Dear Leaders

    A monthly letter with actionable leadership ideas.

    What the Best Managers Do Differently

    Dear Leaders, Low employee engagement is a pressing concern that many of you have expressed in our conversations. How can we improve it? Recent Gallup studies provide some insight: – Only 33% of employees are fully engaged and thriving. – 51% are ‘quiet quitting’, meaning doing the bare minimum. – And the remaining 16% are… Continue reading What the Best Managers Do Differently

    April 01, 2024

    Why and How to be a Decisive Leader

    Dear Leaders, Once again, the business landscape is ripe with opportunities for leaders bold enough to risk a false step on their quest for the right course. Embracing safety is now synonymous with embracing risk. You are tasked with navigating an increasingly complex world. While a cautious stance may seem prudent, don’t fall for it.… Continue reading Why and How to be a Decisive Leader

    March 01, 2024

    Feeling Threatened by your Subordinate’s Rapid Ascent? Stop It.

    Dear Leaders, Fun fact: If you’re good at your job, your employer does not want to replace you. It’s just not in their best interest. Why? Because they need the job done well and it’s extremely difficult to find a good replacement. A fact that’s even more fun:  If you’re excellent at your job, you’ll… Continue reading Feeling Threatened by your Subordinate’s Rapid Ascent? Stop It.

    February 01, 2024

    Leading through Meaning

    Dear Leaders, I remember the story of sixteen-year-old Darren Schultz working on his family’s station wagon, which was hoisted by a jack. Suddenly, the jack slipped, and Darren’s right leg was pinned under the car. As his father frantically tried to reposition the jack, it was Darren’s mother who took decisive action. With strength that… Continue reading Leading through Meaning

    January 01, 2024

    Leading with Assertiveness

    Dear Leaders, Ever had that nagging feeling in a meeting? The one where you know you should speak up, but there’s this invisible force pushing you back into your chair? Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s insecurity. Or perhaps it’s just Monday morning blues. Especially if you’re a New York Giants fan. Let’s call that force… Continue reading Leading with Assertiveness

    December 01, 2023

    Leading Through Tough Conversations

    Dear Leaders, As a senior executive, there’s no skirting around it: you will need to have tough conversations. From delivering feedback on subpar performance to discussing company changes that might not be popular, these discussions are unavoidable. More often than not, executives sidestep them, fearing potential repercussions. But doing so often leads to deeper complications… Continue reading Leading Through Tough Conversations

    November 01, 2023

    What’s Your Story?

    Dear Leaders, Stories have the power to cause revolutions. What is a revolution? Simply put, a radical and abrupt change. This letter isn’t about how to stir up a revolution. Most of us are in fortunate enough circumstances where the organizations we lead don’t need to be revolutionized. Your task as a leader, albeit complicated,… Continue reading What’s Your Story?

    October 15, 2023
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    Decision Fatigue in Senior Leadership Roles

    Dear Leaders, You’re in the business of making decisions. Every decision you make impacts the entire organization. Granted, some decisions are more impactful than others, but, in your capacity, all of them carry significant weight. In the words of Ted Lasso, “Given the good ol’ fact that you’re a human being that gets worn out… Continue reading Decision Fatigue in Senior Leadership Roles

    October 01, 2023
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    Work-Life Integration for Senior Executives

    Dear Leaders, Work-life integration is a progressive approach that, unlike work-life balance, does not compartmentalize professional and personal life but sees them as interconnected. For senior executives like you, effective work-life integration is critical for personal well-being, professional success, and overall productivity and innovation within the organization. Here’s a comprehensive view: The Concept Work-life integration… Continue reading Work-Life Integration for Senior Executives

    September 29, 2023
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    Leadership at the Pinnacle: Navigating Conflicts

    Dear Leaders, Navigating the high-stakes world of senior executive leadership isn’t just about strategic foresight or business acumen. It’s also about maneuvering the intricate interpersonal dynamics that are inherent at this altitude of corporate decision-making. When conflicts arise at this level, their ripple effect is felt throughout an entire organization. In this letter, I offer… Continue reading Leadership at the Pinnacle: Navigating Conflicts

    September 22, 2023
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    Got Time?

    Dear Leaders, Time management in an organizational setting isn’t just about personal efficiency or productivity. It’s about how an entire enterprise aligns its resources, meets its goals, and creates a culture that values every minute. In essence, time management isn’t about managing time, it’s about managing choices, situations, and people. You must master your time… Continue reading Got Time?

    September 15, 2023
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    The Art of Curating a Balanced C-Suite Team

    Dear Leaders, In the orchestral world, a conductor handpicks musicians not just for their individual talents, but for how they harmonize as a collective. Similarly, in the corporate realm, building a balanced and effective C-suite team requires a discerning eye and a strategic approach. It’s not just about gathering expertise; it’s about orchestrating harmony, synchronization,… Continue reading The Art of Curating a Balanced C-Suite Team

    September 08, 2023
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    Succession Planning: A Tale of Two Futures

    Dear Leaders, Picture this. Your star employee, the one who knows your company like the back of their hand, suddenly hands in a two-week notice. There’s a gap in the boardroom, a sinking feeling in your stomach. Or consider this. After decades at the helm, a charismatic CEO is ready to retire, but there’s no… Continue reading Succession Planning: A Tale of Two Futures

    August 31, 2023
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    The Allure and Illusion of Vanity Metrics

    Dear Leaders, In a world increasingly driven by numbers, it’s easy to get swept up in the allure of vanity metrics. These data points sparkle and shine; they look good in a presentation, give our ego a nice little boost, and seemingly declare to the world, “We’ve arrived!” But beneath the sheen, vanity metrics are… Continue reading The Allure and Illusion of Vanity Metrics

    August 25, 2023
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    Leadership and Character

    Dear Leaders, Pop quiz: What’s the most underrated component in leadership today? It’s not charisma. It’s not strategy. And no, it’s not even about being a “thought leader” (whatever that means). It’s Character. Character is that silent pulse beneath every decision, every interaction, and every pivotal moment in leadership. It’s the unsung hero behind every… Continue reading Leadership and Character

    August 18, 2023
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    Strawmanning Our Brilliance

    Dear Leaders, Last week, I wrote about how the Steelman technique is useful in conflict resolution, decision-making, and building consensus. This note is about situations in which Strawmanning is essential to, well, conflict resolution, decision-making, and building consensus. It’s also highly useful in keeping our egos in check, bulletproofing the strategic planning process, and simplifying… Continue reading Strawmanning Our Brilliance

    August 11, 2023
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    Steelmanning: Understand Deeper and Win More

    Dear Leaders, As C-suite executives, the ability to present your arguments concisely is crucial. But the ability to understand others’ arguments and craft an articulate response that’s well-suited for a given situation is pivotal to your effectiveness as a leader. Your role entails making high-quality decisions – and fast, resolving conflicts in a way all… Continue reading Steelmanning: Understand Deeper and Win More

    August 04, 2023
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    Integrating Thoughtfulness into Leadership

    Dear Leaders, Almost by definition, an executive is responsible for serving a group of people. Whether it’s identifying opportunities, problem-solving, decision-making, conflict resolution, collaboration, delegation, etc. – all involve people. And the higher the quality of your relationships, the more effective you are as an executive. Technology makes organizing oneself easier, tasks more automated, reminder… Continue reading Integrating Thoughtfulness into Leadership

    July 28, 2023
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    THE MAGNETIC POWER OF EXECUTIVE PRESENCE

    Dear Leaders, In a world where leadership is often misunderstood, there exists a rare quality that sets exceptional leaders apart: the undeniable allure of executive presence.

    July 21, 2023
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    Leadership and Power

    Dear Leaders, In your current position, it’s how you manage the delicate dynamic of leadership and power that determines your overall effectiveness, especially when dealing with subordinates. By definition, leaders always have a measure of power. But many power holders have no trace of leadership. Leadership humanizes you, while exercise of power, although often necessary,… Continue reading Leadership and Power

    July 14, 2023
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    Executive Behavior: Challenges and Solutions

    Dear Leaders, In the fast-paced realm of C-suite leadership, the battle to navigate behavioral challenges is one that separates the exceptional from the ordinary. Decision-making dilemmas, communication hurdles, delegation quandaries, work-life imbalances, and the imperative of adaptability pose formidable obstacles for executives. Yet, with strategic awareness and purposeful action, these challenges can be transformed into… Continue reading Executive Behavior: Challenges and Solutions

    July 07, 2023
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    Bulletproof Problem Solving

    Dear Leaders, Given today’s fast-changing business environment, the Future of Jobs report placed complex problem-solving at #1 in its top 10 skills for 2020 and beyond. An effective twenty-first-century executive is quick on their feet, possesses learning agility, and attacks emerging problems with confidence. While there are plenty of problem-solving methodologies, one of the most… Continue reading Bulletproof Problem Solving

    July 01, 2023
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    Don’t Lose Customers, Forge Elite Teams Instead

    I’ve been a loyal Starbucks customer for 20+ years, mainly because of the consistency in their service and product. However, one of the locations close to me nowadays is a true test of patience; horrible attitude towards customers, lack of consistency in drinks and, worst of all, employees backbiting about each other, their superiors, and… Continue reading Don’t Lose Customers, Forge Elite Teams Instead

    June 24, 2023
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    Email Etiquette: Taming the Beast

    “Because the mail never stops, Jerry! It just keeps coming and coming and coming, there’s never a let-up. It’s relentless. Every day it piles up more and more and more, and you gotta get it out but the more you get it out the more it keeps coming in!” -Newman, Seinfeld Dear Leaders, Most executives… Continue reading Email Etiquette: Taming the Beast

    June 17, 2023
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    Benefits Administration

    Dear Leaders, A company’s benefits package can be a very significant part of its total expenses, but in many companies, benefits are not really viewed as expenses. Instead, because of the need to hire and retain top-quality employees, the benefits package is considered a key asset that must be maintained if not increased. While a… Continue reading Benefits Administration

    June 10, 2023
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    Cost Leadership

    Dear Leaders, Strong leadership is a prerequisite for good cost management. Cost leadership starts with the CEO or business unit head and cascades down through the top management team. They need to build a tough cost culture and be good role models in their personal behavior. They need two key staff functions to be very… Continue reading Cost Leadership

    June 03, 2023
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    Zero-Based Budgeting

    “If the company’s problem did not lie in revenues, it could only stem from expenses.” -Carlos Brito, AB InBev Dear Leaders, Simply put, Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB) is a radical cost-control program that foresees a complete annual revision of all the company’s spending. In zero-based budgeting, managers are responsible for creating their budget from “zero costs”… Continue reading Zero-Based Budgeting

    May 27, 2023
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    Hiring and Firing

    Dear Leaders, The cost of people is the most difficult cost to manage. Because it is so tricky it is usually left until last in any cost-cutting program and any discussion of cost management. Why is “people cost” so problematic? First, people cost is very sticky. Once people are on the payroll it’s hard to… Continue reading Hiring and Firing

    May 20, 2023
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    Workers’ Compensation

    Dear Leaders, There are a number of techniques for bringing about modest reductions in the cost of workers’ compensation insurance. Classifications: One of the key determinants of the cost of workers’ compensation insurance is the job classifications into which all employees are slotted. An employee designated in a high-risk classification will cost far more in… Continue reading Workers’ Compensation

    May 13, 2023
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    Supplier Management

    Dear Leaders, The approach to negotiating with your suppliers is simple: treat them as your partners, be tough but fair, and don’t lock yourself in a situation that is impossible to walk away from. 1. Understand the balance of power: Understanding and playing the balance of power between buyer and supplier is a key skill… Continue reading Supplier Management

    May 06, 2023
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