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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.

How Are You Doing with that “Vision Thing”? Got One?

You may think you’re a pretty good communicator.

B ut, have you clearly communicated the purpose of your organization so everyone in your company can recite it?

Do your customers clearly understand who you are and why you’re here?

Young girl with binoculars 800 x 628 px

Communication is a critical ingredient of business success and we all probably think we’re pretty good at it.

We can walk, talk, dictate, speak and even string together a few intelligible sentences.

We chat with our troops, talk to our customers and vendors, share information with colleagues and shareholders. We hold meetings, BBQ’s and off-sites to talk about what’s going on.

We’re all pretty good communicators … aren’t we?

What exactly is Communication?

The inimitable Mr. Webster focuses on the transmission of thoughts and ideas, as if the means of communicating, or the act itself, constitutes “communication”.

Yet, when you peruse a thesaurus for synonyms, you get words like this:

When you think of advisement and transmission, it’s more about talking than conversing, isn’t it?

With connection” and conversation, dont’ you you expect a collaborative, two-way exchange?

Is it Talking or Conversing?

Keep reading. How do you communicate why you’re here? …

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Can You Prevent the Toxic Flavor of Public Discourse from Infecting Your Culture?

Do you think the the Presidents we most revere are repulsed by how we have dispatched decency standards from the public conversation?

I sure do.

Have I got your attention?

I debated using the image alongside, but I decided to include it so that you’re clear I’m not sugar-coating this subject. It’s probably not the first time you’ve seen this gesture. Probably not the last.

I did it because I want you to pay attention so you don’t let the vulgar and disrespectful standards of our public discourse bleed into your culture and damage everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Setting high standards and strong values is a cornerstone of a successful company.

Why do I bring this up?

In large part because the now concluded impeachment trial of Donald Trump, juxtaposed with the rabble-rousers that find space in the news every day, confirms in vivid colors the anger that separates so many people and the abandonment of civility in our public discourse.

How Do You Prevent this Toxic Behavior from Infecting Your Culture?

We expect people to know the difference between right and wrong, don’t we … even though we also know that such a high standard makes it even more difficult to clearly spell out every single instance of that conduct.

We’re usually invoking the same sentiment when we say that something doesn’t pass the “smell test”. Likewise … the classic case of the “I’ll know it when I see it” observation.

The challenge is that we understand the spirit more than the letter of this code of conduct. Each of us sees these infractions through the prism of our own experiences and we each adhere to a different set of standards than someone else.

What do you do in situations where the conduct of an employee or colleague seems misguided or inappropriate even though there may be no specific written standard that prohibits it?

Read more about creating a Code of Conduct …

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Competence. Confidence. Caring. Done.

In an interview several years ago, William Green, the former CEO of Accenture, a Global 500 firm with current revenues in excess of $44 billion, recounted a 3-day training session for new managers in which they were told 68 things that were required to be successful.

When Green got up to close the session, he started thinking that there was no way anyone would remember even half of what they heard. So, he made a move that would have earned a standing “O” from both Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs.

What did he do?

He synthesized the list of 68 items their new managers heard to the 3 core principles which I’ve used to title this post.

  • COMPETENCE: Being good at what you do and focusing on the job you have, not the job you think you want to have.
  • CONFIDENCE: People want to know what you think so you need enough self-confidence to articulate a point of view.
  • CARING: It’s all about the team and in the end, it’s about giving a damn about your customers, your company and the people around you.

Simplicity at its finest.

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Making Mistakes Because You’re Pressed for Time?

Many years ago … and after coaching senior leaders for many years before that … it became clear … crystal … that the senior leaders I was coaching had never taken the time to develop a trusted productivity system to manage everything that had their attention across all phases of their lives.

Instead, they were dashing from pillar to post to keep up with the growing tsunami of information coming at them from all directions.

You need a trusted system.

It’s a rare leader … I’m struggling to name one … who hasn’t said something like,

Of course I need to improve my productivity. Probably dramatically … and as soon as I get some time ….

Not you, I’m sure, but you get the point.

If you don’t have a trusted system to manage everything you care about, you’ll always be in a rush … skip important steps because you either forgot or ran out of time … and you will NEVER have time to do it over.

You can start building it today

BUT … if you take time starting NOW to build that trusted system, you’ll soon see that the time you invested will pay great dividends … every hour and every day … far in excess of the time it took you to put it in place. Once you embrace that truth, you’ll find the fuel to get that trusted system in place.

Today’s quote clearly dramatizes this challenge. When you’re in a hurry and don’t have a trusted system to keep you on track, you make mistakes, miss deadlines and skimp on the important initiatives you swore would drive your organization.

Paste this quote somewhere to remind you that it’s worthwhile to take the time to do it right the first time.

In today’s world, there will never be time to do it over.

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Find Yourself Immobilized by the Pandemic? Riots? Politics?

When I’m talking to leaders these day, I find an unusual level of inaction. Maybe immobility is a better word for it.

Today, the pandemic officially begins Month #11, and has people frustrated, bored and uncertain of their future.

The riots in the Capitol and the heightened level of political discord and disruption have also pierced our psyche.

But, when in doubt, there’s a simple adage you can always count on …

GET MOVING!

When you do … when you get in motion … you’ll find a few ideas … a few toeholds … a little “lotion in the motion” that will provide fuel to get you moving again in pursuit of your goals and dreams.

Take a chance. Take that first step and don’t stop moving.

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