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: http://saportareport.com/mayor-reed-unfinished-legacy-bomb-clock-always-ticking/

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

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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!

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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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yVTtiPjkEc  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.


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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

POV on leadership: Seven short bursts

Note: This originally appeared as a client e-letter on April 1, 2016
Dear Clients and Colleagues:
Bringing back a previous format for this month's letter. Here are some short bursts, or in this case, the seven dwarfs of observation and interpretation:
1.) Quit obsessing over Donald Trump. Both directions -- to the negative and positive. What works for him only works for The Donald. With all due respect to business media who have to write something, there are no key lessons learned (accentuated using Dana Carvey voice) based on what Trump has been able to accomplish. Not even his Twitter prowess can be replicated across everyone's self proclaimed integrated platforms. Ben Carson had as many Facebook followers but never caught fire like the Donald has. Get a message or idea that connects -- good, bad or ugly -- if you're really that desperate for exposure. 

2.) Political affiliations aside, who are you supporting for President? Why? Business leaders need to be prepared to provide an answer this time around. Blending into the wall paper, giving money to both sides and having mealy mouth answers when asked is fading like the same color of that wallpaper. Kathleen Parker is spot on with the following:  "There's a price to pay for silence." True that! https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/few-republicans-have-shown-the-courage-to-stand-against-trump/2016/03/22/08ee8c88-f067-11e5-85a6-2132cf446d0a_story.html?wpisrc=nl_pdrainbow

3.) Remember, social media only echoes current sentiment. Social media, or any media for that matter, doesn't lead and direct anything except piles of information and attention deficit. Quit posting the passing article of the day if you don't have something worth adding from your own point of view.  Obviously there are exceptions here but not many in a leadership context.

4.) Small talk can lead to larger engagement. Have we forgotten how to talk, much less engage with each other in normal conversation? Here are some reminders for those who still choose to speak to each other. Lead with the weather to create small talk. Don't discuss politics or religion unless you're consulting a politico or minister. Genuine engagement with others now officially represents a task for some, not a normal past-time. Soon there will be a smartphone campaign with the following slogan: "Look Up!"

5.) Encourage, encourage, ENCOURAGE. Even McKinsey, masters of everything leadership- and matrix-driven, cites encouragement as the number one leadership responsibility. Unlike the recent SHRM study that repeated the same tired necessary attributes to be a leader, good looks, stature, image, etc., encouragement is actually something you can do that benefits others. How many times did someone encourage you today? Return the favor to receive the favor. Simple yet not widely held practice.

6.) Keep moving past web-based platitudes such as the one the Korn Ferry Hay Stack posted the other day: "Majority of Fortune's Most Admired Companies say they have leaders of tomorrow," or something stupid to similar effect. Countless others not worth mentioning. Most serious observers quit putting stock in the commercially obsessed Fortune lists a long time ago, yet that message hasn't reached down yet. Not to worry. The next generation will put that one to final rest soon enough.

7.) Finally, get some rest. The leadership industrial complex is now espousing a lot of down time to find yourself or the "white space" necessary to remain highly charged and creative. Whatever. Try unplugging and raising a glass with trusted friends. Type A obsessions can be re-channeled when you get back to the office. A pre-existing client emailed last week to say they were taking some much needed time off. Bravo! I can't remember getting that type of message from someone in the Left Brain crowd. Some of my dear friends don't even realize how tired they look sometimes.
Happy April (We Don't Suffer Any) Fools Day,

Jeremy C. Garlington
Point of View LLC
4060 Peachtree Rd./Suite D-#117
Atlanta, GA, 30319
Phone: 404-606-0637
Web site: www.pointofviewllc.com
TGR web log:  www.povblogger.blogspot.com 

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

SEC Primary: Mouths shut, feet up

On a day when everyone is talking, tweeting and posting yet (going out on a limb here) probably not meaningfully connecting with each another, it's time to review a few leadership truths. Or lessons that seem to have gone missing:

1.) To not have a position is to have a position. Be ready with your own when asked. When Saddam Hussein called the U.S. ambassador for Iraq, April Glaspie, prior to invading Kuwait in 1990 (millennials, look up your history), he asked if the United States had a position on Kuwait. When the ambassador said that the U.S. did not have a position, Hussein rolled his tanks right across the border, starting the first Gulf War and a mess that remains, well, messy 25+ years later. There was obviously more to the situation, but at a simplistically speaking, this validated story has been widely cited as an example of when a non-position is a position.

Masked caricatures of Bush 43 vs. Saddam Hussein

A similar dynamic holds in this year's presidential election. If you're choosing silence and your job involves leading others, you might want to make sure corresponding actions are clear about where you stand before uttering any words. Because if you don't, others are going to make their own conclusions. We need more balanced leaders willing to share more sense and sensibility right now. Yet for some reason that's not happening. Go ahead and speculate on the reasons why if you want, but it's a pointless exercise to try and figure out what others are thinking or doing. Focus on doing something yourself.

Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton
2.) Should you choose to share how you're viewing this year's election and which candidate you're supporting, make sure your point of view is actually informed by something substantive rather than the sound bite or talking point of the day. There's really nothing worse than echoing what someone else has said and claiming that view as your own without any original thought. Besides that's what social media is for, to echo and reflect -- not lead and direct. Throw in the cable channels, too, for exhaust to fan the flames.

3.) If these first two options are too tiring, then do what Mama used to instruct via double negative: If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all. The process being what it is, it will continue whether you say/do anything or not. It turns out that even some things in this world remain greater than us.

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Note on what will soon be a fading memory, this year's Oscars: Please don't feel compelled to go see "The Revenant," if you haven't already crossed that one off your list. Gory, long, depressing and not even Leonardo DiCaprio's best work. Instead watch Super Tuesday returns tonight. It's kind of the same thing, or two for price of one, from the comfort of your own hotel room.

Hugh Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio

Monday, February 01, 2016

Great cartoon (pre-Iowa caucuses)

Courtesy: Economist Magazine (February 2016)
It's comforting to know that a picture is still worth a thousand words, or in this case, 400 characters, via Twitter.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Ode to a Kingmaker

January 6, 2016 (Feast of the Epiphany)

Life tributes are normally made at funerals or retirement parties with the latter now completely faded from the landscape. Executives evidently now have plenty of watches to guard time when they ride off into the sunset.

This tribute will be made to a figure who announced a long anticipated retirement late last month, yet based on track record and values, will never be "done." Not in this life or beyond should you share a similar belief system.

While this figure may be obvious to long-time readers of the TGR blog, it almost doesn't matter who this person is from a material point of view. Despite the fact that the name has currency as one of the most influential business figures of the 20th and 21st century. Hint: It's not Willard Scott although the famous "Today Show" weatherman announced that he was going out on the same day.

Ode to a Kingmaker: Long live the King!

Kingmakers by definition are those who make a king or ruler. Applying this definition in a real world sense, great leaders are made. The ones who do the making are generally Machiavellian by nature, meaning their work is done in the shadows, or outside the normal zones. Highly intangible yet valuable, in other words. For an old example from the movies, think Robert Duvall who played Tom Hagen, the consigliere role in "The Godfather." Their difference is felt at the highest human decision-making and judgment levels, or where choices are made to fill consequential jobs. To achieve this status means you have to not only be willing to make kings but also take the long personal journey not unlike the one taken by the Three Kings, a mysterious but heavily influential group whose travels are marked today on the Christian liturgical calendar.

Making kings is not a practiced art anymore. The art has given way to science and data with less and less relationship-based, long-term thinking by the day. Kingmakers have disintegrated into board specialists or operatives in politics, and consultants or self appointed trusted advisors to CEOs. Emphasis on the individual has given way to team at all costs, and while this is understandable in large, complex corporate environments, standing out as an outsider from another industry no longer holds as much sway. Consummate insiders rule the day, one that has seen its share of economic stagnation over the past five years despite pockets of growth in some sectors. Expert keepers of the status quo now give way to unicorns in entirely new sectors since their paths rarely cross.

This tribute's subject represents a kingmaker of sorts who was present at the creation of a craft called headhunting, which now is executive search, a discipline that few have mastered much less grasped. Through a combination of hard work -- first modeled in an old General Store where his family lived during the Depression -- Jesuit upbringing, sharp instincts, great education, hero worshipping and the gift of seduction, this person literally willed himself to do great recruiting work for big brand name companies and institutions. He did so by building relationships and reputation with leaders who held boldfaced names in the old print world. This person's work at the Top would always be recognized because he made sure it was.

For anyone still left wondering, this figure's name is Gerard R. Roche or "Gerry" by his friends and foes. To paraphrase the old Irish blessing, may the road rise to meet you wherever you may go from here. And may that same "straight ahead" road lead to more forks where you can touch eternity -- while always saving energy to make one more phone call.

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Courtesy: LinkedIn Pulse
Should you want to learn more about this person and what he "feels strongly about," watch the following clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWLUyGnEFQI. The highest compliment to be paid to presenter is that he or she made you laugh, think and/or cry. There's a little of all three in this one.

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 http://www.pointofviewllc.com/.

Thanks for continuing to read, JG