I love being interviewed by Authority Magazine, mainly because I am always asked thought-provoking questions which lead to really insightful discussions about women in business, leadership, culture change, workplace transformation and what's coming next. The most recent interview was part of Authority magazine's interview series, “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times.” You can read the entire interview here.
Categories: business leadership
Corporations have largely remained silent since the leak of a draft opinion suggesting that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The potential loss of what's been a constitutional right for nearly half a century has divided the country and created an uproar nationwide. However, major companies, with some exceptions, have yet to issue any statements on the matter. In some cases, major institutions have even declined comment. -Fox Business
When asked by Fox Business to comment on the current social upheaval surrounding the potential loss of abortion rights for its article, "How corporate leaders should address Roe v. Wade, according to experts," my response was this: "During times of crisis and change, corporate executives face the most important tests of their skills as thoughtful, influential leaders. However, facing the impending challenge of Roe v. Wade, they have few options, as their organizations and their clients are closely watching their responses."
I have been around for a long time. Made some noticeably big decisions that have made some investors and myself a lot of money. But I have also made a lot of mistakes. Fortunately, not enough to sink the ship. And luckily some of them have turned out to be valuable lessons. So when someone asked me to write about those mistakes, I told them that I could literally write a book because I have made dozens of them…some big, some bad, and eventually, either repairable, avoidable or important lessons learned.
But I am not writing a book so let us focus on two of my mistakes that have been valuable. They fall into two categories: the first goes under analytics. And the second is almost directly opposite: intuition. Eventually, these two mistakes have allowed me to build healthy businesses, both for my clients and myself.
Like it or not, the future of remote work is upon us. All of us need to become more facile at communicating electronically and doing it wisely. In your own business, this might mean you need to prepare a new way of communicating. And, you can't wing it the way you might have done with in-person meetings. Agendas are necessary, and you need to understand new ways of engaging people virtually. But, there have always been meetings. So why the need to change now? Why are new tools even more important today than ever before?
Back when I ran a company, at one point we thought a situation was one way, and then the facts changed and it became another way. Yet when we reviewed our strategy, the new facts were not considered. New facts…no shift in direction! Nothing changed in our strategic planning and yet there were big changes in the external environment.
Sound familiar? How frustrating is it? As a consultant or manager in your organization, how many times do you point out something that is obvious, that should be fixed, and yet nothing gets done! And then you get that dreaded comment, “I know you’re right. Sometime when I get a chance, I will fix it.” Or how about: “I know but I just don’t have time to fix it.”
To me as the consultant or the outsider looking in, this is very deflating. It’s a real downer, particularly when the log jam is over something we discussed before. I sometimes want to ask, “What didn’t you get, or hear, since this is an important element in what we are doing right now?” No excuse, right?
Every last one of us makes mistakes — that's a given. If you aren't making any mistakes, chances are you're not trying anything new, which is a mistake in itself. The famed UCLA basketball coach John "the Wizard of Westwood" Wooden said, "If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
Although they often feel like huge gaffes or missteps (especially when it’s you who’s made them), mistakes can lead to great ideas and innovation. But in reality, they are the stepping stones that propel us out of our comfort zone into the growing zone, where great lessons can be learned. After all, how can you tell if something works if you don't try it?
Contrary To Popular Belief, Mistakes Are Not Failures
Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint-hearted!
It is not easy being an entrepreneur. Starting an entirely new type of business is never easy. If you are in a startup mode, you often must turn out a product or service, make the sales calls, run the books and at the same time ensure that you are following your business plan. Often you don’t have people in the organization to help you reflect on this plan; think about the business, and bounce ideas off.
Getting the right advice is not easy
Recently I was interviewed by INSIDE Public Accounting on the business applications of corporate anthropology. I will be speaking at IPA's 2018 PRIME Symposium conference, so this interview served as a kind of sneak peek into what I will focus on in the culture change workshop I'll be conducting. (You can read the entire interview here.)
My focus was on the importance of observational research to better understand why people behave the way they do, especially when interacting with a product or service. By observing behaviors, anthropologists are trained to see things people do not always know they are doing. These observations then lead to all types of insights, changes to processes, modifications to services, and even innovations.
Equally important was how these "new" ideas and insights help organizations rethink what they are doing. Often, they can better hone in on their targets because now they have a deeper understanding of their own "ways of doing things" and how well they align (or don't align) with their customers' needs.
Since we know that change is painful, observing with fresh eyes how something is being done can often enable people to better see ways to change those habits. Pretty amazing insights emerge from a little anthropology!