Triple Crown Leadership

Triple Crown Leadership

Yearly Archives: 2013

Twelve Tips to Grow as a Leader

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 Nelson Mandela. Source: Creative Commons, Flickr, South Africa Good News Leaders aren’t born. They grow. Yes, some people are born with characteristics that make leadership easier. Some people are more outgoing, or intellectually gifted, or quick thinking. Some are excellent communicators, or have natural self-belief. But opportunities to learn and grow dramatically outweigh all of those factors combined. Leadership is learned and developed through a combination of practice, feedback, experience, observation, intuition, judgment, reflection, and input from others, including coaching, mentoring, books, courses, and programs. Training and courses can be valuable in helping leaders grow, particularly programs that involve practical leadership challenges and experiences tied to powerful frameworks and concepts. Experience over time, especially in the crucibles of challenges and crises, slowly shapes the character of leaders. Nelson Mandela, whose   …Continue Reading


The Wonders of “Pay It Forward”

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 iStock Photo “For it is in giving that we receive.” St. Francis of Assisi There are three kinds of people: takers, “transactors,” and givers. Each of us needs to decide where our focus will be. Takers are focused on serving their own needs and pleasures. They may be courteous about it and pleasant to be around; or they may be blunt about extracting whatever they want. But takers are exploiters. The mindset of the transactor is, “I’ll give you something if you give me something back.” It is a quid pro quo world to them, and there is nothing inherently wrong with this view. The world of commerce operates on a transactional basis: “You sell me something in exchange for this amount of money.” The mindset of the giver is   …Continue Reading


Trust is Essential for a High-Performance Team

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Internet Talk Radio Show with Bob Whipple and Bob Vanourek December 18: Noon eastern time Join Bob Vanourek and Bob Whipple, “The Trust Ambassador” and CEO of Leadergrow an organization dedicated to leadership development, as they dialogue on how leaders can build trust in their organizations. The Internet talk radio program, hosted by Voice America, will be on December 18 and their topic is: “Trust is Essential for a High-Performance Team.” Bob Whipple spent his career as a leader in a large U.S. firm going through extreme challenges. He is a dedicated business scholar, university professor, and leadership consultant. Whipple is also the author of several books, including Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind, an excellent book rich in practical wisdom on leadership and trust. Bob Vanourek posted a   …Continue Reading


Leading with Heart and Head

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 By Cristina Gair “A good heart and a good head are always a formidable combination.” Nelson Mandela — In Remembrance, 1918-2013 Students of leadership should immerse themselves in the study of leaders who embody the values and actions they want to see in the world. In college, I started studying Nelson Mandela as an inspiring leader and teacher, and I have been enamored ever since. Mandela was about love, justice, equality, education, and care for others, your community, and the global community. My heart hurts as my head remembers his lessons for leadership and life. Mandela understood the importance of the integration of heart and head. This alignment of heart and head gave him the insight to lead his country despite 10, 000 days spent in prison. In his words:   …Continue Reading


Leadership, Pushes, and Poetry

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“Come to the edge,” he said. 
 “We are afraid,” they said. 
 “Come to the edge,” he said. 
 They came to the edge, 
 He pushed them and they flew. 
 ― Guilliame Apollinaire, French poet How much should a leader push colleagues when they are afraid? Apollinaire’s lines above signal that a leader sometimes has to push people off the edge for them to discover they can fly. While a romantic notion, we take a different view. Certainly, leadership is often about moving out of a comfort zone. Management is good at driving efficiency in your existing place, even when people should be running for the hills. Leadership is about inspiring people to move to a whole new and better place, even if they are reluctant to   …Continue Reading


Your Leadership Mindset

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  iStock Photo   What is your leadership mindset? What are your self-conceptions and beliefs that drive your behavior as a leader? In many cases, these are unknown because they operate beneath the level of our conscious awareness. Yet they are crucially important because they affect the way we approach people, situations, opportunities, and risks. In short, our mindset is an essential factor in the quality of our leadership, yet we often operate in the dark about how and why. Enter Carol Dweck and her path-breaking research on mindsets. Dweck is a professor at Stanford University who studies motivation, personality, and development. According to Dweck, her “work bridges developmental psychology, social psychology, and personality psychology, and examines the self-conceptions (or mindsets) people use to structure the self and guide their behavior.”   …Continue Reading


Your Most Dangerous Employees

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iStock Photo   There are four types of employees in your organization: leaders followers objectors mutterers Which are the most dangerous? It’s not the leaders. Every organization needs a variety of leaders, even though they make mistakes. And every organization needs loyal, dedicated followers. Even the objectors are valuable. They raise concerns openly about a course of action, constructively challenging the direction, or wondering if this action fits with the shared values of the organization. The most dangerous employee is the mutterer, the one who remains silent during discussions, expressing no viewpoints, but then afterwards snidely remarking to colleagues, “Can you believe what they are doing now? What a crock. Here we go again.” This old story about mutterers has insight for us as leaders. Some might argue the toxic   …Continue Reading


Is Your Organization Falling Short on Values?

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Image: iStock Photo Recently, we heard about a law firm whose partners, after operating for a while, decided to draft a list of the firm’s values. As part of that process, the partners discussed their own personal values: their core beliefs and principles, and what they valued most. During that exercise, it soon became clear that “family” was at or near the top of the list for every single partner. Unfortunately, as with many other law firms, their enterprise involved long hours, lots of travel, stress, pressure, weekend work, emergency calls, being constantly on-call, and all the usual trappings of high-powered people in the midst of their years of productivity and success. The price of that success, for all the partners, was an incredible amount of time away from their   …Continue Reading


Is Your Organization Out of Alignment? 2 Checklists

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Are you working more but enjoying it less? Stressed out? Overloaded? Does it feel like things are slipping out of control? These conditions are becoming “the new normal” for leaders today; they also indicate that your organization is out of alignment: People are working at cross-purposes Turf wars break out between departments Everyone is criticizing or blaming everyone else People seem resigned to the chaos Many check out mentally How can you tell if your organization is out of alignment? Here are two checklists with the key indicators. Answer Yes or No to the questions on the checklist that best describes the circumstances of your organization. Checklist 1: Organizations in a Downward Spiral Your profitability is lagging your peers and prior years. Your revenue growth is lagging your peers and   …Continue Reading


Trust: Ride the Wave to High Performance

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A sea change is underway in how businesses are run. Are you ready? Will you follow the trendsetters, scrambling to catch up? Or will you run out front in the vanguard? For decades, the mantra of businesses has been to “maximize shareholder value.” Executives were quick to embrace it. They could focus on a single priority, measured simply by the short-term share price. They made tough decisions about stripping out underperforming assets, laying off personnel, and manipulating revenue recognition and balance sheet reserves to meet Wall Street’s expected earnings levels. They placed shareholder value at the top of the heap. The result was more efficient businesses, but it came at a devastating price: a huge loss of trust among their customers, employees, and the public. In response, counter-movements have arisen,   …Continue Reading


10 Steps to a High-Performance Culture

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“I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game.” Lou Gerstner, former Chairman and CEO, IBM, and author, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? (2002)   How can leaders build a high-performance culture? Culture is powerful. Culture has a huge influence on what people do on a day-to-day basis, especially when the boss isn’t around. Avoiding all the fancy definitions, we define culture simply as “how we do things around here.” Do we slack off when the boss is gone? Do we “just ship it” to make the numbers, even if the quality is suspect? Do we mutter behind people’s backs when they are not in the room? Or are we respectful, honest, engaged, and committed, working hard to serve   …Continue Reading


“Take This Job and Shove It”? Not So Fast

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Some of you are stuck in a toxic firm or with a terrible boss. But before you say, “Take this job and shove it” (to quote the old song), let’s run through a pre-flight checklist before flying the coop. #1 Live Lean. If you don’t have your dream job in your dream company, you should have six to twelve months of cash in the bank to cover your living expenses. (Your retirement funds should be off limits.) If you don’t have that cash available, you have to “live lean” until you do. If that means postponing that beach trip or driving your beat-up old car a few more years, so be it. There are few things worse than  not being able to leave a bad job because you can’t afford   …Continue Reading


The Three Most Important Things Leaders Can Say to Their Teams

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Disengaged employees are a growing problem for many organizations today. People lack commitment, can be cynical mutterers, and even saboteurs of company initiatives. How can you as a team or organizational leader motivate better performance, even breakthroughs? The answer has many components, from creating a high-performance culture of character with clear goals and empowered followers to many other leadership approaches. We believe there are some things you should say (if you sincerely believe them) to your team members that will go a long way to increasing their confidence and performance. Here are the three most important things you can say: “I believe in you.” Sometimes even good team members lack confidence, or don’t know where they stand. They may question their own judgment, or doubt they have the requisite experience,   …Continue Reading


The Three Most Important Questions About Your Leadership

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Here are three critical questions to ask yourself before you undertake the responsibility of leading other people: What is the difference between “the leader” and “leadership”? Why do you want to lead? Whom do you serve? Let’s discuss each one. What is the difference between “the leader” and “leadership”? “The leader” is the historical leadership model that has led us astray so often. It focuses on the skills, attributes, and qualities of the “the leader.” It tells us what each of us must do to become a leader: be more decisive, have a vision, know the answers, demonstrate charisma, and more. There is much value here, but it causes trouble when it locks in the assumption there can only be one leader. Of course, having multiple leaders on the same   …Continue Reading


Unleashing Other Leaders

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Leaders today need to, not only develop loyal and committed followers, but also unleash other leaders who can lead various critical tasks. Leadership in this scenario is not about the great skills and talents of “the leader,” but the collective strengths and blended talents of the leaders and the followers, who variously lead at times and follow others at times in a dynamic dance. Leadership is a group performance, not a solo act. If you don’t unleash other leaders, you will underachieve, be overwhelmed, and overworked. You will be trapped in “busyness,” with more work on your desk and more stress on your shoulders. Unleashing other leaders means empowering them to lead without micromanaging them. It means giving them an automatic license to lead by the shared values (which are   …Continue Reading


Join Our “Tweet Chat” for a Leadership Blast

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  Friends and colleagues, We invite you to join in a fun, lightning-fast, interactive session with leaders around the world. Join us, Bob and Gregg Vanourek, as we discuss the how’s and why’s of “Unleashing Other Leaders” with a worldwide audience that will reach several million people on Twitter via a “TweetChat.” Tweets are likely to roll in at the rate of about 200 per second and the retweets from like-minded leaders–your extended tribe—will ping around the globe. Graciously hosted by leadership expert Lolly Daskal and @LollyDaskal, who has been called “one of the most inspiring women in the world,” of Lead From Within, the leadership exchange is sure to be dynamic and far-reaching. Whether you participate, or simply observe the dynamic TweetChat, you will experience an uplifting and fun hour.   …Continue Reading


We’re All Entrepreneurs Now

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Guest Blog by Mike Critelli During my 25-year tenure as a senior business leader, I have seen a remarkable change in the requirements for successful business leadership. Leaders today must adopt more entrepreneurial behaviors and imbed them in their organizations, however large or mature those organizations might be. The image of an entrepreneur as a young man eating pizza, living and working in a run-down industrial space is far too limiting.  In my view, every leader is an entrepreneur, even when he or she runs a large, mature company. Entrepreneurial leaders will throw out the rulebook on which they and their organizations functioned for decades and create a new set of rules. What are some of the new rules? Leaders can no longer orchestrate the development of a strategic plan   …Continue Reading


Unleash Your Latent Leader

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Too many people disempower themselves with comments like “If only they would …“ Or “I’m only a (fill in the blank with ‘engineer,’ or ‘salesman,’ or ‘clerk’).” Too many people self-select out of leadership. (See our blog on “The Biggest Barrier to Leadership.”) What if Alice Paul (who fought for women’s rights), or Rosa Parks, or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or Nelson Mandela, or Mahatma Gandhi said the same? Or countless others who had no positional authority but decided to lead anyway? “Leadership is your choice, not your title.” -Stephen R. Covey Those waiting for someone else to lead are missing a wonderful opportunity. Great leadership is a group performance which ebbs and flows among many leaders even within the hierarchy of an organization. To quote John Michael Montgomery’s song,   …Continue Reading


Why Is Leadership So Difficult? Paradoxes (and How to Master Them)

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After thousands of years and countless words written and spoken about leadership, why is it still so hard to get it right? Perhaps because leadership is rife with paradoxes? A paradox includes two contradictory concepts both of which are true. We recount some of them here. Leaders are: Adaptive and persistent. Asking and telling. Bosses and servants. Committed and flexible. Confident and humble. Courageous enough to lead and follow. Demanding and forgiving. Warfield generals and sanctuary seekers.  Fierce and fun.  Focused on the future and the present.  Hard and soft.  Impervious and vulnerable.  Inspiring and inspired.  Lonely and connected.  Masters of change and stewards of history.  Nimble and solid.  Open to criticism and resolute against attacks.  Optimistic and realistic.  Passionate and temperate.  Patient and impatient.  Persuasive and persuadable.  Respected and   …Continue Reading


The Ten T’s of Trustworthy Leadership

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Guest Blog by Barbara Kimmel #1 Trustworthy leadership – A culture of trust cannot exist with an untrustworthy leader. Trustworthy behavior must start at the top and flow down through every person in an organization. Trust should not be confused with compliance. Being “legal” is not synonymous with being trustworthy. #2 Transformation – Productivity and exceptional execution begin when the CEO and leadership team synthesize a set of values and goals that are shared, accepted, and adopted by all stakeholders. #3 Tools – There are many trust tools leaders can use to build trust with their stakeholders, running the gamut from metrics and assessments to online surveys. #4 Treatment – The Golden Rule says to “treat others the way you want to be treated.” Leaders who extend trust to stakeholders are   …Continue Reading


High Performance Begins with Shared Values

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“When aligned around shared values and united in a common mission, ordinary people accomplish extraordinary results.”  –Ken Blanchard, leadership author   Managers today have a daunting job. With their downsized staff, often depending on people over whom they have no authority, they are expected to produce better results than last year, all on a reduced budget. How do high-performance organizations achieve their extraordinary results? Of course, many elements come into play (from alignment and execution to innovation and business models), but a critical element is that such organizations function as dynamic teams, with many leaders operating as stewards throughout the organization (and loyal followers as well). The leadership in these organizations ebbs and flows within the hierarchy that exists, with the boss sometimes calling the shots, but more often letting others lead,   …Continue Reading


Moral Leadership: Not Just For The Pulpit

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Guest Blog by Dr. Daniel Sweeney Most responsible students of leadership recognize the importance of organizational leadership, strategic leadership, project leadership, and other types of leadership in business organizations. But moral leadership in the workplace? That seems a bit ethereal. I would suggest moral leadership is at the core of all leadership. Moral leadership is about the stuff that is not written down anywhere. It might even not be talked about openly among the executives of the organization. Moral leadership is not about policy; it’s not about compliance; it’s not about mission statements or values statements–but it impacts all these. Moral leadership is important when people have to deal with situations no one ever expected to arise. Moral leadership is “doing the right thing” in public based on one’s personal   …Continue Reading


Creating Alignment & Balance through High-Performance Leadership

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  Guest Blog by Charles Walsh One of the most important aspects of leadership today is intentional alignment of purpose and direction. A four-quadrant approach will assist you in achieving high-performance leadership while ensuring balance of effectiveness and impact of results. In the 21st century, the battle cry of top leaders is achieving and sustaining high performance. Such performance is built one employee at a time and is driven by high-performance leadership at all levels of the organization. High-performance leadership understands the differences between and behaviors required for both effectiveness as a manager and influence and impact as a leader. The Concept of High-Performance Leadership Today, high-performance leaders are engaged with employees at all levels, interacting moment by moment to accomplish the enterprise’s work by focusing on the motives and   …Continue Reading


Classroom Chaos? Try Shared Values

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 Image Source: http://romeoandjulietdebate.wikispaces.com Especially at the start of a new school year, classrooms can be chaotic with students testing the limits of a teacher’s authority and not wanting to be constrained again after summer’s freedom. Some highly effective teachers have borrowed a page from the playbook of high-performance teams in other kinds of organizations by eliciting the shared values of their students. These shared values become the behavioral norms of the class and enlist positive peer pressure to supplement the teacher’s authority. This “peer reinforcement” is important because traditional authority loses its effectiveness when enforced too often. Shared values are the principles and beliefs that class members deem to be most important. They will guide the class’s behavior, even when the teacher is not there. They are not rules or   …Continue Reading


Leading Board Members Who Aren’t Natural Followers

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Guest Blog by John Balkcom The board chair by definition and by charter is assigned to be the leader in the boardroom. But board members, especially when selected well, are rarely known for their willingness to follow. What’s a board chair to do? Here are my recommendations based on years of service on both for-profit and non-profit boards. 1. Invoke “team up” instead of “man up.” As a guest speaker in a recent business school class on governance, I asked, “What does a group of guys usually do when they get together?” A young man in the back responded firmly, “Man up!” Then, I asked, “Okay, what does a group of women usually do when they get together?” A young woman in the front row asked quietly, “Team up?” The   …Continue Reading


Four Steps to Mastering a Stressful Day

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Guest Blog by Brandon Lee As leaders, we have stressful days that can undermine our leadership if we let them. I have learned that how I handle the stress is the one thing I can actually control.  Here are four steps I use: 1. Mental Break.  I take a walk or read something that is not related to work.  The point is to remove myself from a stressful situation, because experience tells me that emotional decisions are never good decisions.  Just knowing that I can take a short break and that the world will not implode if I don’t act immediately gives me freedom.   2. Talk to a “Go-To” Person.  I have a small group of people who have agreed to be my “Go-To” people when I need it.  My call to   …Continue Reading


Life’s Leadership Lessons in Lots of L’s (Over 100, Just for Fun)

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By Bob Vanourek Leaders aren’t loners, nor are they letter-perfect, lily-white, lazy, lordly, or loud-mouthed.  Leaders don’t lie, loot the limelight, feel locked by conventional limits, pay lip service to things, leer, or lecture people. Leaders often share lunch at the local eatery with colleagues, listening deeply and looking carefully. Leaders set a lodestar that inspires people to follow. Leaders break logjams, lightening the load on others. Leaders are both logical and emotional at the appropriate time. Leaders are loyal and engender loyalty in others. Leaders respect the law and are level-headed. Leaders lend a hand to others and know when to let go, leaving the unessential behind. Leaders lay aside resources for the inevitable lousy days, living lean in the meantime. Leaders are lifelong learners,  drawing lessons from experience   …Continue Reading


Love as a Leadership Imperative, or What’s Love Got to Do With It?

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Guest Blog by Chief Karl Bauer We study, teach and write about how to become better leaders.  We espouse collaborative visioning, champion the empowerment of subordinates and challenge each other to harness collective wisdom when setting organizational goals.  We call upon leaders to provide clear direction, cultivate a climate of support and work tirelessly to create opportunity for others.  Whether in academia or on the assembly line, it seems the aforementioned principles weave their way into every leadership dialogue, as well they should. So, what’s love got to do with it? We tend to avoid talking about love as a leadership principle, let alone as an imperative.  The concept of love may arise in the context of deeply enjoying one’s chosen profession or organization, but we tend to not talk   …Continue Reading


Top 10 Triple Crown Leadership Blogs

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 Our book, Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations, just turned one year old! In celebration of this happy event, we are sending out a special edition newsletter featuring our top ten blogs over the past year.      TOP 10 LEADERSHIP BLOGS: 1: The Glorification of BusyWe’re all busy. There’s nothing wrong with hard work. Here’s the problem: glorifying busy. Busy is the new sexy. The viral Internet meme—“stop the glorification of busy”—has hit a nerve with people far and wide lately. …Continue Reading 2: Are Leaders Born or Made?Many people believe that leaders are born, not made. We disagree. We believe leadership skills can be learned through experience, dialogue, role modeling, feedback, coaching, mentoring, and more.  …Continue Reading 3: 10 Leadership Myths and Half-TruthsMany leaders operate from half-truths or outright misconceptions about leadership, often   …Continue Reading


The Missing Links in Goal-Setting (How to Rock Your Goals)

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Much has been written about the power of setting goals. Unfortunately, almost all of the advice about effective goal-setting falls short on a few key factors. More on that soon. First, some clarifications. Goals are what you hope to achieve. According to a popular mnemonic, goals should be “SMART”: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. We also recommend using “stretch goals” or “big, hairy, audacious goals” (BHAGs, to employ a term from authors Jim Collins and Jerry Porras in a Harvard Business Review article) Most of the above is by now fairly well known (though often botched in practice). Here is what is missing: 1)   linking goals to a higher purpose and vision 2)   setting goals for each major stakeholder 3)   then prioritizing them As we wrote in Triple Crown   …Continue Reading


Botching Mission and Vision

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Words matter in leadership. Bob was once talking to a group of employees about his ideas for setting up dedicated teams to focus on problems. One employee responded, “We are all dedicated here.”   Oops. Bob meant teams focused on single problems. The employee thought he was questioning their commitment. Semantics. Words matter in leadership. Think of the leader who announces, “We will make our numbers no matter what,” and how that is ripe for misinterpretation, and perhaps even an invitation for unethical behavior. Key Words, Key Behaviors We challenge the conventional wisdom on “mission,” “vision,” and “strategy,” and we believe that sharper thinking in these areas could make significant differences in leadership effectiveness. Here is our take a few terms that are essential for leaders to get right. Purpose:   …Continue Reading


Synthesis: A Critical Leadership Skill

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“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”-Leonardo Da Vinci Leaders today are swamped with information 24/7. The complexity can be overwhelming. Yet leaders are supposed to rally colleagues with insightful analyses of problems and plans for how to succeed. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. spoke about the importance of getting to the “simplicity on the other side of complexity.” Such simplicity accelerates speed and drives change. How can leaders today get to that simplicity? This challenge is one of synthesis. Synthesis creatively fuses multiple elements, often from different areas, into something new and memorable. Synthesis is not a summary. Synthesis takes A + B + C, and then derives D, where D encompasses the essence of A, B, and C but also adds something new that resonates deeply with people. O.J Simpson’s attorney,   …Continue Reading


Ethical Decision-Making: Simple Tests

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Photo: iStock   When it comes to ethical challenges, we are all tested at some point. Leaders are tested most when they are under duress. Many leaders are ill-equipped to navigate the ethical minefields awaiting them in the swirl of fast-changing competitive markets and new technologies. Drawing insights from terrific books like Ethics (for the Real World), by Ronald Howard and Clinton Korver, and Courage: The Backbone of Leadership, by Gus Lee with Diane Elliott-Lee, here are some examples of simple tests that leaders can take before making ethical decisions:  Mirror Test. Imagine making the decision and then look at yourself in the mirror. How do you feel? What do you see in your eyes? Does it trigger alarm bells, violate your principles, or summon a guilty conscience? Front Page Test. Imagine   …Continue Reading


Ethical Pitfalls—You Will Be Tested

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Photo: iStock   No matter where you work or live, when it comes to ethics one thing is clear: you will be tested. Ethical pitfalls are all around us. Often you stumble upon them suddenly. Your ethics are tested most when you are under duress (with stress, pressure, or fear). Here is a partial list of what you’re up against: If you work in the world of business… Are you under pressure to withhold damaging information? Lowballing estimates in order to increase the chances of getting an order? “Cooking the books” to deceive analysts or investors? Paying bribes in markets where that is common or expected, reasoning that you must “pay to play”? Pulling sales from the next quarter to meet your targets for this one? Posing as a customer   …Continue Reading


What to Do If You Work For a Jerk

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  So your boss is a jerk.  What to do? Of course, how to approach it depends on the severity of the situation, but here are some tips: 1. Go Lean. You may have to make a change, so you need money in the bank. That’s not tapping into your 401k or IRA. You need six to twelve months of basic living expenses in a liquid account. Cut down on discretionary expenses (lunches and dinners out, subscriptions, etc.) and delay new purchases (new tablet, TV, etc.). There are few things worse than having to stay in a toxic situation because you can’t afford to leave. (Note that many people use this as an excuse to avoid dealing with tough issues, even though they could make it work.) By going lean,   …Continue Reading


Is Your Organization Headed for a Breakdown?

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Is your organization or team headed for a breakdown? Organizations emit warning signs before breaking down, but the financial signals, such as revenue declines, shrinking margins, and deteriorating working capital ratios, are lagging indicators. Leading indicators are much more important because you can address them before the financials go south. Using our triple-crown framework, here are 20 indicators of organizational breakdowns: Focusing too much on strategy shifts instead of accountability for results Creeping complacency Cutting ethical corners when the pressure is on  Not building ethics into day-to-day processes and decisions Falling prey to short-termism Neglecting integrity, cultural fit, and emotional intelligence in talent selection and promotions Failing to invest adequately in developing leaders with character Not seeking input from everybody in the organization regarding purpose, values, vision Failing to inculcate   …Continue Reading


Big Questions for New Graduates

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  New Graduates, Congratulations on your big achievement. The exams are now over, the assignments all in. As you celebrate and revel in the memories of achievements, experiences, and friendships, we advise that you also pause to reflect on some important questions. Many of you have made a big decision about what comes next—often in the form of a job or further schooling that signals a career direction. So here’s the question: Why? Why did you choose that? Where will it take you? How does it fit with your values and aspirations for who you will be and what you will do with your life? Does it fill you with a sense of purpose? Does it provide you with opportunities to learn and serve? Will you get to work with   …Continue Reading


Tilts: Short- vs. Long-Term?

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Some people wonder whether triple crown leadership requires giving equal priority to “excellent,” “ethical,” and “enduring” considerations.   Many ask, “Don’t we have to sometimes tilt toward the short-term results just to survive, thereby, sacrificing the long-term?” Others may wonder, “In my business everyone is cutting ethical corners. How do we survive?” Of course, sometimes temporary “tilts” are required between the “three Es.” Sometimes short-term considerations must take precedence in order to save the organization. Heavy criticism may follow, but it will be moot if the organization goes out of business. At other times, the reverse is needed: leaders must be willing to dampen expectations for short-term results to make the critical, long-term investments needed. In each case, it is essential to be transparent, explaining to all stakeholders the rationale   …Continue Reading


Bending the Focus of a Company

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Interview with Harvey Wagner Former CEO, Quovadx Leaders Speak Series Harvey A. Wagner was the turnaround CEO of Quovadx from 2004 through 2007. Quovadx was a $100 million, NASDAQ-traded software and services company with offices in the U.S. and Europe as well as some outsourced R&D in China. Customers were in the hospital and telecommunications markets as well as large financial institutions. The company was accused of accounting improprieties, went into a tailspin, and Wagner, ultimately, was asked by the board to turn it around. Quovadx merged with a subsidiary of Battery Ventures in 2007. Wagner is currently the managing principal of H.A. Wagner Group LLC, a strategic and business consulting firm. Previously, he served as a CFO or CEO of numerous firms, including Caregiver Services, Mirant Corporation, Optio Software, PaySys International,   …Continue Reading


Leading a Tech Startup in China

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Interview with Steve Mushero  Founder, CEO, & CTO, ChinaNetCloud Leaders Speak Series Steve Mushero is Founder, CEO, and CTO of ChinaNetCloud, a leading global provider of Internet Managed Services. Headquartered in Shanghai, China, ChinaNetCloud is a private company founded by Silicon Valley technology entrepreneurs, with a team of system experts and support staff in Shanghai and Beijing. ChinaNetCloud offers server management and cloud computing, running mission-critical servers for over 150 Chinese and international customers. The company specializes in complex, multitier architectures for Internet-facing businesses, including e-commerce, gaming, SNS, new media, Web 2.0, mobile, and other web sites and systems. Steve Mushero has over 25 years of technology management experience across a wide range of industries in international contexts. He previously served as CTO at Tudou (China), Intermind, New Vine Logistics,   …Continue Reading


The Biggest Barrier to Leadership

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Many people self-select out of leadership. They lean out. They view leadership as the province of others, the ones with confidence, or the answers, or charisma, or vision. Sound familiar? Many people don’t even consider leading, because they don’t think of themselves as leaders. And so it is that incredible potential is wasted due to a simple but powerful misconception: “I am not a leader.” But here’s the good news: We all have the capacity to lead. The way we’ve been thinking about leadership is all wrong. It turns out the biggest barrier to leadership is in our heads. “Leadership is your choice, not your title.” -Stephen R. Covey With all the problems around us, we all have a responsibility to lead at certain times—to step up and assume a   …Continue Reading


What’s Different About Leading Startups?

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Interview with Stephen Von Rump Co-Founder and CEO, Giraff Technologies Leaders Speak Series  Stephen Von Rump is Co-Founder and CEO of Giraff Technologies AB. Giraff brings people together in the care of those living at home (e.g., the elderly). Giraff allows you to virtually enter a home from your computer via the Internet and conduct a natural visit by moving a robotic device with a video screen. You can move freely about the home simply by moving your mouse, and interact with the people there via videoconferencing. Those in the home don’t have to do anything. Von Rump has extensive consulting experience in startup and turnaround organizations, and has also held various R&D assignments at MCI and AT&T Bell Laboratories. He has served as the CEO of Be Here Corporation, Metreos   …Continue Reading