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From the Top

Over half the year is gone. This means your plans, goals, and objectives need to either be (a) half or nearly-half done, or (b) re-evaluated for relevance and priority.

If you don't make time to commit to them, don't pretend they are a priority. You'll just continue to frustrate others and create unnecessary stress on yourself. Tom Peters is right: your priorities can be reflected in your calendar, not your words.

Freebie Alert...
Have one spot remaining. I'm finishing my 2011 pro-bono plan as we speak. This is a major part of my consulting practice, and of my personal life. Please contact me if you know of a worthy, charitable not-for-profit that could use some help with leadership, strategy, coaching, or related challenges.

Triangle Performance LLC's 2011 Survey of Senior Leadership is still available, and with almost 30% more respondents than last year, a rousing success (and quite enlightening)! Download the summary results for the 2011Survey of Senior Leadership.

Who are you, really?? Take a complimentary assessment. Find out more about candidates; create a benchmark for skills in your organization, and use as templates for coaching efforts. Click here to go to my assessments page; then click on the link to take and receive a complimentary Candidate/Personality assessment.

My recent client efforts include 360-degree assessments for senior-most leadership, leadership development at multiple levels, executive and management coaching, and numerous facilitated sessions on various topics of leadership effectiveness, performance management, employee engagement, trust, and more...

If you feel your leaders' skills may need improving, your leadership teams could be more effective, or your performance-based comp plans need tuning, don't hesitate to call. Or email. Or Skype. Or Tweet. Or smoke signal. Or... never mind, you get the idea...

I'm in the news (in a good way!)...

Living Magazine interviewed me for a piece on Working Smarter, not Harder. My advice included Go Ugly Early, Making Lists, and just Git 'r Done!

The Houston Chronicle interviewed me for a business-section article on Planning and Goal-Setting (quite apropos given my comments above), and you can read that article here. Wooty "dissed" me about my foreign-language goal, but she was fun to talk to nonetheless... interviewed me for an article on Compensation, specifically asking for expert input on 2011 pay increases, longer term trends, pay-for-performance, and google's ridiculous 10% across-the-board increase. You can read that here.

The Houston Business Journal featured my firm (and a large, multi-year client) for an article on team-centric executive development.

He speaks... (apparently I have a message that resonates with some... who knew??).

I spoke recently to a small group of manufacturing managers on Managing Performance Expectations.

I delivered a brief workshop to 360 Solution's Strategic Partners on Leadership in Consulting.

FYI to HR groups - my keynote and workshop are both approved through HRCI; the workshop 2.5 hours of strategic credit.

Speaking of speaking... I continue to present two favorite topics:

Leadership is Easy... until it isn't.
Successful leadership in challenging times...

Backseat Driving:
Leading the business when not driving the bus

If you have a corporate or association event, I'd certainly enjoy speaking to your group. You can see more information regarding topics and details on my website.

Further, feel free to download and read a few articles that may be relevant today:

Money Matters -- Fair compensation in turbulent times

Creating the Micro-Manager -- f we know what causes it, can we stop it??

Purposeful Leadership... -- t's not a technicality, and

Leadership Integrity -- Obligation, Obfuscation, or Oxymoron?

...and don't forget to check out my blog; some interesting (I think) posts, like Leadership can hurt - Wear a helmet, ,and Leadership is Personal... whouldathunkit?? Please comment, complain, or scream at me if you agree, disagree, or just want your opinion read, seen, and heard.

But that's just me...
Check me out on Twitter.

If you'd like to know how I can assist you, your organization, or a colleague of yours, please fill out this form and I'll send you some specific information, articles, engagement results, and so forth.

On Stage...

I'm joining the video world, much delayed and much to my chagrin. I'm assembling a video library (roll-out next month) to provide more personal musings and information on all things interesting to me. To start, here's a brief video that describes my general emphasis and the values I provide clients. Enjoy...

As always, I hope this finds you well, personally and professionally; please give me a call if I can ever help in any way, and feel free to forward this to anyone you feel may be interested. (Really!) I appreciate your referrals.

Warm Regards,

D. Kevin Berchelmann

D. Kevin Berchelmann
Triangle Performance, LLC

Strategy & Leadership

Leadership Laws: #1

In this and 4 subsequent articles, I'm expanding on the "5 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" I outlined in a recent article.

This first law is based on decision-making; one of the most significant things we must do, as leaders, is to make decisions. Some will be good, some require further decision-making.

Law #1: Never delay or abrogate a decision that must be made. Make it and move on. You may have to immediately make another decision; this doesn't mean your first one was wrong, merely that your second one had the benefit of additional knowledge.

Let me share a story...

I used to work for a 30-year General, a war veteran with a chest full of medals, ribbons, and other colorful accouterments. Great guy, razor sharp, did not suffer fools lightly. His name was Brigadier General Lawrence Bose.

General Bose, as many battle-hardened leaders (military and corporate) seem to be, was known to say some pretty profound things. The sorts of things you would tell yourself, "Hey, I need to remember that one..." Some actually stuck, which for me, is nothing short of miraculous. One, in particular...

"Shirt," he would say ("Shirt" was sort of slang for "First Sergeant" in the USAF, another story for another time), "Leaders don't really make good decisions or bad; they just make decisions. If they've done their job correctly, the people working for them make the results of those decisions good."

Now, never mind whether you agree that decisions are never classified as "good" or "bad." Set that part aside... more important is the leadership genius behind the comment. Our jobs as leaders is to make decisions. We've heard this a hundred times, so here's a hundred and one: A mediocre decision made promptly and unequivocally trumps a really good decision delayed and hesitant.

Another fairly well known General, George S. Patton, put it this way: "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week."

Consider this: If we've managed our talent appropriately, and developed our staffs as we should, most of our decisions will result in unmitigated success -- those people working with us will make sure of it.

Just make the damned decision...


Teamwork Sucks
-- I like "Synergistic Leadership" better...

Space... the final frontier...

Teamwork... the over-rated concept...

Teamwork is overrated. Teamwork is misaligned, misinterpreted, misused and misunderstood.

And "it ain't all that," anyway.

Now, before I'm accused of organizational blasphemy, realize I'm speaking of "teamwork" in its most common evolution within companies. It's been reduced to "playing well together," "getting along," "not rocking the boat," and other ridiculous euphemisms that interfere with true teamwork.

True teamwork, in the form that really matters and provides value to the organization, is best defined as Synergistic Leadership. Now, there's some academics and snake-oil consultants who use terms like that, and our eyes gloss over (and we put one hand on our wallets). This is different...

Here's what Synergistic Leadership means to me...

Well, first, what it doesn't mean:

  • It doesn't mean that we must all get along as best buds;
  • It doesn't mean that we must all give way to each and every idea, even when clearly unfeasible, unrealistic, or brazenly impractical; and most importantly,
  • It doesn't mean that we should use compromise as a method of dumbing down the best idea to make it acceptable to all those who didn't think of it.

Synergistic Leadership means three things: Understanding each other, application of intellect, and acknowledging the 'best' way.

1. Understanding each other. Now, this isn't some kumbaya-sounding effort at walking coals, falling backward into your co-workers arms, or a ropes challenge course (don't get me started on that crapola...).

And it's not about MBTI or ENTJ, or DiSC, or any other consultant-speak acronym.

Synergistic Leadership means we can listen, derive real meaning, and understand the position of our colleagues, even if/when we disagree. It means we'll do whatever is possible to make certain we understand, and to develop and use a process for managing through the conflicts we will most assuredly enjoy.

It simply means we'll understand each other. Not necessarily like, love, or agree all the time with each other.

2. Application of intellect. Let's face it - if there's not some degree of smarts involved, it's just not going to work. If someone on a leadership team has a couple of bricks missing, we need a replacement.

In Synergistic Leadership, the assumption is that all members have a semblance of intelligence, and aren't afraid to use it. And use it wisely.

Some may think themselves smarter than others in the room - and in fact, they may actually be smarter. But, to borrow from Forrest Gump, stupid is as stupid does. Unapplied intellect is as useless as stupidity to begin with, and infinitely more dangerous on many fronts.

In fact, a good argument can be made that unapplied intellect is, in fact, stupid. And as we've discussed before, you can't fix stupid.

Further, and pay attention here, within leadership teams, intellect without empathy is simply arrogance. To have the "smarts,' and not be bright enough to realize that there's others in play here, and I may actually not have the best answer, is tragic.

Don't do that.

3. Acknowledging the "best" way is where Synergistic Leadership really comes together for leadership teams. We understand each other, we take our intelligence and apply it for good over evil, and then, most importantly, we take the best decision and act on it.

Note clearly here; I did not say we compromise, water down to achieve consensus, nor combine the "best" approach with the "second-best" approach just to appease some ego-driven team member with an inflated sense of self-worth.

Understand, discuss, then decide. Choosing the best response or decision among options, and sticking to your guns in doing so, is where Synergistic Leadership trumps teamwork all day, every day.

And twice on Sunday.

But that's just me...

© 2011 Triangle Performance, LLC