StrategyDriven Leadership Conversation Episode 3 – Agile Balance

StrategyDriven Leadership Conversations focus on the values and behaviors characteristic of highly effective leaders. Complimenting the StrategyDriven Management & Leadership articles, these conversations examine the real world challenges managers face every day that are not easily solved with a new or redesigned process and instead demand the application of soft leadership skills to achieve a positive outcome.

Episode 3 – Agile Balance explores the key individual and organizational traits that enable the flexibility needed to keep up with today’s rapidly changing business environment while at the same time maintaining the balance needed for success.

Additional Information

The Offsite: A Leadership Challenge FableComplimenting the outstanding insights Robert shares in this edition of the StrategyDriven Leadership Conversation podcast are those he shared in a two-part series on Agile Balance:

Final Request…

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About the Author

Robert Thompson, author of The Offsite: A Leadership Challenge Fable, is the founder of Applied Performance, a leadership and personal communications services company for entry-level through chief executive officers. For the past 25 years, he has worked with a distinguished group of clients that include AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Sony, and Sun Microsystems. To read Robert’s full biography, click here.

Want to learn more about Agile BalanceTM? Contact Robert at [email protected], follow him on Twitter @RobertHThompson or subscribe to his Leadership Path newsletter at

Leading by Looking Back

Conventional wisdom teaches that leadership is about looking forward. We are all taught that leading means creating a compelling vision for the future and inspiring others to follow us into that future. While I fundamentally share this view, I believe the past plays a critical role in how we lead. Leaders must be able to look back. We must learn lessons from our own experiences and from the experiences of those who came before us.

Philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” His words are especially true in the context of leadership. Either we can learn from the past, or we can continue to commit the same blunders. Many leadership “experts” argue that the problems and challenges facing today’s leaders require new leadership attributes. I contend that the attributes never change. How we use them may change, but the attributes remain constant.

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About the Author

Doug Moran has more than twenty-five years of leadership experience in a variety of industries. Doug is the author of the forthcoming book, If You Will Lead: Enduring Wisdom for 21st-Century Leaders. He founded IF YOU WILL LEAD, LLC to help leaders and organizations reach their fullest potential. The firm focuses on leadership development, organization excellence and information technology. His book, speaking, and consulting leverage the power of story-telling and enduring wisdom to help leaders and their organizations excel and grow.

Business Performance Assessment Program – The Horizontal Cut Approach

An organization’s limited personnel resources necessitates that its business performance assessments be performed in the most efficient manner possible. While at times there may be the need for an in-depth end-to-end process review, at other times it will be appropriate to examine performance of a specific task or activities by numerous performers from across the organization. On these occasions, the horizontal cut assessment approach is most appropriate.

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StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective – Expanding Uncertainty in the U.S. Financial Sector, part 5

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act represents the most sweeping change in the regulation of the U.S. financial industry in over half a century. Contained with the act are 243 new rules that will be developed by 11 different government agencies1; fundamentally reshaping how business is done at financial and non-financial institutions. But do these regulations treat businesses fairly and equitably or do they establish an unfair environment that favors a select few?

StrategyDriven believes the answer to this question is the latter. Not only does the Dodd-Frank Act create an unfair advantage for some businesses, the advantages provided favor those companies responsible for the meltdown of the U.S. financial system.

The financial reform act directs absolute rather than scaled coverage in its implementation. Subsequently, small institutions will be subjected to the same regulatory rules as larger ones and those ‘too big to fail’ institutions responsible for our financial marketplace challenges. While the various audits and forms will inevitably have fewer $000s, the cost to perform these reviews and compile and submit these documents will be roughly the same. For small financial institutions, the high cost of compliance will be passed on to a relatively smaller customer base causing a disproportionally high increase their customers’ fees which will in-turn drive these individuals to the ‘too big to fail’ institutions… the very same institutions whose poor performance necessitated the legislation in the first place.

“Small banks, forced to use their limited resources to comply with burdensome new reporting requirements, will suffer, as will the communities they serve.” 2
Bob Corker
United States Senator – Tennessee (R)

StrategyDriven Recommended Practices

StrategyDriven believes the Dodd-Frank Act unduly penalizes small financial institutions not responsible for the financial meltdown of 2008. The full scope of the marketplace imbalance created will take years to be understood as the final details of the many new regulations will not be defined anytime soon. Thus, company leaders must remain vigilant in order to mitigate, transfer, or eliminate the evolving financial industry risks and costs facing their organizations. In this specific case, StrategyDriven suggests company leaders consider the following:

  • Follow the FDIC’s rule making process and understand how these new regulations are impacting financial institution partners; focusing on the changing costs of doing business with these organizations particularly if they are relatively small.
  • Consider whether the relatively higher cost associated with doing business with smaller banks is warranted given other beneficial factors such as community good will.
  • Provide financial advisory programs to employees; ensuring they are apprised of the costs and benefits of maintaining a relationship with both small and large financial institutions.

As always, we’ll provide our thoughts on how business leaders can best prepare for the implementation of the financial reform law and weather the storm in the long-term. We also hope you’ll share your thoughts, lessons learned, and recommended resources with us and the StrategyDriven audience.

Final Request…

StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective PodcastThe strength in our community grows with the additional insights brought by our expanding member base. Please consider rating us and sharing your perspectives regarding the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast on iTunes by clicking here. Sharing your thoughts improves our ranking and helps us attract new listeners which, in turn, helps us grow our community.

Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Editorial Perspective podcast!


  1. “Summary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Enacted into Law on July 21, 2010,” Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, July 21, 2010 (
  2. “Financial overhaul places regulatory burden on community banks,” Cumberland Business Journal, August 2, 2010 (

Leadership Inspirations – Inspire Others

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1848)
6th President of the United States