Tag Archives: leadership

The Future of Leadership: A Perspective from Business Workforce Trainers

Strategy and leadershipWhat’s the future of leadership look like? Five leaders in the field of business workforce training and development shared their perspectives at a session at the 2014 ASTD conference yesterday (and just renamed itself the Association for Talent Development).  In the conversation, Debbie Blanchard (Ken Blanchard Companies), James Kirkpatrick (Kirkpatrick Partners), Halley Bock (Fierce, Inc.) and Tacy Byham (Development Dimensions International) discussed their experiences and observations as consultants who work with companies around the world.  The session was presented in a question-and-answer format, but I’ve synthesized and distilled their responses to highlight key ideas.

1.  Leadership is not a “soft skill”; it is an intentional practice to improve organizational performance and profitability.  You cannot thrust people into leadership to see if they can swim, instead it has to be initiated, conducted, and practiced intentionally.

2.  Leadership has moved from a hierarchical, single command-and-control structure to Continue reading

HBR: The Truth About the Customer Experience

Harvard Business Review, September 2013

Harvard Business Review, September 2013

The September 2013 issue of Harvard Business Review features four articles on women in leadership, which will be of interest to many people who work at historic sites and museums.  The first is on the subtle gender bias that obstructs women’s access to leadership in even the most well-meaning organizations (and how to correct the problem), the second article describes companies who have successfully incorporated inclusivity, and the third reveals the way women make buying decisions differently in a business-to-business (B2B) setting from men.  The fourth article is a roundup of recent research on women in the workplace, such as women receive less criticism but also less challenging assignments.  Of course, the museum and historic site field is dominated by women, so I wonder what these statistics would look like for us.

There’s also a good article on “customer journey mapping.”  It’s a relatively new method of studying a customer’s buying experience by identifying all the places that a company interacts with a customer and evaluating each of these “touchpoints.”   By mapping the customer’s journey to buy a product from their initial search for information to its delivery and installation, a company can better understand the Continue reading

Failed Organizational Culture at Goldman Sachs Suggests Remedies for Non-Profits

Greg Smith’s public departure from Goldman Sachs after a dozen years is one of the hottest pages of the New York Times today and while I tend to ignore the personnel matters of Wall Street (oh, another tycoon getting/losing/complaining about a bonus that’s more than the value of my house), reading his statement startled me.  So many of his concerns about the organization’s culture are shared by me and many of my colleagues in the museum and historic preservation fields:

1.  The overriding pursuit of money that’s out of balance with mission or ethics.  Smith describes a staff meeting at Goldman Sachs:

Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

Gosh, if this bothers someone at a financial investment firm, shouldn’t the lack of discussion about fulfilling mission and vision really bother the board and staff at a non-profit organization?  And yet most meetings Continue reading