Humanistic Management, Xavier Marcet

This week we had Xavier Marcet as the keynote speaker for our anual Vistage all-member event on the subject of Humanistic Management.

the author with Xavier Marcet

Xavier Marcet has a regular column in the la Vanguardia newspaper that regularly gets up to a million views. He shares thoughts about “humanistic management” and has published 3 books – the last two being “Avoiding Mediocrity” and “Grow helping others grow”.

Xavier’s definition of Humanistic Management is “getting results, but taking great care of the means by which you get results.”

Xavier shared 16 reflections on what it takes to be a “humanistic” manager… although something got lost in my notes and I only have 15 in my notebook 😉

Putting Humanistic Management into Action

  1. Consistency – evolving alongside your clients… but not 15 steps ahead… just half a step ahead. If you get 15 steps ahead of your clients, you get attention and applause… but no sales. His question for the group: are you being consistent in your own life?
  2. More Strategy, less planning – the work of Henry Minzberg showed that some companies follow plans, some companies don’t follow plans… but what makes the positive difference is that there is a “future framework” – there is a common understanding in the company of what type of future we are heading for, and what type of future we really do not want.
  3. The 3 Runways of Strategy – there are 3 runways that are part of a business strategy –
    1. Today’s operations – what generates cashflow and profits today
    2. Future operations – innovation and exploration to develop tomorrow’s cash and profit engines
    3. People development – developing the talented, motivated people that you need today and tomorrow.
  4. The 3 Roles of the Leader – the three roles of the leader are
    1. Executive – setting KPIs and driving efficiency in today’s operations
    2. Director – building the future operations model
    3. Leader – developing the people around you.
  5. Ambidextrous Organisations – the ability to balance between exploiting today’s profitable operations and exploring future opportunities. Xavier’s question for the group: Do you control your agenda, or does your agenda control you?
  6. Efficiency and Effectiveness“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker
  7. Strategic Agility – the ability to take decisions under uncertainty and doubt.
  8. Innovation requires Empathy and Technology“we are overdosing on technology” Xavier Marcet; Don’t ask your clients what they need… watch them… pay attention. It is through observation of that they really do, and what they are trying to do that you truly see what is important. Observe more. Don’t ask what your clients want. They don’t really know.
  9. Innovation is really hard, but you don’t have a choice – the greatest risk you can take is to not innovate.
  10. Sustainable Innovation – if you automate 800 people’s jobs and then let them go without preparing them for their next role… this is an abdication of leadership. We have a responsibility to help others prepare for the future.
  11. The “Talentless” – Talent is Knowledge + Competency + Capacity to Adapt + Capacity to multiply other’s capacities; How do you become “talentless”? You stop learning. The day you stop learning, you begin to become “talentless”. You age very quickly. How to lead high performers so they create “ecosystems not ego-systems”? “without the team, you are nothing”.
  12. Leadership is service, not being served – Leaders need to combine Vision and personal example; Ambition and humilty. We are only great through people. Who “pulls you up”? Who do you “pull up”?
  13. Grow by growing others – improving your clients, your professional community, your shareholders, your society. Seek to grow the quality and capacity of everyone around you.
  14. Great Place to Work – we want 2 things to feel that we work in a great place – respect and dignity. “See the people around you for who they are”.
  15. Build a Legacy – the difference between a business and a company… a company has a way of facing life, a set of values, a way of being; a business makes money. Build a company. Make sure your company has a soul. Create opportunities that are meaningful for those around you.

Author: Conor Neill

Hi, I’m Conor Neill, an Entrepreneur and Teacher at IESE Business School. I speak about Moving People to Action.

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