There is a reliable movie trope that suggests the best way to get ahead in business is to be a complete jerk. Whether it’s Gordon Gecko (Wall Street), Lex Luthor (Superman) or Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada), we’re consistently told that the people at the top of organizations got there by climbing over the bodies of their rivals and treating their people like dirt.
A few months ago, I used this forum to discuss the continuing decline of public company CEO’s tenure. At that time, the average tenure was less than five years.
When is the last time you recognized an individual or team in your organization for achieving results, satisfying a customer or living company values? Or the last time you told someone in the organization how much you appreciated them being on the team? I mean you, their leader, personally delivered the message – separate from the company recognition and rewards program.
As a leader, you know that communication is key… but what good is communication if it’s not resonating with your audience? We’re all familiar with the age-old antidote “read the room”, particularly in times of miscommunication and tension. Whether you’re asking for a simple favor from a friend or promoting your products and services to a potential customer, understanding who you are speaking with is crucial in creating a mutual understanding and ultimately reaching whatever your end goal may be. In just about every facet of life, recognizing what motivates your audience is a sure way to pique their interest and desire to cooperate with you.
I recently spoke to the Association of Corporate Counsels on the topic of how to develop and advance an environmental, social and governance (ESG) program. ESG is one of the hottest topics for lawyers and C-suite leaders right now, with investors and employees pushing organizations to become better corporate citizens in the broadest possible sense.
From the moment we take our first test at school, we’re told by parents and teachers that we should go with the first response that comes to us. Our gut tells us the right answer, according to popular wisdom, and changing our mind is counter-productive.