BIG’s Leadership Picks of the Week

This was a week of helping clients “make it so” - so posts about leadership action and results appealed to us. We hope these nuggets inspire you to turn a thought or a dream into reality!

If it were just about leading, would you still want to be a leader? (LeadershipNow)

Great little piece to get you thinking about defining success, purpose and your leadership legacy.

Leadership: Challenging The Status Quo (Lolly Daskal, Lead From Within)

“Nothing great is ever achieved by doing things the way they have always been done. Sometimes a leader needs to shake things up to encourage innovation, and to “move from mediocrity to greatness.” Start shaking!

Executive Presence: What Is It and How Do You Get It? (Sally Williamson, Womenetics)

“Defining executive presence is a gray area because for many it is the essence of leadership. It isn’t a technique but an embedded skill that becomes a personal trait and gives you power and influence over others. An executive with presence commands the room, projects the message and pulls you into her beliefs.”

What Creates Success (Kneale Mann, Leadership)

“Theories and sayings, adages and clichés, all point to the ways for us to find the success we seek. But what happens if we find it then lose our way?” The TED talk included here offers motivation to think more deeply about success.

Why Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Change the World (Jason Gots, Big Think)

“Those motivated and adept enough to seize the moment have the opportunity to reshape the way we think, live, learn, communicate, and do business.”

Might you be thinking wrongly about facts? “There is a tendency to mistake data for wisdom, just as there has always been a tendency to confuse logic with values, intelligence with insight. Unobstructed access to facts can produce unlimited good only if it is matched by the desire and ability to find out what they mean and where they lead. Facts are terrible things if left sprawling and unattended. They are too easily regarded as evaluated certainties rather than as the rawest of raw materials crying to be processed into the texture of logic.” ~Norman Cousins



Weekly Leadership Fav Reading

The team at BIG was drawn to these pieces featuring achievement, affiliation, power, listening and office politics…some heady and thought-provoking stuff (love those technical terms!). Enjoy!

Leadership Run Amok(Scott Spreier, et al, Harvard Business Review, June 2006)

An interesting piece built around research by David McClelland, the late Harvard psychologist, who studied motivation and its impacts on leadership behavior. Continue reading


Weekly Leadership Reading

These pieces captured the fancy of the team at BIG over the past week. Enjoy and lead BIG!

What is Unconscious Bias? (Unconscious Bias)

Unconscious bias is gaining social science traction (and some controversy) as yet another reason why discrimination, albeit covert, still exists in the workplace. The concept “offers the idea that discrimination and bias are social, rather than individual issues, and that we can thus all participate in promoting equality.”

Companion piece: the Implicit Association Test (IAT) developed by Doctors Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin R. Banaji, designed to help us better understand the conscious-unconscious divergences that go on in our mind. We’re still talking about our results.

Ladies! Will an interest in men’s sports advance your career?(Dorothy Dalton on Dorothy Dalton); Wanted: Senior Executive: Must Play Golf ~ Really? (Gwyn Teatro on You’re Not the Boss of Me)

I’m (Jane writing here) married to a sports addict whose wedding gift to me was golf clubs. I’ve done my share of playing really bad golf at business meetings, networking events and vendor/client outings. So two posts in a week about the relationship between sports and business was fascinating…as are some of the comments to these posts.

Do Your Team Members Throw One Another Under The Bus? (Chris Young, Human Capital Strategy Blog)

If your employees pointing fingers at one another instead of supporting/encouraging each other, Chris offers some investigative answers to help leaders get to core of the issue.

Are You Building a Leadership Culture? (Doug Dickerson on Leader’s Beacon)

Using the results of the recent Hay Group study on best leadership practices as a springboard, Doug poses questions for reflection to determine if your organization will ever show up on that list.

Book reviews to check out: What Matters Now by Gary Hamel on LeadershipNow, Judgment Calls: Twelve Stories of Big Decisions and the Teams that Got Them Right by Thomas H. Davenport and Brook Manville on LeadBIG, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg on WhitneyJohnson.

Thoughts on getting your personal big on. “Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.” ~Jim Rohn


This Week’s Leadership Favs

Ongoing learning, exploring, making a sustainable positive difference, paying it forward, and developing others are in our DNA here at Get Your BIG On.  The BIG team sees lots of worthy material while doing our work (what a delightful perk!), so we share the highlights via our “Leadership Friday Favs,” a short-cut to information you may not have the time to look up but might be interested in knowing.

9 Surefire Ways to Destroy Employee Morale (Kim Bhasin, Open Forum)

Gallup’s last employee engagement stats say 71% of workers aren’t engaged. If you’re a leader who’s worried about that number, do a mini-audit to see how many of these nine things are happening at your workplace.

Gender and Impression Management, Playing the Promotion Game (Val Singh, Savita Kumra, Susan Vinnicombe)

You work hard, keep your head down, and trust that’s enough to land you the big promotion that’s eluded you to-date. Not so, say these researchers. Some interesting stuff here about impression management and office politics.

Nine Reasons Managers Struggle (Michael McKinney, LeadershipNow)

Great book review of Managers, can you hear now now? by Denny Strigl, former CEO and president of Verizon Wireless. If leaders are guilty of committing any of these nine behaviors (ranging from caught up in self-importance to failing to enforce accountability), there’s trouble ahead.

WOMEN: Leadership is How to Be (Debbe Kennedy, Women in the Lead Blog)

This post touched on several topics near and dear to the BIG team: showing heart in leadership, women, being versus doing. “We have to get comfortable with putting more heart into our leadership, creating that dazzling combination of competence and human compassion, interest, and understanding of others.”

The Alchemy and Mystery of Leadership (Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership)

The BIG team loved Wally’s conclusion that “you will never know the impact you have on most of your team members, but you will have an impact. Set a good example. Treat people right. Leave the world better than you found it.” But what we loved even more was how he set a great learning example for leaders: being open to the content from Mary Jo Asmus’ “Embracing Mystery” post and using feedback from a former direct report to expand his definition of leadership.

Be kind to yourself message of the week. “Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don’t drop-kick a puppy into the neighbor’s yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.” ~Anne Lamott

Here’s to using your head to manage and your heart to lead at the intriguing intersection of the art of leadership and the science of business!



This Week’s Leadership Favs

Our Friday leadership favorites are an eclectic collection of articles, blog posts, quotes, pod casts and whatever else engages our interest. Some items are recent, others aren’t. Some are mainstream, others are off the beaten path. Enjoy! Be inspired!

Power Corrupts Sooner than You Think (Michael McKinney, LeadershipNow)

Having positional and/or personal power can be seductive, if we choose to let it do so. Here, Michael reminds us of some history and business lessons relative to power. He also underscores the truth that letting power have the upper hand is a choice we make whether we choose to acknowledge that fact or not.

Sheryl WuDunn: Our century’s greatest injustice (TED Talks)

Ready to get fired up? Sheryl, co-author of Half the Sky (a fascinating and frightening read), talks about gender inequality, calling it the moral challenge of this century. She recounts the unequal access to education many women face in third world countries and how remedying this improves economic conditions.

Fast Friday with Ayn Rand, author and philosopher (Round Table Talk)

Many leadership practices still in use today have their roots in philosophies long past their expiration date. The authors challenge leaders to take off the gloves and aim “to have a highly successful organization that makes money without needing to grind people to pieces.” Yes, yes, yes!

The Trust Edge (Jim Estill, CEO Blog - Time Leadership, scroll down to the December 24, 2011 entry)

Here’s a sad, sad research finding: 60% of the participants in a 2009 international study trusted a stranger more than they trusted their boss. Jim shares his take on some recent reading on how leaders can build and maintain trust.

Make an Introduction, Tip #4 (Becky Robinson, 12 Minute Media)

Relationships, alliances, coalitions and connections are the new currency of the workplace, may be even the globe. Building those bonds between and with others, whether male or female, can only help advance one’s personal and/or professional standing. Becky offers some simple yet really meaningful ways to connect people.

A lovely truth to remember throughout the year: “As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” ~Audrey Hepburn