Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

In 100 Words: Guard Against Over-Correction

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

There is a reason for the adage, “don’t go to extremes.” It is especially difficult for us to gauge risk on problems we have not experienced. When fear increases leaders may begin reacting strongly and severely causing over-correction.

Over-correction can stunt improvement or create new negative consequences. Here are three guards against over-corrective choice paths:

1. Strong teams – experience and trust matter. Surface different perspectives for an informed, balanced view.
2. Decision frameworks – document trade-offs, required resources, and expected outcomes for key options. Note: include “do nothing” in the option set.
3. Faster feedback loops – compare actual to expected outcomes.

“The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances – are the primary sources of creativity.” Margaret Wheatley

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In 100 Words: The Action is at the Edges

Friday, July 31st, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

Phase changes of elemental substances happen at the edges. The edges are dynamic. For example, lava cools, ice melts and water evaporates at the edges. Conversely, the center is static – insulated and isolated.

Yet, leaders typically spend most of their time working close to the internal center of the organization. Consequently, they primarily interact with others inside the same environment – people with similar values, ideas, and assumptions.

Market dynamics shape organizations at the edges. People at the organization’s edges interact with outsiders – customers (or non-customers), vendors, community representatives and competitors. Get into the action – spend more time at the edges.

“When spring comes, snow melts first at the periphery, because that is where it is most exposed.” Andy Grove

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In 100 Words: In Praise of Good Leadership

Monday, June 15th, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Does this resonate? This term has been used for decades to describe the environment in which all organizations operate, but for many leaders it’s possibly never been more true than during the last 90 days. These circumstances have been physically and emotionally demanding – leaders have been stress-tested.

Yet, as leaders I know and interact with, you are leading strongly; you are passing the test. You are:
• making timely adjustments.
• focusing on the people under your care.
• keeping your teams connected and effective.

Great job – you are doing important work! Thank you!

“True leadership stems from individuality that is honest and sometimes imperfectly expressed…Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” Sheryl Sandberg

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In 100 Words: Old Trends, New Lines

Friday, May 1st, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

Some trends move slowly and then, BANG, a significant event radically shifts the arc of the curve. A “new” reality emerges as people quickly adjust their decision and behavior paths in response to the major event. Surprisingly, it is easy to get caught off guard with the accelerated trend shift even when the underlying change was happening for years. We became comfortable with the “old” rate of change and assumed it in our plans. Now we must assume the old change rate is gone. Are you examining existing trends for accelerated shifts to help your organization adjust to the new?

“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: Assured Leadership in Accelerated Change

Monday, March 16th, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

The current COVID-19 health crisis has people, homes, communities and organizations managing inside a vortex of change. Government restrictions have mandated restrictions by some organizations which in turn are rippling out and negatively impacting most organizations.

In this environment of accelerated change, I hope you can focus on remaining:

• Bold – Clearly lead.
• Healthy – Stress takes an extra physical and mental toll so maintain disciplines that will keep you healthy.
• Genuine – It is okay to not have all the answers.
• Human – Be gracious; realize changes are cascading rapidly, and sometimes severely, into people’s lives.
• Positive – People will feed off your energy.

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” Publius Syrus

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In 100 Words: Why We Plan

Friday, January 31st, 2020 by AdvisorCatalyst

It’s wonderful to begin a new year with a fresh plan! We enjoy the feeling of getting our organizational and personal goals identified. But,… the process is work. We must understand the market, research opportunities, and then debate which objectives should be priority.

Why do we go to this effort? The answer centers around three ways we, as human beings, are designed. We have:

• A natural excitement for the future.
• The capacity to think and plan.
• The desire to shape the elements around us to realize potential.
In short, we make plans to have an impact and shape our future.

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.” Ronald Reagan

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In 100 Words: Universal Sign of Goodwill

Monday, December 16th, 2019 by AdvisorCatalyst

Leaders have a strong desire to positively impact people in their sphere of influence – our big objective is to make a difference. So, we get busy tackling a list of actions we believe will move the needle. As we kick into “get things done” gear it is easy to forget a simple action that can help us accomplish our big objective – simply smile!

Yes, a genuine smile is a universal sign of goodwill that brings the human factor into any situation. It invites other people to engage with us in our big objective of making the world a better place.

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Mother Teresa

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In 100 Words: Energy Multiplier Effect

Friday, November 1st, 2019 by AdvisorCatalyst

Do you notice how some organizations are so charged with positive energy you want to bottle it to take with you? Those environments are created by leaders who are energy providers. They have learned energy has a multiplier effect – it unleashes pent up productive and creative capacities in people around them.

We likely over-value coaching on technical mechanics and under-value providing encouragement and excitement. Can it be that simple? If so, it’s worth knowing what refreshes, excites and charges you up as a leader. Schedule time for those activities so you can power up and bring positive energy.

“If a leader doesn’t convey passion and intensity then there will be no passion and intensity within the organization and they’ll start to fall down and get depressed.” Colin Powell

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In 100 Words: Iterate without Lurching

Monday, September 16th, 2019 by AdvisorCatalyst

How do you rate a leadership team’s strategic ability? One thought – look at the team’s ability to iterate strategically without lurching wildly in different directions. Can the team adapt the organization’s strategy to produce more than one economically successful business model over time? Time, in this case, is a decade plus. Success for that duration typically involves at least one business model shift when you consider changing customer preferences, technological advancements and competitive forces.

On this course, teams will need to master two key elements:

• strategy thinking – both the creative and analytical aspects, and
• execution – consistent, disciplined action over time.

“There is another old poet whose name I do not now remember who said, ‘Truth is the daughter of Time.’” Abraham Lincoln

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In 100 Words: Road of Routines

Thursday, August 1st, 2019 by AdvisorCatalyst

Operational success runs down the Road of Routines. Leaders strive for consistent execution while avoiding two ditches.

The Ditch of Boredom – the numb, drained feeling from efforts to keep staff working good disciplines consistently. Leaders may pursue new ideas simply as an escape. The organization careens from one new idea to another.

The Ditch of Process Lock – the pull to become too comfortable and never change processes. People may begin idolizing the process itself. The organization slides into complexity and bureaucracy.

Staying out of the ditches allows leaders to enjoy both the journey and destination on the Road of Routines.

“For every mile of road there are two miles of ditches.” Irish Proverb

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