A recent Harvard Business Review article reported on research dealing with the role of “sense of purpose” in enabling companies to attract top talent and achieve strong results. They single out BlackRock as a prime example. Founded 25 years ago, BlackRock has quickly become the largest asset management firm in the world. Currently it is generating its best ever revenue and profits, and its stock price is up 50% versus year ago and is five times higher than it was in 2004.
Gutsy Leadership Blog
A leader needs to create a culture that is tightly focused on finding new ideas and approaches and trying them out. Too often we see success causing people to believe they have finally figured things out and that the challenge now is to not mess it up; that is, they become very protective of the status quo.
A couple of months ago, a Tesla owner in California plugged his Model S into an outlet in his garage to recharge it, only to realize shortly thereafter that his garage was on fire! The local Orange County Fire Authority isolated the problem to overheating of the Tesla adapter and the wall outlet that the adaptor [...]
While I was watching the Seattle Seahawks thump the Denver Broncos, I was struck by how many times the announcers made the comment that many of the players on the very young Seahawk team were recent 6th or 7th round draft picks. They were amazed that these players seemed to be playing way above what their past “credentials” would suggest they would be able to do.
To me, the most disappointing part of their Q4 report was that back at the end of the prior quarter (Q3 of 2013), IBM had reported a 17% drop in hardware sales and at that time the executives said they hoped that their hardware division would stabilize in the fourth quarter. It’s as if they don’t really understand the technological inflection point that the hardware industry is going through, as the world increasingly supports cloud computing and services.
When leaders push an organization forward and overcome challenge after challenge, using the characteristics noted above, the troops quickly develop strong confidence in the leader and in the organization’s ability to achieve great things.
Psychologists define the term “cognitive control” as the scientific label for putting ones attention where one wants it and keeping it there in the face of temptation to wonder. Basically we are talking about focus. The psychologists believe that cognitive control enables individuals to pursue a goal despite distractions and setbacks. Naturally, this is an extremely important capability to be a successful leader. The same neural circuitry that allows such a single-minded pursuit of a goal also manages unruly emotions. Consequently, psychologists point out that good cognitive control can be seen in people who stay calm in a crisis, tame their own agitation, and quickly recover from a debacle or defeat.
I suspect this story quickly made the rounds among the financial analysts on Wall Street, and in the future may cause these analysts to be a bit skeptical of Yahoo’s public statements about its business results.
A hostage situation is law-enforcement’s worst-case scenario, because it places innocent civilians directly in harm’s way. Armed intervention becomes very risky, since the hostages themselves can be harmed either by stray bullets or by the hostage-takers. That makes the negotiation the most important aspect of any hostage crisis.
During 2013, there were two firings of CEO’s who were in their jobs less than two years. The lesson from those two incidents is vividly clear. Let’s take a look. After suffering basically flat results for several years, in November, 2011 JC Penney hired Ron Johnson from Apple as CEO. Ron had been very successful [...]