A Different Kind of CEO?

A more integrated leader? A post conventional CEO? Chad Dickerson, CEO of the online commerce site, Etsy, may well fit these descriptions. At least his mindset about leading from the top reveals some of the contours we look for in a 21st century leader. In an interview for the On Leadership section of the Washington Post he had some interesting things to say. I have picked out five that particularly caught my attention. His first annual performance review as CEO was in the form of a … [Read more...]

Three Aspects of Mandela to Guide Us All as Leaders

So much has been written about Nelson Mandela and leadership that I hesitate to add to the pile. But it's hard not to since he so exemplifies the more highly developed human being at the core of the very best leaders. Of the many examples and behaviors, I think three are central for all leaders. These three are archetypal and apply not just to this South African icon working on the national political stage, but equally to leaders of any organization, even of units within organizations. He … [Read more...]

For a Manager, Hope IS a Strategy

Former New York City mayor Rudi Guiliani is credited for that now oft repeated line, "Hope is not a strategy." But when he, like any good leader in a crisis, painted a picture for New Yorkers of rising up from the September 11 devastation, rebuilding the lower Manhattan skyline, and healing the city's wounded soul, Mr. Mayor was dispensing hope. And well he should have. It was the right strategy.   Why do I say this? Because hope is what professor Richard Boyatzis calls a "positive … [Read more...]

An Organization Devoutly to be Desired

We all fantasize but the object of our fantasy is seldom an organization, an ideal one, the one we would create for us to work in if we were king. Of course, if we were king–or queen–we wouldn't be worrying about working, but I digress. Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones reported in the May 2013 issue of HBR the results of surveying hundreds of executives about their ideal organization. You can download a podcast of them on this. They uncovered six elements of an enterprise that operates at its … [Read more...]

Don’t Forget the “Why” in Your Mission Statement

A colleague of mine, Gwen Kinsey, led a crisp, interactive presentation at a recent leadership breakfast event. The topic was about how mission statements engage (or not) your employees. Gwen's session drove home a point for me and I'd like to share it here. She put us in small groups and handed out two mission statements, one to half the groups, the other to the other half. Our task was to read the mission we were given and find connections between it and what we value highly. It turned out … [Read more...]

Great Example of Leadership in Action

Living in the Washington DC area, you can't escape the excitement of Washington Redskins fans as their team–finally, after four losing seasons–contends for a playoff spot. At the center of their big turnaround from 3 wins & 6 loses to ending up at the top of their division is their rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin, aka RG III. The Washington Post had an extensive piece recently on this phenomenal leader. What the article revealed was a classic case of some core leadership traits and the … [Read more...]

Reactive vs. Creative Mind-sets…and Results

At the core of The Leadership Circle (360 degree assessment) model are the Reactive tendencies and Creative competencies. If you look at the circle itself, you will see Reactive structure of mind represented by the lower half of the circle and Creative structure by the upper half. When leaders operate from the Reactive mind-set they are, of course, able to achieve at least some level of results through their people. The problem is that, as research shows, at some point they hit a ceiling. … [Read more...]

Employee Engagement in Action–an Example

I actually came across this article from Forbes.com in 2009 but never got around to sharing it. The piece tells about Douglas Conant, the new CEO of Campbell Soup Company, who came on board in 2001 and over the next eight years grew EPS by 5-10% every year. His strategies included invigorating their work force by concentrating on employee engagement. In 2002 62% of employees reported being not actively engaged and 12% were actively disengaged. By 2009, 68% were actively engaged and only 3% … [Read more...]

Fear and Managers’ Fears

You seldom hear the word "fear" in management development workshops. Of course the word is not welcome anywhere in organizations. It's the "F word" in offices and plants. Odd, isn't it, since fear is always lurking in our workplaces, especially during the last few years of economic hell? For some inexplicable reason your people think that you aren't worried about your own job or about the brutal labor market you would be thrown into if you lost it. They think only they have fears. But, as you … [Read more...]

Choose Stewardship Over Entitlement

Most of us have had the experience, at least once in our career, of working for a boss who loved his/her role because it was all about: I'm special (after all, they made me the boss) I deserve extra respect (because I'm special, of course) I have real power (try opposing me and you'll feel the brunt of it) I own this place (let's be clear, this is my operation) I'm more important than my staff (not really, but…well, I guess so) This screams entitlement!, I'm sure you would agree. … [Read more...]