The Leadership Lid...are you the lid?

Posted by Steve Whittington on Sep 17, 2016 9:16:40 AM

capped-potentialMany of us have been there: you report to someone that “doesn’t get it.” The frustration in the air is palpable. The leader of the group dictates the progress, the environment and ultimately the effectiveness of the team. The leader is the lid the team bumps up against in their desire to be more.

Every organization, every department, every team, board or division has a lid to its potential and that lid is its leader. The unit will only rise as high as the leader will allow it, either knowingly or unknowingly, based on the leader's capabilities. This principle is very self evident in professional sports: change the coach and the future of the team is changed without changing players.

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Topics: Leadership, features of leadership, Leadership lid, Leadership Series, Blogs

The Leadership Gap

Posted by Steve Whittington on Jul 20, 2016 1:46:15 PM

In a recent podcast called Meeting the Leadership Transition Challenge, my guest Jane Halford of Bolt Transition indicated that 40% of all leadership transitions fail within the first 18 months. While this is shocking in and of itself, there are even more alarming numbers in the workforce composition.

The vast majority of our senior leaders are in the boomer generation aged 50- 69. This group represents 27% of the Canadian population and 31% of Canada’s workforce (as of 2015).  The tipping point where the boomers are the biggest generation in the workplace has come and gone. That's not surprising when you consider that 250,000 boomers retire annually currently and that rate is set to grow to 400,000 annually in a few years.

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Topics: bolt transition, business leadership, Leadership, Leadership gap, leadership transition, Leadership Series, Blogs

The top 3 qualities of leadership I learned from mountain climbing

Posted by Graphic Intuitions on Jun 2, 2016 9:00:07 AM

Even before I reached the summit of Mount Everest, I had discovered many components of great leadership. Like you, I have read a book or two about leadership. I started creating lists of leadership qualities I had gathered from mentors, books and colleagues. But my profound understanding of leadership came from my experience on mountains leading teams. And as our team descended from the highest peak on earth, I became even more convinced that some qualities of leadership are far more important than others.

What makes an effective leader? When I present my Alpine Leadership Keynote talk at conferences and events, I share how climbing mountains has helped to shape the three components of great leadership that I call on the most.

The leadership skills and qualities needed to be successful in the Alpine world are the same as in the business world; the difference is the level of consequence. In the Alpine, bad leadership has the ultimate price.

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Topics: leadership keynote speaker, features of leadership, great leadership, leadership qualities, Leadership Series, leadership training

Why you need to challenge your business assumptions

Posted by Steve Whittington on Apr 30, 2016 7:46:12 AM

It iusability-testings easy to get trapped in the rut of “market of one” thinking (if I like this every one else should).  To mitigate this thinking our team regularly takes one of our websites and submits it to a user testing group. This group is tasked to answer questions such as describing the purpose of the site, finding a product, requesting a quote, finding the warranty on a product; typical tasks we want our customers to be able to do easily on our website. Of course (us) the people who designed the site know how to do all of these tasks easily, but what about a first time user?  That is what we want to know.

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Topics: challenge your assumptions, Leading yourself, Marketing Series, self improvement, Testing, Leadership Series, Blogs, user testing

Leadership doesn’t mean being out in front

Posted by Graphic Intuitions on Jan 20, 2016 1:18:16 PM

The Hero Leader

The image of a leader is often an individual out front. Leaders lead. I agree with this. What I do not agree with is the image of the superhero leader. I believe leadership is more about soft qualities such as courage, discipline, patience, perseverance, consensus building, listening, coaching and consistency; as opposed to “hero” qualities of decisiveness, being a visionary and having an unwavering resolve. To be clear, I think the “hero” qualities are needed to be an effective leader, but without soft qualities the leader would charge off in a direction decisively, full of vision and resolve. That "leader" would most likely just be going for a walk by themselves.

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Topics: Leadership, Leadership Series, Soft Leadership skills, Blogs

Can company values be more than just words?

Posted by Steve Whittington on Oct 25, 2015 3:43:23 PM

Core-Values-with-Lightbulb-1024x673I was at a vendor meeting last week.  I was explaining to the two people in the meeting room how our advertising needs to be more than just call to action, the message needs to be 100% on brand, it has to integrate with our event boxes, running an ad one day late into next month or starting a day late is unacceptable because it reflects poorly on our organization.  What I was doing was getting them to understand our value: Make Things Better.  I told them this and one of them smiled and then commented. “You are quoting your company values and I do not even know ours, even though they are printed on our walls.”

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Topics: Company Culture, creating culture, Leadership Series, Blogs

Leaders Lead

Posted by Steve Whittington on Jun 7, 2012 1:30:04 PM

Mount SaskLeaders also listen. In my profession I lead sales and marketing teams, for recreation I lead teams in the mountains. Recently on an attempt of a shark finned unclimbed peak (Mt Saskatchewan; 11, 385 ft in the Centennial Range, Kluane National Park, Yukon) I faced my greatest leadership challenge. The team Prairie Vertical faced increasing consequence every step we took up the mountain, and then conditions turned against us and decisions became black or white, life or death.

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Topics: Leadership, engaged teams, Leadership Series, marketing leadership, sales leadership, setting direction, team building, Blogs, vision

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