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Collaborative Leadership Worth Following

Collaborative Leadership Worth Following

I recently consulted with a San Francisco Bay Area financial institution who wanted to create a succession plan for their retiring CEO. We created a Competency Model for the CEO position, and I presented it to the company’s Board of Directors at one of their retreats.

One of the competencies was servant leadership which reflected the core values of the company. I was the executive coach for two of the vice presidents and potential successors focusing on emotional intelligence-based leadership development and developing trust with followers.

The end of the 20th century marked the demise of command-and-control leadership, although some bosses stubbornly insist on trying to make it work. In its place, leaders are advised to become more participatory—to lead by cooperation and collaboration.

Leadership success is judged on three criteria:

  • Is the leader ethical?
  • Is he/she effective?
  • Does the business make money and provide jobs?

In the workplace, however, followers judge their leaders and ask:

1. Does my boss have my best interests in mind (and does he/she even know what they are)?

2. Is my boss looking out for the company’s best interests?

3. Why should I believe, follow and trust this person?

What Leaders Can Do

Leaders can become more effective and ethical by following these steps:

  • Limit tenure in positions of power; share power.
  • Don’t believe your own hype; get and stay real.
  • Compensate for your weaknesses by hiring and delegating well.
  • Stay balanced and healthy.
  • Remember the mission.
  • Develop a personal support system (mentor, advisor, coach, best friend).
  • Establish a culture of openness in which diversity and dissent are encouraged.
  • Be creative, reflective and flexible.
  • Avoid groupthink; ask the right kinds of questions.
  • Question assumptions; get reliable and complete information.
  • Establish checks and balances.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders become more effective? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to inspire followers? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can is “Does our company have collaborative leaders worth following?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you become a leader worth following. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Working Resources is a  Strategic Talent Management and Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Career Coaching and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Subscribe to Working Resources FREE E-mail Newsletter:
http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard’s Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
E-mail: mbrusman@workingresources.com
Voice: 415-546-1252

Categories: 

The Leadership Trust Gap

The Leadership Trust Gap

I recently consulted with a large financial institution who wanted to create a succession plan for their retiring CEO.  We created a Competency Model for the CEO position, and I presented it to the company’s Board of Directors. One of the competencies was servant leadership which reflected the core values of the company. I was the executive coach for two of the vice presidents and potential successors focusing on servant leadership development and developing trust with followers.

In a perfect organizational world, we would be blessed with transformational servant leaders who are intrinsically motivated to provide benefits to their followers. But in the real world, bosses are rarely that accommodating. We nevertheless expect our leaders to make things better for both the business and our careers.

Corporate leadership is simultaneously envied and disdained. We are in awe of strong personalities who take charge and earn big compensation packages, bonuses and perks. At the same time, we cannot deny that the gap between the rich and poor has been steadily increasing for decades, and the middle class has declined.

Furthermore, the financial crisis—the worst since the Great Depression—has been slow to recover. Many blame executives at our top financial institutions for eroding trust in leadership. We are left with an impression of widespread corporate corruption that continues to be amply rewarded, even when CEOs are dismissed for poor performance.

A 2011 Gallup poll confirmed that corporate America’s reputation is in tatters, with 62% affirming they want major corporations to have less influence in the future—a figure that increased 10% in a decade. A whopping 67% of those polled said they resent big business’ influence.

A survey of Fox News’ right-of-center viewers found that most overwhelmingly believe (a 6:1 margin) that corporate leaders have done more to hurt than help the economy.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to end bad leadership? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to inspire followers? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can is “Does our company have transformational servant leaders?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you become a leader worth following. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

Working Resources is a  Strategic Talent Management and Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Career Coaching and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Subscribe to Working ResourcesFREE E-mail Newsletter:
http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard’s Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
E-mail: mbrusman@workingresources.com
Voice: 415-546-1252

Categories: 

The End of Bad Leadership

The End of Bad Leadership

“Being a leader has become a mantra. It is a presumed path to money and power; a medium for achievement, both individual and institutional; and a mechanism for creating change sometimesalthough hardly alwaysfor the common good.” ~ Barbara Kellerman, The End of Leadership

Leaders everywhere are in disrepute. Hardly a day goes by without news of corporate ethical violations, financial fudging and CEO failures. Yet, compensation packages and bonuses continue unabated, even when disgraced leaders are sent packing.

Corporate leaders are being pushed out in record numbers. In 2002, 100 CEOs from the world’s 2,500 largest companies were replaced—almost four times the number in 1995.

What is happening to our efforts to develop good leaders? In spite of the billions spent annually to train high-potential candidates, why do those promoted to positions of power, with critical responsibilities, continue to fail?

Harvard Business School Professor Barbara Kellerman criticizes the leadership-development industry in her new book, The End of Leadership (HarperBusiness, April 2012). She asserts:

·  Leaders at every level, across all industries, are failing the people who depend on them.

·  Leadership programs have done an inadequate job of producing effective and ethical leaders.

·  We don’t really know how to grow good leaders, and we know even less about how to stop or slow the bad ones.

·  Today’s business environment is rapidly changing in ways leaders are unable or unwilling to grasp.

·  Followers are disappointed and disillusioned, even though they are more empowered, emboldened and entitled than ever before.

Leadership’s Devolution

Until only recently, we presumed that leaders should dominate and followers must do as they’re told. But after several revolutions, labor movements, human-rights legislation and the spread of democracy, the world has radically changed.

Power, authority and influence are in scarce supply for even the most charismatic CEOs, and continuing to devolve. Workers in the middle and at the bottom of the hierarchy have an expanded sense of entitlement, but they’re demanding more and giving less. Technology has helped level the playing field.

Workers are often indifferent, disengaged or outright resistant. There are only two reasons they’ll follow a leader:

1.  They have to.

2.  They want to.

The end of the 20th century marked the demise of command-and-control leadership, although some bosses stubbornly insist on trying to make it work. In its place, leaders are advised to become more participatory—to lead by cooperation and collaboration.

Leadership success is judged on three criteria:

·   Is the leader ethical?

·   Is he/she effective?

·   Does the business make money and provide jobs?

In the workplace, however, followers judge their leaders and ask:

1.  Does my boss have my best interests in mind (and does he/she even know what they are)?

2.  Is my boss looking out for the company’s best interests?

3.  Why should I believe, follow and trust this person?

Like most other animals, humans tend to look to strong males to provide what’s most important: safety and security. We’re just like baboons, deferring to males whose strength and capacity to lead have been tested.

There is no leadership without followership. Good leadership requires good followers, who may be passive or active (depending on context). But followers have generally been slow to embrace empowerment and participate in the leader/follower tango.

The Leadership Trust Gap

In a perfect organizational world, we would be blessed with transformational servant leaders who are intrinsically motivated to provide benefits to their followers. But in the real world, bosses are rarely that accommodating. We nevertheless expect our leaders to make things better for both the business and our careers.

Corporate leadership is simultaneously envied and disdained. We are in awe of strong personalities who take charge and earn big compensation packages, bonuses and perks. At the same time, we cannot deny that the gap between the rich and poor has been steadily increasing for decades, and the middle class has declined.

Furthermore, the financial crisis—the worst since the Great Depression—has been slow to recover. Many blame executives at our top financial institutions for eroding trust in leadership. We are left with an impression of widespread corporate corruption that continues to be amply rewarded, even when CEOs are dismissed for poor performance.

A 2011 Gallup poll confirmed that corporate America’s reputation is in tatters, with 62% affirming they want major corporations to have less influence in the future—a figure that increased 10% in a decade. A whopping 67% of those polled said they resent big business’ influence.

A survey of Fox News’ right-of-center viewers found that most overwhelmingly believe (a 6:1 margin) that corporate leaders have done more to hurt than help the economy.

Income: The Great Divide

Most of us expect our leaders to be paid more than we receive. We recognize that they work long and hard, are intelligent and experienced, and shoulder responsibilities and risks most of us wouldn’t want.

But has the economic and lifestyle gap grown absurdly large?

Between 2002 and 2007, the bottom 99% of American incomes grew only 1.3% a year, compared to a 10% bump in compensation for the top 1%.

Let’s look at a few examples of CEOs’ annual compensation:

·  In 2008, Oracle’s Larry Ellison received nearly $193 million

·  Countrywide Financial’s Anthony Mozilo: $102.84 million

·  Aflac’s Daniel Amos: $75 million

·  Safeway’s Steven Burd: $67 million

The median pay for top executives at 200 big companies in 2010 was $10.8 million, a 23% jump from 2009.

These examples contribute to our dislike and distrust of those at the helm. These leaders seem to grow excessively rich as the average American struggles to make ends meet.

Flawed Followers

Perhaps today’s leaders can get away with various and sundry peccadilloes because their followers fail to demand accountability.

“Leading in America has never been easy,” writes Barbara Kellerman in The End of Leadership. “But now it is more difficult than ever—not only because we have too many bad leaders, but because we have too many bad followers.”

Many of us are too timid, disengaged or alienated to speak up, making it easy for corporate leaders to do what they want—and what’s best for their bank accounts.

The leadership-development industry has become huge, with $50 billion a year spent on corporate training. Shouldn’t the curriculum include elements of followership? Everyone, including the CEO, has to answer to someone, be it a board, stockholders or a senior team.

Question These Assumptions

Kellerman asks those in charge of leadership-development programs to question the assumptions the industry promotes:

·  Leadership can be learned by most—quickly and easily; over months, weeks or weekends.

·  Leaders matter more than anyone else.

·  Followers are secondary.

·  Context is tertiary.

She also suggests several important mindset shifts based on these assumptions:

1.  We cannot stop or slow bad leadership by changing human nature. No amount of preaching or sermonizing—no exhortations to virtuous conduct, uplifting thoughts or wholesome habits—will obviate the fact that our nature is constant (even when our behaviors change).

2.  We cannot stop or slow bad leadership without stopping and slowing bad followership. Leaders and followers are always interdependent.

3.  We cannot stop or slow bad leadership by sticking our heads in the sand. Amnesia, wishful thinking, the lies we tell as individuals and organizations, and all of the other mind games we play to deny or distort reality get us nowhere. Avoidance inures us to the costs and casualties of bad leadership, allowing them to fester.

What Leaders Can Do

Leaders can become more effective and ethical by following these steps:

·  Limit tenure in positions of power; share power.

·  Don’t believe your own hype; get and stay real.

·  Compensate for your weaknesses by hiring and delegating well.

·  Stay balanced and healthy.

·  Remember the mission.

·  Develop a personal support system (mentor, advisor, coach, best friend).

·  Establish a culture of openness in which diversity and dissent are encouraged.

·  Be creative, reflective and flexible.

·  Avoid groupthink; ask the right kinds of questions.

·  Question assumptions; get reliable and complete information.

·   Establish checks and balances.

What Followers Can Do

If bad leaders are to be stopped or slowed, followers must play a bigger part.

But many followers consider the price of intervention to be too high. There are real benefits for going along, along with real costs and risks for not going along. We often choose to mind our own business. Nevertheless, incompetent and unethical leaders cannot function without followers.

Followers can strengthen their ability to resist bad leaders by observing these guidelines:

·  Empower yourself.

·  Be loyal to the whole, not to any one person.

·  Be skeptical; leaders are not gods.

·  Find allies; develop your own sources of information.

·  Be a watchdog (especially if the board seems too compliant).

·  Take collective action (even on a modest scale, such as assembling a small group to talk to the boss).

·  Hold leaders accountable; use checks and balances already in place.

Luckily, more followers are stepping up to the plate, demonstrating a willingness to share responsibilities, power, authority and influence. They know that once bad leaders are entrenched, they seldom change or quit of their own volition. It’s up to us to insist on change—or an early exit.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to end bad leadership? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to inspire followers? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can is “Does our company have bad leaders?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you become a leader worth following. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

Categories: 

Turn Up The Heat In Your Marketing, Miami Style

I just returned from a magnificent conference in Miami with one of my mentors, Alan Weiss (pictured below). Every year he invites members from his 450+ person Million Dollar Consulting community to a prestigious location for two days. We discuss the state of the consulting industry, expand our thinking on our practice potential, sharpen our saws, and commiserate on our respective businesses. His business wisdom and prognostications are worth the price of admission.

No matter what industry you serve, these insights apply. Consider incorporating them into your growth planning and marketing stance.

1. Think far beyond your ideal client and perfect market. You have the potential to build life-changing communities. "When I thought this was all about dollars and cents, I made money," says Weiss. "When I realized it was about value, I made a career. When I realized it was about my place in the world, I created communities." What level of a life and business are you creating?
 
2. Integrate your learning. Read with comprehension, speak with influence, listen with discernment, and write with expression. Your clients and employees need your help sifting through mountains of data and erroneous information on the web. Your ability to learn is directly related to your ability to integrate information from disparate places. As I watch the dolphins frolic at the Hawks Cay Resort in Florida and await their morning feeding, I see how well they use multiple senses (the sound of the trainer's voice, wind, water currents, and sonar) to thrive. Tell stories in your marketing communications instead of providing checklists, features, and functions.
 
Practicing integration has three components:
  • Synthesis of data (incorporating ideas from multiple sources and teachers)
  • Versatility (the ability to apply the learning across many things that you do)
  • Prioritization (focusing on the most salient facts)
 
3. Dance with failure and ambiguity. The best and brightest leaders in your B2B industry make it look easy. Case in point: Alan launched his session on Wednesday morning, and the ambient techno music was distracting everyone. Instead of running off to ask the wait staff to turn it off, he started to dance. Everyone reveled in his resilience.
 
As you develop your marketing plan, accept the fact that it may not work. Build contingencies into the plan. Reward people who take risks and obsess over the broad market opportunity versus "who will take care of step #5?" While execution is essential, someone needs to shape and over-communicate the vision. You need your own Steve Jobs equivalent.
 
4. Get out of town. I am constantly amazed at what fresh ideas surface when I travel to unfamiliar places. Strolling through the minimalist, boldly appointed halls of the Delano Beach Hotel reminded me to think just as boldly about how I treat my clients and colleagues. I have often been afraid of losing a client if I told the whole truth. I have let passive-aggressive people make snide comments without consequences. Those days are behind me. Winston Churchill once said "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."
 
It's time to turn up the heat on your growth plan. The fire starts from within. The sun gods will smile upon you when you do.
 
Related Posts:
 
[Image: Flickr user Kay Gaensler]
 
This post originally appeared in FastCompany. Copyright 2012, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.
Categories: 

Productive Narcissists and Visionary Leadership

Productive Narcissists

The great accomplishment of [Steve] Jobs's life is how effectively he put his idiosyncrasies - his petulance, his narcissism, and his rudeness - in the service of perfection.~ Malcolm Gladwell

There’s a compelling business case to be made for narcissistic CEOs who can lead companies to greatness, inspire followers and achieve game-changing solutions in our rapidly changing world. In the words of Michael Maccoby, author of Narcissistic Leaders: Who Succeeds and Who Fails: “It is narcissistic leaders who take us to places we’ve never been before, who innovate, who build empires out of nothing.”

There is a strong need for bold, visionary, productive narcissists who can lead companies through 21st-century periods of uncertainty and transition. In the last 20 years, we’ve enjoyed innovative advances from companies led by productive narcissists like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Andy Grove, Howard Schultz, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey.

A strong case can be made  against obsessive, by-the-numbers personality types as leaders because their conservative approach to running companies doesn’t allow for sufficient risk-taking or innovation. Much depends, however, on the specific business environment.

If you’ve ever wondered how someone like Steve Jobs could succeed, in spite of his lack of emotional intelligence, the answer may lie in his strengths as a productive narcissist, coupled with his strategic intelligence. The same can be said for many stellar leaders over the last 20 years: Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Andy Grove, Larry Ellison, Richard Branson and Herb Kelleher. Each is a strong personality with narcissistic tendencies of the productive kind.

Visionary Leadership

Given the huge social and economic stakes, there’s a critical need to understand leadership personalities, including the value of the narcissistic leader. The best way to avoid leadership derailment is to steer narcissistic leaders onto stabilizing paths by developing their strategic intelligence.

Working Resources is a  Strategic Talent Management and Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Subscribe to Working Resources FREE E-mail Newsletter:
http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard’s Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com
E-mail: mbrusman@workingresources.com
Voice: 415-546-1252

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

Narcissistic Leaders and Visionary Leadership

Narcissistic Leaders and Visionary Leadership

The great accomplishment of [Steve] Jobs's life is how effectively he put his idiosyncrasies - his petulance, his narcissism, and his rudeness - in the service of perfection.~ Malcolm Gladwell

Like it or not, we are in the midst of great social, economic and political upheaval. The way we live and work has changed tremendously in the last 10 years, and it’s likely to be radically different in another decade.

Perhaps we need to take another look at what’s needed in leadership style during this period of uncertainty and transition. Is it time to call on intensely visionary leaders?

There’s a case to be made for narcissistic CEOs who can lead companies to greatness, inspire followers and achieve game-changing solutions in our rapidly changing world. In the words of Michael Maccoby, author of Narcissistic Leaders: Who Succeeds and Who Fails: “It is narcissistic leaders who take us to places we’ve never been before, who innovate, who build empires out of nothing.”

Unfortunately, with the banking meltdown and recession that followed in 2008, capital has been shifted away from risky investments, spurring more conservative, by-the-numbers leadership personalities to take charge.

This doesn’t change the fact that we’re still living in an era of continuous invention and experimentation. It takes strong, visionary leaders to unleash the power of emerging technologies, turn ideas into practical tools everyone can use, and change the way we live and do business.

Conservative leadership, focusing on what works now, can negatively impact the technological and social advances required over the next 20 years — particularly in emerging fields like nanotechnology, genomics and gene therapy, robotics, artificial intelligence, biomedicine, bioengineered food, environment, energy and health care.

Given the huge social and economic stakes, there’s an urgent need to understand leaders’ personality types — particularly, the promise and peril of radical, visionary leadership. When does visionary leadership veer off into unproductive narcissism?

Narcissists can be honest or crooked, brilliant or ordinary, wise or foolish. The label is often misused and misunderstood, and it’s usually applied in a negative context. Consider this: Narcissists can be passionately bold visionaries, highly capable of persuading others to embrace the value of their ideas.

In the last 20 years, we’ve enjoyed radical advances from companies led by productive narcissists like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Andy Grove, Howard Schultz, Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey.

While some thought leaders claim that sustained business success depends on bold innovators and productive narcissists, many caution against celebrity CEOs who lead Enron-and Tyco-type scams.

Obsessive business leaders excel at cutting costs, culling nonperformers from the pack, and implementing the right processes and systems. On the other hand, productive narcissists want to create new games, changing the way we live and work. Which approach is better for leading your company?

The answer depends on the context.

At this time in history, we need creative energy and passion more than ever before. What differentiates the more successful visionary leaders from the failures is strategic intelligence.

Strategic Intelligence

Think of Jack Welch, Bill Gates and Herb Kelleher, the flamboyant self-promoter who built Southwest Airlines. These leaders developed disciplined management styles by partnering with operational managers who implemented their strategies.

These visionary leaders (and others who succeed as productive narcissists) are strategically intelligent. It’s not enough to be a creative genius with media-worthy new ideas.

Building an innovative organization requires leaders who know how to motivate talented and ethical people within a socioeconomic system that creates value for customers, employees and owners.

Many companies, even those known for innovation, don’t want to hire narcissists.No matter how much their leaders boast of encouraging independent thinking and creativity, many businesses have  little tolerance for true originals or mavericks. They prefer the obsessive type who is driven to please and enforces company rules.

Too often, promotions are in short supply for high-performing, creative visionaries who aren’t “team players.” Indeed, most narcissists don’t “play well with others” — unless, that is, they have strategic intelligence and pay close attention to the crucial requirements for leading a company to sustainable success.

Five Elements of Strategic Intelligence

According to Maccoby, visionary leaders succeed because they have mastered five elements of strategic intelligence:

1.  Foresight

2.  Systems thinking

3   Visioning

4.  Motivating

5.  Partnering

Foresight

Any coherent view of strategy involves thinking about the future.Leaders anticipate how current movements, ideas and forces will play out in the short and long terms. They can identify evolving products, services, technology systems, global gaps, competitors, and customer needs and values.

Foresight is more complex than extrapolating today’s market into the future. The dot-com bust between 1995 and 2000 is a perfect example of the difference between foresight and extrapolation. Aspiring entrepreneurs came up with ways to make it big on the Internet. They asked, “How do I capitalize on what already exists?”

Foresight would have required them to ask, “How do we capitalize on what doesn’t exist now but will in the future?” It’s not about linear thinking. Leaders must connect the dots among many interdependent forces and determine how they will coalesce. Foresight requires systems thinking.

Systems Thinking

Visionary leaders understand how disparate parts influence the whole. They synthesize and integrate various elements to build and maintain healthy systems.

Those who want to lead companies in new directions must have competency in systems thinking, as well as the other interdependent elements of strategic intelligence.

Visioning

Foresight and systems thinking are pure intelligence skills. The other components of strategic intelligence—visioning, motivating and partnering—are real-world skills, sometimes referred to as “street smarts.” Unforeseen events, people’s quirks and qualities, messy interactions with other companies and a volatile economic climate make business success a complex affair.

Visioning combines foresight and systems thinking into a realistic view of business goals. In some companies (IBM, GE), visionary leaders have had the foresight to shift from selling products to selling solutions in a knowledge/service economy.

A focus on learning ensures that visioning evolves with the times.Yet, even the clearest vision can fail if a leader lacks the skills to motivate.

Motivating

Motivating is the most misunderstood and elusive element of strategic intelligence. It’s one thing to talk up a storm about how a corporate initiative designed to improve sales and profits will help you crush the competition. It’s quite another to grasp the importance of “soft” skills like influencing others to act as you see fit.

Motivating is difficult because it involves the messy work of igniting people’s passions so they’ll carry out your vision. A business model that neglects human motivations won’t get the buy-in needed to make your vision a reality.

Consider appealing to the four “Rs”:

·  Reasons

·  Rewards

·  Relationships

·  Responsibilities

You must reward positive behaviors to further your vision. By building genuine relationships, you convince people to take ownership of the responsibilities you’ve entrusted to them.

Many leaders motivate only their immediate teams, often ignoring front-line workers and lower-level employees. A CEO with strategic intelligence recognizes the need to motivate the entire hierarchy.

Partnering

Partnering is the ability to forge key strategic alliances. It’s different than making friends; a leader with strategic intelligence makes allies. You need to understand how each alliance fits into your corporate vision.

Partnering is the opposite of acquiring companies to bolster overall financial holdings. Leaders who operate in this fashion are merely “serial acquirers.” You must learn how to partner internally (with advisers who complement your personality) and externally (with companies that add value rather than size). This requires an understanding of how companies work together to motivate a social system that achieves one’s vision.

Self-Assessment

There is no established measurement tool for strategic intelligence. In Narcissistic Leaders, Maccoby offers several questions that can help you self-assess your abilities.

The real test of a leader’s strategic intelligence is in the workplace:

·  Foresight: How well do you stay abreast of marketplace trends? Do you excel at imagining new products, services and paradigms for the future?

·  Systems Thinking: Do you think in terms of systems, synthesizing and integrating feedback and hard-to-imagine possibilities?

·  Visioning: How well can you take an idea and translate it into a workable vision with measurable goals?

·  Motivating: Do you inspire others to buy into your vision and execute your ideas?

·  Partnering: How well do you forge strategic alliances, both internally and externally? Do you recognize that alliances are two-way streets and encourage collaboration?

Summary

There is a strong need for bold, visionary, productive narcissists who can lead companies through 21st-century periods of uncertainty and transition. The best way to avoid leadership derailment is to steer narcissistic leaders onto stabilizing paths by developing their strategic intelligence.

Maccoby makes a strong case against obsessive, by-the-numbers personality types as leaders because their conservative approach to running companies doesn’t allow for sufficient risk-taking or innovation. Much depends, however, on the specific business environment.

If you’ve ever wondered how someone like Steve Jobs could succeed, in spite of his lack of emotional intelligence, the answer may lie in his strengths as a productive narcissist, coupled with his strategic intelligence. The same can be said for many stellar leaders over the last 20 years: Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Andy Grove, Larry Ellison, Richard Branson and Herb Kelleher. Each is a strong personality with narcissistic tendencies of the productive kind.

Given the huge social and economic stakes, there’s a critical need to understand leadership personalities, including the value of the narcissistic leader.

Working Resources is a  Strategic Talent Management and Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

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8 Surprising Ways To Delight Customers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a 16-year yoga practitioner, I often wish that I could find a place to practice while I travel. Most of the time, I have to traipse halfway across a city. But recently, I was surprised and delighted to learn that San Francisco Airport--which offers harried travelers a room specifically set aside for yoga practice--may be my next yoga destination.

If an airport--the bastion of sterile, boring holding places for weary travelers--can delight a yogini, then you can surprise and delight the toughest of B2B clients.
 
Look across the universe of possible ways you could delight your clients this month. It's easier and less costly than you think.
 
Skip the traditional "drinks and dinner" route. Our Western business society is overfed and sated. Instead, consider these alternatives:
  1. Organize an executive breakfast for your 10 best (not necessarily largest) clients. Do not allow your top decision maker to send a substitute. Make it exclusive and special.
  2. Build a list of your favorite people in your accounts, review their LinkedIn profiles, and offer to introduce them to someone else in your trusted network. Repeat this 10 times over the next 60 days.
  3. Write thank-you notes to your referral partners and clients who recently renewed their services or agreements with you.
  4. Develop a series of 3-5 short videos explaining your assessment of your current marketplace, and its implications to your clients. This can be accomplished with a high-definition video camera for less than $200. Perfect is the enemy of done.
  5. Ask your top five clients about their favorite charity. Offer to volunteer your time or attend their next fundraiser to show your support. Avoid offering to write them a check. Time and talent are equally in need. If it is a political or religious affiliation that does not align with your values, ask for their top three charities.
  6. Take your clients outdoors. Nothing clears one's mind faster than a brisk walk, hike, or bike ride.
  7. Conduct success interviews. How did they build their career or business? What are their secrets to success? If they could change one thing within their industry, what would it be? Show them you care and seek their wisdom. Ask if you can publish their story on your company blog.
  8. Surprise them with a one-time upgrade. This happens in some of the best online retail firms, such as Zappos. They have provided me with free one-day shipping without my requesting it for the last five orders I placed. I'm hooked for life.

By the way, I was not properly dressed to practice my yoga poses inside the SFO terminal. Yet I was far from disappointed. The mere gesture to delight passengers was enough to make me want to fly through the American Airlines terminal again. Your client will feel the same way. If your client declines on your offer, avoid feeling you failed.

And the next time I fly through the American Airlines terminal, I will be sure to pack the proper yoga attire.

Related posts:

 
[Image: Flickr user Joe Fakih Gomez]
 
This post originally appeared in FastCompany. Copyright 2012, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.
Categories: 

Radical Times Call for Visionary Leadership

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area  Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Visionary Leadership

The great accomplishment of [Steve] Jobs's life is how effectively he put his idiosyncrasies - his petulance, his narcissism, and his rudeness - in the service of perfection.~ Malcolm Gladwell

Like it or not, we are in the midst of great social, economic and political upheaval. The way we live and work has changed tremendously in the last 10 years, and it’s likely to be radically different in another decade.

There’s a case to be made for narcissistic CEOs who can lead companies to greatness, inspire followers and achieve game-changing solutions in our rapidly changing world. In the words of Michael Maccoby, author of Narcissistic Leaders: Who Succeeds and Who Fails: “It is narcissistic leaders who take us to places we’ve never been before, who innovate, who build empires out of nothing.”

Conservative leadership, focusing on what works now, can negatively impact the technological and social advances required over the next 20 years. Given the huge social and economic stakes, there’s an urgent need to understand leaders’ personality types—particularly, the promise and peril of radical, visionary leadership. When does visionary leadership veer off into unproductive narcissism?

Narcissists can be honest or crooked, brilliant or ordinary, wise or foolish. The label is often misused and misunderstood, and it’s usually applied in a negative context. Consider this: Narcissists can be passionately bold visionaries, highly capable of persuading others to embrace the value of their ideas.

Strategic Intelligence

Think of Jack Welch, Bill Gates and Herb Kelleher, the flamboyant self-promoter who built Southwest Airlines. These leaders developed disciplined management styles by partnering with operational managers who implemented their strategies.

These visionary leaders (and others who succeed as productive narcissists) are strategically intelligent. It’s not enough to be a creative genius with media-worthy new ideas.

Building an innovative organization requires leaders who know how to motivate talented and ethical people within a socioeconomic system that creates value for customers, employees and owners.

Many companies, even those known for innovation, don’t want to hire narcissists. No matter how much their leaders boast of encouraging independent thinking and creativity, many businesses have little tolerance for true originals or mavericks. They prefer the obsessive type who is driven to please and enforces company rules.

Too often, promotions are in short supply for high-performing, creative visionaries who aren’t “team players.” Indeed, most narcissists don’t “play well with others” — unless, that is, they have strategic intelligence and pay close attention to the crucial requirements for leading a company to sustainable success.

Five Elements of Strategic Intelligence

According to Maccoby, visionary leaders succeed because they have mastered five elements of strategic intelligence:

1. Foresight

Leaders anticipate how current movements, ideas and forces will play out in the short and long terms. They can identify evolving products, services, technology systems, global gaps, competitors, and customer needs and values.

Foresight is more complex than extrapolating today’s market into the future. The dot-com bust between 1995 and 2000 is a perfect example of the difference between foresight and extrapolation. Aspiring entrepreneurs came up with ways to make it big on the Internet. They asked, “How do I capitalize on what already exists?”

Foresight would have required them to ask, “How do we capitalize on what doesn’t exist now but will in the future?”

2. Systems Thinking

Visionary leaders understand how disparate parts influence the whole. They synthesize and integrate various elements to build and maintain healthy systems.

Those who want to lead companies in new directions must have competency in systems thinking, as well as the other interdependent elements of strategic intelligence.

3. Visioning

Foresight and systems thinking are pure intelligence skills. The other components of strategic intelligence—visioning, motivating and partnering—are real-world skills, sometimes referred to as “street smarts.”

Visioning combines foresight and systems thinking into a realistic view of business goals. In some companies (IBM, GE), visionary leaders have had the foresight to shift from selling products to selling solutions in a knowledge/service economy.

4. Motivating

Motivating is the most misunderstood and elusive element of strategic intelligence. It’s one thing to talk up a storm about how a corporate initiative designed to improve sales will help you crush the competition. It’s quite another to grasp the importance of “soft” skills like influencing others.

Motivating is difficult because it involves the messy work of igniting people’s passions so they’ll carry out your vision. A business model that neglects human motivations won’t get the buy-in needed to make your vision a reality.

5. Partnering

Partnering is the ability to forge key strategic alliances. It’s different than making friends; a leader with strategic intelligence makes allies. You need to understand how each alliance fits into your corporate vision.

Partnering is the opposite of acquiring companies to bolster overall financial holdings. Leaders who operate in this fashion are merely “serial acquirers.” You must learn how to partner internally (with advisers who complement your personality) and externally (with companies that add value rather than size).

Self-Assessment

There is no established measurement tool for strategic intelligence. In Narcissistic Leaders, Maccoby offers several questions that can help you self-assess your abilities.

The real test of a leader’s strategic intelligence is in the workplace:

·  Foresight: How well do you stay abreast of marketplace trends? Do you excel at imagining new products, services and paradigms for the future?

·  Systems Thinking: Do you think in terms of systems, synthesizing and integrating feedback and hard-to-imagine possibilities?

·  Visioning: How well can you take an idea and translate it into a workable vision with measurable goals?

·  Motivating: Do you inspire others to buy into your vision and execute your ideas?

·  Partnering: How well do you forge strategic alliances, both internally and externally? Do you recognize that alliances are two-way streets and encourage collaboration?

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow visionary leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to inspire others? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a visionary leader?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you become a visionary leader. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman
http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman
http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

Categories: 

Leadership in the Zone – Achieving Peak Performance

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area  Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

 

Leadership in the Zone

Over the past twenty years, I’ve coached scores of peak performing leaders. I've noticed those that are consistently in the zone and achieving peak performance share some common characteristics. Peak performance leaders stay focused in the present moment. They trust themselves and the process. They are visionary leaders who create organizations that flourish in good times and bad.

Peak Performance

Leaders who are at the top of their game display the following leadership qualities:

  • Authenticity
  • Mindfulness
  • Empathy
  • Connection
  • Trust

Great leaders like top athletes are in what we frequently call the zone. They are fully expressed human beings who inspire followers to be their best and achieve success.

The Zone

Characteristics of the Zone include:

1. A focused mind, minus the ego
2. A mental calmness with relaxed breathing
3. A confident and optimistic presence
4. An authentic connection with others with no sense of a performance
5. A feeling of synchronicity between mind and body, thought and action
6. An ability to be in the present moment
7. A clear self-awareness
8. A resilient mindset
9. An experience of physical relaxation
10. A state of joy and well-being

Leaders in the zone listen empathically. They lose their ego (and all the mental interference that goes with it) and acquire that focused awareness that's attuned to picking up all kinds of subtleties in the moment.

Exercises

Exercises for getting into the zone include relaxed breathing, relaxing the muscles of the body and focusing attention calmly scanning the environment without getting stuck anywhere. It’s very much like practicing mindfulness meditation. And above all it's about trust in oneself and mastery of what we can accomplish through others.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to increase their emotional intelligence? Peak performing leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to be in the zone.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a peak performance leader who is in the zone?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their peak performance leadership development programs.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you achieve peak performance. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company or law firm.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams.He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

Subscribe to Working Resources Newsletter: http://www.workingresources.com
Visit Maynard's Blog: http://www.workingresourcesblog.com  

Connect with me on these Social Media sites.
http://twitter.com/drbrusman
http://www.facebook.com/maynardbrusman

http://www.linkedin.com/in/maynardbrusman

http://www.youtube.com/user/maynardbrusman

 

 



 

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Top ten leadership tips for business owners (as published in the Globe and Mail)

Many business owners struggle with growing their business while still attempting to engage and lead staff. Both activities can be time consuming, but only one will put money in the bank, while the other tends to reduce it. Listed below are ten quick tips to help you become a more effective at being a leader, all while freeing up additional time to focus on business development while still retaining high levels of employee engagement.

 

1.     Verbalize your mission.

Not enough small business owners verbalize, document or communicate their goals and ambitions for their business. Staff can therefore only assume there will be little change in the coming months or years, and are therefore indirectly working against your growth ambitions. If, as a coach, your baseball team didn’t win the championship, but you never communicated this as your goal or desire. Who is to blame?

 

2.     Demonstrate leadership.

Steve Jobs left a legacy, and despite the size and complexity of Apple, there was never a doubt in anyone’s mind that Steve was the leader. On the contrary, many small business owners are still engaged in the day-to-day transactions and routines, creating confusion for staff who seek a leader. Learn to work through your team, delegate responsibility, build competencies, and mentor staff progressively.

 

3.     Let go to move forward.

Many business owners still enjoy being connected with the daily dealings of their business, from making a sales call through to delivering the finished product or service. Despite the uncertainty, many of us learned to let go when we first attended university or college. In virtually every situation, we learned to grow both intellectually and as individuals through this experience. By letting go despite the unknown, we progressed forward. Learn to let go of accountabilities and tactical tasks related to your business and allow your team to do what you pay them to. Let go to progress.

 

4.     Shape up or ship them out.

A colleague of mine owns a small business, and still operates with at least one of the staff he originally hired nearly six years ago. He feels indebted to this individual, who had stuck with him when times were tough, despite the fact that this individual is an under-performer, misses deadlines, and is rarely courteous to customers. Underperformers (UPR’s) are like a cold. They arrive at the worst possible time, never leave when you want them too and their poor performance is infectious to everyone around them.

 

 

5.     Invest in team development.

Very few small business owners have the funds available to invest in training staff. However, many of these same businesses belong to local Chambers and trade associations, all of which run either low-cost or no-cost workshops and enrichment sessions. Rather than personally attending these events, provide the opportunity for staff to allow them to learn, grow, and bring greater value to your organization. Have them share what they learned upon their return to extract and spread value to others on the team.

 

6.     Choose a leader.

Recently, a peer who owns a small firm confided to me that his biggest challenge is in managing his time. He recognizes that, as the face of the company, he must invest time in business growth.  However, since he is the most knowledgeable in business operations, the staff tends to bring him all of their problems and then stand back to admire his talent as he brings prompt resolution. There comes a time when you must invest in a leader, general manager, supervisor, or some other point person who can field staff issues.  Time you invest otherwise simply detracts from business growth.

 

7.     Capture knowledge.

In small companies, the sharing of knowledge is often rare. As individuals are provided responsibility, they become versed in their area but have little time or motivation to share their lessons with other staff, creating a hoarding effect that can reduce team cohesion. You must find means to capture and share tacit knowledge, allowing your operation to function effectively during vacations, sick time, or in the event of a sudden employee departure. By documenting basic processes and developing staff in multiple areas, knowledge becomes less of a secret.

 

8.     Reward as a team.

With the exception of an annual Christmas party, many small business owners do not invest in rewarding employees. Earlier in my career I was employed in a small family-owned business, and the most enjoyable time of every week was Friday afternoon. A small group would gather in the owner’s office and talk about anything but work; in fact you were perceived as insipid if you discussed work-related issues during this time. Rewards don’t have to be monetary; keep in mind that many stay employed in small businesses because they seek more personal relationships with the company’s owner. Invest some time to talk with employees and develop an informal ritual. You might just find significant improvement in team morale.

 

9.     Plan for the worst.

Do you have a succession plan in the event of your sudden or unexpected departure from the business? The goal of being a business owner is to support your family, your community, and to provide a product or service that is beneficial to your customers or clients. Being a leader requires contingent plans in the event of your sudden departure or extended leave. Identify individuals who can lead the business, discuss plans with your team to ensure they are aware, and request feedback relative to training and knowledge gaps that may need to be filled. Just like buying life insurance, you must make investments and plans now, to ensure your family, community, staff and customers are protected and served for years to come.

 

10.Have fun.

Recall the reason you first entered the entrepreneurial life, and consider the satisfaction and happiness you bring to those whom you employ. Leading is not about being authoritarian or a purveyor of charity, it is about enjoying what you do, sharing your vision, providing direction and assistance, and satisfying customers. The key to any effective leadership is not to take yourself too seriously.

 

Being a business owner does not make you a leader; but by practicing just a few of these tips, you will see notable improvements in staff motivation and performance, clearing the path for future business success.

 

© Shawn Casemore 2011. All rights reserved.

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