PODCAST: Strategic Leadership Management Consulting with Joe Britto
Joe Britto sat down with our team for another episode of Outback Talks to discuss the management consulting solution that can help support strategic leadership. Listen in to learn more about Strategic Focus Consulting and the six attributes of a leadership mindset, according to Joe.
Our team was lucky enough to chat once again with Joe Britto, a psychological coach, published author, founder of Innate Leaders, and Outback’s interactive management consulting expert, to learn more about his innovative solution Strategic Focus Consulting.
You can listen to the full episode below, or continue reading to learn more.
During the interview, Joe took us through:
- How Innate Leaders’ Management Consulting Works: Outlining the two stages of a management consulting solution with Innate Leaders, Joe describes what it’s like for corporate groups to work with his team.
- The 6 Attributes of a Leadership Mindset: Joe touches on the six attributes of a leadership mindset and discusses how they relate to Strategic Focus Consulting.
- Strategic Focus Consulting: Covering the ins and outs of Strategic Focus Consulting, Joe explains the specifics of this solution, identifying the corporate groups that tend to benefit most.
- How This Solution Is Different: In the episode, Joe also walks us through how Strategic Focus Consulting differs from more traditional management consulting.
“I think that sometimes people coming in to talk about strategy, or work with teams on strategy, make it more complicated than it really is,” says Joe.
How Innate Leaders’ Management Consulting Works
Regardless of which solution your group has chosen to help support your leadership team’s growth, management consulting with Innate Leaders always follows the same two-step process.
“The way that we work with Innate Leaders is we have what we call a two-stage approach,” says Joes. “So, it’s always going to be around the six attributes in growing a leadership mindset, because that’s kind of our thing.”
Although all of Joe’s management consulting solutions follow one format, it isn’t to say that all of them are the same. Far from it. In fact, each solution is built bespoke from the ground up to address the unique challenges of each group that Joe and his team work with.
For example, not every management consultation will apply all six attributes. Instead, the team will evaluate which of the six are most impactful to a specific challenge and focus on those.
Viewed through the lens of these attributes, Joe guides corporate groups in changing their perspectives. But what does this mean, exactly? Simply put: “We get the team to start to think differently.”
Joe explains that this first stage is so important to making the second part of the Innate Leaders process work. He says, “These things are really easy to talk about and they’re hard to do, and that’s what the point of Innate Leaders is.”
Stage two is then all about how to embrace and operationalize this adjusted mindset. Joe challenges teams to ask themselves, “How do you create systems and processes and new ways of working, informed by this shift in thinking that allow us to, first of all, embed a new way of working, second of all, reinforce this shift in mindset, and third of all, create a meaningful long-term, sustainable change for that business?”
The 6 Attributes and Strategic Focus Consulting
So, what are the six attributes of management consulting? According to Joe, “There’s this thing called leadership mindset that we feel is comprised of six attributes, possibly more, but these are the six that we think are worth focusing on.” They are:
As mentioned, not every group will focus on shifting their mindset in terms of all six of the attributes. For Strategic Focus Consulting, Joe says that most groups will need to pay attention to enterprise thinking, creating leaders, flexibility of mind, and genuine curiosity.
Find more information on each attribute below.
“Mindfulness is really about having the ability to be present in a moment to see what is going on under the surface of a situation,” says Joe. He continues, “To not react to a situation but to wait, to see, to understand the dimensions of the challenge, and then to make a decision based on that.”
2. Genuine Curiosity
“Genuine curiosity is asking sometimes very obvious, very simple, but also very profound questions about why we do things the way we do,” explains Joe. He suggests that the difference between curiosity and genuine curiosity is asking questions in the spirit of wanting to know, without having a predetermined end goal in mind.
3. Flexibility of Mind
“Flexibility of mind has this kind of quality. It’s the only attribute that actually runs in a process. So, it’s a three-step process, you might say,” describes Joe. The first step is recognizing that you could be wrong. The second part is to understand that there are multiple valid solutions to any problem. And then the third step is to creatively combine these solutions into a revolutionary idea.
“Resilience is really all about keeping keeping on,” suggests Joe. He explains that when it’s really difficult to get something done, resilience is the guiding light that allows us to live through it, keep our eyes on the prize, and get back up after we’ve been knocked down.
5. Creating Leaders
“Creating leaders is about creating leaders of others, but I just call it creating leaders,” says Joe. He explains that this attribute focuses on how to grow leaders and help people think for themselves in order to create a leadership pipeline within a business.
6. Enterprise Thinking
Joe explains that enterprise thinking is about doing what makes the most sense for the business because you understand that by doing so, you’re also benefitting yourself. “When it works at its best,” says Joe, “we are working together to do what is best for our business areas and what is best for the enterprise as a whole.”
Strategic Focus Consulting
What Is Strategic Focus Consulting?
The key to Strategic Focus Consulting is to consider a business plan versus a strategy. Joe talks about how a plan is simple and straightforward, with a goal and steps to achieve that goal. A strategy, on the other hand, is more complex.
“One of the things that we do is, rather than going in and saying to someone, ‘What’s your plan?’” explains Joe. “We think more about, what is it that we need to be thinking about as a business in order to, let’s say, for the next five years, achieve that plan.”
Built into the work that Innate Leaders does is the ability for a strategy to continue functioning once they’re gone. It’s also meant to flex and adapt as teams go through the next few years.
Following Innate Leaders’ two-step process, the first stage helps groups shift the way they look at the business in order to start developing a strategy. The second part challenges teams to apply that new way of thinking in a manner that is meaningful and sustainable for the organization.
“Stage one is great, and you do get this revolutionary strategy. It’s bold and people are buying into it,” says Joe. “But almost more important than that is developing the mechanisms that will put that strategy into place, informed by our shift in thinking. Because then it’s this loop, this cycle, that constantly is reinforcing itself.”
Who Is Strategic Focus Consulting For?
Strategic Focus Consulting is primarily for senior teams who are in the position to develop and execute large-scale organizational strategies and change. Generally speaking, Joe says they work with C-suites, directors, and executive-level teams for this management consulting solution.
How Strategic Focus Consulting Is Different
For assistance with business strategy, a traditional consultant will typically help leadership teams develop benchmarks and perform a market analysis to see where that company sits.
Joe is quick to say that most consultants usually do a great job of identifying possible opportunities for a business. And he believes they often put together brilliant plans for what that company could be doing over the next number of years.
But to Joe and his team, “a plan is just a plan.” Then the consultant leaves and, over time, the business goes back to the way it was before.
“My take on that is because we haven’t looked at the mindset that is integral to whether we continue working with this or not,” says Joe. He believes that in order for a strategy to truly take hold within a business, the team must be willing to challenge themselves and do things differently.
Joe explains that with a shift in mindset, teams tend to create plans that they believe are effective, useful, and exciting. And because of that, they’re invested in making their strategy work.
“Just being willing to think about your business differently and to come up with something that is bold but also doable and practical, and then taking the steps to make that happen, you know, is perhaps a different way for people to think about strategy,” concludes Joe.
Management consulting with Innate Leaders is all about expanding leaders’ mindsets and implementing new behaviors that result in innovative and sustainable solutions. Using the six attributes, Strategic Focus Consulting is different from your “traditional” consultation in that it supports a shift in how groups think about business issues, rather than offering a quick fix. It’s ideal for executive groups who need support in fundamentally altering how they operate as leaders.
Has your team ever participated in management consulting or coaching? Share your experience in the comments below.
Learn More About How Management Consulting Can Support Your Team
For more information about how our leadership coaching and management consulting solutions can benefit your group, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.
Kara Sy: Hi everyone and welcome to Outback Talks: The Employee Engagement Podcast. This podcast is produced by Outback Team Building & Training, a leading team building, training, and consulting provider for organizations across North America. I’m your host, Kara Sy, and on today’s show I’m joined once again by a very special guest, Joe Britto, the mindset and management consultant over at Innate Leaders. He also happens to be our lead coach and consultant here at Outback and he sat down with me today to discuss another exciting solution he has called Strategic Focus Consulting.
KS: Joe! Thank you so much for joining us again on Outback Talks. We’re so happy to have you back.
Joe Britto: Thank you.
KS: Yeah, Joe was here last time talking about Leadership Team Cohesion Consulting and today we’ll be talking about his solution – Strategic Focus Consulting. So, let’s jump right into it. Can you give me a better understanding of what the solution is all about?
JB: An overview…so, this is a broad brush but, hopefully, kind of illustrates what I’m talking about, because I think, with all of these, what is the objective? What’s the plan? What’s the mission? What’s the strategy? And you know, I get that quite a lot when I go into businesses, and I think that sometimes people coming in to talk about strategy or work with teams on strategy, make it more complicated than it really is, right? So, I think, simply put, if we think about it in terms of a plan versus a strategy, I think a plan is something that we go, “Okay, I want to achieve X. What are the steps to make that happen?” So, it’s really simple and straightforward. I’m a sailor, right. So, I’m just going to use like an example to break it out to you.
KS: Yeah, I’ll try and keep up.
JB: Well it’s not complicated, I’m not a great sailor! If I’m trying to hit the shore and there’s wind coming in from all sorts of directions, my plan will be, I would like to get to shore, that’s my plan. And then my steps will be, I’m just going to tack toward the shore and I’m going to get there, that’s it, right? My strategy though is different because my strategy is, I still have my plan, but my strategy will be on how will I accommodate changes, you know unexpected changes or just changes in whatever, that make my plan difficult to achieve? So, plans tend to be steps, strategy tends to be adaptive. So, for example, back to our little guy who is trying to get into the shore, strategy will be, if the wind is coming from a certain direction, I can’t go straight in, I’m going to have to tack it, like I’m going to have to head in a zig-zag instead, and may have to, there may be some other boats, now I have to work around them. So, the whole idea of strategy is that, it’s not static. The plan is probably going to be static. It will be, I will do, if I’m Nike, I’ll sell shoes and I’ll sell clothes, whatever else Nike sells and that will be my plan. My strategy will be, how do I sell those things and make a good return given that there’s lots of other people doing exactly the same thing and how do I position myself to weather out challenges and the business landscape, the financial landscape, the political landscape in order to achieve my plan.
KS: Right, and so what does that look like in terms of your consultation with the business?
JB: Yeah, so, one of the things that we do is, rather than going in and say to someone, you know, “What’s your plan?” And they say, “This, we go here. Let’s work out milestones for that.” We think more about, what is it that we need to be thinking about as a business in order to, let’s say, for the next five years, achieve the plan that we’re trying to and that might be a financial target, or like a growth target, achieve that bearing in mind the business, political, financial landscape that we’re in. So, built into the work that we do is the ability for that strategy to work when we walk out the room, but also to flex and adapt as we go through those five years. Like the number of times that you go, I’ve heard businesses say, “You know, we developed a five-year plan,” and then I say to them, “Great, and how much of that five-year plan have you brought into effect?” And they were like, “Well, the first three months went really well,” and then it starts to kind of fall apart, because strategy should adapt.
KS: Yeah, that first quarter.
JB: Yeah, exactly. Strategy should adapt, it should change and that’s part of, you know, one of the things we would be thinking about is the enterprise. So, we bring in enterprise thinking. We’ll be thinking in terms of flexibility of mind, because we want to adapt strategy as we go. We also want to ensure that we’re not just doing the same thing that we did last year, or the year before that, or the year before that. So, having a flexibility of mind, maybe drawing on genuine curiosity, gives us the opportunity to come up with bold strategies, rather than, yeah, this is what we normally always do.
KS: Right, and so, for those of our listeners who missed last week’s episode, Joe went into great depth on the six attributes of coaching and consulting. Those are mindfulness, genuine curiosity, flexibility of mind, resilience, creating leaders, and enterprise thinking. So, you’ve kind of touched on enterprise thinking, flexibility of mind a bit. Are there any of those, any of the other six that you would say really lean into the Strategic Focus Consulting?
JB: I think, something that is important in terms of our strategy, so this isn’t necessarily about business growth, or maybe it is, but it’s about a leadership pipeline. So, making sure that the people, that the leaders in that room were developing this five-year strategy, maybe in five years from now, those people won’t be in that room. In which case, part of that strategy is how are we growing leaders within our business to make sure that they can take over, what comes to them.
KS: The creating leaders attribute.
JB: Yes, absolutely, and thinking about that in terms of a strategic intent, right? So, it’s not just, it’s not like people development, it’s the development and strategic focus of my entire business, because if I don’t have that pipeline, you know, my business doesn’t have a future.
KS: Right. Are there any others that you think?
JB: I think those are the main ones, really. So, it’s going to be enterprise thinking, creating leaders, flexibility of mind, genuine curiosity, those four will probably be the ones that are most important probably when you’re in, when we’re in a strategy development focus. So, that takes us lots of takes, but once again, we always work in this kind of two-stage approach, right? So, our first stage will be, helping leaders to shift the way that they think in order to start developing a strong bold strategy, so that’s going to be our first step. Our second step will be, applying that new way of thinking to developing this strategy and then thinking about: “How do we implement this in a way that is meaningful and sustainable for the business?”
KS: And how is that different from a typical business consultation?
JB: Yeah, well I think that the thing about, when a normal consultant goes in, a traditional consultant as you say, goes into a business, because they are not necessarily focused on what is the mindset of this team, they will do a really, really good job, and I do mean this, they’ll do a really good job of benchmarking for that business. Of doing like a market analysis to see where that business sits and, you know, other parts of the business. They’ll probably do, competitors I mean, and then they’ll probably do a great job of kind of identifying the possible opportunities for that business, and then they may even – and they usually will put together a brilliant plan for what that business could be doing over the next number of years. They may even do sessions where they try and create buy-in for the plan and then that’s their job.
KS: But to your point earlier, a plan is just a plan.
JB: Yeah, that’s right, and a plan is just a plan. And what tends to happen, when a consultant goes into a business, a traditional consultant, is they’ll go in and they’ll do all of that really brilliant work that I have just described, and then the leadership team will go, “This is great, thank you very much.” Maybe there’s some immediate flexes in the business, and then the consultant goes and over time the business goes back to the way that it was. And my take on that is because we haven’t looked at any of the mindset that is integral to whether we continue working with this or not. I’ve been into businesses before where I’ve come in to do strategic work, where I’ve been told, you know we had a consultant come in three years ago, whatever it is, we designed these amazing plans. Everybody said that they were in. They were on board, the consultant was very happy, the work was all very well received, and then six months later, people go back into, well actually, my business area needs this, and my business area needs that, I don’t really agree with this and I don’t really agree with that. And then we just go back where we were, that’s kind of why businesses flex back, right? So, that’s why I think, like it’s almost, well obviously I’m biased, right? I think it’s integral that before we start worrying about what is the strategy for the business, we go, “How does the team’s mindset sit in terms of being willing to challenge itself in being, in terms of, willing to push to the business and being willing to do things that we haven’t done before?” And that’s kind of the point again, that’s our first stage. But then the second stage, which kind of ensures that it doesn’t just flex back to the way that the business was. Now, informed by that way of thinking, let’s create a strategy and implementation plan for that strategy so that we are embedding this new way of thinking, this new strategic direction in the business by the systems and processes we designed.
KS: And what type of results will be seen from that, and actually embedding a mindset versus just having that plan?
JB: Yeah, well, the difference in being a mindset versus offering a plan is that, because people, because their mindsets have shifted, they have created a plan that they believe is effective and useful and bold and exciting. And because of that, they’re invested in making this plan work, this strategy work. Does that make sense? If I feel like I have been instrumental in designing this strategy, if I feel that it is different from things that we’ve done in the past, if I feel like some of the challenges, perhaps within the team or within the business, it has been looked at and honestly discussed, now I feel like I can really get behind this strategy. And then, we don’t leave at that point, right? Like, we don’t go, “that’s great!” So, then we help people design the systems and processes to implement that strategy, which means that this new mindset will be reinforced every time you implement the strategy or implement the systems and processes that create the strategy, right? So, it’s this self, what is it called?
KS Like a loop?
JB: Yeah, it’s this loop that basically, every time you do something…
KS: You’re feeding into it…
JB: You’re feeding into and reinforcing your mindset. So, that’s why that stage two is so important, right? Stage one is great, and you do get this revolutionary strategy. And it’s a bold strategy and people are buying into it, but almost more important than that is developing the mechanisms that will put that strategy into place, informed by our shift in thinking because then it’s this loop, this cycle, that constantly is reinforcing itself because you are constantly doing something now that reinforces your shift in thinking.
KS: And so, what type of groups are you usually working with on the Strategic Focus?
JB: Yes, so, obviously, it’s going to be like the senior teams who are in the position to develop Strategic Focus. So, it’s usually going to be C-suites, directors, and all those kind of people.
KS: Well, great! So, is there anything else that you’d like to share with us about Strategic Focus Consulting?
JB: I would say that, probably, making a plan is easy, and I think that when we – I don’t know if anybody listening to this has ever had the experience of you going to a, like a planning meeting or strategy meeting. You sit down and you plan these amazing things and it all sounds really, really cool and it’s super ambitious and I absolutely love it. And then you sort of walk away maybe two or three months later and now those, like when you get into the day-to-day job and those things seem, they seem almost like wistful and they seem almost like a long time ago now. Like even though they weren’t, and they don’t tend to happen, and I kind of brand those sorts of conversations more like either, like we are kind of building castles in the air. Or they’re kind of planning meetings, and castles in the air is great, but it doesn’t turn into anything. And planning meetings tend to be, kind of, produce the same sort of things that we’ve always done. And I think a different approach of just being willing to think about our business differently and being willing to come up with something that is bold but also doable and practical, and then taking the steps to make that happen, you know, is perhaps a different way for people to think about strategy.
KS: Okay, great! Well, thanks again for joining me today on Outback Talks. It was great to have you back!
JB: Thank you very much!
KS: That’s it for this episode of Outback Talks. Thanks again to Joe for joining me on today’s show and thank you for listening. Outback Team Building & Training helps organizations across North America build relationships through memorable team building, training, and consulting experiences. And our team has been recommended by over 14,000 corporate groups in the United States and Canada. To learn more about Joe and his coaching and consulting solutions, visit the Coaching & Consulting section of our website at outbackteambuilding.com or get in touch with one of our Employee Engagement Consultants, and don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you may listen to your podcasts. Until next time, this is Outback Talks: The Employee Engagement Podcast.