Valuable Insights for Today's Leaders

Leaders cannot ignore the brutal facts of reality

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.

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What do the CEO and board expect from the CFO?

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.

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Don’t micromanage employees. Empower and hold them accountable.

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.

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What Starbucks can learn from critical judgment mishap

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.

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Leaders need to deal with toxic people within their organization

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.

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