Forbes: Why Pivoting Shouldn’t Influence Your Company’s Core Values

How invested are you in your company’s core values? While some businesses might switch their values at the drop of a hat if it means more revenue, those that maintain consistent values ultimately benefit from their dedication to a vision.

The marketplace can, however, demand that businesses develop interim values to address possible shifts. Your business needs to have the ability to reinvent itself for new audiences, but this process should still retain that adherence to your core values and vision. Interim values may come and go, but consistently communicating what you stand for should always be a top priority.

In this article, Chris Cancialosi discusses how to make and your core values congruent so your brand’s vision isn’t compromised.

Forbes: Today’s Leaders Must Learn To Thrive In Disequilibrium

Many self-help programs try to help you achieve a state of equilibrium. You can align your chakra. You can balance your chi. You can even achieve inner peace. But what does all this equilibrium do for your business?

Businesses that try to achieve equilibrium have become our modern dinosaurs. Technology and customer preferences are evolving so rapidly that the only means to success is constant adaptation. By adopting a policy of disequilibrium, businesses can thrive by embracing this flux.

In this article , Chris Cancialosi discusses the importance of disequilibrium and how it can benefit your business’s ability to grow and adapt.

Why Your Company Needs A Leadership Brand

What’s in a name? Your company’s reputation means far more than just free publicity — it’s the factor that sets you apart from the competition and defines you as an industry leader.

Most people think a company’s success depends on creating a unique product and generating lots of sales, but truly successful businesses develop their employees into their industry’s future leaders. By establishing a strong leadership brand, you can distinguish your company’s promise and work to fulfill that promise in every aspect of your business.

In this LinkedIn article, Chris Cancialosi describes what leadership branding is and gives tips on how to strengthen your company’s reputation.

Forbes: The Dark Side Of Bonus And Incentive Program

The VA debacle that’s dominating the news unfortunately highlights a disjointed and inefficient system meant to help our veterans. What caused such a divide between what the organization was intended to provide and what it actually offered?

Many signs point to unethical and disorganized bonus and incentive systems. Something that began as a way to encourage efficiency and customer service became corrupt, leading to many employees gaming the system.

In this article, Chris Cancialosi examines the VA scandal and explores the potentially dark implications of bonus and incentive programs for all businesses.

Forbes: Time to Break Business Tradition?

Tradition is safe, it’s easy, and it brought your business success in the first place. But the urge to uphold existing business methods can be detrimental to your company’s growth if you’re not mindful of changes in the industry.

For your company to pursue growth and innovation, you must be open to adopting new practices and be able to determine which methods are no longer valuable or need improvement.

In this Forbes article, Chris Cancialosi outlines how your company can break tradition and ultimately improve your bottom line.

CEO Succession Planning: What Target Should Have Known

In any corporation, big changes are bound to happen — including the loss of leadership. To avoid chaos, you need to have a backup plan. Take Target, for example. The corporation continues to flounder with the departure of its CEO amidst a massive customer data breach and lackluster performance in Canada. Until a new leader is appointed, current Target executives are attempting to navigate the situation, but this plan (or lack thereof) will undoubtedly make it harder to drive focus and alignment across the organization.

In this latest LinkedIn article, Chris discusses the lessons you can learn from Target’s CEO stepping down and why it’s so important to have a succession plan.

Designing Leadership Development for Organizational Impact

Data. Metrics. Impact. Evaluation.

These key words are only becoming more dominant in organizational life as we have increased our capacity to collect, process and analyze larger amounts of data. But what are we really measuring? Often times, when we think about program evaluation, especially leadership development programs, we ask people if they liked the program and if they learned something useful and call it a day. What we forget is that just liking a program or learning something does not always translate into organizational impact.

And in fact, participants might even say they didn’t like a particular experience, but at the same time, it was one of the most transformative experiences that they have ever had. Additionally, when we think about impactful learning, we often think about the importance of inducing a bit of “productive discomfort” in the participant as a means of creating a transformational learning experience. This also might not be ranked so highly on the smiley scale. Clearly, measuring impact is important, but measuring impact only from participants’ on-the-spot evaluations falls short.

Just as connection to mission, intentionality, and advanced stakeholder alignment are crucial to designing and evaluating any initiative, they are also critical when designing and evaluating leadership development initiatives in a way that has a clear, measurable impact. Thus, it is crucial to intentionally engage all of the key stakeholders early in the process of designing the leadership development program and create metrics of success together.

As key stakeholders, participants should also be included in the process of designing metrics because they will be the ones doing the learning. Additionally, if they understand and are involved in designing their own goals for the leadership development experience it will be that much more powerful.

And of course, these metrics of success should be tied to organizational mission or bottom line results, or else why is the organization spending resources on it? For example, one measure of impact could be that at least 90% of participants will receive higher rankings from their direct reports in their next 6-month 360 in a pre-determined aspect of leadership that has been deemed crucial to organizational success (tied to mission or bottom line).

Knowing and agreeing upon these metrics from the beginning creates more opportunity for having broader organizational impact because the starting point of reference is grounded in organizational impact rather than creating a positive individual experience. While measuring organizational impact of leadership development initiatives might be more of an art than a science, this challenge is no excuse not to try to think in terms of impact and metrics.

Military Leadership: Lessons for Business

Dov Seidman’s recent HuffingtonPost piece got me thinking about my own military experience and its non-basic training for business leadership:

As an organizational psychologist and combat veteran, consulting with corporate and government clients on the topic of organizational culture, I wholeheartedly agree. Military leadership may be perceived as “strict discipline” and “mindless followership” by those who have not experienced it firsthand, but the reality is, in today’s fluid combat environment, our leaders and soldiers must be able to adapt quickly and think on their feet. A core set of guiding principles and values in conjunction with intense training and development has enabled our military forces to adapt to the changing face of combat in impressive ways.

After our victory in WWII, it’s not surprising that the values to hierarchy and command and control would become engrained in the civilian sector as “the right way to do things” and, at the time, they were extremely effective, driving our economy to great heights, creating a strong middle class and creating the most highly educated society in the world. As the world situation evolved and warfare became less “stand toe-to-toe and duke it out” and more decentralized and nebulous, our military organizations had to adapt in ways that changed the face of warfare in dramatic ways.

Blind followership would become less effective as warfare became more dependent on small units operating somewhat independently across long distances. Small unit leaders and their soldiers had to learn how to succeed in very nebulous environments, to accomplish their mission nonetheless. They did this by rightfully training their leaders to lead by a core set of fundamental principles and to do the “right thing at the right time” as LTC Glick stated in the article.

While the military doesn’t need to show profit every month, I would argue that the price they pay for failure is exponentially greater than any for-profit business could ever fathom. Leaders in the civilian world who fail to understand that the world is evolving around them and who attempt to shape the world to fit their ways of working rather than adapting to be most successful certainly run the risk of becoming extinct.

I use the principles that I learned as an officer in the Army every day in my own business with great success. Not only is my team fully capable to working in nebulous situations, they are able to do so while working with ever-changing team structures, designed to best serve the diverse needs of our clients. My team is guided by a clear set of fundamental core principles and ways of operating and they are given an enormous amount of autonomy in HOW they actually accomplish their mission.

If the civilian sector can get past the stereotypes that many hold about the military I would suggest that there are a great many lessons that could be adapted to their work. These lessons have be learned as a result of a great many lessons learned and lives lost and if they are passed off as ‘only applicable in a military context’ I’m afraid that we may be missing some extremely valuable learnings.

Find Your Match: 3 Steps for Building Mutually Beneficial Business Relationships

“Building and leveraging productive partnerships can bring immeasurable value to your business, but it requires careful research, effective communication, and a willingness to compromise.”

In this LinkedIn piece, Chris walks readers through three steps for forming productive and strong strategic partnerships. Read more.

How Leaders Can Fight Impostor Syndrome

Leading at the top of the organization is lonely. According to a recent study called by The School for CEOs, 93% of top leaders require intensive preparation to take over an organization. Technical skill gaps that a leader faces as they take on positions of greater responsibility, such as making decisions about organizational structure and managing various stakeholder groups, often times receive more attention than some of the emotional and psychological hurdles they face. Impostor syndrome, for example, a major phenomenon that many leaders experience as they navigate a more complex landscape often causes people feeling ill-equipped to do the job. This has real performance implications both at a personal level and for the organization.

Leaders that experience impostor syndrome generally feel like a fraud. Often times, the story that replays in their minds is that they are going to be “found out”. In fact they often attribute their success to other factors – “ I was in the right place at the right time” or “I ended up here because I got lucky”. It’s also common to see executives that suffer from impostor syndrome not taking credit for their accomplishments. And if they do, they are usually pretty convinced that they won’t be successful the second time around.

It turns out that execs with impostor syndrome, tend not be vulnerable and this lack of vulnerability inevitably leads to a lack of self-awareness and development . To overcome this, creating a peer support system that can become a trusted network of advisors and serve as a go-to resource can be helpful. Working with an executive coach to look at some of the underlying beliefs and assumptions that are driving certain behaviors and then creating strategies to overcome them can also be of tremendous value. So if you or someone you know is feeling like an impostor, it’s normal and there are things that can be done to address it.