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Leading Terrorists, Groceries & The NFL
October At C-Level

Trick or Treat?

In the spirit of Halloween, do you want to hear something really scary? There are less than eight weeks until Christmas.

Okay, that wasn't nice, but it's a reminder that a third of Q4 is behind us, and the upcoming holidays aren't going to make it any easier to reach your 2017 goals.

We almost let October slide by without getting this newsletter out. My daughter is fond of saying that if you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute. I have to regularly remind her that some things take more than a minute, so if you wait until the last one, you're late.

What are you waiting until the last minute to do? Reviewing your company's 2017 performance? Figuring out if your goals are still relevant and if there's time to accomplish them? Planning (strategically and functionally) and prioritizing your goals for 2018? Reviewing your leadership development and succession plan?

All of those activities take more than a minute, so if you wait much longer, you're going to be late. If you assume your competition is waiting, you do so at your own peril. Given the pace of technology-enabled innovation, following the leader isn't always the best strategy.

November's going to be a busy month, so don't let your calendar get out of control. Daylight Savings Time ends for everyone except Arizona, Veterans Day and the Marine Corps birthday are just around the corner (for those of who served, thank you!), followed closely by Thanksgiving and the office distractions that come with the holidays. Watch out for mediocrity as your teams are focused elsewhere.
Survey Says...

Our 2017 Survey of Senior Leadership is complete. A big thanks to those who participated-about 6% more than ever before! Your inputs gave us good insight into what leaders are concerned about and preparing for in 2018. When we get the data formatted, we'll send it directly to the participants, and include a link to the survey results in next month's At C-Level.

As just a teaser to this year's survey, it seems you're most concerned about your organizations' strategy, vision & direction; almost 90% of you expect to retain or grow your current workforce.

You can review previous years' survey here.
Featured Articles
The Principle of Before
-Or, give before you get

by D. Kevin Berchelmann
So, a physicist, a preacher and an Iman walk into this bar...

Though that has all the makings of a great joke (appropriate apologies to those easily offended), I just wanted to highlight the diverse uses of today's topic.

The three characters mentioned above are the most frequent users-or at least, most frequently referenced-of the Principle of Before, also referred to as the Empirical Priority Principle. Seems physicists thrive on making complexity from the simple... but I digress. Defined, The Before Principle "...asserts that within the circle of the world, what comes before determines what comes after without exception."

Continue Reading...
Is your competition a terrorist?
by Kevin Ross

No doubt many of you have been looking toward 2018 lately, adjusting your strategy and plans to make it a(nother) successful year. Whatever methodology you use, researching what the competition is doing is critical. What many organizations miss, however, is how the competition's leadership is contributing to their success.

I think that's a blind spot that causes us to underestimate the opposition, brought on by our overconfidence in our own leadership acumen.

 Continue Reading...
Leaders & Laggards
In this section, we take a look at recent news and events, and make a gut-reaction determination for three categories:
Demonstrating Clear,
Personal Leadership
Mediocrity in Leadership
Usually an Opportunity Not Taken, or Similar
Leadership Has Its Idiots, We Show You Who They Are
H-E-B is a grocery store headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. It's a big 'un, with almost 100K employees. Not too shabby for a leading retailer... until you realize they are solely in Texas and Mexico. Then, it gets real. But it isn't their size that puts them on top this month.

All in, H-E-B donated almost $10M to Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, has a cutting-edge hiring process, was considered by Amazon before Whole Foods, has a mobile app more popular than Wal-Mart's and has an in-store hoochie warning! 


Target is trying hard to catch the big-box store pack. It's investing $7B in remodeling existing stores, introducing smaller-format stores, fixing the supply chain, and upgrading its e-commerce platform.

It would be a lot easier if the pack would stop moving. Unfortunately for Target, Amazon (+ Whole Foods), Walmart and HEB don't look like they're going to throttle back anytime soon.

CEO Brian Cornell sounds and acts like a leader, but we wonder if his follow-the-leader strategy is innovative enough to ensure Target has a future as a major player. 

Professional football is losing its attraction for many as a form of entertainment. Why? Because Roger Goodell won't lead!

The man being paid nearly $35M a year won't take a stand on the year-old NFL players' protests, and both sides are suffering for it. His recent wishy-washy, carefully worded memo to franchise leaders can't possibly upset anyone, because it essentially says "do what you want."
Enough is enough, Roger.

Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way. Just make a decision, for heaven's sake.

Triangle in the News
Leadership is Dead! Long live Leadership... 

Article by Kevin Berchelmann published in The AMA Quarterly (the link is to the non-subscriber blog version of the printed article).

Read the Article
CFO Magazine

Kevin Berchelmann was featured on CFO Magazine's website for their "Square-Off" special, Here's Why Executive Pay Gets a Bum Rap.

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Sales Operations 101: ...Pro Tips

Kevin Berchelmann was featured via Smartsheet for their recent feature on the Sales Operations function.

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Oil + Gas Monitor 

Kevin Berchelmann's article Oil & Gas Executives, Talent and $30 Problems 

Read the Article...
Nearshore Americas

Kevin Berchelmann was interviewed by Nearshore Americas for their article on Successful Supervisory Development in Contact Centers.

Read the Article...
Our Thoughts