The Telecommuting Challenge

Telecommuting isn’t a new topic. Under the right conditions theZenith Space Command Remote (00)re are many advantages for both employees and employers.

At both ends of the spectrum there are jobs that are impossible for telecommuting (i.e.: manufacturing) and there are jobs that are perfect (i.e.: some accounting tasks). We find the challenges in that grey blob in the middle. Those challenges can be our opportunities.

My good friend Rajesh Singh started a recent thread on LinkedIn asking about telecommuting.
(Read the full thread here.)

But, as I read the comments, I realized that as is often the case the question frames certain assumptions and we don’t think through the “real” problem. Continue reading

Following the EndGame

First, thank you to everyone that has been following me for the last 18 months or so. I really appreciate your thoughtful comments and interest. I know I have been a little slow online the last few months, but your encouragement has made me rethink my blog and the purpose it serves. I have been using my time during these last months for writing and working on a new project.

My goal now is that I want to keep 5,000,000 businesses from failing.

As a step towards that goal, I am launching a new Website called EndGame Leadership.

The early goals of this blog has been for me to capture and articulate my thoughts on a variety of topics that are interesting to me.

One of my pet projects since my EMBA Program has been a personal appraisal of my experience of 35+ years of leadership training, both as a student and teacher. Through that analysis, I have been developing a leadership model that I believe really cuts away all the nonsense of leadership we think we know and presents what is really effective.

I am calling the end result “EndGame Leadership“. There are a many ways people grow as leaders and it is usually a bottom-up, solitary, personal process. They develop their skills on an ad hoc basis and when experience slaps them in the face.

I have taken a fresh approach and researched why have businesses failed? I can’t control anything if a business fails because of market issues or problems with the economy. But, when the research shows that 25% of all businesses in the US fail because of leadership issues, now we have a starting point. When those failures can be traced back to root problems, we know what to fix. My approach was to create a leadership model that is engineered to avoid the root causes that lead to failure.

I would appreciate it if you will check out the new site. Let’s find a way to work together. I can’t save 5,000,000 companies by myself.  (http://EndGameLeadership.com)

There is a preview available of my first book called “6 Rabbit Holes of Leadership”. The book is an attempt to help the novice leader avoid the pitfalls that bogus advice gives though that advice seems often compelling. For more experienced leaders, I hope the book helps you to realize that you were not alone on your journey and I hope the pages give you the framework to help those who look to you for advice.

The preview I am including is the first four chapters out of nine chapters. Please sign-in and take a look.

This site isn’t closing, I have occasional items I’d like to discuss, but this blog will be more personal and, at times, whimsical. If, however, your focus is leadership, please head to the new site and follow me from there. Many of the previous resources are there, but the focus is on leadership.

Thank you for your previous and future support!

Ken

How to Screw-up Leadership Development

microphone (1) graphic pen

<tap> <tap>

CEOs

<tap> <tap>

Are you out there?  Anybody?

<tap> <tap>

COOs?

CFOs?

<tap> <tap>

Is this thing on?

I really want to be that motivator guy.  You know, the guy that runs around and pumps everyone up.  I want to throw those pithy motivational quotes that seem deep and meaningful, but also contradict each other.  I’d sound really wise and clever.  I wouldn’t give actionable advice, but that’s OK since I couldn’t be held accountable.

<sigh>

I can’t be that guy, at least not this time.  Stick with the evidence because the numbers don’t lie.

I hate to do it, but I have to throw statistics at you…

  • In 2012 US companies spent $14 billion on leadership development.
  • In a 2014 benchmark study from Development Dimensions International, corporate leaders and HR professionals were asked to judge the overall quality of their organization’s leadership.
    • 40% of leaders judged the quality as high.
    • 25% of HR judged the quality as high.

If you accept the judgement of the people responsible, then between 60% and 70% of $14 billion is wasted.

In my opinion… you C-suite people are the problem. Continue reading

Why are We Assessing Leadership Roles and Styles?

Personality (0)What is the point of all of it?

Millions of dollars are spent each year on personality assessment tests.  But, nobody can express a clear reason why.

“Two and a half million Americans a year take the Myers-Briggs. Eighty-nine companies out of the US Fortune 100 make use of it, for recruitment and selection or to help employees understand themselves or their co-workers.”[1]

Almost 90% of Fortune 100 companies perform these tests.  This is amazing to me.

I have taken these assessments.  After receiving my results, my first thought always is: interesting, but so what?

I see a lot of commentary and articles on how to assess leadership styles and roles.

  • Are you a democratic leader, authoritarian, or somewhere in between (here)?
  • What is your personality type (FIRO-B, MBTI)?
  • What is your role as a team member (Belbin)?

Are these useful tools?  Can we use them to predict behaviors or successes? Continue reading

No, You’re Not a Leader

Leader - a - ManagerSitting in a chair does not make you a leader.

(Not even if it is a really nice chair).

I struggled for a long time over the difference between being a leader and being a manager.  I knew there was an important way to parse the two, but it took me a while to figure it out.

It is a fundamental discussion point for everyone to realize because it is the first step in leadership development.  It is the demarcation point when you invest in your future leaders and potential succession pool.

The nuance leads to planning for responsibilities and expectations.  Some people believe that a place and position is enough and leadership is automatic.  Many people would equate the occupancy of a supervisory position as being a leader.  Leadership is not automatic, but a mindful application of communications, developing relationship, and influence.

The two words are often used as synonyms, but in my mind they are not the same concept.  I’ve always felt that management referred to resources and leadership implied a component of motivation.

If you have a job and you manage time, money, materials, or personnel, you are not a leader.  You are a manager.

Continue reading

Leadership – Nature vs Nurture

Nature vs Nurture Balance (0)Leadership, like any human attribute, comes down to DNA and culture – Nature versus Nurture.

I am firmly convinced that every skill necessary to be a great leader can, unequivocally, be learned and mastered by anyone.  Full stop.

That is the “Nurture” part.

The skills and the theory represent a limited field of knowledge.  With the proper structuring and the opportunity to develop experience, any person can become a leader.  Many often are, if not in their work place.

Here’s where “Nature” kicks in…

If you ever saw me play basketball, you’d watch with your eyes wide open as your jaw dropped in wonder… you’d be wondering “is he really that bad or is he just clowning around?”  No matter how much nurture I get, I’ll ever overcome my terrible basketball DNA.

There are two kinds of people who will never be good leaders regardless of the training or nurturing.  The ones who shun the responsibility of leadership and the ones who believe that a leadership development class is a confirmation of their greatness and is their first step toward…

WORLD DOMINATION!!

Continue reading

Terrible Leaders and Recognition

DSC07285bTerrible Leaders and Recognition

I seem to be on a recognition binge.  So… one more thought.

In as much as I believe leadership skills are important, there are an unfortunate number of people in leadership positions that are inexperienced, uneducated in, or actively ignore the “soft skills” of leadership.

What can you do when you encounter these creatures in the wild?  Do you have recourse? Continue reading