Tag Archives: leadership

Five things to read to shape your leadership strategy now

These five articles reach beyond short-term business trends to point us in a new direction — one that takes leaders to game-changing practices for managing growth, culture and image.

Sharing value:  how to reinvent capitalism, co-authored by the great Michael Porter; HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

Worthless Wall Street:  by John Cassidy, this is the best explanation yet of Wall Street's culture — read it to avoid the traps; THE NEW YORKER

Personalizing social media:  you can influence what is said about you simply by using networks; HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

Understanding brand and marketing now:  learn how to deploy the benefits of new tools in the context of tried-and-true marketing; BRANDING STRATEGY INSIDER

Communicating about performance in real time:  it's now possible to do away with the annual performance review and improve employee relations; MASHABLE [disclaimer:  Rypple is a client]


Lessons from a leader who looked to heaven but kept his feet on the ground

Last month, FAST COMPANY blogger David Gardner shared a memorial tribute to Paul L Locatelli, SJ, the president of Santa Clara University who passed away after a two-month illness.  Father Locatelli was something of a legend in Northern California; I had heard of his talents in management and fundraising, but this eloquent eulogy by Mr Gardner explored the qualities of Father Locatelli's style in a way I hadn't seen.  Please take a moment to read it.

Here are the basics of Father Locatelli's approach to leadership, as captured by Mr Gardner, that I took away and will keep in front of me.

  • Commit fully to your company, from vision, to strategy, to execution
  • Make commitments, not promises
  • Be relentless in pursuing your goals and don't lose heart
  • Keep speeches short and idle time shorter, all the while moving to the next thing
  • Make a list and get it done
  • Feed your physical, mental and spiritual selves equally
  • Pay attention to the people in your circles by engaging wholeheartedly with them; make time for them always
  • Listen intently
  • When someone asks for help, find a way to do it without hesitation
  • Emphasize the opportunities in life
  • Look for a value that serves others as well as yourself and honor it through optimal performance

Taxes, bonuses and the crisis in leadership

Driving home last night, I listened to a San Francisco talk radio program dissect the the tax problems plaguing the Obama administration.  There are many perspectives floating around.  Sneaky politicians and lobbyists.  Arrogance.  Elitism.  Poor vetting.

I think it's a much bigger issue:  that the party which began in 1990s Washington and had satellite orgies in major financial centers also had an impact on the conscience, and thus the quality, of our nation's leaders.  We need to wrap our heads around the fact that the most professional administration we've had in two decades still cannot manage to find people with leadership credentials who have not ignored their responsibilities as far as the IRS is concerned — and goodness knows what else.

That's not to say that these tax snafus were deliberate attempts to steal from fellow taxpayers — which is what makes the whole situation even worse.  It's this:  our focus on ourselves and our own wallets and our own prestige clearly has made us sloppy and ignorant of the details that define ethical behavior.

This is why I strongly support the curb on executive pay for the confounded bunch that have just gotten truckloads full of taxpayer cash.  They clearly do not understand the correlation between their stratospheric living standards and the failure of the institutions which they lead.  So a grownup, in the person of no less than the President of United States, is finally stepping in to teach the schoolyard bullies, snobs and ignoramuses in the bunch just where to start in cleaning up the mess they made:  by looking in the mirror and learning how to live within a new mean.

Leadership: Delivering bad news well

This morning, the cable news network devoted to business news and reports direct from the world's exchanges, CNBC, eloquently called for world business leaders to step forward and communicate with the public about the inherent strength of national economies and the fact that we can weather through this panic-fueled crisis.

Here in San Francisco today, one of our more visible startups, Seesmic, announced layoffs.  Seesmic is an interesting company.  It enables people to hold conversations via video, on the Web.  It is building user traction on a global basis. 

Seesmic's decision to contract occurs on a much smaller scale than something like a Lehman Brothers.  The folks affected are part of a team whose members know each other well.  When you work in a startup, the working relationships are close in a different way.  Everyone is working to build or build out an invention.

I don't know what kind of a response CNBC has received from business leaders, but I don't think anyone could do a better job than Seesmic's founder, Loic Lemeur, in showing how to deliver news candidly yet with great humanity.  And English is his second language.  Watch this or watch and read his blog post to see how one can execute one of the less attractive tasks of leadership:  delivering bad news well while confirming hope for the future.