Navigating crisis is not for the faint of heart, but what it takes to see your team through crisis is true, authentic leadership. Today’s post is by Joseph Michelli, author of Stronger Through Adversity (CLICK HERE to get your copy). Crises are humbling. They unmask imposters and reveal dormant strengths. During COVID-19, many leaders navigated unrelenting and unchartered territory from their bedrooms, not their boardrooms. Some found themselves uttering previously unspoken words like “I don’t know,” “unprecedented,” “new normal,” or “pivot.” I was fortunate to have a front-row seat on leadership behavior during the pandemic while serving on crisis task forces for my clients (C-suite leadership teams at globally recognized brands). Aided by videoconferencing technology, I observed vastly different leadership responses to the pandemic. As I worked with diverse teams, I asked senior leaders to share insights on strategies, successes, mistakes, and lessons learned during the pandemic. In the months that followed, I spoke with more than 140 remarkable leaders (clients and their colleagues) who navigated chaos, lockdowns, re-openings, and more. These leaders stewarded for-profit, nonprofit, and public safety organizations. They included CEOs and Presidents of companies like Target, Verizon, Kohl’s, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, Marriott, Farmers Insurance, Dairy Queen, Zappos, United Way, and the Salvation Army.
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Entries by Ryan Shaw
Our reader poll today asks: How willing is your organization to walk away from low-margin business? Very — we do it all the time: 29.06% Somewhat — it has to be really low margin before we consider walking: 41.89% Rarely — we only walk away in extreme situations: 21.13% Never — if they’re buying, we’re selling! 7.92% Is the work worth it? There’s no shortage of “opportunities” to do work at low margins. Unfortunately all too many of you take on work that’s likely not worth it. Even if something is marginal in terms of value, you’re likely losing money on it. The hidden costs of administration, contracting, selling and servicing are rarely factored into the value you’re delivering and how much you’re getting paid for it. Add to that the opportunity cost of not being able to pursue higher-margin work, and you’re definitely in a negative situation. Sure, there are times to take on low-margin work, like a pilot or trying to land a new customer, but those should be strategic exceptions. If you’re finding a lot of low-margin work on your plate, take the time to do the analysis of the true cost of delivering that work and add to that the opportunity cost of lost higher-margin work. That might help you make a compelling case for walking away from that low-margin project (or at least help you to price it more appropriately). Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below! – Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC Did you enjoy this post? If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog. It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!). SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog conveniently delivered right to your […]
Dr. Cindy McGovern offers five meaningful ways employers can say “thank you” to their staffs during the holidays and throughout the year. Today’s post is by Dr. Cindy McGovern, author of Every Job is a Sales Job (CLICK HERE to get your copy). A holiday party for employees is a nice touch as the year winds down, and nobody ever turned down a big bonus as a reward for doing a good job month after month. But the best way a business leader can say “thank you” to valuable employees might not have anything to do with parties, money, or gifts. The most meaningful way to show a hard-working, loyal staff that you truly value and appreciate them is to listen to them and respond when they have ideas, complaints, and personal struggles. Here are five ways to show your gratitude to employees this season and all year round. Solicit their ideas When former PepsiCo CEO Roger Enrico sent a video to the corporation’s thousands of employees saying they should “take ownership of the company,” janitor Richard Montanez took it seriously. He pitched Enrico an idea for a new product that he created by dusting the company’s popular Cheetos with chili powder instead of cheese powder. The result: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos are among the company’s top sellers, and Montanez, who never went to college, is a marketing executive worth millions. Montanez didn’t set out to create a goldmine snack. In fact, he was just trying to salvage a pile of Cheetos rejects that had come through a malfunctioning machine without any cheese dust so his family could eat them. But Enrico gave Montanez the same attention and respect he gave to the corporation’s product development team. Now, Montanez is one of the company’s most-enthusiastic ambassadors.
Our reader poll today asks: How willing are you to ask for help when you need it? Extremely: I ask for help all the time without hesitation: 15.21% Very: I’ll ask for help when the need gets pressing: 35.71% Somewhat: I have a hard time with it unless the situation is extreme: 35.87% Not very: It’s pretty rare that I ask no matter how much I need it: 10.74% Not at all: I always go it alone even though I know I should ask: 2.47% Ask for help when needed. You’re not alone. While 50% of you seem to freely ask for help as needed, the other half of you struggle with doing so. Ask yourself why. Is it a pride thing? Or is it that you don’t want to inconvenience others? Maybe you believe it’s a display of weakness? Whatever the reason, get to the root of it and ask if that perception is true as well as if it’s outweighed by the benefits of asking for help. If you’re overwhelmed, stressed out, and not getting your work done or delivering on commitments, perhaps it’s time to swallow your pride or get over your hang-ups. You’d be surprised by how many people are more than willing to help a friend or colleague. Think about how you handle such requests. Give people the benefit of the doubt and create the opportunity for them to be helpful. You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised with the result. Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below! – Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC Did you enjoy this post? If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog. It’s free, fun, practical, and only a few emails a week (I promise!). SIGN UP HERE to get […]
The military focuses on a unique set of standards and values. Transitioning military personnel advice are advised to focus on values for a successful military-to-civilian transition and career, and personal success in the civilian sector. Today’s post is by Lida Citroën, author of Success after Service (CLICK HERE to get your copy). In the 10 years I’ve been working with transitioning military service members and veterans, I’ve learned a great deal about the differing cultures between the civilian sector (where I come from) and The United States Armed Forces. The differences make for wonderful conversation and opportunities to learn and grow. Most civilians grow up in households, communities, regions and areas where, as young adults, we’re encouraged to think independently, to serve ourselves (first) and others (also), while also getting educated, culturally socialized, and politically savvy. Contrast the civilian environment – where most of the 98% of Americans who’ve not served in the uniform of our country grow up – with the military culture (1-2% of the U.S. population). I’ve been fortunate to have coached, mentored, helped, and collaborated with thousands of veterans, and they tell me that the military culture features standards, processes, clear expectations, and rules. Lots of rules.
How dance makes you a better leader with interviews with CEOs and leaders of industry. Today’s post is by Megan Taylor Morrison, author of Dance Adventures(CLICK HERE to get your copy). Boardrooms and bachata? Lindy hop and LinkedIn? Merengue and meetings? Business and dance seem like uncomfortable bedfellows, but dancing can inform leadership, making your interactions with clients, employees or business partners more effective and fulfilling. I’ve experienced this crossover firsthand. I’m a business and leadership coach and former professional dancer who has used the wisdom I’ve gained from overcoming challenges on stage -from breaking a heel while dancing in front of hundreds of people to having to perform outdoors in the pouring rain – to support my professional growth. I’ve also brought these ideas to my private and corporate clients. Whether I’m introducing the idea that leaders also need to know how to follow during a corporate retreat, or watching a type-A CEO’s journey learning to release control in her first tango classes, I’ve seen methodologies from dance have a significant impact on people’s leadership. In my book, Dance Adventures, authors from around the world share incredible stories about how dancing abroad catalyzed their personal and professional growth. Here are a few of the lessons that authors and leaders from around the globe took away.