Adrian had been looking for a solution to an issue at work in her head for months (and months). She was, in her words, a perfectionist who was looking for a way to control the issue without negative consequences. She didn’t just ponder how to deal with it, she obsessed about it. It was beginning to impact her leadership and her personal relationships. Wishing that her obsessive thoughts about the issue would stop didn’t work; in fact, it made her more frustrated.

She discovered a way to find answers to the issue that worked for her and allowed her to take action. Once she did, she was able to come back to the technique she used over and over again, increasing her ability to make faster decisions and her effectiveness as a leader.

Very few leaders will claim to get stuck, but realistically we all do at some point. The decisions you don’t make are as important as the ones you do. (read more…)

PerdueCoverThis post is an excerpt from the book “Tough Man, Tender Chicken: Business and Life Lessons from Frank Perdue” (December 2014, Significance Press) by Mitzi Perdue, who holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Harvard University and a master’s in public administration from George Washington University. For two decades she was a syndicated columnist, first for Capitol News, writing about food and agriculture, and then for Scripps Howard, writing about the environment. For more on the book, visit FrankPerdueBook.com, and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

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Although Ed McCabe was the copywriter for the Perdue account, he also became one of Frank’s best friends. Years after they were no longer working together, they would still visit each other.

In McCabe’s eyes, the basis of their relationship was that they were both fanatics. (read more…)

I am continually amazed by people who take a vision and attempt to turn it into a business reality. Of course, this requires passion, intelligence, insight, and commitment. However, it also requires something else – the realization that the effort is an experiment.

As Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble teach us in “The Other Side of Innovation,” “… the innovator’s job cannot be to deliver a proven result; it must be to discover what is possible, that is, to learn by converting assumptions into knowledge as quickly and inexpensively as possible.”

One such innovator who is in the throes of running an innovation experiment is 34-year-old Ashley Poulin, CEO of SharpHeels. Ashley’s vision with the website is to provide professional women a forum to learn, share and obtain knowledge and services that will help them enjoy, as well as advance in, their careers. She started this as a hobby while working as a marketing leader at a leading computer-hardware company and now dedicates herself full-time to the effort. (read more…)

It still hurts to think about it. It was early in my career and I was facing a big challenge. How do we involve a large group of manufacturing employees in a new and unpopular strategy? People were counting on me, and I had nothing. My boss said “Come on Gretch, just be creative.” I smiled but my stomach turned another notch.

The truth was we were trying to be creative. We had already rejected a lot of ideas because they seemed too far out, too much work, too bold. We were running out of time and corporate kept asking, “What’s your plan?”

Finally during one of those long team conversations, someone said the word “passport.” Believe it or not, with that one word, everything changed. We riffed around the idea of a passport being a way to get to somewhere new and exciting. The thought of multiple stamps generated the idea to create special events tied to the coming changes. (read more…)

“I’m going to begin to collaborate more with the stakeholders outside of my organization — clients, cross-functional partners and others.”

I asked the leader who made this statement what “collaboration” meant to him and his organization.

“I see it as a way to get more buy-in into the mission of our organization and to learn a bit more about them in the bargain,” he said.

This isn’t really collaboration, a term that has become a buzzword in business and politics. True collaboration is not about what you can get from others.

A continuum of interaction that I learned many years ago helped me to understand what collaboration is. It can help you to understand what you really want to do in the situations you deal with and therefore direct your attention, intention and behavior when you choose to collaborate.

Three words that begin with “C” broadly describe the types of interactions and relationships you may have with others. (read more…)