SCRIPTING: A TOOL FOR OVERCOMING RELUCTANCE

Mon, Oct 30, 2017

Comments Off on SCRIPTING: A TOOL FOR OVERCOMING RELUCTANCE

BACKGROUND

Most of my CEO clients are usually decisive once they have a minimum of information about a choice to be made. They have developed good instincts and a great sense of when to go on instinct.

What then holds them back at times far longer than, on later reflection, than they would have liked (“I should have made the decision a lot sooner”)? Answers depend on the choice and the risks, of course — firing a long-time leadership team member or pruning customers from the sales base or canceling a new product.

It has become evident that even these high-powered, driven executives need tools for such moments. One of these is scripting.

 

SCRIPTS AS A TOOL: EXAMPLES

Harold leads a turnaround owned by investors. He has made a great deal of progress but the turnaround will take far longer than thought. And the debt structure together with the not yet robust earnings indicates there will be little if any equity for the management in the next few years. The owners have not been interested in re-negotiating the debt structure or the deal with management. No one except management will change the situation. But Harold has been reluctant to call the question. For almost a year.

Recently, Harold and I sat together and — unplanned — we began to articulate the script of “the conversation” with the lead investor. What would be the first item communicated? What is the logic from start to finish? How to keep it clinical (fact-based to avoid unnecessary triggering defensive behavior by the investor)? Harold would try a sentence, then we would discuss then improve on it.

I won’t write here the actual storyline, but Harold liked it so much, he rose from the table and went to his car to make the call he had put off for months. He said he had leapt over the reluctance because we had made the path forward to tangible. “This is incredibly helpful!”

There have been numerous other times when a decision became clearer to the CEO by our working out the script (still subject to improvement by the CEO after our session, but enough to eliminate reluctance.

This applies to conversations with the board chair, board members, leadership team, partners, vendors, customers and, yes, family members.  Clients tell me how surprised they are how helpful it is to script before a conversation or a meeting.

 

CALL TO ACTION

How to put this to use? When you realize there is an important decision to make and are having reluctance to take the plunge, write down the first and last things you would say. Don’t let a blank page slow you down — write whatever comes into your head. Then edit and edit until it is what needs to be said, is in your voice and is most likely to have the outcome you desire.

That’s just my view. What’s yours?

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPad

 

 

 

 

Share

To the CEO: G_d Is In The Detail

Wed, Oct 25, 2017

Comments Off on To the CEO: G_d Is In The Detail

BACKGROUND

From a CEO point of view, sometimes briefings on data mining seems complicated and remote to challenges at hand. That is why a tangible, simple example is worth a quick read. This blog post is sourced from:

NY POST STORY: BURTS BEES (LIP BALM); byline: lisa fickenscher

1. THE STORY

Clorox, parent (owner) of Burts Bees has a data mining unit who examined periods when sales seemed to spike. Probably using some root cause analysis of possible factors, they hypothesized that weather had a disproportionate impact on sales of what is a protective product. 

How might we find data that would inform us, they asked. This led them to the National Weather Service and its database: Wetbulb Global Temperature Index which tracks temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover. Matching sales data to weather data produced two interesting facts:

1. Weather and sales spikes are 80% correlated, not a sure thing but very important

2. Sales in any of the 84 weather zones spike when wind speed is higher than 7 miles per hour. 

That was part one of the data mining. Part two: use Nielsen data and Facebook data to target ads to people in the best zones and tag ads to individuals who are most likely to buy the product (the article did not explain how that part works). “We can follow that user to find out if she went to a store and may have purchased a lip balk product,” says Eric Reynolds, Chief Marketing Officer of Clorox.

The same approach targets consumers on nice weather days who own grills and and may be thinking of firing them up. That is how sales of Kingsford Charcoal have been increased.

2. CALL TO ACTION

Ask your people for tangible ways in which data mining is being used to increase sales. Ask how it might be used to identify new profit opportunities. Or answer any of a host of seemingly imponderable questions about customers, competitors, products and more.

That’s just my view. What’s yours?

Share

EXPERT ENOUGH TO EXPLAIN

Sun, Sep 24, 2017

Comments Off on EXPERT ENOUGH TO EXPLAIN

ENVIABLE DELIVERY

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson appeared on Harry Connick Jr.’s show to be asked about celestial matters by the host and by two 6-year olds..

What is it about Mr. Tyson that is so spellbinding that no one can get enough of him? That he can explain a complicated subject so clearly? I wish more of my CEO clients developed such a powerful delivery.

Tyson explained how black holes work, what they are and what would happen to you if you fell into one (it isn’t good): you would suffer “spaghettization (you can look it up on Wikipedia).”

HOW HE DOES IT

Some observations:

  • He puts himself in the mind of the listener: what do they really want to know? How much is enough? What references do they have that might help them understand?
  • He translates what he knows into simple, understandable concepts
  • He uses physical images people “get”
  • He chooses memorable language
  • He uses humor and self-deprecation
  • He conveys his own excitement in the telling
  • He humbly makes clear his own journey from ignorance to understanding
  • And I suspect that he practices delivery on a range of subjects

To do what Tyson does, you must be extremely expert and in command of your subject from concept to key details. And you must adapt the list above.

I am still searching for a video copy of his appearance on Connick, but you can find Tyson on Youtube.  For example:

 

 

 

And you may enjoy his response to a heckler who doubted his physical abilities:

That’s just my view. What’s yours?

Share

C-SUITE SEARCH FOR GRIT

Tue, Jul 11, 2017

Comments Off on C-SUITE SEARCH FOR GRIT

BACKGROUND

A new criterion has been added to C-Suite searches: GRIT.

Angela Duckworth’s treatise on GRIT put forth in her book has spawned numerous Youtube videos on the subject (references at end of this post). If you have been hiding out somewhere and have not experienced the blitz on this subject, the premise is that:

Effort is twice as important as talent because:

  • Talent x Effort = Skills
  • Skills x Effort = Achievements

While Ms. Duckworth has created a Grit Scale, it is a self-evaluation and therefore insufficient for our purposes. My CEO Vistage members wanted to know how to put the criterion into practice. So we had a discussion about the questions to ask in interviews and the observations to note about c.v.’s and cover letters — questions for recruiters to ask finalists, questions for the CEO and direct reports to ask in interviews and of references.

AMPLIFICATION OF THE CRITERION

In Duckworth’s own writings, Grit is further detailed as:

  1. Passion for a particular topic or goal
  2. Daily improvement of ability to pursue the goal
  3. A motivating purpose greater than the goal or the self – often serving others
  4. A growth mindset – believing that it is never too late to advance abilities

And in a helpful video, fellow coach Brendon Burchard offers these further admonitions:

  1. Get clarity about your passion both for the long haul and for the next 90 days
  2. Prime your enthusiasm for something in your day at the start of each day
  3. Block out time to work on your goal; no time blocked? No improvement likely.
  4. Enlist a team who all work toward the goal

On the latter point, in a prior post about Why CEOs Falter, I observed that one root cause for failure is the leader not enlisting all the appropriate resources in her or his ecosystem.

PROBING FOR GRIT

Here are a few of the topics on which our VISTAGE Peer Advisory Board CEOs would focus questions, digging into facts, candidate’s perceptions and emotions:

  1. Action in the face of continuous more powerful forces against pursuit of a goal
  2. Major job or career setback and the recovery
  3. Goal/development successfully pursued over an extended period of years
  4. Adaptation and continued pursuit when goal needed to be adjusted
  5. Examples of “all in” periods in pursuit of an objective on the way to the goal
  6. Instances of enlisting a sub rosa team/network
  7. Goal abandoned for whatever reason.
  8. How was time to work on the goal created and managed?

That’s just my view. What’s yours?

We will post again at a later date when we have more feedback from real world situations.

Meanwhile, some resources to consult for further edification:

Grit, by Angela Duckworth. Simon and Schuster May 2016, ISBN 9781501111105

Youtube video: Grit by Angela Duckworth: Animated Core Message (6:18)

Youtube video: How to Develop Grit (And What is Grit?) — Brendon.com (Brendon Burchard)

Share

Why CEOs Falter

Tue, Jun 20, 2017

Comments Off on Why CEOs Falter

This post is based on a a significant number of real world cases where the client, a here-to-fore strong leader seemed to falter.

 

BACKGROUND

So,  … you have a history of successful leadership in prior posts. Maybe even in your current post. And, suddenly, not so much: worry; hesitation; poor decisions; delay on critical decisions; avoidance of new, but essential commitments.

I have been asked many times: “What are the recurring themes that are evident in coaching CEOs through tough periods?” Never mind that some situations are overwhelming market or competitive shifts that may even challenge the business model. Or disruptive technology that questions the viability of the firm. There are no guarantees. But when hindsight reveals poor choices were made, what are the lessons learned? What was inside the mind of the CEO?

ROOT CAUSE #1

At or near the top of the list driving you off your game is a FAILURE TO BRING ALL YOUR CAPACITIES TO THE PLAYING FIELD.

At root is either

  • a strongly held belief that is untrue or no longer true or
  • a fear that is hogging your windshield, holding you back, driving unsuccessful behavior.

Whether emotion is dwarfing intuition or wisdom or your own ego is blinding you, or your confidence has been shaken or you may not be listening, you may be playing defense when you should be playing offense or vice versa, failing to adapt your style to one or more of your key people…you get the idea. Look in the mirror and ask yourself: is what I believe or fear at the heart of this?

ROOT CAUSE #2

Second on the list of what is driving you off your game is a FAILURE TO BRING ALL THE RESOURCES IN YOUR ECOSYSTEM TO BEAR.

At root could be more than a few things:

  • Less than robust and effective delegation with permission to push back
  • No “go-to” on the senior management team or next level
  • Avoidance of engaging capable outside resources (experts, non-competing fellow CEOs, consultants) for extreme frugality, worry over confidentiality
  • Minimal outside affiliations and networking
  • No safe “personal board of directors”

Again, could the flip-side of any of these increase your effectiveness? Are you the focal point when maybe someone else should be?

ROOT CAUSE #3

Also at or near the top of the list is a FAILURE TO STAY FOCUSED ON THE ENDGAME. Getting stuck in the weeds, overwhelmed, distracted by the shiny new object.

At root could again be more than one fact:

  • Overwhelming tactical challenges
  • Getting lost in the weeks
  • An undisciplined sense of what is the job of the CEO and what is not (limiting time and energy for strategic thinking)

And as the role model for others, if you falter for any of these root causes, if the way you lead does not develop your people, others may follow suit or the strong may defect,

SELF-SERVING SOLUTION & BEYOND

“Nobody succeeds alone.”

“O was some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us! It wad frae monie a blunder and free us from foolish option.” (Robert Burns)

Whether it is a coach, a mentor, a trusted HR chief (really: I have seen this), the only way humans become aware of these possibly temporary failures or missed opportunities is through someone else’s lens.

Beyond: in my next post I will enumerate some of the tools that address root causes and also suggest some video viewing and reading worth the investment of time and concentration.

As a start, view “Locating yourself — a key to Conscious Leadership” on Youtube. It is based on IP trademarked by Partners in Leadership IP, LLC.

Does this resonate? It’s just my view. What’s yours?

Share

WHAT IS AND IS NOT THE JOB OF THE BOSS?

Mon, May 8, 2017

Comments Off on WHAT IS AND IS NOT THE JOB OF THE BOSS?

BACKGROUND

 

One of my CEO coaching clients years ago told me: if I work 10% less hard or delegate  10% more often, profits will go down by more than 20%. He now knows the folly of that remark. He has learned to delegate, how to tailor so doing to his comfort with each individual and how to use his team to keep the process on track

He is now on this third business, having grown the first one and sold it, having grown the second one and sold it to a new private equity owner. His objective is now to reduce his engagement in the business to fewer days per week so he can spend more time on boards of other companies and contribute more to his community. No, he is not a senior.

THE CRUX

What developed the way he leads?

  • Focus on what is or is not his job (what can only he do?)
  • Training his people to take more responsibility
  • Taking risks of delegation tailored to each person’s stage of development and playing the role of chief (key) people developer as well as CEO
  • Developing a process for everyone to know and review each week the annual goals, this month’s objectives, who is responsible for what and where progress is acceptable or not (starts with a “traffic light” chart).
  • Having his direct reports cascade the approach to the rest of the company

How did he overcome doubts and fears of delegation? He:

  • Wrote down his beliefs and fears about his company and his people
  • Observed that the outcomes were not near as good as he wanted
  • Wrote down the outcomes he desired (results, work ethic, culture,….)
  • He identified his own behaviors that contribute to poor outcomes
  • Reflected on what he had written and asked: what change in my beliefs and fears is needed to change my behaviors and the outcomes?
  • Began experimenting with different approaches to different people
  • Asked his direct reports to do as he did

Delegating frees the leader to lead.

That’s just my view. What’s yours?

 

If you wish to profit from other articles like this, go to:

 

http://SMALLBUSINESSADVOCATE.COM

 

 

Share

PREVENTING DRAMA FROM BLOCKING THE BOSS’ AGENDA

Sat, May 6, 2017

Comments Off on PREVENTING DRAMA FROM BLOCKING THE BOSS’ AGENDA

BACKGROUND

 

A wonderful Vistage Chair, Ken Mandelbaum and I often exchange tools which our CEO coaching clients tell us are valuable. You can find it in the public domain on Youtube if you look for Above the Line: Key to Conscious Leadership. I am told that Above the Line and Below the Line are the trademarks of an outfit called Partners in Leadership, LLC which does leadership work. Otherwise this post is based on original materials prepared for Vistage CEO Peer Advisory Boards in New York City. And the video is public on Youtube. 

CONTEXT

Above the line, as defined in several videos by various people, is a way of being, a way of showing up: when you are open, deeply listening, learning what the other believes or knows. Momentarily postponing your point of view or instructions. In this condition, good things happen because you have all your powers.

Below the line is a way of being, a way of showing up but: in this state of mind you are closed, impatient, listening poorly, already at the conclusion and action item. This is not a good state for you or others. You have lost some of your power to find better solutions, to enlist others, to train others to solve problems, even to be “boss ready” for you.

Surprise?:   most people are not often aware of where they are in a given moment or situation (above the line or below the line), nor what game their mind is playing in conversations with themselves that put them there. Nor do very many have a learned way of observing, framing, changing where they are and restoring their power to deal. They may not be aware of how they are experiencing life.

Leaders live in a world of massive inputs and numerous daily circumstances which compete for time. How we interpret these and make meaning out of them[2] can put us above or below the line.

Worse, Today’s we are biologically biased for our own survival to worry and to interpret many inputs as threats[3].

PRACTICE  

  1. HOW TO KNOW IF YOU OR THE OTHER PERSON IS BELOW THE LINE: IF ONE IS….
    1. Impatient
    2. Aggressive
    3. Angry
    4. Overwhelmed
    5. Anxious
    6. withdrawn
    7. Not really listening
    8. Stewing about something
    9. Fearful
    10. Dominating
    11. Intolerant
  2. The Challenge to Managing our Minds and Teaching Others to Manage Theirs

lies in training ourselves (or others) to notice/hear the signals

  1. Negative thoughts
  2. Negative feelings
  3. Pain
  4. Cravings
  1. Developing techniques that interrupt the cycle, e.g., “Scuba Rules” (stop, breathe, think, act) and
    1. Learning what or who triggers us
    2. Learning skills to self-correct and get above the line
    3. Making this as second nature as spotting a problem on the balance sheet
    4. Engaging others in exploring mutual interpretations and alternatives; feedback
    5. Doing this without becoming self-conscious or inauthentic
    6. Avoiding voluntary sources of anxiety

 

  1. THE PAYOFF

 

HIGHER PERFORMANCE WITH GREATER CONTENTMENT

“LEARNING TO DANCE WITH LIFE AS IT SHOWS UP AND ENJOY IT”

TEACHING OTHERS TO DO THE SAME

 

Wouldn’t you want to be above the line>? Want your people to be above the line?

Jim Blasingame, the amazing host of Small Business Advocate, and I explored this topic on

his internet radio broadcast? If you value new ideas and ways to succeed, go to:

http://smallbusinessadvocate.com    for live streaming from his “brain trust.”

 

And if you would like to know more about the amazing world of CEO Peer Advisory Boards and the coaches who lead them, visit Vistage International:

http://vistage.com

That’s just my view. What’s yours?

[2] A uniquely human obsession

[3] Threats to our safety, security, self-worth bias us to have more than 70% negative thoughts

Share
Who Will Tell The Boss the Truth?   Fri, Mar 17, 2017
1 Comment
Becoming an Entrepreneur in Your Own Life   Thu, Feb 23, 2017
Comments Off on Becoming an Entrepreneur in Your Own Life
Managing Partner of Professionals: Unlike Any Other Business Community   Wed, Feb 22, 2017
Comments Off on Managing Partner of Professionals: Unlike Any Other Business Community
CEO Blues: “It’s my fault”   Mon, Feb 20, 2017
Comments Off on CEO Blues: “It’s my fault”
CEO’S RISKY HIRES   Fri, Jan 20, 2017
Comments Off on CEO’S RISKY HIRES

What Made jack welch JACK WELCH

How Ordinary People Become
Extraordinary Leaders

by Stephen H. Baum (Random House)

Most leaders of American companies started out as ordinary people. What prepared them for the top job?

Countless more ordinary people of equal talent never developed the leadership core required to run the show. Why not?

"Lessons for life about the core leadership traits of character, risk taking decisiveness and the ability to engage and inspire followers."
--Jim Clifton, CEO, The Gallup Organization

Read More >>

Buy Now
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Booksense

Latest from twitter...

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

-->

Archives