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Archive for the ‘! Jen’ Category

CEOs Taking $1 Salaries: Matching the Behavior of Optimism to the Rhetoric of Optimism

In ! Jen, Leaders on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 4:05 am

Recall the Robert Browning poem that begins: “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be.”

There is a growing number of CEOs who, by taking an annual base salary of $1, are sending the message: “Follow me, the best is yet to be.”

Choosing to take one’s compensation in annual and long-term incentives is an interesting conception, with great symbolic meaning. But no one would think for a second that the $1 CEO is being unselfish or taking a path of martyrdom. Rather, he shows he’s willing to have skin in the game; truly believing lasting results will be far superior to any short-term expedients satisfying annual goals alone.

No doubt the net-net for these CEOs will be far fatter coin when dollars are ultimately tallied years from now. And personally, I’d much rather follow the leader who puts her money and true faith where her mouth is.

Great quote from the HBR blog linked above: Executives who realize that leadership is not about being lavished with personal riches, receiving attention, or being served but rather by creating value, developing others, and serving the community are those who inspire the trust and confidence of their colleagues.


Twitter’s Evan Williams: Knowing Oneself

In ! Jen, Change, News on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 11:49 pm

I’ve been absent from this blog since June. But seeing the high view stats, I’m guessing RSS robots must check for updates, so here’s one.

News of interest I’ve come across in the last week have included that of Twitter founder Evan Williams stepping down as CEO. While it seems Williams had his fair share of Emperor’s new clothes moments with people- and general management missteps, it’s notable that he had the judgment and humility to know where his talent better fits. And remarkable that he followed through with action.

It goes without saying the higher up, the harder it is to take such action. But I’m guessing Twitter will be the stronger, in changes yet to be forecast from Williams’ title change alone. Eyes on!

“In the Future, You Will Know Everything You Wish to Know”

In ! Jen, Careers, Development, Learn on Monday, April 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm

This is a Good article about information, and it has a heady title: “In the Future, You Will Know Everything You Wish to Know.”

Increasingly, those in the industrialized world who lament not knowing how to do X are going to be perceived as passive, whiny or unresourceful. The value and validity of resources on the interwebs will, of course, always be in question. That unknown factor and the need for critical skepticism will only grow.

But all the same, if we want to know something badly enough, we’ll be able to find it. And so it goes with development.

I recently met with someone outside work who had asked her manager for assistance on who to network with: she wanted to learn more about business development. The manager didn’t know. So the search stopped there. Firstly, great that the woman asked for help. But chances are, if the search stopped there, she’d self-selected herself out of who-knows-what opportunities.

With the luxury of so much information readily available, not to mention extensive people networks, comes empowerment. S’long, excuses!

Spring Pruning: Less May Result In More

In ! Jen, Change on Monday, April 5, 2010 at 12:12 am

I just came across this column with an elegant recommendation to see things differently. Some nice takeaways:

Every enterprise, business or nonbusiness, must constantly abandon the obsolete and the unproductive. Every organization is likely to be loaded down with yesterday’s promises. These include activities and programs that no longer contribute; the ventures that looked so enticing when started, but now, five years later, are still unproductive.

The best therapy for any organization from the point of view of performance is to purge itself of mediocrities. Systematic sloughing off of yesterday frees energies and resources. It makes available the people and funds required for new things.

An organization, whatever its objectives, must therefore be able to get rid of yesterday’s tasks and thus free its energies and resources for new and more productive tasks.

This could apply to so, so many things. Not as easy as it sounds, of course. For those who garden, you know how terrifying it was that first time to prune back say, rosebush branches. Will this really work? I’ve just spent a whole season sprinkling expensive bone meal and rose food and now I’m slicing back on the growth? But sure enough, you’re rewarded with bigger blooms.

Tells / Explains / Demonstrates / Inspires

In ! Jen, Random Thought on Sunday, April 4, 2010 at 4:44 am

My sister-in-law, who works with at-risk youth in the Chicagoland area, shared with me a good quote about teaching:

“The mediocre teacher tells.

The good teacher explains.

The superior teacher demonstrates.

The great teacher inspires.”

We could substitute any number of professions or roles for “teacher” in this quote. Parent, Manager, Leader, Rabbi, Pastor, Coach, Trainer. They all could fit.

I have a suggestion for William Arthur Ward’s quote. If he weren’t dead and if he was soliciting input, that is. It would be to create a cumulative effect on his quote’s statements. So, for example, the superior teacher tells, explains and demonstrates. Because, quite frankly, it would be exhausting, not to mention incredibly annoying, to be around someone who only inspired.

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