97 Reasons Why Business Growth Stalls
Growth is hard work. For the past 27 years, I’ve worked as an executive coach, Vistage Chair, trainer or management consultant with hundreds of organizations. They have varied in size from just under $1M to well over $1B. Some have grown aggressively while some have grown more methodically, and others have struggled to grow at […]
When Everyone Else Is Playing Defense, Play Offense
You need to score to win at anything in life, and to score, you need to play offense! I don’t know what’s happened to the mindset of the average business leader these days. I’m well aware that they’re bombarded with lots of information, most of it negative about the state of the economy, our […]
Ten Things Business Leaders Need to Do in 2023
It has certainly been an interesting time to be a in a business leadership position these last few years. Every time you thought you had something figured out a new challenge arose. It was hard enough dealing with COVID-19 then we had to deal with a broken employer-employee model. In addition, economic conditions have been […]
Leaning in and Leading Your Organization In A Recession
There is a famous Jack Welch quote where he says. “Never miss out on an opportunity like a good recession.” I also like the Sam Walton quote, “I was asked what I thought about the recession. I thought about it and decided not to take part.” Both of these leaders understood the importance of keeping […]
A Simple Formula for CEO Success
I am asked all the time if there is a simple CEO success formula that every leader should follow. I believe there is and unfortunately few leaders have the discipline and commitment to consistently stick to it. The first thing you must clearly understand and mange to is your CEO role. Far too many leaders […]
Daily Leadership Thought #179 – Create Your Own Destiny
Courage still matters in business and in life. Many of us avoid the difficult decisions or talk ourselves out of taking risks. We strive for comfort where only pain and discomfort exists. It’s better to bet on yourself and your business and accept the consequences then to live in someone else’s shadow or become another fish in the pond of mediocrity.
Leadership Thought #400 – 25 Ways Leaders Get Themselves in Trouble
Leadership isn’t easy or everyone could do it. Some talented people make it look easy, but we often don’t see all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make it look this way. Most leaders struggle at some point and have to learn some difficult lessons along the way. Experience can be the best teacher if you are open to learning. I’ve observed the following 25 ways (in no particular order) that leaders tend to get themselves in trouble:
Eight Things You Can Do as a Leader to Make an Impact Right Now
Time is short and markets are uncertain. As a leader, the time to act is now. Of course, you need to be thinking about the long-term and how your industry is changing. You also need to be building the foundation and pushing for these changes now. Every leader should constantly be asking themselves, “What is […]
10 Tips To Help You Become A CEO
Making the leap from entrepreneur to CEO isn’t always an easy journey. I’ve seen many people struggle with this transition. The ability to lead is not something you are born with; it is something you must constantly cultivate. And, the more success you have, the more leadership will be required. It is one thing to […]
Business Advice for Navigating the Current Environment (from a Seasoned Executive Coach)
I have the good fortune of working with over 50 businesses on a regular basis. I get to see the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to leadership challenges. Here are some observations that I hope you will find useful as you continue to manage through these challenging times.
11 Things Every CEO Should Be Doing Right Now
If you are a CEO, the time to lead is now! It is a fact of life that the only constant in the world is change. You cannot resist the future you must only embrace it. In addition, as we’ve seen lately, the present can change course quickly. This is why adaptability is such an […]
In A Crisis, Be The Leadership Lighthouse
“A lighthouse can symbolize various things, such as overcoming challenges and adversity or guidance. It is most commonly used to symbolize a way forward and help in navigating through the world. … The first is of the lighthouse itself, which can symbolize salvation and safety, especially in the face of adversity. – source: reference.com” The simile I like to use with my clients is […]
Leadership Thought #425 – 10 Ways To Ensure Your Business Success As A Leader
Leadership isn’t rocket science. Creating the conditions for business success is actually pretty basic: be clear about where you are going and why; define what success looks like and track performance; make sure all of your key people on the same page; don’t “wing it” when it comes to important decisions; ensure that every single employee knows how they fit in the big picture and what they are supposed to be doing; create a process for providing on-going performance feedback; hold people accountable for results (including yourself); be careful about who you hire and put in supervisory roles; provide extensive training and support; never stop communicating with your customers; and make sure everyone shares in the success of the business but also feels the pinch of nonperformance.
Leadership Thought #463 – You Need To Have Thick Skin To Lead Others
Leadership is not for the faint of heart. It certainly has its ups and downs and can test anyone’s emotional fortitude. However, this is the very reason so few people can do it well. If you take every small slight and failure personally, the job will eat you alive. Whenever you assume a position of responsibility, you automatically also assume a roster of critics and malcontents who aren’t always aligned with your leadership vision. Since you can’t realistically fire everyone who disagrees with you (nor is this advisable), then you need to figure out other ways to handle the pressures and scrutiny.
Leadership Thought #370 – Fifteen Things Leaders Should Never Do
We all get in our way sometimes and leaders are no different. Just because we know we shouldn’t do something doesn’t always mean we won’t do it. However, not all mistakes are created equal. There are fifteen things a leader should strive never to do:
Leadership Thought #362 – Never Stop Learning
Leaders should be in a constant learning mode. Once you think you know it all give up the reigns of power because you will become detrimental to your organization. While some basic fundamental beliefs may remain true regardless of the circumstances, most of what takes place in business is in a constant state of flux. Your goal should be to stay ahead of the change curve not fall behind it. One way to do this is to keep asking questions and seeking answers. You can never be smart enough.
Leadership Thought #347 – You Must Have a Vision of the Future
It is surprising and frustrating how many business leaders simply make it up as they go along. Entrepreneurs typically start with a core idea and then if they are lucky have some initial success which requires them to actually build a business delivery model. Most of them then get bogged down in the day to day operation and fulfilling their product/service promise to their customers. Since most companies typically start out undercapitalized and growth eats cash, they also get caught up in basic financial issues which can be a major leadership distraction. Next thing they know they have a company on their hands and employees who expect to have a boss with a clue about the future and a strategic plan of action. It can all be very challenging and easy to fall into a survival rather than success mode.
Leadership Thought #345 – Focus on What You Do Well
Focus on what you do well and then delegate everything else you possibly can. Many leaders spend far too much time on things they aren’t good at. Leadership is about effectively growing, leveraging and deploying assets. If the top personnel resource in the company is being used inefficiently or ineffectively what does that say about the organization as a whole? Time is finite and once it is wasted it is gone.
Leadership Thought #319 – Strive to Operate at Your “Highest and Best” Use
There is a term commonly used in real estate when describing the value of an individual property called its “highest and best use.” The highest and best use is always that use that would produce the highest value for a property, regardless of its actual current use. I want to encourage leaders to think the same way about their own role. As the lead person in your organization, it is your responsibility to vigorously protect your time and activity. Any number of distractions will pop up in a given day, but they cannot be allowed to dilute your energy, talent and focus from what’s most important.
Leadership Thought #314 – It’s Not Just About You
When you lead others it’s about them not you. Many leaders struggle with this idea especially those with big egos. The truth is that without followers there isn’t a need for a leader. People need to see their own interests aligned with yours. In addition, there needs to be something that holds them together besides the strength of your personality, size of your brain, and/or level of your self-confidence.
Leadership Thought #307 – Never Become Too Important To Your Business
I’ve met many business owners through the years who admit that if something happened to them the business would have a hard time continuing operations for any period of time. This always makes me nervous. Leadership isn’t about building dependency upon any one person. It is about getting a group of people working interdependently towards a common goal. Of course it’s much harder to do this when you are relatively small, but as you begin to grow and add staff, you should be constantly thinking about building operational redundancy and minimizing personnel/performance risk.