Over 75 years ago, Chester Barnard published a landmark book called “The Functions of the Executive.” In it, he makes a key observation: “Successful cooperation in or by formal organizations is the abnormal, not the normal, condition.”

In other words, organizations don’t cooperate naturally. That’s why one of the fundamental roles of the CEO is to proactively build the basis of successful cooperation: organizational alignment.

In the business world, we talk about alignment all the time, but it’s important to recognize the three specific forms it takes, and then set up systems to help support all three. Fail at this task and you’ll be like a conductor at the front of an orchestra that’s trying to play seven different Beethoven symphonies at once. Not a pleasant experience for anyone.

1. Employee-role alignment

The first kind of alignment describes the fit between an employee and his or her role. If the individual is misaligned with the function to be performed, the mismatch will threaten the broader forms of alignment discussed later in this post. (read more…)

Trust is a key element in all human interactions. Nowhere is it more important than in a work environment. Yet, often leaders pay little attention to how actions affect trust.

If leaders aren’t mindful of these actions, they can soon lose the trust of their employees. When that happens, teamwork, communications and performance suffer. Employee dissatisfaction, lower productivity and higher turnovers increase company costs.

When leaders consciously strive to improve trust, they’ll see an increase in communication. People will reveal more to you and you’ll have greater insight into what’s really happening in your organization. This will help your employees succeed.

You’ll find an increase in teamwork and cooperation. When you establish trust, your employees know you’ll have their back and protect them. Thus, they support you and give more effort and production. You save the company money.

Is your trust factor where it should be? Use these five tips to evaluate your performance and increase employee trust in you and your organization. 

  1. Be aware and involved.
  2. (read more…)

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” — H. P. Lovecraft

A handful of community leaders approached me about halfway through my first year as school leader. Some teachers — particularly the tenured vets — were concerned with certain aspects of my leadership style and were starting to vent to board members and other people of influence. After hearing these people out, I asked them what most people in a similar situation would want to know. “Why aren’t they coming to me with this?” I was told that they were afraid of losing their jobs.

To be honest, I found their response hard to accept. I knew that not everything had gone smoothly over the first few months on the job (there was SO much to learn and understand!) and I also wasn’t the one to whom they offered their allegiances (I had not hired and then rehired them year over year). (read more…)

The continued struggles of the Secret Service are a series of failures and performance lapses that have gone on for several years. One person, however, was warning of the decline of the agency well before the Salahis crashed a state dinner in 2009; well before the 2012 prostitute scandal in Colombia; before a knife-wielding man gained entrance to the White House last year; and before the recent episode in which drunk agents drove their car up to the White House and interrupted an active bomb investigation.

Ronald Kessler, a New York Times best-selling author and journalist for the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, has written two books and an op-ed piece that have spelled out dire consequences if the Secret Service doesn’t heed the warnings of their continued failures. In his book In The President’s Secret Service,” Kessler warned that without significant changes in the agency and its culture, “…an assassination of Barack Obama or a future president is likely.”

recite-1vk9zkcI talked with Kessler recently and discussed the lessons for business leaders that can be gleaned from the Secret Service’s continued lapses. (read more…)

Are you overlooking the talents and skills of someone on your team?

Some star performers may lack the confidence to challenge conventional thinking about themselves and therefore they stay in their given roles.

Those who manage the talent pipeline would be wise to heed the words of composer Ludwig von Beethoven, who wrote, “The barriers are not erected which can say to aspiring talents and industry, ‘Thus far and no farther.’”

Talent wins!

John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. Also in 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 100 leadership experts, and Global Gurus ranked him No. 11 on its list of global leadership experts. Baldoni is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”

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