Monday, 25 June 2012
Bail me out mania in Europe is insanity

The financial situation in Europe is almost comical.  Greece, Spain, Portugal, Cypress, Italy and others are all looking for a bailout as if there is big cookie jar in the sky.  Who will be next week?  What happened to taking care of yourself? Your business?  Your country?  Europe is playing Whac-a-mole with Germany’s cookie jar which is not bottomless.

In business and in life bailouts are temporary at best.  Individuals, businesses and nations – in the long run you have to stand on your own two feet.  When I ran a business I knew that failure meant bankruptcy and I was determined never to be in that mess.  We made solid, responsible decisions and worked together to achieve success. 

      Leadership means personal accountability – never pushing the ball down the road.
Posted on 06/25/2012 7:25 AM by Joe Scarlett
Monday, 18 June 2012
Taking Responsibility

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, testified in Congress a few days ago about the bank’s two billion dollar plus trading loss. He apologized, took personal responsibility and made it clear that only stockholders lost money – no customer or taxpayer lost a penny.  The bank that he leads screwed up and Dimon made it clear that he is accountable to his stockholders.

This is the kind of performance we expect from business leaders – honesty and accountability.  It makes no difference where you are in the pecking  order, taking responsibility is just plain good leadership. You can bet the employees at his bank feel good about the man leading the organization.

In an interesting twist Dimon politely turned the conversation toward government accountability and the total lack of financial management of the biggest budget in the world and the long term damage being inflicted on American taxpayers.  He was saying I accepted responsibility for what I have done, what about you?

Posted on 06/18/2012 8:45 AM by Joe Scarlett
Thursday, 14 June 2012
Serve on a Board

You can improve your leadership skills by serving on a board – any board.  The dynamics of individuals working together (or not) in a board environment is challenging, time consuming and often frustrating.  It is also a great way to study how individuals interact as a group to lead an organization and a way to observe leadership or lack of it in action.

Obtaining a position on the board of a for-profit business would be great but those are not always easy to find.  Board positions on non-profits are pretty easy but make sure you understand any contribution expectations before making a commitment.  Don’t be shy about asking – many organizations are looking for high quality board members and don’t have a recruiting plan – you might just inquire at the right time.  And, when you ask you might just be starting a networking process that will accomplish your goal.

After you have been to several meetings you might have the opportunity to insert yourself in a leadership role. I have seen many situations where leadership is needed but no one has the nerve to stand up and take charge – what an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and build your reputation.  Plus, having “board member” on your resume can’t hurt.

Posted on 06/14/2012 11:57 AM by Joe Scarlett
Monday, 11 June 2012
Urgent or Important?

We speak frequently about the difference between urgency and importance—urgency having a deadline attached, and importance being related to achieving those things that move us toward our goals or mission.  There are those things that are both urgent and important, but more often than not, they are one more than the other. 

In our organizations we often cater to the urgent, the emergencies, the fires that must be put out.  For some this is what gives them the rush every day—that need to fix things that are messed up.  This is also often where the glory or recognition is—something was very wrong and now it has been righted.

What about those who work hard to prevent those emergencies from occurring in the first place?  Those who do “preventive maintenance” on equipment or processes or projects?  Often these are the associates who work steadily to take care of things in a calm and methodical manner and who rarely receive recognition.  Isn’t it time we give a shout out to these associates and appreciate them for what they do as well?

Posted on 06/11/2012 11:55 AM by Mary Fink
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Don't Confuse Activity with Accomplishment

You earn success in business when you really accomplish the important things. The fact that you are doing a lot of tasks does not necessarily mean that you are accomplishing the right stuff.  Sit back and analyze what you are actually accomplishing.

Early in my career a wise older manager taught me a clear and embarrassing lesson about making sure my time was being spent effectively.  Emails are a big time consumer. Let’s  say you get seventy emails a day – wow – that can gobble up lots of time and may accomplish little or nothing.  I suggest sorting those by sender and immediately deleting (without reading) the fifty you know are meaningless. Read the ones from your boss and your employees and take whatever action is absolutely necessary.  Additionally, coach your team on how to make their emails short and to the point.

Take time out when you are alone and away from the workplace to analyze how you spent you time in the last week.  I’ll bet you can find ways to change the way you allocate your time and subsequently accomplish more of what is really important.

Posted on 06/05/2012 10:28 AM by Joe Scarlett
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