Entries by gmader

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 […]

In memory of T. Boone Pickens

I am dedicating this week’s blog to a great man, entrepreneur and business icon who passed away on September 11, 2019 at the age of 91, T. Boone Pickens I have met quite a few highly successful and wealthy entrepreneurs and business leaders over the years. Some of them inspired me, some did not. T. Boone Pickens inspired me. He accumulated and lost a great deal of wealth in his life. He was a bold entrepreneur who stayed true to his vision and business values his entire long life. He took bold risks, even in the face of adversity, he reinvented himself a few times in his life, and he was always open to new […]

Do you spend more time explaining or committing?

I was attending a sales planning session of a global service company in growth mode.  Their Head of Sales kicked off the meeting by asking the sales leaders to think big; outside the box, and not let past and current issues and barriers get in the way. Each regional sales leader then had approximately 90 minutes to present their plan and receive questions, comments, and feedback on their thinking. However, instead of first making bold declarations of what they are planning to do and then outlining the barriers and risks and how they were planning to overcome them, the leaders took a very different approach. They outlined their conservative growth plans, and then they spent […]

Do you just complain or actually do something about it?

I am constantly blown away by my observation that people in organizations – at all levels – prefer to complain and whine about the things they are not happy about rather than doing something about it. In fact, when things don’t work effectively, people tend to spend more time covering their behind – i.e., making sure everyone in the universe knows it is not their fault, instead of trying to figure out how to fix the problem. That is why people rarely step up to outright declare, “You can count on me – I will fix this!” Instead, they prefer to copy the entire universe on their self-protection emails…  or as these are referred to […]

Are you tolerating the blame game?

I was speaking with a senior executive in a global company who has a successful division. He described his team in the following way: “I have great, smart and committed people, but we don’t work as a powerful team. Trust is not high, we don’t address big issues well and I am especially frustrated by the fact that there is too much blame.” I’ve known this executive for many years. He is a great leader, he has always had successful teams and he got to where he is by always achieving strong results. This time was no different. His business results were very strong, but he wanted to make them even stronger by getting rid […]

Don’t underestimate the power of intention

I know too many people who don’t have the reality they want personally and/or professionally and they constantly complain about it, blame others or the circumstances for it and overall give excuses for it. In fact, when I asked one of them the question “How are you doing?” their response was: “Same shit different day!” I have heard different variations on that theme from others… Contrast that with a real-life story (no names) with two chapters: Chapter One: A sales team that was struggling with making their sales targeted numbers for a long time wanted a break. They had enough of wallowing in their sorrows. They wanted a breakthrough; they wanted to start winning and […]

Agreeing to disagree is always a cop-out

Too often I see the following scenario: A team meets to discuss issues critical to the organization’s success. The conversation goes on and on without resolution, as different people have divergent opinions about the best course of action. When the leader tries to bring it to a conclusion, they are no closer to alignment. They leave the meeting “agreeing to disagree.” Such meetings are worse than a waste of time, in fact, they can actually damage the organization, which is then no closer to making the decisions and assuming responsibility for them. People stay within their comfort zones at the expense of moving the organization forward in new and dynamic ways. Take as an example a successful […]

Are you dealing with successes and setbacks effectively?

Whenever you take on a major improvement, breakthrough or transformation in your team or company, it is inevitable that along the way you will have successes and setbacks.  The bigger you play, the bigger your successes and/or setbacks will be. The only way to minimize the setbacks is to play smaller. The only way to increase the successes is to play bigger.  You will have to determine what is more important for you. When it comes to successes and/or setbacks mindset is everything. I was in a meeting with a team that had taken on a big change initiative. We were meeting after two months to review progress and firm up the plan forward. At […]