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Great Leadership Opinions and information on leadership and leadership development by Dan McCarthy

  • Leadership at the Symphony
    by noreply@blogger.com (Dan McCarthy) on August 16, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Guest post from Barbara Mitchell:  I’ve always loved the performing arts—symphony, ballet, theatre, live music concerts…doesn’t matter what but seeing a live performance is powerful! While enjoying a live performance, it became obvious to me that, in addition to hearing great music or watching talented dancers, I was also seeing examples of good leadership. Members of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts are sometimes invited to attend a rehearsal of the National Symphony Orchestra.  It’s quite an experience to sit in the beautiful Concert Hall and watch the musicians come in wearing very casual clothes as opposed to their formal evening attire, chatting with each other while tuning up their instruments.  But when the conductor arrives, it is all business. The first time I attended a rehearsal, I expected that the orchestra would play a few bars and the conductor would stop and give them feedback but that’s not what happened. the way it was. The conductor led the orchestra almost all the way through the piece without stopping. When he finally paused them and began providing feedback it was clear that the musicians were listening intently—he had their total focus. He pointed out specific bars where he wanted certain instruments to play louder, softer, faster, or slower—all from his memory of what he had just heard. He hadn’t taken a note while they were playing—he was totally focused on what he was hearing. What an amazing gift to be able to listen to so many sounds and hear each one individually as well as in total! When the conductor (leader) pointed out the very specific changes he wanted to hear, his orchestra (team) listened closely. He complimented musicians who had done something special and then they replayed specific portions of the symphony. When he raised his baton, they were ready to play at the exact right bar of the music because he gave them clear directions. What an example of leadership and followership in action. The conductor as a leader demonstrated he was listening to his team. He showed that he understood he couldn’t make music without them—he could wave his baton around all day, but if they weren’t sitting in front of him, focused on his direction, he would be totally ineffective. Today’s business leaders could should learn to listen more closely to their employees, praise them when appropriate, point out needed changes, and acknowledge how important each one is to the success of the organization—in other words, set clear expectations, provide frequent feedback and development opportunities, praise when appropriate, listen to the team, hold people accountable, and let them know where their work fits in the overall objectives of the organization.  That’s leadership! At the end of the first piece, they took a short break while chairs were rearranged on the stage. Some musicians came back while others who weren’t needed for the next piece did not return. I see another lesson here about how leaders need to know the strengths of their employees in order to put the most effective teams in place—teams that take advantage of the strengths of the participants. This piece featured a world-famous violinist.  I wondered if the conductor would lead differently in the presence of a star but it sounded as if she and the conductor  were almost operating as one as she played her solo with the conductor bringing the orchestra in to provide background and harmony. Business leaders can learn from a symphony conductor and others in the performing arts. Leaders must be great listeners who know the strengths of those they manage. Strong leaders know how to put the best team together to maximize the organization’s success. Leadership and harmony lead to great things—not just in music but in the marketplace.  The Manager’s Answer Book is an easy-to-use guide written in a question-and-answer format that focuses on many aspects of managing, broken down into the following categories: - Getting started—moving from peer to manager, setting goals, managing projects, resources and much more. - Developing your management skills—communicating, delegating, motivating, and facilitating. - Building your management team: hiring, firing, and everything in-between. - Creating your personal brand—building credibility for yourself, your team, and your department. - Managing up, down, and around—working with people and functions in your organization. - Avoiding potential land mines—conflict, change, and risk. - Recognizing legal pitfalls—navigating the haze of laws and regulations. Barbara Mitchell is an author, speaker, and business consultant. She is the coauthor of The Manager’s Answer Book, The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book and The Essential HR Handbook. After a long career with Marriott International, she is now Managing Director of The Mitchell Group and works with a variety of clients to help them hire, develop, engage, and retain the best talent available. She resides in the Washington, DC area. […]

  • Multiplying the Effective Intelligence of Your Organization
    by noreply@blogger.com (Dan McCarthy) on August 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Guest post from Robert (Dusty) Staub:  “Perhaps the only sustainable competitive advantage is increasing your ability to learn faster than your competition.” - Arie de Geus, former head of Strategic Planning, Shell Oil CompanyAre you getting the best results from the people–the embedded collective intelligence–in your organization? Do you feel that there is something missing in overall performance, or your team and/or enterprise could achieve even more? Most senior leaders with whom I have worked would answer, “We can achieve more and be better if only we could work smarter and more effectively together.” The name of the game today is figuring out how to multiply the Effective Intelligence (E.I.) of your organization. Here is where you can gain a great competitive edge that is sustainable and also leads to more innovative and effective ways of getting things done.Research and experience demonstrate that the only difference between so-so organizations and high performing ones is the quality of the teamwork and the collaborative networks that exist within an organization. This makes sense if you understand brain physiology. It is not the absolute number of neurons that determines intelligence; it is the number of dendritic connections between neurons that determines overall processing power and intelligence. The greater the number of connections, the higher the level of collaborative networking, which equals greater intellectual capacity to problem-solve and create solutions. The term I have coined to describe this capacity for teams and organizations is “Effective Intelligence.” What great leadership does is to use presence (demeanor an modeling), practices and processes to multiply E.I., thereby increasing the performance and capabilities of a team, a department or an entire organization.Is your enterprise actually engaging and making the full use of the collective intelligence embedded in the human system (people, team work, relationships) in your organization? Is your organization realizing its potential and performing at its best? Are you multiplying the E.I. of your organization by how you are leading and encouraging the engagement of individuals, teams and departments? Perhaps you share the opinion one CEO gave me recently, “There is truly room for improvement; I just know, good as we are now, that we can do better than we have been doing to date.”If you see room for improvement, then how can you increase the E.I. of your team, your department and your organization? The answers will sound simple yet applying the insights to multiply effective intelligence will take all three forms of critical leadership capacity: guts, heart and head. It will require that you focus your attention and processes on the following dynamic development as outlined by Wayne Gerber and Staub in Dynamic Focus: Creating Significance and Breaking the Spells of Limitation. Please consider the question at the end of each of the eight process steps below.Increasing the Effective Intelligence (E.I.) of Your Team and Organization:1. Expanding perspectives. This means seeing beyond the obvious and challenging conventional thinking. The status quo and old ways of thinking are the enemy of higher order processing, innovation and increased performance. “Good enough” is the death of being even better, let alone great. What are you doing in your leadership and in your workplace to help expand the thinking and to promote a wider strategic picture or way of looking at the business and how work gets done?2. Clarifying and focusing attention on your core Purpose, your WHY. Astute leaders know that when the people in an enterprise know WHY it exists–in other words, the purpose and mission it serves beyond the usual answer of “making money”–that they perform better and expend more discretionary effort. They are more engaged. (See Simon Sinek’s Start with Why TED Talk.) Do the people in your organization know the fundamental WHY of the business? Do you use that to rally them and challenge them to help everyone step up to more active learning, interactions, collaboration and teamwork?3. Consciously creating psychological safety in your organization. Google research on the core factor fostering high performance teamwork finds that a sense of “psychological safety” is key. \ This means people feel “safe” offering different opinions, ideas, suggestions and, as outlined in the research and findings in Jim Collins’ book Good to Great, engaging in “vigorous intellectual debate.” If people feel they will be punished, belittled or put down, if they do not feel it is safe to speak up, they won’t and you are then minimizing the E.I. instead of increasing it. How well are you creating a sense of psychological safety for your employees, teams and those around you? Do you have healthy, positive, vigorous intellectual debate around best practices, new ideas and better ways of moving the enterprise forward?4. Leveraging strengths, focusing on what there is to celebrate. Research in the fields of psychology and sociology have revealed that human systems (from individuals to groups) get stronger by focusing on, leveraging and building upon strengths rather than by fixating on what is wrong. Yet many executives still manage by “exception,” ignoring what is right and working well and spending supervisory time on problems and issues. Are you focusing on strengths, on what is right and working well? What strengths in your people, teams and organization have you been celebrating? How have you been building on or leveraging the top 2 or 3 of these strengths?5. Failing forward. This means giving reward and recognition for a specific category of mistakes instead of punishing for or treating all mistakes as the same, as if they are all “bad.” Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics and Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor Company, both subscribed to and taught “failing forward” as a way to promote innovation and growth within their organizations. Most executives and employees do the exact opposite. By treating all mistakes the same and seeing them as “wrong,” the E.I. of an enterprise is diminished instead of increased. Do you know which kinds of mistakes should be rewarded, or do you treat them all the same? Are you using the practice of “failing forward” in your organization?6. Using Power Questions. Power questions enhance learning and improve performance. A great question is often more valuable than a good answer. The greatest danger you have as an executive is to be blindsided by issues or to miss key opportunities in your organization. One of the ways to minimize this is to make a practice of asking “power questions” – namely, Pareto- based questions that focus on quickly getting to the core or root cause of an issue or opportunity. For example a poor question is asking, “Is there anything here we need to improve?” A better question is “What do we need to improve?” A power question is, “What is the one thing we could do differently here that would make the biggest positive difference?” Asking power questions and teaching those around you to ask them will be a key part of increasing the E.I. of your enterprise. How are you and those in your organization doing with regard to asking power questions of each other, of customers, of key suppliers?7. Knowing the difference between Symptoms and Root Causes. When you and those in your organization know how to recognize symptoms and use them to focus on root causes, you are helping to multiply the E.I. in your enterprise. For example the following should all be considered symptoms: poor teamwork, low employee engagement, quality issues, unhealthy conflict, customer complaints, lower market share and declining sales numbers. Do you know what the root causes of those kinds of symptoms are? For example, the symptom of low employee engagement has as a root cause a failure in management practices and leadership behaviors. The research shows that people quit supervisors as opposed to quitting companies. How a supervisor treats, talks to, engages, coaches, corrects, supports and otherwise makes an employee feel about the supervisor’s valuation of him or her is a huge determinant of how engaged and motivated that employee is. How effectively do you and your management focus on addressing root causes versus chasing symptoms?8. Identifying and Utilizing Essential Behaviors as Core Leadership Practices. To address critical operational as well as human systems issues, make the best use of the seven practices outlined above. You will need to identify which essential behaviors you want to train for, expect, model and reinforce in all levels of your enterprise. Do you have a set of 4 to 6 essential behaviors that you know are clearly outlined, coached for and reinforced from front line supervisors up to the CEO? If you are like the vast majority of organizations and leadership teams, the answer to that will be a resounding no. If you want to really increase the effective intelligence of your enterprise then you will need to have an agreed upon core set of leadership practices, or essential behaviors, that are being used consistently throughout all levels. Do you know which essential behaviors will give you the biggest return on your investment of time, energy and supervisory development? Examples of essential behaviors include: active listening, using power questions, knowing how to design and engage in courageous conversations and making use of systemic-accountability. What are you doing to ensure there is consistent, effective modeling of powerful leadership behaviors? Are you living and modeling those behaviors with your teams and employees?If you take the eight suggestions above to heart, and if you are working on engaging all of them, you will multiply the effective intelligence of your organization and can expect improved productivity, greater innovation, superior employee engagement, high performing teams, less waste, better quality, more loyal customers, better talent retention and higher profitability. The only barriers are either not following through or a lack of experienced guidance. Are you willing to build a learning-based, higher performing enterprise by multiplying the effective intelligence of your human system? What are you waiting for? Robert “Dusty” Staub is an international speaker, best-selling author, and the CEO of Staub Leadership International, a business consulting company that trains executives and teams in creating high-performance outcomes. Staub is the best-selling author of The Heart of Leadership, The 7 Acts of Courage, and Courage in the Valley of Death. In his experienced speaking career, Staub has motivated audiences with his insightful and heartfelt keynote presentations on leadership, excellence, change management, conflict resolution, organizational and team communication, and the relationship between intent, behavior, and results. […]

  • The Power of Leaders That Do What They Say
    by noreply@blogger.com (Dan McCarthy) on August 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Guest post from Bethany Andell:“To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” – Mahatma GandhiRecently a CEO friend of mine said that the three key ingredients to building a great culture are: 1) belief in the mission, 2) clarity of the vision and 3) having fun while living the values. There is a growing movement in the business world that proves all of these points to be true. I have seen in my own business, and also in my clients’, that clarity of vision and passion for purpose are instrumental in long term success. However, having a clear purpose and vision alone are often not enough – his third ingredient, “living the values,” is critical in a company’s ability to bring its purpose to life. Even further, the key to that statement is the word “living.”  To walk the talk as a leader should be an easy concept – just do what you say. Instead, what is probably more accurate is the phrase “easier said than done.” When companies list their values on a poster in the breakroom or on their website or even state them in a town hall they somehow expect everyone to adopt and abide by those values. But then you turn around and the same leadership team that posted the values is behaving in a completely contradictory manner – and you wonder why we don’t trust leadership. Disturbingly, the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed 63 percent of its survey respondents said CEOs are somewhat or not at all credible. Well… how many of you have heard a CEO say that his people are the company’s most important asset, but all decisions seem to benefit the investor over the employee? How many times have you heard that a company’s value is safety or quality, but an employee gets in trouble for calling out an issue? How many of you have heard a leadership team say they are accessible, but there’s a security code required to enter the executive suite? In general, I would argue that most business leaders are good people with good intentions that unfortunately make some bad moves. It is hard to always walk the talk and it is hard to be called to the mat when you don’t. It is hard to always be looked to and looked at. I am a leader of a company and I admit from my own experience that it is hard and that I have failed at times. But hard is not and never will be an excuse – our ability to live out our purpose and values every day is what we, in a position of leadership, are looked to for. If you are a leader you are the example setter; you are the role model; you are the chief influencer. It is an absolute requirement to be the steward of your organization’s purpose and live out the values you claim. I take heed of the Conscious Capitalism Conscious Leadership tenet: “Conscious Leaders focus on ‘we,’ rather than ‘me.’ They inspire, foster transformation and bring out the best in those around them.” There really is no better way to inspire your team than to be an example of your company values. It is in the actions of a leader that we see his true purpose and passion come to life. Whole Foods states their purpose “is to nourish people and the planet.” In late 2014 co-founder and CEO John Mackey, notably the man most associated with organic foods, created the Responsibly Grown rating system so that his customers would have greater transparency about their food. But he also wanted to expose factors in production that were not being addressed in the standard organic certification. From soil health to farmworker welfare, the system takes into account issues that need to be addressed by growers. Through this program they buy first from producers that address these issues. It was not an easy decision and Mackey received push back from farmers. But he stood by the decision and found a way to nourish people and planet, aligning his actions with the company purpose.But what of leaders who have failed their organizations? Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, stated in 1977, “What we’re trying to do is remove the barrier of having to learn to use a computer.” His mission to remove a barrier between people and technology proved successful, but his actions as a leader created a barrier between himself and his people. After he was ousted as CEO he claimed that it took being a failure as a leader to open his eyes to what was needed at his company. In a presentation in 1997, after he came back to Apple as CEO, he stated, “Even a great brand needs investment in caring if it’s going to retain its relevance and vitality. And the Apple brand has clearly suffered from neglect in this area in the last few years. And we need to bring it back.” At the time Jobs realized he needed to get back to his company’s core value, that people with passion can change the world for the better. He had become so focused on producing things that he forgot the heart of what mattered, and that was people. When you lead by example you create a vision of what is possible for others. If you do it consistently you create a culture where anything is possible. But if your actions aren’t congruent with your values you risk the integrity and credibility of your whole organization. In all things tie back to your core values. No matter what you are doing in any given moment there is always an opportunity to tie it back to your values, and by doing so you will find that walking your talk is not as hard as it sounds.As President of Savage Brands, Bethany Andell is on a mission to revolutionize corporate America by unleashing the inherent good in all companies. In her book, Get Your Head Out of Your Bottom Line: And Build Your Brand on Purpose, Andell, along with co-author Jackie Dryden, Chief Purpose Architect at Savage Brands, help executives at business-to-business companies shift their focus from solely improving the bottom line to instead prioritize the company’s long-term health, culture and non-monetary impact on the world. Bethany is also the host of The BusinessMaker’s radio program, “Brandonomics”. The show features CEOs and business owners sharing direct insights on their purpose-driven organizations and strategies. […]

  • Indy 500 Races Can Be Won or Lost in the Pit. How’s Your Pit Crew Doing?
    by noreply@blogger.com (Dan McCarthy) on August 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Guest Post from Glenna Crooks, PhD: If you are a leader today you face a faster pace of change and far greater complexity than at any time in human history. As if the technical challenges, required skillsets and necessary mindsets were not enough to master, there’s more. It is likely your organization is multigenerational, multiracial, multilingual, ethnically-diverse and gender-fluid. It may cross time zones. If it is multinational, you comply with differing laws and regulations and adhere to differing cultural norms. Add to that, your world gets more hyper-connected with each passing day.  Any, even minor, mistake you – or others on your teams – make, can create instant, major blow-back. How could it not?  After all, you face 24/7/365, always-on media, government regulators, Wall Street analysts, company shareholders, community stakeholders, critics, customers and employees, each with different – and sometimes conflicting – demands. My work as a global strategist organizing chaos and solving problems in health care puts me in touch with extraordinary people navigating these choppy waters. I have the “up close” view that comes from long days of working, long nights of dining and long weeks of studying together in development courses. What a privilege!  I admire them all and am pleased to say none succumbed to the pressures by cutting corners or losing sight of their mission to help and to heal. In 2005, however, I noticed a troublesome trend. Increasingly, the pressures were taking a toll.  I’d become a trusted, confidential counsel which is why, over time, more and more of them felt comfortable to share worries they’d not disclosed to others, even to spouses, coaches and counselors, and certainly not to Boards, other senior executives or employees. They were overwhelmed. They feared they were not up to facing the future successfully.  Even more, they feared their companies were destined for failure, their employees would lose jobs and the patients they served would suffer. I don’t go looking for problems; they find me. That’s what happened here. These concerns sent me in search of solutions, and I found many. Some had worked in my own life: better fitness, Covey’s Seven Habits, active vacations and better stress management, to name a few. It seemed, however, that regardless of how necessary those approaches were, they were not sufficient. What else did they need? In 2007, I found the answer in an unlikely place – the fashion magazine W – and from an unlikely source: Robert Downey, Jr. In an interview, he’s quoted as saying he needed a “pit crew” of people to help him live his life. He wasn’t a Model T; he was a Ferrari, so it took a pit crew to keep him on the road.  If you are like the leaders I know, you have a good pit crew at work: good assistants, talented staff, great consultants and policies and procedures to help it all run smoothly. What became apparent in a decade of research, however, is that (except in very rare cases) virtually all leaders lacked similar support for life outside of work. That not only left them with little downtime to recover from the demands of the job, it disrupted work days with avoidable non-work commitments, obligations, events and crises. Though this had not (yet) taken a toll on their performance, it had taken a toll on them and their relationships.   ·In that case, what should a leader do? What my favorite superhero called “pit crews”, I call “networks.” I urge you to learn about yours. Explore who’s in them. Learn if an important person might be missing.  Determine whether they’re supporting you well enough and if not – especially if it’s someone you pay for services – consider making changes. ·What networks you should explore? There are six networks that support you outside of work: family, health and vitality, education and enrichment, spiritual, social and community, and home and personal affairs. And, there’s one additional; it is important because it impacts you, often without you realizing it. This is a network I call “ghosts”: the influential people from your past who shaped your life.  ·Why is this important? It is true for everyone, but especially for leaders: when it comes to your career, the strengths and the weaknesses of every other network show up in force. Unreliable child care, doctors who keep you waiting, or a contractor that walks out on a remodeling job, for example, drain your energy and rob you of the peace of mind you need to lead well.  ·Then, what’s next? With new insights about your own life, realize that each of your employees – and customers – are facing similar non-work support challenges. Many may not yet have the skills you’ve developed during your leadership journey. What might that mean for how you manage? For the training you provide? For company benefits? For new products and services for your market? For customer service? Please keep me posted. I’d love to hear about it.  Glenna Crooks, PhD was a Reagan Appointee, a Merck&Co Global Vice President and Founder of Strategic Health Policy International, Inc. With Bruce LaMont, she recently c-founded CogentSageQI, an innovative performance optimization platform built on a unique data ecosystem aligned to key performance indicators and the bottom line. She is the author of The NetworkSage: Realize Your Network Superpower. […]

  • 10 Traits of Great Leaders in This New World of Work
    by noreply@blogger.com (Dan McCarthy) on August 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Guest post from Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey:The world of work has and continues to change. Our workforce, which now consists of five generations working side by side, expects and demands different things from its organization, its job, and most certainly its leaders. We conducted a study to better understand these new expectations of leaders, asking 350 millennials the question: What do you want and expect from your leaders? We asked the respondents to name and prioritize the leadership traits that they most respected and valued. The results show that what employees are looking for in a leader has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. These are the 10 traits that employees expect -- and I strongly believe that companies need -- from their leaders:1. Own and live the company values. Leaders need to be role models for their company’s values. They should take every opportunity to communicate and apply the values constantly, incorporating them to guide and help make better decisions.2. Communicate openly and early. Leaders need to be open, honest and transparent with their employees. They should communicate news and information early, not shielding them from bad news.“Be as open with your people as you can, as early as you can. Employees are much more likely to go to bat for something they understand.” --Helen Craik, Reward Gateway Co-founder3. Inspire people to reach higher. Leaders need to create an environment where employees are able to do their jobs well, and a culture where they want to do their jobs well, inspiring them to be the best they can be each and every day.4. Own their mistakes. Leaders are no longer expected to be perfect. They are expected to be human and positive role models, which includes owning mistakes when they happen. Leaders should also think of mistakes as learning or teaching moments, using them as opportunities and not obstacles.5. Recognize big wins, small wins and hard work. Leaders build a culture of employee recognition by modeling continuous recognition and where saying thanks is an everyday occurrence.6. Trust people. Leaders should always default to trust and accept that most people are good and trustworthy. They must lead in a way that’s respectful and honors other’s good intentions, and not presume that their employees’ have malicious intentions.7. Make the right decision, not the popular decision. Leaders need to prioritize doing what’s right over what’s popular. They should be accountable to their people and act as servants, being prepared to be unpopular when necessary, and striving to do what’s right for the business, the customer and their people as a whole. 8. Add value to their teams, helping them to succeed. Leaders who deliver visible value to their teams, helping them bring their creativity, ideas and judgment to work, overcome the challenges of the new world of work and of more complex jobs.9. Have the courage to be genuine and visible. Leaders need to bring their whole selves to work, having the courage to be authentic and to show vulnerability.10. Take care of people. Leaders need to lead with compassion and kindness, showing their employees that they truly care about them and have their best interests in mind.Great leaders understand and embody all of these qualities, and don’t just pay them lip service. They understand that in this new world of work they need to eliminate the barriers that separate them from their people, using every tool they have at their disposal to cut through the hierarchy and bring themselves closer to their people. By doing this, they will significantly improve upward feedback and employee engagement. And, they’ll earn the loyalty of not only millennials, but every generation they have the privilege to lead. Glenn Elliott is founder and Debra Corey is group reward director of Reward Gateway, a world leader in integrated employee engagement technology with more than 1,800 clients worldwide. Elliott and Corey's new book, Build it: The Rebel Playbook for World-Class Employee Engagement (Wiley, Feb. 27, 2018) highlights practical improvements that organizations can make to build a highly engaged company culture. […]

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