RadioShack is on the ropes. What can be done to save it? (read more…)

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” The Great Gatsby

The year’s cadence naturally increases in September as workers return from vacations and student return to school. Take advantage of the crispness of fall by injecting new energy into your teams and refocusing them on year-end goals.

Students benefit from the excitement of new classrooms, supplies, teachers and subjects so there’s no reason those of us in the working world can’t grab onto a nugget of that crack-open-the-new spiral freshness and use it to attain this year’s annual goals and provide clarity to plans for the year ahead.

The following are five tips leaders can use to focus themselves and their organizations:

  1. Review your personal “Why” and that of your department or company.” Do they make you excited? Are they relevant to your environment? To the marketplace? Are they aligned? If not, figure out what’s changed and if the Why needs to change as well.
  2. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How comfortable are you asking questions you don’t know the answers to?

  • Very — I have no problem asking questions about any topic: 84.4%
  • Somewhat — I don’t do it very often: 13.42%
  • Not very — I tend to only ask questions I know the answer to: 1.34%
  • Not at all — I avoid asking questions as much as possible: .84%

Questions lead to insight. Early in our careers, we’re trained to always have the answer. As we assume larger leadership roles, it is imperative that we lead the thinking rather than leading the work. Doing so effectively requires you to ask the questions you don’t know the answers to. In so doing, you can take the team beyond their current understanding of the world and lead them to explore new ideas, new opportunities, and new risks. (read more…)

This post is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr. Michael R. Dicks is the director of veterinary economics at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and has, for the last three decades, advised groups around the world from the USDA to foreign governments on food and farm policy. Dr. Dicks sat down with us to discuss how the economics of the veterinary industry are changing and what the future holds.

Question: What is the role of economics in veterinary medicine?

Answer: The role of an economist is to define the problem, figure out strategies to address the problem and share potential consequences of those approaches. I want to give people information to help them make decisions; it’s not my role or the role of economics to make those decisions. In the veterinary field, the problem is excess capacity. Sources of this problem include the economy, prices, the increasing rate of new veterinary students and uneven distribution. (read more…)

More than 50,000 books are published per year on leadership — how to be an effective leader, how to grow into being a leader if you’re not one, what qualities constitute a good leader. And it’s not just books — there are websites, magazines, blogs, training seminars, not to mention graduate degrees from major universities.

The market for leadership development seems unlimited. Why? Because nearly everyone sees him or herself as a leader, or at least a potential one. Leadership seems to be the holy grail for which all business people should be striving. But what if there is another side to this coin? What if leadership is not always where your focus should be?

Here’s the nugget: You can’t be a leader unless you have willing followers. So you must follow first. You must learn to be a good follower. You need to see life from the trenches, understand the mindset of those you may one day lead. (read more…)