The Portable Leader Is the New “Organization Man”

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by Gianpiero Petriglieri

Gianpiero_Petriglieri-200x200 I met Tanya years ago, at a global corporation where she led a business unit and enjoyed a reputation as a formidable mentor. “The thing I always keep in mind,” she told me with obvious pride, explaining her approach to management as we walked through a bustling open office, “is that these people are the best talent in the business. They could be working elsewhere, if they so chose. And I am sure that many will, eventually.”

I knew that to be true. Competitors poached people in Tanya’s unit regularly. And yet there was no trace of cynicism in her tone. “Each of them is valuable and hard to replace,” she continued, “but I can’t preach them loyalty. They’d laugh at me. I can’t pay them more, either. All I can promise is that while they work here, they’ll grow more than they would anywhere else. And when they leave, they will be leaders wherever they go.”

Some version of Tanya’s promise — working here today will make you a leader elsewhere tomorrow — is at the center of many companies’ talent management strategies. Its popularity has led to the rise of corporate universities and to the corporatization of universities, all promising to turn talent into leaders. It is more than a promise of learning. It is a promise of transformation — that a stint at the organization will change your substance and value, not just your leadership style, in ways that will outlast your tenure in it. Continue reading

5 Ways To Tell Your Boss No Without Actually Saying No

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iStock_000027814907Small - Copyby Lisa Rabasca Roepe

Managers often ask us to do things we don’t want to: work late, work on a weekend, attend a conference the same weekend we have concert tickets, help a difficult colleague finish a project. While it’s important to be a team player, it’s equally important to stay happy at work.

In fact, it might even be good for your career to occasionally say no, says Suz O’Donnell, founder and CEO of Thrivatize LLC. “You may worry a boss may be mad if you don’t stay late or work over the weekends, but at the end of the day, you are much more innovative and productive when you’ve had some time to relax,” she says.

Most employees worry that setting boundaries gives the impression that they aren’t a dedicated worker, but in reality the opposite is true, O’Donnell says. She recalls a coworker who consistently worked extra hours because he didn’t have pressing weekend plans and it made him feel important. However, his reputation in the office didn’t improve because he worked every weekend. “It made him seem less powerful and more like someone people could push around,” O’Donnell says. In fact, she says, everyone on the team who consistently declined weekend work was promoted, while the coworker who repeatedly put in extra hours didn’t get a promotion. Perhaps, she says, it was because those who took a break came back to work refreshed and ready to produce.

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Overcoming the mental hurdles of leadership

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By Ross TsakasiStock_000008266083Small[1]

Commitment is what transforms a promise into a reality,” according to a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.

I would contend that leadership is, in fact, comprised of a series of small promises converted into reality. Along the way, these small promises generate faith and trust in a leader’s ability to not only promise wonderful things but also deliver on those promises. Great leaders are then idealized as the faultless heroes who steadfastly strode forth and never looked back — but is that indeed the whole truth?

I can’t confidently state whether it is. All I can share is my own experience of being a leader and what I encountered along the way. My experience as a leader began when I formed my first venture, Eulysis. I had discovered a technology, the Single Vial System, to deliver twice as many medicines at half the cost worldwide. Along the continuum from inception to completion, I was fortunate to gain support from the World Health Organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Royal Society of Edinburgh, and HRH Prince Charles. I also led an international team of public and private partners across three continents. Continue reading

The Board Directors You Need for a Digital Transformation

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By Tuck Rickards and Rhys Grossman

iStock_000027814907Small - CopyWhen the term digital transformation was first bandied about by consultants and business publications, its implications were more about keeping up and catching up than true transformation. Additionally, at first it was only applied to large, traditional organizations struggling, or experimenting, in an increasingly digital economy. But true digital transformation requires so much more. As evidenced by the recent Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods, we’re living in a new world.

Early transformation efforts were focused on initiatives: e-commerce, sensors/internet of things, applications, client and customer experience, and so on. Increasingly, our clients are coming to us as they realize that in order for these disparate initiatives to thrive, they need to undergo an end-to-end transformation, the success of which demands dramatic operational, structural, and cultural shifts. Continue reading

5 leadership mistakes even the best bosses make

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MarcelSchwantesauthorphoto_79607By Marcel Schwantes

If you think your boss is some freak of nature and you’re the luckiest person alive, I’ll break it to you gently: He or she is human and will make mistakes.

The great ones rise up from their errors by A) acknowledging they made a mistake and correcting a behavior (think humility), or B) acknowledging a blind spot that needs to be addressed, then doing something about it.

Lets dive into a few prevalent leadership mistakes that even the best and smartest leaders tend to make.

1. The mistake of not giving employees a listening ear.
I recently wrote about the powerful business practice of “stay interviews.” Unlike the exit interview, this concept is predicated on listening to employees’ feedback to get fresh insight into improving the work environment that will help retain those valued employees today–not after they have emotionally disconnected and turned in their resignations. Leaders who check hubris at the door and listen authentically in this manner build trust, but even the smartest of leaders have this blind spot where they don’t leverage active listening skills to build and support culture. The message coming across to employees is that they’re not seen as important and part of the family — a critical mistake even for the brightest leaders. Continue reading