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Golden Oldies: Power, Arrogance And MAP

Monday, August 7th, 2017

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

Last week we started looking at our heroes — first as cowboys and then why/how they needed to change. It’s a timely subject, especially considering the attitudes/actions of so many of our current ones — from Donald Trump to Travis Kalanick and all those inbetween.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

I recently questioned whether, in fact, the imperial CEO is indeed dead as many are saying.

Wednesday Dan McCarthy was inspired to write 10 Ways to Avoid the Arrogance of Power after reading The Arrogance of Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer, a Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Business School. Pfeffer says,

“The higher you go in an organization, the more those around you are going to tell you that you are right. The higher reaches of organizations–which includes government, too, in case you slept through the past eight years–are largely absent of critical thought. … There is also evidence, including some wonderful studies by business school professor Don Hambrick at Penn State, that shows the corroding effects of ego. Leaders filled with hubris are more likely to overpay for acquisitions and engage in other risky strategies. Leaders ought to cultivate humility.” He ends by advising not to hold your breath waiting for this to change.”

I think much of Dan’s advice is good, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for the advice to be taken.

I think that power corrupts those susceptible to it, not all those who have it; there are enough examples of powerful people who didn’t succumb to keep me convinced.

Susceptibility is woven in MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™) and is especially prevalent in today’s society of mememememememe with its sense of entitlement.

Changing MAP and stopping drinking are similar, since the individual has to choose to change. All the horses and all the men can’t convince the king to change—that only happens from the inside out.

Moreover, as I’ve frequently said, MAP is sneaky; it will pretend to change and then revert to its normal pattern when no one’s looking.

We, the people, can’t force them to change, but we can learn to sustain our attention span and keep looking.

Image credit: flickr

If The Shoe Fits: Plato’s Soft Success

Friday, August 4th, 2017

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mEngineers constantly channel Wernher von Braun, “One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions,” preferring AB tests and data points to anecdotal evidence or everyday been there/done that experience.

This is a serious problem for most founders who are

  • engineers, and
  • inexperienced (AKA, young).

Tests, no matter how good, and data points fail miserably when it comes to hiring people, let alone managing them.

Proof of this comes from no less a data embracer than Google, which scrapped an algorithm that was supposed to predict successful hires, its famed brain teaser questions and rigid responses to recruiter questions.

Such was the experience of Quang Hoang and his two partners when they started Birdly, which pivoted three times before finding a solid product/market fit.

…the tumult alienated most of Birdly’s employees, who quit. Hoang attributes the turnover to his own inexperience as a manager.

We, along the way, made many mistakes in management,” Hoang tells Business Insider. “We lost many great developers.” 

Enter Plato, a new name and a new team, focused on providing techies with soft skill mentoring.

The idea, says, Hoang is that an engineer’s education is focused heavily on “hard skills” around programming and systems design. The rest has to be learned. And for programmers-turned-leaders, it’s often the “soft skills,” like management and leadership, that need the most attention.

To people such as myself, who for decades have been involved in teaching and honing those skills in managers across all fields, not just tech, it’s more of a ‘duh’ factor.

But that’s OK; just don’t call it “thought leadership.”

Most great management concepts and skills aren’t decades old, they’re centuries old, constantly updated using language that will resonate with the current target audience.

Probably one of the best pieces of leadership/management advice comes from Lao Tzu and dates to the fourth or fifth century BC; I’ve quoted it multiple times over the last ten plus years.

As for the best leaders,
the people do not notice their existence.
The next best,
the people honor and praise.
The next,
the people fear;
and the next,
the people hate…
When the best leader’s work is done,
the people say, “We did it ourselves!”
To lead the people, walk behind them.

Difficult advice to follow in a world of personal brands and excessively large egos.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Guest Post: Our Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

When I was five or six, every Saturday morning was the same. I’d strap on my trusty toy six-shooter over my pajamas, grab my cowboy hat, and mount the arm of my father’s armchair, which I thought of as my trusty steed. From that perch, I’d watch the Saturday morning cowboy shows on our black and white television. Like most of the rest of America, I loved my cowboy heroes. It took a while to understand how unrealistic they were.

The cowboys were all white guys, there wasn’t an African American, or a Mexican American, or a Mexican to be seen doing real work. In real life, about a quarter of working cowboys were African-Americans. And much of the dress, equipment, and the language of the working cowboy came from the Mexican vaqueros.

The cowboys I watched on television were all clean and wore fancy clothes. Real cowboys did a dirty job and wore clothes and used equipment to make it safer and easier.

Television cowboys had almost superhuman skills. They could ride a horse at a full gallop and shoot the pistol out of a bad guy’s hand at a couple of hundred yards. When the evildoer was trying to run away, they could whip out their trusty lasso and pull him off his horse. Every time. They never missed. They were heroes.

The cowboy heroes did super masculine things with grace. They knocked out bad guys with a single punch. The women in the shows were always attractive, but their primary role was to be rescued or protected.

You would think, if they had the usual set of masculine urges that there would be some chasing after the beautiful women who populated the television West. But no. When their work of rescuing and protecting was over, the cowboy heroes rode away, accompanied if at all, by their trusty sidekick. That’s weird.

Those heroes were great for me when I was five. Today, I’m not so sure they fit the world we want to create.

Let’s Broaden Our View of Heroes

There’s no reason we need to limit our definition of heroes to white men with superpowers. Women can be heroes, too. So, can people with every shade of skin tone imaginable. They have been throughout history.

Heroes don’t need superpowers, and they don’t need to be flashy. Some of our greatest heroes do quiet work that makes a difference in the world, like Dan Nigro on and after 9/11.

Cowboy Heroes in A Team-Centric World

Today, most of the world’s work gets done in teams, so you would think we would modify our idea of a hero. We haven’t. Instead, we’ve made the situation fit our fantasy rather than the facts.

We laud lone innovators like Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs, except they weren’t “lone” at all. Edison had the muckers and Jobs had hundreds of people at Apple. We laud the fighter pilot and forget the crew that keeps the jet flying and the pilot safe.

When US Airways flight 1549 was set down in the Hudson River, the pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, became the hero of the day. No one except Sullenberger wanted to talk about the contributions of the copilot or the cabin crew to making the landing safe and getting the passengers off the plane. No one wanted to bring up the training in the cockpit resource management that prepared those people to react as a team.

The all-knowing physician is another variation of the lone hero. That may make great TV drama, but it just doesn’t fit what we need. Atul Gawande is an author, surgeon, and professor. He puts the situation this way.

“We have trained, hired, and awarded physicians to be cowboys, when what we want are pit crews for patients.”

We’ve done that with managers, too. Except we don’t call them managers anymore. We call them “leaders,” that’s today’s hero-word. We expect those leaders to do the business equivalent of shooting the gun out of the evil-doer’s hand while riding at a full gallop.

Our Challenge Today

The world of the future will not belong to the superheroes, like the cowboy heroes of my youth. Instead, the work will be much less romantic but much more effective. Team leaders will learn that their job is to accomplish the mission through the group, not to do it all themselves. They’ll also learn that their job involves helping the individual team members succeed, develop, and grow.

None of that makes for good television. I’m pretty sure that no six-year-old today is sitting in his father’s chair spellbound by a TV drama about a leader coaching a team member. But that’s what effective leadership looks like.

Our heroes have always been cowboys, but maybe it’s time for something different.

Originally posted July 27, 2017 on Wally Bock’s Three Star Leadership Blog.

Golden Oldies: Leaders, Leaders Everywhere, But Which Ones Should You Follow?

Monday, July 17th, 2017

It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

Considering the accusations/confessions, resignations, terminations, mea culpas, etc., I thought this post from 2009 and its supporting links should be front and center once again, since nothing has changed in the intervening eight years.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

Oh goody. Another CEO study. I haven’t seen the study, but David Brooks (NY Times) gives an overview (whatever you do, don’t miss the comments), while Dan McCarthy (Great Leadership laments the fascination with such studies.

I pretty much ignore them, except for their amusement value—sort of like all the food studies that tell us which food that was recommended last year will kill us this year.

Speaking of which, I wish someone would do a study like that on CEOs.

A ranking of CEOs who were lauded for x amount of time before they crashed and burned for the same traits that were their supposed strengths.

And a corollary ranking of all the pundits, gurus and executive coaches who did the lauding and how many have come forward to apologize for mistaking hubris for competence.

Of course, that would be a very long list.

Image credit: Beeeeezzz on flickr

Reading To Grow

Monday, July 10th, 2017

We’re halfway through the year, which makes it a good time to take a step back and objectively consider how well you are doing achieving your personal growth goals for 2017.

We, the authors of the following, all hope that the monthly Leadership Dev Carnival provides you with different perspectives, ideas approaches, and tools to move forward.

Here is July’s wisdom.

Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided Leadership Manifesto – Why You Need One and How to Get Started. Anne writes, “Your leadership manifesto ensures you stay the course in challenging times and focus on what’s most important at all times.” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided Four Types of Virtual Assistance. Beth explains four different models of virtual assistant services and provides suggestions for finding a good VA fit. Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Bill Treasurer of Giant Leap Consulting provided How to Choose a Great Mentor. Bill recaps, “Having a good mentor can take you far in your leadership journey. Learn what traits to look for in a good mentor.” Find Bill on Twitter at @btreasurer.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Charge: Don’t Bump the Fishbowl. In this post, Chris introduces “three steps to serving, validating, and celebrating employees’ ideas and contributions every day.” Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Leadership Tips from Mankind’s Best Friend, the Dog. Dan recaps, “This lighthearted guest post from Dr. Garry McDaniel gives us 7 leadership tips learned from mankind’s best friend, the dog!” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed How Long Should You Stay At Your Job?. Dana writes, “No matter how well matched you and your job are at first, every employer and every person reach a point where it’s time to reconsider or renegotiate you agreement in order to support your continued growth.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared The Four Fs of Feedback. David writes, “If you were to give yourself a grade for how effective you are at giving feedback, what grade would you choose? Many of the executives I work with are brutally honest and give themselves an F. Move from an F to an A with the Four Fs of Feedback” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Jane Perdue of The Jane Group provided How to develop deep diversity with 9 learning styles. Jane shares, “Insightful guest post from author and coach Kay Peterson that guides leaders in increasing diversity by leveraging nine ways that people learn. Processes shared give leaders and their entire team a model they can use to understand and appreciate everyone’s strengths and differences.” Find Jane on Twitter at @thehrgoddess.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of Seapoint Center provided How to Recognize a Leader. Jesse summarizes, “How do you recognize a leader? Hint: It’s not because of their title.” Find Jesse on Twitter at @jesselynstoner.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided Leading in a Virtualized World: 10 Traits of a Cyber Leader. In the post, Jim explains, “To be a true Cyber Leader requires a strong and sustained commitment. Technology is proving to be a powerful enabler to bringing people together from around the globe. While Cyber Leadership brings with it exciting opportunities for personal growth, it’s also accompanied by certain challenges.” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted Four Solutions if You’re Feeling Overworked and Underappreciated at Work. Joel shares: “If you’re feeling overworked and underappreciated at work, you’re not alone. It’s easy to begin to feel bitter and resentment toward your job. But, there are things you can do to change how you feel.” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

John Hunter of Curious Cat submitted Technological Innovation and Management. John recaps: “Technological innovation brings great opportunity for improving results and our quality of life.  But transforming potential benefits into real results comes with many challenges.” Discover John on Twitter at @ajohnhunter.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference submitted The Need for More Sadness, Less Anger. Jon shares, “Anger rises, stifling collaboration. We need more sadness and less anger. From our sadness, we renew our focus on fulfillment rather than happiness.” Discover Jon on Twitter at @thindifference.

Jon Verbeck of  Jon Verbeck contributed Business Owner Mistake: The Basic Profit Model is Not Leveraged Link:. In this post, Jon shared how slight improvements over many transactions can have a huge impact. Follow Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided The FUEL that Propels Today’s Organizatons. Julie recaps, “In today’s business environment, only the most energized organizations and individuals will be prepared to power forward toward that ever-moving finish line. And the key to high quality results is high-quality FUEL (in the form of feedback, an understanding what’s most important, and a culture of experimentation and learning).” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of  Let’s Grow Leaders contributed Before You Forget, Stop and Do This Immediately. In this post, Karin explored this question: “Who consistently takes the time to sweat the small stuff so you don’t have to?”. Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Ken Downer of  Rapid Start Leadership contributed Leader Isolation: 6 Ways to Conquer Loneliness at the Top. Ken summarizes, “The challenges and responsibilities of leadership can sometimes leave us feeling isolated and lonely.  But leading well doesn’t mean you have to become a hermit.  In fact the opposite is true – the higher you rise, the more important your connections become.  These six approaches to getting connected can help you find friends while improving your effectiveness as a leader.” Follow Ken on Twitter at @rapidstartldr.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared 4 Connected Trends Shaping the Future of Leadership. Linda recaps: “The greatest challenge leaders face is keeping up as the bar continues to be raised. Adaptability is no longer just a competitive advantage. It’s an ethical imperative” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided How Do I Relate to Others? . Marcella recaps, “Martin Buber states there are two different ways of being in the world: the I-it or I-thou way. I-it means that I am a person – but I see other people as objects or means to my ends. I-thou means that I see you as a person, too. You are equal and I acknowledge your humanity. These two ways profoundly influence how you relate to others and, thus, the results you achieve. How do you relate to others?” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services, LLC provided How to avoid starring in your own drama. Mary Jo recaps, “Leaders often create their own drama, and then take the starring role. Here are some ways to avoid getting caught up in your own drama.” Find Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed Ducks in a Row: Educating For The Future. Miki writes, “There is a sad result from the current intense focus on STEM curriculum, with enterprise pushing its own short-term hiring agenda, and media hype that a tech career is the be-all and end-all. The real role education must play in a future of unimaginable careers that AI can’t do ends up being ignored.” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Michael Lee Stallard of the Connection Culture Group contributed 3 Practices to Improve the Contributions of Your Core Employees. He writes, “Core employees comprise the majority of the workforce, yet are often overlooked. Here are three ways to engage the group that is critical to every organization’s success. ” Discover him on Twitter at @michaelstallard.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Leaders Encouraging Creative Risks. Neal recaps, “How can a leader experiment and foster risk taking?The idea is not to run out and take any risk. Think about how you want to take the risk you need on a small scale first. Test it out before taking a bigger leap with a bigger risk.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provided A Late Cleanup. Paula recaps, “Making a decision to stop procrastinating on a long-overdue ‘cleanup’ ended up providing a physical and mental lift.” Find Paula on Twitter at @biggreenpen.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared We Don’t Have a Crisis of Trust – We Have a Crisis of Untrustworthy Leaders. Randy writes, “The statistics on the state of trust in our world are dismal. Yet Randy Conley believes the core issue isn’t with trust itself, but with untrustworthy leaders of our organizations. In his post, We Don’t Have a Crisis of Trust – We Have a Crisis of Untrustworthy Leaders, Randy shares the four characteristics that define trustworthy leaders.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Robyn McLeod of Chatsworth Consulting submitted Your Strengths Can Hurt You. In this post, Robyn shares four easy tips to avoid having your strengths turn into derailers. Discover Robyn on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row provided Perfect is Over-Rated. In the post, Shelley encourages leaders to stop fixating on what’s wrong in order to really appreciate the fact that the majority of things that are right. Find Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided The Secret to Getting What You Want. Susan explains, “There’s a saying that, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there. The same applies in life and business. Knowing what you want, and how to get it, is the key to being in the driver’s seat of your life, your career, and your business.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer provided How Failure Taught Me To Become A Better Listener. Tanveer says this post is the story of one leader’s failure reveals a powerful lesson on the importance of effective listening to leadership success. Follow Tanveer on Twitter at @tanveernaseer.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provided Lessons From My Father’s Reading Plan. Wally recaps, “You’ll get more from your summer reading if you have a plan. Here’s how my father did his.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

Uber Suicide?

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/9698637692/Have you noticed that Uber-frenzy has eased off? It’s a nice change to see other lead stories taking its place.

The most valuable private company in the world is definitely at a crossroads.

There is one thing that’s definite and that is that without new leadership that can staunch the blizzard resignation at all levels, galvanize the troops, lead the change to a radically new culture, and keep all the wheels turning in sync Uber easily could fall from its vaunted position.

In short, the new CEO needs to be someone with a sterling reputation, a string of high profile successes, and a believable visionary who people will trust.

Is that how you would describe Marissa Mayer?

The last thing that Uber needs is someone who defends Kalanick and seems to excuse what happened.

“I count Travis as one of my friends. I think he’s a phenomenal leader — Uber is ridiculously interesting.”

Mayer, who may be campaigning for the Uber CEO role, added: “I just don’t think he knew. When your company scales that quickly, it’s hard.”

Mayer went on to say that Uber was going through the same kind of thing Google went through when Eric Schmidt was brought on as CEO to help founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

But Mayer is not Eric Schmidt; in fact, her two main qualifications seem to be being female and buddies with Arianna Huffington.

Of course, there’s a long way to go and a number of other names being bandied about.

If she is hired I’m sure the investors will be excited to watch Uber take the same path as Yahoo.

Image credit: Mike Mozart

June 2017 Leadership Development Carnival

Friday, June 9th, 2017

New month, new Leadership Development Carnival.

Reproduced here for your edification and enjoyment. It’s good weekend reading.


Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided Create New Organization Hero Stories to Lead Change. Anne writes, “The organization hero stories you tell as you launch your change initiative will get people on your change bus. How you tell the story is as important as the story you create.” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided 5 Ways (Some) Multitasking Can be Good for You. Beth summarizes, “Multitasking is often frowned upon, but this post helps us sort out when it might be a good approach.” Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Bill Treasurer of Giant Leap Consulting provided How to Manage Your Boss. Bill recaps, “Leadership isn’t always about managing your direct reports. Sometimes you have to know how to ‘manage up.’ Managing your boss is an essential part of leadership.” Find Bill on Twitter at @btreasurer.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Charge: Validate Effort and Results. In this post, Chris reminds us to validate the efforts of others, not just the results they get. Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided How to Prevent Redundant Performance Improvement Conversations. Dan recaps, “In this guest post, Karin Hurt explores the fact that performance improvement conversations aren’t enjoyable — for you or for them. ‘To make sure you don’t have to have the same uncomfortable conversation twice, take a hard look at this approach.’” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership and Karin at @letsgrowleaders.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed How to Run a Meeting When You’re Not in Charge. Dana writes, “Running a meeting with your boss and her peers puts you in a tough spot. You’re being expected to ‘manage’ people superior to you. You can’t rely on your technical expertise because you’re expected to manage the interpersonal dynamics of the meeting as well, which is hard even when dealing with peers and subordinates.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared Leadership Communication Principles That Work. David writes, “I’m continually asked for the most important leadership communication principles. While what’s effective will vary based on the person or situation, these six tried-and-true fundamentals will make the difference between simply sharing information and communication that moves people to action (and that they feel great about).” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Diane Bock of Development Dimensions International (DDI) shared How to Work with People Who Aren’t You. Diane writes, “Diversity is good for business. But it doesn’t mean you will automatically have positive relationships with colleagues who are different.” Discover Diane on Twitter at @DDIWorld

Eileen McDargh of The Resiliency Group provided Five Secrets to Creative Adaptability. Eileen recaps, “In the face of continuing economic challenges, a roller coaster marketplace, Congressional stalemates, and unrelenting change, leaders in every part of an organization must develop a capacity for resiliency. A cornerstone of resiliency is adaptability. Mind you, this is not the ordinary find-another-answer but rather find MANY answers.” Find Eileen on Twitter at @macdarling.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of Seapoint Center provided How the Benefits of Team Vision Can Revitalize Your Team. Jesse summarizes, “Has your team gotten caught in ‘team drift’? Here are eight benefits of team vision and how it helps revitalize your team.” Find Jesse on Twitter at @jesselynstoner.

Jill Malleck of Epiphany at Work submitted Use Memory to Boost Self-Confidence. Jill recaps: “Confidence is different than a ‘know-it-all’ attitude: It’s more about feeling strong in your abilities. In every workplace, it’s not just about what you know that demonstrates leadership –  it’s how confidently you lead when you don’t know.” Discover Jill on Twitter at @EpiphanyAtWork.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided Why Integrity Matters to Leadership. In the post, Jim explains, “New leadership approaches are needed in a globalized world. It’s about collaboration through worker self-empowerment, where calculated risk-taking is a daily endeavour and individual and collective learning is nurtured and valued.” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted The 4 Most Powerful Leadership Words You Can Use. Joel shares: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Being selective in how you speak to others often determines your level of leadership. Here are four of the most powerful leadership words you can use.” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

John Hunter of Curious Cat submitted Improving Management with Tools and Knowledge. John recaps: “The effective integration of the principles and the tools is what separates the remarkable companies we respect (and maybe envy) from all the others that are having some success but that are also struggling in many ways.” Discover John on Twitter at @CuriousCat_Com.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference submitted Jeff Bezos: How to Avoid Day 2. Jon shares, “This post is addresses how a leader’s approach to decision making can determine an organization’s success or failure. Too many of us get stuck in what Jeff Bezos calls a ‘Day 2 mindset.’ Here’s how to avoid that trap and make all of our decisions like it’s day 1.” Discover Jon on Twitter at @thindifference.

Jon Verbeck of  Jon Verbeck contributed Business Owner Mistakes: No Timely Review of the Numbers. In this post, Jon reminds us that no matter the size of our business, we need to look at our numbers regularly. Follow Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided Career Development Begins with CARE. Julie recaps, “In this short animated video, Julie explores the fundamental building blocks of career development and offers a framework for leaders committed to engaging in authentic sustainable development with others.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared 9 Ethical Roles: Is Your leadership Team “All In?”. Linda recaps: “Ethical roles apply not just to CEOs, but also to all senior leaders in an organization. And if front line leaders don’t carry these roles throughout the organization, there will be gaps in the culture. We should prepare leaders to take on these 9 important roles, to help them be ‘All In’ in the quest for ethical culture building.” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting submitted How Have You Moved Past Fear With Understanding?. In this post, Lisa shares how moving past your fears into more understanding can help you be the best leader you can be. Discover Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided What Do You Love to Do?. Marcella recaps, “What you love to do contains your gift to the world regardless of your role. Many were taught that it’s selfish to pursue what we love. Thus, we set aside what makes us unique. While when we love what we do, we are at our best and make a difference. Withholding who we are becomes the selfish act. What do you think?” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Ila Ward of Horizon Point Consulting provided A Culture Where Nothing Is Ever Good Enough and How to Fix It: An Interview with Rajeev Behera CEO of Reflektive. Mary Ila recaps, “One in four people say their jobs are the most stressful part of their lives. What is creating stress in the workplace and how can it be resolved? In this post Mary Ila interviews Rajeev Behera, CEO of Reflektive, to determine the key factors that create a fear-based work culture and how it can be changed.” Find Mary on Twitter at @maryilaward.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services, LLC provided Reconnecting With Happiness. Mary Jo recaps, “Happy leaders make a difference! Don’t let your happiness slip away; examine your life and make decisions about what will help you get back to what matters.” Find Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed If The Shoe Fits: No Such Thing As “Self-Made”. Miki writes, “Everybody loves stories about self-made people; the ones who have climbed from nothing to the top. The stories may be fun to read, but in reality there is no such thing as ‘self-made’. Just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted It’s All About Finding People Smarter than You. Neal recaps, “Leaders know that hiring people smarter than themselves makes good leadership sense when you have great ideas and need others to create and produce breakthrough results. You shouldn’t be the smartest person in the room – yet you should hire the smartest people in the room.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provided Gambling on Leadership. Paula recaps, “Is it true that people behave in leadership simulations the way they will in reality? Lessons from a ‘reality’ show.” Find Paula on Twitter at @biggreenpen.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 10 Ways to Tell If Your Boss is Trustworthy. Randy writes, “Everyone deserves to work for a trustworthy boss. Unfortunately, that seems to be the exception rather than the norm in today’s business world. This post shares ten ways you can tell if your boss is trustworthy. Be sure to take the poll to see how your boss compares with others.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row provided Three Steps to Resource Yourself to be Calm Instead of Testy. In the post, Shelley asks, “Do you ever feel irritated when you know you will be meeting with that person who rubs you the wrong way?” and gives us tips for being prepared to stay calm. Find Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided A Simple Way to Rise to Your Next Level of Leadership. Susan explains, “You cannot grow to the next level of leadership by reading books, taking a class, or simply thinking about getting there. You must actually take action in real life — and your everyday experiences offer clues that show you how to reach for it.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer provided What Happened To Trust And Integrity In Today’s Organizations?. Tanveer explains, “Trust and integrity seem to be in decline in many organizations today. Here’s a revealing look at why they remain critical to organizational success.” Follow Tanveer on Twitter at @tanveernaseer.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provided Leadership Balance. Wally recaps, “Dynamic balance, the balance of the athlete or the dancer, lets you engage in purposeful motion and change direction quickly.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

Ryan’s Journal: Losing The Forest For The Trees

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/arturtula/15564944217/I was having a conversation this week about Silicon Valley companies. Some of them are doing amazing things.

When I was job hunting I would look at several and imagine myself there changing the world.

There were several though that also had great funding, great people, but I could not understand for the life of me what they did. They had a great list of customers, but I could not understand the value they brought.

There are two possible solutions to that conundrum.

One, I am just not savvy enough to understand (a very real possibility).

Two, they were full of hype and energy, but not substance. I can imagine that both statements are true when you look at the vast array of companies in the valley.

With that said, have we lost the forest for the trees? Have some companies been so hyped that people continue to pour money into them hoping for a huge payday that may never come to fruition?

Uber is in the news for a variety of reasons, some good, some bad. I recently read an article that Uber and Google are working on flying cars. While the concept of flying cars seems cool… I guess, I am more concerned with the participating companies.

Google provides value, products and that elusive quality, profit. They are well established, have multiple streams of income and could fail at this endeavor and live another day. It’s exciting to see them using their money for grand ideas, but it won’t decimate them either.

Uber provides value and services, but zero profit.

In fact, if Uber was run like a traditional company or household, they would have never even gone to market.

They operate more like a country that can print its own money. They take on debt, lose billions every year, yet keep on trucking.

Venture capital and perhaps greed are what allow this to occur. If they fail at the flying car concept what does it mean for the rest of the business?

I know there are very smart folks who are there and who are invested. I often wonder what their long game is. Do they believe they will become profitable at some point if they hang on long enough?

Another thing to consider is the economy. We have easy money right now with very low rates of interest.

For an investor it makes more sense to go with a high risk investment versus storing it in savings, because they essentially lose money due to inflation.

When the markets tighten does that mean Uber cannot seek out another round of funding?

My point is this.

Have we lost sight of the incremental steps it takes for us to achieve greatness by thinking we can accelerate the whole process with enough capital or am I the Luddite here?

I am a believer that debt can be good when there is a viable business model. I am less impressed though when a company has never turned a profit and had no projections to do so at any point soon, but can be valued so highly. What makes Uber so unique?

I say we need to keep dreaming the big dreams, but also look at the foundation.

Is it built on sand or rock?

Image credit: Artur (RUS) Potosi

The May 2017 Leadership Development Carnival

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

I’m late posting this, but, as with anything of value, better late than never.

This month’s Carnival offers insights, how-to’s, direction, and support — all just a click away.

What are you waiting for? Start clicking.

Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided 8 Steps to Avoid Flipping Your Lid in Challenging Leadership Situations. Anne writes, “You’re flipping your lid because you and all other human beings are designed to do exactly that. Find out why we flip. Then discover 8 steps that will keep your lid un-flippped.” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided Make Appointments With Yourself. In the post, Beth provides a 2-minute HOPE Hint about the value of making appointments with yourself. Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Bill Treasurer of Giant Leap Consulting provided 5 Strategies to Address Conflict as a Manager. Bill recaps, “Conflict is inevitable, and part of being a leader is dealing with this conflict. If dealt with correctly, conflict can be an impetus for change. Here are five techniques to effectively deal with conflict.” Find Bill on Twitter at @btreasurer.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Change: Drive Your Desired Culture. In this post, Chris gives pointers regarding how you, as a leader, can ensure you’re paying close enough attention to the quality of your team or company’s work culture. Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Christopher Avery of Christopher Avery and the Leadership Gift provided Relearning How to Want. Christopher summarizes, ” Freedom, power, and choice come to us when we pursue what we truly want. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know what we truly want. This post reveals how relearning how to want drives self-leadership, and how you can achieve it.” Find Christopher on Twitter at @christopheraver.

Cy Wakeman of Reality-Based Leadership contributed How to Deal with the Toughest Resistor on Your Team. In the post, Cy explains the principle behind this thought: “Nobody does anything we don’t agree to” as it applies to the  most difficult people on our teams. Find Cy on Twitter at @cywakeman.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Improvisational Leadership: Use Improv to Avoid Leadership Pitfalls. Dan recaps, “In this guest post from Bob Kulhan, he describes a number of bad leadership characters and habits and how to use some simple improvisational techniques to help fix them.” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed 3 Things My Dog Reminded Me About Employee Performance and Employee Engagement. Dana writes, “Just like I had slipped into complacency with Mike and his last minute deadlines, and with Loki’s squirrel chasing, most of us slip into accepting low performance from employees until it’s too late. We write people off as “untrainable and uncoachable” when it’s really we who need to learn how to train and coach.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared Kick Email to the Curb Over Spring Break. David writes, “Why don’t we not leave email at the office when we’re on vacation? Because it’s hard. But the more we set up our teams and colleagues to be successful without us, the better we become, our colleagues become empowered, and we’re able to get some necessary R&R. Get tips and strategies today to help your next vacation be email free.” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Eileen McDargh of The Resiliency Group provided Three-Letter Leaders Create Clarity. Eileen recaps, ” In the age of 140 character tweets and 12-minute Ted talks, much can be gained by considering what three-letter titles can do to clarify roles and responsibilities. Everyone knows the roles and responsibilities for a CEO, CFO and CTO but change the wording and a different picture emerges. Imagine, for example, a CEO tasked as the Chief Engagement Officer.” Find Eileen on Twitter at @macdarling.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided “Call Me Nick!” Leadership in Running Shoes. Jim shares, “Top leaders need to connect regularly with the people who get the work done in their organizations. Putting on a pair of running shoes will keep you more nimble. Don’t believe it? Read about ‘Call me Nick’!” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted Six Team-Building Phrases Used by Great Leaders. Joel recaps: “To become a better leader, it’s essential to build team morale. You can achieve this by using these six team-building phrases.” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

Jon VerBeck of JonVerbeck.com submitted What’s the Score? . In his post, Jon takes the opportunity of spring (and the completion of March Madness) to suggest how you can know the score in your business. Discover Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided 4 Raises That Fit Any Budget. Julie recaps, “Effective leaders understand that limits on external motivators don’t have to limit their ability to tap internal sources of employee motivation. This brief post and animated video demonstrate that while pay raises might be in short supply, there are always four ‘raises’ available to leaders… and they cost literally nothing.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders contributed Four Questions to Keep Your Team Focused and Working on What Matters Most. In the post, Karin gives pointers about staying in tune with the MIT—the most important thing. Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared “Great Leaders” Find Gold Within. Linda recaps: “Great leadership is often defined based on efficiency, effectiveness or profitability, but that’s no way to define a journey of character building and authenticity. There’s much more to the story that needs to be told.” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting submitted It’s One of the Hardest Things to Say But the Best Leaders Say It. In this post, Lisa shares three little words that can help you be the best leader you can be. Discover Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided The Positive Mindset – to broaden your view. Marcella recaps, “In this blog post, I compare the conventional mental map and the positive mindset of possibilities. When you add the positive mindset you broaden your view and your repertory of responses. It is both/and rather than either/or. Highly recommended for all leaders: positive thinking and learning to see the positive potential of situations and people!” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Ila Ward of Horizon Point Consulting provided 3 Tips for Successfully Onboarding New Hires. Mary recaps, “Whether you are a company of three or a company of 30,000, onboarding can make or break employee engagement and retention even before day one. Having an onboarding strategy that is executed well starts with a plan. In this post, Mary Ila shares 3 tips for leaders to successfully onboard new hires.” Find Mary on Twitter at @maryilaward.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services, LLC provided When to Work With an Executive Coach. Mary Jo recaps, “Coaching takes time and energy. Consider this “Top Ten” list before committing to working with an executive coach.” Find Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Mike Hoban of Development Dimensions International (DDI) provided Could Siri Become Your Leadership Coach?. Mike recaps, “What if you had a personal advisor that could help you be a better leader? An advisor with great listening skills, who knows you extremely well and is available 24/7? But here’s the catch: that resource would be a machine.” Find Mike on Twitter at @ddiworld.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed Psychological Manipulation: The Popular New Management Tool. Miki writes, “60 years ago companies were condemned for using psychological manipulation on their customers via ads.These days it’s an accepted practice to design your products and ads to be as addictive as possible. Now psychological manipulation has moved on to the management arena, with Uber leading the rush.” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Molly Page of Thin Difference contributed The Power of 3 Simple Words. Molly summarizes, “It’s been said that we don’t only learn from good examples. Recently we’ve seen several public relation debacles play out in the news, these can serve as lessons for all of us about the power of 3 simple words..” Follow Thin Difference on Twitter at @thindifference and Molly at @mollypg.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Connecting Your Leadership with Your Employees. Neal recaps, “The connection leaders have with their employees has been found to increase productivity and performance. If you don’t have a connection with employees they won’t feel they own the work they produce. Therefore, they won’t put a lot of effort into doing work for you.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provided Lessons on Centeredness from a Missing Cardboard Tube. Paula recaps, “There is so much talk about mindfulness and staying centered these days. One of the best analogies I found came from a rather mundane source.” Find Paula on Twitter at @biggreenpen.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 4 Ways to Get Your Followers to Know You as a REAL Person. Randy writes, “Research shows that many employees don’t see their leaders as real people; they form mental images of the leader based on limited interactions and random pieces of information. Using the acronym REAL, Randy Conley provides four ways leaders can develop authentic relationships with their employees that foster trust, loyalty, and engagement.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row provided Three Steps to True Consensus: It’s More Than Flip Charts and Colored Dots. In the post, Shelley shares what it means to develop true consensus on your team. You will better understand what consensus truly is. Find Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided 9 Ways a Leader Can Earn Trust. Susan explains, “When it comes to earning trust as a leader, your actions speak far more loudly than your words. Here are 9 actions you can take on a daily basis to actively earn the trust of those you lead and greatly increase your chances of being trusted with the things that really matter.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provided Beware of These Three Leadership Traps. Wally recaps, “One reason leadership traps are so dangerous is that you set them for yourself.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

Ducks in a Row: Humble Or Charismatic

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017


Many of the actions of people such as Travis Kalanick, Donald Trump, Parker Conrad, etc., are deplored, yet they seem to have no effect on people’s opinions.

They go their merry way while thousands of far superior leaders are ignored.

When the subject does come up the usual response involves the infamous “yes, but…”

Why is that?

I finally found an answer that makes sense from Margarita Mayo, a Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IE Business School in Madrid.

Mayo terms the first type of leader ‘humble’ and the second ‘charismatic’.

Humble leaders improve the performance of a company in the long run because they create more collaborative environments. They have a balanced view of themselves – both their virtues and shortcomings – and a strong appreciation of others’ strengths and contributions, while being open to new ideas and feedback. (…)

[Charismatic leaders], despite their grandiose view of themselves, low empathy, dominant orientation toward others, and strong sense of entitlement, their charisma proves irresistible. Followers of superheroes are enthralled by their showmanship: through their sheer magnetism, narcissistic leaders transform their environments into a competitive game in which their followers also become more self-centered, giving rise to organizational narcissism, as one study shows.

Mayo’s research and the other’s she cites (with links) provide proof of the value produced by the humble leader vs. their charismatic counterpart.

However, I think there is another problem happening in the background that is word-related.

Ask most people if they want to be remembered as ‘humble’ or ‘charismatic’ and most will choose charismatic.

Warren Buffet aside, ‘humble’ is more often associated with dorky, weak, shy, and unassuming.

Not adjectives most people would choose to describe themselves.

Thanks to Wally Bock for leading me to this article.

Image credit: Edvin J.

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