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Crimes of Cunning
A comedy of personal and political transformation in the deteriorating American workplace.
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Or, here for Barnes & Noble
Fast-paced, funny, and smart. This novel puts you into the world of a young MBA striving to succeed at a famous high-tech company. Brash and confident yet comically inept, Tony clashes with colleagues, clients, and even his biggest supporters.
He fires his most loyal employee, derails the career of his only friend, and nearly destroys his young marriage before transforming from chilly corporate collaborator to empathetic executive coach. Laugh and learn as his clients turn criminal, corporations collapse, and compassion triumphs.
It should be as much the aim of those who seek for social-betterment to rid the business world of crimes of cunning as to rid the entire body politic of crimes of violence.
–Theodore Roosevelt, 1901
A veteran executive coach draws on his years inside Arthur Andersen, Wall Street, and MCI to share a moving story that explains why your 401k shrank, your house is underwater, and your job stinks. The comedy and conflict illustrate management methods and personal practices that can improve your career and deepen your personal relationships.
Click here to read a free sample.
Click here to learn the source and meaning of the book’s title.
I believe that community matters. … Pixar is a community in the true sense of the word. We think that lasting relationships matter, and we share some basic beliefs:
- Talent is rare.
- Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the capability to recover when failures occur….we don’t second-guess or micromanage.
- It must be safe to tell the truth. …get honest feedback from everyone.
- We must constantly challenge all of our assumptions and search for the flaws that could destroy our culture. …Nobody pulls any punches to be polite.
Pixar’s Operating Principles
1. Everyone must have the freedom to communicate with anyone.
2. It must be safe for everyone to offer ideas.
3. We must stay close to innovations happening in the academic community.
… if we aren’t always at least a little scared, we’re not doing our job.
–How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity
by Ed Catmull, President
Harvard Business Review
Productivity and success in this industry are based a lot of the time on insights and prioritization and actually on doing the right thing, not necessarily on 15-hour work days. Google is very results-oriented.
–Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube
She is home for dinner with her family almost every night — her husband, Dennis Troper, is a director at Google — and she generally doesn’t answer weekend emails until 9 p.m. on Sundays.
via YouTube’s Chief, Hitting a New ‘Play’ Button – NYTimes.com.
Reagan had been doing it for years. He understood an important distinction that [President] Johnson never grasped:
being in control and
aren’t always the same thing.
–Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan
at the Dawn of a New America
by Jonathan Darman via Delancy Place
lyndon johnson and ronald reagan — 11/26/14.
These leadership insights from MCI founder Bill McGowan should sound familiar to my executive coaching clients and to readers of this blog.
INC.: You’ve taken a company from nothing and, in the span of 18 years, created a new industry and built a company doing almost $3 billion worth of business. How do you account for the fact that you didn’t allow the company to outgrow you?
McGOWAN: Besides the fact that there is no accounting for it, I suppose it’s because I realized at every point along the way that I didn’t need to be the person who had to do any particular thing other than make sure that the focus and direction of the company was clear, and that the forces and people were set in motion to get us where we were going.
I’m naturally a delegator. I guess I realized early in life that, (more…)
Failing entrepreneur: “My problem is money.”
Entrepreneurship Coach: “No, your problem is trying to do everything yourself. Finding people is your job.”
One of Sirolli’s current goals is to work with business schools to shift the nature of entrepreneurial education. “Most schools teach entrepreneurs that they must have all the skills—product, marketing, financial management. They reward students for putting together a go-it-alone business plan instead of collaborating or identifying who they need to start a business with. In this way, [the schools] often set their students up for failure.”
I told [the trainee coach], “There are just two things you should never do. Don’t initiate anything yourself and never try to motivate people.”
The newly anointed [Entrepreneurship Coach] objected that it would be a disaster to rely on locals for ideas, but promised to do “nothing” until given different instructions. Within two months, he had 46 projects under way.
–Ernesto Sirolli, Ph.D.
The Entrepreneurship Coach
by Sally Helgesen
in Strategy + Business
Tips for CFOs to survive the transition to value
- Give up clinging to the illusion of certainty, said executive coach Tony Mayo. Accounting is a black and white world and as such attracts people who like certainty. However, once you move from being a bookkeeper to being a CFO, you are dealing with the future rather than keeping track of the past. “We think we can control the outcomes, but we can’t, so trade certainty for confidence,” Mayo said. “Confidence that you can handle what is coming next. Rather than trying to control and constrain, let’s learn how to respond and create.”
- Understand your purpose. “If you identify yourself with a particular number occurring on a particular day, you can’t win,” said Mayo, so get clear about your purpose as a human, as an executive and as an organization.
—Letting go of the balance sheet
Healthcare Finance News
This summary note, based on recent conversations with coaching clients, is useful for any business owner who has grown beyond finding and fixing and is ready for the next stage of development.
- Developing people is your primary work product.
Empowering others by holding a space that calls forth excellent performance
- Being open to & on the lookout for ways the strategic leader is limiting other people’s development, e.g. rescuing and intervening.
- Remember to share credit and responsibility.
- Expecting relevant, actionable reports rather than chasing answers
- Training and then trusting your people to report also supports their development, i.e., learning which events, changes, and data matter to leadership
- Makes visible who is up for responsibility–or not
- Standing in the future
The key is, more and more, stepping out of operations, perhaps by putting someone else in charge of day-to-day, even month-to-month operations.
There’s this tendency to say to people: “I want you to get good results. But I also want to review you along the way, I want you to tell me how you’re getting those results and I want you to review all these processes and everything else.”
And what that does is, it turns experts into novices. The reason is that most expert knowledge is tacit knowledge. In order for me to permit you to use that passive knowledge, I can’t force you to make extremely explicit exactly what you’re doing.
So I need to be clear about what we’re trying to achieve and I need to share that with you; and then I need to let you go do it, and not impose all this monitoring on you along the way.
Strategy & Business 3Q1998