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03.14.13

quickpoint: Learning to Lead

Leading Blog quickpoint Emerging leader, Jonathan Doochin, learned from an early age the importance of reflection and optimism, the impact of mentorship, and the potential of thinking like an entrepreneur. In a book by and about emerging leaders, Passion & Purpose, he shares this on leadership:

Each of us has the capacity to lead. Each of us, likely, has also shied away from leadership at times. We’ve been told we simply don’t have what it takes—the intelligence, the charisma, the genetics—and, too often, we’ve listened. Increasingly, however, there is more awareness among young people that all of the mysterious qualities that once defined “leadership” are not inherent, but eminently teachable. And a generation defined by increasing interconnectedness and diversity understands better than previous generations that although there are universal principles of leadership, the model for leadership is not one-size-fits-all, but should be individualized as we play to our own strengths and personalities.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:01 AM
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10.23.12

quickpoint: The Long Tail of Talent

Leading Blog quickpointThe labor markets are changing. With the Internet proximity is not an issue. Chris Anderson describes it this way in Makers: The New Industrial Revolution:

"The Web allows people to show what they can do, regardless of their education and credentials. It allows groups to form and work together easily outside of a company context, whether this involves “jobs” or not. And these more informal organizations are much less constrained by geography; talented people can live anywhere and shouldn’t have to move to contribute."

What does this mean? “The new era will not mark the end of the blockbuster, but the end of the monopoly of the blockbuster. So, too, for manufacturing. What we will see is simply more. More innovation, in more places, from more people, focused on more narrow niches. Collectively, all these new producers will reinvent the industrial economy, often with just a few units at a time—but exactly the right products for an increasingly discriminating consumer.”

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:39 PM
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10.26.10

quickpoint: Work With the Willing!

Leading Blog quickpointUnfortunately, in any given office, 20 percent of workers live in a permanent state of resistance. Everyone knows who they are. They walk around looking pained and miserable because their worldview is that the universe is unsafe and that everyone is out to get them. They bring their poor or ambivalent attitude to every task. They get upset if you ask them to move their desks; they get upset if you change their job descriptions; offer them chocolate ice cream and you can bet they would have preferred vanilla. They’re your toughest cases. At their worst, they can be bullies. (Is there someone that works under you that you are a little afraid of? Someone you spend a lot of time trying to avoid, or whose name comes up at your dinner table more often than you would like? That’s who I mean.) At best, they’re inaccessible to you: impervious to criticism and encouragement alike, and too complacent to find another job, they present a real leadership challenge.

Your best performers deserve a disproportionate share of your time and attention, so put aside any anxiety you might have over playing favorites in the office. Work with the willing.

(Adapted from: Reality-Based Leadership by Cy Wakemen)

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:17 PM
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10.19.10

quickpoint: The Trap of “Outside-In” Thinking

Leading Blog quickpointTo achieve an execution revolution, business leaders need to quit thinking only about solving the current problem, but, instead, think about how to build an organization that’s good at solving problems in general—building the capability that’s certain to help overcome an uncertain future.

Today, television, books, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet keep us flooded with information about what’s going on in the world. We become preoccupied with what everyone else is doing, instead of focusing on what’s going on inside our organizations.

Focusing outward makes us good at being reactive, rather than developing the ability to execute well. This is true both individually and organizationally. The Execution Revolution is in fact an internal revolution. A revolution focused on changing the way your organization functions on the inside. In other words, controlling the things we can, to be better prepared for the things we can’t.

(Adapted from: Six Disciplines Execution Revolution: Solving the One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier by Gary Harpst)

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:08 AM
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10.04.10

quickpoint: Getting Out of the Way

Leading Blog quickpoint

Think about this:

Everyone has the potential to perform better
Potential is blocked by interference
Interference can be reduced by focused attention
Focused attention can be simply and systematically increased

Alan Fine writes in You Already Know How to Be Great, that most often dramatic performance improvement does not come from gaining new knowledge; it comes from getting rid of the “interference” that gets in the way of using the knowledge and capacity we already have.

“When managers or leaders become so obsessed with policies, procedures, and their own ways of doing things” they can “become disconnected from results. They begin to micromanage. They divert employees’ attention away from learning and creating and toward trying to remember and comply. What an enormous loss of possibility!” How many times have we seen this (or even participated in it)? “We have to do it this way for the sake of order and consistency.” Really? And what are you sacrificing in the process? Probably far too much. What are we putting in the way of those we lead?

Fine asks, “Was it possible that much of the specific technical instruction I’d been giving my students was not only not helping them but was actually getting in the way?”

Additionally, in our own growth process, we can focus so much on the techniques, the lists, and the steps of leadership that we miss the essence of leadership. The relationships. What is getting in your way?

Related Interest:
  You Already Know How to Be Great

Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:55 AM
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09.22.10

quickpoint: The Perils of the Comfort Zone

Leading Blog quickpointAuthor and pastor C. Neil Strait (1934-2003) once wrote, “The convenient way is not always the best way. It may lead through an avenue of comfort that robs us of integrity. Or it may take us through the tunnel of compromise, where our courage is weakened. And, after all, convenience is such a fleeting thing, but integrity and courage are vital ingredients for living.”

Strait is right. Our comfort zone can compromise us. And if we are not careful, our comfort zone becomes our answer for everything because it becomes the mindset we operate from. Eventually it kills our curiosity, our creativity and our opportunities.

What are you doing for the sake of convenience—because it's easier—that is holding you in unhealthy patterns of behavior and limiting your thinking?

Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:12 AM
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