Corporations spend billions of dollars out of fear and miss tremendous opportunities for the same reason. Think of every failed project or initiative in your past and possibly present. Markets change and so do the preferences of consumers. We can become so enamored with our work that we do not acknowledge these changes. Fear in business is the dirty little secret that nobody wants to admit exists. What drives this fear? How does it impact the bottom line? The following short story illustrates the root of fear and bias in the workplace. Any similarities with actual people or events are completely coincidental. Let’s go fishing with Phil and Larry.
Once an iconic presence in my life, Toys R us was the “go to” toy source when my now college junior was in search of the perfect birthday gift or ideas for his Christmas list. I remember walking the aisles with him in search of the best action figure or latest toy as seen on television. Each year, we would take his Christmas list, fight the crowds, and stand in long lines to spend money at this now dead company. It seemed like every friend’s birthday party was preceded by a trip to Toys R Us to find a cool toy. To be brutally honest, I am saddened but not surprised at the passing of another corporate megabiz.
OK I admit it; there are tons of leadership ideas in the business world. Much of it reflects the same thoughts revisited from different paradigms (consultant rule: one must use the word “paradigm” once daily to remain credible) and perspectives. However, there is much less consensus on the mindset we bring to work each day. I want you to think about your daily commute to work. Do you think about the problems and opportunities that need to be addressed? Or, do you think about the people you need to help become successful? This may seem insignificant at first glance, but is it?
How can such an intelligent and capable executive be so clueless in today’s demanding business environment? How can a company be so blind to pending challenges and opportunities? The answer to these questions and an honest assessment about current reality are why many chief executives are doomed to struggle.
Today, I sat through a meeting with a 31 year old who is contemplating leaving his company. “I just don’t feel valued here anymore”, he said sadly. “I give a lot to this company but I don’t think anyone notices”, he continued. How many people in your organization are in the same mental place? What are you doing to proactively retain the best talent on your team?
Call me old fashioned but I love the passing from one year to the next. It is an opportunity to reflect on the past year of accomplishments and failures; a time to appreciate the blessings of life and the pain of loss. Are we satisfied with 2017? What regrets are we lugging into 2018?
Having conducted thousands of classes over the years, I am convinced that most people know the basics of good supervision when they see it or are asked to describe it. Something else more complicated is causing what might be considered to be normal people to become such horrible supervisors.
Several months ago, a friend gave me the book Scrum by Jeff Sutherland. I was both disrupted and inspired simultaneously. It rocked my world. I mean really, can a method really produce twice the work in half the time? Even though I am optimistic by nature, this sounded too good to be true. During my first Scrum experience, we estimated a four week project. It was completed the first week. A 75% improvement over expectations really captured my attention. Since then I have been teaching any organization that will listen to the power this tool can provide if utilized properly. My purpose today is to share highlights in order to spark your interest in something cool and different. Tighten your seat belt and hold on tight…we are going on a Scrum ride.
Understanding the tendencies of CEOs can be very entertaining and humorous. Learning to identify the common challenges faced by many CEOs can enlighten us to the point that we improve our own performance. Labels can help us identify both the success and failure we all experience when assuming a leadership position within an organization. As you read this, I encourage you to examine these labels for both intrinsic and extrinsic value. In other words, do you sometimes exhibit behavior that can be identified with each label? Have you worked with others that fit these descriptions?
How many unmade decisions are cluttering the minds of CEOs and other leaders at this very moment? Very often, the lack of action involves people. How many hours are wasted in the C-Suite because of unmade people decisions? How does this emotional burden impact other decisions? What does this do for other work and home relationships? How much does this cost in both direct hours and opportunity cost for leadership?
Let me start by making it abundantly clear; I am strongly in favor of higher education for a purpose. Are the laws of supply and demand at work for millennials entering the job market in 2017? For the jobs requiring degrees, is there a supply glut of graduates? If so, is there a corresponding decrease in salaries? According to a recent Forbes article, 37% of millennials regret going to college given the amount of debt they currently have. The same study revealed that nearly half of millennials believe they would be at the same place in their career had they not gone to college.
It is interesting how truly ironic life can be when you are able to view it through the portal of wisdom. Experience is a valued old master that cannot be replicated, no matter how much we try. Our need to be accepted as teenagers is a significant barrier to success as adults. As adults, we must often be different from others to achieve success. The average student, worker, singer, or athlete is rarely blessed with success, by most definitions. The “acceptance paradox” states that the need to be accepted during one stage in life can actually prevent success in another.