A few years ago, some of my Silicon Valley executive coaching clients asked me if I had seen the Bob Newhart “Stop It” video. It was making the rounds in their company. When I saw it, I understood why they wanted me to watch it.
Last summer, we took a road trip from San Francisco, through Zion, Bryce, and on to Telluride, Colorado. While in Telluride, we took a fly fishing lesson from Marty at Telluride Fly Fishers. Marty was a great guide and very patient with this city girl! I had piled on several layers of clothes in anticipation of wide temperature swings in the Rockies.
Your intrepid Tangle Doctor has been tied up, so to speak, implementing new ways to untangle corporate leadership knots and teaching MBA students how to work well together and be effective leaders. So many tangles, so little time!
When you have a toothache, would you consult a car mechanic who took a year-long, part-time course in dentistry, even if you felt he had a knack for it? If your child has a high fever and hacking cough, would you take him or her to your neighbor for treatment, one who has two children of her own, and works as an accountant? Probably not.
It is so easy to make excuses when things don't turn out as you planned. How often are you tempted to point the finger of blame? As an executive leadership coach, I have worked with leaders who have gotten in the bad habit of blaming others and are surprised when they don't get the results that they want.
Do you realize that every time you speak to peers, direct reports, and Board members, you have the opportunity to transform your relationship? Do you know that you can align your mind, brain, and conversations to create a more productive working relationship?
I've been a student of leadership and organizational behavior for a long time. In my own recent research, I found that a CEO who is open and approachable is much more likely to get learn about early warning signals, before they become bad news. This has been validated by research studies. Leaders who are agreeable and access the extraverted part of their personality are easier to approach. They are more likely to listen without judgment and not bite off the head of those who bring unpleasant news. They create a culture of openness that trickles down throughout the organization. In cultures of openness, individuals aren't afraid of speaking up.
Over the past several years, I have consulted with dozens of women leaders who want to excel in the executive ranks. Many have already made it to the S. V.P. level, and some to E.V.P. or even CEO. Others are Directors wanting to move to the V.P. level. Typically, the person hiring me states that the individual has received feedback that she needs to improve her executive presence. Sometimes, the request is for assistance in improving influence skills. Other times, the assignment is more general as in, "we feel she is a high potential and needs some help in moving to the next level." Sometimes, the request is for a C-level female executive who needs to improve her emotional intelligence.
Consider this. Economic pundits have declared that volatility is the New Normal. Markets are fluctuating wildly day to day. Executive officers, guiding their companies, are afloat in a sea of uncertainty. Investors generally take fewer risks during volatile times. It takes guts to invest when the downside may be greater than the upside. It also takes courage to make major business decisions.