Leadership

  • Would You Hire Yourself? Take a Clean Slate Approach

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    “This is interesting,” said the CEO, studying the whiteboard we’d filled with a detailed position profile. Hank, I, and several board directors were updating his company’s succession plans in light of his expected retirement in two years. Updating his own position profile – role, responsibilities, and success criteria – was key to identifying possible internal candidates for his job.

    “Our business has changed drastically in the past eighteen months,” Hank noted. “We have more overseas suppliers, more regulation to contend with here and abroad, and more strategic alliances to manage.” He shook his head in mild disbelief. “If I were looking for someone to fill my shoes now, I probably wouldn’t hire myself.”

  • Is Your Team Too Smart to Win?

    Argument crop_OKWe know that smart people can come together in projects and produce exceptional work. What is less discussed is that smart individuals can — and do — come together as teams only to generate dysfunction and sub-par results.

    Back in the 1970s and 80s, British management researcher Meredith Belbin discovered unexpectedly poor results with teams formed of people who had sharp, analytical minds and high mental ability. He dubbed these teams of smart people “Apollo teams,” as his research coincided with the American lunar expeditions.

    In case after case of team-based assignments, he found that Apollo teams often finished near the bottom, compared to teams that possessed less individual and collective intellectual firepower.

  • Leader Imperative #5. The New Face of Risk Management: Are You Prepared?

    Meeting small_iStock_000009877513_OK“Mastering the New Normal” – A Continuing Series

    “A company’s ability to respond to an unplanned event, good or bad, is a prime indicator of its ability to compete.”
    – Bill Gates

    Our New Normal world involves a global business environment, dynamic markets and evolving strategic, technological and operational risks. Though different organizations have different priorities and issues, what are the key risks keeping leaders awake at night in 2014? A survey of almost 400 C-level executives recently published in Directorship* identified these key concerns:

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    Leader Imperative #3. Talent: Four Best Practices for Sustainable Success

    “Mastering the New Normal” – A Continuing Series

    “My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people.”
    – Jack Welch, Former CEO, General Electric

    The best leaders make a priority of talent grooming in good times and bad because the alternatives- just-in-time recruitment or premature promotion- are too risky.

    They proactively guard against Talent Risks that can compromise top- and bottom-line performance.

  • Leader Imperative #1. Culture: Your Enduring Competitive Advantage

    NumberOne small_18681809_OK“Your business plan is what you are, but Culture is who you are.”
    – Gary Kelly, Chairman and CEO, Southwest Airlines

    Every organization has a culture, sometimes referred to as its personality or organizational DNA. An organization’s culture grows out of the values, behaviors and norms that its top management encourages, rewards or – in some cases – simply allows to exist.

    Key Point. Research has long shown that organizational culture has a significant impact on bottom-line performance.

    For instance, a comparative study of high versus low-performance corporate cultures by John Kotter and James Hesket in 1992 found revenue growth of 682 percent versus 166 percent, stock price increases of 901 percent versus 74 percent, and job growth of 282 percent versus 36 percent.

    Do I have your attention now?