Leadership

Making a Difference

Making a Difference

"Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change." Barbara Mikulski

The really gifted leaders do it because they have a passion to make a difference, to, as Steve Jobs once said "..make a dent in the universe."   Leaders owe that level of caring and commitment to their employees and organizations so together they can do the challenging things necessary to make the change that Barbara Mikluski spoke about.  Without it, the true potential of people and organizations can't be realized.

We see them every day. Companies that are on auto pilot, doing the same things they have done for years, even decades. Their people are going through the motions, showing up, marking time, getting by, and living lives of quiet desperation.  A few businesses may even be profitable in the near term, but the life has left them and they are getting by on borrowed time.  In government and the not-for-profit worlds, the distorting effects of free money can delay inevitable failure for decades, absent a public and catastrophic event.  But even that may not reverse the trend and those organizations continue to plod along.  We hear about these organizations almost daily in the news; OPM, Veterans Affairs, and others.

Agreeing and Disagreeing

Agreeing and Disagreeing

We can't always agree on everything and should not.  Leaders at all levels need to welcome informed, genuine, even impassioned debate.  It's the lifeblood of healthy organizational development, introspection, and ultimately growth and reform.  Yet it is all too rare in so many companies and government organizations, especially at senior levels.  People go along to get along, ultimately depriving the mission and organization of their insights, wisdom, and knowledge.

Incrementalism

Incrementalism

At the most foundational level, the role of leaders is to solve organizational problems and to prevent new ones.  Especially big problems, the kind that might keep the company from thriving, imperil its future, harm the employees, threaten the mission, and/or degrade its growth and potential.  These are all examples of large problems; fundamental problems, the very kind that effective leaders absolutely must solve and prevent.  Fundamental problems require fundamental solutions; large solutions commensurate with the size and nature of the challenge, decisive action, enduring commitment, and laser-like leader and organizational focus until they are solved or prevented.

God Is In the Detail

God Is In the Detail

The leaders of all organizations have a duty to ensure that their plans, guidance, decisions, and the processes that govern activities actually work in the best possible ways to serve the needs of customers and employees.  In order to do that, leaders, especially senior leaders in large organizations, must understand how things work at a reasonable level of detail so there is confidence that they actually do work.  The company, its employees, and customers all deserve to know that those making the decisions have invested the time and thought necessary to appreciate and comprehend the mechanisms and actions they have set in motion.  And to answer the question; "Will this really work?"

Organizations and Innovation

Organizations and Innovation

"Innovation has nothing to do with how many R & D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R & D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it."-Steve Jobs

Innovation is enormously important. It's the only insurance against eventual irrelevance. It is our only guarantee of long-term customer loyalty and success.