Once upon a time, in a land called Industrial Age, the leaders of organizations resided at the top of a hierarchy, managers were in the middle, and workers were supervised.
It was the job of leaders to do the important thinking and the job of managers and supervisors to make sure it was implemented.
Because no one cared what the managers, supervisors and workers thought, many of them parked their brains at the door as they came to work.
Others only used part of their brains, limiting their focus to implementation without regard for the impact on the larger organization.
Eventually the companies became gunked up. They were not healthy places for people. and their long-term results did not reach their potential.
Because their life . . . → Read More: The 9 Essential Leadership Strategies in The Age of Information
If you are in a leadership role, chances are you believe it’s better to give than to receive.
Which means you also probably believe you should
… always be competent
… never make mistakes
… always be strong
and that you should only receive when you have something to give in return.
The problem with this attitude is that when you are in a situation where you don’t have a choice and must receive, you are likely to feel
We hear “it’s better to give than to receive” but the truth is:
It’s easier to give than to receive, but not always better.
Giving when people can help themselves takes away their power and opportunity to grow, and . . . → Read More: Strong Leaders Ask For Help
Springtime reminds me of fruit trees and the power of values-driven companies – or more accurately – the cost of NOT being one.
Small companies often think they don’t need to bother with things like mission and values – that those are things for large companies. Big mistake.
It’s why our tree service company lost our business.
They were very nice people, dependable and a good price. But they did not communicate guiding values to their employees, and one of them endangered my son’s health. That was a show-stopper.
Here’s what happened.
One lovely spring afternoon, one of the technicians stopped by unexpectedly to spray our fruit trees. The contact allowed them to come without calling first, which normally would not be a . . . → Read More: Small Companies Need Clear Values
According to Faulkner, Ginsberg and many great writers, if you are particularly proud of a piece of writing, chances are it’s self-indulgent, stands out, and does not serve the greater good of your work.
The saying goes: “you must kill your darlings” – delete them. The overall intent of your work is more important than a particular piece that doesn’t fit, no matter how special you think it is.
So what does that have to do with business?
In today’s world, leaders are under great pressure to find new opportunities for growth. Ventures into new territories, product, channels of distribution, etc. are typically evaluated by short-term profitability and not strategic alignment.
These “darlings” become the focal point, rather than a coherent organizational vision, . . . → Read More: To Be a Better Leader You Must Kill Your Darlings
Think you can lead without a vision? Think again. Leadership is about going somewhere. How do you know where you’re going if you don’t have a vision?
Vision makes work meaningful. Vision helps us feel connected to something larger than ourselves. A shared vision helps us feel connected with others because we trust we share the same goals and values.
An organization without a clear vision is like a river without banks—it stagnates and goes nowhere.
A leader without a vision to serve is in danger of becoming self-serving.
Does your vision sound something like this? – Our vision is to provide aggressive strategic marketing with quality products and services at competitive prices to provide the best value for consumers.
Bad news. You have a blah, blah, blah vision. Do yourself and everyone on your team a favor – take it down.
You have two choices. You can decide you don’t need a vision and get on with your work.
Or… you can engage with your team in creating a DRIVING vision – one that lives in the hearts and minds of everyone and naturally drives behavior and decisions.
A DRIVING vision is a clearly-articulated, results-oriented picture of a future you intend to create. It is a dream with direction.
When it is shared, . . . → Read More: Do You Have a Blah, Blah, Blah Vision or a DRIVING Vision?
Why are so few companies values-driven? Even when they start down that path, why do they wind up dead-ended?
A 2012 study shows “employees want their organizations to display honesty and integrity in business activities,” and “when leaders behave consistently with the core values, they earn employees’ trust and confidence.”
More so, it makes good business sense – research shows high-trust companies significantly outperform those that aren’t in the marketplace.
So why do so many companies fail in their effort? Here’s a true story and the 5 common errors they made that will derail any effort, including yours.
A True and Typical Story
This is a true story, but the name has been withheld to protect… well, frankly, me. It is an organization I am . . . → Read More: Why Your Company Values Might Not Matter
If you are tired of “us vs. them” attitudes… if you are feeling frustrated or hopeless about those who don’t agree with your views… if you are concerned about the polarization in this world today… if you are waiting for leadership that unites instead of divides…
… the best place to start is by taking responsibility for yourself.
Polarization is Self-Reinforcing
If you only talk with people who agree with you and only read and listen to news sources that hold your own viewpoint, you will get distorted, filtered information that simply reinforces your viewpoint.
Unless we let go of foregone conclusions, only looking for proof of what we already believe, we are doomed to be stuck at deeply opposing, unresolvable poles.
Set your viewpoint . . . → Read More: 4 Steps Toward Collaborative Leadership
There are two faces of leadership.
One face looks forward – because leadership is about going somewhere.
That face of leadership focuses on questions like:
1. Where are we going?
2. Why? What is the purpose?
3. How will we get there? What are our key strategies?
4. What will guide our journey? What values will guide behavior and decision-making?
The other face of leadership looks back at who’s following – at building organizational capacity and ensuring people have what they need to move forward easily.
That face of leadership focuses on questions like:
1. What skills do people need and how can we support development?
2. What resources do people need? (e.g. . . . → Read More: The Two Faces of Leadership