Leadership Lessons | Are Incentives the Cornerstone of Life?

Does your incentive program REALLY drive performance?

You probably know someone, don’t you, who is a star performer who believes that her achievements go unrewarded?

If so, you probably also know an underachiever who gets more than he deserves.I

s there any greater disincentive to the high performer than knowing that under-performance seems to be equally rewarded?

Should there be a moratorium on bonuses?

I’ve talked about the value of incentives before, but it keeps coming to mind as I talk to senior executives who don’t seem to have spent any time at all considering whether their incentive plans are working as intended … or whether they need to be revised.

In some ways, it reminds me of the comment that Bloomberg attributed to Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, during the $20 billion bonus scandals during the 2008-2009 financial meltdown.

According to Bloomberg, this was his comment … (more…)

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Business Finance | Why you should read Warren Buffett’s Letter

A Weekly Business Finance series for Non-Finance Executives!


Read Warren Buffett’s Letter to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders

So, why not  jump into the deep end right now by reading Business Finance is about much more than finance

I’ve said before that leaders don’t have the luxury of confining their interests to just a few things


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Does Leadership = Communication? | Use this Communication Matrix

Funny goofy guy with a bull hornYou need Leadership Skills to ascend to the C-Suite

A young friend of mine called me recently and said he was being considered for the CEO position of his young but growing company

He was elated, so excited, so thrilled to be considered until the “be careful what you wish for” axiom popped into his head and he realized he was pretty inexperienced in leading an organization of any size

We went on to talk about his concerns and as he began to think about his candidacy, it dawned on him that he had a very limited finance background … he didn’t think much about communication … and could be a better team player. (more…)

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Nothing But LEADERSHIP | Practical Tips to be a Great Leader

What Does It Take to be a Great Leader?

What do you think we’d get if we asked everyone who writes about Leadership to offer up a definition?

Probably need a new wing in the Library of Congress, don’t you think?

For some, it’s everything and anything that has to do with influencing others. It’s communication. It’s achieving accountability. For others, it’s a body of work built around values and character and timeless qualities of integrity, passion, respect, et. al. Do you have a definition that works for you?

Leadership Lessons don’t march in a neat formation

As we’ve all learned, most of life’s lessons don’t travel in a neat formation accompanied by bugles and cavalry. They arrive filthy and unkempt, prominent in the mess we’ve made around our foxhole. These lessons are typically the offspring of hubris … naivete … and ignorance … or simply from overlooking the land mines hidden beneath our feet.

This series is ONLY about practical strategies to help you become a better leader

This series is not about reiterating or re-examining the principles of leadership that so many seasoned professionals have so eloquently described. Leadership observers have extracted lessons from Julius Caesar to Patton, Jesus to Mohamed and (more…)

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Leadership Styles: The Smartest Guys in the Room can kill you!

When a fellow says it hain’t the money but the principle o’ the thing, it’s th’ money.” — Frank McKinney

‘Always ask why.  Dig deeper.  Get the facts.’ Avoid the crowd mentality

“Ask Why” was their motto.

“Wheel Out,” “Fat Boy” “Death Star” and “Get Shorty” were some of the nicknames applied to their strategies.

Confirmation letters of successful trades were addressed to names like “Mr. M. Yass and “Mr. M. Smart” … and I think you can parse the underlying contempt.

“Rank & Yank” described their people performance system, “Pump and Dump” their trading strategy.

About $70 billion of market value was destroyed, more than 20,000 employees lost their jobs and pension funds worth $3.2 billion were destroyed, more than two thirds of which belonged to retirees with little chance to rebuild.

I had always intended to watch “The Smartest Guys in the Room,” the 2005 movie based on a book by the same name from co-authors Peter Elking and Bethany McLean, but it got lost in the shuffle until last week.

It chronicles the Enron cataclysm, whose meteoric ascent was violently terminated with its bankruptcy on Dec. 3, 2001.

“Be like Enron” is still an ignominious curse

It’s hard to believe this happened almost 10 years ago since to be “like Enron” still reverberates as an ignominious curse. It’s really more like a viral infection, though, because so many of the forces that drove its destruction have cleaved similar fissures in scandals from (more…)

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