Published on: Wednesday, March 05, 2014
If you want to destroy worker initiative, blast a hole in productivity, and scribble the bottom line with red ink, there's no better way to do it than by micromanaging your employees. Keeping workers on tight leashes and constantly interrupting them ruins their ability to find thoughtful, profitable ways to do their jobs, and it wastes your valuable time as well.
True organizational productivity requires engaged, informed personnel willing and eager to work toward the organization's mission and vision. And it all starts with a simple concept that's amazingly hard for some people to implement: trust.
Published on: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
In business, we measure success by the bottom line, or as I've heard some people put it, "We keep score with dollars." When you get right down to it, profit represents the combination of drive, work and efficiency we call high productivity. Staying busy isn't enough; we have to stay busy at what matters, in ways that move us toward well-defined goals and objectives.
Published on: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
In my upcoming book Execution IS the Strategy
(Berrett-Koehler, March 2014), I emphasize the fact that, for all intents and purposes, leaders can no longer legislate strategic execution or plan too far into the future. Rigid strategies quickly become stale in the current business arena, and binding our front-line team members to them may result in consistent failure.
A more effective solution? Empower individuals to take ownership of their jobs
, so they can use whatever strategy works best in the moment to execute effectively and productively. In fact, leaders often don’t know the best way to achieve a goal. They rely on their team members to tell them how. Today's leader acts as a collaborative facilitator, asking questions and determining what obstacles are in the way of success. They scout ahead and smooth the way for the team, so everyone can succeed more easily.
Published on: Friday, February 07, 2014
Much of what comes out of people's mouths in business these days is sugar-coated, couched and polished. The messages are manufactured, trying to strike just the right tone. Genuine emotion stands in stark contrast. It's a real person sharing a real feeling. When we hear it, we're riveted — for one because it's rare, but also because it's real. Sometimes it's uncomfortable and a little messy. But that's what makes it powerful. No one is trying to hide anything.
We hide emotions in an attempt to stay in control, look strong, and keep things at arm's length. But in reality, doing so diminishes our control and weakens our capacity to lead — because it hamstrings us. We end up not saying what we mean or meaning what we say. We beat around the bush, and that never connects, compels or communicates powerfully.
Published on: Monday, February 03, 2014
A recent early morning hike in Malibu, California, led me to a beach, where I sat on a rock and watched surfers. I marveled at these courageous men and women who woke before dawn, endured freezing water, paddled through barreling waves, and even risked shark attacks, all for the sake of, maybe, catching an epic ride.
After about 15 minutes, it was easy to tell the surfers apart by their style of surfing, their handling of the board, their skill, and their playfulness.
What really struck me though, was what they had in common. No matter how good, how experienced, how graceful they were on the wave, every surfer ended their ride in precisely the same way: By falling.
Published on: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Setting strategy is elegant. It's a clean and sophisticated process of collecting and analyzing data, generating insights, and identifying smart paths forward. Done at arm's length in an academic fashion, tight logic is the only glue needed to hold ideas together. The output is a smooth narrative in a professional-looking document made up of Venn diagrams, 2×2 matrices and high-level plans of attack. Jettison this business. Focus efforts here. Build up this organizational capability.
Executives buy into the plan. The strategists, confident in their intellectual prowess, quietly recede into the background.
Then the trouble starts. Execution is a minefield. The clean and elegant logic of strategy gets dirty in the real world. Agendas compete. Priorities clash. Decisions stall. Communication breaks down. Timelines get blown. It's never a question of if
these problems will happen; it's a question of when and to what degree. Managing these challenges takes street smarts and muscle. Overwhelming success means you take a few punches, but still make the plan happen. The process is always a little ugly. The executors' dirt-in-the-fingernails view on the ground is much different from the strategists' high-minded view from the air.
Published on: Monday, January 27, 2014
Carlos Brito, Chief Executive Officer of Anheuser-Busch InBev, one of the world's top five consumer products companies, opened his World Business Forum presentation by telling attendees that corporate culture can remain the same across geographical regions, and it's important not to dilute a winning culture as companies grow. If you have the right high-performance culture, which makes for a high-performance company, you can, and must, have a "company way" of doing things, a way that can be recognized no matter where in the world the office is located.
Published on: Thursday, January 23, 2014
In the leadership leverage machine, your input strength is nothing less than your leadership ability. You get more power into your lever by becoming a stronger leader. Today's simpler information exchange, better communications, and increased mobility have changed the meaning of "leader." Here's how you can take advantage of the recent reset in business attitudes:
Published on: Friday, January 17, 2014
With Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday being honored next week, we took a moment to reflect upon the man and his contributions to our country. I came away with a renewed appreciation of his leadership skills. In a horribly challenging environment, he motivated people, bridged seemingly insurmountable divides, built alliances, and navigated necessary lasting change on a national level. Top tier leader material for sure, one truly worthy of being named "King."
Marveling at the appropriateness of his name, I drew a connection to The Three Questions
, a short story by the great Russian author Leo Tolstoy. In the story, there is a king who sought the answers to three questions. He believed that they were the most important questions in life and that knowing the correct answers would make him a better king. He asked many wise and educated people in his kingdom but was unable to determine a consensus, so, finally, he sought the opinion of an old hermit and received sage advice.
Published on: Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Last year Dina, a CEO I'd been working with, felt that leaders on her team were playing it too safe. They weren't finding and pursuing new growth opportunities, and it was crippling the organization. She kicked off her October management team meeting, which I was attending, by reading the following passage from my book:
"The dangers of taking too much
risk are very clear. We're reminded of them in the news every day. Businesses, families and individuals are ruined in shocking fashion—'150-year-old bank and pillar of Wall Street is gone in the blink of an eye'; 'Major oil company loses $90 billion in market value in three months'; 'Kite surfer tries his luck in a hurricane and slams into a building.' Astounding lapses in judgment are everywhere. The warnings of overambitious risks are clear—watch yourself, and don't do anything stupid."
Unfortunately, we rarely hear any warnings about playing it safe.
Published on: Monday, January 06, 2014
I'm not a big believer in New Year's resolutions. Frustrated by bad habits like procrastination, disorganization, or a lack of exercise, many of us vow to change. We make a New Year's resolution such as, "This year, I'll walk on my treadmill three times a week!" By March, the treadmill is gathering dust down in the basement. Defeated, we give up further attempts to change.
Why does this happen? I believe it's because we don't make reasonable resolutions to begin with and thus fail to keep the ones we make. So people either stop setting goals (never a good choice), or they make resolutions that are ridiculously easy to keep.
Published on: Monday, December 30, 2013
"Sophia, Daniel," I yelled across the apartment at my seven-year-old and five-year-old who were playing together in their bedroom. "The school bus arrives in 10 minutes. Let's see who can brush their teeth and get to the door first."
They dashed towards the bathroom, giggling. Two minutes later, Daniel had won with Sophia a close second. I smiled at my own victory. I had achieved my goal of getting them to the door with their teeth brushed in record time.
Or did I?
Yes, they were at the door in time. But two minutes from start to finish meant that they didn't brush their teeth very well, they definitely didn't floss, and the bathroom was a mess.
Published on: Friday, December 27, 2013
If you are looking to read just one book over the holidays, or in early 2014, one that will launch your career or business to new heights, I recommend Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World
by renowned CEO advisor Bob Rosen.
We've given it our coveted Sirius Award — The Best Business and Career Book for 2013
. The Sirius Award is a members' choice honor bestowed upon great new books that enlightened business executives in leadership and their careers during the past year. The award is intended to bring increased recognition to insightful business books and their creators.
Published on: Monday, December 23, 2013
At the 2013 World Innovation Forum in New York City, ExecuNet gained access to the perspectives of some of the world's foremost authorities, authors, consultants and creative pioneers. Over the last few months, we have posted interviews we conducted with some of the speakers and articles on the various stage presentations. Here is the complete executive summary of the event. We invite you to take some time exploring the boundaries of innovation, as we all seek those unknowns that will help us get ahead in business and with our careers, too.
Published on: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The strategic question that drives business today is not "What else can we make?" but "What else can we do for our customers?" Companies are increasingly finding success not by being responsive to customers' stated preferences but by defining what customers are looking for and shaping their "criteria of purchase." Find out more in When Marketing is Strategy.
Wrong people have the ability to "destroy the social fabric of the organization” by creating friction, drama, tension, and hostility among employees. Check out four ways hurricane employees can wreak havoc in your company and learn The Real Costs of Keeping a Toxic Employee
Six out of 10 companies are using video Interviews. Are you? Read 4 Huge Benefits of Video Interviews You Might Not Realize
to learn four ways video interviewing can help you beat your competition and win the war for talent:
Published on: Monday, December 16, 2013
Emotional courage is an essential work skill. Here's how to burnish yours.
"Emotional courage enables us to do what we know, what we believe or what we think needs to be done," says Peter Bregman, the CEO of Bregman Partners
, a New York-based global management consulting firm that advises CEOs and their leadership teams. The author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done
spoke to Life Reimagined about the concept of emotional courage and its role in the workplace.
Published on: Friday, December 06, 2013
There has been a lot of news coverage lately about bullying between teammates on the Miami Dolphins. By all accounts, it's an ugly situation — the team in disarray, sponsors cancelling contracts, season ticket holders cancelling tickets, the Dolphin brand becoming a punch line for comedians' jokes, and an overall loss of value for the franchise. To my mind, the real story is that so many people are surprised by it.
The fact is bullying is a real problem in business, and can become a major issue if it's ignored or unchecked. It's something that can happen in any business, which successful owners understand and, when necessary, take steps to overcome. Professional footballer players notwithstanding, not all workplace bullies are men. Women can be bullies as well, and are sometimes downright nasty to each other as well as intimidating to men.
Published on: Monday, December 02, 2013
There are invisible barriers to strategy execution. Business-as-usual objectives getting substituted for strategic objectives is a common problem preventing companies from making real progress. Read How to Make Sure Strategy Doesn't Kill Your Business
and learn three rules to improve your strategy execution.
Listening, learning and immediately contributing all stem from one's attitude. Find out why attitude matters most when you read 5 Ways New Employees Reveal They're Exceptional.
The vast majority of poor business decisions arise from one of five types of mistakes. If you aren't on the lookout for them, you'll fall prey too. No matter what type of business you run, you'll want to read The Five Traps of High-Stakes Decision-Making.
Published on: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
It was getting close to lunchtime and the people seated around the table — the CEO and seven of his direct reports — were clearly getting antsy. But it wasn't because they were hungry. In fact, they'd been eating snacks all morning, mostly out of boredom.
The COO was at the front of the room, talking through slides projected on a screen. The conversation was primarily one-way, with the COO explaining and, when necessary, defending his work.
Finally, when we broke for lunch, the CEO took me aside and told me what we all already knew: "This is a waste of time."
Published on: Friday, November 15, 2013
I was listening to Jack Welch the other day, and he gave good advice on how to hire the best person for the job and what to look for. It wasn't too surprising at first... but then he added a final thought on what's really important that changed my view.
Jack started with "smarts" and "integrity" — which are almost a given for all the good candidates. "Smarts" is not just IQ but common sense as well. If a candidate's integrity and values don't match your organization's values — let them succeed elsewhere.
Jack then outlined what he uses to distinguish the "best" candidates from the "good" candidates. He calls it "The four Es and one P."
Qualities of the best leaders:
Published on: Tuesday, November 05, 2013
What advice would you give an incoming CEO?
It's astounding how one simple question can be the catalyst for some highly informed and very relevant dialogue about one of the most critical challenges any organization will face — that is, how to effectively prepare a new CEO for the role he is about to assume.
No matter the experience they bring, many of us have learned that what worked in one environment, industry or company may indeed prove a disaster in another. What seems far more important are those intangibles that speak far beyond a new CEO's credentials, namely their character, how they make decisions, where and with whom they spend their time, and how they manage, communicate and inspire.
Published on: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
There are thousands of books on leadership, all with relevant and insightful theories on improving leadership skills. Yet, when you boil it all down you are left with one four-letter word. If you focus on it you can change your success equation. Read The Cornerstone of Great Leadership (Boiled Down to a Single Word)
and find out what that word is.
Exploring how to creatively and cost-effectively externalize core competencies is now as much an insurance policy as invitation to innovate. If you’re not making more customers more core to your competencies, you are defaulting to enterprise drift. Give your customers the tools and the opportunity to make your core competencies more valuable to the both of you. Read more in Do Customers Even Care about Your Core Competence?
Conflicts can be healthy. The key is to know how to phrase your arguments so people will actually listen and to know what you are "for" and what you are "against." Read more in The Key to Healthy Conflict.
Published on: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
People in the US workforce are spending 41 percent of their time convincing people to give up something they value (attention, money, time) for something offered to them. Bestselling author Daniel Pink shared this statistic with World Innovation Forum attendees, where ExecuNet exclusively reported, and proclaimed that "like it or not, we are all in sales now, and sales isn't what it used to be."
Pink said that 10 to 15 years ago, people projected there would be a diminishing need for salespeople due to the rapid explosion of the information age. That has not happened. Pink stated the "world has moved from buyer beware to seller beware." This has happened because salespeople are no longer the experts; consumers have more options; and now consumers have ways to talk to companies and each other about products.
Published on: Monday, October 28, 2013
Ankur Jain, founder and CEO of networking company HUMIN, told World Innovation Forum in NYC delegates that the leaders of much bigger, far more developed businesses need to understand that industries are being disrupted in a matter of months now, instead of years or decades. He said, "Innovation isn't only a matter of thinking outside the box; innovation is about thinking inside a different box."
Published on: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Yesterday you were a regional manager. Today you're the CEO. What would you do to make the company better? Asking "What would you do?" is more powerful than you think. Read what one CEO had to say about the experience: Improve Your Company With One Question… Asked Countless Times
Big data enables you to consider and act upon everything you know about your individual customers. It leverages the rich, transactional data that today is aggregated and then discarded. You can see what is normal for an individual and what isn't. These are the types of details about your customers that don't present themselves in an aggregated view. Changes in behavior take too long to show up in an average but often represent a critical opportunity to engage a customer. Read more in Why Big Data is Your Key to Beefing Up Customer Engagement
Stop wasting time and resources enforcing paid time off. Treat your employees like the mature adults they are, and watch the work get done and productivity actually improve because people are working when and how they need to for success. Check out what this company did in Forget Vacations and Sick Leave: A New Way to Give Employees Time Off
Published on: Monday, October 21, 2013
At the World Innovation Forum in NYC, where ExecuNet exclusively reported, Luke Williams, an expert in innovative and disruptive thinking who specializes in the development of new brands, compared the current business climate to the weather, "where it's getting exponentially harder to get an accurate view of what even the near-term future will look like."
Williams noted how businesses rise and fall faster than ever before. He cited how just five years ago, the global smartphone market was dominated by three players, none of which are today's market leaders – Samsung and Apple. "The speed of this change is unprecedented," Williams said. "It's getting harder to get an accurate view of what the future's about."
Published on: Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Rebecca Henderson, Co-director of the Business and Environment Initiative at Harvard, told World Innovation Forum in NYC delegates that, "We're getting to the edge of the plant's natural resources and that's going to change the way we do business."
Authenticity, engagement, values, and emotions are essential to building sustainable/regenerative corporations. She said we are consuming the planet's natural resources faster than they can be replenished, and unless businesses change the way they do business and the way we as a global community produce energy, we are running an irreversible global risk.
Published on: Friday, October 04, 2013
The Powerful Trait Shared by Gates, Jobs, Buffett, Zuckerberg... (Inc.)
Simplicity, truth, consistency and positivity are keys to success.6 Ways to Make Your Leadership and Workplace Fun Again (Forbes)
Learn how allowing your people to fail, think, openness, group accountability can make a difference.Disappointment Sucks. So, Now What? (Eblin Group)
If you haven't been disappointed, you haven't lived. 4 tricks to get over it.
Published on: Friday, September 27, 2013
Published on: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Published on: Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Dr. Robert Rosen, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Healthy Companies, has long been on a mission to transform the world of business, one leader at a time. Bob has distilled his most critical findings into the Healthy Leadership Model, which shows leaders at every level how to develop six specific dimensions of themselves for greater impact. In the second half of this exclusive interview with ExecuNet
, Dr. Rosen outlines how companies that aren't healthy become healthy and answers the question: "When is it time for a leader to leave?"
Published on: Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Published on: Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Dr. Robert Rosen, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Healthy Companies, has long been on a mission to transform the world of business, one leader at a time. Bob has distilled his most critical findings into the Healthy Leadership Model, which shows leaders at every level how to develop six specific dimensions of themselves for greater impact. In this exclusive interview with ExecuNet
he explains why we're experiencing a crisis in leadership; why many of today's leaders are ill-equipped to manage the challenges they face; the personal dimensions that fuel—and refuel—the world's top leaders; and the warnings signs of declining health that leaders need to be on the lookout for.
Published on: Friday, August 02, 2013
An executive recruiter friend of mine once told me that whenever he interviews someone for a C-suite role, he structures the interview to learn about their childhood, their upbringing, what's important to them and what they were like in high school and college.
At first, I have to admit some bewilderment upon hearing of his approach. How could our younger years really relate to the key performance indicators of a senior executive role? How could one's place in a family impact their view of an organization? And how could their lack of social skills at an earlier age really matter now during a critical interview for a major leadership role?
Published on: Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Published on: Monday, July 22, 2013
Who says timing isn't everything?
Procter & Gamble welcomed back former CEO A.G. Lafley, who led the company during a period of record growth between 2000 and 2009, as its new CEO, President and Chairman following the sudden retirement of CEO Bob McDonald, who cited criticism of his leadership as a distraction for the company. That criticism came despite the fact that Lafley had reportedly groomed McDonald to succeed him.
The news cheered analysts and investors who have actually had much to cheer of late. Shares of P&G stock hit a record high in April, and with Lafley at the helm, analysts will surely be watching for signs of any shifts of strategy, research, innovating and branding that could be felt by shareholders.
Published on: Tuesday, July 09, 2013
How do you market to consumers when their preferences, loyalty and activism around your products begins to redefine your organization and your brand? That's just one of the questions Michael Martin, general manager, North America for sporting goods company Vibram, has had to face head on as his company’s "FiveFingers" footwear has begun to influence the larger running world.
In an exclusive interview at the 2013 World Innovation Forum, Martin sat down with me for a conversation
focused on innovations for the marketing function, the creation of a new customer base, and the best ways to prepare for growth when a product takes on an unexpected life of its own.
Published on: Monday, July 08, 2013
An old and somewhat misattributed proverb confirms what many of us know to be true (no matter who first uttered it): "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment."
In reality, any experienced business leader could have voiced the same point of view. But the real question, and the deeper challenge for those with hiring authority, is whether individuals they would recruit would actually acknowledge its relevance in their own careers and their own lives, too.
Too often, as is now being revealed in the pathetic case of the hiring of a new athletic director at Rutgers, leaders in business, academia and other circles find out the hard way that recruiting experience alone doesn't ensure you will be adding individuals of the highest moral caliber or those whose character and professional behavior is beyond reproach. Perhaps because job candidates must audition the very best of themselves, there remains a proclivity to park one's mistakes and shortcomings at the curb and to focus exclusively on what they've achieved. In fact, many management job candidates are never really probed for insights about where they've failed, who they've let down, and whether they've actually learned from their failings.
Published on: Monday, July 01, 2013
When I first heard the term servant leadership, I didn't know what was going to follow. Yet, the deeper I dove into the incredible body of knowledge on the subject and its potential influence on the lives and careers of senior executives across industries and functions, the more I became interested in the topic and the more I felt our world would be wise to take notice.
Published on: Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Here are three more great reads for the week, featuring articles I believe will help you achieve more and lead a better executive life.2 Sentences that Engage Customers
Customers today have a myriad of choices to meet their needs. Frequently, businesses compete for attention by telling their story and what they make/do. However, it is amazingly simple to engage customers if you think of them first!Three Ways to Add Value as a Leader
Learn why BP (best practices) + DE (daily execution) = VBO (value based outcomes) and what recognition, respect and reinforcement have to do with it.7 Social Media Tips for CEOs
"Thought leadership" marketing and communication has become a key strategy for CEOs to differentiate themselves, their brands and their companies. There are a plethora of benefits when senior executives are socially active. Discover what successful social CEOs are doing.
Published on: Wednesday, June 12, 2013
It's a mistake that's most commonly made among companies in crisis and by those seeking to turn things around after a particularly rough patch. It's an error borne too often from the search for a quick or easy way out of a mess, and one sometimes grounded in a combination of short-term thinking, a failure to take risks, the desire to satisfy too many people, and/or a rush to judgment. It is the misguided belief that one executive leader can change things on her own.
Looking for too much in too few, or perhaps to singularly focus on the form of a new CEO or C-suite leader to lead the enterprise to new heights, is often a recipe for long-term disappointment.
Published on: Monday, June 10, 2013
Here is the second installment of my great reads for the week series, featuring articles I found that I believe will help you achieve more and lead a better executive life.
This week, I was thrilled to discover I am more innovative than I ever expected and eight easy ways to jumpstart the process. I learned that good price is only the tenth thing customers want and that when people are upset, it matters less what you tell them
than what you enable them to tell you
- 8 Techniques For People Who Don't Think They're Innovative (CEO.com)
- 10 Things Every Customer Wants (Inc.com)
- How to Listen When Someone is Venting (Harvard Business Review)
Published on: Wednesday, June 05, 2013
Employers have been calling the shots in the US workforce for five years running.
They've been dictating the terms of compensation. Framing the conversation relating to employee relocation. Downsizing when and where necessary. And they've been getting more out of more people, especially at the executive level.
Yet there will come a time — one that's especially hard to predict in this historically challenging business climate — when more power will shift into the hands of the most talented business leaders, and when they will have far more leverage in terms of career opportunities, salary expectations and options than they do today.
Published on: Monday, June 03, 2013
Keeping up with all the business-related articles of value is hard.
As part of ExecuNet's commitment to you, and to help you stay informed, I am going to regularly share with you the three to five "great" reads that I found that I believe will help you achieve more and lead a better executive life.
This week, I was surprised to discover what my signature says about my leadership; I was fascinated to learn what separates six "exceptional" leaders from just "good" leaders; and I was reminded that using humor is a vital and often overlooked key to success in life and in business.
Read the articles to learn more:
- What Your Signature Says About Your Leadership (CEO.com)
- 6 Things Exceptional Executives do Better (INC.com)
- 10 Reasons Why Humor is a Key to Success at Work (Forbes.com)
Published on: Thursday, May 30, 2013
Trying to do more with less? Being pulled in too many directions? A growing list of priorities competing for attention? This is post-recession executive life where companies with limited resources are demanding too much from leaders and managers, fast-tracking the risk for burn-out, high-stress and disengagement.
ExecuNet members discussed how they're juggling all the priorities on their lengthening to-do list:
Published on: Tuesday, May 28, 2013
If you've had a few more chances in recent weeks than usual to breathe some fresh air and appreciate the arrival of spring, you're surely the better for it. There's nothing better to break up a challenging business day than with a brief pause to enjoy nature and the springtime weather and reflect on how our work makes a difference.
But in addition to the promise of green grass and lush natural environments comes the real prospect of a sustained move in executive hiring, reflected in part by the latest government reports of corporate hiring and positively revised signals of gross domestic product.
Published on: Friday, May 24, 2013
What does it take to build and lead a high-performance team?
Maureen Broderick, a pioneer of professional service marketing knows, and during an exclusive conversation with ExecuNet
, she framed some of the challenges and opportunities associated with moving a team of high-potential leaders to the cultural common ground required to achieve superior performance. Spend some time learning what it takes to lead a high-performance team, and take away key insights on what might be required to build such a team within your organization and the results it can achieve if it's nurtured and led with all the requirements for success.
Published on: Monday, May 20, 2013
The stresses of some jobs just have a way of sucking the enthusiasm and morale right out of you. Whether related directly to the work, the boss and/or the overall environment, sometimes all the wrong elements can combine to land you in the middle of an executive career maelstrom.
Now, it seems, there's hard medical evidence that suggests work-related stress can do significant damage to the most stressed executives' hearts, according to the research findings of a study from Tel Aviv University and published in the journal, Psychosomatic Medicine
Published on: Monday, May 06, 2013
Trust. There are few intangibles in the world of business as valuable and as sought after.
Trust cements relationships between goods and services providers and their customers. It sets the table for important, sometimes sensitive discussions between professional colleagues, and it speaks to the spirit of collaboration in joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and other important business initiatives.
Published on: Thursday, May 02, 2013
What kind of leader are you? Do you empower your team to make their own decisions or do you micromanage? Is there ever
a reason to micromanage? That's an active discussion in one of ExecuNet's community Roundtable groups.
"From my perspective, micromanagement is never necessary," said an ExecuNet member, the CEO of an Internet company. "In my career, I have seen the need for so-called micromanagement and disagree with the uses… One of the most successful organizations that handles every scenario mentioned without micromanaging that I had the pleasure of working with straight from college is Toyota."
Published on: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
There was a time when employees were assumed to be all the same. When there was no particular interest in diversifying the workforce, nor recognizing any differences among the people whom it comprised. That was the time when some people simply didn't fit because of who they were. Prejudice in those days was institutional as well as personal.
Published on: Thursday, April 25, 2013
The JETS got it right. As a JETS fan, I really don't get to say that very often. But when they traded all-world defensive back Darrelle Revis to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week, the JETS did indeed get it right.
Revis, the unquestioned best player on the team, is coming off a serious knee injury and JETS nation wondered if he'd be the same player when he returned. Additionally, he was entering the last year of his contract, so if the JETS didn't deal him now they could have ended up seeing him depart via free agency and only receive a compensatory draft pick for him. With his history of absurdly high contract demands, re-signing him seemed unlikely — and the money would be better spent on a quarterback.
Published on: Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Recent news headlines have raised the question of whether working from home or working from a corporate office is the best way to get workers to reach their full potential and productivity.
Those who argue that working from home is best overlook the fact that critical workplace intelligence is routinely shared by colleagues who work in the same physical environment.
Those who believe working from a corporate office is the best course likewise fail to recognize all the drains on productivity (and energy) when one is forced to commute to and from the office and provide 'face time' when so often it goes unnoticed and isn't necessary every day.
Published on: Tuesday, April 09, 2013
We've all heard the term "It's a brave new world."
In some industries, regions and executive careers, the pressures of the global economy, fierce competition and frustratingly slow growth have combined to create a tipping point for organizations and leaders. For these companies and leaders, now is the time to face new challenges with a renewed sense of internal commitment and strength.
Published on: Tuesday, April 02, 2013
How can enterprise expectations for better performance continue to escalate when the resources required to achieve it continue to dry up?
That's the question many ExecuNet members are asking as they log incredibly long hours and seize on gains in efficiency only to feel that their own work levels are simply unsustainable. Welcome to the 'What have you done for me lately?' economy.
Published on: Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Recently, I had a conversation with Bryan Mattimore, one of America's top experts in applied creativity, ideation facilitation and innovation management. Mattimore is the inventor of the creativity training game, Bright Ideas and bestselling author of 99% Inspiration
. I was particularly curious to know what led him to explore the power of creativity and why organizations need to be open to them. Here is an excerpt of what he had to say on that topic:
"There were two pivotal moments in my life. The first was when I grew up with my father. He was an entrepreneur with Time Inc., and he started a company called SAMI. That environment really encouraged me and made me wonder how he got his ideas. That really set me on a lifetime search and a passion for understanding the creative process."
Published on: Monday, March 25, 2013
It may well be that the two most important executive skill sets in this economy are managing one's time effectively and managing up to consistently lofty performance expectations.
To hear executives describe the pressures they face in this volatile business climate, their jobs haven't gotten any easier and don't appear to be lightening up anytime soon. Ask any executive leader and he or she will tell you that the demands on their time are nothing short of unprecedented, ditto for the expectations on the most senior management leaders and shareholders.
Published on: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
There aren't a lot of distractions from the busy executive's typical workweek that are as fun, exciting and filled with such potential for improbability as the annual NCAA men's Division 1 basketball tournament, or what most of us with a favorite team in 'the dance' refer to as March Madness.
The storylines alone are enough to attract even the most committed executive leaders. Just consider:
Published on: Friday, March 01, 2013
In this candid conversation
with ExecuNet, innovative branding strategist Russell Stevens tells us about his newest venture, innovation and collaboration.
"There's nothing better than a big idea," he says. His company doesn't try to solve every idea. Instead they focus on solving a very specific problem, using the very best that data and technology have to offer.
Published on: Thursday, February 21, 2013
"If you think family business is just business, try firing your mother-in-law and then go to Thanksgiving dinner." Or, worse, try being an outsider in a family business and firing the well-liked, but underperforming, golden child. Those are some of the situations that arise when working in a family business.
Published on: Monday, February 18, 2013
The US economy has improved in a variety of ways in recent months, but that progress has been obscured by the fog of years and disappointments past and frustrating current events ranging from layoffs across the financial services sector, troubling societal headlines and Washington gridlock.
The real estate market as a whole is improving. Household debt is shrinking — thanks in large part to record-low interest rates — and state governments continue to confront serious budget challenges with serious, but certainly painful spending cutbacks.
There are reasons to feel better about where our economy is heading. And yes, there are also reasons to be very concerned about where our country is heading, particularly when one takes a dispassionate look at the numbers relating to the federal deficit and our national debt.
Published on: Friday, February 15, 2013
There are really only two choices to make when it comes to navigating your enterprise around the uncertainty that now permeates the US economy.
You can sit idle, hoping the politicians in Washington come to their senses and find a way to create the conditions that will lead you to hire, or you can get on with your business and invest for the long run knowing that neither the competitive, legislative nor the economic landscape is going to hand you any big gifts in the near-term.
Sure, easier said than done. But what big, successful decision to grow a business didn't require some sense of risk taking and courage?
Published on: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
In a conversation with ExecuNet's Senior Contributing Editor Joseph Daniel McCool, and ExecuNet members, organizational development and change management expert Nancy Di Dia discussed her career journey and views on workplace culture. Here is an excerpt from that teleconference.
I was actually not born into being a diversity practitioner. At the time when I was going to school, they didn't have this as an area of study, nor was it anything when I was growing up as a Baby Boomer that corporations looked at. I spent the majority of my career at a major financial services organization in a variety of business management positions on the retail side of the house. In that time, I lived through some really remarkable managers and some pretty unremarkable leaders and managers. The unremarkable ones are primarily the reason why I'm doing this work.
What I mean by that is I began to see, early in my career, a lot of marginalization, unconscious bias occurring, micro-inequities. Although we didn't know what that term was until the mid 90s.
Published on: Thursday, February 07, 2013
Happy February! How are your New Year's resolutions holding up? If managing work/life balance and reducing stress were among them, I hope you have been effective because heavy workloads have challenged executives, and will consequently create problems for companies.
More than half (57 percent) of the executive recruiters surveyed by ExecuNet rated workloads very high, and an additional 25 percent say they're the highest they've ever seen. The survey also found that 53 percent believe executives' current workloads are unsustainable and that employers will feel significant repercussions because they've stretched management leaders too thin for too long.
Published on: Tuesday, February 05, 2013
In this candid conversation
with ExecuNet, innovative branding strategist Russell Stevens shares his views on how great leaders encourage creative thinking within an organization.
He says creativity must be risk-free for the creative types. "You have to take the sense of risk out of it. You can't have people be truly creative if you're going to punish them for it not working. The leaders have to stand side by side with the creatives. You can't just talk about it. You have to commit to it."
Published on: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Improvements in the US real estate market, higher rates of employment and hope for better economic conditions in the new year are combining in some really positive ways to give business leaders some level of confidence that the business cycle many of us learned about in college remains a relevant signpost of growth. What's that? Is it possible that some of you haven't heard of the 'business cycle' for years?
Well, if that's the case, it's probably because the US economy has, over the past four-and-a-half years, been stuck in a historic trough so deep and filled with bad news about business growth and pessimistic views of the economic landscape it's been hard to envision a return to the boom years we knew over a decade ago.
Published on: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The US economy has been in a bad mood for too long, but you needn't let any lingering uncertainty get you down. Actually, in times like these, stepping away from the day-to-day firefighting and routine meeting schedule can give business leaders time not only to re-charge their batteries, but also the kind of perspective that gets us asking the big-picture questions, like:
- Am I in the right role? Am I in the right organization? And am I heading in the right career direction?
- Is all this travel and time away from family and friends really worth it?
- Am I doing what I love or can I find something I'm passionate about, through work or in my personal life?
Published on: Friday, January 18, 2013
There comes a time for every business leader — if not just once, perhaps several times over the course of a career — when the future of their organization and its people hinges on the decisions he or she is about to make. The business as they've known it will never be the same. And the individual executive may also be forever changed.
It's easy to see how the call for leadership manifests itself in times of war or conflict. Bravery on the battlefield is as much about courage and intestinal fortitude as it is the combination of serious challenges and equally serious men and women committed to their cause and willing to risk it all to achieve what they believe is right.
Maybe that's why some business leaders like to look to history for insight on how to be a better leader. How to lead their charges more effectively. And how to be courageous when all seems lost.
Published on: Monday, January 14, 2013
Don Tapscott is a globally recognized author, speaker and advisor on the convergence of media, technology and innovation who sees a corporate revolution on the horizon. But the question is: who, exactly, will lead it? Who will overthrow and for what purposes?
Tapscott outlines his view of the future in this exclusive ExecuNet interview
, taped behind the scenes of the 2012 World Business Forum in New York City, where he shared his views on the future of business, the convergence of technology and media and what leaders can do to exploit new opportunities.
Published on: Friday, January 04, 2013
The recent, unprecedented move by the Federal Reserve to tie an eventual increase in short-term interest rates to certain unemployment and inflation targets now provides business leaders with some of the policy-making guidance they can use to assess the business climate for growth in 2013 and beyond.
What the Federal Reserve did, in essence, was to remove a bit of uncertainty from the minds of CEOs, CFOs and investors, too, by telegraphing interest rate hikes based on unemployment and inflation thresholds rather than forecast dates roughly 24 months into the future.
That was a positive sign that may just give the federal government the momentum it needs to spur CEO confidence in the economy and push companies to start hiring again by pushing beyond the kind of partisan politics that has had business leaders shaking their heads in resignation for far too long.
Published on: Wednesday, January 02, 2013
As the business world continues to globalize and a projected five billion people become socially and professionally interconnected over the next 10 years, London School of Business professor Lynda Gratton sees many possibilities for the future of work.
So what are the implications — and potential — for high performing individuals and teams? And what will organizations expect of executive leaders that they aren't now providing?
Published on: Thursday, December 27, 2012
I've referred to the annual World Business Forum
as a two-day crash MBA headlined by all-star professors. If the event is the course, then the executive summary would be the textbook.
Published on: Friday, December 21, 2012
In this candid conversation
with ExecuNet, innovative branding strategist Russell Stevens shares his views on why social engagement is so important to business today, the future of monologue brands, and other aspects of executive life.
He says there is an incredible amount of downward pressure on CMOs to do more with less and that advertising on TV is not the only way to build a brand, nor does it guarantee engagement. He states that if "marketers can figure out how to engage people, at scale, using all this great media, you now have a much more emotionally engaging, but measurable, way of connecting with people. That's the foundation toward moving toward social media."
Published on: Monday, December 17, 2012
As a founding partner of Insigniam, an international consulting firm dedicated to driving transformation and catalyzing breakthrough results, Nathan Rosenberg has gotten a front-row seat on the kinds of change initiatives that can lead to phenomenal growth.
Rosenberg says there are four steps any innovation-minded company must take in order to embark on the kind of change initiative that could reap significant new results, and he outlines them in this exclusive ExecuNet interview
shot behind-the-scenes at the 2012 World Business Forum.
Published on: Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The hyper-competitive market for Manhattan real estate taught Barbara Corcoran some tough business lessons, some of which she uses today on the hit television show Shark Tank to assess the merit of investing in a wide range of startup companies.
So do you really have to have gnashing teeth or sharp elbows to compete and win in a wildly competitive or regularly disrupted industry? And are successful entrepreneurs really wired a bit differently from the rest of us?
Published on: Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Business leaders have been stymied, frustrated and held back by the indecision and uncertainty that has clouded the US economy for more than four years. It is for this reason some economists, authors and other notables have described the global business condition with the term "VUCA" – representing volatility, uncertainty, change and ambiguity.
Yet, now with the results of the November election known, and likely more of the same gridlock on Washington's docket, it's time for business leaders to get on with the business of rebuilding their companies. It's time to take our collective fingers off the "Pause" button and strive for the kind of growth we used to know.
But that's going to require significant measures of personal and enterprise resolve, re-investment, confidence and a commitment to pursue business expansion even if the politicians in Washington can't find room to compromise and get the nation more firmly on the path of economic renewal and financial sustainability.
Published on: Monday, December 03, 2012
Until recently, Mr. Stevens was a partner at the strategic communications agency SS+K, guiding the companyâ€™s consulting group and business development operations. In May 2012, he left to begin Saddle River Group, a boutique consulting and investment practice, with long-time friend and former AOL President Ron Grant.
In this candid conversation
with ExecuNet, Mr. Stevens shares his views on when to follow one's passions as a career, what to do when you find yourself at a career crossroads, and other aspects of executive life.
Published on: Monday, November 26, 2012
The Roman author, orator and politician Cicero is credited with acknowledging the gifts of gratitude with these words: "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."
A lesser-known, modern-day author, likewise, expressed the same sentiment with these words: "Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision of tomorrow."
So what does gratitude have to do with executive leadership?
For starters, it helps keep us all grounded and mindful that others helped create the conditions that led to our success. Sure, there are a lot of "self-made" men and women of distinction throughout the business world. But to say they achieved success without the work, investment, encouragement and/or guidance of others would be a stretch. None of us works and achieves in a vacuum.
Published on: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
There is something highly revealing (and also far more predictive of executive performance) in the language executives use to describe what they've done, where they've been and why it mattered to their previous employers. It is their use of the word 'I'; in describing how their organizations overcame adversity, beat the competition or turned things around. And it may exhibit a startling lack of self-awareness and humility for those interested in vetting the kind of leader required by today's enterprises.
Published on: Thursday, November 08, 2012
Where is your company going? How fast will it grow? And will it be able to attract the kind of people and innovation capital necessary to reach its objectives? It likely all depends on the network of conversations currently underway within your enterprise. Just consider the prospects your sales team may be talking with, or the technology suppliers already engaged with your IT team. Then there are prospective employees who may be interviewing right this minute with your HR leaders and hiring managers.
Published on: Tuesday, November 06, 2012
I can't remember a time when so many business people were anxious to learn exactly who will be president of the United States for the next four years. Perhaps because of the tough economic climate we've all been fighting through for the past four years, it seems many business leaders yearn for the certainty of knowing exactly how government policies, regulations and tax frameworks will impact them and their enterprises moving forward so they can effectively plan for the future.
Published on: Monday, October 29, 2012
Former US Secretary of Defense and ex-university president, Dr. Robert Gates is one of those rare species in the public sector who says what he means, means what he says and doesn't care whose feathers he ruffles so long as it meets with what's best for the American people in our turbulent and divisive political age.
"I believe strongly that leadership is much more than managing well," Gates told the audience at the recent World Business Forum in New York. "Real leadership is a rare commodity."
Published on: Friday, October 26, 2012
Engaging with Bob Frisch, author of Who's in the Room: How Great Leaders Structure and Manage the Teams Around Them
, during an ExecuNet webinar
proved a revealing exercise in both the organizational context we all work and how situational and environment variables weigh heavily on business performance.
Take, for example, Frisch's view that deciding which colleagues, peers, mentors and associates to confide in and from whom to seek assistance actually does impact the course of executive decision making regardless of the hierarchical chain of command expressed on the typical organization chart.
Published on: Monday, October 22, 2012
How could it be that some of the top performers in your organization don't really know where they stand with regard to their advancement potential, their rewards for superior output nor their future with your enterprise?
That question has been raised many times by former General Electric chief Jack Welch, and it was raised yet again at the 2012 World Business Forum in New York City, where ExecuNet exclusively reported, because the message of putting people first apparently still isn't gaining traction with business leaders.
Published on: Monday, October 08, 2012
Well, it's that time of year again. Football season is once again upon us, and lots of intellectual and physical capital will be spent preparing, assessing, coaching, executing and critiquing the performance of Pee Wee, high school, collegiate and professional football teams — from every angle.
So what do the great teams have in common?
Published on: Thursday, October 04, 2012
Marketers market; salespeople sell; owners own; managers manage. The Chiefs have their own fiefdoms: the CTO over technology; the CFO, finances; COO, operations.
But, what's the CEO's primary role? That's the question we posed in a few of our ExecuNet communities, and we got A LOT of opinions — from those who lead and those who follow the leader.
Published on: Monday, October 01, 2012
When conference keynoters the likes of Jack Welch, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and others take the stage, their remarks are usually filled with references to achieving what's possible and pushing people and organizations to the very limits of their true potential.
Particularly in times like these, the gulf between consistently achieving optimum enterprise and human performance and assessing what companies and people are truly getting from this collective focus on business objectives should be a motivating force in the lives and minds of every executive leader.
Yet, in order to truly ascertain the opportunity that exists to inspire teams and individuals to better business results, leaders must also question whether they're measuring up, staying relevant and helping to create a better environment around them.
Published on: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Just as we've done for the past several years, ExecuNet will be back on-site at World Business Forum, live reporting the sharp leadership insight on-stage and backstage for our members. For two days in early October, iconic business and world leaders share their best — and next — practices that help inspire individuals and drive high-performing teams.
Published on: Friday, September 14, 2012
There really are few faster ways to injure a great reputation — outside of committing a crime or building a career on false education or experiential claims — than to promise what you cannot, or simply fail, to deliver.
Can you remember the last time someone you know promised you something and then failed to deliver? Maybe it was to recognize a good deed you had done on his behalf. Maybe it was in a response to an immediate need or hoped-for outcome. Perhaps it was just a matter of circumstance. When was the last time you promised something you didn't deliver?
Published on: Friday, August 31, 2012
Most business people have heard, "There's no I in team;" however, when you are the leader, the team can ultimately be a reflection of you. Highly effective teams are typically managed well, while long-term underperforming teams can often have poor leadership at the helm.
Even though Patrick Lencioni asserts that "all teams are potentially dysfunctional," largely because they are comprised of fallible, imperfect human beings. It is up to the leader to ensure that trust is maintained despite difficulties, disagreements and debate. The methods used to manage through the trouble times are as individual as you are.
Published on: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The business world is still waiting for clarity, for certainty and for signs of sustained economic growth.
As the presidential campaign politicizes any debate about whether investment or some level or badly needed financial discipline makes the most sense for the American people, millions of Americans remain jobless and many employers remain stuck in the "idle" position.
Published on: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Nearly half (49%) of the executive recruiters surveyed by ExecuNet revealed that executives with proven innovation skills were hard to find, compared to other skills, and 31 percent said companies were willing to pay a premium for innovative talent — even in today's job market.
With product lifecycles declining rapidly, increased global competition and pressure from changing customer needs, executives who have demonstrated they can challenge business assumptions and find the areas of opportunities in current business models are in demand. We counsel executives every day that they have to do more than claim they were "innovative" on their résumés. They need to show a quantifiable history of innovating and its impact on their previous organizations.
Published on: Monday, August 20, 2012
At the 2012 World Innovation Forum, social networking expert Clay Shirky explored the business impacts he sees from the emergence of collective intelligence and social collaboration in an exclusive video interview for ExecuNet
. Shirky provided some examples from the business world about what companies are learning from their customers and other influencers. Shirky also outlined the right set of expectations for the business impact of mass collaboration and the power of organizing.
Published on: Friday, August 17, 2012
At the 2012 World Innovation Forum, global green business and sustainability thought leader Andrew Winston shared his perspectives in a video interview for ExecuNet
on how the rise of the consumer, increased global demand for natural resources and demands for more corporate transparency are changing the performance metrics organizations measure themselves against.
Published on: Monday, August 13, 2012
What do you do when your boss is a "bozo?" In this exclusive onsite at the 2012 World Innovation Forum video interview
Guy Kawasaki, Silicon Valley venture capitalist, bestselling author and Apple Fellow, answers that question; plus, he offers advice on how to innovate your way into a new position.
Published on: Wednesday, August 08, 2012
NYU professor Clay Shirky, a recognized thought leader on the intersection of technology and innovation, says the transformative potential of social and business networks to change human behavior and elevate corporate performance is only now becoming visible to executive leaders.
Shirky explores the business impact of cross-network collaboration, sharing, value exchange and generosity and how it relates to corporate engagement with contributors and end-consumers alike in this exclusive onsite at the 2012 World Innovation Forum video interview
Published on: Friday, August 03, 2012
I had the pleasure of speaking recently with Bob Frisch, author of a recently released book entitled, Who's In The Room? How Great Leaders Structure and Manage the Teams Around Them
. Frisch has posited an interesting question that deserves attention. He advises you contemplate if you know who really
makes the big decisions at your organization. If you think the answer can be found on an organization chart, think again.
Published on: Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Many business leaders speak of failure when they talk about innovation. The tough lessons. The unwise investment decisions. The hours of toil, often without recognition. The near misses, many recount, are especially painful to recall.
Yet through it all — through the missteps of trial and error — we pursue innovation as if it's a pass/fail score in a college classroom. It is not. The recent assemblage of experts on creativity, marketing and technology at the recent World Innovation Forum in New York City drive that point home as never before.
Published on: Monday, July 30, 2012
In this video interview
Guy Kawasaki, author, former chief evangelist of Apple, founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures, and founder of Alltop.com addresses how to turn innovation into action through prototyping; why going to market faster is critical for growth; and why making money begins with making the world a better place.
Published on: Thursday, July 26, 2012
If you remember rotary phones, have VHS tapes in your home, and found fax machines revolutionary, then you might have encountered age discrimination in recent job search experiences. Forty-two percent of the executives surveyed by ExecuNet believed their age would negatively affect their ability to land their next position, and they were, on average, 51 years old.