All blogs filed under POV
No, this is not a tabloid headline. It’s a true story, and not a steamy one.
This is going to be a difficult POV to write, because making a case for the power of simplicity is no easy task. And yet, more than ever, I’m convinced that simplicity is the scarcest commodity among leaders, and probably the most important.
Summer involves a lot of air travel for me, and so I suppose I get inspired, or provoked, to address my airline frustrations and relate them to leadership and management. But the purpose here is not to complain about bad service.
In the course of my career, I’ve always been amazed at what leaders will do for their organizations. So many founders and CEOs will spend countless late nights in the office, endure long and grueling business trips, even sacrifice their own financial resources, all to increase the likelihood, even slightly, that their enterprises will succeed.
The Papacy is a singular, unique position, one that can’t really be compared to any other leadership role. Still, the events last week surrounding the election of Pope Francis brought to mind three surprising reminders of something I’ve written about before: the qualities of sacrifice, humility and selflessness that all true leaders must possess.
Every year during this time, we receive Christmas cards from families that include letters describing their various activities and status changes. Though I am sure they are usually well-intentioned, some of these updates seem like marketing-oriented press releases, which is why some have come to refer to them as “brag letters.”
Being a leader is a lonely job. There is no doubt about that. Anyone running an organization – a corporation, a department within that corporation, a school, a church, a battalion or a local business – must accept the fact that the role they have is often a difficult, sacrificial and solitary one.
I recently returned from a vacation with my family, one that involved a number of big, fun activities. Interestingly, when I look back at the trip it strikes me that the best part of it, especially in terms of the lasting benefits to our family, happened during the times "in-between" those activities. For instance, we loved the evenings when we were just hanging out together in the condo where we stayed. And the simple, informal meals we made when we weren't going out for dinner were the best ones of all.
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.
I'm really excited to announce that my new book is being released this week. The book is called The Advantage, and the subtitle is Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. It is certainly the most comprehensive and important book I've written to date, bringing many of the concepts from my previous books and consulting practice together in one place.
Now, I realize that the subtitle is a pretty bold statement, but I honestly believe it's true. Let me explain why.
Most leaders who are looking for a competitive advantage for their organizations tend to focus on the classic, intellectual pursuits of business.