Archive for the ‘In 100 Words’ Category

In 100 Words: Great Minds…Shouldn’t Always Think Alike

Friday, March 15th, 2024 by AdvisorCatalyst

We should treat the old adage “great minds think alike…” with some skepticism.  Leaders should cultivate alternatives for significant decisions they consider.  Healthy dissension typically yields better decisions. 

Alfred Sloan, the person responsible for leading General Motors to the top of the global automotive industry in the 1930’s and 1940’s, is said to have set aside decisions for which the executive team too easily agreed.  Peter Drucker says Sloan would postpone some decisions to give his leaders “time to develop disagreement and perhaps gain some understanding of what this decision is about.” 

“Great minds” might periodically offer a different perspective.


“And those who were seen dancing, were thought to be crazy, by those who could not hear the music.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

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In 100 Words: Don’t Aggravate Good Talent

Wednesday, January 31st, 2024 by AdvisorCatalyst

Taking care of good talent is imperative for leaders – especially in tight labor markets.

Here are two sure ways to aggravate your top performers:

  • Overburden them without consideration of their personal lives.  Sure, sales demand is strong, but know when and how to say no to more revenue.
  • Tolerate poor performers so you have a “body in the seat.”  Pruning people out of the organization may seem contradictory, but few things drain top performer’s engagement more quickly than picking up the slack for other employees.

After addressing these two put your energy and resources into strategies for attracting new employees.

“To add value to others, one must first value others.”  John C. Maxwell

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In 100 Words: Why Innovation is Difficult

Friday, December 15th, 2023 by AdvisorCatalyst

Without a doubt, the existing, successful business is the number one barrier to innovation.  This is why many new market-shaping innovations come from organizations which are start-ups or outside an industry.

Yet managers shouldn’t be faulted.  Innovation (beyond incremental efficiencies) requires investment.  Financial returns, if any, won’t show until sometime in the future.  Managers are tasked and incentivized to maximize short-term financial returns which are better when focusing on the existing business.

If organizations desire market innovation, leaders must balance this conflict.  Some organizations find success by separating resources from the existing business and establishing different measurements for innovation leaders.

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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In 100 Words: What’s Trending?

Tuesday, October 31st, 2023 by AdvisorCatalyst

Trend spotting is imperative in the world of fashion and design – move quickly or miss out.  For most organizations trends are less faddish, but no less important.  Does your leadership team value the discipline of watching and weighing the impacts of significant trends?

  • Are you considering both macro and micro trends in demographics, the economy, technology, society, and the regulatory environment?
  • Do you think through the influence these trends might have in the lives and businesses of your customers (2nd level impacts)?
  • Are these trends accelerating or slowing?

Your team should regularly assess key trends to remain alert and relevant.

“Facts are stubborn things.”   Ronald Reagan

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In 100 Words: Don’t Forget the Customer

Friday, September 15th, 2023 by AdvisorCatalyst

Serving the customer is the first objective of the business organization.  This is why it is puzzling to see organizations implement systems, processes or policies which make life more convenient for “managing the business” yet make life worse for customers or the frontline employees serving the customers.

Here are three important condition questions to ask when considering a new system, process, or policy. 

Will this:

  • Add more value to our customers?
  • Make it easier for customers to do business with us?
  • Make it easier for our customer-facing employees to serve our customers?

A business organization doesn’t exist without the customer.

“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”  Peter F. Drucker

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In 100 Words: Honor the Craft

Friday, June 16th, 2023 by AdvisorCatalyst

Every organization has between one and three technical crafts which spin its economic engine.  Leaders should ensure their organizations honor the craft and their craft workers.  How?

  • Spotlight excellence in the craft at an individual and collective level.
  • Help improve the tools of the craft to increase worker safety and efficiency.
  • Invest in the craft more broadly through associations or standards setting organizations.
  • Be a spokesperson for the craft throughout and outside your organization.

Your organization benefits as craft workers sharpen their skills and bring new perspectives, tools, and processes into your organization.

This helps guard your organization’s economic engine.

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”  Ernest Hemingway

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In 100 Words: Micro-managing is Not…

Monday, May 1st, 2023 by AdvisorCatalyst

There seems to be confusion around what is micro-managing.  Everyone’s definition is unique to them.

I hear many people complain about being micro-managed when their manager is simply bringing accountability to expected behaviors, attitudes, actions, or outcomes of a given project or job.  People don’t always appreciate accountability.

On the flip side, I hear managers say they “don’t want to micro-manage” as a reason for why they don’t check in on the work of their reports.  Or, as a reason for not being more directive.

Employees need direction.  Managers should be directive.  Providing guidance and accountability is managing, not micro-managing.

“Management must manage!”  Harold Geneen

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In 100 Words: When to Quicken Your Team’s Pulse

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023 by AdvisorCatalyst

Your team’s pulse is the frequency of your team’s meetings.  There are two situations where leaders need to quicken their team’s pulse.

One is defensive – for fast, critical decision-making in dynamic or fluid environments.  Think crisis management.

The other is offensive – for accelerating important initiatives.  This will instill urgency around the few priorities which will best advance your organization.

It’s okay if the meetings are shorter.  The most important thing is connecting.  What happened since we last met?  What needs to be accomplished next?   What resources or decisions are required to move forward?  Go ahead, quicken your team’s pulse rate.

“Leadership is all about people. It is not about organizations. It is not about plans. It is not about strategies. It is all about people–motivating people to get the job done. You have to be people centered.” Colin Powell

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In 100 Words: The Inexperience Tipping Point

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 by AdvisorCatalyst

Is your staff younger than ever?  Are more than 25% of your staff new in the last 30 months?  Are you seeing an increase in mistakes in service delivery or quality?

If so, you have hit the “inexperience tipping point.”  Your organization isn’t alone.  Many industries have seen greater than 50% of the workforce leave the industry.  Leaders are grappling with the results – a far younger, less experienced workforce.

Leaders can create a reverse tipping point and change the momentum.  How?  Slow down and train new staff.  Reinforce the basic why, what, and how of value delivery for your organization.

“Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not, With the slightest push — in just the right place — it can be tipped.”   Malcolm Gladwell

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In 100 Words: The Great Fatigue

Thursday, December 15th, 2022 by AdvisorCatalyst

The challenging last few years are taking their cumulative toll on senior leaders – they are fatigued.  It’s understandable.  The market dynamics have been spectacular.  High market demand coupled with increasing employee turn-over.  Inflation combined with supply chain issues.

I see leaders counteracting these pressures by:

  • Re-prioritizing resources to only their current, best customers and vendors.
  • Resetting delivery timelines.
  • Slowing growth down to train new staff.
  • Guarding personal time for themselves and key leaders – for rejuvenation and whitespace thinking.
  • Increasing intake of inspiring, positive information.
  • Most importantly,… showing others kindness, patience, and understanding.

It’s important leaders remain refreshed and hopeful.

“Return to kindness.  Let it become your most important accomplishment.”  Bob Goff

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