Posts Tagged ‘personal development’

 

Diversity is important, but not necessarily for the reasons that are commonly put forward. Yes, it’s important to have a variety of inputs and perspectives so we can maximize our performance and creativity. It’s also critical that organizations be representative of their respective clienteles or constituencies.

More fundamental, however, is the fact that there are a multitude of personalities, preferences, talents, interests, and attitudes. There is simply no “one size fits all” solution to any needs or wants. This has organizational implications but it also has societal ones as well.

If you try to impose a single or limited number of ways of doing things or of fulfilling needs, you will quickly run into the fact that most people don’t think in the same way or necessarily want the same things. The simple example of musical tastes illustrates this observation. Some people like classical music, others, jazz, rock, blues, folk, country, or any other number of styles and idioms. There’s no accounting for taste. One person’s melody is another’s cacophony. We can’t say “this is real music,” while what young people listen to is “just noise.”

We can go even further when we look at other more impactful activities and preferences. I find mixed martial arts in a cage to be quite barbaric. The image of a brute pounding someone underneath him (or her) comes readily to mind. But then, no one has forced any of the competitors into the ring, at least as far as I know. The same goes for someone who willingly gets into boxing, wrestling or other fighting sports. And what about someone who takes up mountain climbing or sky-diving, or who wants to practice a dangerous occupation or who enjoys work that is normally considered unpleasant. I couldn’t imagine myself being a health care professional, for instance.

This is where freedom comes into play. We need freedom—which I define as a “live and let live” attitude—because there are simply too many diverse preferences, talents, and proclivities. What happens between consenting adults is their business, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, no matter what bystanders and other non-interested parties say or think.

If we’re all going to get along and continue to build and develop some kind of community and society, then we simply have to have outlets and possibilities for ALL people. This is why personal freedom and preference should trump everything else. And also why diversity isn’t just about performance and representiveness.

© 2016 Richard Martin. Reproduction, forwarding and quotes permitted with proper attribution.

  • There are three types of competence: knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
  • People want to follow leaders who are competent and able to lead them to victory and
    achievement.
  • The Leadership Competence Pyramid has three levels: management, inspiration, and change.
  • Management often gets short shrift or is seen in opposition to leadership, but it is an integral
    part of a leader’s competence toolkit.
  • The idea that you can be an effective leader while being a so-so manager is a myth. Leaders
    must be effective at planning, organizing, directing, executing, and controlling.
  • Knowledge is fairly easy to acquire, but what differentiates truly competent leaders is the
    ability to perform at and beyond expectations. This requires diligent and constant practice and
    skill development.
  • You need a growth mindset and a commitment to learning to lead and to develop your
    leadership competencies.
  • We can’t earn the respect and confidence of followers, peers, and superiors, unless we believe
    in ourselves and are truly committed to growth and improvement.
  • We need self-respect and self-efficacy to overcome the roadblocks to becoming truly effective
    leaders.
  • Confidence and respect are built over time by competent performance of our duties as leaders.

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

12 techniques to boost your leadership competence:

  1. Set clear overarching objectives for you and your team.
  2. Analyze the internal and external environments, as well as the evolving situation.
  3. Consider multiple scenarios and courses of action before making a decision.
  4. Formulate a clear and direct mission and communicate it openly to your followers.
  5. Surround yourself with the right people and involve them as much as possible in analysis and decision-making.
  6. Ask for advice from followers, peers, and superiors and consider multiple perspectives in your analysis and decision-making.
  7. Break your plans into actionable steps and tasks and assign these to specific individuals on the basis of their competencies, talents, and developmental requirements.
  8. Ensure your subordinates have the resources needed to do their respective jobs and support them in their tasks.
  9. Communicate your plans and intentions clearly and directly.
  10. Question your followers frequently to know what they know, understand, and believe.
  11. Designate priorities and the focus of effort for all your plans and intentions.
  12. Follow up to ensure effective and efficient implementation of your guidance and direction.

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

There was a movie that came out about ten or fifteen years ago called Changing Lanes, starring Ben Affleck and Samuel L. Jackson. The two main characters get in a feud over a silly thing that escalates into general mayhem for both, affecting their lives and their significant others. At one point, Jackson’s character is conferring with his AA sponsor (played by William Hurt), who tells him in no uncertain terms that he’s not just addicted to alcohol, he’s also addicted to chaos.

I’m not implying a link with alcohol or any other mind-altering substance, but I do think that many entrepreneurs and business owners are, quite frankly, addicted to chaos. This affects not only themselves, but also their relations with their families, friends, and business associates. It manifests as projects started and never finished, chasing too many rabbits at one time, inability to reach goals, failure to return calls, emails, text messages, jumping on the next management fad that will “fix” everything, etc., etc.

It’s comparable in many ways to well-known phenomenon of the “geographic cure,” to which addicts are prone. Wistfully: “If only (insert miracle cure), then everything will be perfect…”

Perhaps this comes from the fact that many entrepreneurs and business owners started out at the bottom, founded their companies, and had to learn to do everything themselves. Everything from ordering stationery to delivering products and services to clients. However, at some point, a growing company must “professionalize” and systematize processes and structures (not necessarily bureaucratizing though). Services and tasks that were originally done by passionate amateurs must be transferred to professionals who know what they’re doing so that the founder can concentrate on growing the business and expanding into new markets and activities.

Unfortunately, not all entrepreneurs and business owners seem capable of doing so. There are several factors at play, not the least of which is simple scarcity of capital to hire experts and invest in productivity. But, I also believe that the owner/entrepreneur has become so involved in the day-to-day minutia of running the business and working in it, that they don’t know, or don’t wish to, work on the business. They micro-manage and keep all the critical tasks and functions for themselves. In some instances, they actually become addicted to the adrenalin rush of constantly being in the front lines. They can’t let go and this quickly turns to chaotic management (or lack thereof).

I’ve noticed over the years that successful executives and owners who have made the transition to highly effective and efficient performance are extremely well organized. They know their strengths and limitations, focus on the former while compensating for the latter, usually by becoming associated in some way with experts who can take up the slack in vital areas that are not their best suit.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that the chaotic management style of micro-managing entrepreneurs and owners translates to a lack of basic savoir faire and savoir vivre. Unreturned phone calls, unreachability, missed appointments, last minute scheduling changes, etc. A few years back, I sent my book to several CEOs of very large companies. In all cases, I got personal letters or emails back from them thanking me for the gift. You can set up an appointment with a successful executive or entrepreneur several months ahead of time and be sure they will be there when you show up for the meeting. If they can’t, they have their assistant contact you to reschedule. Why can’t the chaos-addicted managers and entrepreneurs do the same? Because they’re disorganized and living from second to second, minute to minute.

If you’re one of these chaotic business people, you need to do something about it. You must get better organized, starting by respecting the people around you, especially your business associates. If you don’t know how to do this, find someone who can help you become, as Peter Drucker called it in his book of the same name, an “effective executive.” If you want to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible, you should contact me immediately!

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

I admit it. I’m a history buff. Whether it’s reading about the Second World War, Renaissance Italy, the Roman Empire, or ancient Mesopotamia, I always find something of value in studying history.

I’m not talking about the so-called “lessons of history.” It’s more about gaining a general sense of perspective on current events by understanding three key things. First, human nature hasn’t changed that much in 2,500 (or perhaps even 5,000) years, with the consequence that events tend to reoccur in similar ways over time. I think it was Churchill who said, “History never repeats, but it does rhyme.”

Second, humans are pretty much the same everywhere. Yes, there are cultural differences. But we’re all basically the same. I’ve also observed this through my work and travels in many varied countries and cultures around the world.

The third point is that our current reality is contingent upon past events. Our world today didn’t just pop into existence the day before yesterday. You can’t understand the recent election of Justin Trudeau, for instance, without knowing that his father was prime minister from 1968 to 1984. Would he have been elected to head the Liberal party and now prime minister without that heritage? That’s not a criticism, but it is a legitimate observation and question.

By the same token, people complain a lot about how politics has supposedly degenerated in recent decades. We hear and read all the time that things used to be so much more civil. Really? Anyone with a passing knowledge of even the recent past will know that is not the case. Until the 1970s, bars and taverns were closed on election day because of the problems that were caused by round buying and brawling. A century ago, Protestants and Catholics fought street battles on Orange Day. Not just in Northern Ireland. In Canada. Go back a little further and see the level of invective during the presidential election before the US Civil War. If we go all the way back to the Roman Empire, only about 5 or 10 % of the emperors died peacably in their beds. Most of them were hacked to death.

In many ways, we live in peacable times, at least in civilized countries. But in many areas of the world, past history of the West is still playing out in political and civil violence. Maybe we’re fortunate, but I also like to think we’re reaping the benefits of past lessons and mistakes and our continuing upholding of civilized values and culture.

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

The recent resignations of Martin Winterkorn as CEO of VW and Marcel Aubut as president of the Canadian Olympic Committee highlight the continuing need for leaders to lead by example.

I learned this as an officer in the Canadian military, through minor incidents involving me and major ones involving others. Unethical conduct always catches up to you, no matter what it is. What’s more, the leader sets the ethical tone of the entire organization. I call this “giving moral license.” If the top boss and, by extension, the other leaders within the “chain of command” give ethically ambiguous direction or a downright bad example, this gives a license to everyone else to act in the same ethically questionable or ambiguous manner. As I wrote in Brilliant Manoeuvres:

“The leader sets the tone for the entire organization by how he or she thinks, acts, speaks, and decides. If the leader is weak and indecisive, the whole organization will often be of the same complexion. If the leader acts ethically and with integrity, then this attitude will tend to permeate the organization. The leader gives a licence to his or her followers to think and perform in a certain way; so all actions and words must be assessed for their impact on followers, superiors, peers, and those the organization is meant to serve. In the final analysis, the leader must be worthy of the loyalty, confidence, and respect of followers, because they will mimic the leader’s performance.”

If you think that’s hard and demanding, then you’re right. But that’s what it means to be a leader!

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time!

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

The following extract from my book, Brilliant Manoeuvres, is as relevant as ever:

Followers will model their behaviour on their leaders, especially if they, the followers, have little experience of the undertaking. The leader sets the tone for the entire organization by how he or she thinks, acts, speaks, and decides. If the leader is weak and indecisive, the whole organization will often be of the same complexion. If the leader acts ethically and with integrity, then this attitude will tend to permeate the organization. The leader gives a license to his or her followers to think and perform in a certain way; so all actions and words must be assessed for their impact on followers, superiors, peers, and those the organization is meant to serve. In the final analysis, the leader must be worthy of the loyalty, confidence, and respect of followers, because they will mimic the leader’s performance.

  • Have you ever been forced to work for or follow a leader of dubious competencies and integrity? How did you feel? How did your co-workers feel? What mechanisms did followers adopt to compensate for the leader’s weaknesses?
  • Conversely, have you ever had the pleasure to work for a leader who was competent and who provided a superb example of professional excellence and ethical integrity? What was it like? How did you and your co-workers feel and act? What were the mood, morale, and cohesion like?
  • Are you always a good role model and example for your followers and peers? Are you truly worthy of their loyalty, confidence and respect at all times?
  • Skills building techniques:
    • Make a list of all the leadership qualities and practices that you have always admired. Decide to apply these to your own leadership in a conscious and deliberate manner.
    • Make a list of all the poor leadership practices that you’ve always disliked in others. Observe yourself in action and try to avoid these practices in yourself.
    • Look at your speech, decisions, actions, and performance from the perspective of others, especially your followers. What do you think they expect in a leader? What do they need in a leader? Work to balance their expectations and their needs in everything you do and project.
    • Have you ever said one thing but done the opposite? Why did you do so? How could you have avoided it? What will you do to avoid it in the future?

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
General Dwight D. Eisenhower

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time!

Ask me about my new Battle Procedure Briefing for business.

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.