Don’t Go It Alone

Don’t Go It Alone

Richard Leider is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and executive coach. He is best known for his research and work in helping leaders unlock the power of purpose. In our culture of fierce independence, marquee CEOs, and snap decisions, we tend to think about leaders as Lone Rangers: incredibly smart, self-sufficient, and supremely confident. Leider suggests a different paradigm. He says, “Isolation is fatal.” We are more complete and more effective when we don’t try to do it all ourselves. We need a Sherpa. A trusted companion. A confidante. A sidekick. Richard calls this person “a sounding board.” It’s not a group of people, but rather one person with multiple attributes. What makes up such a unicorn? According to Leider, someone with these four attributes: Committed Listener: genuinely wants to know and understandIs able to be a Wise “Elder:“ brings experience to bearIs also able to be a Wise “Younger:“ challenges from a new perspectivePurpose Partner: encourages and supports accountability That’s a big ask but imagine the power of having this person by your side! I hope you have someone. If not, give it some thought. You’ll be a better leader and a whole lot happier with someone else beside you on that mountain...
Who Not How

Who Not How

In EOS®, we coach teams to be both healthy and smart. “Smart” is having world class tools and strategies to achieve your vision. “Healthy” is getting those results in a sustainable way – i.e., with a healthy culture. Most books focus on either healthy or smart. I just read a book that does both: Who Not How by Sullivan (of Strategic Coach fame) and Hardy. The authors illustrate why you’re severely limited by focusing on how to do things. Instead, true breakthroughs come by focusing on who we need for the results we want. Great achievements come from leveraging the combined skills of others. Usually, our first thought when facing a business challenge is, “How will I get this done?” We list tasks, allocate resources, and set milestones. Inevitably, when we focus on what we have to do, we hit barriers. The bigger the goal, the bigger the barriers. And the more we procrastinate. Sullivan and Hardy instead recommend starting with who. Your first question should be: Who is better equipped to do this? Who will compliment my strengths to accomplish these goals together? The authors share impressive examples in both large and small companies. This quick summary doesn’t do the book justice. It’s about much more than teamwork. The leadership insight, combined with compelling stories, make it an important read. Be prepared for a paradigm...
Return to Great

Return to Great

Great books get better with every revisit (just like great movies, poetry, art, friends). I just reread Good to Great (GTG) by Jim Collins. It’s a classic. Collins and his research team uncover the primary truths about what propels a company from being just “good” to being “great.” The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®) is built on GTG principles. Rereading the book reminded me of important lessons we all must remember and relearn periodically. Three stand out. It’s not fair to burden great employees with weak performers. We can’t be great if we don’t have the courage to eliminate our C players.The concept Identifying your Hedgehog is an iterative process, not a single event. Based on the Greek parable, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one thing,” it’s that singular point where professional passion, core competence and making money intersect. It might take years to figure out, but worth the effort.Discipline, for its own sake, can be misguided. When Collins refers to a “culture of discipline,” he means the right people engaged in appropriate vigorous thinking, followed by disciplined action within a values-based system. I encourage you to reread GTG. You’ll pick up a few new thoughts and remember old ones — once again finding inspiration to be a leader who drives...
Everyone’s Top Challenge

Everyone’s Top Challenge

“Right people in the right seats” is an EOS® driver. And the key to long term success. Most leaders I know confirm their biggest challenge is finding “A” players. It’s the proverbial needle in a haystack. A client just introduced me to a book that meets this challenge. The book is Who by Street and Smart. It’s insightful, practical, and simple. The system breaks down the hiring process into four stages: Scorecard, Source, Select and Sell. It has a process and excellent suggestions for each stage. The authors also share interesting insights from extensive research; some intuitive, some not: It’s ok to let your gut tell you who not to hire, but don’t rely on instinct to decide who to hire. We’re not as smart as we think we are!When candidates share their employment history, start with the earliest chapter; it’s a more natural way and therefore yields better insights.Don’t hesitate to interrupt candidates; otherwise, you’ll waste valuable time with unnecessary details and tangents.Don’t skip reference checks. You select the references from their history. The candidate makes the introductions for you.At every stage of the hiring process, you have to sell your company. You don’t want to lose your “A” candidates to the competition. The Who methodology is straightforward but takes commitment and discipline. Definitely check it...
Reward vs. Responsibility

Reward vs. Responsibility

In his must-read book The Motive, Patrick Lencioni shares the fundamental difference between mediocre and great leaders. Most of his other books on leadership deal with how to be a great leader. This one covers why we should want to be a leader. As usual, the why is more important than the how. Two forces drive people towards leadership: what you get and what you give. Examples of rewards you get are recognition, status, freedom, power and money. If this is your sole motivation, you’re likely to: Choose what you do, delegate or ignore based on what you personally like/dislike vs. what the business needs from youIgnore team development, telling yourself you don’t want to micromanageAvoid regular/complex communication on the self-serving basis that you shouldn’t need to repeat yourselfDodge difficult decisions, especially about employees, forgetting that “you stand for what you tolerate”Run boring, ineffective meetings because it’s easier Lencioni refers to this as “reward-centered leadership.” At the other end of the spectrum is “responsibility-centered leadership.” In his words, this is “the belief that being a leader is a responsibility; therefore, the experience of leading should be difficult and challenging (though certainly not without elements of personal gratification).” All leaders are driven by both reward and responsibility. Strengthening your responsibility motive is what makes leaders truly great. The book is a fast read — it’s a fable about the journey we all take as leaders. Read it. You’ll see yourself in new ways. By the way, if you’re not sure where you’ve seen that photo before, it’s from the movie Office Space. Enjoy some humorous social commentary on leadership and...
I’m Too Creative

I’m Too Creative

Entrepreneurs, leaders and solopreneurs often claim their creativity is stifled by process and discipline. “My inspirations are too vital to be stymied by a set of rules.” “I need chaos to be inspired.” “I thrive with a messy desk.” There are one hundred verses to this song. Yet they’re all out of tune with reality. We need structure, process, and discipline for long-term success. A savvy EOS Implementer and colleague, Tip Quilter, shared an analogy explaining the relationship between the results you want and the operating system driving those results. Think of football. The game provides goal posts, chalk lines, points and penalties. But you play the game. You choose the coaches, the players on the field, and call the plays. There’s also a referee, watching that you follow the rules. Ultimately, winning or losing is up to you. The rules of the game are the operating system for football. EOS® is the operating system for your business. The referee is your EOS Implementer. You’re still the one who plays the game; you’re responsible for the results. The more aligned you are with the rules, the fewer the penalties. The more you practice, the greater your success. Winning any game is a function of understanding how to play, practicing hard, and being disciplined. Not Hail Mary passes. Suit...