Thursday, May 21, 2009

Never Be Afraid To Hire People Who Are Smarter Than You Are

In terms of "followers" neither Seth Godin or GL Hoffman need any introduction in either the blogosphere or Twitter worlds.

However, and in case you missed Seth's post a "Clean Sheet of Paper" and GL's value added, the links are included here as a public service.

Far be it from me to try to value add to what these two guys have to say, but the thought struck me that in a sense what both were talking about is (at least for me) one of the most uncomfortable tasks any of us have to do as managers.

If you're a Jeopardy fan, the category is Management "D"ilemmas. The Answer: The toughest thing for most managers to do consistantly and well.

Question: What is delegation?

Is that what you wrote down?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When In Doubt

Given the "latest in the series" as they say (i.e. Madoff and Stanford) many of the talking heads both on and offline have dusted off all the stuff they wrote when they were writing about Ebbers, Lay, et al each of whom were desparately jocking for space in the papers, on blogs and the FBI's Most Wanted List.

I guess I probably should include the likes of Citi, BOA, Freddie Mac, etc. as part of "the list" too, but I think I am still too ticked off to deal with it. I am still at the "let's draw and quarter them" stage.

Anyway, every time I read or hear about this stuff, I just can't help wondering why such a simple and fundamental set of values seems to have been lost by so many of those who used to carry around the title of "leader."

I figured if everybody else was doing it, maybe I should dust of my "when in doubt" file and see what I had saved. What turned up was the following from Norman Augustine.

Here's what he had to say:

How can one decide what the ethically correct thing to do is? Answer the following questions:

1. Is it legal?

2. If someone else did "this to you," would you think it was fair?

3. Would you be content if this were to appear on the front page of your hometown newspaper?

4. Would you like your mother to see you do this?
I suppose that instead of this list he could have just said why not try the one that starts with "Do unto others..." but I guess he thought that one was already spoken for.

Anybody out there have any suggestions who we might send these guidelines to who might have missed the memo?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Keys to Influence

If you think that all recruiters care or talk about is putting warm bodies into open boxes, you might want to check out Jason Davis' site Recruiting

Sure there are lots of posts regarding the care and feeding of recruiting practices both in and out of cyberspace. But beyond subject matter in which you would have little interest unless you were a part of the staffing world, there is a good deal of very insightful thoughts on a wide variety of topics in which any business executive would have an interest and is one of the reasons I try to see what folks over there are talking about.

Not surprisingly, when John Sumser starts a topic on this site, it is not only widely read but usually prompts lots of commentary, and his recent post entitled The Keys to Influence was no exception.

Indeed, one of the things I have learned in writing my own blog over the past four years is that I can't just sit down and fire up a post, which is probably why (along with time management that's in desparate need of first aid) I don't post as frequently as many others. For me, I have to genuinely feel I have something I want to say, and often when reading Sumser commentary, it gins up those feelings.

I also have discovered over the years that there are certain subjects on the business front that spark my interest, the role of leadership being one of them. And it's that which caused me to be one of those who commented on the aforementioned posting of John's.

Some of the most spirited discussions amongst ExecuNet members over the years have also been on the topic of leadership, and the fact that it continues to be simply underscores the fact that while we all understand how critical leadership is for any enterprise, it is also clear that we all have an opinion that almost by definition is preceeded by a thought such as: "I can't prove it, but this is what I believe..." and this has always struck me as one of the key criteria that earns people the label of "thought leader" versus simply subject matter expert.

My take? Experts collect data and are often "book smart." Real thought leaders make you feel that they not only understand the data but at the same time give one the confidence to move beyond the "book" answer.

What is your definition of a thought leader?