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Thursday, September 03, 2009

CEO's say how you treat a waiter can predict a lot about character

Here is some interesting perspective on the importance of leaders displaying the right type of character, coupled with a list of Raytheon chairman and ceo Bill Swanson's so called 'Unwritten' Rules of Management -


In the Business 2.0 article that made Swanson's little book famous, they expounded on his rules and added the following:

1. You can't polish a sneaker.

2. You remember 1/3 of what you read, 1/2 of what people tell you, but 100 percent of what you feel.

3. Treat your company name as if it were your own.

4. When faced with decisions, try to look at them as if you were one level up in the organization. Your perspective will change quickly.

5. A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person. (This rule never fails.)

6. When facing issues or problems that are becoming drawn out, 'short' them to ground.

20 Ways to Win in Business

Lord Coe, former Olympic champion and now chairman of the London 2012 Olympic team, gives his advice on how to 'win in business' in this fascinating extract from his recently published book: The Winning Mind -


'The Zone' separates the great from the good

Here is an intersting article about the space sportsmen call 'the zone' -


Get gratification from what others do

Some fascinating insight from Shantanu Narayen, president of Adobe on leadership;

'Q. What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?

A. I really honed a lot of my leadership skills and style at Apple. I worked for Apple for many years, and I had a mentor, Gursharan Sidhu, from whom I learned just a tremendous amount. I think two leadership lessons really stand out for me. He forced me to think about doing things that I did not think were possible. Challenging individuals by setting goals and then letting them use their ingenuity to accomplish them is something that I hope I can pass on as part of my leadership style. If you set a common vision and then get really scary-smart people, they do things that amaze you. The other aspect of being a good manager has always been getting gratification from what others do, because the higher you get in management, frankly, the less you do yourself.'


A Brainwave in the Study of Leadership

New research suggests that management qualities can be traced to activity in identified regions of the brain -


7 Ways Leadership Training Helps to Recession-Proof Your Company

Here is some helpful and simple guidance on how to avoid the situation where leaders tend to freeze up and lean towards indecisiveness even when bold action is required, such as in a recession -


Business Lessons from a World Class Athlete

Here is an excellent article by Professor John Weeks of IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland showing how Usain Bolt's path to Olympic and World Championship success offers lessons to those working in business -


Jack Welch on Leadership

Jack Welch, the retired chairman and ceo of General Electric, wrote the following about leadership:

'As the leader you must take the blame and accept the responsibility for any failings or mistakes your people make. Never, never, never publicly blame another person for a failing. Their failing is your responsibility - true leadership offers no hiding place for a true leader.'

Tiger Woods on Goals

'There's nothing wrong with having your goals really high and trying to achieve them. That's the fun part. You may come up short. I've come up short on a lot of my goals but it's always fun to try and achieve them.'
' I know what I want to accomplish and I know how to get there. The ultimate goal is to be the best. Whether that's the best ever, who knows?'

Tiger Woods on Pressure

'I always feel pressure. If you don't feel nervous, you don't care about how you play. I care about how I perform. The day I'm not nervous playing is the day I'll quit.'

Five Leadership How-Tos for Recession Survival

We're in the midst of the worst economic crisis in decades, and many people in leadership positions haven't seen anything like it before. As a result, many often make decisions out of fear of what could happen instead of crafting a plan to ensure that everyone stays on track through the bad times. Surviving a recession can feel a bit like sailing without sails, so here are a few tips to help you stop, think and weather the crisis:

1. Battle Workplace Anxiety

Workplace cultures are fragile. Employees get nervous when the economy turns sour: They wonder if they'll have a job tomorrow, let alone next week. If it isn't managed properly, such anxiety can pervade a business and have disastrous ramifications. Leaders have to assume a role beyond juggling their usual responsibilities to curtail fears about the future.

2. Know When to Take a Break

Even though leading an organization through a recession requires special effort, working yourself to death won't make it any easier. If people in leadership positions go on vacation, they often have one eye on their cell phones and the other on their laptops for most of it. Don't be afraid of daydreaming with a daiquiri during that long overdue trip: Recent research from the University of British Columbia finds that the human brain is actually working overtime to solve problems during daydreaming, while a 2006 study, recently written up in Kellogg Insight, touts the value of "deliberation without attention." So, take that vacation to clear your mind. It might be a better way to solve dilemmas than focusing on them all day, every day.

3. Delegate as Needed

Learning to delegate work is important because it means that someone else is doing what you've probably done for years. The less bogged down in detail you are, the better. Most leaders don't delegate because, at some level, they believe they can do the work better and faster. This thought process isn't useful and can reflect a micro-management style that is especially hard to maintain when times are tough, and employees are nervous. There is a link between feeling comfortable delegating work and emotional intelligence; perceptive leaders are better at reading people's natural talents and letting them take risks. For more reading on how to lead intelligently, check out Daniel Goleman's essential 2002 book (co-authored with Richard Boyatzis and Anne McKee), "Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence."

4. Rediscover Simplicity

Human beings often do things a certain way out of habit, not because it brings about the results we want. Many leaders are so busy that simplicity gets lost in their approach to work, but hard economic times can be a "reality check" for businesses and make inefficiency obvious. The "Keep it Simple, Stupid" principle has been around for a long time for a reason--it needs to be said regularly, albeit in a tactful way, to others and yourself. Management expert Ken Blanchard developed the concept of "The One Minute Manager," and in that book he outlines simple management techniques that focus on setting clear, attainable goals and continually re-evaluating progress.

5. Replace the Square Pegs

Above all, leaders must create tight-knit, confident teams to survive the recession, but there's no point in following the above principles if you have the wrong employees. Consider the time you spend trying to make difficult employees fit in with your workplace, instead of investing time into ensuring your business can work towards its larger goals. Take the time to get good people in place now, and with so many talented people out of work, this may be the best season to think about hiring. The recession will end, and when it does, you want to emerge with the strongest team possible.

Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz on the Impact of Sports

"...the truth of the matter is that sports, being on a team, understanding the responsibility of doing something collectively, and the power of that, the friendships I formed as a result of sports, the connections I made with people - those things are linked to how I approached my personal life, and ultimately, my business career."

~ Howard Schultz, Founder of Starbucks

The Spirituality of Teamwork

Here is some interesting perspective on the leadership philosophy of NBA champion, LA Lakers head coach, Phil Jackson and his commitment to the notion that people who work together can accomplish much more than individuals seeking their own personal glory -

Inspirational Leadership and Responsible Leadership Linked Closely to Profitability and Revenue Growth

Here is an interesting article on the importance of linking Leadership Development to the future success of the organisation -


A Conference on Leadership which links Sport and Business

A Conference worth looking into for anyone who shares the vision of Positive Leadership Limited that leadership in sport and business have much in common -


Leadership Quotes from Coach K

“Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication.”

“During critical periods, a leader is not allowed to feel sorry for himself, to be down, to be angry, or to be weak. Leaders must beat back these emotions.”

“It takes courage not only to make decisions, but to live with those decisions afterward.”

“Leaders have to give time for relationships. But more demands will be placed on their time as they become more successful. So if a person’s success is based on developing relationships, then they have to continually find new ways of getting it done.”

“In our program, the truth is the basis of all that we do. There is nothing more important than the truth because there’s nothing more powerful than the truth. Consequently, on our team, we always tell one another the truth. We must be honest with one another. There is no other way.”

“Every leader needs to remember that a healthy respect for authority takes time to develop. It’s like building trust. You don’t instantly have trust, it has to be earned.”

“In leadership, there are no words more important than trust. In any organization, trust must be developed among every member of the team if success is going to be achieved.”

“Too many rules get in the way of leadership. They just put you in a box . . . . People set rules to keep from making decisions.”

“The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions. Not me. I don’t want to be a manager or a dictator. I want to be a leader—and leadership is ongoing, adjustable, flexible, and dynamic. As such, leaders have to maintain a certain amount of discretion.”

“Visualize a wagon wheel as a complete team. A leader might be the hub of the wheel at the center. Now suppose the spokes are the connecting relationships the leader is building with people on the outer rim of the wheel. If the hub is removed, then the entire wheel collapses. In a situation like that, if a team loses the leader, the entire team collapses.”

“When a leader takes responsibility for his own actions and mistakes, he not only sets a good example, he shows a healthy respect for people on his team.”

“There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring and pride. I like to think of each as a separate finger on the fist. Any one individually is important. But all of them together are unbeatable.”

“In leadership, there are no words more important than trust. In any organization, trust must be developed among every member of the team if success is going to be achieved.”

“A leader may be the most knowledgeable person in the world, but if the players on his team cannot translate that knowledge into action, it means nothing.”
“Leaders should be reliable without being predictable. They should be consistent without being anticipated.”

“A leader has to be positive about all things that happen to his team. Look at nothing in the past as failure.”

“Courage and confidence are what decision making is all about.”

“Leaders show respect for people by giving them time.”

“Encourage members of your team to take the initiative and act on their own.”

Talking Leadership with Coach K

Here are a few key thoughts on video from one of the greatest US college basketball coaches, Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University -


Sebastian Coe On Creating a Winning Culture

Sebastian Coe, Olympic gold medalist, politician, business leader and chairman of the London Organizing Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games, has written an inspiring book on the mental preparation required for winning in any endeavor. The Winning Mind is a fast-paced collection of life experience that offers evocative insights and expert coaching.

Coe believes that leaders are shaped by their “environment, by their ambition, by their role models, by the support they are given as they progress through life and by sheer determination. Our aim must always be that there should be no limit to what an individual from any background can achieve with focus and application — provided they recognize and grab their opportunity with both hands.”

Coe says that teams are most productive when they understand the part they play in achieving the final outcome. This requires very clear leadership. “Part of this is ensuring that the work culture is constructive, positive, inclusive and constant.” He offers this advice for creating a winning culture:

■It means encouraging open and honest communication.

■It means being aware of when to lead and when to allow people to make their own decisions about the most appropriate course of action.

■It means making time for people to ask questions. An effective leader will always be prepared to discuss the rational behind how and why things are being done in a particular way. You can tell a lot about someone form the kinds of questions they ask. Listening to your team is a useful way to identify tomorrow’s managers and leaders.

■It means allowing people to take calculated risks – within their own area of responsibility – even if it means the risk of failure (provided that failure can be contained). There are times to act and there are times to let things roll. (It’s a very instinctive thing.)

■It also means paying close attention to the quality of the physical environment within which people work. An effective team needs room to think, breathe, talk and work. These days, remote working and flexible working hours are not only possible, they can enhance productivity too. If managers trust their people, man different work styles are possible.

■It means encouraging people to maintain balance in their lives.

Coe says that a leader is really working to his own obsolescence. “You know you are doing a good job if the right decisions are being made even when you are not present. As my coach once said to me, ‘I know my job is done, because you did exactly what I would have asked you to do had I been there.’”

How well are you nurturing the conditions necessary to be able to put complete trust in your team?

Leadership Lessons from the late Senator Ted Kennedy

Some fascinating insight into the legacy of one of the greatest US politicians of recent times -


How to Develop a Nation of Winners

Here are some thoughts about how to transform the culture of a nation -


For Best Results, Take the Sting Out of Criticism

Here is an interesting article from The New York Times showing the importance of learning to both give and receive criticism well -