Valuable Insights for Today's Leaders
Facing the brutal facts and addressing them early can prevent disastrous consequences later. Valery Legasov, the hero of the HBO miniseries “Chernobyl,” stated, “Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid.” I cannot think of a more appropriate statement that describes the importance of facing the brutal facts of reality. In addition to Chernobyl, this also applies to the Titan implosion, the Challenge disaster and global warming.
Based on my experience as a former CEO and director on the boards of numerous companies, these are the expectations that CEOs and boards have of their CFO. CFOs who meet these expectations will earn trust and confidence and be effective in their role.
A preferred provider is the business that everyone wants to buy from versus its competition. You differentiate yourself from your competitors. You give your customers or clients a great experience. You treat your employees with respect and as valued assets and help them develop a sense of ownership in what they do.
Should policies and practices that make little sense or impede the success of a staff or line unit be challenged? Absolutely! Many employees feel “that’s just the way it is.” Not true. Don’t micromanage—empower employees and hold them accountable for results. Companies that adopt these principles as part of their culture are the ones that will excel.
A major characteristic of some customer-facing employees and corporate decision-makers is the lack of common sense and good critical judgment. This can expose your company to significant liability. People without these skills should not hold customer-facing or management positions.
A toxic corporate culture is the result of a CEO setting a tone at the top that tolerates toxic people within their organization. As the CEO, you should never tolerate a toxic individual. They cause great harm to your organization. If they cannot rapidly change their management style, part company with them.
Will the GOP lead like they have done in the past when they voted to pass the Clean Air Act in 1970 and take lead out of gasoline in 1975? Not tackling climate change is disastrous for the economy and for families, property owners and small businesses—groups that the GOP claims they champion.
Speaking about people who quiet quit and only do the minimum required, Mark Cuban said, “Don’t apply for a job with me… The one thing in life that you control is your effort, and being willing to do so is a huge competitive advantage. Most people don’t.”
July 20 marks my ninth anniversary as a weekly guest columnist at the Philadelphia Business Journal with over 450 articles that aim to help people be better business leaders. For this anniversary column, I decided to share 34 principles of effective business leadership I have written about.
A primary responsibility of all CEOs is to ensure the safety of those who place their trust in them. Risking one’s own life to advance technology is one thing. Risking the lives of others is quite another. Stockton Rush showed a callous disregard of his responsibility to his passengers.
Philadelphians have been known to view their city in terms of limitations and scarcity rather than opportunities and abundance. This negative perception has plagued our city for as long as I can remember. The rebuild of six lanes of I-95 in 12 days demonstrates we are better than that.
The equitable treatment of employees and fairness of any disciplinary action needs to be made using common sense and good critical judgment. It doesn’t appear that this was done by Starbucks when deciding to fire Phillips. This was an expensive lesson for Starbucks. It’s a lesson for all organizations.