What does Toyota’s ongoing recall problems and Tiger Woods’ infidelities have in common? They’re both a great source of material for comedians and late night TV. They are also very expensive, make sensational headlines, and have tarnished stellar brands.

But an especially interesting leadership link is how these two big news stories vividly demonstrate today’s interconnected and transparent world. Another example is the searching out of a job candidate’s online presence or reputation. Sometimes what’s posted on Facebook, You Tube, or other social media is not the same as what’s on his or her resume or was shown in the job interview. 

Fortune magazine ran a fascinating article recently entitled “Why doing good is good for business.” Richard McGill Murphy states, “In a world where disgruntled employees and unhappy customers can trash you globally in the time it takes to dash off a nasty blog posting or upload a cell phone video, it’s becoming much harder to manage reputation the old-fashioned way, by hiding behind lawyers and crisis-management consultants. Ultimately, the only way to enjoy a good reputation is to earn it by living with integrity.”

The article featured the work of Dov Seidman who, with a master’s degree in philosophy and a Harvard Law Degree, founded a California-based legal and management consulting company. Dov looks remarkably like a younger and less muscle-bound Arnold Schwarzenegger. The article discusses how Dov’s company started with providing services for legal compliance and has evolved into brand, culture, and leadership development.

The studies and examples on the pay-offs from using values and culture to “outbehave” competitors and build branding and reputation from the inside out inspired me to get a copy of his book, How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything … in Business (and in Life). Intrigued by the title, and anticipating lots more meaty research and rich insights, I was disappointed by the book.

As famed American satirist, Ambrose Bierce, (most known for writing The Devil’s Dictionary) once put it, “the covers of this book are too far apart.” How is at least twice as long as it needs to be. Like gold mining, you have to move, crush, and refine a lot of rock to get the nuggets. Seidman’s stories are long and way too detailed with some sections or entire chapters providing rambling flashes of the obvious.

The book’s gold is in Chapters Ten and Eleven dealing with organizational culture. Seidman’s “Spectrum of Culture” starts with “Anarchy and Lawlessness,” moves up to “Blind Obedience,” then steps up to “Informed Acquiescence” and culminates with the strongest and most successful culture of “Self-Governance.” His chart on “The Five Hows of Culture” (pages 228 – 229) is an excellent summary of behaviors, characteristics, signs, and steps to each type of culture. He then builds a strong “Case for Self-Governing Cultures” (Chapter 11) that finishes with these short sections showing why self-governance is the future of business:

  • Self-governing cultures thrive on the free flow of information;
  • A leading company needs to be a company of leaders;
  • Values-based self-governing cultures encourage employee development;
  • Self-governance builds universal vigilance;
  • Self-governance shifts decision making from the pragmatic to the principled;
  • Self- governance is a higher concept.

Engaging in the Pursuit of Excellence

One of the more striking disconnects in organizations around the world is the tendency to cut back on training and development during difficult economic times. Even as these programs prove their value over and over again by introducing new approaches that help improve bottom-line efficiencies across the board, they are often the first expenditure eliminated in the rush to keep budgets balanced.

Perhaps the reason is that many managers still view training and development as an unnecessary “perk” when budgets tighten. Of course anyone who has ever attended one of my workshops understands that a day away from the office can provide new techniques, tools, and perspectives that shift the focus away from what’s impossible to what is entirely doable. Attendees don’t see these events as costs, but investments in their personal, team and organizational performance.

I am delivering a series of one-day Leading @ the Speed of Change: Practical Leadership for Peak Performance workshops in Winnipeg, Toronto, London, Calgary, and Vancouver. This action-packed session is built for supervisors, managers, directors, and executives who are looking for:

  • Ideas and inspiration for personally dealing with or leading change during turbulent times;
  • Tools, techniques, and ideas for strengthening a team/organization;
  • A deeper understanding of the power and application of emotional intelligence;
  • Ways to assess leadership strengths and improvement opportunities;
  • Implementation strategies for personal, team, or organization improvement plans;
  • A recharged, re-energized, and re-inspired approach to change;
  • Insights for coaching and developing others.

To find out more about this workshop, we’ve created a special section on our website that includes a detailed agenda, what you can expect to learn, and a downloadable brochure. In short, it makes a very persuasive case for why you should attend.

If you’re interested in exploring a customized in-house half, one, or two-day version of this workshop for your organization, CLICK HERE to look at the options.