Article Review: Intel CEO – Almost getting fired

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich did an interview which is worth either a full read or listen on the podcast.  The part that grabbed me is Krzanich’s take on who you should fire and why.

‘I’ve had to terminate or fire more people for being difficult to work with than being dumb.’dumb

The story resonates as he was almost fired early in his career for what I could see as a dumb mistake.  We all have made those and some where not lucky enough to have a boss like Krzanich who understands the difference between making a mistake trying to improve the business somehow and just screwing up.

‘I think if you don’t give people the tools and the expectations for success, and yet hold them to some value, then you’re difficult to work with.’office space.png

In my career I have had bosses give me what seemed like crazy tasks and/or timetables, but they let me pick who I could work with and how to get it done which kept me motivated and more often than not I was successful.  Partly because I had a good amount of control, but mostly because I had a boss who believed more in me and the team then I did holding us to their expectation.

Look for these type of bosses (more leader than manager) and to become that type of boss.





Article review -How to Use the Single, Most Powerful Word in Business

While this article from counters my post from a few years ago Rule #3 ask three times to get to a yes, however, I believe both are valid.

noSaying No and having support from your leader to do so is both empowering and as the article states effective time management.

Yes, as my rule #3 recommends and the article “acknowledges that some folks will push and ask more than once, or will pester you to try to wear you down.

Don’t fall for it: Just say no. And mean it.”

I agree with this from both sides.  That if you truly believe the individual should be working on your request, persistent asking is required.  Just as required is if the individual on the other side disagrees that they say no and allow the necessary activity of referring up to a higher level of management.

Lastly cannot state strongly enough my support for not “apologizing just reinforces the idea that you should be saying yes more than you say no and every time you say yes to something you don’t really want, you’re actually saying no to the things you do.”

However for this to be effective for a time they must have clear priorities and have those priorities aligned with the business strategy and tactics.  This will also discourage others from requesting non-aligned tactics.

So it is more than Just Say No, is is a focus on why no makes sense and a recommendation to use it more often than you do today.



Management Style

When I first moved into a leadership role, my style was inclusionary to a point.  That point was when I felt decision was taking too long.  Well that is how I would rationalize it.


Well experience has taught me a great deal and my management style has changed.

I describe it as Trust, Respect and Consistency.

trusthandsTrust that each and every person comes to work each with the desire to work hard and leave at the end of the day feeling successful.

  1. A leaders job is to define what success is for each role, specifically how that success can tie directly to the growth or profitability of the organization
  2. A leaders job is to ensure their teams can feel empowered to focus on the priorities that will drive success instead of getting caught up in the noise of Urgent, BUT not Important tasks
  3. This trust is not without the control you have to validate the progress on the work is actually being done and when completed done right.  This is trust with confidence.

respect.jpgI will respect all the work and experience that every person has done and is doing.  I may not agree with how or what they were doing, but that takes nothing away from what they have done each and every day they worked at the organization.

When I start at an organization I am the LEAST seniority person there.  Everyone else knows the informal rules of the place better than I.  I do respect that foremost.

I will strive to be consistent.  consistent

  1. Simple things like showing up for work the same time each day, so everyone knows when you will be there.
  2. Bigger things like how treating each person that difficult combination of the same, but also how they wish to be treated
    • That individual who likes engagement, spend the extra time listening regardless of how well you know what they are saying
    • That individual who is uncomfortable with talking, make those engagements shorter and where they are most comfortable, but more frequent
  3. When you say things are a priority, make them a priority each day through your actions.
    1. If project A is the top priority, but that loud argumentative peer keeps asking you and your staff about project B, C or other you need to stand up publicly.
      • My best suggestion is to play dumb with that peer – continually stating you don’t understand why what they want is more important then project A, but would they explain it. – Works like a charm.

This consistency is what will breed the trust of others in return for giving them your trust and respect.



Article Review: Leaders don’t manage time, they manage choices

Right on the mark was my first thought when I read this article.  Now doubt not only are choices what leaders manage, it is what leaders bring to the table.  images

Now the missing part of this article is the duty of the employee, associate, team member, individual contributor or whatever your organization designates the non-leaderships roles.

That a leader can offer a larger number of options the early he is made aware of the need options.  images2

So fighting that natural urge to NOT bring up problems or issues early is a major part not just getting help from your manager,     11-february-AOL-service-hand-pabut

supporting them in their role.

Now, if that leader or manager is not providing you choices.  Well, I think we all know what choice you need to make.



Article review – To Create Change

right wrongMr. Satell does a fantastic job of explaining the power of leadership over authority.

– Influence versus control

– Being in charge versus facilitating

He wrote the article titled To Create Change, Leadership Is More Important Than Authority.

Please please read this not once, not twice,

but yes I say thrice.

He line “The problem is that, while authority can compel action, it does little to inspire belief.” is spot on and so many people in charge spend way to much time use logic, power and failing that threats to force people to not only do what they say, but demand people go beyond compliance all the way to believing they are right.

Explaining in more detail that “To make change really happen, it doesn’t need to be managed, but empowered.”

He offers examples of failures with his poor doctor and Blockbusters, however I offer successes of Apple and Southwest.southwest

While we can pick out where they have grown so large that failures have occurred, it impresses me daily how each company empowers their teams to drive their success whether it be technology innovation or customer service excellence.

A major component of the failures is that they as Satell states “Instead of painstakingly building local majorities, they attempted to compel entire populations.”

Whether it be an airline, consumer products company or a small local restaurant.

To implement change –    change

expansion of your travel routes

end a long time successful product

having only vegan and non-vegan days of menu items




If you just explained to you employees WHY this is such a great idea and WHY it will definitely work the predictable expectation is that they WILL full accept it.    Nope – ain’t gonna happen.

Annie Lennox herself could not help you.

You might get a few people to accept, but not the ‘local majority’ as Satell says.  You have to facilitate their acceptance.

How, that is for another entry.


Rule #9 Manage your energy, instead of your time

In truth you cannot manage time. We can get into that debate here, but that would take a series of books for me to win the debate, so this blog entry will have to do.  Image

Read Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman and then get back to me about being able to manage time.

However, managing your energy is possible, practical and necessary for any successful person.  If you have taken a Myers-Briggs or a DISC test you will know something about what interactions give and take energy from you.  Highly extroverted people actually gain energy from people interactions and the reverse for introverts.  Not exactly, but I have seen it so I will let that statement just be.

I am a hybrid.  I find that I get juiced from certain interactions like my presenting to a group, meeting new people, going somewhere new, but get drained after about 2 hours mingling at a party or a trade show.  Sit me down at a poker table and I will play all night, but have me sit in a meeting room reviewing business performance and I need enough caffeine to power a small college campus to stay awake.   Image

So, as a leader in your organization recognize that time management is a myth.  Not that there are not efficiencies that can be gained with creating a daily task list driving to your personal and corporate goals, but realize that if you have your team attend a 4 hour training session on a new technology or process, they will not be highly effective for a couple of hours after the training.   

However, if you let half that team take a long walk (those who are prone to exercise and group activities) and the other half (those who like to be alone) let them sit quietly reading and/or listening to music without having to answer the phone, email or IM for say two hours, you will see an amazing amount of activity both in quality and quantity in the last two hours of the day.   

Yes, there are Harvard Business articles and books on managing  your energy and not your time.  They cover the topic much better than I from a technical perspective.  Here we will take a departure from the managing your individual energy for my mini rant about the USA’s time allotment to work each year and European countries.

Simple put – the US is just nuts and dumb having both a culture and in most workplaces an expectation that 50 to 80 hours of work per week, 16 holiday’s and 10 days personal time is a good idea.   

Yes, we are nuts and dumb.  Stupid and crazy for thinking in any way that this is in any way effective, never mind efficient.

Putting it into context of managing your energy, instead of your time.

In comparison, an average European country will have a work week of 35 to 45 hours, 29 holidays and 15 to 20 days personal time per year.  If the US’s method was superior we should be just outpacing Europe at 1.5 to 1 at minimum in productions, innovation, and average business and economic performance.

It is not happening.

The only result is shorter and less happy life spans – purely my anecdotal evaluation.

Mini rant is over.

In the end, you have to think of how best your energy flows through a day and plan your work accordingly.

I am best first thing early in the morning, just after noon and then between 4pm and 6pm most days.  So, I plan most of my work on those hours and put breaks of exercise and relaxation activities in between.

Article Review – The most important morning ritual

The article ‘The most important morning ritual for every great boss’

is one of those 60 second reads that serves as a great reminder for us executives



who have been through MBA to Center for Creative Leadership training, but




like a golf swing that is Ernie Els one minute





and Charles Barkley the next,







your fundamentals break down and you need to remember the basics.

This is a back to basics reminder on leadership.

The line sometimes the only person you can count on to tell you the unvarnished truth is you.”  is ever so poignant in the down economy as your staff and peers are worried about their jobs, their financial condition, their future in general and tailor their responses to protect themselves.

I am often one to cherry pick what I like about a book, lecture or presentation.  After all, I only chose to follow four of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

The only modification I would say for myself, is not performing this function every morning, but weekly.