How often have you heard leaders announce a bold new initiative, only to watch it die a slow, painful death?
How often have you done this yourself in your organization or team?
Most strategies fail, not because they are poor strategies (although that happens – click here), but because they are poorly executed.
HBS Professor Identifies the Central Issue of Leadership – One Word to Help You Address the Challenge
John Kotter is a legend in the world of leadership and change. A Harvard Business School Professor Emeritus, author of numerous business articles, and consultant to Global 5000 organizations, Kotter is, “internationally known and widely regarded as the foremost speaker on the topics of Leadership and Change.” (Harvard Business School)
For much of his career, Tiger Woods has used a Scott Cameron putter. A few weeks ago, that changed. Woods’ switched to a TaylorMade Ardmore 3 mallet and his choice caught the attention of golf commentators and rabid fans. To be fair, anything Woods does appears to rise to news in the golf world, so his picking up a new club would definitely be of interest to enthusiasts.
Odds are that on any given day, you find yourself in multiple negotiations with friends, family members, co-workers, direct reports, and even your boss. For many of us, negotiating happens so often, we fail to even notice it, think about it, or prepare for it. We just do it. And, frankly we often do it poorly.
Contemplate the energy, vitality, and optimism of people who are deeply engaged, particularly in this era when our technology leaves us breathless. We are at the edge of the greatest of times.
California Gubernatorial Candidate Gavin Newsom has this insight: “The reality is, people will build cool things for the sake of building cool things. They will expend countless hours and untold energy for the sake of creating something useful or even just fun. There’s an excitement out there, a hunger to try new things, to explore the limits of what all these new technologies can do.”
When asked, “What advice would you give to a new chief executive?” the remarkable Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President for Retail Sales at Apple and former CEO of Burberry, has a one word answer: “Listen.” And what is the greatest mistake a leader can make? “Not listening.”
When interviewing for her role at Apple, Ahrendts told CEO Tim Cook, “I just want to be really honest with you, I’m not a techie.” After a statement like that, why would Cook hire her? Because she lacked in technical knowledge she more than made up for in experience, a desire to learn, and the ability to empathize with team members and customers.
In 2017, The New York Times reported that, “…43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely….That represents a four percentage point increase since 2012, a shift that meets the demands of many job seekers.”
If you are part of the growing wave of people working from home, or envision yourself doing so in the not-so-distant future, might I suggest you hire a dog as a coworker?
Are you making the right communication choices?
Use this graphic to remind yourself of the importance of making the right communication choices as a leader. You can read the underlying article on the topic here. A pdf version of the following graphic is available and ready to print for free on the tools page. Simply click ‘Tools’ on the menu bar and scroll down to the heading ‘Communication’ to find the file.
If you plan to drive from New York to California, you don’t just fill your car up once with gas and expect to make it all the way there. You start out making good progress, but eventually you’re going to need to fill up again. In the same way, you need to fill your workers’ tanks by holding them accountable and reigniting their enthusiasm as they see how far they’ve come.