All blogs filed under Leadership
A friend recently talked me into watching a reality television show – not an easy sell – that I found surprisingly fascinating. Part of my surprise is due to the fact that the show embodies many of the organizational health principles that I write about in my book, The Advantage. And, part of it is because it's on the Food Network. It’s called “Restaurant Impossible,” and it’s about a famous chef (not the maniacal, screaming guy you see on T.V. commercials) who spends just two days and a very limited budget trying to turn around a struggling restaurant. The fact that the show is focused exclusively on the restaurant business resonates with me, because when I was a kid I worked in a restaurant.
As we approach Christmas, it is natural for us to think of giving, though all too often in material terms. Well, if you're a manager, and you'd like to give your employees something that will outlast any cookie basket or gift certificate or desk accessory you can order on-line, then I have just the thing for you. It is remarkably simple and requires no money. It costs only a little time, and perhaps a bit more courage and vulnerability than managers are sometimes prepared to spend.
Friends, Family and "Cousins" I am glad to report that The Three Signs of a Miserable Job made the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller lists during these past weeks and month, and I want to thank our friends and family and "cousins" of The Table Group who went out and purchased copies of the book right after it hit the shelves. Your support means a great deal to me and everyone at The Table Group, and we wish we could thank you all individually. In addition to making those lists right out of the gate—something that has never happened with any of our other books—sales seem to be growing.
It occurred to me recently that the most meaningful, rewarding and impactful work I do is frequently free of charge. It's not that I don't enjoy the paid projects. In fact, I very much appreciate the fact that most of my clients pay me, and I am blessed to truly like the work I do for them. Whether I'm consulting to a church organization or giving a talk to a non-profit, the pro bono projects are usually among my favorites. Beyond the dilemma this poses for the CFO of our little firm, I think this is a phenomenon worth pondering. The first explanation that comes to mind is a relatively obvious one: I already have a passion for these organizations, and so it stands to reason that I would derive a greater sense of satisfaction from my work.
A number of readers have asked for an update on The Swarm, the eight year old boys competitive soccer team I coached this past fall. In the last newsletter, I wrote that my limited knowledge of soccer skills forced me to select players based on the behaviors and attitudes they displayed during try-outs, rather than on their skills. Well, after playing a total of 25 games, The Swarm ended up losing 4, tying 6, and winning 15, and finished near the top of the league.
Last spring was the big draft. You may have heard about it.
No, I'm not referring to the NFL draft that took place in April, or the NBA edition in June. I'm talking about the Mustang Boys' Under-nine Soccer draft in Danville, California. That's right. As ridiculous as it sounds, I'm talking about eight-year-old boys, third graders, actually getting drafted to play "competitive soccer". And the process by which they're evaluated, rated and selected is a sight to see.
This is a good time of year to talk about suffering as it pertains to leadership.
Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions that people have of great leaders is that they are the recipients of only wonderful benefits - fame, fortune, perks, attention - as a result of holding their position of power or influence. Often we focus on the accolades that leaders receive at the end of their career, in many cases even after they have died.
Einstein once said that the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Sometimes, however, it isn't stupidity that causes this behavior, but something far more insidious and painful: addiction.
Many of the leaders I've worked with struggle with a deceptive addiction that hurts their organizations, their families, and their job satisfaction. I'm not talking about the need for drugs or alcohol, but rather another chemical, of sorts: adrenaline.
If you've ever peeked into the cockpit of an airplane when boarding a flight you've probably noticed the overwhelming number of gauges and indicators there. If you're like me, the first time you saw them you wondered "how in the world does the pilot pay attention to all those details?"