Category Archives: Business

Business

BUILD BETTER LEADERS FASTER

Nearly every CEO reports that their companies are not developing skills fast enough or leaders deeply enough. That’s a big problem for companies. According to the MIT Sloan Management Review:

Develop better leaders faster

“Many managers think they can create better products just by improving the development process or adding new tools. But it’s skilled people, not processes, that create great products.”

In a time when continued success requires more innovation, creativity, and cross-cultural collaboration, companies are struggling to find people with those very skills. According to MIT:

Until organizations view people as central (and leaders act accordingly), the risk that development process improvement efforts will not improve anything is frighteningly high.

The Harvard Business Review takes this concept one step farther in the article The Best Leaders Are Constant Learners.

Reinvention and relevance in the 21st century instead draw on our ability to adjust our way of thinking, learning, doing and being. Leaders must get comfortable with living in a state of continually becoming, a perpetual beta mode. Leaders that stay on top of society’s changes do so by being receptive and able to learn. In a time where the half-life of any skill is about five years, leaders bear a responsibility to renew their perspective in order to secure the relevance of their organizations.

So how do companies develop better leaders? They have to develop better learners, first.

As the Harvard Business Review shares, the best leaders are constant learners: “There is no other way to address the difficult problems facing us. If work is learning and learning is the work, then leadership should be all about enabling learning.”

Being a better learner not only helps people become better leaders, but it helps them be more innovative, to – Steve Jobs is a great example of that. From a great article in The Daily Muse, 5 ways successful people become more innovative every day. The best innovators are also some of the biggest learners, and not just about fields directly related to their work. They follow passions and interests that might not make sense. They dive into topic areas they know nothing about.

Steve Jobs is not alone. As John Shook, CEO of the Lean Enterprise Institute, explained in his book,Managing to Learn, “The most important accomplishment of [Toyota] is simply that it has learned to learn.” Warby Parker CEO Neil Blumenthal agrees: “Learning naturally leads to cross-pollination and ideation. Ideation can lead to action. Action is how innovation comes to life.”

Companies must encourage that their people learn a wide variety of skills.

According to HBR, “a massive transformation from institutions designed for scalable efficiency to institutions designed for scalable learning” is under way. But companies can’t just get their people to learn about leadership, a specific industry, or a specific concept. As CEO and biographer Walter Isaacson writes in his book about Steve Jobs:

He connected the humanities to the sciences, creativity to technology, arts to engineering… no one else in our era could better fire-wire together poetry and processors in a way that jolted innovation.

In other words, people cannot learn all they need to learn within the hallowed halls of their employer. They must look beyond the corporate campus, university campus, and beyond their computer screens. They must learn through action learning: the act of real people working through real problems, and then reflecting on the process to learn from it. There is endless research showing that people learn through experience, and McKinsey & Company explains that the lack of experiential learning programs is why most leadership development programs fail.

But our experience in leadership development shows that experience have to be authentic. They have to be real. As wrote about in HBR, there is a shortage of learning opportunities for people within their companies, and paying a lot of money to create simulations or create learning practice is expensive and limiting. And at the end of the day, all that designing of experiences if for not. People need to find REAL experiences.

However, companies struggle to develop learners and leaders simply because they don’t have enough authentic experiences within their own halls – which is why innovative companies are transforming to turn learning into a self-driven pursuit. In tandem, employees “are demanding access to dynamic learning opportunities that fit their individual needs and schedules”.

THE BIBLE MADE W.D.GANN A TRADING LEGEND

Gann was a prolific student of the Bible. He often said it was the greatest book ever written and contains the key to the future. But Gann interpreted the Bible in a completely unique way.

Consider this:

That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new, under the sun.’ Ecclesiastes 1: 9

W.D. Gann applied this to the marketplace. Specifically, he believed that the law of action and reaction means that history must repeat. In all markets. Over and over again. Markets are driven by human beings. And human beings do not change. They repeat their behaviours, cycle-after-cycle.

That was the theory, anyway. How did it stack up in practise?

Nuclear physicist-turned Wall Street investment banker Asoka Selvarajah calls W.D. Gann:

‘The greatest genius that the financial markets have ever seen… His achievements in this arena in every way match those of the greatest scientists of our century or any other.’

Gann’s legend started growing almost instantly after moving to New York City. In the month of October 1909 alone, he made 286 trades in one trading session. Only 22 of these were losing trades. A 91% success rate. The press started following him closely. A journalist from the respected Ticker and Investment Digest spent time on the trading floor observing every trade Gann made over several weeks. He later wrote, ‘I once saw him take $130, and in less than one month run it up to over $12,000. He can compound money faster than any man I ever met.

Gann’s love for God and the Bible is revealed in a letter to his former boss,  who cautioned him about investing in the stock market, as he considered it gambling, he wrote, “I have prayed and studied in secret, and I believe I am going to receive my reward. I believe that our heavenly Father, the ruler and maker of this universe, does know our needs, and that He gives understanding according to the way we would receive it. I was much impressed when I read Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I have sought that Kingdom and I have found it where the good book says it is: “The Kingdom of heaven is within you.” Again the good book says: “If ye believe in me, greater things than these shall ye do.”                                  I believe I can and will do great things.  I firmly believe that the Bible and the Scriptures contain the key to all knowledge, and that all a man has to do is to seek and he shall find , knock and it shall be opened unto him. I believe it is best I go away to New York as soon as I can ……. Through my study of the Bible I have determined the major and minor time factors which repeat in the history of nations, men and markets.”

Two scriptures were important to Gann that everything works according to past cycles. 1. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 and 2. “That which has been is now and that which is to be hath already been.”

Rocket expert Wernher von Braun once observed, ‘The natural laws of the universe are so precise that we have no difficulty building a spaceship to fly to the moon and can time the flight with the precision of a fraction of a second.

Gann, too, was convinced this precision had predictive powers when applied to the markets, the political cycle, even the whole course of human history.

A friend of Gann’s, Clarence Kirven, wrote: ‘He is the only man I ever knew that I thought had worked as much as Mr. Thomas Edison.

That hard work led Gann to the following conclusion:

To make a success you must continue to study past records, because the market in the future will be a repetition of the past. If I have the data, I can tell by the study of cycles when a certain event will occur in the future. The limit of future predictions based on exact mathematical law is only restricted by lack of knowledge of correct data on past history to work from.

He put out a forecast for 1929 in Gann’s Supply and Demand Letter on the 23 November 1928. In it he predicted with precision the biggest boom of all time in 2929…then the collapse into the 1932 lows.

So how did Gann ‘see’ this cycle when others didn’t?

In short, he put in the work. It was more than that, though, it is hard to dispute that the God Gann believed in provided him with understanding/wisdom from above.

What Does Gospel – Centred Leadership Look Like?

A great article by Greg Breazeale

The Gospel gives us a new heart filled with love and affection. It is not one more weapon in our leadership utility belt. The phrase Gospel centred gets much use these days. Books, blogs, and articles on what it means to be Gospel centred seem to pop up every day. My aim here is to wrestle a bit with what Gospel – centre leadership looks like when it comes to leading an organization such as a church, a bank, a school, etc.

What does the Gospel – centred leader (GCL) look like? How do they function day to day? How does the Gospel bear weight on how leaders make decisions, hire and fire, and cast vision? Here are a few qualities of a Gospel – centred leader.

They Love the Gospel.

How do we glorify God

GCL’s love the Gospel. They love to talk about it, sing about it, and tell it to others. The death and resurrection of Jesus, and their union with Him moves their heart like nothing else. They never tire of hearing the Gospel or preaching it to themselves. The Word of Christ (Colossians 3:16) dwells deeply and richly in them. They define themselves as people loved by God in and through the Person and Work of their Lord Jesus Christ. Their identity, value, worth, and significance their life is found in Him. Everything must begin here. If you miss this, you will end up using the Gospel to make a name for yourself rather than using the Gospel to spread the fame of Jesus.

They Invite Critique

GCL’s know that it took God in the flesh dying and rising again to save them. Therefore, they know they are not beyond critique and error. They find ways to receive feedback and critique from their friends, spouse, staff, or co-workers. If their identity rests only Christ and if they are convinced that God is for them, as the Gospel clearly reminds them (Romans 8:32), then no amount of negative or positive feedback can shake their foundation. GCL’s work into their life and schedule other eyes and ears to help them lead as effectively as possible.

They Are Bold and Humble.

The Gospel has shattered the pride of GCL’s, and yet empowered them to boldly trust in the grace and goodness of God when it comes to how they lead. They can make hard decisions without fearing the opinions of others but also admit their mistakes and seek restitution. They don’t slump their shoulders or puff out their chests. They are humble and strong, bold and gentle, confident and self – deprecating. Only by trusting the Gospel can one become this kind of leader.

They Bear More Affliction than They Give Out.

The great mystery of the Gospel is that the one who owed us nothing gave us everything. The one who knew no sin was made to be sin to make us righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). The one who was rich became poor to make us rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). The blessed one became the Curse to lift the Curse from us (Galatians 3:18). Therefore, the GCL will look and listen for ways to absorb affliction when he has every right to dish it out.

Every leader has to bring affliction. They have to discipline, fire, lay-off, cutback, reprimand, etc. But the Gospel shines brightly when leaders winsomely bear the bulk of the pain and blame, especially when they don’t have to. I am not suggesting that performance standards in the workplace or the church be lowered because of the Gospel. I am suggesting however that the Gospel calls us to, at times, shower undeserved grace (and all grace is undeserved) on those we lead.

The Best Leaders Allow Themselves to Be Persuaded

A very insightful article in Inc. by Al Pittampalli, author of Persuadable: How Great Leaders Change Their Minds to Change the World (HarperBusiness, 2016).

The Transformational Leadership Style of Elon Musk

Elon Musk of Tesla Motors

When we think of great leaders, certain characteristics come to mind: They have confidence in their abilities and conviction in their beliefs. They “trust their gut,” “stay the course,” and “prove others wrong.” They aren’t “pushovers,” and they certainly don’t “flip-flop.” But this archetype is terribly outdated. Having spent three years studying many of the world’s most successful leaders for my new book, Persuadable, I’ve learned one surprising thing they have in common: a willingness to be persuaded.

Alan Mulally, the vaunted CEO who saved Ford Motor Company, is, for example, exceptionally sceptical of his own opinions. Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful hedge fund managers, insists that his team ruthlessly second-guess his thinking. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, seeks out information that might disprove her beliefs about the world and herself. In our increasingly complex world, these leaders have realized that the ability to consider emerging evidence and change their minds accordingly provides extraordinary advantages.

One of the benefits of being persuadable is improved accuracy in forecasting the future. When University of Pennsylvania professor Philip Tetlock famously conducted a comprehensive study on this issue, tracking 82,361 predictions from over 284 experts, he found that accuracy has more to do with how forecasters think than with what they know. The winners didn’t abide by grand theories of the world, so they were more willing to listen to new information and adjust their predictions accordingly.

Another benefit is accelerated growth. When Swedish psychologist K. Anders Ericsson studied what separates the masters from the mediocre in a wide range of cognitively complex skills (from chess to violin), he discovered that the quality of practice determined performance. Masters were obsessive about identifying and improving on their weaknesses; that means they were able to overcome the natural human bias toward illusory superiority (i.e., the tendency to overestimate our strengths and overlook our faults) by staying open to critical feedback from others. As Cornell psychologist David Dunning says, “The road to self-insight runs through other people.”

Of course, leaders shouldn’t be persuadable on every issue. At some point, you have to stop considering new information and opinions, make a decision, and move forward. When time is scarce or the matter at hand isn’t very consequential, it’s often okay to trust your gut and independently choose a course based on previous convictions. But for higher-stakes decisions, it’s important to adopt a more persuadable mindset. How can you do this, particularly on issues where you are far from objective?

Recall a moment of opacity. Everyone knows what a moment of clarity is: the experience of finally understanding a situation and knowing just what to do. A moment of opacity is the opposite: it’s when you can’t see a situation clearly, or when something you were so sure was right turned out to be wrong. Can you remember such a time? Persuadable leaders make sure they do. Whenever they’re feeling a little too confident or certain, they remind themselves about past moments of opacity, which motivates them to seek outside counsel and consider other points of view even when they don’t feel naturally inclined to do so.

Keep your hand on the dial, not on the gun. There is no better way to edge closer to the truth than to argue with people who disagree with you. But usually, when we engage in this way, we focus on defending our positions. It’s as if we’re skeet shooting and our counterparts’ points are the clay targets we’re trying to shoot down. We do this because we’re prone to black-and-white thinking: positions and decisions are either 100% right or 100% wrong, and if one can’t be perfectly defended, it must be the latter. But arguments don’t have to be winner-take-all; in fact, the best ones often end in compromise. So instead of imagining your hand on a shotgun, envision it turning a dial that represents the confidence you have in your opinion: all the way to the right means absolute certainty, and all the way to the left signifies none. When your debating partner makes a good point, turn the dial slightly to the left. When evidence that supports your position surfaces, turn the dial a bit to the right.

Kill your darlings. Once you’ve opened the door to feedback and debate, you may find that the evidence is piling up against your previously held view. The next step is to actually be willing to change your mind. That can be difficult when it comes to beliefs to which we’ve become attached, whether it’s a new project idea, an opinion on a long time vendor, or the assumption that you’re a succinct communicator. Writers know a lot about this fear of letting go. We have this terrible habit of falling in love with our own work and picking fights with editors who try to change our words. That’s why writers are advised to “kill their darlings” before anyone else has a chance to. The same applies to leaders. The quicker you recognize and acknowledge that an idea (even a beloved one) is unworkable, the quicker you can move on to the right course of action.

Inspire Loyalty with Your Leadership

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As the leader of your business, you’re surely aware that the loyalty you inspire in your employees is more than just important; it’s essential, according to Murray Newlands for Entrepreneur.com

Beyond producing improved results from your employees and reducing turnover in your staff, the loyalty you encourage in your team — through the behaviours that you exemplify –will extend itself to your customer base, and beyond.

Loyalty isn’t something you can just gain, at the drop of a hat. To be a leader truly worthy of loyalty takes hard work and requires self-inquiry and a clarity of mind. After all, who can follow someone who doesn’t even know what he or she wants or is headed? Inspiring loyalty may take personal work, but it will be worth the effort when you have a team that will follow you to the ends of the earth.

There are many ways to inspire loyalty, but here are eight ways, the best leaders inspire loyalty, in even the most doubtful employees.

  1. Great leaders give their trust to others, without reservation.

Constantly looking over your employee’s shoulder to second-guess his or her work creates a sense of personal doubt, especially if there has been no pertinent reason to mistrust the staffer’s expertise. Great leaders give their trust to others, without reservation, and those others are then motivated to not only give trust back, but to work harder to meet the expectations of someone they respect.

  1. Employees learn in an encouraging environment.

In the short and long-term, all people need to feel as though their work, and by extension their lives, has meaning and positive progression. If there is no opportunity for learning in an

encouraging environment, employees may start to feel stagnant and resentful.

  1. Employees are encouraged to follow their passions and stretch beyond what they thought was their capacity.

Employees who are encouraged to follow their passions and stretch beyond what they thought was their capacity are sure to have deeply loyal feelings toward a leader who fosters that development.

  1. Leaders are right there in the trenches when needed.

A leader is perhaps expected to have more responsibility than do employees, but that doesn’t mean that the leader is “above” any work that needs to be done. Some of the best leaders I have known are right there in the trenches when that’s called for. If you’re too good to get your hands dirty with your team, your team members will start to see their jobs as menial and unimportant — just as you do. But, if you do whatever it takes for your company to be successful, so will everyone around you.

  1. Leaders are completely clear about their mission and values.

A leader’s clarity creates a compass by which his or her team can navigate. If you aren’t completely clear about your mission and values, it’s obvious to anyone in your employ that following you will lead nowhere. So, be communicative and definitive about your wide-reaching vision and your day-to-day tasks to enable your team to see that your leadership is true.

  1. Great leaders know that cultivating care for their employees creates love and loyalty in return.

Of course there are boundaries around personal relationships at work, but within those boundaries, there is room to recognize that the people who work for you are humans, dealing with trials and tribulations beyond the next budget meeting. Do you know when your employees have major life milestones, like a birth, death, marriage or divorce? Great leaders know that cultivating care for their employees creates love and loyalty in return.

  1. Honest leaders will keep team members. Honesty promotes confidence and trust.

Nothing inspires loyalty more than being honest. Open communication does two things: It creates confidence and trust, and also helps create feelings of inclusion. Being part of a team that works together will make any employee think twice before leaving or making a detrimental decision. Honest leaders will make team members stay much longer than they would have with a leader who hides information.

  1. The greatest leaders create loyalty through their words and actions.

The greatest leaders in the world are not revered because they demanded loyalty — they created loyalty through their words and actions. With everyday care and personal conviction, you too can create a company that is full of employees who are devoted, hard-working, and unwavering.

read more at entrepreneur.com