Thursday, October 27, 2005

How to Delegate: One Key Step Towards Leadership

You've made an unusual discovery - there's not enough time left at the end of the day. The corollary, of course, is your list of important things to do never gets smaller. In any company, the CEO's to-do list has the potential to grow infinitely.

What's a senior executive to do?

This is not simply a personal problem. Your company's future depends on what you do next. As you drive your organization beyond its current plateau, you must change the way you relate to your work. There are three stages to making the transition from chief-cook-and-bottle-washer (CC&BW) to CEO (source of the management and direction of the business). They are:

* Understanding your highest value contribution to your company and focusing on that role.
* Recognizing your position as a leader and owning the job.
* Delegating everything else, and holding others accountable.

Previous articles, Time Well Spent, deals with transition one; Visions of Leadership addresses transition two. This article examines the problem of delegation - giving the work away.

The Issue

You have doubtlessly concluded your next level of company performance requires a managerial change. And hopefully, you have realized the changes necessary are with you. As CEO (or, on a divisional or departmental level - senior executive) your jobs include holding the vision; inspiring your senior management and your staff; fostering key relationships with customers, vendors, investors and the public, etc.

You now need to let go of some cherished things like product design, hiring, perhaps day-to-day sales - many things you handled in the past, often out of necessity - and focus yourself on your role as CEO. What about all these things you used to do? Delegate them. Assign the job to someone else. This doesn't sound like a big deal, why write a whole article on it?

Do you delegate? Of course you do. But do you delegate the important things? The things you "know" you could do better? The things you are "best" at? Probably not. The question is, should you?

Your highest value contribution

Think about your highest value contribution to your company. Which of your activities generate the most revenue, profit, market share, etc.? Where do you get the most bang for the buck? Like most chief executives, your greatest leverage is in mobilizing the forces around you - your senior staff and your employees, plus key customers, prospects and vendors. Everything else becomes secondary to that in terms of impact.

So the answer is yes. You should give away even the things you are "best" at. And then make sure they are done right. Make sure they are up to spec and delivered on time.

The cost of holding on

Now, the thorny part. Many executives refrain from delegating responsibilities they've labeled "critical". They fear the job won't be done correctly. Or no one else can do it as quickly, and it won't get done on time. Or the right attention won't be paid. Or something. Or something else.

Give it up! The growth of your organization will be stifled to the extent that you hold on to critical functions. Your company will suffer in the exact areas where you think you are the expert!

Product design? You hold up the development of a key component, because you are the expert, yet you are away at a customer meeting. Staffing? Two engineers can't be hired because you haven't signed off and are out of town at a meeting with investment bankers. Sales? Negotiations on an important deal are held up because you are in Asia meeting with a vendor.

You become the choke point on each of these vital functions. And you feel - of course - "I have to be involved." No you don't. To the exact degree you have not developed your staff to assume these functions, the growth of your company will be retarded.

Aside from fear the job won't be done as well, there is another, more insidious reason senior executives (particularly entrepreneurs) do not delegate. If you aren't doing the "important" stuff, you become redundant. Dead weight. Overhead. If you have a great VP of Sales, or a Chief Technologist, what will you do?

You feel this way because you haven't completed transitions one and two: you haven't taken the trouble of understanding how you personally create value in your company, and you haven't fully assumed the role of leader. Once you make these transitions, you won't have time for the rest. Delegation, not abdication.

Many executives delegate like this. They say, "John, would you take on this project? It has to be done by next Thursday. Thanks." That's it. Then, when the job comes back incomplete, they are infuriated. What happened? They left out accountability. They neglected the structure for making sure things happened according to plan.

There are five components to successful delegation.

1. Give the job to someone who can get it done.

This doesn't mean that person has all the skills for execution, but that they are able to martial the right resources. Sometimes the first step in the project will be education. Maybe your delegate has to attend a seminar or take a course to get up to speed.

2. Communicate precise conditions of satisfaction.

Timeframe, outcomes, budget constraints, etc.; all must be spelled out. Anything less creates conditions for failure. It's like the old story about basketball - without nets the players don't know where to shoot the ball.

3. Work out a plan.

Depending on the project's complexity, the first step may be creation of a plan. The plan should include resources, approach or methodology, timeline, measures and milestones. Even simple projects require a plan.

4. Set up a structure for accountability.

If the project is to take place over the next six weeks, schedule an interim meeting two weeks from now. Or establish a weekly conference call, or an e-mailed status report. Provide some mechanism where you can jointly evaluate progress and make mid-course corrections. This helps keep the project, and the people, on track.

5. Get buy in.

Often timeframes are dictated by external circumstances. Still, your delegate must sign on for the task at hand. If you say, "This must be done by next Tuesday," they have to agree that it is possible. Ask instead. "Can you have this by Tuesday?" To you this may seem a bit remedial, but the step is often overlooked. Whenever possible, have your delegate set the timeline and create the plan. You need only provide guidance and sign off. As General Patton said, "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."

If you skip any one of the above steps, you dramatically reduce the likelihood things will turn out the way you want them to. On the other hand, if you rigorously follow the steps, you greatly increase the odds in your favor. Isn't this more work than doing it myself, you ask. No - it isn't.

The time it takes to

1) establish the goals,
2) review the plan, and
3) monitor the progress,

is not equal to the time it takes to execute. That is how you gain leverage. This is how you multiply your efforts.

(Occasionally it does take longer to communicate something than to do it yourself. Delegate it anyway. The next time will be easier.)

Above, I've referred to projects. This is not to say delegation is reserved for discrete tasks and problems. You also delegate ongoing functions. The process is the same in each case.

As an exercise, ask yourself, what am I unwilling to delegate? Make a list of the reasons why not. (Use our worksheet to identify projects and functions to delegate. E-mail for a free copy.) Identify the best person in your organization - not you - to take on this project or function. Then call a meeting. Begin the meeting with step one, above.

If there is no one to whom you can give away key functions, you have to look carefully at your staff situation. It may be time to hire the right people. If you don't have the revenues to support the staff additions, consider what is restraining your growth.

Review your relationship with your assistant or secretary. Have you let them take on there fair share of the workload? Are you giving them sufficiently sophisticated work to do? Are they ready to upgrade?

Some situations call for you to dive back in. Perhaps you are the only one in your company with some particular technical knowledge, or your insight will accelerate the design process, or you have the long-standing relationship with a vendor or customer. Go ahead, dive. Do your thing - briefly, complete the project and resume your leadership position.

Oh, one more thing.

The only point to delegating something is if it frees you for things which create greater value for your company. Don't give away the hiring function if you are spending your time fiddling with the corporate web site. Don't hire a Sales VP, if you are spending your time on purchasing. The greatest leverage you have is in leading your company. Lavish your time on that.

Paul Lemberg is the President of Quantum Growth Coaching, the world's only business coaching franchise system built from the ground up to rapidly create more profits and more life for entrepreneurs. ( Paul is also Executive Director of the Stratamax Research Institute , a business coaching and consulting firm specializing in helping entrepreneurial companies quickly increase short term profits for sustainable long term growth.

18 Ways to Take Charge -- Fast

There are few career moments as exciting -- and these days, as perilous -- as taking over the top job at a company, business unit, or department. But what exactly do you do once you're in charge? This online guide provides 18 tactics -- and case studies -- to help you take the reigns running.

From: By: Fast Company

This online guide is based on the September 2002 article, "Sudden Impact" But why stop at 18? Don't forget to share your own experiences and advice using our Sound Off! feature below.

1. Begin your transition before you start the job. Use the interview process to get an early jump on learning about the organization. Ask critical questions: How are decisions made? What are the key challenges? Which functions are strong, and which ones need to be overhauled? Use that information to build some initial hypotheses about how you would change things for the better.

Take your cue from Steve Bennett who took over the CEO spot at Intuit Corp. "The interview process is where you start," he says. "That's where you ask all of the questions about what it takes to be successful."

2. Travel widely within your organization, listen carefully, and look for patterns in everything you see and hear. Bruce Patton, co-author of "Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most" and a partner with Vantage Partners, a Boston-based relationship management consulting firm, advises new leaders to spend a lot of time listening and asking questions. Talk to employees up and down the hierarchy. "Soon you'll start to see a pattern about what's going on," he says.

Within his first month on the job, Steve Bennett hit the road and tested the hypotheses that he had formed during his interviews. In 30 days, he visited dozens of locations and talked to hundreds of people, gathering feedback and insight on what was right - and wrong - with the firm's operations.

3. As you ask questions, look for the rising stars whom you want as part of your team. Your listening tour may help you identify the key players whose skills you need as part of your management team. "If you're engaging in high quality inquiry, you'll want to keep people who had good answers," Patton says.

Asking tough questions is a critical skill, but not necessarily a pleasant experience. Patton offers other strategies and scripts for handling tough conversations:

4. Identify the kind of people who will flourish in the environment you want to establish. Even before interviewing people to assemble your team, take the time to identify the challenges ahead -- and the kind of people who are motivated by those situations.

When Scott Lutz was tapped to lead 8th Continent, a soy-milk company borne of a 50-50 joint venture between two corporate giants, DuPont and General Mills, he knew he needed to assemble a team of renegades - people with "the right mix of passion and courage," Lutz describes. "They had to be willing to do things that hadn't been done before."

5. After you've identified the ideal individual, identify the ideal group. Don't stop at finding the type of person you need. Envision how this person will interact with others to get the goals accomplished. Assemble the ideal team. In some cases, literally.

When Pat Gillick took over a mediocre Seattle Mariners club in 1999, he was keenly aware of the kind of group it would take to win a World Series. "Chemistry is unbelievably critical," Gillick says. "If you come into a workplace, and there is inconsistency, there are disruptive employees, or you don't know what to expect, then you won't be a motivated employee." The Mariners' quest for a happy clubhouse includes paying close attention to the wives and kids of the players. Gillick meets with wives early in the season to work out everything from ticketing to security to the potentially inflammatory problem of who sits where.

6. Acknowledge what you don't know. Identify those around you are the experts and don't be afraid to lean on them. No one expects an incoming leader to know everything. And perhaps there is nothing more off-putting to a future team than someone who mistakenly thinks he or she does.

After 15 years as a manufacturing engineer at Boeing, Bruce Moravec had mastered his technical discipline. But when he was promoted to run the 757 Stretch Program, an ambitious mandate to stretch the plane by 24 feet, add functionality, and do it in less than two years, he understood he'd have to gain the confidence of people who worked in areas he knew little about. "I had lots of credibility as a manufacturing engineer and second-level manager. But suddenly I was responsible for tool design, fuselage definition, all kinds of areas that weren't in my background."

7. Don't be afraid to listen to people who disagree. Listen, actively, to the people around you, especially those who challenge your assumptions.

Take it from Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's president and CEO and the engineer of the company's dramatic turnaround. "When I came to Nissan, I engaged in what I call 'active listening' with as many people as I could. I also got a lot of advice from outside the company, most of which was very conservative. People told me, 'You can't go fast in Japan. You can't close plants in Japan. You can't reduce head count.' I listened carefully, even to the opinions that totally contradicted my own beliefs, to make sure that when I made my decisions, I hadn't missed anything."

8. But clean house if you have to. Depending on the situation you step into, no matter how clear your vision is, and how evangelical you are, acknowledge that there may be people - some of whom may have already seen your predecessors come and go -- who are too jaded to follow.

Take Dale Fuller's experience. When he took over an ailing Borland Software, which at one time was a pioneer in developing developer tools, five different CEOs had already come and go in the preceding three years. Skeptics assumed that Fuller was the latest in a series of short-term custodians. Rather than embrace the new direction, they figured that they'd just wait Fuller out. Fuller had other ideas. Within six months, he fired about 400 people, including 60 of his top managers.

9. Establish a way to communicate with -- and listen to -- your entire team. Your strategic course of action is only as effective as your ability to communicate it. Have the pipeline and protocol set up to get your message out there, and don't forget that communication goes both ways.

Dick Brown took over EDS in 1999 and moved swiftly to change old beliefs and behaviors, unleashing a set of practices -- dubbed "operating mechanisms" -- that were designed to create a company-wide culture based on instant feedback and direct, unfiltered communication. One of these practices is the "monthly performance call." At the beginning of each month, 125 of the company's top worldwide executives punch into a conference call that begins promptly at 7 AM central daylight time. Participation is not optional.

10. Don't trash your predecessor, but don't be shy about promoting your own agenda. Do not assume that the prior administration screwed up or lost sight of the big picture. There's probably an element of truth in that. But it's almost certainly true that they had a different disaster that they were working to avoid, Patton says. If you've got a clear vision of what needs to be fixed, by all means, implement it. Then ask yourself what led those really smart people to do what they did in such a way that it made sense to them?

Talk about a predecessor: when Melvin Wearing took over the role of chief of police for New Haven, Connecticut, he filled the controversial shoes of someone who resigned after fathering an illegitimate child with a convicted prostitute. On February 24, 1997, his first day on the job, Wearing moved quickly to telegraph the changing of the guard. First up: a visit to each of the day's four lineups (the roll call of officers that begins each shift) -- a practice that his predecessor had shunned

11. Settle on a few major priorities. You can't fix everything at once. "Typically, you can't do everything you want to do, so you need to make some strategic choices," Patton says. "This is where you begin to align the organization around a common vision for the future."

Perhaps Wearing's most far-reaching legacy will be his focus on quality-of-life crimes -- the so-called broken-windows approach to policing. Just as Rudy Giuliani cracked down on New York's squeegee men, Wearing declared war on New Haven's vagrants and hookers, street-corner dealers, and boom-box blasters. By nipping misdemeanors in the bud, Wearing argues, police may deter more-serious crimes. His approach seems to be working. In 1997, New Haven logged 13,950 major crimes; in 2001, the city had a total of 9,322.

12. Meet the customers. Balance the big picture vision with-front line views. There is no reconnaissance more important than scouting out the territory where your products and services meet their customers. Seeing the customers actually interact provides some invaluable information.

When Gary Kusin took over as CEO of Kinko's Inc., he went into every single one of its 24 markets in the United States, visited more than 200 stores, and met with more than 2,500 team members.

13. Target a few early wins. Momentum counts, and nothing succeeds like success. It's critical for a new leader to create momentum during the transition, say Dan Ciampa and Michael Watkins in their book, "Right from the Start: Taking Charge in a New Leadership Role." Pick some problems the organization has not been able to address and figure out a way to fix them quickly to establish a new direction.

When Jim Berra was promoted to head the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Guest program in July 2001, and like any newcomer to a job, Berra was keen to have a few big wins to energize his new team. "I didn't want to solve world hunger in the first three months, but I was looking for a couple of things that would pay immediate dividends," he says. So he focused on three priorities: First, he had to build better awareness of the company's Preferred Guest program, which lagged behind Hilton and Marriott in visibility despite its unprecedented policies of having no blackout dates and no limit on free rooms. Second, he had to find a way to measure the program's performance. And finally, he had to research customer segmentation for future promotions.

14. Keep an eye on the clock. Faster is almost always better. "Make sure your time is used to its best advantage," says Patton. "When you're new to an organization, many people will want your attention. While it's pleasant to swap stories about each other's golf game, you're better off saving them for the fairway, and using the time in the office to engage in a learning-oriented conversation."

Here's a tip: Create a "Stop Doing" List. Take a look at your desk. If you're like most hard-charging leaders, you've got a well-articulated to-do list. Now take another look: Where's your stop-doing list? We've all been told that leaders make things happen -- and that's true. But it's also true that great leaders distinguish themselves by their unyielding discipline to stop doing anything and everything that doesn't fit.

15. Don't be afraid to make mistakes but be sure to fix them faster than you make them. Any new situation is fraught with hazards, but taking over a top job exposes a new leader to pitfalls ranging from the personal to the organizational. Accept that you can't know everything in your first six months, and even an extensive professional background can't insulate you from making mistakes in an unfamiliar company and culture. The key is to assess yourself and your progress as rigorously as you do your new colleagues and workplace, and to be prepared to make your own course corrections as you go along.

Last year, Lydia Shire and Paul Licari took over Locke-Ober, a Boston restaurant and Brahmin institution founded in 1875. The entire city was watching, and everybody had an opinion. And the first 10 days were a disaster. "You could have put me in front of a firing squad and it would have felt better," Licari shares.

16. Be wary of reckless re-engineering. If you're assuming leadership of a large organization or department, take the time to understand its current trajectory. Making too drastic and immediate a change can derail both confidence and long-term strategy. Stanford Business School Professor, Jim Collins, warns leaders to be cautious. "Why do overhyped change programs ultimately fail? Because they lack accountability, they fail to achieve credibility, and they have no authenticity."

Consider the Warner-Lambert Co. in the early 1980s. In 1979, Warner-Lambert told Business Week that it aimed to be a leading consumer-products company. One year later, it did an abrupt about-face and turned its sights on health care. In 1981, the company reversed course again and returned to diversification and consumer goods. Then in 1987, Warner-Lambert made another U-turn, away from consumer goods, and announced that it wanted to compete with Merck. Then in the early 1990s, the company responded to government announcements of pending health-care reform and re-embraced diversification and consumer brands. Between 1979 and 1998, Warner-Lambert underwent three major restructurings -- one per CEO. Each new CEO arrived with his own program; each CEO halted the momentum of his predecessor.

17. Don't be afraid to look for ideas in unusual places. Don't just read your own industry's trade journals. Cast a wide net for insights -- sometimes the breakthrough idea lies in the triumphs of a completely different industry.

When Rob McEwen, took over an underperforming gold mine in northwestern Ontario, he assumed a tough situation: The gold market was depressed, the mine's operating costs were high, and miners were on strike. His breakthrough - an unprecedented move to make his company's proprietary information public and launching a contest to develop the mine over the Internet - came from learning about the Linux operating system and the open-source revolution.

18. Finally, ask yourself who do you really want to prevail, you or your organization? You'd be surprised by the difference.

Consider this: Jim Collins and his team at Stanford Graduate School of Business and asked, what makes a good company great? They started with 1,435 good companies, examined their performance over 40 years, and then identified 11 companies that became great.

Here's one thing they found: The CEOs who took their companies from good to great were largely anonymous -- a far cry from the celebrity CEOs we read about. Collins believes this is more a matter of cause and effect than an accident. There is something directly related between the absence of celebrity and the presence of good-to-great results. Why? First, when you have a celebrity, the company turns into "the one genius with 1,000 helpers." It creates a sense that the whole thing is really about the CEO. And that leads to all sorts of problems - especially if the person goes away or if the person turns out not to be a genius after all.

Story source:

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

IBM's Management Makeover

As its world changes, IBM is studying its top-performing leaders. What do they do differently, and can everyone do it?

From: Success Magazine Issue 88| November 2004 | Page 112 By: Linda Tischler Photographs by: Henry Leutwyler

It was at a client meeting in San Francisco in October 2002 that Sam Palmisano, IBM's new CEO, first unveiled the initiative he hoped would transform his company. His idea: The Internet really did change everything (the crash of the New Economy notwithstanding). In a hyperconnected world, IBM's clients needed to become "on-demand" companies, their every business process exquisitely calibrated to respond instantly to whatever got thrown at them. And to help them, IBM would have to do exactly the same thing.

When she heard about the new strategy, Donna Riley, IBM's vice president of global talent, remembers wondering whether the company had the right managers for its new direction. "If leadership is stuck in the past, and the business has changed, we have a problem," she says. By the spring of 2003, Palmisano and his leadership development team realized the strategy would indeed demand a new breed of boss -- leaders who were as sensitive to changes in their environment as Indian scouts.

For help, Riley turned to the Hay Group, a consultancy that specializes in executive development. Hay had done work for IBM before, most notably in 1994 when, at former CEO Lou Gerstner's behest, the firm had interviewed a group of the company's top managers. As part of his turnaround strategy for the troubled company, Gerstner wanted to develop a new style of leader who could help transform its failed culture. Ultimately, Hay distilled 11 competencies from the interviews that would guide IBMers' performance as they pulled off one of the most remarkable corporate rebounds in history.

In the summer of 2003, Hay Group returned to conduct another set of interviews with 33 executives who had been identified as outstanding leaders in the new on-demand era -- the folks who really got the new strategy and who were on the cutting edge in a high-performance culture. They were drawn from every division of the business, every part of the world, united by their extraordinary ability to get the job done. The plan was to put these top players under a microscope, to divine how they thought about their jobs and the company; how they interacted with clients, peers, and subordinates; how they set goals and went about meeting them -- in short, to extract the best practices from the best leaders to see if they could be duplicated.

In a series of three-and-a-half-hour interviews, the managers discussed circumstances in which they had been successful -- or not. The interviews were supplemented by surveys of the people they worked with. Researchers then combed through the stories and accompanying data, looking for characteristics and qualities that distinguished these high performers.

The results were stunning. "The experts predicted maybe a third of the competencies would be the same, a third would be slightly different, and a third would be brand new," says Riley. "Much to their surprise -- and ours -- we found it truly is a new book," requiring all new skills.

To begin with, the best executives no longer thought of the folks to whom they sold stuff as customers; they saw them as clients. The difference? "A customer is transactional," says Harris Ginsberg, IBM's director of global executive and organization capability. "A client is somebody with whom you have a longstanding relationship and a personal investment." It's no longer enough to sell a customer a server. An IBMer should be so focused on becoming a long-term trusted partner that she might even discourage a client from buying some new piece of hardware if it's in the client's best interest to hold off.

The 33 leaders were also adept at a skill IBM calls "collaborative influence." In a highly complex world, where multiple groups might need to unite to solve a client's problems, old-style siloed thinking just won't cut it, and command-and-control leadership doesn't work. "It's really about winning hearts and minds -- and getting people whose pay you don't control to do stuff," says Mary Fontaine, vice president and general manager of Hay's McClelland Center for Research and Innovation.

For example, Frank Squillante, an IBM vice president, has only four direct reports. To do his job -- devising the strategy for the company's intranet, and then developing and deploying applications for 325,000 people and 100,000 business partners -- he must be a master at cajoling people over whom he has no real power. "I use 'collaborative influence' every minute of every day," he says. "If I tried to pull one of these, 'I'm in charge so you have to do this' maneuvers, the whole thing would break down."

Riley's team is now training IBM's executives in the new competencies. This year, only top management will be assessed against them. The next group -- some 4,000 executives -- will have a year to study the goals before being held accountable. But the new approach has already spurred some more flexible, collaborative efforts. Cross-functional teams from IBM's global services, software, and systems groups have helped Mobil Travel Guides transform itself from a travel content provider to a real-time, customized travel-planning service; a team of staffers from Big Blue's research, software, and consulting services helped Nextel dramatically improve its customer-care services.

In an interconnected world, such horizontal, collaborative networks of people clearly make more sense than rigid hierarchies. And leading in such a challenging environment is an acquired skill. "Leadership is a personal journey for each person," says Riley, "but I think having a culture that says this stuff matters -- particularly when it's linked to your business strategy -- is a very powerful combination."
IBM's New Leadership Traits

If you were a leader at IBM, here's what you would be graded on.
Innovation that matters -- for our company and for the world

Thinking horizontally: Leverages IBM's enterprise capability to address client or market opportunities in new ways.

Informed judgment: Synthesizes disparate sources of information to make an informed judgment regarding a strategic decision with both immediate and long-term implications.

Strategic risk-taking: Innovates to create exponential growth, using multiple resources from around IBM.
Dedication to every client's success

Building client partnerships: Builds ongoing, collegial relationships with key clients based on mutual strategic interests.

Collaborative influence: Creates interdependence, building genuine commitment across organizational boundaries to a common purpose.

Embracing challenge: Proactively builds in others the belief that they can innovate and grow the business.
Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships

Earning trust: Does what is right for the long-term good of relationships inside and outside of IBM.

Enabling growth: Changes systems or processes that impede growth and performance.

Passion for IBM's future: Gets others energized to realize IBM's unique potential.

Developing IBM people and community: Takes accountability for investing in the future leadership of IBM.

Linda Tischler is a Fast Company senior writer.

Leadership Lessons from The Apprentice

Make-or-break leadership lessons from The Apprentice: sure, it's "reality" TV. But smart viewers of NBC's hit show learned important rules of business success. Here are four, for starters
Alfred A. Edmond, Jr.

KWAME AND OMAROSA--NO LAST NAMES REQUIRED. Every African American professional knows the Harvard H.B.A. Wall Street investment adviser and the up-from-the-projects former White House appointee who were among the competitors on The Apprentice, NBC-TV's hit reality show. Beginning in January, the show followed the exploits of 16 young entrepreneurs and professionals as they engaged in a "13-week job interview" to get a one-year, $250,000 job with The Trump Organization, and an apprenticeship with the show's executive producer and company chairman Donald Trump. Each week, the group, divided into two teams, competed on a business task assigned by Tromp--selling fine art to renovating and leasing apartments--designed to test the talents and business savvy of each candidate. The winners moved on to the next task. The losers faced Trump and his lieutenants in the infamous boardroom. And as every fan of the show knows: "Somebody's gonna get fired."

At press time, the winner of the competition had not been selected. BLACK ENTERPRISE subscribers will receive this issue as the program's April 15 live finale airs. If Kwame Jackson is still in contention, as he was at this writing (Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth participated in nine tasks before falling to Trump's ax), you can bet that the show's final episode will become must-see TV for African Americans. Jackson and Stallworth represented a study in the duality faced by black professionals in a still white-male-dominated corporate America. African Americans who took pride in Jackson's Harvard M.B.A. pedigree and gracious, earnest professionalism, became increasingly frustrated by his apparent inability to do more than be an affable teammate, and to actually put up a "W" on the scoreboard. (Through Episode 10 of the show, Jackson was the only survivor who hadn't tasted victory as a project leader.) And black professionals--particularly African American women--"who were initially encouraged by Stallworth's assertive brand of professionalism, later became appalled by her transformation into the most negative stereotype of the combative, passive-aggressive, black female co-worker.

Unlike mindless reality shows in which contestants munch on worms or compete to marry a fake millionaire, The Apprentice is a show you can actually learn from. For the last three months, I was among the millions of viewers who tuned in every week to The Apprentice. My job: to identify key business and career success strategies illustrated by Trump and the 16 young professionals vying to be his apprentice on the first hit TV show focusing on competition and collaboration in the world of business. (See our weekly analysis of The Apprentice at Here are just four of the valuable lessons you can apply to your own business and career.


In business, as in chess, the person who thinks the furthest ahead has the most control over the outcome. As Law 29 of The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers (Viking Press: $24.95) states: "The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others. By planning to the end, you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead."

Who got it wrong: Jackson consistently failed to follow plausible strategies with a well-thought-out and executable plan. In fact, in at least one case, he failed to plan at all.

In Jackson's first stint as a project leader for the then all-male Versacorp, both teams were charged with managing the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Manhattan's Times Square on consecutive nights. The victor would be the team that generated the largest revenue increase over the same night the previous year. The opposing, all-female Protege Corporation, led by real estate agent Katrina Campins, was assigned the first night of restaurant operations, giving Jackson's team an obvious advantage--an extra 24 hours to come up with a plan to profitably manage the restaurant the following evening. Did Jackson and his team spend the day visiting restaurants and talking to restaurant managers, reading books or visiting Websites devoted to the restaurant business? No. They focused on team bonding by playing basketball and the Donald Trump board game.

As a result, Jackson's Versacorp team failed to deduce in more than a day what Protege took minutes to discover: Planet Hollywood's bar accounts for 25% of its business. Protege, exploiting this information with a plan focused on generating as much bar business as possible, increased restaurant revenues by more than 31%. Jackson's team managed less than 7% in defeat, proving that the old adage is still true--failing to plan, is planning to fail.

Who got it right: When Protege and Versacorp were charged with running a fleet of rickshaw cabs for a one-day shift in Manhattan, contestant Amy Henry not only came up with the big idea, she followed through with a scheme to ensure its success. Her big idea for Versacorp: selling advertising space on the rickshaws. But she didn't stop there. Once she sold Bill Rancic, her project leader for this task, on the strategy, Henry boosted the odds of success by contacting companies she had already established positive relationships with during the competition (such as Marquis Jet, an advertising client from Week 2) to sell ads.

The result? Versacorp destroyed Protege, delivering $3,680 in profits against a measly $382.68. The difference: Henry's team generated $3,450 in advertising revenue.
Conclusion: A good strategy, is just the beginning. To get the results you want you have to think things through and come up with ways to test and exploit that stratagem. Good leaders plan the work, and then work the plan--not halfway, but all the way to the desired result.


A major key to negotiating, whether with colleagues, customers, subordinates, or superiors, is the sincere willingness to gain a clear understanding of what the other party wants. It sounds simple enough. Never assume that what's important to you is what's most important to those with whom you must deal. In business, you have to give to get.

Who got it wrong: When contestant Nick Warnock approached a potential buyer, determined to show off his prowess as a salesman, he focused on his own goal: to lead the Versacorp team to victory by single-handedly selling a truckload of Trump Ice. The target of the sales pitch was obviously insulted by Warnock's hard sell. He had to be thinking: "Where am I supposed to store all of this water? Who does this guy think he is?" Clearly, the needs of the customer were secondary, at best, to Warnock's desire to make the big sale. Warnock couldn't convince the client to buy even a case of bottled water, much less a truckload.

Who got it right: Contrast Warnock's approach with the pitch of another job candidate, Troy McClain. He focused on addressing the customers' problem of limited inventory space. Instead of trying to get customers to buy, say, 80 cases of Trump Ice at once, he and his Protege teammates convinced them to order 80 cases, but to take delivery on 20 cases a week, over a four-week period. As a result, Protege was able to place large orders with two distributors for a total of $3,400, earning them a victory over Versacorp.

Conclusion: The cornerstone of all successful careers and profitable businesses is a sincere interest in solving problems and meeting the needs of others--whether they are customers, employers, or colleagues. Those who can achieve this feat will reap huge rewards.


Too many people believe that all it takes to be a leader is a superior position: a bigger title, more experience, better credentials, a higher I.Q.--or simply being louder, tougher, and more aggressive than the rest of the group. But without the ability to get people to follow you, all the official authority and superior qualifications in the world won't make you an effective leader. As the often repeated adage goes: If you think you are leading, but no one is following, then you are simply taking a walk.

Who got it wrong: All during the competition, would-be apprentices Stallworth, Sam Solovey, Jason Curis, Erika Vetrini, and Heidi Bressler proclaimed they were born leaders--some most loudly and persistently right before Trump dropped the ax on them.

Having to say that you're the leader is usually the first sign that you are not one. It usually means that you can't get people to follow you without some form of coercion. On The Apprentice, the reasons were varied. Solovey was a basket case who freaked out under pressure. Vetrini was an emotional wreck prone to crying and throwing tantrums. Curis ignored the input and expertise of his troops. And Stallworth assumed an air of unearned superiority, constantly pointing to her resume while denigrating those she would lead. All tended to blame others for their failures and evaluate others based on their personalities as opposed to their performance. These are not attributes that inspire loyalty and respect.

Who got it right: Versacorp's Troy McClain and Protege's Amy Henry provided great examples of leading by action, not by proclamation. In fact, they often demonstrated leadership even when they were not the designated project managers of their teams, proving that leadership is about more than having the title.

The most telling demonstration of this was Henry and McClain's respective roles in raising money for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation by negotiating with celebrities for donations. For example, when Jackson and project manager Stallworth's negotiations with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons were going up in flames, McClain saved the day by "keeping it real" (as in real country), delighting Simmons with his hick-from-the-sticks persona. Henry was just as impressive: Despite the constant disruption of teammate Tammy Lee, Henry stayed focused on coming up with ideas that were enthusiastically received by celebrities, such as television personalities Regis Philbin and Carson Daly.

Conclusion: Henry's Versacorp team defeated McClain's Protege team, raising $40,000 against Protege's $35.000, in the most tightly contested of The Apprentice assignments. Even though Rancic and Stallworth were the project managers of the respective teams on this project, the leadership skills of Henry and McClain were the keys to these successful campaigns.


Like her or not, Stallworth was always clear on where she stood in relation to her fellow would-be apprentices: "I didn't come here to make friends. "True, but you don't want to make enemies either, unless it's absolutely unavoidable. Good leaders don't think in terms of friends and enemies; they operate in a world of allies and opponents, knowing that anyone they encounter can be one or the other on any given day, and sometimes both at the same time.

Who got it wrong: Think about the way Stallworth treated her colleagues, in victory and in defeat, during her tenure on The Apprentice. Did she say one positive thing, publicly or privately, about anyone on either team? Had she deemed any person she met worthy of her respect, and treated them thusly? Is she the type of person you'd want as a boss or colleague?

One of the most memorable examples of Stallworth's persistent negativity toward her teammates occurred as she (as project leader), Bressler, and another contestant, Jessie Connors, faced Trump's firing squad after their defeat in the competition to raise money for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation. "Heidi was fantastic," she responded when Trump asked her to assess Bressler's performance. But Stallworth didn't stop there: "And I will tell you I haven't always been a fan of Heidi. I haven't always felt that she was professional, nor does she have much class or finesse." And that was intended as a compliment.

Who got it right: Stallworth's approach was in contrast to Jackson's, whose behavior was consistent in victory and defeat. He was positive, upbeat, and supportive of his teammates. When Jackson made criticisms, he was direct and to the point, limiting his comments to assessments of performance, not personal attacks.

Most importantly, Jackson never played the victim. When he failed, he held himself accountable, resisting invitations to blame others when facing Trump in the boardroom. While confident in his evaluation of a given situation, he remained open to the idea that he could be wrong, and that others, even a subordinate, could be right. As a result, even after crashing defeats as project leader, Jackson was still embraced as a team member by his fellow would-be apprentices, and he never lost the respect of Trump and his lieutenants. Is it any surprise that Jackson was able to consistently avoid the ax?

Conclusion: The best leaders make people want to be a round them. How? By being as quick with compliments as they are with criticisms. They focus on performance and not personalities, and realize they can't succeed without the support of colleagues, customers, and clients--even those they don't like, or those who don't like them.
The best leaders don't talk about it--they are about it. Those who followed these precepts experienced consistent success on The Apprentice. Those who violated them were doomed to failure--and an elevator ride to the street.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Leadership Definitions

Leadership is an elusive quality that can be hard to define. Here are a few people who have tried...

" ...leadership is like the Abominable Snowman, whose footprints are everywhere but who is nowhere to be seen" Bennis & Nanus: 'Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge' (1997)

"[There are] almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept." Stogdill (1974, p.259)

"A leader is a dealer in hope." Napoleon Bonaparte, French soldier, statesman, revolutionary (1769-1821)

"A leader is best when people barely know that he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worst when they despise him. 'Fail to honour people' they fail to honour you.' But of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will all say, 'We did this ourselves.'" Lao Tzu, Chinese founder of Taoism, author (6th Century BC)

"A leader shapes and shares a vision which gives point to the work of others." Charles Handy (1992)

"A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be." Rosalynn Carter, US First Lady (b.1927)

"As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others." Bill Gates

"Be willing to make decisions. That's the most important quality in a good leader." General George S. Patton Jr.

"Leaders are individuals who establish direction for a working group of individuals who gain commitment form these group of members to this direction and who then motivate these members to achieve the direction's outcomes.” Conger, J.A. ‘Learning to Lead’ San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (1992, p18)

"Leaders are those who consistently make effective contributions to social order, and who are expected and perceived to do so.” Hosking (1988, p.153)

"Leadership (according to John Sculley) revolves around vision, ideas, direction, and has more to do with inspiring people as to direction and goals than with day-to-day implementation. A leader must be able to leverage more than his own capabilities. He must be capable of inspiring other people to do things without actually sitting on top of them with a checklist.” Bennis, W. ‘On Becoming a Leader’ Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, (1989, p.139)

"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." John F. Kennedy

"Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy." Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf

"Leadership is a development of a clear and complete system of expectations in order to identify evoke and use the strengths of all resources in the organization the most important of which is people.” Batten, J.D. ‘Tough-minded Leadership’ New York: AMACOM (1989 p. 35)

"Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential." Warren Bennis

"Leadership is a process of giving purpose (meaningful direction) to collective effort, and causing willing effort to be expended to achieve purpose.” Jacobs & Jaques (1990, p.281)

"Leadership is a process of influence between a leader and those who are followers.” Hollander (1978, p.1)

"Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal." Northouse (2004, p 3)

"Leadership is an attempt at influencing the activities of followers through the communication process and toward the attainment of some goal or goals.” Donelly, J.H. & Ivancevich, J. M. & Gibson, J.L. ‘Organizations: behavior, structure, processes 5th Ed.’ Plano,TX: Business Publications Inc. (1985 p362.)

"Leadership is an influence process that enable managers to get their people to do willingly what must be done, do well what ought to be done.” Cribbin, J.J. ‘Leadership: strategies for organizational effectiveness’ New York: AMACOM (1981)

"Leadership is defined as the process of influencing the activities of an organized group toward goal achievement.” Rauch & Behling (1984, p.46)

"Leadership is discovering the company's destiny and having the courage to follow it.” JoeJaworski - Organizational Learning Center at MIT.

"Leadership is influence - nothing more, nothing less." John Maxwell, 1998

"Leadership is interpersonal influence, exercised in a situation, and directed, through the communication process, toward the attainment of a specified goal or goals.” Tannenbaum,Weschler & Massarik (1961, p.24)

"Leadership is not a person or a position. It is a complex moral relationship between people, based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good." Joanne Ciulla (1998)

"Leadership is that process in which one person sets the purpose or direction for one or more other persons and gets them to move along together with him or her and with each other in that direction with competence and full commitment.” Jaques E. & Clement, S.D. ‘Executive Leadership: a practical guide to managing complexity’ Cambridge, MA: Carson-Hall & Co. Publishers (1994, p.4)

"Leadership is the accomplishment of a goal through the direction of human assistants. A leader is one who successfully marshals his human collaborators to achieve particular ends.” Prentice, W.C.H. ‘Understanding Leadership’ Harvard Business Review September/October 1961 vol. 39 no. 5 p.143.

"Leadership is the art of influencing others to their maximum performance to accomplish any task, objective or project.” Cohen, W.A. ‘The Art of a Leader’ Englewood Cliffs,NJ: Prentice Hall (1990, p. 9)

"Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations.” Kouzes, J.M. & Posner, B.Z. ‘The Leadership Challenge’ San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (1995, p.30)

"Leadership is the behavior of an individual when he is directing the activities of a group toward a shared goal.” Hemphill & Coons (1957, p.7)

"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren G. Bennis

"Leadership is the incremental influence that a person has beyond his or her formal authority." (Vecchio, 1988)

"Leadership is the influential increment over and above mechanical compliance with the routine directives of the organization.” Katz & Kahn (1978, p. 528)

"Leadership is the initiation and maintenance of structure in expectation and interaction.” Stogdill (1974, p.411)

"Leadership may be considered as the process (act) of influencing the activities of an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement.” Stogdill, (1950, p.3)

"Leadership requires using power to influence the thoughts and actions of other people.” Zalenik, A. ‘Managers and Leaders: are they different?’, Harvard Business Review March/April 1992 p.126.

"Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall." Stephen R. Covey

"People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. . . . The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives." Theodore Roosevelt

"The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind in others the conviction and will to carry on." Walter Lippman

"The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader." Max DePree

"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." Ralph Nadar

"The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership." Harvey S. Firestone

"The job of the leader is to speak to the possibility." Benjamin Zander, British conductor, management presenter (b.1939)

"The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority." Kenneth Blanchard, US management author, presenter (b.1939)

"The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers." The Drucker Foundation, 1996

"You manage things, you lead people." Admiral Grace Murray Hooper, US naval officer (1906-1992)

“A leader is the person in a group who directs and coordinates task-oriented group activities.” Fiedler (1967)

“Leaders are those who consistently make effective contributions to social order and who are expected and perceived to do so.” Hosking (1988)

“Leadership is a social process in which one individual influences the behaviour of others without the use of threat or violence.” Buchannan and Huczynski (1997, p.606)

“Leadership is about articulating visions, embodying values, and creating the environment within which things can be accomplished.” Richards and Engle (1986)

“Leadership is the ability to step outside the culture to start evolutionary change processes that are more adaptive.” Schein (1992)

“Leadership is the creation of a vision about a desired future state which seeks to enmesh all members of an organisation in its net.” Bryman (1986, p. 6)

“Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitations.” Drucker, P. F. (1955)

“Leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group in efforts toward goal achievement in a given situation.” Hersey, P. & Blanchard, K. ‘Management of Organizational Behavior’. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall (1988 p. 86)

“Leadership is the process of making sense of what people are doing together so that people will understand and be committed.” Drath & Palus (1994)

“Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” Dwight D Eisenhower (1890 - 1969) US Statesman

“One of the hardest tasks of leadership is understanding that you are not what you are, but what you're perceived to be by others.” Edward L. Flom, CEO of the Florida Steel Corporation, in a speech, May 6, 1987.

“Leadership is all hype. We've had three great leaders in this century - Hitler, Stalin and Mao.” Peter Drucker, quoted in Fortune, 21/02/94

“Leadership is an intangible quality with no clear definition. That's probably a good thing, because if the people who were being led knew the definition, they would hunt down their leaders and kill them.” Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle (1996)

"Leadership: The capacity and will to rally people to a common purpose together with the character that inspires confidence and trust" Field Marshal Montgomery

"A Leader: A person responsible for achieving objectives through others by creating the conditions in which they may be successful and for building and maintaining the team that he or she is a member of." Jeremy Tozer

"Leadership is a purposeful relationship, which occurs episodically among participants, who use their individual skills in influence, to advocate transforming change." (c) Michael S. Kearns, 2005

Seven Strategies to Manage Your Operation More Effectively

By Rama Ramaswami

As the holiday season approaches, it's time to make resolutions for next year -- and this time around, perhaps the wisest resolution you can make, in today's competitive workplace, is to become a better, more effective manager. According to business strategist Chuck Martin, it is vital for overworked managers to learn to keep things in perspective. Although 95% of executives keep a list of things to do during the workday, Martin says, 99% do not complete the tasks on those lists. In a column written for Darwin magazine, Martin offers these seven practical ways to deliver the results that high-profile corporations demand without caving in to pressure or losing work-life balance:

1. Communicate clearly.
You may believe that you are doing so, but the message may not be getting through. Tough management requires an overabundance of communication that is clear, concise, timely, and truthful.

2. Force the hard decisions.
Most executives and managers say their superiors do not deal with tough decisions right away. Managers need to collect all the necessary information available at the time, make the decision, communicate it, and then move on. The toughest decisions involve people, but they still have to be dealt with in a timely manner.

3. Focus on results.
Tough management requires that every person identify exactly the results that matter most and determine the actions that produce those results. This requires focus, working smarter, increasing productivity, and delegating. It also means being more realistic about what results are being demanded and what tools and time frame must be provided to deliver those results.

4. Remain flexible.
Managers today need to be self-organized to be able to change directions quickly. Tough management requires pushing back and saying "no" at times, as well as morphing to be flexible. It also requires stopping something at work and viewing yourself as more of a "virtual enterprise."

5. Prove your value to the company.
It is essential that you align with your company's values so that you can prove your value inside the enterprise. This means accepting even more new challenges and becoming the person everyone turns to for solutions. However, there is a fine line between proving your value and having the organization take advantage of you. Working away from the office and using commuting time can help focus more on what you deliver rather than on number of hours worked.

6. Force collaboration.
Teamwork at every level is required for tough management. This involves new levels of information sharing and a new willingness to learn.

7. Practice tough management without being a tough guy.
You can deliver quantitative results without being brutal to subordinates in the process. Tough management requires executives and managers to pause if the workload and hours worked are getting out of control, potentially causing lost perspective. It means breaking away, improving employee morale, and taking steps to protect talent. It also involves recognizing people for doing a good job and providing what is necessary for them to do their jobs better.

Friday, August 05, 2005

[article] Alphabets for Success

Menurut pakarnya, manusia sukses tidak cuma dari IQ saja. Peran EQ Emotional Intelligence) pada kesuksesan bahkan melebihi porsi IQ. Seorang pakar EQ bernama Patricia Patton memberikan tips bagaimana kita menemukan dan memupuk harga diri, yang disebutnya alfabet keberhasilan pribadi.


Terimalah diri anda sebagaimana adanya.


Percayalah terhadap kemampuan anda untuk meraih apa yang anda inginkan dalam hidup


Pedulilah pada kemampuan anda meraih apa yang anda inginkan dalam hidup


Arahkan pikiran pada hal-hal positif yang meningkatkan kepercayaan diri


Terimalah penghargaan yang diberi orang lain dengan tetap berusaha menjadi yang terbaik


Hadapi masalah dengan benar dan yakin

G : GO

Berangkatlah dari kebenaran


Pekerjaan rumah adalah langkah penting untuk pengumpulan informasi


Abaikan celaan orang yang menghalangi jalan anda mencapai tujuan


Rasa iri dapat membuat anda tidak menghargai kelebihan anda sendiri


Terus berusaha walaupun beberapa kali gagal


Belajar dari kesalahan dan berusaha untuk tidak mengulanginya


Perhatikan urusan sendiri dan tidak menyebar gosip tentang orang lain


Jangan terlibat skandal seks, obat terlarang, dan alkohol


Amatilah segala hal di sekeliling anda. Perhatikan, dengarkan, dan belajar dari orang lain


Sabar adalah kekuatan tak ternilai yang membuat anda terus berusaha


Pertanyaan perlu untuk mencari jawaban yang benar dan menambah ilmu


Hargai diri sendiri dan juga orang lain


Percaya diri, harga diri, citra diri, penghormatan diri membebaskan kita dari saat-saat tegang


Bertanggung jawab pada setiap tindakan anda


Pahami bahwa hidup itu naik turun, namun tak ada yang dapat mengalahkan anda


Nilai diri sendiri dan orang lain, berusahalah melakukan yang terbaik


Bekerja dengan giat, jangan lupa berdo'a


Usaha lebih keras membawa keberhasilan


Anda dapat membuat suatu yang berbeda


Usaha nol membawa hasil nol pula

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Handling Difficult Coworkers

From’s Article Library

Like any social situation, a professional environment is bound to have its good and bad apples. There is no rule that says that once you find a job, you will enjoy working with each of your coworkers. In fact, you are bound to run into a colleague who irritates or even offends you. In these situations, it often becomes your responsibility to maintain a professional attitude. Here are some common types of “nightmare coworkers” and tips on how to keep your reputation intact, no matter what.

1. The Office Gossip – Most offices have one person with a direct connection to the company grapevine. This person has the “scoop” all the time and is not afraid to share it. While it can be fun to be in on the office news for a while, it is best to be cautious when presented with office gossip. The majority of gossip is false and hurtful. If you keep information to yourself instead of passing it on, your coworkers will come to see you as reliable and trustworthy. In addition, deciding not to spread gossip is one of the best ways to keep yourself from eventually becoming the subject.

2. The Constant Complainer – Misery loves company, and some individuals are just not happy in any situation. These employees are not afraid to complain, and do it often and vocally. But in an office environment, negativity often means lower productivity and company morale. Complainers typically seek out others who will share their grief. Your best bet is to listen respectfully if someone approaches you to vent, but not to join in. Sooner or later, the complainer will stop using you as a sounding board and you will not have to risk being labeled a negative employee.

3. The Nosey Neighbor – Many workplaces are set up in an open environment, with employees situated in cubes rather than in offices. This layout is great for employees who love to learn as much as possible about coworkers’ professional and personal lives. If you are faced with a colleague who always knows what is going on in your life, you might want to be more discreet at work. This means keeping personal calls to a minimum, or utilizing a conference room to handle personal business. If your nosey neighbor has truly crossed the line, talk to your manager about the situation. The company may be able to make adjustments in the office layout to provide you with more privacy.

4. The Office Thief – The office thief typically is not known for stealing pens and pencils, but for stealing credit and ideas. You may find that an idea you brought up casually is later presented formally by this individual, with no reference to your input. Unfortunately, you won’t do yourself much good by yelling “that was my idea!” Steer clear of this person, particularly when it comes to brainstorming or sharing ideas and materials. Be professional, but also be guarded in your interactions with the office thief.

5. The All-Around Unpleasant Coworker – While some individuals in the office cause problems without being blatantly offensive, this individual is downright nasty. He or she is rude, arrogant, condescending, and just not enjoyable to be around. There are a couple of tips for dealing with this coworker. The first is realizing that you never know the whole story. This person might have something going on in his or her life that is causing the negativity. Try having an open conversation – privately, of course – to discuss the interactions between the two of you, but be careful about how you approach the conversation. You want to be seen as supportive and open, rather than accusing. Next, talk to your manager or human resources rep about the situation. It never hurts to document issues, and you may be able to decrease the amount of interaction you have with this individual.

Bottom line: If you keep out of the negative situations that arise, you will save yourself a great deal of heartache in the future. Remember that the workplace is an environment that mixes a wide variety of personality types. The trick is staying true to yourself, getting your job done and doing what you can to ensure you are happy at the end of each day, even if it means biting your tongue from time to time.

Monday, August 01, 2005

[interview] A Brief Q&A with John Kotter

Leadership: Facing Your Fears… and the Internet

Link&Learn: What is necessary for true leadership?

John Kotter: One, leaders must understand that leadership is not just a job of the person above them in hierarchy. Two, they need to understand what leadership means in their position. Three, they need to draw on their own self-confidence to actually lead. And four, they need to constantly learn from their own experiences what works and what doesn't, and grow as leaders. You can have people in executive positions who know nothing about leadership and do not behave as leaders. Certainly, people in executive positions who do not listen to people below them in the hierarchy-the ones who are closely connected to customers-are increasingly getting themselves into trouble. Good leaders listen very carefully to everything that's happening around them. They never lock themselves in their offices, where they're removed from people and where they just rely on reports and small meetings to know what the heck is going on.

L&L: Tell me more about the characteristics that are necessary for true leadership.

JK: The most common sort of leadership that you see today that is useful are people who challenge the status quo, vacuum up information from all directions, establish-by themselves or with others-a sense of direction, vision, for their little piece of the action, and then create some strategies for making the vision a reality. They communicate that strategy relentlessly to the relevant people around them, both with words and, maybe more importantly, with deeds. They make sure that enough people understand the vision, but more importantly, that they buy into it. Then they do whatever possible to create conditions that will motivate folks to act on that vision. That can be a long list of things, from helping people see the connection between their own aspirations and the vision, to getting rid of things that block action in the organization, etc. That is the most common form of very good leadership that you see today.

L&L: What are the first steps leaders can take to overcome their own natural fears so that they can then create the conditions that encourage the people they're leading to do the same?

JK: That's an excellent question. Let's see. In a funny way, what gets in our way is what Roosevelt said, in the early 1930s: "The only said we really have to fear is fear itself." What that means is, what really scares us is the fear. We fear the fear. And I think, once you get that insight, it helps a lot. A second thought is: I think the more that you get in touch with your own hopes and dreams and ideals, the more that you see the difference or the gap between your dreams and the current reality, the more you're propelled, regardless of fear, to do something.

L&L: That's a tough leap.

JK: Yes. But the bigger the gap, the more people want to do something. It's uncomfortable, not to do something about it. I think a third way you deal with your fears is by testing them against reality. That is to say, looking around, in your own history and others, to see how realistic they really are, and how much you're just conjuring them up, based on a few cases that were very difficult, versus what's rational. And a fourth is, the more that you can see how letting fears run your life does not lead to the life you want, the more you're able to face them and do something about them.

L&L: Has there been a time in your life that you've had to overcome a fear in order to get to where you wanted to go?

JK: Oh, yeah! Not only one time. Good heavens! At one point, I had an extraordinarily difficult boss, who could literally drive you into tears. And it was easy to convince yourself to allow the fear that naturally arose to, if not paralyze you, certainly greatly restrict what you did, and the risks you were willing to take. And I think coming to grips with that was not an easy one.

L&L: Were you able to face your fear?

JK: I decided life was too short to hide in the corner and worry about this guy. And I also decided that I was right, and he wasn't.

L&L: Did you tell him that?

JK: Did I ever tell him that? I may not have. I may have just done what was right. I don't think he would ever admit that he intimidated in a bad way, but he respects me now.

L&L: The arrival of the Internet has greatly accelerated what was an already accelerated rate of change. How can leaders keep up with the change?

JK: Well, you've got to rely increasingly on people other than yourself, and the challenge then is to help everybody collectively move fast enough--and if the organization is larger-- be maneuverable enough. If the organization has more than about 100 employees, much less 50,000, getting the speed and maneuverability is tough. And I think the most fundamental challenge is unleashing the energy potential in enough people to create the power, if you will, to make organizations leap and dodge. We've said for years that the average company gets about 10 to 20% out of its people. Well, that's fine, if you've got 50% of the market and things are moving at 20 miles an hour. It's no good when competition increases, the barriers to entry are smaller, and you're trying to move at 150 miles an hour. Drawing that out of people--or maybe a better way to say it is, helping them to draw it out of themselves--and using that to help organizations leap and maneuver, I think is going to be the critical leadership challenge.


Sunday, July 31, 2005

[article] It's Hard to Argue with Success

Jack Welch, in my not so humble opinion, is the hands down most successful business leader of the 20th Century. Before I lose any of you entrepreneurs out there who think leading GE is all that different from leading your computer business, construction company or even your hospital, please bear with me for a bit. As you might know, my work covers the gamut of business. Over the years I have come to realize that leadership is leadership no matter the size. Of course there are differences and many of those differences should not be ignored. For the most part, however, if you apply great leadership principles to a small business or even a single department, you are going to get big results, just like Jack did. Each of those big companies and institutions break down into smaller departments and units that need to be managed and led. I consistently preach leadership, management and communication fundamentals to my clients. The reason is that, if the fundamentals are not solid and do not offer a solid foundation, then the house will blow over sooner or later (remember the dot com bust?).

There is not a great leader in business that does not have an eye on the basics of financial management. If you have your eye on the financial ball you can get away with a lot in violating the fundamentals of managing “Human Capital,” but you will not grow like you could and I can guarantee you that your stress level will be in the stratosphere. This is simply because you just cannot control people, nor can you do it all by yourself. Those who try to do so stand in the way of their company’s growth. Holding people accountable goes a long way, but holding them accountable with love and care will really take your business where you want it to be. That is why leadership has room for so many different styles. You can be boisterous, funny, quiet, crazy, hands on, hands off, there, not there or any other way but there is one thing you cannot be and still be a great leader. You cannot be non-caring. Let me remind you we are talking about greatness, we are talking about Jack Welch. Yes, I know Jack was known as Neutron Jack at one point, but if you have ever tried to turn a failing business around then you know that blowing it up is a sure fire way to get on track. When the money has dried up that often is the best solution. If you follow Jack Welch you cannot help but come to the conclusion that he truly cared about people. Tough love might occasionally appear to be non-caring, but if you look closely you will see that there is a truth behind the toughness that is very loving.

Jack has eight principles that are terrific. I will list them here with a brief comment and if you want to read Jack’s commentary pick up his latest book “Winning.”

1. Leaders Relentlessly Upgrade Their Team, Using Every Encounter as An Opportunity to Evaluate, Coach And Build Self Confidence.

Allen – “You have to Coach”- This is only possible by meeting with people on a regular basis. That is what the research tells us the greatest mangers in the world do. If Jack had used my system God knows what he could have accomplished.

2. Leaders Make Sure People Not only See The Vision, They Live And Breathe It.

Allen – Every department should have their own vision and mission that supports the corporate vision and spells out just what you want that department to look like down the road.

3. Leaders Get Into Everyone’s Skin, Exuding Positive Energy And Optimism.

Allen – If you are negative, changing that is not easy, but it can happen with some help. Get a coach and begin the process if you want to experience the difference being positive will make. I am a realist and you can be both. I’ll show you how.

4. Leaders Establish Trust With Candor, Transparency And Credit.

Allen – Well said and let’s not forget to follow up until your direct report proves it is not necessary. You do not need to micro manage, but simply communicate – both ways.

5. Leaders Have The Courage To Make Unpopular Decisions And Gut Calls.

Allen – Get out of your head and learn how to feel. And know that intuition without information can be dangerous. “Fine line” stuff this leadership is.

6. Leaders Probe And Push With A Curiosity That Borders On Skepticism, Making Sure Their Questions Are Answered with Action.

Allen – This is the Coach Approach to Leadership and Management.

7. Leaders Inspire Risk Taking and Learning By Setting The Example.

Allen – The fruit is always out on the limb.

8. Leaders Celebrate

Allen – You should celebrate little wins too. Many leaders are such workaholics that they forget how to have some fun with their employees.

Well there you have it. If you want to get on track with changing your behavior and implementing great Leadership principles into your organization then call or Email me for a free one hour consultation.

Allen Hatton
Principal, Executive Development Group

Saturday, July 30, 2005

[article] You Can Make Their Day

Ten Tips for the Leader About Building Employee Motivation and Morale at Work
By Susan M. Heathfield

You can make their day or break their day. Your choice. No kidding. Other than the decisions individuals make on their own about liking their work, you are the most powerful factor in employee motivation and morale. By your words, your body language, and the expression on your face, as a manager, supervisor, or leader, you telegraph your opinion of their value to the people you employee.

Feeling valued by their manager in the workplace is key to high employee motivation and morale. Feeling valued ranks right up there for most people with liking the work, competitive pay, opportunities for training and advancement, and feeling "in" on the latest news. Building high employee motivation and morale is both challenging and yet supremely simple. Building high employee motivation and morale requires that you pay attention every day to profoundly meaningful aspects of your impact on life at work.

Your Arrival at Work Sets the Tone for the Day

Picture Mr. Stressed-Out and Grumpy. He arrives at work with a frown on his face. His body language telegraphs "over-worked" and unhappy. He moves slowly and treats the first person who approaches him abruptly. It only takes a few minutes for the entire workplace to get the word. Stay away from Mr. Stressed-Out and Grumpy if you know what's good for you this morning. Your arrival and the first moments you spend with staff each day have an immeasurable impact on positive employee motivation and morale. Start the day right. Smile. Walk tall and confidently. Walk around your workplace and greet people. Share the goals and expectations for the day. Let the staff know that today is going to be a great day. It starts with you. You can make their day.

Use Simple, Powerful Motivational Words

Sometimes in my work, I get gifts. Yesterday, I interviewed an experienced supervisor for a position open at a client company. She indicated that she was popular with the people at her former company as evidenced by employees wanting to work on her shift. Responding to my question, she said that part of her success was that she liked and appreciated people - telegraphing the right message. She also uses simple, powerful, motivational words to demonstrate she values people. She says "please" and "thank you" and "you're doing a good job." How often do you take the time to use these simple, powerful words, and others like them, in your interaction with staff? You can make their day.

Make Sure People Know What You Expect

In the best book I've read on the subject, Why Employees Don't Do What They're Supposed to Do and What to Do about It, by Ferdinand Fournies (see side bar), setting clear expectations is often a supervisor's first failure. Supervisors think they have clearly stated work objectives, numbers needed, report deadlines and requirements, but the employee received a different message. Or, the requirements change in the middle of the day, job, or project. While the new expectations are communicated - usually poorly - the reason for the change or the context for the change is rarely discussed. This causes staff members to think that the company leaders don't know what they are doing. Hardly a confidence, morale-building feeling.

This is bad news for employee motivation and morale. Make sure you get feedback from the employee so you know he understands what you need. Share the goals and reasons for doing the task or project. In a manufacturing environment, don't emphasize numbers if you want a quality product finished quickly. If you must make a change midway through a task or a project, tell the staff why the change is needed; tell them everything you know. You can make their day.

Provide Regular Feedback

When I poll supervisors, the motivation and morale builder they identify first is knowing how they are doing at work. Your staff members need the same information. They want to know when they have done a project well and when you are disappointed in their results. They need this information as soon as possible following the event. They need to work with you to make sure they produce a positive outcome the next time. Set up a daily or weekly schedule and make sure feedback happens. You'll be surprised how effective this tool can be in building employee motivation and morale. You can make their day.

People Need Positive and Not So Positive Consequences

Hand-in-hand with regular feedback, employees need rewards and recognition for positive contributions. One of my clients has started a "thank you" process in which supervisors are recognizing employees with personally written thank you cards and a small gift for work that is above and beyond expectations.

They need a fair, consistently administered progressive disciplinary system for when they fail to perform effectively. The motivation and morale of your best-contributing employees is at stake. Nothing hurts positive motivation and morale more quickly than unaddressed problems, or problems addressed inconsistently. What about supervisory discretion, you are probably thinking. I'm all for supervisory discretion, but only when it is consistent. People need to know what they can expect from you. In employee relations, an apt statement is: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." (attribution unknown) You can make their day.

It Ain't Magic. It's Discipline.

Supervisors frequently ask, "How do I motivate employees?" It's one of the most common questions I am asked. Wrong question. Ask instead, "How do I create a work environment in which individual employees choose to be motivated about work goals and activities?" That question I can answer. The right answer is that, generally, you know what you should do; you know what motivates you. You just do not consistently, in a disciplined manner, adhere to what you know about motivation.

The ten tips, outlined in this article, are the keys to supervisory success in creating positive employee motivation and morale. The challenge is to incorporate them into your skill set and do them consistently. Every day. Author, Jim Collins identified disciplined people doing disciplined things every day as one of the hallmarks of companies that went from Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... And Others Don't (see side bar). You can make their day.

Continue Learning and Trying Out New Ideas

Use whatever access you have to education and training. You may have an internal trainer or you can seek classes from an outside consultant, a training company, or a college or university. If your company offers an educational assistance plan, use all of it. If not, start talking with your Human Resources professionals about creating one. The ability to continuously learn is what will keep you moving in your career and through all the changes I expect we'll see in the next decade.

Minimally, you will want to learn the roles and responsibilities of supervisors and managers and how to:
• provide feedback,
• provide praise and recognition,
• provide proper progressive discipline,
• give instructions,
• interview and hire employees,
• delegate tasks and projects,
• listen,
• write records, letters, file notations, and performance evaluations,
• make presentations,
• manage time,
• plan and execute projects,
• problem solve and follow up for continuous improvement,
• make decisions,
• manage meetings, and
• build teams in a teamwork environment.

What does all this have to do with motivation, you may ask? Everything. The more comfortable and confident you are about these work competencies, the more time, energy, and ability you have to devote to spending time with staff and creating a motivating work environment. You can make their day.

Make Time for People

Make time to spend time daily with each person you supervise. Managers might aim for an hour a week with each of their direct reports. Many studies, over the years, clearly indicate that a work motivation factor is spending positive interaction time with the supervisor. Schedule quarterly performance development meetings on a public calendar so people see when they can prepare for extra time and attention from you, focused on them. You can make their year.

Focus on the Development of People

Most people want to learn and grow their skills at work. No matter their reason: a promotion, different work, a new position or a leadership role, they appreciate your help. Talk about changes they want to make to their jobs to better serve their customers. Encourage experimentation and taking reasonable risk to develop their skills. Get to know them personally. Ask what motivates them. Ask what career objectives they have and are aiming to achieve. Make a development plan with each person and make sure you help them carry the plan out. The quarterly performance development meeting is your opportunity to formalize plans for people. You can make their career.

Provide Leadership

People expect you to know the goals and share the direction in which your work group is heading. The more you can tell them about why an event is happening, the better. Prepare staff in advance if visitors or customers will come to your workplace. Hold regular meetings to share information, gain ideas for improvement, and train new policies. Hold focus groups to gather input before implementing policies that affect employees. Promote problem solving and process improvement teams.

Above all else, to effectively lead a work group, department, or unit, you must take responsibility for your actions, the actions of the people you lead, and the accomplishment of the goals that are yours. If you are unhappy with the caliber of the people you are hiring, whose responsibility is that? If you are unhappy about the training people in your work group are receiving, whose responsibility is that? If you are tired of sales and accounting changing your goals, schedule, and direction, whose responsibility is that? If you step up to the wire, people will respect you and follow you. You are creating a work environment in which people will choose motivation. It does start with you. You can make their whole experience with your company.

Monday, July 25, 2005

[Tips] How to Succesfully Negotiate a Raise and/or Promotion

The process of asking for a raise or promotion is similar to a mating dance-if you don't complete each step correctly, you don't win the prize. The urge to burst in your manager's office and launch into an "I'm underpaid" sermon is tempting, but it's not the way to win yourself a bigger paycheck. Complete the checklist below before having the "big talk" and you'll be reaping the rewards all the way to the bank.

Step #1: Ask yourself if you deserve one
Self-evaluation-yuck! But here goes…Have you been a team-player? Do you regularly go above and beyond the call of duty? Has it been over a year since your last pay increase? Ask yourself if you deserve it (and be honest) rather than asking yourself if you need it. A rent increase or new car payment does not warrant a raise and should not be used as a factor in negotiations.

Step #2: Don't forget to smile
If you go in there with threats and demands, your manager will immediately be put on the defensive. Be confident, approachable and pleasant. You'll receive a more positive response from your manager and will have remained a consummate professional throughout the process.

Step #3: Make an appointment
All serious conversations with your manager should be scheduled via a formal invite (email is fine). Let your boss know that you are requesting a formal review and would like to discuss re-negotiating your salary/position. Schedule approximately 60 minutes for a day within 5 days of your request. NOTE: To be completely prepared, be sure to cover all of the steps below before requesting the meeting.

Step #4: Prepare your argument
Preparation is everything. If you don't have your arsenal in order before you walk into the meeting, you might as well cancel it. This is the time to be poised and ready to make the argument of your life. Here are a few of the talking points you should have together:

A. Personal Achievements
Highlight areas within your professional development where you have shown marked improvement (i.e. management style, listening skills, verbal communication). Not only will your boss know that you take his or her feedback seriously, but you have also taken the initiative to improve in those areas.

B. Company Contributions
Cite your most recent accomplishments that have positively impacted the company, group and/or client relations and highlight those that will benefit future projects. Discuss your professional track record by citing specific areas in which you excel (i.e. deliver projects on time, under budget, effective management style). TIP: Document your achievements by keeping a weekly journal so it's handy when you need it.

C. Client/Peer Kudos
Reference specific, unsolicited praise and admiration you've received from higher-ups or clients. These endorsements speak volumes about your professional integrity and give evidence to the fact that your work is noticed by others.

Step #5: Nail down a number
In order to determine what you should be receiving for compensation, you first need to find out what you're worth. To see how your current salary compares with equivalent roles in the marketplace, check out HireMinds Salary Guide.

Before settling on a figure, take the following company factors into consideration:

* What is the typical increase given? Do they have a policy on raises (i.e. maximum 10%)?
* How often are raises given to employees (bi-annually, annually)?

Be clear on what you are requesting. Go in there with a solid number in mind (try to avoid giving ranges as you will usually end up at the low end); however, don't give the impression you are unwilling to negotiate. Say something like, "I propose an 8% increase to my current salary for the following reasons…".

NOTE: Depending on the company, a typical raise is between 5-15%.

Step #6: Keep your mouth shut
Whether you get your raise or not, do not, under any circumstances, discuss the details of your raise with anyone you work with-not even if he/she is your best friend. Because pay varies from person to person, employees who become privy to the paychecks of others may become resentful and feel betrayed. Your manager is sure to hear the grumblings and be less than impressed with your lack of discretion. Do yourself and everyone else a favor, keep them ignorant to your compensation.

Step #7: Plan your response
You should at least consider your response if your manager comes back with a counter-offer. Don't feel discouraged as most issues surrounding money go several rounds before a resolution is met. If, finally, you can not agree on a dollar amount, see what else you can negotiate (i.e. parking space, additional paid vacation). If you are flat out denied, it may be time to re-evaluate your current situation. Search HireMinds jobs for new and exciting opportunities.

Good Luck!

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