Little known true leader that changed the company into great performance

Darwin E Smith, ex CEO Kimberly-ClarxDo you know Darwin E. Smith? I bet you know people like Jack Welch or Lee Iacocca. But who is Darwin E. Smith?

When he was appointed ceo of Kimberly-Clark in 1971, he just was the companies lawyer. Shy, never in a leading position but willing to work. He was even pullee aside by one of the directors, saying that he really lacked some of the qualifications to become CEO. Nevertheless he was appointed and he stayed CEO for more then 20 years.

At that time, kimberly-Clark was really struggling in the paper products market with harsh competition like Scott Paper and Procter & Gamble. Darwin turned the company outperforming companies like Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Coca-Cola and GE. The generated stock returns were 4.0 times greater than these companies in these 20 years.

How did Darwin lead?

He lead the company with a level 5 leadership. Level 5 leadership is a concept by Jim Collins and I will explain it briefly hereunder.

Level 5: Executive. The leader builds greatness to the combination of personal humility and professional will. Once when a journalist asked for his style of leadership he just stared back at the scribe from the other side of his thick black-rimmed glasses. He was dressed unfashionably and finally he said, “eccentric.”

How do you manifest humility? You credit others, external factors and good luck for the companies’ success. you act quietly, calmly and determinedly-relying on inspired standards to motivate.

Level 4 :Effective leader: He catalyses commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision; stimulates the group to high performance standards.

Level 3:Competent manager. He organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives.

Level 2:Contributing team member. Contributes to the achievement of the group objectives, works effectively with others in group setting.

Level 1:Highly capable individual. Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills, and good work habits.

Now rate yourself on a scale from 0-10 for each of the levels! Be brutally honest with yourself and you can see where you are compared to Mr. Smith!

The 3 most hidden secrets on how top companies attract and retain top talents.

According to a recent Monster study on employee loyalty, 82% of surveyed employees have updated their resume in the past six months. Moreover, a whopping 59% say they are looking for a job “all the time up to 50 % reports indifference or dissatisfaction on their current job.

These are all alarming facts to consider and should get the attention of managers on what people are busy with.

How do top companies like Google or Apple play that game?

First of all it is only fair to say that attracting people for these giants is a piece of cake. They really soak people to them, so they can easily take out the top talents out of it. To give you an idea, according to Bloomberg, in February 2011 Google got 75.000 applications for only 6.000 openings! That is a more than 1:10 ratio.

Now, holding them on board is a totally other game and if you can’t do it properly the costs of letting someone go and replacing him/her could cost you 250% of the year salary due to losing knowledge, inefficiencies at work, recruitment costs etc…

Usually, people speak about bonuses or perks in general. You can easily find the list of the top 100 companies forwho score best for each of them on cnnmoney.com.

But that is not what I would like to tell you about. Recent studies have unveiled that more and more people are not in for only money or perks as they used to be up till now. They need other things to stay.

Daniel Pink, one of my favourite authors writes in his book ” Drive : the surprising truth about what motivates us” that there are 3 elements to take into account when you want to get employee loyalty and identification with your company.

  1. Autonomy: People want to decide for themselves how, what, with whom and where they want to work. It is astonishing to see students succeeding on campus in their own way. They decide when to go to class, they decide whether or not they go to some social event and how frequently they do it and they decide when to learn for exams or other projects. When they graduate, suddenly they are forced into a clockwise scheme of companies that says to them when to arrive, where to work, with who and so on. This really frightens them and it isn’t fruitful after all. Studies already showed that this isn’t helpfull to foster creativity nor does it generate employee loyalty. Best Buy got the idea for its headquarters and started a program called R.O.W.E, Results-Only-Work-Environment. People get to choose for themselves where they work, when they work, with who etc. this enabled the company to raise productivity at the headquarters with 25 %. Employee turnover crashed to an all time low for the company. People are very reluctant to leave the company because they know this “employee-driven” environment is so unique.
  2. Purpose: Connection with a greater good. In general people want to know where they do it for. People are purpose seekers, so you should enable people to connect to a greater good that reunites them. Therefore having leadership trainings, mission statement trainings etc…are of the greatest importance for companies and it will get even more important in the future, considering that generation X, who is entering the employee market, is really demanding this.
  3. Mastery:People want to experience that they grow. Never forget that when you are good in something, that in general you really adore what you are doing then. Loving what you do and getting better at it go hand in hand. Coached practice gets perfect! People in general know more and more that being busy is not enough. You should be busy with the right things and you should get the opportunity to grow. This element requires coaching or mentoring, traineeships etc…

Therefore, companies should focus on these 3 elements to retain there people. Strategies to empower autonomy, purpose and mastery are attainable for big and small companies. Perhaps that is the best news for all those Small and Medium companies amongst us.

So, what is the next big thing you are going to do to retain your employees?



13 Guidelines of the Stunning Results-Only Work environment and leadership

ImageI just read the book “Why work sucks“by Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson.

(Ressler, Cali; Thompson, Jody (2008-05-29). Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: The Results-Only Revolution (Kindle Locations 1325-1330). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.)

They talk about the Results Only Work Environment, which gives the management of time back to the employee, resulting in a win-win for employer and employee. 
The idea is that people just decide for themselves how and when they work. The only measurement for management are the results. As long as the results are ok, then nothing is forbidden.
This, obviously asks for leadership for each of the employees. Everyone needs exactly to know what is expected.

Implementing this ROWE way of management, has a lot of challenges for both employees and managers. Are people going to work enough?
Are they focussed enough to do their work?
Do people really decide what is necessary and what not?

Experience with the ROWE principle in organizing at Best Buy, shows that (amazingly?) people can be trusted. The big break-through for the ROWE principle is that the calendar focus of time is lost and that all the focus goes to the results. 
People do show their capabilities and contributions by doing their job in stead of arriving early and stopping late.

the 13 guidelines for the ROWE principle are:

  1. People at all levels stop doing any activity that is a waste of their time, the customer’s time, or the company’s time.
  2. Employees have the freedom to work any way they want.
  3. Every day feels like Saturday.
  4. People have an unlimited amount of “paid time off ” as long as the work gets done.
  5. Work isn’t a place you go—it’s something you do.
  6. Arriving at the workplace at 2:00 PM is not considered coming in late. Leaving the workplace at 2:00 PM is not considered leaving early.
  7. Nobody talks about how many hours they work.
  8. Every meeting is optional.


  9. It’s okay to grocery shop on a Wednesday morning, catch a movie on a Tuesday afternoon, or take a nap on a Thursday afternoon.
  10. There are no work schedules.
  11. Nobody feels guilty, overworked, or stressed-out.
  12. There aren’t any last-minute fire drills.
  13. There is no judgment about how you spend your time

So please go through each of them as an employee or a manager, and think about how you think about these guidelines. Not all of them are easy to implement.
I had a lot of trouble with number 8, “every meeting is optional” . What if you really needed someone during the meeting? What if someone just decides not to come.

The moment I was thinking that I challenged my beliefs about meetings:

  • do I always invite the NECESSARY people to my meetings?
  • do I always attend meetings where I am totally present?
  • is someone who is commited to his/her job going to decide not to come when it is necessary/useful for the job?
  • are meetings always planned when needed or are meetings sometimes just held because they are planned
  • etc…

So I just let go the resistance and it immediately triggered the thought :” should people be trusted?”
I think this is the most important question we can ask when we would like to implement “ROWE”. Trusted that they will reserve their best performance for the job.
Ofcourse sometimes people choose jobs they hate, just to work for some money, but then again ROWE provides them the necessary flexibility to add joy and gratitude to their job.

What do you think of the 13 guidelines and do you think these could be implemented in your onrganisation?



Leadership and the different ways of using your resources intelligently

Lastly I read an article in the New York Post and on Management.nl talking about how a “harsh and direct boss” are appreciated by employees. It is true that being hard but with justice is overly appreciated by people in general, although it is not always easy to cope with. On the other hand, when being “hard” on people is not sufficiently powered with the right amount of EQ, then being “hard” for people will easily turn into people rejecting you as a leader with words like : “selfish”, “cold”, “unable to be empathic”, etc.

It is like the Chinese say about “Ying and Yang”, each virtue will become a burden when it is not supported by the opposite. Honesty in the absence of compassion becomes cruelty. Tenacity without flexibility congeals intor rigidity.Confidence untempered by humility is arrogance. 

So if we go back to our earlier example of being hard, then it should be supported with “openness” towards others.
General Patton on his way to the front, was halted by an MP on the road. His driver tried to convince the MP that with the 4 stars on the car, they should pass immediately, but the MP repeated that he needed to see the identification of the general. Patton was known for his “hard” way of dealing with things. He went over to the MP, saluted and asked:” So you want to see my id?” Patton saw that the MP was impressed by his presence, although the MP said:” Yes sir, as I may!” Patton showed him his identification and the MP said:” You are all clear to go , sir!” Then Patton congratulated the MP for his work and said he was making sure that his chief officer would hear about the fine work!
So Patton, really tuned in on the feelings of the MP. He can be hard, but he has the EQ not to rush to the MP and scare the hell out of him!

So, let’s turn over to your boss, or your style of leadership!

How well do you cope with interruptions in your work, when you are really busy?

Do you take the time to tune in at that particular moment to assess whether it is worthwhile to interrupt your work?

Be honest for yourself, in how many cases can you answer a yes to that question knowing that could add a major boost to the results of yourself as a leader and to that of your employee?
Would you like to avoid the consequences of what is described underneath and do the appropriate things?

Self-management and social management are the things you need here, the elements you learn during a training EQ.

Those capabilities that make an athlete an Olympic champion, a manager a leader.

Start with a small improvement today and inhale for 3 counts and exhale for 6 counts during a minute. It will help you to relax and to be able to respond better and more attuned to people and environment if you do that every 90 minutes as a break!

Introducing that to your life could be your next 30 days challenge!
Every day( without missing even one day) just relax every 90 minutes during 1 minute, and do that for 30  consecutive days! 
Let me know what your results are!

how to cope with a bad boss.nl

Leadership and EQ by Sean Murray

In the past, it might have been true that leaders could succeed simply because they were smart. But that’s no longer all it takes. While technical skills remain important, our emotional intelligence (referred to as EQ or EI) is just as important as our IQ. In fact, research shows that a leader’s emotional intelligence has a direct impact on the success of an organization.

Daniel Goleman, a thought-leader on the topic of EI, says this about emotional intelligence:

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”

Although it takes some effort to improve or enhance our EQ, the end results – better relationships, as well as a higher potential for personal and professional success – are worth it. Try these ways of increasing your emotional intelligence:

•  Name your emotions as you experience them.
•  Take note of your inner dialogue. Does it change, based on the emotion you are experiencing?
•  Reflect on the cause of your emotions.

•  Try practicing different responses to emotionally-charged situations (e.g., if you get angry when your ideas are challenged, practice how you can respond without anger).
•  Find a way to relax or redirect yourself before you take action on a negative emotion. (Build Resilience)
•  Use positive affirmations to create an inner dialogue that supports your emotional well-being.

• Aim to use active listening in the majority of your conversations.
• Look for cues about how people feel: watch their face, observe hand gestures and notice their overall body language.
• Seek to understand the other person’s perspective when you aren’t in agreement.

Building Relationships
• Make mutually-beneficial outcomes and solutions your preference.
• Learn from others’ ideas and opinions; openly share your own.
• Invest time in getting to know others in order to build a strong foundation in your relationships.

Understanding and accessing our EI requires practice. (And, even with a lot of practice, it’s unlikely we’ll ever score 100% on the EQ test.) But the emotional and relational benefits in our personal and professional lives make the effort to understand and practice EI worthwhile.

Negotiation skills and ei

I was in Kenya 2 weeks ago and met the hotel manager, Steve.
Actually, i saw him talking to his staff every evening before the restaurant opened.
I was asking myself what he was saying to them.So on happy hour one day at the bar, i started to talk to him, and asked him what he was talking about at those moments.

He just said it was the daily moment that he beainstormed with his crew.
He asked to each of the crewmembers what the ingridients were from a certain menu item. When the crew member could not sove the problem, he asked the other crewmembers until someone got it right.. At that moment he asks again to the first crewmember what the ingredients were.When he/ she was not able to answer, he gave the crew member the task to learn the ingridients for the next day.
Perhaps this does not sound very impressive to you, but you need to know that the crew membs are local kenians who at their best had the possibility to go to school untill they where 16. The knowlege itself is not necessary to know how to do their job and although scholarship in Kenya is quite high, a lot of people still don’t have the opportunity to go to school every day.

The reason Steven does this is because he really wants them to have the opprtunity to learn every day.
. So Steven really wants to invest in his people. It helps him to gain trust, to gain loyalty from his crewmembers.
I really have to say that the people in the restaurant where incredibely hepfull and suggested from time to time how to combine the delicious parts of the buffet.
(a result of the teaching by Steven)
A great example on how someoene intuitively does something emotionally intelligent, without having had any formal course or study on this domain and a great example of something you can do with little effort and little investment to motivate your people, to gain trust, to teach them and improve their loyalty!
For me this is true leadership of Steven!
Please feel free to comment