Leadership Friday Favs 10.7.11

Some interesting leadership reading that caught our eye this past week…please enjoy!

Empowering Women by Investing in Education (The Glass Hammer)

The Foundation for Social Change and the UN Office for Partnerships kicked off the second annual Global Conference for Social Change with a Women and Girls Education Summit. This post provides an overview of several programs across the world for educating and empowering females. Good stuff.

Six Extras that Build Power and Leadership (Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business Review blog)

Too often we think about power as being negative. Power is simply the capacity to bring about change. It is access to resources combined with the authority to decide to what end those resources will be used. It is only in how one chooses to use power that it becomes positive or negative. In this insightful piece, Kanter presents six building blocks for what the Get Your BIG Team calls win-win power: being a good colleague, connecting people, being a giver, framing issues, commitment and diplomacy.

Creating a Leadership Movement (Mike Myatt, N2Growth)

Systems tend to perpetuate themselves. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it’s not. With the Wall Street sit-ins opposing corporate greed occurring, the times are telling us that business practices and leadership models need to change. Here Mike presents a well-thought out argument for changing leadership, saying “It’s not too difficult to make the case that leadership has devolved rather than evolved. If you pay even casual attention to the media and world events, it would appear those serving a personal agenda greatly outnumber those serving something greater than themselves.”

Creativity and Leadership Perceptions (Research Paper)

Danger, Will Robinson: there’s some serious academic-speak going on here. However, these research findings are fascinating! What’s explored here is the complex relationship between creativity and leadership. A not-so-surprising finding: that negative connotations and concerns result in organizations bypassing creative types for leaders who demonstrate a proclivity to maintain the status quo. (Perhaps another reason why Mike’s leadership movement and the character-based leadership revolution advocated by the Lead Change group are so necessary (and this group is even writing a book about it). Guess it’s no secret how the Get Your BIG On thinks!

The Truth About What It Takes to Be Successful — and Happy (Jeff Haden, BNET)

“No one has a secret success formula that applies to everyone. Success, both in business and in life, completely depends on how you define it – and on the tradeoffs you are willing not just to accept but also embrace as you pursue your definition of success. Why? You can have a lot — but you can’t have everything.”

Encouraging-you-to-fly quote of the week: “There will be a few times in your life when all your instincts will tell you to do something, something that defies logic, upsets your plans, and may seem crazy to others. When that happens, you do it. Listen to your instincts and ignore everything else. Ignore logic, ignore the odds, ignore the complications, and just go for it.” ~Judith McNaught


Leadership Friday Favs 9.30.11

The Big Seven Stakeholder Management Mistakes (Colin Gautrey on The Influence Blog)

The Lone Ranger management model rode off into the sunset a long, long time ago. Yet many managers still haven’t gotten the word that stakeholdering is a vital element in their leadership success. Stakeholders come in all sizes and places within an organization, and can play a large role in either the success or failure of your venture. Colin offers a most helpful list of seven not-to-do items with communicating and/or partnering with stakeholders.

Build versus Buy: Taking Stock of your Frontline Pipeline (DDI Directions)

A client group is preparing their 2012 business plan. The high level yet thoughtful questions and insights posed in this article were most helpful to them as they thought through how to approach their workforce staffing and development needs. “Identifying and developing emerging leaders requires—and is receiving—a focus from organizations across the world.You have to start by answering the critical question: ‘Do we build or do we buy? Building is identifying and developing existing and emerging leaders from within. Buying is hiring from outside.”

Tom Reads The Little BIG Things (Tom Peters on tompeters!)

Do you work at an organization where the sole focus is on profits/the bottom line, and that singular focus leaves you feeling empty? At Get Your BIG On, we believe magic happens when people feel confident, are engaged and know their employer values their contributions. If you believe in this kind of magic and need a boost, listen in as Tom reads a proposed company credo in the audio version of his The Little BIG Things. Warning: be prepared to swoon with delight and be transported to business as it should be, a place where there is an accountable focus on personal leadership growth, input and opinions do matter and are invited, and where a spotless work record signals not stellar success yet an unwillingness to brave the unknown…woohoo!

The Real Lesson of Moneyball (Wally Bock on Three Star Leadership)

This is a great companion piece to the Tom Peters reading noted above. Wally tells the story of how the Oakland A’s were the first baseball “team to use the statistical analysis tools that find undervalued stocks to find undervalued baseball players.” While using statistical tools must be part of the leadership/business toolkit, it isn’t a guarantee of fool-proof success. As Wally points out, “New ways of doing business and business process innovations are important. They can give you a temporary advantage, but soon your competitors copy what you do and what was once a big advantage becomes table stakes.”

Your Company’s Secret Change Agents (Richard Tanner Pascale and Jerry Sternin, Harvard Business Review)

One thing is for certain: with the “new normal” in business, an effective leader must be on the perpetual lookout for change. The tried and true doesn’t always cut it. One must seek the “sparkling exceptions to the rule” as they’re so aptly defined in this article. The authors outline six fascinating elements for helping a group learn from its own hidden wisdom, thus eliminating the “not-invented-here” bias that typically flows from best practice and benchmarking analysis.

Quote of the week. The Get Your BIG On team is loving on this quote this week: “If you’re interested in misery, 1) always try to look good in front of others; 2) always live in a world of assumptions and treat each assumption as though it’s a reality; 3) relate to every new situation as if it is a small crisis; 4) always live in the future or the past; and 5) occasionally stomp on yourself for being so dumb as to follow the first four rules.” ~W. W. Broadbent


Leadership Friday Favs 9.23.11

Developing a Leadership Training Program for High Potentials: A Case Study (Gina Abudi on Dan McCarthy’s Great Leadership)

Gina was extremely thoughtful and generous in detailing the several specifics required to establish a competency-based development program for high potential leaders. This post can be a great stepping off place if your organization is just beginning this process and doesn’t know where to start.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action (TED Talk by Simon Sinek)

It’s Friday - so grab a cup of coffee and treat yourself to two donuts (or two apples), then listen to Simon Sinek explain his Golden Circle. As you listen to his explanation, you’ll suddenly gain clarity about why so many initiatives and change efforts fail. Learn about operating from the inside out. Listen to Simon explain why people don’t buy what you do, rather they buy the “why” because they’re doing it for themselves. Intriguing stuff.

Why Do We Trust Someone? (Hauke Borow on Effective Tools for Holistic Leadership)

The Get Your BIG On team shared this post with a client this week who had totally mucked up a work relationship, destroying all trust. Hauke explains his view of trust being built on transpareny, authenticity and predictability. There’s no magic sauce here, just some simple and straightforward guidance that can help build, or rebuild (with a lot of work), trust.

Measuring the Success of Leadership Development (Bersin & Associates Research Bulletin)

If you’re going through 2012 business planning and getting pushback from your boss or finance regarding your proposed leadership development expenditures, the simple facts here might help you with your business case so you get the funding approved.

Quote the week: “Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion and empathy.” ~Dean Koontz


Leadership Friday Favs 9.16.11

Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve (Jim Collins, HBR article)

Some days it seems as if it’s the egotistical chest-thumpers who grab, and get, all the glory. Then, one meets a leader who can’t say enough good things about his/her team and deflects/defers any contribution of their own to the firm’s success. Refreshing! Being humble doesn’t mean one is a doormat, and Jim Collins provides some great insights on this in this classic post.

Tone Tools Design Goodwill in War Zones (Dr. Ellen F. Weber on Brain Leaders and Learners)

Having handled labor relations and contract negotiations for many years, the story Ellen uses to demonstrate brain power to resolve conflict totally resonated. In this content rich post, she offers not only a 10-question climate tone survey but also 25 “walkways into brain-powered tone tools.” Fascinating insights into how much more we can be, and do!

When Employees Misinterpret Managers (Ben Horowitz)

While the Get Your BIG On team thinks the title of this post is misleading, it’s the central premise of what happens when there’s over-focus on numbers that counts. It’s a great remember for leaders to really think through what they want. “It’s important to supplement a great product vision with a strong discipline around the metrics, but if you substitute metrics for product vision, you will not get what you want.”

The curse of motherhood (Building Gender Balanced Businesses)

“Men and women are treated equally and the pay gap is rapidly shrinking but the overall picture is somewhat disheartening, especially for women who plan on having children. Any time off work can strike a crippling and permanent blow on future earnings and the solutions aren’t obvious.”

Survive and Thrive-Ten Steps (Irene Becker on The 3Q Blog)

If your self-confidence needs a boost, Irene offers ten ways to “build self-esteem and self-confidence from the inside out by celebrating your passion, purpose and potential.”

The quote corner. A quote that made the GYBO team reflect this week: “It is said that it is far more difficult to hold and maintain leadership (liberty) that it is to attain it. Success is a ruthless competitor for it flatters and nourishes our weaknesses and lulls us into complacency. We bask in the sunshine of accomplishment and lose the spirit of humility which helps us visualize all the factors which have contributed to our success. We are apt to forget that we are only one of a team, that in unity there is strength and that we are strong only as long as each unit in our organization functions with precision.” ~Samuel Tilden


Leadership Friday Favs 9.9.11

Setting Employees Free To Do Good (Nicole Skibola, Forbes)

“The next time you’re thinking about ways to engage your workers, think about the intersection between your business growth and your community and give your employees the chance to shine.” My last corporate America employer had an employee volunteer day. Tens of thousands of employees donated their time and love on a given day. The givers and the getters all ended the day feeling like they had made a difference.

Lost Dignity at Work (Jeremy C. Garlington, The Garlington Report)

If you’re an employer who has established currently having a job as a requirement for hiring, read this post and reflect whether or not you’re living up to that lofty mission statement your organization probably has been doing good. “It would serve large employers and their leaders well to evaluate whether the value called the dignity of work still exists in their workplace.”

The Real Definition of Success (Paul Castain)

The Get Your BIG On team loves pithy posts. Ones that stop you dead in mid-coffee sip. Ones that prompt self-reflection. Paul’s post on the meaning of success does just that…and throws in a “triple dog dare” just for good measure.

How Leaders Turn Screw-ups into Learning Opportunities (Mike Figliuolo)

Effective leaders intent on developing the talents of their team take advantage of teachable moments. Mike recounts several incidents from his military career in which mistakes became the catalyst for learning rather a mark of failure. “As a leader, the most important part is your reaction to these events. Those reactions are what end up defining you in the eyes of your team.”

An Introvert Tackles Political Leadership Camp (Ashley-Nicole Weatherington, WE-News)

What a great story of personal development! A shy young women, fearful of public speaking, steps into her power and expands her comfort zone by completing a six-day political leadership program. Well-done, Ashley-Nicole!

Quote of the week. Here’s a really good one to chew on! “Practical life teaches us that people may differ and that both may be wrong: it also teaches us that people may differ and both be right. Anchor yourself fast in the latter faith, or the former will sweep your heart away.” ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


Leadership Saturday Favs 9.3.11

Exploiting Beauty in the Workplace (HBR post by Gill Corkindale)

Holy moly! Set down your coffee cup and put away anything sharp before reading this post! Gill shares an overview of a new book by Catherine Hakim, a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, in which she advocates that “professional women should use their ‘erotic capital’ — beauty, sex appeal, charm, dress sense, liveliness, and fitness — to get ahead at work.” For me, this feels like a giant step back and kinda manipulative, too. What about you?

First Look: Leadership Books for September 2011

If you’re packing a bag to head off for the long Labor Day weekend, Michael McKinney serves up some great reading suggestions.

True North Groups: A Powerful Path to Personal and Leadership Development by Bill George and Doug Baker
The Anywhere Leader: How to Lead and Succeed in Any Business Environment by Mike Thompson
StandOut: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment from the Leader of the Strengths Revolution by Marcus Buckingham
Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney
Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance by Jonathan Fields

Sparking Creativity in Teams (McKinsey Quarterly - requires free sign-up)

“Creativity is not a trait reserved for the lucky few. By immersing your people in unexpected environments, confronting ingrained orthodoxies, using analogies, and challenging your organization to overcome difficult constraints, you can dramatically boost their creative output—and your own.”

Trust in Business: The Core Concepts (Charles H. Green, Trusted Advisor Associates)

Trust and credibility go hand-in-hand; lose one, lose the other. “The level of trust in business relationships—whether external, e.g. in sales or advisory roles, or internal, e.g. in a services function—is a greater determinant of success than anything else, including content excellence.” This instructive article goes on define several conceptual frameworks for trust within relationships and for our own level of trustworthiness. The “trust quotient” equation is particularly compelling this week in the GYBO corner.

Quote of the week: “Leadership is not magnetic personality—that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’—that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of personality beyond its normal limitations.” ~Peter F. Drucker


Leadership Friday Favs 8.26.11

Photo by Armstrong Roberts

Listen for the laughter (Wally Bock on Three Star Leadership)

It’s short, sweet and to the point: the workplace needs more laughter. Well said, Wally!

Eat Your Peas, And Do 10 Of These (Some Leadership Castor Oil) (Terry Starbucker)

Maybe it was the push from the impending hurricane, but we were into brevity and spot-on focus this week. Terry offers up both in his list of ten leadership that might not be the most glamorous yet are essential. “There are a lot of ‘peas’ out there that we have to just ‘eat’, because if we don’t, our leadership will suffer. It’s our Castor Oil – it doesn’t go down easy, but the dividends will make it all worth it.”

Women “Take Care”, Men “Take Charge”: Stereotyping of U.S. Business Leaders Exposed (2005 Catalyst Report)

For the past year, Dr. Anne Perschel (@bizshrink) and I have been partnering to conduct research into business women and their relationship with power. To-date we’ve canvassed 227 business women regarding their views about the topic. (We’re getting very, very close to releasing our white paper.) We referenced this study from Catalyst in doing our work. Catalyst analyzed ten essential behaviors required of corporate leaders to understand where women leaders are vulnerable to stereotyping. A fascinating read!

The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make (Whitney Johnson on HBR Blog Network)

Another concise post! Whitney makes a poignant appeal for leaders to stamp out pessimism. She offers several suggestions for balancing a focus on both task completion and relationship building. “One of the best ways to invest in the people who work for us and with us is to give them an opportunity to attain their fullest stature.”

Our quote of the week: “The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.” ~Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms


Leadership Friday Favs 8.19.11

Leading Again for the First Time (Chris Souba, Dean The Ohio State University [go bucks!] Journal of Surgical Research 157, 139–153, 2009)

It’s all here: getting your identity all confused with your role, telling yourself empowering and/or disempowering stories, being mindful of your mental hard drives (what a great turn of phrase!), interpretative versus evidence-based decision-making, and even two views of reality. All great stuff as a either a primer or a review, depending upon where you are in your leadership journey. “The sustainability and ‘thrive-ability’ of our organizations, societies, nations, and world rest on changing the way we currently think.”

Roadmap to a life that matters (HBR post by Umair Haque)

Having spent a big chunk of the last year researching business and power, the folks at BIG believe the fabric of business is badly frayed. Umair’s piece filled us with peace…and hope and joy. “More, bigger, faster, cheaper, nastier has built an economy that might just be in furious pursuit of mediocrity. Put what, why, and who you love ahead of what, why, and who you don’t, and your roadmap will begin to write itself.”

The Rainmaker ‘Fab Five’ Blog Picks of the Week (Chris Young, The Rainmaker Group, Maximize Possibility)

OK, OK, including a collection of posts in a collection of posts is perhaps a tad odd. However, there’s such thoughtful content here that touches several of our hot buttons that we couldn’t resist! Insights on employee engagement, leadership values, job autonomy, ethical behavior and more. If you’re a leader looking for a few topics to introduce a thoughtful discussion in a staff meeting, those topics are here.

When You’re Thrown Off Course... (Jesse Lyn Stoner)

It’s been another volatile week on the stock market. The evening news is full of doom and gloom stories. You feel your attitude meter starting to dip southward. If your outlook could use a “pick-me-up,” you’ll appreciate Jesse’s telling of Terry Fox’s story. It’s a true tale of leadership, resilience and spirit. Warning: be prepared to be inspired!

Quote of the week. Gotta love this point of view!

A pessimist, they say, sees a glass as being half empty; an optimist sees the same glass as half full. But a giving person sees a glass of water and starts looking for someone who might be thirsty. ~G. Donald Gale


Leadership Friday Favs 8.12.11

The perils of bad strategy (McKinsey Quarterly, June 2011 by Richard Rumelt. Requires free membership)

Wondering whether or not your organization has a solid strategy? If you have doubts, read Richard’s stimulating article to ascertain whether your firm has bad strategy masquerading as a good one. “Like a quarterback whose only advice to his teammates is ‘let’s win,’ bad strategy covers up its failure to guide by embracing the language of broad goals, ambition, vision, and values. Each of these elements is, of course, an important part of human life. But, by themselves, they are not substitutes for the hard work of strategy.”

9 Things Successful People Know (Success Magazine)

Frank I. Luntz has defined nine elements he believes are necessary for success. While we disagree with including perfectionism on the list, the other eight have merit and a worth a look-see to determine if you have those competencies. The discussion questions at the end of the post help direct one’s thinking and self-reflection.

Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work (TED Talk)

If you or your boss or anyone within your organization is hung up on the value of office face-time, grab a solitary cup of coffee or glass of wine and listen to Jason share why most of us get so little tangible work done at the office. I’m betting you’ll never think about M&M’s the same way again!

Don’t Let the Bear Market Ruin Morale (BNET by John Baldoni)

With all the turmoil in the financial markets and across the world, it’s highly likely that your employees are feeling fear and uncertainly at work. John offers three easy to implement ideas for re-assuring your team. “When times are uncertain, people look for strong leadership. Make certain with your people that they do not need too look far for it.”

Thought of the week. If you’re a parent or work with young people, you’ll find this quote inspirational. “Reverence is an emotion that we can nurture in our very young children, respect is an attitude that we instill in our children as they become school-agers, and responsibility is an act that we inspire in our children as they grow through the middle years and become adolescents.” ~Zoe Weil


Leadership Friday Favs 8.5.11

Inside Pfizer’s Palace Coup (CNN Money post by Peter Elkind and Jennifer Reingold with Doris Burke)

Wow, talk about a fascinating story of dysfunctional leadership! This article is long but well worth the read. It details the rise and fall story of Jeff Kindler, former Pfizer CEO. It’s all here: ego, backstabbing, cliques, insidious competition, rudeness, callousness, passivity and more. Everything on the shadow side of leadership…great lessons for NOT to behave.

How to Find a Child’s Missing Shoe (and Other Entitlement Issues) (Richard and Linda Eyre for Success Magazine)

While the central thrust of this article is helping children understand ownership, the points made and process diagram are useful for adults (and leaders, too!). “Jason felt no sense of ownership for his shoe! Why would he? He didn’t buy it; he hadn’t given up anything for it. He hadn’t even picked it out. And without ownership, he couldn’t have felt a sense of responsibility.”

Making Vs.Taking Decisions (Matt Angello on Bright Tree Consulting Group)

In this interesting post, Matt compares the western style of “making” decisions with the European model of “taking” decisions. It’s a nuanced distinction, to be sure, yet one worth pondering as one considers the economic shambles still enveloping us and the disarray in Washington.

Michael Watkins’ ‘The First 90 Days’ (book review by Patrick Brigger)

A very succinct and informative book review: this abstract provides the ten challenge areas new leaders face and four leadership situations defined with a “Stars” model - start-up, turnaround, realignment and sustaining success.

First Look: Leadership Books for August 2011 (Michael McKinney on Leadership Now)

Check out Michael’s sneak peak of five new leadership books being released this month…just in time, perhaps, for some vacation reading!

To ponder, courtesy of Lewis Carroll:

“Speak when you’re spoken to!” The Queen sharply interrupted her.

“But if everybody obeyed that rule,” said Alice, who was always ready for a little argument, “and if you only spoke when you were spoken to, and the other person always waited for you to begin, you see nobody would ever say anything, so that — “

“Ridiculous!” cried the Queen. “Why, don’t you see, child — ” here she broke off with a frown, and, after thinking for a minute, suddenly changed the subject of the conversation.

Shoe photo from Chixpix