February 23rd, 2011
One of my favorite leadership philosophers was the late, great Vito Corleone, immortalized in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. Don Vito rose to power because of his talent for engaging almost anybody in productive negotiation.
The Don was committed to reasoning with others to find win-win solutions. Read the rest of this entry »
February 21st, 2011
Last summer I was invited to visit Procter & Gamble’s headquarters in Cincinnati. I was filled with nostalgia, for that is where I began my career in marketing and general management long ago, and I had not been back in over two decades. At first I was struck with the strangeness of the place. There was a coffee bar in the lobby, turnstiles blocked the elevators, and I recognized few faces. But by the time I left, I realized that the truth was more complex, and therein lies the secret of P&G’s continuing success.
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February 16th, 2011
I recently had a conversation with a gentleman whose name I didn’t catch, but he certainly stimulated thoughts. He has spent his career as a specialist in Education Leadership and Policy. We were both old enough to chuckle over the current deja vu in education policy discussions. It feels like the early 80s again. He recalled Reagan’s denunciation of our educators as possibly criminal because of our students’ low scores on international tests, while I remembered the fear of an engineering-driven Asian giant that was about to surpass us (Japan then, China now). Of course, what the hand-wringers didn’t know was that we were at the dawn of one of America’s greatest growth eras, spurred by the very skills which our education system excels at fostering, like creativity and innovation.
American education remains one of our economic treasures, a net exporter of services as foreign students flock to our schools. Yet we have this sense of failure. Why? Read the rest of this entry »
February 14th, 2011
Recently, we published part one of an interview with Kevin Eikenberry of the Kevin Eikenberry Group, whose new book, From Bud to Boss (co-authored with Guy Harris) is launching this week. Following is Part 2 of the interview. Read the rest of this entry »
February 9th, 2011
Kevin Eikenberry of the Kevin Eikenberry Group is well known in leadership development circles, so it is no surprise that his new book, From Bud to Boss (co-authored with Guy Harris), is creating a lot of buzz. I recently got to chat with Kevin about his career, his goals, and especially his current project. Following is Part 1 of the interview. Read the rest of this entry »
February 7th, 2011
The brilliant Julio Olalla recently told me a story about the connection between language and experience.
He said to imagine you go to an art museum filled with several Gaugins. You stroll through. You notice the vibrant colors, the tropical scenes, the curious eyes of the Polynesian women. Then, as you leave, you run into the world’s greatest Gaugin scholar. She invites you to walk through the exhibit again, this time with her as your guide. Perhaps you think, “But I just saw it all!” But in the end, you go back through with her.
Do you really believe your second experience would be remotely like your first? Read the rest of this entry »
January 26th, 2011
Readers know I am a fan of Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling. However, I’ve mentioned that his model is a bit awkward; when I am in a sales process and think “SPIN,” the N doesn’t give enough guidance to remember what comes next. So, as previously promised, here is my evolution of Neil’s theme, SPICIER Selling. Read the rest of this entry »
January 19th, 2011
It’s easy to talk about being customer-focused. It’s less easy to focus on specific customers. There are so many, and so many different types! Here are three customer dimensions to consider when selecting your growth strategy. It’s not a trivial exercise: wrong focus, no growth. Read the rest of this entry »
January 17th, 2011
I spent the holidays doing nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. I read the kind of mindless novels I never make time for. I skied for the first time in 16 years. I went to parties and watched football and planned outrageous surprises for the kids and conspired with them on outrageous surprises for their mom. Made playlists. Exercised.
But I didn’t read business books or blogs. I unplugged from Twitter. I didn’t write. Cancelled client meetings. Closed for business.
I felt borderline depressed for the first week. I didn’t know who I was. Then one day I woke exhilarated. Read the rest of this entry »
January 14th, 2011
Effective entrepreneurs keep their organizations focused on unchanging goals. At the same time, they cannot become married to specific plans because conditions change. While striving to balance consistent vision with adaptable plans, leaders must also ensure all stakeholders opt in. Whoever said it was easy?
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January 12th, 2011
If you could create your perfect career or company, where would you begin? If you had to choose, would you pick something that makes a lot of money over something you care about? How about something that you excel at?
Why choose? In fact, Jim Collins argued in Good to Great that the great companies don’t choose. They insist on having it all.
Regular readers know I am a big fan of Jim Collins. However, I have never been completely comfortable with the language he uses when discussing his Hedgehog Concept and the “sweet spot” where excellent companies take germinate and grow.
Here is how I explain it to clients. Read the rest of this entry »
January 10th, 2011
If you are curious about how resilient you are, Dr. Al Siebert offers a 2 page self-administered quiz in his fine book, The Resiliency Advantage (pg. 16-17). If you’re feeling fragile and any good at test taking, the “correct” answers will be obvious, and you will be able to reassure yourself that you are indeed good a bouncing back.
The fun part comes a couple pages later, where he offers five extra credit questions: Read the rest of this entry »
December 29th, 2010
You’ve heard of the Slow Food movement? I’d like to recommend something similar for those dispensing business advice. These days, a lot of people are trying to force-fit whatever they’re selling into every situation, and they make their fast food one-size-fits-all approach sound haute cuisine by saying they’ll coach you.
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