Family or Team? Can You Be Both in Business?

By | March 18th, 2019|

Many years ago when I was on the board of Kinko’s, we had a pointed conversation about our future initiated by John Davis, a board member and Harvard professor who specialized in family business. He believed we needed to change our culture from family to team. Even though we were a multibillion-dollar business, we were [...]

Effective Leadership Skills: Unlearn the Need To Be Liked

By | February 26th, 2019|

If there is one thing that I have seen handcuff more executives than anything else, it is the need to be liked (NTBL).  It’s nice to be liked. Most of us want friends and family who like us so that we can share our time together, be comfortable, able to let our hair down. That [...]

Effective Leadership: Is Failure An Option?

By | February 18th, 2019|

"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?

By | February 11th, 2019|

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)

By | January 28th, 2019|

“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

By | January 21st, 2019|

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?

By | January 15th, 2019|

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 [...]

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

By | December 10th, 2018|

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 [...]

Effective Leadership Skills: Focus on the Win

By | November 19th, 2018|

“I have had lots of troubles in my life, most of which never happened.” —Mark Twain If I had a dollar for every time I worried about something that never occurred, I wouldn’t have Bill Gates’ fortune, but I might have a better wine cellar.  It shouldn’t be surprising that a seasoned coach has his [...]

Effective Leadership Skills: Ask Better Questions!

By | November 12th, 2018|

“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”  —Richard Feynman, Nobel physicist I never took a physics class—not in high school or college or grad school. Hell, I couldn’t spell “physics”! So it’s amusing that I’m drawing lessons from people who work in quantum mechanics, nuclear fission, or [...]