Monthly Archives: July 2011

CEO’s: No Longer Accountable?

More than 40 years ago, Simon and Garfunkle sang their famous lament, “Where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio?”  Judging by recent news reports, maybe today’s question should be, “Where have you gone, Harry Truman?”  Truman’s “the buck stops here” perspective on executive accountability seems to be sadly missing from the current age.

Did He Really Just Say That?

Truman-style "buck stops here" accountability isn't evident in recent CEO testimony. (image via Wikipedia)

For the past few weeks, the”phone hacking” scandal centering around News Corporation executives has been plastered across front pages around the world.  I have to admit that I hadn’t been paying too much attention to the details until News Corp‘s CEO, Rupert Murdoch appeared before parliament in London the other day.  Acknowledging that he was “shocked, appalled, and ashamed” by the tumult engulfing his global media empire and which casts a pall over Scotland Yard, among other institutions, a chastened Murdoch said, “This is the most humble day of my life.”

Fair enough.  If he had stopped there, it would have been Continue reading

Self-Discipline: An Under-Rated Leadership Skill

Last week, as I observed a leader handle a delicate inter-personal issue with great skill, it struck me that the successful result was influenced as much by what he didn’t do as much as by what he did.  While seeming “passive” on the
surface, the “not doing” took a great deal of active self-discipline – a very
under-appreciated leadership skill, I believe.

Don’t Underestimate the Soft-Spoken, Unassuming Guys

“David” (name changed to protect the “innocent”) is very low-key in nature – ever friendly, helpful and hopeful.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one example of the personal self-discipline brought to his daily work by the leader in this story (not pictured)

He is quietly supportive  in an “I’ve got your back” way — without ever having to say it because everyone knows it’s true.  While he doesn’t have much formal “power” in the company, he does have significant influence, flowing largely from his personal qualities.
If David sounds like what others have termed an “authentic leader,” I
would fully agree.  In this situation, Continue reading

Does HR Shoot Itself In the Foot?

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the annual SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) conference in Las Vegas, which I was very impressed with in almost every respect.  Gathering 14,000 HR professionals and keeping them engaged, energized, and pointing toward the future (the slogan was “We Know Next”) isn’t an easy task– and SHRM and its many volunteers did an outstanding job.  There was only one thing that disturbed me: the seemingly ubiquitous “I Love HR” logo items (t-shirts, stickers, teddy bears, etc.).

Does "I Love HR" really send the wrong message?

I know that sounds like there should be a punch line there somewhere – “you’re upset about teddy bears, really?” — but I’m actually serious about that.  I believe that the “I Love HR” message is quite self-defeating.  Here’s why.

The “Seat at the Table” Conversation

I wrote last week about HR’s unique positioning as an “internal external” consultant – i.e., sharing perspectives that others are too close to the battle to see.  Ironically, HR isn’t excluded from this truth, of course – i.e., we’re too close to our own issues to see them clearly, just like everyone else.  (Example: HR is notoriously bad at Continue reading