Posts Tagged ‘choice’

Why Change Is So Hard

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

I have a business coaching client – a highly competent manager who has never found the success he desires – who has struggled with clinical depression since his early teens. Over the years he tried many different therapies and medications. Nothing worked. His condition continued to destroy his relationships and career, and, he feared, threaten his life.

I suggested that while we often cannot choose the conditions of our lives, we can choose how we relate to our conditions.

“That’s facile,” he replied. “How does that apply to me?”

“Have you ever considered,” I asked, “what you get from your depression?” 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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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 Organic Growth

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Some managers are lucky. They passively coast to growth inside high growth markets – the market drives their growth. Eventually they’ll fail, of course, but for now, it’s great to be them. Most managers, however, face the difficult decision of how to allocate resource between the other two available growth drivers: 1) organic growth, and 2) innovation.

Many leaders believe they must choose one or the other, that it is not possible to execute both successfully. In fact, it’s become quite fashionable to claim that only “white space strategies” – disruptive innovation – can drive growth.

We disagree.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Numbers & Business: Whose Reality Is Reliable?

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Organizations mix “facts” into a tasty Kool-Aid that everyone drinks. How reliable is fact-based decision making? What is really real, and which reality should we believe?

Read the rest of this entry »

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5 Questions to Answer Before Starting a Social Media Campaign

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Social media experts are popping up like mushrooms, and most have a program to sell you. I mean no disrespect. Many of their programs are very good. But before you buy any social media program – or begin any marketing campaign, for that matter – please do yourself a favor: Answer these 5 questions.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The 3-Dimensional Customer

Wednesday, 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 »

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Measuring the Right Things – the Right Way

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

[This post is excerpted from our new ebook, ROADMAPP]

Peter Drucker, the grand old man of management theory, famously wrote, “What gets measured gets managed.” In other words, Metrics determine what you focus on. After all, who wants a bad report card? If you are tracking your Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) regularly, you’re likely to find ways to improve them.

Which can be good or bad.

Because if Drucker is right (and he is, he is, trust me on this if nothing else), consider the implication: if you choose the wrong KPI’s, you or your organization will end up getting better at the wrong things. Read the rest of this entry »

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Manage Your Priorities to Be More Effective

Monday, November 29th, 2010

[This post is excerpted from our new ebook, ROADMAPP]

The highest priority when discussing Priorities is recognizing that there’s not much to say about prioritizing. But what there is to say is important.

Inevitably, as you execute your business plan, you will find yourself overcommitted. Unexpected crises will demand attention. What looked simple will turn complicated. You will unexpectedly discover that your perfect money machine has too many moving parts, and you can’t keep them all oiled. You, the master juggler, will suddenly find there are too many balls in the air.

How to get back in control? If you can’t grow more hands, which balls should be dropped? Read the rest of this entry »

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How Can Leaders Manage the Unforeseeable?

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

[The following is excerpted from our new ebook, ROADMAPP]

Great leaders have a bias towards Action. They plot their course, set their sails, and point their helm at their destination. They strike a noble pose, appearing to all as masters of their fate.

Except that even the best sailors get blown off course with great regularity.

The Bad News: No matter how good your preparation and decision making, plans never, ever, ever go according to plan. Build your plan knowing that something else will happen.

The Good News: You can correct your course. Read the rest of this entry »

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Black, White, Gray, & Something Completely Different

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

A core competency of leadership is the balancing of competing needs and constituencies. There is a right way to do this and a wrong way. To do it right, think like a painter: you need both black and white. If you do it wrong, you get a palette full of gray. There are three key skills needed to avoid gray in the quest for balance:

  • Cultivating diversity rather than  uniformity
  • Recognizing which of a range of ideas is most appropriate to the moment
  • Knowing how to build on opposing ideas to reach a superior solution

Read the rest of this entry »

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Balance vs Extremism

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

“We’ll meet on edges soon, said I” – Bob Dylan

It sometimes seems that all organizations and movements are surrounded by powerful magnets pulling them off their centers. The French Revolution, which began with a Declaration of the Rights of Man, quickly devolved into the Reign of Terror. Recently Newsweek published an article by Jacob Weisberg about how Irving Kristol’s intellectual neocon movement of the ’70′s got hijacked by emotional ideologues. A recent WSJ article discussed how the GOP leadership’s strategy to rebuild after 2008 by attracting moderates was overwhelmed by tea party extremists. History is filled with similar examples.

I call it the Than Thou Syndrome. Read the rest of this entry »

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Successful Journeys Begin at the End

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Way back in the 80s, when dinosaurs and your author roamed the earth, Stephen Covey advised us to Begin with the end in mind. Good advice then, good advice now.

Every successful journey starts with a decision about where you want to go. But destinations are not one-size-fits-all. Read the rest of this entry »

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Response-Ability, or How to Raise the World’s IQ in One Easy Step

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

SUMMER VACATION! Following is a reprint of a popular post from earlier this year:

Doesn’t it seem sometimes like the world is filled with irresponsible idiots? Wouldn’t your job be easier if they just got a clue and did what they obviously need to do?

Let me give you an example of corporate idiocy. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Praise of Generalists: A Guide for Recruiting

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

“We’re going to train a generalist group of leaders…I think that’s the future of leadership.” - John Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems, 2010

One of the most significant yet least commented on business trends of the past decade has been the decline of generalists and the rise of specificity in postings for managerial positions.  I believe this trend is dangerous, leading to suboptimal hiring decisions.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Tweets, Divination, and the Modern Executive:
A Stratagem for Mastering Information Overload

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Our 24/7 connectivity and its continuous assault on our intellect and senses has created information overload. Today’s leaders and solopreneurs must find coping mechanisms or drown in a sea of too-muchness. Fortunately, our ancestors had techniques that still apply.

My wife spent her childhood summers in isolated mountain villages in Lebanon, where Read the rest of this entry »

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