Author of "This Is Rage" and "Endless Encores"

Posts made in March, 2013

Surviving the Limelight

By on Mar 14, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

When is an Executive Coach most valued by a client?  Not surprisingly, often when a client is most surprised!  Getting blindsided by the unexpected is part of the job for executives, but how they handle an awakened dragon is what really matters.  As an Executive Coach, your role in this rebound cannot be underestimated. Consider as an example Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who recently attracted more visibility than usual when she set a reasonably straightforward human resources policy for her company to limit telecommuting.  Regardless of whether you agree with her on the necessity of employees being present at an office every day, it is hard not to be surprised by the public outcry in response to her internal company announcement.  She is the company’s Chief Executive Officer, she is in the midst of a tough turnaround, and she has the board assigned authority to run the company day-to-day.  The fact that her decision attracted so much public attention – headline news around the world – likely surprised even her. Was the reaction of non-Yahoos likely to cause her to change her mind?  Pretty unlikely.  Was the media sensation that found reason to demonize her an easy punch to deflect?  That seems equally unlikely.  Had you been her Executive Coach, what would you have said to her?  More importantly, would you have been ready to say anything at all? I would presume that Ms. Mayer has a well-established support system including personal and professional mentors to help dust her off after a fall, but what about those executives a notch or two down from the top job at companies like hers?  Surely the loud reaction to her memo represents an extreme, but as a former CEO myself, I assure you the spotlight can shine unfavorably without warning.  Senior executives are almost always operating at a high level of visibility, both within their companies and to the outside world.  Say the wrong thing or implement an otherwise innocuous tactic in any compromising manner and the wallop that follows can be bone crushing. There are unlimited roles an Executive Coach can play in serving a client, but perhaps none is more vital than the quiet sanctuary of crisis management.  Wherever the...

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The Parable of the Cold Burrito

By on Mar 10, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

“Do people do that with you? Offer you some food that, if you don’t eat it, they’re only going to ‘throw it away.’ Well, doesn’t that make you feel dandy? Here’s something to eat, Dave, hurry up, it’s spoiling… something for you, Angela, eat quickly, that green pod is moving… here, Bob, eat this before I give it to an animal.’” — George Carlin No one can describe the unusual color and shape of discarded food left for transformation into yuck quite like my hero, George Carlin. And yet, often when I think of his incomparable Ice Box Man routine, I can’t help but associate the bit with business opportunity waiting to be discovered. No, I’m not talking about mold morphing into penicillin, which isn’t a bad analogy. I’m talking about something I like to call the Parable of the Cold Burrito. You know, the Cold Burrito—that really great burrito you picked up at your favorite burrito place about a week ago. The one with all the things you like in it— eggs, cheese, potatoes, salsa, the incredibly fresh tortilla— the one you couldn’t wait to gobble down, only it was so filling you only ate half, then put the other half in the refrigerator. Then you forgot about your leftovers, and like the Ice Box man, rediscovered it in less glory. Perhaps it’s not as dire as Carlin might describe it. There could be life in it. That’s up to you to decide. You have two choices—toss it in the garbage and be done with it, or see if a little creativity can bring it back to life. I guess there is a third option, leave it in the back of the refrigerator to continue full metamorphosis, but I’m going to take a leap of faith and say you know better than that (or maybe you have been warned about ‘selective obscurity’ by your spouse). Let’s say you pick choice #2. You remember how good it was when it wasn’t a Cold Burrito—it was a warm, wonderful burrito, but you aren’t at the place where you bought it. You unwrap it, add some other ingredients you like, some onion, a different kind of cheese, a few spices from the pantry....

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