I want to tell you a story about two leaders I worked with back when I was a management consultant. They were peers and senior leaders in the same company. Both were in similar roles and in charge of very large teams. We will call them James and Richard. Made-up names, for sure, but their story is very real. In fact it is a story that I saw regularly played out in clients across the world. The story doesn’t end happy or sad, but billions of dollars were lost and I learned a valuable distinction about success in business that I want
About 18 months ago I was feeling pretty good. My team at work was doing well and creating massive impact. We enjoyed the respect of both the business leaders and our peers in HR. Business schools and professional groups were seeking our input for lectures, case studies and guidance. I had more opportunities to co-author books, lecture and research than I had time for…and the headhunters kept calling. Not only were they calling me…but everyone on our team. Like sirens of the lake, each call promised the riches of fame and fortune.
It couldn’t get any better. As they say down
You’ve gotten this far in your career without having to ‘tweet,’ ‘post’ or ‘like’. Why bother? It’s just a fad and things will soon change again. Won’t they? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
Unfortunately, I know many senior leaders and ‘rising stars’ that think like this.
Richard Nixon failed to recognize the power that the new medium of television could have and it played a significant factor in losing his first bid for the White House. Could you be making the same mistake? In the early 1990s thousands of high performing and ‘high potential’ business, scientific and engineering leaders found their
You are getting an executive coach (Hooray!) Or, you may already have one. But, could your coach actually cause your career more harm than good? Are you aware of the danger signals of executive coaching?
It’s commonplace these days for a leader to have a coach. In fact, at more senior levels, they may have more than one. Coaches seem omni-present in today’s workplace but many people will spend more time planning a vacation or buying a car than evaluating the credentials of someone who will be giving them guidance for their work or career. Is this you? If so, you
I love rebels. I admire those leaders who can see a different future and are able to pull it into the present. They play by their own rules. They don’t conform to status-quo or dogma. Yes, I still get goose bumps when I watch the ‘Here’s to the crazy ones…’ commercial from Apple.
Here’s a shout out to a leader who thinks differently – Bordeaux winemaker Jean Gautreau. I think there are several important lessons we can learn from his success.
In 1969 Sociando-Mallet was a forgotten and derelict property on Bordeaux’s Left Bank. Over the past five decades, through considerable expansion
I am only one of two corporate psychologists I know of who has worked at the bottom of a coal mine, let alone one in a remote part of Africa. There I learned three important lessons about decision-making, teams, leadership and social impact.
I place a high value on rolling up my sleeves and getting out in the field to actually see customers and products in action. If I didn’t, I would become distanced from reality
I once had a client in the mining industry. While working out in the field with some of the leaders, my colleague Bill and I had
Have you forgotten your ‘why?’ Have you lost the plot?
All too often management consultants and HR professionals get so caught up in the day-to-day delivery that it’s easy to lose sight about what’s really important. We know that ‘strategy’ is important but it’s as if the tactical ‘getting stuff done’ becomes so overwhelming that we miss the real reason we are there in the first place. Sometimes, the strategy and tactics will diverge so completely that it’s impossible to reconcile them in any reasonable manner.
There are no universal laws of business, management or leadership that work everywhere around the world
I could hear it in their voices as they described their work and personal lives.
I could see it on their resume in their list of education and experiences.
They had “arrived!” They had reached a pinnacle in their career … but their story didn’t have a happy ending.
Earlier in my career I was, for lack of a better term, a “hired gun.” A management consultant conducting leadership assessments for companies being sold, bought or undergoing large-scale transformation. I travelled the globe writing leadership profiles on senior executive talent across a variety of industries.
After conducting hundreds of these I began to notice