Leading From Below

In the March 3, 2007 issue of The Wall Street Journal's Journal Report there was an interesting piece by James Kelly and Scott Nadler titled "Leading From Below."  They note that CEOs -- and I would add leaders in general -- cannot change organizations on their own.  They suggest that the secret is to foster a leadership mentality throughout the ranks.  The authors have several suggestions:

• Make a decision to be a leader, don't wait to be told.

True Leaders Must "Walk the Floor"

Several weeks ago I was pointed to UBS's Knowledge Center and a short piece True Leaders Must "Walk the Floor."  This piece reinforces the importance of communicating with staff.  It notes that many leaders have found that interacting with their staff by walking around can build relationships, help staff understand their leader's goals, and provide them with insight and helpful information.  You'll find the piece at,

Seven Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Top IT Talent

Today's reading, Seven Strategies for Attracting and Retaining Top IT Talent, which comes from the January 4, 2007 issue of CIO, is just as applicable to other fields as it is to IT.  

Business 2.0 reports what seems to be an amazing data point:  For every two baby boomers who retire in the next decade, there will be only one college grad to take their place.  Thus, it is very likely that having strong skills in attracting, hiring, and retaining staff will become even more important than it is today.  

What Makes a Good Question?

It's the day after Christmas and many of you are still on holiday.  However, I thought I'd send a quick note along.

We have all learned about the importance of asking the "right" questions, questions that help us get at underlying issues, questions that help us think, and questions that help others move issues forward.  In this piece Rick Brenner suggests that too often when we are in groups we focus on being the first one to provide the answer when a better focus would be on asking the right question.

Workplace Barn Raisings

Today's two-part reading takes the once-common practice of communal barn-raising where everyone in a community worked together to benefit a single farm family.  Given the right task, good planning and organization you may find a community approach gets the right result and has the benefit of generating new relationships that represent a real added value.

Working Journals

Many people have observed that journaling will change the way that you go about your work and your life.  In today's reading, Rick Brenner of Chaco Canyon Consulting observes that you record what you did and why you did it.  And, you record what you didn't do and why you didn't do it.  You record what you saw and what you only thought you saw; and later, upon reflection, what you didn't see.  You separate out facts from what you only assumed.  And, most important, when you go back to earlier entries, you see patterns you may have never noticed if you were not writing the words down.