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Gutsy Leadership Blog

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Creating Rapport with an Organization

A few years ago a faculty member at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School published a paper describing how he and his colleagues incorporated military leadership principles into the MBA curriculum. One example that stuck with me after reading the article underscored the importance of creating a personal link with people in your organization and how it pays off when leading people through a major change.

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Exploiting Innovation – If You Want To!

KP is a healthcare organization that operates a large network of hospitals and physicians. Over the years they have had a very successful internal innovation team charged with developing/finding bright ideas and implementing them. For example, that team designed a clever system for reducing medication errors and importantly, implemented it in all KP hospitals and it has been enormously successful. Many hospitals have copied that system.

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A Leaders Primary Responsibility: Generating Significant Advantage

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been struck by the similarity between the situations that Yahoo and IBM are in. Both are madly scrambling to figure out where to go from here.

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How to Deal with Egotistical Rising Stars

These days just about all organizations of some size have some sort of a program to identify and nurture their rising stars. This makes a ton of sense, since the high achievers can have a very significant impact on business results.

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How to Achieve Peak Performance!

A couple of years ago a management research firm did a massive survey of almost 100,000 people employed worldwide and surprisingly almost a third cited “burnout” as a problem they were experiencing.

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Avoiding the Damaging Effects of Envy

A few years ago a couple of behavioral science researchers published some work focused on the damaging effects of envy. An example they used in explaining their learnings involved a west coast salad buffet chain called Fresh Choice. While fairly successful, the management of Fresh Choice took serious notice of a restaurant chain called Zoppa, which had very creative menu items and stores with lively and energetic décor and atmosphere. After studying the organization they went ahead and acquired it.

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What’s The “Purpose” of What You Are Doing?

Mission statements are often dismissed as just a simple set of words that gets filed and seldom revisited. This is a missed opportunity. A well written mission statement motivates by tapping into what organizational psychologists call task significance – a satisfying feeling that small tasks link to a bigger goal. U.S. President Lyndon Johnson loved to tell a story about asking a truck driver who worked at NASA in the 1960’s what his job was. The driver’s response: “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

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Beware of the 3 Major Roadblocks to Change

Organizations don’t survive without the ability to regularly implement change to adapt to new situations and capabilities and seize opportunities. A few years ago researchers at Harvard Business School pulled together their finding on why change initiatives tend to get bogged down and don’t succeed. Their conclusions were based on extensive interviews with corporate leaders over many years. Here are the three biggest barriers and how to deal with them:

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A Human Weakness: Sitting Back and Enjoying Success!

The retailer Tommy Hilfiger was launched in the early 1990’s and by the mid 1990’s is was a huge success. The press often called its oversized jeans and uniquely styled jackets the “teen uniform of the era.” Hilfiger claimed “All the preppies, all the cool kids, the surfers, the skateboarders – everyone was wearing it.”

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How to Avoid Dumb Ideas!

For years, Target had its eye on expanding into Canada. In fact, it may have been too anxious. The CEO at the time saw an opportunity to make a big entry into the country. Specifically, in 2011 Target bought the store leases, 124 of them, of the now defunct discount chain, Zellers, for $1.8 billion. On the surface, the deal looked brilliant, giving Target an immediate cross-country presence and it avoided the expense of building its own stores.

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