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?
Donald Trump commented that President Obama needs to spend less time on the basketball court and more time fixing the economy. All the protests you would expect followed along with calls from all sides that we need to change the culture of racism perpetuated through the use of stereotypes and assumptions. It turns out that there are a multitude of culture problems.
The core of every noncommissioned officer’s commitment is articulated in the NCO Creed. It defines how each member of the NCO Corps views his or her responsibility as a leader. And, there is no better model for your success.
There are a lot of factors that could contribute to your lack of results – time, talent, resources – but for most of us the difference between excellence and mediocrity comes down to accountability. Accountability requires courage: Courage to tell and value the truth. Courage to remain keenly focused on results that matter, and courage to be relentless and unwavering as we look at contribution and behavior. The failure to stem a crisis of accountability places us on the path to mediocrity and worse – irrelevance.
I published a piece titled “Stupid Has Its Own Momentum” in November 2010. Since then, examples of stupid having its own momentum. have continued ... and continued ... and continued. Stupid maintains its own momentum because there are incentives to do so. Here are three powerful rewards to stay stupid:
The debate of divergent ideas consumes the airwaves. It streams across the Internet in a multitude of bits and bytes; and it populates the pages of the print media. Most important, it occupies the time, energy, and resources of our leaders. So how is the debate working so far? Are you seeing results? The absence of respect – for the process, the opposition, and the people being governed – is a prime culprit in our failure to act and deliver results.
Southwest Airlines faced a dilemma early in its operation—a cash shortage was forcing it to sell one of its four airplanes. The implications are obvious—selling the airplane generates cash for operations and cuts capacity to generate future revenue. Government leaders are facing their version of this challenge in budget meetings across the country. Should we raise taxes and fees in a difficult economy, or do we cut services at a time when they may be needed most?
Public employee unions could significantly increase their chances for voter support by taking the lead – or at least working together with their opponents – on the following actions: 1. Take strikes, work stoppages, and slowdowns off the table. The public has a right to expect that its public agencies continue to function even if there is a disagreement over terms of the contract. In return for this, public employee unions should receive the right for expedited arbitration over violations of the contract.
Fourteen senators leave the state. 60,000 plus show up to demonstrate. And, the next thing you know there’s a national debate on the role of public employee unions in the state budget crisis occurring throughout the country. Those who support the unions see this as a not-so-veiled attempt to alter the essence of collective bargaining and limit the people’s right to protest. Union members see it as a fundamental challenge to their right to organize, and in some cases, a violation of their contract. The union leadership no doubt sees it as payback for supporting Democratic and pro-labor candidates. Those who support the various initiatives view this as a much needed step to reign in spending that is out of control. They view unions as – at worst - the enemy that have secured salary and benefits that are unavailable to them as private sector employees. “Why should government employees experience no pain when they are out of work,” they ask. There are probably even Republicans who view this as the perfect opportunity to weaken a political opponent. The problem with perceptions is that it only takes one act to prove you are right. As the saying goes, “All Indians walk in single file. I know that to be true because the one I saw was doing it that way.”
Every crisis presents us with an opportunity to lead or shirk from service. It either paralyzes us from moving forward, or it pushes us to take action. Here are five actions you can take to lead your organization or team through tough times:
The edge is a deep passion for competing, contributing, and yes, winning. It’s being dissatisfied with the status quo and never resting on your laurels. It is caring so much that you work your tail off to deliver better results tomorrow than you did today. Passion for delivering results drives learning and embracing change as a way of life. It’s an attitude not a skill.
The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates back more than 4,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. Even then people were failing to turn intention into action. Very few of the good intentions professed as a New Year’s Resolution will ever come to fruition. The goals are noble, but the choices are wrong. For 2011, consider forgetting your typical resolutions and make this the year of better choices.
Being different is easy. Being distinctive in the markeplace ... now that takes work. But, according to a study by Booz Allen Hamilton, it doesn’t require you to break the bank for new research and development.