leader and decision

Benevolent Dictatorship

Understanding the rationale for change alone when accountability is lacking is never enough. As leader, you will find yourself having to do the work of your staff in their stead.

By accountability, I mean a leader ensures there are rewards for the right behaviors and good results, and penalties if there are not.

Accountability is never a staff issue. It is always one of leadership. A CEO I know is changing his company’s business model from selling products the company manufactures through distributors to selling directly to customers. It is a good idea that makes sense, and is highly likely to succeed. The new model is not just one of disintermediation. The company will also offer high-value services along with the products, flexible and rapid customization capability, and unparalleled, proprietary, competitive technology.

Despite the CEO’s efforts to reason, persuade, and convince his leadership team of the merits of the new strategy, they remain skeptical. They listen. They critique. They catastrophize. They express agreement in principle begrudgingly, but then drag their feet in action citing all sorts of excuses as to why they cannot change the way they do business.

The CEO tries to reason with his leadership team members again. The cycle of tepid agreement, inaction, and excuses repeats. No progress is made. Yet there are no consequences.

The decisions that your staff might make if they were CEO are not necessarily the same ones you make now, and that is just fine. There is nothing wrong with considering the perspectives of your staff, but you decide the direction of the business. It is reasonable to expect your staff to support your decisions, even when they might disagree. When they are CEO, they can decide.

Accountability is no ersatz for support. You should help with understanding the rationale for any change. You should provide education and other support when needed. You should provide additional resources, whether money, time, additional staff, equipment, or something else as appropriate. You should clarify ambiguity in authority and responsibility when these are ambiguous. You should resolve internal processes in conflict.

Yet even the best support is rarely enough to effect change in behavior. Only you can hold your staff to account. Without accountability, all bets are off.

Only you can hold your staff to account. Without accountability, all bets are off. Click To Tweet

No Executive Boneyard

There IS such a thing as an executive boneyard for those who do not succeed in making a change in business. But that doesn’t mean your bones have to go into it. Even the most obstinate organizations in Japan can be changed — if you do things right.

In this video, I share some of the behaviors that I see in the most successful CEOs who have successfully changed the companies in Japan for the better.

peak performance

The Six Behaviors of Peak Performance

As I boarded a Japan Airlines international first class not long ago, a flight attendant at the entrance to the aircraft greeted me in Japanese with, “Doctor Bleistein! We’ve been expecting you!” rather than the typical, “Welcome aboard, sir!” in English. Not only did she know my name, but but also that my title is “Doctor” and presumed correctly that I speak Japanese, when typically the presumption would be that I don’t.

After the flight leveled off, I got out of my seat and approached her to ask how she knew all this about me. The flight attendant explained that she Googles all first class passengers on the manifest ahead of time, and in her experience, most first class passengers get a lot of hits. She endeavors to know something about each of the passengers for when she interacts with us.

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car dealership

The Post-Distributor Age

We are living in a post-distributor age. Gone are the days of cajoling distributors in representing your products to customers—often poorly. The best businesses of today make it easy, comfortable, and fast for customers to buy actually what the want and how they want it.

A friend of mine in Australia told me how he just bought a new Mini car completely online. He never visited a car dealership. Never test drove the car. He configured all the options online. It was delivered to his house, and he loves it.

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remote work

Make Your Own ‘New Normal’

The so-called ‘new normal’ is something you make, not something you predict, and if you lead a business, you should be deciding what should be your ‘new normal.’

If you lead a business, you should be deciding what should be your 'new normal.' Click To Tweet

Let me tell you three aspect of ‘normal’ that I think should become yours.

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