The new book, a sort of biography, was originally written in Arabic under the title ‘En Ma’a al-sabr fathan’ (‘Patience Leads to Victory’) but has just come out in Persian translation under a pseudo-poetical title, ‘The Drop of Blood That Became a Ruby’.
The letter was not properly addressed.
Avoid These 10 Thinking Traps
What are some of the thinking traps that we fall into as leaders? I’m not referring to “correlation versus causation” and other logical reasoning problems. There are some common ways of thinking about business leadership that cripple our effectiveness and undermine our ethics. These misconceptions should have important names that reflect the wide swath of negative impact that they cause in organizations.
Here are 10 types of flawed leadership thinking that I have seen, with my own tongue-in-cheek descriptive names for them…
The message? Ethical leaders avoid these 10 types of flawed thinking.
Which one of these is your favorite? My favorite is #10.
2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner
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Information and opinions about leadership and management development by expert Dan McCarthy
May 28, 2019, http://www.terrystarbucker.com/
“They can’t see the scoreboard? What, ARE YOU KIDDING ME????”
That was the bomb that nearly killed my leadership career, just as it was just getting started.
The year was 1991, and I was working for the Washington NFL football team, as an executive overseeing the planning for a new football stadium. I came out to Washington the year before to take this position, after being offered what I thought was a “chance of a lifetime”.
It was an offer that came from my boss at the time (and the owner of the team), who had hired me 3 years earlier to be the VP of Operations of his cable TV company in Los Angeles.
The cable company had just been sold, so the idea of not only escaping the resulting uncertainty, AND also landing safely in a dream position (pro football was my favorite sport, although the Packers were my favorite team), was just too good to pass up.
So I accepted the offer, buried my passion for the Packers, and moved cross-country from Los Angeles to suburban Washington DC.
It was quite the glamorous life for about 7 months, sitting in the owner’s box for home games and getting to meet the DC glitterati, including senators and the vice president – but there was work to be done, and it was all at the whim and direction of one person – my boss, the team owner.
He had a dream – to build a brand new, state-of-the-art stadium for his team. And, he wanted to finance it privately, without taxpayer money. For a specific sum of money, NOT to be exceeded.
And so, upon my arrival in Washington, I spent a lot of time working with the architects, vendors and contractors to figure out how to do just that.
I soon discovered that designing a football stadium to fit a tight budget is, like the game of football itself, a game of inches. A mere one inch of additional legroom for a particular row of seats could cost millions (think about all the additional concrete that has to go ALL around the bowl).
Plus, there was the matter of seat “pitch” and appropriate sight lines – again, a mere inch or two would determine how “nosebleed” and vertigo inducing that last row in the upper deck would be.
The process went relatively smoothly at first, as we defined some of the basic stadium elements. And then we came to the issue of skyboxes. My boss wanted three layers of them, to satisfy the needs of all the business and political players that wanted to wine and dine their clients, and, more importantly, to help finance the place.
That requirement put a lot of stress on the budget, because, as I noted earlier – every inch matters. And these were a LOT of inches to deal with.
Nevertheless, I pressed on without making much note of this to my boss, since he had tattooed on my brain the fact that the budget was “immutable”.
That was Mistake #1 on the road to near career killing.
I huddled with the architects and they came up with a great looking design that had awesome skyboxes of every desirable size, and, to keep everything on budget, moved the upper deck of seats forward a few feet (that saved a lot of concrete inches).
Great! We have skyboxes, and we’re on budget! Let’s tell the boss.
Mistake #2: I needed to write a great memo to present this plan, and I was always petrified of memos. My boss was a perfectionist in the art of writing these things, down to the punctuation and proper use of grammar. So, I focused more on form, and less on the actual content of the memo.
I took a lot of the architect’s descriptions and put them in as an addendum, just to make it a complete package. Because I was so intent on writing the perfect memo, I neglected to fully read those descriptions. Because if I had, I would have come across this nugget:
“Because the upper deck was moved closer to the field, some of the skyboxes will have obstructed views of the main scoreboard”
The scoreboard. As you know, these are now the absolute centerpieces of modern stadium design -massive multi-functional TV screens that are almost as much of an attraction as the players themselves.
There was a bomb in that memo, but I didn’t know it until….after I had delivered it.
I called the architects and they tried to reassure me that the obstructed view wasn’t a big deal, since every box would have TV sets hanging in every corner, thus negating the need for patrons to look at the scoreboard. Since they were the “experts”, I decided to “let it (the memo) ride” and use this explanation should the boss ask me about it.
Mistake #3. I relied on “experts” to save me.
A week went by and I didn’t get a response on the memo – and so, since he reads everything, I made the convenient assumption that all systems were go, and we could keep refining the design.
Mistake #4. No news isn’t good news.
But I kept thinking about that bomb. And now, it was fear more than anything else driving the process
Mistake #5 – fear is a poison.
The next step was a more formal presentation to the boss, with the architects present. We got all our ducks in a row, pulling together all the cool design drawings, virtual perspectives and budget numbers to make the “on budget” project as bright and shiny as possible.
By Mike Kerouac
Does the term “Follow the Leader” still apply in today’s world? We live in an age of “followship”, but does followship imply that a leader is the one being followed? Success on social media is often defined by the number of followers. I get that to a certain extent, but look at who is being followed. We have celebrities, professional athletes and controversial figures with huge followerships. Are the followers being lead or are they being entertained?
I would argue that the majority of today’s followers are seeking entertainment value, they are not looking for leadership anymore. What can true business leaders do to course correct? How can they win followship when they are competing with entertainers? Part of the solution is to become better contemporary leaders. I think as a class of leaders we have become complacent in terms of how we lead. We rely too heavily on positional power. We dictate vs. delegate, we micromanage to ensure success and we act selfishly to preserve our status within the corporate hierarchy. We’ve forgotten some of the fundamental success factors of leadership and we’ve also neglected to modernize our Brand to attract and retain followers. We continue to give our followers reruns of the same TV episodes. We are letting ourselves become irrelevant. Let’s take a look at 5 steps a leader can take to increase their followship factor.
- Re-invent your brand – Go digital with videos, podcasts, tweets and LinkedIn articles. Add some entertainment value to your content. Create compelling value for your followers. You need to create a marketing plan for yourself.
- Connect with your team on a frequent basis. Just send them a text, give them a 1 minute phone call. Tell them how great they are and how much you value them.
- Learn something new and then talk about it. Rehashing content that everyone already knows will get you nowhere. Continuous learning is important. Educate yourself on a few current topics and broadcast your views strong and loud. Examples could be AI, the future of work and IoT.
- Say what you will do and then do what you say. Credibility is a pillar of great leadership.
- Change your look. Maybe a new hairstyle or a change of wardrobe. Just something that will make your followers take a second look. Something subtle but noticeable.
- Strive to be authentic. People see through showmanship.
I know that the list above seems simplistic, but you will be amazed at how much your followship can grow just by doing the simple things well. You don’t have to be a Hollywood Star or a professional athlete. You can still be yourself, but just a moderately more contemporary you.