Rules to Being a Really Lousy Leader by Mark Oristano

Rules to Being a Really Lousy Leader by Mark Oristano

Bad leaders have something over the good ones. Bad leaders have much better job security. Why? Simple. They run off anybody who is a threat to them before any damage can be done. Bad leadership is an art form. It’s not easy to make yourself into the kind of leader who nobody wants to follow anywhere. And because this underrated art form and the job security that goes with it are seemingly in great demand… here are Five Rules for Lousy Leadership!

WHAT’S RIGHT IS WHAT I SAY IS RIGHT!

A very simple way to let everybody know, right out of the gate, that there is only one person at the top, and that person is you. Your genius, your organization skills, your foresight and intelligence will take you on to new heights, despite your team’s ineptitude. From the start you simply tell them, “It’s all been carved in stone. I speak. You agree.” It’s amazing how effective a weapon this can be in your Lousy Leadership arsenal.  You ever see those shows about Buckingham Palace, and how the help all stops and bow their heads whenever a royal walks by? Well, that’s how your people will be whenever you walk down the hall. Or, better yet, whenever you burst into a room and yell out, “Who’s working hard today?” Just the sort of thing to make their little hairs on the back of their insecure little necks stand on end.

KEEP THAT GREAT PLAN YOU MADE ALL TO YOURSELF

Somewhere deep in your desk drawer, although you’ve likely forgotten where, there is a copy of the master plan you drew up for the company. Well, the master plan the vice-presidents drew up under threat of loss of parking spaces if they ever deny you wrote it. It’s probably really a pretty good plan. Take the company forward, get everyone on the same page. But it involves a true terror for a Lousy Leader. To implement the plan, one department must know what another department is doing. And you can’t have that. So when you are asked about the plan you say, “Yeah, we have a plan. What great business doesn’t? But if I want you to know what’s going on in another department, I’ll tell you what’s going on in another department.” Quick about face and back to your private dining room.

IT’S NOT A LIE IF YOU BELIEVE IT

Your people know you to be a person of impeccable honor. (Right!) They must trust you because, to a large degree, you never have any interaction with them, so they must believe you are doing the top job just brilliantly. On those rare and unfortunate occasions when you find yourself forced to mingle, at a staff meeting, at the all too rare awards handouts or, god forbid, on Pizza Friday, there is a simple way to let everybody know that everything is alright. When called on to speak, just take the mic, fake that sincere look and say, “People – one thing is always true. You know I would never lie to my family!” Look out over their faces, bask in the warmth of their admiration for you. Quick about face and back to your office, door closed as always.

IT’S VERY SIMPLE REALLY

So many unknowing people think that leadership is a terribly difficult task to master. To get to that seven-figure salary level must take years of climbing the ladder, finding a mentor, and so on. However, you know the truth is that even though others helped you out (now and then) you made the climb on your own. There’s nobody to thank when they come to interview you for Forbes or Fortune. All the admiration is aimed at you because you did it your way. And now, at the top, you pass along this key piece of wisdom to your people. “I gave you your orders. Now carry them out.” Magic words that put you and your management style in sharp focus. And the great thing is, if you give them orders that are lousy, and they carry them out… then it’s their fault for doing a lousy job!

MAKE SURE EVERYBODY IS SCARED OF YOU

This last one is so obvious, it’s almost shameful to list it for you. The greatest motivator of all… fear. If you can arrange the office so that the mere sight of you makes breath catch in your people’s throats, you’re on the way to becoming a Lousy Leader. Everything else is small potatoes next to this rule. Tell them if they want a friend to get a dog. Nothing… NOTHING succeeds like FEAR.

OK, so sorry this isn’t written in the Sarcastica font. Nobody sets out to be a lousy leader. Some people can’t help it because it stems from their personalities. Some people fail because the training they got was woefully inadequate. Some can’t cut it because they are afraid of leading others. And some just think they’re naturals and they become General Patton-2.0, they want their people to feel the fear.

(SPOILER – IT DOESN’T WORK!)

About the Author:

Mark Oristano has distilled the leadership lessons he learned in 30 years as an NFL broadcaster into a concise, complete course in leadership with principle. Lessons learned from his years in the front office of the original Dallas Cowboys makes compelling, yet easy to implement, rules for solid leadership. For more information, please visit: https://markoristano.com.

 

Teaming Up for Takeoff; Six Strategies That Are Out of This World

Teaming Up for Takeoff; Six Strategies That Are Out of This World

Six men and I sat atop four and a half million pounds of explosives waiting for the fuse to be lit to begin our flight on the Space Shuttle Discovery.  We knew that for the next seven days our lives would depend on our acting synergistically.  If anything went awry during the flight, if we didn’t work together, we might not make it home safely.

How did we come to that moment in time?  We had been selected for the Astronaut Corps and this particular flight because we had proven track records of being good team players, both as leaders – and as followers – and had the requisite skills to accomplish a variety of space missions with varying payloads.  Many of the skills I learned about teamwork are applicable to any group coming together to accomplish their goals.  Here are some of the specifics.

Everyone has been a part of a team at one time or another whether it be on the playing field or at the office, or even in your own home.  Can you recall a mediocre team, a terrible one or a lazy disorganized one? There are strategies to choose team players, to mold them into a great team, to define their goals, to motivate them for success, to deal with “outliers” and to learn from failure – and success.

CHOOSING AND DEVELOPING TEAM PLAYERS 

When you are considering putting a potential team together or adding new members to a current team, the interview process is crucial.  Do applicants have the requisite skills or must they be trained?  You should consider whether each of these people has experience working well with similar teams.  Can he or she give examples of types of projects those teams have worked on and how success was achieved?  Also be sure your current team feel comfortable with this candidate.

MOLDING A GROUP OF PEOPLE INTO A TEAM 

Not all groups of people can come together to form a great team.  You’ll find natural leaders, potential leaders and excellent followers who will carry the ball down the field for the rest of your team.  Each of them has a role to play.  It is up to your leadership to learn the competencies and capabilities of each one of them and how to put them to the best use to accomplish the work that needs to be done.

DEFINING TEAM GOALS

Your team will only be effective if there are clear cut, well-defined goals which all of the  team members understand and are willing to work toward.  The role of your management or team leaders is to be able to state these goals precisely and make sure the team understands and is on board with achieving the goals.  Your leadership should take responsibility for monitoring progress of the group and each individual.  Should the goals of your team change, all team members much be briefed so there is clarity going forward.

RECOGNIZING WHAT MOTIVATES YOUR TEAM 

It is imperative that you understand what motivates the people on your particular team.  For some team members learning new skills, a sense of accomplishment or a feeling of success will be the best motivators.  Others may value the opportunity for advancement or recognition. Financial rewards, raises or prizes may work in your company.  Often the praise of their fellow members is sufficient.  Have you considered a little friendly competition?  Only by asking the team members will you find out.

DEALING WITH OUTLIERS

What if one of your company’s team members is not performing well or is ill-suited to the team, making the workplace uncomfortable and jeopardizing success?  Can you show data that his or her performance is not up to the standards you have set and expect?  What about negative reports from coworkers?  A frank in-person discussion about these issues is crucial and it is imperative you solve the problem or let the person go so as not to poison the morale of the entire team.

PRACTICING AND LEARNING FROM FAILURE –  AND SUCCESS 

When things go wrong, it is imperative that you seek to learn all the causes and fix them right away.  You must also be sure that team members learn from the failure so the same mistakes are not repeated.  Never forget that learning from success will make your team and your outcomes better, too. Incorporate processes or procedures that worked well in the past and be sure to recognize those team members who made significant contributions to the achievement.

Teams of all sorts are ubiquitous.  Whether at a work site, on a sports team, in a nonprofit organization, or in a hospital operating room (or in today’s world, virtually or in-person), teams are everywhere.  Undoubtedly you have been a team member and perhaps had the opportunity to be selected or hired as a team leader.   Great teams that produce superior results are built following the following simple principles that lead to outstanding teamwork.  You must:

– choose and develop great team members

– mold them into the best team for your organization,

– define your organization’s goals,

– motivate the team appropriately,

– deal with problem team members,

– learn from success and failure

And you’ll find you have built a team that is out of this world!

About the Author:

Dr. Rhea Seddon is a renowned speaker, Astronaut and the author of “Go For Orbit”, a memoir about her adventures spending 30 days in space aboard the Space Shuttle.  She is also a former surgeon, healthcare executive and entrepreneur.  Dr. Seddon speaks to audiences of all kinds on the topics of teamwork, leadership and taking advantage of opportunities.  Visit www.RheaSeddon.com.

There is No Vaccine for Your Company Culture

There is No Vaccine for Your Company Culture

There is no magic pill, button or wand that you wave that will quickly fix or treat the ails of your culture.  We live in an instant gratification world where people/employees/leaders want things to change for the better immediately. They want the negativity, dysfunction and toxic elements of the organization to be eradicated overnight.  But when it comes to your company culture there is no vaccine!

However, developing people and culture isn’t a drive-thru pharmacy. It takes time. It’s a process. It requires intentional rehab and development of how we show up as leaders and the culture we create with those around us. It takes commitment, discipline and focus.

Culture is dynamic which means it is being shaped moment by moment every single day by the way we Think, Act and Interact. Every member of your cultural ecosystem impacts the culture each moment and adds or detracts from the culture with their thoughts, actions and interactions. The best leaders and organizations realize that in a world that is changing quickly and where it is often easier to disengage, disconnect and become disillusioned or even disgruntled, they must have a proactive strategy to align the minds and hearts of their people.

The best team cultures don’t just magically happen, they are intentionally designed and led along the culture-shaping process. It’s not reactionary, it’s proactive. The best team cultures proactively teach, practice, rehab and work on developing the mindsets and behaviors throughout their ecosystem.

4 “musts” for leading your culture through times of change:

  1. Name It — You must be able to name what is working and what isn’t working within your culture. Honestly. It’s not a time for blowing smoke or making excuses, the best teams have the ability to be honest with one another and name the very best of their culture and spot the areas that are troubling. Only after we are able to name the current state of our culture are we able to move the culture forward.
  2. Define It — If you can’t describe the culture you are trying to create in the future than you can’t be surprised when it doesn’t exist. Language Drives Behavior. This is why the most successful and compelling teams and cultures have Values language that is clearly defined and linked to action and behavior. They have a vision for the future culture they want to create and clearly define the values they believe will guide them in that direction. Values become a compass for their journey not a poster on the wall.
  3. Plan It — The word culture gets thrown around very loosely by many leaders and within some organizations and then only becomes talk. It becomes vague and the words do not line up with action. The best leaders and organizations realize they need a cultural strategy and plan of attack. Culture is not an “add on” to the work you do, it is everything. So what’s the plan?
  4. Anchor It — Teams an organizations that lead significant culture change know they must anchor the values of their culture in everything they do. The vision they have for the future and the values that will guide them there become a living and breathing element for the ways in which they hire, onboard, develop emerging leaders, do performance evaluations, lead meetings and raise the bar on leadership throughout every level.

So, is your culture waiting for a magic vaccine or are you proactively rehabbing the culture you want?

The best cultures don’t just magically happen. They are grown, developed, cultivated and led with intentionality. The process for developing high-performing and engaged cultures never stops and the best leaders, teams and organizations are committed to the continuous journey of development, vision, communication, engagement, authenticity, and action. The best leaders invest in their cultures and realize the health of the organization is an ongoing process that never stops.

At your next visit to your Doctor you’re welcome to get the vaccine, but for your company culture, remember, there is no vaccine for that!

About the Author:

Jason V. Barger is the globally-celebrated author of Thermostat Cultures, ReMember and Step Back from the Baggage Claim as well as the host of The Thermostat podcast. As Founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, he is a coveted keynote speaker, leadership coach and organizational consultant who is committed to engaging the minds and hearts of people and growing compelling cultures. Learn more at JasonVBarger.com

Small Business Saturday, November 28

Small Business Saturday, November 28

November 28, 2020 is the 11th Annual Small Business Saturday celebration. This year is also the 11th year that the American Business Women’s Association has signed on to be a coalition partner for this very important initiative that encourages shoppers to support small businesses in their community.
According to the 2019 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 97% of consumers who shopped on Small Business Saturday agree that small businesses are essential to their community, and 95% reported the day of this event makes them want to shop or eat at small with independently-owned businesses all year long, not just during the holiday season. That’s great news!
We all know the negative impact the pandemic has had on most business in the past nine months however, it is the small business owner that has been the most effected in theses unprecedented times.  Let’s work together to support small businesses in our respective communities beginning on Saturday, November 28!
Does Your Corporate Culture Get All A’s?  The proactive process to shape the team culture you want.

Does Your Corporate Culture Get All A’s? The proactive process to shape the team culture you want.

BY JASON BARGER

It’s an instant gratification world where people/employees/leaders want things to change immediately. They want progress to be a flip of a switch. They want the easy button. Every leader, team and organization wants to snap their fingers and magically arrive at their desired outcomes.

However, developing people and culture doesn’t happen like that. There is no quick fix or hack to developing leaders and the team culture you desire. It’s a process. It takes commitment, discipline and focus. The most compelling team and organizational cultures invest time, energy and resources into shaping the culture they want, not just the culture they’ve experienced in the past. They know that one of their greatest competitive advantages in today’s day is not just WHAT they do as a company, but the culture of HOW they do it. People want to be a part of a compelling culture and contribute their skills to something greater than themselves.

Every team and company wants to be known for having an amazing culture, but only some understand how they are created and are disciplined enough to lead a culture-shaping process. If you’ve studied change theory in your spare time (you know, the process for how any person or group stimulates change) then you understand the reality that we grow as individuals and groups one step at a time.

All change follows the same pattern. The best leaders and teams on the planet know that growing the ecosystem they desire within their organization takes proactive leadership and support. The best team cultures don’t just magically happen, they are intentionally designed and led along the process. And it’s not a top-down dictator style of leadership that is compelling to people, but a participatory style that invites cross-functional representation throughout the organization to share in the dreaming and creation of the culture they desire.

The process to create your culture requires 6 A’s and participatory leadership:

Assess — Many cultures don’t even know where they are on the map. Where are you succeeding and where are you falling short? You’ve got to be honest about your current state as a culture. Momentum begins to build when you can establish urgency and identify opportunities to improve.

Align — People are the lifeblood of every team and organization and in today’s world your people want to participate. They want their mind and heart to be engaged and connected to the “Why,” the Mission at the heart of your efforts. It takes time and space to establish alignment with your people and constant efforts to stay in alignment along the way.

Aspire — What do you want to be different in the future? You have to be able to dream together and paint the vision for the future culture you desire. Give your people the opportunity to see beyond your current reality and into possibilities for a newly created future.

Articulate — If you can’t describe where you’re going and the values you want to guide you as a culture then you can’t be surprised when it doesn’t exist. Your people need common language and the ability to see and share the story of where you’re heading, together. “Language drives behavior” so the best cultures have compelling language linked to actions and behaviors for the future they are creating.

Act — All change requires action. However, action without vision and alignment is a nightmare. Once the aspirational vision for the culture is established, the best leaders and teams empower a bias toward action and identify the next steps they will take to stimulate progress. All change happens when actions grow out of an intentional vision and spirit.

Anchor — Culture-shaping is not a drive-thru experience. It’s not a one-time company meeting or a singular poster on the wall. Every culture must create habits that anchor the values within their organizational ecosystem. The organization intentionally anchors them with their structures for how they hire, onboard employees, identify emerging leaders, do performance evaluations, raise the bar on leadership at all levels, and develop and empower culture ambassadors.

So, does your team culture get all A’s?

Good grades don’t just magically happen. Great schools, great companies, great teams, great communities, and great collections of humans anywhere and of any kind in the world, don’t just magically happen. They are grown, developed, cultivated and led with intentionality.

It’s way easier to ignore studying, practicing, engaging with your people, and just put your head down and “do your job.” And because that is easier, that’s why many team cultures do not become compelling places to work.

The process for developing high-performing and engaged cultures never stops and the best leaders, teams and organizations are committed to the continuous journey of development, vision, communication, engagement, authenticity, and action.

Good luck on your next test. I hope you get all A’s.

About the Author:

Jason V. Barger is the globally-celebrated author of Thermostat Cultures, ReMember and Step Back from the Baggage Claim as well as the host of The Thermostat podcast. As Founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting, he is a coveted keynote speaker, leadership coach and organizational consultant who is committed to engaging the minds and hearts of people and growing compelling cultures. Learn more at JasonVBarger.com

Big Data Creates Big Opportunities for Your Business – 3 Insights for Any Size Enterprise

Big Data Creates Big Opportunities for Your Business – 3 Insights for Any Size Enterprise

Big data is critical to business success because it provides leadership with important insights and information. Large enterprises use sophisticated systems to track data and often have internal analysts on their team to crunch their numbers. Or, they hire outside experts to do it for them. Yet any enterprise can take advantage of big data, no matter their size, especially if you re-frame your definition of “big.” You can use your data to better understand your customer needs and buying patterns to further develop strategies that could impact sales. Insights like those developed with data become amazingly useful to any size enterprise!

Slay Your Fears!

You’ve heard some people say, “I’m really not a numbers person.” Perhaps they use this as their excuse for avoiding using data, much less big data, because they might feel reluctant to dive in and give it a try. You do not need an MBA or finance degree to begin working with the data associated with your business, regardless of its size. Anyone can learn and understand at least a couple of the key metrics that impact how they operate and what drives financial success.

If you are reluctant to launch into data analytics, being with some baby steps. Start by identifying two or three key metrics you want to better understand about your business or your customers. Once you have these key metrics identified, then focus on getting the data you need to help better understand what drives these metrics and how you can use the data to increase your enterprise performance. Then those metrics become the fundamentals that shape your thinking about your business strategies and what you need to do to better achieve your business goals.

Focus on how the data you have or can gather links to your business strategies. The key is to search for the critical data metrics that influence decision making. Look for the information that provides you with insight on the variables that impact your revenue and profitability.

Use the Information and Tools You Already Have

You do not need a complicated computer system or major data management firm to figure out what you are already using in your business for data capture. Frankly, many organizations are not fully utilizing the existing software they already have to gather basic information.

Frequently, software programs have the capability to export information into analytical programs such as Excel. Once the data is put into an analytic format, you can do all sorts of data evaluation based on key variables such as customer demographics, profitability, geographic location, purchasing patterns, buying volume, etc. Reviewing data points for various time horizons provides a comparison to see how much is changing during different time periods. Engaging in analytical assessments of your data often provides valuable information on shifts in your target market and identifies new sales opportunities. You might even uncover areas of business vulnerability before they cause major challenges.

Many companies do not fully access the information they have already obtained about their customers. Taking time to input detailed information into a Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system can be a first step. Consolidate the insight from your other information systems to develop a comprehensive customer profile. Then drill down into the information on your customers and tie them to financial measurements such as sales volume, degree of profitability or key target marketing variables.

It is not uncommon for smaller enterprises to have their most valuable customer information written down on sheets of paper or in someone’s head. If you enter your data into a CRM or Excel, you establish the foundation for a more robust data assessment. Then you can begin to pull insights by looking carefully at key variables. You will have a more effective way of targeting your desired consumers as you drill down deeper into the data to see which customers are most valuable to your business. You will be able to make better decisions if you are using thoughtfully mined data. You will also minimize the vulnerability to not having good information to work with if a key employee becomes ill or leaves.

Create Metrics and Dashboards

When you begin working with data, it is essential to create metrics and dashboard reports focusing on the key information so it can be tracked on an on-going basis. Then set up the mechanisms and policies that ensure it is tracked by your employees. Holding your team accountable for reliably gathering the data and tracking it in a timely manner are also important steps to effectively use data.

You can certainly do some of this work yourself, but it might be even better for you to loop in your key employees who are better skilled than you at putting it together. Then you can review the information and draw conclusions.

Another option is to work with an outside consultant who does this all the time and is not going to struggle with a learning curve. Outside experts can help you discover details you might have overlooked while managing the enterprise day-to-day. You are likely to gain better insights – and move much faster – by bringing in outside expertise for a short duration engagement rather than trying to struggle through setting it up by yourself. It is not a cliché that “time is money.” Invest in learning from an expert and then take it over once you develop the foundational skills and have gained some confidence in your own abilities.

 Final Thoughts

Learning to leverage data is essential to impacting the growth and success of any business. As you become more comfortable using your initial metrics, you can add on additional key metrics. Using a disciplined approach and continue to look for more metrics to measure. Have fun with it!  You will soon have a robust data management system that you and your team can use to more effectively manage your business and your customer relationships. This will provide you with new pathways for business growth and enhanced success.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jill J. Johnson, MBA, is the President and Founder of Johnson Consulting Services, a highly accomplished speaker, an award-winning management consultant, and author of the bestselling book Compounding Your Confidence. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted more than $4 billion worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more information on Jill J. Johnson, please visit www.jcs-usa.com.