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Clive Hook



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Blog: Reshuffles – A matter of perception?


As Prime Minister David Cameron tackles the first cabinet reshuffle of his tenure he will have to balance the internal needs and objectives of the coalition, while ensuring that the shake-up of ministerial jobs sends out the right signals to the electorate and Conservative party MPs.

Although it is highly unlikely that the changes business leaders make to their teams will be under quite the same level of scrutiny, like Cameron, many will be faced with a number of different external and internal pressures, while considering the needs of stakeholders.
At the time of writing, The Daily Telegraph said that much of the speculation at Westminster focused on the fate of justice secretary Ken Clarke, whose pro-European stance has long been a bone of contention for many members of the party.
It was reported that some Tory MPs were urging Cameron to demote Clarke to leader of the commons or get rid of him altogether. But if Clarke was relegated to the backbenchers could he emerge as a powerful critic?
Andrew Lansley, who played a key role in the government’s controversial reforms to the NHS, lost his role as health secretary to former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was seen in a positive light after staging a successful London Olympics.
Thankfully the goldfish bowl environment associated with political game changing is not nearly as acute for many businesses staging their own reshuffles.
But like Cameron, team leaders must always consider how they balance the internal requirements of a team with the messages it sends out to key stakeholders in the external environment. Team leaders should always think: are we satisfying our key stakeholders?
Of course, the majority of team leaders, heads of departments, directors and chief executive officers, have an idea of what a high performing team looks like: ‘happy employees with a shared purpose.’
This is all well and good, but if a team, for example, is not fulfilling the organisation’s corporate social responsibility objectives by reducing carbon emissions, it may not always viewed positively by stakeholders. Is the work of a team achieving: organisational success, a commitment to corporate objectives, satisfied customers and engaged stakeholders?
In turn, it is also essential for a team to understand how the external environment impacts on their performance. As is the case with the cabinet reshuffle, the focus for teams should not just be on how the team works together but how it is perceived by the outside world. Is the cabinet a team anyway? Let us know below…

Clive Hook is director of team and leadership development consultancy, Clearworth.

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Clive Hook


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