. 

Website Design ad hosting 

We create new custom-made web sites, modifications to existing websites, graphic design & hosting for you. 

Business Process Service 

We improve your business processes through the below mentioned ways. 

  • Standard Operating Procedures – Our expert business process consultants are trained to ensure an SOP is prepared in an orderly step-by-step manner arrayed with detailed instructions to help workers carry out complex routine operations. We identify gaps that may fail to comply with industry standards, or that may lead to miscommunication and hinder uniformity among staff. We ensure to eliminate gaps with adequate control measures built into your processes.  We prepare proper Internal control systems for you in order to ensure that SOPs are properly implemented. 
  • Preparation of Policy Manuals – We help you create policy manuals that ensure smooth operations for all employees within the organizational structure irrespective of hierarchical responsibility. 
  • Prep-up and Implementation of ERP Systems – We prep-up and implement ERP systems for you from scratch or during a migration to a different ERP system.  We create a business process map and identify specific tasks that need to be automated. Then select the best ERP systems among alternatives. Finally, we implement it on your behalf.  

To learn more about what is required to have an effective business process management, click here

Digital Workplace Service 

We aid remote working by providing you a Digital Workplace/Intranet solution, using a managed Microsoft service. 

Chat with a Strong Advice expert for a 30-minutes strategy session at no cost. 

Discover the full value of your business & technology potential with a Strong Advice expert consultation at no cost.

STRONG ADVICE IS YOUR TRUSTED PARTNER 

By Leke Abaniwonda 
Staff at Strong Advice😊 
+971523539767 

Critical Roles of an Information Technology Management Consultant

Sep 30, 2020, 11.30am UTC (+4) 

3 mins Read

Statistica Research Department published a forecast regarding the level of expenditure in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region spanning from 2017 to 2020. The publication disclosed, “spending on devices, such as PCs, tablets, mobile phones, printers, and other hardware, in the Middle East was expected to amount to 26.88 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 and grow to 27.11 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. Total IT spending in the Middle East and North Africa was forecast to reach 160 billion U.S. dollars in 2019” (August 26th, 2020). 

This report along with other research publications points to the rapid growth in the IT industry across the Arabian Peninsula. The increase in IT expenditure has also led to a correlative increase in the need for tech consultants, according to Source Global Research.  

New technologies like, artificial intelligence (A.I), machine learning, blockchain, virtual reality, 5G, autonomous driving, amongst other emerging technologies have disrupted the way economies and public sectors function. This has led to an emphasis on technology around the globe. As such, government leaders, policy makers, CEOs, CXOs, CIOs and board members of Public Private Partnerships (PPP) must grapple with the new realities and call upon the expert knowledge of IT consultants to make sense and navigate the new technology era.

BENEFITS OF HAVING AN IT CONSULTANT 

An IT consultant helps organizations focus on their core business functions. Organizations are more efficient when they use specialist consultants who bring with them several years of industry experience that otherwise would take decades to cultivate within the internal workforce of the organization. Thus, IT consultants are positioned to add tremendous value that aids productivity and business growth. IT consultants increase the likelihood of business success! 

Top-notch IT consultants are trained to detect cybersecurity threats and to prevent such threats from harming the organization. Compared with hiring a full-time employee, the cost of a consultant is lower. However, it’s not enough to choose just any IT consultant, organizations must choose a reputable IT consultant to drive business success. Failure to do this will lead to a failed IT project and the wastage of the organization’s scarce resources. 

Some critical roles of a good IT consultant in aiding decision-making; marketing & business growth; and resource management in the technology era are found in the steps highlighted below. 

5 CRITICAL ROLES OF AN IT CONSULTANT 

  1. Involves relevant stakeholders in the analysis & design (A&D) stage 
  1. Aligns organizational requirements with business outcomes 
  1. Applies an iterative build phase 
  1. Provides risk management 
  1. Provides service support 

Involves relevant Stakeholders in the Analysis & Design stage 

The analysis and design (A&D) stage is a period where the IT consultant discusses the core requirement of the IT project with the organization. The tendency for many organizations is to send one representative as the mouthpiece for the entire organization. Many times, this single individual doesn’t communicate completely the agenda and positions of all the key stakeholders involved. It is a core role of an IT consultant to halt the process if necessary until a sizable number across the board is represented for the initial A&D meetings. The ability to recognize the need to have several key stakeholders involved in distilling the organization’s IT requirement is a critical role that distinguishes exceptional IT consultants from others. 

Aligns organizational requirements with business outcomes 

A good IT consultant knows that before any organizational requirement can be acted upon, it needs to be aligned with the business outcome of the organization. This aids accountability and measurement of the IT implementation process. Often, the project requirement would include optimizing the business process of the organization. This needs to be properly aligned with the business needs of the company. Click the link to learn more about engaging in effective business process management. 

Applies an Iterative build phase 

A good IT consultant is constantly asking for feedback along the way and validating them against the original business outcome reached the A&D stage. 

Provides Risk Management 

A good IT consultant knows the importance of risk management in any IT undertaking and ensures he calls upon other risk management experts to come alongside them in ascertaining the level of risk involved and ways to hedge them. Fortunately, we at StrongAdvice.ae are experts in IT and Risk management consulting respectively. Check out this article where we explain the roles of risk management in project management

Provides Service Support 

A good IT consultant provides service support for organizations during and after client engagement. 

Visit us at StrongAdvice.ae to book a FREE consultation for your organization’s IT needs today. 

By Leke Abaniwonda 
Staff at Strong Advice 😊 
+971523539767 

Seven Steps to Effective Business Process Management

Sept 21, 2020, 5pm UTC (+4) 

3 mins Read 

Ever since the UAE set its sight on becoming a digital nation a decade ago, the entire nation has rapidly taken initiatives to drive its public and private sectors to become the epitome of the futuristic nation. These initiatives have stemmed from the strategic vision of the United Arab Emirates aimed at transitioning from an oil-based economy to knowledge driven economy. As a result of this transition the UAE government has sought to promote and invest heavily on innovation and technology driven research and development (R&D) for ground- breaking impact. 

The citizens and residents of the UAE and their Arab counterparts in Saudi Arabia and Oman have equally embraced this transformative digital direction. Their support and affirmation are evidently witnessed with the growth of Souq and Careem and their subsequent purchase by Global counterparts Amazon and Uber respectively.  

This digital revolution has it is widely known, has raised the bar for businesses with customer trends pointing to evolving demand for digital products and services in all spheres of life. Many large organizations SMEs, entrepreneurs, and freelancers are faced with the challenge of streamlining and aligning their internal business processes, business models, and mode of operation to meet new customer demands. 

It is of little surprise to see business process management research state that “Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Business Process Management (BPM) estimated at US$3.3 Billion in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$4.7 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.1% over the analysis period 2020-2027. Automation, one of the segments analyzed in the report, is projected to record a 5.5% CAGR and reach US$2 Billion by the end of the analysis period. After an early analysis of the business implications of the pandemic and its induced economic crisis, growth in the Process Modeling segment is readjusted to a revised 4.9% CAGR for the next 7-year period.” Business Insider 

With these emerging economic trends, many organizations need capable business process management consultants to help them thrive in this digital age. While the need for consultants is clear. Their responsibilities and roles are not! 

For a BPM consultant to be effective he or she needs to embrace the following 7 roles. 

7 Roles of a business process management consultant 

  1. Understands fully your company’s Business Process  
  1. Aligns the business process with the strategic vision of your organization 
  1. Engages your employees in designing an effective business process 
  1. Applies global best practices when streamlining your processes 
  1. Improves your processes before automating 
  1. Automates your business processes 
  1. Focuses on the ultimate purpose of business processes optimization, which is to make your processes effective. 

Understands fully your company’s Business Process  

A good business process consultant doesn’t start by automating the processes of your business. Rather they seek to fully understand the current business processes of your organization. 

Aligns the business process with the strategic vision of your organization 

A good business process consultant aligns your business process with the overall company’s strategy and vision for effectiveness, coherence and proper implementation. 

Engages your employees in designing an effective business process 

A good business process consultant engages your employee’s from start to finish. Who knows the business processes more than they do? This will aid the change management efforts needed in any business process that is fine-tuned and adaptable. 

Applies global best practices when streamlining your processes 

A good business process consultant doesn’t rely on experience alone but ensures to regularly refer to and work with proven global best practices unique to that industry. 

Improves your processes before automating 

A good business process consultant first seeks to improve your processes with standardized optimization techniques before jumping to automating all your processes. 

Automates your business processes 

A good business process consultant automates the processes for employees to use efficiently towards customer satisfaction.  

Focuses on the ultimate purpose of business processes optimization, which is to make your processes effective. 

A good business process consultant aims to improve and automate business processes for effectiveness so that your organization thrives. 

Visit us at StrongAdvice.ae to book a FREE consultation for your organizations BPM today. 

By Leke Abaniwonda 
Staff at Strong Advice 😊 
+971523539767 

How to Design a Successful Leadership Development Program

Sep 03, 2020, 5.10pm UTC (+4) 

6 mins Read 

Harvard Business Review released an article by Jennifer Perry, Foster Mobley and Matt Brubaker on “Most Doctors Have Little or No Management Training, and That’s a Problem” (December 15th, 2017). The main thrust of the article was to emphasize every hospital’s need for uniquely qualified medical professionals who exhibit high leadership qualities during the dispensation of their regular medical duties. The article focused on the desire to see medical practitioners excel in the day to day business leadership of the hospital. They assert this will provide greater stewardship of hospitals as more medical practitioners become leaders who wisely balance quality and cost without compromising on either. The challenge, however, is that most medical practitioners have not been trained and developed as leaders neither in their course of study to become medical professionals nor at the medical organizations they work in. Having developed and led advanced leadership programs for various organizations ourselves, Strong Advice understands that the underlining question is not about whether a leadership program should be developed, but rather “how would we design a successful leadership development program?”  

You might think such a challenge is peculiar to only practitioners in the medical field. However, many industry CEOs, Human Resources (HR) leaders, Leadership coaches, and Chief experience officers (CXOs) are diligently seeking new ways of integrating the culture of leadership development and skill training within the DNA of their organization. These clients have struggled to achieve significant business and organizational impact. 

According to research carried out by infoprolearning “The bottom line is that more money is spent on leadership development than any other area of corporate training, yet 71% of organizations do not feel their leaders are able to lead their organization into the future.” With many millennials feeling they have never truly been developed as leaders while working within organizations despite all the huge investments made into leadership development and training. When some are asked why they thought this was the case, many are quick to sum up the thoughts of the collective, that most leadership development programs designed never seem relevant to them on the day to day basis at their jobs. They often contained great principles and insights about leadership but never quite addressed the day to day realities of working. It then becomes a case of head knowledge versus practical, experiential learning.  

As our expert team studied cases of unsatisfactory leadership training, it was clear that a more customized approach based on a detailed assessment of the needs of the attending audience and goals for the organization was critical to success.  

These findings, coupled with the urgency created by the rise of the global covid19 pandemic, has led many companies to begin seriously considering the impact on leadership that the pandemic will have on their company’s culture, profitability, employee responsibility, and engagement, business efficiency, and cross-collaboration and many other factors. This has created a surge of remote working with the implications of the post-covid19 workplace culture looming close. The need to design compelling leadership development programs that consider scenarios like the current pandemic has never seemed more paramount to the overarching long-term business success in this “VUCA” business world.  

Particularly in the past, many leadership development efforts have failed in connecting the impact of every leadership program at organizations with business goals & objectives. These, many have attributed to a poor design strategy of the leadership development program, which failed to account for the impact of the program on business goals and objectives.  

For over a decade, we at Strong Advice have faithfully sought to assess leadership needs and design relevant leadership programs linked to our clients’ business goals at the forefront of our minds. We are committed to create a holistic and transformative leadership development program, designing not what we want, but what our clients need! 

We therefore desire to share some principles that has helped us successfully design leadership development programs. 

3 ways to Design a Leadership Development Program 

  1. Designing a relevant curriculum for the intended audience of the leadership development program. 
  1. Aligning leadership development program with the Business Goals and Objectives of your Organization. 
  1. Leveraging the use of digital technology  

Designing Relevant Curriculum for the Intended Audience 

When it comes to developing a leadership development program, the spectrum of leadership development material is broad. It is therefore important to know what should be included and what should be left out.  The key to expertly designing a leadership development program is focusing on an audience centered curriculum. The term audience-centered curriculum is described as a curriculum that focuses mainly on solving the direct needs of employees within a company.  Below are some ways you can find out what those needs are as you design your leadership curriculum.  

  1. Who I am designing this leadership program curriculum for? 
  1. What do I know about this group of professionals? 
  1. What role do they play within the organization? 
  1. Based on careful observation and interviews how would you describe emotions they feel on the day to day basis?  
  1. What challenges do they face at their work? 
  1. What leadership skills will they need to develop to do their jobs even better on a day to day? 
  1. How can these insights help me design a custom-made curriculum tailored to them? 
  1. How does the environment they work shape or influence the role they play within their organization? 

Align Leadership development Program with Business Goals and Objectives 

Along with identifying the problems and challenges of the audience in context is identifying how all of this connects with the business goal and objective for business impact. Below are some ways to move to the next phase in designing a compelling leadership development program. 

  1. Define the problem: Many times, understanding the challenges professionals face only makes it an endless list of problems that need to be addressed by one leadership development program. The wise thing to do is group them into themes and streamline those challenges into one or two defined challenges. By doing this, the leadership training material is specific and relevant to the intended audience but does not overwhelm them. 
  1. Define a measurable business impact. How will solving this challenge and equipping leaders to increase business goals and objectives? What metrics are you working with? What KPIs are you working on those metrics? 
  1. Be specific with the above and don’t leave it to chance! 

Sign up HERE for a FREE online consultation to assess your organization’s leadership needs and let us help you customize a relevant program specific to your organization. 

Technology 

In this digital age it’s hard to imagine any leadership program that doesn’t involve a form of digital technology being used to deliver the output. Here are two aspects to consider when leveraging digital technology. 

  1. What Learning Management System (LMS) should be used as the Technology Platform for our leadership development program. The fundamental decision to be made is deciding on the best system that fits your company culture. Ensure the platform chosen is easy to use and matches audience preference to make it easily adopted by the employees to easily adoption of the system. 
  1. Interactivity: As in-person training was characterized activities that engage the audience present so also is the need for interactivity in engaging the audience when doing leadership training online.  Gamification is a must-have feature to have designed into your LMS. Gamification simply put is applying the concepts of rewards and achievement into a system to drive a similar response as would be found in a video game. Gamification done well, will help the users of any system be more engaged and desirous to keep using the system. 

Uk.Mathletics.com 

Alongside gamification is using certificates as motivation for continuous leadership development. Also, a small reward that leads to tangible outcome in real life can help motivation. For example, how about a free coffee or a donut when achievement reaches a new level.  

Sign up HERE for a FREE online consultation to assess your organization’s leadership needs and let us help you customize a relevant program specific to your organization. 

You don’t have to figure all this out on your own. Visit us at www.StrongAdvice.ae to help you build and execute a standout leadership development program focused on the success of your organization. 

By Leke Abaniwonda 
Staff at Strong Advice 😊 
+971523539767 

The Role of Risk Management in Project Management

Aug 18, 2020, 4.25am UTC (+4) 

8 mins Read 

We have long known it’s impossible to perfectly predict the events of the future. Yet you would agree, seeking to predict the future is necessary if we are to overcome the risk inherent in every project undertaking, we are involved. 

In recent times, the entire world has been shaken by the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic which undoubtedly affected human lives, government operations, and not in the least business projects. You and many other project managers, chief executive officers (CEOs), and business professionals are most likely pondering the similar questions, ‘how do we safeguard our future projects from being affected by uncertainties as covid19?’ ‘what do we do with our on-going projects affected by the pandemic?’ 

This and many more questions are in the minds of many. The aim of the article is to provide you ways on how to integrate risk into all your project engagements. 

WHAT IS RISK MANAGEMENT IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT? 

It is not uncommon for a project manager to simply tick the box of risk management rather than actively practice risk management principles at every stage during a project. 

Risk Management as a discipline in project management is simply a means of identifying, assessing and mitigating threats that might affect the successful outcome of a project. 

Because of the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world we live in now, risk management strategies, processes, and plans have taken on a heighten level of significance at every organizational level and project management. 

Project management on the other hand now embodies new complexities that didn’t exist only a decade ago. The disruption of several industries because of new digital technologies have transformed the project management landscape as many projects are being executed digitally. These new trends are shaping the way teams are managed. The offline face to face communication with gradually being phased out with near-complete virtual communications. Also, the demand for project managers to run projects over digital technologies, like Zoom and Microsoft teams and many more have reached an all-time high and its effects have only just begun. 

Thus, this understanding of the emerging project management landscape as led to an increased responsibility for the role of risk management strategies in project management practices.  

You might wonder, how would I intentionally navigate the role of risk management in my next digital project. Well, below are 3 helpful steps to take in integrating risk into your projects. 

3 RISK MANAGEMENT STEPS TO OVERCOME CHALLENGES IN YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT PRACTICE
  1. RISK MANAGEMENT DOESN’T STAND ALONE IN PROJECTS 

It is important to remember, risk management functions under the overarching goals and objectives of project management. Project managers should strongly guard against the instinct to treat it as a separate standalone strategy with their unique goals. Its goals should have its origin from the overall project goals. 

Before engaging risk management, project teams should first carefully understand the project in which the risk management strategies aim to access. Some helpful questions to do these are? 

  1. What is this project about and why are we undertaking it? 
  1. What is this project about and why are we undertaking it? 
  1. What is this project about and why are we undertaking it? 
  1. How much risk tolerance do we allow as an organization for this project? 
  1. When these risks occur how will we handle it based on the project guidelines and policies? 

These questions and many more, will help you appropriately understand the foundational implications of risk on the entire project scope. 

  1. DRAFT A COMPREHENSIVE AND DETAILED RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN 

Drafting a comprehensive risk management plan is a great way to guide the entire team to identify, assess, handle and monitor risk. The risk management plan is a document that facilitates the handling and monitoring of uncertainties that may affect the successful outcome of a project.  

A good risk management plan is drafted with a team consisting of several key stakeholders instrumental to a given project. Stakeholder involvement allows for the identification of certain risks that otherwise might not be made known by the other project team members. 

To draft a comprehensive risk management plan, below is a reference of a template designed on iAuditor by Safety Culture 

  1. ASSIGN RISK OWNERS 

It is important to delegate the responsibility of identifying and responding to risks to a team member within the project. This delegate doesn’t have to be the project manager. Usually the project manager should provide oversight while orchestrating an array of several components to bring the project to a success. 

Two benefits of having a separate member own risk within a project are: 

  1. It allows for the Project Leader to focus his/her attention on other elements of the project while providing oversight in handling risk. 
  1. It helps the project team to be constantly risk aware even with or without the project leader present. 

Overall, risk accountability guards the team from under-prioritizing risk. 

In conclusion, whether you are just starting out in project management or you’re a veteran. It is important to keep in mind the vital role risk management plays in the larger project management effort. 

Also, remember to draft a visible and accessible risk management plan for all members of the project team who are involved in actualizing the project. 

Finally, ensure to delegate responsibility to champion risk management in every project undertaken. A person who would identify and response to risk as they happen all through the project. 

How important do you think the role of risk management is in Project management practice of your organization and what role can your organization play in prioritizing it?  

Let us know in the comments below. 

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By Leke Abaniwonda 
Staff at StrongAdvice😊
+971523539767 

Transformational Leadership is purpose-driven

Leading people to a purposeful destination 

While transformational leadership is about change, there must be a worthwhile purpose to support that change. Without purpose, leadership becomes dysfunctional. 

Many organizations and their leaders try to avoid any change. They live by the adage “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” – even when not expressed openly. Change is inevitable, so leading change in a positive direction is the plan and passion of every transformational leader. 

Experiencing Transformation 

During my recent travels, I arrived in Dubai through terminal 1. The airport terminal can handle approximately 25 million passengers a year. With the opening of Terminal 3 and a new concourse, about 60 million commutes occur through Dubai each year. By any standard, the terminal wasn’t broke. It was operating efficiently and had even won awards as one of the best airports in the middle-east. As I walked through the renovation area with temporary walls and signs to direct travelers, I was remembering the nice facility it had been only weeks ago. Now, I was confused by all the changes. Making my way to the taxi, I was asking myself what all this change was about. Then I saw a sign that answered that question! The message was:  Sorry for any disturbance- but it’s going to be worth it! 

I was experiencing the transformation of Dubai Terminal 1! Currently, it is an unfinished project, but the goal is to be the best airport in the world. The process can be very messy and create confusion for weeks and even months. The transformational leader, however, is committed to the greater vision and purpose for why the change is necessary and communicates that vision to both the worker and the customers. Instead of seeing the dust, I began to imagine what the future facility was going to look like. The message completely changed my feelings about my current situation.  

Research data on the transformational leader  

The experience at the terminal follows our research about the transformational leadership style. We give credit to Carter and Greer (2013) for their findings. They determined that transformational leaders focus more on influencing the “internal mind-set of the organization’s people, its culture, and even cultures beyond the organization”. They also state that transformational leaders thrive in helping followers relate and connect with the vision, mission and values of any organization. Carter and Greer further explain that building this strong connection with what an organization stands for is essential for a high-level, strategic leader to operate effectively. Leaders that behave in this way according to their article, can support followers and the entire team by helping them see the value and importance of their contributions to the organization. This leadership ability encourages the team to look beyond their current situation to strive for the greater good of the organization. This “appeals to the higher order needs of followers” to be part of a grander plan. Carter and Greer are referring to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, where growth & development, achievement and status are at the top of the list.  

Transformational leadership influence every follower to rally around the worthwhile cause because they can contribute in a significant way to it. Including others in the process of developing a vision and then allowing participation in the planning and communication helps ensure that followers are enthusiastically engaged in the implementation of the changes needed. Transformational leaders ensure that their followers are on the same page with them before changes are made.  

Based on this research and our experience, Strong Advice concludes that transformational leaders have developed competencies that promote change by energizing their followers. They succeed where transactional leaders may fail because they have learned to appeal to the significance of the mission. The normal resistance to changes by workers, like anxiety and confusion over the unknown, or fear of losing what they have, is overcome by a greater and higher purpose. This style of leader transforms the organization by first transforming the mind of the people who carry out the work of transformation. According to Jack Welch, the 21st Century organizations can only “win” (i.e. beat competitors) by ensuring that their people are aligned and able to make independent, innovative and intelligent decisions in the face of uncertainty and still maintain consistency with the mission and values of the organization. 

Transformational leadership and organizational performance 

When performance is compared with the transactional style, it may seem that transactional leaders win in the short-term. Like the example at the airport, performance may suffer at first due to dramatic changes. The benefits take longer to materialize. Many leaders prioritize short-term gains over longer term sustainability. However, the transformational leader takes the time to build trust, not only with the workers, but with stakeholders, including stockholders, board members and customers. The result is higher performance and improved sustainability in the long term. 

Where the Transactional leader improves efficiency and reduces costs, the transformational leader, over time, can match efficiency while increasing performance in additional areas, such as: 

  • Improved employee performance through job satisfaction and challenging work that leads to personal growth and development. 
  • Improved organizational identity as a trusted member of the community. 
  • Improved work environment with better equipment and resources to fulfill the mission of the organization 
  • Healthier work culture and relationships within the organization. 

If any organization wants to remain successful in the longer term, these additional performance improvements are non-negotiable. Strategic leaders must demonstrate the capability to transform. A few leaders may have a natural tendency to be transformational and just need refining. For the majority, coaching and training are required before these skills can be added to a strategic leader’s toolkit.

By Fountain Abani
Lead Trainer – Executive & Corporate at Strong Advice 

Styles of Strategic Leadership: Is Charismatic Leadership only for a talented few?

A revisit to an ancient leadership style 

In this series on strategic leadership styles, we are discussing the leaders of the effective style choose to be successful in a variety of situations. In the introductory article, we discussed how transactional leaders help organizations increase performance, especially in the short term. Alternatively, transformational leadership, defined in a 2nd article, seeks more ambitious changes to benefit the organization for the long term. To complete this series let’s set our thinking on a most ancient form of  

leadership used by many famous leaders, from King Solomon to Martin Luther King –- the charismatic style of leadership.  

Do you possess the ability to persuade, influence and inspire on such a grand scale? If you don’t possess this naturally, you are like most of us! You may be more comfortable with transactional or transformational styles. However, you should seek to develop this capability in yourself and others for certain situations we will discuss. As your skill in this area grows, you may find yourself on a larger stage than you could possibly imagine! 

Characteristics of Charismatic Leaders 

According to Robert Greene, charismatic leaders have an exciting presence. They are motivated by themselves. Charismatics have a daring self-confidence, a sense of purpose, and a level of contentment. Others are attracted to that kind of person simply because they are geared up for action. This very charged and magnetic presence garners the confidence of more and more followers.  

Charismatic leaders learn to be masters of body language and verbal communication. They often communicate by telling a story which allows their followers to identify with the main character. As skilled story tellers, their story is not about themselves but about their followers or about the whole organization. Using beautiful imagery and positive language that appeals to their team’s situation, the charismatic leader has the opportunity to move the organization in a dramatic way. 

The best charismatic leaders are not only articulate but also visionaries. They know how to paint a good picture of a very beautiful and pleasant future for their team. They convince the team of the undesirable aspects of their current situation (if necessary). They study their people well to know their hopes and dreams. When the charismatic leaders are able to combine their followers’ expectations with the beautiful future in mind, the followers produce the desired results. 

The compelling message of Charismatic Style of Leadership 

Charismatic leadership is thought to be the one leadership style that draws its authority from within the person and not by externals such as organization power. People generally grant charismatics the authority to lead them based on their warm personality, enthusiasm and a positive outlook for the future. Charismatics have a compelling message that inspires and engenders devotion from others. Leaders whose charismatic intentions are focused on followers (social charisma) have the ability to inspire them to take ownership of a beautifully described future, agree on key values for the organization and fuel action to accomplish the critical tasks. By doing so, they have the potential to succeed in transforming the morale of an entire organization or nation. Influencing people through personal attraction and a few hopeful words create the way for significant change in a short period of time. 

Charismatic leaders create an interpersonal connection with the followers, even though they may not know the leader personally. The followers experience the qualities of the leader through the positive message and they feel that the leader understands their needs. Their alignment with the vision and change is often based on heart-felt confidence in the leader and belief that they can overcome any obstacles with the support of the charismatic leader. 

Leaders like this inspire everyone to think differently. They challenge the status quo, not necessarily criticizing the present condition, but talking positively about the future. They are usually the most powerful change agents, especially to those unengaged or discouraged. We advise you to develop your own ability for this type of leadership and identify others who have this potential when the need arises in times of major change or crisis. Personal development steps are highlighted later in this article. 

Benefits of charismatic leadership 

Charismatic leadership results generally in increased net profit and equity growth because it influences people to do things in a way that promotes achievement and results despite the obstacles they face. Researchers like Carter and Greer (2013) found an outstanding correlation between charismatic leadership and the bottom line. Individuals become so passionate about their business that they take personal risks and make sacrifices beyond the normal expectations. 

Charismatic behaviors have a very unique way of influencing and changing organizational culture. A company that is failing can be inspired to turn around the business when people suddenly believe in a new way and in a new inspirational leader. Charismatic leadership spends less time and energy on aligning the people to the mission of the organization because the people are already charged with positive energy and determination to implement the vision. The charismatic leader excels in convincing the followers that the vision and strategy is all about them. So the people are already fueled to run with whatever the leader tells them is needed to reach the desired end. 

Personal Development of Charismatic Leadership 

Perhaps Charismatic leadership style is not your preferred style. Yet, the situation in your organization may require such a leadership style for a period of time. Here are some steps to develop your skills so that you can be prepared when the time comes. 

  1. Learn better ways to communicate with your team: Communication is the most essential skill of a charismatic leader. Spend time on developing your communication skills in storytelling, for example. Put more thought and energy into developing your presentations or speeches by using symbolism and metaphors. Appeal to your team’s hopes and desires and call them out subtly in response to your organization’s vision/goals. Practice speaking! It is good to develop a theatrical sense with your words and tone so that your message has greater impact. Work for memorable phrases or “sound bites”. Speaking with clarity and enthusiasm gains followers!  
  1. Design & create a compelling vision: A compelling vision has to be about changing things for the better.  Always make sure you are exploring new ways and innovative systems that could change the life and purpose of your team to be more significant or strategic. You have to believe your vision first before anyone else can follow! Keep yourself a bit detached from your current reality especially if it is not so pleasant by focusing on the reality you envision. That way you will not be drawn into petty things that will diminish your influence or detract from your team’s enthusiasm. Remember not to be negative and criticize the present! Instead paint a better picture for what the future holds! 
  1. Be sensitive to your people and the environment: A charismatic leader is able to enthuse a crowd of people because he understands them and is able to adapt his actions and words to relate to their situations. Pay close attention to people when they talk to you. Look them in the eyes and seek a deeper connection with them. Your eyes are important elements of your influence among people. By paying attention to people when they talk, you are able to see their pains, needs, joys and sorrows. Then you are prepared to respond to them with sensitivity and gain their trust and loyalty.  
  1. Let your people feel and know how much you value them: Forgetting this can be a downfall of charismatic leaders because they receive so much personal attention. They begin to think that the cause is all about themselves. Let your followers know you are there for them. Show you have confidence in your people by empowering them with important roles and the authority to carry them out. Remember, people are drawn to you because of the way you make them feel about themselves and the organization. 
  1. Build a reputation of trust and integrity: This advice is for any leader in any situation. Be true to yourself. Demonstrate the kind of character that you would want your boss to have. When there is difficulty in your organization, ensure that you are present and available to support the team, inject confidence and maintain enthusiasm for the end result. Being confident builds confidence and loyalty from your followers.  When there is criticism of your team, be the first to accept responsibility as the leader. 
  1. Take time to rest, rejuvenate and reflect: Since the leadership styles comes from within you need to take time to rest both your body and your mind. Take time to reflect and keep thinking of new ideas for leading and communicating. Take time to recharge so that you can have the high energy it takes to lead charismatically. If you can do that, your charismatic leadership can thrive.  
  1. Model yourself after great examples: Choose a few good examples of effective charismatic leaders. Read their books and observe how they inspire others. Practice their methods.  

If a crisis or a quick turnaround of your organization is required, you will be prepared to lead if you follow these steps. If already a naturally charismatic leader, these steps can help you improve. It is challenging and exciting to lead by the charismatic style!

By Fountain Abani
Lead Trainer – Executive & Corporate at Strong Advice 

The winning facets of leadership

Every person is a leader in some area of life. This leadership could be found in areas like family, business, community, sports teams, spiritual institutions, or academics. The choice is not whether you will lead, but how you lead. Even those who refuse to lead will unintentionally influence others, likely in a negative way. The real question is whether your leadership is valuable or detrimental to others who follow.  

When I accepted my first full time job after graduation, in a large corporation, I did not picture myself as a leader. I was the youngest in my department, with no professional job experience and no family and few friends in my new location. I soon learned that my supervisor had a different view. His expectation was that I would take the lead on projects and work that he assigned me. Not much later, I married and started a family. I soon realized that leadership was unavoidable at work or at home. The only choice I had was to embrace the responsibility and become a good leader or disown my responsibility to produce a negative result. 

Imagine leadership as a rough-cut jewel. If the stone is left alone in its natural state, the value of the jewel may not be recognized. Its beauty is only revealed when the stone is carefully cut in different facets. When light is focused on the carefully crafted jewel, it reflects the beauty of the stone. Leadership is not about the leader, but about the enhanced value and beauty reflected upon others.  

In leadership, consider three significant facets that help to reflect the value and beauty of others. 

EMPOWERING OTHERS 

If you are already the known leader, people inside and outside the organization appeal to you for permission to make decisions about resources, priorities, and projects.  

The challenge: when do you make the decision or when do you delegate that decision to the person responsible in your organization?  

Your answer will determine the value of your team member whom you have given the responsibility to. Assigning responsibility without the decision-making authority will de-value your worker.  At a minimum, you will need to ask for their input before deciding. If the decision affects the alignment of the vision for your organization, you will likely need to weigh in. As much as possible, let your team members decide and inform the one who appealed to you. That will communicate trust to the individual, their co-workers, and the people outside the organization. If you make that the pattern of trust, more decisions will be made at the team level and free you up for more strategic issues.  

APPRECIATING OTHERS 

Some leaders think that a quarterly appreciation program for workers or an “employee of the month award” satisfies their requirement to appreciate team members.  

The challenge: Do you regularly and naturally communicate your appreciation for those who assist you in executing the vision of the organization?  

Appreciation has to be authentic and credible. Hollow praise and empty slogans will be understood for what they are: manipulative! Take time to think about your team members and reflect on what their strengths are that you rely on. Then your praise will spring from your appreciative attitude. If you can’t think of any positive areas, it is time to have a discussion with them about their performance. Appreciation can be expressed either in positive affirmation or through a challenge to improve. Leadership is not about making people comfortable but in stretching them to higher achievement.  By regularly showing appreciation, the morale and productivity of your organization will accelerate. 

DEVELOPING OTHERS 

An organization that I worked with in assessing their leaders scored the lowest competency rating in the area of developing others.  

The challenge: Do you personally focus your time on identifying and developing leaders in your organization? 

Many leaders or companies provide access to learning for their followers. The trend with large companies is to designate “talent coordinators” who search for those who may have high potential for leadership ability. While that is helpful, you will need to personally focus on developing leaders for your organization. The first step is to model good leadership that all people in your team can follow.  Be transparent in how you influence others both inside and outside the organization. Keep alert for potential leaders and develop plans for accelerating their growth. Share with them research on leadership including the previous articles on “Strong Advice” website regarding the different types of leadership styles. Don’t just rely on your judgment to identify leadership talent. Obtain other viewpoints through the use of self-assessments and objective information through assessment centres. By your intentional efforts to develop others, especially in leadership, you will have the capability to expand as your vision for the organization expands.   

Leadership can be more valuable than a diamond when you carefully and consistently craft into each week the three facets of empowering, appreciating, and developing others. Regardless of your personality or style, these facets will shape your weekly routine as you become a more effective leader.

By Fountain Abani
Lead Trainer – Executive & Corporate at Strong Advice 

Leading Strategically in a puzzling business world: Challenges inherent in turning strategic intent into operational actions

The last two posts on leading strategically in a puzzling business world have helped us understand the role of leadership in setting the direction of the organization in light of the varying factors in the business world. We highlighted the practical ways of uniting employee commitment by designing a well-crafted leadership development strategy. 

In this concluding post of the series, our aim is to point your attention to possible complications and barriers that may ensue when the leadership moves from strategic intent to operational action.

Below are some challenges you are likely to face when implementing a strategic vision

  1. A major challenge is an unclear vision. Ensure employees embrace the vision wholeheartedly. This means that employees are on board with strategic intent. This is particularly relevant when strategic action requires a top-down implementation. 
  2. Poor communication bars effective strategy execution. Ensure proper communication from the leadership team at every level of the organization. The objectives and aims of the strategic intent should state clearly the implementation process.
  3. A poor attitude displayed by the leadership team towards the strategic implementation shapes the rest of the organization’s culture about the strategy proposed.

Possible Solutions

  1. In the implementation of a strategy, it is advisable to provide support for all employees. This helps them gradually and systematically migrate from their current ways of doing things to the new way of doing things. 
  2. A great way to help entire organizations implement a strategy is by enabling open communication within the organization. So as to get good early feedback during the implementation and to iterate the implementation process accordingly. 
  3. Your organization should embrace a tolerance towards failure and should incorporate holistic organizational learning. 
By Leke Abaniwonda 
Staff at Strong Advice 😊 
+971523539767