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Current Business Reality: Do You Have the Courage to Confront It?

Courage to Confront the Current Business Reality

Martin Luther King eloquently shared his “I have a Dream” speech and inspired all of us to not just focus on what is possible but also the current harsh reality of racism in the 1960s in the United States.

Peter Senge, the noted management and leadership scholar coined the phrase, creative tension, to inspire all of us to focus simultaneously on both our vision and our current business reality. He said that if we only focus on vision, others could consider us to be too optimistic and naïve. Dr. Senge said if we, however, only focus on our current reality, we could become discouraged and doubtful of ever achieving our vision and goals. How does this affect our current business reality?

Dr. Senge encourages us to focus on both; our vision for what is possible for our teams and our organizations as well as simultaneously focusing on the current business reality so we are not in denial or delusional.

Jim Collins, in his book, Good to Great, writes about a conversation he had with US Navy Vice Admiral and aviator, James Bond “Jim” Stockdale who shot down over Vietnam in 1965 and was a prisoner of war for the next 7.5 years. In this discussion, Collins asked Stockdale about his coping strategy during this period of captivity. Stockdale reported, “I never lost faith in the end of this story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

When Collins asked Stockdale who did not make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied, “Oh, that’s easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, “We’re going to be out by Christmas.” And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. They they’d say, “We’re going to be out by Easter.” And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.” Stockdale then added, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end-which can never afford to lose-with the discipline to confront the brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

Witnessing this philosophy of duality, Jim Collins went on to describe it as the Stockdale Paradox.

I’ve seen leaders who lack the courage to confront the current business reality. Sometimes they don’t want to deal with the harsh facts or they remain naively optimistic about other people’s capacity to drive positive results regardless of the situation.

I worked for a leader early in my career that was absolutely delusional about the professionalism of his key leaders. He trusted but did he not verify. He let some of them bully him. He did refuse to acknowledge the high cost to the organization. The new leaders at all levels did not feel safe to share their concerns or even observations but he could not connect the dots to his key leaders and their styles. He hired change agents but then he allowed their peers to withhold information and resources so their success was limited or painfully prolonged. He never found his voice with his key colleagues, or at least he never demonstrated this when I worked for him.

When we remain in denial or even delusional, we tend to create a lot of chaos and confusion within our teams. When we have the courage to confront the brutal facts and take action based on those facts, we are able to create alignment at all levels. Then we find our business reality.

The key to having the courage is to focus on the facts and the data. Without the facts, it’s human nature to make up stories and put our own spin on these stories. “I know next quarter will be more robust”. “I know Bob and I know Bob didn’t mean to blow up that way in front of the team.” “I know everyone is committed to the same things.”

In order to build alignment, grow organizations and exponentially increase shareholder value, we must:

  • Get the facts backed up by data
  • Articulate to ourselves our values, our vision and our commitment to this organization
  • Find our voice so we can articulate all of this to others clearly, concisely and consistently
  • Demonstrate the courage to install consequences for bad behavior.

If you are interested in an executive dashboard in a cloud-based platform that supports everyone in staying focused on the facts in a positive, productive way let me know. We’ve analyzed them all and can give you a balanced perspective on the best ones.

Katharine Halpin has been facilitating transitions and M&A transactions since 1995. Long before that, however, she was able to identify leadership and management gaps and became a change agent leading efforts to close all those gaps.
The clients of The Halpin Companies consistently report they make more money and work fewer hours as a result of using our proprietary, proven methods to build alignment at all levels and grow shareholder value by a factor of 2-3 consistently and quickly.

The High Cost of Not Taking Action….

338 Words
Less than 2 minutes to read:
In times of great challenges or change of any kind, it is easy to hunker down, withdraw and attempt to white knuckle it.
“Our run rate doesn’t allow any investments at this time.” 
“Our revenues can barely service our debt so we have to wait until more debt is retired before we can make investments.”
“We have to fill 1-2 more key positions and then our team will be ready to take on new strategic initiatives.”
Yes…all these excuses, justifications and rationales make sense if you want to continue to do what you have always done.
However, if you are ready for transformational growth, ready to use new and different approaches, ready to shake folks out of their comfort zone then let’s talk.
The only sustainable approach to transformational growth is by building alignment at all levels.  If you delay making the investment to shake things up, you delay the growth potential.
In order to build the degree of alignment that will establish a solid platform for growth, we must be willing to get out of our own comfort zone, create environments for our colleagues to feel safe getting out of their comfort zones and be open to using new and different approaches, regardless of the risk.  High risk equates to high rewards.
Until we get everyone focused on our top 3 strategic growth priorities, communicate this clear focus in a way that engages every employee, contractor, supplier and vendor and get the right people in the right roles, we will never be ready because we will never have a solid foundation for transformational growth.
As Walt Disney said so eloquently, “The only way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Don’t wait another day to start to build the foundation you need so you can achieve the profitable, sustainable growth you deserve.
The Halpin Companies have been facilitating mergers, acquisitions and management/leadership transitions since 1995.  Our clients experience transformational growth that results in greater shareholder value.  For a complimentary, confidential consultation, contact Katharine Halpin at [email protected] or 602-266-1961.

Harness the Power!

The CFO is often the first to recognize the high cost of chaos. It does not appear as a line item in the financial statements. But, a CFO recognizes the warning signs. Performance, productivity, and profit fall below expectations. Rick McPartlin, co-founder and CEO of The Revenue Game, believes the cost of chaos runs as high as 30 percent of gross revenue in many organizations.  That means that if you are a $50 million company, you are wasting $15 million year after year.

Chaos means confusion: both individual confusion about what we are trying to accomplish, and team-wide disasters when people are confused about how we will accomplish it.

A CFO brought me into an organization where chaos reigned. The shareholders were happy with the return on their investments because revenue grew year over year. The company enjoyed a steady supply of new customers. By all appearances this was a very successful company.

However, the CFO was able to detect those early indicators that are always present but rarely captured. He saw that their method of driving new customer growth was unsustainable. He saw that the leadership was aging-out without new leaders being developed from within. He saw that, while they were successful, the chaos, the pace and intensity for this level of success was also not sustainable. He worried that key leaders would burnout or die before building a more sustainable business model. Their success was coming at a very high cost and he knew this model was unsustainable.

The Halpin Companies team started working with this leadership team to gather information and identify alternative approaches.

Fairly quickly, using our methods, we identified a potential future CEO from within the ranks. At first, the current leadership team was disdainful of our recommendation but this candidate did emerge over time as the key player with the greatest leadership capacity. He currently serves successfully in that CEO role.

More importantly, we were able to work with the two top layers of leaders and, based on our recommendations, build a more inclusive and transparent approach to driving new customer relationships.

Through mentoring by the senior leaders and using this more inclusive approach the former #1 sales person was able to build a dozen sales executives with his same level of success.

Using our processes he was first able to articulate his values – he cared deeply about their customers. He then started to articulate his sales approach – he was an extraordinary listener. We then helped him document and communicate his organic sales approach in meaningful and easy to understand ways. Over time, in one-on-one mentoring sessions, he trained each of his key people to replicate his success.

Not everyone had the same capacity but 14 or his 22 colleagues were able to step up. As a result the company grew by 300% in a few short years because of this velocity.

The CFO was thrilled, the shareholders were thrilled and more importantly, this construction-related company was able to sustain the economic downturn and continues to thrive today.

Six of the other colleagues self-selected out of this company with their dignity intact. Why did the go away? They saw that they could not be successful in the new business model. Two other leaders came to the leadership team and asked to take a step sideways or even backwards. They knew intuitively that they could not be successful in the new business model, given their own strengths.

When you harness the power you already have within your organization, the results will be extraordinary. Often our clients experience growth in shareholder value in amounts that were never imagined or forecasted. Building alignment, inclusiveness, and transparency drive success.

 

The Halpin Companies has been facilitating transitions in organizations of all sizes and levels of complexity since 1995. Our proven methods create work environments and corporate cultures where shareholder value grows consistently. Learn more about our methods at www.HalpinCompany.com

For a complimentary consultation, contact Katharine Halpin at 602-266-1961 or [email protected]

 

 

 

 

What’s needed today? A balanced perspective!

Meg Whitman, CEO Of Hewlett Packard said at the 2016 Davos World Economic Forum “My view is that the future belongs to the fast”.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce says frequently, “Speed is the new currency of business.”

I say yes, of course.  But at what cost?

Yes, we must all be agile, nimble and able to pivot quickly but how has this intense focus on responding to emails 24/7 and making quick decisions, cost us in terms of the quality of our decisions?

I’m pleased to see Dominic Barton, Global Managing Partner of McKinsey, and his colleagues have analyzed the benefits companies realize when they take a long-term perspective.

Today, our world is moving faster than ever. This pace and intensity requires leaders to be more grounded in the long-term view, what is important to them as individual leaders and what is most important to their organization, shareholders, their customers, their suppliers, and their employees. This grounding allows them to be agile while still making decisions in a consistent, disciplined manner.

McKinsey’s research indicates the increased value delivered by organizations with a long-term focus in terms of revenue, earnings, and economic profit translated into higher market capitalization: organizations with a long-term focus added $7 billion more in market capitalization on average than other firms between 2001 and 2014.

See their full report here by clicking here:

We have all been subjected to poor quality decisions made in haste. The world is moving faster than anyone could have imagined, even a decade ago. Strategic Planning is done in 18-month increments because none of us can predict beyond that short amount of time.  Because of this intense pace, leaders need the structure, discipline and accountability that occurs when they hold a long-term perspective.

I have seen the high cost that these short-term decisions made on the potential long-term success, as well as the current environment related to people, productivity and focus. Front-line leaders lose too much sleep when they experience unnecessary volatility in their focus.   The world around us presents volatility everyday. However, if leaders can maintain a long-term perspective, we can minimize this disruption to our people and our progress.

When a team takes on an 18-month project to build a better mousetrap and those team members sacrifice the quality of their lives and their time with their loved ones to purse their passions inside of this project, they do not take drastic change well.

When C-level leaders have a narrow perspective focused on this Quarter or next Quarter they tend to make volatile decisions that impact the viability and success of these longer-term initiatives.

A short-term focus invariably diminishes morale and employee engagement. Productivity, profitability and long-term success all take a hit as a result.

If I could dictate one thing to ever leader on the planet it would be to prescribe one hour of uninterrupted think time for every person currently in or aspiring to be in any kind of leadership role.

With this one-hour of strategic think time each day, consistently taken, leaders would start to have greater awareness about the red flags and key indicators that are always present but often overlooked.

This one practice would move leaders out of a frenzied and reactive mode into a strategic mode with a long-term focus, a broader perspective and a more consistent leadership style.

We must consider the unintended consequences of our actions and reactions. We cannot achieve a broad perspective without regular intervals of high quality solitude to think and then act strategically with a broad perspective about our long-term vision and goals.

Our economy depends on leaders who make decisions based on a longer-term perspective. McKinsey’s analysis indicates the organizations that held a longer-term perspective added nearly 12,000 more jobs on average than other organizations between 2001 and 2015.

Had all organizations created as many jobs as these longer-term focused organizations, the US economy would have added more than five million additional jobs over this period.

This suggests a potential value to our economy of more than a $3 trillion through 2025. This significant potential can be realized if we can support leaders in giving themselves the gift of regular intervals of strategic think time.

 

Katharine Halpin has been facilitating transitions in organizations of all sizes since 1995.  She founded The Halpin Companies to fill a void she saw everyday in her CPA career.  “Transactions and transitions fail to accomplish the forecasted shareholder goals simply because no one is focused on harnessing the power of the original enterprise.  Legal and Financial goals become the focus.  By focusing on leveraging the original enterprise by getting the right people in the right roles focused on the right priorities, organizations can grow by a factor of 200% to 300%”.

Katharine and her team have amassed a suite of tools and proprietary methods to exponentially increase shareholder value during a transaction or transition.

For a complimentary consultation, Katharine can be reached at 602-266-1961 or via email [email protected] To buy Katharine’s e-book about building in these reserves of time to think strategically, click here.

 

 

 

 

Greatest Source of Stress? Un-negotiated Expectations. How to fix!

Alignment for Success – a 5-Part Book Review

I wrote my book, Alignment for Success; Bringing Out the Best in Yourself, Your Teams and Your Company in an effort to spread the word about my unique methodology for being a Strategic Leader.

 

I am thrilled with the response and feedback to this important book.  Jerre Stead, Chair and CEO of IHS, Inc. (who has served as CEO of 7 publicly held companies over his career) gives the book as a gift and tells people “this is what I believe”.

 

Jason Pistillo, President of the University of Advancing Technology, asked me to bring my book into their advanced curriculum because, as he stated, “we want to use the most contemporary thinking about leadership.”

 

And just recently Abbie S. Fink launched a 5-part Book Review.  Abbie is a leader in the business community in Phoenix and frequently reviews books for their blog at HMA Public Relations.

 

I’m so pleased to share Part 1 of her Book Review with each of you here:

http://hmapr.com/bookclub-alignment-success-bringing-best-teams-company-part-1-alignment/

 

Here’s Part 2 from @AbbieSFink:

 

http://hmapr.com/bookclub-alignment-success-bringing-best-teams-company-part-2-driving-force/

 

Here’s Part 3 from @AbbieSFink:

 

http://hmapr.com/bookclub-alignment-success-bringing-best-teams-company-part-3-make-meeting-time/

 

 

Here’s Part 4 from @AbbieSFink:

 

http://hmapr.com/bookclub-alignment-success-bringing-best-teams-company-part-4-attitude-gratitude/

 

Here’s Part 5 from @AbbieSFink:

 

http://hmapr.com/bookclub-alignment-success-bringing-best-teams-company-part-5-creating-culture-high-performance/

 

 

Thanks so much Abbie for this extraordinary contribution to making work work for everyone!

3 Requirements of C-Suite Transitions In Today’s VUCA Environment

Tsunami

The United States is experiencing unprecedented numbers of transitions in the C-Suite in part due to the retirement of baby boomers. There are significant risks to our economy and to organizations if these transitions do not occur in a strategic, well-thought-out manner. These risks include:

1. Decelerated organizational growth caused by unmitigated risks or a lack of strategic alignment.
2. Unsustainable defined benefit retirement plans.
3. Negative social impact on local communities if new leaders do not share the long-term values of an organization such as investing in the local community and economy.

 

How can current leaders prepare for this tsunami of volatility and change? How can organizations innovate at the level that is now required while simultaneously introducing new leadership?

How can new leaders absorb their significant responsibilities and guarantee the organization can sustain success? The solutions to these challenges are simple but not easy. These solutions, while simple, do require building a strategic framework for a well-thought-out process that includes experimentation, reflection to capture learnings and then more experimentation.

A successful transition at any level requires numerous iterations of these simple steps.

Here are the three required components for a successful C-Suite transition:

1. A collective mindset is required, one that allows every leader to focus equally on both the current reality of the environment from a variety of perspectives (not just historical financial and productivity metrics) and the Vision and Growth Plan. A balanced perspective is formed based on metrics, data, and substantive stakeholder input. If leaders focus only on the current reality, the pace of change, the required innovation, and the challenges to manage human capital, they can easily be overwhelmed by the magnitude of these challenges. If they only focus on the Vision and Growth Plan without putting them in the context of the current challenges, leaders can be in denial or even delusional about the gap between where an organization is and what is required to take that organization to the next level of success during volatile times.
2. A current leadership team that is high performing and shares a commitment to not only the organization’s success but to each colleague’s individual success is absolutely required. Without this level of commitment, decisions can be made that have unintended negative consequences to another part of the organization. With this level of commitment, win/win solutions will emerge. This shared commitment requires an investment of time. Win/win solutions are not attainable without the time to thoughtfully align around decisions.
3. Having the right leaders with the right strengths in the right roles is fundamental. Many leaders today have been promoted because of their ‘individual contributor’ skills and expertise. While being an expert accountant or auditor or engineer is a tremendous foundation on which to build a career in leadership, our pace of change requires leaders who are committed to successful executive transitions and who are
• resilient,
• flexible,
• innovative,
• good communicators,
and most importantly can bring out the best in others so they build cultures where stakeholders at all levels feel engaged, empowered, and encouraged.

For more thoughtful articles that reflect this, please see:

21st Century’s Most Valuable Assets

“The good news is that accelerating change, creative destruction, and new business models are all opportunities for the venturesome. A unifying theme as the economy transforms is that in almost every business, barriers to entry are coming down. Opportunity is more widely available than ever. Every person and every organization can possess the 21st century’s most valuable assets:
• openness to new ideas,
• ingenuity, and
• imagination.”

Why Every Aspect of Your Business
is About to Change
Geoff Colvin
Fortune Magazine
October 22, 2015

 

If you want to drive your company’s transitions in a strategic, proactive manner, bring in a trusted advisor beyond the normal scope of investment bankers, CPAs and attorneys. It is important to help keep the “people part” of the merger or acquisition on track.

 

We strongly encourage you to bring in experienced professionals with a track record of accelerating growth during transitions. If you have any questions or if we can be of service, we may be reached at 602-266-1961 or via our website at www.HalpinCompany.com

 

 

About Katharine Halpin

 

Katharine Halpin has been facilitating transitions in organizations of all sizes since 1995. She founded The Halpin Companies in an effort to fill a void she saw everyday in her CPA career. “Transactions fail to accomplish the forecasted goals simply because no one is focused on getting the right people in the right roles driving the right results right away.”

 

She has amassed a suite of tools and methods to exponentially increase the value of an organization by actually leveraging the transition. Many of the clients of The Halpin Companies have realized growth of 200% to 300% as they prepare for a transaction and move powerfully through the transition.

 

For more information or to discuss this in more depth, contact Katharine at (602) 266-1961 or [email protected]

Happy Father’s Day Jack!

John F Halpin 01.10.1929.03.30.1984We lost our Dad 31 years ago on March 30. I joke about him and even mention him in my ‘speaker intro’. It says that I have 45+ years of work experience and the first 13 years were in his office, John F. Halpin, CPA, where he was my first people problem.

 

That’s all true!

 

Today, Father’s Day, I want to celebrate him and all the many gifts he gave his children.

 

But first, let me share a few things that did not translate well between the generations in our family.

 

A love of fishing was not one of the gifts he gave us. He loved to fish from the pier off Bonelli Road at Eagle Lake and we did that often (often for him was maybe once every year or so). We caught catfish big enough to eat once. For some reason, none of his five children ever go fishing….

 

He took us camping, and none of us are campers as adults either. He only bought a camper when we got so big that the entire family of seven could not sleep in one Holiday Inn room. He bought a pop-up camper when I was in the fifth or sixth grade. I can remember taking my best friend, Kelly, with us on a camping trip to a Mississippi State Park. The camper slept eight, so why not take eight people, right?

 

Momma had to drive our big Dodge Station Wagon with the newly installed trailer hitch pulling our pop-up camper. Dad wasn’t a good driver around town because he was always focused more on keeping his pipe lit than watching the road. They seemed to have some secret agreement that she did all highway driving.

 

Of course, she could not back up our station wagon with the camper attached. That was not a significant issue during our treks. We didn’t make a lot of stops en route and when we did, for instance at an IHOP for breakfast after she had driven all night, she would find a way to pull into a parking lot next door to the IHOP where she could park without backing up during either our ingress or our egress.

 

When we would finally arrive at our destination, often at dusk during the on-site campground manager’s supper, Momma would insist we be assigned to a spot positioned at the end of a triangle so she could ‘pull through’. When that option was not available – which was often – she would then insist that the campground manager drive our station wagon and back our camper into our assigned spot, even if he was in the midst of eating his supper.

 

This is when my Dad would disappear to entertain the other campers.

 

As soon as we arrived at the state park or KOA Camp Grounds, he got out of the car wearing his usual leisure attire: shorts with a dress shirt (no worries – he only wore short sleeved dress shirts), black socks, and black dress shoes. He would then go from campsite to campsite looking for people he could meet and entertain with his stories about Vicksburg, MS.

 

The rest of us were left to set up our own campsite.

 

Setting up a campsite was fairly simple except for one important task: leveling the camper. With a pop-up camper, it’s critical that the camper be level, because four people were sleeping on the beds that ‘popped out’ after popping up the entire camper. If the camper were not level, one side could tilt and those two sleepers could have easily been injured as they slipped through the canvas sides.

 

I don’t recall much discussion about this at home. I imagine our Uncle Bubba came over to check out the camper and most likely would have pointed out the importance of this task. I imagine my baby brother, Willie Boy, was probably taking note. Regardless of whether or not any of that happened, I do remember vividly how we got our camper level once we arrived at our destination.

 

If I was in the sixth grade, that would have put Willie in the second. I can remember this as if it were yesterday. At this point Willie was just a little fellow. But he would go from corner to corner of the camper adjusting and re-adjusting each bar that, as I recall, dropped down from the underneath of the camper and could be adjusted based on the ground and sand where we were parked.

 

He worked meticulously, as if he were an engineering genius. He never failed to get the entire contraption level. Willie would later demonstrate this engineering genius in lots of ways but in the second grade that had not yet emerged.

 

But here’s what my Dad did give me that remains with me every day.

 

He gave me an example of living by faith. He was never much of a church-goer, but our friend, Marian Alvarado, badgered him incessantly until he attended a Charismatic Prayer Meeting with her. These were held at the Carmelite Monastery on Terry Road in Jackson, Mississippi. He only had to go once to experience a full conversion and a peace that he had never known. He then went about sharing this experience with anyone who would listen. Momma and I attended those prayer meetings with him. We all loved that faith community, the music and the experiences. What an amazing thing to be able to experience with your parents when you are still in your formative years.

 

He gave me a love of people. He loved connecting with people and swapping stories. He loved meeting people and then reporting to his friends about the interesting people he had met. He was curious about everyone and, with his photographic memory, would remember details most everyone else forgot immediately.

 

Jack loved his friends. He loved having high-balls with them. He loved competing to be the center of attention with the funniest stories with the most outlandish characters.

 

Dad gave me a love of storytelling and he taught me the power of telling stories. I remember so many of his stories he shared with me in his office on Saturday mornings. He told me stories about his clients and their businesses.

 

He also gave me a love of business. How revenue was generated, where customers came from, what were the driving forces in the success of his clients. He talked with reverence about each person because he loved and respected everyone.  He considered everyone a good friend; from the elevator operator to the bank president.  He never met a stranger.

 

He instilled a love of community. He volunteered for over 35 years as the Board Chair of the Warren County Welfare Board. He served as a founding Board Member of the federally funded Children and Youth Clinic.  He worked to build community and ensure everyone had access to basic human rights regardless of race or financial ability.

 

He loved being from Vicksburg, Mississippi and loved that his great grandfather had been the first Mayor of Vicksburg after the Civil War, during reconstruction. He spoke with authority about those who did harbor prejudices based on race. He explained to me that if people are insecure, they need someone, a group of people, or even an entire race, to look down upon.

 

He loved that so many people remembered his own father, who was killed when he was eight years old. He relished in the introductions that those people made for him when he returned after college and established his CPA practice.

 

Because he did take me to work with him on Saturday mornings he gave me a love of all of these things – business, storytelling, and community – though it might not have been the best way to raise a child! These experiences did cause me to hurl my way into my own CPA career with a lot of unproductive baggage. However, I’m grateful every day for Jack and for all the gifts he gave me. My love of business, people, story telling and my own faith are my critical success factors today in my life and in my own small business.

 

Even in Mississippi it’s not a good idea to put an eight-year-old child to work on the family farm or in the family CPA firm. But it’s all good!

 

Happy Father’s Day Jack!

 

 

 

 

Why Some Executive Demonstrate Bad Behavior

Brian Evje had a recent piece in Inc. Magazine titled, “Why Executives Are So Bad At The Behavioral Side of Management”.

After a 40-year career, I certainly do not believe that all execs are bad at the ‘soft’ skill issues (which we all know are really the hard issues to address).

Mr. Evje states that “In reality, there is nothing ‘soft’ about the skills need to relate to people well enough to lead them.  True leadership involves both hard skills and harder skills”.  I love this quote.

He summarizes that there are ultimately 3 things leaders have to do to be more effective:

1) Admit that inter-personal skills are important.  He even posits that we must be able to lead ourselves.  I call this self-management.  Being able to bring the required perspective to every situation and to do this ‘in the moment’ requires presence, discipline, thoughtfulness and a feeling of being grounded.  Humans don’t gain this ability without getting exercise, getting out in nature, taking think time, and having a variety of reserves of time in place every day..

2) Rethink your definitions of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills.  He’s got great questions to ask yourself.  See the full article here:  http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-leadership-skills-2012-11

3) Get some help.  As a Leadership Strategist for almost 18 years, I, of course, love this idea.  Just like in sports, we don’t know what we don’t know about our levels of effectiveness. An outsider can help you raise your awareness and ultimately, make different choices.

When I re-tweeted this article yesterday, one of my Facebook friends added a comment that most execs put their self-interest over the interest of their employees, companies, communities.  Again, I don’t agree with the broad generalization.  I have seen more execs do this than I’d like to admit. However, the key here is to only hire values-based people and people who share your values.  If you value transparency, figure out what questions to ask in the interview to assess the applicant’s perspective on transparency.  If you value integrity, ask them to share an experience when they’ve been asked to compromise their integrity.  The interview might  be very short based on their response to this question.

If you enjoy these posts, you probably would enjoy our free report, 7 Secrets to Making More While Working Less at www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

 

 

 

Getting the Right People in the Right Roles Requires Hiring The Right People in the First Place

Yesterday’s Corner Office Interview by Adam Bryant in the Sunday Business Section of the New York Times hit the ball out of the ballpark.  Sandra Kurtzig is Chair and CEO of Kenandy, a software management firm in Redwood City, CA.

She had a number of very valuable points.  The title is Don’t Chase Everything That Shines and she speaks about the need to have good boundaries and high standards.  Not every idea is, in fact, a good idea!

The most compelling pieces to me were her hiring questions.  She asks “Why are you here? What do you know about our company that made you want to interview for this job?”  She says if they have not done their homework about her company that’s a real red flag for her.

An even more important interview question is this: “Why do you want to leave the company you’re at right now? Looks like you’re doing a pretty good job, and you’re doing well.  What is it that you don’t like there?”

She says the answer to this question is ALWAYS an eye-opener.  She uses this to mine for their perspective on a number of topics.

I highly recommend the entire piece.  It will take all of about 3 minutes to fully digest.  It will take some extended period of time, however, for most of us to build in the discipline and clarity that Ms. Kurtzig demonstrates.

See the full article here: http://nyti.ms/VcZ5qn

If you enjoy our blog posts, you’ll love our free report, The 7 Secrets to Making More Money and Working Less.  Go to www.TeamAlignmentStrategiest.com for your free copy.

Gratitude Week – Be Grateful for the Little Things!

My older sister and I received a text on Sunday from our baby sister who was attending a bi-annual Women’s Retreat.  She acknowledged us for the ways we had contributed to her life when she was a child and now as an adult.

The text meant a  tremendous amount to me.  I believe we all have a basic human need to feel valued and appreciated.

Further, I believe that need is so great that it is just above food, shelter and safety.

Who in your world could benefit from an expression of gratitude and acknowledgment?

How might you provide that acknowledgment?  For me, the key is to first put pen to paper and to make a list of all the aspects that I can be grateful for.

From this, I typically find a theme. With or without this level of ‘think time’ and preparation, I am confident that your connection with this person will be strengthened.

More importantly, you will be helping this person get this basic human need met in a powerful and effective manner.

This is a powerful way to experience the full power of gratitude.

This week I’ll be writing about other aspects of gratitude that are important and useful for us all.

If you are enjoying these posts, I’m confident you would enjoy one of our free webinars on Total Team Alignment.  These webinars are filled with useful, practical and easy to implement solutions that produce record results right away.  I hope you’ll join us for one.  Here’s the link to register:

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

Please have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter and real rejuvenation!

What Does It Mean to Get The Right People In The Right Roles Doing the Right Work?

A few weeks ago during a radio interview, I had an aha moment.  The interviewer, Carol Blonder, was excellent and was really pounding me about this topic.

I shared my perspective on this critically important issue.

Not only do we, as leaders, have the mandate to help our colleagues identify their strengths  in order to align their roles with those strengths, we also must be willing to address their greatest vulnerabilities too.  If we want significant improvement in our teams’ productivity, we must be open to this level of forthright communication.  We must also provide ongoing encouragement to build in support structures to minimize the risk of those vulnerabilities becoming obstacles.  All of this is  critical to significant improvements in a team’s productivity.

I know that’s a mouthful so let me break it down so it can be easier to understand.

We all have these strengths that we are born with, like our thumbprint.  Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, the founder of the new field of Positive Psychology, says that our strengths are our ‘core values in action’.  For more about Dr. Seligman see his website at www.authentichappiness.org.

When we get the volume turned up too high on these strengths they become vulnerabilities.  Here at The Halpin Companies we have a program to help individuals grasp all this.  The program is called The Gifts and Gaps Program.  When we over-utilize a strength or an asset, it becomes a liability.

The key is to be willing to be vulnerable and share our own Gifts and Gaps so that others feel safe to share theirs.

The aha for me this morning is that there are still opportunities for me to be more vulnerable in my life, career and within The Halpin Companies.

Who might benefit from your sharing about your own vulnerabilities?

How might this level of authenticity aid in helping others see their own strengths and vulnerabilities?

How might these conversations help better align roles, responsibilities and expectations?

What would it take for you to create a work environment where people felt comfortable addressing these critically important issues?

How big would you want to play?

For our E-Book on Making More and Working Less click here: www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

We All Have Issues, The Question is….Can We Laugh About Our Issues?

For some decades now, I’ve been saying to clients, colleagues and friends, ‘We all have issues….the question is…are we working on our issues?”

About 6 months ago I had a shift and I realized the opportunity for growth for all of us, individually and as teams, is not to continue to beat ourselves up, working on our issues. The real opportunity for growth is to be able to share our vulnerabilities freely and with lightness and humor.

We all have vulnerabilities. If you’re breathing, you have them. We over-utilize our strengths and get the volume turned up too high. We move too fast and can’t think strategically. We clam up and withhold when we need to find our voice and share our needs, preferences and objectives. We confuse activity with results.

As Brene Brown, PhD shares in her TED Talk, vulnerability is the birthplace of Joy, Creativity, Belonging and Love. In a business setting, think of your team’s need for greater alignment, clarity, innovation and connections. Being able to laugh about our vulnerabilities and issues is the key to creating an environment where others bring their best selves and thrive. Record results will follow.

If you’d like to watch Brene Brown’s video, click here: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

Strategic Execution – If it was easy everybody would be good at it!

I so loved the recent NYTimes Corner Office interview by Adam Bryant with Chirsopher J. Nassetta, President & CEO of Hilton Worldwide. He reported that, with over 300,000 employees and lots of silos, his first job at Hilton was to build alignment. Can’t we all benefit from that transformational concept?

He described culture as guard rails. He expressed his belief about culture as this, “The culture of the company is what you stand for, essentially the ground rules so that people know how to operate. You give them a direction and boundaries. The trick is having an intense alignment around vision, mission, values and the key strategic priorities. My job as CEO, simply stated, is to create the right culture, set the tone, the high-level strategy.”

How are the guard rails in your organization? Do people know what the directions are, that is, can they all articulate the company’s top 5-7 strategic initiatives for 2012 or 2013?

What about boundaries? Do they know what behaviors work and what behaviors do not work? Are your teams aligned or do you have individual’s putting their self-interest in front of the team’s interest?

Today would be an outstanding day to get out of the office and go for a walk. Give yourself this gift of time to reflect on how you might buff up the guard rails in your organization. Let us know what actions you decide to take. Let us use your good ideas as our own R&D (rob and duplicate)!

For the full interview, click here.

Hilton Worldwide’s President & CEO of Simple Philosophy

If you know me, you know I love the NY Times’ Corner Office in the Sunday Business section. Since my definition of R&D is to ‘rob and duplicate’, I always love to steal the best ideas from successful leaders.  This weekly column by Adam Bryant is always full of great ideas.

On Sunday, October 14, the CEO of Hilton Worldwide, Christoper J. Nassetta, shared some real gems.  He articulated the appropriate role of a CEO succinctly and eloquently.  He said he has one simple philosophy…keep steady hands on the wheel.  I so love this.

To read the full interview click here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/business/christopher-nassetta-of-hilton-on-focusing-its-values.html

Think about your organization for a moment.  Are you driving results with such velocity that your colleagues feel intimidated or overwhelmed? Are you so innovative that they don’t know how to strategically capture all the potential opportunities for your company?  Or, if you’re like me, they all may have a warm fuzzy feeling about you and your company but they may not be clear about their Top 3 Strategic Initiatives for this quarter.

Whatever the opportunity, give yourself the give of ‘think time’ and see how you might, today, keep the steady hands on the wheel.  This way, you’ll be the strategic leader who is developing other strategic leaders.