Effective Leadership: Is Failure An Option?

“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” —Thomas Edison I just spoke with a mid-level guy in a firm who is in charge of hedging. Let’s pretend he’s in the airline business (he’s not) and that his job is to protect the firm against increases in jet fuel prices. […]

CEO Leadership Traits: Healthy Culture With a Weak CEO?

Not for long. Once a company decides where it’s going and why customers will buy from it versus its competition (vision and strategy), the next big question is how to align a strong team in pursuit of those objectives. For eons, managers and HR departments have focused on creating dream teams with star players — […]

CEO Leadership Traits: Speak Your Mind (If You Have One)

“You’re betraying your whole life if you don’t say what you think — and you don’t say it honestly and bluntly.” —Charles Krauthammer, American political columnist Not everyone is as articulate as Krauthammer. Saying what we think can get us in a bit of bother when the thinking part is ignored before the saying part. […]

CEO Leadership Traits: The Real Work of the CEO

It’s 7:30 a.m. on Monday. You’re the CEO, and you just arrived in your office. You run a rapidly growing organization with 500 employees. Your choices for the top priority to focus on that day are: (1) fixing a nagging production problem, (2) finding a new banking relationship, (3) attending a senior leadership meeting on […]

Effective Leadership: Is “Fairness” a Good Value?

I just finishing reading a book that a friend recommended, “Principles” by Ray Dalio, a wildly successful hedge fund guy who also has some interesting thoughts on leadership.  One of the things that he articulates that I agree with is the challenge of “fairness”, particularly when it intersects with generosity. For example, if you provide […]

Organizational Effectiveness: Working Faster

Little’s Law says that the amount of work completed is a function of the number of projects and the average time it takes to complete a project. In other words, the line at McDonald’s has 11 people in it and each person takes, on average, 30 seconds to be served, therefore, if you are gal […]

CEO Leadership Traits: What Can We Learn From McCain and Bush?

I’ve been blogging for 14 years (and written a book, of course!), and I stick primarily to business strategy, leadership and organizational effectiveness. Those are the challenges I help CEOs with, so it makes sense! There’s a topic, however, that I’ve had numerous conversations with CEOs and other executives about that’s broader than business. With […]

Business Strategy: When to Take Your Own Path

It’s early season and I’m skiing on a Tuesday, which is a luxury. Weekend traffic in Colorado ski country is soul robbing. (If you’re planning a trip, think about Utah!) We have a better-than-average snowfall, and on my first chairlift I notice that a snowboarder ducked a rope and got a great line right under […]

Organizational Effectiveness: CEO as Gardener

I’m not much of a gardener. The only green thumb I’ve ever been accused of having is when I’ve stuck it in pesto. I’ve noticed, however, that my efforts to have my lawn match my wife’s well cared for flowers are only rewarded when I combine the right amounts of enabling and prohibiting—the right conditions […]