​From Mud to Management

by External07 Feb 2014
It’s a long way from the brickyard to the management suite. Yet Mark Strom has found lessons learned early in life can have a significant benefit down the path.

Mark Strom is an author, speaker and management consultant with an unusual background – he used to work as a brickie and a truck driver before moving into advising corporates on strategy. His major theme? Dealing with people at a human level will always give better results than enacting policy from on-high.

Here Strom presents his five main tips for HRDs wanting to engage in effective leadership.

ASK GROUNDED QUESTIONS
A grounded question prepares the way for deep change. It does so by drawing out the overlooked stories that are key to rich insights.

TURN ENGAGEMENT UPSIDE DOWN
Engagement can and often should be turned upside down. Usually managers ask staff to engage in the managers’ vision. But new possibilities in strategy, innovation, and operational excellence arise when managers engage in the established crafts and communities of their staff.

FIND THE STORIES THAT UNCOVER BRILLIANCE
Professional reputation depends on competence, integrity, and brilliance. Without competence we’re not (or shouldn’t be) in the game. Without integrity we won’t stay in the game (at least not in any I want to play). Only brilliance marks us out. Not IQ but the ability of every human to shine. This is crucial to strategy, innovation, and engagement. But few of us know our brilliance, nor that of our staff. The key is to find the stories.

PUT CONVERSATION FIRST
When it comes to change, conversation matters even more than communication. Both are important, but different. Communication is about sharing already created meaning. Conversation is about creating new meaning. Without new meaning, change is doomed. With contrived meaning, change turns sour. But when people find new meaning by bringing alive the conversations that matter most, deep change is always possible.

GROW RELATIONSHIP TO GROW INFLUENCE
Influence can only go as far as a relationship will bear. To grow influence, grow relationship. But if we contrive relationship, we distort influence. So we face a paradox: to grow influence, we must pursue relationship first, influence second. 


Martk Strom
About the author
Mark Strom is the author of Lead with Wisdom: How Wisdom Transforms Good Leaders into Great Leaders. Published by Wiley, 2014. Strom can be reached via: mark@markstrom.co