Leadership Inspirations – Only Change is Constant

“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”

Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)

Irish poet and playwright

“Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.”

Bernard Berenson (1865 – 1959)

American art historian

Seemingly harsh words, but consider…

Consistency is an interesting word. We often think of it as a desirable quality but that really depends on one’s perspective. In today’s highly competitive business environment, product and service quality are continually advancing. Therefore, companies consistently meeting or exceeding customer expectations are necessarily improving; making their performance anything but consistent. Likewise, employees exhibiting seemingly consistent performance relative to the market are really improving while those whose performance is truly consistent fall behind.

So for the successful, the only true constant is change.

Leadership Inspirations – Listening

“Think of all the times in your life when you learned something, when you discovered something new. When this happened, were you speaking or listening?”

Lucas Ives

Verizon Wireless

When speaking, you are providing information and when listening, you are receiving information. It may be nothing new, but then again, it may be new, important or even life changing. Take the time to listen and maybe, the next time you really do need to speak, the information you provide will be new to the listener. It may actually be important to them, or even life changing.

Leadership Inspirations – Incompetence Begets Incompetence

“Incompetency begets incompetency. The last thing a guy who isn’t sure of himself wants is a guy backing him up who is sure of himself.”

Lee Iacocca
former President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, Chrysler Corporation

The sad fact is that this situation occurs all too often. Instead of nurturing their rising stars, insecure executives and managers feel their positions and reputations are threatened by these top performers and act to:

  • take personal credit for the rising star’s performance output and results
  • hide the star performer from the view of other executives and managers by preventing their participation in cross disciplinary initiatives, public presentations, and interaction with other executives and managers
  • diminish the star’s performance evaluation ratings with claims that the star intimidates seniors and/or is too aggressive

These behaviors disenfranchise star performers; resulting in reduced output and elevated attrition. The net result, of course, is diminished organizational performance and value creation, the exact opposite of what the executive or manager is charged to achieve.

Insecure executives and managers fail to recognize that they are not competing with their subordinates. Executives and managers are evaluated on their ability to lead others to the achievement of superior results, their subordinates on their ability to perform the tasks from which those results are derived. Therefore, subordinates’ superior performance does not place executives and managers at risk. To the contrary, a subordinate’s superior performance is often attributed to the capable leadership of the individual’s manager. Competent executives and managers understand this concept and surround themselves with superstar performers. Incompetent and insecure executives and managers do not recognize this fact and subsequently surround themselves with even less competent subordinates; condemning themselves and their organizations to inferior performance.

Leadership Inspirations – Playing the Cards You Are Dealt

“Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.”

Josh Billings
American Humorist
(1818 – 1885)

Executives, managers, and supervisors assuming a new role inherit with it the employees of their predecessors. And whether super stars, solid performers, or those needing special attention, each individual possesses unique knowledge and skills, proficiencies and development needs. Good managers organize their workforce and assign tasks to combine individual strengths and weaknesses in a way that maximizes the group’s performance output and personnel growth.

Leadership Inspirations – Think Action, Act Thoughtfully

“Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.”

Henry Bergson

Chair of Modern Philosophy, College of France and Winner of the 1927 Nobel Peace Prize in Literature