The Leadership Lesson They Don’t Teach In Business School But Should

By Mike Myatt
Chairman, N2growth 

* This column was originally published on Forbes.com

I’ve always believed leadership exists to disrupt mediocrity, but I’m afraid in recent times many leaders are losing that battle. Somewhere along the way, they threw in the towel and settled for a weak-kneed, watered-down version of leadership – they have rationalized and justified themselves into an acceptance of mediocrity.

The sad reality is that in many cases, the education, training and development leaders receive today is woefully inadequate. We are producing analysts and risk managers and labeling them leaders. We’ve taught them to be practical, analytical, and risk adverse, but have failed to equip them to lead.

 

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Are You too Busy to Say Thanks?

By Brian Layer
Chief Executive Officer, N2growth

Is it me or has Thanksgiving been overrun by our national pastime–holiday shopping?  Apparently, we are too busy to spend a single day reflecting on our blessings.  It should come as no surprise; gratitude went out of fashion years ago.  But more accurately, as most of us became removed from the challenge and hard work of producing our bounty, our gratitude diminished and like most things that come easily, we began to take it for granted.

This change of attitude is not just a cultural problem; it’s a leadership problem too.

As leaders, we can become removed from the team’s challenge and hard work and in turn; our gratitude can wane.  We get too busy to acknowledge the hard work being done on our behalf.  Perhaps our leadership gratitude has gone the way of our cultural gratitude—squeezed out by other priorities.

As a Soldier, I was lucky to lead in an Army that takes gratitude seriously.  As an officer, I was empowered to express gratitude on behalf of my unit and our Nation.  I could give awards for service and achievement that expressed my gratitude as well as that of the chain of command.  As a general, I had the sad, sacred duty of expressing the gratitude of a grateful Nation to the loved ones of our fallen.

I have lots of experience saying thanks officially and I have witnessed the power of formal gratitude; still, no token of appreciation resonated like an unexpected, sincere and personal expression of gratitude.  As my responsibilities increased, I too became removed from the challenges and hard work of my Soldiers.  Yet, my rank didn’t diminish my duty to understand their sacrifice or excuse me from saying thanks. I had to make getting to the right place to say thanks in a meaningful way a standing priority.  I visited people, wrote notes, called meetings, planned events and used every power at my disposal just to say thank you and you should too.

Don’t let your professional gratitude go the way of Thanksgiving—squeezed out by other priorities.  The privilege of your position will only insulate you from the challenges and hard work of your team, if you let it.  Keep your leadership priorities straight.  Make time and take time to say thank today and every day of the year.

Thoughts?

Follow me on Twitter @brianlayer

Board Diversity

Top 10 Reasons Diversity Is Good For The Boardroom

By Mike Myatt
Chairman, N2growth 

I do quite a bit of work on matters of board composition, selection and succession, and what I can tell you is this; board diversity is simply smart business. You’ll never hear me recommend diversity solely for the sake of checking a box, but when diversity in the boardroom offers so many benefits to the CEO (and to the entire organization) it’s nothing short of irresponsible for chief executives not to place their board composition under the microscope. In today’s column I’ll share with you the top 10 reasons why diversity is good for the boardroom.

 

Real Full Column on Forbes

What the NFL can learn from a Civil War Soldier

By Brian Layer
Chief Executive Officer, N2growth

“Beware how you take away hope from another human being.”Oliver Wendell Holmes

This week, the Miami Dolphins stole headlines from their NFL competitors.  Unfortunately for the league, the Dolphins, and the rest of us, the way their players talk and not the way they play invited the scrutiny. Words are unique to the human condition and the thread that connects us to this quilt of humanity.  The right words strengthen; the wrong words fray.

The problem became public when a player left the team after a more experienced player and designated leader spoke, wrote, and broadcasted words that were both demeaning and threatening.  A handful of players and observers have reminded those who sit outside the lines that theirs is a warrior’s world where toughness matters and where words like those are just part of the language of toughness.

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Clear Counsel – How Sweet the Sound

By Brian Layer
Chief Executive Officer, N2growth

When you want to know how your leadership is working–ask.  Years ago, I learned this lesson when I received some unsolicited advice that challenged my professionalism, served as a wakeup call, and changed the arc of my career.  The counsel came from a subordinate as I was leaving an important leadership position but it would have come earlier if I had only asked.

I was very interested in my performance and development as a leader and often sought my boss’s input.  I led an outstanding organization and he consistently praised our performance and my leadership.  My formal evaluations were all exceptional but the counsel of a subordinate was more accurate, less kind and exactly what I needed to hear.  My leadership shortcomings never surfaced with my boss because our organization was good enough to overcome them but they were obvious to those who worked for me.

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8 Ways To Spot Great Leadership

By Mike Myatt
Chairman, N2growth 

If you ever wonder why we’re in a crisis of leadership all you have to do is to watch and listen to those in positions of leadership. While there are clearly many aspects of leadership that must work together in harmony in order for leaders to be effective, everything breaks down when leaders don’t understand how to engage effectively.

Let’s start with what leadership is not: Leadership is not a monologue, a speech, a lecture or a filibuster. Leadership is not talking at or over people. Leadership is not sequestered, does not live in a bubble or operate in a vacuum. Leadership is not exclusive or arrogant. Leadership is not about the leader.

 

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The Silent CEO Addiction Killing Productivity And Talent Development

By Mike Myatt
Chairman, N2growth 

Corporate America’s dependency on consulting firms is nothing short of substance abuse in the purest form. The fact is most CEOs suffer from this very dangerous addiction and they don’t even know it – they are clearly in need of an intervention.

Addicts don’t often admit they have a problem. They tend to rationalize and justify their behavior as normal. Here’s the thing – normal doesn’t always mean admirable or correct. In fact, normal most often means mediocre. Just as addicts are in constant search of a quick fix, misguided CEOs are in search of a perceived easy solution. It’s easier to throw money at the symptom rather than do the work to solve the problem. Don’t look for the easy solution – look for the correct solution.

 

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A Crisis Of Leadership – What’s Next?

By Mike Myatt
Chairman, N2growth 

* This column was originally published on Forbes.com

While today’s column could focus solely on the government shutdown or various components thereof, a lack of leadership isn’t just a problem in the United States; it’s a global problem. It’s also much more than an indictment on global politics; it’s a systemic problem that pervades every level of society. I don’t think there’s much debate the world is ensnarled in a crisis of leadership. The question becomes what do we do about it?

 

Read Full Column on Forbes

If it’s Stupid, It’s not our Policy!

By Brian Layer
Chief Executive Officer, N2growth

When I’d consider following someone down a dangerous path in my formative years, my Mother would ask: “Would you jump off a cliff just because he did?” More than once, I earned a lecture about thinking for myself and leading others up the high road.  As a young leader, I translated that lesson into a phrase I picked up in the Army: “If it’s stupid, it’s not our policy!”

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Leadership Interview | Brad Lomenick

By Mike Myatt
Chairman, N2growth 

In this leadership interview, Mike Myatt of N2growth interviews Brad Lomenick of Catalyst. They discuss Brad’s latest book, “The Catalyst Leader,” Catalyst Conferences, Leader Cast, and other leadership topics.

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