I couldn’t agree more with this author’s take on being late. It feels like running late, and last minute cancellations, have become the rule rather than the exception in business. I can’t stand it. I don’t like it at the doctor’s office, I don’t like it in a meeting, and I don’t like it socially either. No matter how you frame it, being chronically late is a selfish act; you are somehow, whether by accident, time mismanagement, or sheer inconsideration, deeming other people’s time and schedules as less important than your own. And it feels as though it’s becoming more and more acceptable and expected when, in fact, it should be becoming less and less so.
One of my favourite quotes from the following Forbes article, listing the realities of what being late really means, is the following.
“Megalomaniacal. While most grow out of this by the age of eight, some genuinely believe they are the center of the universe. It’s not attractive. Note, this is also called Donald Trump Syndrome. Do you want to be compared to Donald Trump?”
I couldn’t have said it better myself!
The next time you are booking that 11:00 am meeting uptown, on the back of a 10:00 am meeting downtown, and thinking to yourself “I’m sure I can make it on time”, take a moment to consider the impact on other people’s schedules if you don’t.
My grandson Spencer is the student council vice-president for his primary/middle school in downtown Toronto. At 12 years old he seems well on his way to running the world, or at least a mere Fortune 500 company, and it is very gratifying to watch him thrive in a leadership role.
One of the student council’s current initiatives is to redevelop the school’s Behavioural Code of Conduct. The current Code is written using negatively based language (i.e. everything students shouldn’t be doing), and student council representatives are working alongside the Vice-Principal to re-word the school’s Behavioural Code into positive descriptors. In other words, describing what someone adhering to the Code of Conduct is doing right, rather than what those who are violating the Code of Conduct are doing wrong.
Interestingly, the process and final product are not all that different from the Competency Models we develop with clients in the “real world” of business all the time. Which begs the question … If a group of 12 and 13 year olds understand the motivational importance of using positive language to help guide behaviour, then shouldn’t all organizations and managers be capable of the same?
Some food for thought the next time you are in a position of providing feedback to your employees or team.
We are nearing the end of what is arguably the largest sporting event in the world; the FIFA World Cup. In the spirit of the tournament I decided to write a quick post linking sports with business deficiencies.
The most talented players only want to play for the right coach with the right system and the right winning culture. In return, frustrated sports fans question whether the loyalty of the players lies with the name on the back of the jersey or the logo on the front. In the future, this same free agent attitude and approach will increasingly be found in the business workplace, where the vast majority of us toil and where the same essential psychology is at play.
The lack of rigorous systems and objective scientific processes in the talent management sphere is only one reason for this deficiency. The other, perhaps even more important, reason is the lack of understanding, poor judgment and the subjective biases that impact our perceptions when it comes to talent spotting and talent management. We all think we are better than we really are when it comes to our people sense.
At the macro level, sustainable performance excellence depends on the willingness of the team to measure its effectiveness in a rigorous manner on a regular basis and with a focus on getting better, not just getting there. In other words, leaders need to understand and accept there are a set of well-known hurdles to cross and a continuing series of ever escalating levels of proficiency to master on the road to high performance team effectiveness. Over and over again, teams make the mistake of setting the bar too low, declaring victory too soon and not pushing hard enough to get through what author Seth Godin calls the “Dip.” This is a concept he explains in his book of the same name, which suggests that leaders need to take stock up front and be both willing and committed to paying the price of hard work and effort it takes to get through the tough times as a prerequisite to earning the right to success.
At the end of the day, the first thing to visibly deteriorate in an executive leadership team is accountability, both individual and collective. It often begins with a loss of trust and respect, but those are often well hidden or even invisible. When lack of accountability rears its ugly head, it typically triggers a decline in credibility, which almost inevitably leads to a relatively quick slide into turmoil, dysfunction and ineffectiveness. High-performance teams never shirk accountability; they tackle it to the ground and demand it of themselves and each other. They master conflict and are not paralyzed by tensions or dissension. They know how to overcome, bounce back and learn from setbacks. They commit to nothing less than achieving total mastery.
Decision Making Intelligence is the second credibility builder and it is the ability to solve problems, resolve issues and come to conclusions that satisfy the various stakeholders and leave them feeling fully and clearly committed to the decision. It is about personal credibility and trusted judgment. In order to be credible, leaders must combine their Emotional Intelligence with a proven track record of superior decision making under a wide variety of circumstances and across a wide portfolio of business matters.
A leader must have the ability to understand and master the complex elements involved in the decision-making process, including the rational and interpersonal components, as well as the divergent and convergent phases. These abilities embody the essence of decision making within what is known as the field of Behavioural Economics. Our current understanding of this science comes from a growing pool of notable experts, such as Daniel Kahneman and Daniel Ariely, who have helped us better understand the mechanics of decision making and the phases we go through as we make business decisions in particular
Together, the powerful combination of Emotional Intelligence and Decision making Intelligence represent the fundamental building blocks upon which leaders develop their legitimacy. In other words, as Barbara Kellerman points out in her book Followership, leaders will not able to lead effectively unless their followers have determined them to be worthy. Legitimacy, defined in this way, is something granted to the leader by their followers. As such, it could be argued it actually puts the followers in control.
The innovation we need to transform our organizations is not developed by digging for the provable facts and empirical evidence hidden deep in the well of our retrospective data banks. It is not the deep analytical source of insight that will somehow help us make sense of the future. It is quite the opposite. Our ability to understand the future will come from the more intuitive, fluid, experimental process of looking forward, visualizing and anticipating the many changes that are just out of sight, around the corner and over the horizon.
Transformational leaders have a certain bold imagination that fuels their creative genius and combines it with a distinctive flair and a rebellious, revolutionary zeal to make something different, and to do so on their own terms. These are the types of leaders who reorder and reshape the pieces of the puzzle to arrive at solutions the rest of us hold in awe and envy. These are the leaders who violently shake the Etch A Sketch® to clear the old image and then proceed to draw a new one.
Throughout history, the truly great leaders have known when and how to pivot when the situation and the context change. They seem to have a sixth sense and know exactly the right moment at which to abandon what is no longer working and comfortably embrace new tools more suited to the conditions they find themselves in. It is part experience, part intuition and part luck, but successfully identifying and then navigating these crucial inflection points is the responsibility of leaders. The average leader can perhaps do a respectable enough job when conditions are normal, but it takes an exceptional leader to navigate confidently in uncertain, uncharted and turbulent waters.
It seems as though the dangerous, pivotal moments of transformational change have been presenting themselves with increasing frequency in recent years. The more interconnected global economy, rapid technological advances and constantly evolving social, political and demographic changes have all come together to alter the once reliable maps we used to guide us in the post-WWII period. The question that should concern and even haunt us all is why, in the face of these changes, so many leaders, organizations and nations have not been brave enough, vigilant enough or just plain smart enough to switch tack from what may have been right and relevant in one set of circumstances to a new course, better suited to the changing conditions of the future.
A common and all too often fatal flaw business leaders fall victim to is the tendency to focus on the immediate rather than the important. This is especially true when it comes to the really big things and the truly difficult problems in our lives or businesses. Unfortunately, the hidden costs, consequences and risks of distortion, denial and misalignment are like those of an iceberg. They can be ignored or underestimated for a short period of time, but if they aren’t dealt with, the risks will inevitably appear as if out of nowhere and overwhelm even the hardest working, most charismatic and most determined leader.
In organizational life, the leader of a huge multinational or a small independent business has the same set of responsibilities to their customers, employees and community. A major responsibility is to face up to, and deal directly with, the misalignments and gaps that conspire against the ability of the organization to perform at the highest level. Leaders must make it their absolute priority to constantly be on the lookout for the discordant signs and troubling signals that reveal things are not exactly as they should be. This requires a strong inner resolve, confidence and a balanced emotional temperament as find a way to run toward those situations with a solution in hand, not away from them in an effort to avoid conflict.