This week I had a number of conversations with business leaders who had decided to let go of employees from their organizations who did not fit their culture. One leader said that as of now, he does not have one direct report who is out of alignment with the company culture and values. >
In a crisis, we look to a firefighter to lead us. In a process or profit maximization, we look for a steady analytic type. Which are you? For your organization, do you have the right leadership style?– It depends on the challenges you are facing. >
In a recent conversation about the Myers-Briggs personality assessment tool, the topic of how and why we make decisions came up. If you are familiar with Myers-Briggs, you know that the 4th dimension, perceiving (“p”) versus judging (“j”) has a lot to do with making decisions. >
Watching the World Cup Final between Croatia and France, I was thinking about the rules. About offsides, how high was that kick, did it hit his arm? Was that guy really hurt or is he just dragging out the clock. >
For many successful executives, retirement is a scary proposition. Scary because retirement equals lack of identity, lack of structure, lack of value…Who am I if I am not the CEO of a successful company? Who am I if I am not the CFO, or the CMO, or whatever your title. It may define your sense of worth. >
When executives turn to their coaches in those moments of overwhelm, they might describe it as an issue of work/life balance, Or, it could show up as managing priorities, or even setting priorities. >
How often do you throw all your cards up in the air and re-sort them in a new order? I’m going through that right now. Due to a much increased work load (all good) I’m rethinking where I put my time and attention. Obligations, burdens, previously fun stuff, the “of course I’ll do that” responses, are all being put under the microscope as part of reevaluating priorities.
How often do you go through this exercise? I’m hearing a lot of discussion about this from friends and colleagues who are struggling with children’s needs, having their last kid leave for college, coping with their health or a loved one’s health….. It seems that when big things change in our lives, we are forced to reevaluate priorities. I’m also hearing this in subtler ways. Whispers about the amount of stress, the traffic, the joy in living becoming strained, no time for little moments, spouses being neglected.
In a business, this comes up most often as too many meetings, too many emails, hours that are too long and not creative or productive. We don’t get out of this without some rethinking.
In order to rethink, I have to start from the big picture: What do I want? Where do I want to be in 3 years? What will I have to give up to get to the big goals? What do I have to put in place especially new habits, better processes, clearer focus to get what I want.
Barbara Bush was quoted this week as saying: “You have two choices in life; you can either like what you do or dislike what you do. I have chosen to like what I do.” It may not be that easy for most of us. But it is worth considering.
How can you set yourself up for a great week? What activities do you need to delegate or push off to stay focused on the big picture?
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This week the federal reserve raised interest rates again making them the highest they have been since 2008. The President just directed the US trade representative to level tariffs on about $50 billion worth of Chinese imports; this is in addition to the steel and aluminum tariffs recently imposed. If you use steel in manufacturing, the prices have already gone up.
Are you raising prices, too? >
The steel and aluminum tariffs to be imposed in 2 weeks are a shining example of how decision making from the top creates winners and losers that may have truly unpleasant consequences. >
Elon Musk of Tesla gave an interview in 2014 where he said “You should take the approach that you’re wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.”*
As a business leader, people who report to you must always consider how far they are willing to go to be honest versus how much does keeping their job mean to them. Haha, you say, not my team. Perhaps that is true. Assume it is not for this discussion.
Your good friends may also know where you could improve, yet they want to stay friends so they encourage you. They mask direct suggestions in words like “have you ever considered?” or “what would happen if this scenario occurred….”. When you swat that away, they change the conversation to sports or the movie they just saw.
If you see yourself even the slightest bit here, I suggest that you change the way you bring ideas to the team. In his book, Conversational Capacity, Craig Weber suggests that when you float a new idea, you ask your team to give you 3 reasons why it won’t work. Get the objections out on the floor immediately. You will retrain your team over time to have a more robust discussion of ideas. Better results will likely follow.
As for your friends, ask for one thing you could do better, then work on it and report back. Just a slight change to your golf swing, or your position on the ski slope can make a huge difference. Why aren’t we doing it at work?
This week ask for one suggestion from someone whose opinion you value and then work on it. Assume you are wrong. Wouldn’t that be different?
*Inc interview with Elon Musk
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