Leaders Create Solutions, Not Dysfunction: #TChat Recap

There’s a scene in the movie The Company Men where a laid-off executive (Tommy Lee Jones) confronts his old CEO (Craig T. Nelson), who happens to be his partner with whom he started the now struggling shipping business.

The fired exec taunts his CEO about all the recent lay offs and his selfish focus on shareholder value. The CEO fires back “this is a business, not a charity.” And when the CEO reveals that the company was bought out at $X per share for a lucrative return, the fired exec says, “Good for you.”

Then the CEO asks his old partner pointedly, “How many shares did you have?”

I won’t spoil the plot any further with what happens next, but the story tells of the divergence in leadership choices, business and personal lives, and the ultimate impact of those choices. We’ve seen this plot play-out in reality again and again – through boom years – and most recently through the protracted bust.

The reality is that business leaders are responsible for growing a business, which means they have an important hand in selecting who helps them do just that, which means their employees must be a partner in that if they want to share in any success, but not at the expense of all our humanity and our very livelihoods.

That sentimental gibberish used to get you shot in the executive washroom, but these times they’ve been a-changin’, again, with corporate social responsibility taking center stage in many early-stage ventures, start-ups and growing SMB’s with the focus on the talent that makes it all happen, as opposed to the focus making it all happen at the expense of the talent.

These new business leaders, and those of the reformed nature, understand that they need to work with their “talent” acquisition and development teams to align business strategy with needed competencies/skills and a splash of authenticity, transparency, salt and pepper to taste and bam! We’ve got the new age of talent management. Today’s street-smart business leaders know not everyone can be a complete “right” fit, but they’re smarter if they work with those with promise, actually welcoming them into the fold and talking with them directly about the business and their new role. Business leaders today also need the “crystal ball” insight into their talent with predictive workforce analytics, so then workforce planning can take promising shape. Without direct involvement and detailed insight, organizations are just flailing in the dark.

And as Matt wrote in his #TChat preview, “when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, active, engaged and innovative leaders provide a key competitive advantage. After all, it’s that magnetism they possess which creates a powerful draw for potential workers (and customers), not to mention providing a potent, and public, voice for communicating with both internal and external stakeholders.”

And as a leader, if you’re not part of the talent solution from the beginning, then you’re probably part of the self-serving dysfunction that destroys businesses and lives in the end, regardless of how much you cash in. Conservative and progressive leaders alike and all in between, if you’re not of mindful presence and high emotional intelligence, then as far as I’m concerned you shouldn’t be leading anything except a 12-step program. Everyone’s a leader of self and Me, Inc., but that doesn’t mean it’s at the expense of building and growing a company.

Inspire your team to own it as you do, baby. That’s the truest form of success.

Again, you can read the #TChat preview for the first ever, and highly successful, joint #TChat and #LeadershipChat last night. A very special thanks to Lisa Petrilli and Steve Woodruff from #LeadershipChat! Here were the questions we explored:

  • Q1: What is the role of a leader when it comes to making talent decisions?
  • Q2: What should a leader consider when addressing “talent alignment?”
  • Q3: How can a leader show genuine authenticity to new recruits and current employees?
  • Q4: How does being a genuine leader impact a workplace culture brand?
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