Posted on May 01, 2012 by Bruce Brown
This site was built by Ron's brother, Bruce Brown. If you'd like one too, go here.
Posted on January 25, 2012 by Ronald T. Brown, Ph.D.
Former CEO of GE, Jack Welch, offers the following rules for successfully navigating your leadership role:
1) Control your destiny, or someone else will.
2) Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.
3) Be candid with everyone.
4) Don’t manage, lead.
5) Change before you have to.
6) If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.
Posted on November 04, 2011 by Ronald T. Brown, Ph.D.
CHEAP, FAST, or GOOD…
When a leader (or leadership team) plans to bring about significant change or growth in a department (or entire organization), they usually want to make the change cheap and fast – while still achieving a good outcome.
But there is a problem. A governing “law of change” states that when planning a major change – a leader can only attain 2 of the 3. A leader cannot garnish all three of these qualities at once.
A leader (or leadership team) can either pursue the change initiative:
“Cheap & Fast” (resulting in a compromise of quality)
“Fast & Good” (resulting in major outlay of resources)
“Cheap & Good” (where sufficient time is available to overcome any lack of resources)
** But the bottom line is… as a leader, you cannot expect to get all three of these qualities at once. The “Law of Change” will force you to choose. To make a hard choice regarding how you really want the change process to play out. So remember, though you may want all three – you can only have two!
** Think of a change process you are undertaking… Are you trying to break this governing “Law of Change”, or have you come to peace regarding which 2 qualities you will leverage?
Posted on October 20, 2011 by Ronald T. Brown, Ph.D.
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Anthony Robbins
The decisions you make today will shape your future tomorrow. “Ten years from now” will one day surly arrive, and it is the decisions you are making today (combined with definitive action) which will determine Where, Who and What your life will represent at that point in time. The decisions you are making right now, are shaping not only how you feel today – but who you are going to be in the days and years to come.
“Man is not the creature of circumstances; circumstances are the creatures of men.” – Benjamin Disraeli
Right now you can make a decision to: go back to school, learn how to ballroom dance, save more of your income, learn how to fly a plane, learn a new language, take your children out for lunch once a week,… If you would just decide – you can start steering your life in a new direction to accomplish almost anything.
Becoming a “decision maker” will bring both clarity and relief to your life. Clarity as you decide what your life will focus on; relief as you feel you are no longer in limbo – that your life is now moving forward.
There are 3 decisions you can make every day to control your destiny:
1) Decisions regarding what you will focus on.
2) Decisions regarding what values and priorities will guide you.
3) Decisions regarding what you will do right now to start creating the results you desire.
Remember, you can raise the quality of your life by a conscious decision – followed trough with action. And the power of making decisions rests with you – whether you are a common laborer or a king. Start making decisions TODAY. Decide NOW.
** Continue making these types of decisions OFTEN. Remembering that it is your decisions, not your conditions, which determine your destiny.
** What decision can you make right now?
Posted on October 03, 2011 by Ronald T. Brown, Ph.D.
Having read my share of books on leadership, and served as a leader in various settings – I believe there are three distinctives that form the foundation for effective leadership.
These three are:
1) Deep Commitment to the Cause
A review of history shows that successful leaders were deeply passionate about pursuing specific outcomes. They were both focused and passionate. Many people fail as leaders because, for whatever reason, they do not have passion for what they are trying to accomplish in their organization.
In an organization, greatness often rises from the vision, passion and commitment of senior leadership. From this passion, followers derive both enthusiasm and confidence to help attain that vision.
2) Tested Character
A second disctictive of effective leadership is character. Who you are when people are looking – and when no one is looking?
In my opinion, integrity is foremost among the various traits of character. A leader must be trustworthy – they must carefully “walk their talk.” Stephen Covey writes, “The real key to your influence with me is your example, your actual conduct. And your example will flow naturally out of your character.”
All too often, there is a gap between the “talk” and “walk” of a leader. When this occurs, the organization is hamstrung by that hypocrisy. Productivity, innovation and morale all suffer as followers comply with the orders of the leader - but do so with minimal enthusiasm or sacrifice. “The credibility of leadership is what determines whether people will want to give more of their time, talent, energy, experience, intelligence, creativity, and support.” (Kouzes and Posner)
3) Sincere Compassion
Effective leaders lead with compassion – they show a genuine, heart-felt concern for the needs, feelings, and aspirations of those they lead. They care about those they lead as much as they care about the corporate goals.
Many organizations use fear as a motivation. But fear leads to compliance, not commitment. People motivated by fear are rarely committed to the leader’s vision. In their book, Credibility, Kouzes and Posner write, “If leaders appreciate their people and show that they take their interests to heart, their people will in turn trust them as their leader.”
** Our Skills are Necessary… But More Is Needed
Indeed, leadership requires more than the three traits mentioned here. It requires situational knowledge, adaptability, and courage - among other skills. But while these skills are necessary, the traits mentioned above serve as the foundation for lasting and effective leadership.
Posted on September 16, 2011 by Ronald T. Brown, Ph.D.
Henry Ford was a great leader and entrepeneur - but what many people don't know is the Ford Motor Company was not his first company. One of his earlier companies even went bankrupt. Henry, like most successful business leaders, did not just go from one success to another. He learned from both his mistakes and successes.
Here are a few of Henry Ford's words of wisdom:
1. Our customers can have a Model T in any color they like, as long as it's black.
2. Asking "Who ought to be the boss?" is like asking "Who ought to be the tenor in the quartet?" Obviously, the man who can sing tenor.
3. The greatest thing we can produce is character. Everything else can be taken away from us.
4. A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business.
5. Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.
6. A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one.
7. Competition is the great teacher.
8. The unhappiest man on earth is the one who has nothing to do.
9. If there is any secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as your own.
10. One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do.
11. Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
12. Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.
13. Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.
14. The air is full of ideas. They are knocking you in the head all the time. You only have to know what you want, then forget it, and go about your business. Suddenly, the solution will come into your mind. It was there all the time.
15. Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.
16. Paying attention to simple little things that most men neglect makes a few men rich.
17. Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
18. Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
(Adapted from article in EagleZine - Dr. Tom Hill)
Posted on September 03, 2011 by Ronald T. Brown, Ph.D.
How “power” should be used in leadership and and organizations, is being redefined – reflecting that power has more to do with exerting power over yourself than exerting power over others. The following are four tips to boost your “power” as a leader:
1. Be true to yourself, even if you are a little weird. Your High School years were the last time conformity and power went hand in hand. As an adult, power comes from knowing what sets you apart from the crowd — and how your distinctive traits are useful to help or serve others in a positive and unique way. Which brings us to…
2. Know how to express yourself. If you want your ideas to be heard, you need to know how to command the right kind of attention. Being witty (like Ronald Reagan) is powerful; while sarcasm is not. In addition, don’t qualify your opinions (“I may be the only person who thinks this, but…”). Finally, never ramble when stating your opinion, or making a key point. Indeed…
3. Less is usually more. Great cooks and entertainers leave audiences wanting more. Abraham Lincoln got it right when he gave the Gettysburg Address – one of the most powerful speeches in history. It was less than 300 words and lasted only two minutes. Be accurate, concise, and compelling.
4. Force isn’t power. Unless you’re a drill sergeant or prison warden, it is pretty hard to force anyone to do your bidding. Instead, people yearn to connect with purpose and passion and something bigger than themselves. As a leader, think authentic inspiration – for in a nutshell – that is the new “power” which drives effective leadership.
Posted on August 24, 2011 by Ronald T. Brown, Ph.D.
Posted on August 13, 2011 by Ronald T. Brown, Ph.D.
Dee Hock is the founder and former CEO of VISA. A world renouwn leader, here are a few of Dee Hock's key management principles, in his own words:
Short Course - PhD in Leadership: Make a careful list of all things done to you that you detest. Don't do them to others, ever. Make another list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always.
Associates: Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience. Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind.
Employing Yourself: Never hire or promote in your own image. It is foolish to replicate your strength. It is idiotic to replicate your weakness. It is essential to employ, trust, and reward those whose perspective, ability, and judgment are radically different from yours. It is also rare, for it requires uncommon humility, tolerance, and wisdom.
Compensation: Money motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. It can move the body and influence the mind, but it cannot touch the heart or move the spirit; that is reserved for belief, principle, and morality. As Napoleon observed, "No amount of money will induce someone to lay down their life, but they will gladly do so for a bit of yellow ribbon."
Form and Substance: Success follows those adept at preserving the substance of the past by clothing it in the forms of the future. Preserve substance; modify form; know the difference.
Creativity: The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. Every mind is a room packed with archaic furniture. You must get the old furniture of what you know, think, and believe out before anything new can get in. Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it.
Leadership: Here is the very heart and soul of the matter. If you look to lead, invest at least 40% of your time managing yourself--your ethics, character, principles, purpose, motivation, and conduct. Invest at least 30% managing those with authority over you, and 15% managing your peers. Use the remainder to induce those you "work for" to understand and practice the theory. I use the terms "work for" advisedly, for if you don't understand that you should be working for your mislabeled "subordinates," you haven't understood anything. Lead yourself, lead your superiors, lead your peers, and free your people to do the same. All else is trivia.
Four beasts that inevitably devour their keeper -- Ego, Envy, Greed, and Ambition: In his 1991 Business Hall of Fame acceptance speech Hock explained: "Through the years, I have greatly feared and sought to keep at bay the four beasts that inevitably devour their keeper -- Ego, Envy, Greed, and Ambition. In 1984, I severed all connections with business for a life of isolation and anonymity, convinced I was making a great bargain by trading money for time, position for liberty, and ego for contentment -- that the beasts were securely caged."
Posted on August 06, 2011 by Ronald T. Brown, Ph.D.
Leaders understand that everything comes down to relationships - but they do not let relationships prevent them from leading.
This is a paradox that effective leaders understand and live out.