Leadership

Integrity Redefined: Resilience for Changing Times

If only this book had been published ten years ago...   I would have avoided some regrettable hiring decisions, and one-sided friendships as well.    9780060849689 It's the fairweather friend or colleague that trips us up -- the sunny disposition that turns surly when the forecast turns foul. 

In Integrity -- The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality, Dr. Henry Cloud does an admirable job of defining the elements of character that either enable people to rise to the occasion -- or go down in flames. 

Change changes everything:  a stellar candidate becomes an underachiever (or a destructive force) in a crisis.   Down-to-earth becomes Diva in the face of success.  How do you gauge a person's capacity for change?   Dr. Cloud illuminates how we can misjudge character:  we see admirable traits (trust, concern for the greater good) as absolutes, when they may be conditional or situational.   

By deconstructing our "gut instincts", Cloud has created a useful formula for evaluating relationships with potential employees, colleagues, friends -- even future mates.  Although it is geared towards human behavior in the business world, Integrity's blueprint extends to human relationships in all aspects of life.


The Economic Impact of Creativity: Globally and Locally

006075690x_01__bo2204203200_pisitbdp500a In The Rise of the Creative Class, The Flight of the Creative Class, and www.creativeclass.org,  Richard Florida investigates what makes world regions creative, productive and competitive, as a result.  Looking beyond traditional economic productivity indices, he characterizes the “3 T’s of Economic Development”: Technology, Talent and Tolerance.  Creative capital drives growth in an idea-driven economy.     

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How do we apply this global premise locally?  This week the Ewing Marion Kaufmann Foundation released a report on state competitiveness, looking at several factors.   My state, Massachusetts, landed on top of the list.  I recently investigated relocating a corporate HQ in Boston for a high-growth software company.  It was challenging to choose a location with proximity to affordable housing, universities, suburban bedroom communities and a vibrant town center. Despite the #1 ranking, we're still far from creating a creative renaissance in Massachusetts–- high housing rates discourage newcomers, management training programs are rare and start-up executives

seldom find the time to mentor young talent. 

We can all have an impact on our region’s economic growth, and could do worse than to apply macro principles to our daily practice of attracting, hiring and developing talent in our organizations.


Sorry Sun Tzu, Strategy Based on Military History is History

Artofwar No offense intended.  I have several copies of The Art of War -- all given to me by former bosses.  Could it be that our current generation of CEOs feel compelled to quote military analogies because they never served in the military?

Conventional military strategy is not the path to victory in the 21st century.  And it has lost its effectiveness on the corporate battlefield as well.   Head to head competition doesn't build shareholder value -- it ravages it with inconsistent earnings and lower margins.

So what's the alternative?   Fortunately, there are several fresh opinions on the subject.  I'll start with one and post more ideas over the next couple of weeks:

 

A strategy guide I refer to often is Blue Ocean Strategy, 1591396190_01__scthumbzzz__5 which turns conventional strategic thinking on its head by offering paths to finding "uncontested market space" where you can build value for customers without getting battered by competitors first.   Quite often, creating value is about what you DON'T offer the customer -- why spend time and money to offer customers what they don't want, just because your competitors do?   

Thoughts on the software industry (my own industry):  application software is well-known for piling on more and more features in each release, but not building significant value as a result.  I use PowerPoint daily -- but 85% of the time I use features from release 3.0  (which was released over 10 years ago!).  Are more features adding more value, or more frustration?   I resent the extra space the new version takes up on my laptop.

Perhaps less really is more.   Or perhaps it's all about listening to the customer.  Which is what we should all be doing in the first place.