You may not remember Dick the Butcher. He was a rather forgettable character in William Shakespeare’s play, Henry VI, Part II. The chances are good, however, that you remember Dick’s famous line: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Henry VI addresses England’s loss of its territories to the French and, most important, the personal jealousies that tor the political system apart. Dick, a follower of the anarchist character Jack Cade, believes that lawyers played an active role in keeping the common people down. So what would Shakespeare’s character say today if he were to write about the poor performance and caustic environment that plagues many organizations and keeps workers from being productive?
There is a moment of truth in every organizational change that determines if the effort has a chance of succeeding or is destined to fail. It is the point where good intention is transformed into focused action. It when everyone looks at each other and says, “Oh, S**T! They’re Serious!”
There are only a handful of things at which you must be excellent to be successful in business. It doesn’t matter what type of business you are in, your model is not that complicated. But, it is hard. Really hard in fact.
It is time to stop thinking about new management initiatives and start embracing leadership principles. Programs and initiatives come and go. Principles never end. There is only one leadership principle you will ever need if your goal is a culture where everyone is committed to consistent results, strong working relationships, and volunteered accountability.
Complete this sentence: Performance Reviews would be great if …. I asked participants in a series of workshops that question last week, and their answers were surprising and inspiring. There were the usual responses thrown in for comedic effect such as performance reviews would be if I always received top reviews and the maximum pay raise. But, most of the responses suggest that performance reviews could be valuable tools to provide feedback, encourage improvement, and enable results.
What if the unemployment rate is the wrong measure? The U.S. economy added 243,000 jobs in January 2012, and the unemployment rate dropped from 8.5 percent to 8.3 percent. That’s huge, and everyone should be excited regardless of their political affiliation. This is the type of employment gain that solidifies the economic recovery. But, what if the right number turns out to be the wrong measure?
So what have we learned after nine months of almost continuous campaigning; over twenty debates; and three different contests (with a fourth coming soon)? If you are a leader, the on-going battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich offers two important lessons about selling yourself and your ideas.
We’ve been doing annual business and workplace predictions for our clients since 2005. This is the second year we have posted them here for wider distribution. We are different from others who publicize their predictions in one very important way – we let you know how accurate we were the previous year.
So here’s a scary thought: What if the turbulence that we’ve seen in the past three years is the new normal? This is an exciting time to be in the business of building a team, a department, and an entire organization. It is not for the faint of heart, however. The legendary brands of the future are being created today by leaders and organizations who relish the opportunity to compete and master life in the new abnormal.
Two months and counting. Truthfully, did you believe that the Occupy movement would have lasted this long? Protests happen all the time in this country. Travel to Washington, DC on virtually any day and you will see some group making their presence felt and beliefs known. The freedom to assemble and communicate your opinion is a sacred right in our country that was founded on a protest movement. And yet, we haven’t seen a movement like since … last year if you understand that the Occupy movement – while different in its goals – was born out of a frustration that shares striking similarities to the Tea Party. So what can leaders learn from a movement that has captured the news and proven to be more than just a group of people gathering to share their dissatisfaction? Here are four lessons:
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.
What separates the marketplace heroes in every industry from the has-beens and wanna-bes? It can’t be just products, services, or price. Your competitors don’t hire all geniuses and leave you with the dunces. Their computer systems, compensation, and operational processes are not dramatically better than yours. When they discuss strategy, the words on their flip charts are not significantly more insightful than yours. The difference is an intangible. It is a culture where every person at every level is focused on and committed to delivering results that are critical for success.
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.
The numbers are in, and people lack confidence. Not all people, but enough of them to slow consumer spending and business investment. Lack of confidence changes behavior. Confident consumers spend more money because they believe the future will be positive. Confident sales people make more sales because they trust their ability and the value of their product. Confident companies invest in innovation, talent development, and new equipment because they believe that they will be rewarded for their investment.
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.