Saturday, June 28, 2008

Malcolm Gladwell and Robert Krulwich at the 92nd Street Y

Gladwell shares his perspective on selection vs. treatment of students. Questions to ponder....

  • What is the implication from leaders who are coaching others?
  • What factors do we use to select?
  • Do we find individuals with the right work ethic who need to be developed further?
  • Do we seek to find the perfect employee and not invest in developing them?
  • Are we under developing our people and focusing too much on finding the best employee?

The lesson is that we all need to give attention to this issue and ensure the right balance. There are factors we need in every employee to ensure they can develop.. but most employees have a huge potential when placed in the right environment.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Block, Lencioni & Tuckman

Every since Tuckman (1965) published the stages of group developmen (Forming-> Storming-> Norming-> Forming), leaders have known the path to team development and been searching for tools to help their teams become successful. I want to recommend two resources that ease the journey.

  • In 2002, Patrick Lencioni published "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" and laid out for leaders, the barriers or bumps on the Tuckman model (See my earlier post on Lencioni's work). Lencionia's work, while not significantly innovative (it is built on work that others have done) presented a simple model that framed the path to failure; and more importantly, framed the steps to avoiding failure as a leader of a team. The model is a simple "to do" list for navigating through Tuckmans Storming state and ensuring a strong norm set. The linear model is:
    1. Build Trust
    2. Create an environment of constructive conflict and debate
    3. Ensure commitment
    4. Hold each other accountable
    5. Focus on Results
  • This year, 2008, Peter Block has published what I believe will be his best book. The book, Community, The Structure of Belonging, resonates with leaders seeking to build a culture of success, but also paints a road map for leaders seeking to be high performing teams. Of most significance in the book, is Blocks careful examination of the conversations teams need to have to be successful. The series of conversations (and questions to ask the group) are a tool kit for leaders who are seeking to navigate Tuckman's team development journey. This is a must read. I will encourage you by asking a few of Block's questions:
    • What have I done to contribute to the very thing I complain about or want to change?
    • What story am I telling myself about the team? What is the payoff to me to keep holding on to this story? What is my attachment to this story costing me?
    • What has someone done on your team that has touched you or moved you or been of value to you?
Both of these resources are good starting points for leaders who are frustrated with their teams. Much of what I do now when working with teams begins with these two authors and the questions: "What does this team need to focus on?" and "What conversation do we need to have?"
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Leading@Google: Marshall Goldsmith

If you have never heard Marshall Goldsmith, this is a must watch.

Tim Russert Memorial Service: Bruce Springsten Thunder Road

"The Joyful Duty of Honesty of Service... that's his legacy... for politicians, for journalists, and for rock musicians too.." and especially for leaders.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What to Ask the Next President

Excellent video... while dancing around the political landscape...

A exercise you should do.. what are the 5 questions you would ask to determine who will be a great leader... the next president of the USA?

Now.. what are you doing to answer these questions in your own leadership journey?

What should you be doing that your not already doing?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Randy Pausch Inspires Graduates

Randy Pausch gives the Charge to the 2008 Graduates of Carnegie Mellon University!

Apple Really Does Make You

The use of short-timed branding is something I have always been amazed at. Like the apple logo... it appears that those cute symbols do matter! Research has shown that the apple logo makes people act more creatively... what does your logo do? Or do you even have a logo..

Monday, June 2, 2008

Gladwell on Innovation

Gladwell began his presentation by discussing Art! Specifically, he talked about Cezanne and Picasso. Their greatest came about in very different in a ways and teaches about the human potential. Their are two types of innovators according to Gladwell:

Experimental Innovators - Cezanne - He had no bold ideas.. All of his mastery is done through doing and failing and redoing. He slowly worked over time to enhance his skills to become a master - we call these late bloomers. As an example, a piece done by Cezanne late in his life is worth far more than something he did early in his career.

Conceptual Innovators - Picasso - Precocious and radical thinker.. he brought radical notions on modern art to the world and made a name for himself overnight. Picasso's most valuable works are those he created early in this career.

There are other examples:
Mark Twain - Took nine years to write Huckle Berry Finn.. wrote in his 50s - Experimental
Melville - Wrote Moby Dick - 32 yrs old.. wrote in one year.. Conceptual

Orson Wells - Citizen Cane -Directed at age of 26 - Conceptual
Alfred Hitchock - Vertigo - directed at 59. Same genre over and over.. Experimental

Gladwell stressed that he fears that we have chosen to value the conceptual innovator more so than the experimental. We have fallen out of love with Cezanne! This has profound impact on us.

He uses the example the record industry to make the point. The album "Rumors" by Fleetwood Mac is one of the best album in the world.. but most people don't know that it took 10 years, 16 different band members moving in and out of the band and 14 albums before Fleetwood Mac had it right.. Rumos was their 16 album. In contrast the Eagles were a similar band but they were different.. Their very first album was a huge hit.. they had their greatest hits in the 1st three years of the band.

Consider this.. Fleetwood Mac makes their record label 10s of billions of dollars.. because their record label stayed with them despite all their doing and failing and redoing. Today, the record industry has given up on music artist.. Your first single is where they decide if your going to make it. They have turned their back on the kind of genius represented by Fleetwood Mac and Cezanne!

Gladwell finished by suggesting four things we need to do...

  • We need to have judgment! Think of the record executive who stayed with Fleetwood Mac
  • We need to be flexible - help leaders develop over time in different ways
  • We need to be patient - You have to wait until people are in their 50s & 60s.. to see their great work
  • We have to be prepared to help.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Presentation on Chevron's Leadership Program

"We will no longer be talking about the big crew change. We will have taken the steps needed to ensure that a trained, global workforce and a pipeline of future leaders are in place" -CEO Chevron
Below is an outline of Chevron's Leadership Development System:
  1. The Chevron Way - Business Strategy and Values: "To be the global energy company most admired for its People, Partnership, & Performance."
  2. Defining leadership Expectation through a competence based and defined expectations. Here are the broad areas.. But they define High Impact Behaviors under each of these.
    1. Set Clear Vision Direction
      1. Make Sound Business Decisions
      2. Build a Foundation for Future Success
    2. Engage the Team
      1. Gain Commitment
      2. Draw Out the Best in Others
    3. Drive for Superior Results
      1. Drive for High Performance
      2. Manage Performance - Your Own and Your Team's
      3. Encourage Ingenuity
  3. Aligned all systems (feedback, training, etc) around these competencies and behavioral expectations.
  4. Identified their Leadership Pipeline - Target Audience - Programs
    1. Individual Contributor - Identification of High Potentials in 1st 5 year
      • Future Leader's Forum (1 week program)
        • 45 a session
        • 3 times a year)
        • Selection made:
          • Not supervisors
          • 3-5 years employed
          • Certain pay grade
          • Not Necessarily High Potential
    2. Supervisor/Team Leader - 5-10 yrs - Transitioning to Supervising
      • Supervisor Essentials (3 day) (Supervisors 1-3 yrs)
        • Chevron Way (See expectations above)
        • Coaching Employees; Performance Improvement
        • Self Awareness
        • Diversity
        • Legal Issues
        • HR Panel
    3. Manager - 10-15 yrs
      • People Leadership I (3 day)
        • High Performance, engagement and Retention
      • People Leadership II (2 day)
        • Situational Leadership
    4. General Manager - 15-20yrs
      • Manager Essentials
      • Chevron Leadership Forum (3 day)
        • Open Enrollment targeting at a certain level
      • CHAMP (3 week Residency Leadership Program)
        • Enterprise Leader

Marshal Goldsmith -ASTD 2008 San Diego

Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world's top executive coaches, presented the today at ASTD. the following is what I captured from his excellent talk. (Excuse the errors.. I am blogging live). It is important to note that he stressed that he learned most of what he shared through coaching. Teaching is his love.. and he told us anything he does is available from this web site :

Told us we can use anything from his site. A very open-source kinda guy! I am already a fan!

He began by quoting Drucker and reminded us that it is often what we stop doing that make us a better leader, not what we start doing.

Classic issues that executives struggle with:
  • Winning too much - #1 problem of executives! 75% of his clients fail this case study.. whereas they were right on something and showed everyone they know it. Too competitive!
  • Adding too much value - when someone gives us an idea.. we always have to suggest how to improve it. We still ideas from our team. ("My suggestions become orders" - CEO of Glaxo-Cline) Before speaking.. breath.. ask yourself is it worth it?
  • Telling the world how smart we really are - You don't have to prove your smart.. It is not important for your subordinates to know you know so much.. let them be the smart one
  • Passing to much judgment - Help more, pass less judgment.
Having spoken to thousands of people, he asks them all.. "What percent of interpersonal communication is spent on:"
  • "Listening to other people talk about how smart, special, or wonderful they are (or saying it)?"
  • "Listening to other people talk about how stupid, inept, or incompetent someone else is (or saying it)?"
The answer is 65% of all interpersonal communication is spent on this!

He stressed that we have to quit the following things:
  1. Using destructive comment, about individuals?
  2. Begin sentences with "No," "but," or "however."
  3. Begin sentences with "That's great, but (however)...
One item not seen on leadership profiles... He had reviewed many instruments.. "effectively "sucks up" to higher management" We have a great problem with individuals kissing up because we created an environment.

  • How much do you think your direct reports like you?
  • How much do your direct reports resemble you?
  • What is their contribution to our company and our customers?
  • How much positive recognition do you give your direct reports?
Goldsmith charge the group to pick one behavior you are going to work on. Then he did his famous Feedforward exercise: Go to other people and tell them what you want to work on.. ask them to give you feedback (ideas) without discussing the past, you must listen without judging , learn as much as you can. Move to as many people as you can in the time allowed. After the exercise.. he asked the group to finish the sentence "This exercise was...._____________" The answers were all positive, fun and useful, because:
  • successful people love getting ideas.
  • you don't have to think... you can listen and learn.
  • no judging is allowed, so it is a very positive experience
  • you are not obligated to do the idea.
  • reciprocity.. it is two way.. both give ideas and thanks
  • you do not have to know them get help or to help them
  • you do not have to be superior to help someone
His best coaching exercise:

Think about a 95 year old person who is about to die.. what advice would they give you?

Final comments:
  • Be happy now!
  • Friends and Family are important!
  • Have a dream!
  • Take the time to help people