LEADERSHIP: To be everything (including what you’re not)

October 26, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

If you had to describe what your role as a leader is, what would you say? What’s interesting about this question is that every leader will offer a slightly different perspective that is unique to his or her leadership abilities and experiences. Some revel in the thrill of leading a start-up or turnaround, only to find boredom and frustration in the day-to-day running of the business. Some leaders are innovative visionaries who can see opportunities where others do not. There are leaders who can communicate with extreme clarity and purpose while others struggle to find the right words. There are leaders who master the process of having fierce conversations while others dread and avoid them. And there are leaders who love data, numbers, systems and structure while others find them confusing and confining. The list goes on.... Read More

If you had to describe what your role as a leader is, what would you say? What’s interesting about this question is that every leader will offer a slightly different perspective that is unique to his or her leadership abilities and experiences. Some revel in the thrill of leading a start-up or turnaround, only to find boredom and frustration in the day-to-day running of the business. Some leaders are innovative visionaries…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

Business is really about connecting with customers

October 19, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | 4 Comments

“A place where everybody knows your name.” That’s the famous line from the TV show Cheers. Every time Norm entered the bar, in unison, everyone would shout, “Norm!” He even had his own bar stool right next to mailman Cliff Clavin. Cheers may have been just a TV show, but it demonstrated the power of a business making connections with its customers. There’s something special about being treated as a valued customer – to be greeted by name and to have your preferences remembered. But in these systematize everything days, it’s easy for a business to rush by that most precious of business behaviors – connecting with customers.

By connecting, I mean the magic that occurs when human beings (employees) extend friendliness, warmth, caring and respect to other human beings (customers). You can systematize every minuscule process on your quest to achieve consistency and predictability, but it’s impossible to systemize the warmth of a smile, a caring voice and an engaging personality. These are human qualities. And it takes the right leadership, environment and culture to energize these qualities to a level that customers not only experience, but it draws them back for more. (more…)... Read More

“A place where everybody knows your name.” That’s the famous line from the TV show Cheers. Every time Norm entered the bar, in unison, everyone would shout, “Norm!” He even had his own bar stool right next to mailman Cliff Clavin. Cheers may have been just a TV show, but it demonstrated the power of a business making connections with its customers. There’s something special about being treated as a…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

Is it time to take back control of your company?

October 12, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

Companies evolve. At any given time there are forces at work that influence the speed, performance and direction of your company – not to mention your effectiveness as a leader. The current players on your team may be just the right mix of personalities and abilities. They are a dynamic and determined group that keeps the company energized and its culture pristine. (Every leader remembers that perfect team and how it performed.) Likewise, your current players may not represent the best mix of personalities and abilities. Things move agonizingly slow, drama is a daily occurrence, and your job as leader just isn’t fun anymore. The economy is an ever-present force that either works for you or against you. As a leader, how do you capitalize on the opportunities and respond to the threats?... Read More

Companies evolve. At any given time there are forces at work that influence the speed, performance and direction of your company – not to mention your effectiveness as a leader. The current players on your team may be just the right mix of personalities and abilities. They are a dynamic and determined group that keeps the company energized and its culture pristine. (Every leader remembers that perfect team and how…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

What does “working on your business” really mean?

October 5, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments

“Are you working on your business, or in your business?” This working “on or in” your business statement has been bandied around for years. For the leader of a business, it just makes sense. If you’re spending the majority of your time doing “the work” of the business, who’s plotting the course for growth and continued success? Who’s making sure the business has the resources, money, talent, systems and a rock-solid culture to ensure continued success? Who’s ensuring that everyone is focused and accountable? When all these “who’s” have a leader’s name attached to them, the result is what I call “the No-Compromise Company.”

No matter what your interpretation of “working on your business” is, the big question is, what are you actually working on? Furthermore, does what you’re working on really qualify as “high-value stuff?”... Read More

“Are you working on your business, or in your business?” This working “on or in” your business statement has been bandied around for years. For the leader of a business, it just makes sense. If you’re spending the majority of your time doing “the work” of the business, who’s plotting the course for growth and continued success? Who’s making sure the business has the resources, money, talent, systems and a…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

When broken commitments compromise trust

September 28, 2009 | By Neil Ducoff | 1 Comment

If you’re in leadership, there is no avoiding the quagmire that results from broken commitments. I’ll get the easy part of this discussion out of the way first. As a leader, you must view every commitment you make as a sacred contract to perform and deliver. If you promise to return a call before the end of the day – do it. If you commit to a meeting – be there on time and be prepared. If you promise to complete a project – get it done. Every broken commitment chips away at the level of trust others have in you. If you don’t earn and maintain the trust of those you lead – you cannot effectively be their leader. It’s that simple.

The more difficult aspect of leadership is the ability to hold others accountable for the tasks, responsibilities and commitments they make. Quite frankly, holding others accountable is much of what leadership is all about. It’s when leaders fail to hold others accountable that compromise and trust issues surface. The longer the leader allows these issues to continue, the more they chip away at trust – for both the offender and the leader. Yes, a leader can lose the trust of employees by allowing others to fail to deliver on even the most basic of commitments. (more…)... Read More

If you’re in leadership, there is no avoiding the quagmire that results from broken commitments. I’ll get the easy part of this discussion out of the way first. As a leader, you must view every commitment you make as a sacred contract to perform and deliver. If you promise to return a call before the end of the day – do it. If you commit to a meeting – be…
Read More

Categories: Monday Morning Wake-Up

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