“Sustainabell” Value

Over a cup of coffee on Sunday morning, I will occasionally watch the show, Sunday Morning on CBS.  The show has been on forever and is often filled with very interesting topics, opinions and perspectives. You can learn more about the show at http://www.cbsnews.com/sunday-morning/

Yesterdays show was focused on architecture, focusing on new designs that look old among other topics.  The story that captured my attention however was about bells.  Yes, church bells.  Talk about sustainabell value (see what I did there) 🙂

The Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli (or Marinelli Pontifical Foundry, Marinelli Bell Foundry) was founded in 1339 in the Apennine hills of Italy. The village of Agnone, where the foundry is located, “has a tradition of foundries that dates back 10 centuries.”  The current leaders of the family business are the brothers Armando and Pasquale Marinelli.  They are the 26th generation of Marinelli’s to lead the family business.

The foundry typically produces up to 50 bells a year and currently employs around 12 people.  The firm’s managers still apply the same lost wax casting technique that the firm’s founders used nearly a thousand years ago. The artisans use wax to transfer the bell’s designs onto a brick “core” slathered with clay, slightly smaller than the bell to be forged. Another layer of clay is applied to form a “false bell”. After this hardens, the wax inside is melted, leaving the imprint of the design on the inside of the false bell. Molten bronze, at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Celsius (2,200 degrees Fahrenheit), is poured into the space to form the bell.

Amazing, just amazing.  Everyday we read about businesses trying to build sustainable companies.  Looks like the Marinelli family has figured that out.  For more information about the foundry and the family, please visit their website at http://www.campanemarinelli.com/inglese/index2.php

Enjoy the day.

Webman

Why Trust is Critical?

“The glue that holds all relationships together – including the relationship between leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” – Brian Tracy

It is impossible to have effective and productive working relationships without trust. Trust is critical for every business and for every team.  Today, associates work in teams on a daily basis. They rely on each other to succeed, to meet the ever changing demands of their clients, to leverage each others expertise to solve business problems in real time.  Teamwork involves trust among team members and between management and associates.  Trust is the cornerstone of success.  Without it the team will fail.  When one member of the team undermines trust, it sets the entire team back on it’s heels.

So why is it that team members undermine trust by divulging confidential information?  Why is it that team members, after being told specifically that the conversation they just had was confidential, go running immediately to others to share the information?

Do they not care about the success of the team?  Do they place their own needs above the needs of the team?  Do they believe that there is an “I” in team?  Whatever the reason, the fact remains that this type of behavior negatively impacts the teams ability to win.  Plain and simple.

Webster’s Dictionary defines trust as the “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” The key to the survival of a business is trust. Trust is a critical issue in any type of relationship because a relationship without trust is not really a relationship at all.  A team that does not build a trusting relationship is not an effective team. Trust forms the foundation for effective communication, associate retention, motivation, and instills passion and commitment to exceed client expectations.

Trust, honesty, clear goals and collaboration are the keys to success on any team.  Everyone on the team plays a critical role, but these key elements are the foundation that needs to be built upon.  Team building is not always the easiest task to accomplish, but without it there is no Team, only “I’s.”

Webman

Toxic Leadership

We have focused on leadership and the key attributes of great leaders so far this week.  Today we will look at the worst type of leader and raise your awareness to the behaviors of insecure leaders.

For many of us that have been in the workforce for a few years, we have experienced many different types of leaders.  There are those that are inspirational, motivating, thoughtful, mentors and unafraid to build great teams with people that are more skilled then them in many areas.  Then there are leaders that do not belong in a position of leadership – Insecure leaders.

Insecure leaders are dangers. Dictionary.com shows the reason why these leaders can be dangerous. Insecurity is defined as being, “subject to fear & doubt, anxious, a risk & danger, and not firmly or reliably placed.” When insecurity is present in a leaders life it becomes a cap to their influence and effectiveness. It hurts the people around them, and the organization.

Insecure leaders are highly threatened by the truth, by facts, by transparency and by honesty.  In order to protect their lofty, undeserved positions of power, they campaign against talented people that pose a threat to their positions.  They lie, they commit to tasks that they never deliver upon, they mislead co-workers, they fail to communicate, they miss deadlines, they undermine all positive things and worst of all, they are toxic to the companies they work for, creating environments of distrust and ineffectiveness.  They make excuses about every deadline they miss or every project they fail to do because they say “I was too  busy”, “I have too many other things to do”, “I did not understand the process”, or “I don’t care about the process, I just needed to get something done”.  Of course, all that means is that the people that know how to get it done right will now have to fix it, wasting much more time and creating both employee and client dissatisfaction.

Insecure leaders like to distract employees and business partners by focusing on tasks that are not important or do not create customer or employee benefit/value.  They want to find that one nugget of information that substantiates their beliefs so they can use it to their advantage and create a hostile environment.  This is how they maintain control.  This “rope a dope” technique of focusing people on unimportant, irrelevant topics is part of their modus operandi to distract their co-workers from focusing on their leadership and managerial inadequacies.  They are the masters of publicly agreeing to key strategies in meetings with their bosses, only to undermine these decisions in conversations with their subordinates.  You might hear a statement like, “Although this was the agreed to decision, it will never work”, or “This is what I committed to, but let’s do it this way.” Have you heard any of these before?

A leader who is insecure cannot successfully lead those around them. This is because their actions, attitude, and motives are controlled and driven by their personal insecurity. Below are some negative characteristics and unhealthy aspects of an insecure leader:

  • They control people, systems, polices, and are micro managers.
  • They avoid partnering or hiring smart, talented, and people better then themselves.
  • They create an insecure work environment.
  • They avoid moving outside of their comfort zone.
  • They resist personal, organizational, or team growth or change.
  • They avoid calculated risks because of the fear of failure.
  • They don’t encourage or empower their people.
  • They guard against building open and strong relationships.
  • They see others through their insecurity.

Great leaders and great companies identify this type of leader immediately and take action.  The behaviors are painfully obvious.  Great companies rid themselves of these insecure leaders and more importantly, stop hiring people with these traits.  Great leaders do not listen to these insecure leaders, they do not fall for their unhealthy charm or their “opinions” of other co-workers that are threatening to their existence.  Insecure leaders do not care about the company or their co-workers.  They only care about themselves, their careers and feeding their egos at the expense of others.

No person or leader, however good they might be, is exempt from potentially becoming or being insecure. This is why it’s essential to be able to identify and eliminate insecurity from our life. To do this I suggest:

Lead yourself – The most important person you can lead is yourself.  An important aspect to leading is to become self aware. This mean you are aware and comfortable with your strengths, weaknesses, personality, temperament, and emotions. You know you have been uniquely made and you accept it. A powerful way to avoid insecurity is to be aware and have control of your inwards thoughts and dialog.

Develop trusted relationships- The people in your inner circle will either lead you forward or hold you back. This is why it’s essential to build friendships with secure, positive, and confident people. When you have trusted relationships, those people can help you spot areas you need to change (Insecurity is one area) and be a support for you.

Do you know any leaders like this?  If you do, call your CEO now and tell them.

Webman

Leadership Made Simple

One of the greatest leaders of our time was Peter Drucker.  Peter Ferdinand Drucker (November 19, 1909 – November 11, 2005) was an Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation. He was also a leader in the development of management education, and he invented the concept known as management by objectives.

Drucker’s books and scholarly and popular articles explored how humans are organized across the business, government, and nonprofit sectors of societyHe is one of the best-known and most widely influential thinkers and writers on the subject of management theory and practice. His writings have predicted many of the major developments of the late twentieth century, including privatization and decentralization; the rise of Japan to economic world power; the decisive importance of marketing; and the emergence of the information society with its necessity of lifelong learningIn 1959, Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” and later in his life considered knowledge worker productivity to be the next frontier of management.

Here is what Peter Drucker believed about leadership:

  • A leader is someone who has followers
  • Popularity is not leadership, results are
  • Leaders are highly visible, they set examples
  • Leadership is not rank, privilege, titles or money; it is responsibility

Leaders do not hide behind issues; they confront and resolve them.  Leaders do not avoid conflict; they embrace it and learn from it.  Leaders don’t sit in their offices all day; they interact and work closely with their co-workers.  Leaders don’t need control; they know how to get things done by understanding the business issues clearly and resolving them through collaboration.  Leaders listen.  Leaders change and embrace change.  Leaders lead change.

Do you work for a great leader?  Are you a great leader?  Do you have what it takes?

Don’t follow, lead.

A classic tune from the 80’s to begin your day today.

Thanks to Wikipedia www.wikipedia.org for the brief overview of Mr. Drucker.

Webman

Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way

With all of the talk, books, seminars, training and discussion about leadership, why is it so hard to find?  Do you work for a leader?  Someone that has passion, curiosity, compassion, daring, generosity, accountability and grit?  Or do you work for someone that is just looking out for numero uno, protecting his or her ass at all times?  No really, who do you work for?

Do you think about the person that you work for as a leader?  Do you come into work everyday and wonder what you will learn today?  Or think, I hope he/she spends some time with me today, because I want to learn something new?  I want to develop skills like them.  Well do you?

Who do you look up to in your company, in your life?  Who do you admire?  Where do you get your inspiration?  Is anyone out there that stirs your mind, your intellect, your curiosity, your passion?

A brief musical interlude………..

You might work for the greatest leader in the world, someone you respect and admire.  I hope you do.  Most of you do not.  You are subjected to bosses (Not leaders) that merely sit in the spot above you in the organization chart.  Someone that might have a bit more experience, someone who is resting on their accomplishments from years before, someone that has figured out how to work the system, someone that never does anything proactive for the business, you, your career or anyone other than themselves. Maybe you work for the dreaded “Insecure Manager”. (Blog on that next week)

Well if you are blessed with a great leader, what are you doing to learn the most you can?  If you are working for Sluggo, what are you doing to change it?  A recent Harvard Business Review article mentions the following attributes as true signs of a modern leader.  The leader that does not need authority to make a difference.  Do these describe you?

Seers — individuals who are living in the future, who possess a compelling vision of “what could be.” As human beings, we’re constantly looking forward, and we love to sign on with individuals who are already working on “the next big thing.”

Contrarians — free of the shackles of conventional wisdom and eager to help others stage a jailbreak. It’s exciting to be around these free-spirited thinkers who liberate us from the status quo and open our minds to new possibilities.

Architects — adept at building systems that elicit contribution and facilitate collaboration. They leverage social technologies in ways that amplify dissident voices, coalesce communities of passion and unleash the forces of change.

Mentors — rather than hoarding power, they give it away. They believe the primary job of a leader is to create more leaders. To this end, they coach, tutor, challenge and encourage.

Connectors — with a gift for spotting the “combinational chemistry” between ideas and individuals. They help others achieve their dreams by connecting them with sponsors, like-minded peers, and complementary resources.

Bushwhackers — they clear the trail for new ideas and initiatives by chopping away at the undergrowth of bureaucracy. They’re more committed to doing the right thing than to doing things right.

Guardians — vigilant defenders of core values and enemies of expediency. Their unflinching commitment to a higher purpose inspires others and encourages them to stand tall for their beliefs.

Citizens — true activists, their courage to challenge the status quo comes from their abiding commitment to doing as much good as possible for as many as possible. They are other-centered, not self-centered.

So who are you and what are you doing about leadership or lack there-of.

More details can be found at http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/05/how_to_lead_when_youre_not_in.html?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

Get moving.

Webman

The Digital CMO

Think average CMO tenure still hovers around 23 months? Think again. It now is 43 months, according to the latest findings from executive-recruitment firm Spencer Stuart, and it has been steadily gaining since its 2006 low of 23.2 months.

That 23-month myth remains a fixture, it seems, at marketing conferences and amid CMO-related banter, but it’s a thing of the past–at least for now.

To be sure, CMO tenure does vary, depending on industry: In the automotive industry, average tenure is indeed 25 months. Communications and media CMOs average 33 months. Meanwhile, CMOs in industrial companies log an average of 99 months.

But the role of the CMO is changing rapidly because of the rise of digital techniques, such as social and mobile, but also because of the ability to measure everything that is done.  Until the digital marketing revolution, marketing was generally speaking, unmeasureable.  “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker

But with digital techniques, everything is measurable. Feedback loops, segmentation becomes microtargeting, and optimizations can happen on the fly or even in real time. The relationship between investment and impact becomes correlated and causal — and the CMO becomes accountable down to the dime and moment by moment.  When it works, all are happy – when it does not, stress levels go way up as the search to make it work happens in near real time.

What does a digital CMO do differently?  They experiment aggressively. They hire smart digital natives — and empower them. They partner with great agencies. They have the humility to admit what they don’t know and the confidence to allow digital metrics to illuminate the results.

Gartner predicted that by 2017, the CMO’s technology budget will exceed the CIO‘s. Why? Because more often than not, it’s the CMO who is expected to drive the digital transformation, which is deeply dependent on technology.

Some CMOs are preparing for the digital revolution by filling the gap between expertise and authority. In other words, they have the self-awareness and the confidence to take bold action even when the context has shifted beyond their sphere of influence and scope of expertise. That is leadership. Others are afraid of the digital disruption – they will fail.

Content for this blog was sourced from the Harvard Business Review.  You can read the full article here.  http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/04/the_rise_of_the_digital_cmo.html?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews

Webman

Your Opinion Matters

Internet shopping and reviews have gone hand in hand for some time now. Anyone who is considering spending money online to buy a product or service that they can’t see or try before they commit to it has no doubt done their research in other ways – usually by researching the feedback left by previous users.

EBay, Amazon and Trip Advisor are just three sites that have built their own reputation on encouraging third party reviews and now almost every e-commerce site you can think of will have some kind of review or rating system. We are so used to seeing a star rating system or a comment box that if a site doesn’t allow reviews we wonder why not.

When I shop on-line or off-line, I always check both expert and consumer reviews. Whether for a book, something for the home, or for a larger purchase, such as an automobile or furniture, reviews are essential.  How have other people enjoyed their purchase?  What is the good and the bad?  Ultimately it is your decision, but we want to make these decisions with as many facts as possible.  This has been going on forever, but now, with the world as connected as it is, we have become even more dependent on reviews.  Years ago we would  ask our parents, relatives or friends for their advice.  Today, we not only ask them, but we ask experts and people we do not know for their opinions.  Just the way it is.

Check out the statistics on opinions below:

review-of-reviews-peopleclaim

Thanks to the people at PeopleClam for putting this terrific infographic together. http://www.peopleclaim.com/

Tell it like it is.

Webman