Discover the Rare Leader.

As with most blogs, you will find our most recent posting at the top in your current view.
On your first visit, begin with "What is the Rare Leader".
Reading subsequent postings under the archive section will allow you to "catch up" on the story of the Rare Leader.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I have people skills, I am good at dealing with people...

The Rare Leader™ is always interacting with people.  The Rare Leader™ is able to utilize intuition to sense what people are feeling and thinking.  The Rare Leader™ has the ability to interact positively, actively listening, understanding, and responding to different behavioral styles.  The Rare Leader naturally proves he or she can focus on others rather than self.
"Well, look, I already told you. I deal with the #*@#$% customers so the engineers don't have to. I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?!"... Tom Smykowski responding to Bob Slydel - Office Space
Tom was a leader of the Software Engineering Team at Initech, a company plagued by excessive management.  When pressed, Tom really felt his number one skill was “dealing with people”, because had “people skills”.  

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of people skills, unfortunately I think too many times about managers like Tom, who really do think their people skills are second to none.  Even though Tom is a fictional leader, from a fictional company, from a movie, it is in fact, rare to find real leaders from real companies with great people skills.  The reason Tom felt his people skills were so strong, is that he was so focused on himself, rather than the Team members he was leading.
Great relationships with people do start and end with the skills and behaviors you show in establishing powerful, long lasting, relationships of trust, collaboration, and shared success.  
Do you have great intuition?  Can you connect the dots of what you observe about the people you lead?  To properly observe, you need a keen ability going beyond what you might easily see, hear, or touch.  Intuition takes you inside the character of the people you lead, to sense and understand what they are thinking and feeling.  What does the connection tell you?  Connecting the dots and applying your intuition about people is similar to the skills you find as a visionary, using data and trends to see into the future.  Your intuition should enable you to see the future possibilities between yourself and other people.  
What is your ability to interact with others?  Are your active listening skills refined?  Does it come naturally to listen intently and be able to repeat what you heard...word for word?  
After listening, can you understand what the other person is really saying?  What is their hidden meaning?  What action are they seeking from you?  Do they desire you to offer a response full of ideas, suggestions and directives, or are they merely seeking a listener with empathy?  
What is your response?  Does your response come from truly caring about what they have to say?  Or, is your response quick, to the point, enabling you to move to your next agenda item of your day?
Perhaps the hidden challenge for the Rare Leader™ with relationships is adapting all of these skills to the “human factor”.  After all, like snowflakes, no two human beings are alike.  This gives you great opportunity to develop your intuition, interaction, listening skills, understanding, and response, to varying styles and diversity of people.  This adaption to diversity draws from the Core of your Character.  This adaption to diversity of behavior styles in your Team, is the test of the integrity of your Character.
In the end, your relationships with others have no grounding if you continue to focus on yourself first.  This was really Tom’s issue when self analyzing his number one skill at Initech.  I see this same issue when observing, assessing, and coaching leaders who fail at building positive relationships as a proven characteristic of becoming a Rare Leader™.  The core of these failings continue to look back at a narcissistic self involved, “me first” Leader.  
Who do you focus on?  What is your style?
  1. Do you have great intuition?
  2. What is your ability to interact with others?
  3. Are your active listening skills refined?
  4. Can you understand what the other person is really saying?
  5. Does your response come from truly caring about what others have to say?
  6. Can you prove you do focus on others rather than yourself?
If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Look Before You Leap

“I’m Decisive.  I own this company and I am expected to make decisions.”  Is this you?  
Or does this sound familiar?  “You spend so much time trying to figure out what to do, that nothing gets done.  I didn’t hire you to sit around and do nothing”.
Jack was stunned as he listened to Julie and Robert.
Jack owns a very successful business.  Its been in the family for two generations before him, and his two children will carry it into the fourth generation.  Jack has already made that decision.   After all, Jack plans to retire someday, and as part of his exit strategy Julie and Robert will need to begin their preparations.  
Jack decided Julie should finish her degree in finance.  Her math skills are top notch, and she is at the top of her class in the business school.  Robert will need to apply himself more.  He will be taking over sales, because Robert is such a great people person, just like his grandfather.  Jacks dad Bill likes to stay involved, so Bill will be mentoring Robert in sales.  
Jack will require both Julie and Robert to spend some time at other business to learn more without the family ties and platform of favoritism.  Jack has already made those connections and arrangement with a few friends from his country club. 
Jack told his wife Susan that with these decisions, the retirement is in place, and his name on the door of this well known business will pass on to another generation.  “A perfect plan”, Jack said.
Susan agreed that the plan sounded wonderful.  Her vision of this business has always been for she and Jack to retire earlier than most of their friends, and begin to travel and enjoy a second home in a warmer climate.  In fact, Susan was in negotiations on the purchase of this second home in Arizona.
Jack engaged me to work with Julie and Robert.  He wanted my coaching expertise guiding them along as they finished college, worked a few years outside the company, and then began their careers in the family business.  
In my first meeting with Jack, he told me of the decisions he had made.  He was quite proud.  After all, he learned the importance of being Decisive after attending one of my seminars  focused on the twelve behaviors of the Rare Leader™.    Yes, Jack had learned pretty well.  He and Susan had their Vision as owners.  Jack had a natural Drive to Succeed, a Positive Outlook, and he was now displaying his Decisiveness.  He had also mastered several other behaviors of the Rare Leader™.  
However Jack missed the bell on the balance between Planning and Execution.  This is why I titled this program the Rare Leader™.  Great leaders may possess great skill levels in some or most of these behaviors, but it is very seldom (if ever) that someone can actually master a perfect score at all twelve behaviors of the Rare Leader™.  That is why I call it Rare.
I asked Jack about his planning process to have created this perfect plan.  Jack explained how easy this had been.  Considering his vision, the academic success of his children, and the ability to pass the business on to the next generation, there wasn’t much planning needed.  He saw the opportunity, and made the important decisions.
I asked Jack how Julie and Robert felt about the plan.  Jack told me how excited they both would be.  He knew they admired him, and shared the pride of the success and reputation of the family business.  I caught the words “would be” and paused, looking for words to place in my next delicate question.  So, Jack, as I understand you, Julie and Robert are not aware of your plan?  Have they not been involved in the planning?  “No, not yet” he answered, “but we’ll be telling them this morning when I introduce you to them”.
Jack was stunned as he listened to Julie and Robert.
Jack opened the meeting with his children very well.  “Have you each been thinking about your life after college”, he asked?(Remember the sage old advice, to not ask a question unless you know the answer?)  Jack had not anticipated Julie and Robert’s answer would be different than the answer he had already decided they would make.
Julie had come home this weekend to announce she was accepting an internship with a large financial research firm in New York.  Part of her excitement included the continued employment that typically is granted to successful interns.  Robert had thought very carefully about his education.  His aptitude scores helped him confirm his decision to follow his passion into Ministry.  He would be making his applications soon to seminary.
Jack was stunned...
Julie and Robert had grown up watching the anguish and fighting between uncles and aunts fighting over what their father Bill had built, only to see the older child Jack walk away with the reins to the family business.  Christmas was never the same any more.  Vacations were not spent with their cousins like the good old days.  They saw the tension and heartache of running a family business, and both Julie and Robert had decided long ago to never go into the family business and take a chance of hurting their own close relationship together.
What about working in the family business?  What about the fourth generation?  What about my Vision?  What about...
What about the planning portion of executing a decision?  
  1. Does your Decisiveness take you away from good Planning?
  2. Does your Planning include key partners affected by your Vision?
  3. What could Jack have done differently?
  4. What other behaviors of the Rare Leader™ should be exercised when discovering the fine balance between Planning and Execution?
If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Stuck In The Moment

I left a lengthy session with a client deeply involved in their strategic planning process.  When I say deeply, I mean way over the top.  They asked me to help them finish the plan.  They felt they were too close to the task at hand to hold themselves accountable to the finish line.
This is a company that has experienced great growth.  Ownership felt they needed to put some type of plan together rather than run in the direction of hot sales as they have on the past.  
So here they are - planning, and planning, and planning.  Meanwhile, the world and all of those hot sales are passing them by.  Everyone is committed to planning, leaving no one to keep the business flowing.  Operations are slowing down, designs  contain more errors, and the road warriors are not on the road selling.  All the key players are focused on planning their future.  And, just as they dove in and pursued the hot sales during the infancy of their company, they are now driven and focused on the planning efforts.  However, they have become “stuck in the moment” of all the planning...and they “can’t get out of it”.
In Leadership, there is a time to realize the balance between planning and execution needs an adjustment.  Todd the CEO, realized this at the quarterly review when studying the running 12 month reports on sales, backlog, errors, and manufacturing.  
Then he called me...
As we worked through activities of the past few months, it was clear the collaboration process and Team involvement on the strategic plan had taken leadership control away from Todd.  We worked through the symptoms to the core issues.  Todd found his leadership had been absent while he was allowing all the planning activities to take over the momentum of his Team away from their focus on execution.  
Todd was faced with two challenges.  First, he needed to get his Team engaged in the tasks at hand.  Secondly, the Team needed to put some of their planning to work and begin to execute some of their action steps.  
As time has passed, Todd is leading again.  Sales are coming in.  Quality is on track.  Manufacturing is in process.  And, there are  some elements of the strategic plan completed.
The Rare Leader™ is able to blend all twelve of the key behaviors, and balance them with, and against each other.  

The Rare Leader™ is also able to 
discern the fragile balance between planning and execution.
  1. Are you “Stuck in the Moment”?
  2. When you are stuck, are you able to “get out of it”?
  3. How do you prevent getting “stuck”
  4. What tools and resources can you use to identify and maintain the proper balance between planning and execution?
If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Are You Planning To Execute?

There is this fine balance in everything we do.  There are decisions to be made.  Each moment of our life requires execution to some degree on every breath, every movement,  every thought, and of course every action.  Some execution comes with an instantaneous decision.  And then there are some points of execution that were the results of long, laborious planning.  Yes, there is that fine balance in planning and executiuon.  
How much time, effort and resource do you put into making a decision and leaping into action?
When your execution results in leading others, your discernment of this fine line between planning and execution is now affecting others, compounding the stress of getting it right.
I recently presented a sales training seminar on the topic of “Why Sales People Fail”.  In this portion of the five part series, I focused upon the “failure of sales people to operate from an accountable, written plan”.  The necessity of a clear and focused direction is paramount.
Preparing a personal business plan requires six essential steps.
  • Assess strengths and obstacles
  • Articulate a strategy 
  • Align resources
  • Focus your effort
  • Deploy resources
  • Revisit, Revise, Remain
Step two, “articulating a strategy” is where the planning takes place.  Working on the triad of a foundation of "where you are",  a Vision of "where you want to be", and an action plan of "how to get there", prepares you to move from planning to execution.
When preparing your personal business plan, whether it is for selling, or what ever your vocation may be, these six steps will help you define the fine balance from planning to execution.  In the end, your Team will see you as visionary, decisive, with high achievement drive, and they will follow you.  It’s one of the reasons you are a Leader...perhaps a Rare Leader™.
When it comes to planning - remember - The Rare Leader™ has the keen ability to lay out clear plans and organize people and resources.  The Rare Leader™ will display a balance between planning and execution, meaning = how and why to plan, and how and why to take action.
Perhaps it is time for you to define that fine line.
  1. Do you sometimes find yourself “frozen” in the planning mode and unable to take action?
  2. Do you find that sometimes you took action too quickly and perhaps some careful planning would have been in order?
  3. Do you have a process to plan?  (This process can enable you to move thoroughly, but quickly from planning to execution)
  4. Are you balanced between planning and execution?
If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.