Musings about Leadership, Decision Making, and Competitive Strategy
Friday, October 28, 2022
As a Leader, Are you Trying to Impress or Connect?
Friday, October 21, 2022
How Leaders Can Build Trust
How can leaders build trust? Here are five strategies that prove quite effective:
- Be transparent. That doesn't just mean providing more information about the performance of the organization. It means helping others understand how you think. What are the criteria you use to make big decisions? What is the rationale for particular actions? What are the values guiding your behavior?
- Walk the walk. If you articulate a certain set of values and norms, then be sure that you are acting in ways consistent with those principles. Root out any instances of misalignment between words and actions.
- Lead fairer decision-making processes. Fair process doesn't mean giving people their way. It means giving people voice and genuinely considering their views before making key decisions. As noted leadership scholar Michael Watkins says, it means avoiding the "charade of consultation." By that, he means not asking for input AFTER you have already made up your mind. Employees see right through the charade when you ask for advice, yet simply act in the way you always intended from the start.
- Own your mistakes. If you fail, acknowledge it. Explain what happened and why, and be clear about how you plan to fix the problem. Don't throw others under the bus. Instead, describe what you learned from the failure.
- Listen early, often, and actively. When you speak to large groups of employees, make sure that at least half the time is reserved for questions. Don't force people to submit questions in advance. Be willing to show some vulnerability and address questions in the moment. If you don't know the answer, say so. Tell people how and when you will get them the answer.
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Case Companion: A New Tool from Harvard Business Publishing
CFOs, Leadership Development, and the Cost of Losing Talent
Use data and more holistic analysis to aid better decision-making. What are the costs for contracting or recruiting externally versus upskilling internal high performers? Apply your visionary eye to this analysis. What are those costs over the long-term, given the value of in-house knowledge and retaining those who possess both the expertise and the experience with your organization’s way of working?
In short, Pickrum makes the case that CFOs can help organizations identify and quantify the costs and risks of losing key talent. What precisely is the damage done by high employee turnover? What benefits will we acheive if our development efforts improve the retention of highly talented employees? Many CFOs (and other top executives) question the ROI of leadership development efforts. Yet, CFOs should do more than ask the question in a theoretical way. They should help the organization develop an accurate and thorough understanding of the potential benefits of leadership development efforts as well as the risks and costs of NOT investing in leadership development. The connection between development and retention is crucial, and understanding the true cost of employee turnover is essential.
Thursday, October 13, 2022
Flaws in the Rationale for the Direct-to-Consumer Business Model
Alexandra Sternlicht has written an article this week for Fortune titled "How Silicon Valley’s retail revolution withered. Eight years after Allbirds and Glossier were born, VC investors say direct-to-consumer is dead." She quotes several investors, including Nicole Johnson, a partner at venture capital firm Forerunner.