Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

Inside Scoop – Being Wrong the Right Way

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

And now…I will shed some light on a not so little secret of organizational life. There are some over-eager beavers who deftly scramble up the political and positional ladder seemingly salivating at the prospect of power. Their mastery of corporate gamesman/woman-ship does not guarantee that they are the “sharpest knives in the drawer.” All too often, my experience has shown that if you were to strip away their job title, many lack the influence or substance for making critical decisions.

Ironically, at times it is the awkward foot-draggers who are more capable of making good decisions, but are unwilling to be pressured into making them and don’t want to be held accountable. This leads me to an important point: Lots of smart and entirely good people have discovered they don’t have what it takes to manage things or lead others.

Leadagers who possess good business judgment, a strong sense of direction, and a willingness to accept the conditions of urgency and accountability without a seedy, overcoat-flashing of their fundamental character flaws are the ideal package. Companies spend a lot of money trying to nurture or “home grow” these traits. Unfortunately, this can be an elusive combination of qualities. Conversely, a lack of motivation, butt-headedness, and proven idiocy lead to professional euthanasia every time. (Trust me on this; the latter traits are pretty darn common.)

So let’s face it. You will have to make many decisions without the experience or the information you may desperately think you need, and inevitably, you will decide incorrectly. You will be wrong, and hopefully, someone will allow you to learn from your mistakes. It might be timing, support from the powers that be, or just luck that saves your job.

Early in your career, one of the most important things to learn is how to be wrong in the right way.

Being wrong the right way looks like this:

  • You made what you thought were sound decisions, striving not to be irresponsible, ignorant, or prejudicial.
  • You can explain your thought process with respect to how you came to the decision in a logical manner.
  • Your values were aligned with the organization’s values.
  • You have shown good judgment on previous occasions.
  • You display a willingness to learn from your mistakes.

If you did all the above, you should come out okay (assuming you didn’t burn the place to the ground).

All new leadagers should be allowed some time to practice alternating the gas, clutch, and brake pedals of managementship (i.e., multitasking and managing/weighing multiple—and sometimes conflicting—priorities [chewing gum and running with scissors for all of you non-driving types]). The fact is most managers are playing the standard game of “catch up” in a starkly maniacal fashion.

I strongly urge you to grow away from being the hapless prey-of-the-day—as events pounce on you—and strive to get ahead of events by becoming a predator of pro-activity, turning activities into accomplishments and churning problems into opportunities.

 

TEBOW & TURNAROUNDS

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Greetings from Tebowland,

Unless you have been living in a cave or immersed in the opening of a new international property, you have heard about the polarizing and perplexing story of Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. Now, you may not follow the NFL or even like sports, but most anyone in our/any business can appreciate the turnaround of a brand name franchise and creating “fandemonium.” I thought I’d pass along a quick note from the eye of the Timmy-Typhoon.

The NFL’s Denver Broncos turnaround story (worst to first – in the same season – after years of irrelevance) is being written by many contributors. There have been clutch stops, picks, runs, throws, catches, kicks and fumble recoveries. As is almost always the case in a team sport, (read as your business) it takes a united team effort (“running on all cylinders – in the zone”) to win.

As the early season losses mounted and the Bronco “brain-trust” was feeling as if there was nothing left to lose – they unleashed Tim Tebow. What was initially significant about this “strategic” move was that the seemingly 3rd string quarterback leapfrogged over the 2nd string quarterback to become the starter. It was the harbinger of many strange and wonderful (if you bleed orange and blue) things to come such as – downgrading the playbook to a High School level and trading last year’s leading receiver and starting QB mid-season.  Now, we have the incredibly fashioned string of wins, and a self described “higher-calling” individual playing his position in an unorthodox manner – a truly compelling drama for fans and non-fans of all persuasions.

I have no idea how many more rabbits will be pulled out of the hat by Tebow & Co, but up to this point, there are a few practical turnaround-takeaways & leadership affirmations worth sharing –

  1. Attention leaders: it never hurts to have created a multitude of rabid fans in your last position
  2. Past behaviors/come-through-in-the-clutch-success – by an individual – should never be overlooked when attempting to predict future behaviors/come-through-in-the-clutch-success
  3. Great leadership is the dynamic influence/impact on others – and what you do & who you are (together) are more powerful than either alone
  4. A new way (read as a new right way) hardly ever comes from re-doing the same things, unless you dust off a playbook so old that everyone has forgotten how to defend it
  5. If you hope to be successful as a leader, you’ll need to rely on more than yourself to pull it off
  6. If you wish to have a widely accepted & rapid leadership transition – “selfless” leadership (serving others, accepting personal responsibility for failures, spreading credit for accomplishments, humble in victory and defeat) lies in stark contrast to “selfish” leadership
  7. Talent, hard work, unity and faith (a potent team combination) – can create more than your fair share of luck – AKA  culture & chemistry matter much
  8. Just one “right” person – at the right time – can make all the difference in the world, but then… you knew that already…

Chase LeBlanc