In today’s ambiguous and complex environment, a more nuanced view of leadership is required in order to reward the right behaviors and get the most out of your people. Today’s post is by Chris Lewis, author of The Infinite Leader (CLICK HERE to get your copy). There are a lot of problems out there. We all know that. But what if there was one thing we could do to improve all of our problems? Well, there is. We can improve leadership. Why is good leadership so important? It’s not just because it improves efficiency. It’s also because it harnesses and applies talent. We have the skills to solve all our problems, but we don’t have the leadership. How do we know this? Because we keep getting surprised by events. Like the Financial Crisis.. Like Brexit. Like the Pandemic. Leadership’s job is to be ready for stuff like this. There’s no doubt these events are happening; the question is: Why? The research done by myself and my co-author Pippa Malmgren has resulted in some interesting insights on the topic. In The Leadership Lab, we analyzed the problem. In The Infinite Leader, we developed a new model for dealing with it. In short, the problem is gross imbalance in our leaders and their education. They are too focused on the short term, the tactical, the quantitative, and the notion that the leader alone has all the solutions. In leadership, we’ve become too focused on the leader and not enough on the ‘ship’ – the team that provides the leadership. Leadership isn’t just about a person; it’s about a culture, and the problem starts at school. We get credit for right answers, obedience, individual achievements, passing exams, action, attention, deduction, maturity, intellect, organization, and opportunism. Conversely, we get no credit for empathy, nonconformity, […]
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Entries by Mike Figliuolo
Finding the balance between speaking and letting your team speak for themselves is the self-awareness challenge of all leaders, and can be the different maker between good and great. Today’s post is by Mike Figliuolo, Managing Director of thoughtLEADERS. To help you be a better team member, colleague and boss, I’m bringing you a pointed lesson in the art of being quiet. Today I’m conjuring up the spirit of Run DMC. To quote the immortal Rev Run: You talk too much! You never shut up! Run DMC nailed the heart of the issue with this verse: You’re the instigator, the orator of the town. You’re the worst when you converse, just a big mouth clown. You talk when you’re awake, I heard you talk when you sleep Has anyone ever told you, that talk is cheap? Now let’s take DMC to the workplace. You know the person they’re singing about. It’s that guy on the team who can’t shut up about anything. Hopefully he simply blathers on about his antique smurf collection (and boy was he jazzed about the live-action movie). More likely though, he’s the guy who is talking about everyone and everything going on in the office. But guess what? YOU might be that person. If you are, you’ve got a big problem. First let’s discuss your symptoms then some ways to fix it.
The end of year performance review process is broken but leaders can take 6 steps to change their performance culture and become better leaders in the process. Today’s post is by Mike Figliuolo, Managing Director of thoughtLEADERS and author of One Piece of Paper(CLICK HERE to get your copy). Whether you’ve just finished your end-of-year review process or it’s still finishing up, you can resolve to do things better this year in terms of managing performance. This post is probably even more relevant if you’ve recently been through the pain of a grueling review process because I’m sharing some tips on what you can do this year to make next year’s process less painful and more effective. There’s nothing like returning to work after post-holiday food comas. The best part is you get to prep for one of the most dysfunctional, time-wasting, intellectually insulting, and leadership-lazy exercises known to mankind: the end of year review. They’re stupid. Period. And before you go all “I don’t need to read this – I’m a business leader and HR people are the ones who do performance management” you need to sit down, shut up, and read because if you have that mindset, you’re a huge part of the problem. How failed is our leadership culture that we have to sit around and wait for HR or executive management to dictate when and in what form we must critique the people on our teams? How messed up is it that we have to rely on compulsory forms with rating scales to tell people how they’re doing? How sad is it that we have to hold cross-calibrations to stack rank people and force a performance distribution because our managers lack the ability to look outside their own organization and assess comparable levels of talent and performance? We’re […]
Knowing your growth strategy and understanding four key growth approaches – organic, acquisition, new products, and geographic expansion – will help you be more successful in achieving the growth you desire. You have to ask yourself – how does your business grow? Is it geographic expansion? Are you selling new products? Are you selling the same products to new customers? Are you growing by acquisition and buying other businesses? What’s your overall growth strategy? You need to be able to answer this question. Look at your historical growth and where it came from. That’s usually a pretty good indicator of how your organization is going to continue to grow from here. Pull out your strategic plan and look at your marketing plan to see where the future growth is expected. Assess whether or not that sales and marketing plan is aligned with where the future growth is supposed to come from. Different Approaches to Growth There are some very common methods for growing and they all have very different economic profiles. Acquisition One way you can grow is acquisition. The economics of conducting an acquisition are you spend a lot of money up front to buy another company or portion of another company. You’re buying a large piece of the market when you do so. The way you make acquisition economics work out is you reduce the costs of the combined entities by looking at synergies. So, you bought another company. Congratulations! You have two HR departments now. You have two marketing departments. You have two Legal departments and two IT departments. You have two of everything! How do you consolidate those and reduce costs? That’s the first source of economic value in an acquisition. The second source of acquisition value is all about growth. Now you have a new […]
Authentic means getting rid of the B.S. and buzzwords and layers of ‘protective’ crap. Sharing who you truly are is the best way to establish a connection and build trust with your team. Today’s post is by Mike Figliuolo, Managing Director of thoughtLEADERS and author of One Piece of Paper(CLICK HERE to get your copy). The only way I know to roll back the tide of all the meaningless jargon in our world is to say what you really mean. Words spoken from the heart and the gut are clear, concise, meaningful, and genuine. They help ground you and your team. They signal that you are willing to take a stand for something you believe in instead of watering down your beliefs with complicated words so you will not offend someone or so your simple thoughts will sound more important. It is imperative that you realize such approaches have exactly the opposite effect. Using buzzwords makes you sound less intelligent. Filling your leadership philosophy with obscure or difficult to define concepts diminishes peoples’ trust in you. Both behaviors are counterproductive and hinder you from reaching your goal of becoming an authentic leader. That is why you are here, isn’t it? Allow me to share a story that demonstrates the trouble jargon-filled leadership philosophies can cause, as well as how an executive avoided such a trap. I know several executives who were members of the same senior leadership team. After a reorganization, their new boss, Jared, worked hard to get the team to gel. After several months of effort, it simply was not happening. The team members were mistrustful both of Jared and of each other. Team meetings were painful and one-on-one sessions with Jared were even worse. The team was quickly devolving into chaos. Jared decided he would break through […]
Three major mistakes people make when conducting analysis are succumbing to confirmation bias, analysis paralysis, and generating weak results. If you’re mindful of these risks and approach your analysis rigorously and objectively, you can make a recommendation that will be easily approved. Today’s post is by Mike Figliuolo, Managing Director of thoughtLEADERSs and author of The Elegant Pitch: (CLICK HERE to get your copy). A hypothesis-driven approach to problem solving and making recommendations can be tremendously efficient. You create a hypothesis (something taken to be true for the sake of argument), conduct analysis designed to prove or disprove the hypothesis, then make your recommendation based on the results of your analysis. Typically your hypothesis is based upon prior experiences you’ve had as well as your knowledge of the subject matter you’re evaluating. I’ve personally used this approach for years. I refer to it as the Structured Thought Process. The method is both efficient and effective. That said, using this approach is not without risks. Risk #1: Confirmation Bias While it’s great to have experience and prove your hypotheses are correct, that same experience carries risk with it. Confirmation bias – the tendency to look for or interpret information in a way that confirms your preconceived ideas – is the biggest risk you face when using a hypothesis-driven approach like the Structured Thought Process. No one wants to be wrong so it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking disproving your hypothesis means you made a mistake. That fear of being “wrong” can lead you to wear blinders when you’re conducting analysis. You might ignore or dismiss facts contrary to your hypothesis. You might only look for data that proves you’re “correct” which can then skew your analytical results. Before you know it, you’re making a case based upon incorrect […]