Christine Lagarde is the head of the International Monetary Fund.  No small leadership task especially given the ongoing international economic crises.  Lagarde began her duties in the wake of the sex scandal of her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.


Lagarde is not an economist.  Leadership does not automatically mean you are the technical expert or that you have all the answers.  To some degree, Lagarde was in the right place at the right time.  As Christopher Dickey declares, “She was, and is, one of those leaders who are created by the crises of the times” (“The Truth Talker” Newsweek, January 30, 2012, p. 34).


But it was more than that.  She brought certain essential, broader skills to the table.  As Dickey explains, “Her greatest skills, according to those who work closely with her, are her ability to listen, to assess, to pull together a strong team, and to get the best out of a tough situation” (p. 32).


Indeed, regardless of a leader’s technical knowledge, or lack thereof, those certain essential, broader skills are what empower the leader to lead.  The technical knowledge is nice, but that alone doesn’t mean you are a leader.


How is your leadership doing these days?  Are you up for a crisis or two?  Learn to embrace the crises.  They create your leadership opportunities, provided you bring those certain essential, broader skills with you.


As every good CEO knows, constantly watching return on investment is crucial to the organization’s success.  Proctor and Gamble’s CEO Bob McDonald announced workforce reductions to the tune of 1,600 employees in nonmanufacturing and marketing jobs.


McDonald does not plan to eliminate spending on advertising and marketing.  Rather, he is simply recognizing the benefit of social media to companies that tap its potential wisely.


I believe this is a good decision.  The power of social media is here to stay.  The companies that capitalize on it will do so to their enhanced success.  The ones that don’t will live to regret it . .  if they live.


You can pay for all your advertising and marketing, or you can rely on social media to do it all, or you can execute a combined approach.  The wisdom required by the leadership of each company will be knowing exactly where to strike that balance.

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This was an excellent short article on being a “connector.”  After reading it I realized I have been doing this my entire life.  I just love helping people get connected to other people for mutual benefit.  Enjoy!

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Many years ago after the personal computer was taking root in our business world, I finally had my home-office PC set up exactly the way I wanted it to be.  My hard drive and RAM were perfect.  I had my main applications loaded, running, and customized to all my personal preferences.  My desktop looked the way I wanted it to look and behaved the way I wanted it to behave.


  . . . . Until the next software upgrade.   

I can remember naively thinking, “But why do I have to upgrade [name of your favorite application]?  I like the way this version works!”  I literally did not want anything about my beloved desktop PC to change.


My how far we’ve come!  Thankfully, I finally learned with hardware, software, and PC technology, change is the name of the game.  Rather than weep, wail, and gnash my teeth, embracing the change tends to work out best in the long run.  Plus my teeth last longer.


Most of us have experienced the frustration of learning the new place to click after the upgrade occurs.  Rather than just thinking about that experience with frustration, remind yourself of the positive side.


Learning something new is always a good thing.  Staying fresh and up to date with the latest hardware and software keeps you current in today’s business world.  Being willing to embrace change is a positive character and leadership trait.


Finally, being willing to change is a sign of a healthy, enlivened, productive person.  Personally, professionally, and physically, refusal to change is the first sign of death.  Lord willing, I plan to live a very long time.

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The opening sentence in Max DePree’s book, “Leadership Is an Art” is simple yet profound: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.”

The first time I ever read that statement, it struck me as arrogant and a bit impossible.  Who was I to define reality?  Over time, as I meditated on that statement, the meaning began to sink into my head.  I realized what a poor leader I would be if I did not define reality, both for me and for my followers.

Anytime we find ourselves in a leadership role, others look to us for the definition of reality.  The magnitude of that role can be overwhelming.  Nevertheless, define reality we must.  That is our mission, indeed, our calling.

Think it through, consider carefully, and define accurately.  Your organization’s success depends upon it.

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