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The Mentors
Mentors provide wisdom, open key doors + hold a long-term view on your professional development.

Mentors vs Friends
Mentors rarely are your best friend, though they may go to further lengths then most of your inner circle to help you materialize your vision.  Mentors are a precious resource to be called upon for strategic input.

Friends  provide solace when times are tough and are consistent cheer leaders when times are good.  Yet, friends often provide mixed results when it comes to championing your professional vision. They may hold back their best insights for fear they might hurt your feelings.

Mentors say as they see it.  And mentors endorse their candidate once they have earned their stripes.

Measuring A Mentor
All mentors are not created equal.  You must be selective about whom you ask to be a mentor.

Masterful Mentors Traits
A masterful mentor has five key traits:

  1. Honest
  2. Direct
  3. Committed
  4. Results Oriented
  5. Enduring

Be A Good Student
In order to attract a world class mentor, you must be a world class student.  You must demonstrate your focus, commitment and drive towards results.  You must also be humble and acknowledge what you need to learn.  The better the student you are, the more attractive you will be to a potential mentor.

Each mentor has a limited amount of time, for the best mentors are people in positions of leadership and people of action. As such, to accept being a mentor is a serious commitment  and they expect you to be mindful of their time. Most mentors are motivated by a sense of give back + they know their invested energies was worth it by the fruits of your labor.

The Ask
Sometimes mentorships  organically evolve.  Yet, we advocate that you invite your potential mentor to a lunch and make a formal request for them to be your mentor.   They will inquire what you expect of them.  Be clear in your mind why you selected them, be clear on how you see it unfolding and always be respectful of their time + relationships.

The best mentor – student relationships are low profile, high results and enduring.  They provide a sense of give back to the mentor and they help radically accelerate the professional journey of the best students.

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THE POWER + IMPACT OF CHOICE STYLES
Building effective teams demands total clarity on how potential candidates make choices.  Powerful teams align the different decision making styles.   Failure to understand this can weaken the venture´s foundation and slow down growth.  The three main styles are: generators, selectors + de-selectors.

GENERATORS
green paint brush Generators see the gaps, visualize alternatives and produce options.  The best generators are called visionaries.  The upside of generators is their ability to constantly open up fresh doors of opportunities.  The challenge of this profile is diffusion.  Generators tend to be the founders, CEOs, heads of business development and the engines of research groups.

SELECTORS

two blue doors Selectors see the gap, yet struggle to visualize endless options.  The best selectors apply strategic and operational logic.  They keep focused on measurable results.  In other words, they convert a generator´s concepts into concrete value. The challenge of this profile is missed opportunities or worst yet failure to recognize serious competitive threats. Selectors tend to be the COOs, line managers and responsible for profit + loss centers.

DE-SELECTORS
single green door
De-selectors are tough ones.  Everyone knows these types.  You ask them what they want for dinner.  They respond with a smile and say whatever you like, what do you have in mind? You say this, that and the other thing.  Each time they give you a disapproving look until eventually you say Swamp Stew.  They respond, perfect!  You see, the de-selectors only ever had ONE option in mind.  And anything short of that is a threat, problem or fails to get them fully engaged.

Now the challenge is, that de-selectors enter the ranks every single day.  They make solid YES MEN at the lower ranks in non-democratic companies where they have relatively little decision making power.  Yet, as they rise into positions of power, this weakness can undermine a department and even an entire company.  This mindset stifles debate, starves innovation and disregards external dynamics.

While there are some powerful minds who operate through the de-selector lens, it is far better to keep them as friends versus professional team mates.

CHOICE PAIRINGS:
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Pairing of decision makers:

GENERATORS + SELECTORS         = EXPLOSIVE GROWTH

GENERATORS + DE-SELECTORS   = STUNTED GROWTH

SELECTORS + DE-SELECTORS      = STAGNATION

COMMITMENT
Pioneers usually go through a volcanic period of reflection and introspection. And during this period there is a frothy sea of brainstorming, evaluation of options and the emergence of promises to do something about it.  Yet, there can be a gap.

People fail to commit to action.  It is in commitment that the grit, resolve and clarity emerges to implement an effective transition into your new path.

STICKK TO IT
A professor from Yale created a fresh concept which puts it to people to commit to their goals.
http://www.stickk.com/

The concept is simple, you put up cash into an accountability fund, invite friends to witness your commitments and then you have third party friends or associates who are fair and honest dealers verify you are sticking to your commitments.  If you fail, there are a variety of ways in which to allocate the funds to charitable endeavors.

And while this site has had traction in helping others quit smoking, hit weight targets; I think it is also applicable to people who make resolutions to engage in a serious change in their professional landscape.

The Pioneer Point:  Commitment Creates Clarity.

CHOOSE YOUR OWN SALARIES, OWN HOURS AND TEAM MATES.  IT´S HAPPENING!
Ricardo Semler is the author of Maverick,The Seven Day Weekend and chairman of the Brazilian company Semco.  He dared to unleash the potential of his workforce, turn top-down management on its head and empowered his people to participate in management.  He is one of the god fathers of the democratic company.  

Here is a solid interview of Ricardo

He set in motion an example which today is spreading all around the world.

THE NEXT CHAMPION OF DEMOCRACTIC COMPANIES:  TRACI FENTON
And while Ricardo was a pioneer in this management field, there are others who are picking up the pace and applying it to all kinds of business ventures.  And there is one person who is out there helping set the standard for what it means to be a truly democratic company, that is one and only Traci Fenton.

She is the founder of World Blu (www.worldblu.com). She publishes an annual list with the top 40 companies worldwide which are leading examples of how to do it.  Traci outlines her mission:  

DARE TO DECENTRALIZE
One of the keys to pioneering your path is the courage to decentralize.  There is always too much to do, too few resources and far too many unknowns to try to be all things to all people.  And when making the shift into the next level of living, you will most certainly need source A class talent and get them participating with that brain power. 

To learn more about how to decentralize effectively, reach out to us.