Leadership just isn’t what it used to be. Thank goodness! We’ve all known of organizational cultures where the managers’ use of command and control is a source of power. Because we are now in an age of flattened organizational structures, global broad based knowledge, and speed-of-light decision making, real leadership power lies in work relationships that are formed and intentionally sustained.

In the next 20 years, we’ll see more change in how managers lead. Although here are still pockets of managers who grasp for power through force and strength, they’ll leave and be replaced with a new type of manager. This manager will be adept at real power. They’ll share influence by being a catalyst to bring out the best in their stakeholders and organizations.

They’ll focus on others as a significant investment as opposed to simply checking off items on a “to do” list. The managers who are adept at force and control will not survive, except perhaps in rare cases where safety and security may be necessary. (read more…)

#173063503 / gettyimages.com

 

In February, CVS announced it would stop selling tobacco products, and take a $2 billion hit to the bottom line, because they were starkly at odds with the company’s core purpose of promoting customer health. Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said in a news release, “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do … to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

More recently, Starbucks unveiled the College Achievement Plan for any Starbucks employee that will cover some or all of the tuition for Arizona State University’s online degree programs. If only 3% of its workforce takes advantage of the program, then it could cost Starbucks $50 million annually. That may sound like a lot of money. But, Howard Schultz, the founder and CEO of Starbucks, told the press that the program would not only lower attrition, increase performance, and attract and retain talent, but it is also in alignment with Starbucks’ mission: to “inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” What inspires and nurtures the human spirit more than getting a good education? (read more…)

E-commerce is an industry that seems to be in a constant state of growth, with emerging technology and the increasingly mobile consumer. You don’t have to be an industry expert to know that Amazon is the major player in the U.S. e-commerce industry, but with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s IPO and growth plans that include the U.S., online retail could face a shake-up.

Scot Wingo is the co-founder and CEO of e-commerce software firm ChannelAdvisor, and he also contributes to the industry through writing, speaking and connecting with e-retailers across the U.S. SmartBrief spoke with Wingo about Alibaba’s entrance into the U.S. e-commerce market and what that could mean for the future of the industry.

Can you talk a little bit about Alibaba’s expansion plans, particularly in the U.S.?

Alibaba has been very active in their recent U.S. investments:

First they acquired two eBay selling tool vendors back in 2010. (read more…)

Adapted from Organizational Behavior, Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, John Wiley & Sons, 2000, pgs. 311-15

Power or Influence? This is an important question as we navigate through our careers. The two are often confused for one another so our first step is to define them. Here are my definitions:

  • Power: The ability to get others to do something you want done, and perhaps even to complete the task the way you want it done.
  • Influence: A behavioral response to the exercise of power; you demonstrate your influence when others comply with your requests.

If you are the CEO of a company, the governance structure of that organization gives you a substantial amount of power. Unless it is a smaller organization with no board of advisors or directors, that power has its limits, and that is a checks-and-balances system that protects the interests of the various groups of owners or investors.

But there is a lot of “juice” in the comments or directives of the CEO or [resident of most firms. (read more…)

#455310525 / gettyimages.com

As a leader, you have certainly been the recipient of some unwelcome feedback. The comments may have focused in on your leadership style, specific actions or comments of yours, your attitudes or some combination thereof. Perhaps it arrived in the form of criticism. Worse yet, it may have come inscribed on a pink farewell note.

Even if the remark was delivered with constructive intent, you may have resented the experience and sought opportunities to get back at the source of your reproach, or at least gain satisfaction from his or her next slip up.

All of this is normal. Some may call it natural or even healthy. But as someone who has received his fair share of criticism over the years, my suggestion is that you get what you can from the comments and then move on, as quickly and completely as possible.

There is nothing to be gained from harboring negative thoughts. (read more…)