How to Kill Innovation: Keep Asking Questions

An interesting blog by Scott Anthony from HBR. Here is an excerpt while you can read the full article here.

“I had an epiphany recently. The setting: a multi-billion dollar global giant. The topic of discussion: innovation. My epiphany: A simple two-word phrase that can hamstring innovation.

What about…

I was helping a cross-functional group review a few ideas to create new growth businesses. Like many early-stage

Eight Things Your Employees Want From You

I often have to remind the dedicated, smart CEOs I work with that leading takes time and energy. Directing the feelings, attitudes, actions, and behaviors of a team is a big task. Often, I also hear the secrets of these CEOs’ employees, about what truly aggravates them and what they love about their bosses. To keep top executives on track, I’ve created this list of what employees want their leaders to do.

1. Tell me my role, tell me what to do, and give me the rules. Micromanaging? No, it’s called clear direction. Give them parameters so they can work within broad outlines.

2. Discipline my coworker who is out of line. Time and time again, I hear, “I wish my boss would tell Nancy that this is just unacceptable.” Hold people accountable in a way that is fair but makes everyone cognizant of what is and isn’t acceptable.

3. Get me excited. About the company, about the product, about the job, about a project. Just get them excited.

4. Don’t forget to praise me. Motivate employees by leveraging their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses.

5. Don’t scare me. They really don’t need to know about everything that worries you. They respect that you trust them, but you are the boss. And don’t lose your temper at meetings because they didn’t meet your expectations. It’s often not productive. Fairness and consistency are important mainstays.

Goodnight: The real value of managing people

How could possibly Goodnight be mistaken? or just lucky? running a 13,000 employee company with $2.2 billions in revenue has no room whatsoever for luck. I can not imagine unless that this man is just a superhero, or in more simplistic form, he is a leader. He is not alone and he is not the one. We had hundreds of similar unique and universal successes around the world.

The problem is that why we only get these remarkable experiences from the US, Europe or China. What is it in them our corporate world lack in Middle East! Is it that we have superheros but our media is not doing a good job! (well, they do good job for ranking the top billionaires or most rich Arabs!) or simply we do not reach up to this superstar performance of Goodnight, Steve Jobs, Jeffrey Bezos or Schmidt!

Lessons Learned from Executive Churn

Talented managers may make it to the top, but many these days don’t stay for long. Turnover at the executive and CEO levels has hit all-time highs. In response, says the Center for Creative Leadership’s Michael Campbell, boards of directors should re-examine their CEO selection processes. Meanwhile, leaders at all levels can learn from the mistakes made by short-time CEOs.

Just how bad is the turnover? Eight out of 10 major companies worldwide changed their top leader at least once during the 1990s – two-thirds of them in the 3-year span from 1998 to 2001. Campbell led a year-long research project to gain insights into the shrinking tenure of executives and to discover the skills that are needed for senior-level positions. Campbell surveyed CEOs, operating officers, presidents, vice presidents, directors and board-level professionals to identify the key factors that impact executive churn.

The study revealed six differences between long-term CEOs and those who are replaced after fewer than seven years

Ten Fatal Flaws That Derail Leaders

[Harvard Business] Poor leadership in good times can be hidden, but poor leadership in bad times is a recipe for disaster. To find out why leaders fail, we scrutinized results from two studies: In one, we collected 360-degree feedback data on more than 450 Fortune 500 executives and then teased out the common characteristics of the 31 who were fired over the next three years. In the second, we analyzed 360-degree feedback data from more than 11,000 leaders and identified the 10% who were considered least effective. We then compared the ineffective leaders with the fired leaders to come up with the 10 most common leadership shortcomings. Every bad leader had at least one, and most had several.

How to Inspire Through Vision — Even in Rocky Times

The word “recession” doesn’t inspire most of us. With the global economy faltering and countless complex challenges facing us at every turn, it’s all too easy for “vision” to give way to “hunkering down,” “getting by,” or “being practical.”

But in turbulent times, we desperately need inspiration, clarification and focus-all things that a shared vision can provide.