Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Watch The Snake Oil

Hey, you’ve been reading leadership books. Great! Before you try out something new, remember – you have to lead according to your own style. Books and articles are wonderful but they’re a base from where you need to begin. If you want to implement the styles that you read about, do it in the most successful manner.

If you come across an exciting new idea that you read about in a book, you’ve got to read and learn more about it first. You can’t read one book and be ready to go. Read a number of books or articles by different authors. You need to have a good grasp of what it’s all about BEFORE you start. One author may make it sound great – different authors may not.

Remember that management “fads” or "trends" are TOOLS. They’re going to work in some situations, but not others. Taylor it to your own needs and beliefs. Be sure you know WHY you’ve picked these tools and HOW you’re going to use them. If you don’t know how you’re going to measure your success, then don't do it.

For gosh sakes, when you do implement your new style, be sure that you stay with it. Don’t get into the "flavor of the month" mode. With each new technique will come a new failure, and increased disparagement from your team. If you keep ringing the bell, sooner or later the dog won’t come (Pavlov).

Part of being a successful leader is being consistent. Get new ideas . . . discover new tools . . . but don’t try to be something you’re not. If the tools WORK for you, then great. Go for it. Don’t try to force it just because you like the ideas of this new style. Keep in mind that authors write books to make money. They make these things sound as good as possible. Go with the things that sound like they’ll be the best fit - for YOU.

Special Note: I'm privileged to be reviewing an advance copy of Zappos.com CEO, Tony Hsieh's new book, "Delivering Happiness". Stay tuned for my take. The book will actually hit the stores June 7.

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