Category Archives: LEADERSHIP

AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP

Sid Mohasseb: Don’t leave change to chance

Joined in studio by Sid Mohasseb, adjunct professor at USC, and author of The Caterpillar’s Edge: Evolve, Evolve Again, and Thrive in Business. Learn more about the book here!

Discussion guide from our conversation with Sid Mohasseb:

Sid Mohasseb1. One of the taglines around your book is “Don’t leave change to chance.” Sounds self explanatory but how does that relate to your book?

2. Your first chapter tackles the subject of “addiction.” What addiction(s) are you referring to?

3. What lessons does a caterpillar teach us about business?

4. We’re entering some uncharted territory in the global business world. What advice can you give to those looking to thrive amid uncertainty?

5. You write about getting grounded and not moving too fast. What’s the importance of being grounded in a world that seems to be moving very fast?

Find Sid Mohasseb’s book here:

About Sid Mohasseb:

Sid is a serial entrepreneur, investor, venture capitialist, and business thought leader. He is formerly the Head of Strategic Innovation for KPMG’s Strategy Practice, where he consulted with Fortune 500 clients worldwide. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Marshall Business School, University of Southern California (USC), where he teaches strategy and data analytics.

Sid has founded and led several early-stage and hyper-growth companies from inception to acquisition. He has also led company turnarounds—from near bankruptcy to profitability. His expertise is in connecting theory to reality and helping people see the bend in the road ahead.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Michael Alden: The total power of incremental change

Joined in studio by Michael Alden, the President of Blue Vase Marketing, and author of 5% More: Making Small Changes to Achieve Extraordinary Results. Learn more about Michael here.

Discussion guide from today’s conversation with Michael Alden:

Michael Alden1. The benefits of incremental growth.

2. “Large enough to be productive, small enough to be sustainable.”

3. Spend 5% more time with your current customers: It is much smarter to spend a little more time with your current customers than to chase new “leads.” Your customers have already decided to buy from you. The key is to make sure that they are satisfied — or better, yet, delighted with your product or service.

4. Increase product/service prices by 5%: Don’t be afraid to increase your prices. People will pay slightly more, if you are providing something that adds value to their lives.

5. Increase results by 5%: Stop focusing on activities, and focus on results instead. Looking at how to increase results, even by a small amount, will help you identify and eliminate actions that waste time.

6. Do something 5% differently than your competitors: Be a little more creative and think a little bit harder than your competitors. Whether it is going the extra mile in customer service, or offering a product that’s just slightly better than that of your competitors, makes the difference in winning sales.

7. Motivate your team to give 5% More: Your business will never grow, if your team keeps doing the same thing over and over again. Invest 5% More in training and supporting them, so that they can do the best job possible.

Find Michael Alden’s book here:

About Michael Alden:

Michael, author of 5% MORE is the founder and CEO of Blue Vase Marketing, a multi-million dollar marketing firm that has been ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing private firms in America. Alden is also a recipient of SmartCEO Magazine’s 2016 Future 50 Award. A successful serial entrepreneur, who hosts his own podcast and a writes a popular blog, Alden is a speaker and regular guest on television and radio throughout the country. His first book Ask More, Get More was a national bestseller.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP

Angela Sebaly: How to be a courageous leader

Joined in studio today by Angela Sebaly, CEO of Personify Leadership, and author of The Courageous Leader: How To Face Any Challenge And Lead Your Team To Success.

Discussion guide from our conversation with Angela Sebaly:

courageous leader1. How does Angela define courage?

2. “Everyone has equal access to courage.” Why some are more courageous than others.

3. You must have the courage to accept pain.

4. There are tools to build courage.

5. The importance of humility.

6. The “Delegation Doom Loop!”

7. Leaders need the courage to both give AND receive feedback.

8. This isn’t about having courage to face a grandiose problem. This is about being courageoud every day.

Find Angela Sebaly’s book here:

About Angela Sebaly:

Angela Sebaly, author of The Courageous Leader (Wiley, spring 2017), is co-founder and CEO of the firm Personify Leadership, a training provider. Formerly the Vice President of Leadership Development for a global oil, gas and chemicals inspection company, Angela also serves as principle consultant for the firm Invested Leadership. An entrepreneur developing a global presence, Angela has been coaching, facilitating and leading teams and organizations for over two decades. Education, communication and courage are the pillars of her life’s work. She lives with her family in Fort Lauderdale.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, CONTRIBUTORS, LEADERSHIP

The Hazards of Business Execution, Part 3 of 4

This is part three of a four-part series!

I want to share with you in a series of 4 brief articles, how to overcome the obstacles to effective and predictable business execution of strategic initiatives.

There are chronic issues that exist in all organizations and far too many leaders accept them as a non-negotiable part of the business environment — things like resource disconnects, decision stalls, organizational politics, weak or passive-aggressive support, or everyone simply being too busy.

Previously I talked about the first 2 steps in the MOVE model:
M = The Middle
O = Organization

Today I want to talk about the third step in the MOVE model, V= Valor:

Everyone is scared

If you are human, you will be scared sometimes. If you are leader you will be attacked and challenged sometimes. At times your job will feel so ugly and impossible that you think you will surely fail. In my experience, the bigger the job, the harder it gets. Because as you move higher, there is less clarity of expectations, less support from your direct manager, less feedback, and higher stakes. There is also much more competition for budget, people, and charter.

That brings us to the section on V=Valor. Because leadership is hard. That’s why you need Valor to progress through the long Middle.

Welcome to being a leader

I can remember feeling at various points in my career, that the mission just didn’t make sense, or that it was unsupported. I felt like I was out on a limb owning all of the risk, and with not enough resources to succeed. Or I felt like the corporate bureaucracy, the board, or another group or particular adversary, was blocking me (or sabotaging me) from doing the right things that I knew needed to be done. Or I would get a directive that didn’t make any sense like, “you must cut costs by 50% but you can not make any cuts to the biggest program.”

As a leader, this unreasonable, soul-crushing stuff is just part of the job description. There are always big, ugly, seemingly impossible problems, annoying people, and exhausting obstacles in the way of getting your job done. And when you are leading, by definition you are going to a place where others aren’t. You are embarking on new territory, which can be scary and lonely.

Think of Valor in this way:

Once you embrace the fact that: YOUR JOB = Your job description PLUS all the crap that gets in the way of delivering on your job description…You will feel (and BE) in a lot more in control.

I coach a lot of senior executives and with pretty much everyone we reach a point where I tell them, “You’ll be better off if you start your thinking with this:

Everything is impossible and everyone is a shark.

That’s just the way it is. And it’s your job to deal with that.” Usually that makes people feel better because they can let go of the idea that it is about them personally, and they can step back, see the problem more clearly, and treat it like any other challenge or project.

A leader needs a lot of Valor to navigate a transformation through the long Middle because people will lose faith, rebel, and there will be political attacks along the way.

Burn the ships at the beach

You need to be so unfailingly consistent in your communications and decisions that people realize the only way through is forward. As Winston Churchill said, “If you are going through hell… keep going”.

Too busy to scale

Most new strategic initiatives fail because the pressures of the current workload are so overwhelming that there is no time to do new things. You must find a way to rise above the current workload and priorities the strategic over the urgent. This is one of the hardest parts of leadership but has the biggest payoff if you are willing to do it.

Clarity and Conflict

The more clear you become about what it will take to stick to your strategic initiative, the more fire you will draw. It’s more comfortable to keep your goals at a generic level that everyone can agree to.

Once you start getting specific, “in order to do this new thing, will take these resources from the old thing, and delay the current plan on this other thing” people will disagree! But this is the only way to actually make progress.

If you never talk about what you will actually do in this concrete way, you will never actually do it!

Don’t trade a comfortable shallow agreement in the short time for a slow moving train wreck in the long term as you fail to implement your strategy.

Get your copy of MOVE to help you increase your confidence as leader to guide your team through the long Middle to implement your strategy decisively without hesitation, doubt and fear. You need Valor to stick to it and to help your team feel confident to keep doing the new stuff despite the many pressures to go back to the old way.

Check back next time for the final part of the MOVE model, E = Everyone.

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You can find Patty Azzarello’s upcoming book here:

Download a FREE Preview of MOVE

In my years of leading business transformations and turnarounds, building highly successful management teams, and working with countless clients to implement their strategies, I have determined what factors enable faster, more decisive execution, and reduce risk.
It’s all in the book! I can’t wait to share it! Available in February.

Get a copy for your whole team!
Or if you’d like to pre-order a copy for everyone on your team, contact us for bulk-order discounts.

AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Episode Four: Leading Teams, Recalibrating Yourself As A Leader

Welcome to Episode Four of the Tensions of Leadership: Leading Teams – Part 1, Recalibrating Yourself As A Leader!

Discussion guide from the Tensions of Leadership, Episode Four:

1. Now that we are shifting our knowing and doing to leading teams, this is still You on You.

2. You are now moving from “delivering work” to “developing,” or delivering work through OTHER PEOPLE. What is this transition about? Before, you were a practitioner, a contributor. This is an entirely different set of skills.

3. Remember, leadership is a skilled profession, and these are skills you can learn and develop!

4. The shift from ME-ology to WE-ology!

5. A critical first tension is letting go of the work. Can you let others do the work you were once responsible for, not that you are leading a team? Can you give your team the space and the coaching to learn those new tasks? Many struggle with this tension…

6. You now have position power. And the problem comes when new leaders abuse that power.

7. You want to use your “personal” power to engage and influence, not your “position” power which is just top down command and control.

8. You want to be carefrontational, not confrontational.

9. The next tension is dealing with obstacles, challenges and problems. Are you going to address them? Or avoid them?

10. Next tension to face: will you provide answers? Or questions? Are they dependent ON YOU? Or FROM YOU?

11. Will you EMPOWER your team? Or will you CONTROL your team? People need to understand the WHAT you are asking, but need the freedom to complete the task. We need to create the space that our team can grow into the people they can be.

12. This is where emotional intelligence and self-awareness is so important! EQ is more important than IQ!

13. “If you have to be the smartest person in the room, you probably aren’t the right person to be a team leader.”

14. Are you the leader of the team? Or a part of the team? Your role is to DEVELOP your team, not to PROTECT your team. You need to PREPARE your team to do what they need to do.

15. How does the team make decisions?

16. Are you going to be a leader that makes your team EARN trust? Or will you GIVE trust? Why does that matter?

17. Will you as a team leader resolve the tension of clarity and closure?

Click here to listen to all of Season Four!


Erica Peitler, intrepidNOW

About our host, Erica Peitler:

Erica is a Leadership Performance Coach who courageously partners with individuals, teams and organizations who want to realize their visions of success by transforming their leadership potential into visible, on the ground, breakthrough leadership performance!

With an engaging, provocative and straight forward approach, Erica inspires leaders to reach beyond their comfort level as they pursue becoming the performance based leaders they aspire to be in both their professional and personal life.

As a keynote speaker and author, Erica educates, entertains and enlightens audiences on leadership, transformational change and professional/personal growth initiatives.


Find Erica Peitler’s book here:

The essence of Leadership Rigor is creating change-ready leaders who can embrace challenges because they have the tools, models, and language to assess, structure, and facilitate aligned actions. They also have the mindset and emotional skills to lean into the change process despite its uncomfortable nature. By innovating on their preparedness first, these change-ready leaders are equipped to realize the growth in themselves and in their teams or organizations. Are you ready to take on your personal journey of Leadership Rigor?


Series co-host Todd Schnick is the Editor-In-Chief of intrepid.MEDIA and a media and content strategist. A former marketing strategist, lobbyist, and national political operative, Todd now lives and works in the Chicago Loop with his family. He is a writer, foodie, bibliophile, distance runner, and nearly full-time dog mom.



This series recorded LIVE from our Merchandise Mart studios in Chicago, Illinois! (Click on photo below for history of our studios!)

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, INCUBATOR, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Bob Kulhan: Is Improvisation the most important business skill?

Joined in studio today by Bob Kulhan, founder and CEO of Business Improv, and author of Getting to Yes And: The Art of Business Improv. Learn more about Bob Kulhan’s book here.

Discussion guide from today’s conversation with Bob Kulhan:

Bob Kulhan1. What is improv?
2. And how does improv integrate into our daily business practice?

3. “REACT, ADAPT, and COMMUNICATE.”

4. What is “YES AND” and how does it work?

5. What are the cognitive and social psychology behind this?

6. How does “YES AND” and improv help with creativity and innovation?

7. Improv is a skill. How do we learn and develop stronger improvisational skills?

Find Bob Kulhan’s book here:

Bob Kulhan

About Bob Kulhan:

Bob is an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration for The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University as well as an Adjunct Professor of Business for Columbia Business School, Columbia University. He also is the Founder & CEO of Business Improv. Based out of Chicago, LA & New York City, Business Improv (BI) is a world-class leader in developing experiential learning programs for businesses. For over 21 years Bob has performed and taught improvisation with the most elite improvisers in the world. His teaching and performing credits include Chicago’s famed Second City, iO, the Annoyance Theatre, Columbia College, The Australian Graduate School of Management, Koç University in Istanbul, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA Anderson School of Management (MBA & exec. ed.), Columbia University Business School (MBA & exec. ed.), and Duke University’s 
Fuqua School of Business. Kulhan is a cofounder of the critically acclaimed Baby Wants Candy improv troupe, with which he has toured internationally.

His consulting and teaching work in leadership and managerial improvisation includes an emphasis on team skills, fostering a collaborative corporate culture, whole body listening, busting blocks to creativity, conflict management, dyadic relationships, creative and adaptive problem solving, leadership, influence, and fostering creative cultures. Since 1998, his customized Business Improvisations programs have benefited a number of companies, including NY Redbulls, The Spaceship Company, Young Presidents Organization, Ford Motor Company, Risk Insurance Management Society (RIMS), Cushman & Wakefield, The University of Notre Dame: Renovare, SAS, Mazda, American Express Cards, Glaxo Smith Kline, DuPont, Hilton Hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai, PepsiCo, Capital One, National Cancer Institute, Neutrogena, Progressive, Colgate-Palmolive, Raytheon, WebMD, Procter & Gamble, R&D University, and the US Naval Academy.

In a unique collaboration with global leaders in Behavioral Decision Making, Bob co-introduced improvisation into the MBA curriculum of the Fuqua School of Business. The Workshop in Managerial Improvisation blends experiential exercises, adapted from traditional improv, with classroom lectures, case studies and discussion. It has consistently ranked among Duke University’s highest rated MBA electives. In addition to the MBA program at Fuqua, Bob has designed workshops for Fuqua professors and staff, Ph.D. students, communications & development departments, R. David Thomas Center management and staff, Program Managers’ Development (PMD), Management Challenge, Advanced Management Program (AMP), Duke Corporate Education, and Duke’s Executive Education department.

Kulhan was trained in improvisation by a long list of legendary talents, including improv guru Del Close, The Second City’s Martin de Maat, SNL and 30 Rock star Tina Fey, SNL and Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler, iO’s Susan Messing and The Annoyance Theater’s Mick Napier. Bob has created more than a dozen one-man shows and sketch comedy revues and has made his presence felt on YouTube through the popular series “The Bon Vivant Gourmet,” “Gil Kaggis: Business Expert!” and “OSHA Safety Men,” and with the hit holiday song “Christmas Hot Pants.” Kulhan continues to teach and perform comedic improvisation in New York City at The PIT and Brooklyn’s branch of the Annoyance Theater, and where Baby Wants Candy performs.

Bob has performed improvisation and facilitated Business Improv workshops in the U.S., England, Scotland, Germany, Singapore, Australia, Turkey, Dubai, Mumbai, and Banff, Canada, where he participated as a Faculty Member and Master Artist in both the Creativity Forum on Creative Leadership and the Thought Leadership Forum on Ethical Governance and Creating a Climate of Corporate Integrity.

In addition to all things improv, Bob is passionate about cooking, scuba diving, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (blue belt), and his family.

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, CONTRIBUTORS, LEADERSHIP

The Hazards of Business Execution, Part 2 of 4

This is part two of a four-part series!

I want to share with you in a series of 4 brief articles, how to overcome the obstacles to effective and predictable business execution of strategic initiatives.

There are chronic issues that exist in all organizations and far too many leaders accept them as a non-negotiable part of the business environment — things like resource disconnects, decision stalls, organizational politics, weak or passive-aggressive support, or everyone simply being too busy.

Last time we talked about the first step in the model “The Middle.”

O = Organization

Today I want to talk about the second step in the MOVE model O=Organization

When you are facing the very beginning of a necessary transformation, you are thinking through all the new things that need to be done. There will be things that need to be started, stopped, fixed, invented, re-designed, and re-negotiated… And as you are cataloging all the new stuff in your mind you think about your team — your current team.

Do I have the team I need?

In these first moments of a transformation you are tying to do big new stuff, but still have the same, existing organization. You ask yourself, “Is this the right team?”

In your heart you secretly know that not everyone on your current team is the best choice to succeed in the new mission. But it’s really hard to make a change, and you probably still need them to keep working on the current plans. And you might also be feeling bad and insecure thinking, “I like these people. I brought these people in initially! Who am I to now tell them that they are not going to be part of the new business strategy? Maybe I’ll just move forward with my existing team and they will be able to evolve to be capable enough in the new job. Or maybe I really do need to change the team. I don’t know. This is hard!”

There is no effective antidote for the wrong team

There is no more important thing you can do as a business leader than to build the right team. Every time I hated my job, or felt like I was drowning or failing, a mentor would tell me, “Patty you need to build the right team.”

Every time I was in a new management position, I built a new management team. And every time, before I had the new team in place, I suffered. It was not that the individuals were particularly bad in some way. It was that the team as a whole was the wrong team to accomplish what the business needed to get done. As long as I had the old team, doing the new stuff proved virtually impossible. And I had to shoulder all the weight of thinking about the new stuff by myself.

If you find yourself working overly hard because there are too many things that you can’t delegate to anyone — you have the wrong team.

Your ideal, blank-sheet org chart

As a leader it is your job to build the team you need, not to make do with the team you have.

To build the right organization you need to think about what the ideal team would be to accomplish the transformation you need to execute. Then instead of trying to move around the people you already have, give yourself the opportunity to start with a blank sheet, and build the right organization chart from scratch.



Mobilizing the right team to execute

As a leader you need to always be asking yourself the following:

The right people

How can I attract and hire the right people and move the wrong people out in a respectful way?

The right conversations

How can I lead my team in a way that fosters the most productivity, motivation, and confidence?

Genuine engagement

How can make sure that enough people are truly engaged on a personal level, especially when they are spread throughout the world! How can I get people to truly care?

Get your copy of MOVE to help you build the right team and motivate them to personally care about implementing the new strategy throughout the long Middle.

And check back next time for the next part of the MOVE model, V = Valor.

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You can find Patty Azzarello’s upcoming book here:

Download a FREE Preview of MOVE

In my years of leading business transformations and turnarounds, building highly successful management teams, and working with countless clients to implement their strategies, I have determined what factors enable faster, more decisive execution, and reduce risk.
It’s all in the book! I can’t wait to share it! Available in February.

Get a copy for your whole team!
Or if you’d like to pre-order a copy for everyone on your team, contact us for bulk-order discounts.

AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Episode Three: Leading Yourself, Utilizing Your Leadership Voice to Influence

Welcome to Episode Three of the Tensions of Leadership: Leading Yourself – Part 2, Utilizing Your Leadership Voice to Influence!

Discussion guide from the Tensions of Leadership, Episode Three:

1. In leading yourself, you have to figure out what your end game is first. Where do you want to take your leadership practice?

2. Do you want to lead something? Or do you want to be a thought leader or trusted advisor?

3. What are the differences between transactional players and trusted advisors? And the decision to be one or the other is a significant tension leaders will face.

4. “The tension of expectations.”

5. “Do I really want to a team leader, or lead an organization?” And sometimes we do this because we think that’s what the organization (or friends and family) wants, when it really doesn’t fit our skill sets and desires.

6. As best you can, make resolve these kinds of personal leadership tensions as early as you can.

7. Don’t forget, organizations need technical experts and transactional players too. Not everyone can be a “leader.”

8. Veritas vs. Gravitas. Gravitas is having the ability to make an impact, to influence!

9. How “role modeling” plays into this…

10. The two types of mindsets: Growth vs. Fixed. Most of us leave a job because we don’t care for our boss, and that boss is typically of a fixed mindset.

11. The modern business leaders needs to have a growth mindset. But…can someone operating out of a fixed mindset, can they change?

12. Asking the key question, “Who do we serve?” Do you serve the master? Or do you serve the team? You cannot just serve your direct reports, you need to serve the whole organization.

13. Manipulating versus influencing. Are they different?

Click here to listen to all of Season Four!


Erica Peitler, intrepidNOW

About our host, Erica Peitler:

Erica is a Leadership Performance Coach who courageously partners with individuals, teams and organizations who want to realize their visions of success by transforming their leadership potential into visible, on the ground, breakthrough leadership performance!

With an engaging, provocative and straight forward approach, Erica inspires leaders to reach beyond their comfort level as they pursue becoming the performance based leaders they aspire to be in both their professional and personal life.

As a keynote speaker and author, Erica educates, entertains and enlightens audiences on leadership, transformational change and professional/personal growth initiatives.


Find Erica Peitler’s book here:

The essence of Leadership Rigor is creating change-ready leaders who can embrace challenges because they have the tools, models, and language to assess, structure, and facilitate aligned actions. They also have the mindset and emotional skills to lean into the change process despite its uncomfortable nature. By innovating on their preparedness first, these change-ready leaders are equipped to realize the growth in themselves and in their teams or organizations. Are you ready to take on your personal journey of Leadership Rigor?


Series co-host Todd Schnick is the Editor-In-Chief of intrepid.MEDIA and a media and content strategist. A former marketing strategist, lobbyist, and national political operative, Todd now lives and works in the Chicago Loop with his family. He is a writer, foodie, bibliophile, distance runner, and nearly full-time dog mom.



This series recorded LIVE from our Merchandise Mart studios in Chicago, Illinois! (Click on photo below for history of our studios!)

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AUTHORS, BUSINESS, CONTRIBUTORS, LEADERSHIP

The Hazards of Business Execution, Part 1 of 4

This is part one of a four-part series!

I want to share with you in a series of 4 brief articles, how to overcome the obstacles to effective and predictable business execution of strategic initiatives

There are chronic issues that exist in all organizations and far too many leaders accept them as a non-negotiable part of the business environment — things like resource disconnects, decision stalls, organizational politics, weak or passive-aggressive support, or everyone simply being too busy.

Stalls and retreats

We tend to accept stalls and loss of momentum as an inevitable result of short-term pressures that tempt the organization to go back to the old, comfortable way of working, instead of sticking with the new work necessary to make the longer-term transformation succeed.

Many organizations have a tendency to falter shortly after the exciting kick-off of a new strategic initiative. Think about how many times in your own career you have been told about a new strategy, and how many times the organization has actually followed through. (Not so much, right?)

Pre-programmed Skepticism

So each time we hear about a new thing, our reaction is skepticism, and the opposite of personal engagement. “I don’t need to worry about this because we never follow through on these things anyway.”

We are all so jaded when hearing about big new strategies that our natural tendency is to dismiss them. As a leader, it’s important to remember that that is the natural tendency of your whole organization!

I’ve written a book (called MOVE) about changing the game to that organizations can actually implement the big, new strategies that they are so excited about in the beginning– and so that the all people in the organization can move the new strategy forward with more confidence and less suspicion — because the actually believe in it.

Over the past 25 years helping organizations execute transformations I’ve created my MOVE model for the successful implementation of any kind of strategic initiative.

Today I want to talk about the M part of my model which stands for “The Middle”.

Have you been in this meeting?

You’re at a strategic off-site meeting to clarify your new strategy. You talk about the key, long-term things your business must invent, optimize, fix, change, or create. You use the words “game changing” and “innovative” when you talk about these ideas. You may have hired expensive consultants to create your new innovative and game changing strategy. There is tremendous investment, effort, and energy that goes into the beginning of a new strategy. Reaching the point of having defined and aligned on a new strategy seems like a huge achievement in itself – and it is.
But then . . .

Everyone goes back to work.
Everyone stays busy on what they were already working on.
The new thing falls victim to the Middle.

The dangers of the Middle

The beginning is really clear and strong, with lots of investment, excitement and great intentions. And the end is really well defined. But the problem most strategies face is that there is no real plan for the Middle – which is where everything needs to happen!

It’s not the goal setting and strategy that is the problem. It’s the doing. And the doing is hard because it takes doing for a long time. Without the element of time, there is no real transformation.

It’s easy to get an organization focused on a sprint. But in a transformation, you need to keep a whole organization moving in an often unnatural direction for a long period of time. And since human nature is not really built to naturally keep people engaged and focused over a long period of time, to succeed you need to really focus on this ambiguous expanse in the Middle and do many things on purpose to keep people on point.

Some of the biggest problems in the middle:

Too busy:
Everyone is so busy on existing work to even think about doing or even planning new stuff. I often refer to this is “being too busy being a $200M company to be a $1B company”.

What exactly should I be doing?
Companies are good at articulating end goals, but less practiced at plotting a clear and concrete course through the Middle. So people are not sure exactly what is the different stuff that needs to be done – so it’s easier to just keep working on the important, current, urgent stuff.

“Are we still doing this?”
As time goes by, attention, commitment and confidence wane. People naturally revert to the old way, because the Middle is a long time. No one is sure if this new thing is still important. Original skepticism slips back in and forward momentum stalls.

Not enough resources
If you want to do new stuff, you need to resource it. Too often companies think resource shifts will happen automatically as a result of simply talking about how important the new stuff is. (This never happens.) So, people are left thinking, well, they haven’t actually assigned resources to the new stuff, so I’ll wait until that happens.

The MOVE model let’s you take control and plot a clear course through the Middle so that everyone can see the way forward (for the whole time). You eliminate resource disconnects, increase confidence, neutralize passive aggressive attacks, and overcome political conflicts by defining the Middle in such a clear and concrete way that you ensure forward momentum.

Get your copy of MOVE to help you define the Middle in a way that ensures everyone knows what to do, and they feel confident to do so.

And check back next time for the next part of the MOVE model, 0 = Organization.

###

You can find Patty Azzarello’s upcoming book here:

Download a FREE Preview of MOVE

In my years of leading business transformations and turnarounds, building highly successful management teams, and working with countless clients to implement their strategies, I have determined what factors enable faster, more decisive execution, and reduce risk.
It’s all in the book! I can’t wait to share it! Available in February.

Get a copy for your whole team!
Or if you’d like to pre-order a copy for everyone on your team, contact us for bulk-order discounts.

AUTHORS, BUSINESS, LEADERSHIP, PERSONAL GROWTH

Episode Two: Leading Yourself, Establishing your leadership voice

Welcome to Episode Two of the Tensions of Leadership: Leading Yourself – Part 1, Establishing Your Leadership Voice!

Discussion guide from the Tensions of Leadership, Episode Two:

1. What does it mean to cross the Knowing/Doing gap? Are you a passenger? Or are you a participant in a leadership journey?

2. “At this point, it is you on you. How are YOU going to show up?”

3. To establish your leadership voice, you have to get into the game. You CANNOT be reluctant.

4. The arc of your entire leadership career starts very early, and the first tension you face, is deciding to engage, and crossing the knowing/doing gap!

5. Establishing your leadership voice really comes down to EXPRESSING it! Your voice doesn’t matter if it is not heard.

6. This does take courage.

7. When it comes to capability building, do not ONLY focus on technical skills.

8. “Your work will NOT speak for itself. You have to express yourself vocally. You need to be engaging and influencing your stakeholders!”

9. So, how does this really take off for a new and want-to-be leader? It does require intense preparation and making important choices.

10. Mindful leadership (and what that means), and choosing NOT to be reluctant.

11. Boldly seeking entry points! You have seek them out, see them, and then seize them when the opportunity presents itself.

12. Why you might need to mentally rehearse expressing your leadership voice!

13. Come up with standard phrases to jump into an opportunity, at a business meeting for instance, saying things like: I want to add something here; I’d like to build on something here; I’d like to offer another perspective; or I’d like to challenge something here…

14. The nuances regarding establishing your leadership voice for both introverts and extroverts.

Click here to listen to all of Season Four!


Erica Peitler, intrepidNOW

About our host, Erica Peitler:

Erica is a Leadership Performance Coach who courageously partners with individuals, teams and organizations who want to realize their visions of success by transforming their leadership potential into visible, on the ground, breakthrough leadership performance!

With an engaging, provocative and straight forward approach, Erica inspires leaders to reach beyond their comfort level as they pursue becoming the performance based leaders they aspire to be in both their professional and personal life.

As a keynote speaker and author, Erica educates, entertains and enlightens audiences on leadership, transformational change and professional/personal growth initiatives.


Find Erica Peitler’s book here:

The essence of Leadership Rigor is creating change-ready leaders who can embrace challenges because they have the tools, models, and language to assess, structure, and facilitate aligned actions. They also have the mindset and emotional skills to lean into the change process despite its uncomfortable nature. By innovating on their preparedness first, these change-ready leaders are equipped to realize the growth in themselves and in their teams or organizations. Are you ready to take on your personal journey of Leadership Rigor?


Series co-host Todd Schnick is the Editor-In-Chief of intrepid.MEDIA and a media and content strategist. A former marketing strategist, lobbyist, and national political operative, Todd now lives and works in the Chicago Loop with his family. He is a writer, foodie, bibliophile, distance runner, and nearly full-time dog mom.



This series recorded LIVE from our Merchandise Mart studios in Chicago, Illinois! (Click on photo below for history of our studios!)

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