A Failure to Communicate

What is the biggest problem with leadership? What is the solution?

I’ve been working through some new ideas on leadership. Everywhere you turn you hear the experts talking about how, “We lack the leadership needed to carry us into the future.”

That’s a problem.

After considering it for the last six months or so, I think I have some of the answers… things that I don’t see anyone else talking about.

Before sharing my ideas, I’ll put it out there and let our readers share their opinion. What do you think…

What is the biggest problem with leadership? What is the solution?

I’ll share my ideas next week!

Doyle Slayton

Sales & Leadership Strategist – SalesBlogcast.com Professional Speaker | Author | Social Media | Web 2.0 | TopLinked.com

A failure to communicate.

In small organizations, you can’t help but develop shared context, goals and objectives. As an organization grows, it becomes a bigger and bigger game of “telephone” where the message gets distorted and people are forced to develop their own (often conflicting) agendas. Leaders need to dig down into all levels of the organization and learn to listen, understand how their message is being perceived and adjust accordingly. If the message is clear and you have good people, the next step is to get out of their way, clear any obstacles for them and trust them to execute.

Top signs that you work for a Dysfunctional Organization

  • You bring in Jim Varney (The ‘Hey Vern!’ guy) as a quality consultant
  • The first words out of your boss’s mouth are : “Back when I was in the mob. . .”
  • Your manager arranges for a series of project management classes given by a talking horse
  • All of your projects exactly fit the needs of the marketplace — as it existed in 1970.
  • Nobody in the group wants to volunteer to help build low-cost housing for the poor, but 8 out of the 10 members DO want to build a armed compound eight miles from town.
  • For a group outing, members want to take rifles and go to the top of a nearby tall building….
  • You move your team meetings to the local psychiatric hospital because six out of the nine members have rooms there anyhow.
  • Your new co-worker turns to you and says, “Hi. I am the almighty Lucifer. I’ve come to claim your immortal soul. What’s your name?”
  • Pants are optional on Tuesdays Read the rest of this entry »

Q: Luck is for Losers, Work is for Winners. What say you?

Some will say hard work is what gets you your success. Some will say luck is essential as well as hard work. What say you?

Angeline Lim

Tactical, Multilingual, Creative, Imaginative, Haiku-lover.

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Thought of the Day

“One who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. One who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”

– Chinese Proverb

Change is Hard

Change is hard.

Millions of years of evolution have taught us that opening that strange door is likely to put us face to face with a pack of hungry predators while only a short span of rational thought tells us that it’s far more likely to reveal the postman with a delivery from the Fruit of the Month club. It’s only our insatiable curiosity, ambition and often blind stupidity that keeps us opening doors with no idea of what lies on the other side. It’s no wonder that when you get a group of us together, we tend to beat that behavior out of those foolhardy lunatics that put the rest of us at risk.

Remember this the next time that you’re confronted with an innovative idea. If it weren’t for those foolhardy lunatics, we never would have come down out of the trees.

The aim of Marketing?

Your opinion: The aim of Marketing? (Peter Drucker)

“The aim of marketing is to knoww and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself” – Peter Drucker

Did we lose (some) touch with this initial insight by mr. Drucker, looking at nowadays marketing?

Gianluigi Cuccureddu

Consultant ? Marketing Strategist ? Venture Advisor

In short, “yes”. I think that we’ve generally lost touch with those principles. It’s not just marketing products and services. It’s permeated our entire culture. Low-quality “shotgunning” has been slowly replacing targetted, quality interactions. Email customer support, recuriting by keywords, telemarketers, facebook friendships, offshoring and outsourcing, 500 channels and nothing to watch, disposable “everything”, etc. It’s hard to argue with the approach when you can spend next to nothing to saturate thousands with your message and get a handful of positive hits in a matter of minutes. Even if you take into account the number of people that you piss off in the process, the sheer numbers tend to make the behavior worthwhile. Why take the time to do it right when you can be “good enough?

I think that we’re coming to a point where people are going to be willing to pay more to get back that personal touch and connection. They’re starting to recognize that they’re being treated like mindless cattle. Taking the time to understand the customer needs isn’t the “given” that it used to be and Quality has been replaced by “I can live with that”. But I beleive that the pendulum is swinging back and a return to these principles is going to become the differentiator that raise organizations above their competition. (at least I hope so. The alternative is that we continue down the path of information/crap overload and our needs get lost in the noise)

Age Discrimination

So I am 50 plus how do I get employers to take me seriously?

Jacqueline Ann Mc Kenzie

Independent Human Resources Professional

“One thing that I would suggest is taking a step back and making sure that it’s a real issue and not your own insecurity. If it’s a real issue, again, check to see if there’s anything that you’re doing to make the situation worse. I started contract programming when I was 13. I was in a management position before I was 20 and I’ve always been very conscious of the exact opposite problem that you have. Now that I’m pushing <mumble mumble> I should be feeling the young bucks nipping at my heels, but instead, I still feel like the 17 year-old having to prove myself. The odd part of this is that this is somehow coming through in some subconcious behavior and I generally find myself connecting more with the younger employees than with the people my own age. On the flip side, I had a person younger than I was that was continually complaining that he was being discriminated against because of his “advanced” age. We sat down together and started documenting the issues and then had some open conversations with the team. It turns out that the “young people” felt that he was discriminating against them because of their lack of experience and they responded by treating him as the “old dude”. Once we all got on the same page, it was easy to see where the disconnects were coming from and how some subtle little turns of phrase, ways of responding and just ways of working were contributing to building walls between them. Both sides had a part to play in the problem and it became a really nasty feedback loop. In this case, simply breaking the cycle pretty much corrected the problem. I’m not suggesting that you run out and hop on the latest trends or try to act younger than you are. Just be yourself and look past age. If you expect to not be taken seriously, there’s a very real risk that you’ll create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Take the time to document what you’re seeing and how you’re responding. Then try to review it objectively when you aren’t “in the moment”. If, after taking that into account, there is still a problem, involve HR and see if you can get some dialog opened to address the issues. Good luck!”

Advice for a new Startup

Not really a question, but, I’m in desperate search of entrepreneurial advice and knowledge for start-up venture

19 y/o seeking advice and guidance, or just general knowledge on a website start-up venture.
Concept, design, brand, etc. all thought out and in writing, just looking for guidance and/or someone with experience in the field to evaluate idea. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks

Gregg McDonough

Student, Hopeful Entrepreneur

This may sound pretty basic, but I’d strongly recommend that you go through the exercise of building your business plan. Even if you have funding, have all of your resources on-board, etc., building your business plan is going to help you think through some of the challenges that you’re going to face and prepare you to answer the questions that potential investors, customers and partners are going to ask. If you take that and your concept, design and brand out to the street, you’ll get the feedback and insight that you’re probably looking for. Again, even if you have your funding, going through the exercise will help you to identify the kind of roadblocks that you’re likely to encounter. If you don’t have any experience with building business plans, pick up a book (there are dozens of them out there) or shell out for a copy of Business Plan Pro. (BPP is a great package and has tons of sample plans) I’d also recommend hooking up with your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or SCORE office (you can find a listing of both at www.sba.gov). While they don’t tend to have a lot of in-depth expertise in web startups, they do have the foundation info for building a sustainable business model. They also run cheap (often free) courses and seminars that will be valuable to any startup. They may also be able to hook you up with local angels or potential partners. If this all seems like too much and you’re really looking to just be the “idea guy”, go and talk to your local bank manager. They’ll know who in your area might be interested in working with you. You could do this online, but eventually you’re going to need to build those personal relationships and it’s often better to do it close to home. Good Luck!”

Coaching for Sociability

Which exercise you suggest for improve sociability?

If you would improve sociability, especially for people that are tendencially introverted, what you suggest? which exercise can help? what else?

Daniele Carnicella [LION]

Instal Base Administration Manager at Philips

What a great question. I’m a social introvert (my wife would say “sociophobic”), but a business extrovert. I know others that are the life of the party, but can’t form a coherent sentence in a meeting. It’s a very personal thing and everyone needs to work through it in their own way. The only general advice I would offer is 1) Find out if they *want* to improve their sociability and 2) If so, help them with opportunities to *gently* expand their comfort zone.

If the problem is being in a large group of people, then let them know that you’ll stick with them and play “anchor”. If the issue is engaging in conversation, reel them in and engage them. If it’s public speaking, put them in charge of an agenda or assign them a 2-3 minute status update every week. Start with small doses and help them work through whatever they feel is a problem. If they don’t see it as a problem, then don’t mess with it. Not everybody wants to be an extrovert and you may do more harm than good.

Dale Carnegie also offers a number of courses and programs that may be valuable. But they’ll only have value if the person actually wants to change.

Links:

Hunches and Hiring

When considering a potential new hire candidate, is it a good idea or a bad idea to “go with your gut”?

Doyle Slayton

Sales & Leadership Strategist – SalesBlogcast.com Professional Speaker | Author | Social Media | Web 2.0 | TopLinked.com

Collect as much objective information as possible and factor your impressions into the evaluation. If possible, have others that will work with the candidate provide their impressions. Hiring decisions need to be as objective as possible, but there is a subjective element to how someone will work with the team and impact any existing team dynamic. It’s a very difficult balancing act and requires a significant amount of maturity and self-awareness to ensure that a personal bias doesn’t stop you from hiring the best candidate for the job. In some cases, your personal biases may actually land you a place as defendant in a discrimination suit. It’s much easier for a candidate to prove that your gut feeling was discrimination than it is for you to prove that it wasn’t. So you’d better be prepared to back up “your gut” with objective justification, A better approach would be to listen to your gut and try to figure out where the apprehension is coming from. It may lead you to ask additional questions in the interview or identify issues in the resume or references that you may have picked up subconciously. Again, be careful not to treat candidates unfairly. If your gut reaction isn’t justified with objective data, let it go. If it’s extreme, find out if there’s any provision in your hiring policies for a “trial period”. Good luck.