Above Header Navigation

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.

How Can I Be Sure You’re Not Faking Authenticity?

Authenticity is top of mind more than ever these days.

You can get away with a lot these days (Ferris Bueller) … stumble whike giving a speech, lose your train of thought, make mistakes …. but if you’re authentic, you’ll get a hall pass for all of it.

You can get away with a lot these days … but if you’re faking authenticity, you'll get caught sooner or later.

It’s Pretty Easy to Get Faked Out

Years ago I was traveling regularly to Asia, and wanted to buy my wife a Cartier tank watch, a style that was very popular at the time.

I visited a reputable jeweler where most of my partners had been shopping for over 20 years, and found exactly what I was looking for. My wife was ecstatic, and I saved a lot of money over what I would’ve spent in the U.S.

Then Again …

Keep reading to learn how to be more authentic

Comment

Thrilled That Your 2017 Plan is Finished? Any Chance It Might Get Implemented This Year?

Finishing your 2017 plan feels great … but if you’re not working it with intense and relentless focus, it’s DOA.

The harsh reality is that the so-called strategy formulation part is important … and as challenging as it may be, it’s by far the easiest.

For some reason, it just won’t implement itself.

Your 2017 Plan is just the Starting Line

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. ~Dwight Eisenhower

I know you’ve seen this quote before … because I use it like they vote in Chicago – regularly and often.

Why?

Because it captures the essence of the planning activity that so many executives miss. THat includes the CEOs and senior executives who complain that the exercise of creating an annual plan is basically … worthless.

They usually say something like,

“ It’s a waste of time to create a plan every year … and a budget and a forecast to go with it … because the future is unpredictable and it never turns out the way we plan it anyway.”

Military strategist Helmuth von Moltke is famously known for this simple quote in response:

“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”

What’s your experience?

Keep reading so you don’t miss the 6-Pack of Annual Plan Success

Comment

What Are You Doing to Make 2017 the Best Year Ever?

The New Year is always a great time for renewal and for a fresh start … but don’t let yourself get bogged down by a bunch of new resolutions that you aren’t fully committed to keep.

For starters, follow Oscar Wilde’s simple mantra for 2017. It gets easier after that.

What am I doing you ask?

For one, I am recommitted to journaling and goal tracking in a more formal way this year.

While I already keep a Daily Journal, it’s mostly for what we might consider “highlights” of the day – special events, get-togethers with family and friends, books I’ve read, movies I’ve seen … things like that.

I haven’t used it for more mundane or routine things, but this year, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to formally track my goals and accomplishments.

In only a few days, I’ve noticed that it’s made me much more attentive to those goals and more eager to move them forward every day.

There are also a lot of software tools out there to help this process. I am expanding and strengthening some existing tools, and exploring several new ones. I’ll let you know what I’ve learned in the coming days.

These are a few of the 2017 Goals I’m tracking

This year, I’m going to keep track of the 2017 goals I have identified:

Start tracking some of these goals

Comment

10 Things You Can Do in 2017 With No Talent

Sure, talent is always a plus, but there are a lot of things you can do that require no talent at all.

This is a holiday season post, so while I’m taking a little time off, I wanted to encourage you to think about what you can do in 2017 without any talent at all!

What Can I Do If I Have NO Talent?

You may have seen a list like this somewhere, so I won’t belabor it.

If nothing else, it is a valuable reminder that you have a contribution to make.

While I’m sure you DO have talent, probably in many areas, this is a reminder that talent is not required for some of the most important behaviors that make us successful … at work, at home, in our community … in LIFE.

1. Be on Time

As many of you know, I’ve written about this before. Nothing could be easier.

That’s why it’s #1 in my E-book, R.E.S.P.E.C.T. – 7 Remarkably Simple Steps to Earn Respect.

2. Work Ethic

I think you already know this.

Hard Work will cure a lot of ills, and overcome virtually any lack of talent.

Keep reading for 8 more things that require no talent …

Comment

The 12 Course Tasting Menu of Business Excellence

Yes, the holidays are here and already the list of things to do continues to grow – completing the annual budget, planning parties, visiting with friends, figuring out what to get who for when … and so it goes.

Yet, my spirit remains strong, so I’ve prepared a menu of 12 holiday treats that I hope will slide down like Amaretto eggnog in front of a winter fire.

It’s a Smorgasboard

This 12 Part Tasting Menu is a smorgasbord – a few appetizers, a choice of entrees, a little dessert – of lessons I’ve learned from executives of both extraordinary capability and numbing incompetence.

This meal is a great way to grace your executive table for 2017.

1. It’s Never About You

It’s always about them. Customers, employees, suppliers … family, friends, colleagues.

Be clear about it and thrive.

Get it backwards?

Fail.

keep going to get all 12 Tasting Menu items …

Comment

Happy Birthday, Winston | How Did You Get It All Done?

Today, November 30, is the birthday of Winston Churchill.

H e was born 142 years ago in 1874 … and died almost 51 years ago in 1965 … yet his talent and prodigious output remains striking to this day.

image

Winston Churchill has always been one of my favorite historical characters … and for many reasons. His oratorical wit, style and passion was without peer.

An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity, a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity. ~Winston Churchill

He had a spine of steel … with discipline and resilience to match, albeit the certainty of his convictions often triggered an abject stubbornness that wasn’t always welcome. It also created no small amount of turmoil.

I suppose some of these attributes can be found among many of us, so by themselves, they may not be so distinctive.

Prime Minister during WWII is only part of his record

To believe is to be strong … Doubt cramps energy … Belief is power. ~Winston Churchill

For me, his greatest distinction is the enormity of his accomplishments.

In most lifetimes, we’d be fortunate to accomplish a fraction of what Churchill got done.

Most notably, he served as the Prime Minister for Great Britain (and for 40+ years in the House of Commons, holding many other cabinet-level positions previously), leading the Allies to victory against the Axis forces during World War II … by most standards, enough to earn eternal praise and approbation.

mon quote horses churchill

The Nobel Prize for Literature

Yet, who else in that same lifetime wrote 43 book-length works in 72 volumes?

Keep reading to learn of Churchill’s extraordinary accomplishments

Comment

Are you moving at the Speed of Lame?

Here’s the thing. If you’re not organized, you can’t be the effective leader you want and need to become.

If you aren’t organized … and know it … you will be among the loudest critics.

If you like to think you’re organized but know you’re really not, you will quickly delete this email because you don’t want to face up to that challenge.

Sorry about all this. Go ahead and disagree if you wish.

I get it.

Getting organized is a lot harder than you think. It’s a lot harder than it ought to be, but as soon as we get some time, gosh darn it, we’re going to get organized.

But, what does that mean? It’s a valuable shorthand that some people will debate as sadly misplaced, but I think we all know what it means.

For me, it means making sure that I don’t lose track of any thing that has my attention and holds my interest. There’s no better bible for Getting Things Done than David Allen’s book by that name.

Keep Reading for Productivity Tips & Tools …

Comment

4 Lessons We Can Take Away from the 7th Game of the World Series

Just one week ago today, the Chicago Cubs broke a 108 year old drought to win the World Series, 8-7 in the 10th inning, over the Cleveland Indians.

Throughout one of the greatest games in baseball history which ran to almost five hours, I couldn’t help but wonder:

Why is the 7th Game of the World Series so much more exciting than any other baseball game?

Why is the 7th Game of the World Series So Exciting?

By any measure, Game 7 was an exciting game and will go down as one of the most treasured and legendary games in baseball history.

But, there are some powerful themes at work in a 7th Game. As I watched it, I jotted down at least 9 unique ingredients that made it so exciting. I think we can apply many of them to make our business, and its landmark events, even more powerful.

Let’s start by identifying some of these unique characteristics.

Keep Reading for 4 Powerful Lessons …

Comment

Do you think you have True Grit? Great … but It’s Not Enough.

What exactly is in the DNA of true grit, anyway?

For my money, no matter how you define “grit”, it isn’t enough by itself to ensure success. It’s an amalgam of several characteristics which, in combination, give us the greatest chance to succeed.

 

What does it take to persevere under pressure … in the face of intense and relentless competition … when it’s so much easier to fold your tent and call it a day?

Keep reading to learn the 7 Critical Ingredients of Success

Comment

Did You Ever Think You’d Read: Don’t Focus On Winning?

Well, of course it is, isn’t it? Isn’t that what we’re all trying to achieve? Victory?

But let’s think about that for a minute. Is Winning your primary objective … or is it the outcome that flows from a set of proven processes … relentlessly repeated?

Winning, in Some Form, is the Ultimate Objective, isn’t it?

There’s a famous football coach, who at the age of 47 was the Head Coach at Michigan State. As legend tells it, with a record of 4–4, they were headed to Columbus, Ohio to play Ohio State, then #1 in the country. Recalling the tough lessons learned from his father, he decided to try something different.

Here’s what he told his players:

Additional language

Comment