Category Archives: Leadership

Duty

Duty is not a concept we discuss much these days. With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II of England this week, her example of duty to god and country has been widely honored, and seen as the passing of an era. Did the concept of duty pass with her?

Duty was what got her generation through a great depression and World War II. They committed to the common good against outside forces intent on destroying civilization as they knew it. When she became queen she took on the duty to lead the empire and the church of England.

We grew up with duty through The Pledge of Allegiance, When you become a lawyer or take a political office you pledge allegiance to the US Constitution. As children we learned the boy and girl scout pledges. When you marry, you pledge to be faithful and responsible to your spouse.

Today, we use phrases like take responsibility, keep commitments, be accountable. That generation would have said do your duty. Is it the same thing? I’m not so sure. Duty came from societal norms. We all agreed to follow “the rules”. And by doing so, we would be rewarded for being a good person, and society would be better for it.  There was not much tolerance for doing things outside the rules which were dictated to you by tradition, religion and society.

We have come well past the rigidity demanded in those times which is good. We have also accepted a lot of bad behavior in the spirit of doing ones own thing. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine reminds us that we cannot assume the world order will just keep humming along.  As much as we don’t like the idea, duty to our fellows and saving the planet will require sacrifice. Elizabeth understood this and leaned into the challenge. It was a life well lived.

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image courtesy of usmagazine.com

Take too long?

Is this you?

  • You take too long to make a decision.
  • You get anxious that you don’t have all the necessary data.
  • You feel great pressure to make the perfect choice.
  • You enjoy researching the options more than actually choosing which one to go with?
  • You agonize about the consequence of a bad choice.
If this resembles you,  taking your time and doing deep analysis makes you the go to person for your friends and colleagues.  You can be counted on to have all the research and analysis completed. They take your recommendations with the respect and appreciation you rightly have earned.
The downside is that power abhors a vacuum. So, if you don’t make a decision your whole team slows down waiting. And, while they wait, they get bored and distracted or make the decision themselves. Their outcome is most likely not as good as the outcome you would choose.
So, what to do?
First, assess the importance of the decision and the consequence of getting it wrong. Small consequence? Just pick one of the two best options. It should be a pretty good result.
Set a self imposed deadline for deciding. If you still don’t know, pick someone to review what you know, and talk it through with them until you choose. Or take it to your team for input and drive to a result before you leave the meeting.
Afterwards, assess the quality of the result. You may find, that you make 97% as good a decision with 10% less data. That is a good indicator to go with your gut more often and move your team faster towards your goals.

 

If you want to move more quickly as a team, one option is to set earlier deadlines. Or use the agile method that tech companies do. The whole team works together on one project until it is complete, then starts the next one. They iterate fast.

 

Many, many times a 90% solution is enough. Shoot, that was an A in high school. Why are you beating yourself up to get 100% on everything?

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Mulally is Magic

Friday, Vistage launched a one hour interview by Sam Reese, Vistage’s CEO, with Alan Mulally who led Boeing for many profitable years and then turned around Ford Motor Company. Watch it today if you are in the Vistage community. Mulally is Magic. >

Miscalculations

This has been a week of unbelievable, sad, scary and very public miscalculations. The Ukrainians bought Putin’s claim that he wouldn’t invade. Big miscalculation.  Putin miscalculated the resolve of the Ukrainian people and the unity and the resolve of NATO. The consequences will be death, destruction and a reordering of the whole world order. At best. >

Your “team one”

It made sense when Patrick Lencioni said it, and it made sense when I read it in The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team 20 years ago, but it still is not common business practice. Your executive leadership team – the CEO and your peers,  must be your “team one”, not your division or your direct reports. Whew! >

Plan tight, process loose

On Wednesday evening, Paul asked me what we are doing this weekend. Like many couples there is a planner and a spontaneous one, and you can guess who is who in our dynamic. I replied that I was planning to be sick this weekend. What???? I was getting the COVID booster Friday afternoon, so, yes, I was planning to be sick. >

Leadership advice from Colin Powell

General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff spoke to my 3 Vistage groups this week and the take-aways were fantastic. Well actually, it was a pre-recorded interview with Vistage CEO Sam Reese that we watched at home and discussed at the meetings. But still, the take-aways were excellent! >

“Servant” Leadership

I am a big fan of servant leadership, so I was quite interested in reading “The Motive” by Patrick Lencioni. This is his new book and it is about Leadership. According to Lencioni, all great leadership is servant leadership so it is time to drop the adjective: servant. >

Depends on how you look at it…

Living in an area with mature trees is a real pleasure, especially during the hot days of summer. Look at the palm trees in the picture. They are over 60 feet tall. Notice the ivy climbing all the way to the top? That is pretty unusual. Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? Well, It depends on how you look at it… >