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.
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.
Why do certain companies, brands, and even people stand out in a world where everyone is basically saying and doing the same things? For the most part, we all get it wrong. We focus on the tools – like marketing campaigns, social media, and advertising – and ignore the goal – to make customers want to do business with us. Here are three things you can do to define and deliver an experience that sets you apart:
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?
The standoff between Republican elected officials and their Democratic colleagues over the roll and scope of collective bargaining with public sector unions has escalated to the point where rhetoric has overtaken reason. So let’s look at what this means and why public sector unions could become extinct.
I would like to recommend an amazing new book: Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible Seven Radical Principles That Will Transform Your Business by Daniel Burrus. The premise of this book is simple: In a world that is transforming at unprecedented and accelerating rates, it takes something more that just being observant to succeed. It takes flash foresight: the ability to trigger a burst of accurate insight about the future and use it to produce a new and radically different way of doing things.
Training & Development Magazine ran a great article in its December 2010 issue titled "2010: Six Trends That Will Change Workplace Learning Forever." The first trend identified was the problem with leadership. Specifically, the article said that “consumers had a low perception of leaders and very little trust in corporate America.” The article makes an excellent case for teaching leaders how to act with integrity ... and then it bailed out.
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.
Someone out there is waiting to take your customers, your best employees, and ultimately, your business. Your competitors are not just the usual suspects you know. They can come from anywhere – from a dorm room to a foreign country.
Consciously changing – even tweaking – a culture is hard work.. There is no twelve-step program. There are choices you can make that, over time, will help you repair a damaged culture or sustain and grow a positive one.
We have all seen and/or participated in an experience similar to my purchase of an Arabian horse. More important, we have witnessed the result of a well-intentioned idea gone bad in the communities and organizations we serve. Stupid – once in play – can take on a life of its own.
We get the leaders we deserve. We will get better leaders when we select those who can both dream and do.
Why you? Why now? What makes you relevant? Why should I pay attention to you rather than hit the “Next” button? The answers most of us give are wrong.