Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Larry Alton, Pat Romanski

News Feed Item

The Advice I'm Giving CEOs This Year

Evaluating What's Working - and What Isn't - in Their Leadership Styles

NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- "The best CEOs I work with are always learning," says Stephen Miles, founder and chief executive of The Miles Group. "The certainties of today – whether it's relying on a particular business model or banking on a 'category killer' or operating under a particular regulatory framework – can be up-ended and disrupted tomorrow. Corporate chiefs who internalize this reality are best equipped to steer their companies through disruption."

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121114/NY12516LOGO )

As a coach to CEOs and boards worldwide, Mr. Miles asks executives and directors to regularly examine their own leadership style – to see what is working and what is not. Four questions for leaders to consider this year are:

1.   Are you enrolling your employees – or conscripting them? "The command-and-control leadership framework has tremendous strengths, which is why the military has employed it forever. In particular, it can deliver outstanding results in high stress situations. But outside of those situations, leaders need to go beyond this 'conscription' model to 'enroll' their teams and organizations.

"Effective enrollment – through engagement, clarity of strategy, and communication – is a powerful retention tool. Compensation will always matter, but feeling sufficiently enrolled in the mission of an organization leads employees to go the extra mile and do the additional work needed to achieve the mission."

Tips:

  • Connect company strategy with individual tasks: "Having a clear and simple strategy that is unifying and translates into something that employees throughout the organization can buy in to, understand and repeat day-in and day-out will create a multiplying effect on productivity and results."
  • Bring in the "power brokers" within the team or organization: "Engaging both the formal and informal influencers early will have a multiplying effect as these people can act as disciples and 'preach' your mission."
  • Ensure that you are using all of the communication channels available to you: "Make sure that you are reaching employees at all of the effective touchpoints – including through newer communications and appropriate social media tools. A multi-channel approach is required to reach all generations working inside companies today."

2.   Is your role mastery leading to complacency? "When a CEO enters the top role for the first time or joins a new company (or both), the discomfort with being new causes the CEO to ask more questions, double check and triangulate information, and seek out others' opinions. For the vast majority of people, discomfort creates an accelerated learning environment. Over time, the CEO finds his feet and gradually gains greater confidence. This, combined with a natural inclination to become efficient (and the resulting lack of 'diligence and inspection') means that leaders tend to start asking fewer questions, verifying less, and making more assumptions. This is the paradox of 'role mastery.' As one's confidence level goes up, one's discomfort in the role goes down – until that 'oh sh*t!' moment when a negative surprise leads back to being uncomfortable again."

Tips:

  • Assemble the "uncomfortable team": "Building a team around you that is excellent and diverse will increase the likelihood of debate and avoid a rubber-stamp and group-think mentality on issues. Make sure the team has a safe and supportive environment for discussion and debate, and, if you are not getting it, jump in and play devil's advocate."
  • Listen for content: "Have the patience to listen for content versus confirmation, and continue to triangulate multiple data sources. This means you are asking questions and engaging on the topic instead of trying to win the interaction and move on."

3.   Are you tolerating mediocrity? "The disease of 'generalized mediocrity' is rampant in companies today. Mediocrity is insidious and tends to be tolerated a long time because it is not extreme in any way – it becomes hard to pinpoint exactly what the issue is. Too many executives tolerate unprepared people, poor work products, and anecdotal information, which all lead to wasted time and unnecessary meetings and follow-up. This is just not acceptable.

"Eliminating mediocrity requires high levels of engagement, discipline, follow-through, and openness to tension. It can also call for CEOs to diagnose in themselves when they are compensating or not asking for things because that just becomes easier. Setting very high standards, not just for oneself, but for every single person the CEO engages with, is the important first step (CEOs spend the majority of their time in meetings so they need to be highly productive). If the CEO is leading a meeting, assigning project work, or reviewing a business, the preparation and the quality of the thinking and work that goes into the pre-reads, and then the engagement, needs to be high.

"Leaders must set and communicate the standard – and then be disciplined enough to hold to it, even if it means stopping a presentation because the inputs are not high enough quality or the presenter has not adequately prepared, or canceling a meeting if the preparatory materials came in too late and substandard. In order to ferret out habitually average people, CEOs need to use a set of processes and tools that they are relentless and uncompromising on."

Tips:

  • Set expectations high for preparation: "Make it mandatory that 'pre-reads' for meetings be well thought-out and data-driven (vs. anecdotal) X number of days before a meeting. Jeff Bezos at Amazon is famous for having executives write a well-constructed and thought-out white paper (no more than six pages) that the entire executive team sits and reads together and then discusses and debates. The white paper helps eliminate any 'presentation bias' so form never wins over substance."
  • Demand accountability during and after meetings: "Set the expectation that everyone is expected to contribute, and train your executives to build on a point and be additive, versus simply restating points that have already been made. Always ensure minutes are taken, complete with assigned accountabilities for follow-up. Ensure that you assign the 'Directly Responsible Person' for each action item – and then manage your 'DRPs.'"

4.   Do you know when to be a "field general" vs. a "Pentagon general"? "2013, just like the year before it, will demand flexibility from CEOs. No matter what the size of your business, different situations call for different styles of leadership, and each has its time and place:

"A 'field general' role teaches someone to lead from the front, often in very operational situations that require ruthless focus and prioritization. This style is about strong decision-making abilities 'in the field' and being willing and able to make decisions with speed and imperfect information. A field general typically utilizes more of a directive approach involving smaller, but very focused teams. There is often a clean 'mission,' and these leaders reach down and touch a lot of the organization.

"Being a 'Pentagon general' is when you are making the strategic decisions that often are less reversible – you have to think through the second- and third- order effects." It is about slowing down and managing to an outcome – even if the route to get there is a zigzag versus drawing the straightest line between point A and point B. It's about understanding your direct and indirect constituencies and what is in it for them. What are the trade-offs you are willing to make – and what are you not willing to give up on? It is also about dealing with higher levels of ambiguity. Are you able to formulate a point of view when there is no right or wrong answer? A Pentagon general utilizes those around him/her as true advisors who can help shape their thought process, and they triangulate this information for the purpose of making more informed decisions and having a generally broader perspective.

"Many CEOs excel at one leadership style, but the trick is to be able to integrate both into one's leadership process."

Tips:

  • Recognize the way you tend to lead: "Reflecting on your own leadership style can explain a great deal about how you are motivating people in different situations, and where there might be room for improvement."
  • Push your comfort level with a leadership style that isn't 'yours': "If you tend to lead at a 'field general' level, consider a more strategic, long-term approach for steering the company into the future. If you are more of a 'Pentagon general,' be sure to step into a more operational, 'field general' approach when the situation calls for it, as your hands-on leadership will be required. The key is to understand your own foundational approach and then have cues to identify when you are in a field versus a Pentagon decision so that you can 'go to manual' and use the most effective approach for that situation."

Named by Bloomberg Businessweek as "the rising star of CEO consulting," Stephen A. Miles is the founder and CEO of The Miles Group, which develops talent strategies for organizations, cultivates high-performing individuals and teams, and ensures effective leadership transitions through readiness coaching and succession.

To speak with Stephen Miles, please contact Suzanne Oaks or Davia Temin of Temin and Company at 212-588-8788 or [email protected].

SOURCE The Miles Group

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Organizations do not need a Big Data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates Big Data. Most organizations lack a road map for using Big Data to optimize key business processes, deliver a differentiated customer experience, or uncover new business opportunities. They do not understand what’s possible with respect to integrating Big Data into the business model.
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, will discuss some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he’ll go over some of the best practices for structured team migrat...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they bu...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...