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My 500th column: Advice fundamental to your personal success

This is an important milestone for me—my 500th column published by the Philadelphia Business Journal. In this column, I share advice that I believe is fundamental to our personal success. These are: Take advantage of opportunities that come your way and create your own opportunities. Get out of your comfort zone. Your personal integrity and reputation are everything. “Where does the power come from to see the race to its end? From within.”

Employee trust in their leaders is key to building a high performance team

The foundation of every effective organization is trust in that organization’s leadership. An annual Gallup survey indicated that in August 2023, only 23% of employees agreed with the survey question, “I trust the leadership of this organization.” Quoting the Gallup survey, “However, when leaders communicate clearly, lead and support change, and inspire confidence in the future, 95% of employees say they fully trust their leaders.” So, how does a leader engender trust?

CEO candidates, ensure that you will in fact have the authority of a chief executive officer

What’s the impact of a founder/executive chair of the board who is no longer the CEO but remains active in the business? It certainly could undermine the new CEO’s ability to do their job when they don’t have the full powers and responsibilities of a traditional chief executive officer. How do you hold the new CEO accountable for results when they’re not the individual calling the shots?

The importance of building safe aircraft needs to resonate with all Boeing employees

Boeing needs to significantly tighten its safety processes and procedures. The company also needs a new mission statement that must be easy to remember and clearly focuses everyone’s efforts—Boeing and contractor employees alike—on building safe aircraft. The new mission statement: “We build our aircraft as if our kids and grandkids were going to be flying on them.” This will resonate with employees and make them personally invested in aircraft safety.

What it takes for your company to move from good to great

Achieving greatness is a journey that never ends. Very few organizations ever achieve greatness, even though at times leaders and those who they lead may use that term to describe their organization. As CEO, I would tell our employees never to refer to our company as great. This is for third parties to do, and our response should always be, “Thank you, but we are on a journey, and have a long way to go to achieve greatness.”

Why leaders should encourage out-of-the-box thinking

When searching for a new position, an important element of your value proposition is your ability to solve problems by exercising initiative and creativity and by breaking paradigms—the accepted ways of doing things. Include in your resume how you broke paradigms in previous positions to solve problems. Ensure that this is a focal point during your personal interview. It will differentiate you from others applying for the position.

Focus on what is mission critical to your business

The success of all organizations depends on how well their mission critical imperatives are executed. In Boeing’s case, their mission critical imperative is to build safe aircraft. Boeing’s mission statement needs to be “we build our aircraft as if our children and grandchildren will be flying on them.” As a board member, ensure you provide oversight on what is mission critical. Your company’s reputation depends on it.

The gap between employers and Gen Z workers is a problem—and an opportunity

My advice to Gen Zers: Differentiate yourself from your peers to compete for that next promotion by meeting/exceeding expectations and have a sense of ownership for what you are responsible for. Demonstrate your value proposition. Exercise initiative and creativity. Undertake assignments that push you outside your comfort zone. Challenge paradigms, which are established ways of doing things. Be an influencer. This is how you grow professionally.

Why toxic leaders should never be tolerated

Individuals who are toxic are not trusted by their peers or direct reports. The actions of everyone they work with have a defensive component, which hinders any group from becoming a high-performance team. Toxic people don’t realize that they are damaging their personal integrity and reputation, important traits which determine whether people want to work alongside them. Never tolerate a toxic leader. They cause great harm to your organization. Part company with them.

At Boeing, safety must be a mission critical imperative!

Boeing mechanics improperly reinstalled the door plug that blew off an Alaska Airline’s 737 Max 9 aircraft on Jan 5. Paraphrasing Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun’s Jan 10 remarks to his employees: “We build our aircraft as if our kids and grandkids were going to be flying on them.” This is the mindset every Boeing and contractor employee should have. This should be Boeing’s mission statement and is an important element of Calhoun’s tone at the top.

Elon Musk wants 25% ownership of Tesla. Will the board grant it?

It is not often that a CEO with the power of Musk emerges on the scene. CEOs with that power are a double-edged sword with the success of the company dependent on them. This is normal for an early-stage company. However, for a company with a valuation of nearly $700 billion, it’s dangerous when the CEO can dictate his compensation package and threaten to hurt the company and its stockholders if he doesn’t get what he wants.