We taught mice and pigeons to do all sorts of interesting things during my graduate school class in behavioral psychology. The principle is simple: provide a stimulus and elicit a response. The stimulus-response cycle still plays an important role in animal training today. And, it is evident in virtually every routine action we take. You don’t think about your response; you just make it. And at some point, it becomes automatic. On most days, those automatic responses are benign routines that allow you to effectively navigate. Unfortunately, they can also become anchors that prevent you from making a change that will transform your business and your life.
These days it seems that we’re all so busy, overcommitted, and information-obsessed. Our never-ending to-do lists are long and we run around trying to “keep up” or “be important,” and in the process stress ourselves out. Unfortunately, it often takes something bad to happen to slow us down, wake us up, and force us to focus on what truly matters most in life.
My presentations about leading change usually include a story about Double Stuf Oreos and Brussels Sprouts. You can view the story here, but the basic principle is simple: A child will willingly change what they are doing to reach a jar of cookies on top of your refrigerator. You seldom see them act with the same sense of urgency to acquire Brussels sprouts. With that in mind, leaders generate creative tension when the vision they create for change is compelling – like cookies – rather than boring like vegetables.
How do you define integrity? Is there an absolute definition? Or, do you find yourself quoting the phrase made famous by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart: “I know it when I see it”? We know that it appears at or near the top of every list of desirable leadership traits. It is the essential ingredient for building and sustaining trust with others. Go ahead—take a stab at it. Integrity is . . . It is more difficult to define integrity than you thought, isn’t it?
The willingness and urgency to change are based on emotional readiness not intellectual understanding. If intellectual understanding – knowing what we should do – was all it took to change, the gap between realizing we need to do something different and the work of implementing that change would be non-existent. But that’s not how it works.
The government we want is nimble, flexible, and responsive. The government we experience, in many cases, is slow, cumbersome, and totally unresponsive. Let’s put this another way: We want our government to operate like our favorite business. We believe, in contrast, that our government is the poster child for lumbering bureaucratic inefficiency and employees who are out of touch with the realities of the marketplace. Twenty plus years of working with private and public sector organizations has taught me that the truth is actually somewhere between the two extremes.
I saw this quote by David Frost posted on Twitter: “Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will naturally come.” It sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it is not true.
There are three realities in leadership: Leaders are defined by their results. The act of leadership is about the ability to influence others to accomplish the desired result. You will never succeed at your first [...]
Your best employees are contemplating quitting. Some of them already have – even though they are still on the job. Hiring is picking up – especially for the stars who more than compensate for their cost with superior performance. Your best employees will have the opportunity to leave. Are you vulnerable for an exodus? Chances are the answer is yes if you are guilty of any of the following:
Jay Goltz writes a blog on small business and entrepreneurship for the New York Times. His March 10, 2014 posting was titled “10 Words Entrepreneurs Should Use With Caution.” In that piece, Goltz shared 10 [...]
I received this email last week. The author’s name has been withheld in order to protect his/her job: “I read your book Make Change Work. and it made me angry. What made me angry is the fact that I work as a management consultant for one of the largest consulting firms and I am ashamed how few (if any) of the wisdoms we actually take from your book and coach our clients accordingly. Very often, we are in gross ignorance of the very valid insights and tips you have in your little book.”
Who do you choose when there is very little difference between the choices? Do you take the time to understand the small factors that might distinguish one choice from another, or do you go with what is easy or the name that you hear the most often? There are four individuals running to represent their party for the office of state representative in the area where I live. All four seem like nice people, and all four are virtually indistinguishable in their stance on the issues. Seriously, you could copy and paste any of their individual responses onto the web site for any of their competitors, and no one would notice.
Leaders distinguish themselves in times of great risk and great reward. Whether it is the political leader who bolsters our confidence in times of crisis or the business leader who follows her instincts to seize an opportunity, we respect and admire the leader who is out front when the stakes are high.
Three weeks back I wrote about my exceptional service experience at Sewell Lexus of Dallas. The theme of the post was that it was the Sewell people rather than their product that has kept me as a loyal customer for over 20 years. The premise behind that post is the same one I offered in my 2006 book, Results Rule!: Fundamentals are the minimum. Being distinctive is the difference if it adds value. I can purchase a Lexus from a number of different dealers. The quality and service of the Sewell staff makes them distinctive in a way that adds extreme value. The very nice folks that service GE kitchen appliances just reminded me that you can’t forget the first part of my premise: Fundamentals are the minimum. Because without the fundamentals, there is nothing you can do to stand out with your customers (at least not in a positive way).
Most of the talk about New Year’s Resolutions is just that – talk. Despite all of our good intentions, most of us won’t achieve our goals for the year. Research released by the University of Scranton Psychology Department reports that only 8 percent of Americans are regularly successful in achieving their resolution. 49 percent achieve occasional success, and 24 percent are never successful. So in other words, the odds are stacked against you even if you set a goal for the New Year