I’m lucky enough to have the work-from-home vs. office productivity debate every morning. I work out of two offices: one in downtown Chicago and the other in my condo. I like working in both spaces for different reasons, and I am glad I get to move between them. But I have sometimes wondered where I do my best work, downtown or at home.
Everyone’s favorite fictional performance coach, Wendy Rhoades, is back at it in the first episode of Showtime’s Billions, now in its third season. She has her work cut out for her — her boss, Bobby Axelrod, is banned from trading, and his employees at Axe Capital are struggling to find their way forward. For inspiration, she turns to another fictional character. Wendy offers to help Bobby deal with his dilemma by taking him through a technique created by real-life coach Tony Robbins called the Dickens Process.
As business leaders confront the #MeToo crisis, many turn to sexual harassment training. It seems like such a great idea. Let’s train people not to be harassers. Let’s train people not to be victims. Let’s train everyone how to respect boundaries and respond to reports of sexual harassment. If we train every single person, eventually we’ll get this problem under control.
Sadly, the facts about sexual harassment training are not so great.
“Plans are great until you get punched in the face.” Although Mike Tyson is not a role model for business leadership, this quote of his points to the necessity of being agile — willing to change or even abandon your plans in extreme situations. It reminded me of an old Jewish proverb, “Man plans and God laughs.”
Leadership isn’t easy for anyone. To be great, you need a wide range of abilities and behaviors — high intelligence, analytic skills, strategic thinking, emotional maturity and awareness, interpersonal finesse, the ability to inspire and influence, clarity about priorities, the discipline to get the job done — the list goes on and on.
Leadership consultants like me can spend all day teaching business leaders how to manage better. Usually, that means emphasizing the skills needed to successfully manage other people. And while those are certainly critical, I’ve been at this long enough to know that leaders can only manage others effectively when they have a foundation of managing themselves.
A lot of good men have come to me recently with questions about respecting boundaries — particularly those of their female colleagues. It’s not that they haven’t been thinking about this all along. But in the current environment of increased openness and feistiness about sexual harassment, many men are trying to be especially respectful in their interactions with women.
Imagine a familiar scene: hundreds of talented job candidates milling about an enormous room. Lining every aisle are eye-popping displays from bold-name employers, Google, Boeing, Dow, The U.S. Army. Each booth offers “swag” — a mug, a Frisbee, a notebook, on and on — all acting as lures for people who want to talk with you about whether their company would be a good fit for you.
A friend of mine has been having trouble with bullying and harassment in her workplace. People with more power than she has have been using inappropriate language, limiting her access to resources, and intruding on her physical space.
It turns out that once again the general consensus, paradoxically referred to as “common sense,” is wrong. For decades we have believed that, while psychopaths may not be nice people, they are great for beating the competition and making the big bucks. So while you may not want to marry a psychopath, or even work for one, when it comes to your money, you do want a psychopathic investment advisor who can play the game for blood.
How do you rev up a huge, international company? How do you stay innovative in a traditional industry? How do you make brands relevant and exciting?
Bernardo Hees, CEO of Kraft Heinz, may have highlighted these three challenges in his talk at the Executives’ Club of Chicago, but they’re hardly unique to him. Many CEOs struggle to shake off staid processes and stimulate growth. It’s just that Bernardo Hess happens to be doing it at a company with $26.5 billion in annual revenue.
It’s not that business leaders are uncaring, it’s just that their job is to focus on one thing: profit. Diversity may be a good thing for the world, but let’s face it, for-profit companies are not social-service agencies. For them there are two primary questions about diversity. Does increasing workplace diversity affect my bottom line? And if so, how?
In an era when most employment discrimination is considered unethical (and often illegal), one prejudice continues to thrive unchallenged at work — ageism.