Triple Crown Leadership

Triple Crown Leadership

Tag Archives: Teamwork

The Power of a Team Charter

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  In case you missed our article on the importance of written charters for special action teams in CoBiz Magazine this summer, we are sharing a slightly edited excerpt, along with a link to our written charter template, in this week’s blog post. Whether to attack a problem, exploit an opportunity, or achieve a philanthropic goal, setting up special teams and committees can be very effective. These special action teams form for a defined period, ranging from a few days to months or longer. They normally have a small number of team members, such as five or seven. Their participants may work full- or part-time for the team. These teams accomplish their mission and then disband, only to see other special action teams formed and disbanded when their mission is complete. In addition to other advantages,   …Continue Reading


CEO Tip: Trust Your Board As Your Ally

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  Some CEO’s and boards have close, trusting partnerships that serve them and their firms extremely well. They are, in my experience, the minority. Most CEO’s I have met see the board as a group they need to “manage,” a dinner and meeting they need to prepare for, taking preciously valuable time away from running the business, which is the CEO’s real job. To many CEO’s, the board is tolerated, professionally and courteously of course, but a group relatively uninformed about how hard it is to really run the business. The time spent preparing for board meetings is huge. Staff reports prepared; rehearsals of PowerPoint presentations; after-meeting meetings to decipher what the board now wants and what to do to get ready for the next session. What’s the solution? A   …Continue Reading


Does Your Board Have Your CEO’s Back?

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  One of the great scourges of our age is “short-termism.” A staggering 78 percent of CFOs and CEOs admit to sacrificing long-term value to achieve smoother earnings. Many decry this “suicide by quarter” mentality, but few CEO’s will be able to withstand the pressure to make the quarterly numbers unless he or she has the full, vocal support of the board. When the CEO and CFO conduct the conference call and get hammered by day traders or short sellers, and when the stock dips because the company didn’t make the whisper number the Street expected, what will the board do? Hide? Talk among themselves about whether or not the CEO will “make it”? If so, your CEO won’t trust your board. Without this trust, the CEO’s job is too   …Continue Reading


Generations in the Workplace

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“Why can’t we just all get along?” -Oft quoted lament As Boomers stay in the workplace longer, the Gen Xers move up to management positions, and the Millennials progress into the world of work, it can seem there are insurmountable generational conflicts. But the truth is that different generations in the workplace can develop rich, innovative breakthroughs if they focus less on their differences and more on what they share. The differences have been heralded by many. Boomers (birth dates after WW II): Sense of duty; longtime employment commitment; family values; uncomfortable expressing feelings; not tech savvy. Gen Xers (birth dates early 1960s to early 1980s): Want involvement and participation; like autonomy; less formal; tech savvy; loose schedules. Millennials (birth dates from the early 1980s): Social networkers; see no limits;   …Continue Reading


The World Cup and Great Leadership

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Watching the great performances at the 2014 F.I.F.A. World Cup in Brazil, we noticed many parallels between football (soccer) and great leadership. Competing at the World Cup and employing great leadership both take: Patience. The game is long and can sometimes appear uneventful to the untrained eye, but then there are spurts of breakaway brilliance and intensity with tackles, moves, sprints, crosses, shots, and saves. Great leadership is willing to grind out tasks over the long term, ready for bursts of activity when opportunities arise. Stamina. The heat and humidity in Brazil wear down the best performers. Similarly, the pressures of leadership require one to stay the course and not give up. “You will go through tough times, it’s about getting through them.” -David Beckham, legendary U.K. footballer Hard Work. It   …Continue Reading


The Triple Crown of Leadership

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  The sports world is abuzz with excitement. We may have our first Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed captured what has been called “the most elusive championship” in all of sports. California Chrome is poised to accomplish this incredible feat on June 7 if he can win at Belmont Park. This unlikely horse, bred in California for only $10,000 with a 77-year-old trainer, has won his last six races. Since 1875, only eleven thoroughbreds have won the Triple Crown, including such iconic names as War Admiral, Whirlaway, Citation, Seattle Slew, and of course, perhaps the best of them all, Secretariat. Pictured above, Secretariat won the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, in 1973 by a world-record 31 lengths in a time that has yet to   …Continue Reading


Leadership in a Horizontal World

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Guest Blog by Charles H. Green   Leadership’s not what it used to be. There used to be leaders, and followers. Leaders were the few, the chosen. They were charismatic, insightful, inspiring. They seemed to be born (and then maybe tuned up), rather than made. High performers were the audience for leadership development programs, which targeted the select, high-potential few. Those few would get promoted into “positions of leadership,” where they were in charge of large groups of resources: both people and financial. And from those positions, they would “lead” the vast number of others, the followers. Of course, it’s not exactly like that now. As Dorothy said to Toto in The Wizard of Oz: “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” Nowadays, it’s easy to see that the old leadership was   …Continue Reading


Diversity and Cultural Fit

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Some leaders make a case for diversity; others call for “cultural fit,” implying to some that organizations should hire those who are the “same” as those already in the organization. Are these views compatible? Our good friend and leadership colleague, Bob Whipple (a.k.a. The Trust Ambassador), wrote an excellent blog, Challenge “Samers,” from which we excerpt below: I often hear a phrase coming from the lips of hiring managers that makes me cringe. “We want to hire someone who will fit into our group.”  …  I think this is a big mistake. It is often the maverick, or even the outcast among a group of people, who comes up with the genius solutions to problems, or creates entirely new streams of income. When we seek to have everyone “fit in,”   …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


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


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


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


The NFL’s Replacement Ref Debacle

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                  Indecisiveness, loss of control, delayed decisions, anger, and outrage. We’re not talking about the blown calls of the unfortunate Division III refs thrown into the national spotlight due to a labor dispute. We’re talking about the National Football League, arguably the greatest sports organization in the world. How could the NFL have botched it so badly? What leadership lessons can we learn from this fiasco? The NFL incurred huge brand damage for the piddly dollars involved (about $3 million) for the 121 regular, unionized referees. League revenue is just under $10 billion. The League locked out the regular refs in a labor dispute (ditto the players last year). Pressure to settle the lockout mounted after a blown call that changed the   …Continue Reading


Triple Crown Trophy

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                              Hats off to slugger Miguel Cabrera for winning the Triple Crown batting title in baseball this week. Cabrera, who plays for the Detroit Tigers, led the American League division of Major League Baseball for the year with the highest batting average, most home runs, and most runs batted in (RBIs). The last player to accomplish this impressive feat was Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Only 15 baseball players have won the Triple Crown. Cabrera finished the regular season with a .330 average, 44 home runs, and 139 RBIs. (In 1967, Yastrzemski had a .326 average, 44 homers, and 121 RBIs.) (This) is “a remarkable achievement that places him (Cabrera) amongst an elite few in all of   …Continue Reading


Culture: The Entrepreneur’s Blind Spot

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Startups are thrilling. It’s hard to beat the excitement of launching an innovative new venture. The excitement is palpable, and it leads to a kind of euphoria in the venture’s culture. But too often that initial euphoria descends into culture deflation, like the air leaking out of a tire. First it slows you down. Eventually it brings you to a stop. The magic disappears. We’ve seen it in startups, and it ain’t pretty. But it is avoidable. Though a strong organizational culture is critical in startups, it is a blind spot for most entrepreneurs. Many founders take culture for granted, letting it emerge and evolve haphazardly. They dive into the day-to-day struggles of venture-building and putting out fires. Meanwhile, they don’t notice as the culture slowly fades into a pale   …Continue Reading


Faces Behind the Gold

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Hats off to the Olympic champions. Competitors like Usain Bolt, Gabby Douglas, and Michael Phelps inspire us. They reawaken our dreams. We admire their talent, dedication, and sheer grit. We revel with them in their gold. But let’s look deeper to the faces behind the gold—all the people who made it possible for these champions to stand atop the podium. We tend to focus only on the athlete. It’s hero fixation. In thoroughbred racing, we focus only on the horse (as opposed to the jockey, trainer, owner, and whole racing team). In business, only the CEO. But across all these domains, excellence is a group performance. Excellence is a group performance. The Lightning Bolt. Usain Bolt, the electric and transcendent Jamaican sprinter, is a textbook example of succeeding on talent   …Continue Reading


Ethics and the Olympic Badminton Brouhaha

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What injustice! How unfair! World-class athletes disqualified from the Olympics even though they were within the rules. Think again. The Badminton World Federation got it right when it disqualified eight women’s doubles players for purposefully throwing matches in order to face easier opponents in the round-robin tournament. (For background on this Olympic badminton controversy, click here.) The Olympic Games are not just about winning gold. They’re not just about fierce competition. They’re not just about personal and national glory. They’re also about excellence. And ethics. And endurance. (We call it the Triple Crown.) Consider the Olympian Pledge from days of old: “Ask not alone for victory. Ask for courage. For if you can endure, you bring honor to yourself. Even more, you bring honor to us all.” Consider the Olympic   …Continue Reading


Facebook’s IPO and Hacker Leader

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On May 18th Facebook’s IPO lumbered to close at $38 and change, barely above the opening price but valuing the firm at over $100 billion. Quite an accomplishment for a company started in a college dorm in 2004 as “thefacebook” and one “not originally created to be a company,” according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. We use the metaphor of the Triple Crown in horseracing to illustrate the endeavor to build excellent, ethical, and enduring organizations. So, we ask, is Facebook an emerging triple-E organization? To us, excellent means exceptional performance, making your numbers in your chosen field. Facebook’s $3.6 billion in revenue and $1 billion in profit last year are stunning, as are its 800 million+ monthly users. But Q1 revenue and profits were down. Facebook lags in the sizzling-hot   …Continue Reading


I’ll Have Another and the Triple Crown Quest

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The quest for the Triple Crown is on. Big time. I’ll Have Another is in the hunt for the Triple Crown of thoroughbred horseracing, the most elusive championship in all of sports. It’s been 34 years since Affirmed won the Triple Crown. Since 1875, only eleven horses have earned that honor, racing within a short span of five weeks to victory in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. Now the stables of J. Paul Reddam with trainer Dan O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez have positioned I’ll Have Another to win this coveted crown, joining legends like War Admiral, Citation, Secretariat, and Seattle Slew in the pantheon of champions. I’ll Have Another has won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. On June 9 the eyes of the sporting   …Continue Reading