Leadership on Point

It’s Time to Act: Ending Sexual Harassment in Nonprofit Organizations

February 28, 2018 Richard Levin

By Richard J. Levin and Sara E. Miller

“That’s simply the way he is. Just don’t find yourself alone in an elevator with him!”

We heard this from the CEO of a nonprofit organization who was given advice about a key donor during her first day on the job. She was receiving “the talk” so many nonprofit professionals have heard before, as if to explain away predatory behavior as the cost of doing business.

In listening to clients and confidants, we have learned that inappropriate sexual behaviors and repugnant power dynamics are playing out not only in Hollywood and government, but in the nonprofit space as well.

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Ethics and the Business Decision-Making of Today’s Leaders

December 6, 2011 Dr. Johnny Magwood - Guest Author

Ethics in Business Decision Making

The people who work in both large and small corporations are typically a reflection of society. Workers and leaders that enter the workforce bring with them personal, family, and community ethics and values.  From an ethical perspective, there are two elements worth considering: ethical approach and ethical referent.  Ethical approaches include principles, rationale, and standards that individuals portray when facing an ethical decision.  Within the decision-making process, people include their egos, a sense of benevolence, and a principled philosophy.  Ethical referents are the building blocks of an individual’s ethical concerns, or the stage of scrutiny supporting a person’s ethical decision-making.  Unfortunately, many business decisions are made with irrational foundations.  Good ethical decisions are not always beneficial to an individual or profitable for a firm, however, good ethical decision-making is good for society and is a requirement for good leadership.

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Where Is Your Business Going?

November 17, 2011 Dr. Johnny Magwood - Guest Author

Business Improvement Process + Organizational Direction + Knowledge Management

Mission and vision provide employees with a picture of where their organization is headed and is part of a bigger  value system.  This value system provides direction for how the organization will respond to the overall business landscape and how the business will position itself among its competitors.  The discerning leader uses environmental and competitive analyses to create an exciting and ideal vision of the future or to redefine a new direction for the organization (Nanus, 1992).  Creating a picture of the future, persuading the board of directors and motivating employees are key elements to executing a rigorous strategic plan with multiple tactical elements.  Such a vision gives followers something bigger than themselves to believe in and a clear, values-based direction to follow.

 

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Stakeholders and Change Management

October 26, 2011 Dr. Johnny Magwood - Guest Author

Stakeholders and Change Management, Leadership, Leadership Development, Richard Levin & Associates

Effective Business Positioning with External Stakeholders

Business executives and connected advocacy groups are both focused on the benefits and risks encountered by an organization’s business decisions.  As both entities measure and manage organizational benefits and risks, proponents of theoretical stakeholder’s viewpoint postulated that the long-term sustainability of the firm is ultimately based on relationships (Vachani, 2006).  Experts, in the field of stakeholder theory, speculate several important leadership factors that should be embraced by today’s executives, i.e.; noteworthy participations outside the professional arena and boundaries of job responsibilities; confronting institutional mindset both inside and outside the firm to think and behave in the communities’ or region’s favor; and maintaining a creative and constructive connection with the external social and philanthropic environments (Welter & Egmon, 2006).  Welter and Egmon suggested, “Building the continuous process of change readiness on deeply held, sustainable principles”.   Unfortunately, some leaders’ inability to accept their social responsibility may be a result of historical factors that influence their behaviors; whereas, previously learned behaviors, formal training, and orders from superiors are often established to confront current and future business predicaments, skirmishes, and opportunities.

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Critical Thinking and Deconstruction of Leadership Assumptions (Part II)

October 21, 2011 Dr. Johnny Magwood - Guest Author

Example of Executive Leadership’s Politics at Work

Understanding executive politics is vital for personal career success and downright survival.  If we would carefully observe and examine the dynamics of our executive team, we would discover that they are accomplished individuals who apply their skills and talents to advance the business – everyday.  One useful method relative to navigating the C-Suite environment is to have an astute understanding of self and how you are perceived by your peers.  Your boss is essentially interested in your performance, stellar interpersonal skills, and how well you interact with peers; those who possess strong personalities, in a demanding business environment.  As we reflect on executive decision quality, however, we may conclude that our decisions are fundamentally good.  However, let me share an example of poor decision quality vis-à-vis a specific company’s rollout of a new market based compensation program, which generated a social shock to and within this particular company.

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What Happened to Wisdom?

October 12, 2011 Richard Levin

We need leadership; leaders who lead; government; Occupy Wall Street; Obama; Democrat; Republican

Before the last Presidential election, Barrie Greiff and I wrote a Boston Business Journal column about the disappointing lack of wisdom displayed by the candidates for President.  Sadly, not much has changed on the political landscape, and the situation may be trending toward a disturbing disconnect between wisdom and leadership.

Wise leadership is dependent on the vision of a transformative leader.  We don’t have transformative leaders in Washington, in part because they are busier knocking each other down than explaining to us what they stand for and what they would do differently.

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Who Is Harold Leavitt … And Why Should You Care?

October 3, 2011 Meghan Vincent

Harold J. Leavitt's Diamond Model for Analyzing Management Change

The late Harold J. Leavitt was a pioneer in the development of the academic field of organizational behavior, a management expert with degrees from Harvard, Brown and MIT (undergrad, graduate, and doctorate, respectively) and a highly respected college professor (University of Chicago, Carnegie-Mellon University, and Stanford).  And, in 1965, he gave to the world his model for analyzing the impacts organizational change.

Through this model (known as Leavitt’s Diamond), Leavitt demonstrates that each element of an organization’s system – people, goals/tasks, structure and technology/processes – are interdependent.  In other words, changes made to any one of these four elements cannot and will not occur in isolation.  Rather, a change made in any one area of your organization will impact the entire system.

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Crash and Burn: Bad Leader, or Set Up to Fail?

September 26, 2011 Richard Levin

Leaders Set Up To Fail

I was recently asked to advise on a situation in which a senior executive, new to the company, was spiraling downward in his performance.  The executive had been pre-screened by a global search firm and was interviewed by an internal search committee representing numerous corporate functions.  His references were stellar, his executive presence superb. Six weeks into his new job, nearly all of his colleagues and direct reports were in agreement: the hire was a misfire. What went wrong?

The most common response is that the company and its search firm missed something in the executive’s profile, and the executive fell short of expectations.  Our tendency is to focus on what the leader did “wrong”; maybe he failed to engage his team, perhaps he didn’t have great communication skills, possibly he could not articulate his vision or spark people’s (or his own) imagination. In this scenario, the leader’s team is typically presented as competent and well-intentioned, ready to be motivated and inspired by the “right” leader.  The team sees itself as eager and hungry for exceptional leadership, and feels the new leader let them down.  The outcome is a situation in which the leader and the team co-generate an escalating spiral of underperformance, frustration, and anger.

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Brand New Look and Feel

September 7, 2010 Richard Levin

In baseball, they call it Opening Day.  On Broadway, it’s Opening Night.  Here in the Blogosphere, we’ll simply call it our Grand Re-Opening.  After 5 years with the same logo and annually-tweaked website – and after 25 years in business – we thought it was time for a bit of a re-packaging: more than a facelift, but less than a reinvention.  We’ve grown a lot in 25 years, most of it incremental.  But now it feels like we’re about to take a Richard Levin & Associates, Leadership On Point, executive coaching, coachesquantum leap.  We’re certainly not the only ones jumping on the digital bandwagon; it seems like everyone and everything is moving forward at the speed of light.  But we may be the first in the executive coaching and leadership world to embrace a variety of new opportunities that will likely change the way we all live and work.  In the weeks and blogs ahead, you’ll be reading posts here by a variety of distinguished authors who will tell you about our entry into the world of e-care (with our strategic healthcare partner, SAP, the world’s largest business software company), digital media (with our partners, Buzzards Bay Productions and ExStream Solutions), and social media (we are launching a new coaching & consulting division to help businesses make the most effective use of new media).  It is an exciting time for us here at RLA – and our new logo, new tag lines (Lead by Example, and Leadership on Point), new blog, refreshed website, and new services will make workplaces better places to work and make families, communities, and schools stronger.  Please join us!  We want to hear from you.

 

 

Written by Dr. Richard Levin, President of Richard Levin & Associates. He can be reached at rlevin@richardlevinassociates.com.

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