Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Arriving Topsy Turvy

Many companies have entered the new year in a topsy turvy manner. They have rushed through 2010 doing everything they can to just survive another tough year. Then, with little planning other than vague goals and rushed strategic meetings, they have begun this new year in an utter state of disorder and confusion, wishing that it would be better and knowing it could be worse.

Kenneth Chenault, Chairman and CEO of American Express since 2001, says the role of a leader is to do two things: “Define reality; give hope.” Yet, many executives right now feel like reality bites and hope is futile. They are exhausted and overwhelmed by the magnitude of technical and adaptive problems that are surfacing on a day to day basis. They find few, new solutions and have many questions. They go over and over again in their minds about the mistakes of 2010, wondering if they made the right decisions. In short, they are topsy turvy.

Still, Chenault does offer us wise counsel and perspective about reality and hope. Now is a good time to sit down with your team and sell the problems. Status quo often drags down the best organizations. It also can suck the life out of your best people. So, sit down and explain to them the problems. Point out that doing nothing is more dangerous than doing something.

Second, define the non-negotiables. Too many organizations are forgetting their mission, vision and core values in the hopes of surviving these difficult times. Rather than forgetting this vital part of organizational health, we need to discuss, embrace and utilize these powerful tools.

Third, teach your people. In many organizations, the CEO needs to become the Chief Teaching Officer. For example, teach them about the history of the company and how our decisions in the past have resulted in the reality of today. Point out that the decisions we make in 2011 will determine the reality of 2014.

Finally, if time is of the essence, then enroll your key people in the From Vision to Action Leadership Training. This year long course that meets for a couple of days each quarter and will help those involved become better leaders who can plan for the future and implement those plans in a successful manner. For more information about this unique learning opportunity which starts in March 2011, including cost, dates and location, I encourage you to click on the following link: < http://www.chartyourpath.com/VTA-Leadership-Training.html >

In a time period where topsy turvy is the new normal, we need betters leaders and better organizations. The first step is to educate them to become better leaders who can define reality and give hope.

There is still time to sign up. I hope you can join us when we start in March 2011.

Geery Howe, M.A.Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer inLeadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational ChangeMorning Star Associates319 - 643 - 2257

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