Tag Archives: transformational leaders

why CEO’s fail

why CEO's fail

I recently revisited an article written by Ram Charan and Geoffrey Colvin entitled “Why CEOs Fail”. It popped into my head one afternoon at the cottage, and after a quick Google search I was able to locate it in the Fortune Magazine archives at the link below. When I looked at the original publish date, I was shocked to realize that it had been published over 16 years ago, in June of 1999. Once I recovered from that, I reread it only to be even more stricken by how absolutely applicable every single word of it is today.

Over these past 16 years, CEOs have continued to succeed and CEOS have continued to fail, just as often (if not more frequently) than during the time this article was written. The players are different now and the article could be republished with updated examples, but it really isn’t necessary, because the fundamental reasons for success and the fundamental causes of failure remain categorically the same.

Charan and Colvin argued that while strategy matters, it simply isn’t enough. Decisiveness and follow-through, effective execution, and an unwavering commitment to deliverables are the key components to CEO success every time. “So how do CEOs blow it? More than any other way, by failure to put the right people in the right jobs – and the related failure to fix people problems in time. Specifically, failed CEOs are often unable to deal with a few key subordinates whose sustained poor performance deeply harms the company.”

It’s no different now. I see this regularly in our work with clients. Let’s face it, relationships are difficult to experience objectively, they are difficult to manage effectively, and often, in business just as in personal life, people can be late to identify when a relationship fails to add value anymore, or worse, becomes a detriment to success. Employee performance impacts execution. Execution drives the success or failure of an organization. Period. And CEOs who cannot see themselves as accountable not only for their own performance, but for the performance of all players in a position to either drive or compromise organizational success, are not going to make it. Relationship blind spots have been the downfall of more than one potentially great, but ultimately failing leader. This is truly the key.

There is far more insight to be taken from this article in its entirety and, 16 years later or not, I definitely recommend a read (or re-read) of this Forbes magazine classic on why CEOs fail!
read here

are your leadership skills outdated?

2015.07.03_are your leadership skills outdated

Utilizing Technology
Understanding the Global Economy
Maintaining relentless Customer Focus
Attracting and retaining Top Talent

The complex skills required to effectively lead a successful organization in 2015 are not the same skills that might have ensured success a few decades, or even a few years ago. The world has changed, the economy has changed, and individuals, from both a customer and employee perspective, have changed. It is imperative to understand the importance of keeping up with these changes in order to thrive as a leader. The article below outlines four modern workplace challenges that cannot be ignored if you hope to lead your organization, or even your team, successfully. While the core components of strong leadership remain the same, it is flexibility, and the ability to deal with changing leadership requirements as demanded by economic and cultural shifts, that can make or break even the most admired executives.

What new or unique challenges do you see facing leaders in years to come?
read the full article here

‘How’ Matters More than ‘What’

People like Roger Martin, Tim Brown and Matt Ridley, have it absolutely right when they talk about the fact we need to fundamentally approach problems and think differently. All of them have suggested, in slightly different ways, that our success as leaders in the future will be determined not by WHAT we do but by HOW we look at the future and whether we can genuinely open our minds to the opportunities rather than shelter behind convention and the status quo.

This extends to the material successes seen in modern innovation. The biggest breakthroughs in history have not been in the ‘What’ we do, but in the ‘How’ we do them. People have always travelled; by foot, horse, carriage and even boat. But now we can travel to places faster by car, train and plane. The act of travelling hasn’t changed; but HOW we travel has!

Faint Signals Matter

Most warning signs are not in your face, flashing wildly in different colours to get your attention. As a leader you have to keep your eyes ahead as well as pay attention to what is happening in your periphery. Often, when a brand loses its lustre or deteriorates, the signs and signals were there long before the demise. What may seem insignificant or ‘normal’ could actually be a warning for troubled times. As a leader you have to take note of these signals and respond. Those vague signals can be tough to see. But if you have your head down these signals become impossible to detect. You cannot be a successful Transformational Leader if you don’t implement a radar system to catch these faint signals.

The Important Role of Dissatisfaction

In the modern organization, the leader must play the active role of chief disorganizer or chief agitator, rather than the passive role of chief organizer. If the top leader is not modelling this type behaviour, it will not be seen as an essential responsibility of the leaders and employees below. Leaders, at all levels, must be encouraged to seek the truth, identify the gaps, call out the misalignments and propel themselves forward with the help of a burning, urgent dissatisfaction with the status quo.

These are times for truly transformational leaders, not bookkeepers, analysts and organizational mechanics whose skills are limited to maintaining the status quo. Transformational leaders, by their very nature, are wired and motivated differently; they operate according to a different agenda. Their core leadership philosophy is deeply rooted in a complex combination of their chronic dissatisfaction with the way things are and a fervent belief that things can be better.

Challenges for the Modern Leader

5 Challenges for the Modern Leader: Understanding and Perspective

This week, I am proposing 5 challenges facing modern leaders, and the respective competencies needed to face each challenge. If you like a specific post, please ‘like/favourite/share’ it. The post with the most amount of engagements will earn a follow up post outlining HOW TO DEVELOP COMPETENCIES RELATED TO THAT POST.

Challenge #3: Understanding and Perspective

The third challenge many modern leaders is to gain holistic understanding of their organizations’ problems. Can they gain broad perspective of problem at hand? Here, focus must shift between a number of problem solving lenses, reducing myopic, and ultimately ineffective, problem solving. When various dots are connected to solve a problem, creativity and innovation often occur.

Moreover, modern leaders must help people in their organizations understand problems. Not only does this ensure a sense of camaraderie against an organization;s problems, it empowers people: by knowing the problems the organization faces, they may have the capacity to help SOLVE said problems.

The competencies needed for understanding and perspective are:

INQ: Innovation Intelligence. This not only entails having curiosity, drive, and ambition within one’s self, but having the capacity to provide the tools and knowledge for a team to have the same drive.

AQ: Ambiguity Intelligence: The ability to cope with uncertainty without freezing. The ability to remain calm without needing to lock everything down.

Interested in how to develop INQ and AQ? Like this post on Facebook or Twitter to warrant a detailed follow up post!