Wednesday, April 09, 2014

#perspectives14 Leadership Lessons

Dear SkillSoft....
These beanbag chairs are still epic.
We should have those in the morning sessions instead of chairs.

Maybe I'll ask them to drag them in to the session I am giving this afternoon.
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Speaker: Jack Welsh

Innovation and competitive advantage
- Innovation = little steps becomes a big deal

Mindset - reward every little improvement every day.

Find a better way every day - this is a "headset"

"Innovation" scares people
"I can't innovate!  That's for someone else!"
Engage every single person to find a better way.
Then REWARD and CELEBRATE!

Faster accounting system, new customer program, turning screws...

These small things make your company competitive
AND you engage every mind.

"Innovate" - don't wait for the "innovators to innovate"

Praise the small victories.

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Known for candor.
What is the argument for candor in the workplace?
How do you walk the fine line between honest and hurtful?

Candor means searching for the truth.
Not about being rude.

If looking for strategy // tactic - need truth.

Candor about your relationships with your people.

Why don't we reward candor? (This is where I feel like I am really lucky in my org)

"You have no right to be a manager without demonstrating to your people knowing where they stand"

Simple piece of paper.  What are you doing well. Where can you improve.
And they can come back too.

Honest conversations.  Not rude. Not hurtful. Honest.

Get the real stuff on the table.

NEVER let your people come to work not knowing what you think of them.
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Characteristics of effective leaders

EEEEP - energy, excite, edge (make decisions), execute (get the damn thing done), passion (do it with passion, caring)

4 more things (past 10 years)
- Get in the SKIN of every employee.  Sweat with them and make relationships.  Try to understand. (1 to 1 relationships)
   + Today - everyone has same information.  So how do you get everyone engaged?

- Become the "Chief Meaning Officer".  Make it CLEAR why they are there.  Everyone needs purpose.  Give them a purpose.  Where are you going? Why are you going there? Rinse and repeat.

- Be the sweeper.(see Curling)  Get the crap out of the way!  Don't layer in reports / bureaucracy etc.  Let your folks do their job and flourish

- Generosity gene.  People who LOVE to give raises.  People who give credit.  Never steal an idea. Excited to see people grow.  Gotta love to see others flourish.
  - The Employee thieves don't thrive anymore
  - Kissing up and kicking down doesn't work anymore
  - This CAN be learned.
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Hiring - Hiring great people is brutally hard.

Even when we know people, we don't know how they will behave at the next level.

Too often you hire a dud and you hang onto the dud because you are embarrased.
If have a Generosity Gene.  The cheapest money you will ever spend is severence.

Gotta love them as much on the way out as much as on the way in.

Hardest job in the world.
Own your mistake
Be candid
Take care of them 

This will also help build a better organization.
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Differentiation

- Lots of flak on that. 
- "Business is like a game - the team that fields the best players wins."

Baseball teams manage out the weakest people.

Differentiation - unfair if the employees have no idea where they stand and can't grow.
Only works in environment with candor and opportunities.

People don't want to hang out in the bottom 10.
People want to work places where they have a chance to be winners.

If you are candid, open and fair - you will field the best team.

Worst manager - "Kind" person.  "I can't tell them they stink."
- Don't want to surprise them.
- Very cruel to not be honest with people.

You have to field the best team.
T&D - your job is to help build this team.

HR MUST report to CEO.

The job is ALL PEOPLE!
The rest is crap around the thing.

An HR person has to be well-respected,
Training is critical
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A learning organization is the ultimate competitive advantage.
Open to learn from EVERYWHERE.
Have that - you win.
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What leaders need to keep in mind during transition
- Clarify the vision. - Where we are going, WHY we are going there, How are we gonna get there (behaviors), consequences

- "More with less" usually = fewer folks.

- Here is what is in it for you.  Most companies forget that.
Those consequences..has to be in the forefront of any big change initiative.
Change has to be on a personal level.

Don't hide.
Explain what is happening, why it is happening and what is in it for them.

Gotta get under everyone's skin.
That is the game.
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Strategy - to make strategy reality, find the big a-ha

- One objective every day of strategy session
- Get outside the organization
- Get outside the politics

slide 1 - what does the playing field look like.
- nitty gritty. What are the details...Especially about your competitors
- What's going on in the industry.
- Make sure everyone in room knows.

slide 2 - what have they done in the last 12 months to change the playing field
- what did the competitor(s) do.
- Why does the playing field look this way

slide 3 - what have YOU done to change the game.

slide 4 - what are you worried that they might do (may be most important slide)
- How are you taking care of your resources (ie - the person they might steal)

slide 5 - what are you going to do in the next year to change the playing field
- This is the strategy.
- Strategy is not a big book of theories.  Strategy is you and them on the playing field.

Don't get tied up in the charts and powerpoints.

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Speed to Market / Agility / Simplicity

As a leader
- Self-confidence (only self-confident people can be simple)
- Simplicity
- Speed (how fast and agile are you?)

See someone with business-ese - they are playing a game.

When a company is simple and straight-foward, they will be fast.
You will never get that with non-self-confident people CYA.

Speed when people are given the self-confidence to take risks and get out there.
Speed is the winning ingredient.

Go for the damn decision!
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New ventures

In any initiative - the personnel counts more.

Your appointment (who is in charge) speaks more than the speeches.
Wrong people in the positions....you've said volumes about how important you REALLY think it is.

Gotta discern when to bring the company culture and issues to the table and when to respect the local issues.
- That discernment - really important.
- Requires touch
- Requires understanding of culture - destination AND own culture.

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His mentors / influences
- Peter Drucker (named - but lots of them)

Worst idea corporations have EVER had - the "Mentoring Program"
You should see EVERYONE as a mentor!

Pick and choose what you like and need.
Stuff you don't like - ignore it.

If you look to find a better way every day EVERYONE is a mentor.

But - if you are stuck with a mentor that is assigned to you that isn't well liked, you are stuck.

Pick the best and grab it.
But don't get stuck in one person's mold.
That person may be carrying too much of a load for you to deal with.
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The leadership techniques work.
They work in different size companies.

Online MBA - teach on Monday, Practice Tues - Thurs, Return on Friday to share.

Welsh institute - Strayer

Want to promote people within the company.
Using all business practices.
Faculty has a customer.  Customer is the student. Faculty fired when get bad grades from students.

Series of online programs in leadership, change management, strategy.
Partnered with SkillSoft to move these ed programs to companies.
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Learning organization is the ultimate competitive advantage.

If you can get your team to field the best players...you "win"
Doesn't matter if small company of minite.

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Wants to be known for building leaders.
Creating atmospheres where people have fun.

Your job - to make it an environment where people have fun.

(People learn when they have fun)

Performance, performance, performance.

Greatest responsibility - make it exciting for people who depend and count on you.
They really don't care who the CEO is.
They care about YOU.
And you have to care about them
Gotta give them a chance to grow and flourish.

Leadership is like having a garden.
May get some weeds, but fertilize and keep tending.

If work is not fun, shame on you.

Reward systems - find ways to reward people and make sure one of them is NOT going to dinner with YOU.
- They spend all DAY with you.
- Reward on THEIR terms.

Make it fun.
Build leaders.

Get them rich in the SOUL AND the wallet.
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