Monday, December 5, 2011

"The New Normal"

from business consultant Morrie Shechtman's October newsletter:

"The New Normal – Unending Unpredictability" For  a number of years now, I've heard people talking about how unpredictable  business has become; with the implied assumption that one of these days, the  unpredictability will finally end, or at least, level off, and we'll return to  a generally predictable environment.   Well, from everything I see and experience, that ain't ever going to  happen.  Unpredictability is here to  stay, and the implications are sobering. First  and foremost, is the fact that we have unequivocally entered the Age of  Self-Doubt.  I have never, in my  professional life, worked with and encountered so many talented, highly  skilled, and successful people, who are haunted by self-doubt.  People, who prior to these times, made one  decision after another, with a great sense of clarity and certainty, now  second-guessing almost everything they do.   Everyone,  at times, has some doubts; but now the experience seems to have become endemic  and epidemic.  It has become a part of our  daily lives and our ongoing personal and professional experiences.  So how do we deal with and come to terms with  it?  First, we need to realize that we  are not alone with this feeling.  It is  shared by all of us, and has become a part of the global consciousness.   Second,  we need to look at and assess our inventory of life skills to determine what  personal assets we have that will help us do well and flourish in this  environment, and what deficits we're going to have to work on.  In terms of the skills, here are some of the most important: We  need (and we need to surround ourselves with) people who can live in and  perform in, the moment.  We can no longer  accommodate colleagues who live in the past, or are always anticipating the  future.  This requires the ability to  grieve well – to be able to say goodbye to what we used to do, and who we used  to be – and the ability to realistically assess the present and come to terms  with what it is, not what we'd like it to be.   In other words, we need to give up our "hope trips."  We  need to be life-long learners and come to terms with the fact that we'll never  be "finished' with working on ourselves.   To be able to do this, we need to be open to feedback, and open to  constantly increasing our self-information.   One of the things we need to stop doing is to defend our position, and  act like we're on trial.  We need to get  a lot better at listening to the feedback we get about who we are; and to ask  ourselves if what we're hearing makes sense, and how we can use it to improve  ourselves.  We  need to develop an emotional compass that allows us to stay centered and  focused, in the face of ambiguity, uncertainty, and unpredictability.  That is, the ability to stay with the task at  hand, knowing that there are no guarantees in the near or distant future. We  need to look at our need for control, and our level of trust; and work to  establish the best ratio between the two.   In an Age of Self-Doubt, the temptation to increase control is  heightened, and the tendency to lower one's trust is increased.  What we need, however, is just the  opposite.  High control and low trust  dramatically inhibits our ability to grow and increases anxiety and tension.  Low control and high trust allows us to  mediate in this "new normal," without driving ourselves crazy.  We  need to be able to talk about our feelings, in real time.  Especially when those feelings are about our  worries and concerns.  It's hard to  convince people (especially business people) that talking about things that  worry us, or situations that suck, helps us get through them, and defuses the  anxiety associated with them.  We don't  need to always fix or change things that bother us; but we do need to talk  about them, in order to feel better and get things done again.  Complaining is fine; as long as that's not  all you do..."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Building Better Managers In Your Organization

Have any doubt about the bottom-line connection that your managers have to the bottom-line? When employees leave organizations they most often depart because of how they felt they were managed and the quality of the relationship with their own manager.

A recent and extensive internal study at Google discovered what their employees valued most:
"Even-keeled bosses who made time for one-on-one meetings, who asked good questions to help employees puzzle through tough problems and who took an interest in employees' lives and careers."

The study, described recently in the New York Times, was highlighted by the identification of eight behaviors or habits of highly effective managers there, the so-called "Google Rules." In order of importance they are:
1. Be a good coach.
2. Empower your team and don't micro-manage.
3. Express interest in your team members' success and personal well-being.
4. Get serious: be productive and results oriented.
5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team.
6. Help your employees with career development.
7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team.
8. Have key technical skills so you can advise the team.

We believe that effective managers are the key to organizational productivity. Google's research reminds us that managers are the glue. Your employees, in effect, see the organization through their experience with their direct boss. Good managers not only get results, they keep your best employees with the organization.

The Greenshoe Group can help you "build better managers" in your organization. We consult to and train managers, ensuring that they have the skills, competencies and confidence they need to get the best results for your organization.

For the link to the complete article and details of the 8 "Google Rules"

For more about The Greenshoe Group visit

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mission Statements

Mission statements, as we have come to know them, have become, in many cases as boring and lackluster as the back of the new pennies (bring back the Lincoln Memorial!)  We were provoked (thoughtfully) by Dan Pallotta’s iconoclastic and dead-on comments about mission statements. For example,
“Don't put mission statements first. Get on a mission, and the other things will follow. Including the mission statement.”…
“Don't waste your advertising space on your mission statement. Use the space to tell people what you've accomplished, or what amazing thing your product will do — use it to show them what mission you're actually on."

According to Pallotta, mission statements must be about passion and soul.

What’s your take on mission statements? Got any good stories or examples?

His idea of a good mission statement?

You’ll find it here:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Where in the World...?

Everyone recognizes we're going global, whether it's customers, employees, suppliers, stakeholders, even the products we buy at the local grocer. Are you and your employees aware of cultural differences? For example, where in the world is passing comments such as "My, you've gotten fat" not seen as impolite, but regarded as a sign of friendliness? Check out this primer on culture. Au Revoir

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One leader's private dilemma

"My hope is that my team will finally start listening to me and take my advice."
The leader is a friend of yours. What is your approach?

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Ignorarrogance" in your organization?

An executive recruiter friend coined this expression, "ignorarrogance." Many organizations in the last 10 years have sponsored razor-sharp customer service initiatives. As time has passed, and some would say distracted by the stalled economy, customer service has again drifted into the background. Returned calls or e-mails? Forget it. Eye contact and genuine interest from a service provider? Kaput. We might ask whether leaders have colluded with this drift to "ignorarrogance" --ignoring customers with a dash of arrogance. We could easily make a case that this is what Mr. Mubarak has allowed to happen with his constituents in Egypt--a leader who became only too comfortable, far too removed from his base, and way too arrogant. What is the "ignorarrogance" level in your organization?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Leadership's Cultural Frame

As our leadership reaches are increasingly global, it pays to consider and appreciate the cultural frames of reference involved. We met with a friend recently who described a young manager in China who had hired him as an English coach. She works for a U.S. based international food company with manufacturing facilities in China. She is concerned about a State-side presentation she is giving to her American counterparts on human resource matters in her organization. Recently an employee died while at work. Her family, demanding some sort of compensation, has camped out at the work site and refuses to leave until their demands are met. She is feels caught between American human resource policies as practiced in the U.S., and those in China, which are often based on saving money and expediting production. She believes that as a Chinese manager if she pushes too hard she will quickly be replaced by another manager from a more rural area who will eagerly take her place for less money. How do leaders create workplaces, increasingly global, in which the values are clear and promote the discussion and effective resolution of dilemmas such as this?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Welcome to Greenshoe: Leadershift!

   Leadership takes many forms. We'll be blogging here about leadership ideas, resources and insights. We welcome hearing about your experiences, challenges and successes.

Leadership and truth. A simple issue at first glance. What consequences do leaders face as they "drift away" from the truth? Here's an interesting book on that subject.
 "Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying..."

Leaders at Central Maine Power (CMP) at a strategic planning session facilitated by Greenshoe Group Staff in July.