Executive Leader Coach


February 4, 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader CoachAre you ready for 2013? I wasn't even ready for 2012, it seems, and now 2013 is here - February no less! I know that there will need to be some attitude changes if I'm going to make this the good year it's supposed to be according to the economic forecasts. One important way to make sure that I maintain the right perspective is to NOT listen to all the hype about how dire things are happening or are "going to happen" in the economy. You can choose to look at data yourself. Here's an interactive look from the WSJ. What this shows is that all the folks who were forecasting doom and gloom were quite a bit off base. Another way is to aggregate what many of the CEOs are saying and feeling about the economy. So here's a summary for you. I fill in some other thoughts in the first article below.

I had an incredible time at the Vistage International Members and Chair Conference 2013 in Dallas Texas last week. I've made some notes in the second article to give you just an idea of the powerful keynote speakers Vistage assembled. They are, without exaggeration, some of the best business thinkers around.

On my list of books for the holidays was the new releases from Seth Godin and Daniel Pink. I chose to read Pink's book first since I would be seeing him at the conference. So the third article below comprises my review of his seminal book - To Sell Is Human. I highly recommend it. I'll be catching up on Silver and Godin this coming month. In the December newsletter, I mentioned Simon's book, Start With Why which I have also read (no time to write a review yet) and an excellent book by Iain McGilchrist titled The Master and His Emissary. Again, I highly recommend these books to the advanced (and aspiring) leaders among you. As you can tell, things are coming fast an furious in the book category, so I have had difficulty writing the reviews fast enough. I will let you know as they are done, but for now, I hope you will read them without a review from me! Check the reviews on Amazon, you'll be impressed with these titles. And by the way, if you really like an author's efforts and appreciate her/his work, do take a few minutes to write an on-line review for them. It is immensely helpful to their readers and their sales.

Finally, in the Nullius in verba column, I end with some ruminations on the passing of an era. Many of you will be amused at how long it has taken me to update my electronic gear. But for me, this was a bit of a shock. Ah! Nostalgia.

Meanwhile, here are a few interesting things to consider for starting 2013 off right. As my friend Pat Hyndman says; "You don't grow old. You get old by not growing.":

  • If you're in the Orange County California area, ACG is holding an outstanding event Tuesday evening, Feb. 12th, with Top Executives - unscripted, unguarded and unapologetic. Read More Here.
  • Perhaps you, family and/or friends are wondering how to "beat" the rising costs for products and services. Well, believe it or not, bartering is alive and well. Check out the following: BarterNews who knew?
  • Our friends over at Executive Next Practices have a lot going on for 2013. I hope you will save the dates and make it to theses very worthwhile events. Begin here: The Cost of Trust


Dave Kinnear

CCE-Board Certified Coach
Vistage Chair

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Spreading FUD . . .

Half full or half empty?

There is a lot of "discussion" about the idea that our business leaders are hesitant to move their businesses forward because of so much uncertainty in the economy. Pundits are writing blogs, spinning articles in opinion pages and yakking about it on the news shows and podcasts. To hear them tell it, because of the specter of the so called "fiscal cliff," uncertainty about tax codes and uncertainty about Europe, our business leaders are frozen in place; unwilling or unable to make a decision about employees, capital expenditures and expansion. I think this view is largely wrong and does a big disservice to our economy.

Read full post . . .

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Notes on the Keynotes

Itay Talgam: Lead Like a Conductor

I am still trying to digest all that I learned a the Vistage Conference in Dallas last week. What a bonus that was! There were over 1,000 members, chairs and staff at the Gaylord Texan. It was an incredible learning experience. Consider just the keynote speakers - Itay Talgam, Simon Sinek, Daniel Pink, Michael Milken and Stephen M.R. Covey. The breakout sessions were just as compelling.

Wednesday evening we were treated to the wonderful presentation of Itay Talgam "Lead Like a Conductor." Many of you may have already seen the TED Global Talk he gave. If not, please take the time to click on the link and view this marvelous lesson in leadership.

The consistent message that came through for me, not only from Talgam but throughout all the keynotes is that leadership has changed. It is a lot less about command and control and a lot more of a leader - leader model as espoused by David Marquet. For the most part, we are managing and leading knowledge workers. They know more about their area of expertise (instruments) than the leader (conductor) and as long as there is a well understood plan (music score) the leader has only to make a space for the professional to be safe and allowed to complete his work (perform.)

I can tell you that being in the same room with Itay Talgam and listening to his presentation (essentially identical to the one in the video above) was one of the more inspiring moments I've had in a long time. I hope you will watch this video - even once again if you've seen it before. Then think about your own leadership style - will you learn to lead like a conductor?

Simon Sinek: In pursuit of something greater than ourselves

Sinek gave an inspiring presentation on how he is relating the findings in neuroscience with how we act and perhaps how we should modify how we act as leaders.

One of his findings/suggestions is that we realize that accountability is to another person, not to numbers. So trying to hold someone accountable to the sales number, for example, will not work. But to be held accountable for that goal as a commitment to another person or "the team," is more appropriate and effective.

Sinek speaks also to the understanding that we can only "see" those things for which we have words. This and the many other neuroscience findings imply that we often see the company as family. When we say we are out of work/life balance, we really mean we are not feeling safe in one place or the other. Other discussions around work/life balance have to do with time management more than anything else. But if we do not feel safe at work, we will not want to spend time there - hence the "balance" challenge.

In Sinek's view, when we speak of spirit or spiritual in relationship to our lives, we are really expressing the need or recognition of being fully human.

Daniel Pink: Unscripted

Daniel Pink started his presentation by admitting that he had attended a Vistage meeting in order to "get a feel" for the organization. In the spirit of being vulnerable and open, he chose to not stick to his usual script of a presentation focused on his latest research. Instead, he shared in a more personal way while, of course, at the same time, sharing what he has come to know about leadership. Much of that discussion is found in the next article which is a review of Pink's latest book.

Michael Milken: A New Global Perspective

Milken was, as always, insightful at how he connected the dots to many of the "findings" by those who mine the massive amounts of data we generate. Some of the key points were:

  • Possibly the most profound economic pressure is that from the growing global middle class
  • by 2030 41% of the worlds consumers will be in Asia (the US will be down to 8% from 21% today)
  • Prosperity is a function of access to capital, technology and human capital
  • The US has not increased education level since 1960 while the need for education to obtain jobs has drastically increase
  • Trains in China run 200 mph while we in the US are stuck at the same speed achieved over 100 years ago

Stephen M.R. Covey: The Speed of Trust

Trust includes both character and competence.

The competitive advantage in the global economy is trust. Here are three big ideas:

  1. Trust is an economic driver not merely a social value
  2. Trust is the #1 competency of leadership needs today
  3. Trust is a learnable competency Safe to work with the person you trust.

Unsafe and difficult to communicate with a person with whom I have low or no trust.

Trust is confidence. The opposite is suspicion. Trust includes both Character and Competence. Smart Trust is judgmental rather than simply blind trust.

The speed of doing business is directly proportional to trust and the cost of doing business is inversely proportional to trust.

Trust is credibility (and competence /character) and behavior.

Give trust to be trusted.

And of course much more:

So there you have it, a truly short version of an excellent conference. There were fantastic breakout sessions that had way too much content to try and summarize here. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to continue growing.

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To Sell is Human

The surprising truth about moving others. By Daniel Pink

There are many volumes written about sales. There are myriad training courses on sales and how to be efficient, effective and top of the heap at the game of sales. This book is not like any of the ones I have read prior to this nor is Pink espousing any of the usual hype about overcoming objections, how to close and/or how to manipulate folks into buying your product or services.

Instead, Pink is proposing something that I have been struggling with for the past five years and suggesting to anyone who would listen: traditional sales isn’t any longer anyone’s job. It’s everyone’s job because sales has fundamentally changed. Pink states that “Most of what we think we understand about selling is constructed atop a foundation of assumptions that has crumbled.” He further states that sales has changed more in the past 10 years than it had in the previous 100 years.

Read the full review . . .

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Nullius in verba

The passing of an era . . . sort of

I was supposed to be working on the newsletter. There were several columns left to write (this being one of them) and still, I found myself immersed in a project that could very easily wait for another time when deadlines were not looming. But this little "project" had been percolating in the back of my mind for several weeks. I finally could not take it any more and so I got started.

Read full post . . .

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