The Power of Focus

I am frequently asked what it takes to become more productive. My answer is simply become very, very focused. Focus has always been a powerful characteristic that has served me well in all leadership roles alike. Relentless focus results in aligned priorities, order, discipline, and productivity. That sounds simple enough doesn't it? Then why is this so hard for executives and entrepreneurs?…

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6 Defining Values of a Leadership Culture

Twelve years after launching culture change consulting services, I am finally sitting down to write about six defining values of a leadership culture. These are factors I’ve learned that define whether an organization can improve their Culture or not. No surprise that all six values rise and fall on leadership. Before I unpack the six values, let me paint the backdrop of how it all began. In…

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Leadership and Digital Transformation

News Flash: The #1 thing leaders need to understand is that the Digital Transformation train left the station a few years ago. If you weren't onboard back then, you need to stop looking for the next train and rapidly go in search of building a rocket ship. Businesses simply have run out of time to embark on multi-year transformation projects - that window has closed. In the text that follows,…

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Free Advice For Uber’s New CEO

In June, under immense pressure from incensed investors who didn't take kindly to Uber's unrestrained "Bro" culture, Travis Kalanick stepped down as its CEO. Able to retain his seat on the firm's 11-member board, Kalanick was able to maintain extra voting power granted him in the Company's original by-laws. This extra voting power could have been used to help him to control the company's future…

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Thought Leadership – Piercing The Bubble

News Flash: If you value your own opinion more than others do, you might be suffering from a common form of self-delusion. Referring to yourself as a thought leader makes you a tone-deaf narcissist; not necessarily a great thinker. For my part, I’m in the process of trying to eliminate the term “thought leadership” from my vocabulary. This week, after months of reflection, I’ll be instructing…

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Digital Transformation Or Digital Free Fall: What Every CEO Must Know

Every organization occupies a unique place on the spectrum of digital transformation. Whether they have an accurate perception or understanding of what that means to their business is the bigger concern. Some see digital as little more than a portfolio of projects or initiatives to be implemented, others as a problem to be solved or an opportunity to be exploited, and yes, there are always those…

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The Teslatisation of the Boardroom

I am taking a break at Grand Cafe Loos in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. My mind is spinning around as I try to defragment and reorganize the many experiences, images and memories that have made this such a fascinating year. Its easy to pick out the large, juicy chunks, which have captivated most of us around the globe: political upheaval, geo-political instability, corporate scandals to name but a…

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Exploring Alternate Futures Can Help Identify Future Leaders

Scenarios and scenario-based planning are widely recognized as valuable tools in setting organizations’ visions and strategies.  Shell is the most famed for their scenarios and their process for developing them and using them.  But they are far from alone.  Many of the leading companies around the world use them, including Apple, GE, Disney, British Airways, Boeing, Mercedes, and the list goes…

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Leadership Matters

(as featured in mining.com) CEO Interview: Sam Walsh This edition of the CEO interview features Sam Walsh, the recently retired CEO, of Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto, founded in 1873, is a British-Australian multinational and one of the world’s largest metals and mining corporations. The company has grown through a long series of mergers and acquisitions to place itself among the world leaders in the…

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Why Your CEO Just Doesn’t Get It

Quality leadership or a lack thereof is easy to spot if you know what to look for. The problem is most people don’t know what to look for in a leader, and according to a recent study by Chief Executive magazine many CEOs don’t seem to know what to look for either. While I probably shouldn’t have been surprised, I will admit to being absolutely stunned as I reviewed the results of a survey…

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Leadership Is About Leading

Leadership is about leading. Leadership is a 24-7-365 endeavor. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the best leaders view what they do as a calling and not just a job. If you're a leader, what you do in public or private, in silence or in word, and in thought or in deed will be observed, evaluated and critiqued - count on it. There are simply no free passes for leaders. Don't believe me? Just look…

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Managing The Board | 10 Things Every CEO Should Know

I've yet to meet a CEO who at some point in time hasn't been frustrated by their board - it goes with the territory. That said, it should be the exception, and not the rule. Ultimately, chief executives deserve the board relationships they develop. As a CEO, your board can be one of your greatest allies. Conversely, and just as easily, they can be a significant contributor to your undoing…

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Is the Customer Always Right?

Is the customer really always right? How far should a company go to satisfy their clientele or customer base? What is the lost opportunity cost associated with customer churn? Is there a point when satisfying the customer is actually harmful to the enterprise, or back to the original question, is the customer always right? In today's post I'll share my opinion as to the validity of this old…

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Leadership and Resourcing

It's not what you have, but what you're able to make out of what you have that matters. Every great leader understands the importance of creating leverage via proper resource allocation. The best leaders possess an innate understanding of how to create resources where none exist - they know how to deploy and redeploy resources to maximize opportunities and to minimize risk. So my question to you…

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Leadership & Discipline

The difference between good and great often comes down to discipline. So my question is this - how disciplined are you as a leader? Context, fluidity, and other nuanced behaviors are positive traits to embrace so long as they don't serve as an excuse for a lack of discipline. I'm not suggesting that leaders should be robotic or static in approach - quite to the contrary. Implementing a framework…

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Vision and Leadership

Visioning for CEOs is a topic that I often address on this blog. I don't do so in an attempt to torture you with redundant thought, but rather because I believe it is a message that is often taken far too lightly by chief executives. A CEO's ability to perform effectively is so closely tied to their ability to form a clearly articulated vision, evangelize the vision and then to execute on their…

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