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Monday, October 31, 2011

Positive Leadership: Our Approach to High Performance


Friday, October 28, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Difference Between Management and Leadership

Managers work to get their employees to do what they did yesterday, but a little faster and a little cheaper.

Leaders, on the other hand, know where they'd like to go, but understand that they can't get there without their tribe, without giving those they lead the tools to make something happen.

Managers want authority. Leaders take responsibility.

We need both. But we have to be careful not to confuse them. And it helps to remember that leaders are scarce and thus more valuable.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Positive Leadership: Bridgewater Associates' Pursuit of Truth and Excellence

In both 2010 and 2011, Bridgewater Associates (www.bwater.com) ranked as the largest and best performing hedge fund manager in the world. 

Bridgewater’s unique results are a product of its unique culture. Truth and excellence are valued above all else. 

As Bridgewater founder, Ray Dalio says: 

'In order to be excellent we need to know what’s true, especially those things that we would rather not be true, so that we can decide how best to deal with them. We want logic and reason to be the basis for making decisions. It is through this striving to be excellent by being radically truthful and transparent that we build meaningful work and meaningful relationships.

At Bridgewater, our overriding objective is excellence, or more precisely, constant improvement. We believe that producing excellence requires approaching both work and people in a principled way. Above all else, we want to find out what is true and figure out how best to deal with it. We value independent thinking and innovation, recognizing that independent thinking generates disagreement and innovation requires making mistakes.

To foster this thinking and innovation, we maintain an environment of radical openness, even though that honesty can be difficult and uncomfortable. At Bridgewater each individual has the right and the obligation to ensure that what they do and what we do collectively in pursuit of excellence makes sense to them. Everyone is encouraged to be both assertive and open-minded in order to build their understanding and discover their best path. The types of disagreements and mistakes that are typically discouraged elsewhere are expected at Bridgewater because they are the fuel for the learning that helps us maximize the utilization of our potential. It is through this unique culture that we have produced the meaningful work and meaningful relationships that those who work here and our clients have come to expect.'

Underpinning the Bridgewater philosphy are Ray Dalio's Principles, which the organisation uses, debates and changes to agree on how individuals should be with each other in their collective pursuit of excellence.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Positive Leadership: Leading in a VUCA World

How do you lead successfully in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous), disruptive, even chaotic world?

In their new book Great by Choice, Jim Collins and Morten Hansen pondered that question. To get some empirically derived answers, they studied leaders of companies that grew to become great in highly uncertain, even chaotic, industries. They include the biotech, semiconductor, personal computer, and airline industries. Over the years, the CEOs of these companies faced massive technology disruptions, deep industry recessions, sudden collapses in demand, price wars, oil shocks — you name it. But even so, they led their companies to great long-term financial performance. Their experience can guide leaders who now must lead in today's disruptive world.

Some of these leaders have become legends, such as Andy Grove of Intel and Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines. Others remain fairly unknown outside their industry, such as John Brown of Stryker and George Rathmann of Amgen. What then were the leadership characteristics that separated the winning leaders from their industry peers?

Surprisingly, they were not more visionary (they did not stand out for their ability to "see" the future), and they were generally not more charismatic (yes, a few were, like Herb Kelleher, but not all, and so were some industry peers).

Instead, the researchers found three other characteristics:

Productive Paranoia. Bill Gates was hyper-vigilant about what could hit and damage Microsoft. "Fear should guide you," he said in 1994. "I consider failure on a regular basis." Herb Kelleher predicted eleven of the last three recessions. Andy Grove ran around "looking for the black cloud in the silver lining." Productive paranoia is the ability to be hyper-vigilant about potentially bad events that can hit your company and then turn that fear into preparation and clearheaded action. You can't sit around being fearful; you must act, like Herb Kelleher, who insisted on cutting costs and running lean operations in good times, so that they would be prepared for the next storm, imagined or real.

Empirical Creativity. Well, just staying alive does not produce greatness. You must also create. So we should expect these leaders to be highly creative — to create new, wonderful products. Yes, but here's the rub. The leaders of the average industry peers also displayed lots of creativity. The researchers found that the differentiating leadership principle was a certain approach to creativity, what we call empirical creativity — the ability to empirically validate your creative instincts. This means using direct observation, conducting practical experiments, and engaging directly with evidence, rather than relying on opinion, whim, and analysis alone. When Peter Lewis of Progressive, the car insurance company, had the idea of expanding into the safe-driver market, he did not move in one big swoop. Rather, he started with trials in Texas and Florida, then added more experiments in other states, and finally, three years later, when the concept was validated, he bet big on the new business. His idea was rooted in empiricism, not analysis alone.

Fanatic Discipline. Discipline can mean many things — working hard, following rules, being obedient, and so on. However, the researchers mean something else: The best-performing leaders in the study exhibited discipline as consistency of action — consistency with values, long-term goals, and performance standards; consistency of method; and consistency over time. It involves rejecting conventional wisdom, hype, and the madness of crowds — essentially being a nonconformist. When John Brown of Stryker set the long-term goal of 20% annual net income growth, year in and year out (he hit it in more than 90% during 21 years), he was so committed to this quest that it could only be described as, well, fanatical. Markets down? Competition severe? Recession? Market hype? He did not care. He built a system of fanatic discipline to achieve the quest, no matter what. He was highly disciplined by showing consistency between his words (the goal) and his behaviours (everything he did to make it happen).

You need all three leadership skills in an uncertain world: Fanatic discipline keeps you on track; empirical creativity keeps you vibrant; and productive paranoia keeps you alive.

When we speak to leaders, we find it helpful to ask: When you consider these three leadership skills, which do you perceive as your weakest one, and how can you turn that into a strength?


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Positive Leadership: What makes a Great Leader?

What makes a great leader?  Here are three alternatives to consider:

Someone who has managed to overcome any weaknesses that she may have had.
Someone who is really well rounded and good at a large number of things.
Someone who is exceptionally good at a relatively small number of leadership competencies.

While there are good things to say about each of the alternatives above, the research is quite clear.  The last choice is the hands-down winner. Extraordinary leaders are those who possess and regularly utilise three or more powerful strengths.  There are those who have believed that there are other ways to get there. 

However, the data suggests that the first two items above simply do not work: 

Not possessing any failings or faults. 

(This is a bit complicated, because it is also true that extraordinary leaders most certainly have some failings and flat sides, but they don’t possess fatal flaws.)  You just can’t be awful at some leadership competency and still succeed in being a highly effective leader.

We all know horror stories about bad bosses.  These range from the boss who screams, shouts, berates and throws things across the room; to bosses who will never make a decision or take responsibility for their actions.  A currently popular TV show, The Office, painfully spoofs a bad boss who totally lacks self-awareness and constantly engages in highly inappropriate interactions with his subordinates. 

But let’s assume for a moment that we could eradicate these really bad behaviours. Would that create an inspiring, highly motivating leader?  The answer is obviously “No”.  Simply removing inappropriate behaviour brings you to ground zero.

Being exceedingly well rounded and good at the great majority of leadership competencies.

(Yes, that’s also better than not being good at a wide variety of leadership competencies.  But that does not cut it either.)

In most larger organisations that have existed for a decade or more, there is some very pleasant, generally well-liked manager who is also known as “good old ______.” (You can fill in the name.)  He doesn’t initiate new projects.  Or his group is performing adequately, but not brilliantly.  Nothing stands out about this individual, nor the performance of the group they lead.

We trust that this will be an encouraging message to most readers.


Because it says that a person doesn’t need to be outstanding at a wide range of competencies in order to be highly effective in a leadership role.

Instead, being really effective at a small number of competencies is all that is required.  Better yet, it doesn’t seem to make much difference which ones these are.  A wide variety of combinations work.  If someone is at the 90th percentile at displaying high integrity and honesty, and along with that also is at the 90th percentile at taking initiative, then 91% of the time that person will be in the top 10% of all leaders in their organisation.  The same thing is true for someone who communicates powerfully and prolifically and also sets stretch goals with the team that they manage, only their odds increase to 94% of the time. 


Monday, October 24, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Values of Your Business

Businesses communicate a lot of things. Many love to boast when their revenues soar, or publicise the strategic restructuring of their organisational response committees (whatever that means). But often missing from a firm's communications is something absolutely fundamental to its operations: its values.

If a company doesn't take the time and effort to communicate its values in a meaningful way, then it's like the old tree-falling-in-the-forest cliché: It makes a big splash, but no one is around to appreciate its impact.

Recent high-profile scandals and crises have made it clear that many businesses do not properly or openly communicate their values. That has direct and indirect effects on the economy, which is made all the worse by rising fears of a double-dip recession and angst over the state of global markets.

Just look at how The News of the World phone-hacking scandal has exposed News Corp. to accusations over the company's values and the efficacy of its leadership. Had the company more openly communicated what it stands for and the moral compass its employees follow, it likely would not have been vilified so thoroughly in the press. Despite numerous protestations from Rupert Murdoch and his top lieutenants that the company's values align perfectly with the public's best interests, the damage has been done. The public is left questioning what, if anything, does this company stand for?

Even NewsCorp. purports to have values, but like many other companies it fails to effectively communicate them to the outside world. Having strong corporate values is admirable, but values without proactive employee communication of their importance might as well not exist. A firm might host a company-wide meeting to reaffirm the employee-engagement programme or to deliver the annual report, but how often have you seen that effort start with a bang and quickly fizzle out as people move on with their day-to-day tasks? Employee communications has never been a more important component of a CEO's management toolbox, and we must educate our employees on how to effectively communicate values and make them resonate.

What else can businesses do to better communicate their values? A few key ideas to keep in mind:

Ask employees what is important to them. Seek their input on how well the company's work, and in turn, its employees, reflect their value system. Remember that generalised concepts — even oft-used words found in mission statements like "integrity" and "commitment" — have different meanings to people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Establish core values across the company, not just within management. If management sets values, who would own them? You need buy-in from employees; they have to feel a certain ownership over value creation.

Develop a values communications plan. Employee communications has to be at the forefront of your value-setting agenda; too often, executives fail to proactively seek employee input and buy-in before values are put in place. This leads to antipathy and resentment among those employees who don't feel a company's values align with their personal and professional aspirations.

Live your values. Embrace the corporate values and be mindful of them in every decision you make — both in good and bad times. Never forget that actions speak louder than words.

Few companies get every component of "the business of values" just right. Value setting is a tough business, often fraught with multiple challenges and divergent agendas. But once those values are set, right or wrong, every CEO would be wise to communicate them and live them as though his business depends on it. Because it just might.

Now is the time to take the whole business of values, and the values of our businesses, a lot more seriously.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Power of Visualisation

Data is not useful until it becomes information, and that's because data is hard for human beings to digest.

This is even more true if its news that contradicts what we've already decided to believe. Can you imagine the incredible mind shift that Mercator's map of the world caused in the people who saw it? One day you believed something, and then a few minutes later, something else.

We repeatedly underestimate how important a story is to help us make sense of the world.

Jess Bachman wants to help you turn the data about the US budget (the largest measured expenditure in the history of mankind) into information that actually changes the way you think.

It is not possible to spend less than ten minutes looking at this, and more probably, you'll be engaged for much longer. And it's definitely not possible to walk away from it unchanged. That's a lot to ask for a single sheet of paper, but that's the power of visualising data and turning it into information.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Positive Leadership: Thinking Differently

Steve Jobs narrated the first Think different commercial "Here's to the Crazy Ones". It never aired. Richard Dreyfuss did the voiceover for the original spot that aired. This one is much better!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Positive Leadership: The Importance of Social Intelligence

Why does social intelligence emerge as the make-or-break leadership skill set? For one, leadership is the art of accomplishing goals through other people.

Technical skills and self-mastery alone allow you to be an outstanding individual contributor. But to lead, you need an additional interpersonal skill set: you've got to listen, communicate, persuade, collaborate.

A leader's competencies are synergistic. The more different competencies a leader displays at strength, the greater her business results. But there's another critically important rule-of-thumb: some competencies matter more than others, particularly at the higher levels of leadership. For C-level executives, for example, technical expertise matters far less than the art of influence: you can hire people with great technical skills, but then you've got to motivate, guide and inspire them.

Specifically, there are threshold competencies, the abilities every leader needs to some degree, and then there are distinguishing competencies, the abilities you find only in the stars.

You can be the most brilliant innovator, problem-solver or strategic thinker, but if you can't inspire and motivate, build relationships or communicate powerfully, those talents will get you nowhere. 

Social intelligence is the secret sauce in top-performing leadership.

Lacking social intelligence, no other combination of competences is likely to get much traction. Along with whatever other strengths they may have, the must-have is social intelligence.

So how do you spot this skill set? An executive with a long track record of satisfactory hires told us how his organisation assessed social intelligence in a prospect during the round of interviews, group sessions, meals, and parties that candidates there routinely went through.

"We'd watch carefully to see if she talks to everyone at the party or a dinner, not just the people who might be helpful to her," he said. One of the social intelligence indicators: during a getting-to-know you conversation, does the candidate ask about the other person or engage in a self-centred monologue? At the same time, does she talk about herself in a natural way? At the end of the conversation, you should feel you know the person, not just the social self she tries to project.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Positive Leadership: Unlocking The Power Of Values To Mobilise Your Company And Build Your Brand

Every crisis presents opportunities for innovation and new thinking. And while the world seems to be facing a fresh crisis every day, whether man made or by a force of nature, there is one crisis that presents an opportunity that every company should explore: the crisis of values. 

This post addresses one simple challenge to businesses and their leaders: examine your values and what you believe in, make them meaningful, and then put them to work inside and outside your company because you have a responsibility and a significant opportunity for the changes we are seeing in the world.

Have you defined what you believe in? Examine and define your values as a company so that they are meaningful, memorable, and support your purpose.

If a vision articulates the change a company hopes to make in the world, and the mission is how it plans to get there, values define the character of an organisation, and they act as the principles that direct behaviour during the journey.

After paying the price for an explosive growth strategy, Starbucks lost its way and ended up in a serious crisis. One of the first things Howard Schultz did on his return as CEO was to re-examine the company's soul and its reason for being. He made sure the mission and the values were refreshed and bought back to life. When Bono spoke at an all-company meeting to announce the roll-out in New Orleans, he said, "Some people say, markets are not about morals, they are about profits. That's old thinking and false advice. Great companies will be the ones that find a way to have and hold on to their values while chasing their profits, and brand value will converge to create a new business model that unites commerce and compassion, the heart and the wallet." Today the company is refocused and refreshed, with its share price at an all-time high. Everything it does ladders back to its mission and is guided by living and meaningful values. 

Engage your team by sharing the values with every department in the company to build ownership and engagement.

Companies with unclear values leave the engagement of their people to chance, whereas values-driven companies are organic and human communities that function with passion and focus. As individuals, we are what we believe in and companies are what their people believe in. Values that live on a wall in a conference room are often lengthy and forgettable, but shared values that are alive and authentic drive conviction, consistency, and clarity. Integrating values and a connection to human needs into a company's business model, and throughout each department, presents significant opportunities for innovation. Values connect and motivate people, and can super-charge teams with energy and commitment in tough times. They are the lifeblood of a culture, the buttons when pushed that brings a company to life. Do you know what your company and brand values are? Have you shared the values your company lives by?

Operationalise your values in every department to challenge them to develop action-based plans. Having a clear set of values provides a common communications platform and a set of routines that help connect all departments and reduce organisational complexity. It gives people a basis for collaboration--a common vocabulary, a common language, a common set of principles for decision-making. While the world might be changing, values that remain constant provide a foundation for stability and growth. Values people care about inspire them to look for new problems to solve and to keep anticipating change. Have you shared your values with each department in the company that have to develop plans to bring them to life?
Develop simple methods to measure the impact of living values and find appropriate ways to celebrate them regularly.

We know that when people buy products they build emotional connections with brands. For brands to make connections they have to express meaningful values. Like the dynamics of a deep and lasting friendship, these connections are made stronger when common values are clear and present. Values are people-centred beliefs that connect people, groups inside of a company with different skills in different departments, and consumers outside with the brand. Shared values that are demonstrated in choices and behaviours from a company create opportunities to engage and inspire people inside and outside of the organisation.

Have you celebrated your values and the impact they have on the company's culture and its performance? If not, now is the time to start.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Positive Leadership: Why Top Talent Leave Their Jobs


Friday, October 14, 2011

Positive Leadership: Self-Belief and Success

Have you ever looked back on something that you achieved and wondered why you were so successful? When you look back at your successes and the things you've achieved in your life and you look for the reasons why you succeeded, you'll find that most often it wasn't just luck. Some, if not all, of the following were involved:

Knowledge, Skill, Commitment, Motivation, Energy, Confidence, Resilience, and a belief in yourself and what you were doing.

It's not hard to see why we succeed. What is hard is explaining why we don't succeed all the time. Quite often people will say, "Oh, that would be too hard for me," or "That would take too much effort." But would it really? Because the truth is that each one of us has a wealth of abilities, energy and skills, but most of the time we only use a fraction of this wealth. This incredible wealth of untapped resources is called "Human Potential." How much we use of it depends, more than anything else, on our belief system.

If we believe there is no way around a problem, we close our minds to possible solutions. But if we believe we will find a way, then it doesn't matter what obstacles we run into. We get very creative. We see things we wouldn't ordinarily see, and we hang in there and get others to help us until we do find a way.

Remember, the most powerful thing you can do to change your life is to change your beliefs about life and begin to act accordingly. 


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Positive Leadership: Reducing the Cost of Workplace Stress

Stress at work is a major issue. Brain cells "talk to each other" by means of chemical messengers. When a person is exposed to too much stress, chemical communication in the brain begins to fail. When these messengers fail, a person suffers from sleep disturbance, aches and pains, depression and anxiety. Mental illness costs UK employers an estimated £26bn a year.

One way of helping to deal with stress is to consider magnotherapy as a way of helping to improve sleep patterns.

What is magnotherapy?

Human bodies are electromagnetic in nature and this fact is closely allied to the chemical balance of the body which can be in either a healthy or an unhealthy state.

It is now known scientifically that a healthy body contains fluids that are slightly alkaline and that an unhealthy body is acidic. A poor diet can make the body acidic and in this state all sorts of diseases will thrive. It is also known that at damaged sites in the body, exists a positive electrical charge which affects both the chemical balance and the electrical balance in the area, resulting in pain. In order to effect healing, the body’s own systems send a negative electrical charge to the area. This healing action of the body is easily restricted by poor diet, lifestyle, alcohol, drugs etc. There is also considerable evidence of something called “Magnetic Deficiency Syndrome” being a major contributor to restricting the body’s ability to respond to illness.

It is now firmly established that a negative magnetic field, provided by a geomagnetic north pole magnetic field (the same as the Earth’s North Pole), is the most natural way of providing much needed support for the body’s own immune system.

Negative magnetic fields oxygenate and alkalise by aiding the body’s defences and helping to relieve pain. Further, they combat inflammation and infection and enhance deep restorative sleep. This latter point is extremely important. 

In order to combat maladies that result from the stress of our current lifestyles, the correct amount of good quality sleep is essential. 

Combine this with the possibility of at least reducing the amount of powerful drugs taken and what results is a completely natural complementary therapy. Given the correct choice and placement of magnetic device, this is probably the most effective alternative therapy available. Magnet therapy can be applied by you whenever and wherever needed. Modern materials technology has produced small powerful inexpensive magnets which can be used anywhere on the body and can be moved about to find the best positions.

For further information on magnets which might help you alleviate the symptoms of stress, please go to www.bioflowsport.com

The magnets developed by Bioflow use a strong, multi-directional force of magnetism called ‘Central Reverse Polarity’ also referred to as ‘CRP’, to mimic the expensive professional equipment used by physiotherapists. Molecules that exit a CRP field are more efficient than those produced by standard magnets. This technology is patented to Bioflow and no similar method exists. Bioflow bracelets and wristbands contain only the highest quality neodymium magnets - the strongest type of permanent magnet known. Bioflow products are also credited as a Class 1 medical device in the United Kingdom.


Positive Leadership: Masters of the Universe

It isn't easy being an alpha male. Getting to the top and staying there takes a physical toll.

The latest evidence comes from wild baboons in Kenya's Amboseli basin. Researchers from Princeton and Duke universities studied 125 males in five groups over nine years and found that while the alpha males got the best food and the most mates, they experienced far more stress than the beta males just beneath them in the hierarchy, based on the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in fecal samples.

The beta males had almost as many mates and got just as much grooming from others, but they didn't have to spend as much time fighting or following females around to keep other males away.

"Being an alpha is exhausting. I'd rather be a beta," says Laurence Gesquiere, lead author of the study that appeared in the journal Science in July. 

In the work world, alpha males are ambitious, assertive, confident and competitive. Here's a quiz that helps define who's an alpha male:

Alpha Strengths
1. No matter what, I don't give up until I reach my end goal.
2. I always say exactly what I think.
3. I have no problem challenging people.
4. I make the decision I believe is correct, even when I know other people don't agree.
5. I seldom have any doubts about my ability to deliver.

Alpha Risks
6. I believe that my value is defined by the results I achieve.
7. I don't care if my actions hurt people's feelings, if that's what's required to produce results.
8. When people disagree with me, I often treat it as a challenge or an affront.
9. If I have a good idea and I'm asked to hold off and listen to inferior ideas, I can quickly become visibly annoyed.
10. People say I become curt, brusque, or frustrated when I have to repeat myself.

If all or nearly all of your responses to statements 1 to 5 were "yes," you are probably an alpha with many of the strengths that make alphas such dynamic and influential leaders.
If all or nearly all of your responses to items 6 to 10 were "yes," you mostly likely have some alpha risks that deserve your attention.
Don't be confused if you scored high in both categories. Because alpha liabilities are mainly alpha assets taken too far or applied inappropriately, that is to be expected. (The exceptions to the rule are healthy alphas who have worked hard to reduce their negative tendencies.)

Source: Kate Ludeman: Adapted from the 'Alpha Assessment' at www.WorthEthic.com


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Positive Leadership: Performing with a Purpose

People perform amazing feats when they have a purpose.

Here are the five higher benefits of having a quest:

1. Focus
Every person—those who conceive, design, build, buy and talk—have the same focus. People at every level are able to decide what works because everyone knows where we're going and why we're going there.

2. Peak performance
On a quest, we're either in 100%, or we're not. On a quest, we sort who's good at what. People who are in 100% are valued and their strengths are matched to the cause. People who are valued invest more, do more, and go further for the work we love.

3. Energy and tolerance
We have more patience, time and energy for problem-solving when we directly reap the benefits. What leads people to achieve greatness isn't money. In fact, Peter Drucker proved that money is a disincentive…it has the most effect when it’s not there or too small. Greatness is found in the payoffs that a loyal community offers: acknowledgment, sense of purpose, support, feedback.

4. Compelling value
What’s more appealing than working with someone who’s not only good but also loves his or her job? Bringing logic and emotion together in a business outdistances the world view of logic alone. Competence and great execution are expected. A loyal engaged community builds in added value in how they tell the story, how they treat the product and the customers who buy it, and how they talk about the company as a value in their lives.

5. Total differentiation
A thinking culture of passionate leaders who love their job attracts others who share those values. The respect of a loyal community shows in everything it does. The values become both brand and barrier to entry. Community builds authority. We value what we earn and what we love. That value telegraphs itself. It’s contagious. Customers, vendors and partners pick it up as well.

Nothing beats the 360 degree investment of brains, money and dreams all in the same direction. Every company that wants to grow should have some of that. The value of a thinking, job-loving employee community shouts ROI and makes solid business sense.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Positive Leadership: Fix the Problem and Not Just the Symptoms

This interview with Joseph Jimenez, chief executive of Novartis, the pharmaceutical company, was conducted by the New York Times:

‘Q. What are the most important leadership lessons you’ve learned?

A. One occurred when I was a division president of another company. I was sent in to turn the division around after four years of underperformance.  It was a declining business.  And when I got there, I completely misdiagnosed the problem.  I said: “Look.  We’re missing our forecast every month.  What’s wrong?”  I brought in a consulting firm, and we looked at what was wrong.  And the answer was that we had a bad sales and operations planning process, where salespeople, marketing people and operations people were supposed to come together and plan out the next 18 months and then forecast off of that.  So I said: “O.K.  We’re going to fix this.  We’re going to have the consulting team come in and help us make that a better, more robust process, with more analytics.”

And it turned out it wasn’t at all about analytics.  Because once we did that, and we put that new process in place, we still continued to miss forecasts.  So I thought, “Something’s really wrong here.”  I brought in a behavioural psychologist, and I said: “Look, either I’m misdiagnosing the problem or something’s fundamentally wrong in this organisation.  Come and help me figure it out.”  She came in with her team and about four weeks later came back and said: “This isn’t about skills or about process.  You have a fundamental behavioural issue in the organisation.  People aren’t telling the truth. So at all levels of the organisation, they’ll come together, and they’ll say, ‘Here’s our forecast for the month.’  And they won’t believe it.  They know they’re not going to hit it when they’re saying it.” The thing she taught me — and this sounds obvious — is that behaviour is a function of consequence.  We had to change the behaviour in the organisation so that people felt safe to bring bad news. And I looked in the mirror, and I realised I was part of the problem.  I didn’t want to hear the bad news, either. So I had to change how I behaved, and start to thank people for bringing me bad news.

Q. That doesn’t mean letting them off the hook, though.

A. Right. It’s more a chance to say: “Hey, thank you for bringing me that news.  Because you know what?  There are nine months left in the year.  Now we have time to do something about it.  Let’s roll up our sleeves, and let’s figure out how we’re going to make it.”  It was a total shift from where we had been previously.  So after that experience, I always ask all of my people, and I always think to myself: “Are we really fixing the root cause of this problem, if there’s any problem?  Or are we fixing the symptoms?”


Saturday, October 08, 2011

Positive Leadership: Learning From Steve Jobs


Positive Leadership: Commitment To Excellence

Commitment To Excellence

Friday, October 07, 2011

Positive Leadership: Some Thoughts on Leadership

  • “It begins with people.  Life is people.”
  • “If we get the right ‘whos’ on the bus, we get the right outcomes.”“
  • Try to change every ‘what’ to a ‘who’”
  • “It is not about personality, it is about humility.”
  • “Humility is burning ambition channelled to do good outside yourself.”
  • “Hubris is outrageous arrogance that inflicts suffering on the innocent.”
  • “Bad decisions with good intentions are still bad decisions.”
  • “True innovation comes from empirical creativity.”
  • “The only mistakes you learn from are ones you survive.”
  • “The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.”


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Positive Leadership: Be a Yardstick of Quality



Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Positive Leadership: Accept the Facts

Accept The Facts from Nick Bollettieri on Vimeo.


Positive Leadership: Playing to Win

Play to Win from Nick Bollettieri on Vimeo.


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Positive Leadership: Creating Harmony

When a leader tunes his or her instrument first and ensures that each instrument in the orchestra is tuned, harmony is created and people are drawn to see and hear what the organisation has to offer.