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|Friday, February 07, 2014|
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
This year’s State of the Union address held many lessons for all leaders. Here are three, and the actions I suggest you take:
Know your Strengths and Weaknesses
Peter Drucker said performance can only be built on strengths, and weaknesses need to be identified and worked around. The wise executive knows herself well enough to do these things.
Whether President Obama has this self-awareness is beside the point — you must have yours. How can you get more aware of your strengths and weaknesses? Ask your spouse, ex-spouse, and closest friends — and make it clear you want the truth.
You can also listen (judiciously) to your opponents, if you have enough stature to have attracted any.
Your Opponents will Tell you the Truth
Focus on Strengths
The President is good at rallying his base, at managing the media, and at wrong-footing Republicans, among other things. He appropriately focuses on those activities. What are your strengths? Are you spending the majority of your time on those tasks?
Where are you seeing signs of struggle? Create a system or reassign the work as necessary. Just be sure you are self-aware of your weakness, without bravado or shame.
Advisors for Blind Spots
Regardless of whether you have a personal weakness in your blind spot or not, your best defense is an advisor. I’ve recruited someone who actually feels physically ill when any project is done less than 100% — and is happy to say it.
Recruit for Weaknesses and Blind Spots
Know Your Strategy
Strategy is the art of focusing scarce resources on key initiatives, with keen awareness of the environment.
It’s unknowable whether President Obama is unable to work with Congress, or just unwilling. Whether you believe it’s the President’s fault for being divisive, or the House Republicans’ fault for being obstructionist, the cold reality is that this President and this Congress haven’t been able to cooperate very much, and that fact is unlikely to change.
The wise executive accepts what is, and focuses where action is possible. The President did that by stressing a course that involves unilateral Executive Branch action that doesn’t require the help of Congress.
What aspects of your environment are difficult, and are you beating your head against them — or working around them?
Finally, the effective executive knows how to negotiate for results.
Here’s my preferred approach:
List your needs and desires, in priority order
List your negotiation partner’s priorities
Figure out which of your top priorities are least important to your negotiation partner
Figure out which of your negotiation partner’s priorities are least important to you
Create several tentative offers that give you what you most want, at the least cost to you, and give your negotiation partner (at least some of) what they want, at a reduced cost to them
Even staunch enemies can create win-win deals using this approach — some of the time.
For example, you may need work-scheduling flexibility, and your workers may have prioritized health benefits. It’s entirely possible you might save enough money via greater flexibility that you could afford to offer improved benefits and have money left over.
For President Obama, as for any other leader, you can accurately guess his priorities by seeing what he will and won’t negotiate over.
And when there is no negotiating, don’t. Here, the President is an acknowledged master.
Tom Cox is a Beaverton consultant, author and speaker. He coaches CEOs on how to boost performance by building workplace trust.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY KIM MOORE
A conversation about credit unions with the CEOs of Advantis Credit Union and OSU Federal Credit Union, followed by June's Powerlist.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD
Business and civic leaders weigh the risks and rewards of going green.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JENNIFER MARGULIS
Don Gentry navigates Klamath Basin water rights.
Monday, July 14, 2014
BY TERRY "STARBUCKER" ST. MARIE
I really didn’t know that much about angel investing, but I did know a lot about the entrepreneurial spirit.
Thursday, July 03, 2014
BY TED AUSTIN & MIKE BAELE | GUEST CONTRIBUTORS
The Office of Economic Analysis announced that Oregon is currently enjoying the strongest job growth since 2006. While this resurgence has been welcome, the lingering effects of the 2008 “Great Recession” continues to affect Oregon businesses, especially with regard to estate planning and business succession.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
BY CLIFF HOCKLEY | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR
With the increasing retirements of Baby Boomers, a massive real estate shift has created a significant increase in demand for NNN properties. The result? Increased demand has triggered higher prices and lower yields.
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