Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category
Executive and Business Coach at Change Agent
Years ago I worked for a well-known consumer products company on an under-performing product category. I was young and I was new to the industry. I had a fresh perspective, and I was able to innovate the way the company marketed their products. As a result, sales doubled in 2 years which was quite impressive for a low-tech category. Although the strategies I developed were impactful and I had a big budget to play with, I often ran into resistance for change when selling the business plan to some of the stakeholders. I felt like I had to drag them along with me.
Many years later I volunteered to raise money for a professional midwifery school in Mexico. I started with very few contacts but eventually I helped raise local funding to reduce the school’s dependency on international organizations. During the process I met some movers and shakers. The school administrators, who had struggled for years to find local partners, were scratching their heads. How was someone without any living or working experience in Mexico able to make these connections? I, too, was a little baffled why these influential people would talk to a volunteer who came to ask them for money. I would tell people that I had an angel on my shoulder. I was probably doing something right but I was not very clear what it was.
Executive and Business Coach at Change Agent
I first came across the term, “the power of one”, when I was reading the book“Influencer”. The authors mentioned an experiment in the 60’s designed to help researchers understand why so many people followed the Nazi’s lead to massacre millions of Jews. The participants in the research were told that they had to give shock treatment to someone in another room and continue to increase the intensity of the shock treatment until it reached the highest level. Although many participants were uncomfortable about the study, as many as 65% of them felt compelled to follow the instructions. In a follow-up study, the scientists found that if just one person went ahead and turned up the shock treatment, then the number of participants after him who actually went through with the administration of shock treatment jumped from 65% to 90%. On the other hand, if one person spoke up and refused to follow through, the percentage of participants after him who administered the shock treatment dropped to 10%. What a difference one person can make! One person managed to change the tide or the compliance pattern. That is the power of one!
President at Think Like A Black Belt
My elevator speech goes like this:
“I’m Jim Bouchard- I teach people how to Think Like a Black Belt; and I’m the best looking bald man in this room! If you want to know more about what I do I’ll meet you right after this meeting.”
Inevitably people come up and ask me, “So- what the heck do you actually do?” Once in a while someone challenges my assertion about being the best looking bald man in the room!
Now the fun starts. I simply ask, “What do you think about when you hear the words ‘Black Belt?’” Now that’s not a rhetorical question; take a few minutes right now…what do you think about when you hear those words? The iconic symbolism of the Black Belt is now part of our culture- nearly everyone has some idea about what Black Belt is supposed to embody. The great minds at Six Sigma in fact borrowed the whole theme of Black Belt and martial arts ranking to symbolize what it takes to create a culture of quality, excellence and efficiency.
Director Global Facilities Management at Merck
Greater New York City Area
No matter what industry you are in I believe we are all faced with ever changing customer requirements and increased competition. In order to successfully meet these challenges a leader needs to be able to tap into the potential of his/her employees to bring out new ideas, drive continuous improvement, implement change, and achieve realization of the benefits that the change is to bring. The Situational Leadership Theory (developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard) allows a leader to assess the maturity level of the person/group, determine the commitment and competence level, and apply the appropriate leadership style to motivate and inspire employees to meet the challenges the organization is facing.
General Manager at IBM
I write this piece to initiate discussion on expected conduct of corporate leaders today, taking on as reference, wisdom drawn from yesteryears on conduct of a king as a leader.. Does the wisdom apply to modern corporate leaders? Are there additional competencies required from a leader today?
I recently came across an extract from ancient epic “Mahabharata” on conduct of a king..
“He is the best of kings who has wisdom, who is possessed of liberality, who is ready to take advantage of the weaknesses of his foes, who is conversant with what is bad for each of the four orders of his subjects, who is prompt in action, who has his wealth under control, who is not vindictive, who is high minded, who is not irascible by disposition, who is not given to boasting, and who vigorously pursues to completion all the work commenced by him” – “Vol VIII, p 118, Chapter LVII”.
President Partner at LeaderPoint
Businesses have fallen behind what science now knows about motivation. But some businesses are catching up. For example, hospitals find it hard to keep teams of quality nurses. First, there is a chronic shortage of nurses to meet the demand. Second, nurses work in conditions of high stress. Georgetown University Hospital is one of a growing number of hospitals that invests money in improving the work environment of its nurses. While many hospitals used to give signing bonuses to get nurses to work for them, the new approach is give nurses more autonomy in doing their jobs, and offer them more opportunity to grow and develop their skills. Now they are motivated to stay on the job and to provide higher levels of patient care, while previously they were motivated to stay just long enough to receive their incentive.
Licensed Distributor at Harrison Assessments
Resignation around the strategic planning process reigns in most companies that try it. That is a bold statement. Strategic planning lives like the “should” that we hopefully grew out of as we matured into adults. Of course we never REALLY outgrow our childish nature. It is at the source of silos, gossip around the water cooler, scapegoats, the blame game and perhaps that resignation about strategic planning.
The process too often only includes senior executives who aren’t in the trenches and whose egos won’t let go of their view of reality, in which case the predictable result is a myopic view of the company and its future.
Managing Director at AH & Beyond, Management Consultant
There are so many books, tapes, seminars, TV documentaries….even “youtube” providing various ways of managing through difficult times as a leader. Having been in a leadership role (specifically sales leadership) for over 17 years it’s definitely not a picnic having to wade through personnel conflicts, business conflicts, economy issues etc…especially where there are “human beings” involved.
We as human beings are interesting creatures especially as it relates to conflict/adversity and how we behave or react to these two aspects of “life” determines our success overcoming them. As a leader how you react to adversity is PARAMOUNT, as matter of fact, it should not only be a job requirement but a measurement of competency and one’s ability to do the job. How many end of the year job reviews have you had where you were evaluated on how you dealt with conflict/adversity during the year? I’m betting not many. Often times just the very mention of the words “Conflict” & “Adversity” elicits a negative reaction and not an angle for positive development and growth.
Director Client Solutions at O.C. Tanner
A few years ago, I read an article about Super Bowl XL*. You may recall it was between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks. The author pointed out that both coaches gave speeches before the game. Mike Holmgren of the Seahawks chose to try and inspire his players by physically demonstrating the gobs of money they would win by beating the Steelers. He actually had a stack of 73,000 $1 bills laid out in front of the group. Pittsburgh Steelers coach, Bill Cowher, on the other hand, appealed to the players’ sense of pride and purpose, communicating that notwithstanding their being the underdog, they could make history. A few hours later, the victorious Steelers hoisted the Lombardi trophy overhead and celebrated their place in football history (and their $73,000 bonus).
Division Vice President at Red Coats, Inc
At some point in your career it hits you like a ton of bricks that you are not alone in this universe and the world does not revolve around you and your selfish needs! For some people that is a slight nudge and you recover, for others it is a cold hard belly blow that hurts and takes a while to recover! Regardless of how it comes to a realization in your world you see yourself in a self actualization phase of philanthropy of trying to give something back or leaving a legacy for the next generation. You have an inner need to always work to a life balance with work, home, community, spiritual, etc. Ignoring any pieces of this life balance pie and the results on the long term are exhausting in emotional and physical levels.