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Monday, March 29, 2010

Drive by Dan Pink -Post #2

Much like Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point and Blink), Dan Pink has a way of helping readers digest scientific research and making that research much more accessible to the layperson. I hope you’ll consider buying it today (at Amazon—a Motivation 3.0 style company) and give copies to your employees, your friends, your kids,and anyone else you really care about. This week I’ll review the book from a leadership perspective and from three different levels: The 1,000-foot, 100-foot and 10-foot levels.

*Drive: The 1,000-foot-level view for leaders considering Motivation 3.0

The whole idea of Drive is that people work best on non-linear, creative 21st Century tasks if they focus on three big areas that emerge from science but are largely ignored by business: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Drive--how motivation works today -Post #1

This week I'll be reviewing Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Dan Pink (Riverhead Books a division of Penguin Group, New York, 2009)

Drive offers the reader a new theory of motivation—one that resonates with today’s reality. Why is Google so innovative, and how do they attract the best and brightest to work there? How did 3M come up with those sticky notes that I use all the time? And why is Best Buy thriving while Circuit City, formerly a Good to Great darling, is now in chapter 11? Look closely at today’s most productive organizations (Google, Best Buy, Amazon), and you’ll see a new “operating system” working—often humming behind the scenes—especially when you look at organizations populated with engaged, happy, and productive people. Pink calls that new operating system Motivation 3.0—based on intrinsic drivers, not carrots and sticks (of an older, more linear, manufacturing-like Motivational 2.0 system). Specifically, Pink’s model, Motivation 3.0, depends on three constructs (like a three-legged stool): Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose, which I’d call A-M-P—as in: “I’m all amped up!”

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Eastern Leadership-LAST Post

This week I will extract key leadership lessons from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (and interpreted by Wayne Dyer in Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life).

This is the last and one of my favorites on leadership from Lao Tzu.

67th Verse
”…I have three treasures, which I hold fast and watch closely.
The first is mercy
The second is frugality.
The third is humility.

From mercy comes courage.
From frugality comes generosity.
From humility comes leadership….”

Friday, March 26, 2010

Eastern Leadership: Tao Te Ching -Post #4

This week I will extract key leadership lessons from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (and interpreted by Wayne Dyer in Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life).

57th Verse
If you want to be a great leader,
you must learn to follow the Tao.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself….

Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
If I keep from imposing on people,
they become themselves.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eastern Leadership: Tao Te Ching -Post #3

This week I will extract key leadership lessons from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (and interpreted by Wayne Dyer in Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life).

17th Verse

With the greatest leader above them,
People barely know one exists.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes on whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.

When a leader trusts no one,
No one trusts him.

The great leader speaks little.
He never speaks carelessly.
He works without self-interest
and leaves no trace.
When all is finished, the people say,
“We did it ourselves.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Eastern Leadership: Tao Te Ching -Post #2

This week I will extract key leadership lessons from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (and interpreted by Wayne Dyer in Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life).

9th Verse

“To keep filling
is not as good as stopping.
Overfilled, the cupped hands drip,
Better to stop pouring.

Sharpen a blade too much
And its edge will soon be lost.

Fill your house with jade and gold
And it brings insecurity.

Puff yourself with honor and pride
And no one can save you from a fall.”

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eastern Leadership: The Tao Te Ching

Searching for a better model of leadership to help my clients, I discovered—through PBS no less—the Tao Te Ching, as I listened to a Wayne Dyer’s presentation and book entitled: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life. Since seeing that show, I’ve become a student of the ancient text (the Tao Te Ching) written by Lao Tzu in 500 BC as basically an instruction manual to the leaders of a divided China during the warring states period of its history.

In only 81 verses, Lao Tzu teaches with humble, pristine clarity a new model of leadership quite ddifferent, and I believe, ultimately complementary to western leadership. So powerful is the Tao Te Ching, it has been translated into nearly as many languages as the bible. Consisting of only 5,000 Chinese characters, many of which are not even used today, the Tao has been interpreted by many scholars.

It’s impossible to find a single definitive translation of the Tao Te Ching, so I’ll use the one interpreted by Wayne Dyer in a follow up book called Living the Wisdom of the Tao. In this book, Dyer credits the translation by Jonathan Star (Tao Te Chin: the Definitive Edition) as the version “that most resonated with my vision and interpretation of the Tao.”

This week I will extract key leadership lessons from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (and interpreted by Wayne Dyer in Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life).

Monday, March 15, 2010

HBR March 2010: Reputation of Business Execs--Post #4

Reputation--Business Executives: “In a recent survey conducted in the United States, The Pew Research Center asked the public how much people in 10 occupations contributed to the well being of society. Business executives were ranked at the very bottom of the group. Only 21% of respondents thought they contributed a lot, while 23% thought lawyers, the second-least-favored occupation, did. The military and teaching professions ranked the highest, with scores of 84% and 77% respectively.” (from “Finding Your Strategy in the New Landscape” by Pankaj Ghemawat, p. 60)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Harvard Business Review—March 2010: Training and Development : Post # 3

“Leadership Lessons from India” (by Cappelli, H. Singh, J. Singh and Michael Useem)

India’s leaders of its best and fastest growing companies put a high priority on training and development, a long view of leadership development, and place such development above short-term stakeholder interests. These leaders “create a sense of social mission that is central to company culture….and they recommend this approach [investing in training and focus on the social mission of the company] to Western leaders." When asked to prioritize their key responsibilities, Indian leaders ranked the top four responsibilities this way:

1. Chief input for business strategy.
2. Keeper of the organizational culture.
3. Guide, teacher, or role model for employees.
4. Representative of owner and investor interests. (note:investors came out last, not first on their list of priorities.)

Some interesting stats from this article:
--81% of heads of HR of Indian firms surveyed think employee training and development was essential to being competitive. However, only 4% of U.S. chief learning officers held that view.][
Skills Indian Leaders Value Most:
--61% said envisioning the path to the future, strategic thinking, and guiding change.
--57% said being inspirational, accountable and entrepreneurial.

Check out the article for the other stats worth reading.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Harvard Business Review—March 2010: Post #2

The BIG Idea: We need an industry dedicated to funding inventions that could transform the world. (“Funding Eureka” by Nathan Myhrovold)

Just like venture capitalists provide a market for start ups, an invention capital system would accelerate technical progress. Currently, inventing is a cash-starved venture that is overly dependent on the government and unrelated to profit making. Solution: create a marketplace where patents are traded and licensed through fund managed by professional capitalists operating in a way that benefits inventors, universities, investors and ultimately the world. Consider how long it took the Internet from its invention in 1968 to ready use as a viable commercial application! The authors argue: “The U.S. with its research talent, openness to financial innovation, and culture of inventiveness, is positioned to lead this new industry.”

Fascinating statistic: “Federal Spending on academic research rose by only 60% from 1983 to 2007. By contrast, investments in the business sector by the VC and private equity soared by 1,140% and 1,940%, respectively.”

Sunday, March 7, 2010

HBR March: Getting out of the Recession

#1: Spotlight on powering out of the recession

This month (March)the HBR spotlights on how businesses can “power” out of the recession. Several articles focus on this:

• “Finding Your Strategy in the New Landscape” (Pankaj Ghemawat): To negotiate the difficult road ahead, companies will have to switch (even reverse) their approach to global business.

• “Roaring Out of the Recession” (Gulati, Nohria, Wohlgezogen): Based on trend analysis over three downturns, the authors identify which companies actually can come out ahead.

• “Are You Ready To Rebound” (Donald Sull): Seven questions to help you come out of the recession and beat the competition.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Three Laws of Performance: The Self-Led Organization

LAST POST concerning The Three Laws of Performance (Zaffron and Logan), which I highly recommend all leaders read.

The Self-Led Organization: If you look at the history of the "organization," it has a legal origin dating back to the 1800's. The organization/company was originally formed as a legal entity to get things done (build highways, etc.) and sesequently, to act as an enduring entity, with purpose and a future. Today, organizations are complex places consisting of people, diverse groups, and a number of key stakeholders—all having “conversations” often inconsistent and dissonant. You’ll often hear conversations starting like the following:

--Why is _____ doing this to me?
--Who does she think she is?
--I can’t believe “they” are doing this!
--This makes no sense to me!

On the other hand, if an organization/company could somehow (using the three laws of performance) harmonize these discordant conversations into resonant ones with integrity, purpose, and authentic social responsibility, such an organization would become what the authors call Self-Led: “…[the organization] needs to create a compelling future for its stakeholders and align its network for conversations to fulfill that future. In the process, the organization’s (whole) Self emerges….”

Finally, you do NOT have to be a CEO or a designated leader to lead an organization. Many people have changed history by simply stepping up and saying they saw a different future than that of the “default future.” Here are a few examples of people who, while now famous, back when they took their first steps toward changing the conversation and changing their country’s default future, were little known: Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Mandela, Walesa, Ghandi, and a string of others.

The REASON they’re now famous is precisely because they decided to change the conversation.

Consider Christine Hansen—not a name you would know, unless you were in the FBI (one of my former alma maters). A number of years ago, Christine sued the FBI regarding discriminatory practices against women involving hiring, training, and practices "in the field." It was a difficult time for her, and she eventually resigned. Today, because she changed "the conversation" in the FBI, the number of women in new agent classes is far different than ever before, AND women now occupy serious leadership positions within the hierarchy, such as being Special Agents in Charge of major field offices around the US. Consider how much the FBI could have saved in time, energy, and money, had all stakeholders at the time been willing to have a frank, honest conversation—cleared the decks and articulated a new future.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Three Laws of Performance: Future-based Language

Law #3: Future-based language transforms how situations occur to people.

a. Allowing the current language to rattle around in your head (because the inner voice often gets stuck in an infinite loop) means that your future with that particular person is written in stone—a destined or “default future.” If the language is negative, your future is most likely a negative one—you may squabble, not trust each other, or worse yet, become distant and removed from each other.

b. Allowing new “generative” language to fill the air changes things dramatically. The question you need to ask the other person is, “do we want this kind of negative relationship?” Most people do not want a contentious relationship—because it’s unhealthy for both parties.

c. Thus a new future could be,“we will work together to make things the BEST they can be.” Then you begin to reshape the conversation, even in your own head, from bad to good.

d. In essence, the game is played in your head, with language serving as a key component. Here are the steps that leaders can take to invent a new future.

i. Settle old differences—clear the decks so there is room to create and to imagine a new future.
ii. Describe the default future you’ll have if you stay on the current course.
iii.Get in agreement that participants don’t want the current default future, but rather a better future.
iv. When disagreement about the new future arises, ask for a counter proposal.
v. Keep working until everyone is aligned to the new future.

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