Dr.Linne Bourget:Consulting and coaching for executives and executive teams

Free Articles

Linne Bourget, M.A., M.B.A., Ph.D.
Positive leadership pioneer

The Five Most Dangerous, Costly Mistakes Leaders Make -

Do You? Dr. Linne's Leadership Power Pages #1

Linne Bourget, M.A., M.B.A., Ph.D.

"Fast from negativity, feast on the positive." Richard Maraj

The Really Risky Re-Organization

A very smart senior executive, Matt, asked for help with a re-organization. On paper it looked like a great idea. He was very task oriented, efficient and new in his job. In addition to what I knew about Matt's organization, I asked other clients there to brief me.

My clients know my procedure when they brief me about other new clients in other parts of the organization. They tell me everything they know and I say nothing due to confidentiality. They are happy to help as they know their relationships and results with the new client group will improve and be easier. Enlightened self-interest as well as helping for the good of the organization.

I knew some of Matt's organization's issues already, and my clients confirmed them and added more. Matt did not know that he had driven into a cyclone of unresolved psychological issues in his organization. Had he re-organized instantly as he planned to, he would have created axle-breaking sinkholes galore. Fortunately he asked for help.

Between what I knew and my clients' briefing, all I could say in good conscience to Matt was that he could not re-organize without at least 6 months of pre-work. Not exactly what a new client wants to hear! He was silent for a while and then asked how long it would be until he could re-organize. I said it would be at least 6-12 months. The issues would be tough.

He asked what we would have to do to get ready. I answered partially, saying that the rest of the information would come from interview data. He was silent again, and then he asked, "When can we start?" This executive learned fast!

The Five Most Dangerous Mistakes Leaders Make - Do You?

What mistakes was Matt making that made him consider a dangerous re-organization? These are the five most dangerous mistakes he made and most leaders make:

  1. Focusing on leading tasks more than people. He had not considered the risks of not addressing the serious people issues festering for years unresolved.

  2. Taking successes and strengths for granted. He did not notice or mention strengths as part of the re-organization until I brought them into the process. He was trained in the traditional problem-solving method: Find out what is wrong and fix it. The problem is that this method works great for systems and machines but not for people. No one wants to be the "what's wrong"! Having started strengths-based leadership and change over 25 years ago, my systems had a strong track record.

  3. Underestimating employee needs for a positive culture. He was not familiar with positive leadership systems and their power to create faster better re-organizations, nor with the steps needed to establish credibility with his new, upset staffs.

  4. Allowing negative communications to prevail. Before he arrived, negative communication had prevailed in this organization for years, causing talent to be squelched and underused. Not a great idea! He would pay the price! Also, an expensive consultant had been hired to do a thick report on them, and reported to their senior management how bad they were. The consultant then left, offering no help! Hit and run! Consulting sin #1! You can imagine how happy they were to see me!

  5. Not creating, modeling, or requiring a positive leadership culture. The executive in Matt's job before him had allowed culture to develop at the whim of each leaders and manager. They had no systems to build and sustain positive leadership in their organization. The resulting skepticism and resentment toward Matt was huge, not because they had anything against Matt, but because they had been allowed to become negative and live the negative as their default.

What Happened to Matt and His Re-Organization? Did They Get Out of the Sinkhole and Back on the Road?

The rest of the story:

  • They were furious with me because of the other consultant's hit and run debacle.
  • I told them that they were angry for all the right reasons and I agreed with them.
  • I said had a contract for at least 9 months and would help with implementation.
  • Then I told them about my Build on the Best strengths-based approach rather than the finger-pointing approach most consultants use. After the initial shock, they were pleased.
  • I stated that since they had the good sense to be angry about being mistreated, I definitely respected and needed their input and hoped they would help.
  • Slowly they got on board with my vision-based positive planning approach and created two different re-organization scenarios for Matt's approval. He gave his requirements in advance, of course, at my recommendation.
  • After tweaking and discussion, Matt picked one and they implemented it. The angriest manager in the beginning became the one who reminded everyone about the vision when they got bogged down in details.
  • The re-organization served everyone better and almost all employees accepted it.
  • Matt learned to manage people so well that he received 2 promotions in the few years he worked with me, the 2nd to a plum international job He went on to become CEO of a significant organization in his industry. All of that because he went from being seen as a good task manager to also being a good people manager.

Visit us at: www.whatyousayiswhatyouget.com/services.html for the positive leadership language system, the basis of all the positive change systems, in Dr. Linne's book: What You Say Is What You Get®: The Secret Language of Great Business Results.

This book includes these five mistakes most leaders make. This Engine and Four Wheels system, honed to a high shine by clients, has a strong track record. It includes two chapters per wheel, the compelling story of a challenging change effort and the practical how-to information. Designed for a fast easy read, frequent headings, road signs and powerful quotes. The faster easier path to better results while strengthening buy-in from all involved!

"Without full knowledge of your best, you have only half the truth - the worst half."

Dr. Linne's Power Quote

Two self-scoring questionnaires are designed to accompany the book:

What You Say Is What You Get®: Your Appreciative Quotient (AQ)® Questionnaire, and
What You Say Is What You Get®: Your Positive Quotient (PQ)® Questionnaire.

These questionnaires are carefully crafted to provide you with FAST transformation, not just information! You can enjoy leadership!

Dr. Linne Bourget's new book, From Old Power to New Power - Which Leaders Will Survive? reveals why leaders are in trouble, losing power, criticized as never before and, if they are paying attention, uncomfortable. The executive who reads this book may just get your job! Discover the five most dangerous trends for leaders, the four unprecedented demands on leaders, the three lessons about power every leader must learn, the two forms of New Power every leader needs to master, and the one master key to the global Power Shift.

Copyright 2004-2011, Linne Bourget, M.B.A., Ph.D., All Rights Reserved. You may distribute this, to create more positive workplaces, only if you leave it in its entirely including this copyright notice. Thank you for your consideration. Enjoy!

www.whatyousayiswhatyouget.com/services.html


Dr. Linne's Leadership Power Pages #2

This is the second in the series of Power Pages for Leaders by Dr. Linne Bourget. The first was on the Five Mistakes Leaders Make - Do you make these mistakes?

Can You Pass this Leadership Test? What is a Positive Focus and Why Should I Lead Positively? What You Say Is What You Get®!

"Linne Bourget, M.A., M.B.A., Ph.D.

"When you forget the positive, you have lost control."
Dr. Linne's Power Quote

The negative controlling Old Power manager nearly lost his job although he was a bright visionary. The positive manager, using New Power, kept being promoted, as he was smart and everyone liked working with him. What made the difference in these two careers? One simple thing: Their choices to be positive or negative.

We all choose whether to see our lives and careers through positive or negative eyes. We have both in us, but we choose every day which to emphasize. We can remake that choice every moment. Why, then, are there so many negative workplaces. Why don't leaders move mountains to create a consistently positive culture? Why are leaders allowing so many unhappy and unfulfilled but good employees to leave?

What Are the Obstacles to Choosing A Consistent Positive New Power Focus?

We all know that a positive work environment is more productive and more fun. A positive corporate culture becomes fragile indeed when awash in a negative environment. Why is the negative the default and the positive chosen less often? Two forces get in our way if we let them:

  1. Intellectual, religious, and philosophical traditions and media which promote belief in the negative. These have a long history. They denigrate the positive and promote cynicism, despair, and fear. It becomes "cool" to be negative and criticize others and their work. They mistrust the positive and regard it as inferior. This justifies hiding behind the negative and not being positive.

  2. Habit - It is easy to fall into a negative rut if we hear negative media and people every day. It takes more work to focus on the positive. The positive is much less understood due to less experience with it. The negative is more familiar. Leaders and employees spend more time there.


What Does a Negative Old Power Culture Cost Your Firm? Frightening Risks:

  1. Strengths are ignored, unknown, and underutilized, weakening results and leaving huge amounts of money lying on the road from a rough road trip.

  2. Employees are disengaged, fearful and cynical, lowering productivity and quality, resulting in loss of your best and most marketable talent.

  3. Defensive blaming and finger-pointing cost you time and money and weaken all implementation and thus results.

  4. Your corporate vision becomes a joke to employees, and a lonely plaque on the wall gathering dust.

  5. Low trust levels block great ideas and creativity, putting your firm behind the Power Evolution Curve.

Why Should You Trust the Positive? Lessons and Benefits from Research & the Track Record

"Great results flow from what's right,not from what's wrong."

Dr. Linne's Power Quote

A Mayo Clinic study reports people with optimistic outlook have fewer health - related physical symptoms and lower stress levels than those with a negative outlook. Optimists vs pessimists: "Survival rate among medical patients over a 30 year period," Mayo Clinic Proceedings Feb. 2000, 75 (29), 140-143, Maruta, T. et.al

2007 Update: In a 40-year study, Mayo Clinic researchers found that pessimists had a significantly higher risk of death than optimists. The more pessimistic the subjects, the greater the risk of death. Optimists had better health in all areas. (NWA World Traveler, 4/07, p. 74). Lost productivity and higher health care costs - what is this costing your company?

A 2006 study reported that companies with higher percentage of positive statements are significantly more profitable than those with a higher percentage of negative statements. (Cameron, K.S. and Caza, A., "Contributions to the Discipline of Positive Organizational Scholarship", University of Michigan School of Business.)

None of this research was available when starting my work on positive change and leadership over 25 years ago. I persisted despite ridicule from academics and colleagues, as client situations were transformed so quickly and easily I knew this was powerful. Clients using our positive leadership systems consistently find that:

  1. Tough situations are resolved much faster and more easily, saving time and thus money. In a finance group, results improved 35-40% in a few months.

  2. Careers and change efforts are strengthened greatly and quickly. Clients received promotions, raises and more prestigious assignments.

  3. Positive solutions work better because there is no blame or finger-pointing to cause defensiveness and resistance to change. A group numb with fear, devastated after a badly managed downsizing got out of the ditch and back on the road quickly, reclaiming their power, positive focus, and part of their budget and headcount lost in the downsizing.

  4. Difficulties seen as impossible to resolve become resolved, e.g. acquisitions.

  5. Stress levels in key working relationships decline dramatically and their productivity increases dramatically, including across organizational boundaries. A CFO and budget director dramatically improved their communication and service to internal customers.

What is a Positive Focus? Can You Pass this Leadership Test?

A positive focus means focusing on the positive more than on the negative. To inspire and motivate people to put forth the effort and take the risk to invest in the change you want them to make, they need your positive energy to prevent, balance and outweigh the negative energy - the fears, the uncertainty, and the skepticism at work. Positive energy is the fuel that keeps the engine moving forward.

As a leader, your positive energy generates enthusiasm and commitment in others. You need their commitment - it is essential. You are responsible as a leader to build that momentum. Setting an example for what you want others to contribute is a key source of power and influence for successful leaders - being role models. "Do as I do" is the watchword now. "Do as I say but not as I do" has lost all credibility. Employees are hungry for leaders to set examples they can follow proudly.

To create credibility as a New Power positive leader, you must demonstrate gthe basic elements of a positive focus. They require taking responsibility for your choices, choosing a positive focus. Clients consistently prove that they work well.

Can You Pass This Leadership Test? Quik Quiz: How Well Do You…

  1. Embody honorable excellence, set the example for others?
  2. Treat yourself and others with dignity and respect?
  3. Focus at least 50% of your time on the positive?
  4. Bring enthusiastic, positive energy?
  5. Set boundaries on negative behavior to protect the positive focus?
  6. Hold to your vision of desired outcomes?
  7. Reward positive behaviors which create and sustain a positive focus?
  8. Prevent as much conflict as possible?
  9. Expect yourself & others to develop excellence - continue long improvement?
  10. Bring commitment and confidence to deal with issues?

If I asked your employees, what would they say about you?

  $ How well do you measure up to this test of positive leadership?

  $ How well do the leaders in your firm measure up?

For more information on positive leadership power, systems and tools, visit us at www.whatyousayiswhatyouget.com/services.html for the positive leadership system in Dr. Linne's book: What You Say Is What You Get®: The Secret Language of Great Business Results.

This Engine and Four Wheels system, honed to a high shine by clients, has a strong track record, is endorsed by Warren Bennis and its foreword is by a client executive. For each wheel, you see the compelling story of a challenging project and the practical how-to solutions. Designed for a fast easy read, frequent headings, road signs and powerful quotes. The faster easier path to better results while strengthening buy-in.

Two self-scoring questionnaires are designed to accompany the book:
What You Say Is What You Get®: Your Appreciative Quotient (AQ)® Questionnaire,
and What You Say Is What You Get®: Your Positive Quotient (PQ)® Questionnaire.

These questionnaires are carefully crafted so that taking them provides you with rapid transformation, not just information! With positive tools, you can enjoy leadership!

To understand the Power Shift from Old Power to New Power, visit us at www.oldpowernewpower.com and order a copy of Dr. Linne's 2007 book, From Old Power to New Power - Which Leaders Will Survive?

Coming Soon from Dr. Linne: The Master Intuition System for Leaders. Learn how to predict what is coming, profit from it, and protect your profits and firm! This System has a 25 year track record and works for every area of your business.

Copyright 2004-2013, Linne Bourget, M.B.A., Ph.D., All Rights Reserved. You may distribute this, to create more positive workplaces, only if you leave it in its entirely including this copyright notice. Thank you for your consideration, from Dr. Linne, www.whatyousayiswhatyouget.com/services.html.