Filed Under: Leadership
Published on: Friday, December 12, 2014
Laura Rittenhouse, CEO and Founder of Rittenhouse Rankings and the Candor Project, met with ExecuNet's Anthony Vlahos to talk about the importance of candor in business today.
Published on: Monday, December 08, 2014
Stephen Ritz, a standing ovation TED Talk speaker and leader of the inspirational Green Bronx machine, says, "I don't see challenges. I see opportunities." He believes if people are willing to learn from their failures they will grow and as long as the mindset is to grow together we can all benefit.
Published on: Monday, November 24, 2014
Hunter Lovins, author and promoter of sustainable development, talks with ExecuNet's Tony Vlahos about doing the right thing, trust and curiosity in business leaders. Hunter believes the next 10 years are more important than the next 10,000 years. "We're up against in on climate change; we're up against it on loss of species; we're losing major ecosystems around the planet and we have all the technologies we need to solve all these problems. We can avoid the worst of the disasters that are coming at us out of climate change and do so at a profit." She believes there is a tremendous amount that companies can and must do in terms of human and natural resources. "Doing the right thing is always good business," she said.
Published on: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Michelle M. Smith has made a commitment to "stop the insanity of short-term thinking and to instead do what's really right for the organization." She wants us all to look at all the stakeholders to determine where the opportunities lie and more importantly, what's the right thing to do – for shareholders, customers, employees, vendors, communities and the planet.
Smith is a respected authority on internal branding, leadership and employee engagement, has a well-considered view on the need for authentic leadership and relationships.
Check out her interview with ExecuNet's Tony Vlahos, in which she shares her insights on:
Published on: Friday, November 07, 2014
It had been three weeks since my throat started to feel sore, and it wasn't getting better. The pain was most acute when I spoke. So I decided to spend a few days speaking as little as possible. Every time I had the urge to say something, I paused for a moment to question whether it was worth irritating my throat.
This made me acutely aware of when and how I use my voice. Which led me to a surprising discovery: I spend considerable energy working against my own best interests. And if my experience listening to others is any indication, so do you.
Published on: Monday, November 03, 2014
Scott Anthony, managing partner of innovative consulting firm Innosight and author of The First Mile: A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the Market, sat down with ExecuNet's CMO Anthony Vlahos to talk about being an innovative leader in today's world.
Published on: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Tomorrow my husband and I are flying to Hong Kong. I have client work to do there, and he was able to take the time off (since he's now his own boss) to join me. We were talking this morning about what a pain it's going to be, having to be stuck on an airplane for 16 hours. But at least, we noted, we're traveling in business class, and so will be able to get some sleep.
Then I started thinking about my dad's dad's parents, two young immigrants from Denmark, Nils Andersen and Mina Jenson, who met working on a farm in upstate New York. They married, saved their money, bought a wagon, and traveled to Nebraska to start a new life on a farm of their own — taking advantage of the Homestead Act that offered free land to anyone who filed a claim and lived there for five years. It took them — and this is the point of the story — just over two months to make the journey.
Published on: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I was lost.
I looked at the map and my heart raced as I admitted to myself — only to myself — that I had no idea where I was. It felt too humiliating to let the others know.
This was the summer of 1990 and I was leading a group of students on a 30-day mountaineering expedition. It was the first day of our trip and the students had no experience in the outdoors. They were relying on me. My anxiety level had been creeping up and was now at full tilt.
We were already one hour late for our rendezvous with two other groups with whom we planned to camp and we had been hiking for about three hours. Where were we?
Published on: Friday, October 10, 2014
Imagine you're sailing in the Bahamas, sipping a cold drink and listening to the water lapping the sides of the boat.
Relaxing, right? Not for my friend Rob.*
Rob is not usually stressed-out. For many people, Rob's daily work would be hair-pulling stressful — he's a real estate developer who routinely deals with a multitude of nagging problems related to renters, banks, lawsuits, property management, and rapidly changing valuations. But Rob routinely handles it all with steadiness and perspective.
Published on: Monday, September 22, 2014
Despite what some seem to believe, few of us leap into our careers with our abilities fully formed. Yes, exceptions exist: writer Robert A. Heinlein sold the very first story he ever wrote, then proceeded to rule as one of the Big Three science fiction writers for close to 40 years. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a child prodigy, seemed capable of plucking melodies out of the air.
But they were exceptions, and as the saying goes, the exceptions prove the rule. Most of us must grow into our jobs — even leaders. Leadership may come easily for you, but it's always good to brush up on your skills:
Published on: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Complex sales opportunities require the entire company to work together. The most challenging sales situations – and the world's top sales people – are found inside the high tech industries, where complex million-dollar deals are forged every day. However, even top sales teams falter and fail if they neglect the rest of their company, according Sharon Daniels, CEO of the sales effectiveness firm AchieveGlobal
With that in mind, here are seven huge "sins" that can transform a top sales team into an organization nightmare:
Published on: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Scott Anthony, Managing Partner at Innosight and leader of the company's AsiaPacific region and venture capital activities, pulled the audience right in with his insights into the challenges associated with what he terms "the first mile" — the crucial time when an idea moves from concept to paper to market. Anthony believes business are most fragile in the first mile, when they move from plan to reality, something which is particularly challenging for large companies. Big companies are designed to execute today's business model; in such an environment, innovators are a natural threat and struggle to survive.
Published on: Tuesday, August 19, 2014
After speaking about the many advances we have seen in the last 25 years, Vivek Wadhwa, recognized by Time Magazine
in 2013 as a top 40 most influential mind in technology, China and India could be in trouble in terms of low paying human labor jobs. The reason he said is US manufacturing. Wadhwa said, "The US is seeing a manufacturing revival. It's creeping back now and will be a flood in five to seven years." The key is robotic manufacturing. We have gotten very good at creating robots to do the work of humans. They don't complain, don't join unions and cost about half as much to operate as human laborers, even when exporting the labor.
Published on: Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Creator of the revolutionary Assumpt Strategy, Andy Cohen empowers global brands to think differently and challenge the assumptions that stand in the way of their success. Cohen's Assumpt Strategy is based on a counter-intuitive approach that assumptions are neither good or bad and produce both positive and negative outcomes. He teaches that what people do with their assumptions is the key to breaking through barriers in the mind.
Cohen said the power of assumptions can be used to spark innovation. "We start with our assumptions and then look for the data that fits it," he said. Because it is quicker and easier to accept assumptions as correct, we inadvertently limit our options and innovative thinking pathways.
Published on: Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Management books have it all wrong. They all try to tell you how to manage "people."
It's impossible to manage "people;" it's only possible to manage individuals. And because individuals differ from one another, what works with one individual may not work with somebody else.
Some individuals thrive on public praise; others feel uncomfortable when singled out. Some individuals are all about the money; others thrive on challenging assignments. Some individuals need mentoring; others find advice to be grating.
Published on: Monday, July 07, 2014
Girish* is a client of mine who runs a 500-million-dollar business. He gets stellar reviews and is seen as a high potential successor to the CEO.
But he has a friend problem.
Several of his direct reports are close friends and he doesn't hold them accountable in the same way he does his other direct reports. Often, they don't do what he asks. And they aren't delivering the results he expects. It's hurting his business and his reputation.
Published on: Wednesday, June 25, 2014
One aspect of leadership that's often overlooked is succession planning—the process of providing for future leadership in an organization. Few of us bother to think about what will happen after we've exited the scene, and frankly, many leaders don't care. But succession planning is crucial to any organization's long-term success. Some companies that have been around for centuries, such as Lowenbrau and the Hudson's Bay Company, have excellent succession planning traditions in place, which is in no small part a reason they have lasted for so many generations.
Published on: Monday, June 23, 2014
When you're very young:
- You wonder, "What exciting thing is going to happen today?"
- You experiment.
- You LOOK.
- You imagine.
- You learn.
- You play.
- You share.
- You make friends.
- You're curious.
- You're joyous.
- You’re courageous
- You change.
- You grow.
- You're a fanatic about your loves.
- You're brimming with crazy energy.
- The world hasn't shown you how to corral the thing and be normal.
Published on: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
There are two kinds of change — incremental and discontinuous — that are taking place simultaneously and constantly in today's business organizations. Incremental change is the process of continuous improvement — what the Japanese refer to as "kaizen." Discontinuous change is the kind of large-scale transformation that turns organizations inside out and upside down.
Published on: Monday, June 02, 2014
When you put Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, and Sam Palmisano, former President and CEO of IBM under whom IBM achieved record financial performance, on a stage together at Radio City Music Hall you end up with a fascinating business conversation filled with business advice on micro and macro levels, political opinions, stock tips and many laughs.
Published on: Friday, May 16, 2014
In this exclusive interview with ExecuNet's Chief Marketing Officer Anthony Vlahos, executive coach Doug Sundheim explains his views on taking risks from a leader's perspective. Doug works with leaders and teams of Fortune
500 companies and entrepreneurial firms to help them maximize their effectiveness and be more productive. The insights he shares are musts for any business leader!
Published on: Wednesday, May 07, 2014
In this exclusive interview with ExecuNet's Chief Marketing Officer Anthony Vlahos, executive coach Doug Sundheim explains his views on taking risks from the perspective of one's own career path. Doug works with leaders and teams of Fortune
500 companies and entrepreneurial firms to help them maximize their effectiveness and be more productive. The insights he shares are musts for any business leader!
Published on: Monday, May 05, 2014
In a Q&A session with John Bussey, Assistant Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal
, Jack Welch, the iconic former CEO of General Electric and Fortune's "Manager of the Century," expanded on his insights into leadership and management.
Published on: Thursday, May 01, 2014
How to read the body language of your team members, clients or the person interviewing you to know what they really think is something everyone would like to know. Think of the advantage you'd have!
It would be awesome to walk into a job interview or a client meeting armed with the ability to make a positive impression in the first seven seconds, and we have someone in our community who is going to teach us exactly how to do that.
Published on: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The topic of risk in business endeavors plagues most executives. One big mistake could do serious damage to one's company and career.
In this exclusive interview with ExecuNet's Chief Marketing Officer Anthony Vlahos, executive coach Doug Sundheim explains his views on taking risks in business. Doug works with leaders and teams of Fortune
500 companies and entrepreneurial firms to help them maximize their effectiveness and be more productive. The insights he shares are musts for any business leader!
Published on: Thursday, April 24, 2014
Today's corporation exists in an increasingly complex and ever-shifting ocean of change. As a result, leaders need to rely more than ever on the intelligence and resourcefulness of their staff. Collaboration is not a "nice to have" organizational philosophy. It is an essential ingredient for organizational survival and success.
One my most popular speaking topics is "The Power of Collaborative Leadership." (In fact, this year I'm presenting this seminar in five countries. The topic's popularity stems from corporate clients realizing that "silo mentality" and knowledge hoarding behaviors are wasting the kind of collective brainpower that could save their organization billions; or lead to the discovery of a revolutionary new process or product; or in the current economic climate, help keep their company afloat when others are sinking!
Published on: Friday, March 28, 2014
Writing The Truth About Lies in the Workplace
allowed me to document the variety of lies we encounter daily. In the workplace people fib, flatter, fabricate, prevaricate, equivocate, embellish, "take liberties with," "bend," or "stretch" the truth. They boast, conceal, falsify, omit, spread gossip, misinform or cover-up embarrassing (perhaps even unethical) acts. They lie in order to avoid accepting responsibility, to build status and power, to "protect" others from hearing a negative truth, to preserve a sense of autonomy, to keep their jobs, to get out of unwanted work, to get on the good side of the boss, to be perceived as "team players" when their main interest is self-interest. Or they lie because they're under pressure to perform and because (as one co-worker observed about his teammates) "they lack the guts to tell the boss that what is being asked isn't doable."
Published on: Monday, March 24, 2014
"We need more innovation around here. We need people to think more creatively and be more entrepreneurial. I've been saying this for the last couple years, and yet very little seems to be changing. It's very frustrating."
This was a recent lament from a client, a senior leader at a medium-sized professional services firm. He was frustrated that even though his organization was encouraging people at every turn to take chances on new ideas, too few were actually stepping up to do it.
Published on: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Personal productivity is one thing. But once you take on leadership responsibilities, productivity is a whole new ball game. Suddenly it is no longer just a matter of being the best you can be, but of bringing out the best in those around you.
This can be hard! Priorities compete. Personalities conflict. And let's face it: some folks just won't always be as committed as you are to putting in a productive day's work — bad days happen (even to the best of us).
So how do you go about creating a productive team environment that contributes not only to individual productivity, but also to that of the group as a whole.
Published on: Friday, March 14, 2014
Lies in the workplace are expensive. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, a typical organization loses 5 percent of its revenue to fraud — a potential global loss of $3.5 trillion dollars.
But the cost of out-and-out fraud pales in comparison to the monumental cost of the erosion of trust that occurs when workplace deception is condoned, tolerated or ignored. This loss of trust is expensive and damaging for any organization, but it is especially devastating for organizations trying to transition from hierarchy to collaboration.
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.
Finding new ways to do business is always a challenge, but for success in an ever-changing world, business leaders today must be willing to try new things and remain extremely flexible. Read what some of the world's greatest innovators had to say in this ExecuNet exclusive.
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