Making Solomon’s Choices

Making Solomons ChoicesThe recent firing of James Comey, the FBI Director, highlights a dilemma that many leaders face: how to approach difficult – even no-win – choices when tackling tough challenges.

Comey gives us an audacious role model to examine around his choices to act.  He did things that are either bold or insolent, depending on the eye of the beholder.  And while the political environment exaggerates the effect of his actions, they are situations leaders face frequently.  Let’s look at some of the parallels. Continue reading

Truth or Fiction

Truth or FictionTake a look at an emerging phenomenon: what has happened to the lines between truth and fiction?  They have become blurred by ‘alternate facts’, by reliance on anonymous sources of information, by willfully ignoring evidence that refutes a point of view. Although ‘truth’ can be a relative term in the best of circumstances, it seems to have become open to interpretation more than ever in our lifetimes. As this takes place in the wider world, what impact begins to be felt in the workplace? Continue reading

Nationalism at Work

Nationalism at WorkThe drumbeat for nationalism is insistent in the Western world. Brexit, Donald Trump’s victory, and key elections in Europe are focusing attention on this phenomenon. It is characterized by such ideologies as protecting borders, favoring the ‘native’ citizenry over the more recently arrived, focus on internal politics more than global politics, and protecting national business from trade incursions. Continue reading

The Right (and Imperative) to Disconnect

offlineThe big eye roll commenced as soon as the news was made public that the French had enacted one more law to ‘protect’ workers, adding to what many view as the French penchant for numbing their own economy with overly zealous social reforms.  Companies of more than 50 employees now must set up hours when workers are not supposed to send or respond to emails, normally during evenings and weekends, in an effort to aid work/life balance. Continue reading

What Leadership Teams Can Learn from Boards of Directors’ Roles

business meetingLiterature on board roles and responsibilities is remarkably consistent in defining crucial priorities and roles for Board Directors.  In fact, it’s a lot clearer and more uniform than literature on the crucial priorities and roles of leadership teams – so much so that there is plenty to learn from the literature on Boards that applies directly to your leadership team.  Let’s draw some parallels. Continue reading

Leadership Trend – Collective Leadership

business people communication net“Leadership development has come to a point of being too individually focused and elitist. There is a transition occurring from the old paradigm in which leadership resided in a person or role, to a new one in which leadership is a collective process that is spread throughout networks of people.” Continue reading

Leadership Trend – Honesty and Transparency

Loyalty and trustAccording to Forbes contributor Dan Schawbel, one of the ten most significant 2015 workplace trends for 2015 is this one:  “Honesty becomes a revered leadership trait.”  After the initial temptation to dismiss it with a snicker, we wondered what made Dan elevate that one behavioral trait to a top position in a sea of more statistically-defined trends such as hiring practices. Continue reading

Tomorrow’s CEO – What Will He/She Need to Do Well?

In an era in which we are rightly stressing high involvement of all the good minds in an organization, a countervailing phenomenon seems to be emerging.  Recent research suggests that the personal impact on business success measures of one person in the organization – the CEO – has been increasing steadily over the decades.  As reviewed by the Harvard Business Review in a recent blog post, this research (Has the “CEO effect” increased in recent decades? A new explanation for the great rise in America’s attention to corporate leaders, by Timothy J. Quigley and Donald C. Hambrick, Journal of Strategic Management, May 4, 2014) suggests a reason for this phenomenon: Continue reading

Tomorrow’s CEO – What Will Be His/Her Career Trajectory?

Throw away today’s notions of career paths and succession plans.  Nothing so neat and tidy will define the route to the top in the future.  The planned grooming of future leaders will be a much messier, more opportunistic process.

Don’t believe it?  The ability of a company or organization to control its own destiny is being assailed on many fronts.  Consider some of these trends: Continue reading

Playing the Outside Game – the New Leadership Imperative

There’s a new role for leaders that probably isn’t being taught in business school.  And most leaders seem to still be unaware just how crucial this work is to the sustainable success of their companies.  Unfortunately, this crucial work by leaders is best seen in its absence.

Anybody heard of Monsanto?  Lessley Anderson, writing in Modern Farmer (March 4, 2014), summed it up pretty well: “Over the past decade, Monsanto has become a pop cultural bogeyman, the face of corporate evil. The company and its genetically modified organism (GMO) seeds have been the subject of muckraking documentaries, global protests, and assaults by everybody from environmental activists to “The Colbert Report.” Facebook and other social media are awash in memes and hashtags like #monsantoevil.  And it seems everyone, from your plumber to your mother, has an opinion about the company.” Continue reading