Category Archives: Book Review

Do You Know How to Avoid the Leadership Killer?

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TODAY IS THE LAUNCH OF THE NEW BOOK “THE LEADERSHIP KILLER” BY BILL TREASURER AND JOHN HAVLIK. THEY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TODAY’S POST AS A TEASER FOR THIS TIMELY LOOK INTO THE STATE OF LEADERSHIP.

THIS IS A GREAT BOOK FOR US NOT TO “PITCHFORK” AND SAY “SO AND SO COULD REALLY USE THIS” BUT TO DEEPLY LOOK INTO OURSELVES AND HOW THE LEADERSHIP KILLER CAN AFFECT EACH OF US IN OUR ABILITY TO LEAD OTHERS. I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO HELP US KEEP NECESSARY GUARDRAILS IN OUR QUEST FOR POSITIVE IMPACT IN OUR LEADERSHIP.

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First, you might ask yourself, what is the Leadership Killer? And to that I say, good question indeed. As a leadership consultant for more than 20 years, I’ve come to recognize definitive patterns in styles and behaviors of good leaders. There are key characteristics that bolster the leader and there are certain habits that will take the leader and their team down. One of these habits is what I call The Leadership Killer. There’s a little Killer in all of us and if that doesn’t sound ominous to you, you might already be in trouble.

 

My friend of 30+ years, Captain John “Coach” Havlik, Navy SEAL (Retired), and I recently co-authored a new book, The Leadership Killer: Reclaiming Humility in an Age of Arrogance. We wrote the book while examining hubris and the role it plays in killing leadership. Hubris, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as “exaggerated pride or self-confidence.” Other authorities define it as dangerous overconfidence. Neither definition sounds like something you should want to aspire to as either a new or experienced leader. Rather, your goal is to avoid this at all costs—either by never becoming hubristic or taking a good hard look at yourself in the mirror and changing your ways tout suite, if you’ve already headed in that direction.

 

How Dare We Talk About Good Leadership?

 

John and I aren’t shy when it comes to admitting that we’ve both fallen prey to the Killer, hubris. We have both been the victims of our own ego-driven self-sabotage. We are seasoned, but not unscathed. Many of the lessons we offer in our book were earned the hard way, through our own faulty and arrogant leadership styles. We suspect though, that you’d rather avoid similar circumstances and instead learn from a couple of guys who have “been there, done that.” Whatever bad you’ve done as a leader in the past, put it in the ground so those good leaders can grow. If you’re just starting your leadership journey, grow where lessons are cultivated. Those are the best environments for learning and ensuring your path will be challenging and rewarding.

 

Speedbumps are Inevitable

 

No one can choose a leadership career and expect it to be easy. As you progress, you will face many challenges, obstacles, and setbacks. Be thankful for that, because facing them is how you develop and strengthen your leadership. A leader’s character is defined by how he handles, or mishandles, such speedbumps. Speedbumps cause stress, and that stress can increase the temptation to misuse your leadership power. The leader who deftly manages the Killer will be able to learn from speedbumps without skidding off the road.

 

The Killer is out There

 

The Killer is deadly serious and means business. Most leaders set out to do good, but even they can be corrupted and the culprit is most often the Killer. So be proactive. LOOK for the Killer in you. Think about a time when life let you know that you’d gotten too cocky, and write down the answers to the following:

 

  1. What caused you to become so full of yourself?
  2. What outcome did the cockiness lead to?
  3. Now…..think….What did you learn about yourself in the process?
  4. How do you honor those lessons in the way you lead today?

 

Knowing that the Killer can strike anytime, this gives you the opportunity to examine past behaviors and the awareness to keep your ego in check before anything unfortunate happens again.

 

You Get to Decide

 

You may find it surprising, but what the Killer does with you and your leadership is up to YOU. Hubris wreaks havoc when your self-will runs amok. Hubris appears when you let your leadership power go to your head. The Killer arises from immodesty and immaturity. What tempers hubris, what will bring your leadership back to a career filled with altruism, opportunity, and authenticity is humility. It’s within you just as much as the Killer, but accessing it can be a challenge. You can move from the darkness of hubris in the lightness of humility. Are you ready for the journey?

 

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Bill Treasurer is the founder of Giant Leap Consulting and author of five books on courage and leadership, including the international bestseller, Courage Goes to Work. Giant Leap has led over 1,000 leadership programs across the world for clients that include NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, UBS Bank, and eBay. Treasurer is a former member of the U.S. High Diving Team, and attended West Virginia University on a full athletic scholarship. @BTreasurer   www.BillTreasurer.com

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CAPT John “Coach” Havlik, U.S. Navy SEAL (Retired), led special operations teams around the world during his 31-year naval career, to include the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the SEAL’s most elite operational unit. CAPT Havlik was a nationally-ranked swimmer, and is a member of the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame and Mountaineer Legends Society. @CoachHavlik    www.CoachHavlik.com

Guest Post From Jim Haudan – Great Leadership Secrets from Michelangelo and Picasso

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This guest post is from Jim Haudan, the CEO of Root, Inc., a renowned strategy and culture change organization that helps other companies “get their strategy out of the boardroom and into the hearts and minds of everyone in the organization.” Jim has co-authored a new book “What Are Your Blind Spots?” with Rich Berens. Today’s post is an excerpt form the Root Blog and highlight some of the principles in their book.

 

Words are poor conveyers of meaning. Pictures can be one of the most versatile tools in any leader’s toolbox. Michelangelo started the David in 1501 at the age of 26 and famously said: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” He was intensely focused on freeing the slumbering figures in the stone.

Similarly, Picasso was able to visualize and capture realism in his painting from a young age, and evolved so immensely throughout his career eventually co-founded the cubist movement.

For many of us, our best “artistic” moments happen on a napkin sketch at the kitchen table or at a bar. We use images, lines, stars, circles and arrows to first capture an idea. Then share it with someone else. That person’s perspective and questions are what encourage us to revise the sketch and improve its clarity and meaning.

The conversation around our napkin art is what drives the a-ha moment, the excitement. You, as a leader, can use visualization and visual iteration to free the figures (or your people) slumbering within your organization, and drive innumerable a-ha moments.

Here are three ways to do just that:

  1. Use visualization to create clear meaning

Even the most common terms in strategic plans (words like operational excellence, customer centric, innovation, accountability, high performance, collaboration, vision) suffer from lack of meaning. Instead, define meaning with a picture. Have each member of your team draw a picture of what a high performance team looks like to them.

Compare the pictures. Then create a single image made up of the strongest elements of each person’s initial drawing. As a team, tell one story (accompanied by the picture) of what a high performance team means. Pictures drive common understanding in a way that words often cannot.

  1. Use visualization to think in systems

Many of the most complex issues we face are systems issues. It is hard to understand a system unless we can see it. Consider systems such as how we make money, or how to execute our business model. It’s tough to imagine without a diagram.

One well-known manufacturer found itself with hundreds of millions of dollars painfully tied up in working capital. The company tried unsuccessfully to reduce this amount for two years.

Finally it used imagery, pictures and metaphors to illustrate where the money came from, where it went, and how much is left afterwards. The business engaged all of its people to better understand how its economic system worked. Within six months, the company had freed up $300 million of working capital. Pictures make invisible systems tangible.

  1. Use visualization to frame a process

Customer acquisition, supply chain, and new product/ process development are just three examples of key business processes. Many process errors occur at the handoff points where clarity of workflow between departments and people is not always clear and co-owned.

Instead, visualize or blueprint a major process step by step and highlight the key handoffs that often become the “process busters” for the most important processes in your organization.

If Aristotle was right when he said the soul never thinks without a picture, and if everyone is right when they say a picture is worth a thousand words, then a grand visual metaphor for achieving organizational goals can be priceless.

When a picture is clear in our mind’s eye, we can make sense of it. When it is not clear, it is nearly impossible to take action on it. So, it doesn’t have to be the Sistine Chapel ceiling, but every extraordinary leader must know how to paint a picture for their people of where they are and where they want to go.

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About Jim Haudan

Jim Haudan is Co-Founder and Chairman of Root Inc. Root Inc., the organizational change expert on helping companies create leadership alignment, execute strategies and change successful, build employee engagement, and transform businesses.  He is a sought-after business presenter who has spoken at TEDx BGSU, Tampa TEDx, and The Conference Board. His latest book, What Are Your Blind Spots?: Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back is co-authored with Rich Berens is CEO and Chief Client Fanatic of Root Inc. The book equips readers with the tools needed for a personal leadership reset. You’ll discover how to increase engagement, productivity, and growth in your own organization.

 

Guest Post from Alex Vorobieff – Does Your Company Have Invisible Lines?

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Today’s post is courtesy of Alex Vorobieff, the founder and CEO of The Vorobieff Company, a premier business-consulting organization. A highly sought-after speaker and business alignment coach, Alex Vorobieff has helped scores of successful companies eliminate the real source of their frustration using business alignment tools (a term he coined after years of working with and investigating different business systems).

Can you remember starting a new job and crossing invisible lines without knowing it? And how you felt when you crossed those invisible lines and realized you didn’t understand what was important.

I can; it was 25 years ago while preparing my first professional spreadsheet as an intern at a small CPA firm. Getting paid $10 an hour, it wasn’t six figures, but it was double digits per hour and it was a “real work.”

I prepared the spreadsheet and gave it to my boss.

He reviewed it.

It shocked him

He could not follow my work. It went down, to the left, and then to the right.

Apparently, you didn’t want to zigzag as you did calculations. It was important to follow a logical direction so someone else could understand your work.

He questioned whether hiring me was a good idea. I didn’t seem to “get it.”

I had crossed some invisible lines.

He wasn’t happy we had to rework the spreadsheet. I felt horrible, I learned a lesson but it was costly for both of us.

When I graduated and joined a larger firm, the firm trained me on the basics how to prepare spreadsheets. No wonder my first boss wasn’t pleased. Then I understood where those lines were and how to use them to do a better job. “I got it!”

Every job and every company has invisible lines. Does your company help people to see them before they cross them? Or do you wait until they cross the lines and you have to make a costly correction?

If you want people on your team to “get it” letting them know what “it” is beforehand saves time and money.

Yea, its not rocket science but people cross invisible lines every day.

Invisible lines often define key things that are essential to provide value to customers and profit for the company. They are so important how could you not let people know where they are and how to use them to help guide their decisions and actions?

When people know where the invisible lines are and the importance of not crossing them they “get it” and people stop mumbling after being chastised for crossing invisible lines and people in the company start using the powerful refrain of “we get it.”

 

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About Alex Vorobieff

Founder and CEO of The Vorobieff Company, Alex Vorobieff is a business turnaround specialist, working to implement Business Alignment Tools for their specific needs. Alex has served as clean-up CFO and president of companies in telecommunications, aviation, aerospace, and real estate development, leading successful turnarounds in as little as three months. He shares his how-tos and techniques through Confident ROi magazine and his latest book, Transform Your Company: Escape Frustration, Align Your Business, and Get Your Life Back.

Follow Alex on Twitter @AVorobieff and on his website. You can also check out his regular podcast ConfidentROI.

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