The wife spent her afternoon at the mall and is excited to show off her purchases. She announces that she’s coming out of the bedroom. The slinky, black number is impressive at first, but soon you realize that a size 6 dress on a size 8 frame comes up a tad short in the flattery department.
“No, sweetheart, I don’t think this outfit makes you look fat,” you reply.
For the small businessman or middle class employee, meeting your financial obligations is like trying to navigate the Khumbu Icefall at Mt. Everest. You proceed cautiously looking for solid footing, all the while realizing that unpredictable shifts in the terrain can create yawning crevasses into which you can easily plunge. The route is treacherous, intimidating and highly personal. Only another struggling climber can appreciate the difficulty of the journey.
What on earth can a scholarly meditation of mankind’s fickle journey through history possibly have in common with the characteristics of exponential entrepreneurship; Coca-Cola’s design principles and agility; Baby Boomers not only postponing retirement but also launching businesses; or the role conversations play in the successful implementation of corporate strategies?
The world is changing faster than ever before. Such volatility and uncertainty is frightening for some and exciting for others. getAbstract falls into the latter category, because changing environments always provide inspiration for great books. The books getAbstract selects for its library are all relevant to business, but they share one other characteristic: They never advise “business as usual.”
When it comes to transforming your organization, good intentions will only get you to the starting line. The “whys” and “whats” of change management are significant, of course, but turning theory into practice requires direction. Therein lies the critical difference between Vlatka Hlupic’s The Management Shift and other books that promise to retool and revitalize your culture. Hlupic, a professor at the University of Westminster and founder and CEO of London’s Drucker Society, provides the “hows,” so you can enhance performance and sustain success.
Like many other business experts, Hlupic agrees that the top-down management paradigm is about as practical as a BlackBerry. While it may work for select organizations, the trend toward innovation, collaboration and inclusiveness is undeniable. Hlupic suggests that if you want to remain competitive and profitable, you better empower your people and unleash their creativity and enthusiasm. Hlupic, an in-demand speaker and consultant, spent some time with getAbstract explaining the essence of The Management Shift.
“Look, kid,” the big boss says from behind a solid oak desk, smoke billowing from his pungent cigar as his triple chin spills over the Windsor knot in his tie. “I know ya’ got some talent. Come work for me. I’ll give you a nice salary and good benefits. Maybe someday you’ll have your own office.”
The young man accepts the offer – with the tacit understanding that he’ll spend the next 20 years plowing forward with his head down, obeying orders without so much as a whimper. The employer-employee relationship was pretty simple in the old days – and undoubtedly still exists. But it’s a flawed and outdated managerial style. Working folks are looking for more than financial rewards and even job security – they desperately want to matter.
Recently, we sat down with executive coach, Scott Eblin, to discuss leadership. This time, we turn to the concept of mindfulness, which Scott examines in his most recent book Overworked and Overwhelmed. The topic, which Arianna Huffington termed the “third metric” of success, is extremely timely. In our fight or flight culture, we are beginning to understand that accomplishment can no longer be measured simply by fortune and power. Instead, we must figure in the quality of our life – our health and happiness – as measures of our achievement. But in our 24/7 corporate culture, how can we ensure our net worth and title are in line with our mental health? We spoke with Scott to find out.
If you’ve delighted in Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles or any of Pixar’s other animated films, then you recognize the studio’s trademark creative genius. But you don’t win numerous Academy Awards and generate billions of dollars in ticket and video sales by happenstance. You need gifted employees, keen business acumen and, above all, an inspirational leader who understands and can execute your organization’s vision.
Ed Catmull, co-founder and president of Pixar Animation Studios, is credited with revolutionizing the animated film industry and establishing Pixar as the gold standard. He’s known as a dynamic, insightful and humble man who relishes the challenge of melding diverse interests into a unified, cohesive unit.
Catmull’s book, Creativity, Inc., details Pixar’s remarkable achievements and provides profound insight into Catmull’s managerial philosophy and methodology. Though he’s a strong, decisive CEO, Catmull is a far cry from the old-time stereotypical executive bully who rules with an iron fist and swears by his infallibility. Quite to the contrary, Catmull wears his vulnerability as a badge of honor and sees inestimable value in admitting to mistakes and misjudgments. In fact, one of his core principals focuses on uncovering “unseen problems” and attempting to ensure that they are not repeated.
“We will always have problems, many of them hidden from our view,” explains Catmull. “We work hard to uncover these problems, even if doing so means making ourselves uncomfortable (and) we marshal all of our energies to solve (them).”
When it comes to industry dominance and profitability, everyone knows Google is a colossus. But the company is also a giant in the eyes of its workforce. In results from Glassdoor’s annual Employees’ Choice Awards, Google co-founder Larry Page was voted the best large company CEO. Glassdoor, the career website, bases its awards solely on anonymous input from employees.
Google also was ranked No. 1 in two other categories – best places to work and compensation and benefits – and No. 3 in cultures and values. Glassdoor’s large company category includes organizations with more than 1,000 employees. Page, who received a 97% approval rating, was followed by Nike’s Mark Parker (97%), H-E-B’s Charles Butt (96%), Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (95%) and Ultimate Software’s Scott Scherr (95%). Employees in the United Kingdom also rated Page No. 1 (99%), followed by Ken Chenault (98%) of American Express, David Dyson (97%) of Three, Martin Bennett (97%) of HomeServe UK and Carolyn McCall (96%) of easyJet.
“Gaining the trust and approval of an entire workforce is one of the most difficult yet rewarding responsibilities for any leader,” said Robert Hohman, Glassdoor CEO and co-founder.
Scott Eblin, is the co-founder and president of The Eblin Group, a professional development firm that supports executives and managers in exhibiting leadership presence by being fully present. The popular coach and speaker has also penned two of our favorite business books The Next Level and Overworked and Overwhelmed, the latter of which New York Times best selling author Marshall Goldsmith says “will fundamentally change how you live each day.” We were lucky enough to have the chance to sit down with Scott recently to discuss his philosophies and how we can overcome the fight or flight feeling so many of us frequently feel.