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Smoke and Mirrors

Monday, December 21st, 2009

smoke-and-mirrorsHave you noticed the efforts to diminish the compensation or banking honchos and Wall Street hotshots?

Or at least make it look that way.

Our friends at Goldman Sachs are in the forefront, which should give you lots of confidence that the effort is for real.

The bonuses are in restricted stock that has to be held at least five years, so if the stock value went down 20% the banker would receive only $8 million instead of the $10 expected—poor baby, a lousy $8 million dollars, that’s terrible! Of course, the stock goes up 20% they’ll pick up an extra two mil.

Goldman benefits because the shares don’t count as compensation until they vest, which means they don’t show as an expense and that will boost profits.

Another piece of sleight-of-hand is counting consultants and temporary workers as employees; this raises headcount and significantly lowers pay per employee making politicos and the media happy.

Does it make you happy?

Do they really think we are that stupid?

Are we?

Leadership Turn ends December 29. I hope you’ll stop over today to read Leadership Needed—By 2015. To be sure you continue to get your daily fix of Miki you should subscribe via RSS or EMAIL.

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Image credit: Robert Couse-Baker on flickr

Ducks In A Row: Planning For A Successful 2010

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

ducks_in_a_rowIt’s November, a time when the end of the year is suddenly much closer than you thought.

During the next two months people will be doing their best to tidy up all the loose ends, both business and personal, before the year ends.

Whether you do it yourself or have and executive team and thousands of employees, you can’t afford to focus only on wrapping up 2009; you need to plan for 2010.

The approach we use was drummed into my head since 1979 by Al Negrin, RampUp’s angel and chairman.

It’s called PBO (plans, budgets and objectives), but is very different from the old MBO (management by objective).

The critical act in PBO is to tie the plan to the objectives and to be sure that the budget, including headcount and other resources is adequate to support them.

For example, to achieve the objectives set for the marketing department requires increasing headcount by 5 people, but the budget for marketing only covers the cost of 3, so it becomes impossible for the manager to achieve the objectives.

Doing this actively sets your people up to fail—not the smartest approach for any manager.

And don’t sit quietly by if you receive an impossible set of objectives in the false hope that you can somehow protect yourself and your team.

In tight economies objectives often become more like wish lists; this is especially true after layoffs.

If your budgeting process is reality-based then there is no way to cut X% of a department’s headcount without reevaluating that department’s objectives as well as the company’s—it’s all connected.

Click these links to read a detailed explanation of PBO and how-to do it, and then tweak it to fit your own needs. If you need some help feel free to call me at 866.265.7267 or email miki@rapupsolutions.com, subject line about PBO (in case of filters).

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Image credit:  ZedBee|Zoë Power on flickr

The Value Of Coping

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

house_of_cardsFriday I explained how the Philosophy of ER can help you lead a more satisfying life and achieve more of your goals, especially the big ones. Today I want to share a focus that has helped me bounce back from a variety of things, large, small and even devastating, over the years.

It is the difference between spending large amounts of time and energy arranging your life so nothing can go wrong or trying to fix the people in your world so you won’t be hurt/upset/etc. when they doing whatever as opposed to recognizing that there is nothing you can do that will protect you and spending the same time and energy building your coping skills.

I figured this out on my own when I was five years old and my father was killed. Being the people they were my family and relatives each found their own way to deal with it and I needed to do the same.

And I did.

I knew I couldn’t change what happened, there was nothing I could do that would bring him back. I had to go to school and listen to everyone say how sorry they were without falling apart and making a fool of myself. In other words, I needed to cope with what had happened and because no one could do it for me I did.

As I grew and other things happened I stayed focused on coping with them; most were the small, everyday variety that happen to all of us, while others were large.

The common element was that they were all things that made me fall apart, so I focused my energies on how fast I could put myself back together, because I had come to believe that falling apart was normal.

By the time I was in my twenties I was so good at it that most people who knew me thought nothing could dent me.

Ha! Little did they know, but by then I could fall apart on the first beat and put myself back together by the second.

I wish there was some methodology I could share that would pass the coping skills I have on, but I have found over the years that each person has to develop their own; what works for them.

What I can guarantee is that no matter what you do, you will never constrain your world to run perfectly smoothly with nary a bump or an upset.

But you can build your ability to handle whatever happens; to cope, keep going and deal with everything that life throws at you.

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Image credit: Bah Humbug on flickr

Seize Your Leadership Day: Leader Books And Stuff

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

seize_your_dayI have some great links for you today, but I only want you to read them if you hold tight to the Leadership Turn caveat while you do it.

In case you don’t remember, the caveat is that leadership information is useful to you whether you are still in school, a stay-at-home parent, a worker, middle manager, or the person in the corner office. Everyone leads at one time or another, so tweak the information to fit what you need at this moment.

First, some useful information from a book review called 7 Lessons for Navigating the Storm, the 7 actions listed can be implemented by anyone in or out of crisis.

Speaking of navigating, the Navel Leadership blog lists 11 Principles “To help you be, know, and do…,” I think you’ll like them.

Especially for my women readers, and anyone who plans on functioning in the now-and-future world, a write-up of two books, Women Lead and Remarkable Women. If you want to read them try your local library or Amazon.

Parents are the first leaders most of us follow—more or less. I wonder how a parent who yells handles similar frustrations at work. Because, like any other leader, the longer we are with them the more effort it takes to earn our trust and respect.

Finally, from Psychology Today, learn about the cheap psychological tricks used by bad leaders.”


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Image credit: nono farahshila on flickr

Seize Your Leadership Day: EQ, SQ And Leadership

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

When discussing or reading about leadership you hear a lot about EQ, AKA, emotional intelligence and SQ, AKA, social intelligence, but what do they really mean?

Emotional intelligence refers to self-knowledge or, in my words, knowing and understanding your MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™).

Social intelligence refers to your knowledge and understanding of other people’s MAP.

To learn more, watch this interview with Daniel Goleman, prolific author and renowned psychologist. Start learning how to use emotional and social intelligence to improve your team’s performance as well as your own, both professionally and professionally.

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Image credit: nono farahshila on flickr and Harvard Business Publishing on YouTube

Leader, Manager, Bureaucrat

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Frequent readers know that I am not a devotee of Warren Bennis, who famously propagated the idea that leaders and managers are not only different, but that ‘leaders’ are higher on the food chain possessing far more value than the lowly manager.

I have devoted numerous posts to dispelling this attitude (See series starting here.), much like Don Quixote tilting at his windmills. (It’s not a new attitude; I’ve had a statue of Quixote and Sancho Panza for years:)

I was discussing this over lunch with several executives and voiced my thought that no manager at any level can function successfully in today’s climate unless she is a leader.

This brought forth a terrific response from a CEO that is well worth sharing.

“A manager who doesn’t lead is a bureaucrat.”

An astute, simple and very accurate statement for people who are, or aspire to be, in charge, no matter of what or at what level, to frame and hang on their walls.

If you don’t want to

  • craft and share a vision of what, why and when {whatever} needs to happen and leave the ‘how’ to your team;
  • share information openly and willingly;
  • take the time to craft communications that can be heard and understood by all;
  • help both your company and your team become all that they can be;
  • shoulder the responsibility, but give away the credit; a
  • think ‘them’ before ‘me’;

then you shouldn’t be in charge.

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Image credit: scriptingnews on flickr

Wordless Wednesday: Relish!

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Now learn how to guarantee business FAILURE

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Image credit: Lorena on Google images

A Leadership Carnival for Labor Day

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Hopefully you’re not laboring today, at least not at work.

There’s no football, so other than eating what is likely the last BBQ of the season and indulging in too much beer you might be a bit short of entertainment.

Never fear, just click the link and settle in for some great viewpoints on leadership, management, employee interaction and other pertinent subjects at September incarnation of the Leadership Development Carnival.

You’ll not only find my favorites, Wally Bock, Steve Roesler and Jim Stroup, but a host of excellent writers and downright smart people.

It doesn’t matter if you agree with what they say (I often don’t), but agree or not you will learn and that’s the real value—oft times you will learn more from those on a different side of the subject than from those with whom you agree.

Click around the carnival and then come back and share what impressed you most or what set your teeth on edge.

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Image credit: kirsche222 on sxc.hu

Leadership's Future: Millennials Are Not So Different

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Millennials and those who study them love to position them as demanding different things from the workplace than their predecessors.

The latest is a list from LeaderTalk that describes Millennials’ Five Leadership Truths:

Truth #1 – Leadership development begins with self development; it’s about the individual; what is the first question most people want to ask a new leader?

Truth #2 – You can’t do it alone

Truth #3 – The foundation of Leadership is Credibility

Truth #4 – You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all.

Truth #5 – Being forward-looking most differentiates leaders.

Nearly two years ago Success Television listed Gen Y’s 10 main turnoffs…

  1. Inflexibility.
  2. Judgmental attitudes.
  3. Close-mindedness.
  4. Fear of and an unwillingness to use technology.
  5. Unwillingness to listen to and respect Gen Y’s opinions, ideas and views.
  6. Intimidation.
  7. Being told they have to “pay their dues”.
  8. Lack of professional and leadership development through the company.
  9. Emphasis on traditional dress (coat or suit and tie are out).
  10. Lack of intellectual horsepower. [By what yardstick? Miki]

Now I ask you, what on either of these lists is new? It seems to me that they are the same things that Boomers and Gen X (and previous generations) have been complaining about for years; the language changes, but the concepts aren’t new.

Sadly, I believe that the workforce will be complaining of the same types of things long after I’ve turned to dust.

Boomers and Gen X were just as much a disruptive force in the workplace-of-that-time as Millennials are today.

Granted the willingness to stick it out has shortened considerably, but even the willingness to walk if you’re not happy is based to no small degree on a healthy economy where the next job is easily available.

Add time and a few age-driven responsibilities—kids, mortgages, aging parents—to the mix and soon Millennials will be the establishment with another generation ranting about their unwillingness to change.

The demands of each generation are what forces change, both large and small, upon the workplace—always has and always will.

Hat tip to The Leadership Hub for pointing the LeaderTalk post.

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Image credit: HowardLake on flickr

Leadership Carnival At Great Leadership By Dan

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Dan McCarthy over at Great Leadership By Dan is once again hosting The July 5th Leadership Development Carnival (it will be hosted other places in the coming months) and, as Dan says, “It’ll help work the cramps out of your brain,” now that the holiday is over.

There’s a lot of excellent information available from the many outstanding participants.

Click around, read and enjoy, but with my normal caveat—leadership is for everyone, not just the person out front.

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Image credit: Great Leadership by Dan

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