On Leadership and the Dangers of the Internet of Things

What Business Leaders Need to Know to Keep Safe in Cyberspace

Internet of Things

It’s clear there’s a lot of excitement when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT). The idea of becoming part of a fully interconnected world creates some intriguing possibilities, so much of the excitement is certainly justified.

With new technology, however, come definite fears. Of course, it is possible to take these fears too far. Scaremongering is nothing new after all, especially regarding technology, so it’s easy to dismiss these concerns as overreactions or exaggerations.

Fear stoking aside, the IoT does introduce new risks that are easy to overlook. Simply dismissing them actually does a disservice to the efforts being made to fight them. While overreacting is definitely not a preferred decision, ignoring the potential dangers of the IoT would be just as unwise.

Market Potential

The IoT industry is serious business, one that could be worth up to $300 billion, according to Gartner. With such a lucrative market just starting to find its legs, businesses have been eager to develop their own products, devices, and gadgets that take advantage of a ubiquitous connection, allowing companies to collect tons of data on their customers.

To call it a mad rush to gain a foothold in the IoT market would probably be an understatement. Businesses want their products out there, and they need them out there today.

Security Risk

In all this rush, security tends to take a backseat. Many manufacturers tend to ignore the secure-by-design approach when it comes to making their devices. This approach basically means that gadgets are created from the ground up with security in mind from the beginning.

It requires extra time, resources, and patience for companies to do this, something many aren’t willing to sacrifice. That means many enterprises are more focused on getting their devices out on the market and intend to worry about security later.

Needless to say, this opens up a lot of potential dangers.

Paying Close Attention

It’s a problem that’s getting widespread attention. Even the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent out a warning last year, telling businesses they needed to make security and customer privacy a priority when making their IoT devices.

The FTC said that gadgets need to be designed with security in mind from the very start, instead of just adding new features in after the fact. Considering all of the possible devices that could connect to the IoT, it’s a word of warning that consumers will likely want to hear.

When speaking of the Internet of Things, the basic concept includes connecting nearly everything we use to the web in some way. This allows the devices to communicate with each other as well as the user.  As many are well aware of, the current devices we use (smartphones, tablets, etc.) carry the possibility of being hacked or infected with malware.

Imagine the headaches, expense, lost business, and the opportunity cost for leaders in business who get targeted and hacked. It can be devastating.

Losing Control

Losing control of something as important as a smartphone is painful enough. Now imagine if a household kitchen appliance were to be taken control of by a cyber attacker. Smart homes have long been touted as one of the benefits of the IoT, and they certainly do offer more convenience and greater capabilities.

At the same time, however, smart homes have the potential to be hacked, giving a malicious person control of things like lighting, heating, and even security systems. It’s no laughing matter and has even prompted the FBI to issue a warning of its own.

Beyond Your Business

The dangers go further than our business devices or our homes. Self-driving cars could become a mainstream reality one day, and there have already been examples of tech experts being able to hack cars from a distance. One doesn’t need to be an expert to know what kinds of dangers that introduces to the roads, and when self-driving cars are more prominent, the danger only increases.

Cars are only one hacking target that gets a lot of attention. Many systems and devices fall below the radar, like critical infrastructure (power plants, industrial machines). The IoT has a lot of security concerns to address as more things become connected to the internet.

Lead with Security in Mind

Much like the problems plaguing Hadoop security, IoT security may face similar obstacles if not constructed with security risks in mind from the start. Those fears can be faced though, and security challenges can be overcome.

It will require even more effort and development from the top tech experts and companies in the world, but eventually we’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of the Internet of Things without having to constantly worry if we’re truly safe.

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Rick Delgado

Rick Delgado is a Freelance Writer
He specialized in Technology and Business Growth
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From Humble Leader to Narcissist: Where Are You on the Continuum?

Leading with Honor Video Coaching from Lee Ellis

From Humble Leader to Narcissist: Where Are You on the Continuum?

Typically, narcissism is historically associated with physical beauty.

You may recall that in Greek mythology, Narcissus was the handsome young man who became so enchanted with the image of himself in the pool that he could not pull away.

Today we hear about a leader who has narcissistic tendencies, but it’s not so much about their physical beauty as their strong, offensive ego.

Where do fit on the narcissistic leadership continuum? Pinpoint your spot –

Read Now

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——————–
Lee Ellis

Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Ter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

 

Eliciting Excellence (BookBaby, 2016)

Eliciting excellence is the essence of exceptional leadership.

Everyone accepts that good leadership is important, but rarely is the question raised as to why and how good leadership makes a difference.

Although developing good strategies and making smart decisions are important, bringing out the best in people is the most important ability a leader needs in order to produce great results.

In Eliciting Excellence, Michael Beck explains why bringing out the best in people matters and shares with the reader how to do just that. More Here

More About the Author Here

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Michael Beck
Michael J. Beck is President of Michael Beck International, Inc
He helps leaders improve their personal effectiveness and productivity
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Being a Leader in Today’s Socially Connected World

Four Ways to Use Social Networking to Your Advantage

Social Media TV

The top leaders working in the world today are those who know how to use social networking and digital media to their advantage.

You cannot be a leader unless you have people willing to follow you, and people only follow those who make a good first impression.

Unites States Presidential candidate Donald Trump in his early primary election campaign built a huge following of supporters with his social media prowess. A CNN article in October 2015 even asks “Trump: The Social Media President?

So, leaders, think about this: If your Facebook and similar pages feature minimal content and tell the world little about you, you might have some problems getting others to follow you. Transform those pages and gain more followers after learning how to use those sites to your advantage.

Show and Tell

Do you remember playing show and tell when you were a kid? You brought in something you loved, told your classmates about it and showed that item off.

Leaders today must walk a thin line between showing and telling potential customers and followers.

All your social networking pages should feature images of yourself, your company and even the products that you sell. You’ll also want to take the time to give readers some information and outright tell them why they should work with you.

Link and Link Again

One of the best things about social networking sites like Google+ and Instagram is that you can connect all those pages through a series of links.

Using a link to Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Twitter and any other networking sites you use on your Facebook page encourages those looking at the page to visit those sites and learn more about you and your business.

Those links can also increase your web presence and help with searches for your company’s name and products. Adding a few new links may even make your page rank higher on both local and national searches.

Offer More Incentives

No matter what industry you work in, you want to increase sales and get more customers or clients to follow you. One way you can do that is with incentives and bonuses that you offer online.

As the number of people following you grows, you can market yourself as an effective leader and sell products relating to your skills, including email newsletters, electronic books and even online seminars. Online shopping cart software  added to one or more of your websites lets customers order one item or multiple items and pay without visiting a separate site first.

Use a Personal Touch

Social networking sites made it easier than ever to connect with your customers and followers. If you aren’t using a personal touch on those sites, you aren’t using those pages to your full advantage. Even major corporations like Coca-Cola and Nike use those sites to connect with shoppers.

You might respond to comments posted on status updates, send private messages to some of your followers or even tag other users in the posts that you make. This makes your customers and followers believe that you care about their thoughts and opinions.

Great leaders like yourself use social networking sites every day. Offering incentives, adding links, using a personal touch and providing valuable content can increase your number of followers and lead to more profits too.

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How Leaders Can Created Informed Employees

Part 1 of 3

Employee Knowledge

Your employees are your lifeblood, and as a leader, one of your most important tasks is making sure they stay happy and productive.

There are thousands of techniques you can use to boost employee satisfaction and output, but one of the more overlooked options is creating informed employees.

Informed employees are more likely to become engaged employees. They feel ahead of the curve, valued, and confident in the direction your company is heading. As a result, they’re more likely to be loyal, spread positive cheer about your brand, and feel more personally invested in the work they do.

Knowledge Is Power

It’s easy to get caught up in the need for speed, efficiency, and frugality — and leaders across the globe are constantly searching for ways to cut costs and run lean. But employee satisfaction often takes a backseat in their attempts to do this, and making this mistake can have major negative effects on a company.

A survey of more than 300 randomly selected businesses showed that the lowest-performing firms were more focused on cutting costs and boosting productivity than on developing customer and employee relationships. Further, 45 percent of these low performers fell short of their net profit goals as a result.

When employees don’t know what’s going on, they feel much less connected to their companies. It becomes harder for them to do their jobs, they don’t feel any real urgency to create high-quality work, and their productivity declines.

Because they aren’t engaged, they’re less willing to collaborate with peers and go the extra mile. They become bored, start going through the motions, and check out.

What It Really Takes to Inform Employees

Informing employees takes more than sending cheesy, cheerful company newsletters and maintaining an office bulletin board. It requires transparency, creativity, and technology.

Use the following four guidelines to ensure you’re informing your employees the right way:

  1. Honesty is the best policy. Creating a culture of transparency is ideal, but it’s no easy task. Fifty percent of employees say that a lack of transparency holds their company back, and 71 percent feel their company fails to spend enough time explaining its goals. It’s up to you to empower your managers to take ownership of what they communicate. Tell them they need to honestly and directly communicate with employees, explaining the “why” behind every company initiative.
  1. Consistency is key. Be consistent and frequent with your approach, and always make it clear that communication is a two-way street. In a recent poll, 85 percent of employees said they’re most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news, followed by encouragement to ask questions and give opinions. If you decide to hold monthly staff meetings, stick to the schedule. Only cancel or reschedule them when absolutely necessary.
  1. Make it fun and easyMotivation and gamification strategies are great ways to increase engagement — and technology can play a major role in making informational exercises fun for employees. In one study, gamification led to a 48 percent increase in engagement and a 36 percent reduction in turnover. Perhaps you can create a fun video featuring executives, along with short quiz questions, to replace antiquated compliance trainings. Or you might create an app or immersive digital experience for performance reviews. With today’s tech, the possibilities are endless.
  1. Open your earsInformed employees must feel they have a voice. They have nothing to gain from hiding their insights from co-workers, so if you give them a platform to express themselves, they’ll be more likely to share and collaborate. The more informed they feel, the more likely they’ll be to share feedback on what’s working and what isn’t.

When you successfully keep your employees informed, you’re setting the stage for a more productive workforce — one that will ultimately return the favor and speak highly of your company.

Boosting communication and informing employees is just the first step. Next, you need to engage them to the point that they follow through with action.

For more on this, see Part 2 of 3 and Part 3 of 3.

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——————–
Russell Fradin

Russ Fradin is the founder and CEO of Dynamic Signal
He is a Digital Media industry veteran and an Angel Investor
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L2L Broad View: Creating New Working Environments

5 Tips and Best Practices for Moving Into New Offices

Moving Day

Every organization’s success is always related directly to their people, and what they do, and how they do it. When you have the right people, in the right places, doing the right things, in the right environment, then you have a formula for success.

But when an organization must uproot their physical location to move to another, leaders need to be on top of the emotional, physical, and psychological aspects of a move and make sure that things run smoothly during this kind of potentially turbulent transition.

Relocating Challenges

Relocating to a new office setting need not be stressful or overly time-consuming. The key to a smooth transition is effective strategic planning that neutralizes and minimizes lost hours and costly downtime. If you are planning an office move soon, you will appreciate the following tips that will reduce the stress of relocation while hitting your budget targets.

1) Create an Address System

Your new office location will likely be configured differently than your present environment. This will make it impossible for personnel to know where all their “stuff” is once the movers do their job. Solve this problem by creating an address system that informs movers exactly where they need to position each item, packed box or piece of furniture.

You can set this system up by creating two sets of floor plans. One set for your existing office and one for the new. With a ruler, pencil in a grid system using letters to represent one axis and numbers for the other.

Every intersection on the grid represents a unique address consisting of one letter and a number. For instance, if you are in NYC, instruct your New York city movers to relocate every item based on its assigned “from” and “to” address. This system will cause every item moved to gravitate closer to where it needs to end up.

2) Label Everything

It is difficult to attempt to comprehend the sheer quantity of office furniture and equipment we have that consists of identical copies of the same item.

Knowing where all these things belong is the responsibility of the office move coordinator who should place labels on everything whose ownership could possibly be subject to dispute later on. Labels should be easily seen by movers and by all means, they should have item relocation addresses clearly marked on them.

3) Allocate Resources Accordingly

If temporary workers that you can hire to pack for you cost less per hour than your existing staff, then you need to think twice about having regular staffers pack and clean up.

The budgeting of resources for your move should take into account lost productivity resulting from using your staff as a moving company. Just double-check to make sure that you are putting all your resources in the right places.

4) Start With the IT Department

Owing to the risks associated with security breaches and network outages, every commercial office relocation plan should begin with the IT department’s needs. There will be telephone system issues, data cabling installation issues, wi-fi issues, and possibly air-conditioning issues that need to be addressed.

Ideally, you will have an IT relocation checklist prepared by, or at least approved by a network engineer. The process of coordinating a move with your data carriers, ISPs, and technology vendors can take two months or more. Be sure that you plan well in advance for every contingency.

Transporting office technology equipment requires special handling and expertise. Your data and high-end equipment will require transit protection. Make yourself aware of your special IT needs and allow yourself time to thoroughly test all your systems and equipment once your systems are reconstituted.

5) Update Your Website, Business Cards and Stationery

Moving an office can induce minor trauma. Settling down and getting down to business once relocated is paramount. You don’t want to wait until the last moment to think about updating your business communication tools.

This includes the company website, management’s business cards and the company stationary. You will want to know how much lead time is required in order to complete these updates so you can plan accordingly.

Leading Success

The difference between a hectic relocation nightmare and a smooth transition into new digs is nothing more than a solid effort in planning. The investment in time that you make drawing up your plans will pay off handsomely when you observe that your employees are spending their time serving customers rather than adjusting to their new environment.

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Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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7 Ways Leaders Can Hack Into Their Own Life

Tips From a Former FBI Counterintelligence Agent

Hacking Your Mind

As an FBI undercover and counterintelligence agent, I spent twenty-four years investigating people. But the most important life I ever investigated was my own.

When I sleuthed out my own story, I could begin to pinpoint patterns in the way my mental toughness was developed over the years—the times I’d persevered in business and life, and won.

Just as importantly, the times I’d given up and sold myself short.

Hacking Into Your Own Story

You can do the same by hacking into your own story so you can apply the same knowledge to understanding your behaviors, traits, and strengths. You learn which ones move you forward in business and life, and also identify the ones that hold you back.

In my book, Secrets of A Strong Mind, I discuss many ways to hack into your own life.

Here are 7 ways:

1. Take Ownership. FBI new agents spend a great deal of time defining their strengths, talents, and skills so they can quickly lean into them when confronted with risk, uncertainty, and discomfort. The secret to strong living in both business and life is being able to repeat instances of success again and again.

Hack tip: Train yourself to recognize your strengths by recalling a time when you reacted to adversity in a way that moved you forward in the direction you wanted to go. Chances are good that you responded from a place of strength, so take ownership of it by acknowledging it.

2. Strut Your Stuff. It is not uncommon for FBI agents to move assignments several times in their career. Over time, they will settle in one area of expertise that has been defined, in large part, by their strengths, talents, and skills.

Hack tip: Keep your strengths easily accessible by constantly working to develop them so you can call them into action when you need them. When you use your strengths, you’re in the zone where the right decisions come to you. You feel challenged in the way you like to be challenged.

3. Admit you’re not perfect. Survival in hostile and volatile environments often requires an honest assessment of talents and skills. A small but agile FBI agent may be a good choice for a SWAT assignment; a brawny but empathic agent might be used in sensitive interviews. The most competent agents are those who have identified their weaknesses so they can navigate their career in ways that allow them to minimize exposure to areas where they lack proficiency.

Hack tip: Do not worry about what was left out; instead, develop what was left in.  It is the mark of a strong and wise mind to respect your weaknesses so you can anticipate your response and minimize their impact. Read Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham.

4. Keep moving. FBI agents are placed in a variety of fast-moving situations. There is no time to let a self-limiting barrier keep them from confronting an adversary or pushing ahead in an interrogation. Constant training throughout their career allows agents to continually move though barriers, because the closer they get to them the more they can educate ourselves about them.

Hack tip: Break your barriers by continually pushing beyond the the limits you have set for yourself. You do not need total clarity to move forward. Many times, the steps to follow and actions to take will not reveal themselves to you until you have moved closer to the very thing that creates fear inside you.

5. Get emotional. FBI agents know that emotions like fear and anger are OK. It’s complacency that will kill them. A little emotion keeps them on their toes. Agents understand that an emotion like fear is their early warning system in fast-moving situations. Their awareness of the fear doesn’t mean they back away from the unknown because they don’t know what they’ll find; instead, they move forward with caution and strategy.

Hack tip: Acknowledge your emotions for what they are rather than let them lead you towards poor judgments and irrational behavior. Learn how your brain recruits your body to express emotion. Understand what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it. Emotions are often a pacifying system to deal with stress, and as such, can be excellent indicators of a change in our environment.

6. Put yourself under surveillance. FBI agents routinely place the target of their investigation under surveillance to uncover patterns in their behavior. It is an essential first step in an FBI investigation. A surveillance log is kept, and once a target’s normal routine is established, it’s much easier to recognize aberrant behavior.

Hack tip: Keep a log of everyday activities so you can pinpoint situations that influence your attitude or behavior. Rather than reviewing your daily activities as a linear recitation of facts and figures, scan them so you can identify highlights: specific experiences that produced a reaction or moved you in some way. Once those experiences have been identified, you can drill down further to see whether you responded the same way on other days or in different circumstances.

7. Scare yourself. Much of the training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia involves moving new agents out of their comfort zone. If instructors aren’t challenging new agents physically, intellectually, and emotionally, they aren’t doing their job. It’s not a bad thing to be alert and uncomfortable. Training does not encourage agents to become paranoid, but a little discomfort keeps a person from becoming too comfortable with past or current success.

Hack tip: To gain a better awareness of your behavior in situations of risk, uncertainty, and discomfort, go out of your way to place yourself in uncomfortable situations. Expose yourself to activities that you might ordinary avoid because you’re worried about the downside. Your awareness of your reaction to risk, uncertainty, and discomfort is more acute and focused when you purposely place yourself in these situations. Use them as a learning tool so you can anticipate your responses when confronted with the real thing.

What tips would you add on how to hack into your life? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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LaRae Quy
LaRae Quy is former FBI Agent and Founder at Empowering the Leader in You
She helps clients explore the unknown and discover the hidden truth in self & others
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10 Steps to Create a Killer Succession Plan

Retirement Pocket Watch

As a matter of age and evolution, every 10 to 20 years or so almost every business is forced to find new leaders to carry it into the future. As older leaders retire, replacements must be brought in to carry on their work.

In some cases leaders quit, die, are promoted, or transfer elsewhere.

Staying in Business

In all of those cases, they must be replaced if the business is to survive. Despite that inescapable truth, many businesses and organizations I work with are not properly prepared to replace their outgoing talent.

Often there seems to be a “head-in-the-sand” mind-set wherein, decision makers choose to leave well enough alone and hope that their current personnel structure will last forever or that a new, exciting leader will fall out of the woodwork on cue, when necessary.

Unfortunately, woodwork is often populated by termites, ants and beetles…none of which offer any great organizational leadership potential.

In order to build a valuable and effective succession plan, decision makers must firstly, “always” be on the lookout for future leaders. They must be thinking at all times about perpetuation of their organization and what will happen when their current good or bad leaders move on.

Succession should not be an emergency decision.

It should be like a cougar on the hunt…ready, alert and waiting to pounce when the opportunity arises.

10 Steps to Create a Killer Succession Plan

Here are some things to think about when planning for the perpetuation of your organization:

1) Be a savvy shopper.

In order to identify your future leaders you must accept that it is not always a good idea to buy your talent at the head-hunter storeIn many cases, people who register with head-hunters have issues that have prevented them from finding work through other channels. You might want to consider them your last resort as they may be your potential undoing.

2)  Always try to promote from within.

This is a commonly accepted business principle that is often avoided or overlooked. It takes much less time to bring an existing employee up to speed than it does an outsider. Current staff members know your business, your culture and your brand…and you already know them.

3) Select from values-ready candidates.

Always promote or hire leaders who already possess your corporate values rather than trying to teach them your values after the employment contract is signed. Perform some professional skills and talent testing and use solid investigative interviewing techniques before you give them an office and an email address.

4) Never promote people out of obligation.

Organizations of all types tend to offer promotions to people who have hung-in-there the longest regardless of skills, talents or value. Tenure is NOT necessarily an indication of leadership ability and it should not be rewarded with a leadership position unless the person is actually a good leader.

5) Always be on the lookout for “keeners.” 

Keeners are people who love their jobs and quite naturally encourage others to excel in theirs. These people often offer advice and counsel to other even when not in a formal leadership role. There are many of them in many organizations and they often go unnoticed by the decision makers. They may or may not thrive in an elevated leadership position but if they are ignored or passed-over they will never realize their full capacity for leadership. Be a talent-scout within your own organization.

6) Once you have identified a potential leader, talk to them.

Let them know that you appreciate their work and that you see a bright future for them. Human beings of all personality types and skill levels love to be encouraged and they appreciate knowing that they have a future.

7) Put your future leaders on a “career path.”

Most people of the current younger generation want to know where they are going and how long it will take them to get there. Work with them to create milestones and expectations so that when the time comes, they can easily slip into a new leadership position.

Really good future leaders want advancement and if you don’t provide it, someone else will.

8) Provide leadership training to future leaders.

Although some people possess almost “natural” leadership skills, there is a lot to be learned about leading that cannot be gleaned through osmosis or exposure to ones immediate supervisor or manager. Formalize your leadership training and offer it to anyone who wants an opportunity to learn.

9) If you hire a new leader from outside of your own firm, never hire based on your “gut instincts.”

Your guts might help you in a fight–or-flight situation or when you are selecting an item on a restaurant menu, but they don’t work well for talent selection. Always utilize good talent assessment tools and have a panel of your peers and/or employees participate in the interview process so that your decision is not tainted by your guts.

Job applicants almost always adapt their behaviour to the interview process and what you saw is seldom what you get a month or two after they have settled into a new job.

10) Never hire in your own image or enforce your own leadership style.

Most of us tend to feel comfortable with people who are most like us. However, it takes many types of personalities to make a great team and one leadership style is not the “best” or the “only” way to lead. Take your personal feelings out of how a new leader should lead and allow them to deal with people in the way that works best for them.

Give them an array of leadership tools and then stand back and watch them fly.

A Brighter Future

In an increasingly competitive world you must have the best-of-the-best leaders if you want to have a commanding presence in the new millennium. If you have not started to build a leadership plan for the future, now is the time.

What have you done to ensure a successful succession process in your organization? If you have not yet started a succession plan, what’s stopping you? What would be an easy next-step in this direction to get you started? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Wayne Kehl

Wayne Kehl is President and CCO at Dynamic Leadership Inc
He is author and behavioral analyst who lectures on leadership and motivation
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On Leadership, Corruption and The Empire of the Heart

Bribery

The United States is more corrupt than Japan, Britain, Australia, Germany, and the Scandinavian nations.

According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, the US ranks 22 out of 181 countries.

You might take consolation in the fact that America is not endemically corrupt, not a broken society, not an un-drainable swamp, as are many nations in the world.

  • But what happens if you add globalization to the mix?
  • What happens when you sprinkle graft, bribery, and unholy alliances into the new supranational context?

We in the US have known corruption in the past. What we have not known are its consequences in a more precarious global age.

Three Key Factors

There are at least three factors that should concern us.

  • First, leaders today lead in a very different world
  • Second, fewer leaders are prepared to handle the new world
  • Third, the new world enables the effects of ethical misconduct to scale to unprecedented orders of magnitude

In my coaching work with CEOs, it’s abundantly clear that the globalizing environment is acting as a crucible that either melts or refines the leader. Leaders are subjected to more speed, greater complexity, and limited resources—all with the same high expectations. Turbulence is the new normal and there’s no prospect of a spontaneous return to order.

Just look around; the familiar bastion of the conventional business cycle is gone.

If there’s no status quo ante, what’s the result? It’s really quite simple: More pressure to perform and more temptation to engage in ethical misconduct.

Leadership Litmus Test

The litmus test is the collision of stewardship and self-interest. Name a spectacular fall from grace that was about skills, knowledge, or experience? When leaders go down, they go down from the inside out. It’s a collapse of character we witness.

Consider the most recent float in the scandal parade—Mark Hurd, the recently ousted CEO of HP. This is a smart and talented person, but we need to be careful not to cling to a belief that leadership is mostly about IQ points and the charismatic arts, as if they will save us.

They never will—especially not in an ethically and morally interdependent global age.

Geo-Repercussions

The risks of ethical misconduct have become unknown and unknowable. With the connectivity of global supply chains, we are vulnerable to the effects of ethical misdeeds performed almost anywhere on earth.

Bribery

Pet food, peanuts, toothpaste, tires, Bernie Madoff, and the sub-prime lending crisis prove that we have entered an era in which a few bad actors can create a geo-ethical shock that incurs loss for millions of people.

If risk equates to probability multiplied by magnitude, we need to be more willing to take our leaders to task for their personal failings.

Personal failings have not only public consequences, but unintended and far-reaching public consequences.

Dishonorable acts are now globally scalable in their effects.

Resisting Temptation

Leadership is alluring.

It tempts you to use position for personal gain. The culminating test is to resist that temptation. But as we all observe, many succumb. It frequently begins as a flirtation of ego that ends in a vortex of corruption. The ambition to govern one’s fellow beings tends to view leadership as the pathway to a glittering world of personal reward. And so under pretense of leading, those of unbridled ambition seek it out and then let us down.

Hence, we observe a teeming gallery of venal characters auctioned to the highest bidder.

It continues to puzzle me that our public discourse on ethics tends to focus on the back end of achieving compliance and little on the front end of developing moral values. Nor do we talk enough about putting those who want to be our leaders under tougher scrutiny. And yet we live in a society in which we are led by many who have not demonstrated the ability to lead themselves.

So it’s more than antiquarian charm to say that leaders should be honest and morally excellent. Civil society ultimately depends on it as a functional necessity and the last line of defense.

As a practical matter, we need to vet candidates for leadership in every arena on character requirements more rigorously then we do.

We need to test their moral bearing capacity so that when stewardship and self-interest collide—and they certainly will—there’s a good chance the leader won’t buckle.

Empire of The Heart

Let’s not forget that leadership begins in the inner world. It’s about the empire of the heart. It is about meeting needs and reaching goals much larger than one’s personal desires or aspirations.

To be fit to lead has nothing whatever to do with being rich and well-born, or even charismatic—dogmas from which we are still recovering. We need men and women of unflinching character to step out of the crisis, steeled for the journey ahead.

So as a leader, how can you step up and exercise your empire of the heart? And with the leaders around you, how can you hold them to standards that are above ethical reproach? How can you and those around you stand on strong ground and work for things of lasting value that positively impact you company, organization, or your city, state, or federal governments with integrity?

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——————–
Timothy R. Clark
Timothy R. Clark
, Ph.D. is president of management consulting firm, TRClark.
He helps in strategy, organizational transformation, and leadership development.
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The Essence of Life and Leadership

Learn Lead

“Emotions transform energy; energy creates movement; movement is change; and change is the essence of life.”  ~Darren Weissman 

Did you know?

  • Only 20-50% of re-engineering efforts succeed [1]
  • Only 28% of information technology projects are successful [2]
  • Only 33% of corporate mergers are successful [3]
  • 50% of firms that downsize experience a decrease (not increase) in productivity. [4]
  • 75% of all change efforts fail to make any dramatic improvements. [5]
  • An astonishingly high percentage of failed projects had excellent technical plans. [6]
  • Failure to change is the primary source of organizational failure.5

Empowering Interface

These dismal revelations about change management success and failure come right out of the research of real organizations, real projects, real managers, and real leaders.  If we were grading leaders and managers on their change management report card, they would get a ‘C,’ at best.

And wouldn’t you agree that, like life, change is arguably also the essence of leadership?

While there are many change management models, if there is one thing that would help your organization dramatically improve the quality of outcomes, it is empowering interface.  That’s what researchers from the University of Bath and George Washington University called it.5

Empowering interface occurs when executive leadership empowers middle management to interface comfortably between executives and frontline employees breaking down silos and enabling both macro and micro variables to change and cascading empowerment across the firm.

This process requires executive transparency and a “change sponsor” or “change champion.”

Change Champion

What does it mean?

It means that executives need to change the way they look at change.  In order to be successful at change leadership and management, you must break down the silos between executive and frontline levels using middle management, create a safe climate, and generate empowerment and trust through transparency and responsiveness.

If there is not open two-way communication and action, change efforts could be doomed.

Empowering middle management, especially with increasing discourse between executives and frontline, greatly increases the odds of success.

Exactly How to Fail

Macro initiatives designed solely by executives (no middle management or frontline input) creates a “closed system” or silos and spreads disempowerment (through rumors, false assumptions, and miscommunication) and that cultivates strong resistance.  Put another way, when change initiatives are rammed down people’s throats and without involvement, expect contempt, defiance, subversion, and eventually failure.

Successful change leadership and management are all about communication, relationships, empowerment, respect, and responsiveness.

This sounds a lot like love, if you ask me.

Work-Out and CAP

Jack Welch and Steve Kerr of GE developed one of the most well-known and successful change models in the late 80’s and early 90’s and used it successfully at GE.6  They called it “Work-Out.”  Similar to a “time out,” those on a change project take a “work-out” from typical bureaucratic practices and behaviors and instead rely on continuous focus, efficient decision-making, and accelerated implementation.

The Change Acceleration Process (CAP) part of Work-Out became popular because of its effectiveness and has since been marketed to many other institutions and industries.

It is no coincidence that a significant portion of CAP – the first four (of seven) steps – are exactly what the researchers describe as empowering interface above.

They call them:

1.  Leading change
2.  Creating a shared need
3.  Shaping a vision
4.  Mobilizing commitment

The last steps in CAP are:

5.  Making change last
6.  Monitoring progress
7.  Changing systems and structures

Change is at the very essence of life and leadership and “resistance to change” doesn’t have to be a given – at least not strong resistance.

Both the research and successful organizational change models like CAP are telling us that when people are involved in the change process, not only does cooperation increase, but the quality of the outcome dramatically improves, as well.

So how do you effect change with those you lead and your extended team?  What is the change management and leadership model and philosophy were you work or lead?  Do you or your organization even have it defined?  What steps can you take today to improve it?  What other models or techniques have helped you and your organization arrive at successful outcomes?

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Alan Mikolaj

Alan Mikolaj is a Professional and Inspirational Trainer, Keynote Speaker & Author
He is the author of three books and holds his Master of Arts  in Clinical Psychology
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Book | Web

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[1] Strebel, P. (1996, May/June). Why do employees resist change? Reprinted in Harvard Business Review on change in 1998. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing, pp. 139–157.
[2]
Farias, G., & Johnson, H. (2000). Organizational development and change management: Setting the record straight. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 36, 376–379.
[3] Dinkin, D. (2000). Unlocking the value of M & A. The Banker, 150(895), 118.
[4] Appelbaum, S.H., Everard, A., & Hung, L.T.S. (1999). Strategic downsizing: Critical success factors. Management Decision, 37(7), 535–552.
[5] Raelin, J.D. & Cataldo, C.G. (2011). Whither middle management? Empowering interface and the failure of organizational change. Journal of Change Management, 11(4), pp.481-507.
[6] Von Der Linn, B. (2009). Overview of GE’s Change Acceleration Process (CAP). Retrieved August 24, 2013, from Bob Von Der Linn’s HPT Blog: http://bvonderlinn.wordpress.com/2009/01/25/overview-of-ges-change-acceleration-process-cap/