Change and Transformation
“The Beacon Group’s program proved to be a transformational experience for our staff, and has created a new, more open culture of creativity and collaboration that has given The Globe and Mail a marked and measurable competitive advantage.”
— Phillip Crawley
“The Beacon Group was able to handle our 360 reviews across 9 offices in a manner that brought significant value to our partners, the firm and ultimately our clients.”
— Judson Whiteside
“The human capital programs provided by The Beacon Group are best in class.”
— Tye Burt
“The Beacon Group approaches very serious and difficult topics in an accessible and insightful way.”
— Eric Siegel
“The Beacon Group’s thought provoking curriculum utilizes best practice tools and interactive media for evaluation, assessment and overall learning. It has helped us raise the bar on our calibre of talent.”
— Ernst Lieb
“The Beacon Group delivered cutting edge perspectives on many human capital topics that were tailored and customized to our company in a way that we could not have obtained at more generic, cookie-cutter advising shops.”
— Doug Lord
“The Beacon Group acted as a strategic partner and was instrumental in helping us raise the bar on candid dialogue and team performance.”
— Robert Courteau
“We engaged The Beacon Group when we needed to bring two cultures together after our first major international acquisition: the evidence of their success lies in both the subsequent growth in our business and our presence in more than twelve countries on five continents.”
— Rupert Duchesne
“The Beacon Group excels in facilitating open & candid dialogue that has fostered superior team performance.”
— Mary Ellen Carlyle
“Top-level thought leadership, combined with practical, cost-effective solutions—that’s the real value the Beacon Group team brings to bear on Foresters talent challenges.”
— Suanne Nielsen
“Doug Williamson and his team were of invaluable assistance in helping our organization navigate through a completely new strategic planning process and emerge with a three year plan resoundingly endorsed by our Board. Doug’s global perspectives and ability to drive consensus was an integral part of our success.”
— Don Forgeron
“The Global HR & Communications senior team engaged the Beacon Group in shepherding us through a unique strategic planning process that involved an outside-in view of our current and future workforce and how this aligns to our business strategy. Thanks to Doug and his team it was a thought provoking process that sharpened our strategic thinking and, in the end, made our strategy stronger.”
— Sylvia Chrominska
“The Beacon Group’s customized and personalized approach fit our needs perfectly. From the initial self-discovery phase all the way to recommending solutions, the work they have done has been consistently world-class. They combine strong analytics with a wealth of real world experience. They are focused, targeted and are experts at taking theoretic concepts and making them real. We look forward to working with Doug and his team as we continue to elevate our business and improve our internal performance.”
— Don Romano
In the hyperactive and challenging world in which we all live, it is becoming harder and harder for business leaders to find time to read, reflect and gain insight from the many valuable sources at our disposal.
In "Provocative Propositions", The Beacon Group attempts to fill that void by offering our opinion, often rather pointed, on a wide array of issues we believe are relevant to leading a modern organization.
The articles are catalogued into 12 categories so you can quickly and easily find a topic of particular interest. We then offer three easy steps under the heading "In Our Opinion" to help business leaders take action on the key themes.
Simply click on the category and read away.
It's Saturday morning.
You're standing on the sidelines of a soccer field.
The game is being played by 4 year-olds. What do you see?
One ball, with all 16 kids chasing it.
The swarm is ferocious. Everyone wants the ball. Everyone is trying to push each other out of the way to get to the ball.
You smile to yourself and think it's cute.
After a while, you start to think about it again and realize there are actually supposed to be two distinct teams on the field, but the reality is that there are, in fact, 16 teams on the field. Everyone is in it for themselves; uncoordinated, unfocused and undisciplined - even if it means competing against their own team mates.
It's Monday morning.
You're sitting in the Boardroom with the CEO of your organization. There are 16 department heads around the table - everyone is trying to get the CEO's attention.
That's when it hits you.
There is supposed to be 1 team in the boardroom - not 16.
Welcome to little league.
Welcome to silos, politics and turf wars.
The Disease of Dis- ease
Almost all organizations suffer from some sort of infighting. In some cases blatant and in other cases more sophisticated and less obvious to detect on the surface. The type of superficial congeniality that Jack Welch talks about as the "biggest dirty little secret in business today".
The root cause is usually the same. A certain type of dis-ease that people have with each other based on either lack of trust or lack of clarity or - god forbid, both!
While the key is to ensure alignment, synergy, and collaboration across an entire organization, this is often much harder to do than it should be. The walls of the silos can be thick and the playing field strewn with hidden land mines that make the journey dangerous.
The ultimate responsibility for dismantling the silos and the ultimate success of an organization rests not on the shoulders of the CEO, but squarely on the shoulders of the senior team who must make a tough choice. That choice is to deal with bad behaviour themselves or let it taint them all, ultimately allowing the weakest link in the chain to drag them down.
Remember, truly talented players only want to play with other truly talented players. The talented players will not condone the type of silo-based politics and turf wars that the weak and the timid seem to thrive on.
If you have silos, there is a good chance you have the wrong team. The talented folks may have left a long time ago.
On any given day, in any great organization, you should be able to ask every single employee the same simple question and get the same clear answer - What is our company's goal?
If the organization is truly great, the response you get from one employee will be the same - word for word - as the response of every other employee.
It's about absolute clarity. This definitive clarity ensures that employees throughout the organization are aligned, understand the overall goal of the organization and their role in it.
View from the Top
Here comes the tricky part - what if the senior team doesn't know the goal?
What if the organization is ready for the big game, but there is no game plan?
In that case, the best bet is to tell the truth. Tell is straight. Don't duck, weave and hide. Let them know there isn't a single, clearly defined goal right now, but that it is the intention of the senior executives to determine this goal.
Don't pretend and don't roll out a weak set of goals and a limp mission that will not only fail to rally and align the troops, but will undermine your credibility.
A Word on Wording
Luckily, the goal and the mission are not dependent on fancy, wordy vocabulary. If there is no time to craft a poetic phrase, then settle for a simple, easy to understand goal. Keep in mind, your job is to create clarity and alignment first and then you can focus on inspiring and motivating your employees.
In "Silos, Politics and Turf Wars", author Patrick Lencioni states that in order to be successful, organizations must have a series of goals. Not only must the goals be time sensitive, there must be definitive measures to determine whether or not the goals have been achieved. The best organizations are those that have the "next" goal ready to be rolled out the instant one is achieved
In Our Opinion
The Beacon Group's Keys to Breaking Down Silos from the Top
Find a "Them" - A short-term fix to infighting, is to find an external enemy to fight. That way, the focus and competition can be directed away from the organization, on to a competitor.
Rise and Shine - Your organizational goal cannot be a number. To ensure that the goal is met, you have to find a way of motivating employees around that goal so they come to work every morning raring to go.
Love it or Leave it - Silos start at the top of the organization. If there isn't alignment at the top of the organization, how can it be achieved at lower levels? Everyone must do their part to achieve the goal, or move on.
Repeat, Repeat, Repeat - If your goal falls victim to a case of broken telephone and gets altered in several different ways, it will lose all credibility. Be sure to constantly repeat the goal whenever possible - word for word.
Our Monthly Rant
Quitting on the Coach
In professional sports, if a team is performing poorly, the players are often said to have "quit on the coach". Somehow, the players have lost respect for their coach, or do not agree with a certain aspect of the coaching style. This sort of "rejection" is passive, but it does, at least, send a message to the coach.
In business, this sort of thing rarely happens and, if it does, it rarely gets noticed by the "coach's" boss.
The question then becomes, why doesn't the team inform the coach (or executive) of their displeasure. The executive should ultimately realize that it is their mandate to drive the performance of their team, and would therefore be held accountable in the event that there is poor performance. The executive should constantly ask for feedback. If a team doesn't have a clear sense of direction, the coach should then do something about it - thereby eliminating the infighting, factions, and the silos.