MBAs–both the degrees and the people who have them–are an obsolete waste of time and money. An irrelevant recipe for failure. At least that’s what all the cool entrepreneurs and venture capitalists are saying. So what’s next? Learning to code and “lean startups.” Accelerators are the new b-school.
There’s just one problem though.
While creating a product and starting a company have never been easier, building and sustaining a business have never been harder. And lean is not everything. That means business education has never been more important. But first, both b-schools and companies need to learn some new tricks.
Whatever happened to leadership? Have all the great leaders gone from the world scene? Are leaders born, or do they emerge in appropriate circumstances?
A few years ago the London Sunday Times ran an article with the title “Whatever Happened to Real Leaders?” It read in part: “The foreign secretary was a stuffed shirt. But the prime minister was not even that: ‘he was just a hole in the air.’ The words are George Orwell’s, applied to Lord Halifax and Stanley Baldwin, in the late 1930s. What resonance they have today! . . . What the country needs is leadership, and this is true of the Western world as a whole.”
The article continued, “The gap between the desirable and the real has never been as great in this respect. As you open the newspapers or watch the television news, is there a single political leader in the West whose words you would expect to remember? Would you expect to learn anything from them? Do you expect them to do anything inspiring or creative, or even just the right thing? We have reached a real low point in leadership, lower than at any other time in recent history. . . . ‘I sowed dragons, and I reaped fleas,’ said Nietzsche.” It’s a powerful plea for the kind of leadership that can deliver humanity from the grip of its many problems and evils.
"Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly axes flexible work. the original "Results-Only Work Environment" and why it is worse news than Yahoo's remote-worker roundup."
That is, if this Theory X style change ends up being judged as short-sighted leadership decision.
Excerpts via Professor Monique Valcour's post :
Best Buy's flexible work program is ...the groundbreaking Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), one of the most innovative and celebrated examples of a company redesigning work to focus on results and boost performance through motivation-enhancing trust and autonomy.
"In a turnaround transformation, you need to feel disposable as opposed to indispensable."
The ROWE method has since been implemented in more than 40 companies.
The culture of work-life support in a company is the most powerful predictor of employee work-life balance as well as a key element in job performance, organizational commitment, and intention to remain with the company.
But top management exerts the strongest influence on culture...
CEO Joly made a very revealing comment following an investors' meeting in November.
"In a turnaround transformation, you need to feel disposable as opposed to indispensable." He is far from the only "Theory X" leader who believes that stressing employees makes them perform better. This underlying belief persists despite enormous research evidence to the contrary ... Related posts by Deb:There’s No Such Thing as Leadership? Pull, Influence and “Open Space” vs. Power Change Leaders: Why Should Anyone Trust Your Vision? John Kotter & Harvard Business Review Control Issues in Teams: How Do You Take Charge? Photo by by matteson.norman
"By fighting trends, like telecommuting, Ms. Mayer's focus on tactics further damages Yahoo - which desperately needs a CEO with vision to create a new strategy."
Yahoo has been a struggling company for several years.
...Yahoo has lacked an effective strategy for a decade. ..It has no technology advantage, no product advantage and no market advantage. It is so weak in all markets that its only value has been as a second competitor that keeps the market leader from being attacked as a monopolist!
A series of CEOs have been unable to develop a new strategy for Yahoo to make it more like Amazon or Apple and less like – well, Yahoo.
...Ms. Mayer was brought into the flailing company from Google, which is a market leader, to turn around Yahoo. But she’s been on the job 7 months, and there still is no apparent strategy to return Yahoo to greatness.
Related posts by Deb:
There’s No Such Thing as Leadership? Pull, Influence and “Open Space” vs. Power Status Quo Shakedown Meets Right Action
Knowledge, Passion & Power: 3 Simple Change Principles to Release It
Hey Leaders! Listening Isn't Easy, But It's Essential Information Management (blog) However, in working with leaders at all levels striving to strengthen their performance, listening skills aren't an issue some of the time; they are an issue nearly...
The Drucker School of Management and Wharton Business School both offer courses in mindfulness meditation. Virginia Tech is sponsoring "contemplative practices for a technological society," a conference for engineers who integrate contemplative disciplines into their work. Google offers courses in meditation and yoga
Aetna, Merck, General Mills--the list goes on--all are exploring how meditation can help their leaders and employees agilely thrive in today's fast-paced business environment. And the benefits are widely publicized: sustained attention span, improved multi-tasking abilities, strengthened immune system, increased emotional intelligence, improved listening skills...And there is science behind such claims.
Bullying at the workplace: Statistics on bullying - Human resources News on Violence in the Workplace
"...between 35 and 50 percent of workers have been bullied or otherwise abused in their workplaces at some point during their careers." Duffy told us.
"And for those of you in HR, you might be very interested to learn of the frequency statistics that were reported in a very recent study – 31 percent of human resources personnel had been bullied and over half of that bullied group believed it was because of their role in human resources and their associated responsibilities."
As if the personal implications weren’t enough, there is also a financial aspect to this situation.
"In the United States, the actual cost . . . $250 million annually in expenditures related to health care, litigation, staff turnover, and retraining from workplace bullying and mobbing." Duffy explained.
This figure may be low given a lot of these types of costs are not always attributed to bullying when in fact they could be.
Taking part in the adventure of persuading others, sweeping them up into an idea, an unexpected action or an unproven vision, is a wonderful experience. The ability to create excitement all around you is what leadership is about.
Good grief -- I like some of what this article says but there is one glaring error: the confusion between persuasion and influence, particularly for leaders.
So what the heck is the difference between the two, why is it important, and what has it got to do with storytelling?
Well -- persuasion is getting someone to do something. Parents use persuasion all the time: "Finish your dinner or you won't get dessert." Or "Sit Fido and you'll get a treat!" Bosses use persuasion too: "Finish this report by X date or forget that promotion." We all use persuasion.
Influence however, is the power or capacity to cause an effect in indirect or intangible ways. Influence is more often 'showing' what needs to be done which then moves someone to take action -- hopefully in a desireable way.
There are many facets to influence including reciprocity, commitment, social proof and others (see Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by R. Cialdini, 2006).
Leadership at the highest levels is about influence, not persuasion. Management is about persuasion. Confusing persuasion and influence creates leadership that can feel more like manipulation than willing participation.
Storytelling -- IMHO -- lies squarly in the camp of influence. And leaders definitely need to master storytelling as an way to both engage and influence.
The list this author has created for leaders to focus on to be persuasive is mostly all about influential qualities to imbue in a leader's storytelling. Except the first one -- threats and consequences. Outlining global consequences if an organization does not change can be part of an influential conversation. Threats, not so much. That's pure persuasion.
Go read the rest of the list and let me know what you think!
"Mindful coaches perfect a form of conscious and comfortable simultaneous attention to themselves, their coachee, the relationship between them, and the mental, emotional, and relational dynamics occurring in the moment. There are three aspects of mindfulness that have particular pertinence to leadership coaching:
1) an empty mind
3) permissive attention"
Read the article to gain insights on the three keys to mindful leadership coaching.
"Insights into Leadership & the Politics of Gender via the book, The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin to be published in Britain in October"
At the local Women's Exchange of Washtenaw Forum 2012, one of our Open Space group discussions was on the Politics of Gender. This intriguing book brings up good points about the shifts & changes in our disruptive, social media charged, globally connected world.
The photo set, including several public photos, is here: Women, Empowerment at WXW Open Space Exchange Forum2012 ~ Deb
“All the things we need to be good at to thrive in the world…are things that my female friends and competitors are better at than me.”
Excerpted - from the Economist, Sept. 2012:
Women dominate university attendance around the world.
In South Korea more women than men pass the foreign-service exam, which has sparked the foreign ministry to implement a minimum quota for men. In Brazil nearly a third of women earn more than their husbands, a phenomenon that has caused men to form church support-groups calling themselves “Men of Tears”. Ms Rosin, an editor at Atlantic, whose book grew out of an article she wrote for the magazine in 2010, highlights how women today are excelling, while men founder. As part of her research, she travelled to many corners of America, including Auburn-Opelika, Alabama, where women’s median income is 40% higher than men’s.
The financial crisis has been especially unkind to men: three-quarters of the 7.5m American jobs lost in the recession belonged to men and were in traditionally masculine industries, such as construction, manufacturing and finance.
“Probably no one has had their wife move up the ladder as far as I’ve moved down,” says one man. Another, who is annoyed that his girlfriend earns more than he does, complains, “All the things we need to be good at to thrive in the world…are things that my female friends and competitors are better at than me.”
The new service-based economy rewards communication and adaptation, qualities that women are more likely to have.
Ms Rosin highlights the deterioration of the male-in-the-workplace condition.
The new service-based economy rewards communication and adaptation, qualities that women are more likely to have. Only about 3% of men have taken over raising children full-time while their wives support their families. Instead, many men, especially young ones, have retreated into a world of video games, drinking and prolonged adolescence—a phenomenon identified in “Guyland”, a 2008 book by an American sociologist, Michael Kimmel.
We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me. My training is never complete.”- Navy SEAL Creed
Becoming a Navy SEAL involves a year of the most intensive physical and mental training the U.S. military has to offer. But once you make it through, and join the ranks of the “elite,” you realize you are just another new guy in an already well-established organization. And it only gets tougher from there. The training never ends, and every single mission is rehearsed.
It's no different in business. Leaders usually know that their people need training and development. The smartest leaders understand that the same applies to them--and that the need is ongoing.
"Is something is amiss in the professional sisterhood?"
The term "queen bee syndrome" was coined in the 1970s, following a study led by researchers at the University of Michigan...who examined promotion rates and the impact of the women's movement on the workplace.
...the patriarchal culture of work encouraged the few women who rose to the top to become obsessed with maintaining their authority.
...They found that women who achieved success in male-dominated environments were at times likely to oppose the rise of other women.
Four decades later, the syndrome still thrives... The very women who have complained for decades about unequal treatment now perpetuate many of the same problems by turning on their own.
...female bullies directed their hostilities toward other women 80% of the time—up 9% since 2007.
In 2010, the Workplace Bullying Institute, a national education and advocacy group, reported that female bullies directed their hostilities toward other women 80% of the time—up 9% since 2007.
Male bullies, by contrast, were generally equal-opportunity tormentors.
"People are more instantaneously alive in healthy in High Quality Connections."
Listen here (brief 4 min. video) as Professor Jane Dutton unlocks the importance of high quality connections and four ways how to make them.
It is NOT the same as developing positive relationships.
Dr. Dutton is a co-founder of the Univ. of Michigan's Ross Business Schools growing domain of expertise called Positive Organizational Scholarship www.bus.umich.edu/Positive. ;
Her past research has explored processes of organizational adaptation, focusing on how strategic issues are interpreted and managed in organizations, as well as issues of organizational identity and change.
Imagine the impact on a culture if this became a people investment value.
Bosses are typically viewed as arrogant individuals who drive people using objectives and metrics. One study found that 60% of employees are miserable – not because of low pay, poor workplace benefits, or insufficient vacation days – but because they don’t feel connected at work.
Brené’s big idea is that vulnerability is good for you, or as she puts it, ‘vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage’.
We live in a culture where making yourself vulnerable – exposing your fears and uncertainties, taking emotional risks – is considered a form of weakness, and something most of us want to run away from.
But Brené’s research reveals the hugely positive outcomes that emerge from stepping into the arena of vulnerability. It is precisely when we expose ourselves – perhaps in a relationship or at work – that ‘we have experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives’.
Here are some of the benefits of staying in the room:
There are a lot of reasons that aficionados call yoga a practice. One of the biggest is that it can be practice for the rest of your life. Staying in the room is an example of that. Whether it’s a 96 degree yoga classroom, a conference room where you’re hashing it out or a job that just got a lot harder, your life as a leader will regularly present choice points on whether or not you stay in the room.
Here are some of the benefits of staying in the room:
Jeff’s leadership style keeps the company focused on growing at the rate of two new members every second while reducing the business mantra to just two words: “Next Play.”
Leadership lessons lists abound on-line. Jeff's list of 10 lessons, however, is tied to a large, successful virtual platform company with real staying power, connected to jobs and career growth - LinkedIn.
He's obviously trending in the right direction as his inspires his "Next Plays" among his staff. ~ Deb
Today, 16 months after the LinkedIn IPO, employees continue to talk about their Next Play and stay focused on delivering results.
Weiner described how powerful the phrase, "Next Play" has been for the company.
On the day LinkedIn became a public company, employees received a black T shirt with the company’s name and stock ticker written across the front and Next Play emblazoned on the back of the shirt. Even today 16 months after the LinkedIn IPO, employees continue to talk about their Next Play and stay focused on delivering results. 1) Define leadership : At LinkedIn, Leadership is the ability to inspire others and achieve shared results. ...to create economic opportunity for the 3.3 billion people in the global workplace by matching skills with job opportunities. 3) Prioritize your business goals: ...if we could only do one thing, what would it be? This is a lesson Weiner learned from Steve Jobs and practices every day.
6) Customers first: ... anytime the LinkedIn product team considers new enhancements the first question revolves around: Is this putting our members first, or is this putting the company first? “If it benefits members, it will ultimately benefit the company.
7) Remember To laugh: ...Weiner says he values his team members’ sense of humor and sometimes, on a tough day, that can trump their talent and expertise!