Judy Dobles, General Management Consulting


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  • It seems that you can find many lists of what it takes to be a good leader.   While surfing the web I discovered a self-assessment that you can take on the KORN/FERRY INTERNATIONAL website.  http://insight.lominger.com/insight/

    These are my 5 favorites out of the 21 mentioned:

    [1] Able to make complex decisions.  Simple decisions are easy to make.  Decisions with multiple variables and external considerations are orders of magnitude more difficult.  The key is intellectual curiosity and honesty to seek out and understand all the quantitative and qualitative variables that will impact a decision.

    [2] Organizationally Savvy.  Many folks say they do not like politics.  Leadership is all about understanding and navigating the organization structure and matrix because that is how you get things done.  Knowing how decisions may impact various people and organizations allows you to work with them to gain their full support.  It is about creating win-win situations.

    [3] Face Trouble Head-on.  A staff member once told me that she would not take my job even if she was paid $1 million dollars.  First, I said that was good, since I was paid well below that amount.  Her comment, however, was really one about the fact that all day long people brought problems to my desk that they could not figure out how to solve.  She could not see how that would be enjoyable.  The fact is, the more senior your leadership position is, the more complex the issues are that cross your desk.  You have no control about what it will be or when they show up.  You have to love solving complex problems and embracing issues that others avoid.  I find it fun and rewarding.

    [4] Focus on the bottom line.  When running a business you must focus on the bottom line.  Every action you take must be understood relative to the impact on the bottom line.  This does not mean that you will not support employee recognition events, your local community or not-for-profit organizations.  It does mean you know what level of spending you can afford.  You know your bottom-line.

    [5] Manage Diverse Stakeholders.  As a leader you need to use your personal power rather than your positional power.  There are many internal and external stakeholders in an organization and each have their own set of unique goals.  Some of the stakeholders are: customers, investors, lenders, employees, suppliers, government regulators, the media and local communities.  To be successful you need to understand their point of view and know when to seek their involvement in various business challenges and decisions.

    These characteristics can be learned and refined.  Please feel free to call me for a complimentary discussion of how you and your team can take these skills to the next level.  Look forward to talking with you.  585.329.3754

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  • I recently joined a Board of Directors which got me thinking a lot about leadership and teamwork.  A refresher was in order so I decided to read, “The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork”, by John Maxwell.    Here are my 6 favorites from the book.

    [1] The Law of the Catalyst:  Winning Teams Have Players Who Make Things Happen.   Any successful team that I have been a part of has a couple people that get things done.  They are willing to do new things and reach across functional boundaries to engage all the right people.  They are individuals who can get extra effort from people who already have too much on their plate.  They can do this by prioritizing the work, helping others and breaking barriers.

    [2] The Law of the Niche: All Players Have a Place Where They Add the Most Value.  Supervisors spend a lot of time working with staff to improve “weaknesses”.  I think it is far better to focus on an individual’s strengths and create world-class talents.   Know what your team needs to accomplish and then get the players on your team with those skills.  Everyone wins.

    [3] The Law of the Chain: The Strength of the Team Is Impacted by Its Weakest Link.  The challenges facing teams change over time.  As a leader, your responsibility is to look at your team and determine if you have the right players for the challenge facing you at this point in time.  If not, work quickly to make the changes that are necessary.  Stronger members of a team eventually come to resent the weak member and question the leader’s ability when the leader does not take action.

    [4] The Law of Significance: One Is Too Small a Number to Achieve Greatness.  Complex challenges cannot be solved by one individual.  For leaders this means understanding that solutions will be found only with the engagement of the entire team.  The people closest to the work will know what is not working and what the best solutions are.

    [5] The Law of the Compass: Vision Gives Team Members Direction and Confidence.  The visual picture that sticks with me is one from a class I took years ago.  Imagine bowling.  Picture a black cloth that covers the pins at the end of the alley.  When the bowling ball reaches the end of the lane after you have thrown it you do not know how you did.  That is what it is like to work on a team that does not have a vision and mission.  You are doing work but do not know if what you are doing is important or if you are achieving the goals you set.  As a leader, be sure your team fully understands the mission and vision.

    [6] The Law of the Bench: Great Teams Have Great Depth.  Everyone on a team should want to grow their skill and talent.   There will always be some people leaving the team periodically, so it is vitally important to recruit talented new staff to the team.  Foster an environment of learning and growth for everyone on the team.  This way the team improves continually, year over year.

    If you are a member of a team, I highly recommend this insightful book.  [Maxwell, J., The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001.  Print]

    Please call me for a confidential and complimentary discussion on how to improve the effectiveness of your team.  585-329-3754.

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