“I used to be the answer man. Now I’ve learned to listen. It is amazing what you learn when you open your mind,” said Gary, chief financial officer of a U.S. firm. As Gary explains, listening is a very powerful leadership strategy. When leaders are genuinely interested in what others are seeing, thinking, and feeling […]
About Elizabeth Doty
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Entries by Elizabeth Doty
I was recently struck that Volkswagen’s goal has been to be the #1 car company in the world. This was also Toyota’s goal in the period before its recalls in 2010. Countrywide had a similar goal during the mortgage boom.It seems that each of these companies came up against a simple truth of human behavior: […]
In today’s complex organizations, where managers must rely on others to take initiative and be accountable, one honest commitment is more valuable than all the lip service in the world. Yet many leaders are surprisingly sloppy when it comes to asking for commitments from others. They either accept ambiguity that leaves their teams with unclear […]
Hello, friends, Several years ago, I was musing with one of my clients about organizational change when he offered a perspective that was so self-evident, it completely reframed how I think about leading change. My client (I’ll call him Dave) and I were discussing the road blocks that kept people and departments from achieving at […]
There is an old saying in the operations world, that “quality is free.” Specifically, quality gurus such as Philip Crosby, W. Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran found that investments in improving product or service quality more than paid for themselves, because they simplified production processes, eliminated waste, reduced rework, reduced returns, and fostered customer loyalty. […]
Hello, friends. I wanted to share a quick update and a new article in strategy+business As many of you know, for the past two years, I have been exploring the question: How does a business keep a promise? As companies become more complex and change becomes more constant, it is all the more difficult to deliver […]
Leaders often struggle to mobilize their teams. “Don’t they get it? Their jobs and the future of the business are at stake. How do I get them to care?” Momentum is a spark. And a push. It’s commitment that attracts commitment and keeps an organization moving, growing and innovating. The good news is momentum works […]
In September, 2011, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz wrote in his Letter to America, “Yours is the voice that can help ignite the contagious upward spiral of confidence that our country desperately needs.” He continued,“We must be catalysts for change… waiting for Washington to act is not a plan of action.” Why is the CEO of a […]
In How the Mighty Fall, And Why Some Companies Never Given In, Jim Collins asks: How do once-great companies fall into decline? Amazingly, the answer was not complacency. In fact they found that over-reaching is far more likely to tip a company into decline than complacency.
“They’re asking me for status updates, but they haven’t even given me the specs yet!” cried a manager in frustration. Whatever your industry, I bet you recognize this Dilbert-esque scenario. This is a classic case of “cross-functional gridlock”, where functions and departments who need to coordinate become stuck, each unable to deliver on their goals.