Sep 14 2013

Leading Followers and Following Leaders

When Followers Lead Leaders


You think only a weak leader would step aside when followers close rank and try to take over? Maybe you’ve seen too many wild-eyed-pirate-and-rats-desertion-of-sinking-ship themed movies. You may want to revisit your thinking because in a lot more than some cases, stepping aside is an indication of truly superior and truly successful leadership!

There are probably as many avenues to leadership roles as there are leaders, yet none of them reflects the inherent strength-of-leadership qualities of authenticity and transparency as –like raising world-class children— being able to move confidently out of the way when followers (or your kids) take up the flag and charge forward with it.

No one ever said that being a parent or playing a parental role in business and professional practice development would be easy. In fact, parenting of any kind may well be among the hardest of life challenges. On the heels of committing to the ongoing practice of nurturing and investing in self-responsibility, personal and career parenting is certainly job one.

Why would self-development come first? Because if you cannot be true to yourself, you cannot be true to others. If you don’t know and aren’t continually searching out what makes you tick, you can’t possibly be in a position or mindset to lead others. If you don’t value your self and appreciate your own strengths and weaknesses, how can you measure and guide others?

When followers lead leaders, it may be because the leaders have faltered or it may be because the leaders have thrived on showing the way, on lighting the path, on motivating others to see that light AND the path, and on stepping out and onto it.

Weak leaders work at keeping followers following.

Truly great leaders

inspire followers to become leaders.


Which are you? Which are you becoming? Where are you aiming? What’s your target? Your goal? Your objective? How will you get there? The more you help others to grow as leaders, the more you grow as a leader. And since all of this swirls around what you think and how you behave, it’s worth remembering that thoughts and behaviors are a choice.

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Jun 16 2012


Seeing through it all


…maybe, maybe not.

There’s an awful lot of talk in top management circles trending to the favor-ability of transparent leadership, but reality often dictates the need to exercise the exact opposite, at least for certain situations. Two-facedness? Manipulative? Irresponsible? Lacking integrity? Ruling by exception? Well, even open windows do not always afford a clear view.

When every word you say and move you make is public to all around you, it can be inhibiting to decision making that might be for the good of all involved. Adhering to a policy of transparency can instead take on a neurotic life of its own which can prevent meaningful forward motion.

Consider, for example, the advisability of sharing content of investor or prospective investor discussions as they occur, with all employees. . . or, publicly airing the private meeting critique of an under-achieving employee. Actually, many if not most sensitive-type bits of information might best be kept private and only be shared on a need-to-know basis.

We badger government officials to maintain transparency because they are elected and paid by us to represent our interests, and we are entitled to know what they think and say, and how they behave. But business (thankfully, for the cause of cultivating entrepreneurial spirit and the capitalism that fuels our economy) doesn’t conduct itself that way.

Private enterprise shareholders are entitled to know how business management represents the interests of a given company, but not have a say in every issue. Shareholders are instead invested in the integrity of the management that represents the company they are invested in.

Effective transparent leadership may translate to open-door management for many, but even those who take their doors off the hinges have been known to beef up their effectiveness with periodic whispers and private notes. Because sharing everything with everyone can easily create more problems than it solves.

Another way to think of it is simply that not every organization member is capable of understanding areas of specialization beyond what she or he is directly involved with, and to expect that that’s the case is to invite confusion and delay that will block progress. It’s healthy to look at the total leadership picture before throwing all the doors and windows open.

To paraphrase Lincoln’s famous quote: “You can be transparent to all of the people some of the time, and you can be transparent to some of the people all 0f the time, but you can’t be transparent to all of the people all of the time.”

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Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0116

Open Minds Open Doors

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Jun 29 2011

“Amused” Leadership?

June 29, 2011: Today’s Presidential Press Conference . . .

Mr. Obama:

“Call me naive, but my expectation

   is that leaders are going to lead.”

The American People Respond:




Really, Mt.Obama, you can do a whole lot better than kick around the subject of leadership and pretend you know what it means. You clearly haven’t the foggiest idea about it. Talk with Rudy Giuliani. Read Peter Drucker. Watch some newsvideos of Ronald Reagan. Visit today’s issue of the TBD Consulting “Leadership News” newsletter.

Making a mockery of something you have no ability to do doesn’t speak well of you or the office you hold.

  • My mother would have accused you of being “the pot that calls the kettle black.”
  • My father would have told you to “Pull yourself up by the boot-straps and start getting the job done you’re getting paid to do.” 

ANY small business owner has better better common sense leadership skills than you have demonstrated.

In fact, in all of history, there has never been a leader of any consequence who has repeatedly gone out of his/her way to consistently blame others for his/her own inadequacies, except you!

Placing blame and analyzing it accomplishes zero–as ANY successful business owner will tell you–unless of course you’re Judge Judy.


Then again, you would need to be open-minded enough to even ask in the first place, and you’ve proven yourself incapable of that. To the average American, the relentlessness you exhibit in your pursuit of who and what to blame is pathetic. You long ago ceased to be effective as a leader, and especially because you think you’re a great one.

Nobody else thinks you are

  • . . . certainly nobody else who cares about our still sinking economy that you killed when you had a chance to breathe life into it; that’s called a “blown save” in baseball.

  • Then there’s your Lybian Quagmire that you insisted on rushing into with a cocky attitude and no respect for our military; that’s known as underestimating the competition.

  • Ah yes, and lest we forget the catestrophic daily oil spill you wasted more than a month analyzing instead of responding to.

  • Business owners will tell you when a customer fails with your product, you rush to the rescue with a quick-fix and find out what went wrong later, after you’ve resolved the problem.

  • Oh, and the selective weather disasters you chose to respond to? Please. Everyone knows you’re a puppet to begin with, but there’s no reason on Earth that people who’s lives were devastated by floods in the Midwest should be ignored while those raked over by a crushing tornado get immediate attention because they’re in a “blue” state.

  • It would be a crime to not at least touch on your simpleton behavior in misappropriating tax dollars to union-thugs and incompetent corporate automakers. Thank the Lord for Ford!

  • Again, small business owners will tell you to not get mixed up with those big business muckity-mucks and their union thugs. Advice too late for you no doubt.


Leadership is all about openly motivating others to get the job done that needs doing.

It’s about transparency and respect and authenticity.

It’s not about photo ops, sound bites, grandstanding, or being “amused” as you claimed to be today over being accused of lacking leadership effectiveness . . . which you do.

“Amused”? Surely you jest! 


True leadership? Americans would welcome it, and I’d be first in line. But after seeing the trainwreck you’ve created in such a short time, and how long we’re going to have to be paying for your foolhardy healthcare plan, I don’t hold out much promise. I’m just thankful you’ll never be part of the small business world you seek to destroy.


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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

 Open minds open doors.

Thanks for visiting, and God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Dec 29 2010

Worst 10 NO-NO Words for 2011

STOP holding your breath!


Just don’t use these words.


Reported in today’s Marketing VOX/News, are the results of LinkedIn‘s survey of its 85 million member profiles. Among other things, the Top 10 most-overused buzz words (and word pairs) by professionals in the United States are itemized.

I have presented them here for your own personal and business branding edification, and for your editing and deletion pleasure, as you beef up your turn-over-a-new-leaf-for-2011 identity and add some transparency to your camouflaged bio sales spiel.

You know the “identity” and “spiel” I’m talking about . . . it’s that “profile” thing . . . the one you’ve plastered across the Internet with your ten-year-old, hold-your-breath-in photo? That’s the one. 

It’s that sweet, down-home, good-ol’-boy (or, you-go-girl) slick-and-nifty (you remember them?) packaged presentation of you.

How do I know? Because I’ve seen you on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Salesblogcast, BizBrag, NAYMZ, Plaxo, ActiveRain, EConsultancy, Merchant Circle, Technorati, iSalesman, WordPress, and the 37 gazillion other sites you subscribe to, or have an account with.

It’s 2011. It’s time to clean up your act!


According to LinkedIn findings (And I mean, really, how could 85 MILLION people be wrong?) :

You would be well-advised to cease and desist use of any of the following words in resumes, business blog posts, email and website content, media and direct mail advertising (and, yes, in your hot little profile) for fear of being over-buzzed:

  1. Extensive Experience

  2. Innovative

  3. Motivated

  4. Results-Oriented

  5. Dynamic

  6. Proven Track-Record

  7. Team Player

  8. Fast-Paced

  9. Problem Solver

  10. Entrepreneurial


In answer to your next question: No, I do not pretend to be immune from the stupidity of the masses in using these descriptive terms. I have used them all (maybe that’s how they got overused?), and –in fact– I am probably among the leaders of all active online Americans in continuing to use them (I know, I know, a visit from the devil is coming!). But I promise to start cleaning house.

And you can take that promise to the bank. You know why? Of course you do. You were waiting for this, right? Well here y’go:

Because my extensive experience in igniting innovative, motivated, results-oriented commitments to change is accompanied by a proven track-record of dynamic proportions. Furthermore, as a team player, I am dedicated to being an entrepreneurial, fast-paced, problem solver who delivers words that sell — online and beyond.

Then again, sometimes “overused” (like with my 20-year-old workboots that are more comfortable and better made than anything sold on this planet) can be a good thing — especially when “entrepreneurial” is in your blog heading!

Tune in tomorrow for a special New Year’s message.


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302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Oct 24 2010


It’s YOUR business, but


everything doesn’t have


to get done YOUR way!


One reason brand new and struggling old businesses fail is that the entrepreneurial founders feel like they have to do everything themselves, or else . . .

Or else WHAT? 


Or else it won’t get done right?  What is “right”?  Who says what is “right” and what is “wrong”?   

Are you really meaning to say that “No one else will do this task the way I would do it”? 

Start with this: It’s unlikely ANYone will ever do ANYthing exactly the way you do because no one else could possibly be as motivated as you, because it’s not her or his business.  It’s YOUR business. But there comes a time for trusting the babysitter.

So what’s the next best way to deal with things? Here’s some “SHOULD” reasoning . . .

If you’re lucky and have been careful in recruiting and hiring, you should be able to expect that someone else really is capable of doing whatever task that’s needed.

And that individual should be able to get it done in a manner that you should be able to live with (assuming that the end result is the same as it would have been had you done things your way). 


Ah, but, you know what? There are a lotta “shoulds” there!  If you can’t tolerate someone else’s method (assuming the other person’s time and expenses are not totally out of whack), you need to simply get on with doing the task yourself and not bitching about it. 

Of course if that’s the case, you need also to realize that you’ve stumbled onto a roadblock to your business’s growth: namely, YOU! (Hey, there’s another choice, btw: you can always turn your business over to someone else and just go get another life!) 

Let’s face it, delegating is not easy when you’re used to doing everything yourself, but your business can’t grow if you can’t get others to get the job done. It’s called leadership. And motivation. And trust. And transparency. And consistency.

Delegation requires encouragement, training, back-up support, and incentives. 

Small frequent rewards work wonders. 

So does a physical pat on the back for a job well done (regardless of whether it was accomplished in exactly the same way you would have done it or not), a handwritten note, recognition in a news release or on a plaque or certificate.

Cash, in other words, is not always the answer. A special bonus or reward that fits that person’s needs usually is. 


Only you can decide what motivates best and you can only do that by getting to know what makes each individual tick!  That means you need to get to know those who work for and around you well enough to help them achieve what’s important to them! 

Oh, one parting thought: You can delegate authority, but you can’t delegate responsibility! So don’t hand it all off and walk away. Stay tuned in. VOTE NOVEMBER 6, 2012.



. . . Support those who endorse

free market competition healthcare 

and job creation tax incentives

for entrepreneurs! 


302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jun 30 2009


  Is Your Business   




     I am convinced that the number one reason for business failure is not the economy, not insufficient capital, not poor management, and not over-regulation by government, though all are symptomatic.

     Government interference is of course particularly irksome because it’s being crafted, dictated, and delivered by an arrogant socialist stampede of naive, incompetent leaders whose total business experience equals zero.

     So, what IS the number one reason for business failure?

     Dig deeper.  

     In the past few years, I personally experienced or had first-hand reported more than two dozen incidents involving owners, operators, and managers of sizeable, established businesses hurtling their business interests the wrong way down one-way streets with reckless abandon.

     All have either since collided or failed or are on their way

All have or had the following characteristics in common:

  • Lack of follow-through and a vested interest in maintaining the status quo (amazingly, even after hiring outside consultants to ignite, stimulate, and motivate!) 
  • Disregard for and disrespect of their employees, with tokenism providing the prevailing wind 
  • Disregard of the very talents and solutions they were outsourcing to shore up their own shortcomings (hard to believe, especially after paying for services, but true!) 
  • Complete resistance to initiate two-way “partnership style” communicating
  • Not having a sense of urgency.    

     I reduce all of these weaknesses to driving a business the wrong way on a one-way street. It’s noteworthy that many of them talk(ed) the good talk…but to themselves: Mission Statements with no teeth!

     Without keeping open to and encouraging two-way communication by exercising strong listening and feedback skills, by making assumptions instead of addressing differences, and by disregarding the very consulting input they were paying for (and then not providing feedback), they were/are setting themselves up for failure. 

The economy, under-capitalization, poor management, and over-regulation are excuses. Businesses succeed–even with all of these factors working against them–by communicating openly at all levels all of the time. Communicating openly at all levels all of the time is the ultimate trigger for business transparency.

Transparency, like pregnancy, cannot be half-way.

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Go for your goals, good night and God bless you!

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