They Really Didn’t Want His Opinion

I know many organizations that say (especially in meetings and presentations) they want candor and open dialog.  But this piece from the The Charleston Gazette shows how organizations can stray far from the spirit of candor.  Specifically, how Kaiser Permanente reacted to a scathing email.

Maybe you would say Mr. Deal should tried a different approach.  I guess you could say that, but I think this story says a lot about the cultish nature of some organizations.  See my post on this from August of 2006.  It addresses some of what happened at Kaiser.

I always think giving your opinion is an art.  You have to know the players, know the pulse of the room, know what words to use, etc.  But in the end, if the company only cares about one opinion (their own), then you might be working for a cult. 

Figuring It Out

Caught this post from Jim Logan on “Making Sense of What, Why and How.”  He’s right and I think there is one additional point to me made; how does experience factor in on learning.

Much instruction today comes from our belief that a “discipline” can be dispensed in one swoop (classroom, seminar, etc.).  Reality says, as humans, we’ve all come to learning with a great deal of baggage…good and bad.  This baggage weighs heavy, but we’d never admit that.  For example, a childhood full of criticism renders many ineffective…even for those who have outward signs of success.  We humans are good at wearing masks and playing the game of “I’m OK, you’re OK.”  Ever wonder why many organizations have a leadership vacuum?

Experience will allow the learner to figure out much on their own.  Simply because experience is a very giving teacher.  Sort of like some organizations incenting people when they make mistakes.  Experience will teach you, if you let it, like no other form of education.  Experience is REAL!

Some years ago when my wife shouldered the majority of responsibility in raising our kids, I could be found telling many people how tough a job she had.  I did this out of respect, love and encouragement.  But it wasn’t until I had to take her role (primary caregiver) on that I truly understood what she did and experienced.  It was only through experience that I learned.

What say you?

A New Operating System for Leaders

A couple of days ago I wrote about Google introducing a new presentation software product.  I’ve been thinking; how about a new operating system for leaders-good and bad ones? 

For the good ones it would help them to move to greatness.  For the bad ones…well you decide.  Regardless, we could implant a chip that would guide and control.  It might rob some of creativity, but we’d certainly get better results.

For better or worse we already have an operating system inside us.  I guess the question is are we really listening to it.  The following is a list of traits, temptations, pursuits, etc. that can infect (like a virus) our operating systems:

  • Fear-most people, and I do mean most, are driven by it.
  • Greed-look at most large organizations who are led by counterfeit leaders and you’ll understand.
  • No Vision-if leaders can only see two feet in front of them, then pity the organization that follows their direction.
  • Arrogance-the belief that its all about me…only me.

So what advice do you have for fixing an operating system that is infected?  I’d love to get your insights.

Pointless Power Point

Seen a great Power Point presentation lately?  Seth Godin has an interesting post on "The worst powerpoint slide ever used by a CEO."  When you look at the slide you’ll understand how far we’ve fallen in our use of communication.

Maybe a better version of Microsoft’s application would help.  Google is looking to add a presentation application to their Google Docs and Spreadsheets offering.  ZDNnet has a post on Google’s plans. 

Maybe we need a software program for leaders that have no vision.  Something that would clue them into their people’s real world sensibility.

Being Foolish

This video is from a great speech by Steve Jobs.  It’s Stanford’s 2005 commencement ceremony.  You may have read the transcript, but the visual adds much. 

A very powerful reminder of how limited our time is to get done what we were meant to do.

Don’t give up your dreams…

The Game is Changing

Guy Kawasaki gives us some innovative advice on getting a better handle our prospective managers/leaders.  In his post on LinkedIn and the Art of Avoiding an Asshole Boss, Guy points us to a tool from LinkedIn.

The game is changing.  I’ve been writing about this for some time and things are changing.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re not going to rid the work world of "asshole" managers overnight, but maybe more people are saying they won’t work for someone who fits that description.  This will increase as we move into the coming worker shortage.  I think another factor is that after 9/11/2001 many began to understand the brevity of life.  Who wants to spend a significant portion of their life working for a…

Here are some tips on being a selective potential employee:

  • Be and/or become as valuable as you can.  Be a sought-after free agent.
  • Ask your prospective manager how many books (growth and development specifically)they’ve read in the last year. 
  • Ask your prospective manager if they have a personal growth plan for the year.
  • Ask your prospective manager if anyone follows them besides those they have authority over.  In other words, is anyone following them because of their character and not their position.
  • Stay away from desperation…it kills perspective and focus.

Watch Out for 50

Once heard a great speaker warn an audience about turning 50.  The audience was made up of and directed toward men.  The warning was basically wrapped around the loss of energy and urgency that descends on a person when they hit 50.  He also highlighted the emergence of passivity.  I shutter at the thought of what that says about the majority of senior level executives in America today, but I’ll save my thoughts on that for another post.

This issue is one I’ve observed inside of for-profit and non-profit organization alike.  It usually means the person has settled and has stopped dreaming.  It cripples people in the enterprise and people (usually customers) outside it…not to mention families.

Sadly, our entertainment industry has created a type of drug that perpetuates the problem.  People become more interested in leisure, pleasure and luxury, which deadens the senses.  Senses that are vital in navigating through the entire story of life…not just the first-half.  When we become spectators and audiences, we cease to be interested in playing our part in destiny.

So if you’re 40 or about ready to cross-over to 50, consider evaluating on the following:

  • Start accelerating in all aspects of life (for me that means God, family, my health, friends, passions).
  • Stop pursuing entertainment (television, sporting events, etc.) so much.  Cut it in half and begin investing in your mental, physical and spiritual health.
  • Increase the amount of reading (specifically books) you do.
  • Turn off the information machines (computer, PDA, Blackberry, etc.) for one day every week (Sunday works well for me).
  • Don’t rationalize that you don’t have time.  Your life depends on it!
  • Don’t confuse net-worth with self-worth.  Many people are extremely unhappy because of this mistake.
  • Start dreaming again…keep dreaming if the shoe fits.