Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

“Command presence” is a term that is used in the military to denote the degree of respect, admiration, and confidence that people have in a leader. You know you have command presence through the following criteria:

  1. You are fully confident in your abilities as a leader and manager.
  2. You have integrity and lead ethically.
  3. People admire you and look to you to set the tone and attitude of the team.
  4. You are a reference for others for how to think and feel.
  5. You don’t feel threatened by questions, challenges, or conflict; in fact, you welcome them.
  6. Though you get great personal satisfaction and motivation from leading, your ego is under control.
  7. You don’t need others to validate your feelings and make you feel important.
  8. You welcome input from others and weigh it in the balance before making a decision.
  9. People look to you for inspiration, guidance and direction.
  10. You lead from the front and are not afraid to make tough decisions.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

I spoke last Tuesday to the Associates of the Asper School of Business in Winnipeg. As I was preparing for the speech I came up with a list of over 20 key lessons I learned about leadership, strategy, planning, and discipline during my military and consulting careers. Some of these lessons I had to learn at considerable cost to myself, so they’re “from the heart.”

I ended up speaking about other topics, but I think the list is still a good starting point for thinking and discussion. Here are the first 10 on my list, with more to follow next week.

  1. Leadership isn’t just about inspiration and charisma. You also need to be a good manager.
  2. The true secret of leadership is to be respected, not loved.
  3. Never plan for perfection, always assume that something will go wrong.
  4. Admit when you’re wrong or you’ve made a mistake.
  5. Trust the training and education you’ve received.
  6. Lead by example, especially in matters of ethics and integrity.
  7. Never burn your bridges. Always keep a way out of a situation, for yourself and others.
  8. First information is always wrong.
  9. Don’t overreact.
  10. Trust you’re intuition and gut, especially if it’s well educated and experienced.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

I’ve been delivering this type of training and development throughout my 25-year military career, at university, on special training programmes for emergency management leaders, as well as nationally and internationally for corporate clients.

“Richard helped me to realize my unique role as president and majority shareholder. This gave me the confidence to make some very important ownership decisions and to assert myself with my junior partners. I’ve become much more effective in leading and growing my company.”  Jean-Paul de Lavison, President, JPdL

Expected Results

  • Faster and more confident decision-making
  • Clearer direction to your subordinates
  • Deal with tricky situations and problem cases in a more confident and direct manner
  • Enhanced skill at judging and evaluating people
  • Provide effective feedback quickly while minimizing resistance
  • Outstanding influencing and communication skills
  • Overall performance improvement
  • More time for your priority objectives

Course Description

  • Starts Thursday 16 January 2014 at 11 am eastern
  • Course runs until early June 2014 with a total of 8 webinar sessions every three weeks (11 am to 12 pm)
  • Each webinar will include the knowledge you need to develop and improve your key leadership skills, as well as self-diagnostic and competency building exercises and other tools
  • Hard copy download of the slides, exercises, and other tools, as well as a video recording of the webinar within 48 hours of each session
  • You can post questions to a special discussion forum I will create for this course with access limited to current and future registrants. I will answer within 24 hours during normal working hours
  • Extra online discussions and exchanges on the forum

Cost

  • If you register on or before 3 January 2014: $249.00 ($199.00 for those currently registered for my 2013-14 teleconference series)
  • If you register after 3 January 2014: $349.00 ($299.00 for those currently registered for my 2013-14 teleconference series)

Who Should Register?

  • Entrepreneurs and business owners
  • Senior executives
  • Functional and line managers
  • Sales and business development professionals
  • Project and programme management professionals
  • HR and personnel selection professionals
  • Trainers and coaches
  • Anyone else who’s interested in growing and developing as a leader

Course Schedule

16 January 2014 — Session 1: Competence Is the Heart of Leadership

  • It’s good to sizzle, but first you need the steak
  • Do people follow you because they HAVE to or because they WANT to?
  • What specific competencies do you need?
  • What are your competencies now?
  • What do you want to/have to work on?

6 February 2014 — Session 2: Becoming a Transformational Leadership

  • What is transformational leader and how is it different from transactional leadership?
  • What are the components of transformational leadership?
  • Is transformational leadership really needed and better than more traditional and authoritarian forms?
  • Why rewards and punishments are more ineffective than effective
  • Your transformational leadership profile
  • What about charisma?

27 February 2014 — Session 3: Idealized Influence and “Command Presence”

  • What is your influence based on? Coercion vs conviction
  • Why leaders MUST be ethical
  • Leading by example
  • What is “command presence” and how do you create it?
  • Evaluate your own command presence

20 March 2014 — Session 4: Inspirational Motivation through Vision and Mission

  • Morale, cohesion, and unity of purpose
  • Intrinsic motivation and transformational leadership
  • What’s wrong with most vision and mission statements?
  • Creating a compelling purpose and vision
  • Rallying the troops in a crisis

10 April 2014 — Session 5: How Leaders Grow and Develop

  • Cognitive and moral development of adults
  • How these stages translate to leadership over time and through experience
  • Individualized Consideration and Intellectual Stimulation as part of Transformational Leadership
  • Selecting and developing potential leaders
  • Challenging your own leadership to grow and develop through the stages of leadership

1 May 2014 — Session 6: Crisis and Emergency Leadership

  • What is a crisis or emergency?
  • What happens during a crisis or emergency: group dynamics and individual psychology
  • What a leader must do before, during, and after a crisis
  • Leader’s self-care and welfare of followers and subordinates during a crisis or emergency

22 May 2014 — Session 7: How to Transform Organizations, Not Just Individuals

  • How organizations develop over time
  • The organizational types that correspond to the leadership stages
  • Why internal conflict is a good thing and how to foster it
  • Diagnosing teams and organizations
  • How to get to the next organizational level

12 June 2014 — Session 8: Putting It All Together: Self-Awareness as the Key to Continued Growth

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-knowledge
  • Self-control
  • Self-efficacy and self-esteem
  • Your continuing leadership development plan

© 2013-14 Alcera Consulting Inc. All rights reserved.

Today is Remembrance Day, when we salute the sacrifices and service of veterans and those who have served in the armed forces in war and peace operations. However, it is also a time to reflect on the accountability, or lack thereof, of leaders. In the military, leaders are responsible for their decisions and actions. The system sometimes falters, but by and large, military leaders are held accountable for their conduct. Even more important is that leaders can’t be treated differently than the rank and file. They must suffer with them and they must triumph with them.

We can’t say the same about all of our political and business leaders though. Thorsten Heins has overseen the demise of Blackberry. It wasn’t of his making, but he certainly didn’t improve the situation. His recent dismissal with a large “golden handshake” is completely out of sync with the poor results he achieved under his watch. Meanwhile, some Canadian senators have been suspended for claiming personal spending as official expenses. Unrepentant, their excuse is mainly that the rules weren’t clear. But this is nothing but a surrender of ethical judgment. Just because a rule about an action is vague doesn’t let you off the hook. Something might be considered legal, but not necessarily ethical or legitimate. It’s all in how your exercise your faculty of rational judgment and self-control. In the US, whatever you may think of the need for public healthcare, there is no masking the fiasco that is the roll out of ObamaCare. The president has taken no responsibility, and what’s more, it is now evident that he lied about the effects of the the Affordable Care Act in full knowledge that millions of people would be left high and dry, with no option but to subscribe to officially sanctioned health care policies that cost more and offer less coverage.

Food for Thought
Leaders give the ethical tone to an organization by their own ethics. If these are questionable, they will soon undermine morale, and permeate the organization at every level, producing perverse results in individual and collective behaviour.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

We’ve seen a number of examples lately of how negotiations and conflict resolution depend crucially on a single key factor: The parties to the negotiation or resolution must be willing to compromise on something substantive. If one side doesn’t want to be flexible, what you really have is just a strategic game where one side’s gain is the other side’s loss. On the other hand, there has to be a bottom line on both sides. If one of the parties is willing to give up everything to avoid a potential conflict or fight, then the side that has a higher bottom line will smell blood and will try to go for the jugular.

The crisis that has been brewing as the US government approaches a shutdown of non-essential operations on October 1st shows that flexibility and compromise are required in negotiation in order to resolve conflicts. Neither the president nor the Republicans in Congress are willing to give up anything substantive. This means there are no real negotiations and therefore no realistic solutions to the budgetary standoff. I believe that parties to a conflict can always find common ground and a solution, if they are willing to put water in their wine.

The second instance is illustrated by what we’ve witnessed since late August as US president Barack Obama “negotiated” his way out of a situation that he didn’t really want to be in in the first place. I’m convinced he had no intent of launching any kind of military action against Syria for its use of poison gas against civilians in a Damascus suburb in late August. Russia and the Assad regime could sense this, so they offered a way out to Obama, which would require little in the way of real concessions by Syria. By guaranteeing Syria’s purported chemical disarmament, Russia increases its influence in the Middle East, especially in the crucial Iran-Syria axis. Assad stays in power and doesn’t have to endure a strike by US forces. Meanwhile, the US, and especially the Obama Administration, lose face in the region. This will probably undermine any future attempts by the US to threaten the use of force to achieve its aims. Some may see this as salutary, but in the long run it may degrade the US’s credibility and freedom of action. These are critical in the game of Great Power relations.

Two business partners I know have been in an impasse for years as they struggle to find a way to get out of their partnership. One partner is offering a very low price for the other’s share of the business while the other asks for a very high price. There has been little movement for at least two years as they stare each other down. They also haven’t accepted a common negotiating framework or forced the issue through legal or other strong-arm tactics, so the situation has stagnated. It is like two enemies watching each other across a fortified border, afraid to make a move in case the other side sees it as a sign of weakness. The reality is that this unresolved conflict is like a festering wound, infecting the rest of the organs that are still healthy.

The following diagram shows that there are a number of attitudes we can adopt when faced with the prospect of conflict and negotiating to resolve it.

Conflict Resolution English.001

In the first instance, we can take a coercive attitude, where one of the parties is unwilling to budge on anything substantive and forces the other into a losing position. Call this “winner takes all”; it reflects an egotistical perspective and the goal is the personal satisfaction of only one of the sides.

A little more flexible is the competitive attitude, where the parties are trying to gain something at each other’s expense, but they recognize the need to create a transaction. In other words, I win something that you lose, but you gain something that I lose. It stems from a perspective of exclusivity, where my gain must entail your loss, and vice versa, and it is still reflective of a need to satisfy personal goals.

The next level of resolution can be called the integrative attitude. In such a situation, both parties recognize the need to create a “win-win” solution. The idea is that we go beyond our parochial objectives to craft a common set of goals. We will cooperate in achieving these and it reflects a perspective of mutualism.

The final and highest form of conflict resolution is what I call collaborative. With this attitude, parties to a conflict or negotiation try to see beyond their own objectives and focus on the wider purposes of their endeavour. They seek the good of society or of others beyond their immediate objectives as parties to the conflict. This reflects a universal perspective, where the focus is on benefiting “all of us” now and into the future, and not just we who are involved in the negotiation at the present time. The collaborative attitude to negotiation attempts to see all the consequences of the resolution, not just now and for us, but in the foreseeable future and for everyone and anyone who may be affected directly or indirectly by our decisions.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© Alcera Consulting Inc. 2013. We encourage the sharing of this information and forwarding of this email with attribution. All other rights reserved.

As I write this article, President Obama is weighing the wisdom of launching some kind of attack by the United States against the Assad regime in Syria for its use of chemical weapons against part of the population.

I’m not going to join the chorus of those saying Obama should do this or do that. Rather, I wish to point out the inherent uncertainties, risks, and ambiguities involved in strategic decision-making at the international level when it involves conflict and the game of great power relations. Obama’s decisions in this conflict hold lessons for all of us, especially strategic leaders in business, government, public safety and others involved in weighing heavy risks and evaluating them against potential benefits of action…or inaction.

The first thing that strikes me is the overall ambiguity of the Syrian situation. It isn’t at all clear to me that there is a “good” side and a “bad” side. Sure, the Assad government is supported by Iran, Russia and, somewhat obliquely, China. Assad’s Alawite regime has also ruled the country for decades with an iron fist, but is the opposition any better? Moreover, the ramifications of any action by the US or other Western countries are likely to be mind-boggling in their complexity and scope. Can we really predict what will happen next, or what the outcomes of US actions are likely to be? The Middle East is a powder keg. Any decision to act has to be for the right reasons, and in this case, that would have to be reasons of state (raison d’état).

Speaking of which, what WOULD be the ostensible goal of a US-led intervention in the conflict? And why are chemical weapons any worse than others? Does the image of innocent children killed by sarin gas disgust us more than if we saw them mutilated by artillery shells or machine gun bullets? What is the REASON for the US and it’s allies to intervene? What are they expecting to achieve and to what end? As I wrote in Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles, selection and maintenance of the aim is the master principle of war and strategy. Is the US intervening just to assuage the collective conscience of part of the American public, or is there a greater raison d’état?

In setting strategic objectives and overall strategy, a leader must identify the ends, ways, and means of the particular military operation. He or she must also communicate these within the needs of security and confidentiality. The ends are the goals: What are we trying to achieve? The ways are the courses of action that are realistically at our disposal? As I learned in the army, there is always more than one way to achieve an aim, and they all have their inherent costs and benefits, risks and opportunities. Third, the ends and the ways determine the means that must be assigned to achieving the mission. There is an expression in French, which, loosely translated, means “We must give ourselves the means of our ambitions.” In other words, are we willing to pay the price to achieve our objectives, and is this price in line with our overall interests and purposes?

There is much public (and media) outcry about the situation in Syria. But what would the US be actually achieving by a military intervention? What is the purpose and what higher aims does it serve in the national interest? I know this may sound crass for all those people in Syria who have lost their lives in this civil war, but there are other civil wars around the globe, although not necessarily in such dangerous geopolitical regions. And why did the West, led by the US, aid the Libyan rebels, who turned out to be not exactly saintly themselves, while the West has hesitated to aid the rebels in Syria? There are many reasons, such as the refugee crisis in Italy that was caused by the civil war in Libya, as well as the fact that Syria is directly next to highly strategic countries, such as Turkey, Iraq, Israel, and Lebanon, plus the seemingly unwavering support of Iran and Russia.

All this goes to show that international relations and geopolitics require a decision calculus that varies from one situation to another. No two conflicts are ever alike, even moderately so. And as Sun Tzu said over 2,000 years ago, “War is the greatest affair of state, it must be thoroughly pondered.”

The last element that I find of interest is how Obama is must now perhaps eat his words from last year, when he said that if Assad used chemical weapons then the US would intervene. In leadership involving any kind of conflict or showdown, threats can’t be bandied about idly. If you utter a threat or a warning, you have to be ready to act on it otherwise you will be perceived, correctly in my estimation, as a lame duck.

Leadership isn’t easy, as we can see with the Syrian crisis. Selecting the best aim and developing a strategy and plan to achieve it are the most critical tasks of any strategic leader. Only time will tell if Obama is correct in his actions, whether he decides to intervene or not on behalf of the international community. Paraphrasing Sun Tzu, we can say that we need to thoroughly ponder strategic leadership. It holds lessons for all us, not just those making decisions over conflict and war.

© Alcera Consulting Inc. 2013. We encourage the sharing of this information and forwarding of this email with attribution. All other rights reserved.

In Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles, I wrote, “You can’t be a leader if you’re afraid to seek and accept responsibility. By definition, a leader is in front, which implies a willingess to accept responsibility and be accountable for his or her decisions and actions, as well as those of the people he or she is leading.”

As Obama is currently wondering what actions to take about Syria, I feel we are facing one of the great failings of leadership in the last decade. One of the things I learned in commanding troops on peacekeeping duty is that you have to say what you mean, and mean what you say. Consistently. Words have to be carefully weighed, but threats and promises must be kept. By flip-flopping so many times on the issue of retaliation for Assad’s use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war, Obama has shown himself incapable of accepting the difficult responsibilities of the office of commander-in-chief of the US armed forces. I’m not saying he should attack or not attack, but he seems completely incapable of accepting the responsibility that goes with the decision. Either way, own up to your ethical responsibilities as leader; say what you mean, and mean what you say.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

The rail disaster in Lac Mégantic, Quebec is a terrible tragedy, but no sooner had it occurred that there were calls for everything from banning railways from passing through small towns, to preventing the shipping of oil by rail. Proponents of increased oil production and pipelines were quick to point out (correctly) that pipelines are safer than rail. Environmentalists hastened to jump on their own hobby horse, that this disaster highlights our (evil) dependence on oil. When I took command of my company sector in Bosnia, my predecessor gave me words of wisdom which guided me throughout my mission there: First information is usually (always) wrong, and don’t overreact. This wisdom applies to peacekeeping, and certainly also applies in the management of complex situations such as the Lac Mégantic accident.

Even if we decided right now to ship oil only by pipeline in order to move all the new North American production, it would take years to build. In the meantime, the oil has to go somewhere. Barring a return to pre-industrial civilization, there is no way that moderns wish to end their dependence on oil as a highly concentrated, efficient, and effective fuel source. By the same token, acting like a lynch mob and trying to pin the blame on an easy target such as the locomotive engineer or the brash and abrasive CEO of the operator, Rail World, only serve to fuel the flames of retribution. The last thing we need is a hasty decision taken in time of high emotionality and sadness. The head of the Canadian Transportation Safety Board said it best last week: (paraphrasing) It’s tempting to pin the blame on a single person, but these accidents are ALWAYS the result of a complex mix of events and conditions. There are no single solutions and what we need is to learn as much as possible and add the incremental knowledge to the future weighing of risk and opportunity.

What risks are you facing? What uncertainties are there in your assumptions and knowledge of markets, clients, products, employees, and competitors? Do you have contingency plans and risk mitigation measures in place to attenuate the risks?

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

I was interviewed by marketing expert Linda Popky, president of Leverage to Market Associates. Linda’s website is www.leverage2market.com.

The podcast is titled ‘From Battlefield to the Business World: What Marketers Can Learn From the Military.’ You can access it by clicking on the title link I’ve provided to Linda’s blog.

The interview is based on my book, Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles. Duration is about 20 minutes, but I’m sure you will find the information very useful in winning your own business battles, whether in marketing or any other field of endeavour.

Brilliant Manoeuvre
No one can predict the future, much to the chagrin of many economists and financial theorists and their media acolytes, who prefer assumptions of perfect knowledge and decision-making in all circumstances.

Discussion
I’m breaking my deliberate policy of not commenting on political issues this week in order to comment on reactions to the Boston Marathon bombings last Monday. My personal opinion is that the response of government and law enforcement agencies at all levels has been brilliant in the circumstances. However, there are already Monday Morning Quarterbacks saying that the government overreacted by shuttingn down Boston on Friday and part of Saturday. The problem is that the ones responsible for making these decisions can only plan and act based on information available at the time and the factors they felt they needed to consider. Just throwing out there that they overreacted without knowing those things is pure speculation based on specious counterfactuals or a personal hobby horse. If there is something I learned from a 26-year military career and my study of military strategy and history, it is that decisions that can look sub-optimal in hindsight may have been the best at the time given the circumstances of friction, uncertainty, and the fog of war. In this particular case, only a full after-action review will permit the systemic learning to occur. Saying it was an overreaction is nothing but pure hindsight bias.

Tip
The more complex and risky the undertaking, the more likely that friction will wreak havoc. We must compensate by building robustness, resiliency and redundancy into our plans and systems.

From the Vault
A Superb Example of Crisis Leadership in Action

By the way…
My ideas were featured in the March 25th Globe and Mail: A military approach to business.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.