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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
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
CEOs and their Boards agree. Executives need coaching on delegation, listening, and conflict resolution. Are you ready to get to work on these aspects of your job?
In the first year or so it wasn’t just about proving how tough I was, I had to be tough. I was pretty sharp with people. But I’d learned in the classroom, the last thing you want to do is put somebody down because then they freeze, and not only do they freeze, but the whole class freezes. I had to relearn that lesson as a manager. … Early on I didn’t know how to delegate things. I was always trying to do other people’s jobs. I learned that first of all, you’ll drive yourself crazy doing that, and secondly you won’t have very good people working for you very long.
I found it useful to remember that most institutions don’t want to change. They’re institutions because they’ve developed a certain set of traditions and norms and expertise, and change is hard. A lot of the work I’d done as an academic affirmed that usually institutions change when they’re failing. It’s very hard to make them change when they’re succeeding. They take the cues too late from the environment.
I found three things helpful.
One is that you have to paint a picture of other times that that institution has responded to change and difficulty successfully.
Secondly, [it helps] if you can find in the institution a counter-narrative that supports the direction of change.
And finally, you have to look to see whether there are impediments to people doing the right thing. Mostly in good organizations, and the Department of State was certainly one, and I found this at Stanford too, people want to do the right thing — they don’t want to be obstructionist — but sometimes there are things that make it hard for them to do the right thing.
— Condoleezza Rice
On being Provost of Stanford University
& Secretary of State
in Harvard Business Review
The New York Times recently ran a nice article about how Google–in its usual highly-analytic, data-driven way–measured the results of different management behaviors amongst its own workforce. The recommendations that emerged from this research will be familiar to readers of this blog.
I wish these were practiced as often as I preach them!
Google’s Project Oxygen
Eight Good Behaviors
Be a good coach
Provide specific, constructive feedback, balancing the negative and the positive.
Have regular (more…)