The “Tyranny of the Immediate” Tyrannizes Leaders Most of All

You've probably had a time and priority management course somewhere along the way. Or, maybe you've read a book about it. You learned about how often the less important tasks take up too much of our time, to the detriment of our not tackling the more significant areas of our job duties. There's a reason for this. The less important tasks are usually easier and take less time. In addition, we get to enjoy the repeated satisfaction of checking things off our to-do list. And we look back over our … [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...]

Performance Requires More than Motivation and Ability

People often think that for employees to perform well all they need are the appropriate ability and skills and the motivation to achieve great results. But there is a missing ingredient: opportunity. So says John Boudreau in a recent issue of Talent Management Magazine (p. 10). He is spot on. You can be well trained to build departmental sales and keen to get at it but if your boss, the Director of Sales, hogs all the promising clients and sales calls, you won't have the opportunity to apply … [Read more...]

Communicate Your Strategy Directly from the Top – Don’t “Cascade” it

When presenting the Evaluate to Win™ system, I always get a positive response from executives with the idea of aligning every employee's efforts with corporate strategies and priorities. It's called "embedding" your strategy. It makes perfect sense. It ensures that the contributions of your staff are optimized toward the success of the organization…that is, assuming you have wise strategies. But in order to align your employees' efforts, people at every level–managers and individual … [Read more...]

Build Relationships with Your Staff, for the Brain’s Sake

I can't stand it when a manager, hearing me broach the importance of building trusting relationships with their employees, blurts out the tired old term, touchy-feely. To dismiss the complex role of relationships in fostering sustained high performance is to just not get it as a leader in the 21st century. In a recent posting on the Harvard Business Review Blog, Naomi Eisenberter and George Kohlrieser raise three important points about this from their studies in neuroleadership. "…most of … [Read more...]

Emerging Evidence of the Impact of Better Bosses

It seems to be a "no brainer" that better mid level managers and supervisors will, by the way they lead their people, yield better results. Yet this relationship has been very little researched, formally and academically. A study published in August, however, does shed some light on this. It is available through the (U.S.) National Bureau of Economic Research and is entitled "The Value of Bosses." The research was done on a large company that featured many "technology based service jobs," for … [Read more...]

The Numbers Are Coming

The October 2012 issue of Harvard Business Review features "Big Data" as the theme. There are a number of articles of import for those leaders whose enterprise has access to large amounts of data–operational, market, what have you. They look at where the data is coming from, the increasing role it is playing in business decision-making, how to use it wisely, and how to identify the metrics that best represent your operations and your market environment. They even have a piece on the hottest job: … [Read more...]

Dialing the Ego Just Right

Ego Problem #1 You've seen this individual many times. The employee who regularly shares with you how great he (she) is, what a terrific job he is doing ("I just made an awesome presentation."), how much he knows ("Sorry to correct you but the research on this says…"). He refutes or deflects constructive feedback ("No, you've got it wrong. People actually do like to work with me. I have an expertise they need.") The sad reality is that these people are often really smart. They have a lot … [Read more...]

What’s the Real Reason You Work Those Extra Hours?

Ever notice? When you ask someone how they're doing, they rarely say "fine." No, just about everybody says "busy." Yeah, we're so busy that we have to work all those extra hours–come in early, or work through lunch, or stay late, or pull a Saturday and/or a Sunday…or all of the above. Now, I'm not averse to high performing people working long hours. Often the reality is that there is no way you can get everything you need to do done. Too many mandatory meetings. Too frequent interruptions … [Read more...]

Want to Collaborate? Choose Your Level

We hear so much about collaboration these days. Our work is more complex. The best solutions require input from diverse perspectives. We at Fulcrum Associates have just started working with a fascinating simulation learning event, Friday Night at the ER. In it participants experience the challenge of working in a system where the unit managers must ultimately collaborate in the interest of the whole system. Otherwise, when one unit/part gets the best results for itself, other units–which, … [Read more...]