Sunday, March 20, 2011

Are you solving puzzles or mysteries?

To be a successful leader on an international stage you have to be extremely curious. Sure, you must have great technical skills, understand cultures and languages and excel at virtual leadership capabilities, but having a healthy curiosity brings it all together.

I’ve shared this time and time again and drive it into the international organization I now lead. While I knew it to be true, I did not have a firm basis for my belief. While reading Malcolm Gladwell’s latest release this weekend (“What the Dog Saw and other adventures”) it all came together. The Million-Dollar Murray chapter discusses in depth the different between solving a puzzle and solving a mystery. Gladwell’s theory suggests that solving “puzzles are transmitter dependent and mysteries are receiver dependent.” One of Gladwell’s examples was the difference between Watergate (Deep Throat was the transmitter) and Enron (reporters and analyst were the receivers and found the issues in the public accounting statements).

For the international leader, this means a successful business relationship is not as simple as reading a book. It involves taking the huge amount of disparate data points and painting the successful approach. It is your role as the leader to interpret what you are given.

As a leader, do you try to solve puzzles or focus on mysteries?


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jim, Tim and Earl have character!

Jim Burr, Tim Higgins and Earl Walton made a mistake. They missed a game ending Big East Conference second-round basketball call at Madison Square Garden that ended the Rutgers University season prematurely. It was obvious and misfortunate.
Here is the big difference that makes me bring it to the attention of the LiaV community. Referees Burr, Higgins and Walton took complete ownership in their error and removed themselves from the rest of the tournament. They administered self discipline. There was no investigation, review or committee. They recognized their mistake, felt a huge sense of injustice and decided the right path forward without any further consideration.
As leaders, we are going to make mistakes. We need to own them, do the right corrective action and move forward. Admit to your shortfalls before others do and take your own corrective action. I wanted St. Johns to win this basketball game, but t not this way. The self action of the referees renewed my faith in the refs that made the error.
Have you seen a leader take ownership for an error? How did it make you feel?


Sunday, March 6, 2011

R u stdyg us as mch as we r u? (2)

We met Josh and Elizabeth in downtown NYC for an evening of good food and conversation. The four of us had mutual professional interests but viewed the world from very different perspectives. Two of us were just starting our careers and the other two were enjoying the benefits of successful careers Around that table (other than some gray hair) you could not tell who was who.

A few years ago, I posted the question “Are you studying us as much as we are you?” The hypothesis was that boomers were spending a lot more effort learning to be successful working with Gen Y’s than they were on how to work with us. The comments to the posting indicated that those in leadership roles had the responsibility to do the learning. One person even commented that the boomers need the Gen Ys far more than the Gen Ys need them. Well, my faith has been restored. QR codes, social networkings in the workplace and knowledge management solutions were tossed around the table with excitement. The table was vibrating with curiosity as we shared different perspectives. The visit was a blast and one well worth the effort.

As leaders, how are you staying current with work place technology opportunities? Who are your Josh and Elizabeth 25 year old mentors?


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

LiaV™ recognized again – Thank you

On-Line has selected “Leadership is a Verb™” as one of the best fifty leadership blogs on the web. The list includes many others that are worth your viewing – some professional and other amateur.

Thank you for the encouragement and making our community successful.


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