“Chief Executives” who “stand-out from the corporate-crowd”: be a “successful Business Leader”| by: Tim Bowler | BBC News

” What does it take to be a Successful Business Leader ? “… What is it that makes a Good-Boss stand-out from his OR her corporate-colleagues and rivals ??

Key attributes for a #SuccessfulChief-Executive,  would include the “ability to lead-others”, “to see in advance what needs doing” and to “be passionate about problem-solving”…

Another characteristic of any good CEO, is “their ability to understand fully the often complex scope of their company’s operations…”

It is a challenge which can be made easier by a manager gaining as much experience as possible while climbing the promotion ladder….Harriet Green, CEO of travel group Thomas Cook, tells aspiring leaders to broaden their approach early on in their careers..!!

” I always encourage executives to take the jobs that are not necessarily the norm, because you will learn a great deal more about your own boundaries,” she says…

” Whereas if you just do the job – the fast track to the top – maybe you’ll be a sort of thinner, taller leader, and not a rounded out one…“So take a little bit of risk..”

The importance of Ethics : 

But one of the risks that prospective leaders should not run, says Wang Shi – the founder and chairman of Chinese property giant China Vanke – is with business behaviour…

Business scandals have certainly made the news in recent years – underlining the point that ignoring ethics can have a serious and lasting impact on a firm’s Bottom-Line….Wang Shi maintains that managers ” have to balance “ the hunt for profits with the need to be ethical in the way that they treat customers and others…

” If you only get money but you don’t care about a thing, right OR wrong, you cannot last…. That cannot sustain you for the future…..”

If a Boss does the “right thing”, then the money will come, he says…And doing the ” right-thing” extends to how a company treats its staff…”

” CEOs need to be able to inspire and share their values with people throughout their organisation”, says management expert Steve Tappin and presenter of CEO Guru…!!

Sense of Purpose : 

It is a point under-scored by Frits van Paasschen, the CEO of Starwood Hotels, who points out that US civil rights leader Martin Luther King did not have an “I have a plan” speech…

He had an ‘I have a dream’ speech, people have to have a sense of what the purpose is – of what a company’s about ? “…If a company pursues its goals correctly, then profits should flow from that, he argues…!! 

”  We’re about giving guests great experiences so they come back, so we can create great returns for people who own the hotels…” It’s really that simple. If you can make your guests happy, these other things start to take care of themselves…”

Yet, when learning how to be a good boss, Rupert Soames, CEO of energy supplier Aggreko, cautions that a manager needs to make sure they learn from those who respect their own values…!!

“I went to this guy, and got my brain reprogrammed. I disappeared for three weeks and came back as a different human-being “…His colleagues were not impressed by the changes..”They hated it, and I hated it, and I managed to keep up good behaviour for about three weeks and then relapsed – and everybody sighed in relief “…!!

He says a manager should try to be real to themselves, but should also understand “that being real and being yourself is not necessarily a virtue.“You’ve got to be a little bit more sophisticated than that…”, Companies need to remain bold and entrepreneurial but also manage risk..!!

Being Open-minded :

Another problem comes as a company grows…There is a real challenge in holding on to what made a firm great in the first place when your kitchen tabletop business morphs into a corporate behemoth..!!

” There’s a lot of companies that as they get bigger, get slower and can’t innovate”… says management expert Steve Tappin.

A good manager needs to have the ” vision and values” to “create a Business Fit” for the 21st Century,” he says…These days, all firms need to face up to the reality of a globalised marketplace, and the impact of social media both on them and their customers…!!

When something goes wrong for a firm, a company may have only hours to react to what can often be a Twitter storm of criticism…

Generation Gap :

Allan Zeman, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Lan Kwai Fong Group, says a good boss should focus on “thinking about tomorrow, being open-minded”…Mr Zeman points out that there is often a clear generational gulf between top managers, who may be in their forties or fifties, and their media-savvy customers in their early twenties…!!

” Young people today are different. They care about things that we never cared about growing up – the environment, clean air, green – all the buzzwords that today make up our existence….”

And he has this advice for any would-be CEOs….” In my world there’s no Bad Staff…. there’s Bad-Bosses, Bad-Leaders “…

“Family CEOs Spend Less Time at Work”: Family vs Professional CEOs | by: Carmen Nobel | HBS WK

” CEOs who are related to the owners of family-owned firms work significantly fewer hours than non-family CEOs, according to a new study by Raffaella Sadun and colleagues. This is in light of the fact that longer working hours are associated with higher productivity, growth, and profitability”. 

Two years ago, the World Management Survey on Organizational Leadership reported that firms led by family CEOs (managers related to the family owning the business) are often managed badly, particularly those where a first-born son has inherited the role of CEO from the previous leader.

Now comes additional research showing that on average, family CEOs also work significantly fewer hours per week than other (non-family affiliated) CEOs. It’s an important finding because longer working hours are associated with higher firm productivity and growth, says Raffaella Sadun, an assistant professor in the Strategy unit at Harvard Business School who studies the curious relationship between managerial incentives and motivation.

“ FAMILY CEOs ARE A VERY INTERESTING GROUP ” – 

“Family CEOs are a very interesting group,” says Sadun, co-author of the paper Managing the Family Firm : Evidence from CEOs at Work, with Oriana Bandiera of the London School of Economics and Andrea Prat of Columbia University. “On the one hand, it stands to reason that they should be super-motivated to work hard because whatever they do for the company adds to the wealth of their whole family,” Sadun says. “On the other hand, a CEO’s incentive to perform is in large part tied to what happens when he or she does not perform—a risk of getting ousted. But aligning a board to say we’re going to start looking for someone else is a lot more complicated when the board is made up of family members who are related to the CEO.”

Primarily interested in incentives for growth in developing countries, the researchers began their study in India, where a large portion of businesses are family-owned. But they ended up finding similar results with follow-up studies in Brazil, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In short, their study shows that family CEOs on average work fewer hours relative to nonfamily-affiliated managers in all the countries they studied.

FAMILY VS. PROFESSIONAL : 

To launch the study, the researchers hired 15 students in Mumbai to cold-call executives at more than 1,400 Indian manufacturing firms, asking whether they would be willing to take part in a study of how CEOs spend their time. Some 356 CEOs agreed to participate.

Of the sample, two-thirds of the CEOs were members of the family that owned the firm; they were labeled “family CEOs” in the study. The remaining third, not related to the owners, were labeled “professional CEOs.” (It’s important to note the difference between family CEO and CEO of a family-owned company, Sadun says. Indeed, not all family-owned businesses employ a family member as the CEO. Sam Walton founded and the Walton family still owns Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., for example, and the founder’s son Rob Walton is chairman of the board, but the company’s president and CEO, Mike Duke, is not a family member.)

For three months, the researchers collected time-use information through daily phone calls with each CEO’s personal assistant (PA) or with the CEO himself (99 percent of the sample consisted of male CEOs). On the first day of the week, a researcher would call the PA or the CEO in the morning, to collect data on the executive’s planned activities for the day. In the evening, and for the week’s subsequent evenings, the PA or the CEO would report the activities that had actually happened that day—along with the planned agenda for the next day. At the end of the three-month study period, the researchers conducted a short interview with each CEO to ensure that the daily reports matched with the executive’s recollection and were representative of his usual work routine.

Analyzing the data, the researchers looked separately at founder-CEOs (those who founded their family firm) and second-plus generation CEOs (those who inherited the role). They found that founder-CEOs and next-generation CEOs of family-owned firms logged 8 percent and 6.6 percent fewer hours than professional CEOs, respectively. Further analysis showed that a 1 percent increase in weekly hours worked by the CEO was associated with a 1.04 percent increase in firm productivity annually and a .1 percent increase in sales growth over a five-year window.

And while the study considered the possibility that some CEOs might work more efficiently than others, “we didn’t find any evidence that family CEOs were planning their time more effectively to maximize their time in the office,” Sadun says.

THE MONSOON AND CRICKET EFFECT :

The researchers also took care to look for outside events that might affect the CEO’s cost of exerting work effort within the survey week, testing whether family CEOs were especially responsive to these “exogenous shocks.” They focused on two potential shocks: bad weather and big sporting events. “We were lucky,” Sadun says. “We happened to collect the data during monsoon season. At the same time, during the study period, India hosted the Indian Premier League. It’s an important event in the game of cricket. Superstars from all over the world come to play in this tournament.”

To gauge the effect of monsoons, the researchers looked at a sample week in which 192 CEOs in the study (118 family CEOs and 74 professional CEOs) experienced at least one day of extreme rain and one day of light rain. “What happens in India, especially in urban areas, is that when the monsoons hit, water fills the streets, leading to a lot of congestion,” Sadun explains. “Traffic becomes a nightmare. It’s like dealing with the worst snowstorm in Boston.”

According to the results of the sample week, family CEOs reduced their working hours by an average of 5.4 percent on days with extreme rain. Meanwhile, professional CEOs showed a positive (but not significant) 3.8 percent increase in hours worked.

The effect of the cricket tournament was a different story. The researchers looked specifically at the effect of playoffs, semifinals and finals, which all happened in the evening, starting around 8:00 p.m. (Indian Premier League games are different from standard cricket games in that they are condensed to just about three hours of play.) “On the day of the cricket match, they’d all leave the office by early afternoon,” Sadun says. “Regardless of whether they were professional or family CEOs, they’d all leave early, and according to our interpretations, they were all leaving to watch the game.”

However, the data showed that the professional CEOs on average planned their schedules accordingly on cricket match days—compensating for the early departure by increasing the hours worked earlier in the day. Family CEOs, on the other hand, worked fewer hours throughout the day.

CROSS-COUNTRY COMPARISONS :

Considering the finding that more CEO-hours worked yields more productivity and profit, the researchers wondered whether the CEOs in their sample simply couldn’t afford to delegate key duties to professionals who would be willing to work longer hours—and thus generate better results—than the CEOs themselves. Delegation is prohibitively expensive in India due to poor contract enforcement, the researchers explain in the paper. “If delegation costs entirely explain why family CEOs stay at the helm of their firms, we should observe no difference in the time use of family and professional CEOs in richer countries,” they write.

To that end, the researchers conducted a similar study among a large sample of some 800 manufacturing firm CEOs in Brazil, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The results were similar across the board. The difference between family and professional CEOs in terms of hours worked turned out to be about 11 percent in Brazil and 8 percent in the higher income countries.

There are certainly plenty of examples of high-profile family-owned firms like Walmart that employ non-family CEOs. For example, Christopher McCormick (HBS AMP 158, 2000) took the helm at L.L. Bean in 2001, the first non-family member to take on the title of President and CEO since the company’s founding in 1912. But overall, under 15 percent of US family firms are managed by non-family executives, according to the Family Firm Institute.

Sadun’s team plans to apply the findings of the family firm research in other studies on motivation…

“If you find family CEOs who are still controlling their firms and working less, even in a country like the United States, I think this is telling us that there is some fundamental, non-monetary benefit that they get from running their companies,” she says.

“It’s clearly not just about maximizing profits. It’s not just about how much they’re paid. And we just need to understand what’s going on, what the motivation is. Because we know that if we could target these groups of firms and improve their performance, there would be very important implications for business research and, most importantly, the economy.”

“Fighting Corporate Hubris”: FOUR Steps of the “Perpetuity Principle”|by:Hans-Paul Bürkner | BCG

Massive corporate fraud, the dot-com bubble, the worst economic crisis since the 1930s—these events have undermined many companies and leaders over the past 15 years. As CEOs begin to absorb the lessons of this turbulent period, they should be careful not to overlook one significant contributory factor: hubris, the pride that comes before a fall.

In a corporate setting, “Hubris” can take many forms, such as :

  • Creating grandiose strategies that find their way into glossy brochures, new advertising campaigns, and rhetorical conference speeches—but never get implemented
  • Launching high-profile moves into new, exciting, international markets in a costly and flamboyant way—but failing to create competitive advantage
  • Pursuing big mergers and acquisitions that deliver scale, bold headlines, and large bonuses for the management team—but no long-term value
  • Completing dubious financial transactions that undermine transparency—and serve only to show that the company isn’t addressing the fundamentals of business

Time and again, these activities have led companies to overextend themselves, to falter, and—all too often—to fail. CEOs should guard against them at all costs.

Hubris and Its Nemesis: The Perpetuity Principle – 

The CEO and the executive committee play a critical role in the fight against hubris. They do, by their conduct, set the boundaries and norms of behavior for the rest of the company. Today, the best managers follow what we call the perpetuity principle, serving as stewards of their companies and, by doing so, developing profitable, sustainable, and trusted businesses. They focus on results, ensure that substance triumphs over style, and champion a true humility—one that prioritizes ethical behavior, respect for others, modesty, and diligence. To adhere to this principle, CEOs should take the following steps.

1. Renew the focus on delivering long-term value. It is all too easy to shrug off a sluggish performance as evidence that the market misunderstands the company’s terrific work or to point to a great quarter or two as a reason for ignoring any deterioration in the business fundamentals. But before castigating critics or declaring victory, the prudent leader should take a long, hard look in the mirror: knowing what creates value—and what destroys value—for customers, shareholders, and other stakeholders are core competencies of the CEO.

On a routine basis, the CEO and his or her team should embark on an unsentimental, even ruthless, review of the company’s portfolio to identify any under-performing business units or decline in the key drivers of value, such as market share, gross margin, and pricing power.

At the same time, they should pursue strategies to deliver top-line growth. But they must be wary of tempting proposals for fast-tracking growth—such as buying and selling businesses—just to please the markets. Though such strategies have their place, big splashy acquisitions that promise much but turn out to be poorly thought-out, badly executed, and deeply damaging to the long-term health of the company occur all too often. In fact, according to BCG analysis across all industries, more than half of all public-to-public deals between 1988 and 2010 actually destroyed shareholder value.

Ultimately, a company will thrive only if it offers differentiated products or services to its customers and delivers them well. Leaders should never forget this—no matter how much pressure they feel from the financial markets.

2. Foster an open and questioning culture, and encourage the company’s major decision makers to challenge conventional wisdom. Of course, this is not easy to do; for CEOs, encouraging others to question their carefully worked plans can be an uncomfortable process. But cultivating an environment in which executives feel free to articulate their views without fear of retribution is necessary—and usually the company is stronger for it.

There are a number of ways to foster an unfettered dialogue. The most effective is when a CEO initiates the discussion by challenging the existing business model. Another is to conduct an exercise in which one group of executives takes a contrarian view, playing devil’s advocate.

A third approach is to develop a series of scenarios, or mental “boxes,” that give members of the executive board a chance to gain a fresh perspective on their strategic plan. This is not some tired recommendation to engage in scenario planning or to think outside the box. Rather, it is an exhortation to think in newboxes—to question everything, to think the unthinkable.

Whether or not these new scenarios are plausible is beside the point. What’s important is that each box be sufficiently provocative to enable the CEO and the executive team to test the merits of their preferred approaches in different boxes and, in doing so, to break out of a tunneled managerial perspective.

As well as creating new visions of the future, CEOs must address, in a very practical sense, the way they manage and organize work. All too often, a CEO orders a reorganization of the company that, despite the best of intentions, leads only to a costly and over-complicated proliferation of structures, processes, and systems. This is why what we call “smart simplicity”—minimizing structures, processes, and systems while maximizing leadership, cooperation, and engagement—is so important. It avoids the illusion of superficial change, which actually inhibits real transformation, and forces leaders instead to consider some key questions: Are we really going to change what happens, what we do, and the way we work together?

3. Develop a role as stewards of the company, guiding it toward a prosperous future with a respected place in society. Companies play an important role in society, and their leaders can be significant local, national, and international citizens. CEOs, therefore, should be conscious of their role in the community, set an example through their behavior, and strive both to do well and to do good, today and for tomorrow. A narrow focus on short-term profitability, coupled with excessive bonus payments for top management, undermines the very existence of a company—especially during a time of austerity in the West and widening gaps in wealth around the world.

To set the best example, CEOs should ask themselves this question: “Is my compensation in line with performance?” If the answer is no—then that’s a problem. Certainly the best-performing executives should be well compensated. But those who have poorly served—or even defrauded—their shareholders, customers, and local communities should face negative consequences rather than be rewarded with golden handshakes.

CEOs should also ask themselves, “Is my company making an appropriate contribution to society ? ” With the rising importance of citizenship, trust, sustainability, and reputation, leaders cannot fixate solely and selfishly on the company. They have a role in shaping a more resilient and responsible future for society at large.

Companies can contribute to the well-being of local communities through their products and services, job creation, education, and skills training. They should also pay an appropriate level of corporate tax. Of course, it is the duty of each company to take every legal step to minimize its tax burden. But going too far risks a serious backlash—not least from consumers and especially at a time of large government deficits, which are partly due to tax evasion and poor collection. This risk holds equally true when it comes to labor laws, environmental regulations, and quality standards.

4. Ensure a regular change of leadership. CEOs should conduct a periodic shake-up of those around them, including their loyal lieutenants. It is lonely at the top—and never more so than when reshuffling the executive pack. But this is a task that CEOs must not shirk: they cannot afford to surround themselves with a cadre of people who stop challenging the status quo (now that they are the status quo), who put career before company, and who stay silent when they should speak out.

In general, CEOs themselves should have time-limited tenures, too. No one is above the company, not even its highest officer. In my experience, most CEOs, in the true spirit of a steward, should step aside after no more than ten years. Now, some leaders may read this and think that a decade in the top job is the kind of corporate eternity they can only dream about. The fact is, however, that some companies are nominally led by people who no longer actually lead.

So why deprive the company of a top leader who has built up a wealth of experience? The answer is straightforward: Over time, it gets progressively more difficult to bring about necessary change. Of course, it is not hard to point to the exceptions that prove the rule—the extraordinary CEOs who defy the years and continue to generate value over decades. But, too often, long-serving CEOs are wedded to ways of doing things that quickly become outmoded in today’s fast-changing and volatile world. And while success can certainly breed success, it can also breed complacency and failure.

Knowing when to hang up one’s boots is notoriously difficult, whether in business, politics, or sport. The most successful leaders, wary of destroying the legacy they have built, understand that they should never think they are indispensable.

The CEO’s Core Task : Putting the “Execute” Back into “Executive”…

Over the past two decades, too many CEOs lost focus: to use the language of sport, they took their eyes off the ball. Today they have a second chance.

The essential purpose of a company is to deliver value to its customers and profits to its shareholders on a sustainable basis—and this means that the organization needs to be a good citizen in the communities where it does business. So the task of the CEO, as the leader of the company, is to make this happen, to get things done, to execute—hence the name, “chief executive officer.”

” To be truly successful in a game-changing way : CEOs must adhere to the “Perpetuity Principle”, leading from the front and engaging in a relentless fight against corporate hubris—whether this manifests itself as greed, self-promotion, or ducking the hard realities of the world “.

“Culture & Business Performance”: What’s the relationship? |by: Joe Evans | ExecutiveStreet

Why is it that culture seems to be linked to the good, the bad and the ugly in today’s business world ? Perhaps the answer can be found in the mounting data suggesting that organizations with strong cultures rooted in shared core values tend to have much happier employees… and happier employees help businesses be more productive. In fact, there is newly released empirical evidence from the Strategy Institute For Thought Leadership that suggests that core values (read: culture) directly correlate with business financial performance. Like it or not, culture is indeed an integral ingredient to an improved bottom line. As such, business leaders cannot afford to look the other way and dismiss culture as some sort of “soft” or “fuzzy” element that does not have an impact on the Profit & Loss statement.

This article looks at culture from some perspectives you might not of thought about, then explores criteria to help identify business culture opportunities and how changes can be introduced to help improve performance.

Why Culture Is Important ?

Research shows that organizations with performance-centric cultures experience better financial growth. One such study, conducted in 2003 by Harvard Business School, reported that culture has a significant impact on an organization’s long-term economic performance. The study examined the management practices at 160 organizations over ten years and found that culture can enhance performance or prove detrimental to performance. Performance-centric organizations witnessed far better financial growth. Another study, conducted in 2002 by the Corporate Leadership Council, found that cultural traits such as risk taking, internal communications, and flexibility are some of the most important drivers of business performance.

A study conducted by the Strategy Institute For Thought Leadership produced findings that suggests core values and culture directly correlate with business performance. Indexed survey data from this study related to core value perceptions and employee satisfaction can be viewed relative to business financial performance – all indexed in relative terms on a scale of one to ten for five different companies.

As the graph indicates, businesses with higher core value index scores outperformed those with lower core value index scores. Likewise, employee satisfaction was noticeably higher in those same organizations.

How would your employees describe your organization’s culture ? 

Diagnosing a need for cultural change is among the most difficult of tasks to complete in the overall job of correcting sub-par business results. By defining culture in real-life terms, it can take on a more meaningful form that allows leaders to identify cultural characteristics and better determine if problems exists, then how to go about making change if it is required.

One group that matters a great deal in learning about the organization’s culture are the employees. It is important to pick and chip through the culture puzzle by surveying employees to find out what they really think. The organization’s employees have a direct relationship to the overall experience the business provides to its customers. In high-performing cultures, employees demonstrate a clear understanding of their organization’s strategic priorities and what management values in relation to achieving strategic objectives. That aspect has major implications to performance because it is difficult for employees to be supportive of the company’s vision and strategy if they do not know what is valued as an organization. Any lack of connection to strategy and “valued actions” in regard to achieving the strategic objectives is a clear indication of an opportunity for cultural correction. Employees must know what management values in order to help achieve desired results and strengthen the organization’s culture.

For example, in a software company, most employees may be focused on making better software through enhanced technical design, not on improving the end-customer’s overall experience. Technical improvements, while important, will likely not be appreciated by the customer as much as a focus on the customer’s overall experience. In this example, the cultural disconnect is with a system-wide misplaced focus on the technical instead of the qualitative aspects of the software.  Customers determine value on the larger overall experience, not just the software’s functions. Their perception of value is derived based on how they interact with the software and how they can get help when it is needed. Therefore, in this case, the culture is allowing for the focus to be misplaced on how the software is being built, not on improving the experience the product provides.

Identifying culture problems through the employee’s eyes is difficult. Surveys can certainly help uncover problems, but of course, no one likes to consider themselves to be a part of the problem. “Yes, there is a problem, but it is not with my department.” Be prepared to see blame placed everywhere but where you are asking the questions.

How would customers describe your organization’s culture ? 

An important aspect of culture relative to business performance lies in understanding how the organization’s culture translates across to customers. Logically, the next recommendation is to find out how customers view the organization’s culture. Enthusiasm is palpable when you do business with an organization that is fanatical about making your experience the best it can be. You know that when dealing with that business, you will consistently experience that level of passion and excitement because it has become a part of the DNA of the organization. It is in the culture. Such experiences are the result of a business culture that cares about the customer and understands what priorities management values the highest. Surveying customers, like employees, can be telling. In an interview with McKinsey, Bombardier CEO Pierre Beaudoin proves the point. He said, “we had an organization that was very proud of being number one and had all kinds of metrics to measure why we were very good. But when we talked to our customers, they were saying we weren’t very good.”

Not understanding your culture means not understanding how it affects your customers. Good or bad, culture represents the predominant attitude within the organization. “That’s the way we’ve always done things around here” can become a thematic tide that is hard to swim against.

What is the management culture ? 

While it may not be the most important factor in determining if an overall culture problem exists across the organization, it is worth pointing out that there can be cultural problems at the management level and that those can be very damaging. Such problems may even be fairly benign on the surface, making them hard to spot. One such example is “happy talk”; a condition where the culture is one of avoiding putting facts on the table, accountability is ill-defined and management spends time convincing itself how good the business is doing. This goes hand-in-hand with complacency; where goals are defined in such a way so that management can surpass them and feel good about its performance. Another very common cultural issue is silos, where people are focused on their own tasks and there is very little teamwork.

In the article, A Fish Rots From the Head, it was asserted that the executive leader’s personality, traits and beliefs collectively form a signature that is stamped into the organization’s social fabric. The conduct of the organization’s leader truly sets the tone.

To illustrate through a couple of examples, let’s examine two very different companies and cultures. In one client organization, the focus of leadership was intently honed on improving financial performance, service and employee culture. Yet in the environment, many inconsistencies existed. For instance, executive-level floors had the restrooms cleaned at a ratio of 6:1 times more frequently than others in the headquarters building. This did not go unnoticed by employees on non-executive floors. The policy was intended to save dollars in facilities management costs, but it backfired. Unclean employee and public restrooms caused consternation and anger with workers, not to mention embarrassment it caused the company as visitors witnessed the untidy conditions and complained. The mis-guided policy sent a signal that executives were “above” others in the company and would be treated differently. The negative impacts of the policy to employee satisfaction and a healthy culture were immense.

Conversely, in another organization, the CEO moved all executives into interior offices to allow employee cubicles to get better natural lighting. In this same company, the CEO was known to help an employee carry heavy boxes containing copies of an important proposal at the down to the parking garage and help load them into the employee’s car. Two simple gestures, but those types of actions clearly send a very different signal to workers and have an equally strong impact of culture. The actions of the CEO said volumes, indicating, “I want you to be happy in your work, to succeed with this organization and to help us achieve our goals by being a valued member of the team, therefore I will do everything I can to help you.”

Introducing Changes To The Culture : 

Changing an organization’s culture is a daunting feat. That’s because the culture of an organization is comprised of many intricate and interconnected parts, including corporate strategy and related strategic goals, job roles, business processes, core values, communications practices, corporate attitudes and business policies. These component parts are woven together into the cultural fabric and cannot be changed in isolation. Instead, they must be addressed holistically.

Consider the culture that exists in the current day environment of any organization. Just as water running for ages over rock will cut a path that channels swifter currents, culture wears its own path through the business, manifested in policies, business processes, job roles, communication practices and corporate bureaucracies. It is a part of the organization to the extent that any small attempts to introduce change will be swept away by the stronger current of institutionalized cultural rituals learned and practiced for so long. That’s not to say that culture transformation cannot be successful, only that it won’t be successful without disruption to the normal course of things. Change must be introduced to all of the elements affecting culture. There is no single action to be taken, but instead, an orchestrated regimen of small and large steps that will help break the rut and allow new flows to open.

Aiming for performance excellence : 

Culture does affect performance, therefore the goal of tampering with culture in the first place is to influence the organizational ethos towards one of performance and excellence. Most executives would submit that we want the associates in our business, among other things, to be:

  1.         highly ethical
  2.         focused on creating value for our customers,
  3.         conscientious about avoiding waste,
  4.         dedicated to providing fanatical customer service,
  5.         involved, responsible and giving citizens in the communities where they live.

Corporate leaders must model this behavior themselves. If cultural change is sought, executives must do more the talk the talk…they must also walk the walk.

In addition to leadership committing to championing culture change, many areas of the business likely will face makeovers – such as job role changes, business processes that must be altered or realigned and communications practices that must be improved to help cultural change take hold. Based on organizational model changes and related process impacts – communication will be effected, as will decision processes and process latency expansions or constrictions. These must be well understood, expected and planned. Most importantly, employees will be impacted by change. Communicate the goals of change to employees and include them in the process by connecting goals to each person’s day-to-day work.

Lastly, expect that changes will be disruptive. The good news is that disruption will help the organization break free from the well-worn patterns that currently hold it in place and increase the speed of transition to the future-state culture.

“11 Simple Concepts” to Become a Better Leader | by: Dave Kerpen

Being likeable will help you in your job, business, relationships, and life. I interviewed dozens of successful business leaders, to determine what made them so likeable and their companies so successful. All of the concepts are simple, and yet, perhaps in the name of revenues or the bottom line, we often lose sight of the simple things – things that not only make us human, but can actually help us become more successful.

Below are the ELEVEN most important principles to integrate to become a better leader : 

1. Listening : 

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway 

Listening is the foundation of any good relationship. Great leaders listen to what their customers and prospects want and need, and they listen to the challenges those customers face. They listen to colleagues and are open to new ideas. They listen to shareholders, investors, and competitors.

2. Storytelling : 

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” -Robert McAfee Brown 

After listening, leaders need to tell great stories in order to sell their products, but more important, in order to sell their ideas. Storytelling is what captivates people and drives them to take action. Whether you’re telling a story to one prospect over lunch, a boardroom full of people, or thousands of people through an online video-Storytelling wins customers.”

3. Authenticity : 

“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.” -Oprah Winfrey 

Great leaders are who they say they are, and they have integrity beyond compare. Vulnerability and humility are hallmarks of the authentic leader and create a positive, attractive energy. Customers, employees, and media all want to help an authentic person to succeed. There used to be a divide between one’s public self and private self, but the social internet has blurred that line. Tomorrow’s leaders are transparent about who they are online, merging their personal and professional lives together.

4. Transparency : 

“As a small businessperson, you have no greater leverage than the truth.” -John Whittier 

There is nowhere to hide anymore, and business people who attempt to keep secrets will eventually be exposed. Openness and honesty lead to happier staff and customers and colleagues. More important, transparency makes it a lot easier to sleep at night – unworried about what you said to whom, a happier leader is a more productive one.

5. Team Playing : 

“Individuals play the game, but teams beat the odds.” – SEAL Team Saying.. 

No matter how small your organization, you interact with others every day. Letting others shine, encouraging innovative ideas, practicing humility, and following other rules for working in teams will help you become a more likeable leader. You’ll need a culture of success within your organization, one that includes out-of-the-box thinking.

6. Responsiveness : 

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles Swindoll 

The best leaders are responsive to their customers, staff, investors, and prospects. Every stakeholder today is a potential viral sparkplug, for better or for worse, and the winning leader is one who recognizes this and insists upon a culture of responsiveness. Whether the communication is email, voice mail, a note or a a tweet, responding shows you care and gives your customers and colleagues a say, allowing them to make a positive impact on the organization.

7. Adaptability : 

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” -Ben Franklin 

There has never been a faster-changing marketplace than the one we live in today. Leaders must be flexible in managing changing opportunities and challenges and nimble enough to pivot at the right moment. Stubbornness is no longer desirable to most organizations. Instead, humility and the willingness to adapt mark a great leader.

8. Passion : 

“The only way to do great work is to love the work you do.” -Steve Jobs 

Those who love what they do don’t have to work a day in their lives. People who are able to bring passion to their business have a remarkable advantage, as that passion is contagious to customers and colleagues alike. Finding and increasing your passion will absolutely affect your bottom line.

9. Surprise and Delight : 

“A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless.” -Charles de Gaulle 

Most people like surprises in their day-to-day lives. Likeable leaders under-promise and over-deliver, assuring that customers and staff are surprised in a positive way. There are a plethora of ways to surprise without spending extra money – a smile, We all like to be delighted !!

10. Simplicity : 

“Less isn’t more; just enough is more.” -Milton Glaser 

The world is more complex than ever before, and yet what customers often respond to best is simplicity — in design, form, and function. Taking complex projects, challenges, and ideas and distilling them to their simplest components allows customers, staff, and other stakeholders to better understand and buy into your vision. We humans all crave simplicity, and so today’s leader must be focused and deliver simplicity.

11. Gratefulness : 

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” -Gilbert Chesterton 

Likeable leaders are ever grateful for the people who contribute to their opportunities and success. Being appreciative and saying thank you to mentors, customers, colleagues, and other stakeholders keeps leaders humble, appreciated, and well received. It also makes you feel great! Donor’s Choose studied the value of a hand-written thank-you note, and actually found donors were 38% more likely to give a 2nd time, if they got a hand-written note !!

” The Golden Rule – Above all else, treat others as you’d like to be treated !”

By showing others the same courtesy you expect from them, you will gain more respect from coworkers, customers, and business partners. Holding others in high regard demonstrates your company’s likeability and motivates others to work with you. This seems so simple, as do so many of these principles — and yet many people, too concerned with making money or getting by, fail to truly adopt these key concepts.

Which of these principles are most important to you — what makes you likeable ????? 

“Five Lessons” From Lance Armstrong’s Failure | Randy Conley

Good Article…specifically for all Managers & Leaders from all walks of life…on how fragile and crucial it is, on issues of  TRUST & ETHICS in one’s personal OR professional front…..MP.

Five Lessons From Lance Armstrong’s Failure.