The Red Badge of Courage is a novel by Stephen Crane (1871–1900). Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound, a “red badge of courage,” to counteract his cowardice. When his regiment once again faces the enemy, Henry acts as standard-bearer.Read More›
In today’s leadership and strategy methodologies, leaders and organizations need to have five strategic rules of leadership clarity present in order to achieve greater outcomes of effort within their organizational designs. And, when they are successful, everyone will be able to manage complexity – the new complexities of business – without becoming complicated. The five strategic rules of leadership clarity are outlined as:Read More›
The day is always darkest just before the dawn.
The may be a cliché you have heard or even used. And while it may be shopworn when it comes to leadership it echoes the truth. Never more so than when you examine the lives of successful individuals.
Once upon a time when we admired someone for their grit and determination we said they had moxie. It’s an old-fashioned word popularized in movies of the Thirties and Forties about those who battled the odds. It’s a word that has always stuck with me, and for that reason I decided to focus my newest book on what it means to have guts, gumption and perseverance –moxie!
Not all business strategies require the same degree of change to be considered successful. Many are simply a continuation of an already established path and destination. Others identify change in some areas of the business but those changes do not represent a significant departure from the status quo. Some strategies however require transformational change. These strategies are usually required when companies are either in deep trouble or pursuing significant and new market opportunities.Read More›
Only 20%-30% of corporate and business unit strategies successfully deliver expected results. That is a bold statement. However this statistic has been reported in many studies from reputable firms and publications and mirrors much of what I have observed and experienced during my career.Read More›
There is a new definition of leadership in our lexicon. The seagull leader is someone who flies in, s**t’s over everything, and leaves. I’m constantly amazed when working inside organizations that the names and examples of such people come up constantly in the conversation. Yet rather than being weeded out, they seem to survive and thrive in an institutional ethic that values by choosing short term greed over longer-term value and culture.Read More›
“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.
“Sometimes you can learn best about a topic by identifying what it isn’t before you define what it is.”
This hit home with me when I was asked how you could know when an organization lacks purpose. The interviewer was Shawn Murphy, a workplace consultant and host of the popular “Work That Matters” podcast. I thought the question was brilliant because it challenged me to define purpose by first describing what it was like without purpose.
Looking to get to the top of your organization?
You’d better work on your motivation skills. According to a new worldwide survey conducted by IIC Partners of 1260 business executives the leading attribute Boards of Directors look for in an executive for a senior position is “the ability to motivate and lead others.”
While you can argue that someone content with his lot deserves stasis, too often we have seen very talented individuals get overlooked by their managers and as a result stay put. These are very often the folks that make their organizations tick over; metaphorically they make the trains run on time, but even better they put the cars in the train together so that they deliver the goods (or services) customers need.
Image used under Creative Commons by chase_elliott.
Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?
Legend – as well as Shakespeare — has it that Henry II said something to this effect in fit of pique directed toward his one-time good friend and loyal civil servant Thomas a Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury. The King was vexed over Becket’s refusal to subjugate church authority to the state and Henry sought to limit Becket’s influence. In time, Henry’s henchmen travel to Canterbury thinking they are doing the King a favor and slay Becket in the cathedral.
I cite Henry’s behavior frequently in my coaching with senior executives as a means of cautioning them to watch their words. Its theme resonates today in the unfolding drama of Governor Chris Christie and traffic jams near the Fort Lee entrance to the George Washington Bridge. At the moment it appears as if loyal aides conjured up the traffic jam as a means of getting back at the mayor of Fort Lee who was not a supporter of the governor in his re-election bid last fall. One of whom, Bridget Anne Kelly, his deputy, has been axed.