Executive Leader Coach


April 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader CoachI'm back from a vacation that was everything I had hoped it would be. We had a wonderful time on our 15 day cruise to Hawaii. There was a lot of "down" time and "off the grid!" Despite that, I did not get through as many books as I thought I would. I did manage to finish up The Hidden Reality by Brian Breene, The Second Machine Age by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee as well as The Everything Store by Brad Stone. Look for the reviews a bit later in the month.

I also finished a photography book that I started (before the cruise) with the intention of sharpening up my game for taking digital photos on this trip. The reading got a bit side tracked when I found that the ship personnel had their team of professional photographers run a couple of workshops on digital photography. It was great fun, and as an old "film guy," I just needed to wrap my head around this new advanced digital camera (instead of the simpler ones I've used to date.)

More on the vacation in the first article below: Walking the talk! Where I outlined some of my "desired outcomes" prior to leaving. And I see the technology didn't fail me - the article posted as intended even as I was away. Marvelous when it works!

But now, back to work. Competency. This is an important topic for leaders today. We are trying to do more with less, inspire our people to new heights and give them more autonomy. But if we don't also make sure that they have the necessary skills for the tasks we delegate to them, then we are setting them and ourselves up for failure. I expand upon that thought a bit more in the second article below.

Almost every book I pick up has something to say about "innovation." Sometimes it's dire predictions about how we in the U.S. are losing our edge in innovation. Sometimes it's about how companies who fail to embrace innovation are certainly going to be left behind and sometimes the topic is how to manage or lead innovation. I couldn't help myself and so, in the third article this month, I chime in with my thoughts on innovation.

And of course, no discussion of leadership is complete without mention of "integrity." In the Nullius in verba space I discuss one view of integrity and what it means in the context of leadership. Whether it is as an individual or the organization we create, integrity is critical to sustainability.

I hope you will take a few minutes to check out the action over at ENP. Look for the May 7, 2014 – Milestones in Leadership Summit Ritz Carlton Customer Service Excellence (Alliance Event) – Dana Point, Ca. (Ritz Carlton)

So there you have it. Another ELC Newsletter is "in the can." I hope you enjoy it and find the information useful.

Dave Kinnear

CCE-Board Certified Coach
Vistage Chair

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Walking the talk!

Vacation? Really! 15 Days???? No way.

If everything goes as planned and the technology doesn’t fail me, this article will post while I’m at sea on a vacation cruise to Hawaii. And, as I mentioned in the March Newsletter, I am, uncharacteristically, looking forward to that 15 day vacation as I write. It’s uncharacteristic of me because throughout my career I have been gifted with a deep love of what I do. From electronics engineering work at the very beginning of my professional life all the way to now when I am privileged to coach and mentor business owners and executives. Each step along the varied paths I’ve been on, I have so enjoyed the work that I was doing that I did not want to take time away from it. Why would I? It was challenging, fun and of course profitable. Time off? For what purpose? So we typically took a day here, a day there or at most, a week to go camping or sailing. Perhaps two or three times in all my career did we ever take two weeks at one time for a vacation. (Wife’s edit: Twice in 44 years of his working career!)

Read the complete post . . .

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Leadership: Competency

You must learn to work with technology

It is our responsibility as leaders to make sure our employees have the tools and training to accomplish the tasks we set for them. Sometimes, if we have come up through the ranks, we believe that it’s faster if we just “do it.” That’s a critical mistake. We quickly become the bottleneck in the organization and we develop followers instead of people who think for themselves. We cannot scale our operations for continual growth if we are the only person making decisions and being “hands on” with the projects.

Technical Competency. It is getting to be more and more difficult for leaders to know in detail what we need to know in order to give detailed directions. The good news is, that this forces us to hire people who know more about task specifics than we do and then help them do them by staying out of the details. We have no choice but to learn how to lead knowledge workers. The bad news is that we need highly trained people who can work with all the new technologies and “intelligent machines.”

Read the full post . . .

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Leadership: Innovation

Innovate or die. Well, that's what they are all saying anyway.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty tired of hearing about innovation. How to do it? Who does it? Why do it? There are “tons” of books available on the subject and untold nanograms of digits in cyber space devoted to it (do 1′s and 0′s weigh anything?) Having said that, I don’t want to belabor this topic. Innovation is simply looking at a new way of doing things and, hopefully, implementing a new design, policy, procedure or business model based on those new ways.

I think this task belongs to all of us in both our business and our personal lives. We “do” innovation by being willing to listen to others and avoiding NIH (not invented here). The reason we do it is simple too: the world is changing at internet speeds (and in case you didn’t guess, that’s very fast). If we don’t advance our organizations, they’ll be dead before long.

Read the full post . . .

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Nullius in verba

Leadership: Integrity

In just about every list of leadership attributes we find the word Integrity. So what is integrity? According to Merriam Webster:

1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility

2: an unimpaired condition : soundness

3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness

For those in a leadership position, it is important that we follow “the code” consistently. It’s very easy to nullify a tremendous amount of hard work building a culture by simply asking the wrong question, acting in a way the belies our stated “beliefs” or by not recognizing how others act from a position of integrity in a given situation. This is, of course, part of what we mean when we talk about the culture of an organization and how people “fit.” Are their values in sync with the organizational values and do they consistently adhere to them?

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