Knowledge is understanding based on what has been studied and learned. Wisdom is understanding based on what has been felt and experienced.
Empowering others by giving them your authority has the same effect as sharing information: You haven’t lost anything.
We can't be everything to everyone, but we can be something to someone.
Habits than will destroy culture, collaboration and ultimately the success of any company that allows these habits to persist.
The habits of a leader and his/her managers will shape a companies future. I have listed below the habits than will destroy culture, collaboration and ultimately the success of any company that allows these habits to persist.
Habit # 1: They see themselves and their companies as dominating their environment
This first habit may be the most insidious, since it appears to be highly desirable. Shouldn’t a company try to dominate its business environment, shape the future of its markets and set the pace within them? Yes, but there’s a catch. Unlike successful leaders, failed leaders who never question their dominance fail to realize they are at the mercy of changing circumstances. They vastly overestimate the extent to which they actually control events and vastly underestimate the role of chance and circumstance in their success.
Warning Sign for #1: A lack of respect
Habit #2: They identify so completely with the company that there is no clear boundary between their personal interests and their corporation’s interests
Like the first habit, this one seems innocuous, perhaps even beneficial. We want business leaders to be completely committed to their companies, with their interests tightly aligned with those of the company. But digging deeper, you find that failed executives weren’t identifying too little with the company, but rather too much. Instead of treating companies as enterprises that they needed to nurture, failed leaders treated them as extensions of themselves. And with that, a “private empire” mentality took hold.
Warning Sign for #2: A question of character
Habit #3: They think they have all the answers
Here’s the image of executive competence that we’ve been taught to admire for decades: a dynamic leader making a dozen decisions a minute, dealing with many crises simultaneously, and taking only seconds to size up situations that have stumped everyone else for days. The problem with this picture is that it’s a fraud. Leaders who are invariably crisp and decisive tend to settle issues so quickly they have no opportunity to grasp the ramifications. Worse, because these leaders need to feel they have all the answers, they aren’t open to learning new ones.
Warning Sign for #3: A leader without followers
Habit #4: They ruthlessly eliminate anyone who isn’t completely behind them
CEOs who think their job is to instill belief in their vision also think that it is their job to get everyone to buy into it. Anyone who doesn’t rally to the cause is undermining the vision. Hesitant managers have a choice: Get with the plan or leave.
The problem with this approach is that it’s both unnecessary and destructive. Leaders don’t need to have everyone unanimously endorse their vision to have it carried out successfully. In fact, by eliminating all dissenting and contrasting viewpoints, destructive leaders cut themselves off from their best chance of seeing and correcting problems as they arise. Sometimes leaders who seek to stifle dissent only drive it underground. Once this happens, the entire organization falters.
Warning Sign for #4: Executive departures
Habit #5: They are consummate spokespersons, obsessed with the company image
You know these CEOs: high-profile executives who are constantly in the public eye. The problem is that amid all the media frenzy and accolades, these leaders’ management efforts become shallow and ineffective. Instead of actually accomplishing things, they often settle for the appearance of accomplishing things.
Behind these media darlings is a simple fact of executive life: CEOs don’t achieve a high level of media attention without devoting themselves assiduously to public relations. When CEOs are obsessed with their image, they have little time for operational details.
Warning Sign of #5: Blatant attention-seeking
Habit #6: They underestimate obstacles
Part of the allure of being a leader is the opportunity to espouse a vision. Yet, when leaders become so enamored of their vision, they often overlook or underestimate the difficulty of actually getting there. And when it turns out that the obstacles they casually waved aside are more troublesome than they anticipated, these leaders have a habit of plunging full-steam into the abyss.
Warning Sign of #6: Excessive hype
Habit #7: They stubbornly rely on what worked for them in the past
Many Leaders on their way to becoming spectacularly unsuccessful accelerate their company’s decline by reverting to what they regard as tried-and-true methods. In their desire to make the most of what they regard as their core strengths, they cling to a static business model.They insist on providing a product to a market that no longer exists, or they fail to consider innovations in areas other than those that made the company successful in the past.
Instead of considering a range of options that fit new circumstances, they use their own careers as the only point of reference and do the things that made them successful in the past.
Warning Sign of #7: Constantly referring to what worked in the past
The bottom line: If you exhibit several of these traits, now is the time to stamp them out from your repertoire. If your boss or several senior executives at your company exhibit several of these traits, now is the time to start looking for a new job.
Over the years, I’ve observed and participated in many different type of leadership development program's. And the sad thing is, most of them don’t even come close to accomplishing what they were designed to do – build better leaders.
My problem with training is it presumes the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques. Moreover, training assumes that said systems, processes and techniques are the right way to do things. When a trainer refers to something as “best practices” you can with great certitude rest assured that’s not the case. Training focuses on best practices, while development focuses on next practices. Training is often a rote, one directional, one dimensional, one size fits all, authoritarian process that imposes static, outdated information on people. The majority of training takes place within a monologue (lecture/presentation) rather than a dialog. Perhaps worst of all, training usually occurs within a vacuum driven by past experience, not by future needs.
The solution to the leadership training problem is to scrap it in favor of development. Don’t train leaders, coach them, mentor them, disciple them, and develop them, but please don’t attempt to train them. Where training attempts to standardize by blending to a norm and acclimating to the status quo, development strives to call out the unique and differentiate by shattering the status quo. Training is something leaders dread and will try and avoid, whereas they will embrace and look forward to development. Development is nuanced, contextual, collaborative, fluid, and above all else, actionable.
The following point's out some of the main differences between training and development:
•Training blends to a norm – Development occurs beyond the norm.
•Training focuses on technique/content/curriculum – Development focuses on people.
•Training tests patience – Development tests courage.
•Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
•Training adheres to standards – Development focuses on maximizing potential.
•Training is transactional – Development is transformational.
•Training focuses on maintenance – Development focuses on growth.
•Training focuses on the role – Development focuses on the person.
•Training indoctrinates – Development educates.
•Training maintains status quo – Development catalyzes innovation.
•Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
•Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
•Training focuses on efficiency – Development focuses on effectiveness.
•Training focuses on problems - Development focuses on solutions.
•Training focuses on reporting lines – Development expands influence.
•Training places people in a box – Development frees them from the box.
•Training is mechanical – Development is intellectual.
•Training focuses on the knowns – Development explores the unknowns.
•Training places people in a comfort zone – Development moves people beyond their comfort zones.
•Training is finite – Development is infinite.
If what you desire is a robotic, static thinker – train them. If you’re seeking innovative, critical thinkers – develop them. I have always said it is impossible to have an enterprise which is growing and evolving if leadership is not.
Experts spend a lot of time trying to figure out what makes people successful. They often look at people's credentials, intelligence, education, and other factors. But more than anything else, passion is what makes the difference.
Take a look at four truths about passion and what it can do for you as a leader:
1. Passion is the first step to achievement - Your desire determines your destiny. The stronger your fire, the greater the desire and the greater the potential.
2. Passion increases your willpower - There is no substitute for passion. It is fuel for the will. If you want anything badly enough, you can find the willpower to achieve it.
3. Passion changes you - If you follow your passion, instead of others' perceptions, you can't help but become a more dedicated, productive person. In the end, your passion will have more influence than your personality.
4. Passion makes the impossible possible - Human beings are so made that whenever anything fires their soul, impossibilities vanish.
A fire in the heart lifts everything in your life. A leader with great passion and few skills always outperforms a leader with great skills and no passion.
Surviving—and thriving—in today's economic climate requires a seismic shift in how we think about and use teamwork.
I've begun to think that teams are not the solution to getting the work done.
The problem: Stable teams that plan first and execute later are increasingly infeasible in the twenty-first century workforce. Coordination and collaboration are essential, but they happen in fluid arrangements, rather than in static teams.
Surviving—and thriving—in today's economic climate requires a seismic shift in how we think about and use teamwork.
As a means for getting the work done, we've got to focus on the interpersonal processes and dynamics that occur among people working together for shorter durations.
This means that people have to get good at "teaming"—reaching out, getting up to speed, establishing quickly who they are and what they bring, and trying to make progress without a blueprint. The skill set involves interpersonal awareness, skillful inquiry, and an ability to teach others what you know.
Teaming is very different from the idea of building a high-performance team to fit a known task. It is dynamic; learning and execution occur simultaneously. Teaming is the engine of organizational learning.
Managers need to shift from holding a static view of teamwork to this dynamic one.
The solution, is a teaming process that includes a deep recognition among individual players of the interdependency of their roles. This recognition leads naturally to early and consistent communication among formerly separate parties throughout their joint work. Once the task is completed, more communication—this time in the form of reflection and feedback—must take place.
Conversations can be brief—but they need to happen. And the impetus for having those conversations must come from the top. As a leader of a siloed, specialized workforce, your job is to see the bigger picture and create the culture whereby skills and knowledge of the workforce are expressed.
There's a growing recognition across all sectors about the importance of speaking up. The financial crisis can be tracked back to no small degree to people's reluctance to speak up with concerns about models and products that were likely to fail. It's up to leaders to foster the climate of psychological safety required to overcome that reluctance.
But getting employees to speak up is no easy task. The reality of hierarchical social systems is that people hold deeply ingrained, taken-for-granted beliefs that it's dangerous to speak up or disagree with those in power.
And management can be part of the problem without even knowing it.
People in positions of relative power often inadvertently reinforce the very messages that are already deeply ingrained in our mental models. Combating this takes conscious effort, including sending the message out that it is OK to fail.
Very few people set out to fail, to make mistakes. And in a dynamic, unpredictable, and often ambiguous world, failures will happen. Managers must accept their employees' failures as well as their own. The most counterproductive thing a manager can do is to come down hard in a punitive manner on a well-intentioned failure.
But not coming down hard doesn't mean coming down soft. Psychological safety is not about being nice; it's not about letting people off easy and being comfortable. It's about the courage to be direct and holding high expectations of each other, understanding that uncertainty and risk are part of the work, as is the occasional failure. A leader's challenge is to set a climate where psychological safety, accountability, and pressure to do the best possible work exist together.
We're in a new world, and our old management models don't fit as well as we would like. Those organizations that aren't harvesting and using the knowledge and ideas and questions of their members are not going to remain viable compared to competitors that do.
There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it is convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses. Don't equip people who are merely interested. Equip the ones who are committed.
Commitment is the one quality above all others that enables a potential leader to become a successful leader. Without commitment, there can be no success.
To determine whether your people are committed, first you must make sure they know what it will cost them to become a leader. That means that you must be sure not to undersell the job. Let them know what it's going to take to do it. Only then will they know what they are committing to. If they won't commit, don't go any further in the equipping process. Don't waste your time.
We all understand the importance of asking for help, however those who achieve big things are the ones who accept it when it's offered.
Leaders are closely watched by their constituents and how leaders spend their time is a clear indication of what’s really important
Leaders are closely watched by their constituents and how leaders spend their time is a clear indication of what’s really important. If you say that customers and innovation is important to you, ask yourself how much time you’re spending time with customers. People look at how leaders spend their time, as a means to judge if leaders measure up to their talk. Followers ask themselves, “Does my leader spend time on what they’re telling me is important?”. “Are they spending their time on what they say is important?”
You = Your calendar and calendars never live! Your calender represents what you really care about. Your calendar is your todo list. Does your calendar reflect your highest priorities? Review your calendar entries for the past few weeks and ask yourself:
Is there a clear relationship between your priorities, your values and how you spend your time?
Are you spending time on what you believe is important?
What change do you need to make?
“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” – John Le Caré
The Leadership Insight
One of the dangers faced by leaders is isolation from the people they lead. Too busy to take the time to really listen, too distracted to notice what’s happening around them and too rushed to reflect on what really matters, this quickly escalates to create the trap of isolation. You cannot lead people without getting involved. When leaders fail to spend sufficient time their people, they loose touch with the key issues of the day. When leaders remain behind their desks they loose touch with reality, unable to articulate what’s on the hearts and minds of their people. This results in slow decision making and delayed action. Unless leaders have insight into their people’s hearts and minds they will……
Fail to create a shared vision….
Fail to communicate effectively….
Fail to bring about change……
Fail to take effective action….
Ultimately they will fail to lead!
How much time are you spending with the people you lead?
Do you know what’s on their heart and minds?
There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.
When you are committed you set a Goal, a agenda for action and plans.
Nothing happens until we plan and good plans have goals and objectives (GOSPA - Goals, Objectives, Specifics, Plan &Action. GOSPA will be covered in a later post).
Setting goals and objectives correctly provides the necessary context and support required to mange their implementation. Before we dive into the discussion on how to go about setting SMART objectives, it’s necessary to understand that there is an important of distinction between goals and objectives.
Goals relate to our aspirations, purpose and vision. For example, I have a goal of becoming financially independent.
Objectives are the battle plan, the stepping stones on the path towards the achievement of my goal. They are measurable and specific and can be used to guide actions.
A goal may consist of one or many specific objectives that would need to accomplished to successfully achieve the goal. For example, to become financially independent I would need to do the following 1) get out of debt, 2) improve the level of savings and 3) improve the level of my income.
The most well known method for setting objectives is by doing it the S.M.A.R.T. way, the SMART approach is well understood amongst managers, but is poorly executed. S.M.A.R.T refers to the acronym that describes the key characteristics of meaningful objectives, which are Specific (concrete, detailed, well defined), Measureable (numbers, quantity, comparison), Achievable (feasible, actionable), Realistic (considering resources) and Time-Bound (a defined time frame). Lets look at each of these characteristics in more detail.
Specific means that the objective is concrete, detailed, focused and well defined. That is the objective is straightforward, emphasizes action and the required outcome. Objectives must communicate what you would like to see happen. To help set specific objectives it helps to ask the following questions as guidance:
WHAT am I going to do? This are best written using strong, action verbs such as conduct, develop, build, plan, execute, etc. This helps your objective to be action-orientated and focuses on what’s most important.
WHY is this important for me to do?WHO is going to do what? Who else need to be involved?
WHEN do I want this to be completed?
HOW am I going to do this?
“The successful man is the average man, focused.” – Unknown
What exactly are we going to do, with or for whom?
What strategies will be used?
Is the objective well understood?
Is the objective described with action verbs?
Is it clear who is involved?
Is it clear where this will happen?
Is it clear what needs to happen?
Is the outcome clear?
Will this objective lead to the desired results?
Objectives need to be achievable, if the objective is too far in the future, you’ll find it difficult to keep people motivated over the long term. Objectives must be achievable to keep you motivated. However, keeping a good balance is important, whilst being obtainable, objectives still need to stretch you, but not so far that you become frustrated and lose motivation.
Can we get it done in the proposed timeframe?
Do I understand the limitations and constraints?
Can we do this with the resources we have?
Has anyone else done this successfully?
Is this possible?
Objectives that are achievable, may not be realistic. That being said, realistic does not mean easy. Realistic means that you have the resources necessary to get the job done. The achievement of an objective requires resources, such as, people, money, skills, equipment and knowledge required to support the tasks required to achieve the objective. Most objectives are achievable but, may require a change in your priorities to make them happen.
Do you have the resources available to achieve this objective?
Do I need to revisit priorities in my life to make this happen?
Is it possible to achieve this objective?
If the objective is measurable, it means that the measurement source is identified and we are able to track the results of our actions, as we progress towards achieving the objective. Measurement is the standard used for comparison. For example, what financial independence means to me, may be totally different to what it means for you. As is so often quoted, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it! Importantly, measurement help us to know when we have achieved our objective.
How will I know that the change has occurred?
Can these measurements be obtained?
Time-bound means setting deadlines for the achievement of the objective. Deadlines create an all important sense of urgency. If you don’t set a deadline, you will reduce the motivation and urgency required to execute tasks. Deadlines create the necessary focus, helps set priority and prompts action.
When will this objective be accomplished?
Is there a stated deadline?
Times of failure not only reveal a leader's true character, but also present opportunities for significant leadership lessons.
I recently had a discussion about being aware of your emotional filters while communicating with others. Your past experiences can close of your mind to conversations and opinions of others and unknowingly push people away.
The core ingredient needed to help you get over this hurdle is Emotional Intelligence.
Emotional intelligence — it sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? People tend to think of others as either emotional or intelligent, but not both. So, just what is emotional intelligence? And why are you hearing about it only now?
Emotional intelligence has a lot to do with being intelligent about your emotions.
It involves the ability to recognize your own emotions as well as the
emotions of other people. It includes understanding emotions. It also has to
do with how you manage your emotions and how you manage other people’s
You may have come across people who surprised you with some of their behaviors. You may have wondered why some people who seem to be very smart in many ways have done some pretty foolish and self-defeating things; or you may want to know why some people are overly disrespectful of others. Getting the scoop on emotional intelligence may help you put together some pieces in this puzzle.
You can spot emotionally intelligent people pretty quickly. They’re the people who
✓ Successfully manage difficult situations
✓ Express themselves clearly
✓ Gain respect from others
✓ Influence other people
✓ Entice other people to help them out
✓ Keep cool under pressure
✓ Recognize their emotional reactions to people or situations
✓ Know how to say the “right” thing to get the right result
✓ Manage themselves effectively when negotiating
✓ Manage other people effectively when negotiating
✓ Motivate themselves to get things done
✓ Know how to be positive, even during difficult situations
Although these behaviors don’t fit within any formal definition of emotional
intelligence, they represent typical behaviors for a person high in emotional
intelligence. If the bar sounds high, don’t fret — with practice, you can build
on your existing skills to become more emotionally intelligent.
Because most people in the world have to interact with others on a regular basis, social intelligence can help make those interactions more satisfying. By
knowing how other people around you are feeling, you can
✓ Maintain good relationships
✓ Encourage a person to feel good about you
✓ Ask a favor from a person without alienating him
✓ Sell a person on an idea or a product
✓ Calm a person down
✓ Be a helpful person to others in need
✓ Have a network of friends and easily find others to do mutually satisfying
Increasing your emotional intelligence at work has many benefits, including the ability to:
✓ Better manage stress at work.
✓ Improve your relationships with co-workers.
✓ Deal more effectively with your supervisor.
✓ Be more productive.
✓ Be a better manager or/and leader.
✓ Better manage your work priorities.
✓ Be a better team player.
Because people who have high emotional intelligence are more in tune with
the people and situations in the workplace, they generally get comparatively
greater pay raises and responsibilities.
You can view empathy as one of the hallmarks of emotional intelligence.
It has a special role to play in just about every theory of emotional intelligence.
Empathy is so important, in part, because it can effectively and efficiently
connect you with other people. It’s also pretty versatile. On the one hand,
empathy enables you to bond with your partner, children, close friends, and
any other people you care about. On the other hand, empathy can help you
out when you’re in a tight spot with a difficult person.
Here’s the good news: People can develop empathy. So, if you think you
have mediocre or even poor skills in this area, you now know that you can
improve. Even if you think you’re pretty good at empathy, there’s more good
news — you can get even better!
After you obtain a good understanding of what empathy is (and what it isn’t),
you can improve your empathy skills. Like the other emotional intelligence
skills, developing empathy just takes some practice.
Empathy is often referred to as “walking in the other person’s moccasins.”
Your ability to know where another person is coming from, how he feels and
thinks, helps make you feel like you really understand that person. You can
often completely disarm a person by fully understanding him as another
human being. By disarming someone you get to deal with his real feelings as
opposed to the shell he wears for protection. Knowing how someone really
feels allows you to offer him the help he might need.
Empathy, in many ways, is a form of selflessness. You step out of your own
world — your problems, worries, joys, and responsibilities — to totally
immerse yourself in another person’s world.
You can’t easily change the behavior of other people. You can try all
kinds of things that often amount to nagging, pushing, or cajoling --
usually to no avail. You may tend to tell the other person why you want him
to change his behavior. However, by focusing more on the other person, and
less on your own needs, wants, and desires, you can get closer to the desired
change in the other person.
Instead of telling someone to do something, which doesn’t usually go over
very well, try to understand what’s holding that person back from doing it
herself. After you get a better idea of what’s keeping her back, you can more
effectively approach the situation.
Do you remember what it was like when you first got your driver's license? Just going for a drive was probably a thrill. It didn't really matter where you went. But as you got older, having a destination became more important. The same is true with a team. Getting the team together and moving it are accomplishments. But where you're going matters.
You've got to begin doing the difficult things that help the team to improve and develop high morale. Among other things, you must:
1. Make changes that make the team better.
2. Receive the buy-in of team members.
3. Communicate commitment.
4. Develop and equip members for success.
The two toughest stages in the life of a team are when you are trying to create movement in a team that's going nowhere, and when you must become a change agent. Those are the times when leadership is most needed.
Nearly everyone has emotional filters that prevent them from hearing certain things that other people say. Your experiences, both positive and negative, color the way you look at life and shape your expectations. And particularly strong experiences, such as traumas or incidents from childhood, can make you tend to react strongly whenever you perceive you are in a similar situation.
If you've never worked through all your strong emotional experiences, you might be filtering what others say through those experiences. If you're preoccupied with certain topics, if a particular subject makes you defensive, or if you frequently project your own point of view onto others, you may need to spend some time working through some of your issues before you can become an effective listener.
Sigmond Freud said, "A man with a toothache cannot be in love," meaning that the toothache doesn't allow him to notice anything other than his pain. Similarly, any time a person has an axe to grind, the words of others are drowned out by the sound of the grindstone.
With all the emphasis on leadership development, I always find it interesting so many companies seem to struggle with being able to retain their top talen
In regular meeting with key leaders within many organization and I have found of recent times that many of these leader feel they have a great team's and things are good. Are these leaders viewing their organizations through rose colored glasses or if they have a false scenes of security about their people and their position.
Ive noticed leaders spend a lot of time talking about talent, only to make the same mistakes over and over again? Few things in business are as costly and disruptive as unexpected talent departures. With all the emphasis on leadership development, I always find it interesting so many companies seem to struggle with being able to retain their top talent.
When examining the talent at any organization look at the culture, not the rhetoric – look at the results, not the commentary about potential. Despite some of the delusional perspective in the corner office, when I talk to their employees, here’s what they tell me:
-A large portion believe they’ll be working someplace else inside of 12 months.
-Many don’t respect the person they report to.
-They say they have different values than their employer.
-Majority don’t feel their career goals are aligned with the plans their employers have for them and don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer.
So, for all those employers who have everything under control, you better start re-evaluating. There is an old saying that goes; “Employees don’t quit working for companies, they quit working for their bosses.” Regardless of tenure, position, title, etc., employees who voluntarily leave, generally do so out of some type of perceived disconnect with leadership.
Here’s the thing – employees who are challenged, engaged, valued, and rewarded (emotionally, intellectually & financially) rarely leave, and more importantly, they perform at very high levels. However if you miss any of these critical areas, it’s only a matter of time until they head for the elevator.
Following is a list of reasons your talent will leave you – smart leaders don’t make these mistakes:
1. You Failed To Unleash Their Passions: Smart companies align employee passions with corporate pursuits. Human nature makes it very difficult to walk away from areas of passion. Fail to understand this and you’ll unknowingly be encouraging employees to seek their passions elsewhere.
2. You Failed To Challenge Their Intellect: Smart people don’t like to live in a dimly lit world of boredom. If you don’t challenge people’s minds, they’ll leave you for someone/someplace that will.
3. You Failed To Engage Their Creativity: Great talent is wired to improve, enhance, and add value. They are built to change and innovate. They NEED to contribute by putting their fingerprints on design. Smart leaders don’t place people in boxes – they free them from boxes. What’s the use in having a racehorse if you don’t let them run?
4. You Failed To Develop Their Skills: Leadership isn’t a destination – it’s a continuum. No matter how smart or talented a person is, there’s always room for growth, development, and continued maturation. If you place restrictions on a person’s ability to grow, they’ll leave you for someone who won’t.
5. You Failed To Give Them A Voice: Talented people have good thoughts, ideas, insights, and observations. If you don’t listen to them, I can guarantee you someone else will.
6. You Failed To Care: Sure, people come to work for a paycheck, but that’s not the only reason. In fact, many studies show it’s not even the most important reason. If you fail to care about people at a human level, at an emotional level, they’ll eventually leave you regardless of how much you pay them.
7. You Failed to Lead: Businesses don’t fail, products don’t fail, projects don’t fail, and teams don’t fail – leaders fail. The best testament to the value of leadership is what happens in its absence – very little. If you fail to lead, your talent will seek leadership elsewhere.
8. You Failed To Recognize Their Contributions: The best leaders don’t take credit – they give it. Failing to recognize the contributions of others is not only arrogant and disingenuous, but it’s as also just as good as asking them to leave.
9. You Failed To Increase Their Responsibility: You cannot confine talent – try to do so and you’ll either devolve into mediocrity, or force your talent seek more fertile ground. People will gladly accept a huge workload as long as an increase in responsibility comes along with the performance and execution of said workload.
10. You Failed To Keep Your Commitments: Promises made are worthless, but promises kept are invaluable. If you break trust with those you lead you will pay a very steep price. Leaders not accountable to their people, will eventually be held accountable by their people.
If leaders spent less time trying to retain people, and more time trying to understand them, care for them, invest in them, and lead them well, the retention thing would take care of itself.
Finding the “what” when investigating the failure of retaining talent (what the leader did or failed to do) is certainly the necessary first step in addressing the lack of talent retention.
The next important and necessary step is finding out the “why.” This step may be more difficult. Unless you identify the “why,” you may have a recurring problem. Three “whys” you may find:
1. “The Peter Principle.” The leader has been promoted to their level of incompetence.
2. “The halo Effect.” The person is unable to recognize talent that is different from their own.
3. “Morally Corrupt.” The leader protects their position at all costs.
You may be able to add a few more primary “whys,” however I think for the most part, you will be able to link the “what” to one of the three “whys.”
For what we pay people today, we’d better demand some responsibility from them. It’s morally corrupting to pay what we pay and then treat them as little boys or girls. The responsibility for their performance is on them—individually and where there is teamwork. We need to go in and say, “What should this organization hold you accountable for over the next 18 months?” Get out of the trap of the annual appraisal that coincides with your budget cycle. It’s a good idea to keep them separate.
The question is, “What should this organization hold you accountable for by way of contribution and results?”
The first time you ask this, your people will find that this is a very difficult question. They’ve never thought that way. Most people, believe me, think in terms of work and not in terms of results. Most people say, “I’m always the first one in the office and the last one to go.” Well, that may be all right for the night watchman, but for nobody else.
Somebody asked me about salespeople. I don’t know whether you realize it, but salespeople are probably the area where productivity in the economy has gone down the most. If you adjust for inflation, the saleslady of today in the department store sells about half of what she did 50 or 60 years ago. One reason is that we have loaded her down with all that paperwork. She doesn't serve the customer anymore; she serves the computer.
The poor performer corrupts. If you have the fellow or the woman who is getting old and they’ve been there 49 years, then okay. But otherwise, accept that the poor performer lets his fellow workers down. You have a duty not to tolerate the poor performer, a duty to the performers. That quenches motivation, when they see that everybody gets the same praise, when we know perfectly well that Jim or Jane hasn’t done a lick of work and what they have done is shoddy. That demoralizes.
Spend time on the placement of people. There is nothing worse than the belief that anybody can do every job. That may work on the assembly line, though even there, it’s not quite true. But when it comes to knowledge work, you must spend time on placing people where their strengths can become productive. Nothing so motivates as achievement. And nothing so quenches motivation as frustration.
These are all very elementary hygiene rules; nothing new about them. But like most hygiene rules, they’re disregarded. And so put that burden of performance on people. And build the idea of people appraising themselves into the work goal, the performance goal, or whatever you call it. And then you don’t have to sit in judgment. It’s not a good idea for human beings to sit in judgment on others. But then performance will be the judge. And performance will also show where the need is for learning.
In fact, one of the questions to ask when people appraise their own performance is, “What do you need to learn? What do you need to improve? What do you need to change?”
There are also things that people need practice in. They may know the subject theoretically, but haven’t done it enough. It’s not going back to school; it’s doing it more. In other cases, they may have to read up on something. Maybe it’s been a long time since they’ve learned a topic. And maybe it’s a good idea to go back and to take out that textbook on cost accounting once again. They’re becoming rusty.
If we don’t do what makes sense—what is productive both for the company and the employees—then I’m afraid that, yes, 20 years from now we’ll find ourselves under very severe restrictive and punitive rules. We don’t have forever, and maybe being forced by lawsuits to accept the fact that there has been social change is the only way we will ever accept it. Certainly, we are now getting enough lawsuits so that people ought to accept the fact something is happening here. And maybe it’s a good idea to move before we are pushed.
The primary ingredient for progress is optimism. The unwavering belief that something can be better drives the human race forward.
A person's ability to make things happen in and through others depends entirely on their ability to lead them
A person's ability to make things happen in and through others depends entirely on their ability to lead them. Without leadership, there is no teamwork, and people go their own way. If your dream is big and will require the teamwork of a lot of people, then any potential leaders you select to go with you on the journey will need to be people of influence. After all, that's what leadership is - influence. And when you think about it, all leaders have two things in common: They're going somewhere, and they're able to persuade others to go with them.
As you look at the people around you, consider the following:
•Who influences them?
•Whom do they influence?
•Is their influence increasing or decreasing?
To be a good judge of potential leaders, don't just see the person-see all the people who that person influences. The greater the influence, the greater the leadership potential and the ability to get others to work with you to accomplish your dream.