Category Archives: On Leadership
Creative people’s most important resource is their time—particularly big chunks of uninterrupted time—and their biggest enemies are those who try to nibble away at it with e-mails or meetings. Indeed, creative people may be at their most productive when, to the manager’s untutored eye, they appear to be doing nothing.
When it comes to building great organizations, just about everyone would agree: culture is important. Culture is the heart and soul of an organization. When we hire people, we hire for “fit” into our culture. There are even companies who have Chief Culture Officers. And, of course, there’s the ever-popular trope that Culture Eats Strategy for Lunch.
But what is culture anyway? If it’s so doggone important, how do we know what we’re looking for? And how, perchance, might we shape and build the culture that we want?
So What IS Culture?
Too many people over-complicate this question. Culture is, quite simply, the “personality” of an group.
Think back to the last time you were at a wedding — or any event with a dance floor. There was no shortage of well-meaning people encouraging the wallflowers, “Come on … get out on the dance floor … it’ll be fun … you’ll have a good time.”
In our Western culture we just assume that everyone can dance. But when you look at the people on the dance floor you will see a wide spectrum of skill. There will be some who are excellent dancers, with a total command of their body and the room.
At the other end of the spectrum, there will be a few who can’t dance at all and are just flailing in loose approximation to the rhythm of the music. And then there will be people who think that they are good dancers but, in all honesty, are not.
And so it is with networking.
Diana Nyad has just completed an amazing feat of endurance and perseverance. To try and put it into perspective, imagine going without sleep for 53 hours. Now imagine walking for 110 miles during those 53 hours. Finally, instead of walking, …
Tony Danza’s break into television came out of left field. He was not an aspiring actor. Instead, he was an aspiring boxer. He was working out in a New York City gym when a producer for Taxi approached him and asked him …
Running a business with employees is messy and fraught with challenges, not the least of which is the challenge that so many employees are also people — people who have dreams, fears, families, loneliness, hope, illness, optimism, and all of whom want to be part of a successful endeavor.
Achieving the full benefit of diversity means trading the comfort of being surrounded by kindred spirits for the hard work of fitting various kinds of people, work habits, and thought traditions into a vibrant culture.
Get the easy stuff right. Eat less. Walk more. Nurture the relationships that define my network. Read more. Fiddle less.
Tim Cook made his annual foray to the boardroom of Goldman Sachs on February 12 to give an Apple “State-of-the-Company” report. In this year’s talk, he made the following comments about his leadership team: Now, in terms of leadership, when …
Extensive informal networks are so important that if they do not exist, creating them has to be the focus of activity early in a major leadership initiative.