Turns out I am not a God. I thought I might be. I became a leader so early. The youngest to have that much so-and-so in company history. I was recruited by the owner for crying out loud. They said, "you have unlimited potential". The chosen one. I realize now at best, I am an … Continue reading Leader As A God
What are the ways leadership differs from management? Are modern pressures for speed and competitiveness causing an over-managed yet under-led Corporate America? I’ve been reading about this lately, and here’s what I’m starting to understand. At the head of many countries around the world there are separate managers and leaders. Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev is … Continue reading How Leadership Differs From Management
What is the right way to create urgency in the workplace? I started reading John Kotter's Leading Change this week, and he discusses creating a sense urgency as the first step in meaningful organizational change. I wholly agree with the need for urgency, but I can't decide if I agree on all of Kotters's prescribed … Continue reading Disrupting Complacency Without Being A Caveman
Last week, I attended a luncheon where Steve Forbes was the special guest. He spoke about the importance of having a long term focus. “We have to remember to step away from the daily demands of our in-boxes and keep an eye on the big picture,” Forbes said. What does it mean to focus on … Continue reading Victory At All Costs
I was up later than usual Sunday night, too late for a work night. I was caught up watching one of my favorite bank robber movies, Heat. Long movie. Just as I was about to go to bed I saw the alert on my computer, “Osama bin Laden Killed.” I’ll never forget that moment. Just like … Continue reading Lessons From The Mission That Killed bin Laden
Eli Broad, famous billionaire and philanthropist said on "60 Minutes" last week, "civilizations are not remembered by their business people or bankers or lawyers, they are remembered by the arts." Can't managers be artists too? The bit reminded me of Seth Godin's book Linchpin. Seth says we can all be more like artists at work. Here's … Continue reading Can Managers Be Artists?
The fellow on the right is my grandfather, Nicholas Demma, in 1945. He was about my age making a stop in Hawaii on his way back from the Japanese theater. Shortly after this picture he entered the workforce as a small business owner in small town America. He worked long hard hours, led a simple … Continue reading Understanding Between Generations
I was listening to Howard Stern the other day when a caller told him "You're so lucky that you made it in your field." "Luck had nothing to do with it," Stern said. "You have no idea how intensely I had to work to make it in radio. I would lock myself in my room … Continue reading Hard Work and Gen Y: Friends or Enemies?
Gravity keeps the earth rotating perfectly around the sun. If that gravitational force became any weaker, we would drift away from the sun forever. Trust is the gravity that keeps our relationships in orbit - including work relationships. The first step to building trust is to trust others. Here's how I think we complete step … Continue reading Management Skills: Be Trustworthy
When I first became a manager at the age of twenty, I tried to make friends instead of managing my team. That was a miserable failure. Then I tried to manage without building relationships. I thought I had it all figured out until I received the results of my first employee satisfaction survey. People described … Continue reading Management Skills: Trusting Others
The study of ethics is the study of decisions between right and wrong, and, in business, ethics is about decisions between right and wrong in the face of financial incentives. Game theory states that individuals make decisions that maximize their own utility. In organizations this leads to conflict between principals and their agents. A company … Continue reading Ethics Series Part 3: Leadership Trust, Pay and Pipeline
Last week we discussed the pickle or ethical dilemma of empire building. Sales managers, like our hypothetical friend Tom Hansen from Ethics Corp, are motivated through bonuses and advancement opportunities to expand their responsibility beyond its optimal size. Empire building is part of a deeper ethical problem for organizations called the agency problem. Fundamentally, individuals … Continue reading Ethics Series Part 2: Incentives and Compensation
One of my favorite moments in sports is when a baseball runner gets caught in a pickle. Trapped between two bases with fielders chasing him down from both sides, the runner's athletic talents along with his decisiveness are put to the test. Sadly, it usually doesn't work out well for the runner. Over the next … Continue reading Ethics Series Part 1: Empire Building
The Days Before I now realize how clueless I was in the days leading up to Jack's birth. I had nine months to talk myself through the process and develop expectations about what our lives would be like once the baby was here. Boy, I wasn't even close. One thought I had remains true –– … Continue reading On Becoming A Father
I have been thinking about values a lot lately. What is most important to me? What am I willing to go to the mat for? And what are values anyway? Maybe values are like the stone we carve the statue of our character into. Our behaviors, like the sculpture's tools, shape how others will come … Continue reading Values: What’s Our Core Made Of?