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Leadership LibraryI have written more than 300 articles about Leadership, about 1/3 of which have been published by the SF affiliate of the New York Times. You can focus here on specific issues including Communication, Compensation, Governance, Entrepreneurship, Performance, Planning, and Recruiting

Please check out the Featured Articles from our Leadership Library to get you started.

Rip Off that Mask. Let’s See Who’s Really Responsible for All of This?

Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed how it’s possible for different cultures to produce equally profound results.

H ow do you create a mindset where everyone takes full responsibility for their actions and refuses to blame outside forces for failure or disappointment?

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Déjà vu all over again?

How often have you heard that phrase banging against your skull … and how often was it telling you …

“I’ve been here before.”

“Didn’t we already solve this problem?”

“Why does this subject keep coming up all the time?”

Why do these issues keep resurfacing?

We’ve been talking about culture and accountability over the last few weeks, and as I’m sure in your experience, you’ve already discovered how often so many of these issues continue to be the same challenges year after year.

They’re constantly resurfacing, often in disguise as a different issue altogether … but really, the same ‘ol, same ‘ol.

Have we become dumb and dumberer?

Why do these same issues keep popping up like whack-a-moles?

Continue reading to see who to hold accountable for what happens next …

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The Four Common Features of Equally Successful but Different Cultures

We’ve been exploring the impact of different cultures and how they affect our organizations.

W hat are the common threads shared by these radically different cultures that you can apply to make your company equally successful?

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“Lary, give this customer a call. We’ve just received an unauthorized return, and I want these shoes sent back. Funny how the green shoes they bought don’t fit and the red ones fit perfectly.”

It wasn’t uncommon for the Chairman of company North (remember, “N” for “Nasty”?) to stop by my office with a message like this. His remarks were actually a code:

“The red shoes sold well but the green ones the customer bought aren’t selling … so now they’re claiming they don’t fit so they can return them. We’ve had no other such complaints. Tell them we won’t accept them and ship them back.”

I made a note to contact the customer, figuring I’d call them after lunch when I would be more likely to catch them three time zones away. No e-mail back then.

Unexpectedly, the Chairman returned to my office 20 minutes later to ask,

“What did they say?”

The first few times this happened I asked,

“Who?” …

failing to make the connection he expected.

While I learned the nuances of merchandising economics with these examples, what I finally realized was that the Chairman expected me to drop everything and call them immediately.

He wasn’t happy,

“What else are you doing?”,

and after a few unpleasant encounters, I finally caught on.

Don’t miss the 4 Common Threads that bind successful companies

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Can Radically Different Cultures Produce Equally Great Results? Part 2.

Last week, in Can Radically Different Cultures Produce Equally Great Results?, I posed the question: If measured by financial performance, can dramatically different organizations be equally successful?

I n this short series about culture development, we’ll take a look at how sound business principles and cultural patterns often collide within an organization’s walls.

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How can opposing cultures both succeed?

In many ways, it doesn’t seem fair that both charitable and churlish cultures can thrive.

It’s easy to embrace the benevolent culture created by Sid Rich (we’ll call it Company South, “S” for Sid) as profiled in the first article in this series.

His company deserves to be successful.

Wouldn’t it be great if that was the company you worked for?

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. ~ Albert Einstein

What if you’re stuck on the other side of the tracks?

Contrarily, when you look across the aisle at the rough and tumble world of Company North (“N” for Nasty), highlighted by temper tantrums, public floggings and a petulant devotion to spending a dime on anything, we’re either glad we’re not working there … or wishing we didn’t.

Some powerful lessons are evident as we compare and contrast these companies, their styles and culture, although some lessons are not very inviting.

continue reading to see some of these cultural differences

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Can Radically Different Cultures Produce Equally Great Results?

There’s more emphasis every day on the value and influence of culture on business success.

W hat does it mean if your culture is dysfunctional and your employees think it’s a train wreck?

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“He threw a lead crystal ashtray at his son’s head?“ I asked. ”Thank God he missed.”

“He threw his secretary’s typewriter through a second story window – it wasn’t open – into a parking lot full of cars below?”

These are just a few of the stories I heard after I joined the firm.

You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Ever feel like you were a galley slave?

In short order, I recognized that the company’s cultural ancestors probably included a toga-clad, sweat-drenched galleon driver pounding out a cadence of “ramming speed” with a wooden mallet.

Their cost-containment strategy was medieval.

Keep reading to capture some of the most important elements of a great culture

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Are you the Architect for Tomorrow for Your Business

I hope you’re always examining what may be holding you back from being a Leader Worth Following.

O ne challenge you must overcome is to set the Vision for your company.

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I finally got a chance to watch the movie, Creed, the latest movie in the Rocky series.

Rocky is retired, running a restaurant appropriately named “Adrian’s. Adonis Creed, the son of Apollo Creed, the world champion who Rocky defeated, showed up on his doorstep one day.

He had been rescued from a juvenile detention center by the wife of his deceased father. He finally got his life together but had a fire in his belly to follow his father into the ring.

Who’s Your Enemy?

In one of the landmark scenes, Rocky puts Adonis in front of a mirror to do some shadow boxing. When he gets close to the mirror, Rocky peers over Adonis’ shoulder, points at Adonis’ image in the mirror and speaks these words:

keep reading to get started on creating a vision for your company

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Four Sports Metaphors to Make you a More Effective Leader.

The simple things in life are often the most important … and the most memorable.

T hese are swing thoughts you can put to work immediately … and with powerful results.

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Who can say it better than Yogi …

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore”,

“I always thought that record would stand until it was broken”,

“I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question.”

Yes, I know, you’re disappointed this week that I’m not talking about Newton’s Third Law of Motion or The Key to Understanding Quantum Physics … but my brain needs a rest … and I’m still straining with every molecule in my body to understand what Newton’s talking about.

When in doubt – sports.

Sports in this country have become a glutinous conundrum of romance, excitement and heroes, leavened with money, big egos and scandals.

Yet, sports are uniquely imbedded in our culture, and we can still glean valuable lessons from them.

Let me share with you 4 Powerful Sports Metaphors that will help you become a More Effective Leader

To scoop up these 4 nuggets or leave a comment, please click here

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Aren’t You Getting Tired of Always Feeling Buried?

“I’m swamped.” “I’m buried.” “I’m getting killed.”

S ound familiar? It’s a common refrain everywhere I go these days. CEOs and business leaders are feeling overrun with a myriad of operational details exacerbated by the constant struggle to stay ahead of the information tsunami.

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In my work with CEOs across all industries, everyone’s swamped.

Do you feel like you’re barely hanging on, stressed by the fear that you’re missing a lot you should be doing and things might be getting worse?

In an era when we’re all being asked to do more than ever, and with fewer resources than ever, getting control of your personal workflow can provide a significant boost in personal productivity that can make a big difference in your executive and personal performance.

Being Out of Control is Your Real Enemy

As I’ve said here before, the feeling of being overwhelmed is really a matter of being out of control.

The solution is to focus on regaining control. While all of us have various tools we use to manage our personal productivity, many of those tools are dull and inadequate to the task.

Let’s dig a little deeper and suggest some tools to help relieve that feeling of “overwhelm.

Keep reading for some tools to get control back in your life

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How can you make sure that Common Practices are always Best Practices?

You’ve developed common practices you take for granted.

B ut, when was the last time you examined whether those “good practices” still represent “best practices”?

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Do you punt on fourth down because you always do?

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I … I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost

Several years ago when my father was in his final days, his bonhomie in full bloom, I sat in the room while the doctors administered a few basic tests to assess his cognition.

“What country do you live in,” they asked and Dad answered correctly.

“What city do you live in,” they asked. Dad answered “Grand Rapids,” correct again.

“What state do you live in,” they continued. Dad, ever alert, laughed and responded …

“Discombobulation.”

I think my father would agree that the “state of discombobulation” is still a pretty good word choice today.

Keep reading to learn why you may not be getting the results you want

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The Devil IS in the Details – But These are Details Worth Finding

Every business goes through its ups and downs and cash is particularly precious when things aren’t going so well.

W hile it absolutely helps to have a financial professional nearby, there are certain steps you can take – they’re FREE – to get underneath the hood and diagnose some key issues that can make a big difference.

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Here are 3 of the Most Powerful Tools I Have Used.

Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted the leader must be doubly vigilant. ~ Colin Powell

It’s a phrase we’ve all heard ad nauseum, but yes, the devil’s still in the details.

So, how do you keep your perspective on the more strategic elements of your company while capturing and controlling sufficient details to calibrate and validate the execution of that strategy?

Here are a 3 powerful and proven methods to uncover and gain insight into some of these intricate details.

Keep reading to learn the THREE FREE tools to find extra cash

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