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.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Calm Before The Storm

Have you ever experienced the calm before the storm?  As I gaze out the window on the train, I can see the purple and black billowing clouds far away in the west.  But here, with my world re-sized by headphones and my laptop, there is a peaceful calm, punctuated by the occasional glance to my left, noticing the clouds becoming more ominous and near, as I reach my destination North.  I realize I need to make a contingency plan for my arrival, to make it to my car with my bags intact, and dry.  But then I turn my head back to my writing, and I am again  - calm.  
This Calm Before The Storm is a wonderful quality of the Rare Leader™, an important descriptive behavior of emotional stability.  Sometimes the employees, the customers, or stakeholders do not sense the storm ahead.  Perhaps they do not have the insights of the Rare Leader™ to see the storm clouds in the distance.  But if they did...would they...would able to be the calm before the storm for others?  Would you have made contingency plans for the rainy day?  
During my executive days at Baird, when Fred was President, he would enclose a personal note with each bonus check, thanking every employee for their contributions to the company success, delighting in the opportunity to share the rewards.  However, no matter how rich the rewards, he ended every note the same words of caution.  He would carefully advise us to “save some of this reward for a rainy day ahead, because some day it will rain”.  And indeed he was right.  And those who heeded his simple words of leadership again benefitted from his “calm before the inevitable storm”.
Sometimes the Rare Leader™ is not always the one to predict the storm, but is perhaps the one to sense it, or to accept the wise words of predictive knowledge from those he or she has chosen to trust.  
But, the Rare Leader™ is the one you chose to follow who maintains this unique sense of calm and Emotional Stability.  The Rare Leader™ has balance, poise, an ability to maintain a level course of direction through ups and downs, and knows when and how to apply their intellectual intelligence and maturity.
  1. When have you sensed a storm ahead in your organization?
  2. What contingencies have you set aside for the rainy day to maintain a level course?
  3. Who have you identified you will trust for predictive knowledge?
  4. Where have you proven to your Team you have poise and balance through ups and downs?
  5. How will you be perceived by your Team during the Storm?
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.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Boss Is Relentless

When I asked Tim what was on his mind, he really opened up.  
“I love my job.  I really do.  But there are some things that make it really unbearable.  I mean, I’m really good at what I do.  Well, that’s what my friends tell me.  The company is great, and I believe in our products.  From what I see, we are in a great position to grow, and I could have seen myself happy here for a long time...could have. You see, it’s her fault.  You’ve met her.  Yeah, my Boss.  Wait, I’m not saying she’s a bad person.  I’ve met her husband and kids, and they all seem really happy when they’re together.  Her brother works here too.  He’s also an owner, and he’s not like her.  You see, she’s quite bright.   No, actually she’s brilliant.  She’s patented several of our formulas and is respected industry wide.  But my issue is that she’s relentless.  She is all over me.  I just can’t seem to be doing enough to please her.  I don’t know how the others do it. I cant take it.  Yes, that’s why I’m leaving.  You need to help me”
I first met Tim at one of my networking events - “1,2,3@5”.  This is an open networking event I host 4 times each year, attended by a few hundred people.  It’s fabulous networking, and has been labeled as the “premiere networking event” in the business community.  But, it is not the place for confidential coaching.  So when Tim was introduced to me he said, “Steve, I have been wanting to meet you.  Based upon your success Coaching other executives, I know you are the right person to help me.”  I thanked Tim for the gracious compliment in front of the few gathered in our circle near the entrance, and suggested we meet soon to chat in private.  When we met a week later, Tim told me his story, and diagnosed what he felt was his issue.
When I am engaged with a career coaching client, so many times  the client will tell me they love their job, but they can’t work for their Boss.  It’s always the Boss’s fault.  Yeah, that’s right.  Typically this is the Boss who built up a nice $100m business, is admired by the community, and is followed by a growing number of successful “C” level leaders.  We have all met this Leader.  To be this successful, many times they embody most of the behaviors of the Rare Leader™.  
So why then, does Tim, and perhaps many of you have this identical issue?  First, let’s be honest and cut to the truth.  Many times people who self diagnose their issues are the worst doctors.  They locate all sorts of cuts and bruises and apply nice looking band-aids, and take ibuprofen, and all seems well...for a day or two.  These self diagnosers never find the core issues beneath these symptoms of pain and discomfort.  It is far too difficult to look inside yourself with any deep effective level of an unbiased assessment.
Tim, while thinking this was all about his Boss, had self diagnosed himself to be distant from the problem.  After all, this Millennial has what it takes.  A nice degree, a quality internship, a good family legacy in business, and after 18 months on the job, Tim is ready for the world.  He does not have the patience to be treated like a kid by his Boss.  Tim  sees himself ready to be anointed for greatness.
One of the behaviors that made Tim’s boss successful was her Achievement Drive.  As one of the 12 behaviors of the Rare Leader™, she knew she needed to achieve, and realized she needed to lead others to achieve.  She had Goal Clarity from her collaborative work with her Team.  Tim knew she was persistent.  But Tim only saw her persistence as pushing and prodding and “bugging him”, rather than her actually trying to motivate him to also be decisive and take action.  Tim was so self involved, that he did not see that Kate’s pushing and prodding made those around her successful too.  In reality, Tim was too selfish to see his Boss cared so much for him that she was making every effort to help him succeed.  
Now, after several Coaching sessions, Tim was hoping it was not too late to revive his chances with Kate.  Had Kate given up on Tim?
  1. Can YOU save your career?
  2. Are your job frustrations someone else’s fault...or your own?
  3. Are you too self involved to see others are trying to help you? 
  4. Do you self diagnosed your problems at work?
  5. Does your Team understand why you push and prod them to achieve?
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, September 13, 2010

Committed to Achieve?

When I initially meet with my coaching clients, we complete an initial assessment.  Part of the assessment helps begin to uncover core issues for our future work together.  New clients  usually take great care to explain who they are.  However, because we have not yet built the trust required in a coaching relationship, these new clients are careful not to disclose anything too revealing, or damaging.  
True to form, it’s almost as if they have a scripted message they never tire of delivering.  I’ve heard it so many times.  If its a family business, they talk of their Grandfathers dedication and vision to build this company passed on through the generations.  
If not a family business, their self assessment initially focuses on their targeted education from a respected University, their rise from an entry level job, and their baby boomer work ethic that took them to the top.  
Bill told me about his rise to the top, but became agitated when speaking to his reason for seeking my help.  “No one here shares my passion for our mission, goals, and objectives...I seem to be the only one with the drive, and commitment to make certain we’re successful”  
I always find it interesting the burden some executives feel that they are alone in their quest for success.  They feel like the 3 handicap golfer always dragging the 15 handicapper in the 2 golfer best-ball tourney.  Bill’s shoulders were tired.
I decided to ask Bill’s permission to speak with some of the employees to gain their honest perspective...(This was something he had never done).  Focusing on Bills assumed solo ride on the “commitment train”, I discovered some valuable perspectives.  Some substantiated comments were;
  • “Yeah, Bill’s pretty crazy about his wanting to win.”
  • “Bill constantly complains in leadership meetings about the Team not getting on board...Frankly, I’m not certain what that means.  Bill’s all over the place with his goal of the week.”
  • “That’s pretty funny actually.  Like last week when he was all over us, driving us, really angry, telling us we must not care...and then he decided at the last minute yesterday to go on some golf trip today with his buddies, and canceled our Team meeting.  This commitment thing comes and goes with him.”
  • “Committed to his vision?  Committed to his goals?  Oh, yes, that’s Bill all right.  But to be honest, I’m not certain what this vision is, and what specific goals he has set.  How  am I supposed to join him if I don’t know what he really wants?”
As Bill and I spent more time together, we found that trust which is required to build the foundation of our work.  Eventually a more complete disclosure of “what keeps Bill awake at night” came through.  Over time, Bill discovered solutions to some bigger internal issues, enabling him to find confidence with himself and his Team.  
Bill found he was able to work with his Team to collaboratively discover the Company vision, and set a course of accountable actions to reach goals towards success.  This goal clarity enabled Bill and his Team to see the vision and goals together as partners, and share in the strategies and tactics.  
The shared accountability between Bill and his Team, and between the Team Members gave a new level of commitment and persistence towards achieving goals.  This persistence was fueled by a functional trusting Team, with a leader sharing and encouraging his commitment to achievement.  
As you think of your own Achievement Drive, answer these questions;
  1. Are you considered “crazy” or “passionate” about your achievement drive?
  2. Are you “consistent” with your Goals, or “flexible” as needed?  
  3. Are you “committed”, or merely “participating” with high energy?
  4. Are you a high achiever at providing clarity with your Team?
  5. Are you driven by “goal clarity”?
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.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Achievement Drive - Is there some Mozart within you?

Have you ever been in the presence of someone who has this unmatched passion and drive to succeed at what they set out to do?  Don’t you look at them and feel this huge “aha” moment, and wish it were you?  We typically apply this to a high achieving athlete, such as an NFL quarterback capping a long drive with a touchdown, the top ranked tennis player at the Open winning on a tiebreaker, or the basketball player, who during a time out huddle in overtime says to the coach...”give me the ball, I will score”....and they do, and he does.
From somewhere deep inside, these gifted athletes draw upon a strong quality enabling them to step up and deliver.  We tend to look at them as “at the moment performers”.  When they need to turn it on, they can.  But what we athletic mortals do not understand, is that they do not turn this high achievement drive on and off.    They will tell you they are ON, all the time.
My father, who was a gifted musician always spoke of that “Mozart within us”.  He believed that all of us have been given the gift from God to be just like Mozart at something.  You might know, that Mozart as a five year old wrote his first composition, Andante in C.  We might think of outstanding, once in a lifetime athletes as having found their Mozart.  Maybe it is so evident because they take their gift a bit more public as evidenced in their high achievement drive to succeed.
Have you found your own Mozart within you?
If you were a Mozart at athletics, we would know who you are.    However, maybe you have a Mozart gift giving you the ability to lead.  If you are a Rare Leader™ I suspect you have found a bit of that Mozart within you.  Why not “be like Mike”, and ask for the ball and Lead others.  Show everyone you have the same High Achievement Drive to succeed in leading an organization, and in leading other successful people.
As a Rare Leader™, you must show you have the ability and energy to release a strong commitment and persistence from within.  This is only possible when you have goal clarity supporting your need to achieve.  This is driven from an unrest - to push, prod, and motivate others, taking decisive action.
  1. Do you believe there is a Mozart in all of us?
  2. Are you a Leader who “wants the ball”?
  3. Do you feel you have High Achievement Drive?
  4. Can you release a strong commitment and persistence from within?
  5. Is your need to achieve guided by goal clarity?
  6. Are you driven to push, prod, and motivate others to take decisive action?
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.