That’s enough to make a celebrity marriage look like a sure thing. I’m being facetious, of course. But when you think about it, what this statistic really means is that you are better off investing in a sector spider—anindustry index mutual fund—thanyou are in companies that have just announced a merger, for 57 percent of the time, the industry index will win.The starlets:Kim Kardashian (upper left)Lisa Marie Presley (upper right)Britney Spears (center)Drew Barrymore (lower left)Jennifer Lopez (lower right)
Two otherwise unrelated newspaper articles this morning, one on the front page of The Wall Street Journal and the other on the front page of The New York Times, describe vividly the chaos amid disaster when people suddenly lack the technology to communicate. I encourage you to read both articles. They offer insight for everyday work. Though disasters are thankfully rare, the failure of communication is commonplace. It is rarely a failure of technology, however. Rather, it is a failure of leadership, of will. The Wall Street Journal article reports on the hours and days in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's landfall. It seems that the New Orleans mayor's inner circle was holed up in the Hyatt Hotel with no means of communicating with the outside world for two solid days. A backup generator had run out of diesel fuel, and cellphone towers lay flattened by the 150-mph winds. Even police radios failed to work. The leadership team's isolation compounded the city's paralysis as the levees broke and a deluge swept over New Orleans. The New York Times article focuses on another disaster altogether: the collapse of the World Trade Center towers four years ago. Recall that the south tower collapsed first. Recently disclosed documents reveal that firefighters in the north tower were oblivious to the devastation just 200 feet away. Though it strains our credulity today, they couldn't see it and they didn't hear it. Their lines of communication were entirely out. The Times reports that perhaps 200 firefighters could have escaped death in the north tower had they known it would come crashing down just minutes later. The consequences of these breaches of communication were horrific. People died who otherwise might have lived. Of course, during the normal course of business, the effects of miscommunication are not nearly so grave. We can be thankful that human life is rarely at stake. But fortunes and livelihoods are. Even in the enlightened 21st century, there are companies whose senior leadership team is in contact mainly with itself and with division heads, with the investment houses, and with McKinsey consultants. Communication with employees on strategic challenges and imperatives often takes a backseat. These unfortunate priorities create a separateness, an isolation, that serves no one's best interest.
Have you ever seen the classic movie Cool Hand Luke? You should rent it. Actor Strother Martin, playing the burly captain of a Southern prison's chain gain, sternly rebukes a prisoner played by Paul Newman. "What we have here is a failure to communicate," the captain drawls. Later, the Newman character sarcastically tosses the same line back at the captain. In so many companies today, we do have a failure to communicate, and it is costly. All other things being equal, ground-level employees who know what matters to the company, who think critically about their work, who appreciate what is at stake, and who grasp their own role and potential contribution will perform better, far better, than their peers who don't. That's a broad, even audacious claim, but it really amounts to common sense. The converse is also true. Managers who are in regular, routine communication with ground-level employees can get prompt intelligence on the reaction of customers or the tardiness of a shipment or the accuracy of a blueprint. They have an invaluable resource. It never ceases to amaze me that some managers -- indeed many managers -- don't value this ground-level intelligence. Those who do value it have a big advantage over those who don't. Here's the bottom line: Systematic, two-way communication is critical to the execution of any strategy that ultimately depends for its success on the discretionary, aligned behavior of employees. The communication has to be factual, relevant, clear, timely, and important. Given that, it can make the difference between a leadership team's knowledgeable decision and an ignorant one. It can also make the difference between alignment and misalignment. Even apart from the success or failure of a grand corporate vision or a breakthrough business strategy, inclusive communication can spell the difference between living in creative, dynamic community or stagnant isolation. One of those -- community or isolation -- is a path toward intellectual, emotional and even financial richness, the other a path toward intellectual, emotional and even financial poverty. You decide which is which, and you decide which it is that you want for your company
We're all familiar with the children's experiment of using two empty tin cans tied together by a string. Supposedly the tin cans can carry a conversation by vibrating in sync as they capture sound waves at one end and then reproduce the same sound waves at the other end.It turns out that something similar happens between people. You can think of each tin can as a primitive human brain. Just as a can absorbs and produces sound through vibration, so the human brain creates and receives sound waves as brain waves. The waves are the embodiment of information—everything from facts to emotions, from observations to ideas, from names to arguments.Researchers at Princeton University recently discovered that, in good communication, a speaker's brain waves closely resemble a listener's. MRI scans of the two brains show them to be in sync. In poor communication, the opposite is true; the brain waves are not in sync. Thus, the power of communication is the power to bring brain waves into alignment.
by Thomas J. LeeBack in the 1980s a onetime IBM salesman and singing cowboy by the name of Robert Fulghum wrote a little book that became a worldwide sensation. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten stayed atop the best-seller lists for two solid years. It was translated into 27 languages and sold in more than 100 countries.As the title suggests, this marvelous book asserted that the really important verities of life we learn as young children. Perhaps nowhere is that more true than in communication, especially for the sake of leadership.Consider what we learned about communication as youngsters on the playground:Thou shalt not lie.Practice what you preach.Actions speak louder than words.Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.Seeing is believing.In other words, we learn early on that credibility is the currency of communication. We learn that we cannot get away with just saying whatever we want, when we really don’t mean it. Other people resent and dislike that, and they will resent and dislike us.As we grow into adults, we come to appreciate the significance of this. We realize that all the fast and fulsome talk in the world cannot buy the allegiance and dedication of people: our kids or our employees or our constituents. Only our credibility as leaders can do that. Without credibility, our communication is like counterfeit money.Moreover, we realize that the measuring rod of credibility does not belong to us as leaders. It rather belongs to the people we seek to lead. They and they alone measure our credibility. If they find it in our leadership, we and they can go anywhere. If they don’t, we and they can go nowhere.Those of us who think a little longer about the challenge of credibility also realize that, when we begin to assert ourselves as leaders, credibility becomes more elusive and difficult. It begins with simple trust, for sure, but it also seems to demand more than trust alone. It also requires respect and affinity with people.By trust, we have in mind a high regard for the veracity of one's word. People who trust someone believe the person is telling the truth. The truth that he tells may be a factual depiction of reality. Or it may be a sincere statement of intent, or a frank and honest description of his opinion, values, or perspective. Whatever path it takes, it must square with reality.By respect, we're referring to a high regard for the leader's command, control, and competence: his ability, energy, initiative, resources, and perseverance—in short, his authority. In the colloquial, this quality is often referred to as "street cred." People must recognize and respect a leader's capacity for situational authority in order to believe he is capable of accomplishing that which he is setting out to accomplish.By affinity, we mean a high regard for a common bond of interests, needs, and concerns. Apart from someone under the hypnotic spell of a cult, no one willingly follows a leader whose purpose runs counter to their own well-being. Rather, people look for nobility of intent: an honorable purpose that aligns with their own well-being. What is important and valuable to the leader must be, or must become, important and valuable to the people she would lead, and vice versa.One or even two of these three cornerstones is not enough. Respect and affinity in the absence of trust leaves a residue of doubt. Affinity and trust in the absence of respect leaves a residue of skepticism. Trust and respect in the absence of affinity leaves a residue of opposition. Leaders need all three: trust, respect, and affinity with people.Now most of us didn’t actually learn this part in kindergarten. Those who never learn it at all will never capture the hearts and minds of people. They will never lead.
The Colorado River (Mohave: 'Aha Kwahwat, Havasupai: Ha Ŧay Gʼam or Sil Gsvgov, Spanish: Río Colorado) is the principal river of the southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. The 1,450-mile (2,330 km) river drains an expansive, arid watershed that encompasses parts of seven U.S. and two Mexican states. Rising in the central Rocky Mountains in the U.S., the river flows generally southwest across the Colorado Plateau before reaching Lake Mead on the Arizona–Nevada line, where it turns south towards the international border. After entering Mexico, the Colorado forms a large delta, emptying into the Gulf of California between Baja California and Sonora.Known for its dramatic canyons and whitewater rapids, the Colorado is a vital source of water for agricultural and urban areas in the southwestern desert lands of North America. The river and its tributaries are controlled by an extensive system of dams, reservoirs and aqueducts, which furnish water for irrigation and municipal supplies of almost 40 million people both inside and outside the watershed. The Colorado's steep drop through its gorges is also utilized for the generation of significant hydroelectric power, and its major dams regulate peaking power demands in much of the Intermountain West. Since the mid-20th century, intensive water consumption has dewatered the lower course of the river such that it no longer reaches the sea except in years of heavy runoff.
Striving primarily for clear articulation and influenceLack of empathy for other, divergent viewsReliance on cascading information down the ranksConfusing information with communicationRegarding communication as a task, a one-time eventTendency to oversimplify at expense of credibility
Data, Axioms, Principles of Strategic Communication
The Importance of Dignity Dignity is as essential to human life as water, food, and oxygen. The stubborn retention of it can hold a man‟s soul in his body long past the point at which the body should have surrendered. The loss of it can carry a man off as surely as thirst, hunger, exposure, and asphyxiation, and with greater cruelty. Laura Hillenbrand Louis Zamperini Unbroken
Arceil Leadership• At crossroads of leadership, engagement, and change• Extensive command of best practices• Benchmarked approximately 30 top-tier companies• Powerful, grounded models of leadership communication• Consulting, coaching, speaking, training• Workshops teach managers how to lead people
About Thomas Lee• Decades of experience• Former newspaper columnist• Fortune 25 CEO‟s speechwriter• Spoken in 12 countries• Consulting since 1997• Many Fortune 500 clients• Blogs at www.MindingGaps.com
Nothing of much consequence has ever been achieved, andnothing of much value has ever been created, that wasn‟t, atsome time . . . • the point of someone‟s single-minded, intense focus • the object of someone‟s deep curiosity • the subject of someone‟s consuming passion • the product of someone‟s persevering courage
What we have here, is failure to communicate. Captain, Road Prison 36 (Strother Martin) Cool Hand Luke (1967) Jalem Productions Directed by Stuart Rosenberg; written by Donn Pearce and Frank Pierson
If you are working on something excitingthat you really care about, you don‟t haveto be pushed. The vision pulls you. Steve Jobs
The Practical Limits of CoercionThe trouble with coercivepower is that it onlystrengthens resistance.And, if successful, itscontrolling effect onlylasts as long as the force isstrong. It is not organic. Robert K. Greenleaf Servant Leadership
Leadership is a reciprocal relationshipbetween those who choose to lead andthose who decide to follow. . . . If there isno underlying need for the relationship,then there is no need for leaders. James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner Credibility
What is the underlying needfor this relationship here?
You _______________________Your capacity to lead rides on the perception by prospective followers as to the nobilityof your intent and the fact of your connection to their interests, needs and concerns.
Music is your own experience,your thoughts, your wisdom. Ifyou don‟t live it, it won‟t comeout in your horn. Charlie Parker
Three Voices Must Become One• Together the voices must send consistent messages honor the nobility of an organization‟s values encourage congruence of behavior with strategy facilitate a mutually respectful dialogue with partners• Otherwise, it‟s a roll of the dice The formal voice can never operate in a vacuum.