Assessing Organizational Leaders…Like We Do Political Ones

At a recent leadership conference put on by the Wharton School of Business, one of my favorite historians, Richard Norton Smith, offered 10 ways historians can judge presidents fairly, in the context of their times. The full article about his presentation can be found here: Ten Ways to Judge a President. While he talks about American Presidents, I think these apply to political leaders in Canada, Europe and the rest of the industrial democracies.   As I read the piece, I wondered how … [Read more...]

Book Review – Working With Emotional Intelligence

By Daniel Goleman Bantam Books, 2000 ISBN #0-553-37858-9 What are the ingredients that make up superior performers in our organizations? Must they be intelligent? know their stuff? have unyielding drive? be likeable? Recent research indicates grey matter and technical/job knowledge are but threshold competencies. What differentiates the "stars" are the personal qualities, the so-called "soft skills." It appears that Antoine de St.-Exupéry perhaps got it right in The Little Prince when he … [Read more...]

You Own Half of the Relationship

A June 4, 2009 post on John Baldoni's Leadership at Work blog presented an intriguing image: your "ownership" of the relationship you have with your boss: To me it comes down to a simple proposition: exert your ownership. If your boss is not giving you feedback, ask for it. If your teammates are driving you crazy, talk to them. If you are struggling with an impossible workload, find ways to lighten it. Proceeding as you are is inefficient; failing to address the problem may be even worse. … [Read more...]

Judgement More than Expertise

In their wonderful new book, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, Ron Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky raise a provocative question that has everything to do with effective leadership at the senior level. At what level in your organization do people begin to feel and act as if they are valued more for their judgment than for their technical expertise? As people ascend the organization in a managerial capacity, less and less does the value they contribute relate to their technical … [Read more...]

Article – You Gotta Get’em to Wanna: 6 Roles the Modern Leader Plays

So much is changing in our economic and business environment these years, is it any wonder that the nature of leadership is changing too? We're not talking a new fad, here, folks. Fads come and they go. Leadership—as it is progressively practiced today—is here to stay! If you manage, supervise, direct or formally influence other people, you lead them! So, just for the record, what does this new style of leadership comprise? I have always liked this distinction: "management" is getting things … [Read more...]

Zappos CEO Models How it’s Done

July 22, 2009 it was announced that Amazon was acquiring the popular and progressive shoe company, Zappos. Zappos has been in the limelight over the past couple of years (FC link) for its open and progressive corporate culture. On the same day, CEO Tony Hsieh sent out a letter to all Zappos employees. Tony's Letter It struck me how in that letter he modeled their employee sensitive culture. It's not that he deigned to quickly communicate with their workforce. It's what he addressed at the … [Read more...]

Book Review – Change-Able Organization: Key Management Practices for Speed and Flexibility

By William R. Daniels & John G. Mathers Harvard Business School Press, 2002 ISBN #0-87584-949-0 Some organizations are like a big, hulking raft. They move slowly, deliberately, carry a lot of freight, and are difficult to turn. And what a bore to be crew on one of these vessels! Other organizations are more like a galley. Remember those movies about ancient Rome? Galleys are large, mobile, and also carry a fair amount of cargo. But the crew faces the stern, rowing in unison to the … [Read more...]

Attend to the Pipeline

Despite the bump (yes, in the long term, it's a bump) of the current recession, we are still facing the demographic truth that a lot of boomers will be retiring from the active workforce over the next decade. As enterprises across the planet begin to grow again and the excess of unemployed and underemployed workers has been absorbed, we will be back facing a shortage of talented people. Therefore, in order to put in place the quality and quantity of leaders you will require to expand in this … [Read more...]

Welcome to My Brand New Blog!

This is it! It is with a bit of trepidation and a lot of excitement that I begin what I intend to be many years of blogging on leadership, team building and many other areas that relate to excellent leadership–at all levels of organizations. I often ask participants in my leadership training seminars or audiences in my keynote presentations, "Think of the very best boss you've ever had…" What did he or she do that causes you to call him/her your "best boss?" How did he/she … [Read more...]