Friday, February 03, 2017

Lose the Trump obsession

While the contents of this post are political, the intent is apolitical. What does that mean? No axes to grind, no sides left to choose. Only observations that hopefully will lead to better perspective. So others in leadership positions can consider for their own usage.

Lose the Trump obsession refers to the pile-on now going on in the political/media industrial complex. On the Left, the new president is the Devil Incarnate, a shameful, Tweeting fool who doesn't care about anything beyond himself. On the Right, the new leader of the free world marches to his own drummer and won more counties and votes than any Republican candidate since Ronald Reagan.

Fake news, alternative facts and reality now fight for equal air time. Both extremes have translated into very little so far other than protests, about 100+ citizens being temporarily blocked from entering the United States and countless contested news cycles opining but not really knowing what's to come. 

More people than ever over-identify with national political figures and perceived causes at the expense of actually doing something purposeful to make impact in their own community, according to TGR's own empirical data. Eight years ago, it was a savior named Barack Hussein Obama. Now it's the new populist leader of the silent majority, President Donald John Trump. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Consider the following truth, first seen in the Denison Forum, and expounded upon here. Popular leaders reflect their times; transformational leaders change them.

No one knows entirely what President Trump and a Republican Congress will or will not be able to accomplish. It's a great experiment to have a never previously elected politician serve as President. Then again our country remains an experiment failing forward, which was the original design set into place by the Founding Fathers. Based on what government has become, old Benny Frank and Thomas Jefferson wouldn't be as shocked as rest of us seem to be.

To peer consultants who have written expert commentaries on how to respond to a Trump Tweet targeting their client's company, please take more than 30 seconds to respond. Trump Tweets are highly successful -- or at least have been so far. To fight with head on response represents a lot of risk to any corporation that was formed ironically to manage risks. Not to mention tweets have the shelf life or attention span of a baby. Just ask the Ford Motor Co., which now has a remarkably different public tone than before the holidays.

Maybe the best way to respond is simply to listen and not say anything publicly until a clearer resolution emerges? Better yet, wait for the next crisis to wipe the previous one aside (anyone know what's going on with the new Air Force One planes?) That may be too common sensical to borrow a Bush 43 saying. The contrarian contained within says it's time to be slow to speak and quick to listen, taking a line from James.

The current climate recalls a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote that a global practice director used to throw around as if he was Ralph himself: "You're acting so loudly that I can't hear what you're saying." The exchange was  ironic considering the setting was a PR firm's office talking about communication aimed at manipulation on behalf of fee paying clients. Tweeter, I mean Twitter, thankfully was not in existence then. We actually had to attempt to influence each other by speaking directly and defending a position with facts and informed views. Now there's an idea.

May we listen more this year, instant message/text less and be more adaptive at the risk of always having to be liked, happy or popular. Remember, hitting one out of three remains a Hall of Fame-worthy batting percentage in baseball.

# # #

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Now what? Considerations for everyday leaders.

Courtesy: Unknown
No upside in PC war. Political correctness is dead, long live PC. Cultural war chests are being reloaded at unprecedented levels. Avoid at all costs; there is zero upside in the public square. Just don't forget the value of sharing views with those who you care about, especially in this highly divisive climate. Here's a great quote from Martin Luther King, Jr, pulled from a friend's Facebook post: "In the end, we will not remember the lies of our enemies but silence from our friends." (Courtesy: J. Gray) 

Courtesy: Big Lebowski

Trump Effect. Time Magazine's Person of the Year, an old dying influence measure if there ever was one, will be announced this morning. It has to be President-Elect Trump, right? Who else could it be? Your call, but for house money, it could easily be a hybrid figure of all races, genders and titles named Sir/Madame Disruption. If you haven't met this person, you will sometime.
Listen, Linda! Consider a simple act: Listening, or more specifically, listen to someone who is different than you. We could use more active listening for sure. Going another step, diversity for diversity's sake needs an update. The fact is fewer women are filling CEO jobs. Despite the platitudes, conferences, studies and reporting -- which admittedly has helped move the needle up from zero over the past 25 years -- women currently hold less than five percent of CEO jobs among companies in the S&P 500, according to Catalyst The c-suite and board picture is improving but not quickly enough to change this glaring fact-based imbalance. Doubt the veracity here? Try engaging the complex that has made diversity an industry with honest dialogue. Or better yet, try doing so as a white, middle-aged man. A casual observer/TGR reader recently commented: "We got tired talking about it (diversity.")  Can we agree to disagree on Diversity Fatigue as a new heading?

Truth remains stranger than fiction. With due respect to great journalists, such as David Ignatius,, what is post-truth, or what so many are writing and talking about since the election? 

At a more down here on Earth level, who can we believe anymore? Government? No. Monolithic Media? No. You? Maybe. Me? Sure, why not? Google? Facebook? Uh, if you answered the latter, then please sit down and gather your own thoughts -- should any still exist.

Dead broke. Media and pollsters proved on Election Night that the election industrial complex is dead broke, but similar to previous cycles, what's emerged remains a hodge podge mess of stuff that's discovered on-line now more than ever. Despite this confusing emerging model, leaders are supposed to initiate truth so please spend some time forming a better process in your sphere of influence. Initiating truth may be the new George Patton mandate: Lead, follow or get out of the way. First step: Know the truth, or at least be committed to searching.

Mitt Romney and Trump, eating frog legs
Courtesy: New Yorker
Trump Effect (continued.) Vision speak will now take a back seat to bottom-lines, first-hand story/visuals and competing sets of facts (and half truths, distortions, lies, etc.), which probably never will get in the way of a good argument ever again. If you're still communicating in grandiose terms with long quotes from names such as Washington and Lincoln, then please consider breaking things down. The days of soaring oratory are over. At least until the next perceived savior floats onto the scene.

 # # #

Monday, August 29, 2016

Funniest all-time comment on career change

So the current key to effective branding, according to 2.0 content masters, is unique story telling that communicates key differentiators, or what sets you apart. Not all of us have clear differentiators, but that's beside the point.

It's always entertaining to read this type of language because it's been around since, well, Henry Ford and the Model T Ford. That may or may not be an exaggeration, but you get the point.

One of my favorite stories from the front lines occurred all the way back in 2006. Talking via phone for the first time to a COO of a homegrown company that was being acquired, the subject asked the normal range of questions and then proceeded to go a little deeper with a funny story. He said, "You know, Jeremy, my biggest fear is being stuck at home, watching Jerry Springer episodes all day."

Jerry Springer

My response was almost chortle-like laughter, although admittedly since all great humor contains truth, the comment did provide pause. Recovering from the awkwardness, the next comment was the reassuring kind -- something along the lines of "I'm pretty certain you won't have that problem." This moment remains the all-time best when it comes to unintended revelation. This person would later hire me, but that's beside the point.

Anxiety or fear about change is real. Going to extremes in the early going is normal. Being a little off base and questioning purpose after working forever not only is healthy but can lead to a better place.

But please don't feel like you have to do so alone. That's generally where trouble starts. Turn to friends, trusted colleagues, formal/informal advisors or even a professional, if necessary. Read some stuff (highly recommend "Working Identity" by Herminia Ibarra); watch a podcast or two. Then commit to a plan of action around trying a few new experiments. The single biggest deterrent to change is thinking too much about will come next vs. doing something. Journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. -- famous Chinese philosopher (Lao Tzu.)

Oh, in case you were left wondering what eventually happened to the previously mentioned subject, he transitioned effectively out of his long-time corporate role and now works in private equity. A traditional segue if there ever was one. For the record, it's not certain that any Jerry Springer episodes were viewed before, during or after the change.

Dilbert by Scott Adams
Courtesy: Georgia CEO
# # #
P.S. We're not leaving anything to chance these dog days of summer. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about our differentiated approach to executive transition, please feel to reach out via email, phone or social media. A new season approaches. Here are our coordinates:
Jeremy C. Garlington
Point of View LLC
4060 Peachtree Rd./Suite D-#117
Atlanta, GA, 30319
Phone: 404-606-0637
Web site:
TGR web log: 
Twitter: @jgarlington

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Complimentary late summer reading

August now marks the late peak of summer vacation season, which means everyone has already picked out their favorite popular title from the Amazon Kindle rack. Or whatever they're calling the container these days.


Let us be clear: This is not a best reads book list. It's a short burst listing of relevant blog postings compiled over time, which now counts 12 years of active practice-driven work, results and reflections. There's obviously an entire book in here, but that's not worth getting into right now.

This listing is designed to educate the uninitiated on career change, executive transition and everything else that falls between the two, which thankfully isn't that much. There's on exception on the list, which falls under the category of eternal personal branding, an art that none of us have mastered.

We've heard our fair share of whines, wishes and pleas when it comes to the presidential election so leadership also makes an appearance on this summer list.

1.) Pain points are really what drive business in professional services. No one valuable generally gets hired when everything is going peachy keen. It generally requires great pain for another party to step forward and ask for help. The ones who do advance rightfully, the ones who don't, well, they just keep doing the same, taking drugs and hoping for a different outcome. Having said all that, no one likes to discuss much less admit pain points unfortunately until it's abundantly obvious.

2.) This posting was done all the way back in April. The first point, or call to action, was to quit obsessing over Donald Trump. It's always good to see others taking our advice (yes, there is sarcasm in that last statement.) The posting directly following this one, which wasn't included on the list, also emphasized the importance of publicly stating support for one of the two candidates. There hasn't been much of that either so consider this race the really loud yet quietly helpless election. May the least worst person win!

3.) This posting is personal and about a figure who remains a standout despite age, retirement and what comes with both milestones. One of his most famous placements, Bob Nardelli, was the butt of some jokes during a market-based conversation just this morning. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving. Gerry Roche put high-end, highly visible brand name executive search on the map. Period. We won't see another like him ever.  Who can say the same?

4.) Anyone experiencing a reactive or proactive job change situation would be wise to take some time and understand the differences between pivots and forks in the road. Learn how to recognize both and you're already two steps ahead. Key is to at least take the first step, which as some famous Chinese philosopher once said, begins the journey of a thousand miles. Can someone send the golf cart, please?

5.) Framing a new story, or narrative, strikes at the essence of rebranding. It's a core service of the consultancy, but more importantly, the exercise helps move you forward in the eyes of others. Everyone has a story, btw. Some are just better at telling it or have the wisdom to know when they need help doing so.

6.) The image of Homer Simpson eating donuts probably made this one of the top read blogs of the year. But the listing stands on its own and represents synthesis of the many rules and tips that now fill the usual channels with noise.

Hope this helps round out your summer reading and contributes to some well earned rest. Feel free to comment back here or send along to someone whom who think could benefit from the message. Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

'No such thing as bad PR'

Sometimes you see things first-hand, or reported live, that provide pause. Especially when life is a little less crazy than normal. Mayor Kasim Reed's recent outburst on WSB-TV, Channel 2 in Atlanta represented one of those moments. So naturally, we sought perspective about the event from the point of view of what's happening in the public square called political leadership. Here's the product:

As a good friend commented: "When the pol (politician) blows up, the pol always loses." So true but so lost in the current season.

# # #

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What's your pain point?

Pain point (noun, definition): When the pain exceeds the point when you can do anything about it, or when you perceive you can't do anything about what's causing the pain. Example: Patient A has a pain point, and after exhausting over the counter remedies, calls the doctor for a prescription.

In business, pain can take several forms, both real and perceived. The points generally manifest themselves according to the following categories:

1. We don't know how to cure the pain so we turn to someone or expert firm for help.
2. We've really screwed this up and need help finding our way back. Sooner rather than later.
3. That's it. I can't take it anymore. Give me the drugs! Or the prescription that's only unique to me (generally speaking it's not unique despite how you want to believe that it is.)

Not me but could be

A recent meeting with a prospective client brought this point fully home after a friend brought up same truth a few weeks ago. You have to be a really bad listener not to pick up on the cues.

After commenting that there hadn't been much communication since the last meeting, prospect says, "Oh, that's an easy explanation. You weren't fully aligned with my pain point at the time, which right now, is funding the business." Gulp. Time to keep moving.

Great companies, firms and their principals always factor pain points into their sales and marketing strategies.

It's been abundantly clear here for years but harder than ever to accept the truth behind this reality. Part of the refusal seems to be frustration with how fewer are willing to be fully transparent about their situations and always determined to be present a positive, "I've got this taken care of" front when they clearly don't. Few of us do and the really wise know they need help before the pain points overtake them.

With pain comes the need for transparency. With transparency comes the need for truth from a trusted source. Somewhere in the middle lies valuable service, or vice versa, the opposite reaction,  denying truth and help. That generally produces a scattered sea of cock roaches. You know the image: Truth sends the other person running. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on what you're selling, the latter seems to be growing as a response in the marketplace.

Back to the top: What's your pain point (s)? Are you doing anything about finding a cure or simply treating the symptoms?

If you're a leader trying to impact change in your career and/or business and it's not happening, then please let us know. We feel your pain everyday!

# # #
P.S.  This entry is dedicated to William Jefferson Clinton, or the 42nd president of the United States, who is in Atlanta today meeting with former President Carter. Clinton's knack for understanding pain and how to turn brokenness into blessing was on full display last week at Muhammad Ali's memorial service. If you missed his remarks, which capped off an afternoon of remembrances, please see  for a rewind.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Pulte Homes looks for a new CEO -- and doesn't find one

At least not yet. Fundamental to any succession process is having a new leader groomed and ready to go, either from inside or outside, before making change. When that fundamental isn't present, well, the vacuum starts to make that bad sucking sound. You know the one: When the machine stumbles upon a corner of a rug and it starts to whine, forcing you to turn the switch off.

This analogy is not far off when it comes to Atlanta-based Pulte Homes. For more on where the company may go from here, please see a piece published last week in "The Saporta Report," a locally run digital publication that reports on business and civic activity in Metro Atlanta.

# # #

First of its kind

"The Garlington Report" (TGR) represents the first new media forum devoted exclusively to executive-level leadership from the talent and search points of view.

For regular readers, rest assured -- you will continue to find monthly Pointes and other content that you've grown accustomed to. Please also feel free to navigate back to the consultancy's URL at

Thanks for continuing to read, JG