Leadership on Point

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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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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No Man Is An Island

September 20, 2011 Anne Etra - Guest Author

The ten-year anniversary of 9/11 has come and gone.

We watched the ceremonies, listened to tearful remembrances from loved ones, considered the fearless, fallen heroes who died trying to help their fellow humans.  We were outraged all over again by the pure hatred of those who carried out this heinous, cowardly act.

Hopefully, we also felt our hearts.

Sadness and anger are exhausting, and they sometimes bring us to a place of quietude, of reflection and stillness.  To achieve a counterpoint to the madness we go within, examining ourselves, our family friends and colleagues, and our place in the sun.

In business – as in other areas of our existence – it’s all about relationships.

Human interactions count – whether dealing with clients, co-workers, staff, suppliers, your audience, or the guy on the corner where you buy your daily coffee.   We rarely act completely alone, and are all in some way intertwined as the world turns.  To achieve our objectives to get through the day or to meet this month’s profit projections we depend on each other.  Yes, at times we must be tough, but a little gentleness and understanding go a long way.

And that includes being gentle with yourself.

In the spirit of cooperation, and operating on the theory that every act of generosity puts a powerful plus against the war on terror,

I offer this free download of 50 Fitness Food and Relaxation Tips

These small gems you can do in the morning, at work, while you eat, food-shop and relax at home will help strengthen your body, sharpen your mind, and calm you down.  This in turn allows you to feel better, and generate the positive energy to successfully play your role in the rich and beautiful interconnected world we live in.

Share them with a friend.

 

 

Written by Anne Etra, President of ETRAwords.com, fitness professional and consultant.  She can be reached at anne@etrawords.com.

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Google’s CEO Discusses the Value of a Coach

June 24, 2011 Richard Levin

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt discusses the importance of hiring an executive coach, noting that having someone to provide perspective and help you to reach your full potential is not an indication that something is wrong.  A coach’s role is, as Schmidt explains, to help the client see him/herself as they appear to others … and to assess if (and how) changes should be made.


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Powerful, Persuasive Book Captures New Reality in Customer Care

May 23, 2011 Richard Levin

Book Review: Wired and Dangerous, by Chip R. Bell and John R. Patterson.

Wired and Dangerous, Chip Bell and John Patterson

I have distinct childhood memories of my grandparents sharing the latest news with their neighbors.  I remember my grandmother tapping on the pipes in her apartment to summon her upstairs neighbor to a conversation.  And I recall my grandfather talking to friends over the back fence, and my grandmother chatting with neighbors across their mutual clothesline strung across their backyards.

We’ve gone from clothesline to online in communicating the latest information.  And while my grandparents had the quaint opportunity to share product and service reviews over the back fence, their customer experiences reached a miniscule fraction of the consumers we can reach today with merely the click of a mouse.

Thus is the premise of Chip Bell and John Patterson’s powerful and persuasive book, Wired and Dangerous.  The title is apt.  Today’s customers can bring a business to its knees by virally spreading a negative consumer review online.  Wired and Dangerous is full of real-life narratives of customers distributing stories about their horrific experiences.  But more than that, Wired and Dangerous issues a siren call to the business world: treat your customers with respect, and you will thrive; treat them poorly and you will lose market share and earnings literally in an instant.

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