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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Leadership and Authority


Harvard Business Review (December2009) will be reviewed this week. Here's the SIXTH POST. From HBR Forethought: A survey of ideas, trends, people and practices on the business horizon:

To Be a Better Leader, Give up Authority: For years I have taught groups of executives and said, “If authority is the first card you play in a difference of opinion, you’ve lost the encounter.” In times of chaos, often “taking control” is a knee-jerk instinct. Avoid it and read them December HBR article on p. 22.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

HBR December: When Profit is Not Good Enough

Harvard Business Review (December2009) will be reviewed this week. Here's the FIFTH POST.
From HBR Forethought: A survey of ideas, trends, people and practices on the business horizon:

Why Profit Shouldn’t be Your Top Goal. A survey of 520 businesses in 17 countries tested how employees thought of the company when CEOs cared only about profit: Not good. Turns out that when the CEOs balanced concerns of customers, the environment and the community, employees perceived the CEO as “visionary and participatory” and were willing to go the extra mile for the CEO.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

HBR December: Integrate or Partner?

Harvard Business Review (December2009) will be reviewed this week. Here's the FOURTH POST:

Don’t Integrate Your Acquisitions, Partner with Them (Kale, Singh, and Raman) We know from the research that about two thirds of mergers don’t go smoothly. Heck, 50% of marriages head south, so why expect better results when whole organizations climb in bed together. The authors’ early research suggests that rather than do a top down pogrom, treat it more like a partnership than a hostile takeover. They suggest that companies with more collaborative culture are likely far more suited to this approach and merger success. The authors used the 2005 Tata Chemicals merger with Brunner Mond in the UK as such a “partnering approach.” The authors supply a list of immediate steps, the first 100 days, and longer-term measures (see pp. 112-113).

HBR December: Integrate

Harvard Business Review (December2009) will be reviewed this week. Here's the FOURTH POST:

Don’t Integrate Your Acquisitions, Partner with Them (Kale, Singh, and Raman) We know from the research that about two thirds of mergers don’t go smoothly. Heck, 50% of marriages head south, so why expect better results when whole organizations climb in bed together. The authors’ early research suggests that rather than do a top down pogrom, treat it more like a partnership than a hostile takeover. They suggest that companies with more collaborative culture are likely far more suited to this approach and merger success. The authors used the 2005 Tata Chemicals merger with Brunner Mond in the UK as such a “partnering approach.” The authors supply a list of immediate steps, the first 100 days, and longer-term measures (see pp. 112-113).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Crisis Communication: Tiger, are you there?

Harvard Business Review (December 2009) will be reviewed this week. Here's the THRID POST: Let the Response Fit the Scandal (by Tybout and Roehm): This is the article that Tiger Woods should have read before saying almosnt nothing to the press and instead letting guys like Leno and Letterman fill in the gaps.

My advise to Tiger would have been simple…and is what I teach at George Mason University to students about crisis media: Tell the Truth, Tell it all, Tell it NOW!

The authors refine it more into several steps, and it’s worth every CEO taking a quick look:

1. Assess the Incident: Think about how your key stakeholders (employees, customers, board, etc) will view the incident. Don’t operate in a management vacuum.

2. Acknowledge the problem: First do no harm—focus on the investigation that you’ll do quickly to get to the bottom of it…acknowledgement and speed of reaction is important. Wait too long and Jay Leno steps up with some of his own words of wisdom!

3. Formulate a Response: Deny it fast (within 24 hrs..my rule) if it’s false. If it’s true…explain and apologize, describe the punishment and/or any compensation that might be involved.

4. Implement the Response: Figure out the level of responder:, CEO, etc. and the tone of response. Mainly, do what you say you will do. If you say one thing but do the opposite or worse, nothing at all--the apology will be wasted, and you're worse off than ever.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

HBR: Understanding Innovation


Happy Holidays to all!

SECOND POST: Harvard Business Review (December 2009) will be reviewed this week.

The Innovator’s DNA (Dyer, Gergersen and Christensen). The authors tried to answer the questions: “How do I find innovative people for my organization? And how can I become more innovative myself?” To do this the authors launched a six-year study of creative entrepreneurs. They surveyed over 3,000 entrepreneurial executives and over 500 people who had started innovative companies. In addition, they studied 25 of the country’s leading entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell and a host of other creative luminaries. Here’s the skills they found such innovators possessed:

1. Associating: Creativity is often about connecting two, seemingly unconnected things. Think Reese’s pieces! Steve Jobs has been quoted: “Creativity is connecting things.”

2. Questioning: The venerable management Buddha, Peter Drucker, put it best: “The important and difficult job is never to find the right answers, it is to find the right question.” The authors suggest asking Why, Why not and What if. They also suggest imaging opposites and embracing constraints.

3. Observing: “Innovators carefully, intentionally, and consistently look out for small behavioral details—in the activities of customers, suppliers, and other companies…” to get to new ways of doing things that lead the market.

4. Experimenting: Innovative leaders encourage their employees to take the road less traveled….to try out a side street to see where it takes them. They create an experimental culture, where it’s OK to try and fail…which leads to things like 3-M's Post-It notes!

5. Networking: Innovative leaders network with people from different domains to get maximum leverage as they create new products. The visit other parts of the country, other countries and attend conferences to find fertile ground for their inventions.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Harvard Business Review (December 2009): Spotlight on Innovation


Harvard Harvard Business Review Briefs: December 2009

This month, the HBR spotlighted: Innovation. Pretty good idea, I’d say, as we end one crappy year for many companies. The best way to get out of a bad position is to invent a better one. Along with a suite of innovation articles, the Review covers some interesting research.

Hope you enjoy the overview this week and Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 21, 2009

ICF Conference: Happiness from Harvard!

ICF--FINAL Post: The International Coach Federation conference was great. Here's another presenter of particular interest to me and perhaps you:

Tal Ben-Shahar is a psychologist, author and also teaches the most popular course at Harvard on, of all things, happiness!

Ben-Shahar is a NYT best selling author of Happier: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Start Living a Richer, Happier Life. His presentation, the last of the conference, was spellbinding as he rattled off research that showed for us to be happy, we need to start with what works in our lives, not what’s the problem in our lives. So in a relationship, don’t ask what’s wrong, rather what’s right. “When we appreciate the good in our lives, the good appreciates. When we don’t the good depreciates.” People who keep a Gratitude Journal are happier, more generous, healthier and more successful. Here’s a video of Ben-Shahar talking with John Stewart on TV.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Marilee Adams: How Questions Change Everything

ICF--FIFTH Post: The International Coach Federation conference was great. Here's another presenter of particular interest to me and perhaps you:

Marilee Adams is the author of Change Your Questions, Change Your Life. She is also an executive coach and organizational consultant. Adams also founded the Inquiry Institute a coaching, consulting and educational organization. Her book explores how questions direct behaviors. In a sense, you are what you ask yourself. She teaches of audiences how to consider questions on either a Judger or Learner path, with two distinctly different outcomes for exactly the same problem. Here is a very short video that gives the very essence of her presentation on staring understanding with great questions.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ICF Conference: David Logan on Performance


ICF--FOURTH Post: The International Coach Federation conference was great. Here's another presenter of particular interest to me and perhaps you:

David Logan teaches at USC in their executive MBA program. David spoke on the Three Laws of Performance. Here’s some info from the ICF Website: “While most of us may not be aware of it, we have already created a future formulated upon our hopes, fears, dreams, expectations and life perceptions. Similarly, organizations have futures written by history, circumstance, culture, successes and failures. Join Dave Logan, as he cracks the code wide open on rewriting the future for breakthrough performance-for yourself, your clients, and organizations. Discover and apply the concepts behind the Three Laws of Performance, including:

• Why people do what they do-and what to do about it as a leadership coach.
• The behaviors of leaders that allow for breakthrough performance in their organizations.
• How one's "terministic screen" determines perception and action.
• Seven commitments designed to break performance barriers in conversations.
• Learning to craft a vision to promote positive outcomes by using descriptive vs. generative, or future-based language.
• How leaders can support a new platform of communication that will elevate and unify organizations.”

While footage wasn’t available on the Three Laws of Performance, here’s a sample video of David speaking at Ted.com about tribal leadership.

Friday, December 18, 2009

ICF Conference: Gertrude Matshe's Story


ICF--THIRD Post: The International Coach Federation conference was great. Here's another presenter of particular interest to me and perhaps you:

Gertrude Matshe is from New Zealand and a motivational speaker, coach, story teller and author. She tells her compelling story about her continent, Africa, in a way that is emotionally wrenching. From the program description of Gertrude: “She has been described as a vibrant bundle of African energy whose zest and passion for life inspires everyone she meets. Matshe’s story from growing up in Africa to starting a life over in a different country (New Zealand) and becoming a successful entrepreneur will prove that anything is possible if you have a purpose."

Here’s a video (not the ICF Conference but of great value) of Gertrude Matshe speaking.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Peter Block on Community Building at ICF Conference

ICF--Second Post: The International Coach Federation conference was great. Here's another presenter of particular interest to me and perhaps you:

Peter Block and Community: Peter kicked off the opening session with over 1,200 present. Peter is the rock star of community building. His body of work has been around empowerment, stewardship, accountability and reconciliation of community. He really woke people up and asked us all to be honest with each other about why we came to the conference. Picture a group of over a thousand people broken up into groups of three sitting less than a foot apart (per his instructions) admitting that Florida was a great place to be, they wanted to get their certification points, it seemed like the right thing to do…and other very honest responses. The exercises that followed drew us all closer and more honestly to each other as we literally “built community.” Here’s a video (not of the conference) of Peter with his co-host. Barbara McAfee who sang (yep, I said sang)…several amazing and penetrating songs the made you think as much as tap your foot. Interview with Peter Block

Saturday, December 12, 2009

ICF Conference for Coaches

INTRODUCTION POST: ICF Conference, 2009: Every year the International Coach Federation members gather to learn, teach, and understand what’s going on in the world of coaching. This year, I attended the conference in Orlando, Florida recently and was amazed as I have been previously at the annual conference. This coming week, I’ll raise some of the highlights for me.

Your Next Move: Transition Coaching


FINAL Post: Review of Your Next Move (by Michael Watkins):

Transition Coaching: Without doubt, my eyes lit up when the author recommend strongly coaching for those involved in transition. While this is might be self-serving for me to raise in this review, I’ve seen this process help new executives accelerate their transition into a new organization by conducting entry/transition meetings with staff and the new leader where the staff identify what they want to know about the new leader and what they want the new leader to know about them—all conducted by a third party executive coach. The adjustment acceleration can be exceptional for the new executive

If you're thinking of getting promoted or changing your job, BUY this book and read it carefully. If you have employees whom you're getting ready to promote, buy a copy for each of them. Well worth their time and your sanity!

Michael Watkins is the go-to guy when it comes to job transitions.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Your Next Move: Corporate Politics

SIXTH Post: Review of Your Next Move (by Michael Watkins): Getting Promoted--The Corporate Diplomacy Challenge. When even insiders get promoted to a new level, especially an executive level, they face a new challenge: Internal Politics. “A new leader can get caught in a deeply debilitating cycle…” in which there’s too much reliance on authority and commensurate negative reaction, an over-reaction and hardening of the new leader –followed by polarization and eventually rejection. If the newly promoted take on the philosophy that “I don’t play politics,” then prepare for the worst. In fact, they must prepare for agendas, alliances and relationships and all the complexities that all three bring. In short, think like a politician: Who will support your ideas, and who will not. What will it take to get something new off the ground. An do not ever think that even if it’s good for the company or if you’re the smartest person in the room that it’s ever a slam dunk. It’s more about people’s emotional reaction to you and/or the idea than the objective good or bad involved. If you want no politics, go live in a monastery—opps—there’s politics there too!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Your Next Move: Identifying Cultural Norms

FIFTH post: Review of Your Next Move:Identifying Cultural Norms. As people adjust to new companies or new divisions within their own companies, Watkins warns that they should probe cultural norms. 1)Influence—how do people get support for their ideas….look for trends; 2) Meetings—what’s the norm for how you act in them…what can and can’t you say; 3) Execution—when you do make a move, what’s necessary for success; 4) Conflict—do people avoid conflict or come at it head on; 5)Recognition—is it a Star or Team-player kind of organization…what leadership style do they value; 6) Ends vs Means—are there any unwritten rules about how you achieve results? If you do make the inevitable cultural transgression, Watkins recommends the 3R’s: Recognize (the mistake); Recover (Apologize—my word); Recalibrate (start over, wiser and more attuned).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Your Next Move: Onboarding

FOURTH post: Review of Your Next Move: The Onboarding Challenge: Watkins wrote extensively and exclusively in his previous book, The First 90 Days, which I reviewed in depth on my blog (just search for it). So, I won’t recreate those comments. However, I actually think this single chapter is an outstanding overview of that book. One analogy that he uses for new onboarding executive is that of immunology. Basically, the corporation is like a body and as an outsider approaches, it’s defenses go up or don’t. In some cases the corporate body over-reacts too quickly thus rejecting even good people. Sometimes it doesn’t react fast enough and bad outsiders get in and hurt the corporation...think Enron. The key is not to be labeled as “dangerous” too quickly, or you’ll never get a chance to do even good/needed things for the company.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Your Next Move: Eight Promotional Challenges

THIRD Post: Review of Your Next Move by Michael Watkins:
Watkins identifies eight promotional challenges: 1) The Promotion Challenge—moving on up and leaving your old job behind; 2) Leading Former Peers—assuming the mantle of authority and leadership and re-crafting relationships with former peers; 3) Corporate diplomacy challenge—As you move up the need for understanding internal politics is jugular; 4) The On-boarding challenge—coming from the outside into a new culture is one of the toughest of all moves to survive; 5) The International challenge—again because you will literally be entering a new culture, this is a tough transition, often complicated by language challenges; 6) The Turnaround challenge—grabbing the reins on an organization heading over the cliff can be stimulating and scary as hell; 7) The Realignment challenge—Sometimes the organization is in deep denial and does not want to change, which means they’re not exactly receptive to change; 8) The Business Portfolio challenge—when you’ve been promoted to head up a business unit that has components in different stages of needs—like juggling Jello. However, Watkins makes sense of each critical transition.

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