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Surviving Leadership Chaos
" We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. " - Winston Churchill
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How many leadership gurus can dance on the head of a pin?

How many leadership gurus can dance on the head of a pin? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

 

No less an authority than the Washington Post has assured us that there are leadership gurus and that you can become one. The newspaper has started a series called "Getting to Guru," an aspirational title if ever there was one. Here's how they describe the series.

 

"an ongoing series of interviews with prominent leadership experts in which we talk about the industry, the advice they have for new authors and the tools they’ve used to carve their careers."

 

Wow. But what exactly, I wondered, is a "guru." A quick Google search turned up a site where freelancers offer their wares, a rap musician, a movie, an energy drink, a software product, an animation studio, a restaurant, and several definitions. Those were all on the first couple of pages.

 

I also found a site that promised "TOP WORLD'S TOP 30 LEADERSHIP PROFESIONAL'S for 2012." I admit that it was hard to be serious about a list put together by someone who can cram a usage error, a grammatical error, and a spelling error into an eight word headline, but I was desperate.

 

I should have listened to those warning bells. It was a list of top leadership gurus that had people I've never heard of in the top ten. Marcus Buckingham was number 28. Gary Hamel didn't make the list. I suspect a flawed methodology.


Via Kevin Watson, David Hain
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Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog: Heroic Leaders and Passive Followers

Leading Blog: A Leadership Blog: Heroic Leaders and Passive Followers | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

As leaders, if we take too much control and do not encourage others to take responsibility, we set ourselves and others up for failure. 

Roger Martin calls it the responsibility virus and it always begins with the germ of fear. “This vacillation between over- and under-responsibility is an endless loop. Fear of failure drives them into an initial extreme position. The extreme positions of over- and under-responsibility drive them into failure. Failure causes them to flip into the other extreme. And so on.” 

He adds that “Advising leaders to stop being heroic and exhorting passive followers to become more aggressive doesn’t get the job done. Heroic leaders and passive followers are pursuing what they feel, at that time and place, to be the optimal course of action.” But it is destructive. Yet we see it played out all the time in organizations, in part because we have a hard time wrapping our minds around the true function of leadership. 

Martin explains that, “Take-charge leadership is the stuff of Hollywood and history books, deeply ingrained in our consciousness.” A heroic leader is one who takes on more responsibility than they can handle. And it undermines rather than builds followers. 

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What's Your Leadership Debt Ceiling?

What's Your Leadership Debt Ceiling? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Here are 4 key factors that lead to debt ceiling-esque behavior and how to avoid them.

 

You can’t turn on a news channel or pick up a newspaper without being bombarded with something about the debt ceiling debate. You hear from the right about how the left is destroying the future of America. You hear from the left about the obstinance of the right taking the reputation of the USA hostage. You hear from the pundits about their ideas of what will work and why they believe the politicians don’t know how to input the “center” on their collective GPS units. All summed up, it’s become a blame game fueled by posturing and politics that have nothing to do with the real problem.


Regardless of which side of the issue you fall, it’s painfully obvious that the actions of many of the people involved seem to indicate a greater concern for career and perpetuating personal ideas and preferences than the genuine problem. I don’t want any comments on this post about which side is right. The focus is on how those involved in this discussion are acting, regardless of whether one side is justified or not.

 

Unless you are ridiculously fortunate, and have worked more than 5 years, you have seen similar behavior in the workplace…often perpetrated by leadership. It’s quite possible that as a leader you have seen this in certain meetings and initiatives.

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7 Ways to ReWire Your Brain and Become a Better Leader

7 Ways to ReWire Your Brain and Become a Better Leader | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
These 7 practices create incremental changes in the neural structure of your brain and can improve the effectiveness of your leadership and the quality of your life.

 

Over the last few decades, studies in neuroscience have shown that we can actually physically rewire our brains. We can change the “default network” we were born with, the one that ensured the survival of our primitive ancestors who lived in a very different world.

 

Our “fight-flight” reaction and strong memory for painful experiences are hardwired from birth. Our brains detect negative information faster than positive information and are drawn to bad news. This hardwiring is further reinforced as we grow up because our negative experiences leave an indelible trace in our brain.  Thebrain continues to learn and change itself throughout our life.

 

The good news is we are capable of over-riding our primitive reactions that don’t serve us well, and creating new neural pathways that reduce stress and irritability and generate more happiness and wisdom in our lives.

 

These 7 practices create incremental, accumulative changes in the neural structure of your brain and can improve the effectiveness of your leadership and the quality of your life.

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If Miles Davis Taught Your Office To Improvise

If Miles Davis Taught Your Office To Improvise | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Nurturing spontaneity, creativity, experimentation, and dynamic synchronization is no longer an optional approach to leadership. It's the only approach. The current velocity of change demands nothing less.

 

Nurturing spontaneity, creativity, experimentation, and dynamic synchronization is no longer an optional approach to leadership. It's the only approach. The current velocity of change demands nothing less. It demands paying attention to the mental models, the cultural beliefs and values, the practices and structures that support improvisation.

 

Following practices can help your organization emulate what happens when jazz bands improvise.

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How Language Shapes Your Organization

How Language Shapes Your Organization | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Cultural permission is the tone, attitude and language that emanates from the executive suite. It is a mantra, expressed in oft-used catch phrases and philosophies that move like waves through the organization.

 

Cultural permission is the tone, attitude and language that emanates from the executive suite. It is a mantra, expressed in oft-used catch phrases and philosophies that move like waves through the organization. They get adopted and interpreted as actions to be followed. They become part of everyday lexicon and cultural idioms that people hear coming from the highest levels, and form a platform for what the organization believes and expects of its people. "Get it done!" "We will not be denied." "Take no prisoners!" These are just a few of the things I heard coming up in the business world, and from my perspective, no good came from any of them.


Via Bob Corlett, Roy Sheneman, PhD
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For Those Who Want to Lead, Read

For Those Who Want to Lead, Read | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Whether it's Wikipedia, Michael Lewis, or Aristotle, reading brings a host of benefits to the workplace.

 

When David Petraeus visited the Harvard Kennedy School in 2009, one of the meetings he requestedwas with author Doris Kearns Goodwin. Petraeus, who holds a PhD in International Relations from Princeton, is a fan of Team of Rivals and wanted time to speak to the famed historian about her work. Apparently, the great general (and current CIA Director) is something of a bibliophile.

 

He's increasingly an outlier. Even as global literacy rates are high (84%), people are reading less and less deeply. The National Endowment for the Arts (PDF) has found that "[r]eading has declined among every group of adult Americans," and for the first time in American history, "less than half of the U.S. adult American population is reading literature." Literacy has been improving in countries like India and China, but that literacy may not translate into more or deeper reading.

 

This is terrible for leadership, where my experience suggests those trends are even more pronounced. Business people seem to be reading less — particularly material unrelated to business. But deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness.

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Lessons in Leadership Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

Lessons in Leadership Straight from the Horse’s Mouth | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

I have been at a horse show all week-long (and still am as I write this post) so my result my “leadership brain” has not been engaged, so when I realized I had to write a post, I’ll have to admit I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about. Then it hit me… the leadership lessons are happening right before my eyes!

 

I have been watching people handle, ride ,and compete with animals who:

 

Weigh in at half a ton or more..

 

Don’t speak our language..

 

Have prey-animal instincts that tell them to run a half a mile before they stop and look at what they think was going to eat them..

 

This speaks volumes of lessons in leadership: building trust, peacefully resolving conflict and respectfully choosing your battles.

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Are you throwing your training budget down the drain?

Are you throwing your training budget down the drain? | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
All training should have a practical outcome. It should improve staff performance and productivity, and it should arm them with the relevant skills required to meet the business' current and future objectives.

 

Training plays an essential role in developing a highly-skilled and productive workforce. But it is a costly investment, and one that can quickly disappear down the drain if not retained or applied by the employee. In fact, conservative estimates indicate that an individual's productivity levels can increase by eight per cent if they can apply their training to their role. That equates to 160 hours of additional output, or roughly 20 days per year.

 

Sadly, the reality for many organisations is that their training programme delivers little long term value to the business - simply because employees fail to apply what they've learnt in a classroom environment to their daily role. In comparison, alternative methods such as e-learning have proved more successful, with attendees retaining up to 80 per cent more information than if they attended a classroom course.

 

Here, Kevin Young, general manager EMEA, Skillsoft, outlines his top tips for organisations wanting to ensure that staff apply what they've learnt to their daily roles.

 

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Emotions- Importance of; management of negative feelings; positive value of

Emotions- Importance of; management of negative feelings; positive value of | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

Great stuff!!
Importance of Emotions for:
- Survival

- Decision Making

- Predicting Behavior

- Boundary Setting

- Communications

- Happiness

- Unity

- Success!

 


Via EQRocks, David Hain
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Taking a break is secret to success

Taking a break is secret to success | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

FORGET what your teachers said, practice doesn't make perfect.

 

At least it doesn't when you practise over and over again without a break.
Sydney scientists have found learning improves when students take a rest from continuous study or training.


''It seems intuitive that every minute of study should make you better, but, actually, if you do too much it might backfire and you end up wasting time,'' said the study's lead researcher, Joel Pearson.

 

Taking a break is secret to success. Sydney scientists have found learning improves when students take a rest from continuous study or training.


Via Gina Stepp
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Strategy, Capability & Really Bad Advice

Strategy, Capability & Really Bad Advice | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Strategy should never be dumbed down to match capability. 

 

Today’s post is a rather short rant, but one I felt compelled to put forth. I just finished reading an article where the author (a self professed innovation guru) recommended strategy be aligned with capability, and that to allow ambition to exceed capability is a nothing short of a recipe for disaster. If this sounds like rational thinking to you, I’d encourage you to read the text that follows for a bit of a different perspective.

 

Let me get right to it – if you want to fail as a leader then please follow the flawed advice given by the wizard of innovation mentioned in the opening paragraph. But if you want to rise above the crowd and become an innovative leader, I’d ask you to regard said advice for what it is – more of the same. It’s just another well-intentioned sound bite that will destroy your company and your career if you choose to follow it.

 

Strategy should never be dumbed down to match capability. In fact, quite the opposite – capability should always be in the process of being upgraded to keep pace with strategy. If a leader dilutes the strategy because of a lack of capability, they have already failed – the game is over before it starts. It is simply impossible to cede opportunity to others, settle for mediocrity, and hope to somehow remain a competitive enterprise.

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Why Not Having Goals is a Recipe for Mediocrity

Why Not Having Goals is a Recipe for Mediocrity | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

Do you have goals? Do you write them down?

 

Or do you simply go through each day as if it were its own?

 

Goals are important to lay the path to success and to lift you above ordinary.

 

If you don’t set goals, you are settling for whatever life brings your way.

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AlGonzalezinfo's comment, August 15, 2012 9:21 PM
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26 (A-Z) Traits of a Leader I’d Want To Follow

26 (A-Z) Traits of a Leader I’d Want To Follow | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
The ideal leader? Is there such a thing?

 

While I’m not entirely certain there is such a thing as a “Perfect” leader. I do sometimes try to think of what one may look like. If I had the chance to draw up the perfect leader from A-Z in which I would want to follow.


With so many words to choose from, some of the letters were hard to choose, while others like the letter “X” were hard to find even a single word. Nevertheless, after boiling it down, the leader I would follow would definitely have these 26 things.

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Your Employees Like Hierarchy (No, Really)

Your Employees Like Hierarchy (No, Really) | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Maybe it's not such a good idea to banish the org chart: A recent study reveals employees secretly like it.

 

If you've ever been part of a bureaucratic organization, you know how frustrating it can be to deal with several chains of command, which makes getting things done quickly all but impossible. That's why start-ups often champion "flat" organizations and do away with unnecessary levels of management as a way to stay fast and nimble.

 

But you might not be doing your employees (or your company) a favor by eliminating chains of command altogether. According to new research, there are real benefits to hierarchy.

 

People Prefer a Pecking Order

 

It turns out employees sometimes prefer hierarchical relationships over equal ones, according to a study conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Larissa Tiedens and Emily Zitek, an assistant professor at Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations School.


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Effective Managers Earn Trust Quickly By Doing 5 Things Well

Effective Managers Earn Trust Quickly By Doing 5 Things Well | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

The best managers get it: no explanation required. They are proactive in addressing the needs of their team.

 

Managers in the workplace have a unique role to play with multiple and continuously evolving responsibilities. They must instill a high-performance mindset while creating a culture whose foundation promotes teamwork and competitiveness for the betterment of a healthier whole.

 

Additionally, managers must touch the business and stay active. More than ever managers must have just as strong of a pulse on the business (internally and externally) as those who are managing it on the front lines. Most importantly, managers must quickly earn trust from their colleagues to inspire team unity and collaboration that is centered on the fundamental principles of loyalty, communication and transparency.


Via Fabrice De Zanet, David Hain, Sabrina Murphy
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Power-Sharing, Così Style

Power-Sharing, Così Style | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Power-sharing arrangements involving independent directors are rare, but Carin Stutz, the relatively new CEO at struggling sandwich chain Così Inc., says she has welcomed the input of executive chairman Stephen Edwards.

 

The new Così leaders initially visited more than 20 restaurants in three cities together. Many looked worn and dated, Ms. Stutz reports. Eating her way through the menu—which ranges from soups and salads to sandwiches and flatbread pizzas—she saw a need to introduce fresh items and revamp others. She has eliminated about 15% of the 65 menu items including a Southwestern-style Chicken Tinga sandwich and a shrimp rémoulade salad. Così also recently introduced four new items, such as flat bread with red pepper and sausage.

 

Mr. Edwards initially wondered whether he should find consultants or chefs to help improve Così's sandwiches. "That's not why you're in there,'' chided Michael O'Donnell, another Così director. Instead, Mr. Edwards encouraged Ms. Stutz to delve into nitty-gritty problems during her first board meeting.

 

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Secrets to Small-Business Growth

Secrets to Small-Business Growth | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

No-one starts a small business intending to fail, and it goes without saying that to succeed a start-up needs to grow, however the secrets to creating growth in a small business evade a lot of business owners.

 

Whilst there are a myriad of internal and external influences impacting on the ability of a business owner to grow their business, there are only a few key elements that if addressed properly, will go a long way to ensuring that your business is one of those that grows.

 

This good article, identifies that there are things you can control and things that you have no control over when growing your business, and it identifies four areas where you should focus your efforts to successfully grow your business.

 


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How to Schmooze Without Being Sleazy

How to Schmooze Without Being Sleazy | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
Schmoozing gets a bad rap, but it shouldn't. Use these nine guidelines to become a master networker.

 

The term "schmoozing" sometimes takes on a negative connotation--it can feel somehow ingratiating, insincere, or pushy. But if you get it right, schmoozing can help you build valuable networks.

 

I am still a low-level novice at the art of schmoozing, but I consulted a high-level master, Bob Kobek from Mobius. Here are his 10 rules for schmoozing without the sleaze.


Via todd russell, Brian S Titus, Mark Hulme, LEED AP
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Why You’re Wrong and I’m Right

Why You’re Wrong and I’m Right | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

  

I think what I think because it’s right. If you think differently, you’re wrong. I never intentionally think stupid ideas or chose wrong options. Do you?

 

I always choose what I think is right. Research indicates that the act of choosing strengthens my opinion that my choice is right. Even if I’m wrong, I’m right, or at least it feels that way.

 

Why I need to be right?


What’s dangerous about the need to be right?


How can leaders be wrong in a leaderly way? (I don’t think leaderly is a word. Is it?)


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Why morality divides us.

Why morality divides us. | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

Why can’t we accept differences in moral opinion the same way we readily accept differences in other opinions like music preference? What makes moral attitudes so different and divisive?


Moral attitudes are different from either personal preferences or social conventions, because we believe that everyone should hold the same ones we do. When it comes to personal preferences, we accept that people have different tastes. Even social conventions, things like tipping waiters or not eating with your hands, are seen as culturally contingent. We are perfectly happy imagining a different country with different social rules in which people eat with their hands and don't leave tips at restaurants.


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Effective Tech Leadership is Effective Leadership

Effective Tech Leadership is Effective Leadership | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

Quality technological leadership is very much aligned with effective leadership.

 

Quality technological leadership is very much aligned with effective leadership. The keys to success depend on being mission driven, employing the empowerment of others, communicating effectively, and cultivating a shared vision and purpose. A nuanced approach to staying on course and being open to change and developments are certainly plusses.

 

What then distinguishes technological leadership from a more traditional leader? Context perhaps?


Via Stephanie Sandifer, Donna Murdoch, Gary Morrison
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Time Investment #LeadershipDay12

Time Investment #LeadershipDay12 | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

So as an administrator, we are far too often asking teachers who don’t see the value of this to put time into learning about social media, but then not providing the actual time in school to learn this practice.  I often refer to the idea of pressure and support; if we provide too muchpressure, teachers will wilt under it, but if we provide too much support without the pressure, they will not see it as important.  If we are not providing time embedded into the school day for teachers to connect using Twitter, or reflect using a blog, etc., there is all of the pressure in the world but with very little support.  

 

How do we expect educators to really jump in to this world on their own?  How do we expect them to put a large investment of their own time when they have no idea what they are really getting into?

 

If we really think this is important, we need to find time during our days to encourage staff to use this technology to improve learning where they can get this support.

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Best Practices - Aren't

Best Practices - Aren't | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it

There is no such thing as best practices. The reality is best practices are nothing more than disparate groups of methodologies, processes, rules, concepts and theories that attained a level of success in certain areas, and because of those successes, have been deemed as universal truths able to be applied anywhere and everywhere.

 

Just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s true.

 

Moreover, just because “Company A” had success with a certain initiative doesn’t mean that “Company B” can plug-and-play the same process and expect the same outcome.

 

There is always room for new thinking and innovation, or at least there should be.


Via Bob Corlett
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Make Room for Something New by Clearing a Bit Clutter

Make Room for Something New by Clearing a Bit Clutter | Surviving Leadership Chaos | Scoop.it
A work environment with fewer distractions will free your mind to focus on your most important things. Delete, purge, and recycle to make room for new ideas.

 

Does this sound familiar to you?

 

“This is it. Today is the day that I’m going to get organized.”

 

If you’ve made this promise to yourself on multiple “todays,” maybe it’s because your work environment is setting you up for failure.

 

Take a moment to look around your work space and consider these three questions:

 

1. Are you surrounded by clutter?

 

2. Are multiple stacks of papers and files visible?

 

3. Do you feel the stress of the undone?

 

If you answered yes, have you considered that the clutter and those undone to-dos are pulling your focus and monopolizing your valuable time?

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