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CEOs, BODs, and SOBs

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The road to becoming a CEO is long and arduous. People looking to become CEOS often begin developing valuable characteristics early in life.  Around age 13, Bill Gates began racking up 10,000 hours learning to program on a high school computer.  Edward Lampert, of Sears, lost his father at 14 and helped support his family by working after school and on weekends while still maintaining good grades.  Those striving for the top position, obtain a good education – both in and out of school. When natural skills are lacking, being willing to seek a mentor or hire a coach helps put individuals on the path to success. Preparation is key for the tough job ahead.             

CEOs

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Conflict: Prevention, Causes, and Solutions

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No organization is free of conflict at any level. Not even at the home of the most famous mouse in the world, Walt Disney and not even at the highest levels of leadership. In fact, so much conflict was taking place at Disney when Michael Ovitz, a Disney Director and the CEO, Michael Eisner were experiencing major clashes that Ovitz was terminated and a court case ensured. The financial cost was $140 million for Ovitz’s severance package and legal fees on top of that. So much for fairy tales.

As a CEO or manager, the trick is knowing if and when to step in to settle situations. An even better tactic is prevention.

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Tactics for Terrific Teams

Dif Disc WEBWith change and consumer demands rocketing at breakneck speeds, your teams need to function at their optimal level. Such a management mandate requires more than just directing and delegating. Here are some trending ideas for your teams to reach their pinnacle.

 

 

  • Hierarchies are History Companies are moving from functional teams and decentralizing This is not only benefiting the bottom line, but the front line as well. Because of the way Al-Qaeda was winning battles in Iraq, military leaders began decentralizing authority and empowering teams.
  • Size Matters Because of the necessity of getting products to market more quickly, astute managers understand that smaller teams are more productive. Further, smaller teams communicate with team members better because they know one another better. On a somewhat scientific basis, it has to do with Dunbar’s number.. The theory behind this is that one can only know around 150 people at one time. On a less scientific basis, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, suggests that if there are more than two pizzas for lunch during a team meeting, the team is too large.

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Trifecta for Success: Teams, Tools, and Talent

GambleThere are no guarantees in business. On the other hand, no CEO should take wild chances or gamble with success, especially when an easy trifecta for success is attainable. Once you’ve reached the ivory tower where CEOs lives, life is smooth sailing right? Not exactly. When you were working hard to reach this plateau, you probably only had one boss. Now you may have six or 12 depending on the size of your Board. You probably had people to manage. Now, however, you inherit an executive team to help you bear the burdens of leadership that has more power and input than people you were managing. Now the stakes are higher and getting them all on the same page, may prove to be a challenge. You can bet that one or two of them wanted the CEO position and may prove to be difficult. Maybe at least one thinks you’re not the right person for the job. Others may just want to hang onto their hands or jobs, and hope you don’t come in wielding an ax. Whether you’re a new or seasoned CEO, an article in HBR provides information for the Ace up your sleeve.

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How to Get Your Team to Work as One

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The title to this article has a double meaning…getting your team to work as one and not as separate silos; and getting them to function as a real team. Top executives often manage teams that focus on their own business units. Working together as a team sounds like a fundamentally good idea. Unfortunately, these executives do not possess the experience for getting their teams to function as one. In fact, according to an article by Debra Nunes with the Korn Ferry Institute

“There are a couple of reasons why today’s senior leaders aren’t particularly good at working together. For one thing, it wasn’t a point of emphasis for many of them when they were coming through the ranks. Much of their working careers have been spent managing risk, defining a market, recognizing opportunities and leading subordinates. They weren’t, however, often asked to be a teammate of similarly driven, talented colleagues. Even as recently as the 1990s, only about 20 percent of professional work was team-based. Now it’s about 80 percent.”

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As Long as There is Business…

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As long as there is business, change will occur. Indeed, change must occur for business in any industry to be successful. In fact, the Human Capital Trends Study by Deloitte states that over 75% of organizations are restructuring or have just completed that process. Any of us who have been a participant in a change process are witness to the fact that it is no easy task. To make matters worse, many organizations know they want to change, but don’t always know where to begin.

However, the Deloitte study suggests there are at least ten top trends from which to make a selection. For your convenience, Matthew French with Subscribe HR lists them:

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How to Manage a Mess

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Managing is difficult at best.

For new managers, it’s even worse.

But inheriting a mess or dysfunctional team can try the experience, expertise, and skills of even the most seasoned managers. Trying to undo the mistakes and shortcomings of an incompetent predecessor can be like trying to arm wrestle a plate of spaghetti. There may be “obvious” items such as redundant processes, unnecessary paperwork, or poor equipment or software choices. But there may also be not so obvious items such as the person who wanted your job and is out for revenge. Or how about the person who, in reality, was running the department while your predecessor slept. Then of course, our favorites -  the difficult employees. You know them, the passive aggressive, the victim, the disrupter, the martyr, or the inconsistent employee. Fortunately, those who have gone before have left a blueprint to help guide managers, at almost any, level toward success in managing a mess.

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New Research on Coaching

CoachDoes coaching work? Is it worth the expense? What about the time it takes? And how much time should it take? These are just a few questions associated with coaching and its effectiveness – or lack thereof.

Since I do coaching, this topic is of immense interest to me and how I serve my clients. But it should be of interest to every executive and manager who seeks to achieve goals, improve performance, build relationships, and excel at leadership.

Don’t get the idea that I’m going to tell you that coaching is the silver bullet you need to solve all your problems as well as the problems of your executive team and managerial staff. Unfortunately, the Lone Ranger was the only one with silver bullets. Sorry, Kemosabe. However, because coaching is a relatively new tool in the scheme of things, research on its effectiveness has been at best sketchy and some of it downright bad. Of course, every study has its flaws and recommendations for the next study team to do things differently, better, bigger, or in more detail. The information for this blog post is drawn from three studies, listed at the end of this article along with apologies to AMA rules and guidelines.

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