The first two parts of this blog series dealt with what went wrong when the National Speakers Association announced a name change and re-branding effort at its annual convention on July 2. Today we look at what went right.
Napoleon said, “A leader is a dealer in hope.” When it comes to change, that responsibility extends to creating the context of why and how the current reality should and could be different.
The walls of The Loomis Agency are adorned with pictures of dogs. There are so many photos and references to our beloved canine companions that conspiracy theorists might wonder if the company is secretly reviving the Egyptian practice of animal worship. Michael Tuggle, Chief Imagination Officer for the Agency, told [...]
The 1971 Oscar in the Short Film, Cartoon category went to a piece titled “Is It Always Right To Be Right.” It was directed by Lee Mishkin, narrated by Orson Welles, and written by Warren Schmidt. The opening words of the film are: There once was a land where people were always right. They knew they were right and they were proud of it. It was a land where people stated with confidence, "I am right and you are wrong." These were words of conviction, courage, strength, and moral certainty. In this fictional land, any attempt at cooperation and understanding were viewed as cowardice and weakness. Everyone was so convinced of their rightness that no one dared to utter words such as, “You may be right” or “I may be wrong.”
This would have been the message if the speaker at your last business meeting presented in nursery rhymes: Jack be nimble. Jack be quick. Jack jump over The candle stick. You feel better, right? You now know what is expected of you and the definition of success. And, you have no real context for why it is important or idea about how to move forward.
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.
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.
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.
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 two responsibilities if you can’t or won’t develop others to excel in their work. You [...]
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: