June 20, 2005

Best you might've missed Here are the articles and resources I found most interesting, intriguing, or helpful recently. Organizations "Can Executives Job Share?" This article asks and answers that question with a real-life example, excerpted from Havard Business Review. Just in Time Meeting Attendance. It may not ever be possible, but wouldn't it be great if you could just show up for the parts of meetings that you need? Also see What's Your Agenda? "Good Managers Focus on Employees' Strengths, Not Weaknesses." From the author of First, Break All The Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently and The One Thing You Need to Know. "The Resilience Inventory: Seven Essential Skills for Overcoming Life's Obstacles and Determining Happiness." "Organizations can positively impact their bottom line by...taking key steps to boost resilience within their organizations." HR "Say You Want a Revolution: How BPO is Changing HR." From the new Workforce Performance Solutions magazine. "Why HR Gets No Respect." Three reasons from BusinessWeek Online. E-Learning Learning Objects R.I.P. Are learning objects dead? Alan Levine discusses the issue on his CogDogBlog. Ivy League E-Learning. "How eCornell helps Cornell University translate and enrich the classroom experience for purposes of online executive and professional education." "The Business of Life: E-Learning Threatens Publishers." Publishing companies are feeling the heat from course materials posted online. Study Suggests Online Learning Can Break Down Barriers. "Online learning resources and mentoring programmes could boost the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering higher education." Emergent learning "Corporations Entering Brave New World of Blogs." More and more companies are getting into the blogging game. Also see "Wikis, Weblogs and RSS: What Does the New Internet Mean for Business?" Trends The World is Flat video. Here's an online video from Thomas Friedman, who made such a big splash lately with his new book. Tools QuickVerbalTatics.com. This website provides a wealth of information on effective communication and its use in disarming conflict. (Thanks, LifeHacker.)
Real reasons CEOs get fired Why do CEOs get fired? According to a four-year study from LeadershipIQ.com, it's not why you might think. Financial performance of the company is not the reason more than 1,000 board members gave when surveyed. Instead, the study showed that CEOs get fired for reasons tied to poor leadership skills, such as mismanaging change, tolerating low performers, and more. From the press release: "Mismanaging change (31%): Virtually every organization we interviewed indicated they were undergoing, or had recently undergone, a change initiative. However, half of board members said that their change initiative did not go well. Most pointed to a failure on the CEO’s part to properly motivate employees and managers, and more specifically, to adequately sell the need to change course. Another group identified the CEO’s inability to follow-through and solidify the gains as the cause of failure. Ignoring customers (28%): Even with Sarbanes-Oxley, many board members have close ties with, or are themselves, customers of the organization. And they overwhelmingly said that if a CEO ignores or alienates customers, it not only undermines the business and revenue, but it significantly undermines board support. Board members said their test for whether the CEO was sufficiently engaged in the business was the extent to which they evidenced intimate knowledge of customers, customer needs and developing trends. Tolerating low performers (27%): Board members shared that when CEOs allowed an obvious low performer to linger (without any improvement or discipline), it destroyed the CEO’s credibility and made it politically difficult for them to hold others accountable. Board members also complained of CEOs becoming too emotionally attached to a low performer(s) whether from loyalty, fear of being seen as too harsh, or unrealistic optimism. Significantly, Board members also suspected that, in numerous cases, CEOs covered for poor performers out of fear that they might divulge embarrassing or indicting information. Denying reality (23%): Board members overwhelming said they could handle bad news and significant course corrections. What they couldn’t handle was a CEO who was in denial and wouldn’t recognize the bad news. Many board members felt that they were closer to the market and customers than the ousted CEO, and a significant percentage said the CEO was far too insulated from frontline realities. Board members also said they would rather have bad news and a plan to fix it, than they would no news or sugarcoated news. Too much talk, not enough action (22%): We heard many comments about CEOs talking the talk, but being unable to walk the walk. Numerous board members complained that CEOs could talk endlessly about grand visions and new strategies, but would both neglect a tactical plan for the 'who, what, when and where,' as well as evidence of its implementation. One board member commented that their former CEO 'gives good meetings,' but little else."

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