Triple Crown Leadership

Triple Crown Leadership

Triple Crown Leadership Blogs

Cross-Sector Leaders need to be Triple Crown Leaders

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This guest blog is written by Paul Thallner, an independent leadership and organizational development consultant. Imagine that you are an incredible and gifted athlete, and you become a fantastic baseball player. Then, because you like a challenge, you decide—after a decade of high performance in baseball—to switch to cycling. Think about it: what would you need in order to be effective as a cyclist when you’ve spent all your time playing baseball? In the world of work, transitions like that are happening all the time, and are becoming more common. A September 2013 Harvard Business Review article, “Triple Strength Leadership,” highlighted the growing trend and need for leaders who can “engage and collaborate across the private, public and social sectors.” Authors Matt Thomas and Nick Lovegrove, point to organizations –   …Continue Reading


RIP Great Leader

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iStock Photo “But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.” (From “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman) The Great Leader passed away last week after a long, slow decline.  Countless old colleagues were at his side. In the ensuing days, there was much concern: “With all his faults and flaws, he took care of us, made the tough decisions, and bore a heavy burden of responsibility. What will happen to us now?” The question of the hour became: Who will be the next Great Leader? Squabbles had broken out as people jockeyed to form and join factions. All awaited word about The Great Leader’s Successor. A huge crowd gathered in the stadium for the funeral.   …Continue Reading


The Role of Values for Leaders & Organizations

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 Our colleague in leadership,  Harvey Kaufman, edited down one of his longer pieces on alignment so that we might share some of his wisdom and insight here.   A few years ago, I attended a Corporate Social Responsibility conference.  As you might expect (although I didn’t) a major focus of the conference was how to market social responsibility efforts to attract business.  The case for simply “doing good” as a reflection of an organization’s core values was absent from our discussions.  This made me think about the role of values in organizations and why it is important for companies to practice their values in day-to-day interactions with employees and customers.   While there were companies who employed them effectively earlier, core values emerged as an organizational mainstay in the 1970s.  They followed the social   …Continue Reading


Three Responsibilities of Great Leadership

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Great leadership has many responsibilities: Safeguarding your colleagues Serving your stakeholders Making tough decisions Planning for succession And much more However, certain responsibilities are critically important and do not get the time and attention they deserve. Here are three. 1) Commit to the triple crown quest of building an excellent, ethical, and enduring organization. The primary message of Triple Crown Leadership is this: make building an excellent, ethical, and enduring organization the overarching priority of your organization. Excellent means achieving exceptional results that have significant, positive impacts on stakeholders: customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, and communities. Ethical means acting with integrity, even when it’s costly or hard, always paying attention to how the results are achieved. Enduring means standing the test of time and operating sustainability when it comes to people and   …Continue Reading


Six Tips on Giving Effective Feedback

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iStock Photo   Here are some edited excerpts from a great post by our leadership colleague, Chuck Wachendorfer, on giving feedback effectively. Giving feedback effectively includes following these six rules: Focus on the behavior, not the intention.  Never question someone’s intent.  Assume they wanted to do the job well.  It’s the behavior that may have fallen short.  Usually, people can deal with changing their behavior more objectively.  Attacking someone’s intent tends to be more personal and difficult to accept. Give feedback frequently.  If you want to help someone change their behavior, giving them feedback consistently and often will help them change faster.  Waiting and allowing more time to pass, just allows bad habits more time to set in and the delivery to be more difficult.  Give feedback while the memory   …Continue Reading


10 Reasons Why Great Leadership is a Group Performance

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“We have a wrong-headed notion of what constitutes a leader, driven by an obsession with leaders at the top.”  Bill George, Harvard professor, former CEO, Medtronic We have a crisis in leadership today with seemingly continuous scandals rocking business, government, religious organizations, non-profits, sports, and more. The latest results from the much respected Edelman Trust Barometer show only 18% of the knowledgeable people surveyed believe business leaders, and only 13% of government leaders, will tell you the truth. Shocking. We can blame the crisis on human nature, greed, the lust for power, ego, or the phases of the moon. All have some skin in the game (except perhaps the phases of the moon). But there’s another driving factor as well: a flawed leadership model. Most people think about leadership from the   …Continue Reading


Leader, Manager, Follower: Not as Simple as You Think

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“Life’s a dance, you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow.” Song lyric, by John Michael Montgomery Which are you: a leader, manager, or follower? More importantly, which should you be? Can you be them all? Should you? It’s an important choice. Too often, leadership is lionized while management and followership are disparaged. Big mistake.  We submit that great leadership is a situational blend of leading, managing, and following. Manager: Traditional notions of management involve: Planning, budgeting, administering, staffing, organizing, directing, and controlling boundaries Being task- and object-oriented Using “head” skills such as financial or operational expertise Being more concerned with stability, efficiency, bottom-line results, and the short-term Being focused on problem-solving, tactical issues, keeping emotional distance from people, using position power, and telling people what to do   …Continue Reading


Learning to Trust Your Judgment

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iStock Photo  “…with good judgment, little else matters; without good judgment, nothing else matters.” Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis, leadership authors Leadership requires judgment. A leader judges what’s right or wrong, what’s ethical or not. A leader judges when to flex between the hard edge of leadership (steel) and the soft edge (velvet). A leader judges how a subordinate is performing, whether to give someone a second chance, whether a candidate has character and will fit with the organization’s culture. A leader judges how high to set goals. Leaders judge. How do we know when to trust our own judgment? Some might feel they are not smart enough, or creative enough, to judge. Some say we have to judge after analyzing all the facts. Some say we have to rely on   …Continue Reading


Dreams Versus Goals

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“Goals are dreams with deadlines” ~ Diana Scharf, author Goals are the secret ingredient for turning our dreams into reality. Our good friend and fellow leadership practitioner, Bob Whipple, “The Trust Ambassador”, wrote a helpful blog on goal setting recently. We excerpt below some of Bob’s wise insights for setting great goals. 1. Make your goals tangible We all have good intentions and dreams, but to really engage the power of goals, you simply must write them down. The act of committing goals to paper or keyboard means that you can no longer push them aside later on when the going gets tough. 2. Goals should represent reach Easy goals are not powerful because we can accomplish them without effort. Pie-in-the-sky goals are also not very powerful because we see them   …Continue Reading


The Scourge of Short-Termism

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 “The future whispers while the present shouts.” Al Gore, former U.S. Vice President One of the great scourges of our age is “short-termism.” A staggering 78 percent of the managers surveyed in a large-scale study of CFOs and CEOs admit to sacrificing long-term value to achieve smoother earnings. In July 2011, former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) chair Sheila Bair wrote: “The common thread running through all the causes of our economic tumult is a pervasive and persistent insistence on favoring the short term over the long term, impulse over patience.”  Our 2012 blog, “Suicide By Quarter—Leading for the Short-Term,” indicated the investor base in corporations is not homogeneous. We have day traders who live by daily stock fluctuations, but there is a growing body of investors—notably including “impact investors”—who want excellent,   …Continue Reading


Culture as a Competitive Advantage

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“Culture isn’t just one aspect of the game—it is the game.” Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM How can your organization gain a sustainable competitive advantage? Technological breakthrough? Killer patents? Brilliant strategy? Protected regulatory position? We suggest another, perhaps even more powerful, way: create a high-performance culture of character Create a culture intent on building an excellent, ethical, and enduring organization, much like the mythical Knights of King Arthur’s Round Table enjoyed. Technologies become obsolete; patents expire; regulations will change. A High-Performance Culture of Character We think of organizational culture as “how we do things here”—how people behave. Culture forms over time and drives what happens when the authorities are not present. It sets the tone for the organization, and the norms for what is acceptable behavior from people in   …Continue Reading


The End of Hierarchy?

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The buzz has been big since articles on Zappos’ movement toward a “holacracy” were publicized. A “holacracy” is a system of governance based on self-organizing teams rather than hierarchical authority. See “Zappos New Badass Culture” and “Zappos Says Goodbye to Bosses”. In a holacracy there are no job titles or managers. Employees have “roles” in circles with “links” to other circles. Each circle governs itself. Stanford professor Bob Sutton recently published a contrary view that “Hierarchy is Good”, citing the natural emergence in all groups of status and power differences among the members. Harvard’s Bill George countered with “the hierarchical model just doesn’t work anymore”. Maybe a holacracy is the “next big thing.” But let’s first consider our options. Cisco famously constructed a complex, overlapping series of internal boards and   …Continue Reading


Death By Meeting? 33 Tips to Ensure Great Meetings

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Source: iStock “The work is through the people.” Ron Heifetz, Harvard professor and leadership author Most people hate the endless stream of useless meetings that keep them from doing the “real work.” But, as Harvard’s Ron Heifetz points out, the real work is done through people. Meetings can be a powerful tool for accomplishing results if they are well run. Unfortunately, many leaders do not know how to run a highly productive meeting. Click on the link below for 22 actionable tips for improving the quality of your meetings. 33 Meetings Dos and Donts Share this list with your colleagues. Discuss which items you can use to improve the quality of your meetings. Contact us if you have questions, or other “dos” and “don’ts.” We’ll add them to our list. Bob and   …Continue Reading


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