Imagine you are with the most successful business leaders in the world. One of these leaders approaches you and says, “If you can share something valuable for me and my business, I will pay you $270,000.”
What advice would you share that would translate into $270,000 worth of value for one of the world’s most successful business leaders?
Carnegie put it this way:
“Young man”, Carnegie said, addressing Taylor, “If you can tell me something about management that is worth hearing, I will send you a check for $10,000. ($10,000 in 1890 would be $270,000 today.)
Conversations stopped and the room became quiet.
“Mr. Carnegie”, Taylor replied, “I would advise you to make a list of the ten most important things you can do. Then, start doing number one.”
A week later, Taylor received a check for ten thousand dollars.
The value that Carnegie perceived was not from the list itself, but from constructing the list. Value generation (for Carnegie) was at the crossroads of what was strategically important and personally actionable.
It’s September and there are many actions you can take by the end of the year. Most of those actions will keep you busy and maintain the status quo. A few actions could serve as a catalyst and contribute to the highest vision you have for yourself and your business.
Focus on the crossroads of longer-term priorities and purposeful action and make this your “Strategic September”.
“Relevant & pragmatic ideas, tools and insights to play at your best.”
I recently met with a large group of first-time leaders, in a fireside chat setting. Most of them had technical backgrounds and had been selected as first-time leaders because of their results and their willingness to look beyond their everyday tasks.
Several of them mentioned that they never realized how complicated it was to lead, before stepping into their current role.
Leadership itself is not complicated, in fact, leadership is quite simple, I replied.
This got everyone’s attention, some leaned in with interest, others with disbelief. I continued, “You only have to address and excel in three areas to be an effective leader, and it does not get any simpler than that. Number one, you need to engage people, that is to create an environment and relationship with others where they feel they can bring their best to work. Secondly, you must be able to lead others through meaningful change and strategy. And thirdly, you must be able to deliver results.
The art of effective leadership requires focus and discipline regarding these three elements. There is nothing outside of these three areas that you should be doing as a leader. Do not let leadership get complicated, because it’s not. Work on reducing complexity, strive to make things more meaningful, and simpler. And just because it’s simple, does not make it easy, but at least you are on the right track.
For You & Your Team
Are you an angry leader, or have someone in your organization that is? When a leader gets meltdown angry for something that is happening or not happening in their team, it has serious consequences for both the team and the entire organization. Leaders that blow their top without taking ownership for their part of the problem damage trust, and that’s expensive to rebuild. Learn how to take ownership for your anger in this Norenberg’s Ninety Seconds.
For You, Your Team & Your Business
Over the years, I have watched hundreds, probably thousands of leaders share their opening message to set the tone and tempo for their business retreat, strategy review, or leadership team off-site.
To be honest, I have seen every imaginable opening message, from those who read from their phone; to others who deep dive into the world of power point, to others that wander through a variety of points where everyone struggles to connect the dots.
Then, every so often, I get to watch an extraordinary Off-Site opening, which was the case while supporting Dr Armin Barthel, the new Global Head of Group Compliance at Allianz SE and his Group Compliance leadership team. Armin worked nearly 20 years at Commerzbank, building a successful track record before joining the Allianz Group.
But Armin wasn’t promoting his track record in his opening message; instead, he did this:
He started by thanking his team for their help and support to get him off to a good start, in his first months in his new role. Then he highlighted many initiatives that were going well and recognized the contributions the team made to these initiatives. Lastly, he shared areas where he saw opportunities for improvement, where even better service could be achieved when the team continued to work on these issues together, going forward.
The content was relevant, his delivery was authentic, and Armin’s overall message was well structured and well received by the leadership team. This set the tone and atmosphere for a highly engaging and results-oriented leadership team Off-Site.
Keep these aspects in mind the next time you open an Off-Site or important business event with your leadership team and thanks Armin for giving a best practice in this area!
People, Places & Technology
10X is Easier than 2X, How World-Class Entrepreneurs Achieve More by Doing Less is one of best audio books I’ve listened to in years. Authored by Dan Sullivan, one of the world’s leading coaches for entrepreneurs and narrated by Dr Benjamin Hardy, the book explains that achieving 10X growth is easier than going for 2X growth. Most find this idea confusing at first, because simply imagining 10X growth causes them to think they need to do 10X more work to achieve it, which is not the framework that Sullivan shares. 10X is fundamentally about quality vs quantity, and the quality of your freedoms determines the results you achieve. The ideas presented are very applicable for any business professional, even if you don’t see yourself as an entrepreneur!
Thought for the Day