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Monday, May 30, 2011

On Leadershp: Kotter Post #4

What Leaders Really Do by John Kotter (originally published in the HBR, 1990). John Kotter is professor emeritus at the Harvard Business School and the guy who invented change management. In this piece, Kotter makes the distinction between management and leadership. And while I think it’s all about leadership, Kotter makes several key points. First, managers plan and budget, while leaders set the vision for the future by looking at trends and analysis. Second, managers organize and staff organizations, where leaders align people to mission. Finally, managers control activity and solve problems, whereas leaders motivate and inspire others around them. In short, think of managers as tactical and leaders as strategic—my words, not Kotter’s. So, my two cents: Shouldn’t every good leader be able to be both tactical AND strategic or at least orchestrate both skills in his/her organization?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

On Leadershp: Drucker Post #3

What Makes an Effective Executive by Peter Drucker (originally published in the HBR, 2003). Peter Drucker was a professor of social science and management at Claremont Graduate University in California. A leadership guru for the ages who gave us the term ‘knowledge worker,’ Drucker foresaw trends in the world of management. In this article, he notes that great leaders tended to follow these practices. They asked, “What needs to be done?” They asked, “What is right for the enterprise?” They developed action plans. They took responsibility for decisions and communication. Focused on opportunities, not problems. Ran productive meetings. Thought and said “we” rather than “I.”

Thursday, May 26, 2011

On Leadershp: Goleman Post #2

What Makes a Leader by Daniel Goleman (originally published in the HBR, 1996). In this seminal article, Goleman notes that he reviewed over 188 leadership competency models, most of which were large and global companies, and extrapolated key elements of successful leaders. Called Emotional Intelligence (EI), Goleman’s model includes self awareness (knowing your strengths and weaknesses and their effect on others); self regulation (your ability to control your emotions); motivation (driven by the intrinsic value of achievement); empathy (considering others’ feelings when taking actions); and, social skills (managing multiple relationships). Finally, Goleman notes that the higher the position in leadership, the more, much more emotional intelligence matters.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On Leadershp: Overview Post #1

HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership (Harvard Business Press, 2011) reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D., May 2011.
I confess to being a Harvard Business Review junkie. In that context, you can evaluate my recommendation for their new series that includes a collection of articles under specific topics like Leadership, Change, and Strategy. Specifically, On Leadership provides the collective wisdom of a gathering of leadership eagles, such as: Daniel Goleman, Peter Drucker, John Kotter, Ronald Heifitz, Warren Bennis and Jim Collins. Each one has significantly advanced the field of leadership. For example, Goleman gave us emotional intelligence; Drucker, the knowledge worker; Kotter, change management; Heifitz, adaptive leadership; and, Collins, good-to-great leadership. So, reading the HBR’s newest series is for me like sitting down for a cup of coffee with old, trusted friends who helped build the house I live in every day—leadership.
On Leadership

Monday, May 23, 2011

Extraordinary Coach: #9 FINAL Words

FINAL Words: This book is worth putting in the hands of every new leader and then forming a leadership book club around it. I can’t think of a better business or leadership book group starter than Jack Zenger and Kathleen Stinnett’s book: The Extraordinary Leader.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Extraordinary Coach: #8 Even More

Even Richer Resources: If you buy the book, you get a deeper well of resources in the Leadership Resources Center, which includes:

a. A sequential series of videos of Jack Zenger actually coaching and demonstrating the process outlined on p. 79 of the book. This series of videos is worth the price of the book alone!
b. A bevy of case studies including one on Symantec (my personal antivirus protector).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Extraordinary Coach: #7 Website Resources

Website resources: The main website is and there are loads of free resources including videos, case studies, articles, and podcasts:

a. Video: Here’s one of Jack Zenger giving an overview of leadership coaching
b. Case Study: Here’s a case study on Blue Cross Blue Shield
c. Article:
d. Podcast:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Extraordinary Coach: #6 Coaching Dialogues

Coaching Dialogues: In each of the critical sections of the book, I found the dialogues realistic and instructive so that the leader/coach would actually “see” the conversation. Here’s a brief truncated example from p. 83 on framing the conversation:

i. “Coachee: Hey, do you have a few minutes? Something is really bugging me, and I would like to talk about it with you.
ii. Coach: What would you like to discuss?
iii. Coachee: I’m really struggling with Ed. I keep finding myself needing information from him, and he doesn’t respond….
iv. Coach: Well that certainly sounds frustrating….What would you like to accomplish in this discussion?
v. Coachee: I guess I’d like a reality check; am I being unreasonable in my expectations?
vi. Coach: So, you’d feel good if you left with a game plan for approaching Ed…?”

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Extraordinary Coach: #5 Success Plan

Lay out a Success Plan—Create a path of accountability that will get you to the goal.

i. Develop and agree on a plan and timeline. Example: What will your first steps be?
ii. Enlist support from others. Example: Who can support you going forward?
iii. Set milestones and accountability. Example: Where and when can you start?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Extraordinary Coach: #4 Desired State

Explore the Desired State—Find multiple ways to get to the ultimate state.

i. Understand the vision for success: Example: What would the ideal state look like?
ii. Set goals and performance expectations. Example: What do you want to accomplish?
iii. Explore alternative paths of action. Example: What are some approaches you might take? What else?
iv. Explore possible barriers or resistance. Example: What are the major barriers in your way?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Extraordinary Coach: #3 Current State

Understand the Current State—Figure out the coachee’s point of view.
i. Understand the coachee’s perspective on the issue/problem. Example: How do you see this situation?
ii. Determine the consequences of continuing on the current path. Example: What’s the impact this is having on you? On others?
iii. Offer your own perspective, if appropriate. Example: Could I share some observations I have made?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Extraordinary Coach: #2 Framing Conversations

The Coaching Conversation Guide: F.U.E.L. (a checklist for leaders). See p. 76 for a terrific,detailed chart; also see the Appendix on p. 291 for list of robust questions.

Frame the Conversation—Context of the problem is essential.
i. Identify the behavior or issue to discuss. The authors offer a litany of questions to get to the issue. Example: What’s the most important thing for us to discuss?
ii. Determine the purpose or outcomes of the conversation. Example: What would you like to accomplish in this conversation?
iii. Agree on the process for the conversation. Example: Here’s how I thought we might proceed…What do you think?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Extraordinary Coach: #1 Overview

The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow by John Zenger and Kathleen Stinnett (McGraw Hill, 2010) reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D., May 2011

If I had to suggest the top five books about coaching for leaders, or coaching in general for that matter, The Extraordinary Coach would be on that list. This is a great book for any leader or coach—new or old. It’s not that the information is earth shattering. As far as coaching is concerned, the model is relatively standard—figure out the problem, its current status, the ideal state, and finally a plan to move toward that ideal state. These authors call their model F.U.E.L.—Frame the Conversation; Understand the Current State; Explore the Desired State; Lay out a Success Plan. What does distinguish this publication? The authors create a simple but powerful chart of a simple four-step process; they present excellent probative questions associated with each step; they provide rich-text dialogues between coach-leader and coachee; and finally, the website resources, especially the videos, are worth the price of the book alone. There’s nothing as instructive as watching good coaching, and watching Jack Zenger (a master leadership guru) coach an employee is like watching the Dalai Lama talk about spirituality. My suggestion to coaches and leaders alike: Add this one to your library.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Strengths Based Selling: #12 FINAL words

FINAL WORDS: Strengths Based Selling is an excellent reminder of the importance of focusing on individual strengths, creating win-win solutions, and fostering quality, value-added relationships. The tools and techniques for successful selling strategies, applicable to any business, can be found in this book.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Strengths Based Selling: #11 Engagement

Engagement: Engaging both employees and clients makes the difference between so-so companies and relationships versus great companies and relationships. Discovering people’s strengths, designing activities and services that align with those strengths and following up and nurturing those relationships based on strengths makes the difference. Such engagement moves you from being merely a price-based vendor to a value based partner—a big difference. And if you need any statistical proof, take a look at page 142 about why engagement is good for business. For example, higher employee engagement results in !8% higher productivity, 16% greater profitability, 49% lower turnover, and much more.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Strengths Based Selling: #10 Team Selling

Team Sales: If every person has 5 strong talents that can be developed into strengths, then it stands to reason that partnering with others in your firm only increases your possibilities when dealing with clients. And the authors make a compelling case for this in the book. Think of tag-team wrestling as a good analogy—the team can adjust with member strengths as the engagement continues…thus match definite strengths with clients’ needs.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Strengths Based Selling: #9 Rataing and Growing

Serving, Retaining, and Growing: Using your talents and developed strengths not only helps you get the business (sell) but also can and should help you retain and grow that customer/client business. In fact, the close (sell) is just the first step in the entire engagement cycle with a client. And the best time to solidify relationships is early on—using your talents. So, if you’re a strong relater or learner, use those talents from the get-go to establish a long term relationship. Growing a relationship is far easier and more lucrative than finding a new one.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Strengths Based Selling: #8 Negotiating and Closing

Negotiating and Closing: Getting the sale is the objective of selling. But I’d say that the authors would contend that negotiating a win-win solution with customers is the secret to great selling. And, using your strengths can make the process work for you individually. So if you’re strong at Input, you’ll naturally want to do a lot of research about your clients, their needs, and possible objections. An “achiever” will focus more on the closing process and delight in the “ask.”

Monday, May 2, 2011

Strengths Based Selling: #7 Building Advocacy

Building Advocacy: Using your strengths to build advocates for you and your business is quite necessary for success. Having others with a strong emotional tie to you ensures that they’ll not only sing your praises but even defend you when you’re not around. What’s the old saying…”It takes a village to raise a child.” The same might be said for an emerging business, product, or service.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Strengths Based Selling: #6 Identifying Solutions

Identifying Solutions: I particularly liked this chapter because the authors basically describe a coach-approach to sales. Here’s what they say: “To find a solution [for the client], you don’t need to know all the answers, but you do need to know how to ask the right questions” (p. 59). Asking for a deep description of the problem and further issues surrounding it—like what the CEO’s priorities are— can really help you to bring true value to the sales conversation.

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