Well Done Is better than Well Said

Recently we spoke of Authenticity and how we discern who we really are behind the behavior that represents what the outside world sees of us, our mask if you will. Leaders especially are faced with crucial decisions that may challenge their ability to be authentic. What they have to fall back on in tough situations is their integrity. It is a value so often thrown around like so many buzzwords and we, unfortunately, see the negative results around us in business, politics and even sports. In his 1996 book "Integrity", Yale Law Professor Stephen L. Carter writes that integrity requires three steps: "discerning what is right and what is wrong; acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost; and saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong.” Each of these points is crucial to being a true leader of integrity. Discerning what is right and wrong...
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Are you aligned with your customer’s business and how do you know?

Last month we took an internal view of business alignment using the Pittsburgh Steelers and a celebrity chef as examples of how everything within our business must be in sync, or aligned to produce superior results. In this month’s issue we will take an external view of business alignment. This view uses the same principles of the Business Alignment Model and applies it to your customers, suppliers, distributors and anyone else outside your business you depend on for your success. For the moment, let’s focus on your customers. Every customer you have, whether business or consumer has a purpose and/or strategy behind their buying decisions. They look to achieve their own results by way of goals establish to succeed in whatever circumstances brought them to you. A business customer may have a more deliberate and pronounced Strategy, Structure and Goals whereas for the consumer customer these may be more implied, but...
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Change Occurs At The Outer Edge of Your Comfort Zone

As we wind down 2012, many of us are reflecting on what we accomplished in 2012 and what changes we will make to continue our successes into 2013. In my own work with small and medium businesses as well as non-profit organizations, managing change is the most common topic of conversation; and why not? The uncertainty that remains in the economic and political environments have leaders in the unenviable position of making the next right strategic decision in the face of all this uncertainty. How do leaders mitigate this uncertainty enough to make the crucial decisions before them? While there are many moving parts to a successful business strategy, two elements of leading any organization is understanding the general environment you are competing in as well as knowing how your current capabilities match up to that environment. Key to a leader’s strategic thinking process includes a recurring assessment of their general...
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Is your Business in Alignment and why is that so important?

Growing up I learned how to take care of my cars myself. Tune-ups, wheels, brakes, engine timing etc. were all things that kept my cars running. And just like driving a car out of alignment decreased fuel inefficiency and added wear and tear to the vehicle, so leading a business or organization out of alignment is just as inefficient and, I could argue, irresponsible in today’s current economic environment. So what do we mean by “Business Alignment”? Wikipedia identifies no less than 15 definitions depending on whether you are a role-playing gamer or a biochemist. To a leader in today’s business environment, it means the level of congruence between the Vision of the business to the desired results expected from day to day operations. What we know to be true is when a business achieves alignment it holds a competitive advantage through increased effectiveness and efficiencies. What is a competitive advantage...
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The Art of Progress is the Preserve Order amid Change and Preserve Change amid Order"

This quote by Alfred North Whitehead symbolizes the leadership challenge faced by businesses of all sizes and industries in today's competitive economic landscape. The implication in this quote is the balance required maintaining some measure of order in business organizations and plans while at the same time identify and execute change strategies in order to achieve real progress. My experience suggests many businesses are doing one aspect of this process well but struggling to do the other and/or both to full effectiveness. So how does today's leader manage order and change simultaneously? The answer lies in the business Strategy. Simply stated, your business or organizational strategy dictates how your business or organization competes in its industry and markets. Having created strategies in businesses from large corporations to small entrepreneurial, mature and start-up, for-profit and non-profit, I find this definition of strategy to hold true universally. The strategy is a by-product of...
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