Our organizational world is constituted and shaped by language. It is also accessed and made available to us through language. Language acts as the lens through which we can see and understand the challenges presented, and subsequently make sense of and provide solutions for.Read More›
Is there such a thing as too much loyalty?
That is a question that Mary Barra may be considering after her latest appearance before a Senate committee investigating the faulty ignition switch problem that resulted in 11 deaths. While GM has cleaned house of engineers and lawyers accused of culpability, Michael Millikin, its chief counsel, has remained in place.
* This post was originally posted in Life Science Leader
In my writings, I define leadership presence as the “right stuff of leadership,” and, by doing so, I embrace a holistic concept. For me, presence is more surface appeal — as the term executive presence connotes; it denotes a leader’s approach to getting the most out of themselves as well as their team. By that definition of presence encompasses conviction, authority, power, and the application of them through a leader’s actions and words.
You might consider presence as defined by three verbs: be, do, review. Let’s take them one at a time…
Regardless of the challenges that life throws at you and the inevitable turmoil experienced there are a some universal truths that can be applied to lead more effectively through today’s turbulent times of rapid change.
I must confess I am not a great fan of the popular focus on long lists of leadership competencies and their use in everything from leadership training to executive recruiting. I look at the long list of competencies that supposedly make up a good leader and feel totally uninspired. First of all they seem to be one word platitudes and secondly, I’ve never met anyone with all these “competencies”. It’s more like a wish list or a Greek myth than a useful way to develop or find good leaders.Read More›
Politicians make the best punching bags.
Eric Cantor is Exhibit A. He was laid flat by a roundhouse punch by voters in his House District who opted for an unknown economics professor as their Republican candidate. Cantor was surprised; his own internal polls had him leading handily, and he out spent his opponent nearly 20:1. What a knockout.
While Cantor may have lost touch with voters, he did not lose touch with his humanity. He conceded defeat on election eve, and the very next day Cantor said that he was giving up his role as Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.
Politics aside, Cantor’s exit shows class. As pundits have noted, by removing himself from office he spared his party the kind of internecine battles that could only hurt Republicans.
“They make it easy for us to do our jobs right.”
That is what a young service advisor at my local dealership said to me when I complimented him on his service acumen. He had overhead him speaking to a new customer; he was solicitous of the customer’s needs and made no effort to “upsell” him on services he didn’t need. In fact, he didn’t sell him anything; he just advised.
This dealership, founded by Howard Cooper in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has a history of customer service. When Howard sold the store in 2012, he took a portion of the proceeds and distributed them to his employees based upon their tenure. For every year of service employees received $1,000. Even employees who had less than one year service received something in profit sharing. The new owners (Germain Honda) are building on the service tradition that Howard Cooper established.
The media lives for a crisis, politicians look for ways to gain advantage in a crisis, and some businesses will even try and profit from a crisis. Everyone loves a crisis; except the unprepared who didn’t see it coming – those led straight into the proverbial brick wall by a leader who missed something they shouldn’t have. One thing is for sure – we’ll all be better off when leaders stop trying to manage a crisis and become more proficient at crisis leadership.
* This post was originally published on Forbes
I was speaking with a colleague last week who at one point in our conversation referred a third party as being naïve, to which my response was, “I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing – perhaps we should all be a bit more naïve.” The seed I was trying to plant was that if people (particularly those in leadership) spent less time defending what they think they know, and more time exploring the vast universe of what they don’t know, we might make more progress.
There is an old saying in show business that goes like this:
“Life is easy; it’s comedy that’s hard.”
That adage came to mind as I finished Bob Mankoff’s wonderful and warm memoir, How about Never–Is never good for you? My Life in Cartoons. That line also serves as the punch line to Mankoff’s most famous cartoons. Mankoff is the cartoon editor of The New Yorker as well as a long time contributor to the magazine as a working cartoonist. Now turning 70 Mankoff looks back at his career not only with wry wit but with the soul of successful cartoonist, one blessed with a sense of irony as well as a work ethic that shapes his approach to his craft as well as his management style.
When you are presenting your ideas, you don’t have to sublimate your personality. It may be your most important asset.
Seth Rogen, a comedic actor, made this point abundantly clear in his testimony to a Senate committee looking into Alzheimer’s Research. Rogen has first-hand experience with the disease. Alzheimer’s struck his mother-in-law while she was in her fifties, and has started a foundation, Hilarity for Charity, to raise awareness and offer to support to sufferers and their families.
March Madness resumes tonight and in a pressure packed weekend of excitement, the Sweet Sixteen will shrink to the Final Four. Only the strongest teams will survive and while their defensive pressure, explosive running game or deep shooting might define their style, their success rests on five obsessions. These obsessions are common to champions and may very well help your team in your competitive endeavor.Read More›