Monday, November 18, 2013

Truth: The Most Important Environment for Leadership to Work

Revisited: It's the Hardest Thing to Do...




On page 9 of Liquid Leadership I point out the Credo of a Liquid Leader. Most importantly, my 2nd law stands out the most for leadership to be affective.

"...Leadership should cultivate an Environment Where It Is Free and Safe to Tell the Truth.
Ever work for a company that micromanages everything to death? In these environments a paper trail becomes more important than getting the work done. Our current enthusiasm for technology has created even more potential for micromanagement, via massive amounts of emails and documentation and endless meetings to sort through it all. Yet when this temptation is given in to, the result isn’t better communication or higher productivity, but the opposite. Management becomes the last to know what is actually happening.

Conversely, in companies that have moved to flatten their hierarchies and create environments where it is safer to point out the truth, you begin to notice that each person takes their role seriously. When responsibility is shifted to the individual—when people are given the freedom and power to manage their time and solve problems—the result is that no one wants to let down even a single member of their team.

An organization like this runs more smoothly and with more trust. The best and the brightest naturally gravitate toward the chance to work with one another. They know courage will be rewarded, not penalized, and innovation will see the light of day. Such environments operate like entrepreneurial start-ups, with each individual engaged in the success of the company. People are encouraged to challenge one another. They operate with confidence and a sense of personal ambition because they have skin in the game.

This approach may fly in the face of every business manual you have ever read, but those manuals are out of date. We are not in easy times. Consider that betting on one direction or a single type of technology can send a company into bankruptcy overnight. All the more reason to put aside your ego, to listen, and to encourage the sharing of knowledge in every area of an organization’s operations. Environments such as these do not centralize creativity; they make it a systemic part of what drives their entire organization.

It is your job as a leader to support the development and creation of big ideas, integrating them into your company’s mix of products..."

The truth has become fuzzy these days as people are more interested in the almighty dollar instead of doing great things. We know fluoride is not safe to put in our water and drink on a daily basis. We know our food supply is filled with carcinogenic chemicals. We know our politicians are...well you get my drift.

But when drug company whistle-blower Cheryl Eckard tried to fix problems at a GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical factory in Puerto Rico she was fired.

The 60 Minutes story is here:
Bad Medicine: The Glaxo Case 
January 2, 2011 7:00 PM

Yet when Cheryl brought well documented problems to her boss, she was dismissed, told that it would be taken care of and eventually, when she pressed harder, fired. Admitting the truth can destroy entire companies and bring about unwanted changes. Yet the truth is where progress begins.


It is hard to tell the truth when doing so could bring
a wave of lawsuits

Just look at the dental industry. IF they admit that Fluoride and mercury cause certain diseases, the entire industry could be brought to their knees. But, with that said, how hard is it to act like a human being?

Some believe that Cheryl Eckard did what she did for the money - (she was awarded $96 million from a $750 million suit against GSK)...really? Did she know she would be a multimillionaire when she discovered drug mix-ups and unsanitary conditions at Glaxo's plant? It was her job to oversee quality control and if she had not followed through she would have been fired. But what is unforgivable is the reaction of the executives; they simply tried to make it seem as if conditions weren't that bad.

Shame does not seem to exist in some boardrooms


Want to make changes in your organization? How about your life or your community? Start by facing the truth...not your opinion. Like maybe my wife is right – I don't look good in that sweat suit anymore, (not that that has ever happened to me. LOL).

What is important to you? Paper trails, micromanagement, telling people what to do? Truth telling is not pretty...but it is transformational.

And thank you for stopping by,









Brad Szollose

Bridging Generational Chaos: Multigenerational management expert, award-winning author, business consultant and keynote speaker


“The Beekeeper and The Watchmaker” story can be found in Navigating The Growth Curve by James Fischer. Want to learn how to manage like a beekeeper? Check out James Fischer’s Growth Curve Institute.


Brad Szollose is a much sought-after generational expert, management consultant and keynote speaker who helps smart companies understand just how much technology has transformed corporate culture and behavior… and how that impacts management interaction, expectations and sales in The Digital Age.



But this is not based on management theory: With a 30 year career as an entrepreneur he knows firsthand what it’s like to grow a company from a simple idea in a coffee shop to an internationally recognized brand.


Brad is a former C-Level Internet Executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs—co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company experienced 425% hyper-growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 with 60+ employees and offices worldwide. At its height, K2 was valuated at over $26 million. 

His results only management model (ROWE) was applied to the first wave of young Generation Y workers producing great results—winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.

Brad Szollose is also the *award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation Y and analogue driven Baby Boomers working together. ISBN-13: 978-1608320554

Known for his humorous and thought-provoking presentations, Szollose received the highest testimonial of his career from a C-Level audience member: "I just had my mind blown." Brad’s keynotes and workshops are highly interactive, heart-warming, humorous, and filled with high-content information that challenge assumptions and help leaders and managers create a better work environment for innovation to thrive.


Liquid Leadership has been called "THE guidebook for the 21st Century" and has won the 2011 Axiom Business Book Award silver medal for leadership, The Indie Business Book runner up silver medal as well as becoming a #1 Best-Selling Business Book on Amazon for Organizational Learning. Published in the United States by Greenleaf Book Group, in India by Prolibris and in South Korea by UI Books/Iljinsa Publishing.

Mr. Szollose also writes a monthly column on business and marketing techniques that reach Generation Y for A Captured Mind newsletter and is part of The Mind Capture Group faculty.

Today, Brad helps businesses close the Digital Divide by understanding it as a Cultural Divide – created by the new tech-savvy worker...and customer. 



* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Are You a Beekeeper
or a Watchmaker?

Revisited


During the summer of 1981, with the smell of chocolate in the air, I became the assistant manager in the games division of Hersheypark in Pennsylvania. My specialty within the chocolate themed amusement park was running the water balloon race. You know the game—squirt water into a plastic clown’s mouth to blow up a balloon. The first one to pop their balloon won a bright yellow plush stuffed banana. I wanted to trade all that in for a management position. 


Looking back on it now is quite amusing. I was an 18-year-old kid attempting to manage other 18-year olds. Picture Doogie Howser trying to act managerial and you get the picture. 


Fast-forward 18 years later. I would find myself leading the Dot Com boom as the cofounder of the very first Internet Agency to go public with an IPO on NASDAQ—K2 Design, Inc.


Now please understand, I am not telling you this to brag, I am telling you this to impress upon you how much I HAD to change over those 2 decades. I was raised in a very small town and taught to just get a job, work long hours and hopefully work your way up the ladder. But during those Silicon Alley days on Wall St., in order to meet the demands of a new tech-savvy workforce, I had to adapt. If I resisted, my best and brightest would quit, taking their ideas to our competition.


Fast-forward another 18 years. Today’s younger workforce is not motivated by money, power or the corner office, but instead, motivated by rich experiences and incredibly dynamic work environments that continuously challenge their abilities. And I just want to clarify, when I say younger workforce I mean 37 years of age and younger— a.k.a. Generation Y, Millennials, Gamers and/or Digital Natives. But that doesn’t mean I am excluding my fellow Baby Boomers. This benefits all of us as I am about to point out. So first, let’s ask ourselves a question: Are you a Beekeeper or a Watchmaker?

A watchmaker works in an environment of precision.


In order to create a beautiful timepiece every single day, each phase of the watchmakers operation must be micromanaged. One micron off could lead to disastrous results. Innovation only comes from the top of such a company. Ideas and thoughts from the assembly line get in the way of output. Head down. Do your job. Meet your quota. Listen and obey. Sound familiar?


But, conversely, the beekeeper operates in a world of constant chaos and shifting conditions.


His or her job consists of overseeing 150,000 bees, living and working out of over 4-dozen, 3-foot-high “wooden hives.” Instead of micromanaging like our previously mentioned watchmaker, the beekeeper must foster a nurturing environment that supports the production of honey. Micromanaging would get in the way of the hive. So a beekeepers job is to give the bees the best environment possible for seamless production. In other words, get out of the way and let them manage themselves.


To the untrained eye, the hive can look like nothing but chaos. What is really going on is each bee acts as an independent agent whose soul mission is in alignment with the hives overall mission: produce honey. The beekeeper CANNOT guarantee an exact outcome, but he trusts that each will do what they do best.


This management model when applied to the real world, relies on a simple premise: People are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done.


In today’s parlance this “beekeeper” style of management is called a Results Only Work Environment or ROWE for short.



You cannot create incredible products in an environment that micromanages creativity and punishes innovation. Your job as a leader in the 21st Century is not to be a commander shouting orders from on high but be the beekeeper who strives to bring out the very best in people. 


Thanks for stopping by...








Brad Szollose

Bridging Generational Chaos: Multigenerational management expert, award-winning author, business consultant and keynote speaker


“The Beekeeper and The Watchmaker” story can be found in Navigating The Growth Curve by James Fischer. Want to learn how to manage like a beekeeper? Check out James Fischer’s Growth Curve Institute.


Brad Szollose is a much sought-after generational expert, management consultant and keynote speaker who helps smart companies understand just how much technology has transformed corporate culture and behavior… and how that impacts management interaction, expectations and sales in The Digital Age.



But this is not based on management theory: With a 30 year career as an entrepreneur he knows firsthand what it’s like to grow a company from a simple idea in a coffee shop to an internationally recognized brand.


Brad is a former C-Level Internet Executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs—co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company experienced 425% hyper-growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 with 60+ employees and offices worldwide. At its height, K2 was valuated at over $26 million. 

His results only management model (ROWE) was applied to the first wave of young Generation Y workers producing great results—winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.

Brad Szollose is also the *award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation Y and analogue driven Baby Boomers working together. ISBN-13: 978-1608320554

Known for his humorous and thought-provoking presentations, Szollose received the highest testimonial of his career from a C-Level audience member: "I just had my mind blown." Brad’s keynotes and workshops are highly interactive, heart-warming, humorous, and filled with high-content information that challenge assumptions and help leaders and managers create a better work environment for innovation to thrive.


Liquid Leadership has been called "THE guidebook for the 21st Century" and has won the 2011 Axiom Business Book Award silver medal for leadership, The Indie Business Book runner up silver medal as well as becoming a #1 Best-Selling Business Book on Amazon for Organizational Learning. Published in the United States by Greenleaf Book Group, in India by Prolibris and in South Korea by UI Books/Iljinsa Publishing.

Mr. Szollose also writes a monthly column on business and marketing techniques that reach Generation Y for A Captured Mind newsletter and is part of The Mind Capture Group faculty.

Today, Brad helps businesses close the Digital Divide by understanding it as a Cultural Divide – created by the new tech-savvy worker...and customer. 



* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.