In 100 Words: Sharpen Your Resilience Thinking – Practical Considerations

September 15th, 2022 by AdvisorCatalyst

What vulnerabilities have been revealed in your organization with the significant market changes the last few years?  You should consider internal – thought processes and operating patterns – along with external factors.

In addressing key vulnerabilities through resilience thinking, the following carry greater weight in decisions:

  • People ahead of processes.
  • Balance Sheet strength.
  • Non-cost factors – availability, speed, and more limited offerings.
  • Contingencies and alternatives.
  • More frequent leadership team connection and outward communication.

Though decisions favoring resiliency result in natural redundancy (extra cost), when delivery and availability are at stake, leaders yield margin to fulfil already sold commitments or keep sales engines running.

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”  Peter Drucker

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In 100 Words: Sharpen Your Resilience Thinking – The Why

August 1st, 2022 by AdvisorCatalyst

Leaders have had a two-year crash course on a resilience mindset vs a mindset of maximizing efficiencies.  The global system which allowed for decades of squeezing ever greater profits out of systems, networks and supply chains has unraveled.  The pandemic and Ukraine war are simply two recent accelerators of a decade plus trend away from global inter-connectedness and toward nationalism (e.g., China policies, U.K. Brexit, and U.S. populist movement).

While change was always a norm, greater change will be the new norm so continue building the resilience mindset.  Think flexible systems.  Build sufficient financial and talent resources to weather turbulence.

Resilience is “The capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and still retain its basic function and structure.”  Brian Walker and David Salt in Resilience Thinking

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In 100 Words: The Accountability Weakness

June 15th, 2022 by AdvisorCatalyst

Pat Lencioni calls accountability “the universal challenge” of teams.  In The Advantage he notes global data from their Five Dysfunctions of a Team Assessment show 65% of assessments are “red” for accountability (vs. green or yellow).

Surprising?  Maybe.  Consider how much accountability stings.  Do I want my attitude, behavior, or work to be scrutinized more closely?  Not likely.  Yet calling out others invites others to call me out.

Are you willing to lead by example?  If so, accountability can become a strength.  While there will be times you require help or forgiveness, you will also experience delivering on more commitments.

“Courage is the main quality of leadership, in my opinion, no matter where it is exercised.”  Walt Disney

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In 100 Words: Two Traits of Effective CEOs

May 2nd, 2022 by AdvisorCatalyst

An aspiring senior leader recently asked me what I thought was the most important trait of an effective CEO.  Two traits came to mind:

  1. They sincerely care about the people on their team and in their organization.
  2. They make decisions.  This involves making both tough and timely decisions.  A clear decision gets resources focused.  You can always adjust if the decision was wrong.

I don’t consider these two traits leadership “laws” or “rules.”  I have simply observed these characteristics in effective CEOs.  How do these two traits resonate with your experience of effective CEOs (or leaders in general)?

“Leadership is not being in charge, it is about taking care of people in your charge.”   Simon Sinek

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In 100 Words: Breaking Inertia

March 15th, 2022 by AdvisorCatalyst

Inertia – resistance to change in speed or direction – is a powerful force.  Significant energy is required to break inertia which can be good or bad for leaders.  Inertia works in a leader’s favor when it is built around valuable routines, habits, and attitudes.  The more momentum you build in the right direction the easier it is to maintain.

Conversely, inertia works against you when built around negative routines, habits, and attitudes.  It takes committed effort to break the cycle and restart momentum in a positive direction.

How can you spin your positive inertia flywheels?  Where should you break negative inertia? 

“Leaders must wake people out of inertia.  They must get people excited about something they’ve never seen before, something that does not yet exist.”   Rosabeth Moss Kanter

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In 100 Words: X-Factor for Organizational Success

January 31st, 2022 by AdvisorCatalyst

You have likely heard three commonly claimed factors, in various priority, at which you must excel if you want to succeed – strategy, execution and culture.  These are all important, but what if the X-Factor is a strong, effective leadership team? 

Let’s assume this is true…   Do you:

  • fret over having the right, best people possible on the team?
  • consciously work to increase team cohesion?
  • identify ways to improve capacity, speed of decision-making, setting priorities and follow-up on commitments?

Operating as if your leadership team is the X-Factor should cause you to shift work time and still accelerate the other factors.

“It’s the little details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen.”   John Wooden

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In 100 Words: Pausing Along the Path

December 15th, 2021 by AdvisorCatalyst

Now is a perfect time to reflect on what you and your team have accomplished throughout the year. Leaders naturally look ahead to the future – it’s their job. However, a common refrain is “we don’t take enough time to acknowledge and appreciate what has been accomplished or learned.”

Summarizing the annual highlights won’t take much time and pausing typically leads to a sense of both satisfaction and gratitude. Note the significant accomplishments. Be real about unplanned events which factored into the outcome. Consider top lessons learned. Who was involved in the achievement? How do I thank them?

Enjoy the pause!

“Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens

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In 100 Words: Certainty is a Mirage

November 1st, 2021 by AdvisorCatalyst

Leaders should become comfortable making decisions with probability-based thinking. The future is uncertain and the environments in which we operate are fluid.

Some leaders get stuck waiting for more information, a better view. It appears certainty is just ahead… one last question, one final piece of information. But, certainty is a mirage. As soon as you receive the information “certainty” evaporates like the proverbial desert oasis shimmering in front of you.

Two dangers of certainty-thinking:
• Decisions bog down and progress slows
• Absolute-outcome thinking closes off to options for alternatives.

There comes a time decisions must be made and actions taken.

“…logical method and form flatter that longing for certainty and for repose which is in every human mind. But certainty generally is illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

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In 100 Words: Double Dips are Hard

September 15th, 2021 by AdvisorCatalyst

Double dip: a second recurrence of some bad event or trial outside our control in short succession to the first – e.g., economic recession, market downturn, disease, or viral pandemic. These situations are hard on people physically and psychologically so people can become discouraged. They recently experienced the excitement of getting through the difficulty, then WHAM, the double dip – they are right back in hard times.

Leaders should acknowledge the difficulty of reverting to tighter restrictions and more limited resources. More importantly, leaders should keep people encouraged – acknowledge their efforts, share in the extra work, and provide hope for the future.

“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;” William Shakespeare in King Henry V
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In 100 Words: Benefits of Pruning

July 30th, 2021 by AdvisorCatalyst

Plants perform better with pruning. Proper pruning:

• Improves health and vigor.
• Maintains good shape and structure.
• Focuses the plant’s resources on its best aspects.

Similarly, proper “pruning” in organizations strengthens the whole. Don’t continue adding new and more without figuring out what should be eliminated and reduced. This is how organizations become over-grown.

Consider what activities and costs are no longer producing the desired value. Use segmentation analysis to determine which products, services or customers are no longer a value-fit. Thin down your list of opportunities and potential investments to those which require the organization’s best, limited resources to flourish.

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Peter F. Drucker

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