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Newswire: 3 Leadership Lessons from Mars, Inc.’s CEO Grant Reid

Mars, Inc. is more than a candy company. They produce pet care products, coffees and teas, and other food and nutrition products. Mars started in 1911 in a kitchen in Tacoma, Washington with Frank Mars selling hand-dipped chocolates. Now, more than 100 years later, Mars has become one of the world’s largest privately-owned family businesses, doing more than $35 billion a year in business.

Mars CEO and President Grant Reid believes in self-development and having a healthy curiosity in order to be agile and to stay relevant. As a privately owned business, while they have the freedom to stay aligned with their values, it still requires constant vigilance.

Here are three lessons we can think about from Grant Reid’s interview with Bloomberg Businessweek Editor Joel Weber.

Leaders Invest for the Long-Term

What are the advantages of working for a 100-plus-year-old, family-owned, privately held, secretive business?

The fact that I can sit down and talk to family members. It is their business, and they really care—about the brands, about our associates. That’s a big difference. They take very little out. They reinvest in us. They reinvest in the consumer. That’s one big difference in terms of the dividend level vs. some other companies. It’s their approach and their love for the business. My job is to make sure that I’m setting us up for the next 100 years. To do that, you need a vibrant company that’s growing, that’s bringing in the best talent.

Leaders Project Their Purpose into the Future

You mentioned Mars is about a $35 billion-a-year business. What do you want that number to be, and how do you get there?

We think we can double it in the next 10 years. We’ve grown several billion in the last couple of years. But it’s not just about growth for the sake of growth. Part of what we do is for higher-order purposes: The way we do business today creates the world we want tomorrow. We believe we have a sustainable generation plan. We believe the bigger we are, the more good we can do. But it’s not just about being big. Performance without purpose is meaningless. Similarly, purpose without performance isn’t possible. It’s that magic combination.

Leaders See the Big Picture

As a business leader, what advice would you like to give to President Trump?

It’s not about giving advice. We tend to stick away from politics. We’ve been in business 100 years. We’ve seen regimes change over time. We’ve seen a lot of politicians, not only in the U.S. but all over. We’re in 80 countries, with 450 sites around the world. We’ve been through two world wars and multiple regional wars. It’s not about politics. If you look at our business—our associate base, our customers, and our consumers—some are Republican, some are Democrat. So it’s not about politics. My advice would be “Guys, let’s think about what’s right for the consumer, what’s right for the country.” Put it in a broader perspective. Treat everybody with respect just like we do at Mars. Have a sensible discussion. Come up with a solution.

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Leader as Strategist Kotter on Urgency

Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:54 PM
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Newswire: Creative Artists Agency Managing Partner Rob Light

    Billboard Magazine interviewed Creative Artists Agency Managing Partner Rob Light on the occasion of their 35th Anniversary. I’ll share a couple of his responses:

You began working at CAA when you were in your mid-20s. What did you learn from CAA founder Mike Ovitz?

Mike was so prepared, so smart, so strategic. Nothing was haphazard. You never went into a meeting that you weren’t prepared for. I was just so impressed with what went into that because rock’n’roll is sort of off the cuff. He was incredibly team-oriented. I would watch in meetings the way he would get people to talk and reveal themselves and their dreams and their desires, and how we worked that into a strategy.

How important is diversity to you?

There has never been a barrier to entry here. I want great individuals. But I also want people who wouldn’t normally get an opportunity in the first place. This agency has done that in both our human resources department and summer intern program. When you aggressively try to do it, you open your eyes to a slightly different thing. We’ve made a real effort to do that. I think [we’re in] a better place for it.

Light also takes pride in CAA’s developing from within culture:

I don’t think you can duplicate this anywhere else. It’s cultural. It’s not bricks and mortar. I believe—and it’s not false modesty—that if I left tomorrow and Darryl Eaton were sitting here or Mitch Rose or Rick Roskin or Emma Banks this place would keep humming. Because we built it in a way that that’s what it’s supposed to be. It’s a very special place.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:35 PM
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Newswire: David Gergen Interviews Robert M. Gates

    David Gergen offers a short interview with Robert Gates in Parade magazine. He notes that, “As the former president of Texas A&M University, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates holds a solemn distinction among top federal officials: He is the only man in America to have signed the diplomas of young college graduates, then signed orders sending some of them into combat, and then signed letters to their families saying they weren't coming home. Consequently, he considers himself responsible for the lives of U.S. troops ‘as though they were my own sons and daughters.’”
  • A Legacy of Leadership
    by David Gergen, Parade

    David Gergen: You take their nurturing very seriously.

    Robert Gates: These kids are the next great generation. But how do we avoid suppressing them when they come back to a desk job after the war? I'm trying to instill the importance of independent thinking and moral courage. If you see something that needs to be fixed or done better, persist—respectfully, loyally—but don't give up. So much of leadership training is about team-building and collaboration. I say, "That's all very important, but there will come a time when you will have to stand alone and say, 'This is wrong' or, 'This is my responsibility—I don't agree with you, and I'm going to do what I think is right.'"
Read the complete interview in Parade.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:32 AM
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The Purpose of Business is to Win Respect


February 22, 2010 The Purpose of Business is to Win Respect
by Michael Skapinker, Financial Times

In his column, Michael Skapinker asks what is business actually for? He makes the following case for respect:

Some are lucky enough to fulfill the highest of Maslow’s needs, self-actualization, at work. All sorts of people find true fulfillment at work – software developers, recording artists, even auditors. But it is a lot to ask from a job. Others, perhaps most people, hope for work that is reasonably interesting, and indulge their true passions – singing, hiking, wine-tasting – on the weekends.

The best businesses are good at providing a sense of belonging. But belonging can be transient. Businesses succumb to competition and disappear. Or technological innovation makes them redundant. No doubt the photographic darkroom was a companionable place to work; so was a travel agency. There is less need for them now.

I suspect it is Maslow’s second highest need – respect – that people most crave from work: respect not just from their colleagues but from the world … and it gets us closer to what business is for: making profits and serving customers by doing something we can be proud of.

You can find the complete article on the Financial Times web site.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:02 PM
| Comments (0) | TrackBacks (1) | General Business , NewsWire


Newswire: 10 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2010

    One of the world's leading trend firms, trendwatching.com, has released their report, 10 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2010: Ten trends that will help you to come up with some winning new products and services in the coming year. Below is an overview. You can see a more detailed report on their web site.

   10 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2010
   by TrendWatching.com
  1. Business As Unusual | Forget the recession: the societal changes that will dominate 2010 were set in motion way before we temporarily stared into the abyss.
  2. Urbany | Urban culture is the culture. Extreme urbanization, in 2010, 2011, 2012 and far beyond will lead to more sophisticated and demanding consumers around the world.
  3. Real-Time Reviews | Whatever it is you're selling or launching in 2010, it will be reviewed 'en masse', live, 24/7.
  4. (F)luxury | Closely tied to what constitutes status, which itself is becoming more fragmented, luxury will be whatever consumers want it to be over the next 12 months.
  5. Mass Mingling | Online lifestyles are fueling 'real world' meet-ups like there's no tomorrow, shattering all predictions about a desk-bound, virtual, isolated future.
  6. Eco-Easy | To really reach some meaningful sustainability goals in 2010, corporates and governments will have to forcefully make it 'easy' for consumers to be more green, by restricting the alternatives.
  7. Tracking & Alerting | Tracking and alerting are the new search, and 2010 will see countless new INFOLUST services that will help consumers expand their web of control.
  8. Embedded Generosity | Next year, generosity as a trend will adapt to the zeitgeist, leading to more pragmatic and collaborative donation services for consumers.
  9. Profile Myning | With hundreds of millions of consumers now nurturing some sort of online profile, 2010 will be a good year to help them make the most of it (financially), from intention-based models to digital afterlife services.
  10. Maturialism | 2010 will be even more opinionated, risqué, outspoken, if not 'raw' than 2009; you can thank the anything-goes online world for that. Will your brand be as daring?
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:31 AM
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Newswire: Our Leadership Today

    I would like to direct you to some good weekend reading. Financial Times columnist Stefan Stern, writes about the paradox of managing change. Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, writes about how leaders are not offering a new path, they are only offering old paths and its effect on society. And finally, in the U.S. News & World Report, David Gergen reflects on our leaders and suggests that if we can retain the spirit of the early republic, giants may walk among us again.
  • Failing to Cope With Change?
    by Stefan Stern, Financial Times

    Stefan Stern shares a comment from a chief executive of an engineering business that had led a vigorous turnaround of a failing company. He said that once a company has been stabilized it can be much harder to make progress, to go “from good to great”, in Jim Collins’s popular phrase. “People no longer see the need to change,” he argued. And the longevity of some employees can become a problem. They have seen it all before. They know how things should be done. They have nothing left to learn and no reason, they believe, to start doing things differently.

    Another executive commented: There was also a difficult balance for leaders to strike, he said, between “being yourself”, revealing all the different aspects of your personality, good and bad – important in winning trust – while remaining convincingly in charge. You have to be honest about the things you do not (and cannot) know, while trying to create as much “predictability” as you can. “You try to explain that things are changing. But people still crave stability,” he said.

  • We're Governed by Callous Children
    by Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal

    We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.

  • The National Deficit—of Leadership
    by David Gergen, U.S. News & World Report

    That the leadership deficit now seems so chronic suggests that the problem goes deeper than the quality of the individuals who come to power. There is something in the culture that makes leadership even tougher and more perilous than it should be. Why, asked Thomas Jefferson, did the American Revolution create a budding democracy while the French Revolution—coming at virtually the same time and with similar values—ended in tyranny? The answer, he thought, could be traced as much to the quality of the followers as to that of the leaders: American citizens were more accustomed than the French to responsible self-government.

    Our leaders today are discovering, with a vengeance, how much followers matter.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 05:45 PM
| Comments (0) | NewsWire


Newswire: Leaders as Learners and Teachers

    Steven Spear, author of The High-Velocity Edge writes, "In a commoditized world, the essence has to be developmental, not transactional. Develop and discover great opportunities and learn to exploit them."

For me the key word there is "learn." As leaders, we have to enable others to learn while being eager to learn ourselves. It is an adaptive mentality as opposed to a fixed mentality. It means improving our perception as we tend to see and therefore learn things that fit our view of the world and the future.
  • Leadership and Innovation in a Commoditized World
    by Steven Spear, HBR: Now, New Next Blog

    When interviewees at Toyota were asked to describe the best leader they had ever encountered, no one mentioned the leader who was a visionary, the one who made a tough call, the one who out thought everyone else. Instead, there was always a story about some leader who took the time to teach someone else how to learn faster, better, and with more certainty, and to teach others to do the same. One friend described an interaction with Fujio Cho, former head of Toyota, visiting a plant and gently chiding people for too much attention to accomplishments and too little on struggle points. If he didn't know what was difficult for them, he was reported to ask, how would he know where he could be of help?

    Then there was Norm Bafunno, who as part of his daily work running Toyota's Indiana plant, visited the many projects being conducted continuously. For all the discussion about what was tried and what was accomplished, he concludes with the quintessential Toyota leader question. Not, "what did you accomplish?'" but "what did you learn?"

    And that is the essence of what a leader has to do in any innovation-driven organization. Not tell people what to do but constantly challenge them to identify challenges and obstacles, investigate their source, develop and test solutions, all the time asking: "So, what did you learn from the experience and how can we put that learning to good use?"
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:01 AM
| Comments (0) | Creativity & Innovation , NewsWire


Newswire: The Evolution of Military Leadership

    Friend and colleague Karl Moore (McGill University) interviews U.S. Army Commanding General Martin Dempsey on how the military is moving toward a model where trust is a currency more valuable than control. Here are a few excerpts:
  • Leadership Lessons From a Four-Star General
    by Karl Moore, The Globe and Mail

    The essence of leadership, and the way you interact, the way the leader interacts with the led, has remained fairly constant, it seems to me. But, ... the environment has become so much more complex, and that's the big difference I see, in the challenge we've got in developing our leaders – to deal with that complexity and uncertainty, in a way that I didn't have to until I probably became a colonel.

    We think our more likely threats we'll encounter will be networked. And we have a phrase, that "to defeat a network you have to be a network." So, I think where we're heading is to more trust than control. And we have been the quintessential hierarchical organization. And, in that capacity, leadership will move around the table. Now, we'll always have our rank structure. We'll always have our disciplines. But I think that you will see us evolve into an organization where trust is as much the coin of the realm as control is.

    There's a very deliberate process where we take concepts and turn them into requirements, and requirements and turn them into resources. And that has to happen in a hierarchical fashion, so that the government can continue to function. And we have to “nest into” that process. So, at the Department of the Army level in particular, there will always be a hierarchical structure that essentially allows us to compete for resources based on concepts and requirements. But, below that, I think, absolutely we are seeing that there's real potential in decentralizing.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:59 PM
| Comments (0) | Management , NewsWire


Newswire: Herbert Hoover and His Times

    The following is from the American Heritage magazine Summer 2009 edition and is excerpted from Herbert Hoover (The American Presidents Series: The 31st President, 1929-1933). It is a good analysis of Herbert Hoover’s time in office.
  • The Wrong Man at the Wrong Time
    by William E. Leuchtenburg, American Heritage Summer 2009

    On March 4, 1929, Herbert Hoover took the oath of office as the thirty-first president of the United States. America, its new leader told the rain-soaked crowd of 50,0000 around the Capitol and countless more listening to the radio, was “filled with millions of happy homes; blessed with comfort and opportunity.”

    He spoke in a monotone, but his words were oracular. “We are steadily building a new race, a new civilization great in its own attainments,” he claimed. “I have no fears for the future of the country. It is bright with hope.” One assertion more than any other articulated the theme of his inaugural address: “In no nation ‘are the fruits of accomplishment more secure.”

    Through much of his term, critics would fling those words back in his face. He had been, in the phrase of the day, asking for it. “Never in American history,” observed a journalist in 1932, “did a candidate so recklessly walk out on a limb and challenge Nemesis to saw it off.

    Hoover believed that the country was going through a short-term recession much like that of 1921, and hence that drastic remedies were not required. Businesses continued to report year-end profits; the stock market recovered by several points; and, in contrast to past panics, no large bank or corporation had collapsed. Hoover has been roundly criticized for not realizing that the stock market crash signaled the onset of the Great Depression, but no one else—including liberals—had any perception that the slump would last over a decade.

The president had no sense of how to reach out to a desperate nation. Hoover, observed Sir Wilmot Lewis, Washington correspondent of the Times of London, “can calculate wave lengths, but cannot see color. . . . He can understand vibrations but cannot hear tone.” The biographer Henry Pringle wrote that Hoover didn’t use a single gesture when speaking in public but read with “his chin down against his shirt front—rapidly and quite without expression.”

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:22 AM
| Comments (0) | Leaders , NewsWire


Newswire: Making Management a True Profession

    May 4, 2009    "Unless corporate leaders take charge of their fate, government will become more and more a master" asserts David Gergen. He believes we can start by creating a true code of conduct.
  • How Business Can Stand Tall Again
    by David Gergen, Fortune
    Embrace the concept of corporate management becoming a true profession. Two professors at the Harvard Business School, Rakesh Khurana and Nitin Nohria, are advancing an idea envisioned in the early days of industrial growth - that management should become a true profession like law or medicine, with a code of conduct, commitment to social responsibility, and professional boards of enforcement. Their efforts represent the beginnings of what must become a longer, deeper conversation about a new social compact between corporations and society. Our worst business leaders did indeed play a role in creating this mess. Now it is apparent that our best business leaders - and there are many out there - must step up and forge a path forward.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 01:07 PM
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Newswire: How To Seize the Upside of the Downturn

    FINANCIAL TIMES, April 16, 2009: Donald Sull, professor of management practice in strategic and international management, and faculty director of executive education at London Business School, has written a piece for the Financial Times on why some business leaders do better in troubled waters than others. Below you will find a few key points.
  • How To Seize the Upside of the Downturn
    by Donald Sull, Financial Times

    • In a recession, companies can accelerate organisational change, take share from rivals, acquire resources cheaply and outmanoeuvre rivals.

    • Explore anomalies to identify opportunities. Unexpected events signal a gap between strategy and competitive realities. By exploring anomalies, managers can spot opportunities others miss.

    • Collect “Rush” data – information that is real-time, unfiltered, shared across the organisation and holistic enough to provide a multifaceted view of a complex situation – to spot threats and opportunities.

    • Be agile. Rather than trying to predict an unknowable future, build an organisation capable of seizing unexpected opportunities as they arise.

    • Execute by commitments. At its heart, an organisation is a dynamic network of commitments up and down the chain of command, across units and to external stakeholders. Cultivate and co-ordinate commitments to execute in a systematic way.

    • Use simple rules for a complex world. Rather than match market complexity with complicated strategy, apply a small number of heuristics to critical processes.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:02 AM
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Newswire: What the French Revolution Can Teach America

    An interesting viewpoint from Dominique Moïsi, visiting professor at Harvard University and author of The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation, and Hope are Reshaping the World
  • What the French Revolution Can Teach America
    by Dominique Moïsi, Financial Times

    French Revolution
    “Eat the wealthy.” The ferocity of the words used by some demonstrators in London on the eve of the Group of 20 summit evokes the worst excesses of the French revolution.

    Of course, America in 2009 is not France in 1788, the year before the fall of the Bastille (the prison that embodied the oppressive nature of the monarchical regime) and the symbolic beginning of the French revolution. The fall of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 has nothing to do with the fall of the Bastille; symbols of wealth should not be confused with symbols of oppression. There is no guillotine around the corner and it would take a lot of imagination to compare President Barack Obama to Louis XVI, or Michelle Obama to Marie-Antoinette.

    Yet as a European living in America – watching news on television every night, talking to friends, colleagues or my students – I sense fear, anger and a deep feeling of injustice reminiscent of the climate on the eve of the French revolution. Just replace bread shortages with foreclosures, aristocrats with bankers, and privileges such as the right not to pay tax with stock options. Add to that support for the king but rejection of many of his ministers, and the comparison looks less far-fetched.

    The problem with the economic team of the new president is that, like the court of the king of France in pre-revolutionary times, it has inherited all the bad reflexes of the ancien régime, mixing excessive sympathy for the outdated logic of the world of finance, which it helped to create, with insensitivity to the emotions of the ordinary people, which it tends to ignore. This sympathy is perceived to contrast with the harsh treatment of carmakers.

    Bankers and financiers have to reinvent not only their trade but also their way of life and, above all, their value system. In the Madoff scandal, just as shocking as the crime of an individual was the behaviour of many of his rich customers, who combined greed with a lack of financial common sense.

    The greed of some was tolerated as long as most of society continued to progress. But today’s combination of fear and humiliation with a deep sense of injustice leads to anger that is potentially irrepressible. The strength of the American republic has been bolstered by the popularity of its new president. This capital should not be squandered on reliance on a media-savvy communication culture. As can be seen so often in history, less is more. The president of the US simply speaks too much.

    Revolution is not around the corner; at least, not in America. But there are lessons Mr. Obama can learn from the French king’s failure to manage dissent. He must not fall prey to populism. His goal is to save the economy, not punish the bankers. At the same time, he must not be seen to have too much sympathy for the world of finance and its excesses or to cut himself off from the suffering of his people. If he fails, the corporate laws of today will face the same fate as the ancien régime rights of yesterday.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:29 AM
| Comments (0) | Communication , NewsWire , Problem Solving


Newswire: The Myth of the Lone Star

    Amid mass layoffs and a deteriorating economy, snapping up star talent is getting easier. But before investing in a marquee player at the expense of the rest of your team, consider this: Stars shine brighter when surrounded by other stars.
  • The Myth of the Lone Star: Why One Top Performer May Not Shine as Brightly as You Hope
    by Boris Groysberg, Linda-Eling Lee and Robin Abrahams, Wall Street Journal

    The idea that you can catapult your firm into the big leagues with one or two top performers is a myth -- one we call the "lone-star myth." The truth is, in the absence of equally talented colleagues, stars probably won't excel at their jobs or stick around for very long.

    High-quality colleagues bring four important things to the table:

    Creating Knowledge: In today's complex economy, even star performers can't master all the levels of expertise needed to be good at their jobs. That's why expert colleagues from other parts of the firm are crucial as sources of information.

    Providing Feedback: Another advantage of high-quality colleagues is that they can be the most astute and valuable sounding boards and critics of a star's work.

    Delivering Products and Services to Clients: In many industries -- advertising, investment banking and engineering, to name a few -- star performers rely on colleagues to position and deliver their product or service to clients. If the client-facing colleagues can't do that effectively, it won't matter how wonderful a star's work is -- it will be for naught. On the flip side, having a high-quality conduit to customers provides stars with valuable market intelligence that can improve their work.

    Enhancing Reputations: Finally, high-performing colleagues can help a star's reputation shine even brighter because clients tend to think more highly of people who work for firms with a track record of excellent work. This is referred to as the "halo effect." In addition to keeping clients happy, the halo effect can benefit stars by creating greater access to resources outside the firm.

    Surrounding a star with other stars is a win-win. They add that “The more stars you have, the better they will perform, and the more likely they are to stick around. To get the best of your top performers, maintain a ‘no-jerks’ policy: Stars who don't play well with others won't benefit you in the long run.” (See Robert Sutton’s The No-Asshole Rule)
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:04 AM
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Newswire: The Cult of Shareholder Value

    The Financial Times is currently running a good series on the Future of Capitalism. “The credit crunch has destroyed faith in the free market ideology that has dominated Western economic thinking for a generation. But what can – and should – replace it?” Below are a few highlights from today’s analysis:
  • A Need To Reconnect
    by Justin Baer, Francesco Guerrera and Richard Milne, Financial Times, March 13 2009

    Long-held tenets of corporate faith - the pursuit of shareholder value, the use of stock options to motivate employees and a light regulatory touch allied with board oversight of management - are being blamed for the turmoil and look likely to be overhauled. "We are in uncharted waters," says Jack Welch, the former General Electric boss who embodied an era when the untrammelled interplay of market forces, domineering chief executives and the laser-like focus on quarterly earnings rises reigned supreme.

    Today, that focus on the here and now is seen as a root cause of the world's economic predicament. "Immediate shareholder value maximization, by itself, was always too short-term in nature," says Jeffrey Sonnenfeld at Yale School of Management. "It created a fleeting illusion of value creation by emphasizing immediate goals over long-term strategies." Even Mr. Welch argues that focusing solely on quarterly profit increases was "the dumbest idea in the world". "Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy," he says. "Your main constituencies are your employees, your customers, and your products."

    Many business leaders object to what they regard as the growing encroachment by the state and other interest groups on their ability to run the company. "If there is a danger in the current situation, it is that we don't know how to exit from this little adventure in socialism so that the private sector can do what it does best - which is to innovate, grow and create jobs," says John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, the lobby group for some of America's largest companies.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:56 AM
| Comments (0) | General Business , NewsWire


Newswire: Presidential Regrets? GHW Bush and Clinton Speak Out

    January 27, 2009 CNN Politics
Today, at the National Automobile Dealers Association in New Orleans, former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton delivered remarks during the general session. When asked about his biggest regret after leaving office, Bush said he now wonders whether he should have tried to get Saddam Hussein to leave office at the end of the first Gulf War in 1991.

CNN reports that he told the gathering, "I've thought a lot about it, but at the end of Desert Storm, the question was should we have kind of kept going on that road to death and all this slaughter until Saddam Hussein showed up and laid his sword on the table, surrendered. And the common wisdom was he wouldn't do that."

But he said a conversation with an FBI agent who interrogated Saddam after he was captured has made him reconsider.

Bush recalled their talk, "I said, 'What if we just say he has to come to surrender, would he have done it?' And this guy said, 'I'm absolutely convinced he would have.' My experts tell me he wouldn't have…. We ended it the way we said we would" as a military success, but noted a cleaner ending "would have been perfect."

Clinton said that his number one regret is that he was not able to persuade Yasser Arafat to accept the peace plan he offered at the end of his presidency that the Israelis accepted.

"If he had done that ... we had had seven years of progress toward peace. We had one year in 1998, the only year in the history of Israel where not a single soul was killed in a terrorist act. The Palestinians had more control over West Bank then than they do today," Clinton said. "And if he had taken that deal, we would have a Palestinian state and we would have had, I think now, normal peaceful relations with Israel and all of its Arab neighbors."

Clinton also said he regretted not doing more to "stop the Rwandan genocide," and succeeding on a new health care plan.

He added "presidents should share freely ... the mistakes they made" with historians, because it teaches lessons. He said he shared problems during the lunch with Obama and the four living presidents, saying, "You want each new president to make new mistakes, not the same ones .... all of us know if you make enough decisions, you're going to make a few of them aren't right."
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 02:12 PM
| Comments (0) | NewsWire


Newswire: Warren Buffett on the Economy and Investing

As part of the Nightly Business Report‘s 30th anniversary, Susie Gharib interviews Warren Buffett. Here are a few excerpts from that interview:

SG: What about the regulatory system, is it a matter of making new rules or simply doing a better job at enforcing the rules we already have?
WB: Well there are probably some new rules needed, but the regulatory system I don’t think could have stopped this. Once you get the bubble going... once the American public, the U.S. Congress, all the commentators, the media, everybody else started thinking house prices could go nothing up, you were creating a bubble that would have huge consequences because the asset class was so big. I mean you had 22 trillion dollars probably worth of homes. It was the biggest asset of most American families and you let them borrow 100% in many cases of the price of those and you let them refi up to where they kept taking out more and more and treating it as an ATM machine.. the bubble was going to happen.

SG: But everybody is saying we need more rules, we have to enforce them, we need to go after every institution, every financial market. Do you think that new rules will do the trick or do we have enough rules that we just need to enforce them?
WB: Well you can have a rule for example to prevent another real estate bubble; you just require that anybody bought a house to put 20% down and make sure that the payments were not more than a third of their income. Now we would not have a big bust ever in real estate again, but we would also have people screaming that you’re denying home ownership to all these people that you got a home yourself and now you’re saying a guy with a 5% down payment shouldn’t get one. So I think it’s very tough to put rules out... I mean I can design rules that will prevent it but it will have other consequences. It’s like I say in economics you can’t just do one thing and where the balance is struck on that will be a political question. My guess is that it won’t be struck particularly well, but that’s just the nature of politics.

SG: This financial crisis has been extraordinary in so many ways, how has it changed your approach to investing?
WB: Doesn’t change my approach at all. My approach to investing I learned in 1949 or ‘50 from a book by Ben Graham and it’s never changed.

SG: So many people I have talked to this past year say this was unprecedented… the unthinkable happened. And that hasn’t at all impacted your philosophy on this?
WB: No and if I were buying a farm, I wouldn’t change my ideas about how to buy a farm or an apartment house or a business and that’s all a stock is. It’s part of a business so if I were going to buy stock in a private business here in Omaha, I’d look at it just like I would have looked at it two years ago and I’ll look at it the same way two years from now. I look at how much I am getting for my money, how good the management is, how the competitive position of that business compares to others, how durable it is and just fundamental questions. The stock market is... you can forget about that. Any stock I buy I will be happy owning it if they close the stock market for five years tomorrow. In other words, I am buying a business. I’m not buying a stock. I’m buying a little piece of a business, just like I buy a farm. And that doesn’t change. And all the newspapers headlines of the world don’t change that. It doesn’t mean you can’t buy it cheaper tomorrow. It may turn out that way. But the real question is did I get my money’s worth when I bought it?

SG: On the 30th anniversary of Nightly Business Report. As you look back on the past three decades, what would you say is the most important lesson that you’ve learned about investing?
WB: Well I’ve learned my lessons before that. I read a book what is it, almost 60 years ago roughly, called The Intelligent Investor and I really learned all I needed to know about investing from that book, in particular chapters 8 and 20 so I haven’t changed anything since…. But you know you don’t change your philosophy assuming you think have a sound one and I picked up I didn’t figure it out myself, I learned it from Ben Graham, but I got a framework for investing that I put in place back in 1950 roughly and that framework is the framework I use now. I see different ways to apply it from time to time but that is the framework.

SG: Can you describe what it is? I mean what is your most important investment lesson?
WB: The most important investment lesson is to look at a stock as a piece of business not just some thing that jiggles up and down or that people recommend or people talk about earnings being up next quarter, something like that, but to look at it as a business and evaluate it as a business. If you don’t know enough to evaluate it as a business you don’t know enough to buy it. And if you do know enough to evaluate it as a business and its selling cheap, you buy it and don’t worry about what its doing next week, next month or next year.

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Newswire: October 28, 2008 Learning from Success and Failure

    Over on professor Michael Roberto's excellent blog, he points to a study that brings out the importance studying both successes and failures than failures along in conducting postmortems.
  • Learning from Success and Failure
    by Michael Roberto

    "As firms study their failures these days, they should be systematically comparing the failures to past successes. Comparison and contrast will protect against spurious conclusions, and it will help refine their lessons learned."
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:49 AM
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Newswire: Keeping Calm in a Crisis


    Business Management magazine talks with Bruce Poon Tip, owner and CEO of G Adventures a Canadian adventure travel company, about staying clam in a crisis.

  • Keeping Calm in a Crisis
    by Ben Thompson, Business Management

    Tip has three recommendations for managing in a crisis:

    People are really important. “Make sure you have the right people actively involved. Usually, it’s not the top management that works day-to-day with the people and the issues involved; get your operations people in the war room, those staff members best equipped to get you through the situation. Identify who those people are and make sure you have them in the room.”

    Transparency is essential. “You have to be as transparent as possible to disarm people because unfortunately in this day and age, the first reaction of modern media is to punch a hole in the story or to find a flaw. And even if there is a flaw, if you’re transparent and put that information out, you’re able to defend it. So transparency is critical.”

    Identify who the leader is. “Managing a crisis situation is about keeping everyone together on a mental level. Everyone’s nerves are on edge, and at that time any kind of weakness in an organization can come out under stress. You have to be able to focus on the task at hand, understand what the goal is and be able to make some really tough decisions under enormous pressure. That’s about leadership.”

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Newswire: Cast Your Vote For Which Presidential Candidate Is the Best Leader

• New Survey Asks Which Presidential Candidate Is the Best Leader

Politics aside, a new survey asks which U.S. Presidential Candidate is a better leader.

mccain obama
Leadership and learning expert Kevin Eikenberry says Americans are voting for more than a politician.

“When Americans go to the polls next month, we are voting for more than who’s the most successful campaigner; we really are casting a vote for who should be the next leader of the free world,” Eikenberry says. “The leadership competencies we’ve identified for businesses, communities and organizations apply equally to the president or any other elected official.

“It's not about traditional party politics. Our entire political system offers a great case study for leaders everywhere,” Eikenberry adds. “There are so many lessons you can learn and apply to your professional and personal life – everything from successful transitions to better communications to strategic relationships and more.”
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Newswire: What Leadership Looks Like

    Leader is a title we throw around too easily. A leader is someone who has earned the title. Leaders earn the title by helping others grow and by helping to become more ready for life's challenges. One of the fundamental indicators of integrity is doing the right thing without the expectation of a payoff or when doing so works against you. Leadership is above all, stewardship. Kim Strassel writes about the hard decisions that often accompany leadership. It's the story of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. Here are a few excerpts:
  • What Leadership Looks Like
    by Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal
    Voting for what's right, not what's safe.

    If political leadership is hard to come by in Washington, it's because it invites political retribution. Just ask Republican Rep. Paul Ryan.

    Mr. Ryan, perhaps the free market's truest friend in Congress, earlier this week voted to help rescue that free market. He hated the Paulson plan, but hated more the economic crash he is convinced will follow inaction. And in casting his "yes" vote on Monday, he knew what was coming: "The easiest thing would be to vote no and go hide in my office and watch the markets collapse. I will suffer politically for this, but I will sleep at night."

    He was right. For his sin of acting to forestall economic mayhem, Mr. Ryan is being pilloried in Wisconsin, where he's in a competitive race. He's been accused of abandoning his conservative principles, of "caving" and "bailing out" Wall Street. He received 3,000 calls last week and wryly notes the "only one in favor came from Hank Paulson."

    Mr. Ryan is now busy sending out charts of Libor spreads to radio talk-show hosts (no joke), intent on explaining the seriousness of the crisis, and hopeful his credibility will see him through. "The best outcome is that [those of us who voted yes] take a political hit but avert a crisis," he says. How's that for leadership?
Read the complete essay online: What Leadership Looks Like
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:53 PM
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Newswire: Lincoln's Leadership

September 25, 2008 • The Daily Free Press Boston University

Dan Seliber, a columnist for Boston University’s The Daily Free Press, wrote a piece today on the standard of leadership set by Abraham Lincoln. Here is an excerpt from a well-written look at Lincoln’s Leadership:2009LincolnCent
You cannot call yourself an educated American without understanding the significance of Lincoln's leadership during a national crisis. This is especially true in light of the moral leadership vacuum that is today's federal government.

You also cannot be an educated American without understanding all of the Founding Fathers' achievements. Without George Washington, there would be no United States of America, let alone one that even minimally functions to this day. The historian David McCullough, speaking about his Revolutionary War chronicle, "1776," said of Washington and the rest of those merry men, "We can never know too much about them," an assessment that also functions as a clever justification to buy his book.

Surely McCullough is correct. The men who built the United States were, indeed, some of the bravest and most brilliant Americans who ever lived. To this day, they remain underappreciated by millions of their contemporary countrymen, in a nation that, as Dan Rather cautioned on Tuesday night in [Boston University’s] Metcalf Ballroom, no longer understands the idea of civics.

Heck, I'm flabbergasted simply by their youth: At the time the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, Thomas Jefferson was 33. John Adams was 40. Washington, commanding the Continental Army, was 44. Alexander Hamilton, writing the Federalist Papers in 1787, was a scant 32. "Founding Fathers" isn't even accurate. "Founding older brothers" is closer to the truth. It recalls funnyman Tom Lehrer's great line, "It's a sobering thought that when Mozart was my age, he'd been dead for two years."

By the same token, we as Americans could never learn enough about Lincoln. I have only just begun Doris Kearns Goodwin's recent biography, "Team of Rivals," but its title alone hints at one of Lincoln's greatest unheeded precedents: When he was elected president for the first time, he chose all the men who had run against him for the nomination-most of whom hated him-to serve in his cabinet as his closest and most trusted advisers. Why? Because he knew they were the smartest and most qualified men for the job, and in such a monumental crisis as the Civil War, personal animosities must be cast aside for the good of the country.
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Newswire: July 14, 2008 Facilitating Organizational Change

    TomMendozaTom Mendoza, vice chairman of NetApp, a storage and data management solutions provider, talked to The Economic Times about facilitating organizational change.
  • Change Is All About Leadership and Communication
    The Economic Times

    Mendoza contends that, “Organizations are usually resistant to change because they don't have a perspective on why they need to change or what the benefits of change are (or the risks of not changing). Change is all about leadership and communication and often needs new individuals in key areas to lead it.

    “A key to successful change is communication and recognition. Assuming that employees have pride in the organization and want to see it succeed, change can be continually implemented. Most successful change involves people at multiple levels being involved in the planning and communication process.

    ”The benefits of the change should be measured and shared along with the recognition of people and groups who have done the most to achieve the results.”

    More than technology, “The human element dwarfs others when discussing change. Leadership, communication and recognition throughout the process are essential for changing behavior.”

    You can find the complete interview at The Economic Times.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 07:59 PM
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Cast a Vote For the Best Leadership Blog

Best Leadership Blog 2008

Kevin Eikenberry's 2nd annual Best of Leadership Blogs competition is underway. This blog has again been nominated as one of the 10 best leadership blogs on the web. Review the other great finalists here.

We appreciated all the support we got last year, so again, if you like what you've been reading here, then cast your vote for the Leading Blog by July 31. The 2008 winner will be announced August 4 on Kevin’s Blog and in his weekly newsletter, Unleash Your Potential.

As a bonus for participating, a randomly drawn voter will be given a three month membership in the Remarkable Leadership Learning System.

Thanks for the vote!

Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:02 AM
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Newswire: Why Teach Leadership

    Ken Blanchard writes in an article for Forbes, that according to a 2007 Dow Jones MarketWatch survey of international executives, only 24% of U.S. executives agree that an MBA "provides excellent and adequate preparation for a leadership position," Thus, Executive MBA programs must realize teaching leadership at the executive level effectively calls for an approach that places a premium on real-world learning, instead of theory and case studies.
  • Why We Can--And Should--Teach Leadership
    by Ken Blanchard, Forbes, October 5, 2007
    Here are a few of his thoughts on teaching leadership:

    Whether one is born a leader or not, I have no doubt that leadership can be taught. And, most importantly, it can be learned. The transformation of EMBA programs now focusing on real-life leadership scenarios has taken the degree from a launching pad for success to a simulation of real-world challenges, preparing executives for the day-to-day operation of a business.

    Most business schools tend to jump right to organizational leadership and focus on strategy. Very seldom do business schools get personal with their students and really help them take a hard look at who they are and why they're leading. You can only lead somebody else, a team or an organization, if you have your own act together--effective leadership starts on the inside.

    Successful EMBA programs begin with lessons on self-leadership. Once students understand themselves and develop their own leadership point of view, the next phase of their transformational journey should be leading others.

    When you look at yourself, you gain perspective. When you learn to lead another person, you learn about building trust. Without trust, it is impossible for an organization to function effectively. Trust between leaders and their people is essential for working together. As leaders develop a trusting relationship with people in the one-on-one arena, they become trustworthy. This is great preparation for managing a team. Leading a group is more complicated than leading an individual, because the focus becomes building a community.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:46 AM
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Newswire: Gimmicky Leadership

    Following the recent scandals involving people holding positions for which they are not suitably qualified, Jason Lim, a fellow at Harvard Korea Institute researching Asian leadership models, shared some thoughtful words in an article for The Korea Times. Here are a few excerpts from Gimmicky Leadership:
As we stand in shock, we feel betrayed and angry. Our heroes turned out to be fakes. Yet after all the juicy stories have come and gone, with personal shame buried and forgotten, we need to examine the society that has allowed such people to prosper, so driven by an entitled sense of instantaneous satisfaction, get rich quick mentality, and celebrity culture that being rich and famous at any cost is considered to be the epitome of success. We see everyday the end justifying the means.

Until they are caught, that is. But there are always others to take their place.

Unfortunately, we can’t forget that we are the very authors of such a society. We are part of the problem. Whether it’s lying about academic credentials or plagiarizing, the basic problem is the lack of personal integrity. So, perhaps some of the betrayal and anger should be directed towards us.

Further, it should shame us into making sure that our children are armed with an unshakeable sense of personal integrity upon which to build their lives.

Without integrity and industry, people will produce gimmicks, not real creativity. Gimmicks may be cute, but they don’t have real beauty. Gimmicks may even be novel, but they are never original. Gimmicks can become a fad, but they never last. Gimmicks are merely shadows of the original, visible but not substantive.

Eventually, a culture of gimmicks, like a virus, will infect everyone that it comes in touch with. Such a culture will deprive us of authentic leaders who lead based on the substance of their character.

It will leave us with only those who seek to lead-based just on the appearance of success. Such a culture of gimmicks will cheat our children of their right to earn a full and proud citizenship in the global village that they will live in.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 04:35 AM
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Business Leaders Have Much to Learn From Orchestras, says Nestle CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe

August 17, 2007, Bloomberg

Shirley Apthorp, Bloomberg News critic wrote an article about Nestle's
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe
commitment to sponsor the Lucerne Festival Orchestra through 2010. Nestle SA Chief Executive Officer Peter Brabeck-Letmathe said in an interview, “Abbado is an artist, but he's also a good leader. And one thing that leaders have in common — whether in art, business, or politics — is an ability to be sensitive toward people. You have to have the ability to motivate people to do more. A good conductor can change the sound of a whole orchestra with a glance or a gesture.''
Brabeck once took members of a conference of international Nestle managers to an orchestral rehearsal.

"I had given a talk in which I compared the role of CEO to that of an orchestral conductor,'' he said. "I invited all the managers to sit next to the musicians of a French orchestra during a rehearsal. The orchestra also tried to play for a while without a conductor, so that they could see the difference, and it wasn't long before the whole thing went astray. The quality of a performance depends on what the conductor does.

"There was a lot of discussion after that,'' he said. "They saw that if it is to work, the musicians also have to assume responsibility.''

Accordingly, Brabeck has dispensed entirely with job descriptions at Nestle.

"It would be wrong to write down everything that each job entails,'' he says. "It's a ridiculous idea. People must be able to define for themselves how they can create the most value for the company.''

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:14 PM
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Newswire: Wall Street Versus Main Street

    Bill George former chief executive of Medtronic, professor of management practice at Harvard Business School and author of Discover Your True North, recently made the following comments on PBS' Nightly Business Report:

For the past decade we've had a big problem in the corporate world, but no one will name it. The problem is that many leaders believe they are more responsible to Wall Street than they are to Main Street. But it's Main Street where the customers live and where the money is made.

The only way to create long-term value for shareholders is to create superior value for your customers. That comes from motivating your employees to create great products and superior customer service. But companies whose primary focus is on Wall Street, and meeting its short-term goals, are never going to create long-term value. You simply can't do it overnight. If you don't stay focused on your True North, you'll get buffeted by the winds of change, and wind up capitulating to playing the short-term game.

Unfortunately, many corporate leaders don't have the patience or the vision to do that. They bow to Wall Street, keep shifting strategies, and wind up destroying their value.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:50 PM
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Best Leadership Blogs of 2007

Best Leadership BlogThe voting is now over. Thanks for all of the support. It was a great win-win promotional opportunity. It introduced a lot of new people to these blogs. Thanks to Kevin Eikenberry for putting it together. I met some great people along the way like Jonathan Farrington and Phil Gerbyshak whom I had not connected with before.
Remarkable Leadership

I wanted to take this opportunity to ask you for any comments you might have regarding this blog. What do you like? What could be improved? Leave a comment or E-mail me.

Soon, we’ll have more about Kevin Eikenberry’s upcoming book Remarkable Leadership to be released next month. So stay tuned!

Posted by Michael McKinney at 03:53 PM
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Newswire: The Science of Team Success

    Steve W. J. Kozlowski and Daniel R. Ilgen write that “Given the centrality of work teams, it is more than a bit remarkable how much our society's perspective is focused on the individual. We school our children as individuals. We hire, train and reward employees as individuals. Yet we have great faith that individuals thrown into a team that has been put together with little thought devoted to its composition, training, development and leadership will be effective and successful. Science strongly suggests otherwise.”

“What team members think, feel and do provide strong predictors of team success—and these factors also suggest ways to design, train and lead teams to help them work even better.” They suggest that before we even get started, it would be prudent to ask whether or not a team is what is called for in the first place. Sometimes the work can be done more easily and effectively by an individual.

Their evidence indicates that while practical steps can be taken to improve the performance of teams, it rarely is. Leaders can play a crucial role in developing group skills. For example: "Prior to action, for example, the leader can help set team learning goals commensurate with current team capabilities. During action, the leader monitors team performance (and intervenes as necessary). As the team disengages from action, the leader diagnoses performance deficiencies and guides process feedback. This cycle repeats, and the complexity of learning goals increases incrementally as team skills accumulate and develop. This kind of feedback loop has been shown to reliably improve team thinking and performance."

Read the full article in the June/July 2007 Scientific American Mind or online at: The Science of Team Success by Steve W. J. Kozlowski and Daniel R. Ilgen

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:09 AM
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Cast a Vote For the Best Leadership Blog

Best Leadership Blog

To promote his forthcoming book, Remarkable Leadership (August 2007), Kevin Eikenberry has nominated this site as one of the 10 best leadership blogs on the web.

So, if you like what you've been reading here then go and cast your vote. Voting ends July 6th.

When you have voted, you are automatically entered into the drawing for the Remarkable Leadership Volume 1 CD Set - a package of materials gleaned from the Remarkable Leadership Learning System archives. This 12-CD set includes 6 workshops with Kevin Eikenberry and 6 interviews with renowned experts. This package is valued at over $550!

Thanks for the vote!

Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:34 AM
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Newswire: February 4, 2007 - Ethics

   You've adopted codes of ethics and conduct but apparently no one knows about it. Apparently they can only be found buried on intranet sites where employees have to proactively seek them out.
  • Survey Reveals Poor Ethics And Compliance Adherence
    The survey found that although 99 per cent of companies have codes of conduct or statements of values and principles, only 50 per cent ensured all employees were aware of the information contained in them.

    Additionally, fewer than one in 10 of the respondents expect budgets for compliance projects to increase significantly. More than half believe that conflicts with other business priorities are preventing companies from investing more time in tackling compliance and ethics issues. As a result, it's unlikely that companies will be able to attract suitable compliance lawyers to implementing effective ethics and compliance programmes.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:15 PM
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Newswire: February 25, 2007

    CHICAGO: Stress Eats Up Available Working Memory For Talented People
  • Highly accomplished people more prone to failure than others when under stress
    University of Chicago

    Talented people often choke under pressure because the distraction caused by stress consumes their working memory, research in Psychology has found.

    Working memory is a short-term memory system that maintains a limited amount of information in an active state. It functions by providing information of immediate relevance while preventing distractions and irrelevant thoughts from interfering with the task at hand.

    Highly accomplished people tend to heavily rely on their abundant supply of working memory and are therefore disadvantaged when challenged to solve difficult problems, such as mathematical ones, under pressure, according to research by Sian Beilock, Assistant Professor in Psychology.

    MIDDLE EAST: New Leadership Training Program In Jordan Uses Behavioral Science To Craft Leaders
  • Leadership in Amman is Getting Personal

    According to the Young Entrepreneurs Association, leadership is the hottest item on every trainer’s agenda this year. But while all the others are preaching on how to act like a leader, their new Leadership by Design workshop is teaching participants how to be themselves. This new take on leadership forgets all the MBA theories and focuses on what each person’s unique strengths are, using a personality assessment to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each person’s personality. “It’s about capitalizing on your biggest asset,” says facilitator Zahi Abdein. “We’re all born with certain personal strengths, and if we learn how to make the most of our unique personalities, the sky is the limit to our success.”

    Behavioral science combines psychology, social neuroscience, and several other fields to understand why people make the decisions they do each day. It’s a way of understanding yourself, and predicting how another person will react to certain things. To put that into context, if a leader can predict how a person will act or react to each situation, then that leader can have a great amount of influence on the person. And when it all boils down, that’s the real secret to effective leadership.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:27 AM
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Newswire: February 11, 2007

    On Apologies and Seven Failings of Really Useless Leaders:

  • Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle Political Writer reports on the growing club of prominent public figures who have had to say "I'm sorry" in the glare of very big headlines in Public Figures in 'Sorry' State: Mastering Art of High-Profile Apology a Key Leadership Test
    by Carla Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle
    There's a fine art to the delicate problem of making a public apology—and not everyone navigates the crucial steps to make it effective, said Barbara Kellerman, a lecturer at the Center for Public Leadership in Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She added, there are five simple rules when it comes to the art of a good public apology: Acknowledge your mistake, accept responsibility, express regret, say it will never happen again—and make it fast.
  • The London Times reports on Steven Sonsino's seven failings of really useless leaders in Keys To Leadership Lie Within
    I believe that it is quicker, easier and more effective for us as managers to stop doing the things that demotivate people than it is for us to bolt on radically new techniques from acknowledged inspirational leaders,” writes Steven Sonsino. He identifies “seven failings of really useless leaders”:
    1. Killing enthusiasm through micromanagement, coercion, and disrespect;
    2. Killing emotion by being aggressive, lacking empathy and not supporting work-life balance;
    3. Killing explanation through incomplete or inconsistent communication;
    4. Killing engagement with limited team goals and an insistence on managers dictating objectives;
    5. Killing reward by rewarding the wrong things or doing it in the wrong way, for example, by offering a cash bonus to someone who is not motivated by money;
    6. Killing culture, for example by ignoring differences in working cultures when managing mergers between organizations or by “punishing risk-taking” while trying to introduce a culture of innovation; and
    7. Killing trust by making unfair decisions when hiring or rewarding staff.

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The Neuroscience of Leadership Webinar

    Stephanie West Allen, JD of idealawg informed us of an upcoming webinar sponsored by strategy+business on the The Neuroscience of Leadership. Stephanie also has information on this topic on her blog.
  • On Thursday, November 2, 2006 2:00 pm EST, strategy+business is sponsoring a free one hour webinar on The Neuroscience of Leadership. Description: Change is pain. Behaviorism doesn't work. And humanism is overrated. But management coach Mr. Rock (author of Quiet Leadership) and UCLA neuroscientist Dr. Schwartz (coauthor of The Mind and the Brain) explain breakthroughs in cognitive science and the resulting insights for organizational transformation.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:05 AM
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B-Schoolers Are More Likely to Cheat Than Other Students

    The results of a study on cheating by graduate students were reported by Business Week. In it they found that B-school students are more likely to cheat than their counterparts in other disciplines. This doesn't speak well for the men and women that will soon be given positions of "leadership" in the business world. Honesty isn't something that can be compartmentalized—something you can turn off and on. In any culture, honesty is regarded as one of the most—if not the most—important quality of a leader. Without it you can't lead.
  • A Crooked Path Through B-School?
    by Francesca Di Meglio in Business Week
    Excerpts: "A study released this month by researchers found that B-school students were more likely to cheat, or at least to admit to cheating, than students in other graduate programs. And schools are fighting back, with ethics codes, pledges, and, in some cases, a zero-tolerance policy.

    According to the researchers, 56% of graduate business students admitted to cheating one or more times in the past academic year, compared to 47% of nonbusiness students.

    Most educators agree that teaching aspiring MBAs to handle ethical dilemmas is fundamental because it will determine future practices in real business. Cheating or corruption in the corporate world might offer great results at first, but it will eventually have a catastrophic impact on the bottom line.

    "Without trust, honor, and integrity, business can't function for the long term," says Richard Brownlee, professor of business administration at Darden. And the company's name isn't the only one at stake when you make a poor ethical decision. Whether in B-school or at work, say educators, your reputation is only as good as your actions."

  • Solutions? See these posts on Cheating and Personal Happiness and The Fight Against Cheating from the BizDeans Talk blog.

    Here's a quote from Santiago Iniguez, Dean of Instituto de Empresa Business School:
    "To start with, there is a need of clarifying a conceptual issue. Normally, cheating is considered a reproachable behaviour because, as the Oxford Dictionary explains, cheating is "to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage". However, the first person who loses out is the cheater: first, by potentially exposing one’s personal reputation to be affected, sometimes for life; and second, and more importantly from a personal point of view, for relinquishing all the benefits that bring the learning process. The expression "You are only fooling yourself" springs to mind. We all know the intellectual satisfaction that results from understanding, memorizing, rationalizing and discussing theories, ideas, and concepts. Those who take the shortcut and skip the wonders of learning are giving up a decisive part of personal development that is directly linked—I believe, in line with many philosophers—with happiness."
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:01 AM
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Doublespeak: Do Companies Really Give a Damn? (CSR)

   From the premier issue of Good magazine comes this editorial on the ethics of corproate social responsibility by Jonathan Greenblatt (Co-founder of Ethos Water and a former vice-presdient of consumer products at Starbucks Coffee Company).
  • Doublespeak: Do Companies Really Give a Damn?
    Here are a few excerpts:

    If you read the business press, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the new new thing. At a time when oil conglomerates are "earning" record profits and the dust is still settling from the Enron verdict, social responsibility has become the latest mantra of corporations looking to redeem their public image. It's now vogue for captains of industry to claim they are motivated not only by a desire for better earnings but also by a desire to save the planet.

    Because of such naked deceptions, corporate social responsibility runs the risk of joining other management fads from the ages—in the dustbin. And if treated merely as a cosmetic, it is doomed to fail. The desire to do the right thing must be bound up in the very fabric of a business, helping to guide its efforts to increase revenue or reduce expenses, or else the business will invariably make short-term decisions that drive immediate profits at the expense of good long-term behavior. Authenticity cannot be cooked up after the fact: it must be present from the beginning.

    CSR does not stand for Corporate Spin and Rhetoric. It cannot succeed as a marketing plan to placate critics. Companies need to build brands and implement business strategies that are grounded in an ethical framework. When thoughtful behavior inspires a corporation from the start, the company can win on multiple levels. And when managers throughout the organization are rewarded for putting sustainability first, the company has a much better chance of creating success that serves the needs of all stakeholders.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:31 AM
| Comments (0) | Ethics , NewsWire


Education News from Dubai and India

   A couple of links from Dubai's Gulf News concerning education in Dubai
   and India:
  • Dubai: Unique Chance to Learn About Great Leadership
    Pupils in Dubai secondary schools will have an opportunity to participate in a unique educational, cultural, and scientific competition during the new academic year. The contest is about the book, My Vision: Challenges in the Race for Excellence, by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

    The objective of distributing the book to all secondary schools is to create a healthy competition among pupils and to teach the new generation lessons of "great leadership", said Ahmad Al Attar, Executive Director of the "My Vision, My Future" project.
    My Vision by Al Maktoum

    The book offers a detailed account of the vision that transformed Dubai and the UAE into international hubs for commerce and finance. His Highness holds Dubai up as an example of extraordinary development based on excellent leadership, management, teamwork, and timely decision-making.

    The author, whose personal involvement in the process of development served as the basis for his work, also reflects on the current state of the Arab nation, which he describes as suffering from “a crisis of leadership and management". The book will be released in English in the near future.

  • India: Schools "Must Teach Core Values of Life"
    Anubha Nijhawan, Principal of the Indian Public High School in Ras Al Khaimah, received the Indian national teacher's award. She said cultural values should be given a prime place in schools.

    She believes that traditional values should be revived in schools to enable students to lead their lives with a conscious awareness of their culture. "So that they are able to face the challenges presented to them from all aspects," Nijhawan said.

    In her view, nowadays youngsters are highly exposed to media and it could adversely affect their personalities. "The challenge is to maintain the student's personality. Education has a very significant role in teaching students the core values of life," she added. The world, she said, is changing rapidly and there is a keen need to "deepen the importance of maintaining our culture."
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 06:37 PM
| Comments (0) | NewsWire


September 11, 2006

    September 11th is a tragedy that struck all of us. It caused us to look deeper inside ourselves to see what we had and what we lacked. As any crisis reveals, leadership is something that is built over time and not something you dream up on a moments notice. A lot of character was revealed and developed that day.
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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:35 AM
| Comments (0) | Leadership , NewsWire


Human Resources

Here are a couple of links to articles pertaining to your people:
  • Avoiding the Stress of Generation Why
    Companies are just beginning to wake up to the havoc that the newest generation of workers is causing in offices across the globe. And adapt they must, because it is they who will dominate the workforce for the next 70 years or so. Quote: "Millennials are not looking for career paths - they are looking for life paths."
    From: Management-Issues

  • Waking Up on the Wrong Side of the Desk: The Effect of Mood on Work Performance
    While a lot of research has been done in the past two decades on work-family conflicts, few studies have looked closely at how mood affects workers' performance. Wharton management professor Nancy Rothbard and co-author Steffanie Wilk wanted to find out which mood-altering events have the biggest effect, if any -- those that influence one's outlook at the start of the day, or those that nudge one's mood up or down as the workday advances. Among their key findings: The mood you bring with you to work has a stronger effect on the day's mood—and on work performance—than mood changes caused by events in the workplace.
    From: Knowledge@Wharton

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:29 AM
| Comments (0) | NewsWire




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