The Big Two

There are two crucial traits that must be built into every leader in every organization in order to achieve lasting success. These two traits should be in the cross-hairs of leaders worldwide.

One is Capacity. The other is Capability.

An organization that is weak in these two areas is as deficient as a person with low iron and calcium. Without Capacity and Capability, leaders are consistently susceptible to every leadership sickness imaginable.

The Big Two

Capacity

Capacity is the ability to not only multi-task tactics and roles, but also to HANDLE sufficiently the demands of reality with that role and leadership. Capacity is what allows a person to handle high levels of stress and perform when things are not how they should be.

Raising the levels of leadership falls squarely on the shoulders of the capacity of a person. If you raise the capacity, you can more easily raise the level of a particular leader. Conversely, if you look at leaders who have not made it, you can tie that directly to their capacity levels.

Capability

Capability is the flip side. To raise a person’s capabilities gives the leader stability to handle capacity. It is often times that the increased capabilities lead to increased capacity.

Let’s begin to address the “how to’s” of increasing these two characteristics. To do so it begins with you. It’s always that way, isn’t it? It should be anyway. Read more

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions.

One of the reasons for conflict and misunderstanding in organizational life is in regard to the decision-making flow. There are a number of approaches you can take to decision-making, one of the skills of leadership being knowing when to apply which approach.

Some of us have tendencies to make decisions in isolation and come off the mountain-top with the vision for the next year. Those of us who tend to do that miss out on engaging the many people who may have perspectives and voices that would contribute significantly to the process. Others of us are so consensus oriented that we make very few decisions and our process orientation keeps us moving at snails pace.

Here are 4 decision-making approaches that will help you think through where your team or organization is at currently and what might need to happen (source: The Psychology of Decision Making).

The Rational Approach

This approach operates on the assumption that all members of an organization are working together to achieve one goal and presumes that those involved in decision making have access to all information needed and will engage an orderly, rational process to seek what will ultimately prove to be the best pathway of moving forward.

The Emotional Approach

Although the thinking aspect of decision-making has dominated most of the research for the past 50 years, decision making involves aspects of emotionality such as mood, regret and disappointment, and feelings associated with risk. Emotionality can be a significant, sometimes subconscious factor in decision-making.

The Political Approach

The political approach views organizations as a house of a complex variety of individuals and interest groups. As a result, organizations are seen as having multiple, conflicting goals that make bargaining toward mutual benefit an essential component of this approach.

The Garbage Can Model

Those employing the garbage can model view organizations as inconsistent and in need of someone to sift through the random elements (garbage), identifying problems and answers to the messes of the chaos that exists in organizational life. Proponents of this approach would tell you to embrace the mess, you might just find some treasure buried in all that rubble.

What is your approach to decision-making and what insights have you picked up that have helped engage people in the process?

Free Guide: Developing Your Leadership Tempo

Leadership is difficult.

As a leader, you are tasked with growing the business, developing your team, and balancing your life outside of work along the way. For the overwhelming majority of people, getting into a consistent routine is very difficult.

One of our foundational tools at GiANT Worldwide is called “Tempo, Balance, Focus”. We use it to challenge leaders to develop a way of living and leading that makes them more effective, more fulfilled, and expands their overall influence.

For those of you who have been following the blog for a while now, you know that each month we release a free resource for you to use by yourself and with your team. If you haven’t already done so, take a look at our previous resources by visiting the Resources page. On there you will find a New Year’s planning guide, 5 Questions Effective Leaders Cannot Ignore, and a GiANT Guide to Leading with Love.

Free Resource: Developing Your Leadership Tempo

The resource for April takes a deeper look into the issue of “Tempo” as it relates to leadership. This guide will walk you through a simple process of identifying what your ideal tempo looks like for your year, each month, each week and each day.

Leaders who are able to find the right rhythm and routine are the ones who are most influential.

To view and download this resource, simply click below to join our email list. After that, we’ll send you a copy for free. You’ll also receive new resources as they become available.

Developing Your Leadership Tempo

Click here to Download: Developing Your Leadership Tempo

From the Toolkit: Five Circles of Influence

Leadership doesn’t just happen at work. It happens in all circles of influence: self, family, team, organization and your community.

The Ultimate Goal of a Leader

What should a leader’s biggest goal be?

I like that question.

Some might answer “Results,” “Company Value” or “Team Loyalty.”

I have thought about this often, especially when leading through uncertain times. I found the answer in the last words of King David.

The Ultimate Goal of a Leader

Last words are important. They mean something as life is on the way out and death is near. They especially mean a lot from a revered king and historical legend. King David was a strong, effective leader. So, I have taken his words a bit more to heart. Here is what he said on his death bed.

“A great leader is like the morning sun shining on the morning meadow with blue skies above.”

When I first read this I thought it was a bit light and fluffy. “Morning sun shining on a meadow?” Really?

And then I caught his intent. I would paraphrase it like this…

“A great leader brings peace! A right leader brings peace to their team, to their company, to their family and to themselves. That is their goal and their aim.

Wow! Are you bringing peace right now? Am I?

Let me be careful to help you understand that David was a warrior. He went to battle almost every year of his 40 years of service. That doesn’t seem to be peaceful, does it? Yet, he was called a man after God’s own heart. He resided over much discord, yet, I believe he means this: A great leader has intent for peace even if it means making hard decisions, positioning companies, removing employees, etc.

Is peace your intent? Are you working and leading to take your company into peace and prosperity? A great leader has the intent to lead a peace-filled existence and to rest in the grace and rewards of their efforts. That is a peaceful leader. That is a great leader.

The ultimate goal of a leader is to lead their teammates down the paths of contentment, rest and peace.

Perfect Tendencies

Do you know someone who’s perfect? The way they act, communicate, handle pressure and conduct themselves is all in line with how you would like them to be all the time? They never annoy you. The only way someone could answer yes to this question is if they aren’t married and live alone in the woods with their dog. We all accept that everyone is different and true relationship is a give and take.

Perfect Tendencies

How About Leaders?

Have you ever worked for a perfect leader? Another impossibility. Think about the good and bad leaders in your life. What were the tendencies that they had, good and bad? Were they aware of these tendencies? I doubt it. Read more

Being Intentional About Your Growth

You are responsible for growing as a person and as a leader.

It starts with you.

The key is in being self-aware… to admit that you need to grow… to admit that you need some fresh perspective. You are the key to the growth of your team and organization, even your family.

Being Intentional About Your Growth

Credit: Pridash on Flickr.

Your growth depends on your desire to grow and on your commitment to grow. Desire and commitment together can do a lot in a person.

For instance, I have known for years that I needed to get healthier. I needed to eat better and I needed more physical activity. As my waist band expanded and my huffing became obvious to my wife on our walks, it was time for change. The desire to change had been there, but my commitment wasn’t until the moment a good friend of mine got serious and started seeing amazing results in his own physical training. I had to admit that if he could do it, I could as well. That was what turned on the commitment, but one last thing was missing. I needed a plan for execution of my desire to get in better shape and my commitment to exercising.

My wife and I bought one of those TV exercise programs, P90X. They had the eating plan and the workout regimen that I needed to order my days. My desire connected to commitment and my commitment leveraged a plan to produce great results that I have wanted for years.

  • Where is your desire to grow as a leader? Do you want to grow?
  • What is your commitment to the process  Are you willing to do what it takes to get to the next level?
  • What is your plan? Do you have a regimen to help you become a great leader?

Please realize, I can’t give you desire, that is up to you. I can’t impact your commitment, either. Our company has developed a plan that helps people with their commitment. If you follow this plan it will give you the basic activities you need to get moving and start growing as a leader. You can always add other things into this plan. The plan is really a framework of growth that incorporates informal time (growth during drive time or exercise time) and formal times (events, retreats, book plans, etc.)

It is up to you to commit. Once you start, it will be pivotal to start your teams (those you lead), and your organization as well. Once people see your success they will ask what has gotten into you. That is when you get them moving toward growing as leaders. That is what it means to be intentional.

Growth happens by intentional focus on raising the level of leadership. Here is to your intentional success!

“Duct Tape Matrix”

I was speaking to a potential client this week and he asked me a pointed question: “How do you know when you’ve succeeded? I like what you say you are trying to do, and I think our company could use that outcome, but how do you know it’s really happening. You talk about “100X Teams” – an environment that fosters the growth of leaders worth following. That sounds nice; how do you measure it in a way my COO can put in a P and L?”

I swallowed and groped for a response, and as I did a picture flashed into my mind: a duct taped quadrant on the wall of a stocking room.

A week prior I’d visited a site of one of our other GiANT customers, Dahl Automotive in LaCrosse Wisconsin. I visited one of their dealerships and had a chance to meet with Tommy, their parts manager. Tommy took me into his domain, a meticulously maintained cathedral of shelved parts.

Tommy is so good at what he does that last year his inventory was off just a few dollars. They guy knows his stuff. Read more

Culture Trouncing Strategy

I’m seldom my best under intense pressure. In fact, according to the Myers-Briggs research that GiANT uses as a foundation for much of our work, intense pressure often drives us in the grip of our greatest weaknesses. In my case, as an ENTP, when I get overloaded, I binge, on Ben and Jerry’s, poorly written Vince Flynn Novels, exercising like I think I’m still 25, or worse… much worse.

Stress does bad things to all of us… Stress does bad things for organizations too, not just individuals.

Culture > Strategy

One of our GiANT Axioms is: “Culture trumps strategy under pressure.” It’s too true.

Not long ago I was with a GiANT CLiENT (my wife Jill’s clever little play on words) and I saw firsthand the difficult reality of this principle. We’ve been working hard to help this leadership team drive their core values down through all the levels of their organization; they’ve been making great progress. But the day of my visit some unexpected challenges hit and hit hard. Literally, before my eyes this principle began to play out… those pressures were forcing out of the way the very progress that had begun to move the company. What was revealed was the old, stubborn culture, still alive and well.

The Good News

That leadership team saw this happening and stopped it, right on the spot. “Wait a minute,” one of the manages said, “It doesn’t matter what pressures are dumped on us. We can’t control that. But we can control our responses and whether or not we transfer those pressures down the line to those we’re leading. I can choose to stop it.”

Suddenly the principle hit me between the eyes! Even as the pressures were revealing the stubborn remnants of an old and unhealthy culture, the new culture already taking root was rising up to TRUMP the pressure. It was a very cool twist on a unbending truth… Culture trumps strategy under pressure… But a strategy to live out a new culture will trump pressure every time as well. And that’s the last word on that…

Effective Leadership Quote

Effective leadership development is less about which specific practices are endorsed than about consistent and intentional implementation. A key to effective implementation is having the organizational discipline to introduce leadership development throughout the organization, rather than bounded by specific (usually top) levels. 

Source: Day, V. D. (2001). Leadership development: A review in context. Leadership Quarterly, 11(4), 581-613.