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How to Create a Shared Purpose, Values, and Vision

Article Summary:  Many people these days are cynical about an organization’s purpose, values, and vision because they’re platitudes. But great leaders collaboratively elicit them from the team and then weave them into the fabric of the organization.  +++ Whether you’re the CEO, a department manager, or a small business owner, we encourage you to create a purpose, values, and vision statement for your organization. We call them your “colors.” This is one of the critical leadership practices to create a high-performance organization.   The Importance of Colors In our book, Triple Crown Leadership, we use the metaphor of thoroughbred horseracing.

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What to Do If You Work for a Toxic Boss?

What to Do If You Work for a Toxic Boss?

Article Summary: Many people work for a toxic boss. It can be incredibly frustrating. What to do about it? Here are five steps you can take. +++ So you’ve got a toxic boss and you don’t feel like you’re in a position to change things in your organization. What to do? There are five steps you can take. But first, determine if your whole organization is toxic. If it is toxic, then you MUST leave. (Go directly to step 5 below.) To stay would be shortsighted. “If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.” -16th century

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How to Find a Great Organization to Work For

Article Summary:  Frequently, we hear from job seekers that it’s hard to find good organizations. How to find a great place to work? A step-by-step guide. +++ We’ve written extensively about what we call “triple crown organizations,” ones that are excellent, ethical, and enduring. These organizations are great places to work. Though they aren’t the norm today, we believe they’re the wave of the future. If you get the opportunity to work in such an organization and experience the pride, joy, sense of purpose, and relationships with colleagues, you’ll never want to go back to a less fulfilling place. Conversely,

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Is Your Organization Aligned?

Article Summary:  Most organizations aren’t aligned, reducing performance and causing frustration and dysfunction. Complete our Alignment Scorecard to gauge your organization’s alignment. +++ Most organizations aren’t aligned. As a result, workers are frustrated and the organization underperforms, sometimes badly.   Signs of Misalignment When organizations aren’t aligned: People lack a clear and inspiring sense of why the organization exists and where it’s going. There isn’t enough collaboration or trust. Cross-functional cooperation is lacking. Clear goals are missing. Workers don’t understand how their work fits into the overall efforts to achieve the collective vision. People aren’t actively engaged. The organization doesn’t

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accountability and success

Six Words to Fix Your Accountability Problems

Article Summary: Many organizations struggle with accountability. We discovered six words you can use to fix your accountability problems. +++ Are you frustrated by accountability problems? Are people passing the buck, denying responsibility? Do meetings go on and on without coming to timely and definitive conclusions? We’ve been there and know how demoralizing it can be. We discovered six words you can use to turn the tide. Using these six words at the close of every meeting will fix your accountability problems and upgrade your team’s performance.   The Six Magic Words What are those six magic words? At the

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Good Leaders Are Good Storytellers

Article Summary Many leaders struggle with effective communication. Here we address why storytelling is so powerful and how leaders can get better at it. +++ Bob recalls a defining moment in the turnaround of a large public company where he was the new CEO. During the senior staff meetings held every Saturday morning while the company was in crisis, each executive reported progress on critical milestones. One vice president, let’s call him Phil, failed to deliver on an important assignment week after week. After a while, Bob had enough and grilled him, shouting at Phil that his excuses were unacceptable.

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How to Align Your Organization for Peak Performance

Article Summary Most organizations aren’t aligned. This reduces performance dramatically and often causes frustration and dysfunction. Here we show leaders how to align their organization or team. We include an Alignment Scorecard to assess your current levels of alignment. +++ In our experience, most organizations aren’t aligned. If they’re not aligned, they’re underperforming. And perhaps dysfunctional. Alignment is a collaborative process providing cohesion, clarity, and focus to get everyone moving in the same direction. To assess the extent to which your organization is aligned, use our Alignment Scorecard.   What Are Aligned Organizations? In aligned organizations: People have a clear

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How to Come Back Even Stronger from a Crisis

Article Summary Many leaders face a crisis that threatens their organization yet find themselves and their team woefully unprepared to handle it well. In this article, five-time CEO Bob Vanourek outlines ten practices for leading a crisis so that you can emerge even stronger than before. by Bob Vanourek “The signature of the truly great versus the merely successful is not the absence of difficulty, but the ability to come back from setbacks, even cataclysmic catastrophes, stronger than before.” -Jim Collins Some of you will encounter a crisis that will threaten your organization’s very survival. Jim Collins is right. I’ll

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new growth with group hands

The Power of Small Groups—And How to Run Them

There is immense power in small groups. But not just any small group. We mean small groups that meet periodically to support each other at the deepest levels in a safe place of confidentiality, trust, and respect. We’re not talking about social clubs, book clubs, Bible studies, 12-step meetings, mastermind groups, circles of trust, clearness committees, elder councils, or personal boards of directors. No doubt, these are valuable and can help build community and relationships. The small groups we mean may use different names, but they share critical characteristics. Here are some examples: “True North Groups” (Bill George and Doug

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The Best Legacy a Leader Can Leave

  What’s the best legacy a leader can leave?   A Track Record of Results? Is the best legacy a leader can leave a track record of significant results achieved? Laudable results for a business leader might include record sales, higher profits, significant brand appreciation, or markets developed. For nonprofit leaders, it might be deeper and broader impact or growth in services rendered for their constituents and causes. In other cases, it might be overcoming some crisis or progress in addressing a social injustice. These contributions are noteworthy and commendable. They’re the usual metrics we most often hire and promote

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Good Leaders Know When to Tilt

Good leaders don’t worship before the idol of one goal or one stakeholder. They have learned the art of balancing and tilting among competing and conflicting interests and among short- and long-term considerations. It’s easier for leaders to maximize results for one goal or one stakeholder group. But good leadership isn’t easy.   Goals Virtually every organization sets goals. Businesses might set goals involving profitability, revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and intangibles like brand appreciation. Nonprofits might set goals for impact, constituents served, fundraising, or new programs to offer. But goals can conflict and lead to undesirable behaviors: Maximizing profit might

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Good Leadership Practices–An A-to-Z Guide

Through many years of research and experience, we discovered many practices employed by good leaders. Some practices were well known. Others were surprises. We’ve now compiled an alphabetical guide of these practices: A-to-Z Guide to Good Leadership Practices. The full guide contains more than 200 entries, and it’s chock full of actionable tips for leading well. Below is a sampler of entries from that guide. (Note: Underlined words have a link to a relevant article on that topic.)   A: Accountable: Good leaders hold themselves and others accountable. Aim: A good leader’s overarching aim is to build an organization that

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An Overarching Aim for Your Leadership

Today, more than ever, we need leaders and organizations to commit to the overarching aim of being excellent, ethical, and enduring. Commit to the overarching aim of being excellent, ethical, and enduring.   Triple Crown Leadership When we wrote our book, Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations, we committed ourselves as a father and son to writing a book that would have lasting value, basing it on the best leadership practices we could find. To develop the ideas in the book, we drew upon many sources, including: our own leadership experiences over decades across many industries longitudinal

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bird flying out of cage

Why Leaders Should Create a Culture of Stewardship

One of the most powerful ideas we discovered in our research for our book, Triple Crown Leadership—including interviewing leaders in 61 organizations in 11 countries—is one we call “stewards” (and building a culture of stewardship). It’s one of the most unusual and counterintuitive leadership practices we’ve ever discovered. A “steward” is a person who is responsible for and looks after other people or property. It’s a position of trust. It entails being the guardian of something valuable. Building a culture of stewardship entails nothing less than changing the way we think about and practice leadership.   Changing the Focus Most

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How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

While many people profess not to care what others think, we’re social creatures and want to fit in. Right? But winning acceptance should never take precedence over accepting yourself. Given that, one of the best ways to identify who you want to be is by asking yourself, “How do I want to be remembered?” Mark Twain said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you understand why.” You may be thinking, “Who cares. I’m too busy.” While that’s understandable, if you wait too long to identify your destination, you’ll never

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