Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Archive for the category “Business”

Leadership Traps: Thinking too Fast and Continuing Biases

I’ve been thinking about leadership traps I’ve read about recently (predominantly in Guy Claxton’s Hare Brain Tortoise Mind, but brought into relief by various mainstream Management Today, Fortune and FT articles)

By leadership traps I’m thinking of things (like ‘not reading management texts because of apparently being already ‘at the top of the tree”) that appear to be structural faults in a number of management and leadership teams and the nature of the relationships therein:

  1. The ‘sycophancy’ of leaders not being challenged, with the result that their beliefs and business/ life ‘filters’ drive the same types of decision-making that they always make
  2. Too busy and too fast: the super-human CEO. Carlos Ghosn (as much as I admire him) style of hyper-tasking – he is CEO of both Renault and Nissan. I wrote previously about whether the leadership position would have to morph over time into the thoughtful/ contemplative strategic CEO and the ‘hyper-executive’ Chief Operating Officer (COO). If the leader does not make time to sit back and think: to contemplate and percolate, who else will? And yet, the demands for efficiency and performance currently reach their nadir in the leader. Sitting and thinking or reading appears to be frowned upon…
  3. Challenging leadership teams: a flip on the first point above. George Prince is cited by Claxton in research on speculation (the exploring of tentative ideas in public) as being capped by management teams that are in any way competitive or judgemental ‘the victim of the win-lose or competitive posture is always speculation, and therefore idea production and problem solving’:  so if the leader does not work on an environment of constructive/ non-competitive challenge, then lack of idea production and problem solving will perpetuate too narrow a leader-led focus and unchallenged decision-making
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7 Lessons from Steve Jobs’ Career

Some thinking summarised from commentary on Steve Jobs’s career – and what other leaders can practice for success:

  1. Relentless pursuit of bold ideas – protect the organisational resources required to deliver them.
  2. Customer surprise & delight – this should drive the product/service roadmap.
  3. Ego can be acceptable if it makes the organisation more successful.
  4. It’s about results, not activity.
  5. The 3 Rs – strong leaders ensure right people/ right jobs/ right conditions enabled for success.
  6. Tell the truth – call out poor ideas and poor performance
  7. Inspirational communication – frequent and intensely motivational communication about compelling objectives

More details and pitfalls here:  The Real Lessons from Steve Jobs’ Career | ChiefExecutive.net | Chief Executive Magazine.

The Only Three Things a Leader Should Focus On — ChiefExecutive.net

Brains—Bones—Nerves

You need to put in place a few important frameworks within which a large number of people can operate in a way that maximizes their energy.

The key is to control and shape the three most important levers of sustainable business growth—the Brains, the Bones, and the Nerves.

The brains of a business are its vision and strategy, and here the enterprise leader must shape and set direction.

The bones are the organizational architecture, and here the enterprise leader must design the organization in order to execute the strategy.

The nerves refer to the culture and climate of the organization, and here the enterprise leader must foster a culture of long lasting excellence.

Just as the human body needs all three systems—the brain, bones, and nerves—functioning in perfect harmony to maximize longevity and performance, a business needs its strategy, architecture, and culture to work in harmony in order to maximize results. As an enterprise leader, you should focus on these three as your most important focus areas; everything else must be delegated.

Here are a few simple but powerful ideas about how to lead a large workforce by shaping and managing the brains, bones, and nerves of your organization.

via The Only Three Things a Leader Should Focus On — Brains, Bones, and Nerves | ChiefExecutive.net | Chief Executive Magazine.

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