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10 Leadership Lessons from JFK

10 Leadership Lessons from JFK

John F. Kennedy remains a popular president. He was one of those rare presidents who became more popular during his time in office. In the last Gallup poll before his assassination, Kennedy’s approval rating stood at 70 percent!

Some pundits have dismissed Kennedy as “all profile and no courage.” But a closer look reveals that behind the charisma, smile and bold rhetoric, lay courage aplenty, plus vision and substance.

  • Craft a compelling vision. By 1960, a new generation of “Baby Boomers” was coming of age. What was to be their challenge? In his Inaugural Address, Kennedy gave them one: “Now the trumpet summons us again-not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are-but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation-a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself. Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that effort?” He dared young Americans to take on the status quo and to push themselves to the limit.
  • 'JFK and the Unspeakable' by James W Douglass (ISBN 1439193886) Face adversity with a smile. John F. Kennedy was born with an unstable back, which he aggravated further in sports and in the PT-109 incident. Also, he nearly died of scarlet fever as an infant, was mistakenly diagnosed with leukemia as a teenager, developed Addison’s Disease, which could be controlled only with painful cortisone treatments, suffered from allergies, bad eyesight, slight deafness in one ear, and much else besides. Born into a wealthy family, yet cursed with a sickly body, Kennedy could have given in to self-pity and sat on the sidelines. He refused, facing his maladies with a smile and joke. He was thus well-prepared to deal with the frustrations of political life.
  • Don’t follow the crowd. John F. Kennedy set his own course in life, always wary of being seen as anybody’s “man.” As a young man, he spent much time in Europe watching his father make blunder after blunder as U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, and young Kennedy resolved not to repeat them. He rejected his father’s crabbed isolationism in favor of a robust internationalism personified by Kennedy’s hero, Winston Churchill. He and his brother Bobby investigated corruption in U.S. labor unions, particularly the Teamsters. He also took on the American Legion, the House Democratic leadership, the Pentagon top brass.
  • Educate yourself. A passion for self-education might be one of the most reliable markers of leadership: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan were mostly self-taught. Jack Kennedy became a reader during his childhood illnesses as he lay flat on his back in hospitals. History, biography, and historical fiction, such as Churchill’s History of the First World War and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, were among his favorites. Before becoming president, Kennedy traveled the globe, visiting places few Americans had ever been, such as Vietnam. The contrast he witnessed between pre-war and post-war Berlin demonstrated vividly the possible consequences of world war, especially if it became nuclear.
  • 'Churchill: The Power of Words' by Winston Churchill (ISBN 0306821974) Learn to communicate. Kennedy was a poor public speaker at the start of his career. He spoke too fast, failed to pause for audience reaction, tended to speak from the larynx rather than the diaphragm and so wore out his voice quickly. He spoke with a pronounced regional accent. He dealt with this by keeping his talks short, and leaving time for questions. But he worked hard to improve himself, hiring voice coaches and a speechwriter, Theodore C. Sorensen, who helped him craft memorable phrases and imagery. Kennedy was also one of the first politicians to receive media training. His live press conferences became a White House tradition. He cultivated reporters who wrote favorable stories about him and his family and declined to write about his affairs and illnesses. He used his communication skills to rally the nation to fight the Cold War, soothe its fears, inspire unity, and achieve its highest aspirations.
  • Don’t let crises manage you. Perhaps the most important quality a leader can possess is the ability to manage a crisis without letting the crisis manage the leader. Kennedy projected a calm confidence that communicated to those around him and to the country. For example, during the Cuban missile crisis (October 1962), Kennedy remained calm and refused to retaliate. To prevent future miscommunications, Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed to establish a “hotline” between the White House and Kremlin.
  • Build a team and find your “Bobby.” No one gets to the top alone. To reach and hold a major leadership position, you need to build a team. Kennedy learned early how to get along with people from all walks of life. He could charm European aristocrats as well as bell hops and cab drivers with equal felicity. His intensity and purpose proved irresistible, and most people who worked for him remained devoted to him (no member of the Kennedy circle ever wrote even a remotely hostile memoir.) When Jack’s first Senate campaign manager proved incompetent, he turned to his brother Bobby, who impressed Jack with his organizational abilities. Bobby took charge, firing those who failed to perform and promoting those who showed drive and determination. He became indispensable to his brother, who defied the charges of nepotism to name him attorney general. Everyone at the top needs someone whose advice he can trust implicitly.
  • Add a touch of showmanship. When Kennedy became president, the presidential aircraft was painted in an orange-white-and-black paint scheme with the phrase “Military Air Transport Command” stenciled on the side. For the New Frontier, this simply wouldn’t do. So Kennedy called in Raymond Loewy, a great industrial designer. Loewy came up with the pale blue and white paint scheme and the words “United States of America” stenciled on the fuselage. Kennedy also discovered the aircraft had a codename: Air Force One. That was too good a name to keep secret, and Kennedy began using it publicly.
  • 'Profiles in Courage' by John F Kennedy (ISBN 0060854936) Learn from mistakes. When Cuban exiles invaded that country with U.S. support early in his administration in an effort to overthrow Fidel Castro, the effort collapsed ignominiously. Kennedy did not blame the previous administration, whose idea it was. Instead, he accepted full responsibility, saying, “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” Still, there were consequences. The director and deputy director of the CIA were both sacked. The Joint Chiefs of Staff were required to give their opinions to him in writing. Never again would Kennedy simply trust anyone’s word. Instead, he questioned his advisers to ensure all options were explored.
  • Do what’s right. Courage is a leitmotif running through Kennedy’s life. He possessed enormous physical courage, playing rough sports like football and starring on the Harvard swimming team despite his fragile frame. Before the United States entered World War II in 1941, Jack enlisted in the navy. After the PT-109 was sunk by a Japanese destroyer, he joked with his men to keep their spirits up. His best-known book is called Profiles in Courage, which chronicles the stories of United States senators who risked their careers by supporting unpopular causes.

When African-Americans were agitating for their civil rights, Kennedy at first hesitated to embrace their cause, fearing it would damage him politically. But on June 11, 1963, he did so wholeheartedly. Kennedy was the first president to call for equal rights for all Americans. And his words could not be taken back once he had spoken them. In addition to his physical courage, he had inner courage as well.

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Posted in Leaders and Innovators Management and Leadership

Ten Ways to Lead With Honor

  • Ten Ways to Lead With Honor Serve Others. Whatever you do, should benefit others. This includes every product you help make, every service you help provide and every decision you make that impacts others. Not surprisingly, leaders are only leaders if they are followed. Effective and successful leadership depends on a leader’s capacity to inspire, influence, and mobilize followers toward their personal and their organization’s goals.
  • Lead with Integrity. Never… ever… lie, cheat or embezzle. All leaders, when faced with unsatisfactory poll numbers, comfort themselves with the idea that unpopularity is a measure of their boldness. Acting with integrity and moral purpose is not accomplished merely by adhering to a prescribed system of checks and balances; it’s a far more involved process of honoring personal and organizational values while allowing for the far-reaching consequences and implications of actions.
  • Show Respect to Everyone. Everyone desires admiration. Everyone. In spite of of your position or power, ensure you show everyone respect. President Theodore Roosevelt made a reputation of caring for everyone he met. He knew all the White House staff by name and made it a point to make them feel important.
  • 'Leading with Honor' by Lee Ellis (ISBN 098387932X) Agree to Disagree… Without Being Unlikable. We all disagree. As leaders we all have our own thoughts and agendas. If you disagree with someone, just remember to do it agreeably. Our politicians should take note of this one. To act otherwise is childish. But the greatest benefit of disagreeing well is not just that it will make conversations better, but that it will make the people who have them happier.
  • Take All Things to Account, Before Making a Decision. As leaders, we often have conflicting roles and responsibilities. We must lead organizations, provide value to stakeholders or the public, yet also care for our employees and staff. You cannot take a position that only values one party. As a leader, you must learn to take all things into account, and make balanced decisions.
  • Listen More. Talk Less. Leaders can only make good decisions, if they understand what is going around them. The last time I looked, you mouth isn’t necessary for comprehension, but you ears certainly are. Listening is the oldest, the most used, and the most important element of interpersonal communication. Listening is a skill. It can be improved through training and practice, just as can reading, writing, and speaking.
  • Reward and Discipline as Necessary. Ensure that those who deserve to be rewarded are recognized and that those that are poor performers get help. The best managers have an internal locus of control—they believe they can mend whatever’s wrong.
  • 'West Point Leadership Lessons' by Scott Snair (ISBN 140220597X) Treat Everyone Fairly. Again, everyone wants to be treated fairly. You can make a profit or get a promotion, while not taking advantage of someone else. Treating people with respect and dealing with everyone in a fair-minded and open matter are just two indispensable requirements for success as a manager.
  • Become an Expert at What You Do. You cannot lead, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Whatever you do, become the best at it. Life is too brief for you to make a bunch of mistakes or to accumulate enough experiences and learn from them; the true cost of your mistakes and experiences is your time—your life.
  • Lead a Balanced Life. We cannot lead, if we are unbalanced. Ensure that your family, spiritual and personal lives don’t take a back seat to your career. Incorporate the fact that neither you nor your job and/or life will ever be perfect.
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Posted in Management and Leadership

Change Leadership: Many Start but Few Finish Well

Organizational Change Management Strategies

Planning and Execution of Change

Most organizations have a leadership deficit because they ignore leadership potential and do not offer training or relevant role models.

When time is restrained and rewards are high, the most effective leaders count on their ranks to do what they do best. These leaders galvanize people to use their proficiency to solve problems and achieve goals.

Great leaders get others to move in a direction that is sensible for themselves, the business, and community. Today, we need more leaders who can help groups come up with visions that are not self-serving—visions that serve the entire enterprise.

Historically, great leaders are self-confident people who have extraordinary capacity to make decisions when others crumble. They are confident, but not arrogant. In fact, great leaders are often described as having humility and vulnerability. I am often struck by the extraordinary arrogance of some leaders—an arrogance that says, “I’m above the game. I am smart and accomplished. Therefore, I know what is best, yet I have to put up with stupid rules set by small-minded people. It’s only natural that I maneuver around those rules.” You do not find that same arrogance in great leaders.

For change to be good, it has to be in a positive direction. Initial stages of transformation are usually positive, but the change effort is perverted as it becomes successful and as executives become more arrogant. Change is not the issue; arrogance is. As some leaders start running into problems, in their arrogance they say, “No problem. We can handle all this. We can cut corners and make our own rules.”

Companies need to be able to exercise sound leadership when responding to a crisis. But what if you didn’t need to be eager to execute this style of strategic leadership?

'Organization Change Theory and Practice' by Warner Burke (ISBN 1506357997) In organizations with a strong brand, if you do not have senior leaders who are humble and vigilant, you develop an arrogant culture. The single biggest challenge in managing change is not strategy, structure, or culture, but just getting people to change their behavior. One reason why that is so challenging is that we rely on giving logical reasons for change but fail to present people an emotionally compelling case. People change their behavior only when they are motivated to do so, and that happens when you speak to their feelings.

You need something visual that produces the emotions that motivate people to move toward the vision. Great leaders tell stories that create pictures in our minds and have emotional impact. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, not a strategy or goal, and he shoved us his dream, his picture of the future. People change when they see something visual (the vision) that touches their feelings, challenges their thinking, and incites actions. People may realize the need for change, but not do anything differently because they lack the passion to break out of routines or habit patterns. The momentum of “how we’ve done things” tends to make our future look like our past.

Principles and Theories of Organizational Change

Overcoming complacency—so vital at the start of change initiatives—often requires a bit of surprise, something that grabs attention at an emotional and intellectual level. You need to surprise people and disrupt their view that everything is perfect. Successful change leaders show people what the problems are and how to resolve the problems. They use images that people can see, hear, or touch. This may mean showing a video of an angry customer rather than a report of a customer survey. Change leaders make their points in ways that are emotionally engaging and compelling. They tell and retell vivid stories. You do not have to spend a million dollars and six months to prepare for a change effort. You do have to touch people emotionally.

The ability to move people emotionally is a special gift. Few of us are born with it, but we can learn it. In writing The Heart of Change, we found many people who had learned this skill. Some did not look like leaders, but somewhere along the way, they learned to speak to people’s feelings. One story involves people who realized that they had to start changing their own behavior. Many managers skip this part and start with, “Here’s how you need to change” because it is easier to tell other people that they are acting incorrectly than to admit that you are not perfect. Executives, as they become more successful, get less feedback or information showing how they are a part of the problem. Many of them have never learned the principle, always start with yourself first—and then go from there. It is a great rule of thumb.

Personal example is a powerful method of influence that can affect feelings and facilitate change. However, when leaders do not examine their own actions, they might give the wrong example, something that is inconsistent with what they are saying to people. People pay attention to deeds more than words.

All of us, deep in our hearts, want to be heroes, at least to our children or team members. Today we need heroes at every level. More people need to step up and provide change leadership. Most of this leadership will be modest. It might be a young sales rep who sees a new business opportunity or puts together a vivid demonstration of a problem. The sum of all these heroic actions—large and small—enables organizations to change in big ways.

Change Leadership: Many Start but Few Finish Well

Organizational Change Management Strategies

People need more positive examples of what works. In stories of what works, I never find a theme of self-preservation. Change leaders are not self-centered people. When focused only on yourself, you will not stick your neck out, lead the team to new glory, or create a shared win. You need a larger vision beyond saving your own skin. Several change proposals seem to presume that people will begin to shift their behaviors once formal elements like commands and encouragements get underway. People who work together on cross-functional teams will commence cooperating because the lines on the chart show they are intended to do so. Managers will become clear communicators because they have a mandate to deliver a message about the new strategy.

If you are frustrated and powerful, you tend to fall back on fear to motivate people. You say, “I know the right thing to do here, and you’ll either do it or be fired.” While using fear may be natural, it is usually ineffective. The only lesson your people learn is that you have power, and they need to fear being fired. They learn nothing about the enterprise, its challenges, and the need to do things differently. Fearful people do not listen carefully to customers. They hide or come up with schemes to protect themselves. Fear cannot drive transformation. However, fear may be used effectively as a surprise element. It is the “hit them upside the head with a board” approach to get attention. Then you have to quickly convert it into something positive or you get the drawbacks of fear.

Even if people are motivated to change, they are often blocked by a feeling or belief that they cannot change. Pessimism creates an emotional block to change. Effective change leaders use inspirational stories to bring out the natural optimism in everybody. They know how to inspire confidence, even in tough circumstances where people are depressed. They paint a hopeful picture in such a credible way that it soothes people and lead them to get out of the trenches to do something.

Managing Organizational Change

The change has to seep into the culture. The new behavior must maintain itself for a few weeks and show that it works. Then, the culture must support the change. For the new way of doing things to take hold, one change agent or leader cannot support it all. People need to see the right behavior producing the right results. Too often leaders assume that once they start the change effort, they are done. They must make it part of the culture; otherwise, when they leave, the old way creeps back in.

'Change Leader Learning to Do What Matters Most' by Michael Fullan (ISBN 0470582138) How can people stay focused long enough to create short-term wins and change the culture? This is where vision helps. If you have clarity in your mind and heartfelt commitment to a vision, you stay focused. Again, the vision has to be something you can see clearly—not some blur or list of unrelated items. So many strategies and statements of values, visions, and goals boil down to lists of unrelated items, making it hard to stay focused. Your focus bounces from one item to another because you lack a framework to guide you. You might let something else that is not on the list blow over you and push you in another direction.

You might carefully select two areas where you can achieve short-term successes and have one team focus on one item and another team focus on the other. People need to see that the changes are not oddball ideas being pushed by the boss. They need to see short-term wins that validate the change vision. If the win is clear, visible, and valuable to people, then they will likely make change happen.

To use this emotive energy, leaders must look for the constituents of the culture that are affiliated to the change, bring them to the foreground, and fascinate the attention of the people who will be affected by the change.

Communicating strategic intent empowers leaders to determine direction and noticeably defined goals. Leaders renounce from nit-picking the specific execution of the intent, but still hold their team members or subordinates answerable for change management.

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Characteristics of Transformational and Emergent Leadership

What Constitutes Transformational Leadership

'The Difference When Good Enough Isn't Enough' by Subir Chowdhury (ISBN 0451496213) Transformational leaders are those who bring order to guiding change. They must not only convey a compelling vision and be sensitive and responsive to the needs of their constituents but also behave as role models who walk the talk. These leaders typically are officially designated and have the formal position, authority, and backing. They drive change, establish the vision, and mobilize the troops.

  • Cause / create change
  • Freeze, unfreeze, refreeze
  • Create order from chaos
  • Role model—“walk the talk”
  • Create something different by changing the one
  • Broad issues (visions, paradigms)
  • Space for either/or
  • Transcend and include; refocus
  • Drive change

What Constitutes Emergent Leadership

'Personal Leadership' by Barbara Schaetti (ISBN 0979716705) Emergent leaders, on the other hand, may not be officially sanctioned and are more on the chaos side. They may, in fact, be part of what Ralph Stacy terms the shadow organization—interactions among members of a legitimate system that fall outside that legitimate system. As people operate in the shadow system, leadership roles emerge. The roles then shift based on contributions people make and how they make that contribution known.

  • Navigate in a context of change
  • Go with the flow
  • Live between order and chaos
  • Partner—“walk the talk”
  • Create something different by combining the many
  • Human / existential issues
  • Space for both / and
  • Transcend and include; embrace
  • Allow change to unfold (facilitate / nurture)
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Top Performance from the Bottom Up

Top Performance from the Bottom Up

We can best help people improve performance not by trying to solve their problems for them but by helping them learn to solve their own problems.

We can’t approach performance improvement from a reactive and fragmented stance. Rather than reacting to each isolated performance problem, the key is making performance improvement integral to the way people manage their work. After all, steering clear of problems, identifying problems early, and resolving them so they do not occur again is what managing work is about. All people are responsible for managing their own work; some are responsible for managing work within a team or a function, others for managing across functions, and still others for managing entire firms.

Managing work consists of three components:

  1. setting goals;
  2. letting work happen and comparing work completed against goals; and
  3. deciding whether to change how the goals are being pursued.

When these things are done well, individuals and organizations almost always meet goals. But, these three things are rarely done well. Few managers consistently prevent costly performance problems or ensure that goals are achieved.

'The Performance Pipeline' by Stephen Drotter (ISBN 0470877286) Performance consulting is simply coaching people on setting goals, letting the work happen, comparing results to the goals, and then deciding how to proceed. Most emergencies are simply breakdowns in one or more of these three areas of management. The solution to performance problems is always to help the person, team, or organization manage itself more effectively.

When people learn new behaviors, not only will they resolve the current emergency, but they will know how to address or avoid the next emergency.

Think of these levels of managing work as layers of an onion.

  • The outer layer is like the upper tier where organizational goals are set and monitored. These goals involve overall direction and objectives, and decisions are large in scope.
  • Below that layer is the cross-functional (or process and project) layer. Goals at this layer cover a smaller scope but must align with organizational goals. They include things such as what products and services will be available when, and which internal processes currently need the most attention. Goals are reviewed and revised a little more frequently than at the higher layer.
  • A third layer is where individual and group goals are set and monitored. The same basic practices for helping individuals manage 1heir work apply to helping executives manage their work. Since the magnitude of distractions and decisions are much greater at the executive level, practice this approach at the lower levels.

Self-Sustaining Performance

'Fearless Leadership' by Carey Lohrenz (ISBN 1626341133) The desired end result is a selfsustaining performance system (SPS) a systemic approach that provides an immediate solution while leveraging the performance perspective for sustainable long-term success. The SPS always assumes that the performers are missing one or more of the three conditions that guarantee successful performance. Those conditions are:

  • Clear performance expectations: Each performer must know exactly what he or she is expected to do and how well, and must commit to it.
  • Frequent, self-monitored feedback: Each performer must know, at any given point, whether he or she is meeting performance expectations.
  • Control of resources: Each performer must know that, if he or she provides warning that performance is not meeting expectations, management will either help the performer succeed or change the expectation.

The three conditions summarize all the factors that affect performance in the order they should be addressed. When all three conditions are in place, we have a performance system. When most members are operating in an effective performance system most of the time, we have a SPS.

Just implementing the first two conditions usually results in productivity increases of 30 percent or more within a very short time.

The third condition, control of resources, ensures that productivity increases can be sustained. It also ensures that manager and performers have a stake in whatever performance improvements are implemented. Whether the need is for better tools or better organization, they are more likely to turn the required change into improved performance. And because they have frequent self-monitored feedback, they will be the first to know if their performance is improving.

By implementing a SPS, you help people steer clear of most problems, immediately identify problems when they do arise, and resolve those problems so that they do not reoccur.

A successful SPS means performers are consistently successful and raise the bar on their own performance. Instead of waiting for performance to get worse, they prevent problems and coordinate work effectively.

Contributing to systemic improvement as opposed to everyone tweaking their isolated functions, must be the expectation for every member.

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How Corporate Executive Education Programs Could Collaborate with Universities

How Corporate Executive Education Programs Could Collaborate with Universities

Executive education programs are comprehensive and wide-ranging. Everything from off-the-shelf programs focused on significant business challenges to made-to-order programs. Great faculty-people who can stimulate and invigorate executives-teach these programs. Executives go back to their firms with great recollections and ideas. They feel cherished by their company because the company has invested in them. Hurrah!

How can lessons from these involvements be applied to enhance business results? The answer lies in cultivating the relationship between the corporation and the university.

Curriculum design in Corporate Executive Education Programs The first step is to tailor the executive education program with the university. To do this, the firm must have specific goals that the core curriculum can address. These goals could aim at specific business problems or performance. Class makeup is important in any made-to-order course designed for impact. Attendees must be responsible for that impact.

The firm will need an executive sponsor who can enunciate the goals and contribute to the curriculum architecture. Inherent in this design is the post-program application. Useful goals are measurable. Measure their state of achievement before and after the course to understand impact. When the core curriculum is designed around these goals, attendees then can be expected to conclude the program with a plan to apply the lessons. If at all possible, the executive sponsor should hear those plans and follow their progress.

Curriculum design must integrate scalable learning. If the lessons learned during the course are to generate operational results, those who attended the course must teach them to those who did not attend. This can be a challenge given time and location constraints. Scalability often necessitates innovative solutions such as interactive e-learning sessions where employees anywhere, anytime can partake in online sessions that deliver the key message to implement. Future programs for smaller teams targeting a specific problem can be launched through virtual white-board sessions with faculty. CDs also provide a useful medium to capture and share key sessions. Workbooks can be used to scale the plans.

Corporate Executive Education Programs partnership between a corporation and a university Our universities include impressive thought leaders who spend their careers studying business challenges, pursuing solutions across industries. This talent can do far more than share their insights. If properly reinforced, they can channel their classroom work towards corporation-specific goals. This support includes pre-program preparation. Meeting with the faculty and educating them on the firm’s business and the goals is vital. Investor relations’ performances and annual reports are useful tools for this meeting. They cannot customize their teaching if they do not understand the business and the issues. Depending on the content necessitated, a non-disclosure agreement may be needed.

Faculty must also understand the attendees and their roles in the goal achievement. Once the faculty understands who does-what-where, they can effectively tailor discussions for individual and group needs. Knowledgeable faculty can also participate in study group discussions beyond the classroom and help create solutions. Also, sharing the attendees’ biographies or leadership profiles can give the faculty an understanding of their partners in this impact-focused learning journey.

The elements of a working partnership between a corporation and a university are the same ones we use for any partnership. Both parties must have an open working relationship with identified, measurable goals. Clear communication is imperative. Both parties must be focused on results and know the talent they have to achieve those results. Scalable solutions are indispensable. We approach business this way every day. Developing our key talent deserves nothing less in commitment or rigor.

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Posted in Business and Strategy

Disentangle All of Your Mixed Messages to Diminish Anxiety

Disentangle All of Your Mixed Messages to Diminish Anxiety

Anxiety somehow touches almost every aspect of our lives. It is woven invisibly into the fabric of our existence and often sets into motion a chain of reactions and circumstances.

As leaders, we need to ensure that anxiety does not consume our workplaces and degrade the performance of our people. The key to reducing anxiety at work is direct and clear communication that eliminates mixed messages—the catalytic driver of anxiety.

Communicative people are less anxious and more secure because they know where they stand. They are less afraid to ask the awkward questions and less intimidated to have difficult conversations. They know that “meta-messages” live inside of every communication, and they strive to create clarity and understanding.

For example, if you seek new business, you may fail to keep your team in the loop. As time passes, you leave your team without a leader. Soon your people feel disconnected from your activities. Worst-case scenarios seem to be whispered, and one-on-one side conversations echo the halls. As a result, anxiety starts to dominate your team. It shows up as people start distrusting your leadership capability, turning to other leaders outside the team for advice and information, creating concentric circles of communication with others, and building mountains out of molehills.

Our sense of security and well-being are profoundly affected by how well we are kept in the vital loop, how well our leaders interpret and integrate the dynamics and complexities of workplace life for us.

Interpreting Meta-Messages

Anxiety is a natural response to a perception about the future. Employee anxiety often becomes the ever-present fabric when their managers and leaders are suddenly behind dosed doors, speaking in hushed tones, and refusing to address rumors directly. This sends a very direct message. Great leaders put themselves in someone else’s shoes temporarily in an effort to interpret these events for them in a straightforward and truthful way. In doing so, they create a sense of calmness, control, forward movement, security, and direction. Unless leaders set a dear and explicit context for this communication, employees create their own worst-case scenarios.

Anxiety elevates under certain conditions. Lack of shared focus, purpose, and vision creates confusion. Lack of communication opens the door to paranoia (the ultimate anxiety response). Lack of interpersonal communication causes more emotion, misunderstanding, and anxiety.

Emotions have a dramatic effect on our success. Positive emotional connection is good for business. Lack of respect for others undermines security, which causes resentment-another form of anxiety. Failure to tap the inner talent and creativity causes deeper isolation and anxiety. Failure to develop team agreements, strategies, and decision-making policies enhances isolation. Management’s self-serving and exclusionary approaches cause isolation and anxiety among employees. Negativity and complaining become both the cause and effect of anxiety. Low morale due to leadership’s inability to acknowledge the truth causes anxiety.

Tips for Leaders to Diminish Anxiety

'13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do' by Amy Morin (ISBN 0062358308) How can you as a leader build an environment where people feel safe? Mixed messages cause employees to retreat into anxiety. For example, when you say you care about keeping people in the loop, yet fail to do so, you send meta-messages. When you talk at employees and give directives, but do not ask questions to clarify understanding, you set the context for mixed messages. Predictably, employees will think one thing while you say something else, and confusion will result. Mixed messages create a metaphorical moat. We don’t know which side of the river we are standing on, and without the security of knowing where we stand, we can’t do our best.

Instead of allowing mixed-messages and worst-case scenarios to take over, enhance your commendation and set the context for inclusion:

  • Don’t be afraid to stand up for your people. Create a safe environment so they know that you are there for them. When having vital conversations about the future direction, minimize misunderstandings. Repeat what employees say and ask questions to uncover hidden implications. Be sure that reviews are realistic so that people know exactly where they stand at all times. Be genuinely interested and acknowledge good effort and accomplishments for others to see. Clarify what employees are saying before drawing conclusions or making assumptions.
  • Keep an open mind even if you disagree with what is being said so you can understand employee concerns. Remember emotions don’t always reside in logic; they reside in anxiety, and that’s what you want to release, not amplify. Evaluate information without bias. Ask questions to hear concerns.
  • Respond rather than react. Acknowledge employees’ issues and points of view; listen actively so that you can respond. Listen to the logic and the emotion-convey that you hear what is being said at all levels.
  • Accept responsibility for the impact of the way you are communicating. Walk the talk-people will know that they can trust you. Say what you mean and mean what you say!
  • Don’t be a people pleaser—speak the truth. Be a change agent. Take timely action. Give constructive feedback.

Understanding how unspoken anxiety is affecting your business and dealing with it by straightening out mixed messages will have a big bottom-line payoff.

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Posted in Management and Leadership

Quotations from Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz’s Book “Pour Your Heart Into It”

Howard Schultz‘s Pour Your Heart Into It touches on the best management and business practices and the techniques that Schultz used to found and lead Starbucks to the international coffee corporation it is today.

Starbucks has become an emblem of the current specialty coffee movement and a “hip” lifestyle. Starbucks coffee bars have opened in small towns and major cities alike, first in America, then around the world.

Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz

“Pour Your Heart Into It” Chapter Titles and Lead Quotations

Starbucks is a international coffee house chain with more than 17,000 stores. Founded in 1971 to roast coffee and sell it straight to drinkers at branded shops, it was only a regional company until Howard Schultz purchased it in 1987.

  • Chapter 1: Imagination, Dreams, and Humble Origins
    “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
    Antoine de Saint-Exupery in The Little Prince
  • Chapter 2: A Strong Legacy Makes You Sustainable for the Future
    “A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received.”
    Albert Einstein
  • Chapter 3: To Italians, Espresso is Like an Aria
    “Some men see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were, and say ‘Why not?'”
    George Bernard Shaw, often quoted by Robert F. Kennedy
  • Chapter 4: Luck is the Residue of Design
    “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”
    Peter Drucker
  • 'Pour Your Heart Into It' by Howard Schultz (ISBN 0786883561) Chapter 5: Naysayers Never Built a Great Enterprise
    “We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.”
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kavanagh
  • Chapter 6: The Imprinting of the Company’s Values
    “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
    Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Chapter 7: Act Your Dreams with Open Eyes
    “Those who dream by night in the
    dusty recesses of their minds
    Awake to find that all was vanity;But the dreamers of day are dangerous men,
    That they may act their dreams with open
    eyes to make it possible.”
    T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia)
  • Chapter 8: If it Captures Your Imagination, it Will Captivate Others
    “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, … begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Chapter 9: People are nor a Line Item
    “Wealth is the means and people are the ends. All our material riches will avail us little if we do not use them to expand the opportunities of our people.”
    John F. Kennedy, State of the Union address in January 1962
  • Chapter 10: A Hundred-story Building First Needs a Strong Foundation
    “The builders of visionary companies … concentrate primarily on building an organization—building a ticking clock—rather than on hitting a market just right with a visionary product idea.”
    Jim C. Collins, Built to Last
  • Chapter 11: Don’t Be Threatened by People Smarter Than You
    “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men [and women] to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”
    Theodore Roosevelt
  • Chapter 12: The Value of Dogmatism and Flexibility
    “The only sacred cow in an organization should be its basic philosophy of doing business.”
    Thomas J. Watson, Jr. “A Business and Its Beliefs,” quoted in Built to Last

How Starbucks Became Successful

  • Chapter 13: Wall Street Measures a Company’s Price, Not Its Value
    “There are only two guidelines. One, what’s in the long-term best interests of the enterprise and its stakeholders, supplemented by the dominant concern of doing what’s right.”
    Robert D. Haas, President, Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Chapter 14: As Long as You’re Reinventing, How About Reinventing Yourself?
    “The difference between great and average or lousy in any job is, mostly, having the imagination and zeal to re-create yourself daily.”
    Tom Peters, The Pursuit of Wow!
  • Chapter 15: Don’t Let the Entrepreneur Get in the Way of the Enterprising Spirit
    “No organizational regeneration, no national industrial renaissance can take place without individual acts of courage.”
    Harvey A. Hornstein, Managerial Courage
  • Chapter 16: Seek to Renew Yourself Even When You’re Hitting Home Runs
    “To stay ahead, always have your next idea waiting in the wings.”
    Rosabeth Moss Kanter
  • Chapter 17: Crisis of Prices, Crisis of Values
    “It is by presence of mind in untried emergencies that the native metal of a man is tested.”
    James Russell Lowell, “Abraham Lincoln,” in North American Review, ]anuary 1864
  • Chapter 18: The Best Way to Build a Brand is One Person at a Time
    “What comes from the heart, goes to the heart.”
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Table Talk
  • Chapter 19: Twenty Million New Customers are Worth Taking a Risk For
    “Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
    Helen Keller, The Open Door
  • Chapter 20: You Can Grow B1g and Stay Small
    “The fundamental task is to achieve smallness within large organization.”
    E. F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful: Economics as If People Mattered
  • Chapter 21: How Socially Responsible Can a Company Be?
    “The evidence seems clear that those businesses which actively serve their many constituencies in creative, morally thoughtful ways also, over the long run, serve their shareholders best. Companies do, in fact, do well by doing good.”
    Norman Lear, Founder of the Business Enterprise Trust, Quoted in David Bollier’s Aiming Higher
  • Chapter 22: How Not to Be a Cookie-cutter Chain
    “Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take risks.”
    Mark Rothko, In The New York Times, June 13, 1943
  • Chapter 23: When They Tell You to Focus, Don’t Get Myopic
    “If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too; …
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”
    Rudyard Kipling, “If”
  • Chapter 24: Lead with Your Heart
    “Leadership is discovering the company’s destiny and having the courage to follow it. … Companies that endure have a noble purpose.”
    Joe Jaworski of the Organizational Learning Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz's 'Pour Your Heart Into It'

Selections from Howard Schultz’s Analysis of Starbucks’ Spectacular Success

Schultz sponsored Starbucks as the “third place,” distinctive from home and work. Many of its shops have comfortable padded chairs and sofas. In recent years they offer free Wi-Fi for customers who want Internet access for their computers. Some Starbucks are in shopping malls, bookstores, supermarkets, college campuses, and airports. Baristas mix a range of coffee drinks.

  • “When you really believe—in yourself, in your dream—you just have to do everything you possibly can to take control and make your vision a reality. No great achievement happens by luck.”
    Howard Schultz
  • “I believe that the best way for an entrepreneur to maintain control is by performing well and pleasing shareholders even if his or her stake is below 50 percent. That risk is far preferable to the danger of heavy debt, which can limit the possibilities for future growth and innovation.”
    Howard Schultz
  • “It’s one thing to dream, but when the moment is right, you’ve got to be willing to leave what’s familiar and go out to find your own sound.”
    Howard Schultz
  • “Whatever your culture, your values, your guiding principles, you have to take steps to inculcate them in the organization early in its life so that they can guide every decision, every hire, every strategic objective you set.”
    Howard Schultz
  • “Every step of the way, I made a point to underpromise and overdeliver. In the long run, that’s the only way to ensure security in any job.”
    Howard Schultz
  • “If you want to build a great enterprise, you have to have the courage to dream great dreams. If you dream small dreams, you may succeed in building something small. For many people, that is enough. But if you want to achieve widespread impact and lasting value, be bold.”
    Howard Schultz
  • 'Onward How Starbucks Fought for Its Life' by Howard Schultz (ISBN 1609613821) “Treat people like family, and they will be loyal and give their all. Stand by people, and they will stand by you. It’s the oldest formula in business, one that is second nature to many family-run firms. Yet in the late 1980s, it seemed to be forgotten.”
    Howard Schultz
  • “While Wall Street has taught me a lot, its most enduring lesson is an understanding of just how artificial a stock price is. It’s all too easy to regard it as the true value of your company, and even the value of yourself.”
    Howard Schultz
  • “At a certain stage in a company’s development, an entrepreneur has to develop into a professional manager. That often goes against the grain.”
    Howard Schultz
  • “Whatever you do, don’t play it safe. Don’t do things the way they’ve always been done. Don’t try to fit the system. If you do what’s expected of you, you’ll never accomplish more than others expect.”
    Howard Schultz

The Recipe to Starbucks Success

The name Starbucks is borrowed from the first mate of the whaling ship in the Herman Melville novel Moby Dick. The logo for Starbucks is also nautical, a siren who in the original image had a mermaid’s tail.

The first Starbucks location opened in the United States, in Pike Place, Seattle in 1971 and the company developed globally with a brand recognition that has been compared to the longer standing, brand-distinctive McDonald’s Fast-food Empire.

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Earning the Right to Lead

Earning the Right to Lead

Becoming a leader within your organization is about more than just a title—it is about earning your right to lead. Leadership has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Leading with authority is no longer an effective way of getting results from your employees. Truly inspired results need to be earned.

Remember, you are not in charge. In order to build a sense of shared purpose among your employees—many of which come from wildly different backgrounds—you need to earn their trust. Demonstrate transparency, a willingness to listen, and be receptive to new ideas. Look at it this way: in earlier days, it was the employee who needed to earn the approval of his or her manager. Now the roles have been reversed. It is you, the manager, who needs to earn the approval of your employees.

It is not easy to put these words into action. Your leadership style is a direct reflection of who you are as an individual. You simply cannot change this with the flick of a switch. Reaching a leadership style that inspires trust among your employees requires practice and awareness. Take the time to learn more about yourself—understand your life experiences, and how they have shaped your leadership style. This simple action will go a long way in changing how you lead your employees.

Leadership is Influence

If leadership is influence, then influence is earned by respect. If you do not have the respect of people, you are not a leader.

  1. Leaders earn respect through integrity. Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes. It connotes a deep commitment to do the right thing for the right reason, regardless of the circumstances.
  2. Leaders earn respect through humility. Sincere humility is when a leader has an precise assessment of both his strengths and weaknesses, and he sees all this in the context of the greater whole. This leader is a part of something far vaster than he is. He understands that he is not the center of the universe. In addition, he is both grounded and unshackled by this knowledge. Identifying his abilities, he asks how he can contribute. Diagnosing his flaws, he asks how he can grow.
  3. 'The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader' by John Maxwell (ISBN 0785267964) Leaders earn respect through dependability. Dependability is a significant trait that every leader should exemplify. It is a main building block in developing and maintaining trust, something every leader should wish and pursue. Dependable leaders are reliable and consistent.
  4. Leaders earn respect by living by right priorities. A heart-based leader knows his priorities they know what is urgent and what is not and they create their leadership around it. Explore best practices shared services leaders should employ to meet the demands of a changing environment.
  5. Leaders earn respect through generosity. Generous leaders communicate information willingly, share credit frequently, and give of their time and expertise effortlessly. What come across is a strong work ethic, great communication skills, and a readiness and ability to collaborate. Leaders and managers who are generous produce trust, respect, and goodwill from their colleagues and employees.
  6. Leaders earn respect through spirituality. Spirituality notifies their leadership practices by providing meaning and determination to their leadership role. They perceive and describe themselves as living out sincerely held personal morals of respecting forces or a presence greater than self. These leaders choose to be virtuous leaders in business.

These six areas produce respect. We earn respect through integrity, humility, generosity, spirituality, dependability, and living by priority.

Leadership is influence, but you cannot lead without these issues. They are the basis to build respect. When you have the respect of people, people will follow you anywhere.

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Lead with Your Presence by Animating and Engaging People

Lead with Your Presence by Animating and Engaging People

In the military, officer candidates are drilled on the power and practice of the manner of a leader-focused, attentive, and engaged. Command presence is not about control, it is about connection; it is not about power, it is about partnership. Leaders with command presence convey character.

Davy Crockett had command presence. “Crockett seemed to be the leading spirit. He was everywhere,” wrote Enrique Esparza, eyewitness to the Alamo, in a newspaper article following the legendary siege. Great leaders are all about spirit-being, not just doing. They focus on being there, everywhere, not in absentia. And, when they are there, they are all there-focused, attentive, engaged.

Great leaders hunt for genuine encounters. They upset the pristine and proper by inviting vocal customers to boardroom meetings. They spend time in the field and on the floor where the action is lively, not in carefully contrived meetings where the action is limp. They thrive on keeping things genuine and vibrant.

Leadership is being (Spirit)

Leadership is the act of influencing another to achieve important goals. It is not about rank or authority. Authority is the last resort of the inept. Leadership is about being-the conveyance of spirit. “You don’t have to know that Susan is the leader,” a manager said of his leader, “You can feel it the second she walks into the room. A warm connection reaches out of who she is and pulls you in. Some people might call it charisma, I call it caring.”

Spirit-full leaders let go of proving who they are in exchange for being who they are. They are givers whose curious interest in others drives them to be completely absorbed in whoever is on the other end of their conversations. They are patient listeners eager to learn, not anxious to make a point.

Great leaders are passion givers. They embrace the concept embedded in the word and pass it on to others. They show their excitement in the moment and optimism for the future, regardless of how much sleep they got the evening before or their worry over hiccups in the balance sheet. Great leaders are pathfinders who light the way with their positive faith. They would rather facilitate than challenge. They cultivate confidence rather than breed caution.

Leadership is Being There

Leaders are present. They don’t just lead by wandering around; they lead by staying engaged. They don’t just know the facts and figures; they know the stories and struggles. Because they make it their business to do their homework on customers and associates, they can affirm on sight without benefit of cue card or staff whispers. They call associates at home to congratulate them on something important to the associate. They thank customers for their business with sincerity and obvious gratitude. They hold meetings on other’s turf.

Great leaders bring perpetual energy and intensity to encounters. They are always wide awake. When it comes to their role, they are never lazy, disinterested, or indifferent. They care enough to bring their best. They show up in life with completed staff work.

At the annual managers meeting, Macy’s Director of Stores, Randy Scalise, gave out 15 awards to outstanding performers in the Northeast region. On the outside, the awards ceremony looked normal-applause, handshakes, an award presentation, and photos. What was unique was how many stories Randy told about his personal experiences with the award winners. He was an important customer for many of them—he had been there, up close and personal.

Great leaders are passion givers

Leadership is Being All There

The myth of leadership is that of a knight in shining armor without warts or clay feet rushing in to charismatically compel people to greatness through the sheer power of his persona. Real leaders are superior and inadequate, strong, and weak.

“He gives us so much courage,” a senior leader said of Doug Borror, CEO of Dominion Homes, and a large home-builder in Dublin, Ohio. “Doug is not perfect. But, he works hard to be the best he can be. When he makes a mistake, he owns it; he forgives himself so to speak. And he is willing to confess in public. That encourages us to reach for higher goals, knowing that if we fall short reaching for the moon, we’ll still end up among the stars.

Real leaders are real role models-not “be perfect like me” models. They are open about their struggles and invite followers to enlist. Positioning leaders as perfect models is unfair to leaders and disempowers associates. Real leaders stumble and blunder, just like normal people. Greatness comes through self-forgiveness as you “get back on the horse.” Real leaders serve as role models best when they reveal their vulnerability and demonstrate their humanity. When leaders own their mistakes, they signal to all that concealment and CYA antics are deviations from corporate custom.

Davy Crockett held no official position at the Battle of the Alamo. His command was expressed solely through his presence-one that cultivated confidence and promoted passion. Coronal Jim Bowie wrote, “David Crockett has been animating the men to do their duty.” Command presence is the embodiment of animation. And animation is what separates maintenance managers from truly great leaders.

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