Archive for March, 2011

Why Doesn’t Leadership Training Work?

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

While listening recently to an excellent audiobook by James Hunter (The Servant Leadership Training Course), I was not surprised to learn that on average only 10% of corporate leadership training attendees implement sustained behavioral change. This factoid confirmed what I have observed over the past 30 years: that training programs often get people’s heads nodding about the need for personal change, but then fail to drive change.

Now I find a fine article by Marshall and Kelly Goldsmith that argues that the problem is not with the training, but with attendee’s level of caring and commitment. Read the rest of this entry »

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What Great Leaders Have in Common

Monday, March 28th, 2011

There is a pretty clear consensus among writers and researchers on Leadership that great leaders do not come in one flavor. Still, there do seem to be important qualities that most have. Importantly, these qualities can be learned and developed. That means that anyone can learn leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

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Get Better Results by Adapting Your Style

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Leaders have an arsenal of useful tools to help them better understand themselves, ranging from Meyers-Briggs (which suggests our personalities are pretty much hardwired through life) to DiSC (which suggests who we are at any given moment depends on the situation). In between there are models such as Big 5, Birkman, CRG, and many others. Each one lets you look at yourself from a different perspective.

What they all have in common, however, is the assertion that when we are aware of our dominant behavioral style, we can choose to adapt to the situation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lessons from Libya: When to Do Nothing

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Sometimes, your best choice of action is to do nothing, and sometimes that is not an easy decision. I was reminded of this during the world’s recent challenge to decide how to deal with Gadhafi in Libya.

Julie Straw in The 4-Dimensional Manager discusses when doing nothing is your best choice. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Trouble with Fact-based Innovation

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Here’s a fact for you: my most successful new product, out of well over a hundred that I’ve launched, had the worst qualitative and quantitative test results of anything I ever encountered. People hated it. Then it sold a quarter of a billion dollars in its first year. My second most successful new product, which won awards on three continents and became a 70-year-old company’s biggest new product ever, was similarly panned in early testing. Is there a pattern here?

The trouble with most innovation methodologies and processes is that they look for “facts” to guide decisions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Engaged, or Merely Checked-In?

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

[reprint of previous post, and once again I am in the same situation]

Today is the last day of a lovely vacation. I am well tanned, well fed, and emotionally, well, chaotic. This is how I get during transitions: swirling. Half distraught about leaving the beach so soon, half delighted about the coming challenges. Today I am the putty pulled between these two poles.

I know this territory. I’ve visited it often over the decades. And I’ve learned that how I feel over the next week or two has everything to do with how I manage my energy on Monday morning.

When I assess a new client’s – or my own – well-being, relational energy is a major KPI. We have only four ways of relating to our challenges. We can be:

  • Checked-out
  • Checked-in
  • Engaged
  • Obsessed

Read the rest of this entry »

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Leadership, Learning, and Maturity

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am an advocate of other-orientation, or service, as the foundation of effective leadership, also known as the Servant Leadership school of thought (expounded by Greenleaf, Covey, Senge, Blanchard, et al.). This week I’ve been listening to an audiobook by James Hunter called The Servant Leadership Training Course, and have learned a number of powerful concepts.

Hunter examines the implications of the following facts: Read the rest of this entry »

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Why You Need a Strategy for Innovation

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Companies that believe they must choose between organic growth and innovation will inevitably fail – it is a false choice. In a recent post, we defined organic growth and discussed what it can and cannot accomplish. Here, we continue with innovation. Sustainable success is all about balancing the two.

Innovation was last decade’s business buzzword, and for good reason. Real innovation is hard, but the potential payoff is huge. High risk, high reward.

We define innovation as the commercialization of a marketplace discontinuity. By definition, then, innovation has unpredictability built in – no one is good enough to truly disrupt with planned regularity. And that makes many managers uncomfortable Read the rest of this entry »

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Create Innovation Opportunities by Changing Your Glasses

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Often the best way to understand something is to forget what you understand about it. Look at things from another angle. Borrow someone’s glasses and view distortion. Or as Peter Murane of BrandJuice writes in Lessons From the Vinyl Sofa, “Getting stuck in information samesness forces people to only look at the world as it currently is, not think ahead to how it could be different.”

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