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Archive for October, 2011

Companies struggling today are too quick to assume the fix is adopting a culture of “accountability” which oftentimes manifests itself in the corporate vocabulary, causing great people to rethink their careers and leave. Don’t get me wrong, people should be accountable, but it is a death spiral when you start to think they won’t perform unless you tell them you’re going to hold them accountable. As an organization or as leaders in an organization, your job is to provide the environment and resources needed for success, not to adopt some draconian tone of accountability. People actually want to succeed, do you belief that? If you don’t you might want to read Daniel Pink’s Drive. It is an illuminating and research based look at the motivation of the workforce.

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If the scoreboard counts for anything, Apple founder Steve Jobs by anyone’s account, nailed leadership. Say what you will about his rumored micro-management, with a company as large as his, he wasn’t looking over the thousands of employees shoulders. Instead he managed with leadership. Pixar’s John Lasseter recalls the one thing Steve always said was “make it great.”

“Make it great” is the best leadership mantra, any other message from leadership expresses doubt in the people’s desire to do their job. Too often companies direct “how” to do things, start measuring things, and demonstrate a disbelief that individual can and want to “make it great.”

Too little nowadays, employers express confidence in their workforce. Perhaps they could take a page from Steve Job’s leadership book and merely remind their workforce that they believe in them, and to merely ask them to “make it great.”

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