The reality of today’s market-driven world is brutal. We are all better at some things than others. Most of us are actually excellent – or at least better than average – at some aspects of our business or personal performance. And, that doesn’t matter unless what we do well adds value to the customer.
Remember the definition of insanity: Doing what you have always done and expecting to get different results? That truth has never been more relevant than today, and yet we are all guilty of failing to heed a piece of wisdom that would help us deliver amazing results. Mark Sanborn has written an excellent new book titled Up, Down, or Sideways. In it, he devotes a chapter to what prevents us from doing what needs to be done to achieve results. I asked him to share his key observations in this this blog.
Your value in the marketplace is in direct proportion to the importance and complexity of the problems you can solve and solutions you can provide to your customers. Put another way, you can’t earn a brain surgeon’s salary with a talent level that qualifies you to be a convenience store clerk.
“People do things for their own reasons, not for our reasons.” – William Marston My seat mate on a recent flight owns a successful small business. It is growing in a down economy because he [...]
The U.S. economy is in a self-fulfilling death spiral propelled by mistrust. There is a good chance that the same thing can be said of your industry, your employer, and your career. Growth requires investment, and that requires confidence. You can’t cut your way to sustainable growth. When trust is absent, people naturally protect their immediate self-interest. This will occur even if it leads to their long-term individual and collective undoing.
President Obama’s falling approval rating came up during a conversation with my friend, Larry Winget, and it started me thinking: Is he becoming the next Glenn Beck? The mere thought of this comparison is likely to explode heads on both ends of the political spectrum. So wrap yourself in duct tape and hang with me for a moment. There are interesting similarities and a leadership lesson for everyone.
Someone recently asked me why I use so many examples from political leaders when discussing effective leadership. Isn’t it obvious? Every week elected leaders and candidates give us something that is simply too good to ignore. This week’s example is the brou ha ha over President Obama’s bus trip through the heartland. In case you missed it, a number of people were upset that the President left his “real job” in Washington to ride through the middle of the U.S. on a new tricked out bus while conducting town hall meetings and visiting the Fair. To the President’s detractors, this was a blatantly political act designed to take the focus off of the two leading Republican presidential candidates, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Governor Rick Perry. Bachmann and Perry were also taking time away from their “real jobs” to ride through America’s heartland on tricked out buses attending town hall meetings and Fairs. The only apparent difference is that they were asking people to give them a new job while on the clock at their current job while the President was accused of asking people if he could keep his current job.
Dishonesty is not new, but let’s be honest—our society has raised the rationalization of dishonesty to an art form. When it comes to the truth, we embellish, expand, enrich, soften, shave, stretch, and withhold. We misspeak, pretend, bend, and improve. We are guilty of mistakes, misjudgment, and truthful hyperbole. We exaggerate, spin, filter, and inflate. However, we rarely—or perhaps even never—believe that we are guilty of dishonesty.
What’s not to like? Millions of like-minded people promoting limited federal government, individual freedoms, personal responsibility, free markets, and a return of political power to the states and the people. How could anyone argue that the Tea Party is a bad thing? Oh wait! That can’t be right. The Tea Party is actually millions of small-minded people who engage in racist behaviors and want to take away the power of the federal government to set policy and help society by cutting the funding to every social program that they don’t like. So which is it? The answer is, “It depends on your point of view.”
Timothy Geithner must go for two reasons: (1) he’s expendable: and (2) he has become a distraction. Geithner didn’t vote on a single debt proposal, and yet he played a significant role in the crisis. This is what happens when coaches are fired. The coach isn’t on the field making the plays, and you would think that players would be committed enough to play hard for the common good. But when you can’t fire the team, you often fire the coach. You can’t fire an elected official, and the public and financial markets want someone held accountable. It is unfortunate and perhaps even a little unfair. Sorry Tim, you need to go.
The trials of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and disgraced self-help guru James Arthur Ray both ended in guilty verdicts. Blagojevich was found guilty on 17 of 20 counts of corruption. Ray was found guilty of three counts of negligent homicide from deaths in a sweat lodge ceremony. And though some would argue that the verdicts in both cases were never in doubt, the results could have gone either way. Here are three lessons leaders can learn from these two seemingly unrelated cases:
Seventeen days can make a tremendous difference. The date was May 25, 2011. The Dallas Mavericks became the National Basketball Association’s Western Conference Champions for only the second time in its thirty-one year history. The 17,000-plus fans were anxious for a celebration. The team held up the trophy, smiled, posed for the obligatory photo-op, and then exited the arena – leaving ESPN reporter Doris Burke looking for someone to interview.
Let the debating begin. Congressman Anthony Weiner’s revelation that he exercised terrible judgment by Tweeting an inappropriate photo to a woman he had met on line raises scores of questions for leaders. It is certain to dominate the news cycle until one of three things happens:
Right now – as you are reading this sentence – 70 percent of your staff are alienating your customers, keeping you from achieving your goals, or costing your company money that could be used for more productive uses. Scary, huh?
Values – every company hangs them on the wall and distributes them on wallet cards. It is the same for individuals. Ask ten of your friends to list their values, and at least eighty percent will use words like respect, integrity, and honesty. So how important are your values? Will you sacrifice them for the results and outcomes you desire? Are they so important that you would lay down your life – figuratively or literally – to protect them?