Triangle Performance
SEPTEMBER 2008
In this issue
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FROM THE TOP
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STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP
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Ike's Ilk
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MUSINGS
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Leadership and Strengths
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Printable Version
PRINTABLE VERSION
Click here to download an easily printable, PDF version of this newsletter.
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From the Top

Hurricane Ike... wow!

Living 25+ miles north of Houston, I didn't expect to feel the brunt of the storm. Obviously, that far inland needn't worry about flooding from the storm surge.

But the winds...! Staring out my living room window at 4:00a.m. (I know, really stupid), watching the trees bend low from 80mph+ winds, I began to question my decision to stay. Of course, it was too late then. I was committed.

Lost a couple of trees, had lots of debris, and no electricity for 11 days. Temporarily relocated to some family's abode in Luling, Texas. After nearly two weeks, they were as happy as I was when the power came back on at my house... (thanks, sis).

But, we survived. No injuries, no significant damage. Thanks to all those who called and emailed (my blackberry saved the day for communications), and for showing some patience as I dug out and returned to a semblance of normalcy.

Now, back to task at hand. We can learn a lot from natural disasters like this. And we can learn a ton about leadership watching how others react to those events. More below in one of this month's articles...

Last month, I mentioned my Survey of Senior Executives; again, if you would prefer a fancy-printed hard copy, simply drop me a note, an email, a phone call, or smoke signal and I'll get one out to you immediately. New survey will go out during October, so look for it in your inbox.

As always, I welcome your perusal and gratis downloads of the new and relevant material (articles, papers, etc.) on the website.

...and don't forget to check out my blog, and please comment, complain, or scream at me if you agree, disagree, or just want your opinion read, seen, and heard.

Berchelmann's Blog

A Sampling of Current Projects:
** Leadership development, in construction and manufacturing environments
** Delivered a Strategic-Thinking workshop, and have another one scheduled
** Succession planning, for multiple levels of management
** Leading several workshops in "Effective Coaching"
** Search and recruitment for multiple management positions in technology, manufacturing, and construction industries
** Executive-level compensation plan design.

As always, I hope this finds you well, personally and professionally; please give me a call if I can ever help in any way.

Warm Regards,

D. Kevin Berchelmann

D. Kevin Berchelmann
President
Triangle Performance, LLC
www.triangleperformance.com
kevinb@triangleperformance.com
281.257.4442

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Strategy & Leadership
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Ike's Ilk
-- What can we learn from leaders during disaster response efforts??

Houston, Galveston, and surrounding areas were hit head-on with a Category 2 hurricane; the surge and size of the storm more closely rivaled a Category 4. It was a big deal. Damage estimates are exceeding $10B, and that's excluding the impact across the Midwest as Ike continued its trek northward.

So, without naming too many specific names, what can we learn by demonstrated leadership during times like these? Three things...

If you're in charge, be in charge. No, that's not a "duh!" comment. It means realizing that the buck stops with you. People are expecting leadership... Lead! People are expecting decision-making... Decide!

Even during a storm -- weather or business -- leadership must be purposeful and well-thought, allowing for proper perspective. But delaying simply from panic is a failure in leadership. Leadership is not for the faint of heart; if you're not prepared to stick your neck out, you can't be in front. Step aside and allow someone else to rise to the occasion.

Lead now, panic later. When storms come along, it's natural to worry. Maybe even be really concerned and a little scared. The emotions themselves are ok, as long as we realize they have no place in observable behavior.

People don't need their leaders to panic; they're doing fine with that on their own. We need leaders to be solid, confident, and maybe even a little bit stoic. People must be able to easily discern "who's in charge," and the most obvious way to do that is to act the part.

Calm begets calm; panic begets panic. Be the example of calm.

Nobody wins the blame game. While the storm is "in session," there's no reason -- and no need -- to worry about who is or could be responsible for anything that may or may not have occurred. Let's first make sure we make it past today -- this storm -- before worrying about whose neck we're going to string up.

There'll be plenty of time after the storm has passed to determine how to prevent similar mistakes from being made. Plenty of time to throw rocks, then duck and cover ourselves, since one or more may be lobbed in our direction.

Right now, pay attention to challenges at hand. Stay focused and purposeful.

Storms come and go. We all face hurricanes -- business or weather -- from time to time. It is not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. How we react as leaders when the debris starts flying will define how others see us, even in times of calm.

A favorite phrase of mine: "Leading by example is not a decision. As a leader, you have no choice but to be an example. Now, whether a positive or negative example... that's the choice."

This is never more true than in times of storms and hurricanes.

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Musings
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Leadership and Strengths
-- Weaknesses aren't Kryptonite, they just aren't strengths...

Not too long ago, I worked with a group of executives for a fast-growing client.

Two things struck me as interesting, and somewhat of a paradox: First, they were all reasonably successful in their jobs (and their jobs were substantially the same, just different geographic regions). Second, they were all incredibly different. Yes, they each had similar behavior characteristics, such as intelligence and work ethic. In other areas, such as sales, marketing, people management, organizational skills, strategy, planning, and so forth, they were all over the charts.

So what? Well, I'll tell you "so what." You hear a lot about understanding your "strengths and weaknesses;" then you're supposed to work on your weaknesses, right??

Bunk.

Let's look at it differently. Let's assume that succeeding in a position can be done in any of several different ways, using a variety of skills. With that reasoning, you don't have strengths and weaknesses; you have learned skills and skills you have yet to learn.

Wow!

So, then, we should then simply "learn more skills," right??

No, no, no...

We should, instead, clearly identify our skills, since we know that we can succeed with them, and work on improving our strengths! That's right, improve our strengths, since we already know that they work for us. Learning new skills is time consuming, and depending on application, may or may not work for us the way they work for others.

Now, this logic assumes current success, so don't confuse this with those managers who are clearly unsuccessful, though I would argue this could help them with their improvement also. In other words, as Bum Phillips (retired Houston Oilers coach) would say, "Dance with who brung you."

Use the skills you have -- improve and hone them to a razor's edge -- and continue your increasing levels of success. Over time, identify some additional skills you would like to pick up, and develop a plan to learn them in a reasonable time and fashion.

But don't break what works...

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© 2008 Triangle Performance, LLC
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