Entries by gmader

Are you failing often enough?

Strange question, you may think, and you are probably right. I don’t mean it literally. However, I am sure you would agree that people who make bolder decisions and choices; people who go for it ‘all out’ tend to have a higher risk of failing. In fact, the bigger you play in any area if you fail you will most likely fail bigger. In contrast, people who play small and safe tend to avoid failures and if they do their failure is much smaller. So, perhaps the right question is: “Are you playing big enough?” What’s big enough? There is no objective definition or metric. Each one of us has to determine that for ourselves. However, […]

Do you know when to ’empower’ and when to ‘command and control’?

In most organizations, a leader who manages in a command and control style is frowned upon and branded as an uncaring tyrant who doesn’t listen to people and doesn’t empower them. While, people’s negative reaction to a top-down command and control leadership style is understandable and most often legitimate, there are times in which a command and control approach is the most appropriate and effective. In fact, at times it is necessary. Take as an example the new CEO of a large global financial service organization. When he took the helm of his organization, he soon realized that he inherited a bigger mess than he anticipated. The financial performance of the company had been on […]

Do you have an attitude of gratitude?

My mother taught me to be polite and say “Please” and “Thank you” when interacting with others. I am sure yours did too. However, there is a much greater potential power in acknowledging, recognizing, praising and thanking people than good manners. Committed people who aspire for excellence tend to often be too self-critical and also too critical of others. We tend to focus on what isn’t working, what is wrong, broken, bad and negative more than on the good things. The critical perspective is often legitimate – meaning, people and teams could do better – and if you are level headed about criticizing yourself in an authentic way without taking it personally, it could be […]

Do you talk about your issues or not?

When it comes to communication and conversation, especially about the more sensitive, touchy and uncomfortable topics there are two types of leaders: the “Let’s talk about it…” type and the “Let’s not talk about it and it will go away…”. Let’s be frank, no one looks forward to, or enjoys discussing the tough topics such as “What is not working?”, “Who is not doing their job properly?” or “Who is accountable for the failure in results?“. People especially don’t like to talk about these topics when they know or suspect that their people are frustrated with, or blaming their leadership, performance or behavior. However, some leaders seem to be braver, more mature or more responsible […]

Are you open to your possibilities?

If you don’t believe that some future goal is actually achievable or likely to happen, would you still put your heart into it and go after it? I am sure your answer is NO! People only really wholeheartedly pursue the aspirations that they believe are achievable and doable. I was trying to convince a client that he can achieve the promotion he wanted to VP in the short time frame he wanted, but he was very skeptical about his odds for success as he could not see any apparent openings for a VP role in the foreseeable future. He kept telling me “There is no way!” This was his outlook and mindset about his chances to […]

Are you controlling or empowering?

I don’t think I have ever met an executive, leader or manager who didn’t pronounce the importance of teamwork and collaboration, then express their commitment to building that environment around them. Unfortunately, I have met quite a few executives, leaders, and managers who said it but when the moment of truth arrived, they were too closeminded, proud, self-righteous or afraid to let go of their control and truly invest in, promote and leverage the collective power of their team. These leaders when in public took every opportunity to express platitudes about “we are stronger together”, “the power of teams” and “feedback is a gift“. However, when their team members wanted to have real, authentic and […]

Never forget the power and magic of Courage

W.H. Murray, the leader of the Scottish Himalayan Expedition that pioneered the path to the top of Mt. Everest, knew something about courage. He shared his experience in a known quote, which I really love: Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That, the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and […]

Are you having courageous conversations?

I’d like to share three true stories with you… True Story One: In a very large global financial service organization there was a strategic conflict between one of the lines of business and the regions, who were selling its products. The regions felt they were different. They knew their territory and customers best, so they wanted to control the sales process. But the business unit believed their products were meant to be sold through a consistent global program, which only they could do. Needless to say, this caused a lot of conflicts, tensions, and stress among the senior leaders. It was causing even more anxiety at the middle managers level as they felt stuck between […]

If you don’t have a clear outcome and someone who owns it, you have nothing!

I was supporting a group of senior leaders in a global technology company to create breakthrough projects in a few key areas of their business in which they wanted to elevated performance. As a kickoff, I asked each of the project teams to present their ‘Starting Point Status’. Different projects were at different stages of maturity. However, they all shared a few common mistakes. One team outlined several initiatives, but it wasn’t clear what was the overarching outcome of their project.  So beyond the individual outcome of each initiative, I couldn’t tell if the initiatives they’d taken on were the right ones for this breakthrough project. Another team outlined the outcome of their project, but […]

You can’t have your cake and eat it too…

Words are only cheap when we make them cheap. It’s no wonder concepts like “alignment” “empowerment” and “accountability” are considered faded clichés in most organizations. This is because leaders have abused these terms for so long by pronouncing them left, right and center at their convenience to present themselves as modern and enlightened leaders only to repeatedly not live up to their declarations and to the promise of these powerful leadership concepts. Many senior executives say they want to build greater trust with their team, but they are unwilling to invest the time to bring their team together in order to build that trust. Many leaders say they want to empower their people, but when […]

Take One Little Step…

One little step stands between being courageous or being a coward. Literally! The difference between being courageous and being a coward is – Action. If you are committed to an outcome or direction that is beyond your comfort level and you take action toward it, you are courageous. If you don’t – you are a coward. If you are committed to an outcome of direction that is beyond your comfort level most likely you will be afraid; you will have anxiety and/or nervousness about your ability to succeed. You will have moments of doubt, second-guessing yourself and even moments in which you will regret having committed to the direction. You will definitely be tempted to […]

What kind of leader do you want to be?

The CEO of a large global service organization was a very strong and tough leader. This enabled him to drive, almost single-handedly, significant and impressive changes in the structure, performance and market position of this organization. His leaders admired the CEO for his bold leadership and the progress that he was driving. However pretty much all of them also felt intimidated by his strong personality and assertive and decisive leadership style. The CEO stated that he wanted his leaders to be engaged and co-own and co-lead the company with him. However, in reality, he had such strong views about the business – which were often the right ones – that he infrequently actually listened or […]