Blog: Leading & Living Courageously

Success through Rigor, Clarity, and Responsibility

Often when managers and employees feel frustrated about other’s lack of accountability, and they describe the reality as: “They promised to do X and didn’t deliver!” there is more to the story than that. I have seen many times, in situations of conflict or dispute, person A insisting that person B promised to do or deliver something and simply did not do so, while person B denies ever having made the promise in the first place. Both parties feel frustrated and resentful. Each one believes their version of the story represents the facts and truth. However, in many cases, when both parties step back, look a bit deeper, and try to view the situation more […]

Are you driving outcomes or activities?

So often, when teams define their strategy, they tend to target activities instead of outcomes. For example, they promise: ‘Installing a new order shipping tracking system’ instead of ‘80% of our orders are shipped on time’; ‘Create a process that gives visibility to post-sales issues’ versus ‘all post-sales issues are resolved within 24 hours’; and ‘All sales employees have gone through our sales training program’ instead of ‘we have raised the average productivity of the sales team from 2 million per person to 3 million.’ While activities are essential for executing and delivering the results, they should not be the starting point of any strategy. The job of leaders is to make strategic choices about […]

Can you tolerate brutal honesty?

There are two types of leaders – those who can only tolerate brutal honesty and those who cannot tolerate brutal honesty at all. Leaders who are relentless about driving a culture of open, honest, and courageous communication around them are typically extremely committed to high performance. They have zero interest in, or tolerance for, internal drama or politics. They operate at a high level of personal integrity, authenticity, and ownership. And, they expect and demand the same from people around them. They make it difficult – if not impossible – for people to get away with doing the things that undermine and weaken the organization, such as pointing fingers, adopting a victim mentality, indulging in […]

Are you a micromanager?

Employee performance is directly linked to their sense of ownership, commitment, and accountability for the success of their organization. Their passion, ownership, commitment, and accountability is reduced when they feel distrusted, disrespected, and/or under-valued by their managers and/or by the senior leadership of their company. By micromanaging their people, managers generate an environment of compliance and fear, which causes employees to play it safe and “cover their behinds” instead of stepping up and going beyond the call of duty to drive progress, overcome obstacles and pursue opportunities. Most managers who micromanage their employees suppress their spirit and performance. That in itself is a bad thing. But, it is also the wrong focus. Instead of trying […]

Can you commit to change and stay the course?

When it comes to generating change, there are two types of teams… or more accurately, two types of leaders: those who stay the course and those who don’t! At a simple level, you could say that any change initiative goes through three key steps. You could call them different things, but in essence, they are: Creation, Execution, and Breakthrough. The first step – Creation – is the easiest and most fun. It’s about imagining a better future state, creating new possibilities, and committing to them. It is about setting the course. If you do it right, your team will emerge from this step feeling highly optimistic, energized, hopeful, and eager to achieve a better future […]

Are you afraid to say “I don’t know” and “I need help”?

I was working with a large global technology company that was struggling with making its quarterly sales and revenue numbers. For several quarters in a row, they missed their forecasted and committed numbers. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who’s eyes you are looking from), the head of sales was a friend of the CEO, so he didn’t fire him. Instead, every quarter, the CEO would confront and challenge the head of sales who always insisted that he knew wasn’t working and what he needed to do. The head of sales fired a few managers, and he reorganized his sales team a few times, but none of it made any difference. He continued to miss his […]