Executive Leadership

Cement group decisions by asking your team this one question:

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Someone once advised Marcy Blochowiak, head of the Georgia-based financial services marketing firm World Financial Group, that she would have to lead herself before she could lead others. “Leader of one, leader of many,” Blochowiak remembers the rhyme. “If you can’t lead one, you can’t lead any.”

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Brazilian equipment supplier Semco has grown an average 27.5 percent a year for 14 years, despite wild fluctuations in Brazil’s economy. The reason: Semco’s radical use of participative management. Of the employees’ 3,000 votes, CEO Ricardo Semler gets only one.

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You can’t make a sound decision when you’re juggling lots of activities
at the same time, says innovation consultant Luda Kopeikina. Instead, you need to reach the same kind of “clarity state” that top
athletes reach in competition. To get there, these four factors should
be working for you:

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People micromanage because they’re afraid. They’re scared about competition, finances, succession, lawsuits, you name it. Uncertainty poses a threat, fear kicks in, and then it’s way too easy to jump in and seize control.

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Even if you earned every bit of what you’ve achieved, you’ll win over
more followers and avoid any taint of arrogance if you show gratitude. Take Don Cooper, pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox and the man
perhaps most responsible for leading this team of castoffs into last
fall’s World Series.

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As an Arizona state senator in 1971, Sandra Day O’Connor began her
campaign to have a woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. O’Connor had to decide which social conventions to keep and which to
toss. She decided to keep wearing dresses, but here are two “rules” she
flouted:

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You might blame sluggishness, complacency, arrogance or bureaucracy when your organization sinks into deep trouble. All those things matter, but management guru Peter Drucker showed us that none of them may be the main culprit.

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Robert Crandall headed engineering and manufacturing at Eastman Kodak
during the “copier wars” with Xerox back in the 1970s. He faced two
problems:

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Most business leaders would rather pay a celebrity $1,000 a minute for
a “motivational” talk than bring in somebody who’d actually provide
hands-on, tactical training, says Steve Salerno, author of SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless.

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