Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, of Stanford University, accurately summed up the responsibility of a leader:
“Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions, so that the world doesn’t fall apart if you take a day off.”
Perhaps no concept in business is more essential, and at the same time so colossally misunderstood, than delegation. Any rational person knows that they have strengths and limitations. It follows, that tasks should be divvied based on each employees abilities.
Yet for some reason, many business struggle to properly delegate—and the consequences are severe. Sloppy projects. Missed deadlines. Angry clients.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Now before everyone gets up in arms, I’m certainly not advocating violence in any shape or form. But I do want to bring attention to a fundamental issue that, unfortunately, tends to get skated over a bit.
It’s no secret that company culture is a critical element to success in any business. It’s a huge reason for the success of companies such as Google, Zappos, and Southwest Airlines. Quality employees and valuable clients alike are attracted to a place with a vibrant, positive culture.
Great culture starts at the top. Those in executive and managerial positions have the power to set the tone for the workplace environment. It’s an enormous, far-reaching responsibility, because the environment they create will ultimately determine the quality of the employees and the business they attract. Guess that’s why they’re paid the big bucks.
There is a common denominator that all companies with great culture tend to share: they understand that there is a difference between managing and leading.
You turn on your phone, and are greeted by a most familiar message.
An alert flashes across the screen giving you the option to update to the new and improved version of some app or software. Just a tap of the screen and presto! It’s better than ever.
This routine has become so commonplace in our mobile-centric lives. Today’s hyper-paced world has reached dizzying levels of speeds, and software developers are constantly rolling out new updates, security fixes, and improvements to their products in order to keep pace.
While there’s not much to do on our end, in reality there is a lot of work that goes into creating these updates. There is updated code to write, bugs to fix, development, testing, split testing, tweaking, consumer feedback, and more testing. It’s an ongoing, meticulous process.
Much like the phones that (unfortunately) control our lives, we, too, require periodic updates.
At the end of next week, Ptex Group will be closing its doors for a few short days.
Our hardworking team plans to celebrate the wonderful Jewish holiday of Pesach (Passover) and will honor this beautiful, timeless tradition… by taking a vacation from the office.
Dozens of studies show it is both healthy and important to periodically take a break from our hectic work schedules. And the reason is quite simple.
As humans, we’re all creatures of habit. We have our morning routine. Our work routine. Our pre-meeting routine. We all just like to get into a rhythm and keep it that way.
After all, sticking to a routine is the key to being productive. Successful people are well-known as sticklers for routine. Routine provides structure. It establishes a sense of security.
Which makes having to change routine so hard.
It means tearing down the habits we worked so hard to create. It means demolishing the cocoon of security around us. Forgetting what we always knew.
Yesterday, I learned this lesson firsthand.
Along with millions of Americans, I’ve been avidly following the 2016 election process. It’s been a wild, turbulent spectacle, and has commanded everyone’s attention.
We’ve seen how one man took the entire political system and threw it into a complete frenzy. I’m referring, of course, to Donald Trump.
Now, don’t worry – I’m going to steer clear of the political arena, and in no way is this an endorsement. However, I feel there are always valuable business lessons to be learned from current events.
Agree with him or not, there is no denying that Trump has positioned himself as the odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination. To many, this has been nothing short of an astonishment. Astute businesspeople will notice, however, that he has simply applied a couple of basic, winning business concepts to his campaign:
Reid Hoffman (no relation), co-founder of LinkedIn, has a famous quote which resonates with entrepreneurs:
“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
It’s a simple but revealing maxim. And, truth be told, it’s one not reserved for entrepreneurs orbusiness owners, but applicable to every single one of us.
Many people tinker and re-tinker with their assignment, their product or their business – all in the name of “making it perfect”. In reality, though, that perfectionism is just procrastination in disguise.
The reason people procrastinate?
I’m always amazed how the greatest business insights can sometimes come from the most unexpected places.
On a recent flight back from Israel, I struck up a conversation with one of the stewards. We made a little small talk, and soon our chat turned to his job. During the course of our discussion, he lamented to me that, although he always tried to be friendly to every passenger, he had no real business incentive to be cordial.
He described the startling lack of employee appreciation. There was no recognition from his superiors for better customer service. No compliment for going the extra mile. Positive feedback was from passengers, not superiors. The only way to get noticed? Publish something foolish on social media. Boy, would that work!
Instead, he explained, the employee growth module of this airline was, essentially, “survival of the fittest.” Been here for 4 years? Congratulations on lasting this long, here’s a raise.
This is a very troubling and flawed model.
Let’s face it. Today’s business world is more difficult than ever.
Now, I’m sure many of you are probably thinking, “what are you talking about? Modern technology has made staying connected easier than ever!”
Allow me to explain.
The daily bombardment of phone calls, texts, emails, status updates, and other messages flying across our screens has really made us more detached and out of focus. We’re constantly being pulled in a thousand different directions. Spreading ourselves too thin.
As a result, our stress levels have risen and our productivity has suffered.
However, there are those who, despite the available distractions, seem to be productive no matter what.
What’s their secret?
2016 is just a couple of days away.
Many businesspeople know that the change in the calendar year is a great time to set goals for the next year.
But not too many know that there is a step prior to setting goals – the mindset.
Smart businesspeople know that there is no straight path to success. There are many confusing twists and turns, and it’s easy to get lost. To simply keep moving to try to find your way out is counterproductive.
Just ask Richard Bauer.