You’ll Know About it When I Think You Need to Know About It

But how will you know?

No one is that smart.  No one is smart enough to ask all the questions, and no leader is smart enough to know when to give the information you might need to run your business effectively.   I’m on a slightly tangential rant with this post today.

The blog is old slow. I am creaky and cranky. Let’s shake off some rust, shall we?

My god, this blog site is old and slow and make me cringe as I wait for it to get limbered up to post something for the first time in a while.

I read this article from Chris Dessi on Inc. this morning entitled  “7 Things You Say That Make You Sound Old at Work”  and it included a list of things that might help you relate better with the young people in your organization if you didn’t say them.

Here’s is the list from Dessi.  You can go read the full article for the back story on each one, most of which make sense.

1. Please put your phone away.

2. No, you can’t work from home.

3. You’ve got mail!

4. Don’t forget the four P‘s!

5. There’s nothing like an in-person meeting.

6. You’ll get your information on a need-to-know basis.

7. She’s a social media guru.

This list got me thinking about things I had said when I was younger, and how I have actually grown past some of those naive statements.  You’ll recognize them.  They sound like this:

  1. Cell Phones?  That thing is gigantic. Why would you ever want to carry something like that around on your belt?  People could get in touch with any time.  I’d never do that!  (MVD circa 1996)
  1.  This one gets credited anonymously to one of my former supervisors circa 2003, and covers working at home and the need for face to face meetings.

Her: “I don’t care if you have worked from home successfully from home for the past five years.  “We”  (read I, your new boss) believe your customers deserve personal access to you.

Me   only 6% of the clients I serve in my region work at that building.

Her:  “We”  (read I, your new boss) still believe your customers deserve personal access to you.  Oh and by the way, you are going to have to cut back on travel also.

Me:  You mean cut back on personal visits to the other 94% of my customer base?  Don’t they deserve to me in person like the customers in Indianapolis?

Her:  Michael, stop being difficult.

  1. Again with the old boss,

Her: “You’ll get the information you need to know when you need to know it.”

Me  “How will I know if I need to know it if you won’t tell me about it?”

Her: “I’ll know it when the time comes.”

Me:  “but how does that work, like the supreme court decision on porn?”

Her:  “Michael, stop being difficult.”

And so it goes…

Leadership at the top of the heap

Behind every (good or bad) organization, there is some person (of varying quality) at the top

I spoke with someone last week  and  I quickly realized I had strayed away from the mainstream in my thinking early in the discussion.

Me: “It’s human nature to look to the top of any organization for leadership.  In our hearts, we all believe there is one smart, strong powerful person who will lead us to the promised land.”

Them: “Ummm.” <furrowed brow>

Me: “No, it’s true. Look at any organization.  Religions – Supreme being in the sky or somewhere, and living avatars on Earth.  Governments – President, Prime Minister, head dictator in charge.  Companies – CEO, Board of Directors, Founders. It’s human nature!”

Them: “Our company makes a lot of decisions by committee, and has a Board that oversees the CEO. It’s not just one person who runs things in a corporation.”

Me: “ Ummm”  (Pause)

Me: “We still confer power and vest our hopes to a small group, and want to believe that they will take us to the promised land.”

Is a CEO the best we can do?

After that, we strayed back on the proper conversational path dealt with the relative efficacy of various personality profiling instruments.

That discussion still sticks in the back of my mind though.

On the Internet, we love social now, and we dig crowd-sourcing.  There is a lot more “we” than “me” in that dynamic.

In regular organizations, we still prefer the strong leader at the head of the organization to any kind of collective leadership model, if such a thing even exists.  Lots of arguments for why, most of which you already know.

Here’s one alternative model, including a list of some of the benefits.

no ceo model

All this leaves me with many questions and few answers.

Would such a model work in your organization?

Would it be possible to tap into technology like Kickstarter or collaborative platforms to create a new kind of crowd sourced organizational leadership model?

Will the current levels of worker driven movements change the traditional CEO model?

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you.

David Novak – show us your YUM award!

Recognition, Leadership and Listening

Leadership is a privilege.

People leave your company because they don’t feel appreciated or they don’t like their boss.

david novak

Leadership tips to put to work right now.

Focus on mindset. Self awareness is key.  Be aware of the brand of you and how people see you.

  • Assess the upside and the downside of your strengths.
  • Ask people how they see you. It’s the only way to know.
  • Get a coach. Get a mentor.
  • Be a know how junkie.
  • Celebrate other people’s ideas more than your own.
  • Be a coach.
  • Listen to people.

This guy was the inventor of Crystal Pepsi, which flopped because he didn’t listen to people who tried to tell him it didn’t taste enough like Pepsi.  He tells the story as a cautionary tale of his own failure to listen to good advice as he rushed to meet his goal.  It’s just as well, the stuff was gross.




Where Employee Engagement Hype Meets Reality

An interesting webinar in case you are interested. It’s scheduled for next Tuesday.

Creating the Strongest Workforce In Your Industry (Plus A Free eBook)

In a recent survey of over 3,000 US Companies, employee communications company Projections Inc. found that the barriers to improving employee engagement are fairly universal. Top among those obstacles is a lack of communication, leading toward a lack of understanding about the Company’s objectives. “Change” was also listed among the top challenges, right ahead of “Trust.”

Coupled with how geographically diverse workforces can be these days, running multiple shifts, and of course, budget constraints, creating a culture of engagement can seem almost an insurmountable challenge. “Leaders are no longer defined by title or responsibility,” said Brad Parcells, of A Better Leader, “in fact many companies now view any employee with influence as a leader, fully capable of inspiring higher morale, greater productivity, and improved engagement.”

A Better Leader is an innovative new way to train leaders that overcomes these challenges almost effortlessly. Scrambling for material to teach is a thing of the past, as HR and Training managers now have the ability to choose and schedule dozens of topics in just minutes from their administrative dashboard. And communicating about what your learners are getting next is a breeze with the monthly admin email that includes summaries, talking points, and more.

Tracking who’s completed what is easy with included reporting, and learners will stay plugged in, as each session is just 15 minutes long, and includes additional resources, such as expert interviews, downloadable infographics, and subject quizzes.

Get all the details about A Better Leader on June 17th, as they host How Consistent Training Improves Employee Engagement, an entertaining & informative webinar that will help you discover how A Better Leader will help your company create greater engagement, improve morale, and produce more productive employees!

During This Free Webinar, You’ll hear
The key elements of creating certainty and direction for your employees in a climate of change
Where employee engagement hype differs from reality
What’s next for the future of Leadership Development (and how LESS is MORE!)

To hear how your company can save time, overcome geographic barriers, even set aside budget constraints this webinar will show you how to train leaders and create true employee engagement.

And, just for registering, you’ll get a free ebook, “Heroes of Employee Engagement,” a powerful case study that demonstrates how A Better Leader can truly make a difference.

Register Here.

Who’s the next perfect leader for Mozilla?

Leadership is many things, not just one

Given our tendency to search for that one perfect person to place at the top of an organization, I started thinking about who would be the next perfect leader for Mozilla, since the last guy lasted all of two weeks.  Take a look at the gallery of potential candidates, and tell me who you would pick and why.   All the candidates are proven leaders, and for purposes of the exercise, we’ll assume they are all equally qualified on the technical aspects of the job.

Who’s the best candidate?

This is a completely hypothetical exercise, but strangely fascinating somehow (to me, anyway).