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Joe Marchese
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Bob -- Welcome back... was starting to worry. Great example of the process Ron Zemke taught when we mess up. Here is a blog I wrote about the approach(I think when you blogged about the UAL incident).
Toggle Commented Jul 15, 2013 on Delta Airlines Shows How to Apologize at Bob Sutton
The late Ron Zemke had a 5-step recovery process for service lapses. 1- An apology 2- Immediate reinstatement (make the service right, right now) 3- Symbolic atonement (bump the kid to 1st, give the family a free trip,waive a fee, ... something) 4- Empathy (acknowledge that slip-ups have real impact) 5- Follow up (do what you said you were going to do) Simple to remember. Only thing missing is courage to empower the front line to invoke it.
I am forever startled by clients who choose not to pursue the messy aspects of innovating -- be it products, services, strategies, business models, whatever -- and prefer a more predictable course that never yields breakthrough results. George Gilder said "Fail fast. Fail cheap. Win big." What can we do to help leaders and those at the front line to get past only hearing the word 'fail' and instead hear 'win big'?
Toggle Commented Jul 17, 2012 on Can You Handle the Mess? at Bob Sutton
Tom Peters wrote of a return to the 3-martini lunch. For business to occur, one party has to say to another 'yes'. For great business to occur, one party has to say to another 'yes! yes! yes!'. Ideas that seem tame when sipping grape juice seem a lot more exciting when the grape juice is fermented.
"Talent makes winners, not intangibles. Can nice guys win? Sure, nice guys can win - if they're nice guys with a lot of talent. Nice guys with a little talent finish fourth and nice guys with no talent finish last." – Sandy Koufax
I focus on the consequences to decide whether to intervene. If the course we're on will do damage to the customer or the team, I jump in... fast. If it is a situation that will become a learning experience for the team, I stand aside and let them get on with it. [I have a cynical streak that occasionally thinks you can't teach anybody a damn thing, but you can create experiences for them to teach themselves.] One other distinction: if it's just 'normal' fouled up (SNAFU), there's every reason to treat that as part of the game, what we're paid to do (make it work). I've always defined FUBAR as 'fouled up beyond all repair', which implies extraordinary measures to make it work (at our best, I sometimes think we can fix a rainy day). But it may beg the question if the situation is truly beyond repair. That's the exception, but it happens. Perhaps the toughest choice is that where you have to acknowledge failure, make amends, but move on.
I'm less concerned with the leader's selection process than in the leader's approach to leading. Is there something missing in the predictive leadership attributes tht drives us to make suboptimal choices?
I had a similar view on Apple in my blog when the Fortune story ran: The Leader or The System?
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2011 on 5 Warning Signs to Watch for at Apple at Bob Sutton
Love it, Bob. Got my creative energy flowing. [Now I can;t stop!!] Death to PPT!
I had a client (Fortune 10 company) that set a target of 16 months to accomplish something most companies took 18. They made it. When I asked the exec sponsor if he was pleased, he shared that everyone sat around for a year then put it in gear for 4 months. [The student syndrome: ask for more time to complete an assignment, but fail to start immediately because the extension means there's enough time.] While I agree that enabling success via small steps is important, bold goals generate focus, energy, and commitment to create what's often thought to be impossible.
This study made me uncomfortable, which is usually an indication that it is challenging my previous perspective. I get the charisma angle, but for me, it has a slightly different description. I think passion is the only thing that sells, so a creative type who is passionate about the possibilities of her creation is bound to attract followers. If the same creative leader is not as strong when it comes to producing the new idea, she can still be the leader if she uses her passion to enroll others with better production skills to the effort.
Spot-on, Bob. It's all about perspective. Here are my thoughts, per a blog I wrote about a year ago:
The fundamental prerequisite for leadership is courage. A leader goes on to act in many ways, but without courage, nothing good results.
Spot on, Bob. Let me add my thoughts from a recebt blog:
Any chance their ticker symbol is GS?
I think you have found the title for your next book, but no regrets about going from 'that asshole guy' to 'that shitshow guy'.:)
Per Jim Collins, the corporate track has less ambiguity and more risk, while the entrepreneurial route has more ambiguity but less risk. So get used to having to make it up as you go, but be thankful that you have your hand on the wheel. Any time you need a booster shot of faith, reach out... I believe you will not only succeed, but hit heights you could have only dreamed about in your last life.
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Urzua is the latter day model of Ernest Shackleton. I would love to know more about his background and experience, and look forward to the day when all the miners can celebrate their success.
Great list, Bob. Of the many wonderful comments, I am most aligned with the item from Anese about acknowledging you for who you are and not just what you do. There's a big difference between seeing a 'person' and seeing a 'resource'.
If the Management 2.0 wonks want to create a stir, it can be a healthy thing if it results in a greater number of managers acknowledging that we have (mostly) been doing it wrong and that we can put into practice sound principles that were available to us all along. I would welcome a perspective that embraces the duality of management: the hard stuff (systematic approach) and the soft stuff (it's all about the people). I also hope most would see that, as others have said, it's the soft stuff that is actually hard but has enormous power to transform our workplaces.
The Scottish philosopher David Hume said "Truth arises from disagreement amongst friends.” My best business experiences come from working closely with people that I like... a lot... and with whom I agree on nothing. We achieve breakthrough results that way, and only predictable results when we let groupthink creep in.
Shocked... shocked... that no one took advantage of the blog title and responded: "gunga la gunga", Bill Murray's inane but priceless line from Caddyshack. Big hitter, the Lama.
I think any systemic review is a great opportunity to find ways to make things better. So too for management systems. In our firm, we speak of our commitment to management 'with a discipline for the science and a passion for the art'. I think the science side of management is ripe for a transformation, to take the insights we've gathered and apply them in a self-sustaining way that doesn't feel like an intervention inspired by the current fad. As to the art, I agree with Bob that good bosses 100 years ago would most likely make good bosses today. My only fear is that some might conclude there is nothing new to learn... that's scary. Bob's warning that 'not invented here' isn't as dangerous as 'not sold here' is spot on. I believe that every fresh perspective can identify distinctions that can help us. Chasing after them blindly is a fool's mission.
Strategy:Logistics as Approach:Deployment. In your strategy, you can talk-the-talk, but in deployment, it's where you walk-the-talk. It's (relatively) easy to know what to do. The moment of truth comes when you actually do it, the results you get are the real reward.
This is another instance of not Either/Or, but Both (BHAGs and tactical support on the path to the BHAG). In the absence of a BHAG, the pervasive mindset too quickly degenerates into 'what's in it for me (and only me)'. With a team fully enrolled in the achievement of the hairy goal... because they were engaged in setting the goal... there is an energy that tangibly radiates 'we're gonna make this happen!' The daily support of the many steps to make it happen is what good managers practice, while reinforcing the value of where you're going.