Destined for the C-Suite

October 26, 2015

By Warren Berger Via   Article

Why Curious People Are Destined for the C-Suite

“When asked recently to name the one attribute CEOs will need most to succeed in the turbulent times ahead, Michael Dell, the chief executive of Dell, Inc., replied, ‘I would place my bet on curiosity.’ Dell was responding to a 2015 PwC survey of more than a thousand CEOs, a number of whom cited ‘curiosity’ and ‘open-mindedness’ as leadership traits that are becoming increasingly critical in challenging times. …

Advising business leaders to ‘be more curious’ sounds simple enough, but it may require a change in leadership style. In many cases, managers and top executives have risen through the ranks by providing fixes and solutions, not by asking questions. And once they’ve attained a position of leadership, they may feel the need to project confident expertise.

To acknowledge uncertainty by wondering aloud and asking deep questions carries a risk: the leader may be perceived as lacking knowledge. In their book The Innovator’s DNA, authors Clayton Christensen, Hal Gregersen and Jeff Dyer observed that the curious, questioning leaders they studied seemed to overcome this risk because they had a rare blend of humility and confidence: They were humble enough to acknowledge to themselves that they didn’t have all the answers, and confident enough to be able to admit that in front of everyone else.”

The gift of fire

October 26, 2015

By Joseph Grenny via   Article

Are You Sure You Want to Be a Manager?

“Renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer likes to tell newly promoted supervisors that they have just been given the ‘gift of fire.’ As a boss they now have a new and potent power, but Meyer wants to ensure they understand the appropriate — and inappropriate — uses of this gift. Fire, Meyer explains, can be used to warm and comfort. It can be used to illuminate darkness. It can be used to render food more nutritious and pleasing. When stoked into a campfire, it provides a place for people to convene. And every once in a while, it is used to scorch — as when a leader speaks painful truths to others. …

Count the cost. It’s fun to play on a bigger stage. More pay is nice. Taking on more complex problems provides new satisfactions. And learning to lead people is a novel opportunity for growth. … The deepest regrets I’ve heard from those who took the job were the loss of tribe and simplicity.

  • Tribe. When you become the boss your peers are no longer peers. This might unsettle valued friendships. Also, your new peers may be less to your liking. Examine them closely before moving up to their level. Likewise, when you are granted more power, you are implicitly agreeing that your loyalty from that day forward is expected to be more to the enterprise than to your colleagues. … The extreme case of your tribal loss may be the need to dismiss one of your former peers. Could you? Would you? Would you dress them down if needed in order to uphold the interests of the enterprise? Would you give one of them an unattractive assignment if that’s what the team needed done? …
  • Simplicity. The world is no longer as simple as your opinion — it’s now about our.  You will encounter a new set of tradeoffs. You don’t get to sit in the cheap seats and blame ‘management’ anymore — because you are now management. You can’t take simple positions like ‘the customer comes first’ because you have to balance cost, quality, schedule, and other factors. When you take the job you leave a world of value simplicity and enter one of value complexity. You will have to advocate positions that you may not totally agree with because you are now a part of a management team. Are you ready for that?”


First, manage yourself

October 26, 2015

By Dan McCarthy via   Article

Before you can Lead Others, you need to Manage Yourself

“… here’s what managing yourself means:

1. You know who you are and how you are perceived by others. We leadership development geeks call this ‘awareness of self’. It’s not as easy as it sounds – most people have ‘blind spots’ as to how they are perceived by others. We overestimate our strengths and expect to be judged by our good intentions, not by how we are really behaving ….

2. Develop your Emotional Intelligence. Daniel Goleman nailed it in his classic 1998 HRB article ‘What Makes a Leader. When he examined the elements of emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill) he found a direct correlation with leadership effectiveness and business results. …

3. “Control” your emotions. Another way of saying self-regulation. Controlling your emotions doesn’t mean not being emotional – it means not letting the limbic part of your brain take over the rest of you and cause you to go on psychotic rampages. For more on how to maintain your compose, see last month’s Brief.

4. Develop a set of guiding principles, or core values and walk the talk. Core values could include integrity, honesty, credibility, respect for others, and humility. Great leaders are crystal clear on their values and use their values guide their behaviors and decisions. …

5. Balance. .. taking care of yourself – your health, practicing mindfulness, managing your stress levels, getting enough sleep and exercise, and building meaningful relationships. We know this when we see it – we say ‘you know, that Cheryl really has her %$#& together.’ When you are out of balance, it impacts your behavior, which impacts your ability to lead others.”

Truth comes in sentences. Bull**** comes in paragraphs.

October 26, 2015

By Steve Roesler via   Article

Do You Use Verbal White Space?

“Graphic designers know how to focus your attention.
They frequently communicate through the use of white space.

Less is more. The message is clear. There’s no clutter.

Use Verbal Whitespace …

Boss says: ‘We finished the senior level meeting and it looks as if we have to increase our numbers. We’ve been working hard on that project for a long time. I told the management team about the obstacles, how much overtime people have been putting in, and what the client has been saying. You know how much I appreciate your….’

Boss means: ‘We have to increase our sales by 10% and decrease our expenses by 5%. It’s not really negotiable. I want to decide before the end of the meeting  how we can do that.’

Father: ‘You know, son, there are a lot of people out there who could get you into trouble. I know that you are really a good kid and don’t want to get into trouble. Man, when I was your age, there were a lot of kids in my class who were doing things that their parents never knew about. One of them even ended up going to jail for awhile. We live in a tough world. When…’

Father means: ‘Son, I love you. I found out for sure that John on your soccer team is taking drugs. I don’t want you to do that or even try it. You can die. And I love you.’

The Power of Noun-Verb-Object

… Start thinking the way your fourth grade teacher taught you: Noun-verb-object.

‘Please (you) give me the first draft of your report by 5 o’clock on Thursday.’

We will meet on Tuesday at 10 am.’

‘Let’s (us) start a new marketing campaignI want to announce the kick-off in March.’

Your brevity will be appreciated. Really. Your message will be clear and understandable. Your trust level with others will go up because your verbal packaging will go down.”

Another chance to start over

October 19, 2015

By Seth Godin via   Article


“Every day that you begin with a colleague, a partner, a customer… it might as well be a fresh start.

There’s little upside in two strikes, a grudge, probation. When we give people the benefit of the doubt, we have a chance to engage with their best selves.

If someone can’t earn that fresh start, by all means, make the choice not to work with them again. Ask your customer to move on, recommend someone who might serve them better.

But for everyone else, today is another chance to be great.”

Boss or servant?

October 19, 2015

By Carol A. Walker via   Article

New Managers Need a Philosophy About How They’ll Lead

“Being promoted to manager is a good sign you’ve been successful to date — however,  the road from this point forward gets trickier to navigate. Your job is no longer just about getting the work done. You’re more likely now to find yourself juggling conflicting demands, delivering difficult messages, and addressing performance problems. While there is no guidebook of straightforward answers to your new challenges, having a clear philosophy can provide a firm foundation from which to operate. …

The idea of ‘servant leadership’ is a great place for new managers to start. Robert Greenleaf coined the term 35 years ago, but the concept is still vital and empowering. Granted, ‘servant’ doesn’t sound nearly as powerful as ‘boss,’ but it has the potential to deliver far more of what most of us are really after: influence.  The reason is simple. When you have a servant mentality, it’s not about you. Removing self-interest and personal glory from your motivation on the job is the single most important thing you can do to inspire trust. When you focus first on the success of your organization and your team, it comes through clearly. You ask more questions, listen more carefully, and actively value others’ needs and contributions. The result is more thoughtful, balanced decisions. People who become known for inclusiveness and smart decisions tend to develop influence far more consistently than those who believe they have all the answers.

Servant leadership is most powerful when applied to managing employees. The first step in embracing this mindset is to stop thinking that your employees work for you. Instead, hold onto the idea that they work for the organization and for themselves. Your role as servant is to facilitate the relationship between each employee and the organization. Ask yourself, ‘What will it take for this employee to be successful in this relationship?’ And, ‘What does the organization need to provide in order to hold up its end of the bargain?’ When these questions drive your thinking, you advance both parties’ interests. (The same principles apply to managing products, supply chains, and customer relationships, but we’ll keep our focus on employees here.)”

Everything that irritates us

October 19, 2015

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung