In a courageous interview about the near-death of Netflix, CEO Reed Hastings admitted “I messed up” and “got distracted by the shiny object,” spinning off a business instead of “executing on the fundamentals.”
Here are three of my least favorite ‘shiny objects’ when it comes to leading and motivating people:
All of these give the illusion of progress. They feed a leader’s need to be seen as worthy of his salary and title. But they don’t work. Worse, all of them create distractions that disrupt productivity, sap morale, and dehumanize employees.
So, what really motivates people to do their best work and feel engaged and inspired by a company and its leaders?
Meaningful work aligned with their strengths, and the brain-space to actually make measurable, significant progress on that work.
A leader’s job then is to provide support and remove distractions. Instead, most leaders and companies create environments riddled with distractions and stressors.
It takes a courageous, confident leader to actually learn, listen, and as Hastings puts it, focus on the core strengths of the business and execute. It takes strength of will to avoid so called “best-practice” trends that have no merit.
Want to know the 5 critical ingredients needed for people to truly feel motivated and to do their best work? Check out my Recipe for Brilliance post inspired by research by Dan Pink, Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer.
And don’t get distracted by the shiny object.
“Nothing jangles a primate like crowding”
“Don’t even consider recommending a reorganization. Anyone who requires more than one reorg over the life of his or her career will forfeit a year’s income (including bonuses and stock options) and possibly serve jail time.”
If you’ve been a victim of shiny-object-leadership, what coping strategies got you through and kept you sane?
The Downside of Loyalty
There’s a lot of talk in the business world about how to increase loyalty. I want to turn it around and talk about when loyalty goes too far.
On the surface, loyalty—defined as devoted allegiance and support—sounds like a noble concept. But you can be too loyal to just about anything: a job, relationship, hairstyle, wardrobe, habit, strategy, or even a belief.
How to Tell if You are Too Loyal
Ideally, the object of your loyalty rewards you with equal or greater rewards and positive energy and emotions than you put in. While some people are commitment-phobes, easily jumping from job-to-job or person-to-person, other people are like barnacles on a ship—you have to scrape them off to break the attachment. For example, once we Scorpios commit to someone or something (to make a grand generalization) we’ll doggedly defend it with all our heart and determination for better or worse.
Grow or Wither
You are too important, and your energy too scarce, to allocate your loyalties in ways that don’t support you.
Staying loyal to a relationship, job, habit, or situation that doesn’t help you grow is like pouring water on a dead plant, expecting it to grow fruit. You end up resentful of the plant for the fact that you’re dying of thirst and hunger.
To determine if your loyalty is misplaced, ask yourself:
You’re either growing or dying—there’s no in-between.
If your answer to the above questions is no, consider: [Read more...]
A few years ago, I gave up the practice of making New Year’s Resolutions, thus giving up the sense of failure and accompanying guilt that rolled around mid-March. Maybe you are one of those people that always keep your resolutions. If so, stop reading. If not, don’t despair: you are entirely normal (unlike those other freaks). [Read more...]
This week we celebrate a holiday that’s all about gratitude. What would happen if we extended Thanks-giving beyond just 1 out of 365 days a year? No, I’m not talking about stuffing our belly’s and watching American football every day. Rather, what if we carved out time every day–even just one minute–to intentionally give thanks to ourselves and others?
It would be a different, better world.
Flooded in Negative Feedback
In his book Quiet Leadership, David Rock talks about how rare positive feedback becomes after we leave childhood. And that many humans go MONTHS without any affirmation at all! Our own self talk tilts toward the negative so that, the sad truth is people get, on average, a couple of minutes of positive feedback EACH YEAR, versus thousands of hours of negative feedback. And when we do get positive feedback, we’ve conditioned ourselves not to let it in. Even more confounding is that research shows that negative feedback rarely motivates anyone!
So here are my suggestions for shifting this trend in your own life: [Read more...]
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