Thursday, December 31, 2009

Play Safely, Kids

So long 2009! Here's to a GREAT 2010!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

RockStarLeader Guest Post #4: String Cheese, Dave Grohl, and Rock Star Leadership

The fourth guest post I've done for the RockStarLeader blog starts with an interview Foo Fighter front-man, Dave Grohl, did for the 12/14/2009 issue of Time magazine, passes through the category of “You Don’t Know What You Know until You Know What You Know,” and ends with looking at what Rock Star Leaders know about leadership that most “lousy” leaders do not:
  1. A Rock Star Leader knows the importance of GETTING “IN FRONT OF” MEETINGS – It’s no surprise that meetings are some of the absolute worst places to get things done! That’s why RSLs (Rock Star Leaders) work to have key conversations, with key players, in advance of ‘formal’ meetings on the topic. Doing so dramatically improves their views being properly heard, understood, and incorporated into the decision-making process. That’s how “influence” happens.
  2. A Rock Star Leader knows the importance of KNOWING HOW TO MOP-UP QUICKLY – Obviously, delegation is an essential leadership skill. But even more important is knowing how to clean-up quickly, efficiently, and satisfactorily, should something you delegate go wrong. So whenever RSLs delegate, you can be sure that they spend at least a few moments considering ...
(...continued at

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

What's Really Being Shredded?

So there's this company called LifeLock that offers identity and personal information protection for a flat monthly fee. You may even remember their television ad from a while back where they pasted its CEO's Social Security number on the screen? By the way, their web site now includes (I've circled it in red, above) an asterisk: "Never share your social security number unnecessarily." (Okay, so apparently, advertising IS necessary! (See yesterday's Accenture piece for more on that.)

But LifeLock now has an even more puzzling full-page newspaper ad that says:

Enroll Today and Receive a FREE Shredder!

Okay, someone explain this to me: Why would a company that guarantees you against identity theft be offering something that you wouldn't need after signing up as an enrollment incentive?!

Don't get me wrong, shredders are good things. But, in this context, isn't that like offering a free steak dinner to anyone who becomes a vegetarian?! Isn't that like offering you free cat litter for as long as you own your dog?! I guess you could give the shredder away to a loved one, but you'd think LifeLock would rather you give them a subscription to their service instead, no?!

Mixed messages, like these, are a pet peeve of mine -- like the TV ads that basically say, "If you're stupid like the people in this TV commercial, then our product is perfect for you!" Argh!

So, too, are mixed messages in the workplace -- especially in the leadership space:
  • Like a boss who who gigs people for tardiness but takes long lunches and sneaks out early himself
  • Like a boss who insists on work/life balance but expects a timely reply to her Sunday afternoon emails
  • Like a boss who stresses professionalism, but says, "Do as I say, not as I do"
  • Like a boss who encourages you to do better but won't say what's specifically needed to bring your performance up to the next level

The only thing that these things "shred" is your leadership reputation. So take a moment to consider what mixed messages might YOU be sending -- not just in your company's advertising campaign, but in your own leadership style, as well. Protect your Leadership Identity.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Accenture's 100% Exit Strategy

The juxtaposition of news and advertising has always interested me. Case in Point from today's Chicago Tribune, where columnist Phil Rosenthal wrote:
"There was a lot of head nodding at Accenture's announcement that Woods was "no longer the right representative for its advertising," even as it promised to "continue to leverage its 'High Performance Business' strategy and 'High Performance Delivered' positioning in the marketplace." As if Accenture had no choice.

"Maybe Woods is no longer the model of perfection that Accenture was selling in its ads, and one has to wonder how a firm that touts its expertise in risk management, strategy consulting and talent management could be caught off guard by what seems to be an established pattern of behavior.

"In dropping Woods, the message one might take away is that Accenture is the consultant for when things are going smoothly. Slip up, and you're on your own. Or when Accenture makes a mistake, it cuts and moves on."
Clearly Accenture found itself in a tough situation and acted quickly and decisively to address it. Still, depending on how Accenture's clients and prospects think through the implications of what Rosenthal is suggesting, there may be more news about Accenture than just its next advertising campaign.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Conflict Hot Buttons?

What "triggers" you into conflict?
What's your hottest HOT BUTTON?

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

GGCI's Executive Coaching Flow

Recently created this diagram to help explain what I do when a company hires me as an executive coach for some leadership development work. Thought it'd make sense to post it for a wider GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. (GGCI) audience to see, as well, so here it is:

GottaGettaCoach! Executive Coaching Flow Feel free to call (847-291-9735) or email ( to discuss.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

ManagementSushi Guest Post #2: Time-Management, the TV-Marathon Way

Courtesy of ManagementSushi, UK-based marketeer, brand expert, and SME business strategist, Bernie Ritchie's blog, my latest guest-post is now live.

Titled, "2010 : Year of the TV Marathon Work Week Approach?!" it's a tongue-in-cheek strategy for managing your way-too-busy work-week, based on how television stations schedule those program marathons.

To start things off, Bernie's included some of her favorite (or 'favourite,' as she'd spell it) time-management resources, as well.

Here, then, is an excerpt of the post:

"Monday could be "Email Day" where all we did was respond to what was in our in-boxes. Now many of you get *zillions* of emails, no doubt, but I gotta believe that if you had an entire day to focus just on that, why you might even be able to come in a little bit late on Mondays. And wouldn't that be a nice way to start the week?!
"Having eased into the week like that, Tuesday would then be "Commitment Day." This would be when you'd be responsible for doing all the things you said you'd do in your emails, a week ago Monday. Just imagine: "Sorry, boss, I can't help you out right now, I'm too busy honoring the commitments I've already made to other people."

"Of course that would mean that Wednesday would have to be "Commitment Overflow Day" (COD for short). Why? Well for two reasons ..."
(... continued at

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dissent and Other Keys to Success

Even in the worst of times, Bad Management causes dissension. In "Developing Managers for Team-Driven Success" (Baseline Magazine, November 2009) William Moskal identified several examples of bad management behavior:
  • Micromanagement: "Decisions are imposed, not delegated."
  • Communication gaps: "Goals, strategies, expectations and timelines are not shared. Feedback is withheld."
  • Inconsistency: "Abrupt reversals, deadline changes and frequent new priorities." (Although in fairness to everyone, that's really become fairly typical in many (most?) organizations, hasn't it?!)
  • Intimidation: "A disproportionate focus on discipline, not coaching, including public criticism and rudeness."
  • Self-promotion: "Opportunities are not shared, and credit is hoarded."
  • Lack of mentoring: "Managers are not groomed for advancement. Cross-training is not encouraged and access to upper management is restricted."

"The reassuring news," says Moskal, "is that managers who unwittingly build barriers can also remove them." (Yes, when it comes to professional development, sometimes you actually can teach old dogs new tricks!) His solution: "Senior executives should take a wide-angle look to identify opportunities to empower and motivate front-line managers, while avoiding corrective approaches that stigmatize and single out individuals."

Okay. Anyway, he also had an excellent approach to helping managers improve their engagement, strategic analysis skills, and conflict management capabilities:

Have each executive establish - and rotate - an "official dissent" role among his/her direct reports.

Per Moskal, "Sanctioned opposition can be a powerful tool for collaborative decision-making, analytic skill-building and improved outcomes." I agree. It 'permissions' the quiet ones to speak up. It encourages those who always play 'devil's advocate' to stretch beyond just that.

(Hmm, dissenting with the official dissenter is tantamount to agreeing with the original idea, is it not?! And agreeing with the dissenter is, well, agreeing! Watch out you devil's advocates out there, this official dissent thing could rock your world! )

Having an official dissent role in your organization might unlock some truly superb ideas. And in these worst of times, superb ideas are exactly what's needed, are they not?!

Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig.

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